35. Oh What Tangled Webs We Weave When We Practice To Deceive!
Erestor entered Elrond’s private office as the elf lord looked up from the message he was reading and smiled triumphantly.
“It appears mellon nin that we have Lord Carenthir at last. He and his cronies made the journey to the site of his evil deed to assure himself that it remains undiscovered.”
“At last, we now have the proof we needed that ties him directly to the murders.” Erestor replied with satisfaction. “I take it that is Doral’s report?”
Elrond nodded. “When he learned of the expected foray he took care at our behest to insure that several unimpeachable witnesses were available to observe Carenthir’s actions. They arrived ahead of Carenthir and camped nearby remaining well hidden. Doral asked them to observe quietly, that they would be shown later why and what he asked of them.”
“And they were willing to do this unquestioningly?” Erestor raised a disbelieving brow.
“Apparently so. Although when Carenthir arrived they seemed to have a good idea it was to bear witness to something underhanded he had been involved with.”
“He has gained a less than stellar reputation over recent years, mellon nin.”
The elf lord sat thoughtfully for a while considering Erestor’s observation then nodded in agreement. “It seems that it was clear Carenthir knew exactly where he was going and when he arrived his actions left no doubt as to his involvement to what ever had taken place there. He poked around and retrieved several bones and other items, which he brandished gleefully before returning them to their resting place. Their conversations were clearly overheard and Doral says the witnesses were quick to add two and two together. He indicates that it was all he could do to keep them from charging down right then, and there, and meeting out justice on the conspirators.”
“I do not blame them. Ever since Iorlas arrived and we found the proof of his heritage, I have been contemplating a form of justice that would be appropriate myself.” Erestor said grimly and sat down opposite his lord.
Elrond studied his chief councilor with amusement. “Indeed? But we must proceed cautiously until we have him securely in our trap.”
Erestor grinned. “Why don’t you simply ask him to be here to discuss a matter of grave importance regarding the House of Hador? After all, who is there but Carenthir with any sort of claim?”
Elrond chuckled. “I agree, but we must make sure there is no question of Iorlas’s right to head the House of Hador and challenge his kinsman for his crimes against it.”
Erestor smiled evilly. “Carenthir is in for a very large and unwelcome surprise when he arrives to claim the title now that Elurin has made it clear he intends to sail for Aman and asked you to name someone else to govern the lands belonging to the House of Hador.”
Elrond nodded in agreement and returned to Doral’s report. “He says that
after Carenthir and his supporters departed he escorted the witnesses down to the remains and told them about the ambush that killed all but one of Lord Hador’s party, the Lady Silalin’s survival, her subsequent rescue by one of the Dunedine, and the birth of her ion. He gave them some of the details of why she chose to remain hidden and the eventual arrival of her ion at Imladris seeking refuge and how he helped us finally locate the site of their remains. The witnesses helped retrieve them and they are now on the way to Imladris for eventual return to the families still here. Lord Hador’s have been identified by his armor and several others by their armor crests.” Elrond stopped in surprise. “It appears that one of Hador’s warriors was the ion of one of the witnesses and he identified several items they found as definitely belonging to his ion.”
“Doral picked his witnesses with great care. That will not cause questions will it?”
“It shouldn’t. The fact that the father observed Carenthir’s actions will only solidify his desire to see him punished. Should Iorlas be unable to overcome his great uncle then this one will be there to follow up with his challenge.”
“Does Iorlas know this latest development?”
Elrond shook his head. “He departed on patrol with ionnath nin earlier this week. They plan to do some hunting with the Dunedine patrols. I believe he also carried some items that Eleiann intended for her cousin Owen.”
“How goes that relationship?”
Elrond sighed. “Very slowly, I fear. Both are very young. He is barely past his majority and she still has far to go to reach hers. He hesitates fearing he has nothing to offer until his future is settled and when she is formally acknowledged as sell nin, he will not seek her fearing my disapproval. She seems oblivious to his real interest because she fears her own future and has yet to make her decision to accept the choice of the Eldar or to join the world of men.”
Erestor studied the face of his lord and friend and frowned. “She is nearer to reaching it then you give her credit for mellon nin. Her unusual start in life has matured her nearly on a time scale more appropriate to the world of men then the Eldar. Did not Gandalf tell you what lays ahead for her? Surely what ever task is appointed she will need the time only being one of the Eldar would allow her to complete.”
“Yes, but it is such a painful process for her, I ache in the watching. She studies hard and Master Maenestad has been fulsome with his praise for her progress, but even he has express concern over her intensity. He wishes to explore more of the healing techniques of her mother’s people, but I have told him he must wait. I do not want any more pressure on her until she has resolved her doubts.”
“When do you plan to publically acknowledge her as your sell?”
“I have been thinking about that. I had thought to do so at this harvest festival. The announcement should provide enough interest and speculation that Carenthir will not suspect any underlying motives and after his arrival, I will then announce that Elurin intends to sail for Aman and asked me to choose another to govern the lands belonging to the House of Hador. That will pull any interest away from Eleiann and she can return to the healing hall out of the sight of our visitors. Then I will inform everyone that I intend to follow the traditional procedures under which anyone can submit their claim. Carenthir, of course, is invited to do so at that time. We shall allow him to think he is the only logical candidate and that we are only doing this to satisfy tradition and silence any objectors.”
“At which point Iorlas will step forward after Carenthir and present his along with the proof of his claim.” Erestor grinned in anticipation of Carenthir’s reaction and pulled a sheet of paper and quill from a stack on Elrond’s desk. He started a list of things that would have to be taken care of before the harvest festival.
Elrond nodded. “I will of course remove myself from the process and appoint a council to consider each of the claims and when they approve Iorlas then….”
“As the new Lord Hador Iorlas will accuse his great uncle of the murders of Lord Hador and his party and challenge him.” Erestor looked up and smirked.
“Carenthir will be arrested and he will be given the choice of trial by battle or tried before the ruling council. If he chooses the council, all of our proof will be presented at that time.”
“We will have to gather up his cronies as well.” Erestor added that to his list.
“I fear we may have to seek them out if they do not accompany him. ‘Fin may want to discretely select some teams and have them in place just in case.”
Erestor nodded. “Best have some of the storage rooms prepared as holding cells as well.”
“Well that is a good start. We need to get Iorlas back here and give him time to prepare him for all this.”
Elrond shook his head. “I think it best to let him continue on patrol for now. I do not want him to have too much time to think about all of this. I will let ionnath nin know what is going on and they can bring him back just before the festival. In the mean time, we can see that his weapons and garments are ready for him. With Lord Hador’s ring and weapons as well as Lady Silanin’s journals and the amulet there can be no question of the validity of his claim.”
Erestor nodded and paused. “There is one other thing you will have to address regarding Eleiann. What explanation will you give regarding her naneth? Given the fact that you have taken not taken a human lover from the time Celebrian sailed and your marriage to Amarie, there will be much speculation as to why she has only now been acknowledged.”
Elrond narrowed his eyes as he considered the problem. “It would be best to keep as close to the truth as possible without revealing all. Something simple like during a strong storm I was separated from my hunting party and took shelter in a cave. A female also took shelter with me and we ‘enjoyed’ one another’s company for several days while we waited out the storm. After the storm ended, she refused my invitation to return with me to Imladris saying she had to return to her home where she was a master healer and much needed. That was the last I knew of her until Eleiann showed up here asking for her ada. That will pretty much cover everything and allow her to discuss her people’s healing techniques without suspicion.”
“Everyday she becomes more elven. That may be harder to explain.”
“Not necessarily. She is peredhel and the Valar have given her the choice my other hin have be offered. Once she has declared her choice then she will be of the Eldar.”
Erestor leaned back and grinned at his lord in admiration. “That should cover just about everything.”
Elrond rose and poured them each a glass of miruvor. Handing one to his friend, he grinned and raised his glass in a toast. “To a successful conspiracy that will right a terrible wrong.”
Erestor grinned and raised his in agreement. “Here! Here!”
mellon nin-my friend male
sell nin-my daughter