He slunk across the empty hall, his bare feet slapping softly on the smooth stone flags. Hearing whisper-soft footfalls approaching from somewhere behind him, he turned and ducked into a darkened corridor to his left. Quietly he moved, but still the gentle footsteps were following, their cadence quickening.
He broke into a run, trying to reach the end of the corridor where he could get out of the line of sight.
He swung around the corner, barely stopping himself from plunging head first down the flight of steep steps that waited for the unwary. Scuttling down to the small vestibule, he concealed himself behind a pillar. Panting softly, he decided he could not risk tarrying longer than it took to catch his breath.
He eyed the small window opposite. It was set high up in the wall; too high for him to reach from the floor, but a wooden chest stood beneath it. Listening again for footsteps but hearing none, he crossed to the window, leapt onto the chest and struggled frantically with the window catch. Thrusting the window open, he gingerly climbed out onto the sill.
He tried to close the window behind him, but the sliding stay that held it open had engaged, and from his precarious position there was no way that he could release it. So he pushed off from the sill and jumped.
He landed in a crouch on the soft grass beneath the walls. His sudden appearance was greeted with a shout which came from one of the upper floor windows. He had been spotted, and now the alarm was raised. He sprang up and sprinted hard for the shelter of the beckoning trees.
Somewhere behind him a door slammed and running footsteps came from his right, trying to cut off his escape. He dared not glance back, but fear gave wings to his feet and he somehow kept ahead of his pursuer as the trees came ever nearer with each pounding stride.
Suddenly he felt someone almost at his shoulder; he flinched instinctively and jinked to the left.
"Catch him!" a voice shouted.
Another one, he thought; this was unfair! An outstretched hand was reaching for him as he ran, but he dropped instantly, folding in on himself and rolling into the ground. His pursuer stumbled, tripped and fell headlong.
Spitting grass, the hapless hunter coughed and wheezed to recover the air knocked from his lungs. He staggered to his feet and lauched himself forward after the fleeing form who was fast disappearing across the open expanse as if his life depended upon it.
And indeed it may, the pursuer thought to himself as he saw another join the chase.
A tall slender figure had emerged running from the house, flinging off his outer robe to run unhindered. He tore across the lawn at full tilt, long hair flying like a banner behind him, rapidly gaining on his quarry.
The game was up and the little fugitive knew it. He ran until his legs faltered and then he tumbled sprawling onto the grass. Rolling over, he squinted up at his captor as the tall one skidded to an abrupt halt to loom over him.
Lying belly up and panting, the runaway resembled nothing more than a submissive puppy begging for forgiveness.
"Tano i faelas anim, Ada…!"
Elrond shook his head. He tried to be stern, but failed miserably. Picking up his fosterling he cradled him to his chest as he carried him back to the house. Estel wrapped his arms around his Adar's neck, resting his chin on his shoulder. Mischievously he poked his tongue out at Elladan who limped along behind them.
"Estel, you sorely try my patience." Elrond growled softly. He delivered a warning pat to the youngster's bare backside. "Running away will not do. It's bath time."
Elvish Glossary: "Tano i faelas anim, Ada!" …….Show me mercy, Daddy!
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.