39. Even The Stars Fall
“That is precisely why I do it,” Glorfindel said before relapsing into his song.
“Eru!” Celeborn said sighing as he entered the tent and heard the song, “One would think that the war has taught you better, Glorfindel!”
“Certainly,” the golden-haired elf said merrily, “Irritating ‘Restor is mightier enterprise than killing orcs. Would you like to try, My Lord?”
Celeborn shook his head bewildered. Erestor offered quietly, “Gil is with Círdan at the barracks.”
“Thank you, Erestor,” Celeborn said gratefully and shot a disapproving glare at Glorfindel before stalking out.
“He has a nice body,” Glorfindel commented, “He looks so beautiful when he is angry.”
“And Galadriel might send a balrog at night to finish you off, ,” Erestor said wryly, “I refuse to sing a dirge for you.”
“I have mastered the knack of killing Balrogs by now, ‘Restor,” Glorfindel rested his head on Erestor’s lap and continued sleepily, “Anyway Galadriel is forgiving, as the incident with Thranduil proved.”
“Our prince has one thing that you can never hope to achieve, Glor, he has charm,” Erestor said smiling as his left hand nestled its fingers in the thick mane of golden silky hair while his eyes were still on the scroll held by his right hand.
“He is no more a prince,” Glorfindel sighed.
“To me, he will always be one,” Erestor shrugged as he pulled at a tangle in the hair, “Your hair is snarled. How did it come to this?”
“Ah! How the mighty have fallen!” Glorfindel made a dramatic gesture, then he fell back into his pensive musings and said, “I feel ill and depressed.”
“You need a good tumble,” Erestor said firmly.
“Your friend and my tent-mate Gildor is certainly doing that most of the nights,” Glorfindel laughed, “As for you, I hear that you have been thrown out of your tent into Elrond’s bed for your lack of control.”
Erestor sighed saying, “At least I am capable of feeling desire. Something you have long forgotten, Glor.”
“Maybe I should take a leaf out of Elrond’s book. He is having a wonderful time with Thranduil. These days, his saddle is lined by soft cushions and he cannot help blushing each time he sees the prince,” Glorfindel said amusedly, “Eru knows what they do in Thranduil’s tent.”
“Whatever they do, atleast Thranduil has returned to the land of the living. I had been worried for him,” Erestor said sincerely, “I would have given him the comfort if I had not been bound by vows.”
“You are so true to your vows, that is why Gil has no qualms in letting you share a bed with Elrond,” Glorfindel observed watching his friend’s expression closely.
“Elrond is remarkable,” Erestor offered thoughtfully, “Celebrían will find it difficult to bridle in his passion. He is aroused half-the-night and his skin is always flushed and hot.”
“And you do not react?” Glorfindel continued with his gentle prodding, “I would find it difficult not to react if I had been you.”
“I am a diplomat first, Glor, I have to play ignorant lest this becomes something sinister,” Erestor smirked, “Enough oaths have been broken in my family; I would not break my vows to Gil, even if the most sensual seducer arrived before me.”
Gil-Galad cursed aloud as he plucked out the arrow head from Celeborn’s arm.
“It is not poisoned,” the silver-haired elf said, “A mere scratch.”
“It shows that nobody is infallible, not even the hardiest of us,” Elendil said quietly as he gazed at the red sun, “So many of my generals have fallen. Three of my grandsons have fallen. I fear for all of us.”
“True,” Celeborn said fervently, “Glad would be I to just walk beneath the mallorn again, to hold my daughter in my arms again and to see my wife again.”
The redness of the dawn caught onto Gil-Galad’s mithril wedding band crafted by Celebrimbor himself, Elendil gasped in horror.
“What is it?” both Celeborn and Gil-Galad asked anxiously, looking about the subdued battlefield for threats.
Elendil said fearfully, “The rays of the blood red sun seem to enter your ring, Gil-Galad. In human customs, it is supposed to be ill-luck.”
“In what way?” Celeborn asked curiously, watching the said ring closely, “It is his wedding band, not a ring of power or of office.”
“Wedding rings hold more power than any ring crafted,” Elendil said solemnly.
Celeborn thought of his tumultuous marriage and said absently, “And they bring more chaos to our lives. But what did you mean by this human superstition?”
Elendil shrugged saying, “Those of Human settlements say that it means ill-luck. I have no further knowledge,” but his eyes betrayed him as they met Gil-Galad’s steady gaze.
Elrond kissed Thranduil gently on the soft, passion-bruised lips and left the King’s tent quietly. They had decided to keep their comfort-seeking a low key affair. He turned back once to see the young King awash in the soft torchlight and smiled. Thranduil was one of the most attractive creatures he had seen.
He returned to his tent to find it empty. Erestor had a left a short note on the bed saying that he would spend the night with his bonded-mate. Elrond knew that he should not brood, but a scowl settled on his features as he retired to sleep.
Glorfindel listened to the tell-tale sounds of lovemaking from within the king’s tent. He raised his eyes to the veiled stars and whispered a prayer to Eru. A stir of foreboding had risen in him as he had spoken with Erestor earlier. It was akin to his sense of doom before the sack of Gondolin. The day after tomorrow, they would all ride for battle, for they planned to lay siege to the dark fortress of Barad-dur itself. Glorfindel did not know who would return.
He was panting in pain and fear as he looked up on the hated face. The same face that had shown so much kindness and curiosity the first time he had lain eyes on it.
“They hope to destroy me, Ring-smith, and camp outside my stronghold with a paltry army of elves and men,” the form said jeeringly, “Fools, will they never understand my might?”
“The one before you was a Vala and he was defeated,” he spat, “You are but a Maia, Sauron.”
“Very well, smith,” Sauron laughed musically, the hatred and power burning in his eyes, “Once I was called Annatar, the giver of gifts. Shall I gift you a companion?”
He felt fear clutch tight his heart, “No,” he whispered begging, “None should suffer my fate.”
“Are you so easily broken then, smith?” Sauron smiled, “Then your line is indeed failing. I remember a proud Noldor prince defying my master, Melkor, till his cousin saved him. Where has that courage gone?”
He did not reply as he prayed desperately that no elf would be taken alive. Sauron continued as if to himself, “Maybe it is only you. Maybe the rest are better. I shall see. There are kin enough of yours in this battle, smith. Remember your high-king who sent an army too late to aid your city? Remember the king’s herald who has Melian’s blood in his mixed veins?,” his lips turned into a leer as he continued with quiet determination, “Ah! I have one more suited, my smith, one closer to you in kinship. You know of who I speak?”
He gazed into those yellow eyes as the realization struck him hard. He gritted his teeth and staggered to his feet and tried to lunge at Sauron, but invisible bindings of sorcery held him back.
Sauron said gleefully, “Yes, I have made my decision. It shall be another grandson of the spirit of fire. In him, I have already sensed the flame that shines in your line. Thrice has he defied my servants, the wraiths. Never again.”
Elrond screamed in fear and pain as Celebrimbor’s body was further tortured. Strong arms cradled him and crooned softly until his breathing had become less ragged and he opened his eyes.
“My prince,” Elrond whispered as he shivered in Thranduil’s arms, tears fell down his face continuously.
“Hush!” Thranduil held him closer and soothed his hair until Elrond regained his composure and said quietly, “I had a nightmare.”
Thranduil remained silent for a few moments before saying softly, “I have one every night.”
“Yes,” Elrond sighed as he buried his head in the folds of Thranduil’s light robes, “I…It was more real than any dream. I saw Celebrimbor…and him. He said that the wraiths would take elves alive in the battle to come..to keep Celebrimbor company, elves related to Celebrimbor.”
“Elrond,” Thranduil pressed a kiss on the sweaty brow, “You are afraid, as you should be. I too fear. What if I fall? Who will take charge of my realm then? All of us ride in fear.”
“You are afraid?” Elrond asked incredulously, forgetting his nightmare for the moment faced by this unexpected confession.
“Indeed,” Thranduil closed his eyes, “So far nothing has given me the slightest hope of victory.”
“Let us not talk of that,” Elrond rolled over onto his stomach and began exploring the slender neck of his friend with his lips, “Shall we forget?”
“I came to speak with Erestor,” Thranduil said suddenly remembering his reason to come, “Where is he?”
“With his mate,” Elrond murmured as he undid the ties on Thranduil’s robe and caressed the silky soft chest.
“I suppose that is an invitation for another round?” Thranduil said relaxing into Elrond’s touch.
“As long as you do the work,” Elrond said amusedly as he pulled Thranduil atop him, “Start!”
Celeborn frowned when he saw the empty bed in Thranduil’s tent. The guards had already told him that the young king was with Elrond. Celeborn did not understand why Thranduil, who was obviously in deep love with Anoriel, would risk a dalliance with Elrond. Now, the betrothal of Elrond to his daughter seemed all the more bitter. Elrond would not even give her what he gave Thranduil, Celeborn knew that well.
“No rest?” Círdan’s deep voice roused him from his musings.
“Thranduil is not in his tent,” Celeborn said petulantly, “He is bonded and still carries on with his affairs.”
“Is it jealousy that I hear in your tone, ?” Círdan laughed as he came to stand by his kinsman.
“Whom am I supposed to be jealous of?” Celeborn retorted, “I was merely upset over the fact that he is with Lord Elrond, who is betrothed to my only daughter.”
Círdan rested his hand on Celeborn’s shoulder and said solemnly, “Have you not heard that the sins of our fathers rest on us?”
“Meaning?” Celeborn asked icily, “Are you saying that I am responsible for this mess? I have never encouraged this match from the first day.”
“One day you will know what I meant, Celeborn of Doriath,” Círdan said quietly before leaving the angry silver-haired lord to stew alone.
Erestor said softly, “Gil, when we return to Lindon, shall we both spend a few days by the sea?”
“I would be your servant if you asked me to, my love,” Gil-Galad stroked Erestor’s body as they lay together, naked in each other’s arms.
Erestor smiled saying, “The things you say to make my blood rush, Gil!”
“Why the sea?” Gil-Galad asked curiously, “I thought you preferred the valley you built for the refugees.”
“I want you to myself,” Erestor traced idle circles around one of Gil-Galad’s nipples before bestowing a kiss on it, “We have never had the time to be alone all these centuries. I want to know you. And want you to know me. We are bound in body and soul, yes. But in heart, we are yet distant. When have we taken the time off from our duties to have a breakfast together or to ride together or to do things that normally bonded couples do together?”
“If we win, then we shall take off a couple of centuries from work and retire to an isolated wood, and be together, will that please you?” Gil-Galad rested his left hand on Erestor’s, their bands glimmering in the firelight.
“Yes,” Erestor said dreamily as he drifted into reverie.
The high-king of the Noldor watched him for a few moments before whispering, “What shall become of us, my dearest love?”
Elrond rested his head on an elbow as he read his brother’s journal in the flickering torchlight. Next to him, Thranduil lay sleeping exhaustedly. Elrond had experienced the most magnificent coupling he had ever had that night. They were both desperate and starved for comfort. Thranduil had done all the work and was undoubtedly worn out. Elrond was himself feeling pleasantly drowsy yet active. Thranduil is a better elixir than miruvor, he thought dryly as he flipped open the thick book.
A parchment bearing the seal of the house of Finwë flew out and landed on his chest. Frowning, he opened it.
I trust you are well. Our house is in chaos. Irisse has left Turkano and his hidden city to join Tyelkormo. Yet, she has not yet passed into his lands. We have all been searching for her in vain for the past few months. Russandol is afraid that she has fallen into the enemy’s hands. He has been organizing the searches. Findarato will come to fetch you back to Nargothrond. I know you will be upset to bow to our will. But Cousin, we merely want you to be safely with us.
Elrond kissed the parchment where his foster-father’s hands had rested once. He could almost imagine Maglor sitting at his study desk and holding the quill against his cheek. As Elrond smiled wistfully and folded the parchment, he saw his brother’s scribbling, “They are still with us, in our hearts. We shall never forget those who came before us.”
Elrond said quietly, “Yes, brother , we shall never forget their lives and their sacrifices. You proved yourself worthy of our houses. Now it is my time to take the test, and Eru-willing, I shall not fail.”
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.