2. Summer, 1801 S. A.
1801 S. A.
"I love you, Glorfindel! Can you not see it?"
The ellon's face showed regret and pity. "I can, but I cannot give you what you wish."
"Why not? You never bonded. Are you not free?"
"Yes, and no."
Celebrian's patience broke. She was not some commoner to be toyed with! "What then, are you one of those half-men Amroth jokes about? We have danced often enough, and it was not disgust I saw in your eyes!"
Glorfindel reddened. "NO! But ... Celebrian, why do you think I was sent back to Ennor? I have a task set before me, and it is not for me to wed until it is completed."
He paused for a time before continuing, "Do not think that this pleases me. Perhaps if I had bonded before ... that day ... I would have been left in Mandos, like all my other fallen friends and kin. That is all I can say."
The two golden elves sat for a time in silence. "Not until today have I believed Naneth's stories about the Curse of the House of Finwë. But it follows down the generations even now! Will I escape it? Will Ereinion? Perhaps our King is wise not to have children."
Glorfindel wanted to comfort the elleth, to embrace her, but it was not to be. All he could say in reply was "I do not know, meldeth nin." After a long pause, he continued. "But I will pledge to watch over you and your family - and you will have one of your own - for as long as I can."
4 T. A.
Elrond watched his Captain with growing concern. Losses at the Dagorlad had been grievous, but Glorfindel had ever been full of joy, whatever the circumstances. Over the past year, however, the warrior had grown increasingly sullen - particularly around his lord. Erestor had suggested that it was time for Glorfindel to lead his own House again, but the Peredhel sensed that was not the whole of the matter.
After a particularly terrifying sparring session, the matter had to be confronted. "What troubles you, mellon nin?"
"Celebrian." the golden one replied. Only in a battle, real or practiced, would he be so blunt.
"Celebrian? Why should my ... why should she trouble you?"
"There you have it, Elrond. You said 'my', but you have not made her yours - not truly. Why do you delay? For if you do not take her hand soon, someone else will."
The Lord of Imladris flushed angrily, then reminded himself that although only a handful of the Elves of Ennor had the right to speak to him in such a manner, the warrior before him was most certainly one of them.
"I see." Elrond responded, trying to gain time. A rival! Insight came as a blow. Of course there would be rivals! His beloved was one of the fairest in Arda, and by ancient law, he had no claim on her before a betrothal or bonding. Why had he delayed? He did not know ... but he did know that his Captain had just done him an unheard-of favor. He clapped the older Elf on the back. "I must ride to Lothlorien, my friend. This time, I shall not invite you along!"
His Captain's face only froze. This was not going well.. Elrond had been terribly discomfited by the Dagorlad, much as he loathed to admit it, but it was time for him to prove he was still worthy of his position. He dropped to one knee.
"Mellon nin, you are the most noble Elf in Ennor. I never understood why you swore fealty to me in the first place, but you did, and I let the matter be. If you wish it, I will release you from my service. Many would follow you - you need only raise the banner of your House. There are more than a few that look for you to do so, and would give you advice like to that which you have just given me, if they dared. To take what should be yours."
The golden one looked away. More had 'dared' than Elrond knew. It had not escaped the more astute Elves that marriage to Celebrian would at the very least renew the House of the Golden Flower as a force, and perhaps even make Glorfindel the High King that many still looked for. Even this would not have tempted him, had his heart not been certain that he and Celebrian could enjoy a blissful union - but in fact it was certain.
"I will consider it."
His Lord's face quickly fell, and Glorfindel, embarassed, clarified. "Not taking your beloved! Indeed, ride to Celebrian now, do not wait another day. But reestablishing my House, I will consider. At the very least I will leave Imladris for a while. Probably I shall visit Cirdan. Not to sail! I have no wish to leave Ennor. I may be gone long, but if ever I return to dwell in this valley, you have my word of honor that I will not be your rival in this matter or any other."
2510 T. A.
The ellon watched with a grim, set face as he watched his lord's wife sail into the West, barely alive. Though he had failed of his pledge - curse the yrch to the Void! he would continue his protection, so long as the line of Celebrian and Elrond lasted.
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