1. Second Draft
Written for B2MEM - Day #28 - Gondor
There was no avoiding it; the letter had to be composed…
Who will receive this letter? An uncle? A lover? The High-King? Why is there "no avoiding it"? Circumstances? Or is Mother watching with arms crossed? Will the letter be written in haste? Or will each phrase be meticulously crafted?
Write a story or poem inspired by this line (you do not need to use the exact quote), or create a piece of art that reflects this situation.
To Gilraen of the Dúnedain, greetings from Imladris.
Elrond lifted the quill and studied the words that he'd written in his best hand. Was this too formal? Too distant? The stars knew that he'd already done more than enough to alienate her, and this letter was supposed to be his opening move to begin to heal some of that. He had to word things carefully.
It is my fervent wish that this letter find you in good health.
The very thought of her in those primitive environs, when her mortal nature could so easily be overwhelmed by the dangers of such a life, gave him nightmares. Here in Imladris, he had kept careful watch over her wellbeing with one eye and studied his more ancient tomes of herbal lore with the other. In the years of her tenancy, the years he'd spent helping her raise her son, he'd had more occasion to review and use that knowledge to cure illnesses than he had in most of the prior millenium.
I am glad to report that all here continue in good health and spirits, and all send their greetings.
Good health and spirits indeed! Elrond sighed as he rested the quill in the inkwell. Erestor was barely speaking to him, Glorfindel remained quite distant and very formal in all their recent dealings. His sons continued hunting yrch with the Dúnedain, returning home for only very brief visits – usually at holiday time, and only because they had given Gilraen their word that they would no longer worry their father. Aurin had persisted in dying the enninych pink for Metarrë, regardless there was no one currently in residence who needed the warning; and she had glared up at him when he'd thought to mention his curiosity as to her reasons for doing so.
Yes, life continued in Imladris as it had for centuries – except for the little ways in which his household staff had found to express their displeasure at what he now considered his moment of temporary insanity. The irony of the situation was that were he one of them, he too would be registering his displeasure.
Lady, allow me to get to the heart of the matter. I would apologize to you. I am most sincerely sorry for the many hurtful things I said to you on that horrible evening. I have no excuse, and I want to assure you of that which you already know: that everything I said was either an extreme exaggeration or patently untrue. To my great shame, I can barely remember what I did say to you, but what little I do remember distresses me deeply.
Elrond put the quill back into the inkwell and rose from his desk to pace next to the windows to his garden. He stopped and let his eyes wander the familiar paths, lighting on the little alcoves and arbors that he knew Gilraen had favored for her evenings' moments after entertainment in the Hall of Fire was over. The memory of the things he'd told her, right here in this office, made his stomach lurch every time he thought of it.
She'd been his gwaedh-vellon, and he had cherished every moment of their time together up until that one – when he'd carelessly destroyed everything that had taken fifty years to build. Grief at Arwen's decision was behind his actions, but it merely explained and did not excuse. He was supposed to be older, wiser, able to put things into perspective – and he had flailed out at her needlessly. Mindlessly.
He sank back into his chain and took up the quill again.
I would beg you, even if you cannot forgive me, to please at least consider coming back to Imladris, where you are safer. You know that doing so would free Aragorn to know that he need not fear for your welfare when the Enemy draws closer to your settlement. While he says nothing to me of this in his letters or during his visits, I know his heart and how much he values you.
Liar, he chided himself. You just want a chance to see her, to hear her voice, even to let her berate you again because you know you deserve it. For centuries, he'd had no problem with the mothers of the Chieftains living out their lives in those same Dúnedain settlements that sat altogether too close on Enemy-occupied lands. But that had changed when a slip of a girl, barely old enough to be a mother, had landed on his doorstep with a young son, both of whom had quickly captured his heart.
What is more, Aragorn neither speaks to you by letter nor has he come home since that night. The only news he'd had regarding his foster-son in the past few years had come from his own sons. Then again, you were less than understanding to him too. Another regret, just as painful, filled his heart. For years he had enjoyed a close relationship with Estel – Aragorn now – closer than he'd been with any of the rest of Elros' progeny. And again, it had taken but a few words to destroy that. It had to have been insanity!
And with that, the words flowed from his pen.
You are deeply missed here, and many have let me know that they would very much want me to do whatever it would take to convince you to return. Glorfindel wanders the gardens at night often, looking quite lost. Erestor simply remains apart, not joining in any of the social activities, not even visiting the Hall of Fire in the evening to listen to the music. The Els keep their promises to you, and come home to the valley with some regularity, but it is clear that they miss your companionship as well. Your departure has affected us all, and Imladris is the poorer for it.
Come home to us, Gilraen! Please give me an opportunity to try to mend the friendship we once shared, to show you my contrition. Please, come and tell me of the offenses I have given you, and give me a means to make amends such as might be acceptable to you. Please come home, and stay here where you are loved and protected and kept far from any of those who would harm you as they did Celeb…
The very thought of Gilraen suffering even half of what had happened to Celebrían hit him like a spear to the heart. Elrond tossed down the quill, wadded up the paper and with a snarl tossed it across the room to join the other he had written earlier and rejected for much the same reason. He put his face in his hands and sat for a long moment, struggling against everything that had surged as he wrote.
He had to control his emotions, had to appeal to her better nature. The reasons he gave for her to return had to be for her welfare, not his; had to be logical and reasonable, not based on emotional blackmail. Drawing a deep and cleansing breath, he straightened and forced himself again into an unsteady tranquility. Thank the stars Erestor made plenty of this stuff back when! he thought as he drew yet another sheet of paper shot with colored threads from the pile and dipped his pen to begin a third draft:
To Gilraen of the Dúnedain, fondest greetings from Elrond of Imladris…
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.