18. Chapter 17
Lindir finally shook himself out of his daze. He glared at Elrond. "You could have heard his side!" The minstrel ground out before running to catch his fleeing lover. In his haste, he nearly toppled both Erestor and Glorfindel.
"Elrond?" Erestor asked cautiously, seeing the distraught state of his lord.
Elrond's gaze remained focused on some distant point. "All my life I wanted him back, and now he's here…" Elrond sighed.
Elrond looked at the questioning blond and gave a bitter chuckle. "Maglor." He simply replied, like that explained everything.
Erestor had move to the side table to pour them glasses of wine. He nearly dropped the decanter at Elrond's soft admission. He flashed a concerned look to Glorfindel who just shrugged his shoulders. Carefully maneuvering the dazed elf-lord to a chair near the fireplace, Glorfindel accepted two glasses from the advisor. Elrond sat with his two dear friends down on their heels beside him. He knew they were waiting for an explanation, he just did not know where or how to start.
Lindir quickly caught up to the retreating Noldo.
"Graelinn!" He called out, hoping the upset elf would recognize the new name. "Wait, please."
Maglor stopped and turned glassy eyes to the minstrel. "This was a mistake. I should not have come here. Why could you not listen to me?"
"I did listen to you…but this was not a mistake. Elrond was just taken by surprise that is all." Lindir placed a hand on Maglor's arm. "Please, come inside?"
Maglor looked down the steps to the courtyard. He was so tired; tired of running, of hiding, of being alone. Looking at the pleading minstrel, he raised his hand to caress Lindir's cheek. "Oh melethron," he sighed. It was not until he had gone several yards that Maglor realized that Lindir had somehow gotten him to return into the building. The young minstrel was nothing if not persistent.
"Stay with me tonight, in my room. If you still want to leave or Elrond does not come to his senses, then you may leave. But understand this…I will leave with you. I will not be separated from you."
Maglor made to protest but gentle fingers pressed against his lips. Lindir lead his lover to his room. It had been aired out and a plate of fresh fruit and cheeses was waiting for him. Before they got much further than through the threshold, Lindir kicked the door closed and pinned Maglor against it. His lips sought out their mate. The kiss was gentle, loving and full of support. When the need for air grew crucial, they reluctantly parted. Looking down into eyes that held such love for him, Maglor had to smile.
"I will stay the night, but please do not hope that Elrond will change his mind. In some ways he is right…I just thought it was best for him."
Lindir pulled Maglor further into the room. "I have a wonderful tub, very spacious. Care to join me in a nice relaxing bath? I will wash your hair."
Maglor's smile broadened at the twinkle in the smaller elf's eyes. Somehow, he doubted that his hair was the only thing Lindir wanted to wash. Following, he entered the bathroom and began to strip. When Lindir turned from the tub, he was met with a sight that made his member twitch. Maglor had stripped and bent over to place his clothing on a low bench. Maglor stood and turned. He raised an eyebrow at the obviously ogling elf.
"See something appealing?" He asked as the silver-haired elf made a slow show of stripping. Maglor's heart began to pound. No one had ever being able to chase away the shadows in his soul like the beautiful elf before him. Lindir reached out and grabbed hold of the Noldo's awakening flesh, earning him a gasp. He gently pulled, indicating that the dark-haired elf should join him in the bath, lest he find himself in some pain. The elves stepped into the pool, sighing when the warm water hit their travel-weary bodies.
"Let me see if I have this right." Glorfindel began once Elrond managed to get his tale out. "Maglor is…okay, was…" he amended when Elrond shot him a look. "Like a father too you. He hid you away before his last attempt to steal the Silmarils; a plot that cost three of the brothers their lives. He made sure that GilGalad would find you and give you sanctuary. He stays away for ages, probably out of guilt. Now he returns with Lindir and you just told him off?"
"Without giving him an opportunity to explain, by the sound of it," Erestor added. Elrond scowled. He knew they were right; but the pain felt so new. Perhaps if he had warning, time to come to grips with all this.
"I appreciate your concern, my friends; however, I really would like to be alone."
"Suit yourself. You know you can come to either of us," Erestor said as he stood to leave. As Glorfindel had yet to move, the advisor gave a little cough. "Umm, Glorfindel?"
The warrior rose and gave his lord's shoulder a little squeeze, then followed the black-haired advisor into the hall. Erestor sighed. "I will be in my study for a time, yet. I will look in on him before I retire. If he is still there, I will see that he gets to his rooms."
"Thank you, melon nin. I have a patrol to lead tomorrow. If you need me though, do not hesitate. In the morning someone has to make Elrond face his past and I am afraid that task must fall to you and Lindir."
"Have no worries, Glorfindel. Good night." With that, the two friends parted ways.
***Later that night***
Elrond tossed and turned, images of the past assailing him. His sleep was troubled, but he was unable to wake himself. Through the smoke on some past battlefield, he saw a figure. Tall, most likely Elven. The person wore a flowing gown; who would wear a gown on a battlefield? The Noldo approached the woman, thinking perhaps she needed help. Climbing over the carnage, he was surprised to see the pristine lady smiling at him.
"Come with me," she softly beckoned.
"Who are you?"
"Come with me, child, and learn the truth."
Elrond was compelled to follow; he knew there was a higher power at work.
"Abandoned, you say. Perhaps. Lied too, yes. Unloved…never. Look closely at what would have come to pass if Maglor had been ruled by selfish desire." A sweep of her hand cast away the battle field and replaced it with a small room filled with…
"Vaire..." Elrond whispered and went down on one knee.
The Vala could not suppress her smile. "Look closely at the weavings." She pointed to an unfinished tapestry.
Elrond stood and moved closer and soon found himself as an unseen observer. He recognized the time and place…it was the Sons of Fëanor's last attempt at getting the Silmarils. Odd though, he saw himself and Elros there. Their clothing was bloodstained; they were huddled behind a building. Elros saw their protector and ran toward the great warrior. A garbled cry came and Elrond watched in horror as Elros fell with an Elven arrow piercing his breast. The Elda watched as the scene continued to unfold. Maedhros surged forward, catching the small elfling. Celegrom killed the archer before he, too, was slain. It was strange to be a detached observer, neither seen nor heard…nor able to help.
Maedhros held the small body, crying out in anguish. The adult Elrond felt himself scream the warning that went unheard. Maedhros was struck down, his head severed from the strong shoulders. Elrond watched as Maglor fell. In this history, Curufin and Caranthir survived but did not gain the cursed gems…the village began to fade and the Noldo found himself back in the tapestry room. Grief tore at his heart as tears poured from his eyes.
"Look now at the result that history would have brought forth," she pointed back to the unfinished tapestry.
"No, I cannot bear to see more!" He sobbed.
"Look Elrond Half-Elven!" She commanded, her eyes narrow. "You held judgment against one who loved you dearly. See what would have happened if Maglor and Maedhros did not care about you. See what the future would have become."
Through tear-blurred eyes, Elrond looked to the other tapestry. It showed his family tree. There were no great kings of men since Elros was killed. He never married Celebrian. The Dark Lord still held Arda in his grip. As he moved along the tapestry he saw himself as a young adult riding with the remaining brothers, sword brandished high. It dripped with red blood…Elven blood. A village lay in ruin as he and the remaining Sons of Feanor pillaged for the Silmarils. Elrond could feel the hate radiate from his younger self.
"What happened?" He asked in dismay. The village faded, and again he stood beside Vaire.
"When you lost your brother and surrogate fathers to the weapons of their own kin, you fell into despair. Seeing the hate bloom in your eyes, Caranthir decided to take you in. He raised you to fight, to hate."
"These things though, never came to pass..." Elrond pointed out quietly.
"I know, that is why they are unfinished. Tell me, Son of Earendil, why they did not come to pass?"
Elrond hung his head in shame. "Because Maglor kept us safe and found us loving caretakers. Oh, forgive me…"
"There is a bit more I wish to show you."
"Please...." Elrond begged, fearful of the visions.
"Come, what you will see is how history really unfurled." She lead Elrond out of the room into a bright hallway lined with completed weavings. "Look at them, child."
Elrond slowly walked the hall looking at the picture of the Kings of Numenor. He stopped at the weaving showing his wedding.
"Look carefully, penneth." Vaire whispered in his ear. As he looked deep into the tapestry, he saw Maglor, standing in the shadows of the garden. Slate-gray eyes grew wide and the Noldo quickly moved to the picture of his sons' birth celebration. Again, he found Maglor in the shadows. Elrond wanted to curl up and cry. How could he have behaved the way he had. How could he truly believe what he had told himself so long ago? Cirdan had always tried to explain it. Tried to get him to forgive but he was too stubborn.
"I am afraid that I have ensured that Maglor will have nothing to do with me."
"One last thing, before you return…" The Valier again showed him an unfinished tapestry.
"Happened." She finished. "I cannot complete it until you return and make the future happen." She leaned forward and kissed his forehead. "So much sorrow you have had; but you are not alone. Let go of the past and its pain. Look to the future and to happiness, for the Music is forever changing."
Elrond sat up straight in his bed, and took a hasty look around. He was covered in sweat and his heart pounded, but there was a realization that brought peace to his soul. He looked out the window. Ithil still ruled the sky. He had to speak to Maglor, had to make things right. The Lord of the Valley could only hope that the young minstrel was able to make Maglor stay.