1. Out with the hunt
There was a knot in the branch that formed a sort of window frame, or looking space fame. His eyes fixed on it, following the inside and curves. It was something tangible and unchangeable to think on while his heart slowed from its wild thudding. After several long slow breaths he turned around.
"I forbid it"
His son's stared at him, apparent confusion on their faces "Father?"
"I forbid it and I forbid it twice over, as your father and as your lord, you are not going"
Elrohir stepped forward "The orcs are close to Rivendell Father, they pose a threat to our safety."
He sat down at his desk "Then I shall send Glorfindel and his patrol to deal with them. You are needed here.
For what? That startled him, Elladan was normally the less forthright of the pair "Nothing Erestor can't do better."
Elrond refused to look at them "Might I remind you you ar supposed to be learning from him.
"Father" Elrohir again "We won't need to go far, what could go wrong?"
As his son had spoken he'd started writing and didn't stop as he spoke, though a close observer would notice that the document had much harsher quill strokes for a few words "In my experience , the closer you are to home the worse state you return in. Finally he raised his eyes, aware he wept, have you forgotten last time you hunted close to home?"
They both had the decency to flinch, remembering the deep wounds on Elladan's side and chest that might have killed him had he got home an hour or even half an hour later.
Elrond continued his tirade "And what of Estel, what do Gilraen and I tell him when you come back wounded, or don't come back at all... He won't understand, and he loves you both more than anything." he stopped for a moment fighting his emotions "And I need you also." his temper cracked into something close to sobs.
The twins shifted, and he realised he'd made them uncomfortable with his emotions, but that they understood. Slowly, one after another they nodded, and he allowed them to leave.
"I knew you'd come old friend." Elrond found a smile for the blonde warrior who slipped through the door.
"You know they'll go anyway, Elrond" Glofindel's face was grim
He sighed "I have a terrible feeling you're right. And there is nothing in all of Arda I can do except patch them up when they come home, and beg Elbereth to keep them safe in the mean time."
There was a long silence, a pointed silence which made him lift his head from his work "Glorfindel? What are you thinking?"
"You could go with them" He hadn't heard quite such an innocent voice since Arwen had grown up. But he could tell the older elf wasn't joking, there was worried look in the silver eyes. He nodded once and stood up, straightening the papers on his desk as he always did when he was leaving it for an extended journey. In case he didn't return.
The armour wasn't the elaborate gold of that worn in the Last Alliance, though it was of roughly the same design. And there were other subtle differences, this seemed broader in the shoulder and torso and generally of heavier form. But he didn't say a word, simply falling into the role of a squire and helping his lord dress. There was much he wanted to say, especially when Elrond motioned for him to stop, then reached down the inside of the breastwork, seeming to brush something that was on the inside. The peredhel took a deep breath and motioned he could carry on. Even though he was behind his lord Glrofindel could tell that silver tears tumbled down his lord's cheeks. and when he found a little mark on one of the straps he realised why. This armour had once been Elros's.
"My lord!" One of the stable attendants came hareing up to them "Your sons... they've saddled their horses, are preparing to ride out to hunt!"
Elrond gave a sharp nod indicating his prior knowledge of that "Are they taking an escort?"
"Three of the other warriors, My lord"
"Good" He paused for a moment, thinking, then strode on. The runner jogged alongside.
"My lord, if you plan to ride..."
"There are orcs out there, I know" He didn't pause
"Ros managed to throw a shoe this morning when she came in"
He had his hands on the stable doors about to fling them open, but stopped for a moment and pressed his head to the cool wood instead to collect himself
"No major damage but the farrier wants her to keep it off until the hoof has definitely mended."
He sighed, glad his favorite wasn't seriously hurt. But it narked him for old as the red mare might be getting, she was still the best of his herd, while her daughter wasn't fully trained yet. Ros had the strength and speed of foot he'd need on this expedition.
"Saddle Baradhroch then, I'll take him."
But even as a he swung into the saddle, throwing his sons a grim smile, he was wary, not only was the gelding black, an inauspicious colour to go orc hunting on, but he was Dale stock rather than the Elven horses the others were using. It was doubtful whether he'd keep up should they need to go at speed for any length of time. Still, he didn't have much choice.
"Glofindel clapped him on the knee "Good luck"
"My thanks, Lindir's to deputise until Erestor's finished his work, pass it on would you?"
The golden elf nodded, but when Elrond glanced back he still stood at the gate, one hand raised in farewell, and, or was he being fanciful, benediction.
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.