3. The Walls Will Serve III
'Is this it?' asked Elrond.
'Yes', said Arminas. 'I was sent here, several times, with messages. I know the shape of that hill-top, even if not much else is left.'
In fact, that seemed to be understating it. There was nothing else left, as far as Elrond could see. He got out of the boat and stepped onto the island of Himling.
As he walked up the beach, he wondered whatever he was doing here, in this place in which he had never set foot while Maedhros was still alive. But, he confessed to himself, he was prevaricating. It was perfectly obvious why he would be visiting Himling now that Elros had died and taken their shared memories of Maedhros and Maglor out of Arda with him.
Only, there was nothing here. Wherever he went there was nothing but bare rock, no trace of masonry, not a scrap or fragment to show that here, once, had stood one of the most powerful fortresses in Middle-Earth. The War of Wrath and its aftermath had swept the hill-top clean. In nooks and crannies, protected from the harsh sea winds, tough grass and small bushes struggled to survive.
Elrond returned, having walked all the way around the island, to the beach where Arminas had set up camp. There was a stream of fresh water there that emerged from the rock face and ran some way across the gravel before flowing into the sea. It occurred to Elrond that this spring might well be all that remained of mighty Gelion.
Arminas had caught and prepared a pair of sea bass. They ate in silence.
Then Arminas asked, cautiously: 'How long were you planning to stay?'
'I have seen enough', said Elrond. 'We can leave again any time you wish.'
As they got back in the boat, he bent down and picked up a small pebble.
'You could have taken a larger stone', said Arminas to him after a while, when they were well out to sea again.
'I was afraid a larger one might sink the boat', said Elrond.
Arminas looked at him closely to try and see whether he was joking, but Elrond gave him the bland stare he had adopted when he did not wish to discuss the Sons of Feanor and so Arminas said nothing more.
Around Elrond, the people of Imladris were rejoicing. This first winter in the valley had been hard, but now spring was on its way and the refugees felt a surge of hope and confidence.
Elrond took a deep breath and silently dropped a small pebble into the gravel on the banks of the Bruinen. Looking up, he found he had not been quite discreet enough. Erestor was watching him.
'Erestor', said Elrond softly. 'Come over here and have a look. Can you tell which one was the stone that I just dropped?'
'Whatever will you ask me next?' said Erestor. 'I'm a librarian, not a mineralogist.' Nevertheless, he came and stood beside Elrond and peered intently at the stones. 'I cannot spot any difference at all between them', he said.
'Good', said Elrond. 'That is good.'
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.