3. Two Sons
After the sun had passed its zenith, Elrond became a bit restless, but when Gil-galad inquired about it, Elrond only said, “I’m expecting someone.” Elrond’s expected guest did not show up by lunch, and Gil-galad had to remind Elrond to eat instead of look around the vast dining hall.
It was some time after lunch when Glorfindel, Galdor, and Legolas came to pay their respects to Gil-galad. This was not an obligatory part of the feast, but many members of Elven nobility took this as an opportunity to become better acquainted with the High King, though in this particular case, the Elves simply wished to share the merriment of the feast with Gil-galad. With them was a fourth friend, Ecthelion of the Fountain, who had exchanged brief greetings with Gil-galad in the early morning.
“The cuisine could not be more wonderful, your Majesty,” Glorfindel said, as if the entire festival was somehow Gil-galad’s doing instead of Cirdan’s.
“Indeed,” Ecthelion agreed. “The waters by which I dwelt lacked the larger lobsters that I have today feasted upon, and the seaweed rolls of rice and fried soft-shell crab are most excellent.”
“He’s been doing this since morning,” Galdor said. He swayed slightly as he hit Ecthelion’s shoulder. “Always food. He goes from one dish to another as if it will all disappear if he looks away.”
“Better than you and your lecherous gazes at the waterball players!” Legolas teased.
“I am glad that you are all enjoying yourselves,” Gil-galad said. He’d been saying such things for most of the later half of the morning and early afternoon. Now that the more important guests had been properly addressed and pampered, all that remained were the compliments and merriment. “Please, continue your merrymaking. There is still more food being brought out, and the pecan and caramel pastries are particularly good.”
“In fact, my King, we did not come solely to share in our delight of the summer solstice,” Glorfindel said. He turned to Elrond. “Have I told you already how lovely your hair looks today?”
Elrond bowed. “Yes you have, Lord of the Golden Flower, but I thank you again for your kind words. By some miracle, I am actually having a good hair day today.”
“Definitely his work,” Galdor said, nudging Glorfindel. “He can even manage Elrond’s free and willful tresses.”
Glorfindel nodded gravely, too gravely; apparently he was also slightly tipsy. “So it would seem.” He sipped from his glass of bright red and blue drink, undoubtedly another one of those clever Egladhrim alcoholic mixes. “Well, then, Peredhel, where is your other half? I have yet to exchange words with him, yet I have not seen him all day, and lo, over half the day is over already.”
“Do two Peredhil make one Elf and one Man?” Legolas giggled to Galdor. Galdor laughed, but Ecthelion whacked them both for the mean-spirited joke.
“I too have not seen him since we parted early this morning,” Elrond confessed. “He wanted to mingle amidst the Elven kindred, but his wanderings seem to have taken him from the center of the festivities. We were at the dance hall up above only moments ago, and I did not see him there either.”
“You see, you see! Did I not tell you that he was enjoying himself in the manner of the Grey Elves?” Legolas said. He leaned in closer, pulling Galdor and Glorfindel into a conspiratory huddle closer to Gil-galad and Elrond so that others would not hear his words. He would’ve undoubtedly pulled Ecthelion in too if he had been standing close by, but as it was, Ecthelion obliged him by joining the huddle. “I suspect it is Gildor Inglorion the Golden-haired who has so occupied Elrond’s double. I saw who I thought was Elrond speaking with Gildor earlier—and sharing a peach no less!—and leaving for the gardens or perhaps for their chambers, but when I saw the Peredhel again, he was dressed even as he is here, in wine red rather than royal purple. ‘Tis him, I swear!”
“He did indeed dress in a majestic, deep purple this morning…” Elrond said. He looked concerned. Gil-galad was not pleased. There had always been a certain amount of animosity between Gildor and Elrond that seemed without cause or reason, but now, if what Legolas was suggesting was true, then perhaps the tension between the two was of a romantic nature, not simply a matter of radical personality differences as Gil-galad had surmised.
“Of whom do you all speak?” Gil-galad asked, though he was already beginning to have suspicions as to whom they were speaking about.
“Elros Tar-Minyatur, the First King of Numenor and now King Emeritus,” Ecthelion said. “He arrived yesterday night with me and three others. Surely he has been by to see the High King of the Elves?”
Elrond coughed delicately. “Nay, Lord of the Fountain.” He avoided Gil-galad’s stern gaze. “My brother wished to mingle among the Elves without being announced, and so he has not yet been by to see his Majesty, High King Gil-galad.” The titles did little to improve Gil-galad’s mood. The King did not like being left unaware of important matters. “Since he had seen Cirdan yesterday, he considered his obligation to exchange courtesies with the host fulfilled. Doubtless he will be here soon to pay his respects to the High King, for we were to meet at noon and it is already past that time. But Falathar, Erellont, and Aerandir have been by to share in drink in honor of the Sea Festival.” The mention of the three mariners also did little to mollify the King.
“So your twin brother is here?” Gil-galad asked, though of course by now he knew the answer. He watched with a twinge of pleasure as Elrond squirmed at the harsh tone and nodded sheepishly. “And you chose to say nothing?” Elrond looked away and nodded again. “So this is the ‘someone’ whom you were awaiting for lunch.”
Elrond bowed before the king three times, bobbling almost ungracefully (and yet not) in his haste to apologize. “Please forgive me, my King! He persuaded me to leave him free to wander the festivities. He knew that if he were to reveal himself to you, he would be expected to join in the royal duties as a host of the Sea Festival, and though he does not begrudge such obligations, he wished to first immerse himself in the Elfiness of the moment.” At the last charming little bobble, Elrond kept his head bowed before the King.
Gil-galad needed only to say that Elrond was forgiven, but instead, he chose to take Elrond’s chin under his hand and lift his head so that their eyes met before granting him the King’s grace. “You are forgiven.” Elrond stared lost into Gil-galad’s eyes for a moment longer before blushing faintly and looking away. At that moment, a servant boy came forward and whispered into Gil-galad’s ear that a cloaked stranger was at the front gate of the Sea Palace and refused to enter but requested audience with the Lord of the Sea Palace, who was still playing waterball and thus the responsibilities of dealing with this stranger fell on Gil-galad. “It seems that the ‘someone’ whom you were expecting has finally made his appearance,” Gil-galad said to Elrond with a touch of harshness in his voice, for though Elrond was forgiven, Gil-galad was still not wholly pleased with him for withholding information. “He is out at the Gates of Mithlond.”
“At last!” Glorfindel said. “I was beginning to fear that I would not see him before the sun set. If you don’t mind, my King, we would like to attend you as your entourage as you greet the King Emeritus of Numenor.” Gil-galad consented.
At the front entrance, still many steps from the elaborate gates that led to the first courtyard of the Sea Palace, was a figure in a brown summer cloak. His hood was drawn up so that his face was hidden in shadows, but his very stance was that of a royal elf: tall, straight, proud and graceful. Elrond shifted uncomfortably, but when he leaned to whisper to the King, Gil-galad ignored him and stepped forth to greet Elrond’s doppelganger, the one who Legolas claimed to have seen with Gildor.
“Greetings Elros Peredhel,” Gil-galad called out.
The figure stiffened for a moment then chuckled softly. “Nay, High King Ereinion Gil-galad, son of Fingon the valiant, I am not Elros, though he is the one I seek,” he said in fair voice. At the sound of his voice, Ecthelion, Glorfindel, Galdor, and Legolas whispered amongst themselves and hurried to retrieve Lord Cirdan though he was still playing in the waterball game. Before the Gates of Mithlond, the three remaining Elves—Gil-galad, Elrond, and the traveler—stood in silence and bathed in the radiance of the afternoon sun until, at last, Elrond spoke in broken voice.
“Father.” Elrond’s movements were light and quick as he covered the short distance to embrace the stranger. There was something unreal about the scene before the High King. Even as Elrond crossed that distance, the braids in his hair, even the braided crown upon his head, became undone in the sea breeze, as if somehow all restraints had been released (or perhaps this power over his hair was descended from Melian the Maia and simply underused). As Elrond approached, the stranger dropped his cloak to the ground to reveal the fair face of a son of Feanor and fine raiment of red silk and gold embroidery and with the emblem of the House of Feanor proudly displayed upon the chest of his tunic. Elrond’s embrace hid the hated emblem of the House of Feanor, and, if there had been any allowance for doubt, the lozenge upon the upper shoulder of the tunic was clearly revealed as the Elf’s arms wrapped around Elrond, and it was the emblem of Maglor, second son of Feanor, now with the many colored fields and eight silver spikes of the Silmaril added behind the picture of a harp and surrounded by the red rays of flame that showed him to be a prince of the Noldor.
When he spoke, Maglor’s voice was choked with emotion. “I thought you hated me, Son of Earendil.”
“I do,” Elrond said as he hugged Maglor still tighter, “but that does not mean that you are not my father. Even if I never called you ‘Father’ before, even if I proclaimed my hatred with all my strength, still, you have always been and still are my father.”
Maglor stroked Elrond’s soft black hair and clasped him close, and tears streamed openly down his face. “I came to find my son and have instead found that I have two sons.”
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.