10. Many Phone Calls
The business day was almost over.
Elrond kept, to the best of his ability, very strict business hours. He left for the office building at eight-forty-five in the morning and made a point of being home by six-fifteen in the evening. This was not to say that if his work took longer that day he did not do it; occasionally he would return to the office building to finish whatever had to be done. But he was always home for dinner at six-thirty. It was the most important part of Elrond's day – a chance to be with his wife and sometimes the rest of what remained of his family, and his friends when they were present.
So it was that Elrond was a touch frustrated when his desk phone rang at five-fifty-five. He picked it up warily after a moment of debate; perhaps it was the vendor calling to inform him the silicon shipment would be late or early, and he couldn't afford to miss a phone call like that. Let this be quick! "This is Errol Payton."
"Lord Elrond," greeted a serene voice. "How are you this evening?"
Elrond recognized the voice immediately. "Lady Galadriel," he replied respectfully. "Isn't it rather late in Britain?"
Elrond corresponded with Galadriel nearly every day – usually by e-mail, but not always. The difference between time zones was something of an obstacle to using the phone. They had much to talk about; they were the joint heads of the two branches of Faensad, Inc. – the British branch and the American branch. And of course, there were the more … Elvish matters to consider. Usually it was these matters, concerning the Rise of Sauron, the Mirror, and other matters not known to Men, that drove Galadriel or Elrond to actually call one another.
"Indeed," Galadriel agreed to Elrond's statement. "I had considered calling you in the morning, but Celeborn agrees that we should not let this matter wait." She paused for a moment. "Elrond, Maglor has resurfaced."
Elrond blinked, attempting to digest the information. "Maglor Fëanorion?" he asked after a moment.
"Yes," Galadriel confirmed, her voice still smooth and rich, but touched by worry. "He arrived at our office building this morning; I had him sent to our home. It seems that his lust for the Silmarils has sustained his life for many thousands of years."
Elrond nodded as though Galadriel could see the motion. "I see," he said, his brow furrowing. "Hm. Now that does stir old memories."
It was an understatement of massive proportions. Maglor Feanorian was amongst Elrond's earliest memories of Middle-Earth. With a soft sigh, Elrond shut his eyes, and the image of a dark-haired Elf with intense eyes and a melodious voice flashed in his mind's eye, asking if he wanted anything to eat, please, eat something …
"Yes, it does," Galadriel said softly, her voice filled with motherly sympathy. "Will you be all right?"
"I suppose I shall have to be," Elrond answered simply. "I cannot say that I am not surprised; nor can I say I am pleased." Actually, he was relatively horrified, in a way muted by shock. The Elf who drove my mother to leave us … who killed all the Elves of Sirion … who took my brother and I from our home. He closed his eyes again, saddened by the memory of the slaughter – what he had seen of it – and the reminder of his brother, gone to the mortal fate.
"Of course not," replied his mother-in-law, her unearthly gentleness in her voice again. "It is the same response as had Celeborn, and I as well. But I do not doubt there is some hidden purpose in this."
"Yes …" Elrond agreed. "That is quite probable." Although the Valar were long out of reach, Elrond, like many Elves, did not doubt that Ilúvatar still touched the world. Perhaps Elrond did not see Eru's purpose in this, but it could not be coincidence. Such a legendary and influential figure so long fallen from Elven history, resurfacing in a time of such imminent danger? It was tantamount to the miraculous arrival of the several Free Peoples of Middle-Earth in Imladris ere the forming of the Fellowship. "I thank you for calling with this news. It may take me a while to digest."
"Take your time," Galadriel suggested evenly. "I am still somewhat in disbelief, and I have seen him with my own eyes." She paused again, respectfully allowing him another moment to think on the matter, before adding, "On another matter I am also concerned, Elrond; the entire world is again on the brink of war with Iraq, but they do not know what they are against. Iraq is strengthened by the Shadow; I fear for its people."
"I know," Elrond agreed, relieved a bit by the change in subject; he would have time to think about Adar Maglor's return in time. "And yet, there is so little we know. I cannot speak of this here, though."
"Yes, I had guessed," came the reply. "I bring this up because I would like to propose that we meet in person. There is much to discuss, and I would feel better if we did so face to face."
Elrond smiled slightly. Phones were useful in their own right, and they were preferable by far to the messengers that had to be sent back and forth in Arda, but they were still no substitute for meeting one another in person. "I would like that," he agreed – and just then, the phone beeped in his ear. "Ai. Galadriel, someone is on the second line."
"Then we will talk again soon," Galadriel said smoothly. "Farewell, Lord Elrond."
"Farewell," Elrond replied, waiting just a moment more before pressing the button for the second line and putting all matters of the Shadow and Maglor from his mind. He would dwell on that later. "This is Errol Payton."
"Father!" The voice at the other end was amused.
"Elladan?" Elrond had had long practice telling apart his son's voices; it was more of a tonal difference than anything else. He glanced up at the clock; it was now six-oh-five. "I will be home shortly. Was there something you needed?"
"Nay, Father; I just thought you should be forewarned: Olórin has arrived!"
Elrond raised his eyebrows at this news. "Oh, dear," he murmured, mostly to himself; he had meant to be home for the arrival. "Has Lord Glorfindel seen him yet?" he asked, almost dreading the answer.
"He was there when Olórin walked through the door," Elladan answered cheerfully.
Oh, Ilúvatar. "And?" he asked cautiously.
"Elrohir and I successfully restrained him," Elladan said. "Did you really think we'd let dear Glorfie strangle Olórin alive?" he chuckled, using the long-forgotten nickname Elladan and Elrohir had given Glorfindel in their youth. "Although for a bit there we thought Mithrandir would burst into flames just from the glares he received from Glorfindel."
"Was it truly that bad?" Elrond asked after a moment, skeptical.
"Very nearly." Now he heard Elrohir's voice; he must have been listening in. "Glorfindel did not actually try to strangle Olórin, but it did look as if it were a near thing."
"… I see." Elrond paused. "Is all well?"
"Yes, they are separated and Mithrandir is alive," confirmed Elrohir. His voice sobered. "There is much Olórin wishes to talk to you about, and the Lady Galadriel as well. He is well pleased to find Legolas is already here as well, and he wishes us all to meet together."
Ilúvatar's will binds us all together. Elrond actually smiled slightly as Elrohir's words echoed Galadriel's. "I think that would be a grand idea," he replied. "But let me at least come home! It is already six-ten, and I will be back in only a quarter of an hour!"
But as he spoke, the phone was again handed off, and in a moment Elrond heard Legolas exclaim, "Lord Elrond! I have found Aragorn's descendant! Professor Allen Evanston, in Chicago … I would have waited to tell you, but I heard Elladan was calling you."
Elrond smiled serenely; he had felt this an inevitable conclusion, and thus was not too surprised, but it was still good for his heart to hear Legolas' words. "That is wonderful news," he agreed. "Tell me more when I—"
"Lord Elrond." Now it was Olórin's voice, his tone full of amusement and yet deadly serious. "How are you today?"
"In a bit of a hurry to get home," Elrond answered honestly, switching gears smoothly. "But it is good to hear your voice again! How fares you, Lord Olórin?"
"Quite well, quite well. Although Lord Glorfindel seemed less than happy to see me," he added. Elrond could practically hear the twinkle in his eye. "I did send my apologies. It simply wasn't feasible for me to send him any sort of correspondence until my search had come to an end."
"Search?" Elrond stood and began to pack his things into his briefcase, tucking the phone between his ear and shoulder.
"Indeed. But I will explain further when you return," Olórin replied. "Oh. One more thing." Elrond could imagine the Maia raising one crooked finger. "I would like this young man Evanston to join us in a meeting."
"Yes, Elrohir told me of the meeting you proposed," Elrond nodded. "But what purpose would it serve for Evanston to be present? There is nothing that he will understand. Even now I debate what sort of message to send him with Legolas; he will have to have good reason to depart his home and come to New York."
"You do not have time for such ponderings," Olórin's voice became deathly serious; all amusement left his tone. "You must send Legolas Thranduilion on his way as swiftly as possible. For we are not the only ones who search for Aragorn's lost heir."
Elrond felt his heart grow heavy within him at the urgency in the Istar's tone. "I understand," he nodded slowly, "and I will be home soon. There we will discuss this further!"
"Yes," agreed Olórin. And then he laughed. "And we shall enjoy the good Lady Celebrían's cooking, for I can smell it even now!"
"Ai, do not torture me so with such news! I am already quite late," Elrond sighed, chuckling as well. "Farewell, Olórin – I will see you soon."
"Farewell, Elrond Peredhil," answered the Maia. "As always, may a star shine upon the hour of our meeting."
"Indeed! And may it bring hope as we have never known it," Elrond agreed before replacing the phone in its cradle and rushing out the door of his office – in a manner befitting the Lord of Imladris, of course.
* * *
Author's Notes: Another short chapter. This was meant to tie everything together a bit, and I hate how it turned out. Ugh. Too short, and too much subject-switching. *sighs* It'll have to do for now.
Oh, and if you're curious, you can assume all conversations took place in Sindarin.
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.