Couple of Friends, A
2. Encounters and Interludes
With a sigh, he slid from his comfortable seat, untangled the blanket from his legs, and yanked a robe over his head from the bedpost. He was nearly to the door when the small visitor gave up on manners and came in. Upon seeing Elrohir standing in the middle of the room, he whooped and ran forward. Estel had obviously awoken before his mother this morning and escaped her ministrations, for he was still in his nightshirt and a robe, clutching the brass bell and carved horse that were among last nights gifts.
Elrohir grabbed him by the hands before he could swing the bell, knowing very well how loud a sound it would make. “Shhh,” he whispered, clapping his hand around the bell and hoisting Estel into his arms. The young human was just ten years of age, and still a light enough burden for one of the half-elven. He liked to claim his independence these days, but Elrohir and Elladan were in a separate category. They were fun.
“What say we get some breakfast, and let Elladan sleep?” His brother was the late riser between them, and also the most responsible – meaning that he had worried himself to a frazzle over the trolls and the small wood-elf hamlets in that area all the way back to Rivendell. So Elrohir herded Estel into the next room so he could dress. It took a few minutes of irreverent digging to find suitable robes for looking the lord’s son, as most of his things were for more practical activities. Namely, orc killing. Eventually he found a blue house robe to wear over breeches and riding boots, and pulled it one. He swore at the complicated ties and the embroidery that caught on his fingers while Estel giggled from a chair in the corner. Luckily the toys occupied him until Elrohir managed to carry him back out into the hall without waking Elladan.
By the time they reached the dining hall – for he had to stop and make Estel dress first - the huge table had been set, and many elves were milling about waiting for food to be served. Elrond was standing next to his chair, arguing quietly with Glorfindel about something while Erestor was consulting his schedule book, which never left his hands. Gilraen was seated peacefully a few places away, sipping at her tea studiously. Her eyes flickered up instinctively when Elrohir came in with her son, and he jumped down to go over to her, scuffing his feet as he greeted her. She met Elrohir’s eyes over the boy’s messy head, and he waved a hand at her before taking meandering up to the dais and catching the backend of Glorfindel’s rant.
The golden-haired elf dropped it when he saw Elrohir approaching, and greeted him with a strong grip on the shoulder. “Good morning, Elrohir. We’ve just been discussing when the guests will arrive.”
“They will arrive just before supper,” put in Erestor calmly, closing his book with a snap. “And I will see that there are extra places at the table.” Glorfindel and Elrond shared a bemused look and then sat down, letting the subject go. Erestor, looking rather smug, took himself off to the kitchens. Elrohir smoothed his grin into polite interest as he slid into his own seat.
“Good morning, Glorfy,” he said calmly, watching Glorfindel twitch at the old nickname before deciding to ignore it. “Its good to see you three taking good care of the household. Very inspiring, I’m sure. If they come in a little slower than we did, they shall be here before supper, after dinner, which leaves them time to wash up and be presentable.” He flicked open his napkin expertly.
Elrond was massaging the bridge of his nose but looking secretly amused; Glorfindel was already laughing. The twins were always missed when they were away for extended periods of time; they brought a lightness to the house that was hard to resist. Just then the breakfast bell rang and Elladan dropped into the chair next to his brother, his wet hair flicking water as he ran his fingers through it.
Several hours later, they were waiting for the sunset in the library. Elladan was fencing with himself in the center, moving so smoothly it looked more like dancing than fighting. Elrohir was perched on a sideboard, his legs folded under him as he watched his brother move. “Left, right, across – good!” They had spent the day wandering around Rivendell, sparring with the guards and chasing Estel through the gardens, until the chance had come to sneak off and train in the library.
Elrohir had a book open on his lap but hadn’t looked down for quite some time, deciding to direct his twin’s sword practice instead. They were both a little rumpled from the day, but comfortable and quite satisfied. It was a comfortable, warm feeling that they had come to treasure in the last few centuries. Elladan called it the opposite of homesickness.
The sun had just disappeared for good when the jangle of harness could be heard from the courtyard, and the breezy elven greetings being sung as the visitors arrived. Elrohir jumped up so fast his book fell to the floor in a clatter and Elladan came to an abrupt halt, his sword horizonatal in front of him. “Is that Mithrandir’s voice I hear?”
“I do believe it is, brother. Shall we greet them?”
Elladan sheathed his sword and dropped the scabbard behind a bookshelf as he gathered up their abandoned house robes and tossed one to his brother. “Father is going to be annoyed if we don’t wash up and find something more formal, if they’re to come to supper tonight.”
Elrohir picked up his book and caught the robe. “As usual. And dwarves are more critical than most! Most of our good things are in Arwen’s rooms, we’ll have to get a key.” Elladan held it up.
“Easy. She gave me one before she left, with strict instructions on which chests we were allowed to invade.”
“Lets have at it, then, fond sibling. Thank you, sister.” He blew a kiss in the direction of Lothlorien and followed Elladan out the door. “We’re off to dine with dwarves,” he said, as he caught up with his twin down the hall. “I hope it shant result in chores.”
Elladan rolled his eyes and took his brother by the sleeve to pull him into Arwen’s rooms. “Sometimes you loose even me, Elrohir. That chest against the wall is your nice stuff. Do we want to match?”
Elrohir nodded as he abandoned his rhyming game and opened the chest, sorting through the clothes, which had been wrapped in white muslin for protection. “Yes, give them the old ‘which one is which’?” he chuckled and unfurled a particularly large bundle. “Aha. Dripping with embroidery. I think Nana did it herself.” He rubbed his thumb over the robe fondly for a moment, and then set it aside. “I know we both have one of those. Look for red with gold and black décor everywhere. It’s slit for riding, and there’s an under-robe to go with it, if I remember.”
When they were finished, they cleaned up the room and left. There was just enough time to reach the Great Hall at a slow walk. When they went in, they found it lit with candles and decorated with flowers and wreaths; the very picture of storybook elven hospitality. Elrohir laughed out loud when he saw it, pausing in the doorway. “Erestor and Glorfindel really went at this time, didn’t they?”
Elladan covered a smile with his hand as a group passed by them through the arch. “I’m sure Adar and Mithrandir had a hand in it as well. Neither of them is above a bit of cheerful playacting, as much as they like to pretend they are.” His eyes lit up as he cast them over the assembling crowd. “There’s the dwarves, over there. And one of those little fellows from away west, how interesting!”
Elrohir peered over his shoulder. “A halfling in Rivendell with a troop of dwarves? That is strange indeed. Ooof. Estel, that was unexpected.” The fosterling had just grabbed him around the waist. “Are you coming to the feast, then?”
The dark head nodded as he released his grip and was swung between both brothers as they followed the rest of the crowd into the hall. “Nana said I could, as long as I ‘haved myself. Can I sit with you?”
“Your mother isn’t coming?”
“Un-uh. She ordered supper in her rooms. Said she was too tired to soc-i-a-lize. What’s that mean?”
The twins lifted him into Gilraen’s usual seat and then sat down on either side. “Socializing in what we’re doing tonight, when we talk with everybody, and drink a lot.”
Elladan moved the crystal wine goblet out of the boy’s reach. “It’s a bit more than usual tonight because of the dwarves.”
Estel’s eyes lit up and he tried to jump up on his chair to see. Elrohir pushed him back down. “There are dwarves here? Where? What are they like? Are they really that short?”
“Yes, across the table eventually, we haven’t met them yet, and yes,” they replied in unison, before pressing a napkin into his eager hands just as everyone was settling in their chairs and the procession from the kitchens began. The food was excellent.
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.