Paradox of the Fourth Age
26. Chapter 25 ~ New Beginnings
A/N: Thanks to everyone in the LC and the Garden for their help on this chapter. And thanks muchly to Gwynnyd for the beta!
The days following were still so busy with Elladan and Airemír's ongoing wedding festivities that Elrohir and Laurëanna chose not to tell everyone of their impending child. Secretly, they were ecstatic but did not want to take the focus off the newly married couple. On the final night before the guests from Lothlorien left, Elrohir stood and raised a glass of wine to those at the feast. A hush fell over the room as he pulled Laurëanna to stand up beside him.
"Laurëanna and I want to wish Elladan and Airemír the greatest happiness. We hope that they will also be pleased to know that they will soon be an aunt and uncle."
A cheer from the guests filled the room and Elrohir kissed Laurëanna tenderly. Soon they were being embraced by various family members and friends.
"You are actually willing to have his child? You are a glutton for punishment if his son is anything like he was as an elfling." Glorfindel laughed.
"I know. I have heard about his exploits. It is a good thing I was such a well behaved child," Laurëanna said with a wink. "And we do not know if it will be a son yet…it could be a daughter."
Galadriel put her hand on Laurëanna's belly then shook her head. "No dear, I am afraid Glorfindel is right. I only wish we could be here to greet this little one."
"Grandmother, you could stay. I am certain Cirdan would be willing to delay the ship…"
"No, Elrohir. It is time. Besides, we will see yours and Elladan's children when you follow us to The Undying Lands," Elrond said, embracing his son. "I too wish I could be here but we have planned this for many moons as you know."
"I merely thought…or hoped, that you would stay if you knew," Elrohir said quietly. "But I promise you will see all of our beautiful children some day."
Elrond nodded and turned away. Elrohir could not help but notice how upset his father looked and wished they had waited until he had taken the ship to Valinor. If his father had not known of the baby before they departed, Elrond would not feel he was missing out of such an important event.
"Elrond, you know there is nothing we can do," Galadriel said as she walked into his library later that night. "Elrohir and Laurëanna's path cannot be changed by our visions or Laurëanna's vision in the mirror. We cannot pick and choose what we change."
"I know. I have to keep silent." Elrond's face was a mask of devastation. "And silently watch my son filled with pride and joy for a child they will lose eventually."
"You do not know that things will not change. Besides, would you rather deny them the years of joy and happiness they will spend with their son? If they knew now that what Laurëanna saw in the mirror represented the death of their first child, they would not go on to have the other children. We will have denied them all children and take away an important part of them and their future. Elrohir and Laurëanna are strong enough to bear this loss, no matter how hard it will be. And they will cherish their other children and every moment spent with them, knowing how easily life can change."
"I know how it feels to lose a child, Galadriel. I want to prevent my son from feeling this pain. And now I must leave them knowing I will not even be here to ease their heartache. I would not wish that pain on anyone, especially one I love so dearly."
Galadriel walked to his side and placed a hand on his shoulder. "I too have experienced losing a child in some ways. While I will see her eventually, seeing her suffering and torment then watching her sail to the Valinor was like losing a child. And I too lost Arwen. My old friend, we will suffer this pain together but we cannot show the others."
Elrond nodded but did not speak. His mind was full of memories of saying goodbye to first Celebrian, then Arwen. And even though Estel was not his child by birth, he was his child in heart and his farewell was heartbreaking as well. So many goodbyes in his life. He was ready to sail to the Undying Lands where he did not have to say farewell anymore. He needed Celebrian to ease this pain, only she could help him through it. Until they were together, he would hide his pain away so no one saw his suffering.
After the guests from Lothlorien departed, after leaving best wishes with the twins and their wives and saying farewell to their beloved leader, all of Imladris prepared for the departure of the Ringbearers, including the hobbit Bilbo.
Elrond discovered that Laurëanna's memories of her life in Aman had begun to rapidly fade away, as the Valar had explained they would. He was cautious to find out daily what she remembered without upsetting her. Her memories of growing up in Mirkwood had taken over her real childhood memories. In so many ways, he was saddened by this. She had already forgotten her relationship with Celebrian and the memories of Glorfindel and Indil were scarce and incomplete. Strangely enough she did not seem troubled by this. In fact her demeanor seemed to have taken on a new calm about the whole affair. He imagined that the Valar had had a hand in this ease of transition as well.
Though all of his children were happily married - Laurëanna with child, Estel very successful in his reign as King - there was emptiness in Elrond that prevented him from feeling truly happy. He knew too much about the future. Laurëanna and Elrohir's first son would die. Airemír would die. And his beloved daughter would fade away after Estel's death. So much death, too much death for his heart to bear it all. He yearned for the Undying Lands more than ever. He only hoped it would provide him with the comfort he needed.
Glorfindel and Indil had decided that they would wed in the Havens before the ship departed. They wished it to be a simple affair on the sands by the sea. After the Ringbearers' ship departed, they would remain in the Havens for a time before returning to Imladris.
"I do not think I will stay in Middle-earth long after you depart, my friend," Glorfindel said, as he stared into the distance. He was sitting in the library with Elrond and Galadriel. What had started as a conversation about Glorfindel's wedding in Mithlond had turned into one about sailing West. "I too long to see Valinor again, to walk the streets of Tirion, to see the pure white sands of Alqualondë once more. If I thought Indil was ready I would go with you now. But she is still tied to these lands."
Elrond smiled faintly. "My heart rejoices that you have found happiness at last Glorfindel, for it has been too long coming. Indil is good for you. She inspires such joy and contentment in you. I think, she will feel the call of the sea soon as she has mentioned not wanting to have children in Middle-earth."
"Yes, on that we agree wholly. I do not want to bring children into this world. I wish my children to be untainted with the misery that was once in these lands nor do I wish them to live where I once died."
Elrond said nothing. He knew that Glorfindel would never be completely happy in Middle-earth. He too had so many bad memories that this land would always bring to mind. But unlike Elrond, he had tragic memories in Aman as well. Although Glorfindel never talked of the Kinslaying in Alqualondë, he knew that the visions of the aftermath of that battle - no, the slaughter of elves - haunted his dreams much like the nightmares of the Fall of Gondolin did.
"But you must live the life you have been gifted to the fullest, Glorfindel. Indil is your future now and it is time we wash our hands of the battles of the past," Galadriel said from her perch on the window seat. Looking outside she smiled. "I will miss Middle-earth. The trees still sing to me but the song is now of rebirth. I wish I could travel to all the lands once they have been given new life again. But I miss Valinor as well. It will be strange to return, though. I still remember the light of the Two Trees and it saddens me that they will not be there when we return."
"I wish I could have seen them," Elrond replied wistfully. "I look forward to my own rejuvenation in the Undying Lands. I feel so weary and old now. I miss my beloved Celebrian. I need healing that Middle-earth cannot provide."
"I think we all do," Galadriel whispered, as if to herself.
Standing up suddenly, Glorfindel exclaimed, "This is a wondrous day, not one to be filled with these sorrowful musings! Let us rejoice in our future, not hark back to the tragedies in our pasts."
"You are absolutely correct Glorfindel. I am going home and Elrond will be with Celebrian again at last. We have too much to rejoice over to be sitting here haunted by ghosts and foul visions." Galadriel's musical laugh filled the room. "On the ship, I will teach you all the drinking songs I learned from my brothers, Elrond. But only if you promise to still think of me as a lady."
Thunder rumbled outside as lightening cracked nearby. Every time the storm shot through the darkened skies, Glorfindel pushed the draperies aside and looked out the window then toward the ceiling. It was the only thing that interrupted his ceaseless pacing.
"Glorfindel, please for the love of the Valar, calm down." Elrond gripped his glass tightly.
"I am completely calm," Glorfindel said in a voice that was an octave higher than usual. "I am a warrior. I have faced death more times than I can count. I have put myself in a Balrog's path. I have died! Do you think I would get nervous at a simple wedding ceremony?"
"Glorfindel, you look…terrified." Elladan smirked. "This is Indil you are binding yourself to. Not a troll-wife."
"I. Am. Not. Terrified." Glorfindel's back stiffened in response and he pulled himself to his full height, highly offended.
Elrohir bit his lip, obviously trying to keep from laughing. "Why do you not sit down and drink some more Miruvor?"
"Is it ever going to stop storming? It is like Ilúvatar himself is trying to prevent this wedding ," Glorfindel said sullenly as he dropped down into a chair. Taking the glass from Elrohir, he drank the clear liquid in one swallow and held up the glass for more. It was his fourth…or sixth…glass and although it seemed to barely relax him, it was beginning to make his head swim a bit.
"Cirdan says that as soon as the rain ends we will begin but until then, you might as well be…" Elladan began but when Glorfindel glared at him his voice dropped off.
They all jumped when Laurëanna came into the room suddenly. Carrying flowers and ribbons leftover from decorating both Indil's and her own hair, she wore her finest dress and looked radiant and completely calm. "Indil said this delay is ridiculous and…"
"She has changed her mind. I knew it." Glorfindel threw his hands up in the air and Elrohir almost choked on his drink.
"No. Why would she change her mind?" Laurëanna looked at Glorfindel like he had lost his mind. "She said that rather than wait until the storm stops, you two should just be wedded in the Great Hall."
"But she had her heart set on marrying on the beach? I do not want to disappoint her," Glorfindel replied. For months they had planned a wedding on the sand right beside the water. Everything from their clothes to the flowers were planned to fit Indil's childhood dreams of marrying on the beach that she loved so much.
"She has her heart set on marrying you. She does not care where the ceremony takes place; she just wants to be your wife once and for all." Laurëanna smiled then hugged Glorfindel tightly. Although Glorfindel was not one for displays of affection, his fondness for Laurëanna allowed for it, even as tense as he was at that moment.
Glorfindel nodded slowly. Indil was right, they had waited long enough and it did not matter where they were married as long as they were. A smile tugged at his lips with the realization that his beloved was as anxious as he was to have the ceremony begin. Suddenly all of the tension that had built up in his body relaxed.
"Let us go then. Before she comes to her senses," Glorfindel grinned at the other men in the room and then followed Laurëanna to the Great Hall.
Indil had butterflies in her stomach as she entered the Great Hall with Airemír, Galadriel, and Cirdan. Her eyes searched through the guests for her beloved and when she saw him she felt her heart beat faster for a moment. When he took her hand and smiled at her, she felt unexplainably calm.
"You are a vision," Glorfindel whispered to her as he lightly touched her cheek with his fingers. Even though the other women had decorated her from hair to toes, including garbing her in the most beautiful gown she had ever seen, she knew it was the happiness that shone from within that he was seeing. He barely looked at her gown; his gaze never left her own.
"So are you," she whispered back with a smile.
"I wish to welcome all of our guests to this most special occasion," Elrond spoke from the dais at the center of the room. Glorfindel had asked him to officiate at the ceremony with Cirdan. "For so long the Eldar have been battling the evil of this land and did not have time to fall in love. But at this time when peace is newly born, Glorfindel met Indil and the two of them found happiness, love, and hope that the rebirth of these lands meant the end of something as well: the end of the search for the missing piece within their hearts." Lord Elrond's words brought tears to Indil's eyes and when they spilled over, Glorfindel gently kissed them away oblivious to anyone but her.
Cirdan stood beside Elrond on the dais and said, "I have known Indil since she was a babe in her mother's arms. I remember thinking many times that one day she would steal the heart of someone. I was touched deeply when it was Glorfindel, one of my dearest friends, for I know that he would do anything for her happiness, even slay a dragon. There will never be a time where she will not know how much she is loved or he will not know the depth of her devotion to him. Their love has been ages in coming and will endure the ages to come with the same strength and passion as the two of them have shown in all their long lives to this point." Lord Cirdan spoke with a smile on his handsome face.
Laurëanna stepped forward and taking two chains, one of gold and one of mithril, bound Glorfindel's hands to Indil's.
"These chains represent the beauty and strength of your love." Elrond put his hands over theirs. "Eru Ilúvatar has gifted you with each other. May Manwe bless and keep this union strong."
As Elrond stepped back, Cirdan placed his hands on theirs. "Eru Ilúvatar will watch over you and protect you. May Varda bless you with an abundance of good fortune."
Laurëanna stepped forward and unwound the chains. Handing the gold one to Cirdan and the mithril one to Elrond, she sat beside Elrohir. Cirdan gifted the gold chain to Glorfindel, and Elrond put the mithril chain on Indil, then the two stepped back.
Taking the silver ring off Indil's finger, Glorfindel replaced it with a gold one. "I take this silver ring of our betrothal and replace it with a gold one to represent our unbreakable vow. I love you with my whole heart, Indil, and I feel blessed by your love. Before Ilúvatar, I bind myself to you."
Wiping away a tear, Indil repeated Glorfindel's action with the rings. "From the moment I saw you, I have loved you and feel honored to be loved by you. Before Ilúvatar, I bind myself to you."
Glorfindel pulled her into his arms and kissed her, ignoring their guests' cheers. When he lifted her into his arms as he kissed her, Indil could barely believe she had found him and won his love. She had never been happier than now. They were at last married and he would be with her forever.
The storm had died down during the feast. The clean, fresh smell of the sea mixed with the fragrant scent of the damp flowers that surrounded the patio outside the great hall. After most of the guests had left, Glorfindel led Indil outside. The sun touched the horizon, its brilliant golden rays liquid and flowing into the bay as it sank, melting, firing the dark water as it merged into the night.
Sitting down on a step, Glorfindel removed his boots then reached back and pulled her to sit beside him. He took off one of her slippers, caressing her ankle. Indil bit her lip, watching as he removed the other and began massaging her toes, foot, then calf muscle. He rose and, bending down, lifted her and swept her into his arms. Indil rested her head on his chest listening to his heart beat in time with her own.
"I want to dance with my wife by the shores she loves so much," His warm whisper teased her lip and tingled hot down her spine.
Glorfindel put her down close enough to the water that the waves reached her feet swirling between her toes but did not wet her dress. Grabbing his hand, Indil pulled him closer to the water with a mischievous smile.
"I am Telerin. Sea water flows in my veins and I will delight in getting my finest dress a bit wet to dance in the water with my handsome husband." She wrapped her arms around his waist and slid her thigh up alongside his.
As they held each other tightly they swayed to the faint echo of the music from the Great Hall as it rose above the crashing waves.
"Today was the happiest day of my life, my beloved." Glorfindel's hot breath caressed her ear causing goose bumps to rise on her neck.
"I would not change anything, even the storm. It was Ulmo's way of letting us know he approved." Indil smiled up at him. "I cannot stop smiling. I feel like everything is so perfect right now and I do not want it to end."
"It will not end. I will make it my mission to make you this happy every day."
With a nervous giggle, Indil asked, "And the nights?"
"Oh the nights will be magical. Our dreams will not even compare to our life every day and night." Glorfindel stopped dancing and placed his hands on the sides of her face. His voice was husky as he said, "Speaking of the nights…"
Indil put her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a passionate kiss. Ignoring the fact that someone might come upon them at any moment, Glorfindel buried his hands in her hair as his tongue sought entry into her mouth, kissing her ardently until her lips were swollen and they were both out of breath. Indil felt overwhelmed with the need to have more. Months of temptation that ended in desire so strong, her body ached to be made love to at last.
"I think its time we retire to our room. I need you, Indil," Glorfindel whispered in between kisses. Her mind was swimming and her body was tingling.
"Yes. Please," she moaned.
Still kissing her, he picked her up again and rushed to the patio. Caring very little about their shoes, they did not stop to pick them up. Glorfindel put Indil back on her feet and they raced up to their bedroom arm in arm, ignoring the stares from Cirdan's staff and the giggles from the few guests who saw them.
Once in their room, Glorfindel locked the door. Indil suddenly grew nervous. As much as she wanted him to make love to her, she was anxious. She took down the pins and ribbons that held her hair up and let it cascade down her back, flowers fluttering to the floor. After removing his tunic, his steamy gaze never left hers. She felt her pulse race as she saw his broad chest, an expanse of taut muscles. Tentatively, she reached out and touched warm, perfect skin.
"Glorfindel," she whispered, her voice full of want. Stepping back, she carefully untied her sash and pulled the dress slowly over her shoulders and down her arms, a pool of lace and silk at her feet.
"Meleth i guilen…" he whispered in reply as his gaze took in her naked body, luminous in the flickering candle light. He approached her as if afraid she would spook if he moved too fast. Gently he caressed her shoulder with his lips as his hands trailed down her arms. He grasped her hands and pulled one to his mouth, suckling on her finger tips.
Breathing deeply, Indil pulled her hands from him, then reached out, shaking slightly, and unfastened his leggings. His gaze returned to hers as she pulled them over his hips and he let them slide to the floor, stepping out of them deftly.
Glorfindel moved to sit on the side of the bed, and holding her in front of him, he explored her skin with his mouth. Indil gasped when his hands caressed her behind urgently, pulling her forward so she lay on the bed as he lay beside her. He smelled of sandalwood and cinnamon and his lips tasted of sweet plum wine. His lips left her own and assaulted all her senses when he covered her with hot kisses, his thick golden hair whispering against her flesh. Indil could not stop touching him, his heated flesh, his firm body, every part of her husband embodied perfection to her. Glorfindel moved her so she was straddling him. She felt the length of his arousal pulsing against her thigh and nervously looked at him. "I do not want to hurt you, melethen," Glorfindel said, his voice thick with desire. "I want you to stop when it is too painful." Pulling her over him, he groaned as she enveloped him in her heat.
Slowly, stopping frequently, she settled onto him, gasping when he took her maidenhead. When, at last he was fully in her, she cried out, Glorfindel moaned and placing his hands on her hips, helped her set a slow but steady rhythm. She rode him until she felt a surge of sensation inside her and once again she cried out.
"Let me, melethen," he said and moved them so he was on top of her.
Moving slowly, he kissed her teasingly. Indil's nails dug into his arms as she felt like the burning increased and suddenly she felt like she would die if he did not sooth this ache inside her.
"Glorfindel please," she begged. She did not know what she was asking for but she knew an explosion was continuing to build inside her. For a moment she feared she might die but one look into his eyes reassured her. Suddenly her climax crashed down upon her and she moaned deeply, her eyes fluttering shut as pleasure rushed to every inch of her body. So fulfilled she was that she barely heard his moan before he collapsed on her, spilling himself deep within her.
After a few moments of heavy breathing, Glorfindel asked, "Did I hurt you?"
"I do not remember any pain. All I remember is pleasure that I have never felt before," Indil giggled then kissed him tenderly. "It was the most wondrous feeling in the world."
Rolling off her so he would not crush her beneath him, Glorfindel sighed contentedly. "Yes it was…perfect…"
Trailing her finger down his muscled stomach, Indil rained light kisses along his chest. She wanted to memorize every inch of his body and smiled when he moaned or gasped as she explored him
The morning after the wedding Elrond asked Elladan and Elrohir to his chambers. The Ringbearers were departing the following day and, due to the wedding preparations, they had not had much private time together. Elrohir had a heavy heart knowing this would be when Elrond would let down his guard and show his true feelings, including his despair about Arwen.
The three sat silently for awhile, the calls of seagulls outside the only sound heard in the room. After the storm yesterday, the clouds disappeared and the sun was shining brightly on Mithlond.
"Adar, have you finished packing?" Elrohir asked to break the tension in the room. "Laurëanna was concerned that your books be packed well to protect against the sea air and any moisture."
Elrond smiled gently. "She is most thoughtful. She should not worry so. Cirdan's people have taken care of these matters. I trust they know best about packing for the long sea voyage."
"Yes, they seem very capable, hard working people," Elladan mused distractedly. "Airemír was just saying yesterday that they handled the change in the wedding preparations due to the storm very efficiently."
"I am very fond of Airemír and Laurëanna. You have both chosen well. I know they will make both of you very happy," Elrond replied. "It does my heart good to see such happiness for my sons…all my children."
"Yes Adar. You may tell naneth that we are well and happy…all of us," Elrohir reassured his father. Knowing it was a difficult subject, he gently added, "Naneth will understand ada. She would want Arwen to follow her heart. Like Luthien, Arwen was destined to follow this path. If you had convinced her to sail to the Undying Lands, she would have faded from grief sooner, rather than after years of joy with her husband and their children."
"You are right Elrohir," Elrond said simply with a nod that indicated he did not want to discuss it further. "In Imladris there are two chests in my chambers, one for each of you. They contain the items I wish to leave you and my future grandchildren. I have also left one for Arwen when you visit her. I do not think she will return to Imladris very often." Coming to stand in front of them he added, "I will miss both of you greatly. I wish I could be there with my grandchildren as well. But the sea calls me and I miss your mother…"
"Ada, we will see you again. This is not farewell forever for us. You will see your grandchild, Airemír, and Laurëanna again. This is just a separation like the many times we would ride with the Dunedain for years before returning to Imladris," Elrohir pointed out.
"I know but…this is longer and it is different. I will no longer know you are both well like I did in Middle-earth. Since I do not know your mother's thoughts, I can only assume I will not know yours when I depart." Knowing they would soon lose a wife and child, Elrond felt guilty for not preparing them for it. But he knew he would not…could not prepare them for these events which would shape their lives. He had even distanced himself from the thought of Laurëanna's pregnancy, knowing that the child would die before he reached the age of majority.
"Ada, you will have to trust in the knowledge that we will be fine. We will see you in the Undying Lands when it is time," Elrohir replied. "And we will take care of the people who remained in Imladris until it is their time to depart as well. Trust us to watch over each other and our people."
"I trust you both to rise to meet any obstacle…no matter how devastating it might be."
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.