Why, Mother?: 1. Why, Mother?

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1. Why, Mother?

Title: Why, Mother?
Genre: General
Rating: G
Characters: Elrond Half-elven, Glorfindel
Setting: A random night in Imladris in the Third Age
Warnings: None
Summary: Elrond muses about the choices of his mother.
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It was night.

The stars were shining brightly, as they did on every cloudless night in Middle-earth. Most Men thought that the stars were simply objects, lights that had been placed in the sky so that it would not be completely dark at night. Yet to the Elves, the stars were so much more.

It was true that the stars had been placed to provide light. Varda Elentári, or Elbereth in Sindarin, had created the stars from the silver dews of the vats of Telperion, and set them in the sky to counter the darkness of Middle-earth. Yet did she not carry out this task for them? It was due to their coming that she had undertaken such a labour, and because of their imminent arrival that she had completed the greatest of all the works of the Valar since their coming to Arda [1]. Thus to the Elves, stars were more than just stars. They were a great labour, a labour of love.

And to one Elf in particular, the stars were even more.
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Glorfindel frowned as he opened the door to find an empty room. Elrond could always be found in his study at nights, either reading one of the many books from his library or writing in the relatively emptier ones. So what was so special about that date that he would be gone?

He couldn’t have been at a meeting, for Elrond never scheduled meetings at night save in direst need. Besides, Glorfindel himself had just come from Erestor’s study, where they had been talking about agreements and other such matters. And there was only one straight path from Erestor’s study to Elrond’s, making it impossible for the latter to have passed him unnoticed.

So where else could he be? Not with his children, for Elladan and Elrohir had left on another hunting expedition, while Arwen had gone to visit her grandparents in Lothlórien. After all, Glorfindel reminded himself, Elrond couldn’t very well ignore his in-law’s request now that Celebrian had left. Especially since Elrond, too, loved his mother-in-law…

Mother…

And Glorfindel immediately knew exactly where Elrond Half-elven had gone.

Quickly shutting the door of the study behind him, he rushed down the stairs and out of the main house. Making his way through the countless passages Imladris contained, he came at last to the garden that few Elves ever came to.

It was Elrond’s favourite garden, simply because it had been Celebrian’s favourite as well. It was also because there was a place in the garden that was the best place to view the stars.

“You missed him when he was at his brightest.”

It was a frank, toneless statement from the Elf lying on the ground in front of him. To Glorfindel, no other clarifications were needed.

“You have been here since evening.” [2]

A statement to reply to a statement. No questions were needed as Glorfindel stretched himself out beside Elrond. It was stupid that he had even forgotten what had happened on this day so many years ago, and inconceivable to think that it would have slipped Elrond’s mind. After all, what son would forget such a great think that his parents had done?

Elrond finally turned to Glorfindel. “I have always wondered,” he said slowly, “what my mother could have been thinking when she jumped into the sea. Why did she think that the Silmaril was so important that she would have died than hand it over to the sons of Fëanor? Did it have such a high emotional value simply because it was worn by Beren and Lúthien, and passed to her by her father, Dior the fair, who was slain because of it?”

Glorfindel had no answers, and they both knew it. Who could attempt to know the intentions of any mind, let along a mind as complex as this? After all, it was the mind of one who was tied to a grandfather’s heroism, a father’s sacrifice, a husband’s absence, and a people’s fate. One who had to deal with betrayals of her people and the horror of kinslaying. One who had to honour her people’s wishes, yet look out for the two of the most important people in her life…her sons.

“I used to hate my Naneth for leaving us. I used to think she had known that we had been captured, yet she still willingly went ahead and cast herself into the sea. I used to think that she had voluntarily abandoned us, instead of trying to find her children like a good mother would. But now I wonder. Had she known that we were captured? Or did she just think that we were being hidden from the enemy by her own people, and trusted them to look after us? Or worse still, had she thought that we were killed, and was that what drove her to jump into the sea? Did we contribute to what would have been death for her?

Again Glorfindel could say nothing, not even a word of comfort to the Elf beside him. After all, what could he say that the Lord of Imladris did not already know or had not already heard? And who could guess at what a mother knew, a mother torn between the welfare of her sons and the choices of her people? Who would know the feelings coursing through a mother’s heart, a mother who had to choose her path from two of equal importance?

“I wonder if Naneth had thought about Adar as she jumped into the sea. She loved him so much; even now, as I have heard, she will fly out in joy to meet my father when he returns from his voyages [3]. Why would she sacrifice this love for a Silmaril, an object not made by any of her nearest kin? For her grandfather was a Mortal Man, and her grandmother was the daughter of a Teleri and a Maia. Why did she forgo her love for an inanimate object? Did she think that if she had not jumped into the sea, the sons of Fëanor would have taken the Silmaril and then killed her anyway? Or did she perhaps believe that it was something Eärendil would have done, and so acted the way she had? Was my adar, then, partly responsible?”

Yet again there was no response, save a slight shifting as Glorfindel stretched himself a little more. What could one say about a wife’s actions, about a wife’s determination? How could one understand a wife’s sacrifice, a wife’s love? How could one try to explore a wife’s dedication to her husband and to those things important to her family?

“She was your people’s lady, your father’s wife, and your mother.”

Another mere statement from the golden-haired Elf-lord, but Elrond understood. He nodded, as best as he could while lying on the ground.

“Yes, she certainly was. And I only wish she knows how proud I am of her, and how much I love her – the mother I lost so early and hardly know…”

The two Elves continued to lie there in companionable silence, under the bright stars placed in the sky by Varda Elentári. They lay there until morning came, and with the sunrise could be seen the glimmering of Gil-Estel, the Silmaril on Eärendil’s brow.

It seemed to shine with an unrivalled brightness, as though it were shining especially for the two Elves lying in the garden that day. And somehow, in his heart, Glorfindel knew.

He knew…that she knew.
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[1] Cf. The Silmarillion, Second Edition. Quenta Silmarillion, The History of the Silmarils. Chapter 3: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor. In the version published by Ballantine Books, the information is taken from page 44-45.
[2] Cf. The Silmarillion, Second Edition. Quenta Silmarillion, The History of the Silmarils. Chapter 24: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath. Where it is said that Gil-Estel (as the Elves on Middle-earth named the Silmaril on Eärendil’s brow, thinking it to be a star) can be seen most often “at morning or at evening”.
[3] Cf. The Silmarillion, Second Edition. Quenta Silmarillion, The History of the Silmarils. Chapter 24: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath. In the version published by Ballantine Books, the information is taken from page 300.

A/N: This is just a short story written specially (but not necessarily specifically) for mothers and mothers-to-be…hope you have a happy mother’s day!

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.

Story Information

Author: gilwen

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 05/12/03

Original Post: 05/12/03

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