11. A Trip To The Past
The Middle Earth, Bruinen Watershed, Third Age, fall 2861,
Glorfindel swore as he severed the head of the fourth orc in as many minutes. With cold eyes he swept the clearing noting with grim satisfaction that his warriors had nearly dispatched the rest of the stinking abominations. He looked for Iorlas and found the young one still loosening his arrows at the backs of the departing few surviving members of the yrch band they had tracked for the past two days. They had finally caught up with and engaged them just south of the remains of Iorlas’s home, now a burned out ruin.
Recalling the elves before they could pursue the survivors deeper into the forest he checked among them for injuries. He was pleased to note that the surprised yrch had suffered far greater damage then had they. No elf would be travelling to the Halls of Mandos this night but several would need the attention of a healer.
“My lord, should we not continue after them?” one of the older more experienced warriors asked Glorfindel. “They should not be allowed to carry word of our presence here.”
Glorfindel nodded and indicated a small group that quickly set off after the fleeing creatures. After setting sentries the remaining warriors spread out and checked to insure that the fallen yrch were dead then collected their remains and piled them to be burned upon the elves’ departure. Finally satisfied that it was safe enough, he turned his attention to his wounded and was pleased to note that they were already receiving treatment from their comrades. It appeared all would be able to continue the trip with the group.
As they waited for return of the dispatched warriors, Glorfindel noticed several of the warriors complementing Iorlas. They had been surprised and relieved that he had held his own during the skirmish. Three bodies could clearly be attributed to his skill and a number of others contained his arrows. The penneth had maintained a cool head and even now accepted the approval of his companions with quiet dignity. When Iorlas realized that the balrog slayer was watching he flushed and bent his head in embarrassment.
Glorfindel nodded and added his approval as well, “Well done Iorlas, your skill with the bow have served us well this day.”
“Hannon le, my lord, I wish to do my share.”
Glorfindel smiled. “You have done so this day, meldir nin.” He turned at the sound of the returning patrol.
“They will trouble Middle Earth no more, my lord,” the leader reported with grim satisfaction.
“Hannon le, Kiril, Are any injured?”
“No, my lord.”
Glorfindel nodded and called to the rest. “Prepare to move out. Burn the yrch. Iorlas, you take the lead and guide our path to your old home. We will camp there tonight.” Their departure was swift leaving only traces of the battle and burning yrch behind to mark their passing.
Iorlas paused at the top of the ridge just south of the small valley where his former home was located and studied the terrain below. Glorfindel joined him and signaled to the rest to take cover.
“Is there anything that raises your suspicions, Iorlas?”
“No, my lord, just an abundance of caution.”
The balrog slayer nodded approvingly and turned his attention to the panorama spread before him below. “They didn’t leave much.” He noted the charred remains of a stone and timbered hut. “They did not foul the stream.”
“No, my lord, and I have hopes they did not find the cave.”
“What is this cave you speak of?” Glorfindel asked with sudden interest.
“It is a small one that we used to store food and other such supplies. I remembered there was a miniature wooden trunk my father had stored there. I only saw it’s interior once and I think I remember a couple of small books and a few other small gewgaws a woman might fancy but I do not know if they belonged to my mother. If there is anything of value of hers remaining I believe it will be found there. There was certainly nothing of her left in the hut.”
“Then I believe we shall begin our search there.” At his signal the warriors moved out cautiously searching the valley and surrounding hills for any signs of recent yrch presence. When the area was swept and all deemed clear, they assembled near the hut and set up camp. With that completed,
Glorfindel watched as Iorlas stood near the ruin with lowered head.
“Meldir nin, remember your past but do not grieve. Give thanks for your father’s protection and love for he succored your mother and you at great danger to his own life. Even if what we suspect about your birth proves untrue, we still owe him our thanks and gratitude for what he did for one of our own.”
Iorlas nodded mutely. “I know my lord, I just can not fathom why he did not tell me the truth when I was old enough.”
“That and many other things may never be known. All we can do is believe that it was done with the best of intentions. It may have been your mother’s wish to insure your protection.”
“My lord, both you and Lord Elrond have made such cryptic comments before. It sounds that you have concerns about my safety and that the disappearance of Lord Hador and Lady Silalin was much more then the result of a yrch attack.”
Glorfindel studied him through narrowed eyes, noting again his intelligence and quick ability to sense hidden meanings and concerns. “There is much truth in that.” Then more quietly, “Walk with me over near the stream.”
As the two moved towards the stream, a warrior called to inform them that dinner was nearly ready and not to stray too far if they wished for it to be hot when they ate. Glorfindel waved a hand in acknowledgement and continued on down the narrow path.
“I can see why Ingold chose this place. It is well hidden and has everything you need for comfort.”
Iorlas nodded. “The surrounding hills give shelter from the brisk winds of rhiw and snow fall is usually light. The water of the stream is sweet and has never ceased to flow in all the time I have lived here. Game is plentiful and I have never felt truly alone. Not even after my father… Ingold died. It always seemed like the trees were my friends and would whisper to me assuring me I had their company.”
“It was a good place to grow up then?”
“Very much so.”
When they reached the stream, Glorfindel hunkered down on his heels and Iorlas followed his example doing so beside him both of their backs to the rest of the patrol. Glorfindel was silent as he chose his words with care.
“Elrond is very concerned, penneth. There is much about the disappearance of Lord Hador and Lady Silalin that has a very bad odor. Elrond fears that their disappearance may have been orchestrated by those who wished to prevent any possibility of Lord Hador claiming the throne based upon his marriage to Lady Silalin. If it becomes known that there was a child, and that you are that child then you would be in great danger. There are certain factions which would not hesitate to either send you to the Halls of Mandos or use you to reestablish the throne of High King under their control.”
He continued quietly, “There was great political unrest and disagreement when Gil Galad chose Lord Elrond as his successor as High King. Lord Elrond refused to accept the crown and title. All feared the possibility of another kin slaying would occur in the power struggle. In fact Lord Elrond’s marriage to the Lady Celebrian was made in order to prevent a civil war among the elven kingdoms.”
Iorlas was troubled. “My lord, you believe they were murdered by their own kin?”
“I do not think it was close family or blood kin. It most certainly would have been one of the other contesting houses if in fact that were the cause of their disappearance. I am hoping we will find some trace or clue that will guide us to the answer.”
“Even if what you suspect is true, would not a claim on my behalf be without merit? Such legitimacy exists only if descended through the male line of the house.”
“That is true, but a case could be made since Hador’s family was powerful and Silalin was the only surviving close member of Gil Galad’s blood line. Both were very popular and he would have made a good high king. He was an excellent warrior and exceptional leader of his own house. If such a chose had succeeded he would have been able to bring the groups together with little trouble. He would not have willingly accepted it though unless there were no other option, he supported Gil Galad’s choice of Elrond as his successor.”
“It would seem I have emerged into the middle of a very unsavory tale. I do not wish to be at the centre of such a morass of dark plotting.”
Glorfindel smiled at him, “I do not think that will be a real concern at this point. Elrond and I would like to determine the truth if we can and find justice for them. Lord Hador and his lady deserve no less. Now let us go find that hot meal. We will begin our search in the morning. Our answers may lay in that box in your little cave.”
It was just after dark when the sentries signaled the arrival of lords Elladan and Elrohir. Glorfindel rose from near the fire where he and a number of the others had been relaxing before seeking their rest. Throwing their packs down they joined the others and greeted the balrog slayer.
“Mae govannen, we found the remains of yrch a ways back. Did you have much trouble meldir nin?” Elladan queried Glorfindel.
“No, we sustained a few injuries but nothing serious. Your healing skills would be helpful though. Would you check and make sure all care was provided?”
“Of course. Mae govannen Iorlas, you seemed to have survived your second contact with the yrch in good shape.”
Kiril laughed as he passed two cups of hot tea to the newcomers. “He did more than just survive, young lords, he fought well. He will prove a mighty warrior when he adds the skill of sword fighting to his abilities.”
“Well done, penneth, well done.” Elrohir added his congratulations.
“By the way you are late, we expected you at midday. Did you run into trouble?”
“Not really. We intercepted a small group of three humans camped out south of Imladris at the high meadows cave. There was something quite strange about them. We wanted to make sure they were not a danger or would cause a problem before we left them behind.”
Glorfindel was instantly alert. “What do you mean strange?”
“There were no obvious signs of their travel. It was as if they had suddenly just materialized there. The old one claims to be a scholar and teacher, the female is a healer and the young man is the old one’s son. Their story is quite common. They have lost their home and are seeking refuge in the human village at Imladris. The old one says he has studied much of the history of the Eldar and would seek access to ada’s library and the female would like to study with our healers if is it allowed. We found no dissembling in their tale, but they were cautious and did not reveal the whole truth. They speak excellent elvish but with a strange accent. The female is something more then she seems and she looks somewhat familiar, but I could not place her.”
“Did you get a name?”
“Hmm, Long Dream. Very pretty and elvish, but unusual, I have not heard it before.”
“I advised ada, and he will consider their request. We told them to remain there until we returned then we will escort them to the village.”
“We may not have our answers here very quickly.”
“If that causes a delay then ada will send someone else to escort them in.”
Glorfindel nodded and then brought them up to date on the plans for the search.
Meldir nin-my friend
Mae govannen-well met-a greeting
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