42. The Pause That Refreshes
“Well Uncle, what do you choose?” Iorlas repeated. “Will you accept my challenge or will you face the gur uin baudh?”
Carenthir stiffened and considered his options, neither of which was good. If he chose the gur uin baudh he might convince them that Turin was an imposter, but as he as looked at the boxes laying on the tables he knew they did indeed contain the remains of the ambushed Hador party. He frowned and then his face turned white as Elrond’s ionnath escorted two bedraggle and bound elves into the room. He recognized them instantly as two of his own co-conspirators.
He also saw the quiet circle of elf witnesses standing off to one side with grim accusing faces. One of them stood there staring at him with a cold implacable mien, his hand resting on his sword. Carenthir shuddered internally as he realized his watcher had been the ada of one of Hador’s warriors. If he chose to accept his nephew’s challenge and survived, then the other elf would be next in challenging him. Yet the challenge was perhaps the best of the bad options. His nephew was young and surely lacked the level of skill to best him. If Carenthir managed to win the first battle, it would possible satisfy his second challenger that he was being falsely accused and so remove that possibility. But even if it did not and he faced a second challenge it was still the better option for him. There was also the possibility he could manage to escape from it all and seek out a refuge elsewhere. He would loose everything but he was a clever man and he could start again.
He glared at Iorlas/Turin, “I will accept your challenge.”
Iorlas/Turin smiled coldly. “Good.”
Carenthir bowed. “Since I am the challenged it is my right to name the time and place.”
Glorfindel strode forward. “That is true, however you will remain as guest of Lord Elrond until this matter is resolved. We have appropriate quarters for you. I am sure you will find them as comfortable as those you arranged for your great niece and nephew.” He gestured towards the door where four warriors stood waiting.
Carenthir glared at the balrog slayer and with a snarl, he turned and crossed the room to his escort and disappeared into the hallway.
Glorfindel turned back to Iorlas and grinned. “You did well penneth. It was clear he was not expecting any challenge. You truly shocked him and knocked him down a peg or two. He will remain under guard until he makes known his choice of time and place. Then he will be escorted to the meeting.”
. “Now I have only to best him in a fight, ‘Fin.” He paused and looked pensive. “Do you really think I can take him? He has far more experience than I do.”
Glorfindel lifted a hand in warning. “We should not be discussing this here. Let us adjourn to Elrond’s private study where we can do so without an audience.”
Iorlas looked around aware for the first time how many eyes were focused on them. He nodded and grasping the hilt of his sword firmly he followed the balrog slayer out of the room and down the hall. He was grateful for the Imladris warriors who fell in behind them and then blocked any others from following as they entered the more private family areas.
Upon entering they were happy to see that Elrond was waiting for them and he complimented Iorlas on his success. “You did extremely well penneth, he is just where you want him. I have no doubt that you will now have your justice.”
Iorlas grinned back and felt both relief and shock that it had gone so well. “I hope hiren that he will be bested, but his experience may well prove him a difficult adversary.”
“I suspect most of his experience lay in slyness and deceitfulness. He has proven to all his untrustworthiness and he will find no supporters remain to help. He will face his end alone.” Glorfindel pursed his lips and studied the younger elf.
“As for your skills, you should be able to take him quite easily. He is older and heavier, but he has not maintained his fighting skill at a decent level. He has preferred to let others do it for him. If he remains true to form he will be over confident and misjudge your ability. My only concern would be his underhandedness. He could pull some dishonorable trick to insure a favorable outcome for himself.”
Iorlas nodded. “It would fit the rest of his past actions. I will just have to be on guard and watch him carefully.”
There was a knock at the door and Erestor entered carrying the Helm of Hador under his arm. He looked at Iorlas and managed a sweeping bow before holding it out to Iorlas. “Lord Turin, I believe this belongs to you.”
Iorlas grimaced as he took the heavy helm from him. “That name is going to take some getting use to.” He studied it turning it this way and that and frowned. “It is a marvelous piece of work, but it is certainly ugly.”
“Put it on,” Erestor urged. “It is the most visible symbol of your house
Iorlas shook his head. “It is not yet time for that and I doubt I will ever feel that it is proper for me to do so. I rather think I will continue to use the symbol preferred by ada nin.”
Elrond rose from behind his desk. “It will still prove a great thing for you and your descendants to treasure in future years as you rebuild your house, Iorlas.”
He crossed to the small table near the terrace door where a decanter of miruvor stood and began to pour out a measure for all of them. “I think a toast is in order to our success so far. I suspect that Carenthir is still trying to figure out where his plotting went wrong. He certainly was not expecting a heir to materialize after all this time.”
“I agree ada. We just left him securely ensconced and he was not at all happy with his accommodations.” Elladan followed by Elrohir entered their father’s private study and picked up one of the glasses in preparation of the toast.
Elrond looked at Glorfindel. “I trust he is not in the guest quarters he was originally assigned, ‘Fin.”
Glorfindel grinned and shook his head. “He and his cronies are relaxing in the rooms prepared for them in the lower storage area. Erestor was quite thorough in refurbishing them for their comfort and security.”
Elrond chuckled. “I have no doubt of that but I hope it included a bed and a pot. We cannot have them complaining of Imladris hospitality.”
Erestor nodded growing serious. “Of course hiren, they were afforded their basic comforts. Certainly much better then those they intended for Lord Hador and Lady Silalin.”
The elves stood quietly as they all considered the fate of Iorlas’s parents and silently raised their glasses in memory of the murdered party.
“May they now finally have justice!” Glorfindel said softly and tossed back his drink.
“May Carenthir find his way to the Halls of Mandos quickly and never find his way out.” Elrohir said grimly and swallowed his.
Elladan added. “May Iorlas speed him on his way!”
Iorlas contemplated his drink before swallowing it. “May the Valar grant me a strong arm and a determined faer. And may they grant me success and justice for my parents at long last.”
“May they now rest in peace and soon find their way out of the Halls of Mandos and into the Undying Lands.” Elrond finished then continued as he set his glass down. “We have been lucky so far, mellyn nin, but we cannot afford to be over confident. Carenthir is still dangerous and wily. We must still be on our guard and prepared for any sudden surprises that could still occur.”
“I agree, Elrond. I will make sure that the guards remain alert and watch our guests most carefully.” Glorfindel paused. “I would suggest that only those we know and trust be allowed into the holding area. That none of our other guests be allowed to question or go near them.”
Elladan frowned. “That should not be a problem, ‘Fin.”
Glorfindel shook his head. “I am not so sure. The family members of Carenthir’s other victims will not be happy to leave the matter of their wish for justice unsatisfied. I would not be surprised if we had some attempt to administer it themselves.”
Elrond nodded. “We must make sure that does not happen. I will issue a statement that the gur uin baudh will judge the accused and call for all those with accusations to bring them to Erestor so that the proper action and judgment can be made. In the case of Carenthir, if he survives Iorlas’ challenge he will be brought before the gur uin baudh as well.”
Iorlas looked startled. “You will do that, hiren? I thought he had the choice of one or the other.”
“You issued challenge on behalf of your house for the murder of your ada and attempted murder of your naneth as well as his attempt to usurp your rightful title and holding. You do not have the right to administer judgment for his crimes. There are his accomplices also. Do you wish to issue challenge to them as well?”
Iorlas shook his head then grinned. “He is really going to be unhappy when he realizes that one way or the other, his days of freedom are over.”
Gur uin baudh – judgment counsel
Hiren-lord, my lord
Ada nin-my father
Mellyn nin-my friends
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