6. New Questions
Iorlas sat very still in the guestroom he had been shown to shortly after his arrival in the elven refuge of Rivendell. Looking about he was unable to relax in what was to him considerable luxury. He had briefly explored his new surroundings amazed at what he found. Aside from the obvious sleeping chamber there was a small one for bathing. When the house elf had explained its purpose and how everything worked he had simply stood wide-eyed and mouth agape. Iorlas had never heard of the luxury of heated running water for a bath on demand nor a water closet that flushed away body waste at the pull of a lever. There were simple but graceful elven designs carved or painted on the various stone or plaster surfaces and a small built in wall closet that held towels and an assortment of bathing articles to suit the many diverse visitors that found their way there.
The sleeping chamber was the size of the hut he had lived in all his life but there was no comparison. Where the hut had been the practical rough log and thatched shelter of a woods dwelling hermit, the sleeping chamber was exquisite in its decoration. Although simple in design, the room was furnished with a comfortable bed and a table and chair set near a small stone fireplace. A narrow chest was available to store clothing and extra bed linens.
Just beyond a large double door opened onto a terrace that ran the entire length of the guest wing. From the terrace a sweep of steps gave entrance to the gardens that surrounded the back portion of the main complex. The fabrics that covered the bed and doorway were of rough, lightweight flax in rich colors that complimented the varied grey color of the stone of the floors and fireplace. Narrow bands of carved leaves and other floral designs were worked in the walls beneath the ceiling and on the doors both to the chamber and to the terrace.
Iorlas was startled when a knock on the door reminded him he was expected to be preparing for dinner. When he opened the door, a house elf stood there with an armload of clothing.
“Young Master, I am Sador, the house elf for this wing. The lords Elrohir and Elladan have sent a selection from their own clothes for your use since you were unable to bring anything with you due to the destruction of your home. They hope you will honor them by accepting them until such time new ones can be procured for you.”
Iorlas nodded, “It is most generous of them. I was reluctant to appear wearing these travel stained ones this evening. I am not sure they can ever be usable again even with careful washing and repair.”
“It will be Lord Elrond’s pleasure to see that you are provided with new ones shortly, young Master.” Seeing the strange look on Iorlas’s face, he added, “It is the custom here to do so.”
Iorlas nodded reluctantly, He now had only the clothes on his back, and they clearly showed the ravages of his recent adventures. “I appreciate his thoughtfulness.”
Sador gave a half bow. “I will return in an hour to show you the way to the dining room. Is there anything you require before I depart?
Shaking his head Iorlas took the clothes from Sador. “I will be ready.”
An hour later, washed and dressed in his borrowed clothes, Iorlas found himself following behind Sador through a number of halls before he entered the main portion of the building where the public gathering rooms were located. Sador had been careful to explain the route that would let him return to his own quarters when he desired without needing a guide. After pointing out the main dining room, the Hall Of Fire and the other smaller rooms used for various gatherings, he bowed and left him at the entrance to the dining room.
Iorlas stood just inside the entrance and watched as the citizens of Rivendell gathered for the evening meal. He was curious to see the several different kinds of races represented. While the majority of them were elves, there were a few men and dwarfs gathered in small knots around tables towards the back near him. Some of the men were obviously diplomatic envoys. Others wore the clothes of Dunedain rangers and he was drawn to their number. When he greeted them in Westernesse, they paused and studied him. One of the older ones gestured to an empty seat halfway down the table. As they introducing themselves he found that he recognized one or two of their names. When they heard his they were quick to welcome him, and to express their sympathy for his lose and congratulated him on his escape from the orcs. The message of the attack and warning of possible future ones across the river had already been sent out. He found himself relaxing and enjoyed his meal and the easy company of the rangers after the loneliness that had marked his previous life.
After dinner he was surprised when Elladan appeared to tell him that Lord Elrond wished to speak with him if Iorlas was not too tired to do so. In spite of his reluctance to face the fabled ruler of Rivendell he agreed curious to know what the Elven Lord desired. Elladan noted his unease and clasping his shoulder reassuring him that he only wished to ask some questions to clarify what had happened to him and how he had managed to escape the onslaught of the orcs.
Following Elladan he continued to be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of the last homely house. Everywhere he looked there were rich fabric and rugs covering the walls and floors of the chambers they passed. Paintings, tapestry and sculpture pieces were scattered about as well. Music and conversations in many languages floated out from the Hall of Fire filling the air with their cheerful babble. Elladan chuckled at Iorlas’s bewildered expression.
“You will find that the public rooms can be rather noisy in the evenings. We tend to gather here freely after our labors of the day are finished.”
“I find all the sounds and people rather unsettling.”
Elladan nodded, “After the solitary life you led it can be difficult to adjust to such a drastic change. Both my brother and I prefer to spend most of our time out on patrol. The silence of the forests and mountains is much more to our liking. You will find that the quiet of the private chambers and the gardens are more comfortable when you need it.”
“Lord Elladan,” Iorlas paused in mid-stride. “May I ask, are you part of Lord Elrond’s family?”
Elladan cocked his head to one side studying him before he answered. Finally he nodded. “We are his sons.”
“Would your father accept my service in some capacity if I offered it?”
“You will have to ask him, but I suspect he will.”
“There is much I must learn I know. I will have to learn to read and write as well as speak the elvish language and how to use my weapons properly. Perhaps he will not want one so unprepared?”
Elladan smiled. “I think meldir nin that you have something that will virtually guarantee your acceptance.”
“I hope so. There is nothing left for me to go back to now and I must soon make some sort of choice about my future. “
“There is no hurry. Talk to my father and answer his questions. The answers might provide a guide.”
Iorlas nodded and they resumed their way to Elrond’s private library where they found the Lore Master sitting at a table covered with books and scrolls piled in untidy stacks. He looked up as the two entered and smiled, gesturing them to the other chairs pulled up opposite to him.
“Come in, Iorlas, I hope your quarters are comfortable.”
“Yes my lord, in fact I have never enjoyed such luxury before in my life!”
“Ionnath nin have told me some of your tale but I am interested in what you have to add to it. There seems to be something of a mystery surrounding your past.”
Iorlas shook his head. “I do not think so my lord. I know they are puzzled about some things, but I am sure there is a simple explanation that will clear everything up.”
Elrond leaned back in his chair and studied him silently for some time. Iorlas instead of being nervous felt himself relaxing and returning Elrond’s look calmly.
“Ionnath nin mentioned an amulet you wear that contains a lock of your mother’s hair. Do you have it with you and may I have a look at it?”
“Of course, my lord, although I do not understand why it is of interest.” He removed it from around his neck and handed it to his host.
Elrond turned it over several times then tilted it and looked at the incised crest in the crystal. He said nothing but lifted an eyebrow. Finally he raised his head. “Do you know the meaning of this symbol?”
“I only know it belong to my mother and her mother before her. I think it may have meant her name but I am not sure.”
“What was her name?”
“My father called her Silanor because of her hair. If she had any other I do not know it.”
“Iorlas, this is the crest for the house of Gil Galad the last High King of the elves.“
“You are saying that my mother had something that belonged to the High King?”
“Yes, but there are other things you carry that may tell us more. What do you remember about your mother?”
“Very little my lord. I remember a smiling face and bright hair. She used to sing me a lullaby but I can only remember bits and pieces of the melody. When I was eight or nine years old she died. My father buried her in a glade near our hut and every year during firth on the seventeenth day of the
tenth month we would go and place flowers on her grave. He said she loved the glade and would spend much time there. I buried him beside her. It is a pretty place but it held much sadness so I seldom visited after my father died.”
“Tell me of your father.”
“Very well, my lord, but there isn’t much to tell there either. His name was Ingold and for many years he lived a solitary life hunting the woods of western Mirkwood and the eastern slopes of the Misty Mountains south of Eagles’ Eyrie. He took my mother to wife sixty years ago and I was born shortly there after. She died when I was eight or nine and he died six years ago and I was left alone. He did not like village life and preferred the deep woods. He taught me to hunt and track and gave me some schooling, so that I can read and write and do enough sums so that I can deal with merchants and not be cheated. I remained in our hut because it was the only home I had ever known and I had no liking for village life either. I would have still been there except for the orcs.”
Elrond nodded. “What about the weapons you carried?”
“My father brought them home one day after finding them somewhere in the forest. I never thought to ask him where. We had no real need for such things but he thought the knives might be of use. He did not like to see them rusting there in the ground. Since they were quite fancy, he covered the hilts in leather so as to not let the shine of the stones reveal our positions when we hunted. The sword and the long knives were too long to be carried when we hunted but the dagger has been useful.”
“What made you carry them away with you when you fled?”
“In truth, I do not know. It just seemed prudent.”
“I see.” Elrond fell silent as he considered Iorlas’s tale. He handed the amulet back to Iorlas then asked. “Would you allow us to examine the weapons?”
“Of course, my lord, I will get them immediately.” He rose from his chair only to be halted with a shake of Elrond’s head.
“I will send a house elf to collect them with your permission.”
“I have no objections my lord.”
Elladan rose at his father’s nod and called to the house elf outside in the hall awaiting his lord’s bidding. Elrond instructed him to go to Iorlas’s chamber and bring back his weapons. At Elrond’s questioning look, Iorlas indicated where he had placed them and the house elf departed on his errand.
Turning back to the discussion Elrond smiled. “There is one more thing while we wait. May I see your ears, Iorlas?”
Iorlas smiled wryly and leaned forward lifting his hair off of them. “It seems your ionnath have told you of their suspicion I am an elf.”
“It is more than a suspicion, penneth, I find too much that says it. However there are some simple tests we can do that will reveal the truth either way.”
“Lord Elrond, please tell me what this is all about. I cannot believe my father and mother were involved in anything wicked or evil.”
Elrond leaned back and sighed deeply. “That is not my worry, I feel certain they were not. However I do not believe the man you knew as your father was in fact so. It would fit the facts far better if he were your foster father.”
Iorlas frowned, “If that is true why would he not tell me so?”
“Let me tell you first about an incident that happened about the time you were born. Lord Hador of the Silver Hand and his hervess the Lady Silalin were travelling across the Great Northern Road to Mirkwood where he was to assume duties as counsellor to the King of Mirkwood. His lady was the daughter of Gil Galad’ sister and so niece to Gil Galad. The whole party simply vanished without trace. Numerous searches were made but nothing was ever found. It was a great sadness since she was the last member of her house remaining in Middle Earth.”
“You suspect that my mother and she were linked in someway, perhaps as companion?”
“I suspect she was the Lady Silalin herself.”
Iorlas stared dumbfounded at him. “Me descended from the High King’s house?”
“Your weapons as described by ionnath nin match those carried by Lord Hador. Your amulet carries the crest of the house of Gil Galad and your mother’s name Silanor is very close to that of the Lady Silalin. It would appear that the lady was with child and somehow managed to survive what ever happened to the rest of the party. If Ingold found her and gave her shelter and aid, it would explain his raising you as his own after she went to the halls of Mandos.”
“If this is all true, why would she not seek to return to her kin?”
Elrond shrugged, “That may never (be) known, but it may be time for us to search more closely the area around the remains of your old hut. Perhaps some answers will be revealed.”
The house elf returned with Iorlas’s weapons and placed them in front of Lord Elrond. “Thank you, will you ask Lord Glorfindel to join me? I have need of his counsel.”
“At once my lord.”
The three of them remained silent and staring at the four weapons laying on the table until Glorfindel entered the library and smiled at Elrond.
“You had need of me my lord?”
Elrond pointed at the weapons, “ Look at these and tell me what you think of them meldir nin. Are they familiar?”
Glorfindel lifted the sword and studied it. He frowned at the leather shielding the hilt and looked at his lord. “This must come off before I can be sure.”
Elrond and Elladan looked at Iorlas who nodded.
“These are yours?” Glorfindel asked Iorlas as he removed the leather.
Glorfindel studied the hilt now free of its leather cover and stared at the great emerald set in the pommel. “How did a woodsman acquire Lord Hador’s weapons?”
Sador-faithful one (s) one of the Rivendell elves to assist guests
Westernesse-language of the Dunedain
Meldir nin-my friend (male)
Ionnath nin-my sons
Silanor-from sila (S) to shine white and anor (S) sun; thus Sunshine
Firth -"leaf-fall," autumn between October and November
Penneth-young one (S)
Silalin-from sila (S) to shine white and lin (S) pool; thus Pool of white light
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.