12. A Course Of Action
A Course Of Action
Upon returning to his chambers Glorfindel did considerable thinking over the next few hours as he decided the best moves he could use to approach Meren and plead his case. Employing his knowledge of battle tactics, he prepared for perhaps the most important personal battle he had ever waged in his life. Failure was not to be considered.
His first move was to talk to Lady Hareth, Meren’s mother. At first she was not receptive to his pleas for her assistance.
“Why should I help you, Lord Glorfindel?” She demanded, her face showing the ravages of her pain and sorrow. “Have you not caused much of this through your insular habits and refusal to acknowledge she was fond of you? With just a little sensitivity all those years ago you could have let her down easy and so ended her infatuation. But no, you simply could not be bothered and walked away from the whole thing leaving her to dream in silence all alone. Now she insists the only way to protect us all is to sail and not be a bother to you. She is still more concerned for your welfare then her own.”
Glorfindel stood silently as she berated him and waited until she finally fell silent.
“I admit that I have always distance myself from those ellyth who pursued me. My past experience has made me wary of their real purpose. My biggest failure was to not realize that as a hen, Meren had come to regard me as her protector and friend and sought to share that relationship more closely with me. I regret that she took my flight as rejection. It certainly was not personal. I cannot explain why she suddenly seems to be important to me. I only know that something has occurred between us that deservers to be explored. If we do not try and she sails, we will never know until I follow her to the Undying Lands. And I am not free to do so until I finish my task here. I wish it were not so, but I am so bound to my lord’s protection by the Valar themselves.”
Hareth turned from him and stared out the window chewing on her lower lip and twisting her hands in distress considering his words before finally answering him.
“I know that my lord, it is my grief over my daughter’s pain that causes me to speak so.” She turned back and lifted tear filled bright eyes to his. “I have tried to talk her out of this decision, but it has fallen on deaf ears. I wish you success my lord but I have little hope you will succeed in changing her mind.”
He nodded sadly, “I may not be able to so do, and even if I can, a relationship may not be there for us. I only know that I face a very lonely life in the centuries ahead without her unless we try.”
“As do we.” She sighed. ‘Very well my lord, how may I help you?”
“Tell me what you have observed about her. What does she do each day? Who does she talk to? See?’
After his discussion with Lady Hareth, he returned to Elrond’s library relieved to find Lord Cyllthurin gone. Entering he stood silently as he waited for Elrond to complete the writing of the letter he was concentrating on. Elrond lifted a hand and gestured unseeing towards the bottle of miruvor on the nearby table.
“Help yourself Fin, I will be finished here in a minute.” He said distractedly, and continued with his writing. “There, done.”
He looked up at his friend and studied him as Glorfindel poured them both a drink and returned handing one to Elrond before settling himself down in the chair off to the side of Elrond’s desk. Taking the glass Elrond settled back himself in his own chair and sipped his drink slowly. Glorfindel gazed thoughtfully into his own drink before lifting his eyes ruefully to his friend’s.
“You would not consider commanding her to remain, would you Elrond?”
“I sympathize old friend, but this is something you must deal with yourself. She has set her mind and only you can change it. You must convince her of your good intentions. Right now she is very confused by what has happened and fearful of what the consequences will be for all of us. She fears that she will prove a weak link in future if she stays and that someone evil could use her to gain critical information about us. She knows you cannot leave and she believes if she stays, you will be so busy trying to elude her you may be distracted and so be put at risk. She is not willing to be a party to that.”
Glorfindel sighed, “I did not think you would agree, but I had to ask.”
Elrond smiled, and then mused. “Something dramatic might be useful.”
Glorfindel looked up with interest, “You have a suggestion?”
Elrond shook his head, “No, I will not be involved in any of your future actions with the fair elleth. It is your problem.”
“Well at least will you share some information with me?”
“Perhaps, it depends on what you ask.”
“Well, are you sure that her ability to sense my comings and goings have ceased to exist? Has she been able to touch your mind?”
“Yes to your first question and no to your second.”
“Good, then she will not be able to anticipate my actions.”
“You have a plan””
“Not yet, first I have to talk to her. If she refuses, I may have to do something much more serious.”
Elrond looked at the other through narrowed eyes, “She must not suffer any harm, Fin.”
“I would hardly hurt the elleth I love, Elrond,” he said dryly. “Perhaps shake her up a bit, but it may come to that if she will not listen to me and give serious thought to my request.”
“Very well, but remember she is much younger then you and has just come through a most worrisome time. She needs both firmness and compassion.”
“I believe that is something I can handle.”
Elrond laughed, “Your warriors might dispute that, Fin.”
“I do not plan on taking any of them as my bonded mate, nor do I plan on spending the rest of eternity with them.” He rose from the chair and set his glass on the nearby table. “Thanks for the drink. Now for the fair Meren.”
“Good luck, meldir nin, I have the feeling you will need every bit you can gather.”
Glorfindel looked back over his shoulder and waved, closing the door behind him. Turning towards the high terraces he grimly strode towards his future.
For days Meren mindlessly had paced the upper terraces escaping the self imposed prison of her chambers and her mother’s alternating accusing or pleading eyes. She refused to listen or discuss her decision and blocked out all waking thoughts of what had happened. While she no longer ate and was fast becoming a wraith haunting her refuge, her dreams remained uncontrolled and she found herself enmeshed in repeated replays of both the rapture of Glorfindel’s lovemaking and the devastation of his rejection of her after her revelation
Glorfindel watched her dispassionately from the broad limb of an ancient large oak that spread its sweep of limbs across the far side of the terrace. He smiled wryly noting how she never varied her travels and no expression crossed her face. Back and forth she paced, slowly, deliberately, her skirts sweeping across the stone paving and through the fallen leaves that swirled after her in a shush-shush sound that never varied and provided a hypnotic cadence blocking out all other sounds.
“Mae govannen Meren, Do you prepare to walk all the way to Valinor?” Dropping to the terrace he interrupted her course and faced her with a bland expression, his body relaxed and his arms crossed on his chest.
Meren froze as she drew to a swift halt and raised her eyes to his momentarily shaken from her self-imposed haze. Without a word she turned and resumed her pacing ignoring his presence. He watched as she reached the end of the terrace and turned back on her path her face as blank as before. Glorfindel settled himself against the balustrade and silently watched for some time as she continued with her pacing.
“I am here to ask you for your forgiveness for my behavior the last time we met. I acted with great insensitivity and shock without thinking. I was not expecting that revelation from the one that I had just asked to explore a deeper relationship with and whom I had come to regard as a very special lover as well as a friend. You mean a great deal to me meleth nin and after a life time of searching for you I cannot simply allow you to walk away without fighting for what we both know exists between us. We have to talk and I do not intend to leave until we do.”
As Meren continued her pacing the only indication she had heard him was a slight almost unnoticeable pause in her gait but he caught it and he knew she was listening. Silently he cheered to himself but he remained silent his face carefully neutral as she reached the far end and turned back towards him.
“I have no excuse other then my stupidity in not understanding what led to all of this. I am so use to thinking in terms of self protection that I reacted without thinking and ran away.” He paused. “Just as you are doing now.”
Meren jerked to a stop and stared at him blankly then glared. She was reacting without thinking? How dare he accuse her of running, she was only doing her best to protect Imladris and ease his continued presence here. He would only be distracted if she remained and Imladris would suffer if the need for his ability arose. She shook her head then resumed her pacing.
“Does that mean you will not change your mind?” he asked in a dangerously soft voice.
Meren shivered involuntarily and looked at him warily. She had not expected this. She remembered he was a peerless warrior and knew him to be implacable when he desired something. All of the stories recounted by his warriors and the legends of the past told of his ability to stay on the heels of an enemy until he caught and destroyed them. Still, she could not risk his wellbeing and that of her parents and the rest of Imladris. She shook her head and resumed pacing.
“Is that your final answer?”
She nodded and turned to face him. To her surprise he was gone and she heaved a sigh of relief yet was puzzled over his apparent retreat. She allowed herself a moment of sadness then resumed her endless pacing. It was a short time later that she heard a sound and turned towards the large oak tree and watched as Glorfindel once more dropped to the terrace. He wore traveling clothes and carried a cloak.
“I have tried to reason with you Meren, I have been careful for your feelings and tried to understand you with compassion. All I have asked is that you give us a chance and you have stubbornly refused to even discuss it. This is just too important to let go without trying. I know you do care for me or I would not risk this.” With that he enveloped her in the cloak and lifted her in his arms. Striding down the stone stairway to the lower courtyards, he ignored her struggles and loud objections and swept through the passage leading to a side courtyard where Asfaloth stood waiting. He threw her across the saddle and jumped up behind her. Adjusting her carefully within his arms he kissed her firmly silencing her. Grimly he nudged the stallion with his knees and they thundered out of the main gate.
Elrond watched their departure with twinkling eyes. *Well I did say something dramatic, Fin. *
*I will be gone for a few days, Elrond. I only want her undivided attention for a while. *
*And if you do not succeed, meldir nin? *
*Then I will have failed and I will escort her to the Grey Havens myself. *
*Very well, I will inform her parents. *
*They already know. I would never dared to attempt this without their cooperation. *
*You are going to your talan hideout? *
*Very well, hopefully we will have you both back having resolved the problem. Until then. *
*Until then. *
Meren’s thoughts were confused and bewildering. As the great stallion carried his double load with ease she lay safely ensconced in the strong arms of the elf lord that had abducted her. With welling anticipation she found herself allowing a small hope. Perhaps, just perhaps they had a chance after all. She could feel the steady beat of his heart beneath her cheek and with a soft sigh she relaxed against his broad chest, closed her eyes and slept. Glorfindel smiled as he felt her do so and tightened his arms briefly and bent to place a kiss on her head before resuming his concentration on the stallion’s travel through the increasingly heavy forest cover.
Later that afternoon Glorfindel signaled to the stallion and as they slowed to a stop, Meren awoke from her sleep and stared about the small clearing.
“Where are we?” she asked as Glorfindel slid down from Asfaloth.
“A small talan that is occasionally used as a place for rest and relaxation near Imladris. We will be here a while.” He reached up and lifted her down.
“Why have you done this, my lord?” She remained within the circle of his arms and peered up at his face.
He remained silent as he studied her face, his blue eyes intent, and seeking. Sighing he finally answered. “We both are experiencing a great many new things Meren which has left us both confused and certainly not making decisions as we should. It is my hope that here we will be able to rethink our futures and determine with a clear mind whether we can share one”
“And if we cannot?”
“I will escort you to the Havens myself.” He paused, “Although I would hope at the very least to allay your fears of being a danger to me and Imladris and persuade you to stay for the sake of your parents. This is causing them much grief. They are not ready to sail but I fear your mother will insist.”
“That is unfair my lord. You know I care for them and do not wish them to be unhappy.”
“She is your mother, Meren. As her only child she cares a great deal about your welfare. She will not willingly let you go alone to the Undying Lands.”
“I know.” She replied in a very small voice.
“You are very blessed to have parents here with you. I have not known mine since those days long ago in Gondolin before I fell and was lodged in the Halls of Mandos. Even after I found myself re-housed and returned to Middle Earth I had no word of them and I do not know if they yet remain in Mandos or have been re-housed as well.” He shook his head sadly. “I am bound here to protect Elrond and his family until the time comes for him to take ship to the west. I will never know them again until then.”
Meren reached up and touched his face gently. “My lord, I only ever wanted to ease your way. I never desired this ‘gift’ and all the problems that came with it.”
“I know, Meren, and I never meant to hurt you, either. I only wished to prevent it.”
“It seems we have only been adding to the confusion with misguided intentions, my lord.”
With a rueful smile he rested his forehead against hers and said wistfully. ”I wish you would use my name, Meren, or better still call me Fin as do my friends. When you use that form of address, I can only feel you desire to keep me in my place. I have found it is a very lonely place on that pedestal you have placed me on.”
“If that is your wish my….Fin.” She looked up at him shyly.
With a groan, he pulled her up tightly against him and kissed her until they both were breathless. “Meren, I would go further, but it will only add to our distractions. We must remain focused on our decisions regarding our future and this is not helping.”
“I understand, but it is wonderful to be in your arms again and feel your body against mine. The memories of our night together have filled my dreams with such joy and the pleasures you showed me were treasures I stored away to fill my empty and lonely future.”
“It need not be that. Let us explore what might be and see if we can make it so.”
Ellyth- elf maidens
Meldir nin- my friend (male)
Mae govannen-well met, a greeting
Meleth nin- my love, beloved