5. Confession Is Good For The Soul
She had made her final decision after long and careful deliberations. She could not cause her parents grief the taking of her own life would create so she would depart for the Undying Lands. That is, if Lord Elrond would allow her to do so after she confessed to him she was the Watcher. She knew that a small group of elves was leaving in the next two weeks and if he agreed, she would face whatever punishment he decreed and depart with them. Her thoughts were interrupted when the sounds of the arrival of several wagons filtered up to her room. She sensed the return of her Golden Lion and smiled sadly. She had truly pronounced her own worst punishment on herself. She would no longer be able to gaze upon that beloved figure; nor give him that extra consideration for his comfort.
Glorfindel swung down from Asfaloth and turned to face the tall figure of his lord.
“Any news from Galadriel, Elrond?”
“Yes, meldir nin. Unfortunately we will have to wait to discuss it further. We have scheduled a welcome for our visitors this evening in the Hall of Fire and I am reluctant to discuss this with so many newcomers in the main house. Come to my private chambers tomorrow and I will share her thoughts then.”
Glorfindel nodded and headed towards his own chambers curious to see if he would find all ready for him. He was not disappointed.
Ceredir turned from his supervision of the two house elves who were just finishing preparing the large bathing tub. The scent of oils of sandalwood and musk floated on the moist hot air. Glorfindel frowned. It was not a scent he had used for many years, nay centuries. What had prompted the change from his usual one?
At the balrog slayer’s frown, Ceredir hesitated. “My lord?” He questioned carefully, “Do you not wish to bath and rest before this evening’s celebration?”
“Yes, but these are not my usual choices.” He gestured toward the bottles now setting next to the tub on the floor.
“I found them sitting here on the chest my lord. I thought you had left them out to be used upon your return. I will have the water changed at once and use the old ones.”
Glorfindel shook his head. “No, that will not be necessary, I used these many centuries ago, and I was only surprised to see them again.”
Ceredir nodded and shepherded the house elves from the room. “My lord, I have ordered some fruit and sweet cakes along with a light wine to be served shortly. Have you given a thought as to what you will wear this evening?”
“No, you know my favorites, select something appropriate but not too distracting. I have no wish to be obvious.”
Ceredir smiled to himself. That was an impossibility. The balrog slayer stood out among his peers like a peacock among the pigeons. He shined with the glory of the chosen of the Valar. Ceredir crossed to the chest that held Glorfindel’s clothes and studied its contents after opening it. His hands moved unbidden selecting a tunic of dark cobalt blue with narrow gold banding, a pair of black leggings, an over robe of cobalt blue velvet and simple dress half boots in matching suede. It was quiet and simple reflecting the seneschal’s taste and one of his favorite outfits. Laying them out on the bed he quietly left the chamber.
Merentiri was surprised and pleased at the announcement of the welcome celebration planned for later that evening. She would have one last chance to be near him even if only across the room or from the shadows. Feeling very foolish she bathed with care and selected a gown of cobalt silk, hoping that if he did indeed notice her, he would approve. Her hair of deep gold was her only ornament and she wore it loose about her shoulders and back.
She sighed knowing how deeply upset and hurt her parents were going to be and she hoped Lord Erestor and her father would return soon. She so wanted the chance to say goodbye before she left for the Undying Lands. Perhaps Lord Elrond would take pity on her and allow her to depart quietly so as to not shame her parents. Surely he would understand that they were not to blame for her crimes? Her father had finally risen to the position of personal aid to Lord Erestor and often accompanied him on various diplomatic missions. More recently he had undertaken such trips on his own and was becoming a most trusted assistant to both Lord Elrond and Erestor.
Later that evening the welcome celebration was in full swing when at last Glorfindel entered the bustling Hall of Fire. He wove his way across the room through the crowds towards the Lord of Imladris who stood talking to the Lady Hareth, wife of one of Erestor’s aides, and her daughter Merentiri.
Merentiri stood there shaking in her slippers. She had been struggling to keep her distress under control while they were standing with Lord Elrond and then Lord Glorfindel had appeared! Suddenly a great calm settled over her. They would know soon enough what she had become. Until then she would enjoy what little time remained until she faced her lord with her confession.
Glorfindel smiled affectionately at the elleth who smiled back and gracefully dropped into a curtsey. He sketched a bow towards the peredhil and the ladies. He noted with approval how much Meren had matured over the years. He remembered the penneth he had come to know shortly after her arrival. At first she had followed him about and showered him with her childish affection. Later he suspected she had developed a crush on him and he was much relieved when she had outgrown it. He would have truly hated to be forceful in distancing himself from her.
“Mae Govannen, my lord.” Hareth addressed Glorfindel as she too curtsied.
“Mae Govannen, my lady. Your presence is most welcome this evening. I had feared you would not wish to attend without Lord Cylithurin”
“It was I who wished to attend my lord, and persuaded my mother to do so.” The soft voice of Merentiri added.
Glorfindel found himself looking into a pair of deep sapphire blue eyes and suddenly wanting to know what lay behind them. He sensed no danger as he usually did when women sought his attention. He grinned at her. “Would you honor me with a dance later Meren?”
She smiled up at him surprised and somewhat uncertain, “I would be honored my lord.”
He nodded. “Until then.”
Elrond noted with some interest the interchange between his seneschal and the penneth beside him. He remembered the affection with which she held Glorfindel when she had been but a youngling and had shared his relief when she had appeared to outgrow it. But then had she? Over the centuries, Glorfindel had made his lack of interest in a permanent relationship well known. She had proven as intelligent and capable as her father in many ways and certainly would have known that any hopes she may have allowed herself in that direction would come to naught.
He frowned as he considered the matter further. She had never pursued Glorfindel and had, in fact, seemed content to treat him as an older brother. While she maintained friendships with the other ellyn she had never shown a preference. Did she secretly pine for the balrog slayer and settle for watching from afar? No, he dismissed, such was highly improbable.
Meren danced with a number of ellyn and was beginning to think Glorfindel had forgotten about her and his offer. He had spent a part of the evening moving from group-to-group exchanging pleasantries and finally disappearing into the gardens. She sighed in disappointment then he was standing in front of her.
Bowing gallantly over her hand, he chuckled, “May I have this dance penneth?”
She swallowed hard and managed to smile somewhat crookedly in response. “I would be most happy my lord.”
With that he swung her out among the other dancers and holding her close moved with grace and ease through the complicated rhythms of the music. It was fast paced and soon had her laughing and gasping for breath. Glorfindel grinned down at her flushed face then danced out through the open doors onto the terrace. Whirling to a stop he continued to hold her as she threw her head back and looked up at him smiling clutching his arms to steady her self.
For the first time in a long while Glorfindel found himself becoming aroused with a desirable elleth in his arms and wanting something more then just a casual coupling for sexual release. Her eyes darken in response as she too sensed his desire. He lowered his head and took her lips in a gentle kiss even as his hands slid down and sought the gentle swell of her hips pulling her close against the cradle of his thighs. Her own hands slowly moved up to encircle his neck and she stretched up on tiptoes to meet his kiss eagerly. He deepened the kiss thrusting his tongue into the honeyed sweetness of her mouth and duelling with hers. Aware of where they were, he reluctantly pulled back leaving her dazed momentarily and gently stroked his knuckles against her cheek.
He smiled down at her ruefully. “I guess I will have to stop thinking of you as a penneth, Meren, You have definitely grown up.”
For a long moment she returned his gaze silently. “I am glad that has been settled to your satisfaction, my lord.” She reached up and tucked an errant fall of golden hair behind his ear. “And,” she continued softly, “you have settled a question I have long had. I thank you.” She reached up and kissed his lips then smiled, turned away and re entered the Hall of Fire.
Meldir nin-male elf friend
Mae Govannen- well met, a greeting
Merentiri- meren-joyous (S) plus tiri-watcher (S) =joyous watcher
Cyllthurin – Cyll-Bearer (S) plus Thurin- secrets (S)= bearer of secrets