8. A Meeting and A Consultation
“Why have you come forward now penneth?” He asked quietly, Why not earlier?”
“I did not realize how much change in my ‘gift’ had occurred. When I did understand I knew that I had to confess at once what I had been doing. I decided to do so after everyone was done dealing with the relief effort since I did not want to cause confusion or distract anyone until all that had been completed.”
Meren lifted pleading hands towards him. “Lord Elrond, please believe me when I tell you, I never meant to cause these problems. All I ever wanted to do was to ease in some small way Lord Glorfindel’s life. I never ever intended to complicate it.”
She continued confusion on her face, “I do not understand why all this had happened. No one in my family has ever received such a ‘gift.’ Although considering what has happened, one might question whether or not it is a gift.”
Elrond sat quietly as she twisted her hands in nervousness. “Sit down Meren,” he gestured towards a nearby chair. “Tell me how and when you first realized you were able to sense Glorfindel’s comings and goings.”
Reluctantly she sank into the chair and gripped the carved arms with taut fingers. Raising her tense face she looked into his eyes surprised to find a sympathetic twinkle reflected there.
“You know of Lord Glorfindel’s abhorrence to any suggestion of a permanent relationship with ellyn,” she started slowly. Elrond nodded encouragingly. “I well understood early on that while he may regard me with some affection he would never allow himself to return my depths of feelings for him. It seemed the only way I could cope was to put some distance between us and watch him from afar. I allowed myself to pretended to take care of him imagining myself sending the house elves to perform those duties I could not.”
“Several decades ago I realized I could predict when he was leaving or returning to Imladris and would wait upon the high terrace above our chambers to see him. That way I could see him and not intrude upon his personal life. I could wish him safe journey or welcome him home then I would ‘offer’ a hot bath or a welcoming glass of wine to him. It seemed a harmless thing to do. I could allow myself to care and no one would be the wiser or bothered by my foolishness.”
“It would appear to be a harmless daydream, but understandable. When did it all change?” the elf lord asked.
Meren pondered her answer then replied. “I am not exactly sure, my lord, but I became aware quite by accident that the house elves were often present to assist him without receiving any advanced warning from anyone. At first I thought it was coincidence or merely acute awareness by them but I decided to test it and ‘sent’ a few discrete suggestions that were unusual but not unreasonable. I was horrified when they actually occurred and that I appeared to be able to direct the actions of others in such a way. It truly worried me about the possible consequences of such actions and so I stopped.”
“Yet you began again.”
“Yes, after much soul searching, I found myself still continuing to want to do things for Lord Glorfindel. I decided I could do so if it were handled in such a way that any instructions were originated by Master Hebgobel I could solve the dilemma. I restricted my efforts to merely mentally ‘nudging’ to alert him that Lord Glorfindel was going to depart or arrive. To keep it from being obvious, I was able to include others from time to time but it was not always easy to understand which others I would be able to add. Master Hebgobel’s natural sense of duty and understanding of the usual routines of his fellow dwellers took care of the rest. That he never noticed he often anticipated Glorfindel’s desires did not bother me. He enjoyed a much appreciated opinion and goodwill from others and I was able to have the satisfaction of adding to Lord Glorfindel’s comfort.”
“Were you aware of the unease that recently arose between Glorfindel and Hebgobel as a result of your interference?”
She shuddered at the implied accusation. “No, my lord, at least not until just before the flood threat when I suddenly realized I was hearing your worries about what was happening. That was when I became aware of all of the concerns and the possibility of an enemy using me for his own ends. I have thought long and hard about how to resolve this and the only way I know will be for me to depart for the Undying Lands as soon as possible. There is a group leaving next week. I know you will need to address my foolishness before that and I will gladly accept any punishment you wish to assign. I ask only that you have compassion on my parents and not blame them, they had no knowledge or part in any of this.”
Elrond watched her over steepled fingers that hide a sad smile. He knew that granting her permission to depart was the worst punishment he could pronounce. To be separated from the one you loved was nearly unbearable. He could feel her pain and recognized the depth of her proffered sacrifice. Had not he been faced with the same when Celebrian departed and he had no other choice?
“Meren, I must consider this before I can decide what must be done. Say nothing to anyone just yet. It would also be best if you can resist using your ‘gift.’ I will inform you when I have arrived at a decision.”
Meren stood and nodded her head. “I understand my lord.” She hesitated. “There is just one more thing…”
He lifted an eyebrow in question.
“Last night after the celebration Lord Glorfindel and I spent the night together….in his chambers. I fear that the knowledge I was soon going to be separated from him may have caused me to unduly influence his actions through my desire to be his chosen companion if even only for that one time. I know he must be told about that possibility and I admit I am terrified to face him. If you have any advice, I would be most grateful for it. He will be very angry and loath me; knowing I had such power over him.” She lowered her head and waited for his answer.
Shocked Elrond settled back in his chair with a jerk. Glorfindel had invited her to spend the night with him in his room? He knew how careful the balrog slayer was in letting anyone into the very private part of his world. He never allowed his occasional dalliances with the ellyth occur there. Had Meren really been able to direct Glorfindel’s action? He studied the elleth through narrowed eyes. No, she may consider it a serious possibility but he could not believe that it was possible that the seneschal was so weak. He knew him too well. It was far more likely that the golden haired elf had an unacknowledged affection for her since he had taken her under his wing all those years ago. Why he had now acted on any attraction remained unexplainable.
“Meren, as I said, I must consider this before I can decide what must be done. I will inform you when I have arrived at a decision.”
“As you say, my lord, I will await your judgment.” She turned and with misery written on every part of her body, she silently left him deep in thought.
For some time he sat there considering the situation. Finally he rose and strode to the balcony overlooking his garden.
*Galadriel? I have need of your counsel. *
There was a pause. *Elrond mell nin, you have found your Walker? *
*Yes, it is the elleth Merentiri. She has remained fond of Glorfindel ever since he became her champion when she was a hin. She just left me now after confessing all. * He proceeded to tell her what he had learned from the crushed elleth.
She chuckled. *Ah, poor Lord Glorfindel. To be so bedevilled by his ellyth devotees. Well at least we now know that there is little danger from an outside enemy. Does he know yet? *
*No. Before I tell him I wanted to know if it is truly possible he was influenced against his will to pursue their joining. *
There was a pause as she considered his question. *Since little is known about watchers, I can only surmise. However everything I have heard indicates that they are incapable of forcing an action from one who does not wish to accomplish it. I would say that Lord Glorfindel was a most willing partner. It also means that he has solved the problem he inadvertently created. By this action he has relieved her of her ‘gift’ for she has now shared a mutual affection with him. *
*Then I do not need to sentence her an early departure to the Undying Lands? * He commented with wry amusement.
*Elrond, surely you do not intend to punish the poor thing?” Came the shocked thoughts from the Lady of Light.
“Of course not, she merely believes it is the only solution to ensure the safety of Imladris…* He paused.
*She offered this? *
*You are remembering another separation made to ensure the well being of a loved one and one you could not prevent. *
*Yes. * He swallowed hard.
*Mell nin, you did what had to be done. Happily this one will not be necessary. Your problem will lay with Glorfindel. He could make things very difficult for her if he does not wish to continue a relationship with her. If that occurs, she will be welcome here in Lorien. *
*You would not fear a reoccurrence of the problem?
*I have never heard of a second instance where it has happened with the same walker. Since her power was so strong it would indicate her emotional attachment was as if they had bonded. No, I do not believe it will be a problem. *
Elrond considered her remarks and nodded in agreement. *I thank you for your wise counsel. I did not wish to demand her departure. I know her parents would insist on accompanying her and it would be a serious loss. Far too many have all ready left and I value her father’s services. *
*It would seem the balrog slayer will be the answer one way or the other, then. *
*I agree. *
*Let me know the outcome, mell nin. *
*I will, my lady. *
Breaking the link he stood in silent contemplation for a long time. As the noonday chimes echoed through the halls of the last homely house breaking through his concentration he grinned in wicked anticipation of his seneschal’s discomfort when he understood what was going on.
Mell nin-my dear