1. Rain, Rain, Go Away, Elves Do Come But Not To Play!
Glorfindel called out now and again to remind them to stay alert although he had little reason to believe anyone else in their right mind was out and about in the current weather. Yrch were the exception and they were a constant threat. His concern lay with the silent figure of the Lord of Imladris following just behind him. The horses were finding it difficult to navigate the narrow trail and as each one made its way along the mud was becoming more sloppy and deep. He wrinkled his nose at the smell of decaying leaves and mud. Travel conditions during lanthir outside the valley tended to be unpleasant lasting until the onslaught of the chill of rhiw firmed up the ground and froze the shallower streams.
Elrond was mentally cursing himself for deciding to join the patrol that was on their way to meet up with the group from Lorien escorting Arwen on her way back to Imladris. Her two brothers were with her and he had missed his children’s presence and was eager to see them all. Now he was aware that Glorfindel was concerned that his presence would be an additional tempting target if any of their enemies should chance upon them and attack. His unusual impulsiveness could result in costing them much.
He sighed and shook his head. He was here and they could not spare an adequate escort to see him back. There was no other choice but to continue and hope they escaped the attention of any stray yrch. Unconsciously his hand went to the sword he wore and satisfied he could draw it quickly if necessary, he settled back and patted the neck of his mount.
“’Fin, how much farther to the campsite?” He called out to the golden haired warrior ahead of him.
Glorfindel halted Asfaloth and waited for Elrond to catch up. “About another two hours. We would have been there now if this mud had not slowed the horses so much.” He looked at his lord and hesitated. “I do have concerns about the trail ahead of us tomorrow. It is narrow and follows the cliffs above the river. If the ground is unstable we may find ourselves stranded or even off into the river itself. We may have to double back and take the longer route.“
Elrond nodded. “If that is necessary I will contact ‘Roh and ‘Dan and have them wait for us at the high meadows campsite. It is more protected and they can defend themselves better there then at the two rivers fork camp.”
Glorfindel returned the nod and signaled Asfaloth to move back up ahead into place.
Darkness had descended by the time they reached the small valley where they made camp for the night. Sentries were set out and the rest of the patrol quickly set up a camp, caring for the horses and preparing a hot meal. Elrond and Glorfindel both refused to allow anyone else to care for their mounts and quickly unsaddle the tired equines. Removing their cloaks they hung them from a nearby tree and began a brisk wipe of the animals’ mud soddened coats.
When the mud was finally removed from the belly and legs of his horse, Elrond looked at his own clothes and grimaced. “Now I remember why I prefer to remain behind while the rest of you play at being warriors.” He glanced over at Glorfindel who was just finishing his grooming of Asfaloth and burst out laughing. His seneschal was covered with mud and his usually well-groomed hair was lying in dark wet caramel colored ropes against his head and the sodden grey of his cloak. “Fin, you are supposed to remove your horse’s mud, not wear it.”
Asfaloth turned his head and looked at his master. Snorted in disgust, he blew noisily and shook his head before moving off to join the rest of the horses beginning to graze as each was released after being groomed. Glorfindel stood silently for a while watching the horses then turned and studied his lord before answering with a chuckle of his own. “You need to get out more often. You have allowed yourself to become soft immured there in Imladris mellon nin. Gil would not recognize his herald these days.”
Elrond smiled wryly then moved to the stream and washed himself as well as he could. The remaining mud on his leggings and boots would have to dry before he could brush it off. Shaking his cloak briskly he managed to remove the odd bit of mud and beaded rainwater then replaced it about his shoulders and moved towards the now brightly burning campfire. Glorfindel followed a few moments later and accepted two cups of tepid tea. Turning to Elrond he handed one to him.
“It will be a while before it is really hot, but this will help in the mean time.”
Elrond nodded and stood off to one side while the others in the patrol continued with their well-practiced routine of settling in. Soon, additional small fires were burning about the site and a few tarps were hung from stakes and improvised poles as shelters against the constant drip of the rain. Several elves methodically collected fir boughs from the underside of nearby trees and distributed them as bedding material. Packs and bedrolls were set out and all was in readiness for the night.
During the night the rain stopped and morning broke under a clear and brisk blue sky. Glorfindel sent out two scouts to test the condition of the trail ahead and was relieved when they returned reporting that all appeared to be in good shape although returning that way with the larger group may prove difficult. He waved them over to the campfire where the last of the hot porridge was waiting for them. Turning back towards Elrond sitting near the fire he asked. “You heard?”
Elrond nodded and finishing his tea, threw the dregs into the fire.
Rising he handed the cup to the elf packing the cooking gear and waved towards the horses. “We had best get saddled and on our way while the weather holds. The quicker we are across this next part of the trail the happier I will be.”
Glorfindel frowned. “Have you sensed something, meldir?”
Elrond shook his head. “Nothing specific, just an feeling of unease. It is probably all this rain getting on my nerves.”
Glorfindel studied his lord. Elrond had the gift of foresight and the balrog slayer had learned through the centuries not to discount his warnings or unease. “Has Vilya given you any indication of danger?”
“Nothing, but I have been careful to not use her power. I do not wish to announce our presence outside the valley to any who could sense her.”
Glorfindel shrugged. “I do not discount your feelings so easily meldir nin. I have learned to trust them so we will proceed with caution. I trust you will let me know if you do sense anything or anyone?” He added dryly.
Elrond nodded. “You are in command here and I accede readily to your wishes.”
Camp was swiftly cleared and they departed shortly thereafter. The trail, although soggy, proved passable. There were one or two collapses of rock and earth that tumbled into the river below as they traversed it but all managed it safely. Looking back Glorfindel studied it and sighed with relief. Elrond dropped back and joined him in studying the trail.
“That was not as bad as I feared, ‘Fin. Although I do not think we should risk returning this way unless the weather holds and the ground dries out enough to prove more stable.”
“I agree Elrond. Only under the most dire of circumstances would I want to even consider it.” At that they both turned and rejoined their companions.
Over the next two weeks Eru smiled on them and the weather remained clear allowing the patrol to travel in relative comfort. Although the ground remained muddy, the trail dried enough that their passage was easily accomplished and only a few days behind on their schedule they arrived at the fork of the two rivers where they were to meet up with Arwen and her escort. Much to their surprise they found the site unoccupied.
Elrond paused and studied the ground. “It would appear ‘Fin that no one has used this place for some time.”
Glorfindel nodded and waved two warriors forward. “Make a sweep to the south and look for any signs of other travel. Be cautious, they may have run into trouble.” With a wave they took off at a gallop and soon disappeared into the upper tree line.
Elrond settled himself back into his saddle and closed his eyes. Concentrating he sent out a mental questions to his children seeking their wellbeing and their progress. He was relieved when Elladan immediately responded in surprise.
*Ada, where are you? Is something wrong? *
*I am at the two rivers fork campsite along with Glorfindel and the patrol you were to meet. We were concerned when we did not find you here before us. *
*You have left Imladris? * Came the concerned voice of Elrohir. *Is everything all right, ada? *
*Yes, I only wished to spend some more time with you before my duties again consumed my attention. But answer my question. Where are you and how much longer before you reach here? *
*You have forgotten what is like to travel with ellyth, ada. The weather has caused us to proceed much slower then usual. * Came the disgusted voice of Elladan. *
*Your sister has never been a problem before. *
*It is not just Arwen, ada. It is the three other ellyth that are traveling with her. They have actually been good travelers, but they do require more care and attention then just her alone. *
*Celeborn said nothing about additional ellyth. *
*I do not believe he was aware of it, ada. He departed Caras Galadhon to spend some time on the northern fences before we departed. Arwen invited the ellyth to come along at the last minute. *
*Ada, please do not be upset. * Arwen’s sweet voice brushed acrossed Elrond’s mind. *They have been trying very hard to cause as little trouble as possible. I have been telling them all about Imladris and they have wanted to visit for some time. I just decided it was time to invite them. *
Elrond sighed. *Arwen, mell nin, I am not upset, only concerned for yours and their safety. We did not bring a large number of warriors as escort, and with three additional elves, supplies will be stretched. *
*Ada, give me credit for some sense. We brought extra supplies to cover them and the eight Galadhrim who will travel with us the rest of the way back to Imladris before returning back to the Golden Woods. *
*She is right, ada. They planned well and we will have sufficient protection for the rest of the journey. * Elladan added.
Elrond shook his head ruefully and looked at Glorfindel. *Well what is done is done. When do you expect to arrive here? *
*If the weather holds, five days, if not it could be up to a week and a half. * Elladan spoke resignedly.
Elrond could not help himself and burst out laughing to the puzzlement of Glorfindel. *Very well, but keep us advised of your progress. We can use the time here to dry things out while we wait for you *
* Of course ada. Namarie, *
*Namarie, ionnath nin. *
Elrond swung down from his horse and chuckled. At Glorfindel’s questioning look, he grinned up. “They are about a week away and all is well…. sort of. Arwen has invited some guests and they have slowed down the usual pace of travel. Ionnath nin do not enjoy baby sitting them.”
Glorfindel dismounted and loosened the girth on Asfaloth before turning back to Elrond. “We will need additional supplies and additional escort….”
Elrond shook his head. “They come prepared and the Galadhrim will send along some of their warriors the rest of the way back with us before returning to Caras Galadhon.”
“Well, we can use the time waiting to do some hunting and collect some other fresh things to add to what they bring. There is an abandoned farmstead with some wild fruit trees and berry bushes not too far away. There are usually some fruit left yet this time of the season. If we are lucky we may find a wild bee tree hive. I will see what we can find. How many additional elves are we talking about?”
“Three ellyth and eight warriors.”
The balrog slayer shook his head. “We will have to take the longer route further south. I do not like it, Elrond, four ellyth and we will be moving closer to yrch territory.”
Mellon nin-my friend
Meldir - friend
Meldir nin-my friend
Mell nin-my dear
Ionnath nin-my sons
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.