2. An Arrival
The weather held clear and fine over the next few days and the patrol settled into their well practice routine needing little guidance from Glorfindel. The nights were turning colder but still remained comfortable as the days retained the last of summer’s warmth. Patrols made routine sweeps of the nearby countryside alert for any sign of trouble and hunters sought the occasional deer. Others took time to harvest the last fruit from the nearby abandon farm and collecting nuts and berries to add to their usual travel rations.
Elrond along with one of the sergeants was delighted for the opportunity to do some fishing from the two rivers that met near the campsite where the salmon and trout were still numerous. Several bears were only to happy to challenge them for their catch as they sought to pack on the last bit of flesh before seeking their snug dens for rhiw. More then once the elves found themselves backing away from their belligerent adversaries and watching with amusement as the animals turned on each other only to loose the prize to a third or even a fourth contender.
It was on the evening of the sixth day after all had settled in for the evening that Elrond heard from the expected party.
*Elladan? What news? *
*We should be there by midday tomorrow. *
*You have made good time ion nin! There were no problems? *
*No, but we came across fresh yrch signs two days ago. We will have to be careful until we are well within the borders of Imladris. *
*I will inform ‘Fin. He was hoping to use the southern route, but that may no longer an option. *
*I agree ada. Until tomorrow! *
*Until then, ion nin. *
Elrond sat for a long time as he considered the implications of the yrch signs then rose from the log he had been seated on and went to look for Glorfindel. It was some time later that he finally located him talking to one of the warriors near the horse picket line. He was holding a piece of tack and frowning.
“’Fin, a moment of your time, please.”
Glorfindel nodded and clasped the sentry on the shoulder handing the bridle back to the warrior. “We will have to find time to complete those repairs before we depart for Imladris, meldir. Ii will be difficult but it must be done. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.”
“I agree hiren, the hides from the deer kills should be sufficient. I know they are green but they will hold until we reach the valley.” The sentry nodded respectfully to his Elrond and returned his attention to the task at hand.
Turning to the elf lord Glorfindel sighed and asked “Yes Elrond, what news from the travelers?”
Elrond grinned. “’Dan says they will be here by mid day tomorrow.”
Glorfindel smiled at his lord’s pleasure. “You will be glad to see them meldir nin.”
“I will be happier once we are safely within the borders of Imladris. ‘Dan says they have seen fresh yrch signs and that the southern route is questionable.”
Glorfindel nodded. “I suspected as much and thank the Valar that there has been no further rain. We should be able to return the way we came if we are careful.”
Elrond nodded. “I agree. We can let them rest for a couple of days then depart for Imladris on the third. Hopefully the extra time will allow the trail to dry out further.”
Both Elrond and Glorfindel watched with interest as the travelers rode in the next afternoon led by the twins. They were surprised to note that all were dressed in the grey and brown of the Lothlorien Galadhrim. Elrohir pulled up to his father, jumped down, and embraced him in a bear hug.
“Mae Govannen ada, ‘Fin. It is good to see you. It has been a long trip and I am glad we made it without encountering any trouble.”
Elladan assisted Arwen down and both joined their adar. Elrond hugged his daughter and grasped the hand of his other son. “You are a most welcome sight, hin nin. Have you abandon your loyalty to Imladris? He gestured towards the clothes they wore.
Arwen laughed. “No ada, merely a precaution to confuse enemy eyes, were they chance to espy us. A group of Galadhrim merit less attention as a choice target than the sell and the ionnath of the Lord of Imladris and their escort.”
Elrond nodded in approval and turned to greet the rest of the travelers who by then had dismounted and were clustered about them.
Arwen pulled the three ellyth forward. ‘Ada, these are my friends, Nerdanel, Earwen and Mithrellas.”
The three ellyth bowed their heads and with hand over their hearts gave formal greetings to the Lord of Imladris. Mithrellas smiled and spoke in a low melodious voice, “We are most grateful for the hospitality of Imladris, Lord Elrond. Long has the lady Arwen spoken of its beauty and richness of spirit. We are most eager to judge the truth of her words, hiren. Whether it is in truth as she says or whether her words are colored by affection for her birthplace.”
Elrond studied the elleth with amusement before answering. “In truth we judge it a most beauteous place as I am sure you will find for yourself. You are welcome for as long as you wish to stay.”
With that he returned his attention to his hin and the others drifted away to make camp and care for their mounts.
“Tell us of the yrch signs you found.” Glorfindel queried as they moved to the campfire and gratefully accepted the cups of hot tea offered by the warrior on mess detail that evening.
Later as they relaxed about the fire, Elrond found himself studying the newcomers. The first two Arwen had presented to him he quickly discounted. They were sweet, intelligent, and good company but very young. It was the third that drew his attention. She sat there silently and watched the others with amusement. Occasionally she would add a pithy comment or observation to the conversation that added to the general merriment. She was a widow, older, quiet, and self-assured, and he learned, asked by Galadriel to keep an eye on the other three. It was clear where she stood in the affections of both the ellyth and his ionnath. With careless ease they all referred to her as ‘Rella yet they unconsciously responded to her unspoken authority with respect. Less then a mother figure and more than an elder sister, she responded back in the same affectionate manner and never appeared to use any pressure to obtain her end.
Originally from the Grey Havens, she had been in Caras Galadon with her youngest daughter to await the birth of her latest grandchild. Now that the child was safely delivered, she would travel back to her home after a short stay in Imladris. There was a shadow that lay in her eyes and he suspected it would not be long before she took ship for the undying lands. Like him he thought she had stayed to see that her hin had a chance to grow strong and get settled after the loss of her spouse. Now that goal seemed to have been reached. He understood the strength of purpose that required from his own experience.
Elrond smiled wryly. He watched his usually gregarious ionnath dance attendance on her respectfully. Not even their grandmother had achieved the level of easy mutual acceptance and respect that ‘Rella had. Although they loved and respected Galadriel, they also had a healthy fear of her. ‘Rella would have been an able leader of her people if destiny had placed her in such a position.
‘Rella was aware of the elf lord’s scrutiny and wondered what he found so interesting in her. In turn she had been quietly observing him and was fascinated by what she saw. His love for his children was very clear and theirs for him as well. She had quickly sensed the self loathing for their perceive failure to protect their mother and the resulting anger that drove his ionnath to constantly seek out and engage to the death the abominations that had destroyed their mother’s health and break apart their happy family. In Elrond she recognize the same loneliness and frustration of having to remain behind for the sake of children. She wondered if in the long dark nights he found his lonely bed as cold and empty as she did. ‘Rella sighed. She was eager to return to the home she now shared with her parents. They would not be surprised by what she intended to tell them.
Elrond took note of her introspection and sigh. Thoughtfully he looked about the others and commented. “I believe it is time for us all to seek our rest. Our guests must be tired and there will be plenty of time to talk further in the coming days.”
‘You are right, ada.” Arwen smothered a yawn. “I will be grateful for a couple of days that do not include riding a horse from dawn to dusk.”
“I will be grateful for the chance to wash some of my things and take a long bath in a quiet pool of water if there is one to be found.” One of the other ellyth suggested hopefully.
‘Dan grinned, “I will gladly volunteer to keep watch. All in the interest of your safety of course!” He added at his father’s raised eyebrow.
“I think we can manage to find such a pool without the need for you to stand watch ion nin.” Elrond responded dryly.
‘Rella chuckled. “I think I will take that responsibility while any necessary guards can stay well beyond the immediate parameter of the pool.”
“I concur my lady. If additional security is needed then Lord Glorfindel and I will be quite happy to man the outer parameter of the pool while the penneth bath.” Elrond grinned at his ionnath’s chagrin and with a laugh he punched both on the arm. “Both of you remember your manners.”
‘Dan and ‘Roh joined in the general merriment and soon silence descended across the camp.
Ada-father – daddy
Meldir nin-my friend (male)
Mae govannen- well met-a greeting
Hin nin-my children
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