His family would be gathered together again soon: Arwen, returned from a sojourn in Lorien, where he hoped she would have regained some of the joy that drained from her as the Age darkened; and his sons, the young son of his heart being taught by his twin sons the ways of war and Men in the wild, had come home.
Firm footsteps sounded, and he turned to see that, in the months he had been gone, Estel had put off the child. He would be greater still in mind and body, but now a fine man approached him, tall, fair of face, grave of mien but with a wellspring of joy within, strong and kingly as was fitting in a descendant of Elros and Elendil.
"My son. Welcome home!" He held out his arms for an embrace.
Estel stopped short of hugging range and gave a deep reverence.
"Sir." He straightened and Elrond saw him square his shoulders and take a deep breath. "Returning to Rivendell from the Wild, we fell in with a party from Lorien and I met your daughter."
A cold qualm settled in Elrond's heart and he let his arms drop.
"She is all that is most fair. I loved her from the moment I saw her, and, against all my expectations, she loves me as well. We stood on the pinnacle of the High Pass with all of Middle-earth spread out below us in the gold light of sunset, and she made her choice to marry me. Life is short for Men. We spoke our vows then and there."
Elrond closed his eyes and bowed his head, staring into an abyss, until he felt Arwen's gentle touch and voice. "Father? I knew we should have come together to tell you of our happiness. Estel feared you would be wroth at our impetuosity, but I know you wish all your children to find the same joy you found with mother. And I - and we have. "
He opened his eyes and saw that she had one hand entwined with her… husband's hand. There was no mistaking the ties that bound them nor the joy in his daughter's heart.
"We have taken thought for the future," Estel said. "I know I am only Gilraen's bastard, but I have some blood of Numenor from her, and I found this trip that Men will follow me."
"He did great deeds," Arwen insisted.
Estel shook his head. "There are many in the Wild who turn to darkness because they have nowhere else to go. Arwen and I will forge a new kingdom along Anduin to give them hope and show them the right cause to fight for. We can do this and will be your ally in the dark times ahead."
It was done and could not be undone. The scent of honeysuckle grew stronger and a fleeting moment of warmth and love touched him. He knew Celebrian would not expect Arwen to be at his side when he finally sought the West. Elrond clasped Estel's - Aragorn's - shoulder and gave a rueful smile. "There is something you should know about your father."
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.