41. Sacrifices Part One
Elrond fell to his knees beside the mattress and clasped the unconscious elf’s hands in his and raised them to his lips, praying desperately to all the Valar he could think of. Erestor’s eyelids fluttered for a moment before the convulsions wracked his body again and he groaned in pain. The hands that Elrond held tightly were becoming colder as death raced through the limbs.
Elrond released Erestor’s hands and quickly peeled off his armour and clothes. With shaking hands, he drew a dagger from his discarded belt and pressed it to his wrist. Fresh blood spurted out. Blinking furiously to stop his tears, he took Erestor’s right wrist in his hand and made a cut in the pale, white skin. Blood trickled slowly. Elrond took a deep breath. If this worked, he would never be forgiven by Galadriel or Celeborn or their daughter, who was betrothed to him. Yet he found that he did not care. All he wanted was Erestor to live. He had loved the chief counsellor for nearly a thousand and eight hundred years from afar, watching him live with his bonded-mate. He could face that again, be content with their friendship alone. However furious Erestor would be, Elrond knew that with time, the chief-counsellor would forgive him. That was all that mattered to him.
Determinedly, he brought their wrists together saying in a clear, low voice, “May Eru bind me to you in blood forever. My blood is your blood,” he watched half-fascinated as his blood flowed into Erestor’s veins.
The sheer force and strength of the newly formed bond made him giddy and exhausted. He rested his head on the side of the raised mattress, and watched relieved as Erestor’s face regained some colour. He murmured a prayer of gratitude to Eru and watched Erestor’s breathing become more regular. Now, it was time for the next part. Elrond shuddered. He did not have the courage to go on, but he knew that he would be too exhausted and unfocussed if he delayed this.
Gently, he ripped away Erestor’s tunic with one hand, leaving the bleeding wrist still joined with Erestor’s body. Trying to suppress a gasp of pleasure that shot through him as he drank in the sight of the pale torso before him, Elrond carefully slit through the ties of the leggings and peeled them down. He sighed bitterly as his eyes roved the prone body that he had tried to imagine thus so many sleepless nights. His wish had finally been granted, but at a terrible cost. He tied bandages on their bleeding wrists.
“Elrond, hurry, Celeborn returns to the camp,” Glorfindel’s voice was sharp.
“I am sorry,” Elrond whispered as he lay down by Erestor’s naked form, “But you will forgive me, I know. You always have.”
He raised himself to his hands and knees and pressed a kiss on the thin, red lips he loved so much. His trembling fingers caressed the cold face as he greedily kissed his way down the pale throat. As he kissed in the crook of the protruding collar bone, there was a low moan from Erestor and suddenly, firm hands pulled Elrond up for a passionate kiss. Elrond found himself moaning in desire as a talented tongue delved into his mouth, teasing, twisting, exploring and claiming. The taste of blood and the less bitter flavour of Erestor’s tongue overwhelmed him. His fingers buried themselves in Erestor’s blood and dirt covered hair. Erestor swiftly reversed their positions, pinning Elrond down and continued his assault with the tongue down Elrond’s straining neck and chest. Elrond bit his lips to stifle a scream as Erestor’s tongue and fingers played alternately upon his nipples. As the tongue descended to his belly button, Elrond climaxed, the intensity of emotions within him too strong to be denied any longer.
Erestor paused in his ministrations and shook his head trying to focus muttering, “You never are this fast, Gil.”
Elrond tried to tell himself that Erestor was not even aware of this in the drugged state, but he was not able to prevent a sob as he heard Gil-Galad’s name from Erestor’s lips. Somehow, he had hoped to hear his own.
Erestor shivered and lifted up Elrond’s legs to his chest. Elrond tensed, while he had centuries of experience with Thranduil, this was different. Erestor was not even aware of his actions, merely seeking to assuage his grief and lust. Elrond was unprepared and weak from the loss of blood. All his further thoughts were thrown out of his head as a sharp pain rose in his nether regions as Erestor entered him. His fingers clenched the mattress, and he screamed. The following moments were the most painful thus far in his long life as Erestor thrust mercilessly, crying our Gil-Galad’s name each time and Elrond felt something break within him deep inside.
But still, Elrond remembered to pant, “Eru bind me to you in body forever.” He felt a flash of pain in him before falling limply.
Finally, Erestor climaxed with a powerful thrust and fell atop Elrond’s gasping body exhausted and sobbing desperately until he fell into reverie. Elrond lay still for a few moments before clumsily moving away from the mattress and pulling the covers over Erestor’s wet form. He dressed himself in just his tunic and stumbled out of the tent where Thranduil and Glorfindel waited. As if by prior agreement, Glorfindel entered the tent while Thranduil helped a dazed Elrond to his own tent.
“Did it work?” Thranduil asked quietly as he removed the torn, dirty tunic from Elrond’s trembling body.
Elrond was not able to hold onto his self-control anymore and he buried his head against Thranduil’s shoulder saying bitterly, “When have your ideas not worked, my prince? It was perfect except for that he was calling for Gil all through the binding.”
Thranduil’s hands soothed him as Elrond sobbed in grief for the price that Sauron had taken. He cried bitterly for the losses borne by himself, Erestor, Thranduil, Anoriel, Círdan and countless others. He was barely aware of a goblet pressed to his lips; moments later he fell limp and sedated against Thranduil, who moved him to a clean mattress and then began the torturous task of washing the bleeding body.
Black eyes opened slowly and took in their surroundings.
“You are awake?” a familiar reassuring voice asked quietly, “I had been worried.”
“Glor,” Erestor murmured and closed his eyes again trying to drown himself in the dark shadows of grief, “He left me.”
“He had no choice. He was the king of our people. You had always known that in the end his duty would exceed his love,” Glorfindel ran his hands caressingly over the cold face of his friend.
“Yes,” Erestor raised himself wearily, “Yes, , duty is a harsh master. He has done his duty. Now we must not fail in ours.”
“You are exhausted,” Glorfindel said determinedly, “Rest and let us do the work.”
Erestor smiled bitterly, “No, Glor, what more do I have to live for if not for my duty and my grief? I may not have loved him with my full heart, but I loved him all the same, more than I have loved anyone else. I will see his duty completed.”
Glorfindel did not reply, and bent over to kiss a tear-stained cheek. Erestor clutched onto his friend for support and raised himself to his feet.
“Why am I naked?” Erestor asked wryly, “Did Thranduil try warming me?”
Glorfindel smiled softly and held out a set of deep blue robes. Erestor shook his head sadly saying, “Black it must be, .”
Glorfindel bowed in acquiescence.
“Call the nobles and the alliance leaders to the high-king’s tent,” Erestor said unemotionally.
Elrond walked alone to the high-king’s tent. He could already hear raised voices from within. Thranduil had decided to go with his commanders. Elrond entered the tent quietly.
At one side stood Isildur, the heavy crown of Gondor resting on his dark hair. His eyes held bitter anger and pride. With him stood his brother, sons and nephews. His commanders stood farther away respectfully. Next to the human contingent stood the dwarves led by Durin’s younger son, as yet uncrowned. The eldest son and the crown heir had fallen in the last battle.
On the other side were the elven leaders. Círdan and Celeborn stood together, speaking in low voices. Glorfindel was conversing with one of Thranduil’s commanders. Thranduil himself was standing quietly, his gaze fixed on Isildur. Next to Thranduil stood a figure, Elrond had not expected to see.
Erestor was clad in sombre black robes, the rich blackness alleviated only by the sword at his waist. His hair was restrained by a graceful metal clasp highlighting the gaunt, yet, determined face. The black eyes met Elrond’s form and Erestor nodded slightly.
“Now that the herald has come, we may start,” Círdan said in his deep voice.
“We need aid to find the body of my brother, our king,” Durin III said in his gloomy voice.
Erestor bowed saying, “Yes, my Lord, we have already sent Lord Gildor to retrieve the bodies of the fallen.”
“My father’s body? And the high-king’s body?” Anárion cut in. Glorfindel and Elrond looked at Erestor worriedly
“Lord Elendil’s body will be brought to your encampment,” Erestor said coldly, “And the high-king, I believe there is no body left.”
Anárion remained silent and Isildur said gravely, “Our condolences for your loss, Lord Erestor.”
Erestor bowed and continued, “Lord Círdan will speak on a different matter now.”
“I will not give up the ring,” Isildur said bluntly.
“King of Men,” Círdan said firmly, “you do not have the power to wield it. We should kill the ring and its master in Mt.Doom.”
“And if I refuse to?” Isildur asked, though his features were hidden by the darkness.
“Then,” Thranduil said coldly, “We will have another war, my lord, and this time we shall be on opposite sides.”
Anárion said softly, “We would not have war again, King Thranduil, enough blood have we shed by our arguments. My brother will not claim a bauble that cost my father his life.”
He turned to his elder brother and after a few moments of staring at each other, Isildur remarked, “Who will lead me to Mordor? I will not enter that accursed land on my own.”
“Whom will you accept?” Erestor asked quietly, “You do not give most of us the respect we are entitled to.”
“I will take my kin,” Isildur said grimly, “I respect Lord Elrond the most amongst you.”
Erestor’s eyes flickered over Elrond, who nodded.
Círdan said, “So be it, lord Isildur.”
Galadriel watched the images in her mirror in rising horror. Elrond had bound himself to Erestor, the pain on his features overcome by the nobility of their bond.
She asked to herself, “Why did the Valar allow this bond? Even in death our marriage vows hold.”
Then she realized the exact situation, Erestor was not bound to Elrond. It was one directional, Elrond had not completed the cycle.
“Oh, half-elf, your sense of rightness will be the fall of you,” she said bitterly.
“Naneth,” Celebrían joined her, “Are you speaking to yourself?”
Galadriel did not have the courage to look into her only child’s eyes. She had just seen the elf she had betrothed her daughter to bind himself to another. Elrond would never bear love of that intensity towards anyone else. And yet, bound by her oath to avenge her kin, Galadriel knew that she would sacrifice her daughter to a loveless, farcical marriage. Celebran would never forgive her. Celeborn’s love might overcome his disgust. But Galadriel was sure that she would never stop hating herself.
Elrond led Isildur through Mordor towards the mountain.
“Even the fiercest thunderstorm cannot undo this,” Isildur said bitterly as he looked about the charred corpses of elves, dwarves and men.
“Thus it was thought after the war of the wrath. Yet Angband was cleansed,” Elrond said thoughtfully, his eyes resting on one particularly mangled elven remains. Was it Celebrimbor?
“Have you found any prisoners?” Isildur asked quietly, his voice trembling ever so slightly.
“None so far. But only Thranduil is willing to go into Barad-dur itself. He is a king,” Elrond sighed, “And cannot be allowed to do that. What of the human sides? Will you lead a search party?”
“Lord Thranduil is a noble soul,” Isildur said with an uncharacteristic sigh, “Much pain have I caused him. No, Lord Elrond, my men lack the courage to step foot within the fortress.”
“I cannot blame them,” Elrond said quietly, “We have all seen enough of these black lands. I am honoured to escort you, Isildur, but I cannot claim that I like this journey.”
“Nor do I,” Isildur fell into his own thoughts before asking, “Was Círdan right? Will the ring harm more than heal this wounded land?” he unclasped his shirt and fingered the small circlet that was their journey’s end.
“The ring may heal,” Elrond shrugged, turning his eyes away as Isildur stroked the ring, “But they say he created it from his own heart, filled it with malice. So I don’t think it can heal.”
“It is powerful and has lent him strength and wisdom,” Isildur argued quietly, never taking his eyes off the ring.
“Isildur, you are making me nervous,” Elrond muttered as he picked his way up the rocky, mountain path leading to the cave, “Come, watch your step and let us hurry. I wish to get this over with. There are many whom I must tend to at the healing tents.”
“Lord Erestor has recovered well enough,” Isildur said meaningfully, “I suppose as you are the next in line for the crown, he becomes your possession.”
Elrond had a sudden urge to push Isildur into one of the many magma pits around. He clenched his teeth and did not reply.
They entered the cave and stood before the large chasm of molten lava. Elrond felt the malice in the surround suffocate him, he wondered absently if Isildur did not feel it. But then Elrond realized that the malice seemed to be directed from the human. Alarmed, he refocused his attention. Isildur fingered the ring, apparently debating within himself.
“Throw it in,” Elrond whispered with a sinking feeling, he knew then that Isildur would not do it. The lust and raw desire in the human’s eyes nearly made Elrond stagger in shock.
“Why should I?” Isildur purred, “Afraid I will overwhelm your elven realms?”
“Throw it in, Isildur, before it ensnares you completely,” Elrond grit his teeth and clasped his hand on his sword. Isildur was ensnared already.
“I see no reason than the fear of the unknown, Elrond,” Isildur said quietly, his eyes gleaming in the red darkness of the cave, “I do not fear it.”
“If you do not throw it in, I will have to do it,” Elrond drew his sword high, “Whatever the cost. My king did not die in vain.”
“You cannot defeat me, Elrond,” Isildur said with a sneer, “Not while I have this with me. But you are welcome to try and fail. I will enjoy killing you and throwing your body into the chassis. But,” his face became cruel, “The one whom you saved by binding,” Elrond gasped, “Yes, Elrond, naught is hidden from me when I have the ring. Erestor will die if I kill you. Your strength keeps him alive. His family is doomed to everlasting penance in Mandos. Would you want that?”
Elrond stood back, his head lowered in shame, grief and defeat as Isildur walked out of the cave laughing. He would not pursue Isildur and fall nobly in a duel. He needed to live, live for Erestor. He would not condemn Erestor to Mandos. Some decisions had no choices. He would bring darkness on Middle-Earth a second time by his actions, but he thought grimly, so be it.
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.