5. In Remembrance of the Lost
2512 T. A., Imladris
Elladan and Elrohir rode stealthily up Rivendell's eastern slopes. But they were not stealthy enough. Two horses approached at a gallop. Elves did not take such revenge, even on Orcs, they had been told. Stay within the valley, they had been ordered.
Thoughts of consequences approched even faster. Glorfindel was a stern Captain. For this insubordination, they could expect formal censure, at the very least. But to their surprise, the horsemen were not Glorfindel or Inglor, let alone their Adar. Instead, they were Erestor and Tanamir.
The counsellor bore his 'real' arms which were nearly always locked away: striking black armor emblazoned with the Star of Feänor, and Imladris' sharpest sword, forged and long borne by Curufin.
Tanamir, Erestor's heart-son, was similarly arrayed for battle, but as always, the Master of the Smiths carried two one handed swords of his own design.
The Noldor also wore expressions as dark as the starless night.
"You are not here to lecture us." Elladan said gravely.
"No. Our goal is the same as yours." Erestor replied. "Yet when we hunt Orc, we do not bear the devices of Imladris. For us, this is a private family matter. I may honor my children and Tanamir his wife in the way we see fit. Were it only a private family matter for you, equally you might honor your mother. But as your Lord Father has forbidden you any further vengeance, continuing it while arrayed as you are is nigh unto treason."
"More so than openly wearing the ... devices of another House?"
Tanamir replied. "Has Elrond not forbidden you these missions of reprisal both as your Lord and as your father? He has not forbidden them to us in either capacity."
"Then he approves of your own revenge upon the Orcs, but not ours?" Elrohir asked incredulously.
Erestor shook his head, refusing the question. "As I said, ours is a private family matter. However, if you will hunt with us, I counsel you to leave anything which identifies you as Imladrim here in the valley, where you may find it again. Staining the emblems of your Lord with blood shed against his orders is a violation of the law of even the most disreputable of Elven houses. And you may remove all such items without disarming yourselves." The counsellor gave the short bitter laugh which had earned him the nickname 'The Crow'.
"Now, shall we remain here arguing, or go forth?"
Somehow removing the emblems of their lifelong home seemed a step too far, even when disobeying their father and Captain did not. The Peredhil wavered but a moment before turning back towards the Last Homely House, riding away without a word.
"Well done, Atto." Tanamir whispered with a rueful smile. Elrond had ordered all his senior captains and counsellors to help heal his sons of this 'affliction', and it seemed the twins would now find their own way to healing, as most in the valley would deem it.
"I hoped that would work," Erestor replied, "though I would have been glad of their companionship. The path they just chose is the nobler, at least in the sense of Finarfin, but I fear it will avail Imladris little."
For a moment, the counsellor stared blankly into the night. Ever since the death of his son Eretar in the Nirnaeth, and even more since that of his daughter in the sack of Eregion, he had been taking private revenge on the Orcs. The foul creatures were multiplying again in the Mountains, and now there was one more kinswoman to avenge. It was true that his revenge did not bring his children back. But, it was also true that it took the Orcs' children away. And no one in Imladris would complain that there were too few enemies about.
"From now on, every Orc we slay shall hear the name of Celebrian as well as those of Nieriel and Eretar."
The Smith simply nodded as the two rode out of the valley and the hunting trip began. His wife Nieriel, Erestor's daughter, had suffered outrages even worse then those inflicted on Celebrian before her feä had fled to Namo's Halls - and her hröa had been further marred even after! Never would he forget that sight, as long as he lived, and never would the Orcs be free from his vengeance.