5. Imladris: Elladan and Elrohir
Clearly I am not the Professor. I don't own any of this.
Many many thanks to everyone who has read this so far and enjoyed it!
So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry—seeming parted
But yet an union in partition—
Two lovely berries molded on one stem;
-Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
The courtyard was filled with dappled sunlight, fresh air, and the clattering of wooden swords. Elladan and Elrohir had dragged Erestor out of the calming safety of his office to watch them battle one another. They swung at each other with abandon, although Erestor knew that before long their swords would be deadly steel instead of toys.
He had left Sirion in a whirlwind of recklessness. All that he had seen and done had finally been too much and the weight of guilt had borne too heavily on him to stay. The other soldiers who guarded the city gates had tried to stop him, but in a final act of cruelty and defiance he had slain the two who stood in his path and taken a horse. He had wandered far, making sure to put as many leagues between himself and the sons of Fëanor as he could. He had never lived among the dark elves that inhabited the wilderness, but he met with them sometimes and traded with them. His sword and armor, beautiful things crafted by Curufin's own hands, he had sold for a fraction of their worth in order to have warm clothes for the winter. He had lived alone among the trees for many years. It had not been a joyful time, for the memories of carnage and treachery still wrung at his heart, but those years had at least been peaceful.
It had not been so easy to gather news regarding the aftermath of Sirion alone in the wilds, but eventually he thought he could form a complete picture. The day after he had abandoned the host, Maglor and Maedhros had ridden from Sirion to Amon Ereb with the twin sons of Eärendil and Elwing. Little had been heard from them since. Erestor felt with a certain surety that the children were dead, and he did not regret his decision to leave the cruel service of Maedhros. He had once admired the Elf, but he could no longer hold him in high regard.
For too long the greatest threat to the elves had been their own kin, but when Morgoth rose again Erestor had sought out Gil-Galad and pledged his services to the High King of the Noldor. No matter the rumors of Maedhros raising and army to defend Beleriand, Erestor refused to serve him again. When he found Gil-Galad the king had met him personally, and in a light-filled council room Erestor had tearfully admitted all that he had done and repented his actions. And defying all reason, the King had been merciful and given him new armor and a sword. Better gifts than a kinslayer deserved, Erestor thought.
If the forgiveness of Gil-Galad had been a shock, it was nothing compared to what came after, for he was appointed to serve under Elrond Eärendilion. The last time he had seen Elrond the boy had been bound like a dog in the square of Sirion, yet he stood here still, herald of Gil-Galad, alive and seemingly well. For many years Erestor had thought the promise of Maglor to keep the children alive in return for peace had been little more than an act of trickery and deceit. Gil-Galad introduced them, and to Erestor's horror, had recounted that he had played a part in the fall of Doriath and Sirion. Yet Elrond had simply smiled, only a hint of chilliness in his face, and welcomed him.
The War of Wrath had passed over him like a dark cloud, and few memories stuck with him from those longs arduous years. When it was done, and Morgoth was chained and finally defeated, Erestor had ignored the summons of the Valar to return to Valinor. The peace of his beautiful homeland seemed unobtainable and he unworthy of it. And besides, he felt that he owed Gil-Galad and Elrond better service than abandonment. So they had ventured West, out of the ruined tragedy that was Beleriand, and Erestor had risen in the ranks of Elrond's army. News reached them eventually that Maedhros was dead and Maglor disappeared. When Elrond had asked Erestor for his help in establishing the secret valley, Erestor had been stunned into silence but had eventually agreed to help.
They had lived in Eregion for a time. Living so close to the last of the Fëanorions had not been easy, but Erestor had avoided Celebrimbor, the son of his fallen lord, as best he could. Years later, when Sauron had risen again, recalling the old dread of Morgoth, they had ridden out. They met the hosts of Sauron on open land. Before them, the enemy bore aloft the body of Celebrimbor like some frightful banner, impaled upon a spear of his own make, the Star of Fëanor burned into his bare chest in an act of mockery. Those that had stood near had cried aloud in grief and horror. But Erestor remained silent, for he bore little love for the House of Fëanor, and he could feel nothing but relief at its tragic end.
Only by heroisms of elves other than him, Erestor and most of the army had survived victorious, and returned to the peaceful bliss of Imladris for many years.
In the Last Alliance, no choice was given to him but to fight once again. Imladris changed then, from a refuge to an army camp and many great leaders had assembled there. Gil-Galad, Oropher, Celeborn Elendil, and Elrond had met in long council deciding how best to face the darkness before them. All the Free Peoples of the world had gathered, and once again Erestor had borne his sword into battle.
Their army had been mighty, but their losses had still been grievous. Oropher had fallen first, charging forward and ignoring the King's orders. Elendil and Gil-Galad had fallen beside one another, the kings of two realms reduced to smoldering ash and charred flesh under the power of Sauron's hand. But in the end, Sauron had been defeated, and Erestor had been the first to take to knee and pledge his sword to the new High King of the Noldor, Elrond. But Elrond had forsaken the title and returned to Imladris.
Those days had been dark, like so many days before. But some sort of joy had been carved out and Elrond had married Celebrían, daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn. And when they had first conceived children, Elrond had cornered Erestor and told him first. "Twins!" he said, smiling broadly. It would not be fair to say that Elrond had neglected his duties as lord of the Valley during this time, but Erestor had picked up the extra work without complaint. His Lord was happy, and if anyone he knew deserved joy, it was Elrond, robbed of so much of it in his short life.
And now, the result of that union battled before him, wooden swords raised in conflict. There had been a time when looking upon the mirror images of Elrond's children had brought him nothing but discomfort. From time to time, when looking upon them, a strange mood seized him and he was reminded of the fearful faces of the sons of Dior and Eärendil. In them he could see the memory of evils committed for a hastily sworn oath and a handful of jewels. But they had grown, and although they still resembled their forefathers, personalities of their own had begun to emerge.
Unlike their father or their uncles, these boys had grown up in the relative peace of the Third Age, amid the beautiful calmness of the Hidden Valley. It was safe and protected and Erestor could never forget that. For a time, at least, the threat of evil and danger was diminished. They could crack their wooden swords against each other and no harm would be done.
Forgiveness went against Erestor's nature, but he marveled at the way that Elrond could forgive. For had he not been instrumental in the death of his uncles and the loss of his mother? Elrond had spent a lifetime in forgiving, and yet he was not diminished for doing so. Though the transgressions of Erestor's life had been scarlet splatters across the white cloth of his life, Elrond had chosen to forget those evils with grace and mercy and even love. Erestor was made anew in the light of Elrond's kindly words and deeds, fresh wool, ready to be spun. "You did not fully realize the deeds that you had wrought,' he had said, and Erestor had believed it. Elrond's delight was to show mercy, and more than once had Erestor been brought to tears in thankfulness.
Erestor had been baffled by Elrond's request for aid in the development of Imladris. But he had trusted Elrond and done what he could. It had soothed his soul and erased some of the memories and guilt of Alqualondë, Losgar, Doriath, and Sirion.
Here, perhaps, in the simplest of ways, he felt that he could atone for wrongs he had done. Among the shifting sunlight from the trees and fragrance of the budding flowers, Erestor at last had found a place of refuge.
"Elrohir, Elladan. Come. It is time for your lessons."
Done and done!
This chapter was hard to write, but I hope that I captured a fraction of Tolkien's message: that all things must one day end, that forgiveness and selflessness will carry you far, and most of all, that there can always be light at the end of a dark road.
For my wonderful husband, who is probably horrified that I would dedicate such a dark story to him (but that shame is probably nothing compared to knowing his wife has such a nerdy hobby!). Many thanks to him, because I'm not sure this story would be up without his help.
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.