1. Chapter 1
Dedication: This is for Shauna's birthday. She wanted a fic about a character who has never been a main character in a fic.
All the Elves of Tol Eressea knew when Elfriniel Littleheart, son of Voronwe, was in good spirits. The Gong-warden was not a quiet sort of person, and rather than play on flutes or harps, he drummed on one of his many drums when he was in good spirits. Elrond had before scolded the youth for making such a ruckus, but Elfrith, as he was more often known, would then take his drum to the shores and boom to the crashing of the waves. The winds of Manwe would then bring the booming of his drums to the cities of Tol Eressea, and again, little peace was to be had. The Elves became accustomed to his noise-making, and, after much scolding, Elfrith used the deepest and loudest of his drums only on rare occasions. At such times, many would even stop to ask him what pleased his ever-youthful heart. This Elrond did when Elfrith thought it appropriate to wake all the Elves of Eressea by booming on his largest drum, which was twice the size of a man. It hung suspended from a square structure that was at least as tall as a moderate-sized house.
"Elfrith, the sun has only barely risen," Elrond said. His loose hair was combed, but there were still stray strands that stood at end. It was simply too early. Even the birds had just barely awakened and were not yet chirping their sweet songs. "What is it that brings such joy to you that you must announce it to all the slumbering peoples of this island?"
As Elrond spoke, Voronwe came to join them. He was not as well-groomed as Elrond. His hair was in complete disarray, and his robes hung about his shoulders loosely.
"Master Elrond, please tell me this is just a 'phase' for Half-elvens and that he will outgrow this," Voronwe said in a very tired voice. "He does this every morning, but most of the time, the rest of Eressea is fortunate enough to not have to endure this torment."
"I wish I could say one way or another, but I can't," Elrond confessed. "Neither I nor my brother ever had this strange need for attention."
Elfrith had managed to outgrow the habit of clinging to his father's leg when he'd at last grown too heavy for Voronwe. And recently, Elfrith had outgrown his insistence on privacy, to have neither father nor mother enter his room. Through all of this, Elrond had been Voronwe's main support for these Half-elven habits. After all, if Master Elrond had outgrown these phases and become a Wise One, perhaps there was some small hope for Elfrith. At the very least, Voronwe hoped that Elfrith would become more Elf-like in mannerism.
"I'm not seeking attention," Elfrith said indignantly. "I have important news!"
"And what news, pray tell, could not wait until the sun had risen a bit higher?" Voronwe said harshly. Elrond put a hand on Voronwe's arm to remind him not to loose his temper with his Half-elven son.
Well, Half-elven wasn't entirely correct. Voronwe had married Earmire, the daughter of Tuor and Idril who had been born after their departure from Middle-earth. She had not been granted the choice to be accounted among Elves or Men, as was given to Earendil, Elwing, Elrond, and other such Half-elvens. After all, Earmire had been born in the Blessed Realm so was, by necessity, accounted among the Elves. She had been raised as an Elf, and few would have known her to be otherwise, save for her striking blue eyes. Voronwe had courted her for long years before they married, and Elfrith was their son.
Elfrith was their very Half-elven son, though he rightly should have been accounted fully Elven. From infancy, he had not acted as normal Elven children, who required little guidance from their parents. Instead, Elfrith had bawled at the top of his voice when he was a baby. He had cried in order to get his way. And though he was older now, Elfrith still often showed signs of his Half-elven ancestry. At times, Voronwe wondered what had possessed him to wed the daughter of Tuor. Though Tuor was a Man, he had been raised by Grey-elves and was quiet in demeanor. Earmire was no less Elven in her mannerisms. Honestly, no one knew quite where Elfrith got his "spunk," as Elrond called it. Perhaps Half-elvens were simply special in the designs of Iluvatar.
"The news is this: I dreamt that Lord Cirdan's white ship returned from Middle-earth, bearing those who had before refused to leave it," Elfrith said.
Voronwe's head dropped, and his eyes fixed on his son with a look of exasperation. "You woke us up to tell us about your dream?"
"It's not just a dream, Father." Elfrith banged on his drum for emphasis. "After I awoke, I went to the top of the Tower of Pearl and looked out with the telescope. Lo and behold, there was the white ship of Cirdan returning home!"
"We should've had the Shipwright take Elfrith to Middle-earth and leave him there," Voronwe muttered to Elrond. Elrond nudged Voronwe but couldn't help but to smile. Elrond had had his own fair share of trouble raising three Half-elven children.
"It is joyous news indeed, Elfrith, that Cirdan is returning to Eressea," Elrond said. "I hope that he has brought at least one of my sons with him. Even so, it would not have hurt to wait until later in the day to make this announcement. I assume that Cirdan's ship is yet far from shore?"
"Yes, it is," Elfrith piped. "I think he's lost!"
"Cirdan? Lost?" Voronwe laughed. "Cirdan is the best mariner among the Elves, and the Straight Road is held open to him. He will not falter on his journey home."
"Oh, no, Father. He's definitely lost." Elfrith was suddenly serious. "I saw his ship faltering at Sea. Just as the Elves of Middle-earth faded with the end of their Age, I think the Straight Road has also faded."
"Is this true?" Elrond said. "Because if it is, then Cirdan and his passengers are in great danger."
"I know that," Elfrith said. He puffed out his chest in a very mannish mannerism. "That's why I was drumming on my largest drum! That way he can hear his way to Eressea."
Voronwe looked to Elrond for guidance. Elrond sighed. He didn't know if it was true, but if there was any chance at all that it was, he would endure Elfrith's drumming. Elrond had waited many long years in hopes that at least one of his sons would choose to be accounted among the Elves and come to Eressea. He would not have that chance spoiled by the fading of the Straight Road. There was a great light at the top of the Tower of Pearl, but there was no way of telling if it was enough. At times, shadows hung about the Seas just beyond the Blessed Realm, and, in such a case, it was true that drumming might be heard where light failed.
"Very well, Elfriniel Littleheart," said Master Elrond. "You may continue your drumming. Your father and I will go to the top of the Tower of Pearl to see, if we may, the approach of the white ship. If it goes astray, we will need to ask the Valar or Maiar for their help."
"Don't worry. I'll guide them in." Elfrith smiled from ear to ear and then began to bang on his giant drum even harder than before. Elrond and Voronwe were quick to vacate the area.
"Why do you think my son is so eager to do this task?" Voronwe asked.
"Elfrith loves to drum and gong. This is the perfect excuse, don't you think?" Elrond said.
"It is indeed. But there was a spark in his blue eyes that I have not seen before," Voronwe said.
"Ah, that." Elrond led his friend up the winding staircase of the Tower of Pearl. "Well, Elfrith has been raised on the Legends of Middle-earth. He has come to know all of us who dwelt there. I suspect that he'd like to meet some of the other figures of those tales. I believe Celeborn the Wise will at last leave the trees that he so loves. Legolas, the last of the Fellowship of the Ring, will be with him."
"And perhaps your sons will be aboard as well," Voronwe said.
Elrond smiled sadly. "I can only hope. I know that I have forever lost my daughter. I can only await news of my sons." His eyes suddenly lit. "Speaking of which, that reminds me of the other reason for Elfrith's eagerness. I believe that he has a crush on my twin sons and wishes very much to meet them."
"A crush?" Voronwe's face was blank.
"Ah, how to explain it..." Elrond peered through the telescope set in the topmost chamber of the Tower of Pearl. "Mortals sometimes feel affection that is akin to love in its passion and intensity, but that feeling is not truly love. It is infatuation. These infatuations are called 'crushes,' I believe because the one who is infatuated feels crushed by the weight of his emotions for this person. I, myself, have not experience such a thing, but I have seen my mortal friends stricken by crushes on many occasions."
"And these crushes can occur even when the two have never met?" Voronwe said in disbelief.
"Yes, indeed. Such is the case with Elfrith. You see, crushes consist primarily of the dreams and ideals of a perfect lover imposed upon another by the person who has the crush. Elfrith does not truly love either Elladan or Elrohir, but he has heard tales of them. His fantasies lead him to believe that they are a certain way and thus perfect for him."
"Well, which of the twins does he love? Elladan or Elrohir?"
"Both and neither," Elrond said. "I believe that he is letting Fate choose which of the two to pursue. He believes that one of them will choose the Fate of Man, the other the Fate of Elves. Then, Elfrith will pursue the one who has come to Eressea."
Voronwe shook his head in dismay. "I don't understand Half-elves." Now that Elrond had moved away from the telescope, Voronwe moved to look out to sea. Sure enough, the white ship of Cirdan was sailing in shadows, but it steered towards Eressea. Perhaps the booming of the giant drum, which seemed to shake the entire island, was working.
Elrond put a hand on Voronwe's shoulder and said, "In truth, neither do I."
Before long, Cirdan's ship left the shadows of the fading Straight Road. Elfrith cheered, brought one of handheld drums, and rushed to the harbor without even waiting for Elrond and Voronwe. Elfrith didn't stop drumming even after the white ship at last docked and Cirdan stepped ashore. Behind him was Celeborn, and the reunion of Celeborn and Galadriel was a touching one. Then two men alike in mood and face disembarked after Celeborn. Elfrith stopped his enthusiastic drumming and turned to Elrond, who was nearby.
"Are those your sons?" Elfrith's eyes were wide and disbelieving.
"Yes. The one on the left is Elladan; the one on the right is Elrohir," Elrond said. His voice caught. He had hoped beyond hope that both of his sons would come to the Blessed Realm.
"Oh." Elfrith quieted and looked to the twins. His drum remained untouched.
"What's wrong?" asked Voronwe.
Elfrith turned to his father, and his blue eyes were now thoughtful. "I didn't think they'd be so Elven."
Voronwe smiled. Perhaps his son's mortal blood would calm after all.
Note: Littleheart has gone through several different names, and I arbitrarily settled on Elfriniel and Elfrith because those names seem more Elvish. He is the son of Voronwe, but the rest of the details of his Half-elven ancestry are my invention and not to be taken as canon. More can be found about Littleheart in the Book of Lost Tales 1 and 2.
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.