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The elf looked down at his son, so like himself but yet not so. The face that looked up at him was young and held an innocence that he could never hope to regain. The brow was not yet furrowed with worry and the small mouth was smiling with a wholeness and sincerity that he knew that he would never again match.
The small hands, still chubby with baby fat, reached up and grasped his left shoulder. With tremendous effort the tiny body hauled itself up to balance precariously on unpractised legs. It seemed only weeks ago that the tiny bundle had brought joy to their house and the city alike, but already the child was finding his footing. It would not be long until the tiny feet would be pattering lightly along the tiled corridors of their home. He was fast to master his body, fast to grow.
The child made a desperate grab at a shining object on the shelf behind his father, sending him off balance to land with a plop in the his lap. On an impulse the normally undemonstrative elf leant forwards and kissed the small head with its light covering of the blond hair of their house. He was an heir to be proud of.
Unable to reach his original target the blue eyes moved slowly over their surroundings, finally settling on a sparkling object half hidden inside his father's shirt. Tiny hands moved imprecisely towards the object.
Smiling slightly the father drew out the pendant on it's mithril chain, boosting the child up to allow him to take a closer look at the toy. It had not been hard to guess for what the boy was reaching. Nothing held quite as much fascination for his baby son as metal, shining and glinting as it caught the light.
The child laughed happily as the pendant was placed in his small hand. A hand still too small to fully encircle his father's thumb. The flower wrought so delicately out of gold and mithril looked so large in his palm. He moved his head, admiring the mark of his house from many different angles, laughing whenever the golden petals caught the sun.
Caught in his own thoughts the father watched his son as the tiny fist closed around the pendant, taking it up to his mouth. Smiling slightly a large finger hooked the flower out from between the pink lips and tucked it back inside his shirt.
Deprived of his plaything the tiny face screwed up into tears. The large hand drew the child into a soothing cuddle, gently rubbing the warm body.
"Hush little one, for it shall one day be yours."
"It shall one day be yours." And the blue eyes so like his own had looked down at him sadly.
The sun was burning down fiercely on the Hidden City; the heat even more intense in the courtyards that surrounded the dwellings, for the high walls that kept its inhabitants safe also prevented the flow of the cool mountain wind through the narrow cobbled passageways.
High on the hill where the noble elves had made their dwellings a youth, not yet in his fiftieth year, was standing alone in one of the secluded courtyards.
Up until a few moments ago he had been hard at practice, determined to master use of his new larger sword as soon as possible. The heat of the day did not sit well with the intensity of his exercise, and since the courtyard was hidden from view of all but family, his tunic and undershirt now lay discarded on an ornately carved seat.
However his keen ears had picked up an unfamiliar silence in the house behind him, and stopping his activity for a moment he realised that that was not all that bothered him. The atmosphere had changed into one of tension. Anticipation without hope or pleasure.
Sweeping strands of moist blond hair off his hot skin and wiping sweat from his flushed face with his arm, the youth started back towards the house. His gait was confident and held a hint of arrogance and pride, however the young face showed only curiosity, the pale brows raised.
"Uncle." His voice was glad, a smile coming to his face. "Come! Attempt to defeat me!"
The tall elf did not reply, striding solemnly over and placing a paternal hand on the slightly sun burnt shoulder. Only when he was sure that he had the youth's attention did he speak, his melodic tones dulled somewhat by grief.
"We have just had word from your father's captain."
The youth grinned and opened his mouth but was cut off by an upheld hand.
"Your father has fallen defending the city. He has made the ultimate sacrifice. You should be proud."
The blue eyes blinked a few times, dispelling the sting of imminent tears. Although his father had remained a distant figure, often away on gallantry, he had been his Ada and the memories he held of their time together were happy.
"All this has passed to you. You are Head of the House of the Golden Flower." The older elf reached for a small leather pouch and drew out its contents, allowing the pendant to dangle from one finger, glinting in the bright sunlight as it spun on its chain.
"This has come to you Glorfindel. It is yours to bear until it should pass to another. You shall never be alone."
Glorfindel bent his head slightly, allowing the pendant and all it signified to be fastened around his neck. Light it had felt and pretty it had seemed, those years ago, sparkling in the palm of his hand.
His uncle stepped back, allowing the flower to fall until it hung freely over his heart. It had seemed but a trinket, but heavy it now felt, bearing down on his young shoulders.
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