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Discretion  by Bodkin



Glorfindel looked over his shoulder and frowned, a disgruntled expression marring his undeniable beauty. 

‘What is it?’ Elrond asked.  ‘You have been out of sorts recently.’

‘Nothing,’ his friend replied.  He continued to observe his surroundings as sharply as if he was expecting an orc attack.  ‘Tell me,’ he added, ‘do your sons appear to you to have been looking – remarkably smug in recent weeks?’

Elrond raised an eyebrow.  ‘Not that I had noticed,’ he replied.  ‘In fact, they seem to have been keeping their heads down – I rather thought that their embarrassment was inclining them to remain out of sight still.  Especially,’ he mused, ‘since Sirithiel and Miriwen discovered just what their offspring had been learning from their adars.’

Glorfindel flicked a hand dismissively.  ‘Their wives are too soft on them,’ he said.  ‘I had hoped that they would give your sons a much harder time.’

‘I think,’ Elrond observed, ‘that my daughters share their husbands’ view that they are not entirely to blame for this fiasco.  And I cannot altogether blame them.’

‘Please!’  Glorfindel looked pained.  ‘Elrohir, at least, should have employed his common sense to investigate further before polluting the air around him – and Elladan would have followed his lead.’

‘It is not so much my own sons,’ the half-elf said mildly, ‘as the apparent plague of mangled Khuzdul now widespread among elves – even my granddaughters – for which I feel some guilt.’


‘Perhaps,’ Elrond acknowledged, ‘but, then again, perhaps not.’

The golden elf looked suspiciously around him.  ‘The twins have been smiling at me, Elrond.’

‘That is indeed ominous.’ The twins’ adar controlled the tremor in his voice.  ‘I hope they have not decided to challenge the most devious elf of their acquaintance – they do not need another lesson in low cunning.’

‘Not low, Eärendilion,’ Glorfindel objected.  ‘Nothing I do is low!’

‘Shall I coin the term ‘high cunning’, then?’ Elrond enquired.  ‘It seems unsuitable.’

‘They seem excessively pleased with themselves.’

‘Even more worrying.’

Glorfindel looked at him reproachfully.  ‘You are not taking this seriously, my friend.  How can I keep my authority over your sons if they are busily thinking that they can get the better of me?   They used to be so much more transparent in their guileless youth – I am beginning to think that the contest is becoming less unequal.’

‘Look on it as a challenge,’ his friend suggested encouragingly.  ‘It will stop you growing bored.’

The pair passed through the doorway into the airy room where the residents of Elrond’s house tended to gather in the evening in recollection of Imladris’s Hall of Fire.  He must, Elrond reflected, settle on a formal name for this space – it became increasingly difficult to come up with ways of describing it as time passed. 

‘Daeradar!’  Nimloth darted away from her friends towards him, stopping at the last moment with a glance in her naneth’s direction to greet him with a formal curtsey.  ‘We thought you were not coming.’

Glorfindel smiled at Elrohir’s daughter.  He had always had a soft spot for the females in Elrond’s life, and these little mischief-makers were no different, combining as they did Celebrían’s charm and Arwen’s generous heart with Idril’s intelligence and traces of Galadriel’s resilience.

‘And Adar says he has seen too little of you recently, Glorfindel,’ the elleth said chattily, tucking her hand in his.  ‘And he has a lot to talk about.’

The adults’ eyes met over her head.

‘He said that Aewlin and I should ask you to tell us more stories,’ she added.  ‘And then Elladan said you must have a vast store of them – and laughed and laughed until Adar told him he was going to spoil things.  When I asked what he meant, they refused to explain.’  She looked disapproving.  ‘They have not been very sensible since they came back from seeing Andaernaneth,’ she informed the two older elves.  ‘Naneth told Adar he would have been better off staying at home.’

‘Galadriel?’ Glorfindel mouthed above her head.

Elrond’s eyes narrowed.  ‘Be afraid, my friend,’ he advised quietly.  ‘If my illustrious naneth-in-law has taken a hand in whatever scheme my sons are hatching, you are outclassed.’

The tall golden elf smiled bravely.  ‘She has nothing on me,’ he said defiantly, as his mind searched urgently back over uncounted centuries.  ‘Let her do her worst.’

‘I am sure she will,’ Elrond said dryly, ‘if she wants to do so.’

On the other side of the room, two identical faces turned towards the new arrivals, their teeth gleaming in the candlelight as they beamed their welcome.

‘Are you certain it is now impossible to sail east across the sea?’ Glorfindel sighed.  ‘I think I might need a way to escape whatever retribution they have planned.’

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