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Gwyn asked for the young twins doing something fun for Glorfindel’s begetting day. This is the farce and the fun that Glorfindel told me really happened. Happy birthday, Gwyn.
Thanks to daw the minstrel for beta reading this and kicking the apostrophes and commas into place and banishing the semi-colons.
In the History Lessons world, this takes place a few years after the events of HLI.. picture the twins the size of 7-8 year old mortals.
Glorfindel’s Begetting Day
“What in Arda are they up to?”
Glorfindel motioned for Erestor to keep his voice down, then turned his attention back to the garden. “That is what I am trying to determine,” he whispered.
As he watched, Elrohir swung himself up into the tree outside Glorfindel’s chamber, inched his way out on a sturdy branch, then dropped on to the small balcony. In the garden below, Elladan leaned a little too obviously against a tree trunk.
“I think he is standing guard,” murmured Glorfindel.
“What is Elrohir doing in your chamber?”
“I do not know,” he answered.
“Why are you two hiding behind the drapes?” came an amused voice from the door.
Glorfindel waved Elrond to silence and beckoned him to the window. “I am watching your sons break into my chamber.”
Glorfindel watched Elrond’s reaction from the corner of his eye. Sure enough, one brow rose off his forehead, his eyes widened in surprise, and Glorfindel had to catch his arm to keep him from going to retrieve his progeny. “Wait,” he whispered.
Elrohir had come back on to the balcony and was motioning to his twin. He had clearly not found what he was searching for and wanted to give up the search, but Elladan was motioning furiously with his arms, trying to convince Elrohir to go try again.
Glorfindel, Elrond and Erestor all jumped when a figure appeared in the door behind Elrohir. The light outside was bright enough that the interior was shrouded in shadow, so they could not immediately see who it was. “Celebrían?” whispered Elrond finally, incredulously.
Glorfindel shook with laughter, pursing his lips so he made no noise. “Indeed,” he replied, when he was able to expel air without snorting or hiccupping.
Elrohir had also seen her, and even from a distance they could see the horror on his face, but when she beckoned him into the room he went. By the tree in the garden below, Elladan looked confused. He called Elrohir twice in a loud whisper, then paced when there was no answer. Indecision was written on his face. Twice he started up the tree and stopped. At the call of a bird that was clearly not a bird, at least to sensitive elven ears, Elladan ran from the garden.
Glorfindel laughed, and when Elrond turned a withering glare on him, he laughed harder.
“What are my sons and wife up to?” Elrond asked. “And do not tell me that you do not know.”
“I have an idea,” admitted Glorfindel. “Though I do not think Celebrían is working in conjunction with the twins. She clearly caught them where she did not expect them.” He paused, unable to stop the grin that tugged at his lips. “Of course, it does appear that Celebrían may be up to her own espionage.”
“Whatever mischief occurs between you and Celebrían is your affair, but Elladan and Elrohir should not be entering private chambers without permission,” replied Elrond sternly.
“They have my permission,” clarified Glorfindel, grinning again. “Sort of.”
“Then why did Elrohir go in through the balcony?” interrupted Erestor.
Glorfindel shrugged. “I am sure he has some reason that makes sense to his adolescent mind.”
Erestor suddenly turned on him. “Does this have anything to do with your begetting day?”
Glorfindel laughed again. “Perhaps.”
Erestor and Elrond both turned inquiring looks upon him, and Glorfindel realized that Erestor had picked up Elrond’s best annoyed expression. “You two have the same look,” he informed them.
They turned to each other, but both looked confused. That look was actually similar too, but apparently neither of them recognized the expression. Erestor turned back to face him first. “Do not try to divert this conversation away from yourself,” he warned.
Glorfindel smiled as Elrond’s face took on a knowing look.
“If you do not tell them when your begetting day is, I will,” threatened Elrond.
“You assume you know the correct date,” replied Glorfindel playfully. “Besides, they are having great fun trying to figure it out.”
“What do they hope to find in your chambers?” asked Erestor thoughtfully.
Glorfindel shrugged. “You would need to ask them.”
“Have I ever mentioned to you that you lend new meaning to the word infuriating?”
“Yes, Erestor,” replied Glorfindel, grinning. “I am always glad to expand your definition list.”
Elrond rolled his eyes at their banter and walked away. “I will ask Celebrían.”
Glorfindel did not respond, just smiled and began humming softly. With a flick of his hand he waved goodbye and left the room.
* * *
The first opportunity Elrond had to speak to Celebrían was later that night. He crawled into bed next to her and turned on to his side, propping himself up on his elbow. Though she was half asleep, she purred like a kitten as he stroked her hair. She twisted around until she was spooned against him. He admired the view that gave him for a moment, then reminded himself he was on an information seeking mission. Still, he did need her attention. There was no reason not to enjoy the process of obtaining it. Pulling her hair aside, he kissed the sensitive tip of her ear. Her low throated purr ended as her breath caught, then he felt her hips push back against him.
He briefly forgot he had an ulterior motive as other parts of his body took over control of his brain. His hands were obedient to those new thoughts, and his wife began making new noises that did not remind him at all of a contented cat. It was only with great effort that he stilled his hands and restrained his desires.
“My love, what mischief were you and our sons up to today?” he asked. His lips were so close to her ear that he felt it tremble, and he could not help but lick the tip. He felt a giggle shake her frame, and was unsure if she was reacting to his touch or his words. He decided he had better specify the mischief he meant. “In Glorfindel’s chamber.”
Elrond withdrew his hands, smiling when the ‘hmm’ stopped and she wriggled against him, encouraging him to resume his ministrations. When he did not, she turned slightly in his arms, then he felt her fingertips travel lightly over his abdomen and he forced himself to ignore the desires he had just squelched from reawakening. “What was Elrohir doing in Glorfindel’s chamber?” he prodded.
She turned all the way around so she was facing him, then reached up to brush his hair back, tracing a fingertip down his cheek as she spoke. “Hmm… Glorfindel. He thinks he is exempt from certain Imladris traditions,” she yawned.
“Indeed. And which traditions would those be?”
“Our wonderful sons have asked Glorfindel when his begetting day is, as they want to celebrate. Glorfindel says he is so old he does not remember and that every day is special to him. He can be rather aggravating,” replied Celebrían with a slow smile.
“How did that lead you to become a burglar?” asked Elrond as he resumed stroking her hair, his fingers questing off on their own when they reached her waist and hip. He smiled as her purring resumed.
“There is supposed to be an account of one of Glorfindel’s begetting day celebrations when he was a youth, allegedly his favorite memory. Unfortunately, I can not find it. The twins took matters in their own hands this morning and went seeking for it themselves,” explained Celebrían. She stretched next to him, worming her leg between his.
“Does Glorfindel know you are looking for it?” he asked, barely finishing his words before his lips were claimed for more pleasurable purposes than speaking.
“Hmmpphff.” The disgust in the noise she made was obvious, though clearly she was not disgusted by the current occupation of her lips.
“I see. So he knows you are looking and he is enjoying the spectacle,” replied Elrond knowingly as he freed his lower lip from between hers. “I believe I can be of some assistance.”
Celebrían bestowed a dazzling smile upon him. “Have I mentioned how much I like it when you … assist?” she asked. Her fingers danced across his chest and down his abdomen, and then she pushed forcefully against him, rolling him on to his back with her atop him, her hair falling as a curtain around them.
Elrond decided he would find ways to assist her more often, then forgot all about burglars and begetting days under his wife’s touch.
* * *
Celebrían watched as Elrond climbed the ladder to the higher library stacks containing some of the older and less used tomes, items of a more personal nature rather than histories and maps and letters of interest to the population of Imladris. Smiling to herself, she opened her mind and allowed him to freely read her thoughts.
Elrond finished sorting through the scrolls and small bound books, finally choosing three and descending with them. He did not speak, but set the books on a nearby table. Then he turned and faced her, and her breath caught at the intensity of his gaze. He moved slowly and purposefully toward her, his eyes never leaving hers. She boldly met his gaze, but nevertheless was unprepared when he took her in his arms and devoured her. He overwhelmed her mind and soul and body, kissing her senseless. Her mind still spinning, he set her on her feet and she nearly fell over.
“Be careful what you ask for, dearest love,” he whispered in her ear, then nibbled on it for good measure.
“Ai!” she cried weakly.
“I believe your answer is in one of those books,” he whispered in that same ear. “If not, we will look further.” He gave her a regretful look as his hand burned down her lower back and hip. “I will leave you to your study.”
She watched him leave and then took a deep breath and shook her head, clearing her mind. She turned to the table only to see Elrohir sitting next to the books, his legs swinging over the table edge. He grinned at her.
“Elrohir! When did you come in?” she asked as she walked to join him and bent to kiss the top of his head.
“When you were busy kissing Adar. I said hello, but you did not hear me,” replied Elrohir smugly.
“Hmm....” she answered. “And what do you win this time?”
Elrohir blushed to the roots of his hair. “How did you know about that?” he cried.
Celebrían grinned back at him. Teasing Elrohir was a joy, but entirely too easy sometimes, as he had not yet learned to dissemble in the slightest. It would never occur to this child to deny such an accusation. Elladan, on the other hand, was developing quite the innocent mask he could put on when he wished. “I know everything that goes on in Imladris,” she informed him. When he fidgeted she added, “Everything.”
Elrohir’s eyes grew big, and Celebrían could see the little gears of his mind turning as he considered all the mischief he and his twin thought had gone unnoticed.
“Well?” she asked, arching a brow at him in imitation of Elrond.
“Glorfindel has to take me up to the waterfall with him,” answered Elrohir finally.
Celebrían masked her surprise. She had overheard the bet and dare between her sons about ‘catching’ their parents kissing unaware, but she had not known that Glorfindel was involved.
“Just me,” added Elrohir. “Elladan has to stay home.”
She smiled at the fierce look on his face. “Indeed.”
Her lack of argument over the issue caused him to quickly return to good humor and he dazzled her with one of his smiles. She kissed him again, then said, “Well, we have three books. One for you, one for me and one for Elladan. Where is he?”
“Badgering Glorfindel,” answered Elrohir as he jumped to his feet.
He raced ahead of her from the room, a book in each hand, and then down the hall. She watched him slow as Erestor stepped out into the hall ahead of them, but his feet never stopped dancing and as soon as he had opportunity he flew by the elf. She heard Erestor just begin to scold him for running in the hall when another door opened and Glorfindel stepped out. Elrohir had no chance to stop and barreled into him.
“Elrohir!” cried Erestor.
“Whoa!” cried Glorfindel. With lightning fast hands he caught Elrohir before the elfling could bounce off him and on to the floor.
“You have to take me to the waterfall!” cried Elrohir. “I caught them in the library again!”
Glorfindel did not react to that news; instead he plucked a book from Elrohir’s hands. “Hmm… and where did you find this?”
“He did not find it,” said Celebrían as she caught up to them. She snatched the book from Glorfindel’s hand. “I did.”
“Do you understand why we have a no running in the halls rule?” Erestor asked Elrohir
“You do not usually resort to involving Elrond,” accused Glorfindel.
“Yes,” laughed Elrohir, but he did not look the least repentant at Erestor’s chastisement.
“I did not ask Elrond,” replied Celebrían. “He offered.. in a most insistent way.”
Glorfindel laughed. “I hope his insistence is not what Elrohir witnessed.”
“They were kissing,” interjected Elrohir.
Glorfindel freed one hand by tucking the squirming Elrohir under his arm and reached for the book the child still held.
“No!” cried Elrohir. He threw the book to Celebrían. “Catch, Nana!”
Celebrían easily caught the book. With the three small books clasped tightly against her, she took Elrohir’s waving arm. “My son, please. We have work to do.”
Glorfindel let Elrohir slide to the ground, and he danced out of Glorfindel’s reach. Elrohir reached up and took the two books from his mother again, and then dashed off down the hall.
“No running in the halls!” called Erestor after him.
“All right!” yelled Elrohir as he ran out the front door.
Erestor turned and frowned at her, but before he could speak she said, “Oh Erestor, did you never run in the halls?”
He looked affronted. “I did not live where it was a concern.”
She took his hand and tugged. ‘Come then, you must experience the joy of it!”
She dragged the elf after her, Erestor finally laughing and running with her. Then another door opened and Elrond stepped out into their path. Erestor slid into the wall rather gracefully, Celebrían thought, but she had no such option as Elrond was right in front of her. She threw her arms around her husband as she crashed into him, nearly knocking him over, and once he was steady she kissed him soundly. Then she released him and stepped away. “Darling, please speak to your advisors about running in the hall. Someone might get hurt.”
She winked at Erestor, then flew out the door after her son.
* * *
“I found it!” cried Elrohir. Celebrían and Elladan looked up as Elrohir jumped to his feet. “Listen, I’ll read it!
“Glorfindel was too small to play with us and Adar would not let him come with us to the river where we practiced, so we decided to orchestrate a performance just for him. His begetting day celebration was approaching, and I asked Ammë if we could provide the entertainment. She agreed, and she and Atar kept our secret from Glorfindel. He was so upset when I went off with my friends each day that I nearly told him, but then Ammë would dry his tears and coax him to come play with her instead. Playing with Ammë hardly made up for my being gone each day, but finally his begetting day arrived. That morning I was preparing to go meet my friends, and Glorfindel begged me not to go. I told him I would have a gift for him later, but he said the only gift he wanted was for me to stay home with him. He cried when I left and not even Ammë could console him. Atar took him riding instead. When they came back, our cousins and relatives had arrived.
“Then me and my friends appeared. My aunt and grandmother had made us costumes in bright rainbow colors. Everyone came down to the river, and Glorfindel’s face lit with joy at seeing us. He clapped and danced as we began our performance. We twirled in circles on the ground, the long tails of cloth streaming in the breeze. Then we walked out on the rope over the river. We did our acrobatics the best we had ever done them. Glorfindel was happy and I think he forgave me for those days when I didn’t play with him. Glorfindel always said it was his best begetting day ever.”
Elladan jumped up and grabbed Elrohir’s arm. “We could do that! We could learn some acrobatics and do a performance for Glorfindel’s begetting day!” He grabbed the edge of the book and tried to read over Elrohir’s shoulder. “When is his begetting day?”
Elrohir shrugged his brother off and paged through the book. He spoke a date aloud and then cried, “That is only two weeks away! We found this book just in time.”
Elladan grabbed the book away from him and skimmed quickly though the pages. Behind him, Elrohir was already balancing on a small rock near the edge of the river, his arms outstretched, practicing.
“His brother even listed the food they ate and what the decorations looked like,” he said. He plopped down next to her. “Naneth, can you arrange for it to be just like this?”
Celebrían took the book he held out to her and read through it herself. Cook would have no problem with the food, and she and Amariel could make the banners and costumes to match those of Glorfindel’s house and what Glorfindel’s brother and his friends wore that day.
“I believe we can,” she answered. She paged through the diagrams on the pages that followed. “This shows the acrobatics they did. I think Erestor could help you learn these.”
“Erestor?” asked Elladan dubiously.
“Do not underestimate him,” laughed Celebrían. “Lindir too.” She stood and brushed herself off. “Come, we have much to prepare!”
“But we must keep it a secret!” added Elrohir. “Just like his brother did.”
Celebrían held out her hands and hooked thumbs with her sons. “A secret,” she agreed.
* * *
Glorfindel groaned and pulled his sheet over his head. While it helped with the light, it did nothing for the noise. He pressed his hands over his ears and sighed.
“Glorfindel, wake up!” demanded Elladan.
“I would rather not,” he finally replied, his voice muffled since he was speaking into his mattress.
“You have to!” came Elrohir’s insistent voice.
“No, I do not,” he disagreed.
“It is your begetting day!” announced Elladan. “We found out the date and we are going to celebrate.”
“You do that. I will remain here, thank you,” he groaned.
“Adar says to drink this,” said Elrohir suddenly.
The sheet was tugged back from his head and he felt a cool flask against his cheek. He lifted his head and sniffed the contents, then freed a hand to hold the container while he downed it. The bitter taste lingered in his mouth, but within moments he felt his stomach and head settle down to normal. Ah, bless Elrond, he thought. Of course, he’s the one that dragged out that wine, so he is at least partially to blame.
Silence fell, and Glorfindel silently thanked the Valar or whoever had chased his favorite elflings from his chamber. He rolled over and sat up, only to find Elrond sitting patiently in the corner.
“Why do you not look as bad as I feel?” he groused.
Elrond smiled. “I left the Great Hall many hours before you, my friend. How do you feel now?”
“Much better, thank you.”
“Good, because my sons and wife have indeed planned quite a celebration.”
Glorfindel lay back against the pillows. “I suspected they would,” he answered. He smiled at the Lord of Imladris, who suddenly looked too serious. “Fear not, Elrond. The day will be enjoyable for all.”
Elrond studied him for a long moment, and Glorfindel relaxed the barriers to his mind, allowing closer inspection. “I have long known the date of Gondolin’s fall, but I did not know these anniversaries fell so close together,” Elrond finally said.
Glorfindel smiled gently. “I used the date of my reembodiment when Gil-galad insisted upon having a begetting date. No one knew the real date. I did not know you had those books here in Imladris. I thought they really were on a wild goose chase.”
“Gil-galad sent them,” replied Elrond. “He was unsure of the author, but suspected you knew and might want them. I had forgotten they were here as well. How did Celebrían know they existed?”
Glorfindel shrugged. “There are a few Gondolin survivors here in Imladris; perhaps one of them told her.” He sank down into the pillows, causing the sun to stream over him rather than bathe his face in its too bright glow. “Last night as we remembered Gondolin’s fall, we toasted your great grandsire, your grandfather and father. Then we toasted you and your sons. Then I think we started over. Several times, in fact. The line of Turgon of Gondolin will not fail, you know.”
Elrond laughed. “Today is about celebrating you, my friend.” He stood and went to the door. “My sons are eating breakfast. I would say you have just enough time to bathe and dress in peace before they descend on you again.”
Glorfindel grinned. “I think your sons will have little spare time this morning,” he replied smugly. “I do have some idea what they have been up to.”
“But you intend to indulge them anyway?”
“I would not miss this for anything,” he answered gleefully.
After Elrond had left him, Glorfindel did rise and dress and head for the dining hall. Everyone he met greeted him with well wishes, so he knew something had been done to announce the day to all of Imladris. He entered the dining hall and stopped as he looked around.
“Those little scamps,” he said quietly.
The dining hall was decorated in the colors of his father’s house. A banner was hung on the wall and the tables were draped in the colors of the House of the Golden Flower. He stared for a moment before he realized that the decorations and part of the room had been arranged to look as his home had appeared in Aman, as captured in his brother’s drawing anyway.
And breakfast had been kept for him. Cook greeted him with a cry of delight, rushing to uncover platters and set them on the table. Tears stung his eyes for a moment as he realized that breakfast was that which his mother had served on special days, her special breakfast cakes.
He looked from the food to the face of Cook, who appeared slightly anxious.
“They look just like my Ammë’s cakes,” he said. He broke off an edge and put it in his mouth, and closed his eyes in a bliss that was entirely honest. “And they taste even better than my fondest memory.”
Glorfindel heard Cook’s laughter and then cries of delight from the twins as they ran to him.
“We have to go …” began Elladan, but he was interrupted by Elrohir’s elbow to his ribs. “… do stuff,” finished Elrohir breathlessly. “Enjoy your breakfast!”
Glorfindel watched them race from the room. They were barefoot and dressed in short leggings and close fitting tunics, and he grinned.
“What are they up to?” asked Cook. “They barely ate anything!”
“I imagine they will not eat much now, but will be begging from you later,” replied Glorfindel knowingly. At Cook’s raised brow, he added, “I believe they have some physical exertion planned.”
“Ah,” replied Cook in sudden understanding. He was well accustomed to the ways of warriors who did not eat before training, though certainly his two small ones were too young for such things.
Glorfindel ate his breakfast leisurely, enjoying every bite, to Cook’s great delight. He had slept late, so most of the house was already about their business and activities. Despite his suspicion of what the twins were up to, he decided he had to test the boundaries and see how far the conspiracy extended.
Thus, after finishing his breakfast, he wandered down the hall and out on to the front porch. He managed to count only to ten before Elrond was at his side.
“Ah, Glorfindel. Would you care to ride with me?”
Elrond was indeed dressed for riding. He was casually dressed in trousers and tunic, his hair loosely tied back and he smiled in the carefree manner Glorfindel wished could always grace his countenance. So he was part of the plan. Glorfindel thought he might have to prompt Celebrían, Elladan and Elrohir to involve Elrond in more conspiracies if this was the result.
“I would enjoy that greatly,” he replied, and even as he spoke he heard the sound of bells ringing and saw one of the young grooms leading forth his and Elrond’s horses.
Unable to resist one further test, he turned his horse toward the waterfall near the house, but Elrond spurred his horse across the short expanse of green to the north, challenging him as he did so. Glorfindel whooped his joy out loud and followed.
They raced until the cliffs steepened and forced them to slow as they followed the curve of the hills north away from Imladris. Then Elrond led them along the narrow path, through dappled sunlight under the leafy canopy of trees that seemed to sing and sway as they passed. The passage opened again on to a field full of sweet smelling grass, and Elrond spurred both of their horses into another race.
Glorfindel felt the thong holding his hair back come loose and his hair streamed out behind him as they flew. They did not slow until they came upon a pool they knew well, a widening of one of the small rivers that flowed out of the mountains. Large rocks trapped the waters between them, holding them for a time until they gently rolled on to continue their swift journey to the Bruinen.
While their horses drank, Glorfindel removed his boots and tunic and waded into the pool, stooping to cup water in his hands and splash his face. The water was ice cold, for snow was still melting from the mountain peaks. The coolness felt wonderful against the heat of the day, and Glorfindel reveled in it.
“Watching you, my friend, is like watching an elfling at play, discovering the wonders of the world for the first time.”
Glorfindel grinned back at Elrond’s comment, then sent a shower of droplets raining down upon him.
“That was the intent, was it not?” he asked. “To take me back to the days of carefree childhood?”
“Yes indeed,” laughed Elrond in agreement. “I marvel to think of what you saw in your youth: born in the light of the Two Trees, you saw them darkened and the arrival of shadow, and you saw the first rising of Anor and Ithil. But there were days of carefree joy, I hope?”
“Yes,” replied Glorfindel. He could not help but turn his gaze west. In his mind’s eye, he saw the white peak of Taniquentil rising against the fairest of blue skies. He remembered his begetting day celebration, one of the last ones in the light of the Trees. He had been too young to understand why that light had dimmed and darkness had come, but he remembered well being held in his Ammë’s loving arms while his Atar held them both and his brother too. He had not been afraid, for he knew his parents would protect him. It wasn’t until the horrors of the kinslaying at Alqualondë that he had learned that parents could not hold all evil at bay.
He turned back to Elrond. “My atar held me before him on his great white stallion and we raced over fields of gold. I thought I was flying. I held out my arms and felt the wind against my face and my outstretched palms, and then I looked up and saw a pair of golden eagles soaring above, crying out their excitement as they raced along with us. I was so happy to have that time with my atar that tears streamed down my face. We stopped at a pool and played in the cold water. We rode home more slowly. He sang to me and I fell asleep. I never doubted the strong arms that held me, never thought about falling, never imagined a time would come when he wouldn’t be there.”
He laughed then, and smiled at Elrond. “All the things that your sons think as well. They are still so innocent of evil. They know the love of their adar and naneth’s arms that protect them from all bad things.”
“And when you returned home?” asked Elrond, a grin tugging at his lips.
Glorfindel tugged his tunic back over his head. “Ah, then the real entertainment began,” he said. “My brother was nothing if not imaginative and ingenious.” He finished dressing and leapt back on to his horse. “I am looking forward to this.”
“To what?” replied Elrond innocently. Then he laughed and soon they were racing back across the field.
When they reached the courtyard, they found the entrance decorated with banners as well. Golden cords were strung between poles, guiding them to the larger of two pools below the waterfall that formed the backdrop for the house. Every child who had lived in Imladris had played in that pool. Lovers had troth-plighted on the benches hidden among the trees, and rumor was that several children had been conceived in the secluded glades nearby.
Today it seemed that all of Imladris was present. Tables were laden with food, and blankets were strewn all around for picnicking. Colorful streamers were tied in the trees as well as along a thick rope that spanned the width of the pool.
Glorfindel grinned and bowed at the cheers that greeted him. His smile widened when he saw Celebrían standing with her sons, dressed as they were in short leggings and close fitting tunic. She had braided ribbons into her hair and theirs, as well as into their costumes.
Perhaps the most amazing of all the surprises, however, were the other members of the troupe. Glorfindel cheered when Lindir appeared, his slender form looking more youthful than ever in costume, but nearly hyperventilated at the fifth member.
The twins ran to the elf, each grabbing a hand and pulling him to the group. Erestor shot Glorfindel and Elrond a warning look that would have chilled the fires of Mordor.
“You look wonderful!” cried Celebrían.
Glorfindel bit his tongue. Erestor was no feminine elf, nor as slender as Lindir nor as youthful as the twins. He had been a warrior and his physique still reflected that past. In costume, he looked powerful. Or he would have, were it not for the ribbons in his hair and on his costume. He had apparently convinced Celebrían he needed far less adornment than the rest of them, but Glorfindel was already busy sketching the elf in his mind to make a permanent memory.
“Glorfindel, we’re going to perform your brother’s acrobatics!” cried Elrohir.
The twins trembled with excitement. Glorfindel held out his arms to them, and they rushed to him. As they each grasped a forearm, he swung them high and then caught them. They squealed in delight, and he loved the sound. They were growing up so fast; soon a day would come when they were too big to be held like this.
“I can hardly wait to see it!” he replied, his voice reflecting their enthusiasm. “Have you taught your naneth and Lindir and Erestor all they need to know?”
Elladan nodded his head, but the ever truthful Elrohir answered, “Erestor and Lindir taught us! Glorfindel, they are very good.”
Glorfindel winked at them. “I am sure they are. So, when does the entertainment begin?”
“Now, because we are hungry and Naneth only let us have a snack!” said Elladan. “Adar, please make sure to save us some food! It might all be eaten!”
“Now, now, never fear about that,” called Cook from across the clearing. “I have set aside a feast for you!”
The twins leapt to the ground, Elrohir somersaulting and Elladan cartwheeling. Then they grabbed their adult helpers and ran to the pool.
Glorfindel and Elrond sat in the places of honor set aside for them, right at the edge of the pool. Glorfindel had noted Celeborn standing high up on the rocks earlier and concluded he had helped ensure the ropes were secure. Galadriel he had not seen until now, sitting serenely off by herself, reading. It was the book that caught his eye.
At that moment, his attention was drawn away by the sounds of an upbeat song. Lindir had picked the music and was even now directing the musicians from his perch up on the rocks.
The twins began the performance with simple maneuvers in keeping with their tender age and skill. First Elladan ran across the rope over the pond, showing off his light step and speed. Elrohir followed behind him, stopping over the middle of the pond, running back a few steps, then forward again. They crossed back over together, marching in step, Elrohir’s hand on Elladan’s shoulder, their feet kicking out in unison.
Glorfindel cheered and clapped along with the rest of the audience, touched when each time they finished a stunt they looked to him for approval. They were performing for him, after all. They advanced in their tricks on the next few passes, and then the adults joined them.
Celebrían was pure grace on the rope, dancing upon it with ease. She walked across on her hands, then returned on her feet, one arm before her holding Elladan’s feet, and her other arm behind her, spotting Elrohir, as they copied her. She next appeared with black streamers wrapped about her arms and legs, and leaned back until her hands were on the rope. She crossed on all fours, hands leading and feet following. The music had turned ominous, and indeed she moved like a spider. When she had made it across, she turned and started back, this time with two small spiderlings following her. They were nearly across when Erestor ran after them, waving a flowing streamer of blue. It was a lightning bolt, and as it flicked Elrohir’s belly, he ‘fell’ from the rope, dangling by his hands. Erestor leapt over him and struck Elladan, who ‘fell’ next. The enraged mother spider turned upon him, rearing into a standing position and striking back with a streamer of white, her stinger. They fought upon the rope, their movements graceful and their acting enchanting. In the end, the spider was defeated, and Celebrían fell.
Lindir had plucked the defeated spiderlings from the rope, flipping them over his shoulder like so much baggage, and Glorfindel could hear Elladan’s laughter and Elrohir’s shushing him. Then Lindir went for Celebrían, who dangled like a limp rag doll from the rope. He grasped her hands and pulled her up, and as her feet stepped on the rope she leapt in the air. He caught her around the waist and tried to throw her over his shoulder, but she struck out with her stinger once more. He fell to his knees and she rolled over him, somersaulting on the rope and landing on her feet. She fled from him, racing to the rocks and safety, where she reclaimed her children. Lindir returned to Erestor in shame, for all of the enemy had escaped, and the warriors shook their fists and promised to meet them again in battle one day.
The elves stood and cheered, and Glorfindel thought Elrond most surprised of all.
“I knew they were practicing, but that was amazing!” he whispered.
Erestor and Lindir performed next, allowing Celebrían and the twins some rest. They ran and jumped over each over like leaping frogs on their first crossing. On the second, Lindir stood upon Erestor’s shoulders.. Erestor’s movements were dramatic, as he bent and swayed, turned and twisted, and through it all Lindir maintained himself in a perfect upright position.
Then came the finale. The five all came out on the rope together. The three adults formed a chain, then lifted the twins up over their heads. Elladan and Elrohir were rigid, their arms pressed tightly over their chests, and they were handed from one adult to the next, up the chain then tossed to the back, in perfect rhythm. The pace became faster and faster, matched by the music, which increased in tempo and volume, until Lindir and Erestor were nearly throwing the twins back and forth, Celebrían between them merely a steadying hand. Glorfindel could see the intense looks of concentration on all of their faces, could hear their counting, their encouragement to the twins, who were having the time of their lives. Then he glanced at Elrond, who had gone as pale as the moon.
Then he heard Lindir cry out and it was over. The twins were caught and held as the last beat of the music was played. Erestor turned Elladan upright and held him for a long moment, making sure he was not dizzy and had his feet, while Lindir did the same for Elrohir.
The audience clapped as the performers moved into final position. Lindir and Erestor turned to face Celebrían, who still faced the audience, with one leg forward and bent at the knee. She placed a foot on Erestor’s thigh, then steadied herself and moved her other foot to Lindir. The twins then climbed up to stand on Erestor’s and Lindir’s shoulders. Celebrían held an arm out to each of them, and they leaned forward against her hands. They formed a perfect pyramid, their final pose, and the audience stood to cheer.
When the rope snapped.
The five tumbled into the pool below.
They came up sputtering, looks of disbelief and shock on their faces. The drop was not far, for they would never have endangered the twins, and they had fallen in many times in their practices. But the shock of falling during the final pose after a perfect performance was jarring.
Glorfindel began to laugh. At the tree where the rope had been tied stood Galadriel. She still appeared as serene as she had been when the performance started, but now she held a knife in her hand, and the cut rope hung limp against the tree trunk.
A few others had noticed her too, and the noise of the crowd rose and fell and rose again.
And Glorfindel laughed until he had to sit down or fall down.
“Daernaneth!” came Elladan’s outraged cry.
Elrond appeared shocked, Celebrían was in disbelief, Elrohir’s lower lip was trembling, and Elladan was outraged. Erestor’s lips were twitching, however, and Lindir was grinning.
Galadriel calmly put the dagger back in its sheath and laid it upon the rock, then walked across the clearing to Glorfindel. She held out the book she had been reading, and he doubled over in laughter again.
“Naneth!” cried Celebrían. She climbed from the pool, her costume soaking and plastered to her, but she did not seem to notice. Her sons pressed against her and she hugged them close. Then she looked at Glorfindel, but when he tried to stop laughing, he just snorted.
Galadriel turned to him. “Well, Glorfindel?”
“It was perfect! Exactly like I remembered it!” he choked out.
“What?” demanded Elrond.
Glorfindel handed him the book. Elrond opened it and began flipping through it, coming to the page Galadriel had marked. His lips twitched in amusement, and he stepped to his family and showed them a picture.
“They fell?” asked Celebrían in disbelief. “That wasn’t there when we read it.”
Glorfindel giggled. “You read my brother’s account. He conveniently left that part out. This is my version of the day.”
Celebrían turned on Erestor, who was biting his lip to keep from laughing.
“You knew!” she cried.
“I did,” he admitted. “I catalogued those books when Gil-galad sent them and recalled laughing at the differences in perspective. Glorfindel thought they had fallen in on purpose. He jumped in after them.”
Glorfindel tried to catch his breath. “I did,” he agreed, though his words sounded more like a duck’s quack. “I thought they meant to fall in and I thought it was a perfect ending. My parents were amused, but my brother was beside himself. He had wanted to perform perfectly and he thought he had failed. I loved him for it. He gave me this great gift and the ending was perfect to me.”
Elrohir laughed, just a small laugh, as he began to see the humor. “So you like that we fell in?”
Glorfindel snorted again. “Oh, Elrohir, if you had intended to recreate my favorite begetting day celebration, you did. That was perfect. All performances should end with a dive into a refreshing pool.”
“Indeed,” said Celebrían, and her gaze swept up and down him. She let go of her sons and took one step toward him, and the twins instantly knew what she intended.
“You have to go in too!” shrieked Elrohir. “That was how it happened!”
Glorfindel jumped up and tore his tunic over his head. He flung it over his shoulder, grabbed a child under each arm and ran for the pool. He jumped in, bending his knees and landing on his rear, ensuring he made the biggest splash possible. The twins were screaming as he released them, and as soon as they surfaced they flung themselves at him, giddy in their joy.
They looked back just in time to see Celebrían pull Elrond in after her, despite his protestations that he had not been involved in the least.
Later, they sat together on the blankets, drying in the sun and eating the feast Cook had saved for them. Most of the inhabitants of Imladris had wandered away. Erestor was paging through a book, and the twins dozed in the warm afternoon sun. Glorfindel stretched out next to them, studying the innocent faces he could not love more had they been his own sons.
It was then he noticed a shadow above him. He looked up to see that the rope had been retied, and was again taut enough for a light footed elf to walk across. Celeborn stood over the middle of the pool. At the far end, Galadriel watched. Finally she put a foot forward and stepped out on to the rope. She moved carefully but with growing confidence, all the way to Celeborn.
“Naneth has not walked a rope since she was a child,” whispered Celebrían.
“Should we cut it?” murmured Elladan, half asleep.
“No,” said Celebrían softly. “My adar has waited too long for this.”
To their complete surprise, Celeborn lifted his wife in his arms and walked the rest of the way over the pool, and then they disappeared into the trees.
Glorfindel grinned. He now had two favorite begetting day memories, one with each of his families.
* * * * *
Atar and Amme = Father and Mother in Quenya
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