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The Dwellings of the Dead  by Nilmandra

Thanks to daw the minstrel for beta reading this chapter.

Chapter 3

Elrohir saw the child sitting not far from the path. His skin was nearly as brown as the dusty tufts of grass withering under the hot summer sun, and though tear tracks stained his dirty cheeks, his eyes were sunken in dehydration. A sob hiccupped from him. Sad brown eyes met Elrohir’s, then his face filled with fear. He slid behind the scraggly bush whose shade he had been sheltering beneath with the innocence of one who thought if he disappeared, he would be forgotten.

“Ah, little one,” said Elrohir softly in Westron. “Do not be afraid. I will not harm you.”

He moved slowly toward the child, stopping when the child sank further to the ground. Pulling his waterskin over his head, he removed its cork and held it out. “Are you thirsty? I have water for you.”

The child’s thirst drove him to sit up and look longingly at the waterskin. Elrohir crept closer, finally sinking to his knees a few feet from the child. The little boy reached for the waterskin, and Elrohir helped him lift it to his mouth and tipped it up that he might drink. He doubted the child had the strength to hold the full skin on his own.

His thirst satiated, the little boy did not protest at all when Elrohir picked him up. Thin arms snaked around his neck and the child melted against him.

He noticed the heat of the child’s body immediately. All children were warm, human children especially so, for they grew so fast that they expended much energy just in living. Yet this child was warmer than normal, and Elrohir feared he had been in the sun too long.

He rested a hand on the child’s back, rubbing gently in comfort, and in doing so he pulled up the child’s tunic and exposed some of the skin. Elrohir caught his breath and clutched the boy a little tighter, as if that would somehow protect him from harm. He shifted the child in his arms and found another black mark on his leg, another on his belly.

The child’s eyes were closed, his chest rising and falling with the slow even breaths of sleep. Yet already Elrohir could hear a slight crackle in the child’s chest. Resting his cheek against the child’s head, he wept.

He felt strength flow into him a few moments later when Glorfindel laid a hand upon his shoulder. Composing himself, he rose without disturbing the sleeping child in his arms. Glorfindel led him a short distance away to a small camp. As they approached, the smell of death grew. Glorfindel motioned for Elrohir to stop.

“Mother and infant are buried under that cairn of stones,” said Glorfindel quietly. “The father is covered with a blanket.” He faltered. “An older girl child cared for that little one until she too passed, probably this morning.”

Elrohir cradled the sleeping child to his chest, his heart breaking for this little one who had seen mother and baby brother die, then his father, and finally his sister. He was old enough to understand death, yet far too young to provide for himself. Elrohir could only imagine the fear this child had lived in as his family left him to follow death’s call, and he was left without food or water, to starve in the wilderness if wild animals did not take him, or war, or the illness that had claimed his family.

He waited until Glorfindel had wrapped and removed the bodies from the camp, then he made as comfortable a bed as possible in the shade of the tree the family had chosen for shelter from the sun and laid the boy upon it. The child released his hold on Elrohir’s tunic and hair begrudgingly, and he grew restless within moments.

“Stay with him,” said Glorfindel as he finished pulling the family’s wagon to block the view of the graves. “I will bring what you need.”

Using what water remained in his waterskin, Elrohir bathed the child, removing the dust and dirt that covered him. Whether his touch calmed the child or the coolness of the water upon his hot skin he did not know, but he was thankful for any relief he could give.

Once clean, the swollen nodes and black marks upon his body became more apparent. Placing his hands on the child’s chest and forehead, Elrohir touched his mind to the child’s. Comfort and strength he could impart, but the child’s spirit was confused and weakened, unable to battle the disease ravaging his young body. Elrohir knew in that moment that his healing skills would not be enough; indeed, even those of his father might not be enough. Perhaps if they had found him earlier. . . He forced the thought from his mind. Thus far, they had not found survivors. His desire for this child to be the first gripped his heart so tightly it hurt.

“Glorfindel,” he began, looking up. His words died in his throat and he fell silent. Glorfindel was not in sight. Yet, he had felt the presence of someone drawing near to him. In the dappled shade just to his right he saw a faint glimmer. The now familiar cold prickle rose on his neck.

The spirit did not descend upon him as it had earlier. Elrohir thought it was the same houseless one, albeit more in control of itself. It approached him slowly, and Elrohir thought the spirit was ensuring he knew it was there.

The child will die.

Elrohir stiffened.

The child will die. He is weak, mortal.

Elrohir shifted slightly, blocking the child with his body. The temptation to gather the child in his arms was great, yet he wanted to keep his hands free.

He is abandoned. His body will die and his spirit will flee, but it will not find peace.

Fear rose in Elrohir. Could these spirits keep the child’s spirit from going where the spirits of men went? Surely if summoned by Mandos or Eru himself, nothing could impede the child from them. Could these spirits hold the child’s in torment?

The spirit laughed. Indeed we can. And we shall.

The boy was wracked by a spasm of coughing. Elrohir forgot about the spirit as he lifted the boy’s upper body to help him breathe. When the coughing had ceased, he held his waterskin to the child’s mouth and trickled the remaining drops in. The boy drank them thirstily, continuing to smack his lips even after the water was gone. Elrohir built up a pillow from blankets he had gathered and eased the child into a reclining position against them.

“Here,” said Glorfindel. He held out a small cup full of water to Elrohir, a much more manageable size. “I will clean your waterskin before it is used again.”

“I thought you said that elves are not likely susceptible to this illness,” said Elrohir as he held the cup for the child to drink again.

“Elves are likely not,” replied Glorfindel grimly. “But you are half-elven. You also may have need to share your water with others of mortal race again.”

Elrohir squelched the brief glimpse that flashed in his mind of him or Elladan or Arwen - or their father - ravaged by this same disease. The child shivered, despite the heat of the day, and he covered him with a blanket. The boy opened his eyes. Elrohir smoothed his hair back, caressing his cheek, and the child leaned against his hand.

“What is your name?” he asked gently.

“Toman,” whispered the boy.

“Toman is a good name,” replied Elrohir. “I am Elrohir.”

“El. . .” the child fumbled over the unfamiliar pronunciation.

“El is enough,” replied Elrohir. “Are you hungry?”

Toman nodded. Elrohir took a bit of waybread from the pouch at his belt and fed Toman small pieces, washed down with sips of water. To his eyes, the child seemed improved already. Clean, his thirst and hunger assuaged, and fear banished, he now looked as a child ought. Elrohir’s hope was kindled.

Then the child lifted his arm and the blanket slipped down, and the now visible black spots wiped Elrohir’s hope away. He sang to the child until sleep again overcame him.

Glorfindel wandered the area, gathering wood for a cooking fire and stones for another cairn. When he had a small fire started and set a pot of water to boil, he gathered up the sack of stones he had collected and said, “Call me if you need me, Elrohir. I will be just beyond their wagon.”

Elrohir realized he had not told Glorfindel about the spirit; he had forgotten about it entirely when the child had needed his help. Now he looked for any sign of the glimmer that had alerted him to the presence of the spirit earlier. In the distance, he could hear the faint clicks of the rocks being stacked, and he knew that Glorfindel was burying Toman’s father and sister. Not unexpectedly, the spirit re-appeared as soon as Glorfindel was engaged elsewhere.

You grow attached to the child. It is unwise for the Eldar to mingle with the secondborn. Wisdom fades and unlikely alliances form, alliances that only weaken your strength.

Elrohir contained the retort that formed on his lips and closed the door to his mind. Beside him, the child slept on, his small body pressed against Elrohir’s side.

Such is to be expected of you, perhaps. The blood of mortal men runs through you. Will you follow the spirits of men or elves? When Elrohir did not respond, the spirit continued. How fortunate for this child that you are his caregiver. You could accompany him when he passes. Protect him from those who would harm him.

Toman’s hand came to rest on his arm, seeking contact. Seeking comfort. Elrohir took the small hand in his own and held it. Toman sighed and seemed to sink deeper into sleep.

The spirit departed as quickly as it had come. Elrohir shook his head to clear it, and only realized how much time had passed when Glorfindel appeared from around the wagon.

“I have meat. I thought he might like a broth,” offered Glorfindel as he lay aside his hunting gear.

Another spasm of coughing shook the child’s body. A pinkish froth dribbled from the corner of his mouth. Elrohir wiped it away, his sorrow nearly overwhelming him.

“Glorfindel,” began Elrohir. Then he paused. He wanted to ask Glorfindel if what the houseless one said was true, if the child’s spirit could be caught and held in thrall. Something held him back. He smiled at the expectant look on the elf’s face instead and said, “Thank you. I think he will manage a little broth.”

“Elrohir, has the spirit returned?” asked Glorfindel steadily, his hands preparing the meat even as his gaze seemed to pierce through Elrohir.

“I have not been assailed,” replied Elrohir carefully. When Glorfindel continued to hold his gaze, he said, “But the spirit has been near. It seems to have given up its battle for my body.”

Glorfindel frowned. “Or it is merely seeking to gain it another way.”

Toman began coughing again, the spasms so great that he choked and gasped for air. Elrohir could feel his fear and distress, and he poured forth his strength into the child, calming him and helping him to relax. But he could not stop the disease. He wiped the bloody froth from the boy’s lips and gave him a sip of water. The big brown eyes that met his were more dull and sorrowful than they had been just a few hours earlier. Yet they held trust, trust that Elrohir would take care of him.

The coughing spasms increased in intensity and frequency as the evening light dimmed and night fell. Toman took a few sips of broth, but the coughing spells caused him to vomit up even that little bit of nourishment. While Elrohir could calm him and reduce the pain in his chest, he could not stop the fits of coughing. With tears in his eyes, Elrohir prepared the medicine he knew would help stop the spasms. The medicine would make him sleep as well, and Elrohir knew he might not awaken again.

He mixed the medicine into a little broth and held it to Toman’s lips. “Drink, little one. This will help you to feel better.” Toman drank obediently, then clung to Elrohir’s hand. “You are a brave boy, Toman. I am proud of you.” Elrohir cradled the child in his arms until those trusting eyes slid closed and sleep claimed him.

“Sleep while he does, Elrohir. I will waken you if he worsens,” said Glorfindel gently.

Elrohir lay down on the blanket that Glorfindel had spread out next to Toman and fell into an exhausted sleep.

Toman’s coughing wakened him during the darkest hour of the night. Glorfindel supported the child, but his breaths were mere wheezes and the lack of air was making him panic. Elrohir sat up and pulled the child into his lap. In his panic, Toman was hard to reach, but Elrohir finally gained a hold on his spirit and calmed him. His breaths were still labored, but the panic that was expending all of his energy was gone. Toman was too weak now to cling to him bodily, yet Elrohir felt as if he had cleaved with the child’s spirit.

Never had he gotten this close to the spirit of another, and wonder filled him. When Toman was calm, he withdrew a little, that he might assess the child’s physical needs. He needed his clothing changed and his fever brought down.

“I need warm water to bathe him, and the waterskins filled with cold water that we can place against him to bring down his fever,” said Elrohir, and Glorfindel rose without question, stoking the fire to warm water and then taking the pot and waterskins to the stream.

Intent on caring for the child, Elrohir did not notice the spirit approach. He noticed it hovering over them, watching them, yet taking no action or attempting to re-house itself.

The time is drawing near. The call is upon his spirit. Soon he will hear and heed it.

Elrohir wiped a tear from his cheek. He could keep Toman’s delirium in check and ease his pain, but he could not stop the fluid that threatened to drown him nor the fever that raged within him. He could not help him to breathe easier.

Will you not aid him? Will you let him run the gauntlet to safe haven alone? Surely he will fail. You are strong enough to withstand all he might encounter. You have the right to go where both Elves and Men find peace.

A desire rose in Elrohir at that moment, one that he had never before experienced. He had given little thought to the fate of men, or where their spirits went upon bodily death. Beyond the circles of the world, that is all his father had told him. What lay beyond? Could he go there – could he escort Toman there and then return?

The houseless one would take his body, but he could reclaim it. What was rightfully his would respond to his command, he was sure. And if not . . . then he would go to Mandos. Would not the Valar find him redress? Like Glorfindel, could he not be given a new body and sent back?

Toman shuddered in his arms.

Another glimmer of light appeared, then another. The third was stronger than the other two, and Elrohir knew it was no elf. He felt fear for himself, not just the child. Toman was near death in his arms. Soon his spirit would be bereft of body. Could Elrohir let him go when he knew what was waiting for him? He cradled Toman tighter, strengthening his hold on his spirit as well.

He would go with him.

A new fear came over him with his decision. What if he could not return? He would be sundered from his family forever. He would cause injury to them as Elros had done to his father so many years ago.

He wept for Toman and for himself. He was desperately afraid of what he was about to do. Then Toman released his last breath and went limp, and Elrohir felt the child’s spirit let go of his body. Still he trusted in Elrohir.

A great fury of sound and light surrounded him, attempting to separate Toman from him. Elrohir held on desperately while trying to gather his courage to depart with him. Something was holding him back. Someone.

Glorfindel joined the battle, and some of the spirits fled before his wrath. Others stood their ground. Elrohir watched Glorfindel battle them and realized this was his opportunity, the diversion he needed. He forsook his body.

He and Toman fled their bodies, but did not go far. Other spirits surrounded them, spirits that were mighty and powerful, yet also good. Elrohir had not noticed them before, but they chased the evil ones away. No malice emanated from them, only great love. One reached out with power gentle yet mighty and touched Toman. Toman’s spirit released its hold on Elrohir immediately, joy filling it.

Elrohir was confused. Other powers were interceding, one that could only be Mandos. At his command, Elrohir released the child’s spirit. In an instant, the glorious spirit had taken him away, shooting to the heavens with a rush of light, surrounded by a host of others of his kind.

Elrohir faced Mandos. He trembled in fear, expecting wrath to descend upon him. Then he realized another stood behind him. The tug that had been holding him in Arda, the someone that had a strong grip on him, was Elladan.

Elrohir Elrondion, it is not your time. Heed my words, young peredhel. When your choice is made, your doom will be appointed and there will be no return. Make not your choice in haste.

Elrohir looked to where Toman had gone.

He is safe? He will find peace? he finally dared ask the Vala.

Iluvatar sends His own to bring to him those who are His. The Eldar who heed my voice will have my protection. Take back your hroa, my child.

Elrohir looked back at the scene on Arda. The battle was over; the spirits had fled. Toman’s body lay upon the hard ground. Glorfindel was still radiant, shining like the sun, standing over his body. Elladan was there, holding Elrohir’s body, and Erestor stood behind him.

Turning, Elrohir allowed Elladan to pull him down and he took back his body.


Elrohir opened his eyes and met the exhausted gaze of his twin. He heard Erestor sigh in relief, and then Glorfindel knelt beside them. Tears glittered in his eyes.

Elrohir tried to speak, but he could not form words. He tried to raise his hand, but his body would not heed his command. Fear was returning when he felt the touch of Glorfindel upon his mind.

“Peace, Elrohir. Your spirit and body have not forgotten each other; they just need a few moments to synchronize their rhythms.”

Elladan’s shoulder sagged and Erestor eased him to a sitting position while Glorfindel took Elrohir. Elrohir could hear Glorfindel speaking to him in a soothing voice as he massaged his hands and arms, encouraging his body to remember, but his eyes were on his twin. Erestor had found a flask of Miruvor and was encouraging him to drink it.

“Son of Elrond you will always be,” said Erestor. “But Elladan Elrondion is a force to be reckoned with in his own right.”

Elladan smiled wanly, then scooted the few feet to where Elrohir lay.

“If you ever leave me again, Elrohir,” said Elladan, “I will drag you back and have adar build a strong tower to hold you and set spirits about it to guard you.”

The threat was lessened by the weariness that made his voice crack.

“What happened, Elrohir?” asked Erestor.

“When did you arrive?” managed Elrohir, finally finding his voice. “It is just dawn. Why were you traveling at night?”

“We encountered an evil spirit several days ago. It recognized Elladan as kin to Elrond, pronouncing him a mighty gift. It said also that their captain had not forgotten Elrond,” said Erestor.

Glorfindel straightened at those words. “Their captain can only be Sauron,” he said sharply.

“That is what we thought,” agreed Erestor. “The spirit was a servant of Morgoth, recognizing in Elladan the blood of Lúthien. I would have returned to Elrond with this news, but we feared for Elrohir.”

“I felt driven to find you,” said Elladan, now strengthened by the Miruvor. “I did not know why, but I pushed Erestor until we traveled through the day and night without stopping. We found you by Glorfindel’s light.”

Elladan paused, then asked in a more strained voice. “Why did you do it, Elrohir? Why did you make the choice of Men?”

Glorfindel’s sharp intake of air was all that Elrohir heard in the ensuing silence.

“I did not choose the fate of Men,” he corrected, his voice shaking. “At least, that is not the choice I was attempting to make. The houseless one said they would ensnare the boy’s spirit and keep him from peace. As his body failed, spirits were gathering. They would hold him in thralldom forever.”

Elrohir stopped, bowing his head as he struggled to stop the tears that threatened to spill down his cheeks. “I was deceived. The houseless elf could not take my body by force, so it attempted to lure me from it out of fear for the child.”

Elladan wrapped an arm about his shoulders and Elrohir leaned against him.

“What did Mandos say to you?” he asked softly.

“The child’s spirit was never in danger. Mighty servants of Eru escort them to wherever they go. I was naive, thinking I could take him to safety and then return. When we make our choice to go to the Halls of Men or to the Halls of Elves, it is final.”

Elrohir closed his eyes, his head still bowed in shame. “How arrogant of me to think that I was needed to keep him safe from harm.”

Glorfindel laughed. “Nay, greatheart, it is not arrogance that makes you love as you do. You have a gift for healing, like your father, and that does make you vulnerable. Yes, you are innocent still in the ways of the fallen. You do not know evil. But now your eyes have been opened and you will not be deceived in such a way again. There are other forces in this world than just those of evil.”

Elrohir looked at the body of Toman, still lying just a few feet from them.

“Why does evil come upon small children and steal away even the short life they have been given? He has committed no wrong, done no evil. He is not long from his mother’s breast and already he has seen suffering and death beyond what anyone should see in a lifetime of men.”

No one answered him. Then his mind was filled with the memory of the glory he had seen, of the joy in the spirit that had come for the child, of the trust and willingness Toman had shown in going with him. “Perhaps death is a gift, regardless of age, if such glory lies beyond,” he murmured. But none of them had seen what he had, and they remained silent.

Elrohir looked up at Elladan. “You look like you were in a great battle. Thank you, my brother, for coming for me.”

Elladan only smiled, but Glorfindel said, “He joined the battle I was in like a warrior out of the great tales of old! Lúthien’s blood runs strong in you both, though the manifestation is different. Your father will be proud of you both.”

Glorfindel rose. “With your leave, Elrohir, I will bury Toman with his kin.”

Elrohir nodded, but moved from his twin’s side to kneel by the child’s body for a moment, then continued what he had begun before dawn had come. He washed and dressed him, then wrapped him in a clean blanket. He carried him to the cairn Glorfindel had made the day before, and noticed that he had prepared a spot for the child when he had buried his sister and father. He laid the body in the grave, then began stacking the stones as Glorfindel handed them to him. Then he sang, Glorfindel’s tenor joining his, as they grieved for their loss. When they had finished, he went to the stream to wash, and Glorfindel again fell into step beside him.

“You do not think any spirits remain?” Elrohir asked in surprise.

Glorfindel smiled. “Some perhaps do that we cannot see. The evil ones have fled, but they must abide somewhere. I saw one go into the Barrow on the Downs that day; perhaps others have gone there as well. But you are weary and I am still too near to the fear I had for you, so you will indulge me my presence.”

Elrohir laughed. “Because I am weary, I will indulge you almost anything.”

They returned to camp to find Elladan sound asleep. Elrohir moved his bedroll next to his twin and stretched out beside him. His stomach growled, and Glorfindel laughed

“I will indulge you making breakfast,” he yawned, teasing.

Glorfindel walked past him to the fire, where Erestor was already seeing what could be made of the food stores in their packs. He bent down and laid his hand on Elrohir’s head, and Elrohir fell fast asleep.

* * *

“Impertinent whelps,” commented Erestor as Glorfindel joined him at the fire.

“Aye,” replied Glorfindel. “But since they fought the hard battle, this one time we will wait on them.”

“I would have thought that you, of anyone, could have handled that battle,” replied Erestor in surprise.

“No, the spirit that taunted Elrohir was right,” admitted Glorfindel. “Only one with the blood of the Ainur, the Eldar and the Edain could have done so. Only Elrond’s children of all those living today or who may yet live will choose their own fate. Elrohir is fortunate that Mandos granted him a reprieve, recognizing the deception played upon him. A deception, I might add, that could only be visited upon one of Elrond’s children.”

“Elrohir is not the one I would have thought would ever make that choice,” replied Erestor.

Both looked at Elladan. “No, nor I,” replied Glorfindel softly. “They see things we do not see, feel things we cannot feel and one day will choose something we cannot comprehend. In all of Middle-earth, only Elrond understands.”

“And yet he still sends them out into the world.”

“The choice must be freely made, with full knowledge, or at least all the knowledge they are granted to know,” said Glorfindel. “Elrohir gained some new knowledge about the fate of men today. Whether that increases his desire to know more, or provides him with enough knowledge to choose what he knows remains to be seen.”

“I think our mission accomplished,” said Erestor after a long silence. “Elrond will wish to know all we have learned. I am quite ready to return to the dwellings of the living.”

“When the elflings awaken, then, we will go home,” replied Glorfindel.

“Not an elfling,” murmured Elrohir in his sleep.

The End.

* * * *

Author’s notes:

The passage that inspired this whole tale, from Appendix A, LotR

In the days of Argeleb II the plague came into Eriador from the Southeast, and most of the people of Cardolan perished, especially in Minhiriath. The Hobbits and all other peoples suffered greatly, but the plague lessened as it passed northwards, and the northern parts of Arthedain were little affected. It was at this time that an end came of the Dúnedain of Cardolan, and evil spirits out of Angmar and Rhudaur entered into the deserted mounds and dwelt there.

As for the concepts used, they are rooted in Tolkien, but are my own interpretation. In the Silmarillion, Tolkien says that

There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made.


Thus it came to pass that of the Ainur some abode still with Ilúvatar beyond the confines of the World; but others, and among them many of the greatest and most fair, took the leave of Ilúvatar and descended into it. But this condition Ilúvatar made, or it is the necessity of their love, that their power should thenceforward be contained and bounded in the World, to be within it for ever, until it is complete, so that they are its life and it is theirs. And therefore they are named the Valar, the Powers of the World.

Ilúvatar and some of the Ainur exist outside the realms of time and the physical space of Arda. The Valar and the Maiar (who are of the Ainur) dwell within it, as do the Elves (the Firstborn children of Ilúvatar). All of these exist as long as Arda exists. Their fate when the world ends is unknown.

Men, the Secondborn Children of Ilúvatar, live in the world, but upon death they leave the circles of the world and no longer exist in time and that physical space. Thus death is called the Gift of Iluvatar, for existing outside time and space means a true eternal existence without the wearying cares of the world. Elves are immortal only in the sense that they exist as long as the world does.

When Melkor (Morgoth) of the Valar ‘fell’ some of the Maiar followed him. The balrogs and Ungoliant the spider and Thuringwethil the vampire are all Maiar. Sauron is a Maiar. Other well known Maiar are Melian and Olorin and Radagast and Saruman.

By this point in the Third Age (1636) some of these creatures are gone, but some still live and some have reproduced (Shelob is a descendent of Ungoliant, as are the great spiders of Mirkwood). Sauron is still active in Middle-earth.

The houseless ones also exist in Middle-earth. When the elves were first summoned by the Valar to come live in Aman, some refused. They became known as the ‘Unwilling’ or Avari (and eventually the ‘Forsaken’). When they chanced to die, their spirits did not heed the call to the Halls of Mandos and remained in Middle-earth. For the most part, they were not evil.

But in Morgoth’s Ring, Tolkien says:

But it would seem that in these after-days more and more of the Elves, be they of the Eldalie in origin or be they of other kinds, who linger in Middle-earth now refuse the summons of Mandos, and wander houseless in the world,* unwilling to leave it (40) and unable to inhabit it, haunting trees or springs or hidden places that once they knew. Not all of these are kindly or unstained by the Shadow. Indeed the refusal of the summons is in itself a sign of taint.

For the Unbodied, wandering in the world, are those who at the least have refused the door of life and remain in regret and self-pity. Some are filled with bitterness, grievance, and envy. Some were enslaved by the Dark Lord and do his work still, though he himself is gone. They will not speak truth or wisdom. To call on them is folly. To attempt to master them and to make them servants of one own's will is wickedness. Such practices are of Morgoth; and the necromancers are of the host of Sauron his servant.

Some say that the Houseless desire bodies, though they are not willing to seek them lawfully by submission to the judge- ment of Mandos. The wicked among them will take bodies, if they can, unlawfully. The peril of communing with them is, therefore, not only the peril of being deluded by fantasies or lies: there is peril also of destruction. For one of the hungry Houseless, if it is admitted to the friendship of the Living, may seek to eject the fea from its body; and in the contest for mastery the body may be gravely injured, even if it he not wrested from its rightful habitant. Or the Houseless may plead for shelter, and if it is admitted, then it will seek to enslave its host and use both his will and his body for its own purposes. It is said that Sauron did these things, and taught his followers how to achieve them.

All of the spirits in the story are of the type Tolkien created – those that exist in time and space, Elrohir and Glorfindel could see and experience. The elven ‘fea’ exists apart from the body, which theoretically makes them more aware of spirits. Glorfindel especially lived in Mandos’s Halls until he was re-emboded, so he would be well familiar with recognizing spirits.

The spirits that exist outside of time and place, I had the elves and the sons of Elrond not be able to see those unless the spirit chose to be seen. As for them escorting the spirit of the child, I use another idea not mine. This one belongs to Ilúvatar also, by the name he uses in our world.

Matthew 18:10 tells us that an angel watches over the ‘little ones’

10 “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Luke 16:22 tells of how angels escort the souls

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side.

So there, Tolkien really does have it all. Evil spirits, good spirits, plague, war, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters….

As for the last line ‘Not an elfling’ – Elrohir and Glorfindel have been having this exchange for the last 1500 years.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed.

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