|About Us News Resources Login Become a member Help Search|
Special thanks to daw the minstrel for beta-reading this chapter.
Chapter 9: Grandparents and Elflings
Elladan watched surreptitiously as Istuion bent back over the book he was reading. As soon as he seemed engrossed in the material, Elladan let his glance shift back out the window. He cautiously slid his chair back and waited for a moment, and when Istuion did not move, he got lightly to his feet and tiptoed to the window. Nothing. A small sigh escaped him.
"Elladan, back to your seat. How many times must I remind you today to pay attention to your lessons?" Istuion chided. He watched the elfling move dejectedly back to his seat and slump into his chair. A slight pity stirred in the tutor. "Your father has promised that as soon as word is received from the guards, he will come for you himself. You do not need to keep watch."
Elladan picked up his quill and began writing, but soon his head was lying on his outstretched arm, and his writing was slanting at odd angles as a result. Istuion rose and walked to stand behind Elladan, looking over the child's shoulder at his work. He sighed and picked up the parchment. He crumpled the paper and set a new sheet before the child.
"This lesson was to work on your penmanship, Elladan. I want a whole sheet of clean strokes that can be read without having to turn the page sideways," Istuion instructed.
Tears began to slip slowly from the elfling's eyes and he had to take a deep breath to catch the sob that was trying to escape him. He picked up the quill again and began to write, this time sitting up straight and keeping his quill at the proper angle. He had completed a few lines, the tears still wetting his eyes, when a drop fell on to the still-wet ink. The ink smeared, and when small fingers tried to brush the smear away, it was spread all the way to the edge of the paper. Elladan burst into tears.
* * *
Celebrían was walking to her small study located near to the room where her sons were taught, when she heard Istuion instructing Elladan to start his work over. She slipped quietly into the small alcove at the door, and witnessed her son's frustration. She saw the tears fall and the ink smear, and then watched her little son burst into tears. She knew she shouldn't interfere, but she was as excited about today as any elfling and could not bear to see her child suffer when he was merely anticipating a much desired arrival.
She glided into the room, nodding at Istuion apologetically, before kneeling next to her son. She touched his shoulder, and he looked up with tear filled eyes.
"Nana, I messed it up again!" he sobbed. He flung his arms around her neck and buried his face into her shoulder, his own small shoulders shaking as he cried.
Celebrían bit back a smile and rose, picking him up and then seating herself in his chair. She picked up the parchment and perused it, one eye on Elladan. He quieted and looked at the paper.
"Yes, it looks like the paper became wet and the ink smeared," she agreed, smiling inside when Elladan wiped his eyes and nodded his agreement. "What do you think we should do with it?"
Elladan took the paper from her hand and looked at it carefully. "I think we should throw it away," he answered in a small voice. "It is no good anymore."
"Why were you crying over your lesson?" Celebrían asked him gently.
"I was not crying over this," Elladan corrected her. He glanced to the window and then at his mother's face. "I want to be outside with Elrohir, waiting for Daeradar and Daernaneth."
"I would wish that too. Why are you inside and Elrohir is outside?" she questioned.
Elladan hung his head. "Because Elrohir finished his lesson and I did not." He leaned against his mother again, tucking his head under her chin for a moment. Then he seemed to deepen his resolve, sat back upright, and turned to face the table. He took another sheet of parchment from the pile and placed it before himself, then dipped his quill in the ink and bent over his work.
Celebrían watched as another tear rolled down his cheek. Biting her lip to hold back her smile, she looked at Istuion. He shrugged and smiled. She took the pen from Elladan's hand.
"I think you are going to smear the ink again, with those tears." She tenderly wiped the tears away. "I think perhaps we can work out a special arrangement, just for today. You must complete this assignment, but you may do it this evening or tomorrow."
Elladan looked from his mother to his teacher in surprise. "Then I may go outside now, with Elrohir?" he asked incredulously. When his mother nodded, a huge smile lit his face and he hugged her tightly before bolting out the door.
"El, I am coming!" They heard his shout as he skidded down the hall and out the front door.
Celebrían turned and smiled at Istuion. "Thank you. He is just excited, for my parents are expected any time now. I will see that he completes his task before they next come for lessons"
Istuion blushed and melted under the smile she bestowed upon him. "My Lady," was all he could whisper.
* * *
The sun was midway through its day's journey when word first came that the party of Celeborn and Galadriel approached. Celebrían watched her sons waiting as patiently as they could, trying to occupy the time and will the minutes by faster. At one point they sat together on the swing, legs dangling, as they appeared to discuss matters of great importance. Moments later Elladan lay on his back under the swing, while Elrohir lay face down on the slatted seat. She could hear their giggles but did not understand the game. Her breath caught the next time she glanced out at them, as they carefully balanced themselves upright on the flat rail of the fence that encircled the porch and then walked carefully to the end before jumping the three feet or so to the wood flooring. The twins had just climbed up for a second go when she heard them shout. She saw the guard appear up the path from the bridge and watch as both elflings jumped off the side of the fence and into the grass. For that she leapt to her feet as well and ran from her chair in the study to the front porch. She flew down the porch stairs and turned to the side, into the grass, where she saw them both lying on the ground.
"Elladan! Elrohir!" She ran to them, noting the way they were sprawled face down on the ground, the way their small bodies shook. Kneeling quickly beside them, she touched Elrohir's shoulder. He turned his fact towards her, and she saw the tears in his eyes, the redness of his face…..and the smile? "Elrohir, are you hurt?"
A squeal came from the elfling next to him, and Elladan rolled over, giggles erupting from him. Elrohir continued to laugh as tears poured from his eyes.
"Nana," he gasped, "my side hurts from laughing so hard!"
Celebrían drew in a deep breath and sat down on the grass next to them. Elrohir crawled over to her and collapsed on her in giggles, finally resting his head in her lap. Elladan rolled across the grass, bumping into Elrohir and resting his head on his brother's legs. It took the elflings several minutes to regain their breath. Elladan sat suddenly upright.
"Nana! Daerada and Daernaneth will be here soon! The guard just arrived," he announced.
Celebrían calmly stroked Elrohir's hair. "Yes, pen-breg nín, I saw him arrive too. Were you so excited that you jumped off the fence?"
"No, Nana," Elrohir giggled. "We were fighting orcs. Sometimes you have to jump great distances to get them."
"We are going to ask Daerada to show us how to jump from trees in battle," Elladan added.
Celebrían turned and looked up at the porch rail and then back again at her sons. She shuddered slightly, and then asked, "Have you ever jumped from there before?"
Elladan and Elrohir exchanged glances. Elladan began to answer, but Elrohir was already turning red and refusing to meet his mother's eyes. Elladan began to twist the edge of his tunic, a sure sign he was contemplating how best to answer such an inquiry.
"Yes, Nana," Elrohir finally answered.
Elladan jumped in quickly. "Nana, we have been watching the warriors train and so we know how to roll when you land so you don't get hurt. We even practiced from lower walls first," he explained.
"Has your Ada or Glorfindel or Erestor told you that you could jump from the porch rail?" Celebrían pursued her line of questioning.
"No, Nana," Elladan answered truthfully.
Celebrían noted Elrohir still squirming uncomfortably. "Have you been told any places you cannot jump from?"
"Ada said we cannot jump from the wall down by the bridge," Elrohir answered.
"And Glorfindel says we cannot jump from the rocks on the training field," Elladan chimed in.
"Erestor says we cannot jump from the stairs into the hall," Elrohir finished.
At that moment the first of the horses appeared, and all further discussions of where elflings were allowed to jump from and where they were not was forgotten. The warriors of Imladris who had met and relieved those from Mithlond turned away to the stables, until finally Celeborn and Galadriel were there, stopping their horses with imperceptible movements and then dismounting.
Elrond, Erestor and Glorfindel had appeared, as well as many others of Imladris. Bags and cases were already being unloaded and carried to the rooms assigned by the Lady of Imladris.
"Adar!" Celebrían waited for Celeborn to dismount and hand his reigns to one of the stable elves, and then she was in his arms. "Did you have a good journey?" she whispered as she kissed him on each cheek.
Celeborn took the hands of his daughter in his own and kissed each one, then her forehead. "It was a fine journey, my daughter, but today is the finest day of all, for you are here."
As Celebrían turned to greet her mother, Celeborn eyed the dark haired elflings who were waiting rather impatiently behind their mother, their father having a firm hold on each small elf, gently restraining them and allowing their mother to greet her parents first. He looked down at them, unsmiling at first, but with a twinkle in his eye, glancing from one to the other. He finally held out his arms, and Elrond released the two small balls of energy.
Celeborn caught them up, one in each arm, and was hugged tightly around his neck by each child. "I almost did not recognize the two of you," he spoke softly. "I was expecting small children, and here I have rather grown-up elflings instead."
Elladan and Elrohir beamed with pride. "Daerada, we have so much to tell you," Elrohir hugged his grandfather again.
Elrond stepped forward and clasped the part of Celeborn's arm that was not holding one of his sons. "Welcome, Celeborn. I am pleased you are here."
"We are pleased to be here, my son," Celeborn answered in his soft, yet commanding voice.
Celebrían watched her mother for a moment as she turned her horse over to the stable hand. Her mother was tall and beautiful, her very carriage so powerful, that whenever Celebrían saw her now after an absence of any length, she felt awed by her presence. Yet when her mother's eyes turned to her, she was again a daughter, a much loved daughter.
"Celebrían," Galadriel glided the last few feet to her daughter. She took Celebrían's hands in her own, and held her at arm's length, gazing upon the one she had given birth to so many years before, then drew her near, gently kissing her on each cheek and smoothing back her hair.
"Naneth, I am glad you are here," Celebrían replied, gently embracing her. "Your grandsons have been eagerly awaiting your arrival too."
Galadriel turned to Celeborn, who still held their grandsons.
"Daernaneth," Elrohir bowed his head to his grandmother, and when she reached her hand to him, he took it gently in his and kissed it as a well-bred little elf ought.
Galadriel laughed, a sound so beautiful and rare that everyone turned to look. She kissed his cheek and then turning to Elladan, who copied his brother's manners perfectly, and did the same.
Celebrían beamed as her sons behaved impeccably, and then her husband bowed before Galadriel, and taking her by the arm escorted her to the porch, where many others waited to greet them. Celebrían hooked her own arm through her father's, as he set the twins down, and followed.
Elladan and Elrohir were watching as the horses were unloaded of their packages and bags and taken away to be cared for, when they saw two small horses being led away. They were dappled gray, so small that they could walk beneath one of the large elven horses.
"Ada, look!" Their cries caught the attention of all the adults. "It's a tiny horse!"
Elrond and Celebrían turned to see what their sons were pointing at and caught sight of the ponies being led to the stables.
"Nana, did you see them?" Elrohir cried excitedly. "Daerada, where did you get the tiny horses from?"
The twins ran back to their grandparents and parents, their faces alight with excitement. It was their grandmother who spoke.
"We brought them from Mithlond," Galadriel explained. "They are beautiful, are they not?"
"Yes, Daernaneth," Elladan agreed. "May we see them later, please?"
"I think that can be arranged." Galadriel smiled, one hand on each small head.
* * *
"Naneth, where did you find the ponies?" Celebrían questioned her mother after her sons had left the table.
Galadriel smiled. "Cirdan knew of them. Men east of Mithlond raise them, and allow their children to ride them. Human children grow so fast that they are on to horses soon enough. With the small stature of the ponies, Elladan and Elrohir will also be able to take on the responsibility of caring for them. They should serve them well for a number of years."
"If their reaction to them today is any indication of what we shall see when you give the ponies to them, I think we can say it will be one of the finest gifts they have been given," Elrond added. "Thank you."
Galadriel nodded at him, her eyes speaking as much as her words. "It is the role of the Daernaneth's and Daeradar's to both spoil the grandchildren and aid the parents in raising them. There appears to be little need for the latter; therefore we shall enjoy focusing on the former."
Elrond felt Celebrían's hand slip into his under the table, and squeeze his fingers tightly. He felt her mind brush against his, and her joy she at hearing her parents express confidence in how they were raising their children. He stroked her palm with his fingertip and smiled at her in return.
* * *
"Ada, will you continue the story tonight?" Elrohir tugged on the sleeve of his father's robe.
Elrond looked down at hopeful faces and smiled. The adults had stayed at the dining table long after the meal was finished, catching up on news from Mithlond. The twins had quietly listened to all that was said, but the conversation was above their head and they finally asked to be excused. Celebrían had reminded Elladan of his penmanship lesson, and with a barely hidden scowl he had gone to his room to complete the task; Elrohir accompanied him for moral support. They had spent their evening out of sight and mind of the adults, and Elrond had been surprised by the quiet tug on his sleeve.
"Yes, Elrohir, we will continue," he answered. "Say goodnight to your mother and grandparents, then I will help you with your baths and we will continue the story."
"Good night, Nana." Elladan and Elrohir chimed at the break in conversation.
Celebrían hugged her elflings. "I will come tuck you in later," she murmured, kissing each small head.
After quick goodnights to their grandparents, Glorfindel and Erestor, Elrond led the children back to their room. He smiled as he listened to them chatter in their bath about the small horses, and found himself anticipating seeing their reactions when their grandmother informed them the ponies were for them.
"Ada, you and Elros were getting better when we left off," Elladan reminded him. "Maglor helped you by singing."
"I do remember," Elrond laughed. He helped them get into night tunics and then settled them on the bed, sitting behind them to comb out the tangles from their wet hair. "Even Maedhros was glad that we seemed to improve. . . . "
~ ~ ~* * *~ ~ ~
Maedhros did not sleep that night, but sat on the cliff, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing against the rocky point. He watched the sunrise that morning, his eyes taking in the beauty of that golden light, yet in his heart he knew it to be only pale reflection of the light of the tree from which it was taken. The light of the trees that was captured in the Silmaril. The Silmaril that was again out of his reach.
He stood and stretched, then walked back to camp. Other elves were moving about, preparing for the day and many were already preparing to make this into a more permanent camp. Here they would pitch their tents and set up boundaries and assign patrols - some to guard the camp, but some also to watch the sea.
He quietly approached the spot under a small grove of trees where Maglor and the sons of Eärendil still slept, curled together for warmth and healing. Hathel was awake, leaning against a tree, knife in hand. Next to him was a small assortment of carved animals. Maedhros knelt down next to the children, gently placing his hand on the forehead of the uninjured child and then on the chest of the other. He could feel the energy of their feä, strong yet this morning.
He moved to sit next to his brother, tenderly stroking the dark hair that spread out across his shoulders. Maglor shifted to his back and stretched. His eyes focused and he blinked, surprised to see his brother sitting next to him, watching him with an unreadable expression. Fear seized him, and he quickly sat up and turned to the sleeping children. He ran his hands over them, felt their chests rising and falling with each breath, felt their feä burning strong. He breathed a sigh of relief.
"They have not faded."
"No," Maedhros answered abruptly.
Maglor eyed his brother suspiciously. "Are you pleased by this, or did you wish for them a different fate this night?"
"I do not wish for their deaths," Maedhros answered, watching his sibling with the same impassive look as he had had when Maglor first awakened. He reached out his hand, and again touched his brother's hair, rubbing the strands gently between his fingers. He pushed the lock of hair behind Maglor's ear and stood. "We will be setting up camp here. Hathel may stay and assist you with them."
Maglor watched his brother leave, a curious expression on his face. He turned to Hathel, who merely shrugged. Their attention was diverted to the children, as Elrond stretched and yawned, then sat up, sleepily rubbing his eyes. He looked around the camp, one hand on his brother's arm, finally resting his eyes on Maglor.
"Good morning, Elrond," Maglor said gently. "Are you hungry, little one?"
The child stared at him for a few moments, but did not flinch or draw away when Maglor moved closer to him and then tipped up his chin with his finger. "I think Elros might be hungry. If you were to eat, I think he would eat too."
Elrond regarded his brother for a moment, then gently shook him. Elros opened his eyes, taking in his surroundings, confusion on his face. "Nana?" he asked.
Elrond shook his head, and Elros sat up, a small gasp as the remnant of his injury caused him some pain. He moved next to Elrond and looked around, finally looking at the big elf next to his brother.
"Hungry," Elros demanded.
Maglor laughed. "I am sure you are, Elros. Hathel is preparing you some breakfast. Would you like some water to drink?"
Elros nodded, so Maglor held the water skin for him and the child drank in thirstily. Once he had had his fill, he got to his feet and began to look around him. He spied the little pile of animals that Hathel had carved, as well as some blocks of wood yet untouched, and with a small cry of delight, plopped himself on the ground next to them.
Malgor watched in fascination as Elros began to play. He was clearly weak, his color still poor, but there was a spark in his eyes that had not been there before. While he was playing, Hathel brought bowls of breakfast grains, and Elros immediately sat next to this strange elf and began to eat what Hathel fed him. After a few mouthfuls, he took the spoon and began to feed himself from the bowl that Hathel still held for him.
Elrond stayed seated, his eyes on his brother, watching him play and then eat. He made not a sound, and did not respond to any queries Maglor made of him. He sipped water when Maglor held it to his lips but did not try to hold the container. When Maglor held the spoon of food to his mouth, he accepted it, but did not take the spoon or indicate he wanted more. When he decided he had had enough, he just refused to open his mouth.
Hathel heated water, and they stripped the children of the clothing they had been wearing since the day of the attack. Maglor bathed Elrond and changed him into fresh clothing from his pack. In with the clothing, he saw a picture book. He pulled it out and held it up that the children might see it.
"Elrond book," Elros said as he continued to play with the blocks that Hathel carved.
Elrond's eyes lit up at the sight of the book. He did not rise to reach it, nor say any words, but when Maglor placed it in his hands he clung to it, hugging it to his chest while rocking slowly back and forth.
Hathel had bathed Elros and changed him, setting his clothing aside to be cleaned. Elrond's clothes they added to the fire, for they were stained with the blood of the she-elf they found him with. Elrond watched without comment as his clothing burned.
Elros watched with great interest as the camp was arranged. He began to follow Hathel around, exploring the tents as they were set up and watching as trees were felled and cut into pieces that could be used to fence in the main camp. His chatter soon was recognizable all over the camp, asking what everything was and when possible, kicking over piles of wood shavings. Hathel collected good sized wood chips and began to carve them into blocks and other shapes for the toddler.
Elrond merely watched, silent and impassive. He followed his brother's every move with his eyes, and when out of sight, his ears. He became agitated once when he could neither see nor hear his brother, but made no attempt to move from the blanket.
Hathel finally brought the tired child back to his bedroll, and Elros lay down to nap with a carved horse in his hand. Elrond cuddled next to him, his hand over his brother's, and they both slept.
Maglor sat next to them, brooding.
"Why does that one not speak or move about?" Hathel finally asked.
"I know not," Maglor answered shortly. "The other was injured, yet seems more a normal child now than this one." He laid his hand on Elrond and his eyes widened slightly. He shifted his hand to Elros.
"The spirit of Elros is strong and confident; it rushes mightily and consumes the energy feeding it. The spirit of Elrond is again weakening. I feel it fading," Maglor said, distress in his voice and his face.
"Sing to him," Hathel replied.
Maglor glanced at the elf, who again shrugged. Maglor lay down, curling himself around Elrond so the child was spooned into him. He cuddled the child and began to sing in a low voice. Again, as the melody flowed, rising and falling in crescendo, all nearby felt the call of the minstrel and were soothed.
Under his hand, Elrond strengthened.
* * *
"Hathel, can you not keep that child from underfoot?" Maedhros demanded as he stepped over Elros once again as the child darted in between the tents.
"Yes, my Lord," Hathel answered hurriedly as he followed the wayward child to the back of the tents.
Maedhros sighed in exasperation as the tent flap opened and a small head peeked out at him.
"Elros, come here," he commanded.
The small figure darted back inside the tent.
Maedhros stalked over to the tent of his brother and found him sitting with his harp in hand, Elrond in his lap, his hands guiding the child's over the strings.
"Maglor! Can you not control.." he began.
"Maedhros," Maglor stopped him. He motioned to Elrond. "He is only now becoming less afraid of you. Do not raise your voice."
"Please get the other one away from my tent. He is underfoot."
Elrond slipped from Maglor's lap and walked past Maedhros to the tents. Maedhros raised an eyebrow at the child but followed him nonetheless. Elrond slipped into Maedhros' tent, and found his brother playing with Maedhros' sheathed sword.
"Elros, come," Elrond whispered, taking Elros by the hand.
Elros laughed as he put the sword down but took the proffered hand and followed his twin. They walked past Maedhros, who glared at Elros. The child laughed again.
Maglor too had followed the child, and he grinned at his brother. "He is not afraid of you."
Maedhros turned his glare on to his own brother. "He will be soon, if you do not control him."
"I have told you: camp is no place for children," Maglor replied. "We have been here for weeks - why do we not take them back to Himring?"
"I have told you: I need them close. If Elwing or Eärendil do return, they do me no good in Himring," Maedhros explained, frustration in his voice.
Having exchanged their now familiar arguments, Maglor returned to his tent. He found Elrond sitting in front of the flap, piling the blocks into towers. He finished and moved back just as Elros ran from the trees and demolished the blocks by sliding into the structure feet first. He gained his feet while giggling and then raced back to the trees, where he waited for Elrond again to build him a tower to destroy.
Elros slept as hard as he played, and when night fell he was easy to bundle into his bed for sleep. Maglor would take out his harp and play while he sang, and Elrond would finally drift into sleep cuddled up to his brother as he listened to the song.
Thus the months passed, until the day Maedhros called for Maglor.
"A messenger has arrived form Balar," he said calmly. "They seek the sons of Eärendil."
~ ~ ~* * *~ ~ ~
"Who came to rescue you, Ada?" Elladan sat up in surprise.
"I did," a voice answered from the doorway.
Elladan and Elrohir turned in surprise at the sound of their grandfather's voice.
"Daerada?" Elrohir asked. "You came to rescue Ada?"
"We sent word to the camp, seeking the fate of your father and Elros. We did not know if they yet lived and yet feared attacking the camp, for we did not know if Maedhros would hurt them, if they were indeed alive," Celeborn explained. He entered the room, and sat on the bed as Elladan and Elrohir crawled over to him.
"The king of the Noldor elves, Gil-Galad, and Cirdan the Shipwright of Balar, along with those of us who survived the sack of Sirion, had been searching for your father and uncle since we learned from Lady Liriel that they were taken by the sons of Fëanor."
"Why did you wait so long? It had been months," Elladan asked.
Celeborn sighed, his face impassive. "Many were dead and injured, and those who lived had to be moved to the Isle of Balar, where they could be protected and healed. Lady Liriel nearly died, and it took some days for her story to be told. As soon as the tale was told, scouts were sent as far north as Himring seeking word of their fate. Maedhros had not gone where we expected him to go - he had gone east and set up camp, instead of north to his home. Cirdan's mariners spotted guards on the cape, and that is what eventually led us there," he explained.
"Your grandfather was gravely injured at Sirion," Elrond interrupted, "as were many others. Elros and I were only two of many in need. They came as soon as they could."
"Your father and uncle were the grandsons of my niece, Nimloth. I would not abandon them by choice," Celeborn answered gravely.
Elrond glanced up sharply at these words. He had never considered before what Celeborn might have felt upon learning that children of his own kin, whose mother he had helped escape from Doriath at a similar age, were taken by the sons of Fëanor. Looking upon the one he mostly thought of now as his father-in-law, he instead saw his own blood kin and the pain that losing them had caused him.
Elrohir snuggled up to his grandfather. "Daerada, will you tell us part of the story? Will you tell us about coming to rescue Ada?"
Celeborn smiled tenderly at the elfling in his arms. "I shall, if you so wish, but not this night."
"Come, it is bedtime," Elrond stood and pulled the covers back. He settled Elladan into his bed, while Celeborn did the same with Elrohir.
"Good night, Ada; good night, Daerada," sleepy voices chimed together.
Celeborn moved to the door but stood and watched as Elrond spent a few moments with each child, stroking their backs and heads as he whispered to them, until both were asleep.
Elrond shut the door behind him, and walked with his father-in-law and great -great uncle back to join their wives. Celeborn slipped an arm about Elrond's shoulders and squeezed gently. If anyone had looked into his eyes at that moment, they would have seen the flash of paternal pride that shone there.
* * * * *
pen-breg nín ----------------my wild ones
Author's Notes: For Celeborn's history, I am using the scenario where he is a nephew of Thingol and uncle to Nimloth. The Silmarillion does not state which elves escaped Doriath with Elwing and the Silmaril, or whether Celeborn was in Sirion when it was sacked, nor does it tell if any kind of search was done for Elros and Elrond, how long they stayed in Maglor's care or what role other elves might have played in their early life.
|<< Back||Next >>|
|Home Search Chapter List|