Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be, all in good fun.
A/N: The portrayal of Lindir in this story differs from that in Pride and Peace, an oversight a plan to fix by revising the story above. Other than that, I do plan to make this part of my overall arc.
Songs for the Pure and Free
In the personal library of King Elessar many journals rested on the shelves. All the books held some sort of biography, but the personal histories of the people of Arda were always sought after by the scribes and the court historians. A special set of these personal histories resided in a locked drawer of the King’s study, adjacent to his personal library. The set could not be identified by binding type, nor even by subject, or date, or material used. Geographic area neither united nor divided the collection; some editions contained illustrations while others only held written accounts. Edited copies existed of their contents in archives and libraries throughout Arda, but Elessar’s collection remained the most unique and coveted of the set for the Ages. The collection contained the only hand-written journals and diaries where the subjects and the pen holders were the same. Many now have a copy of the Bagginses and their tale, or read Ianto the Detailed's biography of the Sons of Elrond or debated over which journal contained the most sharp edge of wit: that of Lord Erestor, his daughter Lady Eluialeth, or Lady Morwen of Rivendell. King Elessar loved them all equally and reverently; and even though he swore all the journals and diaries carried personal dedications to him, his children knew that their father’s name was Elessar and not Estel.
The children of the King grew up with the tales of the personal histories as most children grow up with faery stories. Each child, and later grandchild and great-grandchild, had their favorite account but the one that each child felt drawn to once they reached the cusp between childhood and adulthood was the personal journal of the renown Master Lindir, Minstrel of Imladris. The court musicians spoke his name in reverential tones, which always sent King Elessar into peals of laughter when he recalled the teasing and taunting his elders heaped on the minstrel, recounting his many nicknames including the title of “that minstrel boy” that started upon Lindir’s arrival in Rivendell and held until his departure.
Lindir’s tale holds a bit for all of us, and his life remained more accessible to the masses than the legends associated with names such as Elrond, Glorfindel, Thranduil, Galadriel, Legolas and Gandalf. Lindir held the title of minstrel, came from a background more low than high, earned his affection from his higher-ups through talent, dedication, and a desire to present and preserve tales and truth. He did not rely on spectacle to draw his crowds in, but on his Valar-given talent and his long-honed skill. Minstrels exist in every culture, and Lindir represented all elven minstrels, his life account drawing so close in comparison to the lives of the everyday soldier and the minstrels of the court, that he assured that the view of the elves became something less mythic (with the exception of the legendary elves, of course) and more relatable.
This, below, is part of Lindir’s tale. Not all of it, for he was quite long-lived and a touch verbose, but the part of his tale with which many of the young men and women identify. This is the young Lindir, untried by war and still uncertain of his place, but showing a sense of humor and curiosity that formed the great minstrel he became and left us with such a significant plethora of elven music.
His words follow below:
From the Annals of Imladris, the dairy of the Master Minstrel, Lindir of Imladris.
Forlindon in the year 3431 of the Second Age
Is it fate, destiny or personal choice that guides the lives of us all, be we elf or mortal? This has always been my question and I am wanting of an answer now. How is it that I, destined to be nothing but a mere minstrel, have found myself on a battle field against a Dark Lord? The simplest answer to be found by man or elf concerns the desire of the High-king. Gil-galad wishes for music to accompany him into battle; desires the soothing sounds of harp, fiddle, and flute to fill the dark silences between fighting and rest. But there are minstrels all over hill and dale, many of renown backgrounds and long-standing lineages. I am Lindir of Mithlond. My parents names are lost and forgotten by most. I come from no great house of history. Among my companions I sometimes feel dull and drab. Why, then, did I accept this job and summons? One does not turn down the High-king, of course, but there is more to it. I know that few can wield the power I can with a harp, a flute, a fiddle. Cirdan insists my ability is a gift from the Valar. As a younger elf I blushed and blundered and disagreed. Now, having seen even a small bit of the world, I know that I do play better than most. Do not think me lacking in modesty, I know I am not the best, but I can recognize my better skill and my better spirit. So many think all it takes to be a minstrel is to pluck a few strings and sing a few lines. They do not realize the illusions you must spin, the magic you must create. The music must come to life. The audience must feel it in their very bones, their very souls. A good minstrel brings hope when there is none. We bring warmth when there is nothing but cold. We remind soldiers what they are fighting for and what they could become. Most important, we remember.
The Study of Gil-galad, High King, year 1690 of the Second Age
The herald of the High-king studied the elf before him with incredulity. Placing his hands on the armrests of his chair he asked, “You desire to take and untried elf on to what is destined to be one of our harshest battlefields?”
Gil-galad turned from his wine decanter as he spoke to his herald, “Elrond, honestly, he has been trained for this or did you forget the intense training course Erestor set for Lindir back in 390?”
“He has never been tried like this, it is not some skirmish between a group of men but Sauron himself.” Elrond replied.
Gil-galad approached his friend with an offered cup of wine. “Elrond, it a most important and noble tradition to take minstrels to the battlefield. It is part of their duty and sacred oath.”
Elrond wrapped a hand around the cup and inquired to the ceiling, “Why do I doubt Lindir will be used simply as a minstrel?”
“Because you are an elf with a talent for battle tactics and are well aware of Lindir’s training.” Gil-galad replied, taking the seat next to his herald.
“Not just an elf but an elf-lord now,” Glorfindel said as he entered the High-king’s rooms, “do not forget that Ereinion.”
Gil-galad raised his cup to the elf, “Ah, Glorfindel, ever rude and pompous in your insistence to arrive in my rooms unannounced. I could have you tried for treason you know.”
Glorfindel gave him a pitying look and said, “Oh, Ereinion, do you really want to test the preferences of your people and your friends by putting yourself against me?”
“Will you two please stop.” Erestor muttered from the corner. “I spend most days delivering notices of the dead to family members and the last thing I need is to come back here and listen to you two squabble like children. I assumed, wrongly, that I was surrounded by fellow elves not peacocks and children. Now sit down, quiet yourselves, and behave.” Erestor stated, turning back to his letters after giving the occupants of the room one last glare.
“Yes, father.” Glorfindel replied.
Gil-galad turned to Elrond, “Are you certain that is the elf you want leading your household?”
Elrond laughed, “Him and no other.”
“I suggest we just send Erestor to Sauron. He’d probably surrender just to get Erestor to leave.” Glorfindel said, pouring himself a glass of wine and ignoring Gil-galad’s squawk of protest.
Erestor sniffed, “If it would end this mess, I would do so in a minute.”
“I still do not understand why we must take Lindir with us. He is so young.” Elrond sighed.
“They are all young. You are all young,” Glorfindel said. “However, minstrels, like messengers, are sacred. It is the one rule even Sauron respects. If Lindir was captured for whatever reason he could claim a form of sanctuary and a sacred oath of non-partisanship.”
“No enemy force would be dim enough to not make the connection between an enemy minstrel and the wrong side of the battlefield.” Erestor muttered, giving his letter writing up for lost and watching the argument sure to unfold. There existed no greater entertainment in the palace than the legendry disagreements between Glorfindel and the High-king.
“Yes, but they do the same with their own spies and are aware of the repercussions if they violate the laws,” Glorfindel replied, “Sauron is evil but he also knows how to plan a battle. Early engagement of arms would backfire on both of our sides. The only way to ensure that does not happen is to respect those laws and as long as all the forces fighting on Sauron’s side remain terrified of him our minstrel and messenger spies remain the untouchables of the battlefields.”
Erestor nodded and turned his attention to Elrond, “It is what Lindir has been trained for, Elrond. All of his missions up to his point have resulted in success; he is very good at playing the role of the naive minstrel.”
“It is not just a role, for he is one.” Elrond placed his glass on a side table and began pacing the room. “I know he has experienced some of the world up to this point, but all of his missions occurred in areas mostly favorable to us and our causes. Even among those who wish us some ill will, it is nothing compared to the task before us and a mission we would place on Lindir’s shoulders. Despite all of his work, the most violence he has witnessed up to this point are over-enthusiastic tavern brawls.”
“Elrond, I know you have seen our future and you know that all elves will soon be touched by the shadows of war,” Gil-galad spoke to his friend, “we cannot afford to keep an elf as skilled as Lindir from such a task. Even if I did not plan on using his other skills, I would have him as a minstrel and a minstrel alone. His ability to appeal to the heart is unrivaled by any other minstrel here and I do not think Cirdan could bear to leave him alone in this city while we are all gone.”
“I know you speak the truth, Gil-galad, and I will consent to whatever decision you must make.” Elrond said.
“Then we are all agreed,” Gil-galad addressed the room, “Lindir will begin to receive intense training for the battlefield and assume the role of both minstrel and spy to a greater extent?”
“Agreed.” The other three elves replied, each raising their glasses in gesture to the High-king’s decision.
I made the decision to take a harp with me. Not the one Cirdan gave me or the one I use for performance, but the one I arrived with. It may be an act of superstition, but the harp always brings me good luck in some form. It’s gotten me this far at least. Glorfindel says plenty of people carry instruments into the fight. Whistles and flutes are the common type because they are easy to carry. The drum beaters hold their own special places in the march; but some troops also carry hand drums. I may be the only one to carry a harp, but I also may be the only trained minstrel to go. My other instruments of the march and the fight are up for some debate. I do not have my own bow, horse, or sword. I know Gil-galad’s stores will be able to supply all, but I cannot help but want to carry my own, seeing the personal weapons all the others carry.
Perhaps father will let me borrow grandfather’s.
“Do you have your own sword?” Elrond asked as they walked through the armory.”
“My father has one that belonged to his father and was forged by my great-grandfather,” Lindir said, “I do not know if it will endure any fighting.”
“Has it been maintained?” Elrond asked.
“Oh, yes, Father still sharpens it.” Lindir replied. He watched in amusement as various she-elves glanced at them and covered their faces with their hands. Elrond remained a desired husband for many an elf, even more so now that he established his own home.
Elrond ignored the commotion around him and said, “Then the blade shall perform fine. The old swords are forged well.” He held open the door to the armory, “Now, let us see about all other sorts of weapons. Do you have your own bow?”
“I do not,” Lindir admitted, he gestured to the racks in the armory, “on my previous missions I have always borrowed from the armory.”
Elrond frowned, “It would be best if you have your own though. I will write to Gildor and see what he finds on his trade routes. Borrowed bows are good for simple things, but weapons in battle should carry memories personal to you or your line. Horses are one thing to borrow, though Glorfindel will tell you nothing matches the trusted relationship between a horse and rider, but one really should have their own weapons.” Elrond walked further into the room, “We will all use the arrows from the stores so we can identify the fletchings. What of daggers, do you have your own?”
Lindir nodded, “Oh yes, and a good set of knives as well.”
Elrond nodded in approval. “A very good start. Do you own a kit to keep everything in order and sharpened?”
“Of course,” Lindir answered, “I am a minstrel after all and know full well how an instrument must be kept in good condition.”
Elrond paused for a moment and laughed, “Forgive me, Lindir, I sometimes forget you are not just some common soldier joining the ranks full-time. Of course you the know the importance of caring for your possessions.”
Lord Elrond and Chief Librarian Erestor trained me to infiltrate enemy lines, or at least they did their best. My true training did not arrive until Lord Glorfindel returned to our shores. For all the tales about Gondolin being isolated from the world, Turgon often sent out his most trusted advisors to gather information. Glorfindel was counted among this elite force and learned how to blend in amongst various groups of elves and men. According to his tales, Lord Ecthelion went out among the masses as a minstrel in order to gain entry into many communities. Every technique Lord Ecthelion used has now been passed on to me by Glorfindel. Glorfindel insists that the easiest way to run any infiltration is to remain as close to the truth as possible. This contradicts what both Erestor and Elrond taught me, but Lord Cirdan insists that Glorfindel’s advice is most sound, after all, he has the most experience among all the elves here, including Lord Cirdan. With the arrival of Lord Glorfindel, my arms training also increased. High-king Gil-galad taught me in the spear, Erestor and Elrond in the sword, and Lord Cirdan in the bow, but Glorfindel taught me about daggers and using any available detritus as a weapon. He also taught me how to fight while on horseback, something all my previous teachers had overlooked. The plans for most battles are marches, but Glorfindel is insistent that you never know what will happen and must be trained for all eventualities. It was most amusing watching him teach the High-king how to shoot an arrow from a moving horse. I do not know who left those lessons more frustrated in the end, but they did lead to a basis of mutual respect for the two.
Still, despite all the training and the small missions I completed in the past, I do not know if I am ready for such a battlefield as this.
Training Fields of Lindon, 1698
“Lindir, you must learn to dodge.” Glorfindel yelled across the training field.
All elves able to fight received training under Gil-galad’s orders. The current exhibition was more to impress their guests than to have any real practice. Glorfindel studied the field before him and noted what elves could survive on the battlefield, those better suited for guard duty here in the city, and those who needed to stay behind in the walls of Gil-galad’s palace. The current lists forming in his head detailed the numbers for the traveling sentry duties and the additional forces for Cirdan and Elrond’s homes; though the naval warriors would be left to Cirdan’s discretion. Glorfindel knew just enough about nautical defense to know it was best left up to a mariner. Elrond’s home remained a chief concern, as it also stood as Glorfindel’s new home.
Glorfindel missed the soothing sounds of the waterfalls and the sense of home. The second list Glorfindel started to compile in regards to Imladris contained the elves to be recruited for Elrond’s new household. Lindir sat at the top of the second list; though Elrond would not extend such an invitation until after the final battle. Lindir’s training continued to improve and his endurance for the battle-field would show in his performance. Perhaps that would convince Elrond that Lindir could live closer to the heat of the battlefield. Glorfindel, never one to discourage feelings of filial affection, did not agree with such situations where the affection hindered the advancement of one so worthy. Still, this little performance was not just to show Elrond Lindir’s improving skill but to show the Numenoreans that the elves remained serious in this fight. Friends of Gil-galad or no, kinship to Elrond or not, one sure thing to sway a soldier’s mind towards unity is to show off the skills and weaknesses of an ally. It allowed them to make their own observations of the situation.
“Why must we put on this little play for the mortals?” Erestor asked. “I know they are supposed to have faith in us by witnessing our abilities to fight, but they must know that what is done on the practice field and what is done on the battlefield are always different things.”
“Gil-galad insists on it.” Glorfindel said, for once giving the elf some credit.
“By which you mean you insisted on it, passed the idea to Elrond who made a small suggestion to Gil-galad and which now puts us in this current position. I only wonder why you do not have me down there moving back and forth with everyone else and showing off some form of skill.” Erestor said.
Glorfindel studied his friend and smiled. Erestor’s ability on the battlefield would surprise more than a few, but Erestor was just like Penlod, a scholar who could and would fight when the time came. An elf always underestimated by friend and foe and therefore a more valuable asset than even an elf like Lindir. Lindir, while skilled, could never be like Ecthelion, but there was a spirit in the elf to endure which would also aid their cause.
Glorfindel patted his friend of the back while they studied the gazes of the Numenoreans, “Because you, dear Erestor, are a mystery wrapped in an enigma and like a snake waiting in the bush exist as a silent and deadly surprise.”
“Why Glorfindel, I believe that is the nicest thing you ever said to me.” Erestor replied. He dropped his sight to the elves below them, “Lindir’s sword work is vastly improved but he still needs some lessons in his hand-to-hand.”
Glorfindel nodded, “I know Cirdan insists he is a Haven’s elf through and through, but Silvan must be somewhere in Lindir’s line to give such a slim build. I know the Silvan and Teleri share a common descent, but most of the Teleri have broadened out due to the intermixing with the Noldor and the Sindar.”
“I believe there is some Silvan on his father’s side, a fact which only make sense in regards to Lindir’s musical abilities. The Silvan by and large have a talent for song.” Erestor said.
I have just finished an information gathering mission in an interesting little town calling itself Pigswatch. Out of all the names for a settlement, honestly, Pigswatch? That being said, and while I refuse to state my opinion of mortal men’s ability to name their homes with anything but pleasant terms, I did enjoy my stay there. It was peaceful, considering all the things going on in the world now. I gathered some idle gossip on riders passing through the village and spent a fortnight playing for my supper. I have a whole new set of songs to add to my ever-expanding collection. For all the horrid stenches and intolerable ale they pass off as drink, the people impressed me with their ability to find joy in all things and a time for song. I never had the joy until now to play for a crowd at the beaten down center of a crossroad, perched on a rock and playing fast dance songs from memory by moon and torchlight. An experience I am eager to repeat in the future.
Though perhaps with less pigs next time.
I set out for Imladris in the morning to bring my notes and observations to Elrond. It will be my first visit and sight of the land and I am quite eager to arrive, yet I know caution must be pursued over anything else in times like these.
Elrond stood over a table in a wooden hut adding various markings to the map spread out in front of him. Lindir watched his movements, noting how Elrond seemed to know the placement of everything from memory rather than reference.
“I draw maps like this every few years,” Elrond said, “I must admit I find it soothing.”
“Is that why you need no reference from the other maps?”
Elrond nodded. “Things have not changed much in terms of physical geography. Your very detailed notes provided the additional information needed to show new camps, settlements, and villages.”
“I did not know the exact topics to take notes on, so I just listened to the local gossip,” Lindir admitted, his attention drawn to the sounds of workers in the fields. Masons and smiths worked all hours in laying the foundations for what was sure to be a grand home. Erestor insisted on pulling workers from the local settlements, an act supported by Elrond. Both said it would established good relations with the people and provide much needed employment and currency.
“Town gossip is always a good source of information,” Elrond said as he added another marking on the map. “Your grasp of the Common Tongue aided your cause immensely.”
Lindir wondered at the craftsmanship of the hut they stood in as he replied, “I know some of the dialects of Men, not as many as you or Erestor, but enough to secure lodgings, food, safe passage and to learn their songs and stories. At a child’s level, more often than not, but the simple songs do tend to endure.”
“The knowledge of many tongues is one of the most important things that separate a minstrel from a common musician,” Elrond said.
Lindir turned his attention back to the other elf. “Not necessarily; the minstrel merely gathers the song and tries to understand the traditions and history behind it. The musicians play the song but can still put the proper emotion behind it, even if they did not receive it from the people themselves.”
Elrond paused for a moment in his work, a smile appearing for a brief moment before stating, “Yes, I suppose you are right.”
Before Lindir could reply, Glorfindel called for him from outside.
“I believe your presence is demanded,” Elrond said.
“Do you need anything else from me?” Lindir asked.
“Not at this moment,” Elrond said.
Lindir nodded. “Then I shall go.” Lindir looked around the hut one last time. “Even though it is unfinished, you have a lovely home, Elrond,” he said, leaving before Elrond could reply.
If there is one thing I have noticed in my time among the forces, it is that we all have ways of copings and habits to get through the lulls and the grief. I never thought to be so close to death, even knowing the kin-slayings when I was still a child. Still, if we do not have habits then our idle thoughts lead our minds on paths they should not wander. Glorfindel keeps himself busy with many things, mainly making sure all other elves keep themselves busy. While he is not the highest ranking elf on the field, his skill and his words have made it more than clear that rank in the court means nothing on the battlefield. For now, Gil-galad bows to Glorfindel’s better judgment but I can only wonder how long that will last.
There I go, my mind wandering again. Was it really only a year ago when I lamented over my time in Pigswatch? Oh, to be there again than on this road to face more fighting. I do not know how any young elf could want to aspire to this and nothing else. Perhaps that is what makes warriors so unique. Dirt is embedded in my skin, I have not had a proper wash in months, and my tent-mate snores louder than those pigs from Pigswatch.
Yet, there is joy to be found even here. I see how everyone comes together and bonds of kinship and more are formed. I do not think I have ever written so many songs in my life. I just wish I had the proper resources to write them all down. Writing materials are, understandably, scarce and what we do have must be saved for other matters. I have my journal at the least, but I do not want to fill these pages with music but with simple words. I will commit a few to these pages though, the ones that have helped us all unite and held us together through our grief.
“Why did you become a minstrel?” Glorfindel asked. He held a piece of wood in one hand and a carving knife in the other. While his gaze rested on Lindir, his hands worked out a shape from his memory.
“Pardon?” Lindir asked. He paused in the coating of his bow string with wax.
“You asked me the other night why I am a warrior, a question which I never answered.” Glorfindel smiled at Lindir’s bashful look. “I ask you now, why did you become a minstrel? Was it for the travel or the glory? I think not, since few elven minstrels travel these days, or so Erestor tells me. The exception of course being Gildor’s followers, but then, Gildor always was the different one.”
“Erestor said Gondolin had a special name for Gildor’s people,” Lindir remarked.
“We called them the story-keepers,” Glorfindel said, “when the gates of the city were still open to outsiders, Gildor’s people often found welcome from the weather of the mountains.”
“Have they always traveled?” Lindir asked.
Lindir shook his head. “I could not imagine such a thing; always traveling, never finding a home.”
“Homes are just states of mind Lindir, I believe you refer to a house, or rather a structure with walls and a roof. All elves have a wanderlust in their hearts, few give into it, and even less make it their way of life. As you cannot imagine a home on the ground and under the stars, they cannot imagine spending all their days in one single area not willing to see the world. They are a group of rebels to be sure, the ones who travel all over, for they refuse to fall under the commands of one ruler and follow all our societal laws. If called to service they will follow, but all those elves belong more to the world itself than any one elf who claims to be a king of all,” Glorfindel said.
“Do you always walk the line of blasphemy so closely?” Lindir asked, placing his forgotten bow to the side.
Glorfindel continued in his carving and said, “It is not blasphemy, Lindir. The Valar may have guided the actions which placed that crown on Ereinion's head, but it is not a true blood-rite. If we were to follow the line of direct descendants then Elrond should hold the title.”
“On Aman, is it true you met the Valar?” Lindir asked.
“Meeting the Valar does tend to happen when one dies, Lindir,” Glorfindel said, his smile belying any chastisement in his words.
“Right,” Lindir said, dropping his gaze back down to his bow.
“You never told me why you became a minstrel,” Glorfindel said.
Lindir looked up to the night sky and said, “The songs; I’ve always heard and seen them wherever I go. I wanted to add my own ideas to the music I heard all around me; the notes even haunt me in my sleep. It seemed the most logical choices of occupations.”
“You could have stayed a court musician rather than go through the training to become a minstrel.”
Lindir shrugged. “Cirdan only has minstrels, since he does not believe in holding a court. You lived among his people, you know how important songs are to them. The music holds the history of the people and keeps the memories of all their gains and losses alive.”
“So you became a minstrel because it was the calling of your soul and you could see yourself doing nothing else?” Glorfindel asked.
“I suppose, yes.”
Glorfindel raised an eyebrow and asked, “And you wonder why I became a warrior?”
“But were your born with the desire to yield a blade, or a dagger, or any other weapon or was it something you just gained skill in through training?” Lindir asked.
“I have a battlefield tactician’s mind. I can study an enemy’s attack for a minute or so and guess their next move. Most of my weapons training came as easy as breathing and yes, I have awoken from a rest with a brilliant idea for an attack. I have other skills of course,” Glorfindel gestured to the block of wood in his hand where a face was beginning to form, “I am a decent teacher when it comes to history, horse riding, and map drawing, but my skills and my talent are found on the training ground and the battlefield. We are never just what we are good at, Lindir, or what we may become. Every part of a personality is in the total make-up of a person and while one aspect may be larger than another, it is not all we are. So you are a minstrel, Lindir, and a warrior. You write your own songs, which tell stories, and therefore are also a bard and with the way you are preparing that bow, you have just a hint of well-taught archer in you. Galdor of the Tree would be proud. Sometimes we must become things out of necessity, like Elrond and Erestor who are best as scholars but must also be warriors and politicians, but then there are those such as you and I, where desire and necessity work out for the best.” Finishing his speech, Glorfindel went back to his block of wood and left Lindir to contemplate his words in the familiar sounds of a camp at night.
I have never fought with Men before outside of the Numenoreans, but the High-king seems certain that this Alliance is fortuitous. Still, it reminds me of the first time I fought with the Numenoreans, when I still wondered if I should have taken that position in Imladris that Erestor offered me; but Elrond insisted at the time that I would be more safe in the palace of the High-king. The Half-elven has always viewed me as a younger sibling and after the death of his brother I could only encourage such behavior in order to assuage his grief. I believe that is why he is not eager for me to go on the march, fear of losing even more people in his life after already losing so many.
Eastern Arda, on the Road to Mordor, 3432
Lindir stood among the fallen, surprised that he still breathed. He could feel the grit and the blood grind into his own flesh. He took the status of his body, falling back on the protocols Glorfindel drilled into him before they left all those years ago. Upon finding his harp, he laughed. The tight string and strong pillars of the harp stopped a blade attack. The harp damaged, the elf surprisingly not. There was a story for a song.
“Are you well, brother elf?”
Lindir focused on the strong voice among the wind and the blood that rushed through his ears.
“Pardon?” Lindir turned his head and found a tall elf with a guard behind him.
The elf laughed, “Well enough to remember your manners then.” He approached Lindir, “You are one of Gil-galad’s troops then?”
“You are not one of the my father’s troops and you do not speak with the accent of the Sindar. Therefore you are either one of Cirdan’s troops, and by default one of Gil-galad’s, or you are one of Gil-galad’s troops in origins. Either way, your camp is only two leagues off.” The elf gestured to the western horizon.
“The ambush separated me from the group.” Lindir studied all the dead men around him with arrows sticking out of their bodies in perfectly executed kill shots. “I suppose much thanks is due to your archers.”
“And some of your own, I suspect,” the elf gestured to the fallen, “not all of those fletching are ours.”
“Who are you?” Lindir asked.
“Thranduil of the Wood Elves.” The other elf replied.
“King Oropher’s son?” Lindir asked.
“Yes. And you?” Thranduil asked, as if it was normal for a mere warrior and a king’s son to be conversing surrounded by the fallen.
“Lindir of Mithlond.” Lindir answered.
“One of the minstrels, yes? I believe I heard your perform more than once when I visited Gil-galad’s home.” The elf smiled in greeting as he approached Lindir. He held out his hand, “My wife speaks very well of you.”
“Your wife?” Lindir asked, taking the hand offered him and meekly following the elf as he walked towards some destination.
“You may know her, as some of her kin once lived in Lindon. Laeriel is my wife’s name and she is kin to Glorfindel.”
Lindir stopped, “Laeriel? You are Laeriel’s husband?”
“Yes,” Thranduil replied with a smile, “for quite some time now.”
“I did not even know she wed.” Lindir murmured.
“Her parents wish to keep it a bit of a secret since they are ashamed of their daughter marrying a wood elf, and it did not seem right to have a large celebration among my people in the face of war, so we held a simple ceremony among a chosen few. Yet, married we are and I know she will be glad to hear that you are well. Quite of fan of yours, my wife.”
“Please give her my thanks and my blessings, to the both of you. Congratulations are of course due.” Lindir looked around the area in a daze. “Where, where are we, exactly?”
Thranduil laughed and slapped Lindir on the back, “Come, brother elf, let me take you back to your camp before you get even more lost.”
I do not know how this journey will end or where it will end up. I must admit to myself that I feel excitement in the not-knowing, in the mystery, and yes, even the danger. While having no lack of sense of survival, I do wonder at the world beyond all the borders. My missions before now have all focused among other groups of elves up and down the coasts. For the first time, I will be out among other peoples, even Ents if Cirdan speaks true. I wonder at their music and their stories. Gildor informed me that among the Men, minstrels are highly regarded as the keepers of the stories and the histories. For them, a minstrel’s lot is to travel beyond the borders and seek out new tales while passing on their own. I am eager to take this task on. Cirdan assures me that elven minstrels used to hold similar positions before all the divisions, battles, and isolation. Cirdan insists that nothing quite unites like a common song and I wonder if such a performance will be required of me. I do hope so.
The moon rises and so I must put this away for now. Glorfindel insists on a full night of rest for us all the night before the eve of departure. He is well aware of the nerves that keep the new riders and fighters awake the night before we depart.
I can only wonder at the excitement that awaits.