Here be cliches, m/m and m/f relationships and SPOILERS for future stories.
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Tolkien and his estate.
Warning: Below are m/f and m/m relationships. If you have a problem with that, then skip this set of stories. Also, spoilers for future stories below.
One: Tirnion and Eluialeth
“I am in love with you,” Tirnion informed Eluialeth as he helped her down from her horse.
Eluialeth froze, nothing but her eyes moving as she rapidly blinked at him. After a moment she snapped back into action, laughing as she leaned against her horse.
“Oh, that’s funny,” she said. “Who put you up to that? Elladan?”
Tirnion felt his jaw tighten. “I am being serious, Eluialeth.”
Eluialeth patted his hand. “No, you’re not.”
“Yes, Eluialeth, I am more than certain that I am.”
“No,” Eluialeth said as she shook her head, “No, no, no, you are not. Because people like you do not say things like that to people like me and mean them. This conversation is clearly a figment of sleep deprivation and stress.” Eluialeth walked over to one of the water troughs. She started to laugh. Hysterically so.
“Oh for the love of Eru,” Tirnion muttered. He walked over to her and pulled her up, tilting her head back and kissed her.
Eluialeth made a small sound, but when her hands gathered the fabric in his tunic, she pulled him closer instead of pushing him away.
“Ack,” Thandrog yelled.
Tirnion and Eluialeth pulled a part to stare at him.
“My eyes,” Thandrog cried. “Can you two please not do that where others can see?” He turned back to the house. “I need to go find a cleansing agent for my mind now,” he muttered.
Tirnion turned back to Eluialeth. “So?” he asked.
She started to speak and then stopped. Her lips pursed in that fetching manners of her. Tirnion was delighted to see a small blush settle over the bridge of her nose. “I may have slightly made an incorrect deduction about your manners and actions.”
Tirnion laughed, gathering Eluialeth closer. “I am glad to hear you finally admit to being wrong.”
Two: Celebrian and Elrond
Celebrian nervously sat in her new study. She was still unused to Imladris, the sound and smell of it at night. It was so different from Lothlorien and not at all like Gil-galad’s palace in Lindon. Imladris was at once something more primal and more sophisticated; it held an air of the wild world which surrounded it while projecting its sense as a place of learning and healing. It was her new home, would be official so with the coming of the dawn and her wedding day. She had her own set of rooms for work and enjoyment, but it was apparently a tradition among Elrond’s people for spouses of a high rank to share a bedchamber. Even Elrond would be moving to their new set of rooms, if rumor was correct. Faeleth, blessing that she was, told her Elrond did not feel it right to start their marriage in his old and cluttered bedchamber, but rather a new room for a new start. Celebrian was sleeping in a lovely guest chamber until the day of the wedding, but tonight she needed to be surrounded by her favorite and familiar things. The study had become her sanctuary.
It was a beautiful room, full of wide windows and facing one of the numerous waterfalls and secret gardens below. The walls were of a light lavender, painted on to the stone. No tapestries were hung as of yet, with the exception of a flag bearing Imladris’ heraldic symbols and colors. Delicately carved bookshelves stood empty, waiting for her to unload the items of her trunk on to their sturdy shelves. It was a beautiful place, unlike any she had ever seen before.
She walked over to the balcony, pulling open the doors to see the land more clearly. She looked out over the wide valley, noted the smoke coming from the fireplaces of the villagers’ homes in the distance. She could hear the sounds of horses galloping, wood chopping, and blacksmiths hammering out their latest creations. She could smell the delightful products of the kitchens and could hear Erestor, the Chief Councilor, order a cadre of elves over the placement of chairs and podiums. All this, all these people, were to become hers with the dawn light.
Celebrian had never been more nervous in her life. She went back inside, pacing the length of the study, too restless to stay still. Logically she knew this was a good match, but she knew little of Elrond outside of his reputation as a great warrior, scholar, and healer. She knew he was counted as one of the Wise and he had a love for all things of a good and great spirit. He had seen much more of this world than she could imagine and she feared, that at the end of it all, she would not match up well against all his years and experience.
There as a soft knock on the door which startled her out of her thoughts. Celebrian took a moment to smooth down her dress and her hair before she answered the door. On the other side stood Lord Glorfindel, the legend reborn and one of the few and true Elda on Arda. He did not look so fearsome or intimidating right now, hair covered in a plethora of ribbons and smudges on his face and fingers.
“I fear Lady Faeleth sees me as her own personal palette and fabric holder,” Glorfindel said with a wolfish grin. “However, she asked me to remind you that if you wish to be out in the open air during this night we have a lovely private garden for contemplation. There is quite a beautiful statue of Varda there and many of us do find it a place of comfort. I can show you the entrance, if you so desire.”
She covered her mouth with a delicate hand to hide her smile. “I would like that very much, Lord Glorfindel,” she said.
He waved his hand, even more ribbons flapping around his wrist at the movement. “None of this ‘Lord’ business. Ceremony is often put aside in Imladris as you will soon learn. Come now, it is not a far walk from here.”
Celebrian trailed after Glorfindel, picking up all the ribbons which dropped from his hair and clothes. She tried to take in all the sights of the house, the twist and turn of staircases and corridors, but it was all too much. Finally, Glorfindel led her to a garden and with a muttered phrase and the touch of his hand, the wrought iron gate pushed open.
“I will be sure to have your access granted to the gate; it is a special magic that one of our alchemists cooked up which only allows for certain people to open its way. There are plenty of elves wandering during the night, so if you need help returning to your study or room, just enter the house and find one of the servants or scribes. If all else fails, head to the Hall of Fire, somewhere there will be able to lead you back,” he told her.
“I thank you, Glorfindel,” she said.
“It is my pleasure,” he answered. Giving one last smile, he took the ribbons from her hands and with a smile and a flourish ran back to the house.
Celebrian walked through the garden paths surprised that there were so many flowers in full bloom at night. Small fountains dotted each corner and she heard rustles of grass and plants as creatures darted back and forth. One particularly mischievous cat almost knocked her off her feet, but luckily there was a bench to break her fall. Celebrian laughed, glad there was no one present to witness her humiliation but the stars and night.
“Are you well?”
Celebrian flinched at the voice. She turned to find Elrond standing beside her, the cat from earlier clutched in his arms. No circlet adorned his head and he was dressed in such a manner that it would have been difficult to separate him from the stable hands if one did not know his face.
“I am sorry that this feral one tried to trip you up,” Elrond said, holding the cat up, “but she often acts oddly during the nighttime.”
“I am well,” Celebrian said, “just startled.”
They lapsed into silence, Celebrian studying the garden around her and Elrond petting the cat in his arms.
“This garden is beautiful,” she said. “We have our own versions in Lothlorien of course, but none like this.”
“Glorfindel designed it, based off Ecthelion’s home in Gondolin.” Elrond placed the cat down and walked a circle around the small fountain closest to her, fingers brushing over the flowers there. “It is quite dear to me.”
“I meant no offense by coming in, Glorfindel told me it would be,” she started.
“Celebrian,” Elrond sighed, “it is your right to come here. This is your home now, and I want you to feel free to enter anywhere, to feel comfortable in all places.”
“It’s not officially my home, not yet,” she reminded him.
He gingerly settled down beside her. “Are you nervous about tomorrow?” he asked.
“You are not?” she asked, surprised.
Elrond laughed, a warm and gentle sound. “I am, I am, I swear. I have had my fair share of gracing the public in official garb, but never for my own wedding.”
“Well, that makes two of us,” Celebrian answered. “There’s just all this pressure to be prim and proper and…” she trailed off.
“Perfect,” Elrond finished. “Perfect even though everyone knows no wedding goes off without some problem. Perfect even though no pair of elves could live up to everyone’s expectations.”
“Exactly,” Celebrian agreed. She dropped her eyes to her hands as she fidgeted with her sleeves. “I must confess, I wish we could do as some elves of lower ranks do. Just a small, quiet ceremony, with none but us and a few witnesses.”
Elrond placed a warm hand under her chin and raised her head. “Truly?” he asked. “Is that what you wish?”
“Yes,” Celebrian admitted.
“Then that’s what you shall have,” Elrond stated. He stood up, holding a hand out to her.
She took it with a suspicious glance, but followed his steady pace to what appeared to be the center of the garden, the cat from earlier trailing behind them. He stopped, placing her at the center in front of an exquisitely carved statue of Varda. He held his hand up, pausing for just a moment as he picked the cat back up and gave a passing glance to the sky. Apparently satisfied he nodded, and turned back to her.
Elrond cleared his throat, a twinkle in his eye and said, “Celebrian, daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn of Lothlorien, I pledge to you in front of Varda’s image, my father, Earendil, and his star, and Aduial the cat, that I wish to bind myself in marriage, body and soul, to you and your person, until Manwe should see fit to break such a tie.”
Celebrian laughed in delight but composed herself long enough to say, “Elrond, son of Earendil and Elwing, Lord of Imladris, I pledge to in front of Varda’s image, and the star of your farther Earendil, and Aduial the cat, that I do wish to bind myself in marriage, body and soul, to you and your person, until Manwe should see fit to break such a tie.”
Elrond smiled, placing Aduial on the ground. “Just one more thing then, if I may?” he asked, coming closer to her.
“Yes,” Celebrian whispered, her stomach turning in a combination of excitement and fear.
“Very well then,” he said.
Elrond softly pressed his lips to her, and Celebrian eagerly responded, sealing their vow.
Three: Tholinnas and Berthilon
“Eru’s balls, how do dwarves do this?” Berthilon cursed as he put the axe down again.
“They are hearty little creatures you must admit,” Tholinnas said, pausing in his own work of trying to break rock. “I now know why father always hired professionally trained elves for such a task.”
“You have an excuse,” Berthilon muttered, tying his silver hair back, “you are the son of royalty. I am a warrior and the son of a carpenter. I’ve raised barns and built talans and stables. I should be able to do this.”
“Yes, but wood and stone are very different mediums,” Tholinnas said. He plopped down on one of the rocks and stripped his sweaty tunic off, finding a dry patch to wipe off his face. “I do believe our slim builds put us at a disadvantage though; we are not the Noldor and we are descended from shipbuilders.”
Berthilon stood behind him, pulling his hair off of his face and tying it back. “You are the son of a Noldor,” he said, dropping a kiss to the crown of his head.
“But only by the smallest of margins,” Tholinnas protested. He pulled Berthilon down to settle by his side. “I know we both smell, and are dirtier than that time we fell into that spider’s den, but I am tired and need comfort now, and you are supposed to do as a bid.”
Berthilon sighed. “So is my burden, to put up with your whims.” His smile was warm though.
Tholinnas kissed his neck, his chin, his nose. “I know you were not ready to leave Arda yet, that you did not want to leave, and I just want you to know again how thankful I am you came with me.”
Berthilon shook his head and kissed the tip of Tholinnas’ ear. “You are home, Tholinnas, wherever you go, so do I. I will not let us part.”
Tholinnas smirked. “Such sweet words, though I know it was truly because you fear my father’s wrath if you did not accompany me.”
Berthilon laughed. “After what you father made me endure to have permission to court you, you can be damn sure I was not going to stay in Mirkwood and let some no good elf of Aman try to entice you away. Your father’s wrath notwithstanding, we are both one now, remember?”
“I do,” Tholinnas murmured as he kissed Berthilon breathless, “I do,” he whispered again.
Four: Balanauth and Tollureth
Balanauth liked Mirkwood. Even with the ever present danger, the darkness, the spiders, and living in the mountain side, it was a delightful place. It was different from Imladris, not better or worse, but in many ways it was a much less hectic place to live. In Imladris there was always some council, some gathering, some great dignitary stopping by and sending the whole valley in to a frenzy. Here the people lived closer to danger and death, so there was much joy taken in the everyday routine of life. It was a much deserved break from the vast intrigues and political movements of Imladris. While Mirkwood had a council, the final word on everything came down from the King. The people were drawn much more to their own problems than that of others, and while there was not a lack of political machinations and advantageous positions and marriages to be vied for, it was on such a smaller scale that Balanauth had not breathed this easy in decades.
Contrary to popular opinion, he had no desire to be the next Glorfindel. He had spent so many centuries trying to fill that position and live up to that work ethic that he felt many things of enjoyment had passed him by. So when he met Tollureth, first as a councilor and then as a healer, he knew that the rest of his life laid intertwined with her path and that he could not and would not sacrifice that chance to stay in Imladris. He did not want to be the next Glorfindel, after all, much more willing to put duty over the simple joys in life. He was just that much more selfish.
Out of all the times he saw Tollureth to and from his journeys to Mirkwood, the second one stood out the most. He had stopped her, asking what a councilor was doing in the Healing Rooms, only to be indignantly informed that while Imladris may have been crawling with elves, in Mirkwood most doubled up on duties. He had apologized profusely and that night had led to a courtship which had led to quite a memorable goodbye when Tollureth had grabbed his face, kissed him hard, and sent him off, telling him that he better not forget her. It was on that ride back to Imladris that Balanauth knew it was time to start setting the foundations for his future move to Mirkwood.
“What has your mind wandering this time?” Tollureth asked. She passed through the doorway of his study, hurrying over to his window to let in the cool air of the mountain chamber. As she passed by his desk the smell of lavender and peppermint lingered in the air.
“I was only remembering how you sent me off back to Imladris after my second long stay here,” he said.
Tollureth laughed, settling down on his lap. “It worked, did it not?” she asked.
Balanauth kissed her neck. “I cannot argue with the results,” he murmured.
“You better not,” Tollureth said, “or I’ll have Tirnion set one of his sisters on you.” She tapped a finger on his nose.
“My love, I survived the whole of Eluialeth’s existence up to this point. Trust me when I say a balrog would cower in her presence.”
“I must meet this she-elf,” Tollureth said, “I have heard so many stories about her. Whenever she was in Mirkwood she was holed up in a study somewhere and I was only able to spy her from a distance. She is quite small, is she not?”
Balanauth laughed. “Eluialeth has never viewed her lack of stature as a failing. Believe me when I say most, if not all, the stories about her are true. She will be at our wedding, I promise. Glorfindel will be attending with Morwen and where Morwen goes, Eluialeth tends to follow.”
Tollureth leaned back into his chest. “Our wedding is going to be the talk of the decade, isn’t it?”
“Since Haldir plans to attend as well, and putting Haldir and Morwen in an enclosed space tends to breed gossip, yes, yes, it will.” He smirked, “Still want to do this marriage thing?”
Tollureth kissed his jaw, her teeth scrapping just light enough to send a shiver down his spine. , “Oh, I am eager for the fun to begin.”
Five: Glorfindel and Morwen
Morwen curled up next to Glorfindel’s side on their bed, throwing down one of the books Olwen acquired on her last trip to Tirion.
Glorfindel raised a brow. “Are you looking for some lighter nighttime reading?”
“Have you ever read one of these stories?” she asked. “They all have these big dramatic scenes where a kiss between the two protagonists serve as the climax of the story. Yes, marriages and love confessions are all grand and special and important but where are the ones detailing the normality of the everyday lives? The common gestures and events and kisses which make up a relationship much more than any grand declarations? Where are the tales on the little things of life that make it worth living and worth fighting for?”
Glorfindel passed a hand through Morwen’s hair. “No one writes about the little things; they are too mundane to tell.”
“These stories,” Morwen said, picking up the book and waving it around, “cause people to form unrealistic expectations of romantic relationships.”
“Well, yes, that is why they are fictional romances and so successful in readership. Everyone likes a fantasy, Morwen.” Glorfindel kissed her temple. “I am also a bit insulted that you don’t believe in our grand love affair. Was fate not involved?”
“You tried to run away from it.”
“We had a grand climatic kiss,” Glorfindel protested.
“After you were forced into it,” Morwen answered.
“We had centuries of a secret relationship,” Glorfindel argued.
“Which everyone knew about,” Morwen said.
“We were secretly wed and few knew of that,” he pointed out.
“Well, yes, but the various terms you insisted on for our public ceremony almost ended our marriage so I do not think you want to remind either one of us of those events,” Morwen muttered.
Glorfindel pulled her back as she tried to roll away. “All ended well,” he said, “and I do not think any can ask more for that. We have two horribly wild children, a house full of rude and scandalous elves, we have managed to insult no less than twenty generations of elvish kin and yet we still remain one of the most respected households in all of Aman. I call it a grand romance worthy of telling.”
Morwen sighed. “If you must,” she said. She pressed a quick kiss to his lips and rolled over to her side of their bed. “I need to rest, try not to stay up too late reading that letter from Earendil and please refrain from getting crumbs in the bed, again.”
“Yes, dear,” Glorfindel murmured, pressing a kiss to Morwen’s hair. He eyed Olwen’s book, picking it up off the bed and placing it on the nightstand. “Grand romance indeed,” he whispered. He placed one hand on the back of Morwen’s neck, rubbing it to soothe her into sleep and turned back to his letter. Not too bad of life for an old and wearied warrior.