“The best way to end a year,” Cirdan said, “is with hope.” He held up his glass, all those gathered in the hall mimicking his movement, and said, voice powerful as any sea breeze, “To Hope.”
Glorfindel whispered his own prayer, nestled into one of the alcoves, and watched the crowd disperse.
Erestor came to his side, dark eyes glittering in the low light of the lamps. He looked amused more than anything else, and when he spoke there was a smirk on his face, “ Here I find you hiding in the walls when I recall more the one legend trickling out of Gondolin which claimed you were the lord who was most likely to steal everyone’s attention.”
“That,” Glorfindel said, gesturing with his glass, “is a lie. It was Rog, always Rog, subtle as his anvil and as quiet as the roaring waves.” He took a sip of his wine. “Best smith I’ve ever met though, he was well suited for such a life and died as he said he would.”
“And how’s that?” Erestor asked.
“With honor to his last breath,” he answered.
Erestor nodded. “So it has been written and so shall it remain.” He gestured to the spectacle of wealth and circumstance behind them, where Earendil held his Court in sway. “I do wonder how you find our celebrations in comparison to those you remember, if you remember them.”
He felt the sad smile form on his face. “For occasions such as this, it was always solemn, always ceremonial.” He watched the room, all the joyous faces, laughter filling the air, elves eager to live up to Cirdan’s demand of Hope. “I would not say our way was best, or even better, but it was ours, as a ceremony such as this will soon be identified as yours. We change, Erestor, and how we choose to mark such ceremonies changes with us.”
Erestor leaned back against the wall, watching the crowd in a similar manner. “There are still those solemn moments, and ceremonies, though we keep them to ourselves. The High King prefers such things kept to private quarters, since out here is more the politician’s realm.”
“You’re right at home, then.”
Erestor’s smile was dark. “I do not presume to know all of what you are, Glorfindel, and I would beg of you to give me the same courtesy.”
He bowed his head in acknowledgment, properly chastised. “I do apologize, I often forget that I am the Outsider here, and especially so in your company.”
“And why is that?” Erestor asked.
Glorfindel placed his cup on one of the side tables. He clasped Erestor’s shoulder. “You are more like your grandsire than I could ever hope. Penlod often despaired over how your father’s line would live, so far removed from family and blood allies, but you have done well. You have a survivor’s trait, all of you.”
“Elrond calls that stubbornness.”
“Elrond needs to meet himself in a mirror,” Glorfindel said. He found the younger elf mixed in the crowd at Earendil’s side, blended in like any other courtier. He patted Erestor’s shoulder and stepped out of the alcove. “Here’s to hope, and all that it may bring.”
“Here’s to hope and all that it has given us,” Erestor replied.