windwailing: (into the west)
posted by [personal profile] windwailing at 11:37pm on 09/02/2011 under , , , ,
Author: [livejournal.com profile] rivlee

Title: Respite

Series: Legend, Lore, and Lullabies

Age: Third Age

Place: Imladris

Rating: PG

Characters/Pairing: Elrond, Glorfindel, Morwn. Glorfindel/OFC.

Summary:Everyone needs a time to rest.

A/N: Unbeated.



TA 3021

All the sacrifices he had made in his lifetimes were worth it for moments like this. He cherished these quiet afternoons, when no patrols were out and the river valley came to some semblance of peace and serenity. Glorfindel stretched out under the shade of an oak tree, his bare back tickled by the warm grass. He took a deep breath and let his mind drift. It was rare to get such a respite in these busy days, but he could not deny himself the opportunity.

“How scandalous of you,” Morwen said as she approached.

He would have made a remark about her walking outside in her bare feet, but he did not want sarcasm and barbs at this moment. He silently beckoned to her.

“Are we not speaking?” she asked. She laid down beside him, resting her sun-warmed hair over his heart. “Dare I disturb your silent contemplation?”

“I will excuse you this time,” he said. He ran a hand through her hair. “We are resting.”

“Are we?”

“I fear there shall be few days left like this in Imladris. Therefore, yes, we are.”

Morwen kept silent, but she could not keep her body still. Glorfindel held back his own laughter at the involuntary twitch of her fingers.

“You do not succeed at resting,” Glorfindel admonished.

“You may recall that Lord Elrond has plans to sail within the year. Somewhere in that abyss known as your memory, you may also recall that he established this home in the Second Age. You, oh ancient warrior, may have little to do, but those of us who grasp the fine arts of indexing and organization are rarely without work.”


“And you, Councilor Morwen, may remember that Imladris overflows with pages, scribes, librarians, lore masters and servants. A high-ranking member of its Council is not expected to dust off bookshelves and mark off scrolls.”

“Then how shall I ever know it is being done correctly? Imagine the horror after their arrival on the shores of Aman and they unpack Epic Poetry of the First Age with Tales of the Nine Walkers?”

Glorfindel sighed. There would be no wining this argument.

“It is not that I distrust our talented staff,” Morwen said. “I just fear what will happen without a watchful eye. The works in this library, in Elrond’s own study, they are priceless. Erestor is not sailing with them, I shall not yet leave, and Elrond will have more pressing matters on his mind. Am I to trust the greatest intellectual treasures of our realms to a group of far less careful Lothlorien elves?”

“Would it please you if I asked Cirdan to ensure they are handled with the utmost care?”

“It is not Cirdan I doubt,” Morwen huffed.

Glorfindel toyed with a lock of her hair. “We can depart with them,” he whispered. “If it would please you.”

Morwen shook her head, the soft tresses teasing Glorfindel’s skin. “I have no desire to end my time in Arda, you well know this, but if you wish to leave, than I suppose I shall.”

It took them centuries to reach this sort of open compromise in their relationship. Two prideful, willful, stubborn elves did not an easy match make. It amazed Glorfindel they could talk about something so calmly, when millennia ago there would be all rounds of silence and snide remarks.

This quiet, pleasing discussion was a great testimony to how far they’d come.

“I see no reason to hurry,” he said. “I must admit, I quite revel in the thought of you taking up Erestor’s mantel, guiding Elladan in the ruling of our realm.”

“I give it five years before Celeborn marches here to take over.”

“Have faith, Morwen,” Glorfindel said. “Ten years at best.”

Morwen laughed, open and joyful. The events of the past century had weighed them all down, the past few years alone being nothing but one unending problem after another. It was a gift to laugh without any undertones of stress or desperation. It was laughter for the sake of happiness and amusement, not out of a desperate need to appear normal.

Morwen pushed herself up and leaned over him. Her dark hair fell over her face, covering up her impish smile to any intruders watching them. The afternoon sun glinted off her necklace and its new silver addition. Glorfindel could not help himself and tugged her down for a kiss. This was his wife, and no matter how many times he repeated the words to himself, he still felt disbelief. True, only two other elves knew of their wedded state, but even now, the thought they could live open with their betrothal and fear nothing but Rian’s suggestions for a wedding wardrobe, was a matter Glorfindel would be forever grateful.

“Do I need to throw a pail of water on you two?” Eluialeth asked.

Morwen and Glorfindel both glanced up at their friend. Her dark robes were covered in dust and cobwebs. Every last elf who once hid things in small places had come to Eluialeth these past few months, begging the use of her small stature and determination.

“We are quite fine, I assure you,” Glorfindel said, “but you may be in need of a wash.”

Eluialeth shrugged. “I would complain of all the dust mites and paper fleas, but my father claims at this rate I shall have the family home in Aman paid for before he even sails. I cannot believe the preposterous amounts some of these elves are willing to pay for the retrieval of a small trinket they have not worn since the Second Age. It’s pure madness.”

“They have no desire to offend old promises,” Glorfindel explained.

“Then why would they bury such things away in the ceiling beams?” Eluialeth asked. “I can understand protecting your valuables, but we have vaults.”

“Some old behaviors never changed,” he said. “Though I agree that anything of true importance should be placed somewhere easily retrievable.”

“It would make the most sense,” Eluialeth agreed. She let out a sound of disgust when she pulled a cobweb out of her hair. “Perhaps I shall bathe. Eru knows just what creatures were hiding in Crabanon’s chambers. I almost fear I shall never be clean.”

“And only seventy-five percent of Imladris left to help,” Morwen said.

“Thank you, my dear friend, for trying to raise my spirits,” Eluialeth muttered as she walked off in a huff.

Morwen graced him with an amused smile, desperately trying not to laugh. He hid his own laughter by burying his head in her hair.

***

Glorfindel paused on the threshold of Elrond’s chambers. He could still recall the construction of these walls, the bare bones of rocks, wood, and concrete. Never had this room been in such shambles, not even after the move from Lindon.

“I do not know what I shall do, walking this halls without stumbling across you brooding somewhere,” he confessed.

Elrond looked up from the chest he was elbows deep in. “I could very well say the same about you,” he answered.

“You got along fine without me and shall learn to do so again.”

“Please do not think your friendship and guidance so easily forgotten.”

“I send you to a land of re-born elves, your wife, your parents, and your grandparents. You shall never be without sound council, Elrond, though I do fear you may be without peace.”

Elrond smiled. “Who truly desires a quiet life anyway.” He held up a stack of parchment. “The children’s first attempts at penmanship. I know these are of no value to the historical record, I know everything in this chest is far from necessary, and yet I cannot begin to imagine parting with them.”

Glorfindel sat down beside his friend and peered in the chest. It was an ancient piece of craftsmanship, a gift from Gil-galad that Glorfindel never had the heart to tell any of them came from Gondolin, probably scavenged off the dead. It came with them on the move to Imladris and stayed empty until the twins first began their lessons. Since then it acquired a whole collection of elfling penmanship and rhetoric, of first drawings and knitting projects. Arwen’s first banner for her dog, Elladan’s first scarf, Morwen’s first report from the road, numerous drawings of Elrohir’s, the first dagger Thalion worked on, Estel’s first letter home.

He reached into the chest and shifted some of the items, finding a smooth rock from the riverside, a treasure Eluialeth found years ago. A small jar containing the pinecones of Greenwood, a gift from a young Legolas. He smiled when he unearthed Rian’s first attempt at a dress for one of her dolls.

“You can keep all your old tomes and banners by fine craftsmen,” Glorfindel said. “I see no greater treasures in Imladris than these.” He patted Elrond’s arm. “How many copies of the Tales of the First Age do we honestly need? We should bring all of our knowledge of healing and weaponry, all our records of the various peoples of Arda, but this,” he said while gesturing to the chest, “this is the most important thing for you to carry.”

“You do not think it too frivolous?” Elrond asked.

“I think you a fool for trying to leave this behind,” Glorfindel said. “Either you bring it now or I shall bring it with me later.”

Elrond sighed and sat back on his haunches. He dusted off a smudge on his plain tunic. “I suppose it would be better to leave a list of tomes I would like sent with each party that sails.”

“Indeed,” Glorfindel agreed.

“It is not as if all of Imladris is emptying.”

“It is not.”

“Morwen and Eluialeth are more than capable of overseeing the transportation of anything left in the archives.”

“They are.”

Elrond sighed and leaned against his bedpost. He looked so far from a ruler in these times. Gone were the circlets and robes of office which hindered most physical activity. He still wore the simple tunic and leggings like a king, but it was easier to see Elrond’s true heritage like this, the broad frame of his Edain heritage coupled with the lines of worry on his face and an early morning stubble.

“It is not so easy to give up my rule,” he admitted. “I have no doubts over Elladan’s ability, but to realize that the time has finally come, I am not coping well, my friend.”

“May I be blunt?” Glorfindel asked.

“Since when do you ask?”

Glorfindel smiled at that. “Elrond, nothing you say or wish can or will change what happens to Imladris after you depart. Our time is over, you have done more than most to ensure the future stability of Arda. It is time for you to break your ties, and your worries, over this land. Look only to your own future and reunion with so many you hold dear.”

“My children will be here.”

“And trust that you’ve taught them enough to survive on their own. You did well for an elf left more often than not to his own musings.”

“Yet you stay.”

“I have an oath to fulfill. I must see your line at least to the end of Elladan’s rule.” He grasped Elrond’s shoulder. “But you, my friend, your oath has long been fulfilled. No one can deny all you have done. Let yourself rest, Elrond, and let your son take up the reins as is his destiny.”

Music drifted in from the open windows.

“Do you hear that?” he asked Elrond. “The minstrels play and we all must dance.”

“The world could be burning to the ground and Lindir will still be playing his damnable music.”

“He understands that there are times that no amount of wisdom or lore can soothe a weary soul.” Glorfindel stood. “Come, it would be insulting for you to not make an appearance.”

Elrond studied him for a moment and Glorfindel tried not to flinch under his gaze. He never told him as much, but Elrond had a prefect imitation of Idril’s piercing stare.

“I do wonder how strange this world has become when you are the one cautioning us all to put aside our duties and relax,” Elrond said.

“Estel is the King of Men, the world has gone all topsy-turvy, no going back now,” he replied.

He held his hand out to Elrond. “Let your people see you dance and laugh, for one last time.”

“I do not know if I want that to be their last memory of me,” he confessed.

“You will have plenty of time to give long-winded and sentiment felt speeches,” Glorfindel said. “How many more chances will you have to dance under a warm Imladrian sun?”

Elrond took his arm and stood up. He adjusted his tunic, making the simple outfit look kingly.

“Let us not keep our people waiting,” he decreed.

***

The soft sounds of harps, flutes, fiddles, and elvish song filled the Valley even into the night. Glorfindel laid on the floor of his balcony, listening to the tone of the music change from fun, to reverent, to soothing lullabies.

The smells of the impromptu feast still filled the halls of the house, along with the always joyous sounds of elven laughter. He considered it his duty well done, to see the household and all its citizens relaxing for one last time, together.

It was not only the times of trials and tears which formed lasting memories and everlasting bonds.

Morwen slept beside him, curled up into his side. She’d finally given into his prodding for her to nap for a moment and let someone else work throughout the night in the archives.

Glorfindel let his fingers card through her hair and took in a deep breath. He could feel himself start to drift off into reverie as well.

Glorfindel had survived three Ages, countless wars, fallen brothers and sisters, oceans of blood. He helped to raise elf-lords and ladies, countless kings and queens, and a dizzying amount of warriors. He’d seen so much, been through two lifetimes, one death, and witnessed the changing of world over time. And through it all, it took a series of sacrifices and strengths from the Free Peoples of Arda to teach him how to relax.

He would miss this world, all he learned and lost in it, but he knew by now when it was time for a lifestyle change, either by choice or circumstance.

He could never recall looking forward to anything so much in all his years.

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