Summary: For the family of Elrond Half-Elven, there is one choice that is paramount to all others made in life. Should I choose mortality? Or should I choose the fate of the Eldar?
There was peace in Middle-Earth, or at least, for now, there would be. Their home, the palace in Lindon, was in sight, and he looked forward to a nice warm soak in the bathing pools. When was the last time I felt clean? Elrond knew his twin brother would be of a similar mind.
Blood was splattered all over his armour, and he knew that while some had been removed from it by cleaning, there was some dried onto it. What skin was exposed to the elements, as well as his hair, was covered in grime, mud and not so pleasantly, blood.
It was then that he was aware of his King riding beside them on his left. He hadn’t been there earlier though Elros had been to his right.
“Yes, My Lord?”
Elrond knew there was a reason Gil-Galad would suddenly be riding with them. He was aware of Elros looking past him, over at the king as well.
“I was talking to Manwë, or rather, he was talking to me about you two. He said that now Morgoth has been captured once more, you two need to make a choice. To either remain on as elves, or choose the fate of men. Once you two have bathed, he will come to find you both and learn of your choice. Take what time you need though, it is not a choice made lightly, as he has said, it is an irreversible one. Oh, and please, come and tell me once it’s decided, I would like to know.”
Both twins nodded, before watching him ride off.
“Why do you think he wants to know, toren?”
Elrond looked at his brother.
“Perhaps because he is a family member, toren. I know it sounds like something personal, but when it comes down to it, it’s not. He’s letting us make that choice without his input. I know we’ll make the choice that seems right to us.”
“I’ll come and find you once I’ve decided, and we can tell Manwë together.”
Once they were in the palace, the twins walked to their rooms together, only parting at their doors.
While Elrond knew his brother wouldn’t let him down when it came to making this choice, he did wonder where Elros would rather be. Still, all he could say before heading into his room was:
“See you soon, toren.”
It took him time to get all the armour off, as well as the clothing he wore beneath. The armour was almost stuck together, and took some work to get all the pieces removed. Even the buckles holding each piece in place were covered in gore, and Elrond was glad when he had it all removed.
He headed for the bathing pool, getting straight in, relieved when he felt the hot water flowing around his tired skin. For a while, he sat there, relaxing, before his mind turned to the choice at hand.
It was not an easy thing to decide.
On one hand, he knew that elves lived forever, unless killed by some enemy in a fight, or fading from grief. They were sent to the Halls of Mandos when they died and were reborn in Valinor after a time, and so were able to be met again, once their friends sailed to Valinor, or died and were reborn themselves.
From what he’d seen of the elves himself, they were wise, and friendly with the exception of when he’d met Maglor and Maedhros. That had not been the best of encounters, but with time, he had come to know who Maglor really was, and, Elrond realised, he had seen him as a father, more than his true father.
We aren’t invincible to greed either.
After all, his mother had picked the Silmaril over her children, and Elrond knew it would be a long time before he could forgive her for that.
Maglor showed me that life is more important than a jewel that his own father created.
Maedhros, on the other hand, had not been so easy to deal with. He had wanted no hand in raising Elrond and Elros, and had been infuriated whenever the twins played a joke on him, even more so when Maglor found them hilarious.
Elrond sighed. For all the mistakes he had seen that Maedhros had made, it did not make him want to choose mortality. I can still learn so much, if I have a long time to live. He knew he would choose to be of the elves.
A splash from the other side of the room brought him out of his reverie once more. He knew now what his choice would be, and he could only hope that his brother would make the same one.
I choose the path of the Eldar.
Just over six thousand years later
An icy wind tore through the hidden valley, seeming to find its way into as many of the buildings as it could. Many an elf found themselves attempting to close windows and rekindle fireplaces, despite it being the dead of night.
Elrond grimaced as he fastened his window once more. That was the second time that night it had blown open. He did not understand where this harsh winter was coming from. Usually the winters they had in Imladris were only mild, and the snow never lasted very long. The storms generally passed over the valley, barely even touching it.
Lighting the fire in his fireplace once more, Elrond retreated back to his bed, to rest for what time he could, hoping that he would not have to get up again that night to tend to either his fire, or his window! It did not take him long to fall back into reverie, though he knew there was not much left of the night.
When morning came, Elrond was aware of it being distinctly colder than he was used to. A glance at his window confirmed it, the wind had opened it again and extinguished his fire. He must have been very tired, to have not noticed it a third time. He blinked, seeing the layer of snow on his windowsill.
When he'd gone to bed the second time, he did not recall seeing snow resting on his windowsill. For Elrond, that was concerning. This winter weather was not something they were used to in Imladris.
Vilya should keep the winter storms from affecting us...
Perhaps the Ring of Air was fading in its power faster than he had thought possible.
Always, they had known that with Sauron’s defeat, the three rings would fade until they were nothing more than normal rings. Elrond could only hope his ring would last through the winter, given that it was the most powerful of the three. All of them needed it. The weather was getting worse by the day.
Elrond shivered, reaching for a thicker set of robes to wear for the day. Rare though it was that they felt cold, he did not want to take any risks. No, he couldn’t get sick, but, he knew there was little he could do about the snow. Vilya failing wasn’t a good sign.
I do not wish to sail earlier than I planned.
Elrond shook his head as he headed toward the feasting hall, though in truth he knew it would be even emptier since some of the others had left the day before to head for the Grey Havens. Why they had refused his thoughts that they should remain as he was until the spring he knew not.
I hope the storm hasn’t caused them trouble on their journey.
Even though some of those who had left recently had renounced him from being their lord since they were travelling to Valinor, he still felt responsible for them, and would until he saw them on the far shores. At least when he saw them on those shores, he would know they were safe, and would no longer need to worry about them. Only then would the worry stop when it came to his people.
He hoped that the mild winter weather that his people were used to in Rivendell, was instead with Aragorn and Arwen in Gondor. He knew the winters in Gondor were usually the harsh ones, not those that came to Rivendell. The weather could be a serious issue for those in Gondor, Rohan and the Shire, more so than it was for the elves. Unless you were a half-elf, of course, considering extreme temperature changes bode them no good, and tended to make them deathly ill.
As he walked toward the Hall of Fire to see who else was awake now, he became aware that somewhere, a window must be open. That, or one of the rooftops of the house damaged, since most of the house once he’d left his suite was a lot colder. Later, after everyone ate, he would ask one of the other elves to see if they could find the damage. If there was any, it would need to be fixed before night fell once more.
Someone sneezed, and he knew from the familiar sound that it was Elladan.
“Ion-nin?” he called, looking at one of the closed doors nearby.
No answer came, but Elrond knew his son would be somewhere close by. It was unlike Elladan not to answer, and he wondered why his son was choosing to now be unwilling to answer him. As he walked over, he noticed that Elrohir’s door was open, so that meant one of his sons at least was awake.
"Ion-nin?" he called, knocking on the door to his elder son's suite.
He knew the twins preferred to spend as much time as they could together, even sleeping together, harmless as that was, since it was merely out of brotherly affection and the result of the bond they shared as twins. He'd had to make sure there was some separation in their lives though, considering they couldn't always be in the same place.
It took a few moments, but soon he heard one of them call out for him to come in. Entering, Elrond smiled as he looked at his sons. He had always cared for them, and it was not unusual to find them both in the same bed together. His eyes searched them though, noticing there was something different about them. Their fear seemed stronger than it had been the night before.
He raised an eyebrow. Please let it be the choice I hope they will make, not the one that will leave me without my children for the rest of eternity. Elrond had been through so much since the time when he had chosen to remain on, as an elf, when his brother had abandoned him to the ages.
“We will both sail, when the right time comes for us to do so, adar.”
A flood of relief rushed through Elrond. He couldn’t believe that his sons had chosen the same has he had. For a long time he had hoped not to see them divided by that choice as he and Elros had been.
“Thank you, ionnath-nin for telling me. I am relieved. I had worried that I would lose all three of you to mortality...”
Instead, his sons had chosen the opposite of their sister. They also had chosen a fate that his own twin brother had decided against. They had alleviated another fear. That history would repeat itself like when he and his twin brother had made their choices. Elrond knew he would have hated watching one of his sons linger on without his twin brother.
“You both know I lost Elros to mortality. I would have hated to see either one of you in the place I am in now. For quite some time I have worried over which fate the two of you would choose, and whether it would split you apart.”
He looked at his sons, a small smile on his lips.
“Now at least, I have some good news I can tell your naneth when I reach Valinor.”
Which would be in just over two months time, since that was when he decided he would sail. The spring would come, and with it, Imladris would change hands.
“When are you going, adar?” Elladan asked.
“With the spring, ion-nin. I will of course, look forward to seeing you both when you choose to sail. I do not mind waiting, now that I know you two will eventually join your naneth and I in the Undying Lands.”
Both his sons moved to embrace him.
“Do not worry, ion-nin. We will be waiting for you, when the time comes for you both to cross the sea. Your naneth will be very pleased to see you both.”
“We miss her,” Elrohir replied.
“It’s been so long,” Elladan added.
“Yes, time has passed by here in Middle-Earth since she left us all. She will not have forgotten us, my sons.”