A nightly promise|
I am just borrowing a few characters. Writing is a hobby and I do not earn a single penny with it
It was a dagger Estel had never seen before. Shining silver stained with dull blurs and partly blackened by age. Floral engravings disrupted by several scratches and notches the years had left on the blade.
'Or fights', the boy thought. 'Maybe the blade has seen many fights.'
Suddenly he heard approaching steps behind him. The boy stepped back in a haste, away from the chest wherein he had found the dagger next to some moth-eaten pieces of fabric, and the dagger fell onto the marble floor with a loud clatter.
"Estel? What are you doing here at this late hour?"
"Ada? Forgive me, I did not want to- I did not mean to-", the boy tried to explain himself, whilst he attempted to hide his small hands behind his back. Despite the dagger's antique appearance it had proved to be sharp as ever.
"Have I not told you not to touch the weapons when being alone?", Elrond sighed silently. Of course he had noticed his foster-son's little mishap. He got closer and lowered himself onto his knees before taking the boy's arm. He worried for no reason, it was a mere cut and hardly even bled. "Go, bath yourself and then go to bed", he ordered and patted the child's shoulder softly. The boy gave a keen nod and rushed away.
Always full of energy and curiosity. Elrond sighed. Not as if he had been otherwise when he had been that age. Absently he noticed the dagger on the floor. He had not seen this weapon for ages, hardly remembered when he had seen it last. Maybe he had even thought he had lost it, centuries or millennia ago...
It was cold, foggy, it was dark and it stank. Of death, of fire, and burning flesh. Even now and here, where the night was calm, it stank. And it was so silent. He had been thinking he would never again experience silence, after hearing the screaming of the fight, the clang of weapons and steel and the fire's angry crackle.
His brother's sobbing had stopped. Even if tears had been streaming over his own cheeks and had left salty traces, Elrond himself hadn't sobbed when they had dragged him away from home.
Now it was silent, almost scary. He didn't know for how long it was now that they had left everything behind, but he assumed it had been several hours. Or at least enough time for being completely exhausted. But not enough time for the scent of smoke and blood to disappear out of their hair, clothes and their minds.
He and Elros lay there, huddled up in the shadow of an old root. The tree it belonged to was long gone, but at least the mossy root gave little shelter against the cold and its mouldy scent was a bit familiar for the brothers had often been playing outside. The scent of rotten wood was familiar and calming.
Elros was sleeping, or at least his breathing was calm and his sobbing had stopped.
"I can not go on any longer" He heard the dark haired elf's soft, melodic voice. Maglor he had called himself, had he not?
Elrond slowly turned around his head, pretended to be sleeping. His eyes were opened just a little bit so he could make out the outlines of what was happening.
Maglor leaned against a tree. He noticed that the elf put all his weight on one leg whilst he tried to relieve the other one. Previously Elrond had already noticed that the elf was wounded. Most likely because of that the young peredhil were forced to run instead of being carried after they had been dragged away from their home.
Through half closed eyes he saw that the other elf whose name he didn't know yet went closer towards his brother and helped him to sit down, leaning against the tree's mighty trunk.
"You will survive that", he answered in a low, hoarse voice. "But what will we do with them? We can not afford to look after two children, above all right now as we are that close to fulfil our oath"
A cold laugh of the singer's melodic voice sent shivers down Elrond's spine, even when he tried to stay calm and appear to be sleeping. Elros' eyes stayed shut and he didn't react, so seemed to be asleep, as far as Elrond could tell. He could never be sure of that. Sometimes he had seen his brother sleeping with eyes half opened as the elves did, but some other time he slept as men do. The latter mostly when he had bad dreams, when he felt uneasy, or when he was afraid.
"We can not fulfil our oath, brother", the singer's voice answered. "The silmaril is lost, do you not remember? Lost somewhere at the ground of this cliff the girl has cast down herself"
It seemed as if an almost dead silence fell down from the trees again. Elrond didn't know the exact meaning of these words for a long time, but he knew the meaning of this silence. It was the same kind of silence his mother had lapsed into when she received the message. The message which had presaged everything that happened afterwards...
The answer was a simple, hoarse "Rest, brother". No further words were spoken.
Elrond watched as the dark haired elf tried to tend his hurt leg, before he lay down onto the dewy moss. Several breaths later the taller figure moved away and as the time passed by he thought that in the distance he heard a scream worn out by pain, anger, and loss.
Maglor didn't react. Was he asleep? Elrond supposed he was. He opened his eyes fully and watched the elf for a time. His eyes were half shut, he gazed into nothing.
Carefully Elrond freed himself from the grip his brother had held onto him when he had fallen asleep. Elros moved slightly but he did not wake up.
A faint gleam in the stars' pale light had caught his attention. He crept forward and reached out, his fingers brushed over the blade – that was when he heard that footsteps came back. Most likely the other elf returned. He gripped the blade without any further hesitation and jerked back, lay down next to his brother and hoped that no one had noticed anything. The dagger he hid beneath himself.
He was young, just a child, but he know how to defend himself and his brother, if it was necessary.
Just a few heartbeats later the elf returned. Elrond was not sure, but he thought that he could see traces of tears on his face.
He sat down next to Maglor who still appeared to be resting. For a moment cold, bright eyes paused on the peredhil, almost as if he knew Elrond wasn't asleep, before he gazed back down on his brother's sleeping form.
"Forgive me", he finally whispered and Elrond saw that instead of giving an answer the singer moved slightly before he sat up and winced as he moved his leg.
"You are right", he whispered in his soft voice. "We can hardly look after two children. But one thing I say after there is already more blood on our swords than we should be able to bear: never again I will harm a child or allow a helpless child to be harmed. This I swear."
Elrond sighed silently at the memories the dagger had reminded him of. He had taken this little piece of metal - the blade hardly as large as his palm, but in a child's hands it had appeared as if it had been a large weapon – secretly and even if they had not been allowed to wear any kind of weapon until they had almost come of age, he had kept this dagger against all orders. He wouldn't have hesitated for a single second when he would have been forced to wield it against his foster-father.
Finally he had ascertained that never there had been the need to do that. Unlike the oath he could never fulfil Maglor had kept the one he had sworn in this night.
As long as he had been able to, he had prevented that anything bad would happen to them. No matter how hard the winters had been, or if the peredhil had tried to flee and search for their home, or how often they had screamed at their foster-father and blamed him for their mother's death and the loss of their home, never he had raised hand against them or let them come to harm.
There had been these times, but with a weary smile Elrond remembered the other moments that reminded him of the words he had heard secretly in that night.
Whenever he could Maglor had tried to make it liveable for his foster-sons. When they were haunted by nightmares he had sung soothing lullabies even when they could read tiredness in the elf's eyes for often he had kept watch for approaching enemies.
When the winters got too cold many times he had brought them sweetened tea. Way too sweet in light of the fact that they were often forced to ration food, and when they noticed at the next morning that the elf grimaced at his own unsweetened tea.
Years later Elrond became clear to how often he had relinquished his own conveniences for their sake.
Twisting the dagger absently between his fingers Elrond wandered through the nightly silence of his house. His way led him past his young foster-son's room and silently he opened the door, as if to assure that young Estel wouldn't go on further nocturnal excursions.
With a soft smile he looked down at the boy's sleeping form.
"Never I will allow any harm to come over you, as long as I can hinder that", he whispered silently. "This I swear."