Gifts Solid and Ethereal|
Summery; It is the first time this day has come around for Elrond in Valinor; Celebrían has a plan to make it a happy one… and it turns out wishes can come true
“Elrond?” Celebrían rolled over to find half the bed empty. She sighed, then frowned, it was all very well for her husband to keep disappearing but she would prefer some warning or note to be left. Particularly if he persisted in leaving this early in the morning… As memory returned a warm smile spread over her face
“Mae g'ovannen Peredhel” A friendly laugh was concealed behind the final word
“Mae g'ovannen” Elrond replied without turning his head. He gazed out across the sea, staring West as though sheer willpower alone would bring what he wanted to see within view.
His companion dropped down beside him “The day has come then.”
“As it does every year Ereinion”
“Indeed” The Last High King of the Noldor inclined his head in concession, but didn’t miss the dullness in Elrond’s tone. He changed the subject “Does your wife know you are out here?
Elrond shrugged, “No doubt she has discovered me missing by now and is not best pleased by it.”
Ereinion stood up again, pulling Elrond to his feet as he did so “Don’t mope so Peredhel, life here is not that bad… Think of it; now you have your wife back and all the time in the world to write your music.”
“Hmm… and grieve for those that could not come.” He turned his eyes to the ocean
“Elrond!” Ereinion’s sharp tone brought him back “No more moping, I absolutely forbid it” When he looked up at his king the elf’s dark eyes twinkled down at him
“Is that a King’s orders?” Spirit came into his voice
“It is indeed”
He swept his robe around in a deep, mocking, bow “Then I shall do my best to obey” For that he gained a slap in the shoulder
“Give over you daft bookworm, you’ve been reading too many gallant stories.”
“Ever an elfling at heart” Elrond smiled now, pretending not to hear Ereinion’s continued teasing.
A knocking on the door interrupted Celebrían. Hurrying to open it she was greeted by a large basket of food at waist level that was apparently walking by itself
“Greetings lady” came a voice from behind/beneath the basket
“Suil Frodo” She smiled and opened the door wider “Take ten steps forward, then turn a quarter clockwise and take forty. Put the basket down on the table you find”
“Yes Lady Celebrían” The basket entered the house and trotted off down the corridor, revealing Frodo bravely balancing it in his arms. As soon as he was out of earshot she let herself laugh at the tenacity and determination of Periain, willing to help and work for their friends, despite also loving an easy life. Elrond had told her that much after having Bilbo as a permanent lodger in Imladris for many years.
As Frodo returned, now unburdened, she noticed him subconsciously tucking his four fingered hand behind his back. As he bowed, finally able to observe the proper rituals of greeting, she remembered something.
“Frodo, you’ll be bringing Bilbo with you this evening?”
The hobbit smiled, joy lighting his face “Wouldn’t be able to keep him away if I tried.”
“Good. You two hobbits always lighten up the mood of anything you attend.”
“I’m glad we’re of some use.”
“Come on Elrond keep up”
“Is that a challenge Ereinion Fingornion?” Elrond shouted up the path and saw his companion give a casual shrug
“If you want it to be.”
He set his teeth and urged his mare into a gallop, bringing her level with Ereinion’s bay. They hurtled along the path, braided hair streaming out behind until they looked more like birds than elves.
Finally they drew their horses up near the path end, faced glowing and eyes sparkling
“Draw?” Ereinion looked at his former herald
“Draw Elrond nodded “Ah it has been a long time since I’ve ridden like that… too long”
“Glad to be able to rectify it” His king smiled, then glanced up at the sky, seeing the sun drop close to the mountain lined horizon “We have been out too long, I’ll ride you home as it’s on my way.”
Elrond was so startled by the length of his disappearance that he failed to notice the disguised smile on his companion’s face.
The house was full of Elves. Celebrían glanced down from her perch atop a chair in the main hall, whence she had been attaching sprigs to the rafters. Almost every elf, nay person, Elrond had been attached to was here. She saw Glorfindel holding Frodo up to tie a rolled up banner on one side of the hall, then string it across to the other side. She stepped down to avoid a collision and moved the chair to another pillar, filling her spare arm with a long string of ivy as she went. She’d barely finished wrapping it around, all the way to the top, when Legolas came sprinting in.
Instantly the hive of activity became a furious whirl, as the workers scurried to finish their decorations and take cover. Celebrían leapt sideways off her chair on the floor in one fluid movement and began to give orders
“You know your places. Frodo, Bilbo; under the table. Gimli…”
She turned to see the elderly dwarf tucked in a corner, almost invisible “Good.” A step on the path outside made her eyes dart over the room, searching.
No-one was visible
Elrond unlatched the door and pushed it open, inviting Ereinion in with a gesture
“Celebrían?” He called “Are you here?” The was a small sound from the main hall, then silence. He frowned moving forward to open the door that separated the two rooms. The Hall was empty.
“Is anyone there? Celebrían?”
His eyes roamed over the flowers and ivy that had magically appeared since this morning as he surveyed the alterations, a slight movement of silver caught his eye but as he moved forward there was a creek, amplified by the silence.
Alarmed he spun round, one hand to the sword hilt that wasn’t there “Ereinion!”
The King was laughing, his eyes glinting
“What is this?” begged Elrond, admitting by the tremble in his voice that he was nervous
The room rang with the shouts as figures jumped out from all conceivable places. Elrond whipped in circles, his eyes spotting Frodo, Bilbo, Gimli, Glorfindal, Erestor, Legolas and many other elves. He twisted to face Ereinion
“You were in on this! I know you were.”
“Indeed he was Elrond.” Celebrían came forward and kissed him “Happy Begetting Day, husband.”
He held her close, then squeezed even tighter until he threatened to crush her “Do you yield?” he laughed
“I yield” she squeaked, causing the others to laugh
“Come now Elrond, if you kill Celebrían she will not be able to ask us to fetch your presents” Galadriel’s reasoning tone came from another corner of the room
“Presents?” his interest was piqued
“Do you really deserve them?” his wife’s teasing voice reached his ears
“Don’t goad him. It is not wise to court Father’s anger” Elrohir moved into his father’s view and grinned, placing his package down on the table. The other guests followed suit, until the table was piled high.
Elrond stared in amazement, only brought out of it by Ereinion’s teasing
“We didn’t wrap them because the sacking looked pretty you know”
Throwing his King a look Elrond began to open them, nodding or smiling at the giver as each present as it came into view.
“Le channon o guren.” He set down the leather-bound ‘Poem of Eärendil’ that came from Bilbo and unconsciously glanced back at the table… to see some more, very large, packages sitting on it.
He frowned “How..? I’m sure I didn’t forget to open anyone’s.”
Legolas stepped forward, looking slightly guilty “Lord Elrond; the givers of these gifts are not present here today… They have been in my keeping for six months.”
An inkling of understanding tickled the Elf-lord’s brain and he reached for the closest one, gently unwinding the string to reveal an old blackwood bow, the grip worn with much use. A piece of parchment, folded and sealed, slipped floorwards only to be caught between his dextrous fingers and pulled open
Le suilannon Adar
I send you this in the hopes that it will remind you of the little boy who you raised to adulthood, the frightened child who you coaxed to accept and proudly carry his heritage.
Forever your son
Gently he ran his fingers along the bow, feeling the memories attached to it yank and wrench at his heart. He’d seen this bow new made, given to Estel as a sweetener when his heritage was revealed. He’d comforted the young ranger when he made his first kill with it, he’d seen Aragorn Arathornion bear it on his shoulder when he left with the fellowship and tie it to his saddlebag to ride with Theoden’s funeral procession. When he looked at this bow, he saw his foster child grow into a King that the ancient Edain would have been proud of.
Gently, giving a firm swallow, he set it aside and reached for the next. The note was tied to the string of this present, and the handwriting was unfamiliar. Apprehensively he opened it; there was no real salutation to the letter but it was well meant, that much he could tell
I am honoured to write to you and wish you happy returns. You do not know me personally but I know of you; Naneth often spoke of you and Adar used to regale me with his misdemeanors under your care. By the time you read this I will have taken my Father’s sceptre and become the second King of the Reunited Kingdoms. I wish to thank you for guiding my father, and indirectly myself. I hope that in return you will accept the small gift I have attached to this letter and remember me fondly as your grandson;
Eldarion ‘Dari’ Telecontar
P.S. I make deep apologies for my appalling Tengwar calligraphy, I never quite mastered it to the degree of neatness my parents had.
He smiled and pulled the wrapping off to reveal a book, bound in leather as Bilbo’s was, yet far plainer; being only the traditional earth brown. He gently flipped it open to discover a dedication written carefully on the first leaf
To Elrond Eärendilion
He who’s first kin are throughout this lore
Riffling through a few of the pages he was startled to discover, carefully written in Quenya, an account of the first days, and then a full version; complete to the last dot, of the Lay of Lúthien. Slowly he shook his head in wonder, coming out of a trance.
From the two princesses of Gondor was a piece of weaving depicting Imladris in its prime. Then Legolas slowly placed the largest gift on the table; a painting, depicting all five of the Gondorian royals standing around the white tree. Aragorn was still dark haired and the love that shone from Arwen’s eyes would have rivaled the Silmaril of her grandsire.
His eyes roamed over it, feasting on little details. The way Arwen’s hair clip sparkled in the sun, the flowers the two girls held, the loving yet protective way Aragorn had loosely looped his arm around Arwen’s waist while the other rested on the hilt of Andúril. And Eldarion… Dari; perched high in the White Tree with a broad smile on his face and mischievous twinkle in his eyes that promised chaos. In a resemblance that went deeper than just looks, Elrond thought he saw his twin brother Elros gazing out at him, the way he had from the branches of a beech tree just hours before a search party sent by Ereinion and Círdan found them and brought them to safety.
Eldarion; son of the Eldar… his grandson. The fea within which the long sundered lines of the Peredhil were rejoined. Sixty-five generations from Elros, two generations from himself, they were whole again. The thought tugged his heart in a way that warned of tears so he turned his attention back to the painting. The setting sun caught the boy’s face, giving it a golden glow. Gently he traced the curves with one forefinger; marking cheeks, forehead, chin and sharp, perky, nose then carefully set the painting back down on the table, uncurling his stiff fingers one by one.
Slowly, with measured tread, he walked over to an east facing window and gazed out. Eärendil was setting out on his voyage, silver light shining over the sundering sea. For a second, as the light of the Silmaril met Anor’s last rays, he thought he saw Minas Tirith; standing pure and proud as it had for Aragorn’s wedding. On the very tip of the spur stood a grown man, who carried echoes of the boy in the painting, his eyes also staring… straight back at Elrond
“Elen síla lúmenn' omentielmo”
The slightly stumbling Quenya reached his ears and he nodded, before switching on some instinct to Sindarin, while using the shortened pet name that the letter had insinuated his kinsman referred
“Ni veren an le ngovaned Dari Aragornion”
The man smiled and replied fluently in the same language, a fact which filled Elrond’s heart with joy and love “Happy birthday, Grandfather, it is an honour that the Valar granted my wish to speak with you this once.”
Even as Dari finished the image faded. Yet the feeling of love that filled Elrond’s heart didn’t… He had grieved inwardly when he read the goodbye letters that had come with his gifts, yet the Valar had eased those long standing griefs, showing him that he had done right in Arda.
Yes He thought It truly is a happy begetting day
Mae g'ovannen= Well Met
Le channon o guren= I thank you from my heart
Le suilannon= I give greetings to you
Elen síla lúmenn' omentielmo=A star shines on the hour of our meeting (Q)
Ni veren an le ngovaned= I am happy to meet you