The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum

Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Fan Fiction > The Red Book
User Name
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-20-2022, 10:38 AM   #1
Spirit of Mist
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tol Eressea
Posts: 3,211
Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Glorfindel in Imladris by Lothithil

Glorfindel in Imladris
by Lothithil
first posted February 22, 2004

Chapter 1: Salute the Sun

If you rise before the Sun, and climb to the top of the tower in Elrond’s Observatory you will find a balcony that runs from below the sweeping turret to the wall of the mountains, anchoring the graceful structure to the bones of the hills that hold Imladris cradled in strength. Walk along that railed terrace until you can go no further, and you will find a shelf of stone, hewed by the axes of ancient ice and polished smooth by the laving wind. Sit upon that stone and look out when the sun raises Her head over the mountains behind, and you will be overwhelmed by the beauty of a hundred rainbows scattering over the countless falls. The light of morning is gilded ere it touches the ground. Here one can feel the spray of the water on their face and feel the kiss of the wind and the golden embrace of the sunlight all at once. This is Glorfindel’s favourite spot.

He was sitting there of a morning waiting for the Sun’s debut, when he heard the horns blowing in the valley, hailing some new arrival. He paid little heed for the golden moment was approaching quickly, and though all news lately was full of dread and import, still a sunrise was not to be dismissed. Even having lived for as long as he had, and even for having passed through Mandos and returned, still Glorfindel, Prince of the House of the Golden Flower did not take such things for granted. He turned his blue-grey eyes upward and watched Elbereth’s last lamp fade in the greying dawn.

Sounds behind him; the soft tread of elven feet on the turret stair. Glorfindel kept his eyes on the rising mists over the falls, but he called a greeting blindly over his shoulder, "Good Morning, Elrohir! What news cannot wait for Arien’s assent?"

"Lord Glorfindel," Elrond’s son, brother of Elladan and Arwen Evenstar, bowed toward the back of Glorfindel most respectfully, though a smile was playing upon his face. This Elf always knew the difference between the twins, though they looked so closely alike. "My father asks will you please come to Council? Tidings from the West have arrived in the darkness of the night, and it is gravely important."

Glorfindel sighed and turned reluctantly away from his meditation. The morning would still come without his regard, but how many more sunrises would there be, if the rumours and portents that had been already discussed proved prophecy? "Last night they came, you say? To whom then do the horns of morning sound a greeting?"

"I know not, Lord. I have been searching for you."

They descended the tower and he followed Elrohir to the chamber where Elrond was waiting, already attended by most of the household. Erestor was there and Finarato, and here was Gildor Inglorion speaking softly and urgently to the Edain. Elrohir took his place standing behind his father, ready should there be any need of his swift feet or hands.

Glorfindel greeted Gildor warmly. Not often did these two elves meet; Gildor preferred the wild halls and wooded paths, and he wandered endlessly covering the lands between Rivendell and Lindon and bringing news or interesting tales when he did return. Though his face showed his delight in greeting Glorfindel, he looked grim still, as if some heavy news lay upon his heart.

Bells pealed from the towers, and with the ringing the Sun was saluted by the Elves in welcome of the Day. Glorfindel raised his eyes to the light that was now streaming down and gleaming off of white stone and polished wood, sending warmth that could not penetrate the coldness that now gripped his heart.

Elrond was listening attentively to a page who had run up and was whispering in the Half-elf’s ear. He rose and gestured, and all present fell respectfully silent. He spoke and his voice was low and solemn, "Thank you for coming so swiftly. Many tidings have come to us, and they should be heard by all of you. We wait now only for another arrival..."

And as he spoke Elladan appeared and with him was Bilbo Baggins. Dressed hastily and sleepy-eyed yet, the hobbit had a woolen scarf draped over his shoulders against the dawn chill. Elladan joined his twin flanking Elrond’s chair. Bilbo came to Elrond’s side with the briefest nod to the gathering of Elf-lords there and laid his small hand on his arm.

"What is this news, Elrond, that your son has brought me to hear? Is it about Frodo? Where is Gandalf?"

Elrond seated the old hobbit on his chair and standing before all he spoke calmly with a note of solemn urgency in his voice. "Word has come from the west in grim tidings. Gandalf is missing, and the servants of the Dark Lord are riding through the land, searching for something he has long thought lost forever. Gildor has come to tell me that he has seen your nephew, Bilbo, wandering out of the Shire, and fears that he is closely pursued. He advised him to seek Rivendell, and I think that this is likely to be his course, but the journey will be more than one or two travelers can manage alone if they are harried by the Enemy. If Gandalf did not meet him on the road, then he is in need of guidance and protection."

Gildor spoke, "The Dunedain are alert to Gandalf’s absence, and it is possible that Estel has joined Frodo Baggins and is guiding him, thought this is but guesswork; he is no longer watching the Road and Frodo and his companions have all disappeared into the wild. The Travelling Companies have not heard a word nor seen a sign of them since they left Bree-Hill. It is to be hoped that they have found each other, and are bound hither. I would that I had discarded our custom and brought him here myself. I did not realize the darkness of their peril, nor recognize the urgency of his errand." The Elf was so distraught that Bilbo climbed down from his chair and comforted him with forgiving words.

"You are not to be blamed, Gildor!" added Elrond. "Gandalf promised that he would be there, and he yet may be... yet we cannot assume this." The tall Elf paced a few steps, his face was creased with concern. Glorfindel knew what it cost the Edain in worry; Estel was his foster child, like a son he had raised him, and he had grown into a noble and skilled Man. Even though he was long past the need of fathering, Aragorn was dear to Elrond.

Glorfindel recalled the years of Aragorn’s growth, when his name was Estel, and he had no knowledge of his ancestry. He had himself taught the sensitive young man how to catch fish with his hands, and which plants that grew beside the road were best to eat when travelling light. He remembered clearly the nobility that the boy had shown even then. Now the years had flown past and the boy had become a man, and proved himself in battle and wisdom many times over. Glorfindel know and trusted his skill, but also he knew the fell strength of the servants of the Enemy. He stood and gave Elrond a bow.

"Lord, give me your leave to search for them! Perhaps we can find them and give aid, and help them to reach the safety of your valley. I will depart at once..."

"Hold, Glorfindel! You foresee my intent, and I thank you. Remain long enough for us to organize the search. I would have those who are willing search north, south and west. Any who have the strength to face the wraiths... I shall go myself, as well."

"Nay! My Lord Elrond, you should remain here." Erestor exclaimed, and Finarato stood beside him, and both of their faces were set. "We shall ride forth, and you should keep the borders of your land. We will go, and with us others who are able."

"Go then, and comb the land for the halflings. Gildor says that he had at least two companions with him when they met. If Aragorn is discovered not in their company, perhaps he can employ his abilities to aid you in tracking them. Bring them all swiftly to Rivendell when you find them. Most importantly, Frodo should be kept from the hands of the wraiths... at all costs." Elrond swept them with a long gaze, and paused as he looked down at Bilbo, whose eyes were dark with worry and anxiety. "Ride now with speed and wisdom."

Bilbo came to stand next to Elrond and they watched the horses file out of the stables and down the paths that threaded the valley. The broadening light caught flashes of gold and silver off of hair and headstall, and over the endless murmuring of the waterfalls the creak and slap of leather was heard. Sparks flew from hooves upon flint-shale, and in the distance, horns called like the voices of strange birds.

"Elrond, why is this happening?" Bilbo asked. The years he had spent here in Rivendell had passed peacefully, and he had hoped that someday Frodo would come and visit him, but not under such strange and dangerous circumstances. "Why are these horrible creatures after my nephew? Where is Gandalf?"

Elrond looked at the hobbit, and he placed a hand on his shoulder. "I do not know yet, Bilbo. I do not know."

Glorfindel hastened to the valley floor where the horses were stabled, and he whistled sharply while buckling his weapons securely. Elrohir had helpfully prepared his kit; the clever half-elf had accurately guessed the course of action that Glorfindel had suggested. A touch of the father’s foresight the twins had, perhaps. Glorfindel was grateful that there was no need for delay.

Asfaloth was ready, his riding gear was oiled and supple, as Glorfindel had the custom of riding in the morning after observing the Sun, and the grooms had prepared him for his ride. For a parade or ceremony would the jeweled harness have been more appropriate, perhaps, but Glorfindel would not take the time to change them now. He felt the need of haste as he had not for many long years. He leaped onto Asfaloth’s back and they were flying away, before any other Elf was mounted or ready. As he rode past Erestor and Finarato, and Fereveldir and a handful of others who were preparing their steeds, he shouted, "The Road west I shall cover, so seek ye north and south! They may have turned far aside to throw off pursuit. Safe journey to us all!" and then he was riding into the fading mists as Rivendell Valley warmed and unwrapped its foggy garments.

Asfaloth’s paces were sure on the familiar path, and he caught his rider’s mood and neighed his willingness to Glorfindel’s whispered urging, and ran with great heart and so fast that his very shadow might have fallen behind.

The Elf leaned forward, lying low on Asfaloth’s neck, lessening the break of the wind and lending speed to the horse’s passage. White as unstained snow was the coat of Asfaloth; like adamant his hooves and silken webs his mane and tail. Glorfindel and Asfaloth had long been friends, and the horse bore him ever willingly, and obeyed all of his words, and they loved each other as is the friendship that exists between elves and good beasts ever.

Asfaloth whinnied and tossed his head, and Glorfindel looked behind to note the twins riding hard on his trail. Asfaloth eased his speed to allow them to catch up. Riding abreast, they grinned at the Elf-lord and flanked him until they reached Mitheithiel.

Glorfindel called a halt upon seeing the bridge. Three dark shadows stained the landscape, leeching the light from the very air. Glorfindel firmly restrained Asfaloth, who belled a challenge and sought to charge; the great horse was trembling with fury. He turned to Elladan and Elrohir, and they could see the dangerous light shining through him, and his eyes were dark as a starless sky. He spoke to them, and his voice was cold and sharp as his naked blade.

"Ride back now to thy father, and report this! I will pursue them and see where the others lurk. If they are watching this road, then Frodo is still free at the moment. Perhaps I can drive them off and make his passage safer. I will ride even to Amon Sûl, and check every path between. If Gandalf returns before us, send him to Elrond to aid in strengthening the Ford. They will come this way, I feel it!"

The twins did hastily ride with this message, and Glorfindel released Asfaloth to make his charge, and added his own bellow to challenge the wraiths; their horses danced nervously, then turned to bolt into the trees beyond the river. As they rode fast over the Last Bridge, Glorfindel let fall a stone he had prized loose from Asfaloth’s fair headstall, a token the sharp eyes of a Ranger might locate and take as a sign.

The wraiths fled before his fury, and Asfaloth followed hard; Glorfindel’s sword glowed forge-hot in his hand. They pressed on for nine days, through sunset and rise; neither moonsoar nor starfall stayed their search nor slowed their pace, all the way to Weathertop and back to the bridge, through rain and wind until Glorfindel saw at last what he sought: faint prints upon the damp ground of small bare feet, and to his delight, the light prints of a booted foot were there to be descried, cleverly masked in a technique he had taught a young Ranger long ago. The stone he had let drop was gone. Aragorn was with them!

He did not slow his search, but charged forward with renewed energy. Across the bridge and into the trees again; now that the trail was found, Glorfindel would not lose them again. He was aware of the tainted wind and the feeling of evil; the wraiths were not far away.

Chapter 2: Mae Govannen!

Glorfindel leaned forward over Asfaloth’s withers, letting the wind of their passage whip his hair behind him. The sun was setting, breeding shadows at the feet of the hills, but to the Elf-Lord everything was clear and distinct, and the coming night did not inhibit his vison whatsoever. The path of the travelling hobbits was clear before him, and even the faint prints of Estel were apparent to his skillful eyes. Rather than relief he felt anxiety however, for if their trail was visible to him, then other hunters might see it as well. His senses told him they were not far away.

"Faster, Asfaloth! Great heart, we must outrace the setting sun!" He urged the proud horse to further effort, and the road spun away beneath hooves that struck sparks in the haste of his passage.

It was only because they had come back to the Road that the Elf had found the trail at all, for he had ridden all the way to Amon Sul before he found any sign of them, so great was Estel’s skill in the wild. The blackened ring of stones had set Glorfindel’s heart in a cramp of fear. Did all the halflings and Estel escape unharmed? And why did the wraiths hang back when they could easily overtake them?

Estel is now Aragorn, Glorfindel chided himself. He still was unused to calling Elrond’s foster son by any other name than the one they had used in his childhood. He of course had been friends with Aragorn’s father Arathorn, and with all the line of Isildur’s descendants. He was particularly fond of Aragorn, though. The man’s blood was more true than any of his predecessors; a Numenorian as they had been at the golden hour of Mankind, before the sinking of Numenor and the decline of Men. And Glorfindel was not the only one who noticed this; Elrond had once confided to Glorfindel that Aragorn had reminded him of his own brother, Elros. It was no wonder to either elf that Estel had grown into a man of wisdom and skill. But he had yet to grow into the king that the blood of Elros within him called for him to become.

The tracks were faint but Glorfindel could tell that there were several small members of the party, and it impressed him that Est- Aragorn was leading so many and yet accomplishing such stealth also. The Elf wondered why the coming of the halfling Elrond had told him to search for had been so long delayed. He had spoken with Bilbo Baggins, who dwelled in Rivendell as a guest of the Edain, and the old hobbit had often described his heir Frodo whom he regarded fondly like a son. Mithrandir had brought occasional reports of his health and fortune, and all had seemed well thitherto. But now the wizard was missing, and shadows fell on the Road even in the light of Day.

The bells of Asfaloth’s headstall rang shrilly as they flew down the road and he eyed the darkening sky above, seeing the stars beginning to peer out before being swallowed by the clouds.

Running now at full gallop, Asfaloth charged down the road where the banks rose gently on one side, higher and steeper on the other. The tracks upon the road vanished. Glorfindel raised his head and saw twinkle like a star in the shade of a juniper grove. He spoke a word to his horse, and Asfaloth dug in his hooves with a spray earth and stopped, sides heaving and breath steaming from his nostrils.

Glorfindel flung himself out of the saddle, calling excitedly to Aragorn who was leaping down the embankment, his face joyful. Glorfindel clasped his outstretched hand.

"Ai! Na vedui, Dunadan! Mae Govannen!" said Glorfindel breathlessly. Aragorn turned and beckoned to the hobbits still hiding in the bushes above. As they descended, leading a pony down the slope, Glorfindel saw that a fourth halfling was clinging to the pony’s neck. He winced inwardly, knowing that this was the nephew of Bilbo who had been expected to come to Rivendell earlier that season.

The halfling’s spirit was clear to the eyes of the Elf-Lord, and it shone like a bright light through a thin veil. But now that light flickered, as a candle in a draft, and the brilliance grew less as if occluded by clouds of smoke. He was pale and shaking, and there were bloodstains on his garments. Walking closely at his side was a stout dark-skinned hobbit with a face creased with worry and weariness.

Glorfindel turned to Aragorn and said quickly in Elvish, "We must go forward without delay. The Enemy is close, and this one is fading swiftly."

"I understand, Lord Glorfindel, but these hobbits have traveled far today, and they may not be able to go much farther. Five wraiths attacked us on Weathertop, and there Frodo was wounded by a Morgul knife." Aragorn showed the Elf the hilt of the weapon that he had saved, and Glorfindel shuddered at the hideous things revealed in the foul writing upon it. "I have treated him with athelas, but he still fails. We must bring him swiftly to Elrond."

"Let us push on now then while they have some strength, and rest before the morning. I cannot leave these little ones behind, even under this threat. The halfling is strong to have survived thus long, and if we can move swiftly, we can all come safely to the Ford."

This news did not sit well with Samwise. "My master is sick, and wounded! He cannot travel after nightfall!" Frodo was swooning, and as he slid from the pony’s back, Glorfindel caught him. The Elf’s heart was wrung to look the creature in his arms, fighting for his life against the poison that devoured his spirit. Like the Moon crossing the Sun’s path, his brilliance was eclipsed and his life ebbed.

Quickly Glorfindel slipped his hand over the wound on the halfling’s shoulder, pressing the white scar gently. He uttered the healing words he had learned in Ages past, though he knew that his own skill was pale compared to Elrond’s ability. Frodo’s eyes cleared and his heartbeat strengthened, and he came back once again from the awful darkness.

"We must go at once." Glorfindel whispered urgently to Aragorn. The Elf could see that worry and defeat were a great burden on the Man. Aragorn nodded and herded the hobbits on, while Glorfindel set Frodo upon Asfaloth, shortening the stirrups to seat him tightly. Frodo protested, unwilling to go onward to safety and leave his friends behind. Glorfindel pointed out grimly that without Frodo to attract the wraiths, his friends would be reasonably save. Frodo was stricken by Glorfindel’s words to silence, and he regretted having brought his friends into this danger.

"Bear this brave one well, Asfaloth!" spoke Glorfindel softly to his horse. "Ere we come to the Ford, we shall be pressed by the Enemy. If we are overtaken, run swiftly across the water to safety and bring him to Rivendell beyond. You are the heart of the wind, Asfaloth! Those spiritless nags will never catch you!" Asfaloth puffed and jerked his proud head, then nuzzled his friend’s ear. They walked swiftly after Aragorn and the hobbits on into the mouth of the night.


Chapter 3: The Long Flat Mile

The hobbits had walked to the limit of their endurance, and Glorfindel allowed them to rest just before morning. So utterly spent were they that they fell asleep immediately, without thought or word of food. From the speed which Aragorn succumbed to slumber Glorfindel could guess how close he was to the end of his considerable strength. The Elf watched impatiently while the hours passed that were needed for them to regain their stamina.

Frodo sighed and sat up, drawing a hand across his eyes. Glorfindel gave him a bottle of water and helped him drink; the halfling’s left arm was completely cold and useless. Weak as he was, today his eyes were clear and he smiled at the Elf. "Strider said your name was Glorfindel."

Glorfindel looked at him questioningly, then realized with a laugh in his heart that Frodo meant Aragorn. So many names for one man!

"So I am named," said Glorfindel.

"Forgive my ignorance; my uncle once told me a tale he had heard about an elf named Glorfindel, a hero of the past Ages. Was he a kinsman of yours?"

Glorfindel smiled and sat down next to Frodo where he could speak so that the others were not disturbed and still watch the Road. "Your uncle told you tales of Elven history? You must be a curious and peculiar hobbit to be interested in such things, and he a curious and peculiar hobbit to know them! Tales long and sad of people and places that no longer see the sun; deeds of valour and vanity were done then, and battles fought and blood spilled that ought never have been. It has been long since I thought about them... they seem a song sung by a fireside that teases my memory."

Frodo looked up at the Elf, and in his pale face his eyes still sparkled merrily. "Well, there is no fire here, but I am restless. Will you tell me a tale of Glorfindel of old?"

"At another time, perhaps, when you have less need of rest and we have more time than is allowed us now. You ought to be lying quietly."

"I know. It is just that the light of morning is so refreshing after the darkness of the night. Sometimes I cannot see it, when my wound is painful... everything seems to fade away and I feel... transparent, as it were, if you understand me." Frodo said, feeling awkward.

The hobbit lay back on his blanket and shifted suddenly to ease his painful shoulder. Glorfindel watched him with concern. The halfling’s spirit was bright and strong, and he seemed to be recovering a measure of strength. But Glorfindel could see that Frodo’s flesh was becoming as a thin glass housing his Flame; his left arm and hand hung like cold meat, limp and frigid, and the light shone more brightly there. The elf wrapped Frodo in his own cloak and made him drink from his flask a mouthful of liquor he had brought from Rivendell. Frodo thanked him and settled back with a sigh of relief.

As the drink slowly made Frodo sleepy, he asked another question that had been gnawing at his mind. "You said before that I was bringing peril upon my companions, because of that which I bear. How did you learn of it? Did Gandalf tell you?"

Glorfindel flicked his eyes around the glade. All was quiet but for the natural sounds of the wild. "This is not a place to discuss such matters, Frodo Baggins, but I may say that I have had dealings with such things before. He who bore the knife which struck you... he and I have met before, and I know his errand. Gandalf does not discuss such things except in council, and what is said there is not for ears outside of that council. But your need is great, and my heart tells me that hearing would give you some peace and perhaps some strength as well. I will tell you that Glorfindel of Gondolin, that one who with the help of many valiant warriors aided Idril and Eärendil her son and the refugees of the Hidden Rock to escape the ruin wrought by the dragons of iron; who spoke the prophecy concerning the sorcerous king of Angmar, repeating the words of the Seer; all of that which Glorfindel knew and saw, I do know and have seen. That is all that I can reveal, so let yourself rest and ask no more questions now, Frodo."

Frodo lay back listening to Glorfindel speak, and watching him saw again that shimmering light that he had seen when first he had met the elf. Stronger now that light appeared, like sunlight dappling off of the clear surface of a pool, brighter even than the light that fell all around now as the sun climbed above the horizon. As he closed his eyes slowly, sleep claiming him at last, Frodo marveled aloud, "I feel quite safe now, knowing that you are here, Lord Glorfindel! Surely we will come soon to safety, with your aid," and he fell asleep with a peaceful smile still on his pale face. Glorfindel watched him with troubled eyes.

Since they had stopped, he had felt the nearness of evil several times, each time coming closer before drawing away. They were circling, searching, and getting nearer to locating them. The longer they waited in one place, the more likely they were to be found. Glorfindel forced himself not to wake them for 5 hours, then he could wait no more.

He roused them and gave them each a mouthful of the precious cordial of Imladris, and it strengthened them greatly. Frodo was cheerful when Sam woke him, and with his help ate some breakfast before they began the days march. As Glorfindel lifted the halfling from the ground to Asfaloth’s seat, something shining and golden fell to the ground.

"Oh," exclaimed Frodo, and everyone stared at the ring lying innocently on the grass, a tiny circle of yellow metal. It was as if time had stopped and frozen them all.

Frodo sighed, and he slipped off of the horse with Glorfindel’s help. He picked up the thing, his face revealing a great loathing at the touch of it, and he hid it in a deep pocket of his coat. The act seemed to leech all the new strength he had found, and as the Elf lifted him again into the saddle, his once-bright eyes were clouded again. Glorfindel walked next to him as they journeyed, though Asfaloth’s pace was steady and would not have let him fall.

Aragorn went ahead and scouted their route, and Glorfindel led them at a speed that the hobbits could endure for long hours. The elf was sobered by what he had seen, and though he felt the noose closing still about them, he realized the true import of this mission, not just to get Frodo to Rivendell, but to bring the Ring there as well.

The Ring in Imladris! Glorfindel wanted nothing more than to take It far away from that lovely valley so full of peace and beauty. To bring that evil there, the cold, hard evidence of the malice of Sauron, seemed a deed unforgivable. This is what Elrond had meant... the Edain did not want this Thing brought there, either! But he had known that it was coming, and that it was necessary for them to help Frodo. Change was coming to the Elves in their last refuge, in a package that no good elf could refuse. Inside, Glorfindel wept for the Days to come.

"Don’t be angry with my Master, Mr Glorfindel, sir."

Glorfindel blinked and looked down at the hobbit walking at his side. So wrapped in his thoughts he had been, he had not heard the soft tread of Sam beside him. The halfling was trotting along, almost running to keep up with the elf’s long strides. Glorfindel slowed his walk and softened his grim countenance with a smile.

"I am not angry with Frodo, Samwise, but with the hand that wounded him, and the Will that make all this evil tangible." He placed his long-fingered hand on Sam’s shoulder, and looked him in the eye.

Brown and rich as the soil of Eriador, the Elf-lord saw in Sam’s eyes hills of green that rippled on to the edge of the world, trees and valleys and streams of pure water, echoing with a music of Ages past. Crops and forest, animals and hobbits; all living together in harmony and peace, and all threatened by the same evil. Glorfindel saw in Sam the innocence and strength of the Shire, and his reluctance melted away. Nothing was more important than trying to save all that was still good in the world.

He patted Sam’s shoulder and said, "Let’s stop for a bit and catch our breath, Master Samwise. I see a good place to rest."


Chapter 4: The Ford of Bruinen

Glorfindel allowed only one more brief halt to their long march that day, and far into the greying evening they stumbled. The hobbits were exhausted, for they had covered almost twenty miles, and their legs were heavy, and their feet worn so that they were tender.

Aragorn had encouraged them with such bold words and confidence as he could muster, but for now they were unable to think of valour or Adventure, and sat down gratefully to rub their tired feet when Glorfindel reluctantly permitted them to stop.

Frodo sat on Asfaloth’s back lost in a dark dream. The pain of his wound had grown throughout the day, but he did not complain. The sight of his friends suffering as they had walked beside him held his tongue. Now he saw nothing but greyish ghostly shapes, and the sunlight that fell weakly as it set behind them seemed to scorch his skin with cruel heat; he welcomed the coming of night, and the blinding shadows that make the world seem less empty and bleak.

Too soon they began again, for many more miles lay still between them and the Ford. Glorfindel’s liquor sustained them, but their feet were still sore and worn, and even walking on the green grass the hobbits were limping doggedly. Glorfindel marveled at their fortitude and stubbornness. As uncomfortable and weary as they were, they were determined to see their friend to safety. The younger hobbit, Peregrin walked next to his friend Merry and loosened his small sword in its sheath. Merry helped him when he stumbled and glanced frequently at Frodo, leaving unvoiced his fear and concern. Sam walked close to Asfaloth, having become confident that the towering horse would not step on him. He was clearly of a mind to stay with Frodo, and said softly to Merry and Pippin that any Black Rider that dared to come close to his master would have to ride over Sam Gamgee!

Aragorn and Glorfindel herded them firmly, and the hearts of the hobbits seemed to lift as they came out of the tunnel of pine and red stone and saw the Ford in the distance, gleaming invitingly. A path to sanctuary stretching clearly before them lent new strength and hope, but Glorfindel was dismayed.

They were too late. In the trees between them and the shallow water of the Ford of Bruinen shadows dark as the Abyss lay in wait. Glorfindel could sense them clearly. Behind them like growing thunder came the galloping hoofbeats of their pursuit, now closing the trap at last. There was only one member of their company that could hope to save Frodo now.

"Fly! Fly! The Enemy is upon us!"

Asfaloth leaped forward and the hobbits followed quickly, forgetting about their pain and weariness. Glorfindel and Aragorn followed at the rear, and in Glorfindel’s hand his long sword gleamed in demasked gold. They could not hope but the slow the charge of the wraiths to give Frodo a chance to flee.

They were halfway across the distance to the ford when the first wraith rode out of the tunnel behind. Glorfindel stared at him with hatred as the wraith king sat swaying in his saddle. ’This is the life beyond death for which you hungered, sorcerer,’ thought Glorfindel with disgust, ’Does it please you now?’ Aloud, the Elf cried to Frodo to ride on to the ford, but Frodo did not obey. Four more wraiths had joined the first.

Holding the reins of Asfaloth in his right hand, Frodo had checked the horse to a walk and turning, he looked at the wraiths. It was as if he saw and heard nothing, not his friends or the Ford or the land about them, only the fell shadows that called to him to wait in commanding voices. Glorfindel saw the fear and hatred awake in him, and Frodo dropped the bridle and drew his small sword with a red flash.

"Ride on! Ride on!" Glorfindel urged Frodo, though the hobbit seemed not to hear. In a loud clear voice, the elf said to his horse Noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth!

The white horse sprang away, and Frodo’s head snapped back as he clutched at the flowing mane. His eyes were ghostly pale, and his wound had re-opened so that his cloak and shirt were stained darkly. At that moment, the wraiths charged after him, and their shrieking voices became audible to all the companions, chilling cries that were answered by those who waited in ambush. Those four rode then out of their hiding, two at Asfaloth who raced eastward like a white gleam on the wind, and two sped to the Ford to cut off their escape.

Sam, Merry, and Pippin threw themselves to the ground as the Ringwraiths rushed past Glorfindel and Aragorn, who could do nothing but dive out of the way or be crushed beneath the hooves of their maddened horses. Glorfindel at once followed at a run the hobbits could not hope to match, but they too hurried after, their hearts hammering with fear as they watched the white horse speed away, Frodo clinging to his mane.

"Child of Nahar, bear him well!" prayed Glorfindel, and then he turned his mind away from Frodo and Asfaloth with an effort, for now he was needed to protect these others and clean his side of the river. He trusted that Elrond had prepared a welcome for the uninvited guests.

When he reached the hollow near the ford Glorfindel hastily kindled a fire, and as he laid torches into the blaze, Aragorn arrived with the winded hobbits, their faces flushed with running. He thrust the torches into their hands, and led them forward at once.

The sight of the confrontation at the Ford was awesome. Ahead they could see all nine of the wraiths mounted and waiting at the river’s edge, hesitating to cross the pure running water. Beyond them and on higher ground, so that they could see his pale face clearly, Frodo sat on Asfaloth, his sword held high and words of defiance on his lips, though only Glorfindel could hear his small voice. The measure of his courage impressed the Elf-lord, and Glorfindel felt his wrath grow as the fell Riders laughed at Frodo and mocked him. Intent upon their helpless prey, the wraiths took no notice him.

The wraith king stood in his stirrups, and uttering a black oath he raised his hand and Frodo’s sword broke in a shower of sparks, and the hobbit swooned and fell forward on Asfaloth’s neck. The white horse could not flee without dislodging his rider, and he snorted with defiance and fury as the steed of the wraith king and two others stepped into the rushing water, coming forward to claim their master’s prize.

The flood came swiftly, and Glorfindel felt and heard the Power of Elrond protecting his land. His ears heard the sounding of horns of shell, like a voice from the depths of the Outer Ocean. The fury of the water was further enhanced by another Power; energetic and passionate that shaped the foam into shining white riders on white horse. Great boulders and rocks were driven along like leaves in the stream. The waters raised in anger over the three which were amidmost, their horses balking with fear. They were borne down beneath a crushing wave and disappeared.

The five that had tarried on the bank were drawing back in dismay when Glorfindel and Aragorn rush at them. The hobbits also came forward, heedless of their own safety, and they thrust their torches at the horses of the riders.

Glorfindel’s wrath was great. His face and body shone with radiant light and his sword blazed brighter than the burning brands. He leaped forward and drove at the wraiths, a song of war on his lips that had not been heard in Middle-earth since before Beleriand had been swallowed by the seas.

Maddened by the fire and daunted by the fury of Glorfindel, the horses plunged their riders into the raging river, and they were engulfed in the torrent, and crushed by boulders and drowned.

Glorfindel sprang across the Ford, running to the crumpled body that lay beneath Asfaloth. The white horse had stood firmly, protecting him after he had fallen unconscious and was washed from the saddle. Lying face down on the bank, Frodo moved not at all as his friends cried out to him, struggling to follow the swift elf across the relenting water.

Carefully, Glorfindel raised Frodo and turned him over. He looked into the white face and saw the light of his spirit seemed no longer to be shining, just flickering dimly like a candle sputtering in its tallow. His flesh was cold and his heartbeat so faint that it seemed stilled, and upon Glorfindel a great feeling of crushing defeat fell, and he held the small body in his arms and wept.

"He can’t die, Mr Glorfindel, sir! He just can’t!" Sam was insisting, as Glorfindel gently passed Frodo to Aragorn’s arms.

"No, Sam, he cannot die," and the Elf’s eyes met Aragorn’s for a hard moment, and Aragorn understood and bore Frodo away toward Rivendell, the hobbits trailing him with their weary pony.

Glorfindel circled Asfaloth’s neck with his arms, and pressed his face into his friend’s coat. The horse was wet with sweat and river water. The flood had risen enough to soak rider and horse before it had subsided. The drumming beat of the great heart within Asfaloth’ breast filled Glorfindel’s ears, and he stood thus until his darkness ebbed so that the daylight returned.

He looked down at the place where Frodo had lain. An ancient dagger lay there, shattered. Glorfindel knelt and picked up the shards, and beneath he found a ring of gold, pressed into the damp earth.

Glorfindel stared at the thing, and his weariness settled on him like a cloud. "Abandon your bearer, will you?" he said softly to the ring. "Think you have found a better choice? I think not." Glorfindel plucked from his head a long strand of his shining hair, and carefully threaded it through the band and tied it, looping it around Asfaloth’s saddle-horn.

Glorfindel spoke then to Asfaloth, and his voice was full of bitterness and self-reproach, "There! Let it be said that Glorfindel failed in his charge, and by a hair bore the Ring to Imladris!"

He turned and walked beside his white horse then, on the path that led to Rivendell. To Glorfindel’s eyes, already the sunlight seemed to be filtered through a veil of smoke.


Chapter 5: The Last Homely House

Glorfindel slowly followed the company toward the Last Homely House east of the Sea. Blanketed as he was in his grievance, still Glorfindel was aware of all that lived and stirred, for he remained watchful for the protection of the hobbits. Many sentinels stood along the path, unseen by the halflings in their distress and exhaustion. Glorfindel passed them without a word.

He became aware of an Elf next to him, walking to match his strides. Arwen was clad for battle, and Hadhafang was naked in her hand. She said nothing, but walked beside him for many paces.

"What are you about, Arwen?" asked Glorfindel.

"I am protecting my home, lord, as you have been."

"In that I have failed. Yet that was my desire, if not my errand."

"We cannot always have all that we desire," answered Arwen.

Glorfindel paused, and he stroked Asfaloth’s neck and whispered to him soothingly. After a moment he said, "Forgive me, Arwen. For a moment I was lost in a world where Glorfindel was the center of all... you are entitled to defend your home as you are entitled to making choices for yourself. I am weary of heart and melancholy. That one up there," Glorfindel pointed to the hobbit riding in Aragorn’s arms, "He is strong and brave, and yet I fear doomed, for his wound is grievous."

"The halfling lives yet, my lord. Let there be no talk of failure."

Glorfindel reached out and touched Arwen’s cheek in a gesture of affection. "You are ever a fountain of hopefulness, Evenstar."

Arwen smiled and returned the gesture, saying, "My lord, it is for Hope that I live."

They resumed walking, and soon the House appeared before him, as they climbed the steep track that led through the cleft in the hill and down into the valley. He turned then to Arwen, and said, "Lady, I would have a favour of you."

"Yes, lord?"

"Have you a length of beads or a chain?"

Arwen raised her eyebrow slightly. "Do you think I would wear ought to battle? Am I garbed for fighting or dancing?"

Glorfindel smiled slightly, "Among your things, my lady, that you could spare."

Laughing with her grey eyes, she stopped and reached under her silvered breastplate, and drew out a fine chain of silver links, very thin but strong. She coiled it in his palm and closed his fingers around it. "Take you this. A gift it was from a dear friend, who would feel honoured to see it bestowed to a good working."

Glorfindel accepted the necklace, and he bowed and thanked her. She nodded to him and disappeared into the trees, taking her own route back to Imladris. He went on, following the company.

When they reached the doors of the House, Elrond was waiting. He looked at Frodo with wonder and pity, laying his hands upon the cold face. Gandalf appeared and he took Frodo from Aragorn, his wise old face was long with angst. To Frodo’s companions Elrond said, "Come inside! I cannot now welcome you as I would, but enter and rest while I attend Frodo. Aragorn, please come with me."

Sam tried to follow, begging desperately to be allowed to remain beside Frodo. Glorfindel knelt and enfolded him in his arms, gently restraining him. "Elrond will give him his every attention. Gandalf is with him! You can help now by resting and eating so that you are able to serve him… " Glorfindel could not utter what to him would be hypocrisy; in his heart, he could not see how Frodo could survive. But the mad hope that Arwen had seeded inside him grew despite of the desert of his soul, and he gripped Sam’s shoulders and said to him, "You must be strong and ready for Frodo when he needs you!" Sam relaxed then, and he nearly collapsed in Glorfindel’s arms, so quickly did his exhaustion catch him. Glorfindel carefully lifted him and bore him inside the house. Merry came following, a weary and weeping Peregrin leaning on him heavily. Elves of the household came out and assisted them, and they all went inside the House.

Glorfindel surrendered Samwise to Amynriel, one of Arwen’s handmaidens who were tending the weary hobbits. Basins of water were brought, and sore feet were soaked and bathed. Peregrin’s feet were badly lacerated and he cried out when the junior healer Caelestis bathed them and wrapped them in soft bandages. Merry was more interested in food, and he gratefully ate some bread and cheese that someone had thoughtfully provided. Peregrin drank some water and fell asleep almost at once. Sam had not woken, but snored gently as Amynriel bathed his face.

Glorfindel helped tend the hobbits, then carefully carried them one by one into a room prepared for them. He was just settling Samwise beneath a soft quilt when he heard soft footfalls behind him. His heart clenched; he had been dreading this meeting.

Bilbo came to Sam’s side, and looked upon his face with concern. "Is he all right? My, my! Is that Hamfast’s son? He is as thin as a rake! Won’t do! And Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took! Boys, what will your fathers say? I can’t believe they are all here!" Bilbo went to each and gently touched their faces. His eyes were worried, and he looked as though he had not slept for days.

Glorfindel remained on his knee, and he lowered his head and said quietly, "Bilbo Baggins, I beg your forgiveness! I have failed to bring Frodo to you whole and safe."

Bilbo shushed him. "There is nothing to forgive! Aragorn reports that he was wounded before ever you set out looking for them. How could that be made to your fault? You have brought him here, and that is a great thing! Elrond will save him, and he will recover. My Frodo will not become…" the old hobbit hesitated, and he shook his head firmly, "No, it doesn’t even bear saying! Lord Glorfindel, you have saved him, and I owe you my thanks!"

Glorfindel never felt less deserving of thanks than at this moment. "Bilbo, can you stay and watch while these young ones sleep? I must speak to Elrond if I can, and then tend Asfaloth."

"Yes, of course, Glorfindel. And take care of yourself, too! I have never seen you look so weary! What a ride you have been on!"


Glorfindel waited outside the room where Frodo had been taken. The door was open, and he could see the tiny figure lying like a sacrifice on a high table. Elrond was bent over him, and his face was grave as he searched the wound on Frodo’s shoulder. Aragorn stood near, and he had the hilt of the evil dagger in his hands, wrapped in a fold of his cloak. Gandalf was a shadow in the corner of the room, and his face was more grey and careworn than ever Glorfindel had seen.

Gandalf saw the Elf lingering outside, and he came to him and placed his hand on his shoulder. "Cast off your self-reproach! I see in you that you hold blame for yourself. This is not your burden to bear."

"Neither is this," said Glorfindel, and he held up the Ring on the chain of Arwen and it glittered maliciously, spinning in the sunlight. Gandalf nodded and he drew Glorfindel into the room, knowing what must follow.

Elrond did not look up from his task, but he said to him, "It is well that you have come, Glorfindel. Set the thing in its place. It can do no more harm than it has done, in this room with these Guardians." And Glorfindel placed the ring around Frodo’s neck, and the gold lay on his breast next to the dark wound that yet threatened his soul. Faintly Frodo’s body seemed to shudder at the touch of the cold metal, but he did not wake.

Glorfindel placed his hands on either side of the halfling’s head, and kissed his cold brow. A shadow seemed then to lift from Glorfindel suddenly, as if the sun had burned through the clouds covering.

"I thank you for bringing both Ring and Bearer here. You have done very well. Tend now to yourself. I will send messengers with news to find you." Elrond raised his eyes from his task for a few seconds, and Glorfindel felt the blow of his gratitude like a fist.


Glorfindel left the House, and went to his horse that stood patiently in the vacant courtyard. Thoughtful folk had brought water and fodder for the horses, but Asfaloth remained where he had been left, waiting for his rider. Glorfindel laid his face against Asfaloth’s tangled mane. On his withers, a patch of reddish brown marred the white coat where Frodo had lain.

Glorfindel led his friend to the stables, and he drew water and washed all the mud and blood from the white hair. He dried him then and brushed away all the soil and stains, and combed out his fine mane and tail. He brushed and bushed until Asfaloth’s coat again gleamed white. He knelt and tended each hoof, gently removing the sharp stones that had lodged in the tender flesh.

As he worked, Glorfindel talked to Asfaloth, praising his deeds and bravery, his matchless speed and loyalty. He gave him fine grain and clear water, and let him loose to wander the floor of the lush valley, to nose with the other horses or run proud and free among the boles of the trees that shaded the meadow, as he wished. Asfaloth nuzzled his companion with his soft nose, then cantered out into the grasses where he happily rolled in a patch of dry soil.

Glorfindel laughed to see his work undone, and he watched his friend frolic and run as he cleaned harness and gear and set them aside in their places. Desiring such freedom for himself, Glorfindel retreated then to his private refuge.


The passing of time is little noted by Elves, until the circles come round and bring with them the repetition of the Ages. Sitting in his place waiting for the sunrise, Glorfindel reflected on the events of prior ages, when he had held in his arms a different small body, and fought to protect that life and the lives of many others, even unto the cost of his own. He had struggled with the balrog, and to his credit he had thrown down the foe, though he too had fallen then; Glorfindel remembered it well, and the chill of the morning air seemed to steam with the heat of that battle, flames in his eyes that had nothing to do with Arien’s Vessel. For that little mortal Glorfindel had spent his life, and swiftly had he flown; heeding Mandos’ Song, he had come to the Mansions and was restored.

Time meant nothing. He recalled when he had seen Eärendil again, grown full to manhood in his shining mail and dusted with diamond and pearl, come to Valinor to plead on behalf of the Two Kindreds; pardon and pity for the Noldor, and mercy for Men and Elves and succour in their need. With his own hands did he assist in the launch of Vingilot before joining the march west, released from Mandos. He had watched the great ship rise into the heavens with an envy in his heart for the freedom that Eärendil would enjoy, and also sorrow that his fate had sundered him from his kindred, Man and Elf.

Glorfindel raised his eyes to the shining orb that hung low in the sky, twinkling with icy fire and fading as the dawn approached. "Eärendil, watch over this little one," said Glorfindel aloud. "He too shares a fate chosen by Another, and from him our hopes are reborn, even as you gave us back our world with your sacrifice. Let your light shine on him, and lead him to reward for his courage."

The star that listened did pulse with a willful gleam before bowing out to the Sun.


"Mr Glorfindel, sir?" Sam Gamgee’s voice broke the hours of Glorfindel’s meditation. The hobbit had climbed the tower and was standing on the terrace, his arms spread and his back against the cool wall. He eyed the vast sweeping view of the valley with terror and awe, a gulf of unimaginable height and beauty. He edged slowly toward Glorfindel, then froze and could move no more, transfixed by vertigo.

"Samwise Gamgee, you should be with your master," said Glorfindel, turning from his watch. For three days now he had sat, lost in prayer and thought. Now he hastened to the hobbit and knelt before him, blocking his view of the vista that robbed the hobbit of breath.

Sam gulped and stammered, "Aye sir, I have just come from his room. Mr Elrond is still with him, and Mr Gandalf, too. He wanted me to come and find you, sir, and I wanted to speak to you, too. One of Mr Elrond’s sons showed me where to find you."

The halfling focused his gaze on one of the shiny buckles of Glorfindel’s tunic. His voice was a small thing. "I wanted to come and... thank you, sir. For what you did, coming to find us and leading us here. Mr Frodo would never have made it here without you," and as he said these last words, he raised his eyes and fixed the Elf-lord with his honest brown regard, "None of us would."

Sam’s gentle words cut Glorfindel, and he closed his eyes and bowed his head. Sam continued, and his voice was broken with tears he was trying to contain. "Mr Elrond and the others... they are all kindly and hopeful, but I can see that... well, that no one really expects him to... pull through," Sam gulped and rubbed his eyes. "Be that as it may be, I have come to say it to you, Mr Glorfindel. Thank you for bringing us to Rivendell. Now I best be getting back to Mr Frodo... in case he wakes up." But Sam did not move. He was still plastered flat against the wall, and his heart was labouring with fear and grief.

Golden light flooded the upper tower; Dawn had come, and by it Glorfindel’s heart was flooded with fire. He moved so that Sam could see the view, saying, "Look! The Sun rises! No matter how darksome the night, Day will follow. There is yet hope, so long as life lasts!" Elf-lord and hobbit turned and observed the sun’s appearance and the valley filled with rainbows and silver mist, and the sounds of horns rose to greet the light and the promise of the new day. For a moment, Sam’s fear left him, crowded by his sense of wonder.

"That’s just what my ol’ Gaffer would say! Glory and trumpets! I wish Mr Frodo could see this!" His face fell a little then, but he smiled wanly at the Elf. "I seem to have difficulty holdin’ onto my worry! This House is almost enough to make me forget my place!"

Glorfindel smiled and said then, "Come, Sam. If you wish to thank the real hero that saved your friend, then you should visit Asfaloth in the meadows." He took him by the hand and led the hobbit safely down the steep stairs.

Sam kept his eyes firmly shut the whole length. "That’s where Master Merry and Mr Pippin are now, sir. They took some fine apples down with them, for him and for Bill. We figured that they would like that kind of ‘thank you’." When they reached the bottom, Sam bowed and turned to go back to his master.

"What of your errand, Master Gamgee? What word from my lord Elrond?"

"Oh, I was almost forgetting… he wants to speak with you, Mr Elrond does. If you would, in his study, he said."


Chapter 6: The Hall of Memory

Glorfindel could tell how weary was the Lord of the Edain only by the fact that he did not rise in greeting as he had entered the study. His face was ageless and daunting, and his eyes far-seeing and grey as evening skies. He sat in a chair with his arms on the rests, and he appeared remote as though painted upon a canvas a thousand years old.

"Lord Elrond."

"Lord Glorfindel, forgive me for taking you away from the sunrise. I thought that you would be interested to see this," Elrond indicated the small table that was set before him, and a silver dish upon it. There, upon a square of linen stained red with drying blood, was a shard of cruel metal about the size of an almond, pitted and jagged with corruption. Glorfindel stared at it in distaste.

As they watched, a wandering shaft of the rising sun swung down and graced the table, and as it touched upon the silver dish the evil knife-tip began to smolder and burn, and the flame consumed the metal and the stained cloth together.

"I found and removed that from our small guest this very evening. It was lodged deeply, and was near to reaching its goal. If he recovers and how well that wound mends, or if it ever truly does heal, only the Valar can say. I have done all that I can."

Glorfindel let out his pent breath, feeling that it had been held in for three days. He looked out of the window at the valley filled with light, and thanked the Valar for sparing Frodo’s soul.

He heard Elrond rise from his seat. "For the deed you have done, I would grant you a gift, Glorfindel," and Glorfindel turned to see Elrond standing next to him. "But I foresee the thing you would ask, and it is beyond my granting. This must be decided in council."

"Rather too important, I think, to let fall to the vote of strange men," protested Glorfindel vehemently, surprising himself with his own anger. "It was left to the council of one man, once, long ago. He chose rather ill, I would say!"

"Isildur chose nothing. He was chosen himself. He could no more have discarded the Ring than I could have tipped him into the Fire. Not even Cirdan could do that, and you know he has no particular love for Men." Glorfindel and Elrond laughed quietly at this, a joke Ages old.

Elrond grew grave again, "Not even Fire and Air together could overcome the One. It did not save Gil-Galad. The Elves have no strength left for leading war. We have only patience and wisdom gathered from the Ages."

"Wisdom and patience you say? What is wisdom for will is lacking? What use patience when only action serves? Your wisdom is great, Elrond. Greater than my own, I know. But even I see that there is none who has borne such a burden as well as Frodo Baggins. He is the vessel ordained. I will take him to where the thing can be undone, where it should have been undone three thousand years ago." Glorfindel watched Elrond’s stony face as he said this, and became irritated at his silence. "Are you sure that you are not yet dead?" Glorfindel watched with a touch of triumph as colour appeared on Elrond’s high cheeks. His eyes grew dark, a storm brewing.

Icily, Elrond spoke, "Praise to Ilúvatar for the creation of the Noldor! They have defined vanity and stubbornness as great virtues!"

"And praise Him also for the making of the peredhil," retorted Glorfindel, smile playing on his face, "They grace the world with paralyzing foresight and ambivalence!"

Gandalf cleared his throat in the doorway, startling both Elves. The wizard began to laugh quietly, relief lifting years from his weathered face. "I hate to interrupt your intellectual debate, but I have come to report that your patient has rallied, my lord. He woke briefly as the sun flooded his room, and in now resting easily." Gandalf then made a discreet retreat, closing the door behind him.

Glorfindel turned to Elrond and bowed. "Thank you, my lord Elrond. Your wisdom does indeed seem to have much use. Let it be me who makes this attempt."

Elrond gripped Glorfindel’s shoulder, saying, "You cannot take this thing upon yourself, Glorfindel. You will fail."

"It must be destroyed! Do you think I fear for my life? I would give it a dozen times to spare the halfling."

Elrond bowed his head, and his long hair dark as shadows swept his face. "This must be. Only in a joined venture can this ending be brought about. The Elves cannot alone accomplish this. And it remains to be seen who will become the Bearer."

Glorfindel looked at him with shock, noting again the weariness in Elrond’s face. More than ceaseless nights of healing had aged the half-elf, and more that worry over the fate of the Ring darkened his thoughts. How could he not see that there was no other who could bear this thing? thought Glorfindel. What was it that blinded the seeing eyes of Elrond?

Elrond raised his twilight eyes to Glorfindel’s morning blue, and he said without words all he feared and all he hoped. Glorfindel’s heart closed at the eremitic emotion that he had witnessed, and he regretted provoking Elrond. He too felt sometimes that the task was nearly impossible, but ever the despair only succeeded in him to harden his resolve to fight.

Elrond spoke, and his voice was again reserved and even, "Come to the council tomorrow, Glorfindel. I value your thoughts and would have you present. Come also tonight, for I will order a feast to celebrate the recovery of Frodo Baggins. We must rejoice for the gifts we receive, though within we weep for the losses we face."


The feast was a splendid event, and the celebrants toasted the health of Frodo Baggins many times. Glorfindel watched him from his seat next to Elrond and he seemed hearty and hale, though he was still painfully thin and pale. He was working hard to remedy that, eating well and laughing while talking to Gloin of Erebor. Glorfindel raised his glass to him, and Frodo smiled in return, managing to rise and bow without scattering his cushions again. Glorfindel ate well also, borrowing on the appetite of the halflings, whose joy and relief infected the whole hall. When all had departed to join in singing and tale-telling, Glorfindel remained in his seat, still pondering Elrond’s words.

Leaving the Hall of Fire to the revelers, Glofindel made his way down the Falls Stairs, where water trickled softly over the terraced stones. He wandered through the Halls of Memory, where frescoes and articles were displayed with respect, heralding the past and foreshadowing what is to come. He walked past Estel reading in a chair, so intent on his text that he did not hear Glorfindel’s light step, or it may be that he was in his mind far away and the music and laugher from the Hall of Fire had lulled him to wakeful dreams. Glorfindel purposely did not disturb him, for he knew for whom the man waited.

He sensed the presence of another Man in the hall and in curiosity he backed into a hanging tapestry, blending himself with the shadows to be unseen. The man walked slowly, clearly unfamiliar or uncomfortable with his surroundings. He was walking toward the music; a visitor unheralded wandering into an elvish festival. Glorfindel smiled wryly. Time did ever repeat itself in unpredictable ways.

Glorfindel’s laughter died before it reached his lips when he saw the face of this man. Many years and mother’s blood had changed the faces of the heirs of Anárion, but Glorfindel saw clearly that mark and bearing of the son of Elendil, the fair-haired son of the South. He watched as he neared where Estel sat reading, and saw that his eyes did track this stranger, and note his bearing and nobility. To Glorfindel, he saw again Isildur and Anárion, meeting again around a gulf of time unimaginable to men.

The Elf watched as the tableau unfolded, and remained until after Evenstar had met her lover and they had left to walk the gardens in privacy. Long did he remain, dwelling on his thoughts and walking in memories of ash and fire.


Chapter 7: Dagorlad

... a cool breath, a musty smell of old books...

Ashes on the wind, and fires burn below the surface, parching the air and the throats of the soldiers who followed Gil-Galad’s banner to Dagorlad. Glorfindel remembered the sight of the colourful pendants, blackened by the foul airs belching forth from Orodruin. He recalled also the smell of blood scorched on burning rock and the scent of fear and hatred. His armour fit like a second skin, and his sword was stuck in his hand, caked with black blood drying. He was soaked with it, and the stench of it was great, but not so great as the battle-lust that fueled his body to leap and swing, and raised his voice to call orders to his battalion. They scythed through the ranks of Sauron as farmers would turn down an over-planted field.

The battle before the Black gates had spread, and the fighting had come even to the very foot of the Mountain of Fire. Lava and smoke leapt into the sky, and tonnes of ash poured down on the combatants, overcoming not a few with heat and deadly debris. The choking rain cut down Orc and Elf and Man regardless of the banner behind which he fought. The ground was slimy and they crawled over the dead to reach their enemies.

... voices of passers-by, chattering gaily and music echoes in their minds...

Glorfindel had been given command of the smallest of the battalions of elvish soldiers, for he was a valued leader and Gil-Galad had trusted him hold his flank. Such a commander as he could do much with this body of fighters, and Glorfindel lead well, cutting through the vans of the enemy and making clear the way for Elendil and Gil-Galad’s main forces to reach Orodruin and threaten the body of Sauron himself.

Great losses were suffered, and at a time of pivotal climax, Glorfindel found his battalion decimated, but fighting still, and the captain of the archers of Mirkwood stood by his side. That was Thranduil, king of the Green Elves of Mirkwood, and his archers had not obeyed his commands to stand and fire, but had charged into the fray and been destroyed. The elf was bitter with grief and fought like a possessed thing, avenging his folk upon every orc or black-clad man that crossed his path. He stood close to Glorfindel, and the Elf-lord could see the frustration and loss in the fair features of the Green Elf.

The fighting was at a lull, and enemies were drawing back to regroup. Glorfindel signaled for his soldiers to rally behind him, and he spoke to Thranduil. "No blame have you, Thranduil! Your archers were trained well, and fought valiantly! The tactics of the forest and those of the plain are different. Your men bought us the passage of Udûn."

"Aye, with their lives," responded Thranduil grimly, but Glorfindel could see in him gratitude for his words, and the Elf’s confidence returned; he lifted his head and tightly gripped the knives with which he fought, forsaking the long-handled swords of the Eldalië. He was a sight to behold! leaping into battle with a cry and coming forth unscathed, so lithe and quick was he. His knives seeming with deadly intellect to seek the chink in armour and the bare throat. He wore only leather and linen, and all the blood that stained his garments belonged to his enemies. Glorfindel was glad he was in his company.

Together they fought to the point of the army, converging on that one place where the Kings fought side by side, surrounded by their sons and honoured guard. Gil-Galad hailed Glorfindel and saluted him with his spear. Aiglos shone in the dim light like a torch, and the stains of many opponents did not tarnish or mute that fire. A gulf of some distance still separated them and as Glorfindel gave orders to form and join the vanguard, a black hour arrived.

... acrid odor of burning leaf, sweet and musky...

For seven years had this war been fought, and many fair elves had lost life, and many good Men had ended. He has seen the party of the kings wither, and had witnessed the death of Anárion and the mourning of a brother who bore his body to their grieving father. Now that brother, who was Isildur, fought by his father Elendil’s side as Sauron finally came forth, breaking the siege.

... impatient moonlight glistens on dusty armour, and the spear that leans idle in the corner gleams with life though no living hand wields it....

There in that dark time did Glorfindel see the end of Gil-Galad. Going forward to grapple with his foe, Gil-Galad had been taken in the black hands of Sauron and he burned in that heated grip. All the elves wailed as his spirit fled, brushing past their minds like a breath of wind from the sea. Glorfindel’s heart was enflamed, and he left his command in the hands of Thranduil and carved his way to the fore, only to find Cirdan standing and Elrond kneeling, holding the remains of the Last High King of the Elves, heedless of hurt to his own flesh from the burning. Glorfindel dosed the fires with his cloak, and reverently did he lay down the body of Gil-Galad. The battle was not over, and Sauron was ravening still.

Cries of despair sounded anew, from the throats of Men, as their own king was crushed beneath Sauron’s mighty mace, and the breaking of Narsil was a shriek that filled the ears of all present on the field of battle, rising ever higher and shrill....


Horns of the morning were sounding in Imladris, wrestling Glorfindel back from that memory that held him. He was still in the dark corridors of Memory, and he shook himself and hastened to prepare for the council.

He wondered what other memories the day’s discourse would bestir, and also what other prophesies would be fulfilled or foreseen. It would be another day of great conflict, even if no blood was spilt. He came to a clear stream and drank the waters that flowed sweetly from the springs of Imladris, rinsing the taste of ash from his mouth.


Chapter 8: The Great Council

Glorfindel came to the place of Council, a wide porch where many seats and a table were set before the chair of the Edain. The morning was young and not all were assembled yet at that early hour. Elrond was there speaking to Gandalf, but with a nod and a smile to Glorfindel the wizard slipped off on an errand in a swirl of grey robes.

Elrond returned Glorfindel’s salute and bade him welcome. Erestor and others of the household were speaking softly to Galdor, an Elf from the Grey Havens. Standing a little apart from them was a strange Elf; he looked rather uncomfortable and out of place in these surroundings. His face was proud and fair, and he was clad in forest colours and garbed for riding. He carried still his travel kit and his weapons, as though he had only that moment arrived in Rivendell. Glorfindel looked upon him and saw in his bearing and features the echo of the memory that had dreamed him that night.

"Thranduilion," said Glorfindel, and the Elf turned to face him, relieved to see a familiar face at last.

"Lord Glorfindel. I remember you from the dawn of my youth." The Elf executed a low bow. His voice was light, but earnest. "It has been long years since you came to the Forest. My father speaks of you with respect and affection. He would delight to see you again, if ever you returned to his halls."

"May it be soon that I may do so, Legolas, for he is a friend and an ally, and a gracious host. Happy were the seasons I spent in the forest as his guest. During my last visit, I recall teaching a young sapling of an elf which end of the arrow to point at his mark," Glorfindel added with a grin, and Legolas laughed.

"You taught well! I have heard of my father that I have earned his pride in the level of my skill, which I would not have accomplished without your aid, though it must have cost you much in patience."

"I was trying just yesterday to remember where I had spent it all!" said Glorfindel, and he saw Elrond’s eyes smile as he overheard their words.

Legolas echoed his laughter, but grew solemn again. "I am here now," he said with his eyes respectfully on the Edain, "At the bidding of my father, to bear tidings regarding a hard matter. My Lord Elrond has bidden me be present at this council, to hear what is said and to speak at my time. What is it all about?"

"Your father sent you as a messenger?" Glorfindel was puzzled, until he saw the flush creep over the Elf’s face, and guessed that some of the hard matter lay beyond his entitled knowledge. Tactfully he turned the matter aside and said, "Great honour does the King of Mirkwood to Rivendell in this, to send his own son as an envoy. I pray that the tidings are not ill concerning the king?"

"Nay, the king is well. There is strife in the forest as there always is, but the Laiquendi deal with their own problems." The Elf glanced at the cold backs of the gathered elves, and there was a flicker of resentment in his eyes.

"Each kingdom has their own business, but ever do we work toward a common goal, Legolas," said Glorfindel softly.

"That is why we are here today, my friends," said Elrond. He rose and approached Glorfindel and Legolas, and he bowed respectfully to the Prince of Mirkwood. "By aligning ourselves with the other free folk, we shall obtain better hope to overcome our Enemy."

As Elrond spoke these words, a group of Dwarves arrived, climbing the steps to the porch. The Elves pointedly did not look at them. The Dwarves regarded them with suspicion. Tension filled the air, and Glorfindel wanted to sigh.

Elrond came forward and bowed with grace and spoke fairly, "Lord Glóin! Welcome to the White Council. Please, be seated. It is good that you have come, and I will send thanks to King Dáin for sparing such an important Dwarf to bring me tidings. May his beard grow long and never thin!"

At his words, the Dwarves relaxed somewhat. At Glóin’s side, a younger Dwarf lingered as the others retreated to seats behind where Glóin was seated. He looked upon the Elves with dark eyes until his father nudged him, and whispered in his ear.

Elrond said to him, "Welcome Gimli! I am proud to meet the son of my old friend. Sit next to your father. The council will begin when all are assembled." Gimli bowed to Elrond with much courtesy and sat down. His eyes then fell on Legolas, and Glorfindel saw the spark of enmity that leapt between them. He placed himself between the younger Dwarf and the Green Elf, hoping to intervene should that spark ignite a conflict.

Glorfindel noticed Estel had appeared with his usual stealth, clad again in his worn ranger gear. He had seated himself behind the chair reserved for Gandalf and was quietly observing all the folk present.

The tall Man that Glorfindel had seen the night before came up then, guided by an Elf. He thanked his guide and dismissed him, then looked at each individual present as though sizing up an opponent. Elrond greeted him and bade him sit at the table. He did so, but sat apart from the others, unsure what to make of all these strange folk. He let his eyes rest on Aragorn, and it was clear he wrestled with recognition.

A bell chimed somewhere above their heads, and their conversations abated. The Elves seated themselves, Erestor placing Galdor at his side. The quiet was unnerving, with so many things wanting discussion, but they were not yet ready to begin.

Gandalf appeared then, and with him were Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. Glorfindel was pleased to see the colour in Frodo’s face, and he seemed animated and whole, though he was somewhat shy of all the new faces and the number of people on the porch. He smiled a greeting to everyone he knew, then Elrond introduced him to those he had not met. The council began.


Glorfindel climbed the stairs to his sanctuary, his feet heavy as though booted in stone. Many words had been spoken in council, and much that had happened had been expected, and some things that occurred were not all foreseen.

Glorfindel wished that he had been surprised when the halfling had volunteered to take the Ring to Doom, but he had long known that it was inevitable. Still, the Elf-lord’s heart was wrung with pity and desire to protect that courageous child-like creature. Mortals were so dear and fragile. What was it about them that captured the heart so? As short lived as a butterfly, with strength of heart and passion that had long been missing in the Firstborn. So quickly they burned away, lit by that Fire that dwelled within them.

He reached his platform just as the sun was bidding with the moon. The fragile rind of Isil hung low on the eastern horizon, grazing the mountains. A red star burned at the cleft between two peaks, and with a fiery pulse faded in the growing light. Someone cleared their throat, and Glorfindel saw Frodo sitting on the shelf, watching him approach.

"Sam said that I might find you here. I hope I am not intruding."

"Not at all, Master Baggins! I am glad that you have come. This is the best view for sunrise in Rivendell. I am happy to share it."

They sat together there, watching the Sun make her glorious climb. The air was cold with the flavour of winter, and the coloured arcs seemed to drip icicles, prisms that cast hundreds of smaller sparks of light. The valley filled with the song of the morning and that day began more beautifully than Glorfindel had ever remembered seeing.

He turned to Frodo and said, "Let me take you on your quest, Frodo! I will protect you, and together we may find a way to accomplish this deed. I cannot stay here while you go into danger!"

Frodo smiled gently at the Elf-lord, and he traced a fossil’s shadow on the stone where he sat. His voice was soft and full of light. "But Lord Elrond will choose my companions, Glorfindel. And I could not leave my Sam behind. Is it not said that, by folly shall the world be saved, and by measure shall it end? Other business have you, Lord Glorfindel. Let me take this path that is set for me, and with me let go those who will be chosen, for each of them has a destiny to pursue, though they will seem to be casting in their lot in with a hopeless quest."

"Hopeless, perhaps, but not without Hope!" Glorfindel sighed. "It is not my way to allow others to labour while I am idle. I will find a way to help you, Frodo, though perhaps my feet may not walk beside yours. In the realm of shadows I see many paths converging, and my hope is that my path and yours are crossed soon."

Frodo smiled at Glorfindel, an open and honest smile from his heart. "We have some time now, Lord Glorfindel. Let us not be idle! Will you take me to the pine forest yonder? I saw it yesterday morning and I would like to go there. For a while at least, let our feet walk the same path."


Glorfindel In Imladris, A Moment with Frodo

Glorfindel has taken Frodo to walk in the pine woods as he asked. It is a cold winter afternoon...

The mountains that cradle Imladris are sheer and fantastic, crowned with snow and mantled with fir. Like a wall they rise above the hills, an impassable spine of bony peaks, cleaving the world in twain. They are colourful and vivid, carved by the violence of a war of gods, breaking the lands that were once a vast forested plain. The air is pure and cold, smelling of ice and pine and wind. All around are gathered clouds like white shadows, clinging to the flying granite sky.

The trees crowded on the mountains grow tall, like pillars in the halls of heaven. Beneath their shining boles flourish juniper and sage, saxifrage in the sunlit gaps; fragrant spills of winter flowers. Paths wandered amid, not forced or compromised but negotiated between the Elves and the land that housed them, to share the beauty that is cherished and protected. A wild garden it was to the Elves, hanging in the sky like a tapestry of living stone and trees.

An Elf and a Halfling walk beneath those trees.

Frodo’s eyes were full of the beauty around him. Never had he seen such landscape before, and the maps and drawings in his uncle’s study had given him no true inkling to the majesty and danger of the world. As he walked beside the tall Elf Lord, his shorter legs taking three steps to each of Glorfindel's, he found himself gasping for breath, even though they are not hurrying. He stumbled, clutching Glorfindel’s hand.

The Elf Lord stopped and knelt before him. "Are you unwell, Frodo Baggins?"

Frodo shook his head, unable to speak yet. The Elf sat himself in the path and spread his cloak for the halfling to rest on.

Frodo drank many draughts of the crisp mountain air before he could speak. "I am sorry, Lord Glorfindel. I don’t know what’s come over me. I got so dizzy, like I was looking down from a great height, even though the trees are tall around us and hiding the view of the valley."

"The air here is colder and thinner than next to the earth where hobbits normally dwell," said Glorfindel. "You are unused to being so high above the ground. Let us sit here for a while, and you can catch your breath. Are you cold? Are you sure you are not in pain?" Glorfindel wrapped the folds of his cloak around Frodo, whose face, he could see, had gone rather pale.

"In truth, I do feel something, though I mean no disrespect to Lord Elrond. He has cured me of the knife-stroke, and I am well of it. In fact, I feel better than I have for a long time, now that I have seen Bilbo and know that he is safe."

Frodo closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Glorfindel drew him onto his lap and placed his arm around him to warm him. Colour returned gradually to the hobbit's face. Frodo leaned his head trustingly on Glorfindel's shoulder, his curls dark as ink against the fall of golden hair. "I can still feel it," he said in a whisper, covering Glorfindel's hand with his two small ones over his heart. "Sometimes... like an ache in my bones, deep down where it cannot be soothed."

Glorfindel was deeply aware of the proximity of the Ring, beneath a thin coverings of linen and weave. He turned his mind from it and concentrated on the soft hammering of the hobbit's heart, fluttering like a bird under his hand. Frodo shivered. From the treetops came spiraling and dancing many large flakes of snow.

Glorfindel looked at the sky. "I should bear you back now to Imladris, Frodo. The weather has turned cold, and you are too soon from your sickbed for such exertion. Lord Elrond will have words for me if you should come to harm."

"Can't we stay for a while? It is all so beautiful..." Frodo watched the snow fall, and Glorfindel watched the reflection of it in the hobbit's large eyes, more blue than the sky above. "I wish I could stay here, in Rivendell, forever." His eyes closed slowly.

In Glorfindel's mind a thought occurred. How easy it would be, to take it now and hie off over the mountain. Like a force of nature he would blow over the peaks of Hithaeglir and down the Anduin River valley, until he came to that old battlefield... remember where it is, Lord. Where Gil-Galad fell and Oropher, Anárion and Elendil...

The Quest would be over so quickly, and then Frodo could have his wish. He had but to ask... he knew Frodo would not deny him.

Glorfindel raised his eyes and tracked the fall of a single flake of snow, a feather of frost. It drifted and spun and passed close to his face, so that he felt the cool kiss of it as it brushed his skin. It lighted on Frodo's cheek, and Glorfindel realized that the hobbit had been watching his face intently.

"Do not fear, Frodo Baggins. I heed not these thoughts that are not my own."

The snow ceased, and the sun fractured the clouds and caught the world in a spray of crystal lights. Together they sat in the glade beneath the trees, feeling the sunlight on their faces warmly and the cool air was made refreshing but not uncomfortable. Glorfindel gave Frodo a drink from his flask, smooth miruvor that had no taste. His eyes were bright and clear, no longer clouded and remote as they had been, when they had been fleeing from the wraiths toward the Ford of Rivendell.

Glorfindel stood and lifted Frodo in his arms. The halfling was asleep now, peace in his face at last. With extra care, the Elf Lord returned to Rivendell, bearing his own precious burden.

Here ends this story, though not this tale. May you all find Peace and Hope in your own lives, and though at times you feel to act is a mistake, remember that it is only though our mistakes that we acquire a degree of wisdom. Namarie!
Beleriand, Beleriand,
the borders of the Elven-land.
Mithadan is online now   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:40 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.