Year 2933 - autumn

Elrond cast a look into the main courtyard of Imladris, feeling all too idle and expectant. Elladan and Elrohir had gone for a day and a half already, and he could yet call to mind the image of a half-dozen escorts riding out behind his sons across the Bruinen, their mounts' unshod hooves sloshing quietly through the ford's placid waters. He settled himself to go over the summer's harvest records, midafternoon sun lighting his quarters and highlighting dust motes mid-air in a manner more intriguing than he would have liked to admit. The founder of Imladris, after all, could be no child dazzled still by things so trivial...

The clatter of hooves on stone brought him out of his thoughts and records, and he made his way out and down to the courtyard in time to witness both of his sons riding through the southern arch at the head of their company. Elrond waited, watching the remainder of the group ride in and dismount as Elladan and Elrohir went to the center of the group to help the fair-haired woman slip down the side of her horse, toddler held against her hip.

"Welcome, Gilraen," Elrond greeted in the common tongue as the other elves dispersed to lead their horses off, Elladan and Elrohir included. Gilraen inclined her head in a reciprocal greeting, though unspoken and unsmiling. She set the child onto the ground where he grabbed one fistful of her skirts and stood at her side, great dark eyes fixed on Elrond. "I am sorry your arrival must be the result of such evil tidings."

"As am I," she responded with a sad smile. "But I thank you for your hospitality, my lord Elrond."

"There is no cause for your thanks," he said, stepping forward. "Your husband was ever an ally of Imladris." He looked down at the child, who shrank back a step, half-hidden behind Gilraen. Elrond crouched, a half-smile touching his features. It had been long since any children had run in Rivendell. "And you," he addressed to the curious gaze peeking up at him, "must be Aragorn."