Fearless and Full of Joy
"Glorfindel was tall and straight; his hair was of shining gold, his face fair and young and fearless and full of joy; his eyes were bright and keen, and his voice like music; on his brow sat wisdom, and in his hand was strength."
~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
But before then, before Imladris, long before Gondolin and her white towers, even before the dawn of the sun and moon, he was but an elfling. Here, then, a tale of young Glorfindel....
"Hmm...now where did I leave that son of mine?" Ránevaryar looked around his study, pursing his lips to keep from smiling as his cloak, draped over the window seat, quivered ever so slightly, and a muffled giggle issued from it. "Ion-nín...," he called, looking under his desk. "Where is my little golden ray? Did I lose him?" He made a tsk'ing noise. "I hope not, for his Amil will be quite angry if I have!"
Turning as he heard rustling, he saw there was no longer a elfling-shaped lump under his cloak, and so lifted a corner to peek where a cushion stuck out. "Glorfindel?"
The patter of bare feet on the wood floor had him turning again, golden eyebrows drawing down in a confused expression. "Where could he be? I know he was in here but a moment ago..." Opening a deep drawer in his desk, he peered into the dim interior. "Hallo? Ion-nín?"
Giggles from behind the long, draped curtains called forth a smile and he was glad a long swath of hair was hiding his face. Straightening, and sitting back in his large chair, the elf sighed woefully. "I shall miss him. He was such a good son...and I did promise to go to the stables today..."
Ránevaryar turned just in time to catch the elfling who flung himself at his father. Golden hair fell into the child's round face, bright blue eyes merry with glee as he threw his arms around his father and grinned. "Here I am, Atar!"
"Glorfindel!" Cuddling the child, he chuckled and stroked the soft hair that almost exactly matched the colour of his own braids. "Have you been off on adventures, Ion-nín?"
"Yes!" The boy nodded in exuberant glee. "I climbed all the way to the top of the tallest mountain and touched a star!"
Ránevaryar raised his eyebrows to show how impressed he was. "That is indeed high, golden ray. You were not frightened?"
"No," Glorfindel scoffed. "I can fly, so why should I fear falling?"
"Ah..." Combing his son's hair out of his face, and tucking it behind tiny leaf-shaped ears, the elf leaned closer, whispering. "How is it you can fly?"
Blue eyes crinkling as he grinned, Glorfindel tilted his head. "If I told you, you might try and fly away." The smile faded as suddenly as it had blossomed. "And I should be sad."
"Glorfindel..." Gazing tenderly at the child in his lap, Ránevaryar caressed his cheek with a finger. "I will never leave you." He tapped the tiny nose, smiling as his son scrunched it up. "Never. Though I should miss you horribly if you went to live on a star..."
"Then I shall not..." An jaunty grin replaced his solemn mood. "Though I do wish to see everything, Atar!" Bouncing slightly with the irrepressible energy that seemed to glow about him, Glorfindel fingered his father's tunic and the fine gold embroidery. "But I cannot until I am as tall as you." He pursed a lip, tracing over the embroidery decorating his father's tunic, little fingers a bit grubby from an earlier exploration of a loose floorboard and what was underneath. The gold threads glittered in the sun shining in through the window, outlining the brilliant white stag that he had been told was the 'pattern' of his father's house. It didn't make sense, but then a lot of things adults said made no sense to Glorfindel. "I will not leave until you and Amil shall not be sad when I go."
Heart melting again for this child who was so energetic, so loving, Ránevaryar swept him up against his chest, cuddling him, and kissing the golden hair. "Then I fear you would never leave, little ray...for we will never wish to be parted from you."
"Even when I'm bad?" Wriggling to push himself back to look at his father, Glorfindel gnawed on his bottom lip, recalling how upset his parents had been with him, only days before. "Like when you said not to jump into the deeper part of the lake and I did?" He never meant to do things that got him in trouble...but there were so many things to see! So many things to explore!
The memory of his tiny son perched on the tallest of the rocks surrounding the lake, waving to his father and mother before leaping fearlessly into the water below, only to hit the water in what had looked to be a terribly painful belly-flop, Ránevaryar closed his eyes. "You might have injured yourself, Glorfindel. There are sharp rocks that you cannot see from above, which live in those waters."
He really should have been watching more carefully. Their youngest son was a bit of a non-stop whirlwind, and delighted in trying to do everything his elder brother did. Glorfindel was fearless as yet, though Ránevaryar and his wife both hoped the boy would learn some caution. He was so merry, and always seemed to brighten the very room, it was hard to stay stern with him for long. His heart seemed as golden as the hair on his head, and yet they feared his very nature would cause problems later in his life.
"They did not bite me, Atar." There was a touch of defiance in the elfling's tone, and his mouth was set in a stubborn line as he watched his father for a reaction.
Ránevaryar caught his son's chin gently between his fingers, meeting the challenge in his son's blue eyes, his own expression serene. "Glorfindel, when I ask you not to do something, it is because I am trying to keep you from getting hurt." He ruffled the child's hair, smiling gently. "Not simply to keep you from something your brother can do. He is older, Ion-nín. When you are older, you shall do those things as well."
Eyebrows drawing down into a tiny frown, pouting slightly, the child thumped his small fist against his father's chest, just once. "I do not like waiting, Atar."
"I know you do not." Ránevaryar fought the laughter that wanted to burble forth, knowing it would highly insult his son. "We all must wait for something, Glorfindel."
"You do not have to!" Glorfindel scowled, impatiently pushing a bit of hair that always seemed to want to hang in his face.
"Indeed, I do." He stood, switching his hold so that his son was held in one arm, freeing up the other. Bending, he brushed his nose against his son's, batting eyelashes as the boy giggled. "I cannot spend all my time with you, your brother and your mother, and I would dearly love to do so."
"You are here now!" Glorfindel cuddled against his father, winding little arms around his neck for a fierce hug. "And we are going to the stables, are we not?"
Grinning at the hopeful light shining in the blue eyes, Ránevaryar nodded. "Indeed we are!" Bending, pushing his son back a bit to shift him to his back, he gave one small hop to be certain the boy was holding on tightly. Glorfindel clung trustingly, arms around his father's neck, giggling. "Hang on, Ion-nín! First, we must find your boots, and then..."
The strength of the cry hurt his ears, but it was hard to find fault with his son's enthusiasm, even as he winced. No doubt everyone in the House now knew precisely where father and son were going.
This was one of his favourite places to go. There were horses, the smell of leather and hay, boxes of blankets and feed to poke into and smell, and so many wonderful places to climb up and hide! Glorfindel drummed his heels against his father's sides in excitement, until his feet were held. "Glorfindel..."
Giggling, the boy lunged forward, burying his face in his father's golden mane. "You are not a horse, so do not treat you as one!" It was something he had been told many times.
Shaking his head in amusement, Ránevaryar gave a pretend bouncing buck, earning another round of giggles in his hair. Kneeling down, he let go of the boy's legs and felt the child scramble from his back. "Shall we ride Súrion today?"
Blue eyes wide with excitement, Glorfindel hopped in place. "Oh..please!"
Ruffling his son's hair as he smiled, Ránevaryar nodded to one of the stable hands who came forward upon seeing him. "We'll be fine on our own today, thank you." The lad nodded, smiling for the pair and continued on to his duties. Hearing an impatient whinny, Ránevaryar laughed. "It looks as though Súrion is impatient to go as well."
Father and son walked out to a fenced paddock, a sprawling pasture, large enough for an energetic herd of horses to run over hills, roll in green grass and graze in the shade of numerous large trees. There was even a lake where some of the horses took great pleasure in rolling in the mud like great, wallowing swine.
A white stallion was standing at the gate to his paddock, head turned towards them, watching alertly, eyes bright. He neighed, shaking his head as they approached, sending the long white forelock flying into his eyes.
Glorfindel skipped up and stood before the gate, grinning at the horse, who was much, much larger than he. "Good day, Súrion!"
Lowering his head, the stallion gently snuffled the child's hand and hair, holding still as the boy's little hands sought to scratch the spots that felt so good...and he could never reach, even when rubbing his head against the trees. Whuffing in what sounded like a horsy laugh, Súrion only bowed his proud neck a bit more as the child wrapped arms as high as he could and hugged the stallion.
"How is my proud one today?" Patting a gleaming white shoulder, Ránevaryar combed his fingers through the wind-tangled mane, pulling out bits of dried grass.
With one last gentle nudge for the elfling, the stallion raised his head and butted it against the older elf, rubbing up and down against the blue tunic until there was a sufficient amount of white hairs left upon the garment.
Grimacing in mock disgust, Ránevaryar gently pushed the animal's head away. "Yes, yes, and you managed to slobber on my son's head, I see. Now that we're all marked as yours may we enter?"
Snorting and tossing his head, the stallion turned and moved away from the gate, swishing his tail twice. Just enough to catch the elf as he bent to unlatch the gate.
Glorfindel giggled and darted inside the paddock, hopping from foot to foot in impatience as he waited for his father to finish re-fastening the gate. As soon as that was done, he marched towards the stallion, who waited with what looked like bemused patience. "Some day...," the child told the horse, though he stood no taller than the animal's chest. "...I shall be able to ride you all by myself, and not need to be lifted up!" He wrapped his arms as far as he could around the white leg nearest, little hands barely reaching the stallion's shoulder. "I love you, Súrion."
Ránevaryar shook his head, smiling at the sight of the stallion bowing his head to snuffle the elfling's back. He laughed as the horse lipped the back of Glorfindel's tunic, catching the fabric in his teeth, and gently tugged the giggling child backwards. "I think he wants to run today, Ion-nín. What do you say to that?"
Swatting gently at the stallion, who snorted and lifted his head out of reach, Glorfindel nodded, brushing his hair out of his face. "Yes!" He held his hands up, giving a hum of joy as his father caught him under the arms and swung him up on the wide white back of the stallion. Glorfindel patted the muscled shoulder beneath his leg and wound his hand in the long white mane. A moment later, his father lightly leaped up behind him, wrapping strong arms around his waist.
Súrion only waited a moment to be sure they were secure before breaking into a smooth trot. When he was of a mind, the stallion could trot hard enough to rattle his rider's teeth. Today though, he moved as though he was made of wind, hooves barely touching the ground in a tap-tap-tap rhythm that matched the ung-ung-ung sound the elfling was making.
Once they were clear of the trees though, the stallion broke into a gallop, stretching out to run for the sheer joy of flying.
"Woooooo!" Glorfindel unwound his hand from the white mane, and raised his arms, confident in his balance and the hold his father had around his waist that he would not fall. "We're flying, Atar! Flying!"
Súrion raced his shadow across the hills, the laughter of the boy and his father giving the stallion wings as he ran. His white mane and tail caught the wind, mixing with the golden hair of his riders, until they were only a golden-white blur against the emerald green of the grass.
Flying as they raced the wind.
More tales to come...?
The dreaded A/N: (insert scary music)
**Yes, I succumbed and wrote wee Glorfindel. It's his fault for being so charming I can't resist. ;-)
**Atar is father. Amil is mother. Ion-nín is my son. I hope. If not I blame my poor translation skill, not the wonderful site, Ardalambion.
**Glorfindel's parentage is nowhere in canon and seems to be the stuff of debate. I made it up as he just..appears in The Silmarillion. Yes, he is the same Glorfindel who later lives in Imladris (Rivendell).
**I suppose this is truly an AU, as I chose the White Stag for Glorfindel's childhood House because in my world, he is Vanya, thus he needed a Vanya House (completely created by me, not canon). He became Chief of the House of the Golden Flower sometime before coming to Endor, before the kinslaying. And that, in my world, is a Noldor House.
**All mistakes are mine. The beta does her best, but I'm a stubborn thing. However, I love to hear suggestions of how I could write better. :)