Disclaimer: For full disclaimer, please see chapter 1.


And here it finally is, the last chapter of this little story. I would once again like to apologise that it took so long; it was my phone company's fault, honestly. I especially hope that Kaeera isn't too cross with me (*pleading look at Kaeera*) because I needed nearly a month to post the five little chapters of her birthday story. *shrugs* Still, the last chapter's here, which is still a little bit surprising for me. *g*

Well, I absolutely agree with you: The twins have got to be among the most stubborn elves ever. They're also reckless, stupid and rather accident-prone, yes... *g* It took them long enough to understand that seeking revenge at all cost is going to kill them, but you have to cut them some slack. They _have_ understood it after all, haven't they?

Once again, it's nice to hear that you liked the Erestor-Glorfindel scenes, and as promised there is a little one in this chapter. It truly is only a little one, but better than nothing, right?

I have just realised that I'm babbling unimportant nonsense, so I'll shut up now. *readers cheer* Okay, _fine_. I get it. *goes off to sulk a little*

*g* Very well, be that as it may, there's still one chapter to go, in which we see who our mysterious people from the last cliffy are, Elladan and said people have a little discussion and more, we have lots of angsty conversations about hope, fate, doom and other interesting, cheerful things and Glorfindel gets his revenge. Poor Erestor, indeed. *g*

Have fun and review, please!

Chapter 5

For a few seconds, it was perfectly silent except for the sounds of the rain and the wind that still showed no signs of abating. No-one had moved an inch, and both the elf and the six beings in front of him stared at each other with wide eyes.

After a few more seconds, Elladan's muddled brain connected the voice he had heard, a voice he knew should be familiar, to the face of the being in front of him, and the face to a name he knew only too well.

The dark haired elf stared at the one in front of him who was beginning to frown in concern and step closer now.
"Arahad? Is that you?"

The serious countenance of the man broke into a smile that did little to hide the concern in his eyes.
"I think so," he said, taking another step forward, not daring to come any closer since Elladan had still not lowered his blade. "And I seriously hope that no-one else is using my name for his advantage, otherwise I want him caught and shot."

Elladan blinked, in vain trying to make sense of what was happening around him.
"What are you doing here?"

"I could ask the same, my friend," the ranger said, gently pressing down the sword the elven twin held. "You did not arrive earlier today, and so my father sent me out to look for the two of you. He did not want to explain to Lord Elrond that he lost his sons, something I can understand only too well." The man's grey eyes narrowed as he took in the various bandages and cuts that adorned the elf's body. "What happened to you? And where is Elladan – or is it Elrohir?"

The older twin blinked again, his shoulders sagging slightly as his mind began to accept that they were safe.
"I am Elladan; Elrohir is a little further down the path. He is hurt badly, I had to drug him a little earlier … we need to get him home to father, I am afraid he has begun to fade already…"

Arahad nodded at two of his men and the rangers nearly soundlessly disappeared down the steep path. He turned back to the elf and reached out to steady him when his legs began to give out from under him.
"So you have found trouble yet again, my lord. Please tell me how you do it!" Elladan only rolled his eyes as he reluctantly allowed the dúnadan to steady him, and so the man continued, looking at him with reproachful eyes. "Do you even know in how much trouble you are? Wait till both our fathers hear that you got involved with a band of twenty orcs and then fell down a cliff!"

Elladan looked up in surprise, but the man merely smiled and tossed back a strand of unruly dark hair.
"Do not look so surprised, my friend! We followed your tracks to the ravine's edge and figured that you would take this path up."

The dark haired elf shook his head, grinning slightly at the two blurry, identical faces in front of him.
"I did not fall down the cliff. That was Elrohir; I merely followed him down."

Arahad returned the grin as he grabbed the more or less dry cloak one of his men handed him and wrapped it around the elf's shaking shoulders, ignoring his feeble protests.
"Oh yes, you did, Elladan, and don't try to deny it. You may have followed your brother down onto the ledge, but you definitely fell down from there."

Elladan relaxed a little bit further and drew the fabric more closely around his far too cold body.
"It appears that the sharp eyes of the Rangers cannot be deceived." Arahad grinned and nodded, and was just about to speak when the elf remembered something. "Our horses! Did you find them? We left them in the forest; they should still be there somewhere…"

"We did," the ranger tried to reassure him, knowing full well how much elves were attached to their horses. "They are waiting for us up at the path's beginning." He turned serious grey eyes on the elf, looking him up and down. "Tell me, my friend, what injuries did you and your brother sustain this time?"

Elladan sighed and began to recount what had happened to them, far too exhausted not to tell the whole truth, and when he had just reached the point where he had drugged his brother the two men Arahad had sent down the path returned, carrying the still unconscious Elrohir between them. The chieftain's son reacted just in time to stop the older twin from rushing to his brother's side – which would have ended with said twin on the ground, about that the ranger was sure – and had to avert his eyes when Elladan turned and gave him a good reproduction of Lord Elrond's look which the man had seen often enough during the time he himself had spent in Rivendell as a young lad. Most of those times, Arahad mused, it had been the twins' fault as well.

"My men will take care of him," he assured the swaying elf gently, narrowing his eyes again in a mixture of annoyance and stubbornness when he saw the rebellious glint in the other's eyes. "Trust me, my friend, he is in good hands."

He knew from past experience how incredibly stubborn Lord Elrond Peredhil's sons could behave – just like the Lady Arwen whom he had met once, something he would always remember for it had been the day he had met the most beautiful and enchanting creature he had ever seen. But for all her beauty and kindness Arwen Undómiel was still just as stubborn as her brothers, even though she rarely had to display that trait since virtually no-one could refuse her anything, not that she would ask for much in the first place.

Still, Arahad decided with a similarly steely glint in his own eyes, he was related to them after all, and even though the Númenórean blood grew thinner with every new generation, this was the one trait that seemed to grow even stronger in his house. There was no way that he would let himself be defeated by Lord Elladan of Imladris.

Elladan's withering glare softened after a while, and he nodded reluctantly, giving Arahad a slightly sheepish smile.
"You are right, my friend, forgive me. Still, it is imperative that he gets to a healer as soon as possible, his injuries are severe and…"

"I know," the ranger interrupted him and started to steer him up the path, motioning the other three men to bring up the rear, "We have healers waiting with the rest of the men up at the beginning of the path. Father insisted that we took two with us, along with enough healing herbs and bandages to supply half the army of Gondor. When I asked him why he merely mumbled something about a 'hunting trip near the Midgewater Marshes a few dozen years ago'. You don't happen to know what he meant, do you?"

Elladan smiled slightly, the constant worry for his brother as well as his own injuries finally taking their toll on him and causing his footing to become unsteady.
"That was Aravorn's idea, not ours. Your father had a lot of foolish ideas himself when he was your age and a bit younger…"

Arahad returned the smile, thinking of all the very foolish things he and the twins had done when he had lived in Rivendell. He had spent a longer period than usually common there, since his mother had died in childbirth when he had still been rather young and his father had decided to send him to Lord Elrond's home earlier than had been planned. He had learned a lot in the years he had spent there, including some rather interesting Sindarin swearwords that had been unknown amongst his friends and kin until then.

Next to him, the exhausted elf lost his footing on a particularly rocky part of the winding path, and he quickly grabbed his arm to steady him. To his surprise – and his men's alarm, since they very nearly drew their weapons – Elladan barely suppressed a choked cry and wrenched his arm out of the man's grasp, his face paling even more. Arahad quickly signalled his men that everything was well and turned back to the elf, halting him in his tracks when he wanted to continue after the men who were carrying his brother.

"What happened here, Elladan?" he asked, suspiciously. "Were you wounded in the fight?"

Elladan didn't answer for a little as he battled the pain that seemed to spread into his entire body with every quick beat of his heart, and to his shame he felt that the last of his strength was finally beginning to desert him. He felt his legs grow weak and give way, but before his body hit the ground, Arahad and another of his men had sprung forward and caught him, displaying reflexes that were befitting their kind.

"Elladan? Elladan!!" Arahad's worried voice seemed to come from far away, barely penetrating the fog that seemed to have enveloped his body and mind. He felt calloused fingers unwrap the bandage he had slung around his left arm earlier today, and rain and cold air touched the gash that ran from above his elbow down to his wrist and burned like fire now, and even through the dark haze of near-unconsciousness he heard the shocked hiss either Arahad or the other ranger couldn't hold back.

"Eru, what is this?" the chieftain's son asked, staring at the barely conscious elf he held upright. "What did happen here, my friend? Elladan!" He called his friend's name again, shaking him slightly and giving a sigh of relief when fever-bright grey eyes finally opened. "How did this happen? What is this?"

Elladan's face twisted into a wry grimace, and he did his best to answer coherently, something that was becoming harder and harder by the second. He looked down at the red, clearly infected cut with an expression of loathing and disdain.
"Oh, this… This is the cut I received from an obviously poisoned orc scimitar which could not be treated because we had only enough athelas for one person." The elf's eyes slowly closed again, and he added with a small smile, "Did I … not mention it?"

Arahad shook his head, a voice in his head telling him that neither he nor any of his descendants or ancestors could ever be or have been this bad. It was simply not possible.
"No, Elladan," he answered in a tired sigh, "You did not mention that little detail."

The elven twin did not answer, something that only served to increase the dúnedain's worry, and so the men quickly took up the nearly unconscious body of the older twin and hurried after their companions, intent on reaching their small camp as soon as possible.

While Arahad made his way up the stony path, doing his best not to fall down on the slippery ground beneath his feet, he gave Elladan another worried look, noting with concern how feverish the elf looked.

Well, he decided inwardly, one thing was sure: He would not be present when these two got back to Imladris. He had seen enough of Lord Elrond's look to last him a lifetime, thank you very much.

When Elladan awoke, the first thing he felt was enormous confusion, mainly originating from the fact that he couldn't remember going to sleep.

The last thing he could remember was stumbling up the path and Arahad's pleas for him to stay awake, and then … nothing. He must have lost consciousness sometime after that, he decided after a few moments as he slowly opened his eyes that shouldn't be closed in the fist place.

Bright light assaulted his eyes, and with a moan he closed his eyelids again, cursing inwardly. Very well then, opening his eyes wasn't that good an idea, so he would have to rely on his other senses. The first thing he noticed was that he was in a human camp, not an elvish one, even though the men seemed to move as quietly and stealthily as possible for their race. That probably meant that he was in the rangers' camp Arahad had spoken about yesterday, he seemed to remember something like that. The information hadn't seemed so very important then, because he had been worried … about something, or someone…

Only a second later he remembered what had happened, and, ignoring his body's whispered threats, he bolted upright, forcing his eyelids to open again.

He had already sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the narrow pallet he had been lying on when his head exploded, followed by his arm, his ankle and the rest of his body. After a few seconds, when the pain had died down to more or less bearable levels, Elladan opened his eyes again, fully expecting to see different parts of his body adorn the interior of the small tent he was occupying.

Instead of body parts, however, he saw a small room that was barely big enough for the two pallets that had been crammed into it. Elladan's heart skipped a beat when he saw who occupied the second bed, and he carefully sat up and moved over to his brother's side who was lying about a foot away from his own pallet, grabbing a blanket to protect himself from the rather cool air.

The older twin all but collapsed next to Elrohir's bed, eyes fixed on his younger brother. He breathed a huge sigh of relief when he saw that, just as Arahad had promised him, he was indeed looking better. His colour had much improved and his wounds were covered with clean bandages, giving him the distinct appearance of a single, very thick roll of linen. Elladan reached out and gingerly placed his hand on his brother's bound chest, allowing the steady heartbeat that could be felt to reassure him even further.

"Elrohir?" he whispered, hoping his little brother would wake up and look at him. "Elrohir? Can you wake up, gwanur nín?"

"The answer to that, my friend, would be 'No, he can't'," a voice behind him announced, sounding rather amused, and Elladan whirled around to look in the face of Arahad, who had soundlessly entered the tent. The elven twin had to close his eyes when bright sunlight poured into the semi-dark space, causing the man to step into the tent quickly and close the front flap again.

After a second, Elladan was able to open his eyes again, and he glared at the ranger, doing his best not to show how embarrassed he was at having been surprised like this.
"You just had to sneak up on me like that, had you not, my Lord Arahad?"

The man grinned, the mirth that could be seen on his bearded face lighting up his serious face.
"I guess I had to, you are correct." He gave the older twin a mildly disapproving look. "My healers were quite adamant about you not leaving your bed for the next hours. That gash on your arm was badly infected, my friend, and we would almost have been too late. The poison had spread already from your arm to the rest of your body when we got you here, and that cracked ankle of yours is not a pretty sight either."

"I am fine," Elladan dismissed the man's concerns quickly, his eyes returning to his still unconscious brother, "But what about Elrohir?"

"He would be conscious hadn't you drugged him so heavily," Arahad shrugged, sitting down on the vacant pallet a few feet away from the twins. "You must have used almost a whole root of that insidious plant on him."

Elladan grinned a little bit sheepishly.
"It was one and a half roots, to be precise. I didn't expect anyone to find us in the near future, and I couldn't bear watching him in so much pain."

The ranger noticed the distraught expression on the elf's face and edged a bit closer, laying a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"He will be fine, Elladan. His injuries are severe, yes, but you got him to us in time. With time and your father's care he will be just fine."

"I pray that you are right, my friend," Elladan nodded solemnly, taking one of his brother's hand between both of his. He looked at the dúnadan earnestly. "Thank you, Arahad, son of Aravorn. You saved both our lives yesterday, and we are deeply in your debt and that of your father."

"Think nothing of it," Arahad replied, smiling at the bruised face of the elf in front of him. "We are kin from afar, after all, and bound to help each other, are we not? And apart from the fact that there are none of the Dúnedain of the North who are brave enough to face the Lord of Rivendell and report to him the death of his sons, I am sure that you have saved me and others of my line more than once. We are not nearly even."

"You are right, we are not," Elladan retorted, grey eyes fixing on those of his long-distant cousin, "But one day we will find a way to repay you or one of your line for your kindness. I will remember what you have done for me and my brother, even a thousand years from now. As I said, we are in your debt."

"Then," Arahad inclined his head, knowing when to admit defeat, "you do me and my house a great honour. Thank you, Elladan, son of Elrond."

Elladan simply nodded and turned his eyes back onto his brother when a sudden thought seemed to strike him.
"Speaking of my father: Your father didn't send a messenger to Rivendell to inform him that we had not arrived, did he?"

Arahad had to bite back a laugh when he looked into the nearly desperate eyes of the dark haired elf.
"Calm yourself, my friend, he did not. But he will find out soon enough when we escort you back to Rivendell."

"Who says we are returning to Rivendell?" Elladan asked quickly. "It has been far too long since we've enjoyed the hospitality of your people, and I truly believe we should not…"

The elf trailed off when he saw the amusedly raised eyebrows of the ranger, and relented with a sigh.
"You are right, he will find out. Then he will kill us, and if Glorfindel is really lucky, he will even allow him to help him."

A shadow seemed to fall over the elven twin's face, and Arahad frowned, cocking his head to the side, grey eyes worried.
"What is it, my friend? I am sure that your father and the good Lord Glorfindel will not harm you permanently, they will be far too relieved to see you more or less in one piece…" The man frowned when Elladan didn't answer, and he continued, falling into Elvish which he had learned as a boy like most of the children of the Dúnedain. "What is it, Elladan? It is not your father's lecture that is on your mind, is it?"

Elladan looked up, startled, and gave the man a forced smile.
"No, it is not, even though I am sure that it will be one to remember for many years to come. It is just…" The elf dropped his eyes and fiddled with the edges of the blanket, an action that was absolutely untypical for him.

"It is just what?" Arahad asked.

The dark haired elf raised his eyes again, the man's softly spoken, slightly accentuated Elvish words prompting him to answer.
"It is just that I have learned and understood a great many things in the past few days. I have seen that I have spent the past yén in a darkness I have mainly brought upon myself, and that I have made my family suffer for it. I have been brought to see that, and I regret it. My reckless actions nearly got my brother killed, and I would have been to blame if his soul had journeyed to the Halls of Mandos. I was so close to killing him, inadvertently as it may have been."

"You sought revenge," Arahad commented quietly. "That is understandable. Yet you did it at the expense of your own safety, and that was your mistake, my friend. Revenge has its time and place, yet it cannot rectify things that cannot be changed."

"Aye," Elladan nodded, "I have come to see that. We cannot go on like this."

The dark haired elf looked up in surprise when Arahad grabbed his arm and gave him an obviously heart-felt squeeze.

Noticing the twin's questioning gaze, he explained with a small smile on his lips,

"Your father was very concerned for you. He told my father to keep an eye on you and keep you from harm when it was in his power, with only mediocre success as you know. Lord Elrond claimed to have told you many times to let go of your wild hatred, but…"

"…we did not listen, I know, my friend," Elladan admitted, a little bit chagrined. "You are right, he has told us many times, but we did not listen, clouded with hatred and pain as our hearts were. It took this to finally make us see reason. I really needed to see my little brother almost die in front of my eyes before realising that…"

"Elladan," Arahad's stern voice interrupted him, "Stop it, please." The ranger looked at the elven twin, choosing each word with care and pronouncing it as precisely as possible. "I know that you feel guilty, but Elrohir is just as old as you are. He is very capable of making his own decisions, and you didn't choose anything for him. He did what he thought was right, as did you and your father. You made a mistake, yes, but you have seen the error of your ways and that it will help neither you nor your father or," the man hesitated slightly, "the Lady Celebrían."

Arahad took a deep breath and continued, noting with relief that Elladan seemed to have taken no offence when he had spoken the name of his mother, which was definitely an improvement to his reactions in the past.

"I had never the honour to meet your mother, my friend, but from what I have heard about her she was a kind and gentle lady and would not have wanted you to destroy yourself in the vain quest for revenge. Life does not always follow a straight path, Elladan, not even that of the firstborn. Sometimes you have to take a long and winding road to finally reach your goal. The only thing that matters though is that you do reach it. And I think you have, or," he added with a slightly humorous glint in his eyes, "are rather close to doing so. Am I not correct, my friend?"

Elladan looked at the ranger for a long time and finally nodded his head, giving the man a small, but genuine smile.
"You are, Arahad," he admitted. "More than you may realise. How is it that you, who you are a mere child compared to me, are still far wiser than I will probably ever be?"

Arahad smiled ruefully and shook his head.
"I am not wise, o my ancient friend, and I never hope to be either. And while the blood of Númenor still runs strong in my family, I fear that those were not my words either, but rather those of your father, who said them to my father a long time ago when he had nearly lost hope after my mother's death."

Elladan returned the smile and grasped the man's hand to squeeze it lightly.
"There will always be hope, my friend, for as long as one of your line draws breath. As long as the Line of the Kings remains strong and unbroken, there is hope. Hope for Men, and hope for all of us that are still here on Arda."

The chieftain's son frowned, sorrow laying itself upon his strong features.
"We are dwindling, Elladan. There are not many of us left, and the blood of the Men of Westernesse grows thinner with every generation that is born into this world. Soon there will be none of us left, and what is left of the realm of Arnor will fall into darkness. I do not want to exaggerate our importance, but often the Rangers are all that stands between the servants of the Dark One and the inhabitants of these lands. Not too far in the future we will be too few to stand up to our enemies, and slowly but surely we will fade into history. It is something that is unavoidable, I fear."

"And there you are wrong, my friend," Elladan corrected gently and shifted slightly to take some weight off his ankle. "I do not pretend to possess my father's foresight, something for which I am rather thankful, by the way, but in my heart I know that that will not the fate of your people. I do not know if for bad or for good, but the Dúnedain will not end like that. Have hope, my friend, hope that, one day, the shadow will be lifted from these lands and the Rangers will be able to take the place that is rightly theirs. No darkness can last forever."

Arahad smiled softly and turned to look at his elven friend.
"Indeed it cannot, you are right. I will heed your advise then and have hope, and be it only for my children and children's children. One day the Lord of Mordor will truly fall, and I shall take comfort in the thought that you and your family will be there to see it, even if I am not."

The older twin returned the smile and inclined his head.
"That is something worth hoping for, is it not?"

"It is," Arahad agreed, unconsciously reaching out to pull the edges of the blanket more tightly around the elf's shoulders. "It is indeed, my friend."

The ranger fell silent for a moment before he raised his head and gave his companion a stern look.
"But now you should get some more rest. I want to leave this place at midday, which leaves you with about four more hours to regain your strength somewhat. The athelas may have counteracted the poison in your body, but you have sustained some serious injuries except that cut. You need rest, and we wouldn't want to let your father wait, would we?"

Elladan hid the terrified expression that flittered across his face at the mention of his father and finally nodded reluctantly, allowing the ranger to help him lie down again.

"Do you have pressing duties to attend to?" the elven twin asked when Arahad was about to leave.

The man turned back with a slightly quizzical expression on his face and eyed the elf with mild suspicion.
"No, I do not. May I inquire why you asked?"

"Well," Elladan began, propping himself up on one elbow, "If you don't have to be somewhere, then please, stay. Tell me how your family is faring, and most of all, how young Arassuil is doing. How old is he now? Seven?"

Arahad had looked rather reluctant to keep the elf awake any longer, but at the mention of his young son all doubts disappeared from his face and were replaced with fatherly pride.
"He is seven and a half. And he is wonderful!" he exclaimed, sitting down on the edge of Elladan's bed, grey eyes shining brightly. "He is…"

"Perfect?" Elladan supplied with a wicked glint in his eyes. "Beautiful? Smart? Without fault?"

Arahad gave him an annoyed look.
"Just how did you know I was going to say that?"

"A lucky guess, I presume," Elrond's older son shrugged innocently, suppressing a wince when his healing arm protested. "Pray, do continue."

The ranger gave his friend another long look, but his enthusiasm could not be contained for long, and soon he was enumerating all the virtues and strengths Arassuil possessed, only stopping shortly to praise the beauty and wisdom of the boy's mother.

Elladan leaned back into his pillows, listening to the probably slightly biased account of his newest distant cousin's character, hiding a smile while Arahad's ardent voice continued practically without stopping for an occasional breath.

He held to his words; as long as the Line of Elros remained unbroken, there was hope, tiny and hidden as it might be. And somehow, deep in his heart, Elladan knew that he would truly be there when the Rangers stepped out of the twilight they had been hiding in and claimed their rightful place in this world.

That was something worth hoping for, indeed.

Glorfindel had died and instead of going to the Halls of Mandos, he had been sent into the pits of Angband, he was sure about it. The golden haired elf was firmly convinced that it had been Erestor who had brought them such bad luck, there was simply no other explanation for this … this disaster.

He smiled mirthlessly, looking at the members of his small rescue party who knew better than to meet his eyes, except for Erestor of course, who just grinned at him with that particularly annoying expression plastered on his face as if someone had glued it on. "Disaster" was truly a befitting term, since virtually everything that could have gone wrong had gone wrong since they had left the Last Homely House behind.

First, the horse of one of the warriors had stumbled when they had crossed the Bruinen, causing the animal to throw off the elf in its sudden panic. The young warrior had struck his head on a stone – one should note that it had been the only large rock in sight – and had lost consciousness, and Glorfindel had had to sent him back with a second member of his troupe.

As if that had not been enough, they had soon found out that the storm that had raged outside of Rivendell had felled rather a lot of trees, all of which seemed to have chosen to fall precisely across the path they had to take. They had only had the choices of either leaving the horses behind and continue on foot or clear the way, and he had decided in favour of the latter. It was clear that they would still be faster if they stayed and got the splintered trees out of the way than if they walked the rest of the way, besides, if he knew the twins at all, they would be closely pursued by a band of orcs of two, and he had no intention of endangering the lives of his men by ordering them to continue on foot

After they had finally managed to clear a way wide enough for the horses to pass, which had been some time around midday yesterday, all had gone surprisingly well for a while, which should have been some kind of a warning, really. But Glorfindel had been too concentrated on keeping his temper in check and not killing the incredibly annoying Erestor to notice any such sign, and so they had been rather surprised when they had run into a small group of orcs in the early evening that looked as if they had been stragglers of a bigger horde.

The fighting had been short, but rather messy, and several of the warriors including he himself had suffered some rather shallow and minor injuries that still needed tending for fear of poisoning. The presence of orcs had only served to fuel the worry in the golden haired elf's heart, as well as in those of his companions, and Glorfindel was seriously beginning to dread what they would find once they actually managed to locate the twins.

The only positive thing about the small skirmish had been that Erestor had calmed down somewhat, even though he was continuously talking about one clever move or other he had made in the battle. They hadn't got much further that evening and had been forced to make camp halfway between Imladris and the Trollshaws, something that greatly annoyed Glorfindel since they should have covered about twice the distance.

The evening hadn't proven to be much fun either. Erestor had been in good spirits and more than willing to share his mood with the rest of the company, and all of them had amused themselves with a recount of how Erestor and he had sung that particular song a few nights ago – including Erestor himself, which once again proved what Glorfindel had been suspecting for a long time: He did have no shame, at least not when he was having his adventurous time of the yén.

That at least gave him something to think about during his watch (namely how to best avenge himself on the dark haired elf), apart of how to find out what that by now infamous word on Erestor's forehead had been, and he was sure that he had come up with the perfect plan now. It finally seemed that fotune was once again smiling on them, and since they had broken camp this morning everything had gone smoothly.

Yes, Glorfindel mused, it was almost bearable if one ignored Erestor who was right now describing in detail what he would do to the next few orcs they met. Elrond was right, of course, Erestor was a formidable warrior, but he was beginning to drive him insane, a fact that was definitely not lost on the dark haired elf lord. Glorfindel was beginning to suspect that he acted like this on purpose, just to annoy him, and to his shame he had to admit that it was working. Another day in Erestor's company and he would snap and kill himself and/or Erestor, he was sure about it.

While the blonde elf was still contemplating how exactly he would carry out that particular plan, the elf who was riding at the front reined in his horse and lifted his hand in warning.
"Someone approaches, sir. A group on horseback, it appears."

Glorfindel quickly signalled his men to stay where they were until they had ascertained who this other group was and moved his horse to the side of the warrior, noting with some annoyance that Erestor was doing the same.
"How many are there?"

The young elf squinted slightly and raised himself on his horse to have a better view.
"About fifteen, I would say." After a moment he relaxed and smiled, turning around to face his captain. "I cannot speak for the main group, but I recognise the vanguard. They're rangers, my lord."

"Rangers?" Erestor's voice interrupted Glorfindel before he could even open his mouth. The dark haired advisor sounded rather disappointed. "No orcs?"

The young warrior tried in vain to keep his face emotionless but a small smile escaped him nonetheless.
"No, my lord. They are rangers, I am sure about it."

"Oh. Well, that is not to be changed, then," Erestor sighed, looking very much as if he had rather fought a band of orcs plus wargs than to converse civilly with a troupe of rangers.

Glorfindel blinked twice and quickly made an attempt to regain control of the conversation.
"They are probably looking for the twins as well. Something must truly have happened to them; Aravorn would have sent out search parties if they didn't arrive on time. He knows them long enough, after all."

"I agree, my lord," the warrior nodded. "Lord Aravorn knows very well how much trouble the both of them can get into. I do seem to remember the one hunting trip they went onto when he was a mere lad…"

"…the one near the Midgewater Marshes! Oh yes, I remember," Erestor grinned, giving the younger elf a conspiratorial smile. "By Elbereth's stars, never before have I seen Lord Elrond so angry – although that might change when we get back…"

"Then we shouldn't let them wait," Glorfindel interrupted with a dark look at the two younger elves.

He turned to Erestor, who was once again wearing that infuriating grin. The golden haired elf gritted his teeth and slowly counted to ten. 'Do not kill him, think of what Elrond would say, do not kill him, think of what Elrond would say, do not kill him, think of what Elrond would say…'

"Would you accompany me, my Lord Erestor? We should greet our allies," he asked the other elf, giving him a pointed look that promised pain and torment should he refuse. There was the small chance that he would somehow be able to keep an eye on Erestor when he kept him close. A very small chance, granted, but definitely worth the try. There was no reason to let him scare the rangers into an early grave, after all.

To his surprise, Erestor simply nodded and followed him when he spurred on his horse, and so they quickly closed the distance between them and the approaching humans, Glorfindel and Erestor at the front and closely followed by their warrior. The rangers, although keen of senses, detected their presence a lot later, but they too quickly saw that the other group was no threat to them and they finally met some minutes later, both groups bringing their horses to a halt.

Glorfindel bowed his head and smiled at the ranger that rode in front of the little group, honestly glad to see him again.
"Lord Arahad. It is a pleasure to see you, as always."

"I, too, am most glad to see you, Lord Glorfindel, Lord Erestor," the chieftain's son nodded, doing an admirable job at hiding his surprise upon seeing Elrond's chief councillor outside out Rivendell.

Arahad gave the small group of elven warriors a wry look and asked,

"Let me guess, my friend. You are looking for the Lords Elladan and Elrohir who have once again managed to get themselves into trouble."

Glorfindel's eyes open as wide as possible, nothing but surprise on his fair face.
"Tell me, my lord," he cried in mock astonishment, "How did you know that? I know that many of your house possess the gift of foresight, but this assessment is astounding!"

Once again, Glorfindel had to give the dúnadan credit for his control, for Arahad managed to let only a faint smile show on his face.
"I don't know, my lord, it must have been a lucky guess." He paused shortly, grey eyes glinting in a way that reminded the elf lord disconcertingly of the twins. "On the other hand, it might also be connected to the fact that we have found something that belongs to you."

"I resent that implication," a voice from the back of the group sounded darkly. "We are not 'something', and it's not that we asked to be 'found', either. And we hardly 'belong' to anyone."

Glorfindel's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets, and he was beginning to suspect that all of Arda was right now doing nothing but trying to surprise him. In front of him, the rangers parted to let a horse pass, a horse which he knew all too well, bearing two elves he also knew all too well.

"Elladan?" he asked incredulously. He remembered just in time that they were not alone and he therefore couldn't do what he wanted to do most, namely first hug the twins and then kill them, and added, "Are you alright, my lord? What happened to you?"

The younger elf had at least the good grace to look ashamed and unconsciously tightened his hold on his brother who was sitting in front of him, still unconscious.

"Yes?" Erestor prompted, all exuberance gone from his face and all of the sudden transforming back into the stern scholar every elf in Imladris under the age of three thousand years had learned to fear.

"Well…" Elladan repeated, looking desperately about him, but it seemed that every single ranger, including Arahad, was far too busy staring into empty space to notice his distress. Elrohir was not likely to wake up right now, which was a good thing as well, and the elven warriors that accompanied Glorfindel were far too amused by all this to be of any real help. The elf gave an inward low growl of annoyance. Traitors, the whole lot of them.

"We … had … an accident," he finally managed to say with a fake look of innocence plastered on his face. "Involving … orcs and a cliff."

Unknowingly, both Erestor and Glorfindel folded their arms and raised an eyebrow, a sight that awoke in Elladan the prominent urge to turn his horse around and get back to that cliff. Everything was better than this.

"Did you now, young one?" Glorfindel's eyebrow arched in almost exactly the same way as Elrond's would have had he been here, and that was almost enough to send Elladan into a hysteric fit.

The dark haired elf stared at Arahad with wide eyes, willing him to help him, and finally, when the ranger had decided that he had tormented his elven friend enough, he turned to the elf lords, trying very hard to wipe a wide grin off his face.

"They are both very lucky to be alive," Arahad said seriously, causing both elves to redirect their attention to him. "We found them yesterday night in the ravine near the Trollshaws. Lord Elrohir will be unconscious for quite some time yet, but his injuries are not life-threatening anymore. He is stable as far as we can tell, and once you get back to Rivendell, he will be fine, my healers have assured me, as will Lord Elladan."

Glorfindel took a deep breath and gave Elladan a last look that promised a lot of serious repercussions.
"Then we owe you our thanks, my lord," he nodded respectfully. "Please give our regards and gratitude to your father who was so far sighted to send out search parties at once. We are in your debt once more."

Arahad shook his head and gave the golden haired elf a smile.
"You are not, my lord, as I have already assured Lord Elladan. This does not even rudimentary even the scores; it is we who are eternally indebted to you." Elladan took this as a sign and began to move his horse forward, and he added, "Please give our regards to your lord as well, and I would be most grateful if you stressed that, this time, I had nothing to do with all this."

The blonde elf returned the smile.
"Of course, my Lord Arahad. I am sure Lord Elrond will be very pleased to hear that."

He and Erestor were beginning to turn their horses around, ready to head back to Rivendell, and Elladan stopped for a second, inclining his head to the chieftain's son.
"I thank you once again, my friend. For saving our lives, and for … everything else."

"'Twas my pleasure," Arahad smiled, grey eyes serious in his face. "I thank you as well, for giving me back the hope into our future I had already thought lost."

"It wasn't lost," Elladan shook his head. "You just needed some help to find it, that was all."

"As did you," the ranger nodded earnestly. "I trust I will still see you again soon?"

"You will," Elladan assured him. "Perhaps in the spring, when the snow is melted. Sometime after Winter Solstice, I think. Maybe later."

Arahad's smile widened when he took in the underlying implications of the dark haired elf's words.
"I am glad to hear that, my friend. I truly am."

The older twin returned the smile and gave a slight bow.
"Namárië, Arahad, son of Aravorn."

Arahad bowed as well.
"Namárië, Elladan, son of Elrond. May the Valar smile upon you and all of your house until we see each other again."

"And upon yours," Elladan retorted, and with a last smile he turned his horse, following the other elves that had already ridden on, making sure with a glance that Elrohir's riderless horse was following as well.

The group of elven warriors was silent for the first few miles, and Elladan knew better than to try and start a conversation with Glorfindel who was exuding disapproval so clearly that one could have reached out and grasped it. Nothing was spoken except questions regarding their respective states of health and whether they would be strong enough for the ride home, which Elladan assured the others they were. After an hour though, Erestor wasn't able to remain silent any longer and slowed his horse's gait until he was next to the twins' horse.

"You fought a group of orcs, is that not correct?"

Elladan looked up sharply at the question, resisting the urge to rub the gash on his arm.
"Yes, we did. But…"

Erestor brushed the words aside with an impatient wave of his hand, eyes shining brightly in his face.
"As did we. I think they were some stragglers of a bigger group – probably yours – and we got involved in a small skirmish. Did you hear about that one move I made?"

Elladan gulped, his eyes narrowing slightly when a small snicker could be heard from the end of the column. He too knew what Erestor was like when he was having his adventurous part of the yén.
"No, Erestor," he sighed in weary acceptance. "I did not. But I am sure that you will…"

"…enlighten you. Most gladly, my young friend!" the older elf exclaimed, and without giving Elladan the chance to object he launched into the tale of how they – and most remarkably he, of course – had fought the orcs.

Further ahead, Glorfindel didn't even try to hide the broad grin that was spreading on his face and that was mirrored by every single member of the small troupe. This was even better than any punishment he could have come up with, he decided, the grin impossibly even widening. After a few hours Elladan would surely contemplate hiding in his room and never come near an orc again, not if that meant he had to endure something like this.

And that, Glorfindel thought grimly, was exactly how it should be.

Elrohir awoke to the sound of loudly chirping birds, proving to him that he was indeed back home, just as Elladan had promised him. He knew that particular chirping very well; to him it seemed that the birds around his home delighted in waiting in the tree next to his window to start singing loudly and annoyingly every time he tried to get some rest.

For some time, Elrohir was too sleepy, warm and contend to open his eyes, a fact that proved to him yet another thing: He was not well, or his eyes wouldn't be closed. There was of course always the possibility of drugs, poison or extreme exhaustion, all things which couldn't apply to his situation.

A small voice in his head started laughing mockingly at that, and Elrohir frowned inwardly, trying to think of his last memories. It took him some time to remember what had been the last thing he knew since he had woken up at the bottom of the accursed cliff, but when he did remember, it served to encourage him to open his eyes more than anything he could have thought of.

After some more moments, he did indeed manage to pry the closed lids open, and when his surroundings had finally swum into focus, he stared into the smiling, far too happy-looking face of Glorfindel. Behind the blonde elf, Elrohir could see a part of the room he was residing in, and after a moment he identified it as his own. He gave a quiet sigh of relief. So he was truly back at home.

"Welcome back, Elrohir," the slightly blurry face of his father's advisor said. "You did give us quite a scare, young one."

Elrohir felt how tiredness once again threatened to overcome his senses, but then he remembered his self-appointed mission and all desire to sleep was suddenly gone.
"Elladan … where is … he?" he managed to croak, surprised at how weak his voice sounded.

Glorfindel didn't answer, and his face suddenly disappeared from the younger elf's line of vision, causing him to blink in confusion. Before his muddled and tired brain could even start thinking about where it had gone, the blonde elf's face reappeared, and one of the other's hands appeared in his line of vision, holding a glass of what looked like the most beautiful, clearest water Elrohir had ever seen.

Elrohir accepted the older elf's help and let himself be propped up to be able to drink some of the deliciously cool liquid, and was amazed how much better he felt when he had quenched his thirst.

"Where is my brother, Glorfindel?" he repeated his question when the blonde elf helped him lie down again. "Elladan, he…"

"Hush, young one," Glorfindel commanded sternly. "Do not worry. Your brother is well; the healer has just left to find him and your father. Arahad and his men found both of you and met with my search party that was looking for you as well. You have been unconscious for much more than a day now, and your father was beginning to get worried, as did all of us."

Elrohir's eyes narrowed as he took in all the information.
"Oh," he said softly, looking about him, "I see. But you are mistaken, my friend: I was not worried about that little orc. You don't happen to have a knife on you, do you?"

Glorfindel's blue eyes widened at the sudden change of topic, and a suspicious expression stole over his features.
"I do not. Why?"

"A pity," Elrohir commented, still looking for a suitable weapon with which to take his revenge on his brother for drugging him. "As I said, I was not worried. I want to kill him, so could you please get me a weapon with which I can accomplish that goal?"

"On any other day, I would," Glorfindel retorted, leaving it to Elrohir to determine if he was being serious or not. "But your father's instructions were more than unambiguous. He said nothing about killing your brother, but I think that falls under the category of 'leaving your bed', which is strictly prohibited, of course."

"Of course," the younger twin muttered downheartedly. "It would be, wouldn't it?"

"And I am more than entitled to it," a wry voice behind them announced. "On second thought, it even might be well within my rights to kill both of you for this."

Elrohir's head swivelled to the right – his skull seizing this chance to inform him of what exactly it thought about that – and he looked at the tall figure of his father who stood in the doorway of the room, Elladan to his right and a she-elf who had to be the healer Glorfindel had spoken of to his left. Elrohir knew he should probably know the healer's name, but then again, he tried to stay away from the healing wing and its inhabitants as much as possible.

"Ada!" he exclaimed, his joy upon seeing his father a little bit dimmed by what he knew was to come. There was no way they were getting out of this without a lecture they would remember for a very long time.

When he heard his younger son's voice Elrond's stern face softened a little, and he politely dismissed the healer with a few words. The Lord of Rivendell stepped into the room, followed by a heavily limping Elladan who was doing his best to look innocent. Elrohir would almost have laughed aloud, and it would have been a cynical laugh. A man or elf standing over a dead body and holding a bloody knife in his hands would have appeared more innocent than his dear twin brother.

His thoughts returned to the present when he felt his bed sink a bit, and he looked up to see his father sit on the edge of the mattress, looking at him with that particular expression he always wore when one or both of them had done something terribly stupid.
"You scared us, Elrohir. From what Elladan told us, you very nearly died."

Elrohir shortly looked over his father's shoulder to glare at his older brother. Yet another thing he had to thank him for; now he would be mothered by his father and probably all the healers that managed to get their hands on him. Yes, Elladan was dead, he just needed a dagger and then…

"I am sorry, ada," he said, turning what he hoped were innocent grey eyes on his father, "It was an accident, really. We merely missed that last orc, and I had forgotten how close I had got to the cliff. It was nothing but carelessness on my part," the young elf admitted softly, turning his eyes onto the bulk he knew was his thickly bound broken leg under the blankets. "But it was not my fault I was unconscious for that long!"

"No," Elrond agreed, an odd twinkle in his eyes, "It was not. It was your brother's, and you can be assured that he and I had had a long, very serious conversation about that."

Behind his father, Elladan winced openly. Oh yes, it had been a very long conversation, one he wouldn't want to repeat in the near future. Or better yet, not ever. Their father had been too busy caring for Elrohir when they had arrived the previous night, but after the excitement had died down a bit and it had been established that Elrohir hadn't suffered any internal injuries and would indeed be fine, he had taken Elladan aside and lectured him for two hours straight. The older twin had been feeling so guilty that he had agreed that he deserved it, but that hadn't made it one bit more enjoyable.

"Both of you were exceedingly lucky," Elrond continued, dividing his look between both of his sons. "I shudder to think of what might have happened."

Now both twins hung their heads. Their father was right; they had been stupid, reckless and about a thousand other things in between, and hadn't stopped once to think about what consequences their injury or death would have had on their family.

"Ada, I…" Elladan began, but was cut off when a shout rang out that vaguely sounded like the roaring of a very big, very angry and very wounded warg.

Elrond and the twins looked at each other questioningly, not very alarmed by the shouting since such things happened quite a lot around here, but Glorfindel merely raised an eyebrow and gave the bright sky outside a quizzical look.

"That was sooner than I expected…" the golden haired elf muttered, a puzzled frown marring his forehead.

"Glorfindel?" Elrond questioned, raising both eyebrows. "Would you care to explain yourself? And was that Erestor's voice?"

Glorfindel smoothly stood to his feet and made his way over to the door, listening to the ranting and rather interesting curses that could be heard from the hallway.
"Yes, my lord, that was Erestor. He thought he could best me, but…" He shrugged sadly. "Alas, he was not quick enough, I fear. Nobody humiliates me and goes unpunished." He gave the three speechless elves a respectful bow. "Now, my lords, I must depart, I fear. I have no desire to visit the Halls of Waiting again, and I think the dear Erestor sounds rather … upset."

He was about to leave the room when his lord's sharp voice stopped him in his tracks.
"Glorfindel! What did you do to him?"

The blonde elf turned in the doorway, a lenient smile on his lips.
"Trust me, mellon nín, you do not want to know. But rest assured that it is nothing … permanent."

With that rather cryptic remark he turned and disappeared out of the door, leaving three bewildered elves behind. Elladan was the first to regain the ability to speak, and he raised a hand, pointing at the spot recently vacated by the fair haired elf.

"That is what happens when you allow an elf to slay a balrog. Our dear Glorfindel is beginning to suffer delusions of grandeur, I'm afraid."

"The problem is though," Elrohir injected sourly, "that most of them are merited. Which makes the whole thing even more unbearable, of course." He stopped shortly, relaxing even further into his pillows. "I wonder what exactly he has done to him."

"Oh, we will find out," Elrond predicted darkly, cocking his head slightly to the side when a loud crash and the sound of running feet could be heard over Erestor's ranting voice. "If the Last Homely House still stands in a few hours, that is."

The dark haired elf lord turned back to his two sons, his face turning serious again.
"You will be staying here for a while, I assume?"

It had been a simple question, but the underlying meaning was clear enough to both of the younger elves. The twins shortly looked at each other, their eyes only meeting for a short time, yet it was enough to convey what they thought to each other. After a few seconds, both nodded, and Elrohir weakly reached for his father's hand, squeezing it lightly when the older elf took his fingers into both of his hands.

"Yes, ada," the younger twin said quietly. "We will stay for the winter, at least until Winter Solstice. We…" Elrohir took a deep breath and reluctantly raised his eyes to meet his father's gaze. "We are sorry, father. We should have listened to you a long time ago. We were…"

"…fools. Stupid, reckless fools," Elladan finished his brother's sentence. "You were right, and so were Legolas, Erestor and so many others. Glorfindel said it only a few days ago: This will not bring her back, and she would not have wanted us to die for things that cannot be changed." The young elf looked at his father imploringly. "Forgive us, please. We did not intend to hurt you or Arwen."

Elrond looked from one identical, serious face to the other, fighting hard for composure. He felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from his heart, and he hadn't even realised how much he had suffered under the constant threat of losing his sons to the hatred and anger that was eating at their souls.

"All is forgiven, my sons," he said, reaching out to take one of Elladan's hands as well. "You cannot imagine how glad I am to hear you say these words, and I know that you never intended to hurt me or your sister. I am very proud of both of you, and I know that your mother would be as well." He looked at the younger elves seriously. "I do not expect you to forget what has happened, but I am glad to hear that you understand that your actions of late will help none of us." The twins nodded silently, and he added, "As you said, Glorfindel can be very wise indeed when he is not busy writing words on other elves' foreheads. It was he who reminded me a few days ago that your mother is waiting for us, and he is right, of course. We must never forget that we will see her again, no matter how long it will take. That is the only thing that truly matters."

Elladan and Elrohir looked at each other, slowly comprehending what their father was trying to tell them, and Elrond added, his voice light,

"That is, of course, unless you insist on dragging yourselves back here with arrows splintering broken legs, poisoned wounds and things of the like."

The Lord of Rivendell watched with some fascination how Elladan's face turned an interesting, bright red colour, while Elrohir slowly sat up, trying to hide a wince when his ribcage protested and grey eyes narrowing at his father's words.
"Poisoned wounds?" he asked and turned to his twin, accusation shining brightly in his eyes. "You promised me that the cut was not poisoned! First you lie to me and then you drug me??"

"I did not lie to you," Elladan tried to defend himself, carefully sitting down in the chair Glorfindel had sat on not too long ago, his bandaged ankle stretched out in front of him. "At that time I truly believed it was not infected."

Elrohir did not seem to have heard a single word his twin had said, his eyes widening in outrage when he finally realised what his father had said.
"'Arrows splintering broken legs'? 'Arrows splintering broken legs'?? You used my arrows to splint my leg??"

Elladan quickly raised his hands, all of the sudden very glad that his father was between the two of them.
"There was nothing else! What should I have done instead, let it be?"

"What about using your arrows?" Elrohir shot back, eyes sparkling. "That is your problem, brother, you have no respect for the property of others!"

Elladan's eyes opened wide in mock outrage.
"I can't believe that is coming out of your mouth! I do not have respect for the property of others? I?"

"Who else, my brother? It was always like this, surely I do not need to remind you of…"

After a few minutes of listening to his sons' bickering, Elrond silently rose to his feet and retreated. He hadn't even realised how much he had missed this; his children had really been much too solemn of late!
The twins were entirely too focused on their argument to pay his soft footsteps or the swishing sounds produced by his robes when they moved across the stone floor any attention, and so he stopped at the door, watching the two younger elves.

He knew that Elladan knew better than to overstrain his brother; if there was even the tiniest sign that Elrohir was exhausted, the older twin wouldn't rest until he had gone to sleep. There was no real need for him to remain here, but still he stayed, looking at his sons who had once again so narrowly escaped death. Had it not been for Arahad and his men, both of them would probably have died. Elrohir would most certainly have died, and Elrond knew very well what the death of one would do to the other…

The elf lord shook his head slightly. It had not happened, and it didn't help agonising over things that could not be changed. Elrond smiled; that was indeed something that the twins had understood as well, at last. He was aware that these had been only the first small steps into the direction of true healing, and he knew that the wounds both of them carried in their hearts would never truly heal, as little as his own would. They would always miss their mother and, in the dark hours of the night, they would always ask themselves if they couldn't have been faster, or couldn't have fought harder to protect her, just as he himself did, but they were beginning to accept what had happened. Their hatred for the orcs would never die or even diminish, but Elrond was hopeful that they were no longer willing to sacrifice anything and everything to satisfy that hate.

It was indeed true that, sometimes, hope was all one had left, the Lord of Imladris mused as he soundlessly left the room, leaving his sons behind who were right now arguing about who had taken whose toy soldiers when they had been elflings of twenty-three years of age. And sometimes, hope was even enough and all that mattered.

Smiling softly, Elrond began to make his way into the direction of the Hall of Fire where the voices of Erestor and Glorfindel could be heard. His chief advisor had apparently managed to corner the other elf, and was now loudly threatening him with disembowelment. He shook his head; he was really not looking forward to finding out what Glorfindel had done to Erestor, but he should probably end this before the dark haired elf carried out some of his threats.

Elrond moved down the hallway, the laughing voices of his sons fading away behind him, and slowed down to watch the sun rise higher above the graceful trees that surrounded his home. He stopped at an open window to watch the radiant disk make their way across the heavens, and when he resumed his walk, it seemed to him that some of the darkness that had lingered in these fair halls had disappeared, never to return. It would never fully leave them, no, but it was a start.

But he was left to hope, that, one day, it might diminish even further, and now it seemed to him that he had all the time in the world, and that the horizon was bright with countless possibilities.


dúnadan (sg.) - 'Man of the West', ranger
dúnedain (pl.) - 'Men of the West', rangers
gwanur nín - my (twin) brother
yén - elvish unit of time, equivalent to 144 years

ada - father (daddy)
mellon nín - my friend

I know that many people would have liked me to put Aragorn into it at some point, but this was the twins' story. They really deserved one of their own, I think. I am also aware that you guys want to know what the word is or what Glorfindel did to Erestor, but all I can tell you that I might put it into my current story, "To Walk In Night". I'm not sure about it yet, but I might.

So, I hope you have enjoyed reading this little story as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I wasn't all that happy about it at the beginning, but I admit that I grew on me and that I'm now rather fond of it. Plus, it proves that I _am_ able to write stories that are less than 300 pages long, so that's definitely something, right?

Once again, special thank-you's to Kaeera, who convinced me to write this story in the first place, to my sister as always for her encouragement and her unearthly ability to come up with the most gruesome injuries, and finally to my reviewers. Even though the story was already finished when I began posting, you supported and helped me a lot - thanks again! *huggles*

So, see you around, I guess!


Additional A/N:

- LOL, you're right. Things got worse, but at least they're together. *g* I admit it though, the chapter wasn't really ... cheerful. But it wasn't _that_ angsty, now was it? *shakes head fervently* No, of course not. You might be right about the strangers being rangers, you know. *g* Great to hear that you enjoyed the story, thanks a lot for your reviews!
Firnsarnien - ROTFL! My alter ego has done WHAT? She has 'beaten (me) into submission and has (me) cowering in a corner at her every whim'? That IS a very interesting idea.... *snicker* Well, it's nice that you liked the elf angst so much, but you know what they say, all good things must come to an end? I mean, I can't keep torturing the twins _forever_, now can I? *wicked grin* Now that you mention it though... Uhm, the CLF will branch off? Into the EELF? Now _that's_ a scray thought! Oh, and I truly hope that you managed to get a tighter hold on your alter ego than I. Bloody insane my one is, honestly... *huggles* Thanks for the reviews!
YunaDax - Yup, you're definitely right. Angst is at least as good as a bubble bath, even better if you ask me - unless it's a vanilla or orange scented one, then nothing can compare! *g* Don't worry, there's still some more angst to come; Angst all around! Yay!
Firniswin - Well, I don't read fantasy at all, really. LOTR is the about the only fantasy book I have ever read I guess - and somehow I have no trouble finding books I like. I could walk into a bookstore and buy 200, at least! *g* And the cliffies aren't my fault - it's all my alter ego's, I swear! Thanks for all your reviews! I enjoyed them a lot! Oh, and PS: I just thought of another problem: If I would indeed write a book, it wouldn't be in English. My English isn't good enough for that!
LittleSaiyanGirl - Thank you! It's nice to hear that you're enjoying the story - even though it's almost over! Thanks for the review! *huggles*
Mouse5 - Well, I _could_ change my name to "She who loves to torture Elves" - but it's not entirely correct! I love to torture other people too - rangers, for example. *evil grin* But I like "She who loves to torture her readers" - to say that that's not true would be an outright lie... *g* Great you like it! Thanks a lot for all your reviews!
Suzi9 - Really? I'm sure your cooking isn't that bad! It's always the most wonderful cooks who are telling everyone how bad their cooking is! Where are you living then? I didn't know Scotland (?) was that dangerous! Jiu-Jitsu, huh? I did Judo for a year in school and enjoyed it a lot - I kinda like pinning people to the ground. Oookay, that sounded wrong on soo many levels... *g* And I can imagine that nobody wanted to go to England for a holiday in your village - I was in Scotland a year ago (only for two weeks, regrettably), and it's still amazing how much underlying, well, 'hostility/annoyance' there is! It's just like here, don't ask me what I think about Bavarians - they're very strange, believe me! *g* And you know what? One of the most terrifying experiences of _my_ life was being thrown into a school in a village/very small town. When you've grown up in a city it's horrible! Oh, and: It all IS Kaeera's fault. I wouldn't have written a twin fic - now that I have I'm rather glad though, I admit that... Glad you give Drákon REAL food now. How is a dragon supposed to grow without orc-flesh? I hope you enjoyed your night out, btw!
Iverson - Well, you can never have too much angst and pain, can you? *shakes head* Nope. Impossible. *blushes* Thank you. It's great you like the twins in my weird little story. I love them, they're simply adorable! *huggles her twins* And nope, revenge is never simple. It _always: is a bad idea if you ask me - no-one ever listens to me... *sighs* Uhm, about the tumbling thing: Elladan only fell because the edge of the ledge broke off. He had first gotten Elrohir as close as possible to the cliff face to be able to tend him properly, and so only his part of the rock crumbled. Elrohir got lucky - for once, I guess... *g* And don't worry - I would never kill the twins. Well, yes, I would, but not in Kaeera's birthday story. She's obsessed with Elrohir and would surely kill me in a most painful way... *g* Well, how could I leave you at that point? To be perfectly honest, I don't really know myself - being evil helps, I guess... *evil grin* Thanks a lot for all your huge reviews! *huggles*
CrazyLOTRFan - *thundering* I don't want to hear a single word about RotK! I am going to see it on Sunday, and until then I don't - want - to - hear - a - word! *g* Glad at least one person likes my cliffies! But I could have known, it's you, the _mentally unstable_ Canadian girl after all... *g* Still, I hope you had lots of fun watching RotK! I'm sure it's great - but I will patiently wait for another two days...
Nikara - Yeah, I guess, we love the twins _because_ they're stupid. It's kinda refreshing... But you're most definitely right: Our boys DO need some help! And don't worry, they're going to get it. Eventually. *evil grin*
Sabercrazy - Uhm, is it possible to kill a website? I have never managed to do so before - but I wish you luck! I am very sorry though I missed your death threats - I do love them, really! They give me that warm, fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach... *g* LOL, your other weapon, the Spork of Pain and Slow Death? More threatening than a lightsabre by far... And don't worry, I am seriously contemplating putting some Glorfindel torture into my other story. I figured that if I had Estel torture, Legolas torture, possibly Celylith torture and twin torture I could have Glorfindel torture as well. You know, fairness and all that... *g* Besides, you're right. Glor deserves some torture of his own... *evil grin* Poor elf. Oh, and yes, it just might be Rangers. Just might, of course. *g*
Kaeera - Na, so lange du die Kapitel liest, ist es doch okay. Ist doch deine Geschichte, du musst ueberhaupt nicht reviewen... Dein Terminplan hoert sich auch um einiges voller an als meiner. Na ja, ich kann ja auch kein Saxophon spielen... Ach ja, heute ist ja auch der letzte Schultag. Gratulation zu den Ferien! Ich muss irgendwie noch tausend Dinge erledigen vor Weihnachten, aber das ist ja immer so, nech? Und es ist doch sehr schoen zu hoeren, dass du die ganze Elrohir Angst und Pain und weiss der Geier was geniesst. Ich dachte mir doch schon, dass dir das gefallen wuerde... *g* Also, ich hoffe du mochtest die Geschichte! *knuddel*
Mystic Girl1 - Ich mochte deine Dúnedain KG! War ueberaus amuesant... Schoen zu hoeren, dass es deinen Ohren wieder bessergeht! LOL, siehst du, Legolas waere in der Tat in der Lage, dich fuers blosse Antasten seiner Pfeile zu erwuergen! Verrueckter Waldelb, das ist er... Und es ist sehr schoen zu hoeren, dass dich das Kapitel geruehrt hat. Nein, nicht nur, weil ich es geniesse, meine Leser zum Weinen zu bringen (*g*), sondern auch weil auch ich etwas geruehrt war. V.a. in diesem jetzigen Kapitel - aber nicht so schlimm wie Kapitel 8 von To Walk in Night. Jesus, Maria und Josef, ich sag dir, da war ich fertig! *g* So, und ich hab' erst heute gepostet, das heisst du kannst morgen lesen. Nett von mir, hm? Ach, und ich hab' noch immer keinen guten Ripper. Toll.

I know, this is getting old, but still: Thank you for all your wonderful reviews! Come on, group hug! *huggles reviewers*