From the Ashes by Jessie Syring
Disclaimer: All characters belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. I hope I insult no one by playing with his characters.
Erestor leaned against a tree with his arms crossed, frowning, as he watched Glorfindel in deep discussion with a weapon smith. The fair-haired Elf had scarcely been released from his bed when he began grumbling about arming himself with something more than a table knife. He had hobbled to the armory and found both a dagger and sword that would suit him until he could have one made especially for his build. The dagger had been finished quickly and word had finally come that the sword was completed.
Glorfindel held up the sword, arm extended so he could look down its length. The slightly curved blade shone brightly in the sun coming through the trees. To Erestor's eye, the nearly straight blade seemed better suited to a human's weapon---it bore little semblance to the S-shaped weapons preferred by Rivendell's guards---but it seemed to please Glorfindel. He swung it through a few maneuvers, being careful to keep his healing left arm pressed to his side so it would not be jarred too badly. Then a bright smile lit his face. He gave the smith the weapon again and a few more instructions before turning.
"Erestor," he said in surprise. "How long have you been standing there?"
"Not long. Lord Elrond sent me to find you. I'm to see you cleaned up---" Erestor's frown indicated he did not think that possible. "---and into some decent clothes. Lady Galadriel and her entourage have arrived. They are resting from their journey, but there will be a formal dinner tonight."
Glorfindel frowned. "I hate formal affairs, Erestor. You know that. I must watch what I say and wear that stiff-collared shirt with all the embroidery---it weighs more than my armor did when I fought the Balrog!"
Erestor bit back a laugh. "But it is expected as part of your new station. And the Lady of Lothlorien has come because of you."
Glorfindel grumbled something that sounded suspiciously like he would rather everyone forget. They followed the path back to the Last Homely House, passing a guard as they did so. One of Glorfindel's first acts had been to set up a regular guard around Rivendell in addition to the patrols, the troops being rotated to new areas every few days so they did not grow so familiar with a territory that they would miss things. Glorfindel awkwardly walked up the steps to the porch. The stitches had been removed from his leg but---Elven healing or not---the torn muscles would take time to knit completely.
"Would you like me to carry you?" Erestor asked, keeping his expression neutral.
"When the Bruinen flows with wine!" Glorfindel snapped good-naturedly.
The hall was bustling with activity when they arrived. Most wore the colors of Elrond's house, blue and black with the star-like pattern of a Silmaril on it. Others wore greens and golds of a pattern Glorfindel did not recognize. He caught a glimpse of a tall female in white with hair nearly the color of his. Then they were making their way through the organized chaos, heading for residential section.
"Glorfindel. Erestor." Elrond's call stopped them both. Rivendell's lord was dressed in a deep burgundy robe and wore a silver circlet on his head. His right arm hung in a sling of the same color fabric as the robe. "It is fortunate I saw you," he said. "Glorfindel, the Lady Galadriel is most anxious to meet you and would prefer it not be at the feast tonight."
Glorfindel looked significantly at his own clothing. "I am hardly dressed for such a meeting, Elrond. And..."
"She was quite insistent, though she did say she wished a private meeting." Elrond looked significantly at the people around them. "Perhaps on the porch---"
Elrond's tone was insistent, just short of a command. Glorfindel sighed. "I shall await the lady there." He limped to the exit.
Erestor smiled and looked at Elrond. "I think he would rather face a Balrog again."
ڃ ڃ ڃ
Glorfindel leaned against the rail of the porch and stared across Rivendell. From where he stood, he had a commanding view of the valley and the surrounding mountains. His heart ached---it was so like his own home so many millennia gone now, but also so different. The climate had been cooler, and the Echoriath Mountains were more rugged. There was so much joy here---singing and laughing. As it had been in Gondolin before---
"Your heart is heavy, Glorfindel o Los'lóŕiol," said a quiet voice, using the ancient name of his house. "You miss your home and all that once was." Glorfindel nodded, unable to turn and face the speaker. She silently glided up beside him and shared his view. "I never saw the city of Gondolin myself, but many are the tales of its beauty. And its brave defenders."
Glorfindel finally turned to look at her. Even in the bright daylight, the female seemed to glow with an inner light. Her features were somehow both old and young and free of worry. She wore a white gown with a veil of lace that covered long hair the color of gold. Her gaze was filled with compassion.
"Lady Altariel?" he asked, staring at her.
She smiled. "That is the name I bore when first we met. Here I am called Galadriel. You were hardly more than a child then."
"And living under the light of the Trees." He stared at the forest surrounding them. "So much has changed since then."
"And you wonder why you were sent back?"
Glorfindel looked at her. "Do you read my mind, Lady?"
Galadriel placed a long-fingered hand on his cheek. "There is no need when I can see your fears written on your face," she said. "You have no friends or loved ones left from the days that have gone before. The deeds of your friend, Ecthelion, surpassed yours. So many died on that dark day, so why were you chosen?"
"You speak my mind truly."
Galadriel nodded and folded her arms in her sleeves. "Even in our immortal lives, we shall never understand the will of the Valar," she said, "but we can control what fate sets before us. Be calm, Glorfindel of Rivendell. Your purpose in returning will make itself known in time."
"Thank you, Lady."
With another smile, she returned to the hall. Glorfindel sighed and, moving carefully, took a seat on the top step. He had no desire to go back inside straight away. If Elrond and Erestor thought they could coerce him, they would need the entire household guard---he would not go easily. He needed to think about what Lady Galadriel had said. He did not look up when Erestor sat beside him.
"It might not be as exciting around here as what you are used to," said Erestor. "There are no Balrogs to slay and we have not seen a dragon in thousands of years."
Glorfindel smiled. "It will be a nice change," he said, keeping the same light tone.
Erestor held up a piece of leather and sighed. "If you're going to be 'Glorfindel of Rivendell' now, I do not suppose you will want this."
Glorfindel quickly snatched it from his hand before he could hide it again and gasped. It was simply a leather thong with a token on it, like many warriors used to hold their hair back. The token was wood, dyed a dark shade of green, and had a design carved into it of a star with multiple points. The star had been filled with a golden resin. Glorfindel's hands trembled as he stared up at Erestor.
"I started making it after your arrival. To remind you of your home."
Glorfindel finally found his voice again. "I do not know what to say---"
"Then say nothing. But promise me one thing," Erestor said, rising.
"If it is mine to give, I shall."
"Promise you will continue to tell me about Gondolin."
Glorfindel looked at Erestor, who smiled. A smile slowly crossed Glorfindel's features and he rose carefully, accepting the hand Erestor extended to help.
"Just do not ask me to tell you how to fight Balrogs."
Erestor laughed. "That is a promise, my friend."
Glorfindel paused, studying Erestor. "You remind me of him in many ways," he said softly.
"Ecthelion. So full of life and with an interest in many things." Glorfindel looked away and took a deep breath. "At first, I wondered why he was not sent back. But now I understand. I need to find a place in this time and leave my old life behind." He smiled slightly and once more looked at Erestor, his eyes bright with hope. "I need to forge new friendships. And I am glad to have you for a friend."
Erestor smiled and nodded. There was nothing more to say.