Title: Apostate's Ruse
Author: Calenlass Greenleaf
Disclaimer: Estel and everyone else known belong to Tolkien. I own only the plot.
Rating: PG-13 for now.
Timeframe: Estel is sixteen.
Chapter One: Peculiar Incidents
Estel sat on the Western balcony. The boy was holding a piece of wood in his left hand. In his other hand, he held a knife. His head was bent low, silver-gray eyes fixed on his task. A strand of hair fell into his face, and he impatiently pushed it away with the back of his right hand. With a sigh, he leaned back against the wall to stare out at the brilliant sunset.
Two months. His father had been away for two months in Lothlórien. Glorfindel and Erestor had also gone with him, leaving Estel alone with the servants. He had wanted to go with his brothers to Mirkwood, but Elrond had insisted that he stay home. For the umpteenth time, he wondered why his father had made him stay. "Because he thinks I am too young," Estel muttered to himself, "that I could not take care of myself." His fingers turned the carving over and over, feeling each crevice. He knew his father would not come home until late spring, and it disappointed him that his sixteenth birthday had come and gone without any notice having been taken of it. "I never knew life could be so tedious." He mumbled under his breath.
Estel's thoughts turned to the ways of warfare. During the past few months, he had become dissatisfied with his archery. No matter how hard he tried, he could not hit the direct center, save on some random day. Even though Elladan and Elrohir had assured him that he was already good, Estel still felt his archery was…imperfect. He had remembered what his brothers and Glorfindel had taught him, yet this goal seemed impossible. It was the same with his swordplay. He had sparred with Elladan, Elrohir, Glorfindel, and even Erestor until he knew how to defeat them. But there was a feeling that told him he could still learn more. Absently, he began twisting a strand of hair between his thumb and forefinger. "Perhaps what I need is a new challenge," he thought. "I know, maybe when Ada comes back, I can ask him to spar with me. Besides, Glorfindel is always telling me how good my father was in the war of the Last Alliance." He stood up and began to pace. "Maybe..."
He suddenly stopped and leaned over the balcony. He could see a figure on a horse, and his heart pounded. Without another thought, Estel ran to the front the Last Homely House. As he hurried toward the person, he called out a greeting, "Mae govannen!"
"Mae govannen," a well-known voice replied.
Estel's face showed his surprise. "Ada?"
The Elf smiled down at him. "Estel."
"Ada , I did not expect you this early." He placed one hand on his father's horse. "And where are the others?"
Elrond replied, "My business was finished in Lórien, and therefore I had no reason to stay." He dismounted. "But the others -their work is not done."
"Oh." Estel was slightly disappointed, but nonetheless happy to see his father.
Elrond handed his horse to a servant, and walked with his son into their home. "How have you been during my absence?"
Estel shrugged. "Well enough. But I missed having you around."
His father's mouth tipped. "Ah, so you did miss me."
"Of course I did!" the boy laughed. "Ada, do you want anything do eat?"
The Elf-lord shook his head. "I feel like resting." He gently pushed the boy toward the dining room. "Go on. If you need me, I will be in my room."
Estel nodded, and watched his father go up the stairs, pleased that he was back.
A week slipped by. Estel was sprawled on his bed, engrossed in a scroll, when Elrond knocked sharply on the door. "Estel, open the door this instant." His voice sounded tight.
The boy hastened to comply, unlocking the door. Estel was confused by the angry look on Elrond's face. What had he done wrong?
"Did you go into my study yesterday?" The Elf-lord asked, his voice cold.
Estel nodded slowly, "I did…"
"What did you do with the scrolls that had the blue string tied around them?"
"The scrolls?" Estel thought for a moment. "You said I could go into your study and borrow whatever I needed for my studies." He backed slightly away from the irate Elf. "I need those scrolls for a pap-"
"Give them back to me," Elrond interrupted him,
"Now, Estel." Elrond was not shouting, but the tone of his voice permitted no excuses.
Without another word, the boy picked up the scrolls from his bed and desk, rolled them up, and tied them with the string. He handed them to his father.
Elrond took the bundle from him and turned to leave. Estel hesitantly asked, "Ada?"
The Elf turned around. "What?!" he asked impatiently.
"I still need more information for my assignment on the end of the Second Age and the start of the Third Age. When may I borrow your scrolls?"
"When I say you can." The Elf left the room, leaving a confused Estel in his wake.
The boy stood there, dumb, his thoughts jumbled. "That was…odd," he thought. "Very odd." He sighed. "Great. Now I'll have to find what I need from some other source." He slowly made his way to the library. "I wonder why Ada needs those scrolls. I thought he knew that information already because he lived during those times." He shrugged. "But who am I to question him?"
That night, in the Hall of Fire, Estel was sitting in front of the fire, reading a book. Elrond was seated on the couch, also reading. The boy looked up. "Ada?"
Elrond made a soft sound. "Hmm?"
"Have you heard anything from Elladan and Elrohir?"
The Elf turned a page in his book. "A message arrived today. Your brothers say they're fine."
"Did they say when they were coming back?"
Estel was growing slightly impatient with Elrond's short answers. "Was there a letter for me?"
"Aye. It's in my study." The Elf finally looked up from his book. "But don't bother to get it now. It's late."
Estel frowned. "Ada, how come you never let me go in your study anymore?"
"I don't want anything in my study to be…out of order," came the reply.
The boy raised an eyebrow at that. "I'm sixteen, Ada. The last time I ruined one of your things, I was ten," he stated deliberately, wishing his father would pay attention to what he was saying.
"I know…just keep out of my study, do you understand?"
"Very well," the boy muttered, "good night." He got up and left the room, somewhat baffled by Elrond's strange comportment. This was the first time his father had forbidden him entry to his study room, and Estel found it strange because Elrond had never done so, even when he was a young child. It was unsettling.
Mae govannen - Well met
Ada - daddy