Title: I Would Give You My Strength
written for TTT prompt #21: Silence
Beta: Andunea and Fiondil
Rating: K +
Warnings: Pre FotR, pain and suffering, mentioned death
Summary: Glorfindel eases the passing of a young elven warrior brought to the Last Homely House, only to find out that sometimes, true faith is not about believing but about letting go of belief.
Author's notes: See at the end of this fic
Disclaimer: Sadly, I do not own the elves in this fic. I don't make any money with this.
"Start walking...your legs will get heavy and tired...then comes the moment, of feeling the wings you've grown, lifting..."
Imladris, early spring, year 2991 of the third age
The quiet singing of evening birds mixed with the burble of the waterfalls and the soft sound of raindrops falling on the roof of the Last Homely House. Sunset licked the light from the sky. It had been another warm spring day, the warm breeze had chased winter's mustiness out of the house. The air smelled ripe and muddy. The blond elf sitting in the library, in the residue of that peaceful stillness, looked up as the Lord of Imladris opened the door. He knew what was going to be said before he heard the warm, melodious timbre of his companion's voice.
"He will die, my friend." The dark haired elf spoke reluctantly, eyes cast to the floor.
The addressed elf tilted his head. "I feared as much. When his warriors brought him, I needed only one look at his face. Devious goblins. It is sad, very sad, that this child must die so young without having accomplished all that lay ahead. But know that he will leave an ill and weary body to find rest. His life will only be lost for...a time. You know this."
"Aye, I know. But his death will not come swiftly. He will leave his body while experiencing a lot of pain."
Glorfindel watched as Lord Elrond of Imladris, despite thousands of years of healing experience, put his head in his hands.
He stood silently and laid a hand on the half-elf's shoulder.
"I have seen how hard you tried to keep him in Arda yet. You had his pierced intestines in your hands, my friend. What do you expect? The elven healing can do marvellous things, but sometimes even you must admit defeat."
The Lord of Imladris bowed his head in dismay. "It pains me to see him fading like that. Would you...go to him, Glorfindel? He did not ask for you, but I believe you might be the one to ease his passing since his family cannot be here with him."
The former Lord of the House of the Golden Flowers smiled and stood straight, his tall figure like a vision of hope. "Aye, I will go to him. But I know not if I can achieve that--ease his passing."
On his swift way from the library to the Healing Wing, fragments of an elven life not fully lived, yet a life of a true and loyal warrior, came to his mind. Quietly, Glorfindel opened the door and entered the room where the delicate smell of sweet herbs greeted him. Darkness was falling fast now, painting dark shadows to the walls. The silence inside was absolute.
The elf on the bed lay silent as well, unmoving. Dark circles hung under his closed eyes, his pale skin almost transparent where it was stretched over the elf's too prominent cheeks. The blood had been cleansed from his body, though Glorfindel could still see a few drops leaving parted lips. His breathing sounded shallow and labored. The other elf's hair was blond like his own. Not of the same color or same quality, more flaxen than golden. The way it spilled across the pillow made the figure look indeed like a very young one of their kind. On the face he could see lines of pain.
Without saying a word, Glorfindel sat on the chair next to the large bed.
His long, elegant fingers found the smaller hand of the other and the pale ellon moaned, a few weak coughs bringing greater traces of blood to his lips. His eyes finally fluttered open and a tired and pain clouded gaze tried to focus upon his visitor.
"My lord...I am very happy to see you." His voice was but a whisper, pain evidently shown on his fair features.
Glorfindel's deep blue eyes caught the ones of the younger elf and seemed to hold onto them so the other could not close them again: "I am here, child. All is well."
"No, it is not. You do not need to lie to me." It was a statement.
Glorfindel sighed and his warm fingers, so adept at shooting a bow, at wielding a sword started to stroke the others much colder digits with great diligence and care.
"I will tell you the truth then, my dear child." The golden warrior hesitated for a brief moment that seemed to stretch into infinity. His eyes, intense, but full of solace, still held the others as if a father would hold the gaze of his own son. He had not been a father, but seeing this young elf leaving before his time even made his heart weep. He did not need to be a father to feel the loss dragging at his own soul. So many elves had already chosen to sail, should this promising and otherwise faithful elven child be lost to them as well?
"You are fading." Only three words. Glorfindel's voice stayed remarkably strong.
"It will not be a quick or a merciful death, you will suffer great pain. Lord Elrond could relieve you from it and you will leave this life not swiftly, but sleeping and without feeling the pain, if you wish. You will sleep until...the very end." The deep blue eyes filled with salty tears and whilst Glorfindel still stroked the younger warrior's hand, he felt a part of his own soul and spirit ache so much, he could almost feel the pain constricting his heart.
The eyes of the dying elf stayed dry but his face showed an internal fight about what would be wrong or right. "I am grateful you told me, my Lord. But...I do not wish to spend my last hours in a death-sleep. I want to...be aware." It was no more than a whisper, not more than a gust fleeing the room through the wide opened windows.
Glorfindel took a deep, calming breath, savouring the aroma of this warm yet rainy spring evening. He would have chuckled, had the situation not been so dire. Thick-headed, divine and proud, this child.
The younger elf spoke again. "I hope my father sees me as brave though. Those goblins, they were...everywhere. I did what I could, but it was not enough and I am devastated it cost so many of my contingent's warriors. I felled one with every arrow and my companions ended the lives of even more. But the darkness in these caves we had taken shelter in...drew away my strength. I am ashamed it will end like this since we only wanted to bring note to Lord Elrond of the darkness spreading farther with such might."
"You need not be ashamed, child, you fought with great bravery. Sleep now, be at peace. Night will be on us soon. Let me tell you that you are not alone in this. You fought with courage and you don't deserve pity but admiration, respect and esteem. Simply know that compassion can be shared. When we see this connection between us and everyone else, we learn that our people belong to each other; we do not suffer alone. I am with you, child." Glorfindel's long fingers found the other's cheek and caressed the much too cold skin whilst the younger elf closed his eyes.
The older elf sighed softly and he almost lost himself in his troubled thoughts.
'I would give you my strength if it would but save your life, Thranduilion. But your injuries will not heal. I cannot give you a new body. Neither can Lord Elrond. Go and rest in the Halls.'
The ellon's lips parted in an attempt to whisper words of his gratitude. Glorfindel saw that darkness beckoned, urging the young warrior to give in to its sweet release. Resisting it was getting harder for the dying elf on the bed.
"I will stay with you, dear child, fear not."
Before the younger elf's eyes closed, a single question, perhaps not really worthy to a warrior elf, seemed to appear inside his very soul.
"Leaving an ill body behind? Aye, I am afraid so. But despair not. After all this pain, there will be relief, in the end. There will be others loving you. Despair not, for I am with you." Glorfindel's thumb still stroked the bruised knuckles.
When he started to sing, it wasn't only for his own sorrow but also to take away what might darken the soul of the passing elf. Both their features relaxed and a deep peace filled their hearts. "You know, son of Thranduil, your suffering isn't something I was going to have to let go of; it had become part of what I had to offer, part of who I am--you can share all your pain with me," he whispered.
When Lord Elrond entered the room, hours later, he found his friend still at the side of the younger elf, stroking his hand and singing quietly. The healer's fingers moved to the neck of the sleeping ellon and his grey eyes sought out the dark blue ones of his long time friend.
"His heartbeat is slow. I know not how long it is going to take. But he should be...on his journey very soon." Glorfindel simply nodded. He watched as Elrond lowered the blanket to reveal a bloodied bandage covering almost the whole center of the elf's body from ribs to pelvis. "It is of no use to change those anymore, it would only pain him more to remove them." The healer sighed.
Glorfindel smiled, nothing more. "Go to sleep, Elrond. I will be staying with young Thranduilion. He might need you in the morning."
Elrond shook his head: "Glorfindel, you know as well as I that there will most likely be no morning in Arda anymore for the young prince."
Glorfindel's smile did not fade as he spoke, not knowing exactly where this encouraging thought came from. "Faith, my dear friend, is not about believing but about letting go of belief. Faith does not hope or pray for things to be different sometime in the near future. Faith is the still heart that refuses nothing, our willingness to trust things as they are." And as the Lord of Imladris left them alone, without offering a reply to his once reborn friend, Glorfindel's beautiful voice started to fill the room again, singing of hope and joy, of freedom and love.
He did not know just how long his soothing songs lasted, but as the brilliant light of dawn crested over the hill and thick silver mist hung between the smooth tree trunks of the still valley, tired blue eyes opened again. The now warm hand of the younger elf looked for the fingers of the golden haired Lord sitting beside him. And Glorfindel smiled the serene smile of his as he stroked the younger elf's cheeks. He knew there was a joy beyond happiness; its essence being stillness and a comforting silence, a deep quiet that could be inhaled, that poured through bodies until there was no part that was not filled.
Author's Notes: This is my first try at Glorfindel. I was a little bit worried about him being unique and complicated to describe. But reading Fiondil's "Elf, interrupted" made it so much easier to finally grasp his character.