Glorfindel frowned, hitched his towel a little higher, and began going through his tunics again. He had just come off the training ground with the new recruits, had bathed, and now wished to wear the light blue tunic with gold embroidery that he so favored. But it was nowhere to be found, even though he was sure he had had it washed only recently.

Grumbling incoherently to himself, he tugged a pair of leggings free of the nest of clothing in his drawer and dressed his lower half. It was then that he noticed that the decorative dagger made for him when he joined Gil-galad's court in Lindon was, not hanging on the wall as it should have been, but leaning against the chest at the foot of his beds, its scabbard missing. His frown deepened.

His suspicion grew as he opened the door and stepped out into the hallway, damp hair swinging loose around his bare shoulders, hands on his hips.

"Lord Glorfindel," Erestor greeted him briskly as he passed, a snide eye on his naked torso. "I see you are feeling confident today."

Glorfindel ignored this jibe and instead asked, "Have you seen Estel, Erestor?"

The advisor raised one sardonic eyebrow. "Not recently. Why? Have you lost him?"

Glorfindel rolled his eyes and stalked back inside, knowing that no aid was going to come from that particular source.

Moments later, however, Erestor returned to push open his door without knocking.

"Excuse you," Glorfindel growled, head bent over as he toweled his hair dry.

"Why were you looking for Estel?" Erestor frowned down at him.

Glorfindel straightened and pointed at the dagger still leaning against the chest. Erestor stared, glancing once from the dagger to its place high on the wall, and back.

"How on earth-"

"I haven't the faintest. Why do you ask?"

"One of my helms is missing," he murmured.

"Ah." The marshal sighed. "I suppose we must solve this mystery, then, before something truly valuable disappears."

Erestor opened his mouth to set Glorfindel straight about the value of the collection of historic helms kept in his antechamber, but the warrior had swept past him and out into the hallway.

They had just reached the portico of the private family garden – the most likely haunt of the most likely culprit – when Elladan caught up with them.

"Have you seen-"

"Estel?" Erestor and Glorfindel chorused.

"Yes. I am missing an old quiver from my closet. Glorfindel, why are you half naked?"

As an answer, Glorfindel pointed. His two companions followed the delineating finger out into the garden, where a very small manling executed his fantastical game. A blue and gold tunic hung off his shoulders and dragged over the grass, hiding little arms twice over and cloaking a pair of enormous black boots that were no doubt just as pilfered as the scabbard being brandished, the quiver hiding the diminutive back, and the helm unbalancing the small body.

They watched in collective amusement as Estel, with many a war cry, slew his imaginary foes with the scabbard, stumbled over the boots and the tunic in turn, then spotted them.

"Findle!" he piped, propping up the helm with one hand to peer out at his spectators. "I big!" With this proclamation, he threw up both his hands, and the helm once more covered his face. "Like you!" echoed from beneath it.

Chuckling warmly, Glorfindel stepped forward in answer to his designated name and crouched before the child.

"Like me?" he repeated, lifting the helm just enough so that he could study the pair of bright, gray eyes.

Estel nodded vigorously, sending the helm a-clanging. "Yes! See? 'Dis your tunic," he patted his chest, "an' 'dis your sword!" He swung the scabbard, which was almost longer than he was tall. "I no take da real sword. It bary dang-russ."


"Yes. An' 'dis Rester's hat, an' 'dis Ey-dan's kivver, an' 'des Ada's boots! I borrow 'dem," he added in a chirp.

Glorfindel smiled, unable just yet to impart the life lesson about 'borrowing' that would sober the moment. "Nothing of Elrohir's?"

Estel saddened. "No. Eyo-hir lock his door."

At this, Glorfindel boomed with laughter, making Estel grin. He swept the giggling manling into his arms, catching the boots as they slipped off his feet, and bore him back inside.