Title: THE NEXT WARRIOR'S HAND
Author: Sadie Sil
Beta: Mystery Maiden and Puxinette
Time line:Early Third Age. The twins are still as teenagers.
Disclaimer: I didn't create any of these wonderful characters. I've just borrowed them from the Professor, devoting them all my love. Now I feel they are also a little bit mine, but I am sure the good Professor won't mind sharing them with me.
My own characters in this story are: Lady Idhrenniel (a female healer de Imladris), Beinion, Angahor, Arnamo, Séretur, Cúndur, Earon, Varyar, Laston, Túro e Hérion (pupils from Imladris and friends of the twins) and others who eventually appeared here and there.
Important Notices: To write the story I've used some references. The excellent biographies and articles of Valinor (a Brazilian site) were my main source. Besides it, The Children of Húrin, a Tolkien's story adapted superbly by his son Christopher, is also the center of my idea. That makes my text a kind of "spoiler" of the book in some parts. I'm sorry about it. However, some facts are just my own ideas; mixing facts of the books and my crazy imagination in something I think it would be interesting. Hope you think the same.
Ion – son
Ionath – children - sons
Ield - daughter
Ada – dad (familiar/informal)
Adar – father (formal)
Nana – mom (familiar/informal)
Naneth – mother (formal)
Daerada – grandpa (familiar/informal)
Daernana – grandma (familiar/informal)
Daerion - grandson
Tithen-pen – little one
Pen-neth – little one
Astalder – The brave one
-nín – my
Obs: The expressions El-nín and Rohir-nín are nicknames which Celebrian used to call her sons. – Something like – "my star", and "my warrior".
CHAPTER I - THE DESIRE TO GROW
I only have two hands and the feeling of the world.
Carlos Drummond de Andrade (a Brazilian writer)
When Elladan walked down the staircase outside in search of his brother, he realized that his instincts had led him to the right place.
"Finally..." he muttered to himself, leaping the last steps and running toward his twin, who was crouched beneath an oak.
Elrohir quickly concealed what he had in his hands in a large piece of cloth.
"What do you have there?" Elladan asked.
"Nothing," answered the other elfling, petulantly. "Where have you been? Did you spend all morning with Ada again?"
"I told you where I would be," Elladan argued, not understanding his younger brother's bad mood. "You do not like dealing with Ada's herbs and salts, so I did not waste my time calling you."
"You always stay there all the morning."
"These experiments take time. Ada always says that you should follow everything from start to finish; it doesn't matter how long it takes," explained the young elf. Elladan sat heavily on the ground beside his brother, but kept his eyes fixed on the object that was being hidden from him.
"I know..." Elrohir replied, but he didn't seem convinced. Silence filled the spaces of what was left of their conversation. Neither of them said anything for several minutes, and it began to make Elladan uneasy. He scowled, already aware that something was odd.
"Are you angry because I could not train this morning, Ro? I told you that Ada had reserved that time for me this week."
"I'm not angry."
"I can train with you now. Shall we?"
The younger twin let a disdainful sound escape from his lips, shrugging.
"I'm tired of training with wooden swords. We are already adults."
Elladan twisted his lips, recognizing the old complaints and lamentations that Elrohir had been repeating as a mantra recently, a discourse that was leading everyone around him to despair.
"Glorfindel said we cannot deal with other swords yet. We are not tall enough to use a real sword."
"We are the tallest in our class. We have grown faster than everyone else."
"But it's still not enough. Our mentor said we must be at least Nana's height and we are not yet at the height of her shoulder."
Elrohir clicked his tongue again, angrily crossing his arms over bent legs.
"Glorfindel said he was younger than us when he began to carry a sword."
"That's true. He also said he has never regretted telling something to someone as much as he regrets having told you this," recalled the elder twin. "It was another time, Ro. He explained that to us, remember? We can wait. He already gave us heavier swords than our companions. The training is even harder now."
"Harder..." muttered Elrohir scornfully. "Those swords are ridiculous... I hate wooden swords... they look like children's toys."
Elladan let out a sigh of discontent; Elrohir and his fixed ideas. The elder twin gave up arguing, which was always the wisest decision, concerning his brother's radical ideas. He finally looked again at the object hidden by his twin.
"Will you tell me what you have there?"
"Then why don't you want to tell me what is it?"
"Because I don't want to. You do not understand what I say anymore, and you're always siding with Ada and Glorfindel. So it is useless sharing anything with you."
Elladan was surprised by his twin's accusation; until that moment he had not noticed that his conciliatory attitude was creating that kind of feeling in the younger brother.
"What do you mean? I... I do not do that, Ro. I do not side with anyone other than you."
"Of course you do! Just yesterday you repeated to Daerada the same speech Glorfindel tells us every day."
"Because Daerada has asked me how the training was..."
"And you quickly told him we were still training with those stupid wooden swords!"
Elladan was silent, not trying to defend himself. Actually he didn't understand why his brother was so angry with him.
"What should I have said?" he finally asked.
"Forget it," Elrohir replied, with lips still twisted in dissatisfaction. "You always do what you should do. You always do everything right..."
Elladan frowned. "That is not wrong, is it?" he asked. He was surprised to see his brother put his things together and stand up, carrying what he was trying to hide. Rising slowly, Elladan watched in disbelief, as Elrohir walked quickly away.
"You don't have what I think you do, do you?" he finally asked. Elladan was afraid to contemplate what his mind was visualizing.
"It's not your business what I have here. Why don't you go to look for your plants with Ada?"
Elladan's jaw dropped, surprised by his brother's aimless attack. He even took a few steps, but gave up following him. Whatever was happening, he knew Elrohir well enough to know it was a waste of time trying to argue with him in his current state of mind.
It was past nightfall when Elrohir entered his bedroom. Elladan, who was in his bed with a large book in his hands, tried to disguise the surprise of finally seeing his brother at the end of the day.
"Where were you, Ro? Ada kept asking me about you during dinner."
"So it was good you did not know where I was," Elrohir replied sharply, undressing as he headed to the hall bath. "If you knew, you would have told him. You cannot keep your tongue inside your mouth."
Elladan snorted then, almost reaching the limits of his patience with his brother's provocation. He threw book and covers aside and followed the other elfling into the next room. When he entered, Elrohir was completely submerged in the bathtub. Elladan sighed impatiently; waiting for his brother to come up again. It was one of the youngest twin's habits: to test, whenever possible, how long he could stay underwater holding his breath. Each day that limit extended a bit.
"You talk as if I would tell everything about you to anyone who turned up," complained the firstborn, as soon as his brother's face rose, gasping for air.
"Not everybody," the young elf corrected, rubbing the water from his eyes. "Just those who ask you."
This time Elladan did not respond, his patience finally exhausted. He just watched as his brother finished the bath and dried himself, as if he were not there. When Elrohir threw himself in his own bed, already in his nightclothes, the older twin felt that he had endured too much.
"When are you finally going to tell me what I did wrong?" Elladan asked in all sincerity.
"Why?" Elrohir said with feigned disinterest. He picked up a book on his bedside table and then abandoned it after reading merely the title.
"Because I do not know what I did, and if you do not tell me, I am going to continue doing it without knowing," replied the other angrily.
"You did nothing." Elrohir then lay down; pulling the covers over his body and moving to blow out the candles. Elladan picked up the candlestick before his brother reached it and walked a few steps away.
"Come on. Blow it out. I want to sleep," Elrohir protested.
This time it was the oldest brother who pretended to ignore what he heard, refusing to extinguish the light illuminating his quite dissatisfied face. Elrohir returned the look of discontent for a while, and then dropped his arms on the bed.
"Very well, I will tell you. But if one word of what I say here walks out that door, no matter the reason, I will never speak to you again."
Elladan lowered the candle a bit, and then he approached again, putting it back in place and sitting on the bed beside his brother. Elrohir looked at his twin's irritated face, considering whether he dared take the path of telling Elladan what he wanted to know, and if he did, how far he could go.
"I do not go around telling others everything you tell me, Elrohir," emphasized the oldest, his face showing his irritation, and his tone no longer civil.
"No. Just what I do wrong."
"I do not do that..." protested the older brother, even more emphatically than before. "Sometimes luck is against us, and someone comes and asks me... So I... I do not know what to say. I'm not good with lies like you are."
Elrohir pressed his lips together, his eyes wandering to the white ceiling. Elladan was silent, merely shaking his head, showing just how annoyed he was with Elrohir's foolish behavior. Then he turned again to his brother, suddenly aware of the reason for all the mystery.
"Oh, Elrohir. What have you done?"
"Why do you think I have done something?"
"Because you have. You have, and you want to tell me, but you think I am going to tell someone else, don't you?"
Elrohir did not answer, and Elladan wished he had confronted Elrohir, when this idea had first occurred to him. He'd known that his brother's silence and dark mood hid something.
"It has to do with what you were trying to hide from me today, hasn't it?"
Elrohir curled his lips, but a slight blush on his face betrayed him.
"What is it? What do you have hidden?" Elladan insisted, worried now. Then, facing more silence as an answer, he grabbed his brother's arm, making him finally look at him. "Come on, Elrohir! Tell me at once what it is!"
"You said you knew what it was," dodged the twin, and Elladan turned pale immediately, feeling the hope that he could be wrong suddenly abandon him.
"Elbereth!" exclaimed the young elf, closing his eyes, trying to escape from the image his mind has formed. "Where did you get it?"
Elrohir looked away to the curtains of the room, swinging in the breeze, but a sly smile was already lifting the corners of his lips.
"Near the smithy," he said, trying now to disguise his satisfaction of saying that.
Elladan curved his eyebrows, reading the traces of his brother's face like no other could do. Soon he understood the situation. He knew very well what was involved when the younger twin gave that smile.
"What do you mean? Lord Angatal leaves no swords thrown in the trash..." he said, puzzled. After that, a frightening thought occurred to him. "Did you steal one, Elrohir?"
The twin scowled heavily, now looking right at his brother.
"Who do you think I am, Toron-nín?" he replied sharply. But Elladan was not intimidated by the youngest twin's sudden retort and continued to look at him, as if waiting for the end of a story that he already knew he wouldn't like. "It was an old rusty sword that the soldiers found in the forest. It does not have a decent tip."
Elladan felt his jaw drop.
"I know what it is... It is huge, Elrohir! Lord Angatal said he would reform it..."
"He cannot do that. It has no owner to authorize the process. Remember? Every sword has its owner, and nobody can handle it without the permission of the owner or someone of equal rank. It is what Lord Angatal always says."
"He said he would ask Ada's permission."
"Yes, but Ada thought it would be better not to deal with it. I heard him talking with Lord Angatal. I did not quite understand why, but in the end he advised the blacksmith to bury it."
"And you dug it up?"
"It was nobody's."
"Of course it was. You just do not know who the owner is."
"Ada said the owner must be dead, so the blade was abandoned. Probably he had fallen in some battle or ambush a long time ago. He does not need the sword."
"Elrohir... How can you say that? Have you forgotten everything they taught us? A person's weapon is sacred. If he or she does not give anyone the right to use it, it must be buried with or without the owner... unless there are any descendants who might speak out for the right of wielding it... Erestor told us that, too, remember?"
"That's folly." Elrohir rose quickly, starting to pace in the bedroom. "A sword with a broken tip, totally rusty like that... Who would care?"
"And if it was our Daerada's?" Elladan argued, still sitting on the bed, but twisting his body to follow his brother's movement around the room.
"What do you mean? Ada would recognize it if the sword were our Daerada's. What nonsense are you talking about?"
"And what do you think Ada would do if he had recognized our grandfather's sword?"
"I do not know! It depends..."
"Depends on what?"
"It depends!" The twin was annoyed then, finally realizing what his brother was getting at. "There are a lot of things he could want to do..."
"Among them would be giving the sword to an inexperienced young elf to handle," Elladan completed. He closed his eyes, when he realized his sarcasm might be lost on Elrohir. This was a dangerous argument to hand to his twin, who was just looking for any excuse to keep the sword.
The look Elrohir offered him as a response only confirmed his conjecture.
"I will treat the weapon with respect," argued the youngest. "I will not take it to kill insects or anything like that, as the small ones do with their wooden swords!"
"It is not yours, Elrohir." Elladan rose. "You cannot do anything with it, not even to try out the little you have learned about blacksmithing on it."
Elrohir's eyes flew open, unable to hide his surprise. Having a twin brother, who knew him so well, was often too inconvenient.
"Who told you that I did that?" the youngest said, trying vainly to defend himself.
"Your eyes are telling me this - and even things worse," accused the elder. "And we will get in trouble like we have never been in since we were born, Toron-nín."
Elrohir blushed again, but this time it was anger that colored his cheeks. He snorted indignantly then and stood, shaking his head.
"Orc's breath, Dan, that's why I do not tell you anything anymore. You have this adult way of speaking which is intolerable."
Elladan also shook his head, but for a different reason than his brother.
"Do you realize that by saying this you are practically admitting that you still want to stay in the world of those who are not adults, Elrohir?" he said, and received the worst look he had ever gotten from his brother. Even so, Elladan was not intimidated, taking a step forward and grabbing his brother's left arm.
"Come on, let's put the sword where you found it. We will make a solemn apology to its former owner, and so, luckily, we will be free from anything bad that it can bear."
Elrohir pulled his arm free, turning to walk away. "I do not know why you are putting the situation in the plural like this," he said. "If the sword has some curse, you need not fear for your neck, Toron. I made the silly mistake; whatever it will bring, it will reach only me and not you."
Elladan pressed his lips together tightly, and then sighed.
"Do you really think that what happens to you does not affect me at all?" he asked in a sad tone. Elladan suddenly realized why Elrohir's words were so displeasing to him. "Why do you want to move us away from each other, Toron-nín?" he asked. "Am I becoming so unbearable for you?"
Elrohir did not answer, nor did he look at his brother. A long period of silence passed, until the youngest brother's eyes became strained, trying to see why his twin still had not moved. In Elladan's face there was no specific answer, however; the sadness in him was not exactly something Elrohir could ignore.
"I do not want you away from me," The younger twin finally said, standing up a bit straighter. "I just miss the time when you did not question the things I did as you do now."
"If I do that it is because I am afraid for you, Toron," the other justified himself, dropping his shoulders. "You are very impulsive. You do things without thinking, and then you feel sorry and I... I do not like to see the way you look when you are sorry... It is very sad."
Elrohir locked his jaw, grinding his teeth, biting back the angry words that were ready to jump out of his mouth. He knew that his brother was right, but he just could not admit it.
"They force me to do what is wrong," he said then. "What does it cost them to give me the sword I wanted?"
Elladan frowned again, his mouth dropping open, as though he could not believe what he was hearing.
"Did they force you? But what is this nonsense, Elrohir? You know you cannot have the sword now. You know why. They have explained everything. They have not simply said 'No and this is the end of conversation'. You are reacting like a child."
"And you are defending them! Do you see? That's why I do not tell you anything. You do not understand me anymore!" Elrohir said angrily. He grabbed some clothes from the wardrobe and headed to the door.
"Where are you going?
"I am going to sleep somewhere else!" his brother said. "I do not want to be with you anymore. Tomorrow I will ask for a room of my own. Maybe this they will be able to give me."
Elladan froze, unable to think of a response. But then he was startled by the noise of the slamming bedroom door.
That night, however, he did not sleep, but spent hours sitting on his bed, trying to quell a very bad feeling growing in his chest - a feeling of sadness like he had never felt before.