Note: This story is basically a spin-off of Athrana. I wanted to go into more detail about Athriel's childhood and the relationship between Erestor and Glorfindel. I would recommend reading 'Athrana' and the sister story 'Nariel the Red' but hopefully you don't have to, to understand what is going on. Some of the content is the same as some flashbacks in 'Athrana' but the perspectives will be different.
Chapter 1- Preparations
Erestor had been working at his desk when the message arrived. To say he had been expecting it would be a lie, but he knew what it was as soon as it was placed on his desk. It was strange the mixture of excitement and grief the letter had brought, and he hadn't even broken the seal yet. "Aren't you going to open it?" Erestor didn't even look up as Lord Elrond came into the room. "I really thought he would hold on a little longer" He sighed, turning the scroll over and over in his hands. "Now Erestor, come on. You don't know that's what he says. Maybe he is writing to keep you informed on how she is doing." Finally the advisor looked up at his friend. "In four years he hasn't written once Elrond. He's barely been the elf I knew since..." He sighed. "He's sailing, it has to be. There's no other explanation."
Four years ago Erestor had made the journey to Cirdan's realm for what should have been a happy occasion. His mother was finally going to give birth to his little sister. It had been a long time coming, and they were all so excited. There had been complications however, and even though his Naneth had given birth to the child, it had cost her her life. After that day his Adar had been a broken elf. He had promised to hold on as long as he could but he knew one day his grief would become too much. One day he would have to sail and little Athriel would be sent to live with him. Now it seemed that day had come.
"You won't know for sure until you open it Erestor." He nodded. There really was no use in putting it off. Delaying would not change the facts. It definitely wouldn't bring his parents back, and the sooner he knew for sure the sooner he could begin preparing for her arrival. That was the problem he supposed. He had no idea what he was doing. He didn't know how to look after an elfling. He had no idea what she needed, how to speak to her or anything. Opening the message would that it was real. It would mean that his father had actually given up. It would mean that at four years old the poor child was left with no one but a brother who didn't know what to do. But what else could he do. He couldn't let her down, or his father. He couldn't just sit here wishing things had been different. She was his little sister and as scared as he was, he was excited to.
Taking one deep breath he pulled open the seal and read his father's writing. It was done. Now his life was going to change forever, and somehow he couldn't keep from smiling. He hadn't seen his sister since the day she had been born and now he was going to see her every day. Reading the words he was happy for his father. Finally he would know peace. Finally he would be going to join his wife. The letter said so much. From the parchment Erestor could see the anguish his father had been living in these last few years. He had held on as best he could for the sake of his daughter, but it had been torture. Now he was finally free and confident that his only son would do a much better job of raising her. He even said that it was as if Erestor was supposed to raise her. Erestor wiped a tear from his eye. He had never really doubted his father's faith in him, but seeing it written down had really moved him. They had been so close once, even living in different realms had not affected that. It was good to know that even after their recent estrangement he believed in him. If his naneth hadn't died, they would all have been as close as ever. He could do this. He would do the best he could and she would live happily here until they sailed together to meet their parents again. Not only was she depending on him, so were their parents.
"He will wait until she is on her way here before he sails, but no longer." He sat back in his chair thinking on all that he would have to do. The first thing he had to decide on was how they would get her here. The message really couldn't have come at a worse time. He had so much work to do. He wished he could go and collect her personally but that wouldn't really be possible at the moment. And he didn't want to delay his father any more than he needed to. As he always seemed to the answer to his problem walked through the door at that moment.
Without a word Glorfindel strode over to the chair across from Erestor's desk and put his boots up onto its edge. He grinned waiting for the advisor to complain, but stopped when he noticed the sombre look on Elrond's face and the letter in Erestor's hand. "What happened?" He asked putting his feet back on the ground and leaning forward. Silently Erestor handed the scroll over. No one spoke as the warrior read the parchment. "When do you want me to leave" he asked as he handed the paper back. Erestor grinned. "As soon as possible" The blonde nodded and left to make his travel preparations. Realising that he was no longer needed Elrond thought it was about time he tell his wife the news. She would be overjoyed. They both loved elflings and it would be good to have someone near the twin's age for them to socialise with. As he reached the door he turned back to see Erestor making lists. This would be very good for him.
A couple of hours later Erestor was standing in his rooms, list in hand wondering how he was going to get everything done. The first thing he needed to do was plan the living arrangements. He didn't want to move if he could help it, but there definitely wouldn't be enough room for them both in his rooms. Suddenly an idea struck him. As chief councillor his rooms were in a restricted section of the last homely house. Across the corridor from him lived Glorfindel and further down the hall were the rooms designated to Elrond and his family. The rooms next to him however were currently empty. That would be the perfect solution. Barely containing his excitement Erestor left his rooms and stood in front of the door next to his. Reaching up he found the key above the frame of the door and unlocked it.
Pushing the door open he smiled. The rooms, slightly smaller than his own, would be just what they needed. Although she was only small now, before he knew it she would need her own space. Wasting no time he moved to the connecting wall between the two living rooms and tried to decide where he could put a door.
Coming out of his own room, ready to discuss his travel plans, Glorfindel went to knock on Erestor's door. He stopped. The door next to his friend's was wide open, and he could hear movement. Curiosity getting the better of him he stepped sideways and peered around the frame. When he spotted Erestor he had to stop himself from laughing. In his long black robes with a stick of charcoal behind one ear, his dearest friend was measuring an empty space of wall. Leaving him to his preparations Glorfindel walked happily towards the training grounds to find his second in command. As he walked he thought about how their lives would change very soon. He couldn't wait.