Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me, although I do claim the nickname of "'rond" ;). It's all Tolkien's.

A/N: This is part of a loosely connected series of stories about Elrond's childhood. Previous stories are "Elen atarwa" and "Aiya Eärendil elenion ancalima". It's not necessary to have read them in order to understand what's going on, but it does help to understand the relationship between Elrond and Gil-galad.

Bad habit, starting a story when there's another unfinished, I know. I promise I'll write part III to "Elen atarwa" as soon as I'm done with this, kay? Now, this is probably quite AU, since I have no idea what Gil-galad was *doing* near the end of the First Age, where he lived, etc… so I have to make it all up. When I get the Silmarillion (tried to buy it in town, wasn't able to find an English copy anywhere) I'll probably go back and edit this story to make it fit in with the storyline better.


Elrond ran through nearly empty streets, following a small dark-haired figure. "Elros! Elros!" His thin voice echoed, but the passing people barely glanced at him. 'What a time for him to run off,' he thought bitterly. His younger sibling was irresponsible, more than Elrond had ever been. Today he'd apparently tired of his lessons and left the palace, opting for exploring the city instead. That would have been bad enough, but Elrond had a bad feeling about today. It was too quiet, there were too few people, and those he had seen seemed – frightened yet determined, the perceptive half-elf thought. What was more, they were all armed, and he hadn't seen any other children, and only very few women. He'd hardly ever been in the city before, of course, but this couldn't be normal.

Hearing a high-pitched giggle ahead, Elrond ran faster. "Elros!" he shouted, rounding a corner. And there was his brother, sitting on a marble bench laughing. At what, he had no idea, and didn't care at the moment. "What do you think you're doing? Running off like that?" he scolded, panting slightly. Elros looked up at his brother and shrugged. "Bored." The child was still too young to speak full sentences – or maybe he just couldn't be bothered.

"Come on, let's go back. They'll be looking for us." Elrond turned around and felt a shiver of fear crawling up his spine. He'd hardly ever been in the city, and Elros had led him on quite a chase through twisted alleys and narrow roads. He had no idea where he was. And more, there seemed to be a tension in the air, like the feeling before a thunderstorm. There wasn't a person in sight, and it was quiet… Elrond strained his ears, wishing he were a full elf – they had better hearing. But he was still able to hear something in the distance, metal clashing on metal, screams and shouts. Was that smoke in the sky?

"'rond, why're you scared?" Elrond turned around. So his brother could be perceptive of other's emotions – it didn't seem like it very often. "I… I don't know," he confessed. "There's something wrong. Let's go," he added, seized by a new feeling of urgency. He grabbed his brother's hand and started hurrying in the direction he thought he'd come from.

The sounds grew louder as the two ran, the clamor surrounding them. Now there were people – grim-faced warriors, some wounded. Elrond felt as if he were in a nightmare – running, the sounds of battle surrounding them, his brother tugging on his hand and sobbing. Tall adults were all around them, not sparing the children a glance, hefting swords and shouting harshly. All the streets seemed the same, although they were no longer pristine as they'd been that morning, but dirty and littered. It was Sirion all over again… Elrond clenched his teeth together and ran faster, trying not to think on what he was seeing, or else the memories would return. 'You think too much,' Gil-galad had said once. How Elrond wished he were here, he'd know what to do. He'd pick Elros up and take Elrond by the hand and bring them both back to the palace. The palace that had become their home since Sirion… 'No, don't think of that. Concentrate on running. You can't stay here,' the frightened youth told himself. One foot in front of the next… suddenly he stepped something warm and wet, slipped and fell. Elrond stood up, grabbing onto his brother who'd fallen on top of him, and looked around to see what he'd stepped in. He froze.

Blood was pooling beneath an elven warrior, draining from a jagged hole in his chest. The elf's eyes were wide open, staring at the sky in surprise, yet the spirit that had been behind them was gone. A sword lay near his outstretched hand.

The two brothers gazed at the body, wide-eyed, until a sudden sound startled them. Elrond picked up the sword – he had to hold it in both hands to keep it from shaking – and whirled around. He stared at the creature that was behind him.

It was a horrendous monster like nothing he'd ever seen before. Large, towering above him, yellow eyes gleaming with a malevolent intelligence, its bulky shape blocking out the sunlight. Its mouth was open, showing rows upon rows of sharp teeth, and it held a large sword in one clawed hand. It hissed something at the half-elven child, who was so terrified he couldn't move.

Elrond was aware of a soft, frightened squeak from behind him. He'd forgotten all about his brother! Protective insticts he'd developed in the ruins of Sirion took hold of him again and he brandished the sword at the monster, which laughed gutturally and lunged at him.

To the surprise of everyone present – not least of all himself – Elrond managed to parry the attack. Silently he thanked the Valar that Gil-galad had started training him in use of a sword recently. He'd protested at the time – preferring to spend the time in the library – but now those skills would come in handy. Although he'd never used a sword as big as this one…

Apparently the monster wasn't a very good swordsman either, as the battle went back and forth for a while. Finally Elrond saw the monster make a mistake, leaving itself open to attack. He started to lunge forward, then stopped.

In his mind, he saw his sword piercing the creature's heart. He saw blood spilling out of the wound, saw the gleam in its eyes flicker and fade. Then the view changed, he was on the streets of Sirion again. He saw a young elf running a woman through with his sword – the same sword he now held in his hand – saw her scream, but only blood came out of her mouth. Saw her eyes glaze over as she clutched futilely at the large, gaping hole in her chest, and saw her falling slowly to the ground. Her killer turned around… he looked like Elrond…

"No," the half-elf whispered. "I can't do this." Elrond wasn't aware of his brother crying behind him, of the sword falling through his nerveless grasp onto the ground, of the monster giving a triumphant shout and lifting its sword to thrust it towards him. He could only dwell on the horrific images in his head and stand, frozen still, in front of his enemy.


A/N: Cliffhanger – I'm mean, right? ;) Don't worry, I should get the next chapter done sometime today or tomorrow. In case you're wondering how Elrond could defeat a "horrendous monster" all by himself, remember that this is a child talking – the description's pretty exaggerated. Please review, or I might decide not to post the next chapter after all… ;)