Chapter 8 – Words of Encouragement
Bilbo basked in the beauty of the falls, feeling the light spray of water gently hit his face. The air around him smelt pure and was filled with the warmth of summer wildflowers. He sat by the water's edge, letting the cool water cleanse his feet. Closing his eyes he basked in the warmth of the morning sun. The serene beauty of Imladris was surely paradise, for he could never remember feeling this at ease, this content. Not even at Bag End, nestled comfortably in his hobbit hole, nor in his garden with Shire's finest batch of pipeweed.
It was his last day in Imladris and he wanted to make the most of it. He smiled, giddy he felt like a young hobbit.
Imladris, the House of Elrond, the Last Homely House East of the Sea was perfect. Nothing could ever go wrong here, he thought to himself, sighing contently. Though he couldn't help but to wonder about the young boy he had met yesterday.
Bilbo's stomach rumbled with hunger. It was nearly time for second breakfast. Comfortable and content, Bilbo was debating on getting up. No, he decided he would lay here for a little while longer, take a mid morning nap. He was about to turn over and nestle himself into a patch of blue wildflowers when his hears pricked at the sound of clashing metal. It was an odd sound. Definitely out of place to his state of peaceful bliss.
He was about to brush it off as nothing, he when he heard it again. The sound was growing louder, becoming faster in repetition. If he didn't know any better he would have thought the sound was of two clashing blades. But Imladris was the epitome of peace in Middle Earth. Why would someone be fighting in the home of the elves?
Dwarves! Bilbo thought with a rush. He dearly hoped that none of the dwarves were foolish enough to challenge an elf. Bilbo could not easily forget the sight of Elrond and his company of elven warriors all surrounding them dressed in their shinning battle amour, carrying swords on their waists, swords longer than he was tall.
Regretfully, Bilbo pulled himself up and followed his ears around a bend of large boulders towards the base of one of the smaller set waterfalls. He gasped at what he saw before him. The shear elegance and beauty of it momentarily stole his breath away, as he watched wide-eyed and in awe. It was not a dwarf and an elf clashing swords. It was the twin sons of Elrond.
Purely identical in appearance both brothers had a long gleaming sword in hand. Clad only in a pair of dark leggings, muscles strong and toned, both fair skinned and dark haired, their faces young and smooth. They looked as though there were the very essence of fairness, ethereal, beings of nature.
Bilbo stood there, watching them in silence as the brothers moved quickly, entwined, caught in the pattern of a deadly dance. With a look of fierce determination set in their gazes, their feet moved to fast for him to follow as their swords left behind a trail of silver as they blocked and advanced each others moves, shimmering and sparkling under the spray of the falling water. Bilbo feared to blink for they were evenly matched and did not want to miss a single detail of their elaborate dance.
Bilbo jumped as a hand lightly touched his shoulder; he looked up and was met with the thoughtful gaze of the fair elven Lord of Imladris.
"When they are not out on errantry they often practice here," he said, with a hint of sorrow in his voice. "Though unknown to them I always here to witness to their skill."
"Are they away often?" Bilbo asked, curious to learn more of the enigma that was Elrohir and Elladan.
"For many years at a time."
Bilbo gazed up at Elrond, the Elven Lord's face unreadable.
"No beauty thus I have seen in the world compares to that which I have see in Imladris," Bilbo said. "Why is it they leave such a peaceful haven? Given the choice, I would not leave. Though I must continue of my journey with Thorin, a part of my heart does not desire to."
"They are bound to their destiny, a choice they made long ago," Elrond said, his eyes set on his sons, following their intricate and deadly movements.
Bilbo decided to ask no more, for it was none of his business, as curious as he was over what path could lead the sons of Elrond away from their home.
Together Bilbo and Elrond stood, watching Elrohir and Elladan clashing swords. Bilbo smiled ruefully to himself. The brothers were like two halves of a whole; identical in everyway he could not tell them apart.
"I am happy I am no enemy of the elves," Bilbo said almost to himself. " Surely their skill is unmatched by none."
Elrond smiled down at Bilbo. "You are right," he proudly said. "There are very few with the skill to beat my sons in battle."
Bilbo subconsciously grasped the sword hanging from his waist. He felt unusually small, seeing such greatness.
The action did not pass unnoticed by Elrond who looked down curiously at the hobbit. His sharp eyesight caught the intricate detail on the sword's hilt. Even at first glance t was clear to Elrond the blade was of Gondolin design.
"You have been withholding information," Elrond said. "Where Master Baggins, did you acquire your blade?"
"Hmm? Oh this," Bilbo said motioning to his sheathed sword. "It was found among the troll's hoard with the other two swords. Though… there is nothing special about it. It is unmarked, and I'm told rather it is not even a sword at all," Bilbo finished.
Elrond raised an eyebrow to this. "Come," he said, placing a hand on Bilbo's shoulder as he turned away. "Walk with me."
Bilbo followed the Elven Lord out towards a marble bench, placed beneath a large tree covered in tiny white flowers.
"May I see it?" Elrond asked after they sat upon the cool stone.
Bilbo nodded as he unsheathed this blading, carefully passing off to the fair Elven Lord.
Elrond examined the blade with a wry smile, running his ageless hands over the hilt, down the smoothed unmarked surface of the blade. His speculation was correct. There was no doubt that this sword was a blade of Gondolin make. None could compare to the craftsmanship of that ancient city. It was of the finest quality, made with secrets long forgotten. Though this blade was definitely unfinished. It was a sword, though made for one of small stature, and perfectly balanced. It was then he realized for whom this sword was made for and why it was unfinished.
Bilbo sat there in silence, watching Elrond ponder over the blade. His expression fell. The Elven Lord's expression was unreadable, surely this fair being was unimpressed with such a blade. It was quite ordinary and small, much like himself.
"This sword was forged in the Halls of Gondolin," Elrond started. "Tis unfinished."
"So it truly is unimportant?" Bilbo asked dejectedly.
"In the Ancient City of Gondolin swords were only made for those of a high rank," Elrond said. "Your sword was meant for someone important, most likely one kin to the King, for the hilt is of near identical design to that of Glamdring, the sword of Turgon, King of Gondolin."
"But this blade too short for a full grown elf to wield," Bilbo pointed out. "Tis half the length of those your sons use."
"Precisely," Elrond said.
"Then for whom was it meant for?" Bilbo asked.
"During the Fall of Gondolin there was only one of such high rank and such small stature," Elrond said, "King Turgon had only one child, a daughter, Idril Celebrindal, with a man she bore a son, Eärendil a prince of Gondolin and grandson to Turgon. He was but a child when orcs attacked Gondolin and destroyed the city. He was also one of the only few who had escaped. I believe that is who the sword was meant for."
"Eärendil?" Bilbo asked. "Eärendil, as in the star?"
"Where did Eärendil and the others go after the orcs attacked?" Bilbo asked, genuinely interested.
"He escaped to the shores of the Mouth of Sirion and lived there with his people. Eventually he met Elwing, she bore him two sons."
"And what happened then? What happened to his sons?"
"You ask many questions Master Baggins," Elrond said with smile.
Bilbo blushed. "I am sorry. I have discovered that outside of The Shire, there is very little of the world I know. It gives me great courage to learn that my sword was at one point meant for a star."
"Well if you must know about his sons," Elrond started. " It is a long story, one that would take much time to explain properly. In short, the half-elven, we were given a choice, as to whether our fate will be of the first born or the second born," Elrond said. "My brother's choice was to be counted amongst the men, while mine was of elven kind."
Bilbo's jaw dropped. "Eärendil, The Star is your Father?"
"He is, I remember the first night he had sailed across the night sky. It was the first night of hope in a time where it had been lost."
Bilbo's eyes widened as curiously completely over took him. "How did he become a star? Why were you given a choice?"
Elrond only wistfully smiled. "As I said, it is a very long story. Perhaps on your journey back from Erebor, when you stop by here, I shall tell it to you in full. Lindir has sung a great many songs on the events. I am sure if you were to ask, he would sing them for you."
"T-thank you," Bilbo stammered in awe. "Are you sure I will make it back?" He asked.
"The future holds many possibilities. None of which are always certain. Follow your heart, it shall lead you down the right path."
Elrond handed to sword back to Bilbo.
"Much was lost during the fall of Gondolin," Elrond said. "And much had been found again. Keep your sword well Master Baggins, for this truly is a treasure."
"You would give me this sword?" Bilbo asked in disbelief. "But is in an heirloom of your family. Surly you should take it?"
"The sword is unfinished and unnamed," Elrond said. "Eärendil never used it. It would do more good in your hands than in mine. The blade is yours. Mayhap on your journey you shall find a fitting name. On your way back I shall engrave it for you, the unfinished shall be made whole."
Bilbo's respect for Elrond and in turn the elves grew in his heart. For Elrond was as noble and fair in face, an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves, and as kind as summer.
"Keep it close, for even the smallest of swords could leave the greatest of stings. A weapon's is never defined by its size, but rather by hands of the one who wields it. Swords are named for their greatest deeds, and are remembered as deeds of the wielder."
The next morning was a midsummer's morning as fair and fresh as could be dreamed: blue sky and never a cloud, and the sun dancing on the water. It was with great remorse, and a deep sadness in his heart Bilbo had gathered his things, preparing for the journey ahead.
Bilbo looked upon the road ahead with great uncertainty, as he rode away amid songs of farewell and good speed. At Elrond's encouraging smile, and slight nod of the head Bilbo was renewed with a sense of strength, as his heart felt ready for more adventure, grasping tightly to the gift of many newly formed friendships. Bilbo smiled to himself, he would always be welcomed amongst Elrond's people.
Bilbo looked back, taking in his last sights of Rivendell before turning the bend. Home is behind the world is ahead, he thought to himself, as he followed Thorin's lead on the path that would take him over the Misty Mountains to the land beyond.
And there we have it. After many months I have finally completed this small tale. As I promised in earlier chapters I am planning to write a couple sequels. The first will cover the events of the White Council and the battle at Dol Guldur; the second will follow Bilbo and his adventures through Mirkwood and the Battle of the Five Armies. Everything I write from here on out will be book-verse because I cannot agree to the idea of Tauriel. It takes me a really really long time to write a chapter, so I cannot make any promises as to when these sequels will be uploaded, but keep your eyes open for them. -KJ Moon