***Nestled safely in the Misty Mountains was the elven refuge of Imladris, the house of Elrond Peredhel. For millennia this place rested hidden, its peace and security never breeched. Until now…Now it was filled with fear, anger, and anxiety. The lady of Imladris, Celebrian, had been journeying south to Lothlorien, to visit her mother. While en route to the home of Galadriel, Celebrian and her companions were suddenly and savagely attacked by orcs. Many of the elves lost their lives in the ambush and Celebrian was captured and taken to the orcs’ den to suffer further torture. When word of this atrocity traveled back to her home, all of the elves were enraged but none so much as her sons, Elladan and Elrohir. Wasting no time they quickly assembled a search party and they went with all speed to the aide of their mother. After many nights spent in worry and wonder, the group of elves returned. ***
Elrond rushed through the halls of his home, though as speedily as he went, it did not seem fast enough. He had spent so many hours in fear for his wife and sons. Finally, he thought, this whole endeavor had come to an end. When he reached the gate, many of the other residents had already come out to greet them. Elrond’s gaze scanned across all the faces he saw before him until he saw his precious wife, Celebrian. She had been placed on a horse, though it was apparent it was quite painful for her to ride. He immediately glided over to her, and as gently as he could, lifted her off her mount. She was so weak, as a small child or a broken toy. She had a sallow look to her face, in her eyes there were tears and on her pale cheeks as well.
Elrond clutched his wife close to him and whispered half to himself, half to her, “Thank the merciful Valar for your return.” Celebrian weakly pulled herself away from her husband’s embrace and looked into his eyes. He could see her eyes had a sadness to them, a kind of death. It disturbed Elrond greatly to see Celebrian in such a state. There was something wrong though she could not tell him. She then turned and slowly raised her arm and pointed behind her. Behind her there were elves dismounting, they looked weary and were injured. A great sadness came over Elrond; he could see that some elves that had left with the search party had not returned.
Looking further down the line he could see there were four elves holding a litter. The expressions on their faces were grief stricken and as Elrond looked around him he could see that all of those that had returned had the same grief on their face. One of the four bearing the litter was Elladan, first of Elrond’s twin sons. He motioned for his father to come to him, and he slowly did so. Elladan could not speak, he tried but there were no words. A thick blanket of silence had spread across all of Imladris; the only thing to be heard was the soft sounds of the forest.
Finally Elladan muttered, “Father…” He could say nothing else but Elrond looked into his eyes and knew what Elladan had tried so hard to say. It was as if a voice had whispered to Elrond;
“Look Father, on the litter we bear. Look…”
Elrond glanced upwards and saw that there on the litter, there was an elf. A body covered with a grey cloak. He drew in a small, shallow breath. He knew that cloak, he knew it very well. His eyes instantly were brimming with tears; he had given that cloak to his son as a gift. He walked over and stood before the lifeless body. Elrond said nothing but his heart was screaming, begging for help. His hands trembled violently as he reached to pull back the cloth from the elf’s face. As he did so Elrond breathed in deeply as the tears silently streamed down his face. There, lying pale and still was Elrohir the second of Elrond’s sons.
Elrond sat motionless at Celebrian’s bedside; he had healed the poisonous wound she had suffered. Healed it as much as it would ever heal for it had been near fatal. His wife’s life no longer was held in the balance, for which he felt some welcome relieve. Though now as she slept, Elrond’s mind wandered back to his son. He stood in one swift motion, leaned over and adjusted the light blanket that lay across Celebrian. He then turned and motioned to a servant that was standing behind him that she should now tend to his wife. With that he glided out of the room.
In another one of the many chambers in that particular hall laid Elrohir. As Elrond quietly entered the room he saw that there, beside his brother, sat Elladan. He had been watching over his brother since they had arrived home. Elladan knew that his twin would never move or speak again, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave his side. Inside himself he felt deep wells of anger, his mother was wounded and abused and his brother’s life had been taken by the foul hands of those miserable orcs. Never had Elladan felt so much hatred for another living thing, or so much hatred towards himself. He knew that his father was behind him, he also could not bring himself to look into the eyes of his father. Suddenly, almost startling Elrond, Elladan said, “Perhaps if I had not left him he would not be lying here.”
Elrond stepped forward and firmly placed his hand upon the shoulder of his son, though it did not offer Elladan any comfort as he had hoped it would. “He fought so valiantly, parted the many orcs as if they were water in the sea. I had lost sight of him but then he came out bearing Mother in his arms. She was too weak to walk. A dozen orcs came hurrying behind him. He put her in my arms and told me to go, to run. And I did, I did not look back.”
Elladan’s voice was shaking; it was so hard to explain to his father why his son was dead. “When I had gotten her to safety, I turned expecting to see that he was behind me, but he was not. He had not followed me.” Elladan could not continue his narrative of these tragic events; his emotions were too great to contend with. His son’s words had brought tears to Elrond’s eyes. The two remained silent for what seemed to be an eternity until Elladan looked up over his shoulder at his father, and with tears in his eyes, he said, “Forgive me Father.”
Elrond moved around so that he might face his son, and he put both hands on his shoulders. Though he was already in pain, it was breaking his heart that the only precious son he had left blamed himself for his brother’s death. Elrond shook his head firmly as he spoke to Elladan. “No my son, this was not of your doing. I place no blame on you. You fought bravely to save your mother. I thank the grace of the Valar that you are safe.” His words brought very little comfort to Elrohir’s grieving brother. Elladan wiped the tears from his eyes and sighed heavily, “I feel as if I have lost a part of my being that I will never ever regain.” Elrond did not reply, only nodded his head as a sign of understanding. A few moments later he left his sons alone, for he wished for solitude.
Elrond passed through the long, shadowy halls of his home. He had no destination, he merely walked. In his hand he clutched the grey cloak that had been his son’s shroud. Many of the other elves in Imladris watched as Elrond roamed the many corridors in the dark. He would neither look nor speak to any of them. In truth Elrond did not see them; he was consumed by his grief. The only thing that he was aware of was the piece of cloth in his hand and the aching in his heart. After many hours of pacing restlessly he came to his library, what he had come to think of as his sanctuary. He sat and placed the grey cloak in his lap. Elrond sat deep in thought, his eyes had no apparent focus, and they just looked blankly out into the darkness.
One moment he had been sitting in complete silence and the other it seemed as though he had resigned himself to his grief. The lord of Imladris, son of the Mariner Earendil and brother to Elros the first ruler of Númenore, burst into a flood of tears. All such titles and marks of nobility had vanished and all was left was a father weeping at the loss of his child. His mind begged for a reason why and he prayed for it all to somehow be not true. Though no such reason or answer came to Elrond and he remained in his library alone, weeping for the remaining hours of the night.
The dawn came and Elrond watched the sunrise, as he done many times before with his children. The sun shone clearly and brightly as it had on many a joyous day and though the light of the sun seemed not to change, this day was not a joyous one. It was not joyous but Elrond felt it was strange. His grief still remained though in the air he could feel something mysterious, it was all around him and went through him. Something had happened in that morning’s dawn, and he felt it pulled him from his seat. He left the library and swiftly moved through the halls. His pace had begun to quicken, he was looking for something though he did not know what. Then he found it…
There in the main courtyard, stood many of the elves of his household. There was his daughter Arwen and with her was Elladan, dressed in fresh garments. Both of them, as well as all the others, had a dazed look on their face. They were in awe. Glorfindel was also there, with an equally dazed expression upon his face. There in the center of all the onlookers was an elf.
He was dressed in all white and grey; his clothes were long and flowing. They were quite beautiful yet somewhat strange. He was the tallest of the elves in the entire courtyard and his hair was long and straight, the fairest any of them had ever seen. His eyes were the lightest of any elf they had seen, they were brilliant but disarming. All around him and within there was the glow of starlight. This mysterious elf looked around him, at each elf surrounding him, with a proud yet emotionless expression.
Elladan turned to Glorfindel and whispered, “Who is he? I have never seen an elf such as this one.” After a moment of silence and without looking away from their radiant guest, Glorfindel replied softly, “He is one of the Vanyar, the highest kindred of elves. He is Almarion Silmoro.”
As he spoke, Glorfindel averted eyes to the ground and bowed his head. A look of confusion came upon Elladan and Arwen, Glorfindel was a Noldorin lord and was second only to Elrond here in Imladris. Arwen turned toward Glorfindel and whispered urgently, “Why do you bow, is he of nobility?”
After hearing her question, he raised his head and she could see the expressionless face looking back at her. “He is a prince.” Elladan no longer wished to whisper, he asked impatiently, “Prince of what?” Glorfindel once again stood, turned his head, and looked in to Elladan’s eyes. With the same lack of expression he answered plainly, “…Of all Elven kind. He is the son of Ingwe.” With that, both Elladan and Arwen bowed their heads as the Noldorin elf had. All were silent and still, for they did not know what else to do. They had hoped that their whisperings would go unheard but the Vanyarin prince heard every murmur, and he could now hear all of their thoughts echoing in his mind.
Still scanning all the faces of the elves around him, some bowing some still standing tall, he glided proudly and gracefully forward to the very center of the courtyard. He heard all the silent questions they were asking themselves and he decided to answer them. “I am Almarion Silmoro of the Vanyar. I have not come with demands; I wish nothing from you or this Middle-earth in which you live. I have come because the Valar bid me to go.” The prince spoke in Quenya, the High Elven speech. His voice was strong and masculine but also had an ethereal quality. There was, however, no barrier for most elves of Imladris could speak Quenya. Elrond had remained silent until now, he then stepped forward and bowed his head. “We are humbled by your presence, my lord.” Almarion’s gaze shifted to Elrond and he made a motion of acknowledgement.
He then approached Arwen and Elladan, and said in a clear voice, “Elrond Peredhel, these are your children, are they not?” As he spoke, he looked deep into their eyes, what he found was awe and beneath that was grief. He stepped towards Arwen and spoke to her in the same strong, proud voice. “Arwen Undomiel, I see that you are the likeness of Luthien here again in Middle-earth.” Her curiosity had now been aroused and she replied eagerly, “You have seen Luthien Tinuviel?” Almarion’s expression and tone soften somewhat when he answered her. To the Vanyarin prince she was but a curious child. “Yes, on Tol Eressa, many years ago. She has long since been dead.”
He then turned his glance to Elladan, and once again his voice became stern and mighty. “And Elladan…” Almarion stepped closer to him and the expression on his face looked as if he were listening to something. “You are the eldest of twins.” He then lowered his voice to a soft whisper, so that only Elladan could hear. “You mourn for your brother Elrohir; you blame yourself for his death, do you not?”
Though no one heard what was said, Elrond could see by the look upon his son’s face that it saddened and angered him. He then hurried over to Almarion and quickly asked, “Forgive me lord, but I would know the reason you have come to Imladris.” The prince turned to Elrond, raised his arm gracefully and pointed to one of the many buildings of Imladris. “Did you not sit in your library and weep for the son you lost throughout the night and until dawn, until I arrived? The Valar heard your plea and took pity upon you; I have come as answer your plea. I am prepared to bestow a great gift upon you and your household.”
His words seemed to hit as lightning, and all that had heard them were left in wonder and confusion. Elladan, though affected as all the others were by Almarion’s words, was still angered by what he had previously said to him. Tears of rage began to roll down his cheeks, and then he strode towards the Vanya and dared to question him. “My lord, I know not that you possess the favor of the Valar to give such a gift.” Almarion gave only a cold, steely gaze. The other elves present could only stand in astonishment; never had Elladan displayed such audacity.
Almarion Silmoro stood in silence for a moment and then moved to speak. Elladan, as well as the others, expected his voice to be cold and stern but it was not so. It was soft, but it had lost none of its strength. “Elladan son of Elrond, I have walked in the mansions of the Valar. I have seen them in their true forms and spoke with them in their true voices. I have been witness to the splendor and light of the Two Trees and to the lasting twilight thereafter. I have battled Morgoth himself and his minions, and saw his defeat. I was present when the Noldor defied the Valar and left for Middle-earth. I saw them leave and I saw far fewer return. In my hands I have held the Silmarils. I was there to behold the birth of the sun and the moon. I hold their favor and know their will, so that it may be done.”
His eyes never left that of Elladan’s, he saw the anger in them fade and now saw only sadness. He rested his hand upon Elladan’s shoulder, as a sign of understanding that he knew what Elladan felt. He moved to speak, but Almarion raised his other hand as a gesture of silence. “Say no more, ask not for forgiveness. I see your pain, you need not be excused.” In one swift and graceful movement he turned and walked from the courtyard. He then called to Elrond over his shoulder, “Bring me to your son.” And Elrond did so.
Elrond led Almarion into the bedchamber where Elrohir had been laid. Arwen and Elladan had followed them, as well as Glorfindel and other elves of the household. He stood by as Almarion drew close to the body of his son and proceeded to look it over. He saw that the fatal wound had been inflicted on his neck though there were a number of other wounds on him as well. He then turned and motioned for the others to leave.
“Now go, Elrond you may remain.” Hesitantly the other elves left the room and it was only Elrond and Almarion. Without giving the elven lord another glance, he then turned back to the body before him. Slowly and softly he began to whisper, gradually his voice became louder. At first Elrond could not hear him but then he heard a language he had no knowledge of. Never before had he heard it anywhere. Still speaking, though no longer in a whisper, Almarion gently turned the elf’s head to the side and then lightly placed his hand upon the wound on his neck. He then removed his hand and held it above Elrohir’s head. Elrond heard his words become louder and stronger; it had become somewhat unnerving to him. Then there was silence, no more words.
Almarion’s hand returned to his side and he bowed his head. He stood there in complete silence for a moment. Elrond knew not what he had just witnessed nor if it had come to an end. In that moment he heard the prince say softly, “Awaken Elrohir….your time is not yet spent.” As he did so, the body before him opened its eyes and took the first breath of its newly restored life.
Elrond was in disbelief and rushed over to his son’s side, while Almarion silently took a step back to allow a father to see his son. Already, Elrohir’s fairness and color returned to his skin and to his lips. Tears began to flow from Elrond’s eyes as he saw his son, his child that was dead and now lives again, looked around the room until his gaze rested on his father. There was an overwhelmed look upon Elrohir’s face as he attempted to speak. Finally, one weary and shaken word came from his lips, “Father…”
After hearing such an affirmation of his son’s life, he threw his arms around him and embraced him. Elrond once again had tears streaming from his eyes, tears of joy. He stood and held him for some time, until he felt compelled to turn and face Almarion. He stood quietly behind him as he had been for sometime. Elrond could not find the words that would express what he wished to say to Almarion. No word in any language known had a word stronger enough for the thanks he wished to convey.
Almarion said nothing, though on his face was a look of kindness, an expression they had not yet seen. He nodded his head and left the room without as much as a murmur. He went to notify Elladan, for he felt that the brothers, after being grievously parted, now needed to be reunited. He found that they all had returned to the courtyard, sitting and waiting. Almarion did not enter the courtyard. Instead he silently called to Elladan, telling him to go to his brother. Though he heard nothing, Elladan turned his head and was met with the intense gaze of the Vanyarin elf. With a quick nod of the head he rose and left the courtyard with all speed.
Soon after everyone had gone and seen Elrohir, after he had been brought fresh clothes and food, Almarion returned to the bedchamber. All had been dismissed except for Arwen and Elladan. As he entered, everyone’s head turned to greet him. He was met with grateful smiles all around. All they could do is smile, for they were speechless, not knowing how to thank him.
Almarion drew closer to Elrohir’s bedside and Arwen rose from beside her brother to make way for him. Elrohir looked up into the eyes of his reviver and a questioning look came over his face. “I saw you in a dream. I was in a strange and dark place. You called to me to follow you and I did.” Almarion nodded his head slightly and replied, “You did indeed follow me and I led you out from the Halls of Mandos. I led you back to the ones who love you.”
Elrohir sat up and leaned against the many pillows behind him. As he did so he asked the question that had rested in everyone’s mind. “I am grateful beyond words but I must know why did you do this my lord? How?” Almarion smiled slightly at Elrohir and then, in turn, he shared that smile with Elrond, Elladan, and Arwen.
“Curiosity seems to run in Sindarin blood. I am prince of all elven kind. Does not a prince act as guardian to all his people? I complied to the wishes of the Valar, I answer to no other. No thanks are due me, but please, give thanks to those who said your life was not yet spent.” Elrohir smiled and nodded his head, “Very well.” Then Almarion set his hand lightly on Elrond’s shoulder and said, “Now I bid you, show me to Celebrian.”
As they entered Celebrian’s room, Elrond noted that the prince’s manner had grown a little softer. His voice was now not so commanding, but kinder. Almarion gracefully moved across the room and sat her bedside. She was still very weak, though she was in no more danger, a sickness still lay upon her. He took her hand gently in his own and spoke softly, “Your son is alive, Celebrian.” She looked up at him with tiresome eyes began to cry.
“My son is alive? Oh thank you my lord. Thank you.” He said nothing, only kindly smiled. Though soon his smile faded, he could see that even speaking but a few words tested her strength. His smile vanished and now there was only sadness and concern. Almarion let her go and rose from where he sat. He turned to Elrond, whom had been standing at the foot of Celebrian’s bed. Almarion walked to the door and silently motioned for Elrond to follow him. He then stopped just short of the doorway.
“Your wife is very ill, and she will continue to suffer if she remains here. Will you allow her to sail west?” Elrond sighed deeply, for he had known deep within his heart that what Almarion had said was true.
“I will take her with me, and see she is well cared for. It is only there that she will be free from the pain.” Elrond knew that it would be best for her to leave Middle-earth, but he hesitated to part with his wife. She had now just returned to him, and he must let her go again. Elrond nodded his head and said, “Yes my lord, she will go. I would not have her stay here in Imladris only to suffer.” Almarion glanced back to Celebrian and then, in a strong clear voice, said, “Very well, prepare her to leave.”
They departed the following morning, at dawn. Elrond offered to send others with them, to see them to the Grey Havens, though Almarion said it was not necessary, he had need of no one else. Many tears were cried at their departure. The family had regained a member, though still had to part with another. The whole of Imladris bid farewell to their lady, all but one.
Glorfindel remained out of sight, not because he did not wish to say goodbye to Celebrian, but because he wished to not be in the presence of the prince. He sat in the library, and read to pass the time until they had left. Soon after they had gone, Arwen enter the library in search of Glorfindel. She walked over and sat beside him and folded her delicate hands in her lap.
“Why were you not there?” Her tone was strong, and she wanted an answer swiftly. Glorfindel signed and looked at her. “I could not bear to look upon his face.”
That was not the answer Arwen had expected, there was a slight look of bewilderment on her face. He could see that she did not understand what he had meant, so he attempted to explain. “Almarion Silmoro is revered in his home as he is here. He is one of the oldest elves upon the earth. As he said, he has seen many things in his lifetime. He saw the defiance and the kin-slaying of the Noldor with his own eyes. I was not a part of these things but I feel shame for them none the less. I could not bear to be under the scrutinizing glare of one of the Vanyar. They are in the highest favor of the Valar while the Noldor are of the lowest.”
Arwen remained silent though she nodded her head in understanding. Glorfindel’s head hung low, reflecting the shame he felt. It never had stirred so much within him until now, until one who had seen what his kindred had done arrived. Arwen laid her hand on his arm and said, “The prince gave me a message to tell you, he knew you would not come to speak with him.” Glorfindel raised his head and replied quickly, “Truly? He could have commanded me to come before him and I would have no other choice but to obey. What did he say?”
Arwen took a breath and began recounting all of what had been said to her. “Almarion said that he feels that you are ashamed for your kin, but that you should not let your head hang so low. You did not partake of rebellion that has cost many of the Noldor their home. You are not in exile and that the West awaits you.” Glorfindel’s face was filled surprise; he had no words to say to that. However, Arwen continued to speak. “Having said that, he also said that you may not yet return to your home. The Valar have placed a task upon you. He did not say what it was, though he said it would be years from now and though it would seem not a dangerous or challenging task, it would make possible an event that would save Middle-earth.”
Glorfindel contemplated the message that Arwen had relayed to him. His task to perform now seemed to him to be a riddle. He turned his head and looked at Arwen, she was smiling sweetly at him. He sighed and said, “Mysterious is it not?” She laughed and nodded her head. “Yes, it is indeed. Though I must tell you he said that you will know when your task was completed. The prince says he hopes that you find your way to Valinor and when you do there will be a welcome for you in his father’s court.”
A smile spread across Glorfindel’s face. This news relieved him more than he could say. He now knew that he did not have to endure the punishment for the crimes of the Noldor, crimes he did not commit. Years later he would complete that task the Valar set upon him. Though it seemed not to be the most valiant or courageous of acts, protecting the life of a little hobbit did in fact make possible all that Almarion Silmoro foresaw.