Of the Visit to Lord Elrond

I had been sitting on the incline outside the hall. The early evening was a fair one, the stars still a promise below the horizon. It was not as warm as of late. The season was turning, but slowly, gracefully. I had come from speaking with Filignil about our stores for winter, as well as Parnard’s plans for the Autumn Festival. She understood my wish for the latter. Parnard was far from home. Would we not try to participate in his folk’s most important celebration wholeheartedly?

“We must gather appropriate decor as well, lady,” she had advised. “And perhaps dress more in the garb of the Greenwood?”

She had liked Parnard almost from the start. She still said he greatly aided her humour. I knew she would help. 

And so I had been making a list of things yet to be attended to. What we needed to hunt or trap, though I favoured flying one of my hawks again, what to forage for, what wines to purchase and where? I wanted Parnard to enjoy this time, before we likely set off for his home, and a meeting with his prospective father-in-law. 

Estarfin approached me from the house, nodding a greeting. I put my book aside and smiled warmly at him as I rose to my feet. He looked to the red gold leaves on the turning trees for a moment, then back to me.

“Summer has passed us by, it seems,” he said. 

I followed his gaze for a moment, taking in the wonder of the incoming season. “That is true. But I have great appreciation for autumn also. I think this season suits me well.”

He stopped a few paces away, took in my colouring and the russet gown I wore, and smiled very slightly. “Indeed. The days grow shorter, though it is now often clouded at night.”

I tilted my head to one side. He was certainly not shutting me out, yet he had something he wished to say, I thought. 

“And so we do not yet reap the benefit of early starlight,” I replied.”That is better when we are into winter. I have never minded which season we are in. There is beauty to be found in all.

Estarfin nodded, but was clearly struggling with the small talk. 

I sat down again, spreading my skirts to make myself most comfortable. I patted the grass next to me. “Come now, sit with me awhile? Talk with me if you wish, or not. We can watch the sky either way.”

He nodded, and looked for the driest patch, close but not that close. 

I readied myself for some issue he would tell me of. But we were agreed. I doubted it would be more on the ‘prisoner’ line of thought. 

He pulled at one of his gloves. He most certainly had something to say to me.

“I spoke with Lord Elrond. Did I tell you that? When I visited Imladris last.”

And there it was. Another concern for me to rebuff? I shook my head a little. “No, you did not. I thought you rode there to find a cure for Gilastor?”

He looked up at the now cloudy sky, and though I had every confidence in Lord Elrond, I wondered what was weighing on Estarfin so? Was he again conflicted?

After a few minutes he said, “I had little hope for Gilastor. Still it was enough to make the journey. But he was not the only reason to go.”

I was listening intently. It was not Gilastor alone? I folded my hands in my lap, and sat still, watching him with as reassuring an expression as I could manage. “I am sorry about Gilastor. You still miss him? I know I do.”

Of course he did! He nodded to me, but still looked distracted.

“Lord Elrond. He is another of our wisest,” I said. I suspected now that Estarfin’s searching had been about marriage all along, and I wondered what he could possibly have asked Elrond concerning such. Though that effort to seek such council told me how serious he was about the matter. 

“He is considered the wisest of us, is he not? East of the Sea, I mean.”

“Of we Noldor, I would say yes.”

Estarfin nodded, but his expression was still a little drawn.

“I have the greatest respect for him. Has he said something to you…something that causes a problem?”

“I spoke with him of Celebrian, and the choices they both made,” he said. He looked directly at me. 

“I see,” My mind was a whirl recalling all I knew about her. The terrible ending of their relationship with her capture and torture and her eventual sailing West....and yet…..It was straightforward to look concerned, because I was“He…they were happy for long years. Their children have grown to be great among our people.”

Estarfin nodded agreement. But then I broke our gaze and looked down a moment. His thoughts needed addressing by me.

“What happened was a tragedy,” I said. “I am sorry for them all. I feel most deeply for her, and for him, but they had many good years, and shall meet again.”

I looked back at Estarfin, knowing, though not yet telling him that even if we were slain, the Valar could not keep us apart in the Halls of Lord Namo if we willed otherwise. We may not be given the joyous reunion in Valinor that Elrond and Celebrian would find, but neither would either of us be forever alone.  

Then he spoke one of the things that was yet causing him concern.

‘“Those who seek betrothal after the usual time can find unforeseen or unwelcome fortune,” that  is what he told me.’

“Unwelcome things do happen, and to anyone,” I protested. “We are old to be walking this path, I know. Older than they were. But we are not yet beyond the years of the children. Unforeseen…unwelcome…what does it mean? Are we to fear it? It is not Lore as such.”

“No, it is not,” he replied.

“And Elrond knew that when he wed Celebrian. Though they could not have known what would happen.”

“All that we spoke of was traditions, customs and what is expected," Estarfin explained softly.

“Expected at our age?”

He looked at me. “There are so few young Noldor these days. And I have no reason to doubt Lord Elrond.”

I nodded thoughtfully. “Neither do I. But….I would say in regard to the Lady Celebrian, I believe it was an act of great misfortune rather than due to them being older.”

What Estarfin was saying did not make total sense to me. 

 Are you trying to tell me if we wed I will be kidnapped by goblins?” I asked.

Estarfin frowned. “You make light of it?”

“I do not,” I said firmly. “I take it most seriously. Did Lord Elrond say he wished they had not wed?”

Estarfin shook his head. “No. He was glad of it…” He paused for a moment. “I have already spoken of what lies ahead on this path. There is little else to fear.”

“That I shall be alone until the end of Arda?”

Estarfin nodded. 

“You still think marriage will make me a prisoner?”

He looked away. I moved closer to him. 

“I wish I could explain it to you, that you understand. I do not see it as a prison.”

Estarfin sighed. “I understand, Danel,” he said. 

“Perhaps I am like unto Elrond in this, I know what may happen yet will pursue my chosen course? What would he have done if, before they wed he had certainty of what would happen?”

“I believe they would have done the same thing,” 

“If they had not, they would have cast aside much light and joy,” I added. 

Estarfin shifted position slightly, and drew a deep breath. “I understand that. I understand the choices that we both have made. I do not wish to dwell on it further, yet it was not the only thing we spoke of.” 

There was no hint of frustration in his voice, only, I thought, he was seeking to put his thoughts in order. He looked directly at me for a moment. 

I was silent, that he may explain this next reservation to me, for that was what I expected. I trusted him, knowing he was only trying to bring up any possible concerns before we went any further. 

“I asked him three things. If he regretted his choices?”

I nodded.

“If the main purpose of betrothal is to conceive and raise children?”

“I was a little surprised by that. “Of course it is,” I uttered, then fell silent again, that he could speak as he wished.

“And if it is unseemly to enter a betrothal for longer than a year?” Estarfin concluded. 

I sighed, understanding his concern. He would wed with me, but was sufficiently troubled that we would bring forth children early, that he would rather have a longer betrothal. That had not been my thought, and I need must inform him. I glanced briefly over my shoulder at the statue of Tintalle for reassurance. Estarfin had not sounded in any way embarrassed, just struggling with concepts so unfamiliar to him. They were not familiar to me either. 

“What did he tell you?”

“I already knew the answers, as do you. I was hoping to hear something that made everything simpler.”

I sighed a little, trying to  find the right words. “What is the heart of this issue? That you do not want us to bring children into this world the way it is now? I understand that, and agree. I believe it would be cruel, as well as against custom to bring a child into this world.”

I watched him closely. No anger, no irritation…only concern that we were agreed on the matter. I thought we most likely were.

“I have never even considered children, before these last few months. And even now, only as a strange thought in some far distant future.”Estarfin said softly.

“I am the same,” I replied, “For I would not countenance having children with any other. It seems strange. But if you will hear me out, I shall speak my thoughts, that you have no concerns.”

“Once our marriage is consummated there will be a chance,” he said. “I would not take any chance.”

“And I can not will a child into being unless you do too. There is no danger, beloved. We need to be in agreement to create a life. I am not unnatural, as in I would hope..one day…maybe a few hundred years ahead, we can do this. But I understand now is not the time, nor anywhere near now. If, as you think, we only have two years at most, then we cannot have a family. And for that I would grieve, but if we have longer, there is a chance? I do not hold that actually conceiving children is the purpose of marriage, but the willingness to do so. If we both are still open to that, albeit in hundreds of years time, then I believe we meet the requirements?”

The look in his eyes changed slightly, as he considered my words. He must have known, of course, but wanted to be sure I was of the same mind. He nodded to me. “It seems so unfair,” he said. 

“How so?”

“There have been thousands of years, now there is only one, or two left …”

I reached out a hand to lay on his arm. We were as one in this. He smiled slightly.

“Will you do something for me?” I asked.

He looked me in the eyes.

“Will you ponder us having a family If the war is won, and If there is a stable and lasting peace? Ponder is all I ask. And if, as you believe, that time does not come, then I shall hold the thought in my heart.”

Estarfin opened his mouth to speak, then paused, possibly deciding against it. He just nodded to me. It was enough. 

“As things are now, we can only look to each other,” I spoke truth. 

He kicked his heel in the grass.

“I would have us live whatever time we have with as much happiness as we can.”

But he was already thinking ahead. “Mid–Summer or Mid-winter. Such were times for betrothal pledges, as far as I remember.”

I could not surpress a smile.  But I had to cast my mind back through the yeni. “In Thargelion…yes. I am not sure what  younger folk do, but for us it was the half years.”

“There are only a handful that I recall,” he said. “Perhaps it is merely coincidence?”

I shook my head. “I only attended a dozen or so, but they were the times. And besides, they are lovely times of year. Happy times.” 

Estarfin nodded.

I moved a little closer to him. “What are you thinking?”

“That you gave me a ring at Mid–Summer.” he pulled off his glove to admire it. 

Did I not know he thought much of that gift? I smiled happily, knowing what it meant to him. 

“I wanted to do better than the first I made you. Though I made that with all my heart, for this I could add Caranthir’s blessing.”

Estarfin looked confused. “The first was flawless. It was my lack of care alone that caused it to be lost.”

“That one I imbued with a virtue to aid you control your temper. This one does not need that. There is no dweomer upon it. And as for carelessness, you were in a difficult situation when you lost it, as I remember.”

“Hubris and recklessness,” he said. 

He looked a little troubled at the memory, and I could have kicked myself for leading him away from what he was trying to say. I need change the flow of our converse. 

“Courage and duty,” I countered. “But even you cannot fight hordes alone. Tell me, did Lord Elrond say aught else?”

Estarfin smiled slightly. “That I should seek to understand what you want, rather than to simply guess.”

I chuckled at that.

“Perhaps he does have some wisdom,” Estarfin added. 

We were both more at ease with that. 

“You did not guess correctly then?” I asked with a grin.

“Yes and no,” he replied. There was a hint of amusement in his eyes. 

“Oh Estarfin, it matters not. If you have peace now I can ask for no more.” By then I was leaning against his shoulder. 

“Yet our friend does not, it seems.” he asked.


He nodded. 

“I have given him my word I shall not speak with you of his situation,” I answered. Though I was most keen to talk with Estarfin about the matter, I would not disregard our friend’s wishes. He likely thought me over-blunt, in a sensitive situation, and I could hardly blame him. “He wishes to speak with you himself.”

“Then we shall speak no more of it,” Estarfin said.

“Parnard is happy to plan the autumn feast though. Did you know it goes on all week?”

“We shall need more wine then,” Estarfin made the obvious statement. 

“I am thinking of going to Duillond this week and ordering more…a lot more. And perhaps we go hunting in a few days?”

He nodded. 

I was watching him closely. So much of his reservations seemed to have gone. I was sure he still held some of them, but he was trying to move on. 

“ And we should ride out to the lands of the Halflings again,” he suggested of a sudden. 

I pondered for a moment as to why he wanted that, but I was unlikely to refuse him aught. I nodded. “I like them. They seem a simple folk who greatly enjoy their food.”

“I believe so.”

“Then perhaps we can take them a gift of food of our making. We could leave it near one of their Bounders?”

“You believe they would still be afraid?” Estarfin asked me.

“Of you? No! They know you better than some elves. They know you were protecting them.You are no demon, Estarfin. You never were.”

And there was his reason. The words Parnard had relayed to him had stung deeply. 

“Or I was using them as justification,” he muttered to himself.

“No! You are better than that! Would you have ridden out to those camps had they not been threatened? I deem not.  Had they been a threat to us in Falathlorn..aye. But they were not.”

He nodded. “Perhaps you are right?”

And he smiled at me. He was at ease again. "Mid-Winter for exchanging rings?" I said aloud, as my thoughts turned back to earlier talk. He nodded. "So be it."

We sat there for several hours, we spoke few words. But being together under the autumn stars was enough.