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Blood and Water

By Wendy Green

Fantasy / Drama

Past and Present Nightmares

It was a bright sunny spring day, and the entire Peredhil family was picnicking at the Bruinen Ford. Elrond couldn't have been happier. He was away from home (a rarity for him), surrounded by his children. Little five-year-old Estel sat near his foster father, the twins splitting a piece of melon between them, and Arwen (home for a few months from Lorien), sat next to Elrohir. Everyone was laughing, playing, making jokes and gentle teases; in general having a good time that was rarely experienced anymore.

Elrond looked to where his adopted son was sitting. He frowned when he saw his adopted son wasn't there. Looking around frantically, he didn't see the bouncy boy anywhere.

Turning to Elladan, he asked, "Where is your brother?"

Looking up from his plate of food Elladan laughed, "He is right there ada." he said pointing to Elrohir.

Elrond shook his head with a slight nervous grin, "No, I mean your other brother."

The twins looked at each other in confusion.

"What other brother ada?" asked Elrohir.

Elrond was getting agitated at his children's antics. They needed to find the boy before he wandered too far and became lost. They needed to start back home to, the sky was quickly growing dark with menacing rain clouds.

"Estel, your human brother. We took him in when his parents died, do not tell me you've forgotten?"

All three Peredhil children exchanged confused and worried looks. Perhaps the stress of their father's work had driven him into a small bout of madness.

Arwen was the first to speak. "Who is Estel, ada?"

"Yes ada, you know the only Men you've taken in were the rangers."

Elrohir completed his brother's sentence, "And even then it is only for healing."

Elladan picked up, "Then they are off to tend to their own duties and families."

Elrohir looked worried for his father's mental state. "Perhaps mother should look at you."

"Mother?!" Celebrían, here? In Arda and well? This was becoming all to confusing to the Elf Lord. How could Celebrían be here? She sailed centuries ago!

Before more could be said the sky grew darker, if it was possible, and lighting streaked across the sky in a brilliant show of instant, half-second light.

A man appeared from nowhere. He was taller than most, and very well built. His loose tunic and slacks hung off his bulky frame. A sword hung at his side while he held another unsheathed in his hand.

Something about this man gave Elrond a very bad feeling deep in the depths of his stomach and he instantly placed himself between his children and the stranger, assuming a defensive position.

The man spoke first. "Lord Elrond of Rivendell, I have come to seek revenge on the death of my son."

"What are you talking about?" the wind was now picking up whipping the Elf's hair about.

"You shunned my oldest son from entering your home to recuperate from his wounds and in doing so doomed him to death at our doorstep. I have come seeking revenge," the man stated in a mix of angst and fury.

"I never did such a thing! If he had come I would have helped him!" Then, in a flash, it dawned on him. He remembered a young man who had appeared in the middle of dinner. He was in fact in desperate need, but it had all been a ruse to attack the Elf Lord. An assassination attempt on Elrond's life…but that didn't happen for many years yet. Nothing made sense; it was as if the past and present were blending and unraveling at random points. Nevertheless, one thing was clear: this man obviously wanted Elrond's life.

The man threw the unsheathed sword at the Elf Lord's feet. "Pick it up. I will not fight an unarmed man, or Elf, for that matter."

"I will not fight you. I have some form of an idea of what happened, but that is not for a long—"

The man cut him off, "If you don't fight, I'll take it out on your own young ones." Elrond really didn't want to fight; not unless he had to. However, the threat against his children tore Elrond's attention away from the confusion in his bewildered mind. "Leave my children out of this!" he commanded.

The man just laughed. "Don't you mean I should leave you, my Lord?" Pointing behind Elrond he continued mockingly, "Your 'children' are right there behind you, though I doubt they will be doing much other than being food for the maggots."

Elrond nearly screamed at what he saw when he turned. His sons were lying lifeless on the ground, the once green grass stained a deep crimson and their heads tilted at impossible angles. Pieces of shattered bone jutted out of the thin skin. Blood seemed to pour from every inch of them; there was so much Elrond could not tell which twin was which. Arwen was lying next to one of her brothers, her white summer dress soaked in her own blood. Her throat had been crushed, as if someone had simply stomped on it. Blood leaked from her mouth, nose, and ears. Her eyes were open, staring into the darkness of death. Something had killed them, but he could not tell who or what. All he knew was his children, his babies, the most precious beings in all of Arda, had been killed.

A blind fury engulfed the Noldor elf. Picking up the pre-offered sword, he charged at the man. It happened very quickly; almost too fast for anyone to see. Elrond's fury suddenly calmed and he drowned in grief and sorrow. The sword was entirely through the man's chest, the hilt stopping just short of his body. The blood-smeared blade was protruding from his back. Elrond let go of the hilt and the corpse fell forward. He was in shock. What had he done? He hadn't fought in centuries, much less taken the life of a mortal.

As the man fell, Elrond saw something he did not expect. Behind the man was a young woman, no older than 23, looking on in shock and horror. Beside her were two young boys, one around ten or eleven and the other looking no older than four. All had bloodshot eyes and tear-stained faces. Elrond instantly regretted his actions. What had he done?

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