Blood and Water

Dilemmas

Glorfindel glanced back to Elrond, whose horse had slowed down considerably due to the fact Elrond was not responding as he should. The blonde elf moved to ask what was wrong, but he caught the look in his friend's eyes. They were glazed over; not in the half-lidded Elven sleep, judging by the glazed unseeing look, this was a vision of some sort. Tugging on the thin rope that served for reins he slowed his horse down enough so the other horse could easily catch up.

As Elrond awake from what most surely was a nightmare, he swayed slightly, momentarily forgetting he was on horseback. A strong hand gripped his arm, keeping him from an informal meeting with the ground below. His eyes traveled to the hand's owner.

Glorfindel held Elrond on his steed until he was sure the Elf lord could hold his own. The two continued riding, silence the only thing between them. They rode until it was too dark for even Elves to see. Rain clouds came once again, covering the stars and veiling the silver moon in blankets of cottony cloud.

That night they settled down under the last of Rivendell's familiar trees. Tomorrow, they would reach Weathertop, and then everything would be decided. Tonight was only the calm before a great storm. Both elf lords sat in the dark, not daring to light a fire. That would surely alert the enemy to their presence.

Elrond broke the silence, "It wasn't a dream. I had not fallen asleep, had I?" he asked. His hope filled eyes pleading for the truth to be that he had simply fallen asleep on his horse. He hadn't had much rest in the past few days, or was it years? Time seemed to have completely slipped by the mighty lord of Rivendell.

Glorfindel nodded his head. "I saw, it was no dream." He handed Elrond a small leather travel sac, filled with dried berries and lembus bread. Silence once again settled between the two.

"What did you see?" asked Glorfindel quietly, taking out a few red berries and examining them briefly before popping them one by one in his mouth.

"I saw happiness and sorrow." Said Elrond solemnly, his food lay forgotten in his hands.

Knowing his friend needed time to gather his thoughts, Glorfindel waited Elrond out; the Elf would speak when he was ready. Still, he couldn't help but feel worried for his long-time friend. He could only guess at what Elrond had seen and the Gondolin Elf didn't like where those guesses took him.

Taking a deep breath Elrond eventually continued, "I saw Elladan and Elrohir." he paused, his eyes never leaving his lap. Glorfindel waited anxiously, Elrond smiled at the next few words, but that soon faded. "They were alive, the poison no longer wreaking havoc on their bodies. However," Elrond choked on threatening tears, "Estel had… Estel." He broke down and sobbed into his hands as the memory resurfaced. Moving to his side, Glorfindel held Elrond as he cried. The Elf no longer needed to tell him what had happened. Glorfindel recognized these tears; these were tears of a father's shattered heart.

Through the sobs and tears the mighty Elf Lord spoke, "He was dead Glor! I don't know how but he had died. All the twins would say was how I had chosen to save them over him. That I had let him die." Elrond's watery eyes looked up at Glorfindel, seeking some sort of relief that what he had seen was false, that it had never happened. More then anything he hoped he would wake up to find that these last four or five days had been nothing more then a simple, lengthy dream. But alas; it was not so.

After many tears and constant babbling, Elrond finally stopped and calmed down a bit. All the tension that had built up had released; a large, watery tear stain on Glorfindel's shirt was proof of it.

"Why don't you get some sleep tonight? I'll keep watch."

Not up to bickering about something so trivial, Elrond lied down. He stared up at the starless sky, hoping to find some light in the dark.

The next day brought them to the meadow surrounding Weathertop. They stopped their horses where the woods met the grassy field. Dismounting, they cautiously looked around for anyone that may be part of Rain's party; the elves held no doubt that Rain would appear with others by his side.

A light breeze rustled the grass and leaves swirling the dirt and dead leaves on the ground into a spiraled dance. The temperature was rapidly dropping as the storm moved in preparing to drench them and any others unlucky enough to be outside. The wind flew both elves hair in every direction. Nothing moved on its own; the wind did everything.

Rain was not here to great them like they had both expected and hopped.

"Where are they?" said Glorfindel.

"I don't know. They should be here."

"Oh we are," said disembodied voice near them. Sword drawn and ready Glorfindel turned to see a rat-faced man standing in one of the lower branches of a tree.

"Now, now. Let us not be hasty in our actions," he said. "Which one of you is the Elf Lord Elrond?"

Elrond steppe forward, standing next to his fierce guard and friend. "I am. You are…"

The rat-man jumped down from his perch, Glorfindel's eyes never leaving him.

"Not Rain, I have come with a message for you. Rain says that he is waiting for you, and I am to take to him." Eyeing Glorfindel he smiled, "And he said you were to be alone. No one is to aid you in the trade."

"What?! No! That was not part of the deal." roared Glorfindel. He knew it there was something more to this, and he would be damned if he left his friend and Lord alone to face such foes.

"I don't believe we were introduced," said Rat.

"My name is of no importance to you." Glorfindel growled. The hold he had on his sword never loosened; only grew stronger.

"Rat back down." commanded a second voice. The elves and man turned to see a women with hawk feathers. Elrond looked her from head-to-toe, wondering where he had seen her before. His mind flashed back to the nightmare that started it all. She was the woman he had seen standing with the children!

It was as Glorfindel had thought. Rain was not alone in this, there were others with him.

"Elrond I bring a message from Rain." the woman said, scoffing as she spoke his name.

Rat sneered at her. Why was she here? He was supposed to deliver the message. Why was his fun and joy always ruined by others? A flash of hatred and anger passed over his; this did not go unnoticed by the blonde Elf nearby.

"Rain would like you, Elrond. To come alone he would make the trade then. Rat will show you where to go."

Glrofindel's eyes shot up at her when this was said. What was going on? As if to complicate the situation further, Bear and his brother entered the scene. Grabbing Glorfindel, they held him tight.

Before Elrond could protest Rat stepped in, giving the Elf a harsh shove towards the waiting place, he said, "Let's go Elf. If you want to see the child again, you will go."

Glorfindel stopped struggling (not that it had done him much good anyway). His soft blue eyes met the silvery-grey of Elrond's there an unspoken argument passing. Elrond wanted to help his loyal friend and then run after his son. But Glorfindel wouldn't hear it. His eyes assured him that he would be safe and the lives of Elrond's children were of far more importance.

Elrond reluctantly followed the one called Rat. As he walked away, he began to heard the sounds of fighting behind him. He knew what had happened without turning around. He wanted to return to Glorfindel's side and fight, but no matter what happened; no matter if Arda ended this very moment, the lives of his children would always be his first and foremost priority. He would do anything for them; fight for them, lie for them, and even die for them. They were his passion. Without any one of them he would surly fade from all existence, fade so far away even Mados couldn't reach him.

The wind picked up, catching the elf lord's hair in its clutches and whipping it in every direction. Elrond brushed a few locks from his eyes. He followed Rat with his head proudly held high. He glanced at the ring invisible on his hand. Second thoughts never crossed his mind.

The light, misty rain was beginning to pick up. In a moment the clouds would burst, releasing the watery burden on the inhabitants below. Thunder began to role overhead. Elrond hoped Estel wasn't too afraid of the storm. They had to be getting close; after all how far away could they be? The sounds of a waterfall could be clearly heard over that of the now steady rainfall.

Finally they came to a halt behind thick foliage. Pushing aside overgrown tree limbs and wading through ankle-deep grass, he saw a place he had forgotten existed. Even with rainfall and dark skies, he saw the beauty and peace the place offered. A small waterfall filled his vision; only about ten feet high, surrounded by moss covered boulders and over grown plant life. Words could not describe the sight before him.

A hand stopped him from continuing forward. Glancing over at Rat he knew what was coming.

"Give him the ring, Elrond, and I will give you what you want," said Rain appearing from the top of the waterfall.

Elrond did as he said, perhaps foolishly. He couldn't wait to feel his youngest son run into his waiting arms. To feel the familiar weight of a five-year-old boy attached to his leg, to have his twin sons running around playing pranks on unsuspecting victims, to have life back to the way it was before this mess.

Rat felt the surprising heavy weight of the Elven ring in his palm. He thought how easy it would be to simply take the ring and run. Then he would be in control, with the power of the air at his fingertips; he could easy overrun not only Rain, but every being in the known world. How easy it would be… but first he would need to dispose of his leader Rain. No doubt he would hunt the Rat-Man down the second he hinted at running away with the Ring of Air.

Rain snatched the Vilya from Rat's fingers and examined the silvery metal, blue jewel incased in the center. He didn't know what he was looking for, but he wanted to see what was so special about the ring his son had once nearly stolen.

"Ada!" a gurgled voice reached the surrounding being's ears.

'Ah yes, my plan.' Rain thought to himself.

Elrond heard his son's cries. Something was wrong… he sounded as if he was trying to talk underwater.

"Elrond," called Rain. "Your "son", as you call him, is behind the waterfall beneath me. I have decided that I can't simply hand over the boy and the antidote. I will take this ring and complete the task that my son could not." He placed a hand over a pocket on his shirt. Reaching inside he pulled out a small vial containing the light blue liquid that was the antidote. "I will leave this place in moments. Whether I walk away with the antidote in my hand or your son's life is now up to what you decide. As you notice, the rain is coming down hard and quite fast, and it doesn't seem as if it will let up anytime soon. Your son will drown. He is currently tied to a rock behind these very falls, and from the sounds of that pathetic call, the water is already up to his mouth." Elrond listened carefully to Rains every word.

Rain continued, "So now I place a choice before you. You can either chase me, get the antidote for your twins and loose the brat child, or you can save the child and lose any hope of your true son's recoveries." The man sneered at the elf lord on the ground. "The choice is yours. But, keep in mind, time is of the essence. The human will drown if you're not quick to rescue him."


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