Like blood and fire

Of vengeance and fountains

They had gotten into a nice routine after a couple of days, Maedhros was getting used to riding again and he enjoyed watching the landscape and the freedom of the open roads but he still felt a bit nervous. It was something that was bothering him but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it, he just felt tense and skittish and he didn’t manage to rest really well at all. They had made camp in some holts of dense forest where they couldn’t be seen and he was impressed by Lannam and Olof and the way the boys made camp. They were used to it and even though the huge elf couldn’t speak they liked his company.

He tried to be helpful and they entertained him with stories from their short lives. He really enjoyed hearing about the things they had experienced, he laughed when Lannam told him of how the village drunk had ended up in the pig sty with a very angry pig and gotten bitten badly and Olof told him of a farmer who tried to tame a moose and use it as a horse. These boys were so young, so inexperienced and to them life was full of joy and excitement. There were no dark clouds throwing shadows upon their eager young minds and he did envy them. They were innocent, in a way he probably never had been.

He did miss the village in some ways but he knew that he ought to be with other elves, the humans were obviously not very used to his race and he guessed that the time of elves were coming to an end. The boys didn’t know very much of the things that were going on in the world but they spoke of old battles and of orcs and other foul creatures and he felt that nervous sensation again. He had a sword, and that was it. No bow or arrows, no really good weapons. If they encountered orcs they would be in serious trouble very fast, and he wished that he could have told the boys what to do in case of an emergency.

He thought of Timar too, would the man try to seek his vengeance by attacking the village? He feared that alternative but he hoped that the human would have enough common sense to know that he had left. But what if Timar was to follow them? What if he wanted to get even by attacking Maedhros here out in the wilds? That was a very real possibility and the tall elf was watching their surroundings with keep eyes the whole time, he never rested and he was always ready to fight.

They had made camp by a small lake a few days into the journey, they had found a nice campsite and the boys had caught some large birds and they had cooked them and turned them into a very nice meal. Maedhros was relaxed, he felt rather at ease in this place and it was so secluded he didn’t think anyone could find them there. He allowed himself to sleep and he woke up feeling well rested and a bit hungry. He had been in the bushes to relieve himself when he noticed that Olof’s blankets were empty, the boy was nowhere to be seen and he thought that the lad maybe had gone to the lake to bathe. Lannam was asleep and woke up and he looked a bit worried, he called for Olof and there was no answer.

Maedhros felt scared, the feeling was very sudden and very strong and he started to walk around the camp site, checking for tracks. He found something not far from the camp, the footprints of at least two men, both wearing good boots and moving with the stealth of someone well used to sneaking around. And they had been dragging something after them when they left.

Lannam went quiet when he showed the young human the footprints, he sort of understood what had happened and he was fearing for his friends life. He and Olof had grown up together, they shared everything usually and this was terrible. Maedhros felt a heavy lump in his gut, this was his fault, he knew what Timar was thinking. He was trying to get to the elf through the people surrounding him, the worm was using innocent bystanders as tools, as a way to torment the elf. There was just one thing to do and that was to confront the brute but how?

He had only his sword and Timar probably had many men, he would have to analyze the situation carefully. He had to find the place where the human had made camp and see if he could spot any weaknesses and he tried to make sure that Lannam stayed put where he was. He could not both spy on the enemy and look after the young human and Lannam seemed to understand what Maedhros was trying to explain. He stayed with the mules and the elf’s horse and Maedhros left their camp with a feeling of combined dread and determination. What did this Timar really believe that he was? Some ancient warlord? Eru himself?

Timar was probably unaccustomed to the way elves fight and Maedhros felt how old instincts and skills returned to him as he made his way through the terrain. It was partly open but not very flat and he knew how to use the landscape to his advantage. Before long he could see a faint light in the distance and he could smell smoke. It was a camp and it was rather large, he saw a small herd of horses and there were men scurrying around. If they tried to stay hidden they did a remarkably lousy job. There was a holt of huge trees surrounding the campsite and he saw that they had lit several fires. Maedhros was a noldo, his people didn’t have such a close connection with the forest as the Avari elves had but he was able to communicate with the trees nonetheless.

He felt their sense of anger and resentment, these humans had chopped of living branches to use as firewood and they had trampled around, hurting young saplings. He felt them welcome him and he quickly got up into the canopy and started running along the branches without making even the smallest sound. It was rather dark since the trees had dense foliage and he soon found a spot where he could stay hidden. It was a sort of bowl shaped hollow between two branches high in an ancient elm and when he curled up in there he was invisible to anyone down on the ground. He caressed the hilt of Reaver and started to pay attention to the camp underneath him.

He quickly saw Olof, the boy lay on his belly bent over the stem of a fallen tree and he was tied down, the back was covered with angry welts and the elf realized that they had whipped him. It made him feel sick, angry, terrified. Why? The boy had never hurt them, he hadn’t done anything wrong, he was a child by Eru. He couldn’t see if the boy moved at all and hoped that he just was unconscious.

He didn’t see Timar until the sun reached zenith and then he got another shock, the man was obviously preparing for battle for he wore armor. It was ill fitted and it was old and worn but made by an expert without doubt. Maedhros had to grin, wearing armor made for someone else is never a really good idea and he remembered his own suit of armor from the battles of old. Nobody else could have worn that. He wished that he had it now, but then again, he was much more silent without it. Timar did strut quite a bit, held his head high, grinned viciously and swung a sword. Maedhros wondered where he had gotten hold of it, it was a very good blade, also rather old but it had been taken good care of and it was shiny and made from good steel. It was a better blade than Reaver and he clenched his jaws together, How was he to deal with this?

He was by far a better fighter than Timar, everybody could see that and the armor wouldn’t protect the man at all even though he obviously believed that it would.

But Timar wasn’t alone, the elf saw several bowmen and a couple of rather vicious looking crossbows and there had to be at least thirty men in all there. He could not attack without risking his own life and he had no intention of dying yet again. He sat there trying to come up with some plan and he saw that Olof still hadn’t moved. Did Timar perhaps think that Maedhros would come to save the boy, just walk straight into the camp like some dumbass orc?

Maedhros was waiting for the darkness to fall and he sat rather comfortably where he was. He didn’t need to eat or drink as often as a human and he could stay in the tree for days if he needed to. He was relaxed and yet worried for the boy and he wondered why the idiots had taken the lad and not attacked him, where they too scared of him? Did they want to face him somewhere where they felt safe and in control? He had no idea, he just hoped that they would make a mistake that could reveal some weak spot in their defenses.

Suddenly there were laughter, and shouts and he froze, stared down from the tree with huge eyes. Two men came walking and they were dragging Lannam behind them. The boy was hogtied and they had tied a piece of cloth around his mouth to silence him. Maedhros moaned, had Lannam disobeyed him or had the sons of bitches actually gone to their camp yet again to catch also this lad? Why?

The men spoke to Timar and Maedhros managed to catch a few words of the conversation even though they spoke with low voices. Lannam had tried to sneak into the camp on his own, probably to save his friend and Maedhros moaned inwardly. Now he suddenly had two to worry about and he didn’t like this at all. Timar gestured for the men and they dragged Lannam away and some men did also untie Olof and removed him from the log to which he had been tied. He could only hope that they just wished to place the two boys in a more secure place.

The day crept by, slowly. He felt a sort of rage within which he hadn’t felt for ages, it was almost painful and he started to work on a plan. He could probably manage to snatch one of the bows and some arrows, he was an excellent archer after all and it would give him an advantage. He could not challenge Timar to single handed combat, if he won Timar’s men were probably ordered to shot him.

It got dark, the humans had lit several bonfires and they threw quite a lot of light around, made everything very visible. Maedhros was getting ready to leave the tree when he heard something, something that made his skin crawl. It was screams, muffled screams. He felt how a chill ran down his spine, slowly he left the hollow and crept through the trees, not making even a leaf move. What he saw almost stopped his heart, he could not believe what he was seeing and had to blink a few times just to get his mind straight. They had hung Olof by his feet from a branch and they had slit his throat, as if he was some sheep they were to slaughter. He had probably been unconscious and that was a blessing, he didn’t see his end coming. The humans had killed him swiftly just because he couldn’t offer them any sort of entertainment. Maedhros was aghast, were these humans? They behaved like orcs, worse than orcs.

He gasped when he saw Lannam, the boy was still alive but what they were doing was so awful he realized that these men were mad, high on power and able to do horrendous crimes. They had placed the lad on a small and very wobbly chair and tied a noose around his neck, the rope was rather tight and if the boy lost his balance he would suffocate. The really bad thing was that they had built a fire around the chair and Lannam had the choice between being burned slowly or getting hanged. The boy was trying to scream, his pants were on fire already and he tried to keep his balance in spite of the terrible pain. The men were laughing, grinning like crazy and Timar was laughing the hardest of all.

Maedhros felt tears running down his cheeks, tears of disbelief and sorrow and pain, there was nothing he could do to save the lad. He had no bow, if he had he would have ended the suffering with a well aimed arrow but he just had to watch the torture. He could not attack without risking his own life and he could do nothing, nothing at all. It was the worse feeling he had ever had, these boys had been innocent, their only crime was to accompany him. He remembered his two foster sons and slowly the feeling of shock and disbelief was being replaced by something Maedhros had always feared. Hatred, it was such a consuming and negative feeling but he didn’t care, not anymore. He had seen how hatred had consumed and destroyed his brothers and his father, had seen it drive good men insane but he welcomed it now, embraced it.

The chair crumbled and he didn’t watch, he turned his gaze away from the now burning writhing body, closed his heart and his mind, let only ice cold determination remain. He stared at Timar, his eyes blazing and his teeth bared in a sneer. In this moment he was as insane as his younger brothers had been, as hungry for death and vengeance as any of them ever had been. He growled, clenched his hands into fists, so hard his fingernails cut his palms but he didn’t feel the pain, all he felt was the anger, the need to avenge these two young lives with blood and death. He looked at Timar and made a promise. “ You will be the last one I kill, mark my words, you will be left alone and when you think you are safe I will come for you!”

Maedhros fled through the trees, got away from the camp and he started making a plan as he went. He wanted them dead, all of them. They were to face something they never had faced before and he wasn’t going to quit until he had felled each and every one of these beasts. He would be just as bad as they were but he didn’t care. He was already a monster, the gods probably understood this situation, at least he hoped that they would.

He got to the small glen where their horses grazed and saw that they were unguarded. He smiled, a rather grim smile and got down from the trees slowly so he wouldn’t startle the beasts. The horses were small ragged animals and they all were skinny with sores from spurs and cruel beatings. They looked at him with nervous eyes and he mumbled softly to them, calmed them down. He could not speak but they sensed his good intentions and the leader of the flock approached him, it was an old mare wearing a rather silly looking head gear which was made to make the horse look intimidating but all it did was to cause her discomfort and pain. He removed it swiftly, got all the tack of the animals and tossed it down into a deep ravine. Then he told the horses to flee, to run as far away as they could and they didn’t hesitate. The flock ran off towards the east and the elf smiled. The men were on foot now and he quickly ran to the small camp and saw that the mules and Hammer still were there. The animals hadn’t let anyone catch them and he petted Hammer on the shiny black coat, spoke to the horse with his thoughts “Now old boy, how would you like to become a destrier?”

The huge horse just rubbed its soft nose against the elf’s chest and Maedhros went to prepare his future actions, his fair face grim and his mind darker than it had ever been before.

Glorfindel had come to regret the purchase, Halariel was obviously able to understand that she looked good in the dress and she appreciated the feminine quality it gave her but she still acted like a child in many ways and she had no sense of dignity nor decency. She would pull the skirts up around her waist just to look at the dress and the twins would turn around with burning cheeks and ears, she was wriggling around in the saddle to get comfortable and the dress did something the tunic and the blanket skirt hadn’t. It really made him realize that he had a grown female in the saddle in front of him. And her behavior was both scandalous and very arousing at the same time, he didn’t know what was worse.

She didn’t understand when he tried to explain to her that she shouldn’t do these things, she just stared at him with huge eyes and she did look rather confused and even hurt when he raised his voice. They rode rather hard now since they knew the terrain and Glorfindel couldn’t get back home fast enough, he was so longing for someone else to be in charge of this…thing. And at the same time the idea of someone else being with her made him feel a sort of anger he hadn’t experienced before, he couldn’t quite recognize the feeling. She wasn’t lethargic anymore, that was for darn sure. Instead she seemed to be filled with reckless energy and she was climbing all over the horse, squealing and grinning and humming. Asfaloth was getting rather annoyed and Glorfindel promised the stallion a very nice meal when they got back home, just to compensate for all the mane pulling and neck hanging.

They made camp one last time, they had crossed the borders to Imladris now and were safe and so they could start a fire and cook some decent food. The twins had caught some conies and transformed them into stew and Glorfindel got yet another worry. She had no manners, whatsoever. They had of course noticed that before but now it became even more apparent, she ate with her fingers and it seemed as though half of the stew ended up on the outside of her face. If she had remembered who she had been it was forgotten now, she acted like a four year old elfling and Glorfindel decided that they would have to treat her like some overgrown toddler. He wasn’t exactly looking forward to meeting Lord Elrond carrying this elleth over his shoulder like a slaughtered animal but it was probably the only way he could keep her under control.

As usual when they settled down for the night she became extremely clingy and he sighed and did as he usually had, satisfied her with his hands and stayed by her side until she had fallen asleep. Then he took a short walk into the bushes to satisfy himself before he returned to sleep. She was making him crazy, he couldn’t help it. Her lack of anything even remotely resembling shyness and proper behavior would have that effect on any healthy male who wasn’t completely gay and he feared that someone would take advantage of her.

He would have to make it clear to everyone that she was under his protection, that she was off limits for everybody else. But he wasn’t going to go all the way with her, it wouldn’t be right. He still felt as though she needed to know what she was doing if she really wanted to lay with him, it wouldn’t be fair otherwise. He wanted her, he had to be honest with himself but just desire wasn’t enough. He had never been the type to bed others just for the sheer heck of it, he always wanted there to be at least some deeper feelings involved. Love wasn’t needed but he wanted respect and understanding, that was the least he would require from a partner. She was making it hard though, it was charming that she trusted him and cuddled up against him like a kitten but it did wreak havoc on his self-control. She was so darn well made, so gorgeous and if a normal sane elleth had approached him like that he would have been helpless to resist. As it was now he suffered and longed for his own room where the door could be locked.

They were met by some guards and Glorfindel had managed to hold her in front of him in such a manner that the dress at least covered her legs, she was squirming and acted as though she was greatly insulted by this but he didn’t care. The guards greeted them with joy and relief and he felt happy to be back but he had a strange sensation of foreboding. The real trouble would start now, he just knew it! The guards stared at the strange elleth with wide eyes, they had never seen anyone who looked thus before and Glorfindel sent them a rather stiff grin. “Don’t ask mellyn nin, you are bound to hear everything soon enough”

Elladan had to stifle a rather vicious chuckle, oh how they were looking forward to this. “ Is our father at home?”

The leader of the guards nodded, he still couldn’t quite get over the strange elleth, was she a lunatic or something? He had never heard of any elf being mad? “ Ah yes my lord, Lord Elrond is at home, he is waiting for you, we have sent words of your arrival.”

Elladan smiled, he was tired and looking forward to a hot bath, a good decent meal, some miruvor and then his own soft bed. And he wasn’t going to leave it again anytime soon.

Elrohir stared at Halariel, she was getting a bit tense now, they could see the last homely house now and she was obviously nervous but fascinated too. Glorfindel held her very tightly now and he feared that she would go into a fit of panic when she encountered more elves. The guards hadn’t spooked her though so maybe it would be alright?

They rode across the bridge and onto the small courtyard, some stable workers where there to take care of the horses and Glorfindel was glad to see Elrond there, he stood next to his counsellor Erestor and both turned their heads and stared. Glorfindel suddenly wished that they could have covered Halariels shaved head with something. She did look more than odd and the sores were still visible. Elrond just blinked and Elladan and Elrohir got off their horses and gave him a swift hug before they left. This they would prefer to let Glorfindel deal with.

Elrond walked towards them, he stared up at his captain and the elleth he was holding in front of him, she was very beautiful but at the same time a mess, thin, pale, scars and sores that were in the process of healing everywhere. What in the name of Eru was this? He swallowed, stared at the face and a weird sensation rose within him, he had seen that face before, in a masculine form. The eyes, the shape of it, she was a redhead beyond doubt and the height? Morgoths balls?!

Glorfindel sighed. “Elrond, meet Halariel, she is…Maedhros daughter!”

Just for once the peredhel was unable to find any words to say.

Erestor stared too and Halariel became uncomfortable, there were several males there, they were dark haired and tall and she didn’t feel safe, she grasped onto Glorfindel and whimpered and hid her face towards his chest, blinked and wanted to be gone from this strange place. He held her gently and saw how Elrond just had gotten pale and the confusion he felt was obvious. “ My lord, I suggest we go indoors, there are things we need to discuss.“

Elrond nodded, he still couldn’t believe what Glorfindel said but he was going into healer mode, she wasn’t healthy by far and she looked as though she didn’t understand the situation at all. He swallowed. “Fin, is she?”

Glorfindel made a grimace. “Yes, quite insane, not at all normal. Believe me, you have never encountered something like her, ever!”

Elrond stared as Glorfindel lowered the elleth to the ground and dismounted. “ Well, I have experienced a lot during the ages and”

Glorfindel interrupted him. “ Ever! I mean it, believe me my lord. You will not doubt my words whence I have explained this.”

Halariel stared around her, she was nervous but the strange males didn’t seem hostile and she saw so many weird and amazing things. She was thirsty and it was a rather hot day so she giggled and ran over to some water she saw by the nearest building, threw herself down onto her knees and started drinking eagerly. Elrond gasped and turned to Glorfindel, his eyes wide with disbelief. “She is drinking from the horse’s water trough?”

Glorfindel nodded with an embarrassed expression. “ My lord, forget that she is a grown elleth, think four year old elfling instead, with the physical needs of an adult but no knowledge about speech, proper behavior or decency.”

Erestor groaned and did a facepalm, turned around. She had pulled her skirts up underneath her armpits and showed them everything as she jumped into the water trough to cool down. Elrond stared at Glorfindel. “ Eru have mercy upon us all!”

Maedhros was prepared, he had no idea of what Timar had anticipated and he didn’t care. He would do this his own way, and it would not be pretty. He had let the two mules lose, they would return home soon enough and he had placed the things the boys had brought with them on the animals. He had no use for it and it belonged to their families. He had braided his hair and tied it up in warrior braids, then he had covered his skin with mud and juice from berries and he had put on just a pair of breeches and a west. He felt ready, eager even. Adrenaline was flowing through him and he didn’t feel any doubt now. He was ready to kill, and he would never hesitate again.

He rode a part of the way, then he left his horse and approached the camp from the north. The men were angry, their horses had run off and they had to move forth on foot and to them that was almost the end of the world. Being Timar’s brave troops meant that they were looked upon with fear and respect and being on foot meant losing much of the intimidating effect. They felt safe, didn’t bother to stay alert, after all they were many and who would dare to attack them? It was a mistake no elven leader would allow anyone to make and he grinned as he silently slid through the back of the camp and snatched two bows and some quivers filled with arrows.

The weapons were not very good, they were too small and the arrows were not very sharp nor were they perfectly fletched but they would do the job. He disappeared into the shadows again and placed some arrows in specific locations around the campsite. He had it all planned. Timar sat on his own and he looked triumphant somehow, maybe he thought that he had managed to scare the elf or chased him off. It would take more than a lousy human to make Maedhros shake in his boots and the elf had mapped the entire camp area in his mind. The men had put up some tents and kept their things there so the first thing he did was setting fire to one of the rather rackety tents.

The inhabitants came running, screaming curses and trying to rescue their belongings and Maedhros knew that this little incident would keep the humans occupied for a while. He ran through the woods until he reached the other side of the camp, there he did sneak through the bushes and he stole the crossbows and more bows. He did drop the weapons into a hollow tree, it wasn’t likely that the men would find them again. Now he had the only bows available and before long the humans discovered that someone had stolen their weapons.

He waited in a tree, patiently like a predator. He wanted to let these humans simmer in their own fear for a while, wanted to let them experience real terror. He would play them like a talented musician plays an instrument and his plan started to work right away. The humans were accusing each other of having stolen the bows, or having misplaced them and the men were scurrying around, searching for the bows. Maedhros slipped through the shadows like a huge cat, grasped a few men and killed them without a sound, hid the bodies in the bushes before moving on. He kept moving, kept himself hidden.

Before long the missing men were noticed and now the atmosphere changed, from angry to nervous. The men gathered in groups, nervously watching their surroundings and Timar was suddenly losing his confidence. He had thought that the elf would fight like Timar would, go for the leader, show himself and then Timar would let the men do the dirty job but no. He had miscalculated the enemy and he realized that he was in trouble. The night would soon be over though and he was rather certain that they would be safe when daylight returned.

He was wrong. Very wrong, just as the first light started to pour through the trees arrows started flying and they seemed to come from everywhere, the sharp morning light did blind the men and they didn’t see the tall figure that ran through the forest like some ghost, firing as he went.

Maedhros didn’t kill them all, just a third of them. He didn’t want this to end too soon, no, he wanted Timar to suffer as the boys had suffered. When he had finished shooting he returned to the woods, sought shelter in a tall tree and stayed there for the remainder of the day. He listened though, heard their voices, frightened and confused and Timar was the worst of them all in spite of his attempts at sounding calm. There was a shrill tone to his voice, as if it was about to crack and reveal the coward within and the elf grinned and ate some dried meat, just to keep up his strength.

The men wanted to leave, wanted to seek shelter somewhere where they were surrounded by others. They wanted to be surrounded by thick stone walls, by light and guards. But their horses were gone and they didn’t want to walk, walking meant being vulnerable. Timar refused to walk like some commoner and he sent two men out to look for the horses. They didn’t return, both were found in a nearby river, drowned and weighed down by rocks no man could manage to move. Timar was starting to feel really nervous now, he was starting to see the tactics this elf was using and he didn’t understand. Elves didn’t fight like that? It was tactics he would have used or even orcs. So this elf wasn’t like the others and he didn’t like the feeling of insecurity. He had always been able to judge his opponent and failed to see that this was because his opponent always had been someone way weaker than himself. If he had come face to face with a real warrior he would have failed miserably.

The day came to an end, the men had been arguing and they were getting more and more fearful. The night was returning and with it the darkness. They built fires and gathered around them, watching the forest with fear. Maedhros couldn’t believe how idiotic these humans were, the fires did ruin that precious little they had resembling night vision and they were obvious targets too. He would never have made such a blunder but they would soon enough pay for the mistake. He shot a couple of men and watched them fall and the others did panic.

Timar was shouting orders, they put out the fires and gathered in small groups in the darkness, it was perhaps a wise move if their opponent had been human too. Maedhros wasn’t surprised, Timar did have some common sense after all but it wouldn’t save them. He was perfectly capable of moving through the dark forest and he found that he enjoyed toying with these brutes.

He would sneak up on them, injure one of two with some swift stabs with a blade and then be gone before the victim even had time to realize what had happened and the men were getting more and more afraid. He was pushing them to their breaking point, they had no strong leader to calm them down and give them confidence. They had become like a pack of animals, it was each man for himself now and soon one of the small groups left.

They just ran for it and he did let them run for a while, he even let them believe that they had made it. The end was quick but brutal, he just went into a full frontal attack and the four men didn’t stand a chance even though they tried to fight him. He took the heads off two of them and stabbed one through the chest, the last one he caught by his braid and snapped the man’s neck as if it had been a rotten twig.

The remainder of the small army were scared shitless by now, they were gathered around Timar and Maedhros grinned to himself. They wouldn’t stay there for long, he just knew it. They would leave by the first break of day and he would be ready for them. He didn’t attack again that night, he just left them to shiver and cower in fear and some of them were wounded and their moans and pleas for help didn’t exactly help create a cheerful atmosphere.

They had often done that, he remembered the tricks now. They had wounded orcs to create fear and slow the enemy down, he had no more compassion for these humans than he had for the orcs he had slain back ages ago. They were filth, vermin, tainted by the shadows and he could see their hearts and knew that they were as dark and wicked as any orcs. He hoped that this wasn’t the norm, that most humans were like the friendly people of the village. He rested for a while, ate and drank and kept an eye on the humans. They left the forest rather early, fleeing the scene like a pack of lemmings and the tall elf grinned. He wanted to let them think they were safe.

The humans were crossing a rather open area when evening fell, it was a moor covered with bracken and tall dry grass and they were almost running in spite of their fatigue. Timar wasn’t used to such speed, he had shed most of his armor and he was sweating and panting. The men were seriously contemplating leaving him behind, after all, he was the one who had gotten them into this mess. If he hadn’t insisted on killing the two boys they would have had hostages, something they could use for bargaining. Now they were defenseless and the monster that was chasing them was way superior to any of them, he had the advantage now.

When the darkness started to fall again the men caught the scent of smoke and saw fires on the horizon, the moor was on fire and they had to run to escape the flames. The dry grass burned fast and panic caught them. They didn’t really see where they were going and the smoke was blinding them, some ran straight over a cliff to their death while others were pierced by arrows.

Maedhros had mounted Hammer again, he was riding and the huge horse was so calm he was able to ride through the burning landscape without the horse getting too spooked by the flames. He used the smoke as a cover and before long he knew that only Timar was left alive. The leader was shivering like a child, moaning and screaming whenever he thought he saw movements and the elf followed the man from a distance.

If anyone had seen him now they would have recognized him from the battles of old, it was the same cold glance, the same darkened expression as so many had seen and feared. He was returning to the person he had been so long ago and it wasn’t what the Valar had intended at all, but destiny can sometimes play its own game and it doesn’t really care that much about the plans of others.

Timar ran for his life, he could hear hooves against the ground, heard a horse snorting, heard a strange hollow sounding laughter. He was desperate, why had his gods abandoned him? Didn’t they see his grand future, his natural right to leadership, his right to rule? Truly these lands had never produced anyone as worthy of ruling as him?

He was after all such a marvelous person and a born leader, so why in the name of heck did his men disobey him, just look what had happened to them, they had gotten themselves killed, that was the truth. If they just had stayed and listened to him he was sure they would have been able to win even against this enemy. Timar had ran for hours when he spotted a small barn ahead, it was made from stone and wood and was rather old, but it was a place to hide and he was drawn towards it as if pulled by a magnet. He would rest and regain his strength there and then he would gather some more men and hunt down that goddamn elf. He wouldn’t be satisfied before he had that goddamn creatures head on a spike and he imagined having that long red hair turned into a belt or something, yes, that would be very fitting indeed.

Glorfindel managed to get Halariel into Elronds office and he caught her attention with a small crystal ball used as a decoration, she was mesmerized by the pretty thing and he quickly told Elrond of everything that had happened. He was still afraid he had injured her by probing her mind without her consent and Elrond was a bit angry at him but he did understand too. He wished that he could examine her powers closely but it wouldn’t be possible before she was able to understand what it was that was happening. Interfering was too dangerous and Elrond was both shocked and intrigued by her.

He had truly mourned his foster father’s death and knew that he had seen a side of the two oldest feanorian brothers few others had witnessed. Yes, they had been rather firm and very strict but loving, very loving. And now this, Maedhros own daughter, conceived in a very disturbing manner yes but there was no doubt about the elleth’s origin.

Elrond did pity the girl, she was so innocent and yet so troubled, it was no wonder her mind had shut itself down. There had to be something they could do to help her but what? She couldn’t speak, the only words she managed to say were Glorfindel’s name and s few cusswords he suspected she had learned from his sons. He ordered some servants to prepare a room next to Glorfindel’s and get some clothes. She was very tall and thin and he suspected that they didn’t have any dresses that really fit her. She was a peculiar sight with the shaved head but he did understand why Glorfindel had removed her hair. It was just such a bizarre sight, he had never encountered a bald elf before.

Glorfindel was suffering, he had to make sure that Halariel was being fed and she did follow him to the dining hall but she managed to create an utter mess since she started throwing cutlery and plates everywhere and she put her hands into the pots and pans and tried to get a taste of everything there. It felt like babysitting a toddler. The other elves there were staring with wide eyes and some looked rather worried, Glorfindel sent them a sneer and growled, he didn’t like this at all but he had to do what Elrond wanted of him. She trusted him and he had to make sure that she was comfortable. He got her back to the room and there he managed to get her into a thin chemise and put her to bed. She was tired but she had eaten half a carrot cake and it was so sweet she had gotten the sugar high of all times and he swore to himself that she would have crawled all over the ceiling if the laws of physics had allowed it.

She was tossing and turning and squealing when he tried to make her lay still. He had to use a sleeping spell, he didn’t like it at all since it was a dirty trick but it worked and he got back to his own room and took a long warm bath before he went to bed. He hoped that she would sleep for a few days, he needed the rest. Unfortunately he was in no such luck, he was shaken out of his slumber by a very wide eyed Lindir, the minstrel looked as if he had seen an army of orcs and Glorfindel groaned and stared at the normally so serene young ellon. “ What?!”

Lindir stepped back and swallowed, his adams apple was bobbing up and down. “ Ah, the elleth you brought with you yesterday?!”

Glorfindel moaned. “ Yes?”

Lindir made an apologetic grimace. “ Not to disturb you my lord but she is bathing in the fountain….wearing only a nightgown.”

Glorfindel cussed so bad Lindir went paper white, then he threw a dressing robe around himself and ran. Lindir was right, Halariel was in the huge fountain which was placed in the main square of Imladris, just in front of the hall of fire. She was splashing around like a kid, squealing and enjoying herself but the chemise she wore was white and now it was wet and acted more like a second layer of skin, a very translucent one. The fountain was surrounded by elves, mostly very cheerful males and a few very angry females, there was a lot of leering going on and Glorfindel just snapped. He had been ripped out of pleasant dreams and she was to blame for it. He jumped into the fountain and grasped her rather violently. She squealed and started resisting, she didn’t know why he was so angry and she got a bit scared and confused. It didn’t bother her that there were others there and she liked that the other males were looking at her. She had found that she liked the males she saw there, they were all good looking but none was as good looking as the golden haired one she had been fortunate enough to find.

She didn’t want to leave the fountain, she was fighting him and during the struggle she managed to loosen the belt of his robe and it fell off. Now he was only in his by now wet loincloth and she was wearing a chemise that showed everything, the elves of Imladris had never had entertainment like that before and the crowd was growing by the minute. Some were shouting encouraging advice while some were betting on who would win the wrestling match. Halariel was rather strong in spite of it all and she was giving Glorfindel a real challenge, he tried to grasp and lift her and she was slippery and agile and managed to twist herself free from his grip every time and the chemise was soon ripped to shreds.

Glorfindel was glaring, his eyes shooting daggers and he was trying to manhandle this fury who was completely unable to see that she was very indecent and should have been covering herself. Lindir threw a cloak to Glorfindel who managed to wrap it around her somehow, she looked like some badly wrapped present and he lifted her across his shoulders and managed to look almost dignified when he waded out of the fountain and carried her back to her room. There was loud applause following them and Glorfindel rolled his eyes and swore that Elrond never again would be able to persuade him into doing anything like this.

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