Like blood and fire

A captive soul

Elrond was extremely confused and equally worried, if his suspicions were true and Halariel was in fact being controlled by the Silmarilli powers she owned then she was very dangerous. Yes, she had done nothing harmful as of yet, well, at least nothing so harmful it could be regarded as dangerous but did she have the capability of causing real damage? Could it be that the power in fact had tried to help her? After all, she knew no words and it could be that the force within had just tried to help her learn some more, fast.

He sighed and sat down behind his desk, they had to help her but how? If the force was indeed trying to be helpful then it could perhaps try to protect her if it thought she was in danger and that could be really dangerous. The power had showed great potential but just like her it had obviously no real understanding of life and the rules of a society. It made him think that she could be in control of it after all, that it did spring from her mind and not from some hidden source within her very being. How where they to know, could they dare to explore her mindset further? She had to be controlled somehow, could he perhaps drug her? It was a possibility but he believed that he had another choice. Glorfindel had tried to create a mind link with her, but he was inexperienced and it was done in desperation. Elrond had done that many times, often with elves who were severely traumatized by different experiences and needed to be healed in a way they themselves could not control.

He could try to make it easier by using herbs and by taking the process very slowly and in tiny steps. But still it could be dangerous and he wasn’t so sure if he was ready for it. He had sent Glorfindel and Halariel back to their rooms and he had ordered the warrior to make sure that she drank a lot of a herbal tea he had one of his apprentices make. It made you relaxed and sleepy and should enable Glorfindel to keep her under control. He got up again, feeling restless. Not knowing what actions he was to take always made him stressed out and he felt the onset of a headache. He tried to push it away by his will alone but it didn’t budge, it stayed. He shook his head in annoyance and remembered the one time a mind link hadn’t helped, when he had tried to heal his beloved Celebrian. Her mind had been so torn up by the terrors she had experienced that she was unable to cope with life, she had to sail or perish. He had felt that he had betrayed her, that he should have been able to erase it all and bring her back to who she had been but it had been impossible. Some things just cannot be changed and one shouldn’t try to change them neither, they just were and that was that.

He was considering leaving to go to the infirmary to pick up some painkillers when there was a loud banging on the door, he didn’t have time to answer to it before it flew open and a very red faced elleth stormed in, carrying a four year old elfling on her arm. The elfling stared around her with wide eyes and looked a bit confused. Elrond did at first believe that the child was injured somehow but then the mother opened her mouth and she did have the most amazing set of lungs he had ever encountered for he was sure everybody could have heard her as far as Lothlorien. “I want that ….wench…removed from this place…you cannot allow such a foul creature to reside here, she has corrupted our children!”

Elrond needed air, he needed to get away from it all and now this, a very pissed off elleth. He knew better than to further agitate a pissed off mother, they were the worse patients he had and he still remembered the one elleth who had almost torn down the entire infirmary believing that her precious little one had contracted the plague. She had refused to believe him when he told her that the child had eaten molded and fermented berries and he had for a moment feared for his own safety. He didn’t want that kind of situation again, ever! “My lady, the wench you refer to is a patient of mine, I can assure you, she didn’t mean what she said, she didn’t even understand it.”

He kept his voice calm and collected and tried to exude as much confidence as he could but the elleth was still fuming. Now, what was her name again? Ni…? Nu? Nolariel? Yes, Nolariel it was, he remembered her as a very feisty young thing very fond of partying. Seeing her transformed into a very protective mother was a bit unsettling. She growled, her expression more akin to that of an orc than an elf. “Oh really? Well keep that thing on a leash for I will not allow her anywhere near my daughter again.! She just asked her brother if he was ….oh Eru, I cannot even say it, a cock-s….”

Elrond had to stop a smirk from emerging, look who’s talking. He remembered that Nolariel had had a reputation for being very good at that specific act. “My lady, children do forget easily, don’t worry about it. Just teach her some other funny words and she will use them instead.”

Nolariel pressed her lips together so hard they became white. “Oh, like what? I am warning you, if that darn elleth does something like that again we will demand that she is being removed from this valley.”

Elrond tried to look stern. “Like I said earlier, she is a patient, I will not make her leave her until I have helped her. And swearwords and cussing isn’t that bad, the kids pick that up sooner or later anyhow”

Nolariel just scoffed, threw him a glance filled with daggers and poison and ran out of the door, slamming it shut behind her. Elrond groaned, a headache had now started to become a migraine and he rolled his eyes and got out. The healing ward was quiet this afternoon, it was unoccupied save for a warrior who had injured his knee while on duty and the ellon was fast asleep. Elrond mixed some herbs with miruvor and tossed it back as if it was water. It tasted like rotten old socks but the pain started to subside right away. He sighed with relief. Yes, he had to do something, before Halariel caused even more trouble.

Glorfindel had a strange sensation inside, Halariel had been a good girl and drunk the tea but now she was acting more and more strange by the minute. She seemed confused and her head was lolling from one side to the other while her eyes rolled in her head. She had to react to the medicine in a most unusual way and he was getting worried. She made some strange sounds and then she appeared to fall asleep, her eyes fixed and distant and her breathing slow and steady. He hoped that she indeed was asleep and not suffering from some severe reaction to the herbs.

He sat down in an armchair, never letting his eyes drift from her, it was like guarding a sleeping dragon, the Valar only knew what kind of tricks she would be up to. He heard her moan a little, her legs kicked, her head moved, she reminded him of a dog he had owned while living in Gondolin, it had moved like that when it was dreaming. He frowned, the room had become rather cold and he got a bit confused. It was rather warm outside and hadn’t the hearth been lit earlier that day? It could of course be cold wind so he got up and closed the chimney, that ought to do it. He gasped when he realized that the temperature was continuing to drop, it was actually getting so cold he could see his own breath.

Glorfindel realized that she was causing this, she had to remember some winter situation and he felt the cold permeating everything there. The outside? He rushed towards the window, peered out and was shocked to see that it was in fact snowing outside. He couldn’t believe his own eyes. And it was just in a small tiny area around the building she was in, other where the sun was shining and it was a normal pleasant day. Some elflings were running around trying to catch snowflakes with their tongue while the adults just stood there, staring.

Glorfindel growled, sweet Eru what a mess. He rushed over to the bed and shook her, rather violently. She yawned and opened her eyes, looking like a very pleased and relaxed cat. He petted her cheek. “Halariel, you were dreaming.”

The temperature was returning to normal very rapidly and he was thankful for that, a midwinter blizzard just out of nowhere was not normal even in this place of magic. Halariel sighed and curled up in bed, she had started to regain some hair, it was still very short, just a few millimeters long but it did cover the scars and it gave her a sort of elegance he hadn’t seen in others before. He sat down next to her. “I guess you aren’t hungry again just yet, how do you feel?”

Her eyes were still a bit distant, and she looked as if she was drunk, very drunk in fact. She pulled her blankets off and smiled at him, a very dreamy smile, before she spread her legs and pulled her skirts up. He moaned, not again! But she was obviously insatiable and he had to just try to keep her mind occupied. Before long he was rather busy and she was panting and moving her hips, eagerly urging him on. This was getting rather awkward, he was having a very hard time not going too far and the idea of seeking some other elleth just to release some of the desire was tempting but he felt as though that would be a betrayal. He did care about Halariel, he had to be honest with himself. He wanted to see her happy and safe and he didn’t want to see her with anybody else than himself. Elves are not supposed to grow jealous but he was pretty sure that he would become very jealous indeed if she started showing interest for someone else. Finally she was sated and he was aching and feeling very restless indeed. Halariel curled up next to him on the bed and he tried to smile at her but failed, he wanted to leave the room to take care of himself but he didn’t dare to. She saw the expression upon his face and suddenly he had nimble fingers unlacing his pants with a skill that was surprising considering how long it had to have been since she had done something like that.

He was trying to back away from her, not really sure if he could trust her completely. She had him out of his pants by now and then she touched him, very gently but it was enough to make him gasp. Halariel giggled and looked at him with some sort of determination within her gaze, then she bent over and what she did next almost made him come on the spot. He hadn’t thought that she knew that could be done at all, but perhaps she had understood some of the obscenities after all. She had no experience, that much he could clearly understand but by the Valar did she have zeal, she was a bit rough but he quickly managed to show her that teeth was a no-no. It wasn’t long before he reached the end of his endurance and he didn’t even have time to warn her before he spilled. She coughed a few times but didn’t seem too disgusted and he felt like passing out, she giggled and wiped off her mouth with her forearm and laid down next to him, cuddling against his shoulder. He managed to catch his breath and let his hand slide across her head. “Halariel, you are amazing. I cannot believe that you just did that.”

She smiled sweetly and her eyes became distant again. He felt like getting up and cleaning himself but he didn’t want to wake her up. He just got himself back into his pants and laced them back up, just in case someone entered the room. He had been given head quite a few times but never with such an eager curiosity as she had showed. No, he did most definitely not want her with someone else, he had to win her affection on a deeper level than just the carnal one. He felt a bit tired too and slowly he fell asleep.

Elrond had been mixing herbs when a very startled guard came crashing through the door squealing about snow and freezing temperatures. The healer did for a second believe that perhaps his sons once again were up to some sort of mischief but he followed the ellon outside and he did see that it indeed was snowing, in a circle around the house in which Halariel was kept. Elrond gasped and could barely believe his own eyes, not even the isthari could do that. The snow suddenly disappeared again but he just felt it, her powers were growing stronger here. Why? Then it struck him like a thunderclap, Vilya! His ring, it probably sensed the power of his ring and responded to it. Was this something he ought to be nervous about? He didn’t feel his ring respond to her in any specific way, it would have if her powers somehow had been a threat to Vilya. Right then, it didn’t see her as a threat but what would be next?

Glorfindel knew he hadn’t slept for very long, in fact he woke up feeling rather dizzy and his throat was dry as if he had slept with his mouth open and he was still sleepy. He mumbled and tried to turn around in the bed, wanting to get closer to Halariel. The bed was soft, it was in fact so soft it was unpleasant. It hadn’t felt that way when he fell asleep? He opened his eyes and turned his head and then he let out a loud yelp, he wasn’t on the bed, he was above it. He was hovering about three feet of the bed and so was she, she was asleep and mumbling something to herself as she moved rather sluggishly and squirmed in thin air. Glorfindel found that he could move, but there was nothing he could use to move himself against, to gain momentum.

He reached out and managed to get a hold of her shoulder, shook it rather violently and she squeaked and awakened and immediately they both fell onto the bed like they were made from lead. Glorfindel let out a loud “Oooouuuffff” and Halariel screamed, the bedframe could not take such punishment, it creaked and groaned like some dying animal and broke in half, the bed politely bending itself neatly so that they suddenly lay there with their legs in the air and their bodies trapped inside of the matrass. Glorfindel gasped, he know knew what it felt like to be squashed, the bedframe was a heavy one and for some reason it had followed the matrass and the weight rested upon them, they had to get out of this predicament and that soon.

Halariel was screaming, it got a bit muffled by the matrass and the blankets and everything that now covered them but she was terrified beyond any doubt. Glorfindel swore and tried to work his way out of the darn matrass that now had the shape of an U. The door opened and he grumbled and then he heard someone laugh but the laughter was mixed with disbelief. Somebody started to pull the bedframe away from them. Then finally the matrass was being turned flat again and they were free. Glorfindel quickly covered Halariel with a blanket, she was wide eyed and still scared and shivering and he stared at their rescuers. It was Elladan and Elrond and one of the other healers, they stared at the mess and it was rather obvious that none of them understood a single thing. “What happened here? What have you been doing? A split bedframe?!”

Elrond looked a bit suspicious but Glorfindel shook his head vigorously. “Oh no, nothing like that, know what you are thinking. We just…ah...slept.”

Elrond frowned. “Slept? So hard the bed buckled?”

Glorfindel squirmed, he saw the smirk on the face of the eldest twin and the other healer was also trying to hide his mirth, to no prevail. “Listen, we slept, she somehow lifted us up in the air and when she woke up she dropped us right down, our weight falling was too much for the bed, alright?! We were not, and I repeat, we were not fucking!!”

He was a bit hoarse and Elrond nodded, his eyes even more narrow now. “You were lifted up into the air?!”

Glorfindel nodded his head vigorously. “Aye, we both hung there, three feet above the bed, like we were pulled up by ropes, only that there weren’t any”

Elrond swallowed and Glorfindel knew his friend very well, he was way more affected by that piece of information than he dared to express. He saw it in the eyes, a glimpse of awe and also fear.

“She just lifted both of you into the air?” Elrond’s voice was a bit hoarse now and he stared at Halariel who looked a bit pale.

Glorfindel nodded, rolling his eyes. “Indeed!”

Elrond swallowed hard, he nodded to Elladan. “Keep her busy for a while will you? I need to speak to Glorfindel, in private!”

Elladan made a snorting sound. “Why me?!”

Elrond just glared at him. “Because!”

Elladan sighed and tried to catch Halariel’s attention by showing her a trick he used to entertain children, he pressed his hands together and made his fingers go back and forth and she giggled and was instantly mesmerized. Elrond grasped Glorfindel by his collar and pulled him with him out of the door. Glorfindel felt a bit nervous all of a sudden, what was this?

The healer took a deep breath. “Fin, I think she is reacting to my ring!”

The balrog slayer took a deep breath. “Are you sure?!”

Elrond nodded solemnly. “I am, it has escalated hasn’t it? I doubt that she has had episodes like this before she came here. It is the power of Vilya, I am sure that the power inside of her is responding to it, but I have no idea of whether or not it poses a threat.”

Glorfindel brazed himself. “I don’t think she will hurt anyone on purpose, she is innocent Elrond, so very so. There is no evil in her.”

Elrond nodded. “I agree on that statement, she is indeed innocent but she is like a child too, and children can do a lot of damage, without knowing that they are doing anything wrong. Innocence is like a double edged blade, it can be harmful.”

Glorfindel shrugged. “I am not entirely sure that I agree?”

Elrond sighed. “Okay, remember that time when Erestor’s apprentice had his nephew visiting from Lindon?”

Glorfindel squinted, thinking hard. “Oh, yes, I remember, cute little thing, eight years old right?”

Elrond nodded.. “Indeed, the sweetest child I have seen in an age, and do you remember what he did?”

Glorfindel shook his head. “No?”

Elrond sighed. “He opened the gate to the horse’s pen and let them into the fruit garden, thinking that they wanted some apples.”

Glorfindel frowned. “Ah, yes, colic right?”

Elrond nodded slowly. “You remember a little of it, ten horses with colic, two had to be put down, one with a twisted gut that died and three more got injured due to fighting, falling into a ditch and so on. It was a disaster, I think you were out on patrol back then. “

Glorfindel nodded. “I must have been, I would have remembered otherwise.”

Elrond sent him a faint smile. “Possibly, the point is Fin, the boy didn’t mean to do anything wrong, he wanted to be kind, but he didn’t know the consequences of what he did. “

Glorfindel looked down. “You are right, she may act out of ignorance and cause a disaster, what can we do?”

Elrond shrugged. “Good question, what can we do indeed. If we try to sedate her we will just keep shoving the problems ahead of us. We have to do something about it, something real.”

Glorfindel leaned against the wall, he looked a bit nervous. He didn’t want to see Halariel getting hurt in any way. “What are you suggesting?”

Elrond bit his lower lip. “Another mind link, remember, I can do that, I know how to deal with such matters. But it may be risky, dangerous even. “

Glorfindel peeked in through the door, Elladan was showing Halariel how to make rope from bedspreads. “For her or for you?”

Elrond looked out across the valley, his eyes distant. “First and foremost for her, but I have a feeling that I too may be in danger, if that power represents a separate entity, something not really a part of her soul, it may choose to defend itself somehow. “

Glorfindel hissed. “Fighting against the power of a Silmaril? I do not think so!”

Elrond smiled, the smile was a bit fake. “Oh, don’t worry. What her mother received from Maglor was just a tiny fragment right? It cannot be that powerful, and I will not act in a way that is threatening. Being attacked is the worst case scenario anyhow.”

Glorfindel had a feeling that Elrond said that just to ease his mind. “Well, I guess that is the best option we have, to unravel the mystery and get her under control. When will you do this?”

Elrond took a deep breath. “Tonight, I will prepare herbs and equipment and start after sunset.”

Glorfindel felt an urge to protest, to say that it was too soon, that he didn’t want to risk her sanity yet again but he knew that Elrond was right. They had to bring her inn under some sort of control, it had to be done.

Glorfindel returned to Halariel who was watching Elladan making shadow animals against the wall, she was staring with huge eyes and grinning widely and Glorfindel had to agree with Elrond, she was a child in some ways, a child with powers they couldn’t even begin to understand. It was frightening. Elrond smiled. “Get her some food and relax, show her the garden or something. Try to keep her mind occupied with something until I am ready. “

Glorfindel nodded but internally he was yelling with frustration. Halariel looked a bit annoyed over the fact that Elladan had left, she pouted and sighed and Glorfindel shook his head. She really was cute that way but he felt as though he was walking on thin ice. He had no idea of what his actions could cause. She was utterly unpredictable.

He did take her to the dining hall again where she promptly threw a whole bowl of salad at the waitress and then she poured a tankard of ale onto the floor, just to look at the pretty patterns in the wooden floor. Glorfindel rolled his eyes, apologized and tried to divert her attention as much as he could. It was like herding a bunch of rabbits, the second he let go she was scooting off again, eager to investigate something else. She was tugging at the hair of one ellon who had a particularly unusual hairstyle, then she went crawling beneath the benches looking at shoes and the children there were grasped by nervous mothers who didn’t want a repetition of the swearing incident.

Afterwards she was covered in dirt and grime and still she was grinning like mad. Glorfindel thought that yes, she was cute in her own way but damn how tiresome. They went to the garden and she went ballistic. She ran around sniffing every flower she saw, even a couple that smelled like a rotten carcass and she was jumping up and down like mad trying to reach the branches of trees that had been painstakingly shaped into weave like patters or even animals. Glorfindel was afraid she’d might harm something but she didn’t, she was very gentle with the plants and he tried to teach her the names.

They spent quite some time in the garden and she relaxed after a while, became more normal. Her energy level had to have dropped considerably and she sat on the bench next to him and just listened to him telling old stories from his previous life. He wasn’t sure she understood but she leaned her chin onto his shoulder and just sat there. He kept talking while she was fidgeting with his sleeve, and she kept her eyes on him the whole time. Glorfindel wasn’t so sure of what he thought of that, she was a bit starry eyed and her smile was dreamy. She liked his voice, that was rather apparent.

They sat underneath a tree, a huge one with neatly trimmed branches and Glorfindel suddenly realized that it was blooming, odd, he hadn’t even realized that this tree would bloom at this time of the year. The branches were full of flowers, beautiful light pink ones and suddenly petals started raining down over them in a veritable blizzard. Glorfindel coughed and tried to wipe flower petals away from his face, Halariel grinned and sneezed and she giggled. It was the only tree in the garden that bloomed and they were underneath it. That was no coincidence, her powers were at work again, without her knowing it. She wiped petals away from her head, her dress and lap and soon they felt as though they would drown underneath a blanket of petals, Glorfindel groaned and grasped her hand. “Come, let’s find another bench.”

She got up and he took her by her hand, moved over to another bench. They sat down and she immediately kissed him, a very wet and very direct kiss and he pulled back and tried to hold her back a little. “Whoa, easy there. We’re in public Halariel, it isn’t decent.”

She frowned and went for it again and before he knew it he was on his back on the bench with her sitting on his belly leaning forth and kissing him as if she had been thirsty and he was water. It was a bit exhilarating, he had to admit that. No elleth had ever kissed him thus before but he felt like the target for an invasion, a very quick and violent one. He was pinned down and she was grinding herself against his body and he squeaked and just prayed the Valar that nobody would show up right there and then.

Thankfully she didn’t do anything except kissing and he started to enjoy it at least a little, he tried to teach her how to do it right and she was eagerly doing as he instructed. It wasn’t so bad, she was really trying and he didn’t try to get back up again. It felt good laying there with that warm body on top of him and her enthusiastic caresses were having a rather profound effect on him. Luckily he wore a very loose long tunic and loose pants that didn’t reveal his predicament at all.

He looked out of the corner of his eye just to make sure that nobody was walking down the path when he noticed something that made him blink and just stare. The flowers were moving, in a very not botanical way. They were swaying from side to side in a very peculiar motion and rhythm that seemed almost familiar to him, what the… He lifted his head, the vines growing around the trees were sliding against each other, it looked rather sensual, so were the herbs and taller flowers too.

He felt his throat go dry, oh Valar, oh no! Then he heard a strange thumping sound and turned his head the other way, one bench was desperately trying to mount another one, a pair of chairs were both trying to mate with a tree and longer down the path two statues had come to life and were doing what had to be a perfect imitation of an intercourse done doggy style, facial expressions included. Too bad the statues were made to resemble Manwë and Elrond’s mother.

Glorfindel shot up, staring at the calamity, it looked as if every object that wasn’t nailed down tried to have sex with other objects, living or dead. He heard shouts and screaming and he saw one ellon come running down one of the other paths being chased by a galloping long legged table, he ran like he had all the minions of Morgoth at his heels. Halariel giggled, she held her stomach and shook with mirth and Glorfindel didn’t see the fun in it. It was terrifying, in fact it made him a bit nauseous. He grasped her by her hand, pulled her with him and they both ran towards the central square.

There were screams and terrified elves ran everywhere while furniture and tools obviously had gotten a life of their own and its own will. A huge tree was moving in obvious spasms as a garden hose was slithering around through its cracks and crevices and he saw that even the tiles on the paths tried to rip free from the ground. He moaned, this was indeed dangerous, it was awful and even Halariel seemed to understand that something was wrong.

Elrond came running, his robes were torn and his eyes huge and black with terror. “There you are, it is Halariel isn’t it? My own desk just tried to hump me, I barely escaped with my dignity and my life.”

Glorfindel was blushing. “Yes, it is her. She…she got a bit eager and started kissing me and then this calamity started.”

Elrond grasped Halariel by her shoulder, then he pressed his hand against her forehead and Glorfindel had time to see a bright flash of light before she went limp and he had to catch her before she hit the ground. The noises and madness immediately stopped, the plants became plants again and the other objects were just things once more, as they ought to be.

Elrond let out a huge sigh of relief and rolled his eyes and Glorfindel swallowed and stared at Halariel’s face, she was beyond dangerous, she was… He had no words for it. Elrond stared at Glorfindel and there was something very dark in his eyes. “Fin, promise me this, If there ever is an orc attack on this place, or any other place where she is, don’t let the orcs catch her alive. If the enemy gets his hands on someone like her, we are all screwed and I seriously mean it. “

Glorfindel went pale, he hadn’t even thought about that scenario, and he knew that Elrond was right. She could become a most awful weapon. There were whispers of the shadow having returned and although Sauron had been beaten soundly at the Dagorlad they couldn’t be too sure that he wouldn’t return, he wasn’t completely annihilated. “I know, I promise.”

Elrond sent him a stern glance. “Good, now, help me carry her to the healing ward, we have to keep her there until tonight, by the Valar, I bet the place will be crowded until then. There are just too many with injuries.”

Glorfindel lifted Halariel up and carried her gently as Elrond walked with fast steps towards the hospital like buildings. It was already a long line of elves there waiting for help but luckily nobody was seriously hurt. Elrond gave Halariel a separate room and Glorfindel had yet again the boring job of watching over her. But it wasn’t so boring now actually, it was getting on his nerves. He found a book and sat down to read but he constantly had to send her a swift glance, just to make sure that nothing odd was happening.

It was rather late before Elrond and the other healers were finished, they had treated everything from scratches and bruises to a few fractures and a concussion. Most of the injuries were just superficial, after all, elves are very agile and fast and they had been able to avoid the suddenly very amorous objects. Elrond felt tired when they closed the doors after the last patient, he went to his own rooms and ate a little, drank some refreshing tea and took a quick and rather cold bath, it sort of reenergized him and he knew he was ready for quite a struggle. It was a strange idea, he was about to face the power of the silmarilli, or at least small shard of it. He knew so little of those jewels, even though he had been alive when the oath of the feanorian’s had been active. He had seen the devastation those jewels had created, had seen the bloodshed and hatred and doom they had brought. It was hard to tell if the jewels themselves had been accountable for at least a little of the problems. They had been blessed by the Valar, that ought to ensure that no evil could taint them but Halariel’s mother had gotten a shard left by their creation, not from the finished product.

Elrond knew as well as everybody else that Fëanor had left something of himself within those jewels, that they contained a part of the essence of who he was, and he had been…not quite sane. Elrond had seen it, had heard the tales, had watched up close what his sons had done. It had been inheritable, that violent burning flame that could result in both grandness and complete destruction. He had been fostered by Maglor and Maedhros, perhaps the most normal of the seven ellyn and even they had harbored a darkness of the soul that had frightened him at times. Some said it was because of their father having sired too many children, that the two firstborn were normal because the energy of the parents joined faer had been strong and pure, and that as the number of sons increased the quality of that energy fell. The twins hadn’t really been that bad, but they had been young, perhaps they would have grown to become the worst of them all if they had lived any longer.

Elrond put on some simple and comfortable clothes, made sure that his ring was hidden, then he went to the healing ward, knowing that this was it. If this didn’t work Halariel would have to leave, but they couldn’t let the orcs get her, or leave her among the humans. Tney would certainly see her as a witch or worse and kill her. This had to work. There had to be something he could do, everything could not be lost.

He knew that Glorfindel cared a lot about Halariel, he wasn’t sure if the balrogslayer had fallen in love, it was a bit too early to say that for sure but he knew that they had been intimate, although they hadn’t gone all the way yet. He didn’t want to risk Glorfindel’s sanity either, when he cared about someone he really cared, he never did anything half-heartedly and everybody knew that he treated those he loved with the outmost respect and gentleness. If anything happened to Halariel, Glorfindel would feel guilty and Elrond didn’t want that at all. A sulking grieving Glorfindel would be unbearable to live with.

He entered the healing ward and found that two of the other healers still stayed there, they were busy cleaning up the instruments and he sent them a friendly nod before he went to where Glorfindel was waiting. Halariel lay on the bed like before, motionless and pale and Glorfindel sprang to his feet when Elrond entered the room, he looked very nervous. Elrond smiled and started to prepare the needed equipment, he lit a candle underneath a bowl of scented oils that would make it easier to relax and let the mind just flow. He closed the shutters so that the room became dark and he drank some herbal potions that would increase his ability to enter the mind of others. It didn’t feel right doing this but he had to. It was the only way. Making a mind bond was usually something he hardly ever did and when he did it he always had the patients full trust and they agreed whole heartedly. It felt a bit like a crime doing it without her consent but if they were to ensure the safety of her and the entire valley he had to do it. At least he knew how to, without messing her up further.

Glorfindel was pale and his eyes a bit wide. “Can I stay?”

Elrond nodded. “Of course you can stay, but do not disturb me and do not touch me whatever you do.”

Glorfindel made a grimace. “And what if something goes wrong? What am I to do then?”

Elrond shrugged. “Then there is very little anybody can do I am afraid, I am the only one here capable of doing this.”

Glorfindel’s blue eyes got narrow. “How will I know if anything is wrong by the way?”

Elrond sent him a very pale smile and sat down next to Halariel, grasped her hand. “Oh, don’t worry about that, you will know I ensure you.”

Glorfindel sighed. “That didn’t exactly make me feel any better thank you, care to elaborate?”

Elrond just sighed. “If I do not wake up we have a problem, alright?”

Glorfindel nodded. “Got it.”

Elrond smiled. “Great, and now, be quiet.”

Elrond closed his eyes and leaned back into the chair, he had managed to find a very comfortable one and Glorfindel sat down into another chair that wasn’t quite that nice. Elrond let his thoughts drift along, he just hummed softly and felt how the vapor of the oil slowly helped him seek Halariel’s fëa. He let go of his own body and allowed himself to drift into the mind of the strange elleth. What he instantly saw was not what he had expected. It really shocked him and for a moment he wasn’t really sure of what he ought to do further.

He found himself standing in a valley, it was rather nice looking but uninhabited and he felt a surge of terrible hunger and pain rush through him. He felt what she had felt, these were memories that weren’t really that old. He carefully sought her mind and found a mind that was more or less empty, she had emotions but no thoughts, no plans or words. It was the mind of an animal and he started to realize how much she had changed after Glorfindel and the twins found her. He dug deeper, wandered in a confusing irregular maze of memories until he finally found something he could work with. She had left her mother behind and were traveling and he knew that she was sane at this moment of time. He dove into her mind once more and then he felt it, a barely noticeable touch of something very alien, very powerful. He moved towards it, nervous and yet very curious. This was weird and also wonderful, a shard of light so powerful it was blinding him.

He came to an abrupt holt, in front of his souls eyes he saw a strange figure, it was as if two souls had merged, one normal one and one made entirely of light but they hadn’t become one, not really. They were like two trees that had grown up entwined around each-other’s trunk, inseparable and yet still two separate beings. One was Halariel’s own soul, the other the power that had been locked inside of the small piece of silmaril. Both were watching him, one with a childlike almost indifferent stare and the other with a keen wisdom that made him feel nervous.

The soul of light could not be evil, but it couldn’t be entirely good neither, because it was above such terms. It had no understanding of those concepts at all, it had no idea of the frailty of the hroa or the damage it had caused on Halariel. It had protected her like a parent protects a child but to a degree where it had become obsession, where it had held her back, prevented her from growing and evolving, it had kept her as its pet.

Elrond was absolutely not sure if this was a good idea, this soul had to be removed from her or it had to be merged with her own properly, but how? It did have its own consciousness, a very smart one too. It stared at him, regarded him with cold eyes and it felt as though he was being seen through. The creature was beautiful, an exact copy of Halariel’s own soul except from the colors. It cocked its head. “She is mine”

Elrond knew he had to be very careful now, he could easily mess this up. “What makes you say that?”

The silmarilli soul hissed. “I have kept her safe, I have provided for her.”

Elrond smiled, he tried to be as non-threatening as possible. “Not well enough, she was dying when my people found her. You cannot take care of just the soul, but also the hroa.”

The shining being looked confused. “The hroa is but flesh, worthless, a container of less beauty.”

Elrond nodded. “Perhaps, but without it she would have died, she would have gone to the halls of Mandos and you would have been houseless.”

The creature looked confused. “No, I am strong, I would have kept her here.”

Elrond shook his head. “You couldn’t have done that, the call of Mandos would have been too strong, and even if you managed to keep her with you it would have been as a houseless soul, a ghost, Her body would have been beyond rescue.”

The creature seemed to be unable to untangle itself from Halariel who just grinned, that empty indifferent smile. “Bodies are just a nuisance, bothersome.”

Elrond cocked his head, he brought forth some of Halariel’s recent memories, of her more intimate encounters with Glorfindel. “Bodies can give much joy, just watch”

The creature was staring with keen interest, its head tilted. “I do not see the point in this activity. Why are you here?!”

The question came abruptly, almost as an accusation. Elrond tried to smile and remain calm. “I have come because you have caused her problems, you have created very difficult situations for her.”

The thing hissed. “I have only tried to help, I can feel her needs, and I have tried to fulfil them.”

Elrond nodded. “And I am sure she is very grateful for that. But you sort of…exaggerated a bit. There are rules to a society and by helping her you inadvertently broke them, it can become dangerous to her.”

The thing seemed to pull back, it looked shocked. “Dangerous? Explain!”

Elrond felt that this was taking way too much time. “When things happen the way they have some people find that unpleasant, and they might think she is an enemy, they might hurt her.”

The creature growled and seemed to grow. “I will never let them do that. I will protect her.”

Elrond felt very nervous, the thing was powerful, but with no real experience of life. “Yes, and I am sure you are great at that too, but hurting people isn’t right you know. It is wrong. You ought to merge with her, give her your powers fully. Then she can protect herself and become a normal person, not a child with no memories and no chance of living a normal life.”

The thing did shine more brightly. “I will do no such thing, I am strong, I am born of fire. She is mine, forever.”

Elrond discretely called upon the power of his ring, it could be that he needed it now. “You cannot own another soul, that is wrong. Not even the Valar will accept that.”

The thing grew, towered above him with Halariel like some appendix hanging from its side. “Speak not to me of the Valar, I know them well, treacherous and dark and they will seek to enslave us all.”

Elrond then knew one thing for sure. Its creator had become paranoid even before the Silmarilli were finished, that was Fëanor speaking beyond any doubt. A bolt of lightning shoot towards Elrond and he raised his ring and pushed its powers forth, formed a dome around himself. The thing chuckled. “Oh, you think that may protect you, but your strength is fading. I will keep you too, you amuse me. I will learn and then I will grow and prosper and rule, yes, you will both be mine. I am growing stronger by the hour, this place has so much magic, it feeds me well”

Elrond groaned, this was just what he had feared.

Glorfindel sat there half asleep when he suddenly started and stared at Elrond. The Peredhel had gone deathly pale and his eyes had opened but they were strangely empty and there was a strange ominous glow around him for a few seconds. Then it disappeared but the ring glowed intensely for a few seconds before it too became invisible. Glorfindel shot out of the chair and shook Elrond violently, called out his name but got no response. He groaned, then he ran out and called for the other healers. They rushed in but there wasn’t long before they all realized that Elrond couldn’t be called back. He was trapped inside of Halariel’s mind and nobody knew how to release him before his body gave out.

Glorfindel sat down, shaking with emotions, he shouldn’t have let Elrond risk this, no way. It was his fault, he leaned forward and hid his head in his hands, letting the golden locks cover his despair. “There has to be someone able to help him?”

The healers looked at him with pity and worry, they were terribly worried too, Elrond was the best of them, they needed his experience and skills. “The lady of light may be able to help but getting a messenger to Lothlorien and then bring her back here will take at least three weeks. He is gonna be terribly weak by then.”

Glorfindel swallowed hard. “Can we transport him to her?”

The healer shook his head. “No, the bond between him and Halariel cannot be broken, that will kill him. His body is dead the moment that connection is broken, it will be a soulless shell, nothing more.”

The healers laid Elrond onto the bed next to Halariel, and they made sure that their hands were still connected. Glorfindel fell to his knees, feeling as though his heart was surrounded by flames. He wanted to scream. “Valar, please, there has to be someone able to save them, have mercy, I beg you”

He collapsed and the healers put him too into a bed. None of them knew of the lone rider who was slowly making his way towards the hidden valley. It was time for a showdown, one that would change everything, forever.

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