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Chapter 4- Year 1697

 

                  Elrond watched the water splash around the horse’s hooves.  He spied a limp body up ahead and urged his horse faster.  The troops watched from across the river as Elrond bent beside a fallen woman.  Glorfindel pulled his horse up to the front of the men.

                  “ Who is she?” Glorfindel asked.

                  “ Tis the Lady Celebrian,” the soldier answered, “ All Elves know of her.”

Glorfindel simply pushed his horse ahead across the river.

~*~

                  Elrond stared at the beautiful woman.  Something filled him that he’d never known.  He gently shook her and her gray eyes opened.  His eyes widened in reconition.  Tears filled her eyes as she sat up and threw her arms around his neck sobbing.  Elrond froze before relaxing.  He glanced up at the silently laughing Glorfindel with a mean look.

                  “ Shh,” Elrond tried to comfort her as best as he knew how.

He did not deal with women on a daily basis.  Glorfindel knelt beside them, resting a hand on Celebrian back.

                  “ You are safe now, Lady Celebrian, from whatever haunts you so,” Glorfindel said, “ Master Elrond was charged to find you by your father and you have made his job easier.”

                  Celebrian pulled back, drying her eyes.  Elrond’s eyes grew.

                  “ You are bleeding,” he said.

                  “ Tis not my blood,” she whispered, “ Celebrimdor was murdered and fell at my feet.  Sauron killed him.”

Elrond helped her up.  She shakily began to walk before Elrond simply picked her up.

                  “ We’ll make camp here.  Send out a patrol to Eregion and have them report back if they find anything,” Elrond ordered Glorfindel.

                  “ I am sorry for my outburst.  I have never seen a man die and surely not as cruelly as Sauron killed him,” Celebrian said.

                  “ Do not worry, Celebrian.  You are safe here,” Elrond replied.

And Celebrian knew she was safe in his arms.

~*~

                  Glorfindel sat away from the other’s heavily in thought as the night darkened.  The soldier’s they’d sent hours earlier finally returned.

                  “ We found only a hundred or so women and children,” the leader announced, “ We are headed back with more men in case Sauron does attack.  We will bring them here in the morning.”

                  “ I should go back with them,” Celebrian said.

                  “ Celebrian, you will not.  I was given strict order’s by your parents to take you out of Eregion and not let you return,” Elrond shook his head, hearing her offer as he approached.

                  Celebrian lifted her head stubbornly.  She sashayed up to Elrond, letting her hands light on his shoulder as she looked up at him pleadingly.  This always worked for her, but as she gazed into Elrond’s eyes, his firm look did not change.  Glorfindel chuckled at Elrond uncomfortable stance, though the stern look the lord wore did not fade.

                  “ Please allow me to go,” Celebrian’s hand reached up to play with the necklace he wore.

Many soldiers’ grinned telltale smiles saying they would love to be in Elrond’s position.

                  “ No, Celebrian.  Orders are orders,” Elrond moved away, crossing his arms.

                  Celebrian crossed hers also, throwing her hair over one shoulder.  She was obviously not used to not getting her way.

                  “ Then what am I supposed to wear?  I am in a bloodied dress,” Celebrian asked.

                  “ Your parents sent clothes,” Elrond answered.

                  The stare down began and the soldier’s waited in anticipation to see if Elrond or Celebrian would win.  Celebrian finally looked around, rolling her neck and eyes with a sigh.

                  “ I will not go against your orders, Elrond,” she sighed.

                  “ Carryon then,” Elrond said to the soldiers, walking off towards his tent.

                  Celebrian plopped down beside Glorfindel, not caring if she dirtied her dress further.

                  “ Is he always so mean?” she grumbled loudly.

Glorfindel caught Elrond’s falter at his tent.  The master of lore looked back at them for a moment with an almost hurt look before entering his tent.

                  “ Only when Gil-galad sends him to rescue damsels in distress I have heard that he is so stern,” Glorfindel replied, “ I’m sure he did not mean to be so harsh.”

                  “ He does not like to rescue women?  He is a strange Elf-lord.  Rumors tell me that he likes books also.  Why not?” Celebrian asked, warming her hands by the fire.

                  “ Elrond has problems with his rescuee’s,” Glorfindel answered with a knowing smile, “ He is stern because he does not know how else to be.  Many women take his smiles the wrong way, so he simply does not smile to women anymore.”

                  “ You tell me that these women do not flock after him?” Celebrian glanced at Glorfindel, “ And you.”

                  “ I know how to escape them, but poor Elrond is too much of a gentlemen.  Gil-galad and I are endlessly getting him out of trouble.  He care not for any of them and I know not if he ever will,” Glorfindel shook his head.

                  Celebrian’s curiosity was piqued.  She had been attracted to the dark haired lord ever since he had not shielded away from her crying, instead comforting her.  She felt…safe with him.  She also saw a gentleness and pain that lingered in his eyes and wanted to know what caused it.  So mush had changed about him since their last meeting.

                  “ How,” Celebrian glanced around at the other soldier’s to make sure that they did not listen, “ How does he act normally?  I mean, with friends?”

                  “ Still somewhat serious, he talks, laughs, jokes, but only with those he knows well,” Glorfindel answered, “ If you spent your time talking to Elrond instead of questioning me, I’m sure you could learn more.”

Celebrian blushed slightly, ducking her head in embarrassment.  Glorfindel grinned.  She obviously liked Elrond, but he did not know if Elrond was one to fall in love.

                  “ Do you know where those dresses are that my parents sent?” Celebrian asked.

                  “ Let’s go ask Elrond,” Glorfindel replied with an even wider grin.

                  “ Oh, go on,” Celebrian pushed him slightly as they stood.

~*~

                  Elrond ran a hand through his hair.  Had he been too cruel to the lady?  He had tried only to be firm while his heart was telling him to follow her every command.  Elrond sighed, discarding his outer robe to be comfortable.  He fell across his pallet, picking up the book he had brought.

                  Elrond heard the footsteps, but paid no attention to them, engrossed in the history of Gondolin. 

                  “ My friend, a lady wishes to speak to you,” Glorfindel said.

Elrond sat down his book, glancing up in confusion.  Elrond stood, now only in the trousers and loose shirt that he wore under his long robes.

                  “ Celebrian, why are you here?” Elrond asked.

                  “ The dresses.  I would like to change,” Celebrian answered.

                  “ They are in the chest over there.  Just come and tell me when you are finished,” Elrond slipped back on his outer robe before walking out with Glorfindel.

Celebrian watched them go.  She closed the cloth door tightly with a smile.  Always the gentleman, just as he had been centuries ago.  Her eyes graced all that was there, falling upon the book.  She pulled the soiled material away from her body and bent beside the trunk to find a new one.

~*~

                  Elrond sat along the river alone, his arms encircling his knees to draw them towards his chest.  The waters tumbled and gurgled by the piece of shore he sat on.  Gil-galad was sending them their orders and should arrive later that day, but there was no need for any trouble.  Sauron had headed for Mordor.

                  “ It is beautiful, Thenin (true)?” a soft body fell beside him.

                  Elrond’s head snapped up as he beheld Celebrian sitting beside him.  He softly swallowed.  He dared not tell anyone the liking he had taken to the maiden lest she turn him down.

                  “ Aye, it is like a tiny piece of Aman in Middle-Earth,” Elrond nodded.

                  Celebrian was overjoyed when he actually looked at her, his eyes meeting hers.

                  “ I am sorry for speaking to you sharply last night.  Twas unnecessary.  I pray you forgive,” Elrond said softly.

                  “ An Elf-lord apologizing.  Should I be honored?” Celebrian asked, not about to let him off so easily.

                  “ No, even Elf-lords make mistakes that need mending,” Elrond answered.

                  “ Speaking from experience are we?” Celebrian nudged him with a smile.

                  Surprisingly enough, he smiled back with a soft chuckle.  Celebrian could see why so many women followed him around.

                  “ Aye, Gil-galad has instilled the art of apology well into me,” Elrond said with another soft chuckle, “ This land is beautiful.  I found a waterfall with a pool nearby.”

                  “ Take me to see it.  It is a hot day and this water is too strong,” Celebrian pleaded.

A soft smile overcame his face again as he glanced down at her.  He stood, turning to extend his hand down to her.  Celebrian took it and he pulled her up.  They were but inches apart.  Celebrian looked down with a blush, moving away slightly.  Elrond extended his elbow, but Celebrian took his hand instead, letting him lead the way.  Glorfindel watched with a grin as the 2 walked off.  Celebrian looked back only slightly with a smile. 

~*~

                  Celebrian collapsed on a rock as they exited the forest.

                  “ I am not going any further.  You did not tell me it was a journey in itself to get to this place,” she said.

                  “ Tis but a little further,” Elrond stopped, turning back.

He was priceless.  Celebrian burst into giggles.  His had dirt streaks all over his cheeks and forehead from where the tree branches had whapped him in the head.  Elrond looked at her questioningly.  Celebrian motioned with her index finger for him to come.

                  “ Come here,” she said.

Elrond hesitantly approached.  Celebrian took the edge of her sleeve.  Elrond began to shield away.

                  “ You have dirt on your face,” she explained, “ Let me wipe off some of it so you do not dirty the whole pool.”

                  “ I feel like a 3 year old,” Elrond mumbled, trying to ignore what her gentle touch did to him, then added louder, “ You does not like dirt?”

Celebrian’s sleeve brushed over his lips and her eyes memorized his whole face.

                  “ Actually, I do believe I liked you better with the dirt.  It made you look like what you did when you here 17: a cute young man,” Celebrian answered, then clapped a hand over her mouth, blushing exceedingly.

                  “ I do believe that was a compliment, Kel.  Never have you called me anything nice,” Elrond grinned, not minding her comment.

                  Celebrian smiled, biting her bottom lip softly, gazing up at him.  Elrond held out his hand.

                  “ Come,” he said.

                  “ I am not going another step,” Celebrian replied.

                  “ Shall I carry thee?” Elrond asked.

                  “ Yes, because I will not-” Celebrian was cut off when he picked her off, “ Go another…”

Elrond smiled down at her, their foreheads connected.  Celebrian could see the gray in his eyes darken before he turned his head walking towards the sound of water.  Celebrian sighed, resting her head on his shoulder.  Elrond watched as she played with the necklace around his neck.

                  They crested the hill and Celebrian’s attention turned fully to the scenery.  A waterfall trickled by, not as strong as the rushing waters of Loudwaters, but a tranquil, peaceful sense.  Elrond set Celebrian down.  She walked towards the pool, lifting her skirts slightly to enter it.  She turned, a few feet from the edge.

                  “ Come,” she bid.

Elrond slowly complied, pulling off his light shoes and outer tunic.  Celebrian cared not for her dress as she bent down to finger rocks on the bottom.  Celebrian looked up at him mischievously and splashed him.  Elrond grinned, before retaliating.  Celebrian’s shocked look was replaced with one of revenge.  Their laughter mingled in a joyful song.

~*~

                  Gil-galad rode up to the camp.  Glorfindel greeted him.

                  “ Where is Elrond?” Gil-galad asked.

                  “ Out,” Glorfindel answered.

                  “ Out where, Glorfindel.  Twas a long journey and I am not in the mood for games,” Gil-galad asked sharply.

                  “ I saw him headed that way,” a soldier said.

Gil-galad set out on foot in that direction.

~*~

                  Celebrian watched Elrond as he simply rested on the shore.  She did not try to hide her eyes on him.  He was beautiful, just relaxed but still stern.

                  “ Kel, your eyes burn holes through me,” Elrond spoke up, never opening his eyes.

                  “ I know,” Celebrian replied.

                  Elrond perched himself upon one arm, opening his eyes.  His eyes followed her figure also, not in a lustful way, but as any person would, up to her face.

                  “ Do you like what you see?” Celebrian asked.

                  “ What does that mean?” Elrond replied.

                  “ Do you think I am pretty?” Celebrian said.

                  “ Aye,” there was no hint of hesitation.

                  “ You are just saying that,” Celebrian turned her head away.

                  Elrond slowly stretched his long body and sat beside her, one of his hands gently turning her face so he could look at it.

                  “ If it were not true, I would not have said it.  An Elf-lord never lies,” Elrond whispered.

                  “ I know I like what I see in you,” Celebrian replied softly.

Elrond shook his head.

                  “ You should not.  With this war with Sauron, you should find one whom you know will still be around after the war,” Elrond said.

                  “ Those who will be around will be old.  You will not deter me,” Celebrian replied, tilting her head defiantly.

Elrond’s hand moved from her chin to her jaw line.  He watched her close her eyes, awaiting his move.  His lips gently covered hers.  Celebrian suddenly wished to share more with this Elf than a kiss.  Elrond tried to hold back the sudden downpour of emotions he felt.

                  “ And what is this?” a voice pulled them both out of the sweet kiss.

                  Gil-galad stood a ways away.

                  “ I know that when I sent you to find the Lady Celebrian, I did not mean for you to kiss her.  You forsook your duties.  Sauron did not go to Mordor and is headed back this way.  I found Glorfindel back at the camp, but you are here, acting like a fool.  I will not tolerate childish behavior,” Gil-galad began.

                  Celebrian stood beside Elrond.  Her eyes perceived the young lord was hit hard by the king’s words.

                  “ My lord, please do not be so harsh,” Celebrian said, “ I asked him to come.  Tis my fault he shirked his duties.  I never take no for an answer.”

                  “ Never?” Elrond challenged.

                  “ Once,” Celebrian rolled her eyes.

Gil-galad watched the exchange with interest.  He had never thought Elrond would actually find a woman and Celebrian at that matter.  Gil-galad smiled to himself.  Celeborn and Galadriel would find this quite interesting.  He would enjoy watching to see how this turned out.

                  “ I am sorry for my sharpness, Elrond.  I should not have spoken that way.  And you, Lady Celebrian, I do believe I will have a room reserved for you from now on in Lindon,” Gil-galad said with a grin.  He turned to walk away, and then looked back, “ I will enjoy seeing how this turns out.  Elrond, you will leave now for Lindon and hopefully will get the lady there without any trouble.”

                  “ Shall I return?” Elrond asked.

                  “ No, stay with the lady and begin plans for a homely house here.  This place soothes my soul,” Gil-galad answered.

Elrond held out his hand to Celebrian and she took it.  Gil-galad shook his head with a smile, walking behind them.  This bond forged so strong again was one that would last.

~*~

                  Glorfindel looked at Elrond apologetically as the 3 approached.

                  “ Someone told him where you 2 were.  I’m sorry,” he said.

                  “ You knew we went somewhere?” Elrond asked.

                  “ I was…” Glorfindel bit his lip.

                  “ Walking?” Celebrian supplied.

                  “ Yeah, walking in the…uh…woods?” Glorfindel answered.

                  “ You’re a horrible liar, Glorfindel.  Come on,” Gil-galad led the lord away.

                  Elrond looked at Celebrian as they walked behind the 2.

                  “ He told you where I was, didn’t he?” Elrond asked.

Celebrian nodded.

                  “ I couldn’t find you around here and none of the other soldiers respect me, other than Glorfindel of course.  Are you angry?” Celebrian asked.

                  “ No, I’m actually overjoyed,” Elrond answered.

Celebrian swung his hand up and down as they walked towards the tent.  Elrond stilled her hand, sending her an almost stern glance.  Celebrian sighed.  They were back among the soldiers.  She smiled softly.  She’d just have to change his ways.