Elrond surveyed the beautiful view from his window. The new fortress of Imladris was finally finished and ready for residents. Gil-galad had set him in charge of it thankfully for Elrond loved the area. Today was the day the guests would arrive. All were full of apprehension for what the high king would think of the place.
Lord Elrond, the guests are beginning to arrive, a dark haired young Elf said.
Thank you, Erestor, Elrond replied.
The young Elf refugee from Eregion had happily become one of Elronds chief counselors, overseeing the fortresses daily needs. Glorfindel appeared in the doorway, walking stiffly with the wounds he still retained as they mended in his torso and shoulder. Elrond joined him silently, though it was clear the young Elf-lord was nervous.
Gil-galad rode beside Celebrian. It was clear that the young maiden was anxious to arrive in Imladris. She had not told Elrond she would be coming, though Glorfindel and Erestor knew. Gil-galad glanced at the necklace she still wore openly and proudly.
Is she as gone as Elrond? Gil-galad muttered to Celeborn.
Sadly, she is most likely worse. The letter is not even read before she is already penning a response. The roads between Imladris and where ever she is have always been busy, Celeborn replied, I am sad that she will most likely stay with him, but I could not think of anyone better for her.
Why thank you, Gil-galad teased.
You already-" Celeborn began, then stopped, " You are not one my daughter can even think to wed. Your heart is elsewhere and not on any maiden in Middle-Earth."
I miss her," Gil-galad said softly.
Celeborn was surprised Gil-galad actually said anything pertaining to her with company around.
You will see her soon, my friend, you will."
They crested the hill surrounding the valley of Imladris and Celebrian's smile grew.
Elrond and Glorfindel waited for them. Elronds face did not change even when he saw Celebrian, though his eyes did flicker in surprise. Glorfindel wore a conspiring smile when Elrond glanced up at him questioningly. Elrond slowly approached her horse, extending a hand. Celebrian took it with a smile. Elrond then stepped back, extending what he said to all, though his eyes were attached to Celebrian.
Imladris welcomes you all. I hope you will find you stay, for however long it is, enjoyable, he said.
Come this way, everyone. I will lead a tour through this beautiful place which will end at your rooms, that I am sure you will enjoy after your long journey, Glorfindel took over as planned.
Elrond and Celebrian were left alone. Celebrian pulled out a piece of paper.
I thought Id deliver my response to the invitation to Imladris personally, Celebrian said.
I thought I had seen your handwriting in the mail both Glorfindel and Erestor received. You did shock me, Elrond replied, I had been thinking and wishing you would come.
I could not pass up an opportunity to see the master in his fortress, Celebrian smiled, Are you pleased that I came?
Very much so. Would you like a tour of Imladris? Elrond asked.
It depends on how many join us, Celebrian replied.
Just the master of this place, Elrond answered.
Then lead on, Celebrian said.
He took her hand, leading her towards the blooming gardens.
Glorfindel watched Gil-galad pace.
You must take it. Whom else can I give it to? You will be around until after evil is defeated. My time here is short. I can feel it, Gil-galad said, I know no one else whom I can give it to.
The it he referred to was the sapphire ring of power called Vilya that he held. Glorfindel bit his lip.
There is always Elrond, he said.
I do not know it I could pass this burden to him, Gil-galad turned, pain apparent in his eyes, Sauron will seek out the bearer and kill him to get this ring. I would never forgive myself if it was because of me that he died.
Elrond is wise and his time here is long, Glorfindel admitted, I cannot take it because I am still just a normal Elf, able to be killed. The ring would be more safe with Sauron than I.
Then I have no other choice. I cannot keep the ring for Sauron is clever in knowing I would be one that it was given to. Elrond must take it.
Glorfindel clasped the kings shoulder sympathetically.
Elrond can handle anything you bestow upon him. Look at how he survived becoming the lord of all of this and then being known as the rightful heir to the throne of the West. Hes also survived those leeches that call themselves women, Glorfindel shuddered, I believe he can handle hiding a ring.
Well, when you put it that way, you are right, Gil-galad chuckled, though his mind was still heavy with what he must do.
These can be your quarters offside to your parents, Elrond stopped beside the door.
Where is your room? I mean, Celebrian asked, trailing off, flustered by what she had just asked.
Tis fine, mlady. They are in a private sector of about 20 rooms for the residents such as Glorfindel, Erestor and Gil-galad. I myself take up 2 rooms, one I use as a study library until the new one is finished, Elrond answered, You are welcome in my study anytime.
Is there no way for me to be moved to that sector? Celebrian asked.
Elrond looked at her in surprise.
I thought you would wish to be near your parents, he said.
Then let us have you choose a room, Elrond said, I will tell your parents later that you moved.
Gil-galad suddenly exited a room nearby. The king looked quite distressed.
Gil-galad, will you- Glorfindel began, exiting the room, and then stopped short, seeing the couple.
Later I will, but he is no doubt with Celebrian. I dare not Gil-galad trailed off as he turned, Elrond and Celebrian.
The look he sent Glorfindel was one of sheer agony and irritation.
Good luck, Ereinion, Glorfindel walked away.
Get back here. This is as much your fault as it is mine, Gil-galad darted off.
The couple looked at each other, both confused by the mens actions.
I do believe I do not want to know why they talk of me, Elrond said.
Forget them. Come. I want to see the other sector. It must be twice as beautiful as these, Celebrian replied.
Glorfindel and Gil-galad watched from around a corner. Glorfindel nudged the king.
Good one, Ereinion, Glorfindel muttered.
Oh, go on you maimed warrior, Gil-galad rolled his eyes, Theyre headed for the private sector. Wonder what theyre looking at.
Which is none of our business, Glorfindel cut in, And you are being rude by not gracing the other guests downstairs browsing about.
Gil-galad reluctantly followed the other Elf.
Celebrian entered the vacant room beside Elronds. He leaned against the doorway, crossing his arms to watch her. Her pale blue robes matched the room perfectly, which held light wood fixtures and a seaside feeling though it was in the middle of a forest.
Tis like your room in Lindon, Celebrian said, then clasped her lips together.
You have been in my room? Elrond asked, laughter in his eyes.
Just long enough to see the insides, Celebrian shrugged, It was beautiful.
Thank you. You fit this room, Elrond said.
I do? Celebrian turned.
The light glinted off the necklace that fell past her low neckline. He crossed the room in 3 short strides, fingering it.
You still wear it, he whispered, I thought you would have taken it off and forgotten it.
I never take it off, Celebrian replied, And I never will until its master wants it back. Tis precious to me.
Elrond simply placed a hand over it, his hand against her upper stomach. Her stomach leapt in joy at his touch. His eyes connected to hers.
Keep it. The days are dark ahead and I would like you to remember me, Elrond said.
Twould not take a necklace to make me remember you, but I will keep it, Celebrian replied.
Elronds hand slid up hesitantly to her chin, his fingers tipping it up towards his in a lingering kiss.
Gil-galad paced Elronds study. He heard Elrond bid goodnight to Celebrian and sighed, glancing at the white cloth pouch in his hand. He hated to do this, but it was his only choice. Elrond opened the door and stopped.
I knew you would be in here, Elrond sighed.
Close the door, nξn ξon (my son), Gil-galad replied.
Elrond did as told. Gil-galad motioned to the seat across from him. Elrond nervously sat for he did not know why Gil-galad wanted to see him. Elronds mind ran wild. Maybe the king had not like Imladris and was telling him of the failure.
It is not your failure of this place, Elrond. Imladris pleases me, Gil-galad knew and sensed Elronds fear of failing, You have heard of the rings of power, have you not? Celebrimdor went to Galadriel before his death and gave her 3 of them.
Gil-galad stood, running a hand though his unbraided waist long hair.
I am so bad at this, Gil-galad muttered.
Just say it, Elrond urged.
I want you to have this, Gil-galad abruptly handed him the pouch.
Elrond glanced up in confusion as he took it. All this over a tiny pouch?
Open it? Gil-galad ordered with a sigh, turning towards the window.
Celebrian entered as Elrond began to undo the strings.
Lady Celebrian, I am sorry, but you must leave. What we speak of is confidential, Gil-galad began.
Anything I have can be shared with her also, Elrond said, She will not tell anyone.
You, Elrond, do not understand what I give you, Gil-galad stopped Elrond from opening the pouch, At least turn around, Lady Celebrian and you, Elrond, say not a word of what it is.
Celebrian turned obediently.
I cannot believe you, Elrond muttered.
He pulled out the object and his eyes widened.
Why do you give this to me? he asked, I am not as wise as some. Give it to Galadriel.
She already has one, Gil-galad answered, Glorfindel will not take it and I cannot keep it. I am sorry for this burden I place upon you, but both Glorfindel and I think you can handle it.
Then thank you for this honor? Elrond said.
You will bear it well. Never use it until evil is dead or at least dormant, Gil-galad warned.
Elrond nodded. He hid the pouch in a pocket in his robes. Gil-galad exited and Celebrian turned.
Elrond walked into his room through the adjoining door and out to the balcony. Celebrian followed. One of her hands slipped into his.
May I know what was given to you? she asked.
No, even I wish I did not know that I have it, Elrond answered, I could not tell you.
Whatever it is, Gil-galad said it was a burden. I will be here to carry it when you need to rest, Celebrian said softly.
I know you will, nξn meleth (my love).
He kissed her forehead as they watched the sun rise together.