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Chapter 9- Year 3441

 

                  Gil-galad’s eyes shadowed as he surveyed the army in front of him.  He sighed.  He knew this time he would not survive.  Already, he had almost been killed countless times, had not Elrond been there beside him.

* I am coming, my love.  Soon I will join you, I hope.

                  “ Cheating Mandos is a terrible thing,” Glorfindel muttered, wrapping his arm.

                  “ Look who is talking,” Elrond retorted.

                  No one else listening understood the joke.  Gil-galad turned with a smile on his grime-covered face.

                  “ Aye, Glorfindel, look who talks,” he said.

                  “ And who has been saving your hide out there all day?” Glorfindel crossed his arms.

                  “ Elrond.  You were too busy getting into trouble against the Nazg๛l,” Gil-galad answered.

                  “ Oh, sure, believe it was Elrond.  He is your heir,” Glorfindel rolled his eyes.

                  Many of the soldier’s hearts were lightened by the nothingness bickering the Elves were engaged in.  Gil-galad and Glorfindel were in a playful argument over who had slew more orcs.  The smiles faded as a weary Isildur approached.  The man sat beside Elrond and many still marveled at the resemblance between the 2 generations.

                  “ The forces seem to retreat, but we know not why.  They are winning.  Father asks that all troops are deployed,” Isildur said.

Gil-galad wordlessly picked up his helmet and lance, stopping Elrond.

                  “ You will lead the West Elves when the smoke clears and my body lies with the dead, will you not?” Gil-galad asked.

                  Glorfindel paused, turning to see the pain on Elrond’s face.  Glorfindel had heard what Gil-galad had said.

                  “ It will not come to that.  I will be beside you the whole time.  They will have to kill me first,” Elrond said.

                  “ If it does,” Gil-galad began.

                  “ I still would not,” Elrond shook his head.

The Elf moved away.  Gil-galad approached Glorfindel wearily.

                  “ You know,” Gil-galad’s question came out more as a statement.

                  “ Yes, but fight with every breath you have,” Glorfindel answered with a sigh.

                  “ Watch him for me.  He will not take it well,” Gil-galad replied.

Glorfindel nodded.

                  “ And keep him from my side.  I cannot have him see it,” Gil-galad whispered.

The 2 caught arms, knowing it would be their last meeting on this side of the Sea.  The scion of king’s put on his helmet, readying his lance.  Glorfindel shook his head in distress.  Twas a shame all good things had to come to an end.

~*~

                  Elrond tried to keep an eye on Gil-galad, but Glorfindel kept getting in the way.  Sauron suddenly appeared and Elrond’s jaw dropped at the evil.  The dark lord smote Elendil and in that second, Elrond saw Gil-galad.

                  “ No,” the yell ripped from his soul.

Glorfindel tried to stop him, but Elrond pushed by. 

                  The orc lifted the sword and plunged it deep into the king.  Gil-galad’s eyes glazed in pain, as his mouth was open, though no words came.  Elrond’s anger took hold and he killed all the orcs surrounding Gil-galad.  Elrond ripped off his helmet, kneeling in the bloodied dirt beside Gil-galad.

                  “ No,” he whispered, trying to stop the bleeding.

                  “ Stop, my son.  Let…me…go,” Gil-galad lifted a hand to Elrond.  A smile lit the king’s face one last time, “ Nie…”

The king went totally limp, a peaceful smile gracing his face.  Tears fell down Elrond’s cheeks.

                  Glorfindel stood between the ring cradling Isildur and the dead cradling Elrond.

                  “ Elrond, Isildur has the ring,” Glorfindel ran up.

                  “ Take him,” Elrond began dully, his spirit dead.

                  “ You’re the only one who knows the way,” Glorfindel reminded.

                  “ Do not move him,” Elrond ordered.

                  Isildur looked at the ring in awe.

                  “ Isildur, come on,” Elrond yelled.

The man followed.

                  “ Where are we going?” Isildur asked.

                  “ Into the heart of Orodruin,” Elrond answered.

                  The heat increased as the flames leapt up around them.

                  “ Cast it into the fire,” Elrond urged.

Isildur’s eyes were attached to the ring as he moved the ring between his fingers.

                  “ Isildur, please, destroy it,” Elrond said.

Isildur looked up, a strange look in his eyes.  He hand closed over the ring.

                  “ No,” he said.

                  “ Isildur,” Elrond yelled after the retreating warrior.

He had failed.  He had failed Isildur.  He had failed both men and Elves; and he had failed Gil-galad.  Elrond wept bitterly as she exited the fiery mountain.

                  Glorfindel stood beside Gil-galad’s body.  Elrond approached, tears washing the grime from his face.  Elrond lifted up the body.  Men and Elves moved aside to let Elrond pass, feeling and seeing the grief inside the Elf.

                  “ What will you do with it?” Glorfindel asked.

                  “ Take it to Lindon,” Elrond answered.

                  “ Will you go to Lorien first?” Glorfindel asked.

                  “ No,” Elrond answered, “ Isildur kept the ring.”

                  “ I know,” Glorfindel replied.

                  The man approached the 2 Elves.

                  “ I am sorry for your loss, Elrond, but a good king you will be,” Isildur said.

                  “ I will not be king,” Elrond replied shortly, glancing at the ring the man still held, “ That ring you love so much will be your death.”

                  “ There’s the Elrond we know.  Always talking of gloom,” Isildur laughed, “ How did Elros tolerate it?”

                  “ My brother was nothing like you,” Elrond spat angrily, “ You may look like him, but you will never be even an inkling of what he was, no one can be.  My brother would have destroyed the ring, knowing it was in the best interests of the people.”

Isildur looked shocked by the angry outburst.  Elrond sighed.

                  “ Forgive me.  It has been a long day with many griefs for us all to share.  Forget my word.”

Isildur nodded.  He watched Elrond walk on.

                  “ He is nothing like he was before,” Isildur said.

                  “ And he will not go to Lorien where Celebrian waits,” Glorfindel replied, “ I will have to tell her.”

~*~

                  Elrond looked at the wrapped body on the horse beside and tears muddled his vision again.  Glorfindel watched them go towards Lindon before turning his own horse towards Lorien.

~*~

                  Celebrian heard hooves and rushed out.  She stopped short, seeing Glorfindel alone dismounting.

                  “ No,” her eyes widened and tears formed.

He was dead.  Glorfindel had come to tell her that Elrond was dead.  Glorfindel was by her side in a minute as she paled.  Celeborn and Galadriel exited worriedly.

                  “ He is dead, isn’t he?” she whispered.

A smiled formed on Glorfindel’s face.

                  “ Tis not funny,” Celebrian pulled her arm away angrily.

                  “ If this he is Elrond, then no,” Glorfindel replied.

                  Celebrian closed her eyes in relief.

                  “ Then where is he?” she asked.

                  “ Gil-galad is dead,” Glorfindel answered, “ Give Elrond some time to adjust.  He is bearing the brunt of losing his mentor and then being expected to take that mentors place.”

                  “ I need to be there for him then,” Celebrian said.

                  “ I believe he would turn you away if you came now and I know you are the only one who can help him.  I hope he will quickly work his way through Gil-galad’s death, but I do not know,” Glorfindel replied, “ I came only to tell you so did not worry needlessly of him.  He refused to come here first.”

                  “ Thank you,” Celebrian said.

Glorfindel remounted, turning towards the road to Lindon.  Celeborn stood nearby.  He opened his arms to Celebrian who ran into them crying for the man who she loved.

~*~

                  Elrond watched the flames leap up to consume Gil-galad’s body.

                  “ Will you return to Imladris?” Cํrdan asked.

                  “ Yes, you can handle it here,” Elrond answered.

                  “ Glorfindel has arrived,” Cํrdan caught sight of the golden haired Elf easily.

Glorfindel took his place beside Elrond as if he had been there the whole time.