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Chapter 5

Minas Tirth and mothers

 

                  Estel was pulled awake by the dull ache in his ribs and a shooting pain up his right arm.  Elrond blinked, never being a hard sleeper as Estel sought for a more comfortable place.

                  “ Ad-Elrond?” Estel began, “ Who is my father?”

                  “ You are my adopted son.  I promised your mother I would look after you,” Elrond answered.

                  “ May I meet her?”

                  Elrond hesitated.  He did long to see the silver tower again and Gilraen had taken residence in Minas Tirth.

                  “ We will leave in 2 day’s time.”

Estel’s face brightened.  Elrond could still perceive questions in the boy’s eyes.

                  “ You are my great, great, well, let’s just say you’re my great nephew.  Your father was a great man and I am told that he died valiantly.”

                  Estel nodded, noting his arm and the tight cloth cast.

                  “ It is broken.”

                  “ Not too badly.  It will not hinder your riding abilities,” Elrond stretched,” I will see you in the healing house; after, of course, I go and sleep a few more hours.  You will join me later for breakfast.  I will come and get you.”

Estel nodded and Elrond stood.

                  “ Ada.”

Elrond smiled to himself before turning.

                  “ I can still call you that?”

Elrond nodded.

                  “ Please do, Estel.”

                  “ Ada.”

Elrond paused again.

                  “ Thanks.”

Elrond’s teeth showed in a faint glimmer of a real smile.

                  “ Get you to sleep, Estel.  I will come wake you later.”

~*~

                  Elrond took Estel’s bag, setting it on the ground.  Elrond unwrapped the stiff heavy cloth from Estel’s wrist and forearm, replacing it with a brace made of smooth sticks and same unyielding cloth.

                  “ It was Elrohir’s.  He fell off a horse or out of a tree every summer,” Elrond explained, “ And do not be ashamed of the wounds.  Elladan and Elrohir were picked on also, but do not tell anyone.”

                  Glorfindel silently fell in stride beside them as they began to walk.

                  “ And I was picked on,” Elrond continued.

                  “ And I picked on Ereinion,” Glorfindel inserted.

Estel’s head swung up in disbelief that someone could pick on a high king.

                  “ We went to the same school.  He was new, so I merely tormented him.  I could not do anything else than that for Círdan would have worn my hide so bad, I still would not be sitting,” Glorfindel shrugged, looking away.

                  Elladan and Elrohir were already beside the horses, tending to them.  Estel counted the horses once and then again. 5.  That meant…  His eyes landed on the yearling he had been caring for.

                  “ He is yours, Estel.  He will serve you well for many years if you are kind to him,” Elrond said.

                  “ Thank you, Ada,” Estel grinned, “ What did you name him?”

                  “ Sulroche.  He promises to be the fastest of all horses,” Elrond answered, running a hand down the deep brown horse’s neck.

Estel let Elladan give him a mount up onto the horse.  The 6 guards joined them as Elrond gave his last instructions to Erestor.

~*~

                  Estel tried to keep his eyes open as they trotted beside the river, Anduin.  It had been a long trip and he would be glad to see it over.  His breath caught and he came to full alertness as he spied a beautiful silver tower caught up in the air with the sun.  It shone so brightly and the banners that flew from it made it look even more majestic.  Estel’s gold eyes were open like saucers or even more like a kid in a candy store.  Elrond glanced at the boy and turned his head to hide his chuckle.  Everything seemed bigger to a 7 year old.

                  “ This is Minas Tirth, a citadel built by Elendil and his sons.  Your mother is meeting up here,” Elrond said.

Estel nodded, his gold eyes glowing as he just stared at it, his jaw still open.

~*~

                  Gilraen knew they were there.  Already rumors grew about a band of Elves that had entered the fair city.  She tried to calm her breathing.  Here she was just another face.  All thought her dead, just like they did her son.  She smiled, spotting Elrond easily.

                  It was not Elrond she recognized quickly, but knew he had to be about.  Elrond looked too much like the Edain to stand out.  The fair skinned, blonde haired Elf walking beside him was what caught her attention as the Elf walked beside the twins.  The Elf must have been related to the one who died to Aragorn.  They looked alike.  Her eyes fell on the 7 year old trying to keep up with Elrond’s long strides.  She watched with a smile as the boy pulled on Elrond’s sleeve, lifting his hands to him.  The boy had not grown out of his childish habits and he was rather small for his age.  Elrond pulled the boy up with a soft smile.

* So my son is the weakness of Imladris’ lord?

                  Elrond spotted her, standing alone and wearing the clothes of a normal Edain woman.  The boy looked so much like Elrond.  Two beautiful gold eyes spied her with a measure of suspicion as he leaned more into Elrond.

                  “ Gilraen,” Elrond sent her a polite nod.

                  “ Elrond, Glorfindel, Twins,” she nodded her head to each, “ And little…”

She could not remember what they had renamed him.  She looked at Elrond helplessly.

                  “ Estel,” Elrond supplied.

                  “ Are you my mommy?”

                  Gilraen reached out her hands to him.  Estel came after glancing at Elrond.

                  “ Yes, Estel, I am.”

Estel fingered her soft waves, just like his.

                  “ Why aren’t you in Imladris with Ada and I?”

Gilraen glanced at the Elves that had just suddenly made themselves scarce.

                  “ This is my home,” she answered, “ I would not be happy in Imladris.”

                  “ Everyone is happy in Imladris.  There are birds and rivers and trees, lots of trees.  At night, there’s singing and its like bells, Nana.  The prettiest bells you’ve ever heard,” Estel began.

                  “ Tell me more, Estel.”

~*~

                  Elrond watched them walk away as he walked alone.  Elladan, Elrohir and Glorfindel were returning to the inn and he wanted to see if anything had changed in the years he had not seen the city.

                  “ Elrond?  Lord of Elrond?” a surprised voice came.

Elrond turned to see a dark haired man holding the hands of what looked to be a 9 year old and 4 year old.

                  “ I am sorry.  I do not remember ever making your acquaintance,” Elrond said.

                  “ Forgive my rudeness.  In the halls of the King, there is a picture of his majesty, Elros.  There is only one other person that can look so much alike to him.  You are his brother, Elrond, are you not?”

                  Elrond nodded.

                  “ Aye, and you are…?”

                  “ Denethor.  My father is the Steward of Gondor.  May I ask why you visit our city?” Denethor asked.

                  “ My sons wished to see Gondor,” Elrond replied vaguely.

                  “ Ada,” Estel rushed up.

                  Denethor glanced down at the boy, his eyes seeming to be confused.

                  “ I thought the Lady Celebrian departed long ago.”

Elrond stiffened.  He had not expected the Edain to know that.  Gilraen slowly approached, catching Elrond’s stiff back.  She did not appreciate the knowing glance the dark haired man suddenly sent the stony Elrond.

                  “ She did,” Elrond answered shortly.

                  “ Ada, I am hungry,” Estel interrupted the silence.

Elrond glanced down almost thankfully.

                  “ Please excuse us.  We have a hungry boy to feed,” Elrond swept up Estel to quickly lead Gilraen off.

Denethor merely shook his head.  Elves were a strange lot.

~*~

                  Elrond watched Estel sep, the boy’s head resting on a pillow in Elrond’s lap.  Gilraen watched from the seat nearby.

                  “ He loves you.”

Elrond looked up, running his fingers through the boy’s dark hair.

                  “ He thinks I am his father,” Elrond shrugged, before adding softly, “ The feeling is mutual.”

                  Gilraen smiled, though her brown eyes were sad.

                  “ He thinks I have abandoned him.  He does not say much about this place.  He loves the trees…rivers…nature.  He loves anything you can offer him.”

                  “ He will learn to love this city,” Elrond replied, “ It is his destiny.”

A long silence fell.

                  “ May I visit him?” Gilraen asked hesitantly.

Elrond looked up quickly.  Gilraen held her breath.

*He’s going to say no, I know it.

                  “ You are his mother, Gilraen.  You are free to come and go to and from Imladris as you please.”

Gilraen smiled in relief.

                  “ Now get you to bed.  Estel will be up early and he will not stop until nightfall, broken arm or not.”

                  Gilraen stood and made for her room.  Elrond stole from under the pillow he had on his lap.  Estel stirred slightly, but did not awake.  Elrond placed a blanket over the boy, gently kissing the boy’s forehead.  Elrond turned to gaze up at the bright stars, his gaze falling on the Gil-Estel.

*At least Estel’s mother stayed.  Mine cared more for a jewel and her husband.

AN: Thanks for all the reviews.  Keep reviewing so I know to update faster.  Next chapter: Destiny foretold.  Estel learns of his destiny.