Characters: Elrohir, Elrond, Estel
Disclaimer: Tolkien constructed the world, Kortirion added this small measure.
It was well after midnight. The cold, crisp night air clearly revealing every star in the arching firmament. Young Estel shivered inside the blanket he’d wrapped around himself before creeping outside to lay on the stone benches of the promenade walkway. He gazed upwards, vaguely trying to count…
The boy heard soft footsteps, and knew he was meant to hear… so he wouldn’t startle; Elrohir or Elladan, he couldn’t tell which… Elrohir spoke as he settled on the bench beside him, pointing upwards to the great arc of stars, “Some say those… are Varda’s Cows,” he said, “The Milky Way.”
Estel nodded; cold enough that his teeth threatened to chatter if he let them.
“There are more useful constellations,” said Elrohir. “Come closer so you can see where I point – see? The group that curves, and has a line…?
Estel shifted inside Elrohir’s inviting arm, looked along his pointing finger.
“ It has several names; men call it The Plough – imagine three fists beyond it to that next small star – that’s the North Star; it’s fixed, everything revolves around it and it will always point you North.”
Estel nodded, shivering. Elrohir pulled him closer, continuing to point at the stars.
After a short while, Elrohir ran out of easily identifiable stars. He stretched elaborately, “It’s time I went to my rest… Why don’t we both go?”
“Couldn’t sleep,” mumbled Estel.
Elrohir nodded. They sat in silence for a few moments.
“Elladan and I are going to harvest watercress tomorrow, down in the valley… we might fish for trout… you could come, if you’re not too tired from spending the night with the stars…”
“No, I won’t be tired,” Estel yawned hugely.
“Good. So perhaps… back to bed?”
Estel yawned, stumbling as he stood up.
“Don’t worry, lad. I’ll carry you.”
Elrohir carried Estel to his bed wrapped in his blanket. The boy barely stirred as Elrohir shut the door. As the elf walked towards his quarters, passing his father’s rooms he heard raised voices through the open library door…
“They are sheep before wolves!”
“But even sheep will hold if led by a ram that stands his ground,” said Elrond.
“And you believe you finally have a suitable ram? Or is that because you tupped the ewe?”
“Have a care!” barked Lord Elrond. “Were your rank lesser I would have satisfaction.”
Thranduil’s silky tone expressed his belief, “So I hear.”
The light through the open door dimmed as the rapport between the elf-lords was broken. Elrohir heard his father’s fist smack the table-top. He paused for a moment before scratching politely on the woodwork.
“What!?” snapped Elrond, whipping around to face the door, “Ah… come in Elrohir.”
His son took a couple of steps into the room, the atmosphere still seethed with Lord Elrond’s anger. He stood silently, waiting while his father regained his legendary self-control.
“King Thranduil…” began Elrohir.
“King Thranduil thinks I throw corn before hens all the better to lead them to the slaughter!”
Elrohir remained silent.
The library’s floorboards creaked under the elf-lord’s furious tread as he circumnavigated the room, his robes hissing against the polished wood.
Eventually, he paused, glanced at Elrohir, “Is that what you think?”
Elrohir remained impassive. “He is very young.”
“So were we all once!”
Elrohir shrugged, “Adar… if you believe in him, so will I. We both will.”
“You and Elladan… he must become another brother to you. He has… something I believe will make him the one. He could fulfil his destiny, even Lady Galadriel acknowledges that.”
Elrohir nodded, “you set great store in him… So shall we all.”