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Council of a Father

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Title:  Council of a Father

 

Author:  washow

 

Rating:  G

 

Summary:  A slightly AU fill-in-the-blanks story of the aftermath of the Council of Elrond.  This is book verse so the walkers didn’t volunteer but were selected.  How did Elrond choose who would go and who would stay home?

 

A/N:  This particular story was a long time in the making with the original version written last September.  While I haven’t been working on it all this time I have spent a considerable part of the last two months agonizing over this story.  I owe a debt of gratitude to nautika for being so kind as to beta this story for me.  I was uncertain of the quality of the writing and you did wonders for my ego – thanks so much.  I hope you enjoy and story, feel free to leave a review.

 

Disclaimer:  I do not own Lord of the Rings nor am I making any profit from this story.  Any similarities to other fan fiction are purely coincidental. 

 

 

Council of a Father

 

Elrond sat down heavily in an armchair and breathed in deeply, finally he was able to enjoy a moment of relaxation after days of exhausting activity.  The elf lord could not help thinking how ironic it was that the last time he felt this weary had been right after the Siege of Barad-dur when he had tried to get Isildur to rid Middle Earth of that infernal ring!  He supposed he should be thankful that this time involved less death and destruction than the last battle but he could not bring himself to be thankful when he could have – no should have – prevented this from occurring.  If only he had been more convincing so many innocents would not have been lost and Middle Earth would not now be standing at the edge of destruction.  The most recent battle was just a sample, he had the feeling the coming ones would be much worse.

 

            Some might not have viewed the recent events as a battle but to Elrond it was a battle of the most devious kind – a physiological battle formulated to destroy one’s opponents from within rather than from without.  The first strike had been against a hobbit who had been struck down by the most vial weapon known to the dark lord – morgul poison.  While Elrond was working to save the periannath he realized that he was fighting not just for Frodo’s life but also for the hope of all Middle Earth for if such a peaceful creature was turned to the darkness surely no one was safe.  The Valar seemed to take pity on the inhabitants of Middle Earth and gave the elf lord the ability to find and remove a tiny shard of metal, which in turn allowed him to save Frodo’s life. 

 

No sooner had the shard been removed then representatives from every race on Middle Earth descended on the last homely home.  Each came seeking council about matters which, strangely enough, were connected to the ring!  So started the second movement of the battle during which Elrond organized and held a council to decide the fate of the ring.  To some the ability to converse with all those affected would seem a gift from the Valar and it probably was but the gift was corrupted by the influence of the dark lord in the form of greed and lust for power. 

 

The council had been difficult but it was nothing compared to the task that now stood before the elf lord, to choose the companions that would accompany the ring to Mount Doom.  Frodo had volunteered so that was an easy enough choice and Sam would accompany the ring bearer whether or not he had the elf lord’s permission.  The rest of the choices were difficult but since every race on Middle Earth had been represented at the council it only seemed right to have a representative of each go with the ring.  The elf lord rose from his chair and made his way to the counter where he poured himself a glass of wine as he recalled his first choices for the fellowship; he had chosen Gimli son of Glóin to represent the dwarves and Legolas prince of Mirkwood to go for the elves.  Although their families had not had the best of relations in the past Elrond’s foresight told him that their combined strength would be needed before the end of this quest. 

 

Mankind’s role would be decided shortly because his youngest son was coming to talk to him about the role Isildur’s heir would play in the war.  As he waited Elrond reflected fondly on the human child he had taken in as his own.  He smiled as he recalled that when the boy first arrived at the last homely house he had had clung to the younger twin, refusing to be separated from him except in sleep and even that not by choice.  The elven lord’s memory then jumped forward several years to the young one’s first weapons lesson.  Elrond’s smile diminished in intensity as he recalled that bittersweet moment, he had been very proud that his child was growing into an adult but at the same time had been saddened that his little boy was growing up.  The elf sighed as his mind left that memory behind and began to recall the various injuries his youngest son had acquired over the years.  Elrond shook his head, life really wasn’t fair after all the human had been through it just didn’t seem right that he now had to conquer this task.  Truth be told Elrond was frightened, truly frightened that he would lose his son this time and he found himself wishing he could keep the man from going on this quest.  Just as Elrond was starting to envision ways to lure the man into the storerooms where he could be locked up there was a knock at the door.  He shook himself from his musings and called,  “Enter”

 

            The door opened and a tall dark haired man walked confidently into the room, “You wanted to see me ada?”

 

            Elrond smiled warmly at the man, “Indeed I did my son.  Please sit down, there is much we must discuss.”

 

            Aragorn sat in the chair indicated and narrowed his eyes at Elrond, “About the ring you mean?”

 

            Elrond handed his son a glass of wine and sat across from him, “Yes, about the ring but specifically about what role Isildur’s heir is going to play in this war.  I know you have pledged your service to Boromir and Gondor but do you plan to travel with Frodo for part of the journey?”

 

            The man didn’t respond immediately but instead gazed out the window; finally, he turned uncertain eyes toward his father, “Honestly, I hadn’t considered traveling with him.  You are right, of course, our path could overlap his for some hundreds of miles during which time we might be able to provide needed protection.”  Aragorn’s eyes suddenly grew distant and he whispered to himself, “But I wonder . . . “

 

            Elrond easily heard the man and touched the ranger’s face to gain his attention, “What do you wonder?”

 

            Aragorn gave his father a sheepish smile, “Many things”.  Elrond raised an eyebrow so the man elaborated, “I wonder if I’m doing the right thing by going with Boromir to Gondor, I wonder if I will fall to the call of the same ring which destroyed my ancestor, and I wonder if I can be the king Gondor will need me to be when evil is finally destroyed.”

 

            Elrond perched on the arm of his son’s chair, pulled Aragorn to him with one arm and placed a gentle kiss on the man’s brow, “Oh my son, so much uncertainty for one so young.  As one of the wise it is my duty to tell you that the finding of the ring is the signal that your time has come – it is time for the king to return to Gondor.”  Aragorn looked at his father with uncertainty in his eyes so Elrond squeezed his shoulder, “That is what the elf lord has to tell you but your father wants to tell you that he believes in you.”  Elrond smiled gently, “I know you my son, you are an honest trustworthy man who fights for the rights of the oppressed.  You may be Isildur’s heir but you are nothing like Isildur and therefore I do not believe you will fall to the call of the ring.  I think you will be the best king Gondor has ever seen – creating prosperity and happiness where before there was only destruction and despair.”  The elf lord released the man from his embrace and looked deeply into his son’s eyes, “But ultimately what I believe does not matter – it is what you believe that counts.”  Elrond gently laid his hand over Aragorn’s heart, “What kind of person do you believe yourself to be?  Concentrate on what your heart tells you, do not think of your ancestors or what others have said ”

 

            The ranger took a deep breath then shut his eyes so he could concentrate.  After a long time he opened his eyes and focused on the elf he loved as a father, “I believe that I can avoid the call of the ring,” The man paused and gave his father a cheeky smile, “and since you raised me I am sure I will be a good king when the time comes.  For the time being I will keep my promise by going to Gondor with Boromir and the Valar willing I will take the throne one day.  However, if Boromir agrees I say we travel with Frodo and the companions as far as the fall of Rauros.”

 

            Elrond nodded, “A wise course my son.  I will pray to the Valar for your safety everyday you are gone.”

 

            Aragorn smiled, “With your leave I will go discuss the travel plans with Boromir”

 

            Elrond nodded his approval and Aragorn left in search of the Gondorian.  Soon after the man left Elrond heard someone enter and raised his head expecting to see his youngest returning with news about his conversation but instead came face to face with the Balrog slayer who addressed him without preamble.  “So you have filled two more places.” The blond elf then walked over to the counter to pour himself a glass of wine – calling over his shoulder, “What of the last three positions, have you any thought of who to send?”

 

            Elrond walked over and joined his friend at the counter, “I have not, I may just choose some from Imladris but I want to speak with Mithrandir before deciding.”

 

            Glorfindel chuckled, “Seeking the advice of wizards, you must be desperate.”  The ancient elf expected his friend to join in the banter because light-hearted jokes about the Istari were common place among the elves but Elrond just flashed his friend a weary smile before turning to head for the door.  Glorfindel narrowed his eyes and studied his old friend, the elf’s shoulders were drooping and his normal elven grace was lacking – in other words he was exhausted by the responsibility placed on his shoulders.  Glorfindel’s heart hurt at seeing his friend in so much anguish so he offered what assistance he could, “I will go if you wish.”

 

            Elrond turned and gave his friend a grateful smile, “I know you would my friend but the dark lord would sense your presence.”  The Noldor then offered his golden friend a reassuring smile before heading out the door, “Fear not my friend we will come up with a solution which will satisfy most if not all involved and, then I will rest.”

 

            It was hours before Elrond returned to his study but Glorfindel was still there waiting for his friend, “Did you come to a decision?”

 

            The elf lord sank tiredly into a chair, “Aye, Mithrandir wants himself and the two young halflings to go.”  Glorfindel looked at his friend in surprise but Elrond just smiled wearily, “I know, I was also very hesitant but Mithrandir was so certain about them going that I could not say no.” Elrond paused and gave his friend a pointed look, “Wizards do not act without just reasons my friend.”

 

            Glorfindel nodded, “You are right, I just hope the twins remember that when they find out you are sending the halflings.”

 

            Elrond gratefully accepted the glass of wine Glorfindel offered before grimacing, “I hope that does not happened for some time.”

 

            No sooner were the words out of his mouth then there was a loud knocking at the door.  Elrond glared at the door as if it were an enemy, which caused Glorfindel to laugh, “I think they know my friend.”  The golden haired elf leisurely walked across the room and opened the door to allow the twins to enter their father’s study.  The ancient elf stood in the open door a moment watching the twins and their father size one another up then turned and disappeared into the vastness of Imladris.

 

            The eldest twin watched as the door latched then turned to his father, “Ada, Elrohir and I heard the strangest thing – you are letting two children take the last two positions on the most important quest of this or any age.  Tell us it is not so, tell us that you are not allowing those useless beings to go with our brother on the most dangerous journey of his life!”

 

            Elrond’s eyes flashed with anger, “They are not useless Elladan!  Everyone has a purpose just because you do not understand it does not mean it is non-existent.”

 

            Elrohir quickly intervened, “We are just concerned ada.  Estel is going to face the dark lord’s minions and possibly reclaim the throne of Gondor but we won’t be there to protect him.”

 

            Elrond motioned his sons into seats, “My sons I know you want to protect your brother and I respect and admire that but, Mithrandir feels it is important for the two youngest halflings to go on this quest and who am I to argue with the logic of a wizard?”  Elrond took a deep breath and said the thing he most feared to admit, “Before he insisted the halflings be allowed to go I was considering sending two from this house.”  The heads of both twins came up expectantly, “But I never considered sending you because . . .”

 

            Elladan suddenly shot to his feet and coldly interrupted his father’s explanation, “Why not?  Are your sons not worthy of sending on this quest?  Are we not skilled warriors? Ada, we have trained our whole lives for this task: how could you keep it from us?  How could you let Estel face this challenge without us there to comfort and encourage him?”

 

            Elrond didn’t get up from his seat but instead leaned forward and indicated that Elladan should sit down.  Once his eldest was seated the elf lord took a deep breath to control his emotions then continued “I was not going to send you because I can not stand the thought of losing one son let alone three on a quest I should have prevented.”

 

            The twins stared open-mouthed at their father for uncounted moments before Elrohir was able to find his voice, “Ada, this is not your doing!  The blame for this belongs to Isildur, not to Isildur’s heir or to you but to Isildur alone.”  The younger twin knelt before his father and took the elder elf’s hands between his own, “Ada, you tried to get Isildur to destroy the ring, but he defied logic and kept that tainted object.  It was his choice and his doom, there was nothing else you could have done.”  The younger elf looked deep into his father’s eyes, “Please do not add the blame of this quest to the burdens already on your shoulders you do not deserve it and we would not have you suffer needlessly.”  Elrohir paused and took a quick look at his twin then looked back at their father, “While we do not agree with the decision to send the young halflings we will respect your wishes.”

 

            Elrond beamed at his sons. “Thank you my sons, it will greatly lighten my heart to have the two of you near at hand.”  Elrond took another deep breath, “Later I may have to send you out to aid your brother, but until that time I will need you to help me protect Imladris from the fell creatures.”

 

            At that moment there was a knock on the door and without waiting to receive permission Glorfindel, Aragorn and Arwen entered the room, “We thought it would be wise to check on you three.”  Glorfindel explained.  He looked them each up and down then turned to Elrond, “No blood shed?”

 

            Elrond just smirked at his friend but Elladan became indignant, “Are you insinuating my lord Glorfindel that Elrohir and I are unable to understand reason and act in a civilized manner?”

 

            Glorfindel was not affected at all by the twin’s demeanor, “When it comes to the safety of your siblings – yes”.  Everyone smiled at Glorfindel’s statement because it was common knowledge that anyone who threatened a sibling of the Peredhil twins had just made their last mistake. 

 

Elrohir flashed an apologetic smile at their human brother, “We’re sorry we will not be coming with you Estel; we wanted to but on this issue we had to give in to ada.”

 

            Estel smiled at the group of assembled elves, “Do not feel guilty about sending me out to do this.  I’ve spent my whole life preparing to free Middle Earth from the oppression of evil.  Now I get the chance and even if I do not live to see it come to fruition at least I know that I tried to right the wrongs of my ancestor.”  He paused and walked across the room coming to a halt directly in front of his brothers, “I would rather have you here guarding my childhood home and those I love than running about Middle Earth with me on a fool’s quest.”  He gave his brothers a lopsided grin, “That’s Legolas’ job.”  The twins smiled at their younger brother but Aragorn noticed that the smiles were not reaching their eyes.   “Please do not do this, do not spend this time brooding when it may be our last days together.”  Tears pooled in the ranger’s eyes as he reached across and stroked his brother’s cheeks, “If the worse happens I do not want my last memories of you to be like this but instead I want to recall you as the fun loving elves who play pranks on the innocent inhabitants of Imladris.  Try to put aside the what ifs’ and lets just enjoy the present – while we are all together.”

 

            Elrond smiled as his three sons embraced each other tightly.  Yes, they would have to survey the borders for orc activity but not this night and not for many to come.  Right now was not the time to speak of evil but rather it was time to unite in love so that they would have the strength to face the challenges which were to come. 

 

 

The End

 

Translations

 

periannath – elvish name for hobbits

ada – dad