Come Morning
Chapter Eleven

Over the next several moons, Erestor watched Glorfindel closely. He watched as the Seneschal resumed his duties, but the somber Elda bore little resemblance to the once- vivacious Elf who had been the light of Imladris. Erestor watched the blonde battle with his drinking. He saw him fail, only to emerge bleary eyed the next morning and start over again in his quest to battle his personal demons. Everywhere the blond went he now carried a leather-bound journal, and instead of merriment in the Hall of Fire, Glorfindel spent his nights writing in that journal.

During this time, Glorfindel kept his distance from Erestor. In fact, the Elda stayed away from everyone. Even his regular, frequent bed partners were sent away with a negative shake of the blonde's head. Erestor also kept his distance, but he did not retreat as he once would have. Instead, he discovered to his great surprise, that in spite of his former misgivings, he found he enjoyed socializing. He frequented the Halls himself after dinner, enjoying the minstrels, the storytelling, and the gossip. He even found there to be a few brave souls who would approach Elrond's Chief Councilor. Erestor further surprised himself by discovering a joy of dancing. No longer did he hide in his office, but now he could be found whirling around the dance floor to the newest steps from Mirkwood or Lothlorien.

One evening after a rousing turn around the room with one of Imladris' guards, Erestor stepped out to cool himself in the refreshing night air. He moved to the steps leading down into one of Imladris' gardens, lifting the hair away from the back of his neck. He savored the refreshing breeze that cooled his dance-heated skin. Passing a pair of rosebushes, he came upon another Elf occupying a bench. Erestor paused in surprise at the sight of Glorfindel. He had thought the Elda long retired. Glorfindel showed no surprise at Erestor's appearance, only watched the councilor closely. Erestor meet the blonde's impassive gaze.

"Good evening, Glorfindel," he said simply.

Glorfindel glanced back at the halls, as if confirming that Erestor was unaccompanied. "I saw you dancing, Advisor. I did not know you had it in you." Glorfindel pinned Erestor with a hawk-like stare. "What happened to your partner, did you wear him out?" he snidely asked.

Erestor glared at Glorfindel, ignoring his suggestive comments. "Tis none of your concern, Glorfindel. Now if you will excuse me, I am in need of more congenial company." Erestor spun away in a swirl of dark hair.

Erestor halted at the hand that landed on his shoulder. He spun back around, furious that Glorfindel had laid hands upon him again. He shoved violently at the offending limb. "Don't touch me!" he snarled.

Glorfindel back away quickly. "I'm sorry, Erestor, I meant no harm. Just wait a moment, please." Glorfindel stepped back even further, giving the advisor the space to feel comfortable.

Erestor folded his arms across his chest and faced Glorfindel, glare still in place. "What, Glorfindel? Say what you have to say." He ordered.

Glorfindel reached into his tunic and pulled out the leather-bound journal he had been carrying for weeks. Glorfindel looked down at his journal, rubbing a hand across the smooth cover. He addressed Erestor, gaze still pinned upon the book. "Elrond gave me this journal. He said it would help me if I wrote down my feelings in it." He shrugged, looking up at Erestor almost uncertainly. "I have done what he suggested and wrote down my feelings about my return to Arda, joining Elrond's service and-." Here he stopped and looked down again, unable to meet Erestor's eyes any longer. "Your rape." He ignored Erestor's sharply drawn breath. "I wanted to give this to you, if you wanted to read it, that is?" Now he met Erestor's dark orbs again, not hiding the glimmer of hope in his own blue eyes.

Erestor stared at the journal as if it was a snake about to strike. For some reason, he was terrified of accepting the book. His trembling hand reached out and accepted the offering. With eyes trained on the leather-bound book, Erestor whispered, "I will read it." Erestor said nothing else, and unable to look upon Glorfindel any longer, he turned and fled.

Making merry no longer held any appeal for Erestor. Alone and confused he made his way back to his quarters, the journal clutched tightly in his arms. He could not take his eyes from the small leather-bound book. The choice to open it or not, seemed not an option, his will not strong enough to resist a quest for answers. Erestor knew he would read the journal, and not put in down until every word had been consumed. With one lone candle burning, Erestor climbed into his bed. He paused, carefully studying the inscription on the first page, To Erestor, there are no words I can offer that will make amends for what I did to you. "I am sorry"  seems to simply a phrase, but with the words and emotions revealed within these covers, I hope to offer you something of an explanation however late and inadequate. Glorfindel.

Erestor stared at the fine script, almost frightened by what he would discover. Was he brave enough to finally learn of the Elda's demons and hear in his own words Erestor's rape? If he wanted answers, they lay within this book. Erestor settled back and began to read.

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Imladris, Third Age

Elrond says to write down my feelings, starting with my return to Arda. He says this is for my assistance only, and no other's eyes may read what is written except by my leave. So, I am to feel assured and write what I really feel and think.

My feelings on returning to Arda. What to say? That I was happy to be re-born, returned to a land shrouded in turmoil? Well, I could write that, but it would not be the truth.

I did not ask to be re-born, to fulfill some grand destiny a favor for the Valar. I was not asked my wishes or desires on the matter. No, since I had died so honorably, I was being rewarded!

Some reward. To die fighting the evil of Middle-Earth, only to be returned to face those same evils all over again. No, no choice was offered me.

Everyone rejoiced when I arrived upon Arda's shores once again. I heard how happy it made them that Glorfindel, Lord of the House of the Golden Flower, slayer of a Balrog, has been returned to them! To once again fight along side them!

No one ask if I was happy to be back. I was expected to be the most jovial of Elves. How many get a second chance, get to escape Mandos' Halls?

But I never wanted to escape those Halls!

I earned my death, my peace. I had lived and died as a warrior, with honor. I received my just reward Peace. The Halls are not as we are told; cold, lonely, and emotionless. There, you see, you are granted true release. All the pain, fear, and darkness of Arda are but a memory in those great Halls. You are surrounded by fallen comrades and loved ones long parted. The Halls were to have been the last stop for Glorfindel of Gondolin.

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Erestor set aside the journal. The hour had grown late. He had never expected to read such words, not from Glorfindel. He did not know the person who wrote this journal, he did not know this Glorfindel and he doubted anyone did. Never had he given any real thought to how the Elda felt about his rebirth. He, like many others, thought the blond lucky. To be given a second chance was a gift. The Elda had seemed to always love life; to immerse himself in all the joys living entailed. Or so it seemed. Glorfindel's words in his journal revealed resentment at his return that Erestor found startling. What else would the blond reveal?

Erestor knew Ulmo had arranged Glorfindel's release or so Elrond had explained once. The Elda was to be returned to serve the Peredhel, just as he had served Elrond's grandfather and grandmother. Erestor wondered if Elrond had any inkling of the blond's feeling on his forced service to the half-Elf? Or, if like Erestor, Elrond thought it was what the Elda had also wanted? Had the resentment been building all these centuries? Was the Elda dangerous to Elrond or his family? Surely, Elrond, gifted with foresight, would have seen if there was something dark within Glorfindel. The Valar would not place the Peredhel in danger. He was too important to the fate of Middle-Earth. Erestor found some comfort in that thought, but he was determined to watch the blond more closely in the future. Should he tell Elrond what was written in Glorfindel's journal? Erestor did not feel comfortable with that idea. Perhaps he should confront Glorfindel; make him aware that he would be watching him? The Elda already knew Erestor mistrusted him.

Erestor lay back, his mind exhausted. Morning would be soon enough. Maybe by then he would know what was best to do.

To be continued...