Come Morning
Chapter Three

No one returned from the slopes of Mt. Doom unscathed. A shadow hung over all who returned to the last Homely House, despite Sauron's defeat. On none was this shadow more pronounced, than Elrond. Not only had he lost his king and lover, but he once again saw the corruption of the Numenoreans, the descendants of his brother's blood. Elrond also now had the responsibility of one of the Elvish rings of power. The ring of Air now depended on Elrond for protection. That the One Ring survived was a doom that clouded any supposed victory over Sauron, and that One Ring haunted the fragile peace that followed.

In their desire to support Elrond, to keep him from possibly dying from grief of the loss so his lover, Erestor and Glorfindel entered into a silent truce. Nightly they came together to comfort and care for Elrond. Every night that lead to daybreak with Elrond still with them was cause for celebration. Each strived in his own way to make the burden Elrond carried a little lighter. But while Elrond was never exposed to any strife between his Chief Councilor and his Seneschal, when they were not in his presence Erestor's disdain for Glorfindel was obvious to everyone else. Many applauded Glorfindel for his avoidance in answering Erestor's abuse with likewise actions. To none, did Glorfindel show that Erestor's dislike of him hurt. He appeared to ignore the insults, both personal and professional, that the councilor heaped upon him.

Glorfindel was the light of Imladris. His rowdy sense of humor, bawdy jokes, and love of wine kept the Hall of Fire lively and the most popular place to spend each evening. Glorfindel's bed partners, as they did in his days in Lindon, changed weekly. None disputed that Glorfindel was a great warrior, but apart from his duties as Elrond's Seneschal, he treated everything else with light-heartedness. All marked the contrast between Erestor and Glorfindel. It was to Erestor that serious matters were taken. That Erestor thrived in his position as Elrond's Chief Councilor was evident by the high regard he came to have. All Elvin realms knew that between their own rulers and Imladris' own lord lay the Chief Councilor. It was by his counsel that would determine if request, advice, or assistances were given. By Erestor's dedication, Imladris operated smoothly and with great grace.

Erestor followed Lord Elrond out to his waiting horse. He was receiving last minute instructions before Elrond departed for the Golden Wood. Elrond was responding to a summons from Lady Galadriel. "My Lord, I really think you could use my services while in Lorien. Won't you reconsider allowing me to accompany you?" Erestor asked.

Elrond turned to look at his Chief Councilor. "No, Erestor. I wish you to remain behind and see to the running of Imladris. I have Glorfindel along with me. It will be fine." Elrond mounted and waited for Glorfindel to draw his horse along-side.

Erestor eyed the Seneschal distrustfully as he moved beside Elrond. "My Lord, please. I would really feel better if you allowed me to accompany you." His suspicion of Glorfindel's capabilities to assist their lord made obvious by his tone and the look he shot the Elda. But Elrond only shook his head before moving away. Erestor waited until Glorfindel's horse drew near enough, then he reached out and grabbed the bridle. "Lord Glorfindel, do try to put aside your drinking and other unsavory pastimes and look after out lord." Erestor's words were more than loud enough to carry to the waiting warriors.

Glorfindel looked down at Erestor and just as loudly said, "Do try, Lord Erestor, to get laid while we are gone. It would do so much for your disposition." Glorfindel jerked Erestor's hand away and followed Elrond from the courtyard.

Erestor stood fuming, ignoring the snickering around him. With a swirl of dark hair and robes, he returned to his office. He really didn't trust that frivolous Elf to look after their lord, no telling what Elrond would agree to before returning home!

Erestor was present to greet his lord upon his return from Lorien and he could not but think that his earlier premonition was accurate. Lord Elrond's face was stoic as he rode into the courtyard. He entered the hall silently, a quiet Erestor following him. Once inside their offices, Erestor broke the silence. "What has happened, my Lord?"

Elrond shook himself. "Nothing terrible has happened Erestor, don't worry." Elrond shrugged of his outer traveling cloak and moved towards his private quarters. "Oh Erestor, you need to prepare Imladris for a wedding," he said.

Erestor stared at Elrond, shock visible on his face. "A wedding, my Lord? Who is getting married?" Erestor had a bad feeling that he already knew the identity of the groom.

Elrond spoke over his shoulder before leaving the offices. "I am, Erestor. I am marrying Celebrian. The Lord and Lady of Lorien's daughter." He left behind an even more profoundly shocked Chief Councilor.

Erestor was furious! He had asked Glorfindel to look after their lord. Obviously that had been too difficult a task. Not only had their lord returned in a mood Erestor had not seen since Mt. Doom, but he was getting married to an Elf he had only spoken with a couple of times. Erestor left the office and went in search of Glorfindel. He found the Seneschal in the stables and immediately strode forward, grabbing his arm. He spun Glorfindel around, ignoring the Elda's look of surprise. "How could you have let this happen? Were you drunk the entire time?"

Glorfindel shook off the enraged councilor. "What in Arda are you going on about now, Erestor?"

Erestor almost hissed at Glorfindel in anger. "What am I going on about? What do you think? I asked you to sustain from your usual amusements and look after our lord while in Lorien and what happens? He comes back planning to marry! Well, what do you have to say for your self?"

Glorfindel narrowed his eyes at the furious Erestor and then smirked. "Why Erestor, Celebrian is a very nice Elf. I can't wait for you to meet her." Glorfindel turned back to finish unpacking his mount.

Erestor stared in shock at the broad back of Glorfindel. His softly voiced words, when they came, stunned the Elda. "It was wrong of me to think that someone as selfish as you could put aside their own needs for the sake of others. Apparently it does not bother you that our lord, who has not taken another to his bed since the High King's death, now plans to marry an almost complete stranger."

Glorfindel spun back around to stare incredulously at Erestor. One finger, trembling in anger, came up to harshly shake in Erestor face. "You go too far, Councilor, to even suggest that I care nothing for our lord. I am also sick of you questioning my duties. You have not the authority, until Elrond tells me different. You were not there Councilor. I tried to talk to our lord about this foolish marriage, but he refused to speak of it. Oh, bah, I do not know why I am standing here explain myself to you!" Glorfindel brushed past Erestor leaving him alone in the stables.

Erestor stood silently for a moment, trying to regain control over his emotions. He hated that he had lost his temper with Glorfindel. The Seneschal was not worth the trouble he told himself. As Erestor finally stepped out into the sunlight, he spied Glorfindel still in the outer yard speaking with several of his troops. Erestor ignored them and continued on to the hall.

As he was about to enter the hall, Glorfindel's voice sounded out. "Lord Erestor, did you by chance manage to get laid while I was away?" Erestor's back stiffened and his head lifted even higher. He deliberately ignored the laughter behind him and returned to his duties.

************

Erestor watched as his Lord and new Lady danced around the room. He had to admit that Glorfindel was correct. The Lady Celebrian was a nice enough Elf. What troubled Erestor as he watched the newly married couple was the lack of love in this political marriage. His lord had gone through with it, and seemed somewhat happy, so Erestor was determined to do what he could to ease his new mistress's path. Erestor could not help a small swelling of pride to develop as he survived the gathering. He had worked hard to make this a blessed day for his lord. The wine flowed freely, the cooks had out-done themselves, and the decorations brought smiles to the faces of many. The preparations required hours of extra work, but the happy laughter filling the room was enough reward. Erestor's gaze landed on Glorfindel. The blond was currently in the middle of a large group of the Lorien contingent. He was obviously entertaining them with a story as the group's laughter traveled to Erestor. His cold eyes briefly met Glorfindel's before firmly moving on. Since the incident in the stables, their relationship had gotten, if at all possible, even more cold. No morning or evening greetings did the two exchange. When forced by their duties to converse, it was done in extreme politeness. Nothing more. Erestor refrained from any further personal attacks, but the coldness in which he treated the Seneschal spoke volumes.

Erestor was true to his word. He worked closely with Lady Celebrian daily. Celebrian became much loved as the Lady of Imladris and the announcement of an impending heir was greeted joyously by all. Erestor took great joy in designing the nursery and though discreet, anxiously awaited the birth of his lord's heir. It thus, was with great joy and a little shock that twin heirs were welcomed. The twins brought a measure of peace and happiness to the inhabitants of Imladris. Their birth was seen as a sign of hope, and it was with great pride that Erestor took on the role of tutor for the young Peredhil twins. As the twins grew, they too became used to the relationship of their mentors, seldom questioning the coldness that existed between Erestor and Glorfindel. Indeed, had their relationship suddenly changed, it would have caused more of an upheaval, so a delicate balance was maintained. Erestor saw to the running of Imladris, while Glorfindel saw to her defense. Elrond was the middle ground that kept the interaction distant, but polite, between his Chief Councilor and his seneschal.

To be continued...