Pen Dhínen
Chapter Three

S.A. 1697 Nórui

Elrond’s Diary: Erestor finds a home in my heart.

Quickly Erestor found a place in my heart. I grew accustomed to his silent presence. One would wonder how someone who never spoke, and never complained could inspire love in another. But Erestor did, in me.

I went about my daily duties of making Imladris a reality, and not just a plan in my head. Wherever I went, Erestor followed. I never forgot that he was behind me, like some I am sure would have. His company was comforting in its very silence. Erestor would bring me food when I forgot to eat. I had wondered how he accomplished this task, not being able to tell the cooks what he wanted. But I soon gave up questioning how he accomplished anything. It just seem to happen. I am not sure when it came about, but suddenly Erestor seemed to be taking care of me rather than the other way around. He would soundlessly appear and hand me an apple or a piece of cheese with a little bread. At bed time, there he would be, standing at my side, dark eyes raised, a mute reminder that the day was over.

Erestor was a smart Elfling, I discovered. One evening when we had retreated to the tent a little earlier than usual, I pulled out a book. Up onto my lap he climbed and proceeded to read with me his intense gaze firmly fixed upon the page, for the rest of the night. Not out loud did I have read and he kept pace with each page turn. Only once did he interrupt, and that was to point to a word on a page. I knew what he was asking. I did not need him to give voice for me to understand, so I sounded out the word and explained its meaning. He nodded in his solemn way and we went back to reading once more. He did not sleep next to me every night, but when he did climb into my bed to snuggle his little dark head against my chest, it was because of nightmares. I tried for the longest time to get him to at least draw what had happened to him and his family, but he would shake his head and his small face would become blanker, hiding what was going on in that mind of his.

There were few other Elfling’s in Imladris, and the ones who were close in age with Erestor seemed uncomfortable around the dark-eyed Elfling. Not that Erestor showed any interest in befriending any of them, anyway. I was not sure if his lack of interest was a result of his shyness, or if he really had no desire for friends closer to his own age. I did catch a far-off look in his eyes every once in a while. I often times wondered if he was thinking of his family and their loss. I would touch his shoulder and he would return his attention to me, but never did he indicate a need to share what he was thinking.

Lessons moved quickly. Erestor learned to write in several languages; if he could speak them I never knew, but his penmanship was excellent. Lore interested him greatly. His favorite books quickly left my side of the tent and moved to his. I tried to get Erestor interested in other things, mainly things I thought Elfling’s liked. I presented him with a small toy ship complete with white sails that I assumed he would enjoy playing with along the Bruinen’s banks. But Erestor only looked up at me with confusion in his chocolate gaze. He bowed his dark head briefly in thanks, then placed the little boat on his bed and curled back up with his book. After that, I gave Erestor no more toys. The presents from then on I gave, Erestor became a reflection of the scholarly Elf he would become, journal’s, new books, and quills were his favorites.

Imladris took shape around us. The Healing Hall was completed first. Construction had stated on the lower level of my home. I could picture the completed vision in my head. Large, graceful, curving porches would go in front and in the back of the lower levels. Two great halls would be the first rooms as one entered through the tall, stately front doors. Guest rooms would be located on the lower level, but the family wing would be up an elegant, arching staircase. Gardens would be in the rear and a tower would house the signal bell. So clear in my mind could I see this vision.

I was everywhere. Every stone that was laid, every piece of wood that was crafted, I was a part of. No discussion of building or planning went on with me. Everywhere I went, Erestor followed, never complaining that his shorter legs grew tired or that he was bored with the endless debates over stone type or wood choice. I tried to include him, to introducing him to all the workers and craftsmen, but Erestor would only step back and hide his face in the back of my robes, clinging to my legs.

Erestor would duck his head, black hair swinging forward to shield him as effectively as his silence did. Gradually, he stopped hiding, but any vocal acknowledgement aimed at him was met with dark eyes and silence. This new blank-faced response was Erestor’s answer to the stares of others as he grew from Elfling to young Elf. He hid his shyness so well that many forget the small dark figure who trailed behind me. All they came to see was his emotionless face, thus the rumors of the coldness of Erestor’s heart were born.

We moved from tents into stately rooms as Imladris became a reality and no longer just my dream. Erestor accepted his new quarters even though he had shared my tent since he came to Imladris. I think I was more upset and had a harder time accustoming myself to my own room than Erestor did to his.

As Erestor approached his majority, I thought long and hard on what to gift him with. The only thing that seemed to bring him any joy besides reading was animals. Erestor loved all the creatures that lived around Imladris. He would venture out each morning just as Anor was rising, when the grass was still damp with morning dew. All the animals of the forest came to greet him. He would feed the deer and the fawns, squirrels would take nuts and berries from his hands and the birds... the birds loved Erestor! They would land on his shoulders, their little beaks tugging on strands of his night-hued hair to capture his attention.

It was as if the birds had adopted Erestor just as I had. Maybe it was his very silence that attracted them, for they seemed to understand the mute Elf like no other. They showed no hesitation, landing in his outstretched palm the second he made it available to them. They loved to play in the black dancing tresses of his hair as the wind lifted it and sent it swirling. As Erestor did not make a sound, the birds made up for it. They sang and talked to him, each trying to out-do the other in beauty of sounds or chirps. The windows in the vast libraries we built were left open while Erestor worked. There his friends could visit, and they did, greeting him each morning with song.

That is where I received my inspiration for his majority gift. On the night celebrating his coming of age, Erestor and I dined in my quarters per his silent request, for he was never more at ease then when it was just the two of us.   Erestor’s eyes had opened impossibly wide as I brought out the gilded cage containing a pair of love birds. His dark jewel-like eyes sparkled happily and he gave me a rare smile and an even rarer embrace. I watched in amazement as he opened the cage, and once free, the little birds happily settled in his cupped hands, cooing contently. I heard the whispers and excited murmurings the next morning, and stepped out of the library door to watch as speechless as the rest of Imladris’ residents the spectacle of Erestor coming down the halls towards the library with two love birds firmly perched atop his dark head.

I fought valiantly to still my laughter, but as one of the birds lifted a dark lock in its beak, I lost the battle. I had to lean against the doorframe for support and was still laughing as Erestor, with head lifted, swept past me into the library. I watched, trying to control myself as Erestor took a seat behind his desk. He looked at me, and one perfect pitch-black eyebrow arched in silent sarcasm, as if asking, "Well, what are you waiting for?" Erestor’s head was tilted so far up that the only part of the birds that was visible was the tips of their pink-hued tails. Erestor seemed to find nothing at all unusual about his companions or their place on his head. He just went about his work, ignoring all the cackling coming from me. Needless to say, it was quite some time before I was able to control my laughter and join Erestor in the day’s duties.

My Pen dhien brought much joy to my life. I had not realized how lonely I had become until this beautiful dark Elfling joined my life. The loss of my brother, my leaving Lindon, and the missed presence of Ereinion in my daily life had left me wandering, lost with nothing to fill the void in my heart. Imaldris provided me with what I had always longed for, a home, and a refuge to call my very own. Then this little one came along and gave my life even greater purpose. He needed me; I was the only one that Erestor would ever let close. I was special to him and loved this I knew. I would protect my Erestor with everything in me.  We ran Imladris’ together and I could not imagine it without him. A day did not go by that I did not thank the Valar for bringing us together.

To be continued...