Pen DhŪnen
Chapter Six

It was the voice whispering softly, "It is all right, pen velui, I have you," that first brought him back. Then it was the eyes, full of concern and colored like Laer skies. (Summer)  "Glorfindel," Erestor realized. Glorfindelís arms held him. He was safe.

Erestor flushed, but did not leave the circle of Glorfindelís arms. Erestor was not a small Elf standing average with other Elves, but Glorfindel towered over him by some inches; Erestorís head only reaching the blondís broad shoulders. Erestor peeked up into those smiling blue orbs, his head quickly lowering with embarrassment. *Of all the Elves to crash into!* He was about to answer the Eldaís question when the calling of his name drew his attention.

"Erestor, are you all right?" Lindir stepped forward, having witnessed Erestorís flight from the Healing Halls.

Erestor looked at his friend, his face flaming even more at being caught still in the circle of Glorfindelís embrace. He jerked back, but halted suddenly with a cry as his hair was pulled sharply; caught in a hook on Glorfindelís tunic.   He looked up into Glorfindelís concerned gaze, his own eyes stinging at the pain of the pull.

"Here, hold still now. I will free you, "Glorfindel carefully worked the dark strand free of his tunic, and tucked the wayward lock behind Erestorís ear. Erestor could not help but feel a moment of regret at leaving the comfort of such a strong embrace, and wished the hair had not been so quickly freed.

"I am fine, Lindir," Erestor said, red from the tips of his ears to the pale flesh of his neck where it disappeared into his robes. "Did you need me, Lindir?" he asked, fighting the urge to glance at the blond still at his side.

Lindir stepped hesitantly forward. He glanced from Erestor to Glorfindel, a frown on his face. "The head cook is looking for you, Erestor," was all he said, however.

Glad for an opportunity to escape, Erestor mumbled a reply and turned to go. Glorfindelís voice saying his name stopped him.

"Lord Erestor?"

Erestor turned and forced himself to meet the Eldaís gaze. "Yes, Lord Glorfindel?"

Glorfindel smiled at Erestor, and Erestor felt his knees quake. "I was hoping that perhaps after the evening meal you could show me some of Imladris. I am told that no one knows the valley better, save perhaps our Lord Elrond." Glorfindelís rich voice flowed over Erestor, and he barely registered the Eldaís request. It was only Lindirís cough that brought his attention back. Erestor flushed once more, realizing that he had heard nothing of Glorfindelís question. He mumbled a reply, and turning, fled.

Lindir looked at the blond smiling after his friend, a frown still upon his face. "If your intentions are not honorable, then leave him be, Lord Glorfindel."  Lindir knew his tone was aggressive, but he was determined to find out what Glorfindel wanted with his friend.

Glorfindel appeared amused as he studied the small white-haired minstrel. "For such an aloof Elf, or so I am told, Erestor inspires such fierce protectors," the blond arched a brow at the now angry Elf.

Lindir clenched his tiny fist, uncaring that the Elda towered over him by almost a foot.  "Erestor is not aloof!  He is just shy and unused to the ways of warriors. He is my friend, and I do not wish to see him hurt by one who would play upon that shyness."  Lindir cringed as the warrior came towards him, but for Erestorís sake, he stood his ground.

Glorfindel smiled gently at the frightened little songbird. He placed a hand upon Lindirís shoulder and spoke seriously to Erestorís friend. "I wish Erestor no harm, pen dithen. I also wish to befriend Lord Erestor. This is my home now and who better to show me its wonders than one who helped in its building?" Glorfindel gave one last squeeze to Lindirís shoulder before he turned to go. (Little One)

"Just friends, my Lord?" Lindir asked, cringing at his own forwardness.

Glorfindel turned and sent Lindir a mischievous smirk. "For now, pen Ďorn," and with that, Glorfindel winked at Lindir and strolled away. (Impetuous one)

Erestor took special care with his appearance that evening. He would not admit the reason, even to himself, but the deep gray robes trimmed in bright crimson satin well suited his dark beauty. His presence beside his Lord at the main table was greeted with smiles. The meal was lively, and it was with great anticipation that everyone adjourned to the Hall of Fire for entertainment. Lindir performed beautifully and Erestor could see that Elrond was very impressed by the talented minstrel.

The Hall seemed to Erestor especially loud this night. He did not know if it was because it was full once more, or because the Elves in it had just returned from war. The very air rang with an almost forced giddiness, as if each Elf was trying to obtain as much enjoyment out of a single night as possible. He watched Glorfindel move among the warriors, laying a hand upon a shoulder here, refilling a mug of spirits for someone else. The Elda seemed to pay very close attention to the warriors; indeed his attitude was similar to that of a mother hen. This perplexed Erestor, and as was his manner he turned to Elrond for explanation.

"What is it, Erestor?" Elrond asked, seeing the frown upon his Advisorís face.

Erestor glanced around once more, struggling to put his question into words. "The Hall, my Lord," he stopped and gestured around with one hand. "The warriors... they seem almost giddy somehow. I do not understand."  Erestor turned to look at his Lord, knowing Elrond would explain.

Elrond glanced around also, seeing and hearing the loud, sometimes false laughter, the over-indulgence of spirits, and the care with which Glorfindel looked after his men. He knew what Erestor was asking, for he himself felt it. The overwhelming need to reaffirm that he was home, safe, and alive.

Elrond took one of Erestorís hands in his own. "These warriors have seen so many horrors, suffered through horrendous conditions. They knew not if they would ever see home or loved ones again. They watched their friends and fellow Elves suffer and die. You must understand, Erestor. For Elves are eternal there is no preparing one for death. What you see around you tonight is life being grasped to its fullest, with eager hands. Glorfindel, perhaps, is the only one who fully understands this, and that is why he moves among his fellow warriors offering the comfort of his very presence."  Elrond turned back to watch as the Elda accepted a drunken hug graciously, and helped the unsteady Elf back into his chair.

Erestor also went back to watching the Elda, but something Elrond said caught his attention and he turned back with another question. "Why Glorfindel?"

Elrond frowned. He had not wanted to discuss the blond with Erestor, afraid that the topic of death and rebirth would upset his ward. There seemed no help for it, however, as the Elda had captured Erestorís attention. "Pen dithen, Glorfindel has fought in wars before. He well knows what the warriors here tonight are going through, and they see in him one who has battled death and won," Elrond said simply. (Little One)

Elrond watched as Erestorís eyes followed the blond about the room. He did not like that Erestor seemed so fascinated by the golden Elda. Glorfindel was an enigma to Elrond. The Elda had impressed him immensely on the battlefield; indeed, Elrond had never seen a fiercer warrior, but the blond personally was still a mystery to the Elf-lord. Elrond was worried about the sparks that seem to fly between his ward and the re-born warrior, for he could not see anything that connected them. The pair shared no common interest, and Glorfindel was also so very much older than Erestor. Above all, Elrond did not want to see Erestor hurt.

Elrond knew Erestor was still untouched. Like the lack of interaction with others he had shown as an Elfling, once past his majority Erestor has shown no interest in the courting games the other Elves enjoyed. Elrond was afraid that Erestor would lose his heart to the warrior, only to discover that Glorfindel was not looking for love, only a dalliance. Until the Elda could prove himself to Elrond, Elrond intended to watch him closely where Erestor was concerned.

Elrondís attention was abruptly caught as Glorfindel approached Erestor. He heard the blond ask Erestor if he was ready.

"Ready for what?" Elrond demanded, drawing the pairís attention to him.

Glorfindel bowed before his Lord. "My Lord, Erestor was kind enough to agree to show me Imladris."

Elrond rose and snatched Erestorís hand from Glorfindelís grasp. "No!" he said loudly, and all noise in the Hall stopped.

To be continued...