Forging Friendships

Located in the north, Himring is a great hill whose base is home to the fortress of Maedhros and is guarded by the Gap of Maglor. A point of considerable strategic advantage, following the drowning of Beleriand, the top of Himring rises above the waves to be known as the Isle of Himling.

Forging Friendships

Joined: 03 Mar 2014, 08:21

02 Aug 2014, 04:37 #1

Maedhros and Maglor were fighting again.

Elrond hadn't heard anything, but he knew that this was true because Maglor was ignoring his harp and staring out of the window with a sad look on his face when Elrond had slipped in to see why it was so quiet. He had grown used to Maglor's singing and found that he missed the sound of music when it wasn't at play - though, he had come to learn a few things about his fathers (as he had now come to think of them) pretty quickly. Maglor rarely - if ever - sang when he was upset, and Maedhros tended to be the only person capable of upsetting him enough that he wouldn't do so. Which was perfectly logical in Elrond's opinion - after all, Elros was the only person who could really set him off and vice versa. It seemed to be a special skillset all brothers possessed.

This wasn't the only thing he had learned about them of course, but he did consider it to be one of the more important things. It was always good to know when to approach and when to make yourself scarce after all. Though Elrond didn't know what they had fought about, he could hazard enough of a guess and he had no wish to talk about it. He didn't like to be reminded of the Silmarils any more than he liked being a reminder of one.

Leaving Maglor to his thoughts, Elrond had scooted off in search of Elros to entertain the time away, only to find him deep in training with Maedhros. For a time, he watched their fire-haired father fend off Elros' every advance, a slight smile playing at his features as he saw his brother's lips purse in concentrated irritation with every blocked blow. It was fun to watch, but boring after awhile and Elrond didn't really feel like joining in, so he went on a bit of a wander instead.

He probably should have at least told Maedhros he was doing so, but Elrond hadn't really thought it overly dangerous to head into the forest for a brief bit. So long as he kept his home within sight, there was nothing he needed to be afraid of - at least, that was the subconscious thought. Actively, Elrond wasn't thinking about it so much; he just wanted something to do that didn't involve upsetting Maglor or swinging a sword around, and for once, he didn't feel like reading. A walk seemed just the thing.

As he wandered, Elrond was careful to keep home in sight even as his thoughts traveled farther and farther away. He wished there was a way to get Maglor and Maedhros to stop thinking about the Silmarils. Every time one of those arguments happened, he started to get fidgety and upset, even though he did his very best to hide it. Elros understood it though - he tended to get really focused on his swordmanship, which Elrond knew was both a coping mechanism and a personal insurance against the fear they both felt. They'd already lost one set of parents to those blasted jewels and they weren't stupid. They knew how much their fathers had already sacrificed for them - how much blood had been shed over the dumb things. So they knew the Silmarils were very important to Maedhros and Maglor, just as they were important to Earendil and Elwing.

Which meant every single fight over the stupid things meant a sinking fear that they were going to be left behind again.

Elrond toed a rock with his boot and kicked it down the path, following after it morosely and trying very hard to ignore the niggling, stinging feeling in his eyes. He was not going to cry. He was old enough now to be an adult among Men so he could act like one, even if he was still no taller than a dwarf. Kicking the rock again, Elrond followed its trail and froze as it came to land beside a strange boot. His head snapped up and he stared, not recognizing the elleth in front of him at all.

"I'm sorry," He opened, his youthful Quenya a bit lilting and holding a slight quaver of mistrust despite the polite tone, "I didn't mean to kick that at you," And indeed he didn't! That would have been quite rude. "Are you looking for something?" He asked, not wanting to lead with 'who are you' as that seemed a bit rude too - though really, he did want to know. Glancing quickly toward the safety of his home, he suddenly wished he'd mentioned he was going out, even as he turned his gaze back to the stranger and tried very hard not to appear nervous. He wasn't used to meeting people without Elros and an adult nearby since the sack of Sirion, and he was now pretty sure he wasn't a fan of it.

Joined: 24 Jun 2014, 02:33

02 Aug 2014, 20:21 #2

Thirty years some of freedom felt like a half-caught breath in the back of her throat whereas the forty some years of torture had felt like a thousand. Time played tricks so it seemed, dragging out the terrible and shortening the pleasurable. Well, the concept of what should be pleasurable. A terrible price had been pride for this freedom, pieces of herself that could not be recovered, and there were days she wondered if it would not have been better to have died along with so many others. However, a promise in need of keeping and an unholy anger kept her fëa from fading while some lucky gamble of genetics and biology had kept her hröa from buckling beneath the torture. So, she lived and now, she wandered.

It was something of an unsatisfactory existence, but Tinimel was not sure what else to do with herself. While in chains, the thought of freedom persisted like the ideals of greener grass a pasture over. However, once freed, she found herself unsure of what even to do with the greener grass. Distant memories offered suggestions, but actually acting on those suggestions proved difficult. Crowds made her uncomfortable. She’d only been in a select few since her escape, but still, the very idea of being in a proper city sent her into a near panic. Somehow managing to avoid all and any Elvish settlements in the past thirty years, Tinimel wasn’t even certain if they still existed. Her grasp of reality was feeble at best and her awareness of current events even less so. She knew that Gondolin had fallen and now so had the Havens, but exact details eluded her. Perhaps for the best. She did not seek them out.

Her boots fit too loosely, not the point of causing her to trip but enough to rub and threaten blisters. Her clothing fit poorly as well, but at least, it was clothing. After having spent so many long years exposed to the elements in naught but shackles, she treasured any scrap of fabric that covered her scarred and battered body. In many ways, Marillel would never fully heal from her wounds — of the body and of the mind — but at least her man’s tunic of Men design and heavy trousers hid them from the eye. However, it could not fully hide the hollowness of her cheeks or the sunken nature of her pale eyes. Sun darkened skin, chapped by wind and covered by scores of white scars and newer pink ones that sunk below the collar, stretched tightly over sharp angles of high cheek bones and pointed nose. Not quite leather-like just yet but noticeably worn.

For a good many days, Marillel had not known why her feet chose the path upon they tread only that they did with an odd sense of familiarity. For the weary life of her, she could not fathom at the familiarity, her thoughts swimming in a jumbled pool of memories that made no sense. Sequencing oft troubled her. Telling apart the actual truth from fantasy near impossible at times. A lack of better direction and a sense of need drove her onward seemingly without reason. This morning, however, a moment of clarity occurred upon recognizing a landmark not even a hundred years in Angband could have robbed of her memory. In that moment, she knew the path her feet had found — the trail to Maitimo’s fortress atop Himring. Marillel had travelled this path many a time but with a far lighter step than the stride she walked with now.

It must be in ruin. That the fortress still stood did not seem conceivable to her. Only further heartbreak could come from following this path, but she let her feet continue on. It would do her good, a confirmation, that all was truly lost. Maybe then she could move forward in other ways.

A heavy set grey she called Hiswa, apparently having lost her creativity in Angband for names as well, plodded behind her, laden with something that could pass as a saddle if one squinted at it and the most minimal camping gear possible. The former plow horse was not incredibly bright, but he was immeasurably loyal and fiercely sweet. No good for a war horse, but Tinimel enjoyed his company too much to look for a more suitable mount after having acquired him. As it were, Hiswa noticed the boy in the road before his owner, slowing his pace every so slightly and flickering his ears in curiosity as the rock skittered towards them.

Marillel pulled back on the reigns held loosely in her hand, glancing down at the rock by her feet. A child had kicked it. Why was a child on the road? When was the last time she’d even seen a child? While the horse reached its neck out, nickering a warm greeting and lazily flickering mule-like ears, Marillel straightened to her full height in sudden alarm. Head craned slightly back, weight shifting to her heels, and an expression of wary confusion gracing her jagged features. Her chin tilted to the side, as if somehow watching him from the corner of her eyes instead of straight on would reveal the illusion of his nature. Was this some sort of trap? She half expected a baby to be tossed at her as well by some gypsy crone woman, but no baby was thrown, only this boy stood before her with his lilting speech. By her reckoning, there shouldn’t have been a living soul anywhere near the fortress, let alone a well dressed child so clearly well tended.

“I…” Was she looking for something? Yes and no. Marillel supposed 'her brother' could answer that question, but she didn’t even know where to look for him or if she wanted him to see her in such a feral state. More than anything, she was lost. So lost, Marillel did not even know where her final destination lay. Whatever she was looking for, Marillel couldn’t say. “Where are your parents?” The blurted question held no threat, just heavy confusion still with a mistrust that mirrored his for her, still not convinced this wasn't a trick.

Joined: 03 Mar 2014, 08:21

08 Aug 2014, 10:22 #3

The warm greeting that came from the pack horse drew Elrond’s attention away from the stranger even as she herself reared up like a startled horse herself. Reaching out a hand for the animal to catch his scent from, he kept a watch on the stranger from the corner of his eye while he indulged in petting her friend’s cheek. He didn’t understand her hesitance or the weird way she was looking at him - not until she answered his question with one of her own. Immediately, the youthful face shuttered itself.

“If you mean the biological ones,” The little ellon stated flatly, “Who knows? They stopped caring a long time ago and so did I. If you mean my atya and atar, then they’re back at the house.” Stepping away from her horse and moving to put some tree between them, he eyed her suspiciously as he demanded, “Who sent you, anyway? If you’re going to try and take me, I’ll fight you, and I’ll yell and I don't care who you take me to I’ll hate them!”

Elrond wasn’t stupid. He knew full well that he and Elros looked a lot like their parents did, and that the price for finding the stolen princes was probably fairly high. He also knew there were probably people who thought it would be a favor to take them to some distant relatives or something, but Elrond was having none of it. His parents hadn’t come for him - their bloodline didn’t get to sink their claws into him and Elros either simply because it was suddenly convenient.

Tucked behind his tree and glaring, ready to bolt at the slightest provocation, Elrond found his manners overcome his suspicion just enough to add sullenly, “And if you’re not here to take me, then you may as well come down and pay your respects to atya and atar since you and your horse both look like you could use some hospitable food.”

Joined: 24 Jun 2014, 02:33

15 Aug 2014, 02:42 #4

A single brow lifted at his retort. In all honestly, Tinemel hadn’t really thought out her question about his parents. It truly hadn’t meant to bring up bad blood, but clearly, the little bird’s feathers had been ruffled. Her lower lip twitched with a half thought to respond, but instead, both lips remained pressed together quite tightly. He spoke quickly, flowing from one though to the next, demanding answer in the lofty manner of a lord then offering respite in a similar manner. If there had been any doubt that he was of some lordly station, his behavior in just the brief moments of meeting dashed it out.

Had she heard correctly? His Atya and Atar? Brows slightly knit together in confusion. Who would be so bold as to take up residence in Himring if not for one of the sons of Feanor? And apparently his lover. The child had indeed said atya and atar.

A tightening in her chest occurred at the thought of Neylo still being in his keep. It did not seem possible. To see him again, even a glimpse…she sucked in air like a thirsting man did water, so aggressively her nostrils flared, only to then release it slowly through slightly parted lips a long moment later. Only more unsettling than the idea of Neylo being in Himring was the possibility of him not there. There could be no other Lord of Himring than Nelyafinwë Maitimo, but even Tin knew that thought to be foolish. Even if it did not seem possible, she knew it was entirely possible there was another lord in Maitimo’s fortress. If that was true, she cared even less for entering the stronghold and paying respects to a false lord.

However, if he was there, and was this child’s adoptive atar, then there was an atya as well, which meant her ridiculous feelings had just become even more absurd. A feat Tin had not thought possible, but apparently, she was wrong yet again. It was selfish, of course, to care. Selfish and more importantly irrelevant. It had always been irrelevant, but now, potentially even more so.

The fact this child currently hid behind a tree was quite relevant. Tin banished the weighty thoughts of Maitimo having finally taken a lover, for he had never been hers to love and thusly it should not matter, and focused on the lordling. “You need not fear me, little lord,” She dipped her head in a ghost of a bow. “I think…perhaps…I may have served one of your atars’ cousins as a lieutenant in his calvary…” Tin stumbled over the words, searching for something that might lessen his apprehension. “I have been here before, but it has been a very long time. I knew the Prince Nelyafinwë.” She paused, furrowing her brow deeper into thought. “They call him Maedhros, now? I…am not very much informed of current tidings…”

She cleared her throat, rubbing a long hand on the back of her sunburnt neck. It was best time for introductions. Perhaps a name to call her would relieve further tension. “And my name is…” Tinemel’s speech faltered, leaving her open mouthed and wearing an uncharacteristically stupid expression. What name to use? She had not thought of herself as Marillel in nearly seventy years now, but if her speculations were accurate, than it was better to use the name his atar would know her by rather than the moniker received in Angband. “My name is Marillel, but I also go by Tinemel. It is your choice." Still looking slightly confused and unsettled, Tinemel heaved another heavy sigh. Himring in ruins would undoubtedly been easier to handle. The grey nudged her back, and Tinemel noticeably relaxed, casting a slight smile at the gentle plow horse. “And this is Hwisa.”

Introductions complete, Tinemel moved on to the next issue at hand. “I will pay my respects in time,” Or perhaps just disappear back into the forest to rejoin Hunalal. That prospect slipped into her mind, nestling itself in there as the best possible option. “But, I do not want to interrupt your walk by making you take me to them. You should not be alone though, little lord. I would accompany you on the rest of your walk, if I may be permitted.” Whatever sense of morals captivity stripped her of, she could not abide to let a child wander alone in the woods, regardless of proximity to his home. It also startled her how talkative she seemed to be with Elrond. To hear such great use of her own voice gave her pause, but the slip of formality did give a guidance of how the conversation should flow.

Joined: 03 Mar 2014, 08:21

16 Aug 2014, 09:38 #5

Elrond eyed the strange elleth suspiciously for a moment longer, before her words had him perking up with interest and alarm. Though he loved his adoptive fathers dearly, he had not forgotten how he came to be in their home, raised as their son. Nor did he forget what happened to his uncles who fell to the wrong side of the cavalry who served his fathers’ brother in the past. Still, he had a funny feeling from the way the elleth acted that she wasn’t lying when she claimed not to be abreast of current affairs.

Stepping from behind the tree, Elrond asked kindly, “I would prefer to call you as you wish to be called. What name is it that you like most, so that I may use that one?” He hesitated a moment before adding, “If it is different from the one you used with Maedhros, do not worry. My adar understands these sorts of things and I am certain he will adapt to your new name if you tell him you prefer it.” There, that at least laid the groundwork, for if she worked for Maedhros before, then she would know full well what he was capable of doing for family.

Straitening, Elrond introduced himself as well. “I am Elrond, born son of Eärendil and chosen son of Nelyafinwë, now called Maedhros, and Kanafinwë, now called Maglor. It is a pleasure to meet the both of you, and welcome you first back to our lands, as I imagine you’ve been here before,” His bearing as a prince and as the son of Maedhros and Maglor shone through with the diplomacy he utilized in his introduction, which was a lengthy one indeed for one so small as he.

The prospect of continuing his walk was a nice one, but he shook his head all the same. “I think it may be best if I turn back, but we can take a longer route so you can enjoy the scenery,” He suggested, honestly just wanting to maneuver them closer to a safe yelling distance if necessary. It always did pay to be cautious when you could be. “I would enjoy the company,” He added, in case she felt he was putting off her offer, which he wasn’t - he was curious about her, he was just simply being careful.

Joined: 24 Jun 2014, 02:33

20 Sep 2014, 07:14 #6

Admittedly, Tin cared very little for politics even before her captivity so current affairs had never been her strong suit. She had left the ponderings and fusing over that sort to her brother. Battle and war planning suited her interests better. It always had been and probably wouldn’t change. Nobles and lordly folk usually irritated her. What had set them above others? Maitimo was different and Fingon – for different reasons, of course. Rank and hierarchy didn’t upset her, as long as it was deserved, but she belonged to no such society for now and hadn’t thought of such things in quite some time. The hierarchy of Angband had been one of rats and wolves, not highborn socialites.

“Tinemel, then, or Tin,” She finally settled upon, genuinely preferring the moniker that Hun had given to her over her given name. Most everyone who knew Marillel most certainly had died, and in many ways, she no longer was Marillel. “Quiet Friend” suited her now, far better than some of the other nicknames Hun called her to get a rise. The blonde magpie of a nis could be quite creative at times. Too creative. It was a happy accident she’d gotten distracted chasing after some newfound species of cricket or something for her to dissect.

“Well, Lord Elrond, son of Eärendil and chosen son of Nelyafinwë, now called Maedhros, and Kanafinwë, now called Maglor,” A soft rumble, almost sounding like a purred laugh accent the formal address, the corner of her lip quirked into something like a smile with her words. “Thank you for the welcome.” Remembering the faint traces of life before torture, she swept into a graceful military salute that dropped into a bow fit for any lordly encounter before pulling back into her full height. “The longer route back then.” Tin idly wondered if the landscape had changed much in the past sixty years or so. Part of her hoped that it had just to spare her the pain of seeing things as they were when she had changed so drastically. Her heart ached a momentary spasm.

She should not have come this way. She should have turned around the moment she realized where her feet had taken her. And yet, the little lord shouldn’t be out alone. A long sigh slipped between wind-chapped thin lips. “Lead the way, m’lord,” Tin nodded her head to indicate he should begin the (hopefully very long) walk back, thoughts rolling about in the back of her mind about how to slip away before having to see Nelyo again.

Joined: 03 Mar 2014, 08:21

24 Nov 2014, 09:33 #7

Elrond smiled at her choice, finding that he liked this moniker as well though he did not say as much. Instead, he simply turned and began leading the way back as she suggested, though he did take a moment to say, “Just Elrond is fine, the rest is a mouthful for initial introductions only as far as I know.” He remembered something about formal addresses he had been learning from Erestor before the sack of Sirion, but that was awhile ago and admittedly he’d spent most of that class doodling Erestor with a beard and other such nonsense rather than paying attention (or falling asleep). So he supposed he would have to use ignorance as his excuse if he was wrong - and while ignorance did not excuse many things, it tended to slide when it came to formalities kids notoriously ignored.

It was, after all, hardly his fault such things were terribly dull.

Taking Tin and Hwisa down the trail, Elrond opted to chatter a bit to break the silence but also, as they would get closer eventually, to alert his family of their arrival. “It’s not too often that we get visitors,” Elrond began, “Though we’ve had some people come and try to take Elros and me, which is why I was a bit standoffish at first.”

Wondering if perhaps she didn’t know, he added with a childlike simplicity, “It’s complicated, but our fathers took us from our home after they sacked it, so people believe that they can come here and try to take us back, only we don’t want to go.” Elrond shrugged, “Our fathers are better parents than our own ever were. It’s troublesome how they came to be our fathers, yes, but I try not to think too much about that. Honestly I think the only people Elros or I would agree to leave with are probably dead.” There was a grimness to his tone, but it lightened, “Though Maedhros doesn’t think so, at least not about Erestor. They’re looking for him, so maybe he’s out there somewhere. He’s the one I miss the most, though Elros misses Ferilith more I think.”

As they began descending, the trees at times would thin and reveal the fortress that had become his home. They still had a slight ways to go, as the trail went around toward the front and would deposit them closer to the doors. He smiled over at Tin in a fashion that was too old, too ironic, for an elfling of his age as they walked along, “I think it says a great deal that we should miss a tutor and a nurse above our own kin, don’t you?” He asked, perhaps by way of explaining just why he and his brother refused to leave the home of those who had sacked their old one, and in fact now called them their fathers.

Joined: 01 Jul 2014, 05:45

29 Nov 2014, 13:54 #8

Nelyo was amazed that he wasn't hoarse from shouting. He and Kano had been fighting again, about the only thing they had disagreed on in centuries. They knew where the Silmarils were. They could gather their hosts and march, take them back and be gone again. If they played their cards right, they wouldn't even need the army. They only wanted back what was rightfully theirs, in the memory of their father and all he had fought for. They had sworn an Oath, and he could feel it tugging at him, telling him to get up and go. Kano was having none of it. If he could get away with it, he would bury it in the deepest recesses of his mind, pretend it wasn't there, that he couldn't feel it pull at him the way it did Nelyo.

But Nelyo didn't want to add Oathbreaker to their long list of sins.

He had sworn to retrieve them, no matter the cost. It niggled at him, like a splinter he couldn't quite pry free, it wasn't so simple as Kano tried to tell him it was. This oath wasn't one that they could just break free of, they had sworn to Feanor that they would fulfil their oath, and even though he had long entered the Hall of Mandos, he felt like he would be furious with them for their disobedience. If they joined him eventually, he'd probably never let them hear the end of it. He wondered if Atar would think it a betrayal if they broke their oath. Probably. Even if he didn't, he felt like the events of the past would have no meaning if they didn't at least try to get the Silmarils back. That their many crimes and struggles had been for no reason at all. And he definitely wouldn't be able to live with himself then. He was barely able as it was, breaking their Oath would just be yet another thing to keep him awake at night. Yet Kano didn't seem to mind. We have more important things to worry about, he said.

Like the children they had kidnapped.

Elrond and Elros were the only good things to happen to Nelyo and Kano in the last few centuries. Even if they had kidnapped them. Even if they did hate them at first. The young brothers hadn't had much feeling for their parents either, but Nelyo couldn't blame them for hating the Feanorians. He had been surprised that they had warmed to them at all, particularly himself. He didn't think he was much good with kids. Kano had always been better at that sort of thing. Yet warm they did, eventually calling them as family. Atya and Atar. Nelyo couldn't explain how it felt. He wondered if it would be the same if he were to have little ones of his own. Not that that would ever happen, but it was something to think about.

They had been elsewhere when he and Kano started yelling, but that wasn't anything new. Neither of them liked to be around when he and his brother were arguing. The quiet was almost eerie when he finally walked away, leaving Kano to his thoughts and going to stew for a bit. He hadn't been able to sit still for long, getting up and going in search of the twins. He had only found Elros, reassuring him quietly before bringing him out to the courtyard to spar. They didn't like any mention of the Silamrils, either. They were the reason they had taken the boys in the first place. Elros was the quieter of the two, but not by much, and they reminded him so much of the Ambarussa it hurt. Kano didn't seem to mind, but he did. Having reminders of brothers long dead so close to him was sometimes more than he could bear. But they couldn't be blamed for that. They were only children. And keeping them at arms' distance was difficult.

Elros was getting better, even for one so young. He wasn't getting past his defences, but he was holding his own, face screwed up with the effort of fending off the attack. He managed to block several of the blows, almost landing a few that would get past the defences of another fighter, with time and practise. He was still only young, after all. Praise was sparing, meaning the boy glowed when it came, and spurred him to work harder. Maybe he had missed his calling with this teaching business. He could have lived out the days in Tirion, teaching new blood to reach their full potential, being fair but firm, giving praise where praise was earned, gentle reprimands when stupid or careless mistakes were made. If he had been lowborn, or even the second or third son of nobility. But he was the firstborn of a prince of the Noldor, and he had taken another path instead.

After a few bouts, which Maedhros won, he chivvied the boy off to the kitchens to get a snack and some water, promising him an hour or two at the archery targets once he was fed and watered, and looked around him. Where was Elrond? He hadn't been with Elros when Nelyo found him. He hadn't seen him since before the fight. His first stop was to his room, just in case. When the room turned out to be quiet, bed empty, wardrobe closed and books untouched, he checked Elros' room. Nothing. A quick check in with Maglor turned out to be fruitless, and he left without saying a word to him. If Maedhros didn't know where he was, chances where Maglor wouldn't either, since he had been holed up in his room since the argument, plucking forlornly at a harp. No singing, of course.

Next up was the kitchen, the armoury, the cellars, pantries, dining hall and guest hall. He even checked the guest rooms, just in case he had fled to one of those at the sound of shouting. Only those who knew him well would notice that there was something strange about the speed with which his long legs took his around the fortress, that there was a strange light in his eyes, his right arm waved back and forth with the left as he sped around the fortress, only just managing not to yell for the boy at the top of his lungs. If he was sitting on the roof again, he was going to get such an earful. He checked the dungeons, even though he knew he wouldn't be there before heading upstairs, the thunder in his eyes increasing with every step. By the time he reached the towers, others were flinging themselves out of his way, eyes downcast and mumbling greetings in case he rounded on them.

He gave up when he reached the highest roof, and sat on it, enjoying the quiet, a cold wind ruffling his hair. He could hear Maglor with his harp at one of the many windows, plucking a lament from the strings. He didn't know the melody. He couldn't have joined him even if he wanted to. His flute was in its case in his room, untouched for centuries, gathering dust. The memory of his right fingers pulled themselves around an invisible flute, fingering notes only he could hear. Valar, he was tired. Arguing with Maglor always exhausted him. He could still feel the Oath gently tugging at him, telling him to gather his armies and march, but he couldn't bring himself to get up. Elrond was still missing, and even if he wasn't, he wasn't sure he wanted to leave them. If they didn't come back, they'd be leaving the twins alone in the world again.

Movement outside the fortress walls caught his eye, and he peered at it warily. Among the trees, someone was coming towards the gates. A taller figure, leading a horse, and someone smaller. The horse was large, probably a warhorse, the one leading it tall. He'd swear he recognised the smaller one, but they were too far away. . . The realisation hit him like a bolt of lightning, and he suddenly knew where Elrond was.

Elrond was outside Himring.

He nearly fell off the roof in his haste to get back inside, and as soon as his feet touched solid ground he was running, bolting through the corridors and flinging himself downstairs. If the others in the keep hadn't been eager to get out of his way before, they certainly were now, throwing themselves left and right to get out of his way before he mowed them down, dropping things in surprise and throwing apologies at his back as it raced away from them. He actually did mow one of them down when they didn't move fast enough, a serving girl dropping a basketful of clean laundry when he bowled into her, and he lifted her right off her feet before putting her back on them, apologising hastily before running off again, leaving her behind to pick up the mess he'd made. He'd apologise properly later, and hope he hadn't traumatised the poor elleth.

He was running through the courtyard within minutes, bellowing at a couple of guards who were about to go on duty, before stopping at the gate, redfaced and panting slightly. The guards there looked startled, and ready for an order to prepare their defences for an attack. Instead, they got a very brief tirade about what exactly they were supposed to be doing while guarding the gate, and the promise that he would talk to them again later, before telling them to piss off. They were practically green when they walked away, one of them shaking under the force of his anger. They had let Elrond simply walk out of the fortress without thinking to stop him, or even tell someone he had gone. He could have gotten lost, he could have been attacked by wild animals, or orcs, or any number of unpleasant things, he could have fallen and injured himself, or someone could have found him and whisked him away, never to return. Because finding one of Earendil and Elwing's children wandering alone was better than finding none, after all, and it seemed there was always someone sniffing around, hoping to get them back. If Elrond had been taken, Maglor would never forgive him. He wouldn't forgive himself, either.

He flung himself out the gate as the pair approached, and he stumbled over his own feet to land on his knees at Elrond's feet, left hand wrapping itself around the child's thin shoulder, leather wrapped stump pressed against the other shoulder. "What have I told you about leaving the fortress?!" It was a struggle to keep his voice down as his hands shook, he could feel the boy tremble with the force of his own shaking. He loosened his grip a bit to pat Elrond down, running his hand down his arms and legs to check for injuries, briefly prodding at his ribs to check for breaks, before running a critical eye over his clothes to find a lack of blood.

He relaxed a bit as it slowly registered that the boy was uninjured, and he took a deep breath, leaning back on his heels and tilting his head back a bit, looking up at the sky. He nearly slapped himself in the face with his stump without thinking, bringing his left hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose instead. "Couldn't you at least bring someone with you next time you decide to go for a walk?" There was weariness in his voice, and he brought his head back down to look Elrond in the eye, putting his left hand on his shoulder again. "Just promise me you won't go outside the fortress alone again, please? We can go for a ride later, if you like." He couldn't remember the last time they had gone riding, his horse was probably restless in the stables.