Turn Down an Empty Glass

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'Turn Down an Empty Glass'


Turn Down an Empty Glass


The smell of last night's wine was unmistakable. Glorfindel wrinkled his nose slightly and made his way across to the windows to draw open the drapes. The bedroom was furnished in warm though muted shades, its simplicity softened by touches that suggested a woman's eye: a woodland painting with flowers and butterflies, multi-coloured cushions, the soft throw over one of the chairs, the comfy pillows.

The lord of Imladris lay sprawled across the bed, one arm flung over his face, head thrown back. He was breathing deep and heavy; the former warrior thought that were he mortal he would have been snoring. He was still dressed in shirt, pants and house shoes, although he had removed his outer robe.

An empty flagon and a cup stood on the nightstand beside him.

While Celebrķan fought her battle with the grey mists she said surrounded her at every turn, Elrond had been strong. He held himself together for the sake of his sons and young daughter, being for them a pillar and a rock, the place they could go for comfort should they so wish. Arwen had rejected that comfort, instead seeking out her grandfather and his quiet wisdom, and the boys had taken to grief as boys sometimes will, finding redress for pain in action and blood-letting. That, Glorfindel thought, would pass, or such was his experience.

Celebrķan had depended on him for a year, on the physical and later emotional aid he could give her and the sharing of his considerable strength. Once she had left, taking ship into the West to her mother’s home in hope of healing or at least peace, the habit of being needed had remained, unused. And so, on the empty nights bereft not only of wife but of offspring as well, he had begun to take a cup or two more wine after a meal than had been his wont. Looking back, Glorfindel was unsure when it had escalated, but it had. One cup led to two, two to many. Now it was a flagon in the bedroom after dinner and time in the Hall of Fire, where his late night conversation grew progressively erratic as the hours passed.

And it had gone on long enough, Glorfindel thought grimly. He had been sent back for many reasons, some of the Valar's choosing, a couple of his own, and then there were others he had found only after his arrival. One of those latter was a care for the lord of the valley where he had made his home and for the lord’s family. This had begun in part due to his memories of Idril, dear to him as a sister and the fact that Celebrķan was indeed blood kin through Galadriel, his cousin, but later this had grown into a deep fondness for the family themselves. Elrond in particular had become a close friend, someone whose pain he took to himself.

Now he walked over to the bed and none too gently shook Elrond's shoulder. "Time to get up,
Hīren," he said firmly, raising his voice. "A good, brisk ride down the valley before breakfast should clear your head. We need to talk about events since Celebrķan sailed. And you’re welcome to resent me all you like, but I would be a poor friend indeed to keep silence. Come, life is calling. It’s time you gave thought to your answer."