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“It is my horse. It
is. It is! Give him to me…!”
“No it isn’t, it’s mine – see, his ear is broken…”
”You just did that now – your one has the other ear broken….”
The twin sons of Elrond of Imladris, small mirror images of one
another, were equal in height and weight, but differences in
temperament marked their approach to such a disagreement. Elladan
was the more stubborn of the two, less willing to give ground, a
miniature warrior reminiscent of his father who, long before their
birth, had stood beside the High King at the final battle. Elrohir
was normally of a more placid nature and open to reasonable
discussion, a reflection in some way that had nothing to do with
appearance of his mother, Celebrían of Lórien.
However, faced with his brother’s frustrating obstinacy, he finally
did something his lady mother would never have considered, although
it was an action that might have been familiar to his grandmother,
Galadriel, the youngest of five children and the only girl. He bit.
The shrieks and tears that followed were interrupted by a firm voice
that cut through to ask, loudly, “All right, what is this all
Had it been their father, Elrond, they would have denied there was
anything amiss, not wishing to trouble him. Had it been Erestor,
their father’s senior advisor, who had silky black hair and clear,
amber eyes that never, ever seemed to overlook a single one of their
sins, they would have supported one another and told some vague tale
of an accident.
The question came from Glorfindel, however, and the idea of telling
him anything less than the truth would never have occurred to them.
Firstly, he was a famous warrior, and had even killed a balrog.
Secondly, he was a great lord, almost as great as their father who
was lord of Imladris, so great that even the Valar respected him, so
great that he could even tease Erestor into laughing when he should
have been angry.
“Roh bit me…”
“Did not – he did take my horsey…”
“Is not your horse, is my horse, is got a broken ear…”
The voice, pitched so that it could have been heard above the roar
of battle, silenced them with a word. They stood side by side,
unconsciously seeking support from one another in the face of adult
disapproval, and looked up at him – quite a distance up, in fact.
Glorfindel was taller even than their Adar.
He seemed to have just come in from riding, for he was dressed in
loose leggings, a belted tunic and worn-looking suede boots, and had
his hair loosely tied back rather than braided, as he did when he
was training or working. His golden hair, hanging over one shoulder,
glinted in the sunlight, his dark gold brows were lowered in
displeasure, and his summer blue eyes were thoughtful.
“Right. Now, one at a time, youngest first. What was that all
“Dan took my horse to play with, and he breaks things, and I wanted
it back, and he said it was his horse, but it isn’t, it’s mine.”
“Thank you, Elrohir,” Glorfindel said gravely, before turning to the
tear-streaked face of the other child. “Now you, Elladan.”
He was confronted by sad grey eyes and a protruding lip and silence.
Finally Elladan said, “Roh did bite me.”
Glorfindel nodded. “I see.Tell me, whose horse is it really, Elladan?”
The small head was bowed for a minute, and there were a few sniffing
sounds. Eventually, in a low voice, Elladan said, “It b’longs to Roh.”
He looked up then, and his voice and expression became urgent. “But
I did think it was my horse first. But then I did see it was not but
I wanted to play with it – and I do so not break things, Roh,” he
added, turning to his twin. “Only sometimes.”
Glorfindel, standing with arms folded, raised a hand to stroke his
upper lip, fortuitously hiding his mouth which was unable to refrain
from twitching in amusement.
“All right, now,” he said. “Is there more to this or have you each
stated your side honestly, as we would in a warrior’s tribunal?”
Two dark heads nodded in unison, two pairs of grey eyes were turned
up to him again, waiting.
“Very well then.” he continued. “This in brief is how I see things
at the moment, if you wish to have a piece of my mind as plain as
possible. Firstly, Elrohir. You bit your brother. I do not know what
put it into your head, or your heart, to do that. Biting is
something animals do, never elves, and you are not to do it again.”
Elladan shot his brother a look of triumph from under long lashes,
Elrohir glowered back at him. Glorfindel, however, was far from
“On the other hand, you, Elladan, took something that was not yours
to take and when asked to return it, you lied.”
The word hung between them in the air like a foul odour. Elladan’s
eyes started to fill with tears again. Glorfindel sighed softly, and
crouched down before them, a big hand on each child’s shoulder. Even
crouching he was taller than they. He gave them both a gentle shake
and said quietly,
“If you are going to go around biting and taking things that aren’t
yours and being less than exact with the truth, people will look at
you and say ‘ah, so this is the way Elrond and Celebrían of Imladris
raise their children…’ Eyes will always be on you,” he continued,
drawing them closer to him and wiping a palm across Elladan’s cheek
to clear away the last of the tears. “So you must learn now, always
behave in a way that brings honour to your family. That includes not
only no more biting or taking things that aren’t yours… even if it
does just belong to your brother, Elladan,” he added firmly before
he could be interrupted. “It also means no more brawling in public.
Two dark heads nodded. “Yes, Hîren.”
“Now I want you both to apologise,” the golden warrior said, looking
from one to the other pair of clear grey eyes, so very like their
father’s. “Do so as you would to anyone else you’d offended – just
because he is your brother doesn’t mean you don’t have to show him
the same courtesy you would to a stranger.”
Mirror images turned to one another, small hands reached out,
As they spoke at the same time it sounded more like “SorryRon”,
Glorfindel noted, with a snort of amusement. Rising to his feet, he
ruffled dark hair with a return to the casual affection with which
he normally treated them.
‘Now can I suggest you take that horse and go and find its mate? And
perhaps,” he added, giving their shoulders a final, quick shake
before pushing them lightly in the direction of the House, “perhaps
it would be a good idea to ask someone with a fine hand to mark your
names on things that might get mixed up?”
As the twins ran off to find the missing toy, a voice from behind a
nearby tree asked dryly, “Never bitten anyone in the heat of battle
before, Master Clean and Pure?”
Glorfindel strode over and stood looking down at Erestor, who was
leaning back against the tree, a basket beside him containing
scrolls, books, and bundles of notes. Across his lap he had a board,
which was serving as a makeshift desk. The chief advisor had
apparently decided the weather was too good to spend the day
indoors, and had brought his work out with him.
Glorfindel grinned down at him. “Erestor, the only times I’ve ever
bitten anyone, the battlefield was private. There might have been a
few screams, but there were definitely no complaints about my
beta - Red Lasbelin