Also Titled "Wanderer"
Chapter 1 - Elf Glade
Estel frowned and tried balancing a soapy plate on his nose before he returned to the main task on hand: washing the dishes. Beside him the twins sighed as well, mumbling something about the trick that had earned this chore that had so disrupted their “busy” schedules (which mainly consisted of playing tricks on others, reading, avoiding lessons, taking lessons, practicing swordfighting and archery, and planning. Oh, and almost getting killed).
“Well, look on the bright side,” Elrohir said, all-time optimist. Elrohir was the younger twin, and known for his lopsided, childish grin (although he had nearly reached adulthood) and good sense of humor. Although they were old enough to stop acting like “grinning fools,” Elrohir’s - and Elladan’s – tricks couldn’t be put out. Nobody could guess that there was a serious side to him, when he was traveling the lands as a Ranger. “I really think it was really worth it.” The trick had been to create massive, life-like giant spiders, hide some here and there, and move some around on puppet strings. Of course, everybody had been scared off their wits, as the problem of giant spiders were growing in Rivendell, opposed to Mirkwood where warriors were trained to take care of those kind of things.
Elladan sighed, although his dark amber eyes shone with wit. “I guess so.” Elladan was the older twin. More serious than Elrohir, he also was known for his good sense of humor, although it didn’t show as constantly as Elrohir’s. He also traveled as a Ranger.
“I just don’t see why Ada doesn’t let us off on Fool’s Day,” Elrohir grumbled as he set the dishes on the counter of the Rivendell kitchen. It was quite a big place, but they were the only ones there. Most were at the council that Elrond was having, something about the occurrence of giant spiders near Rivendell’s borders. Of course Elladan and Elrohir had wanted to attend (quite a different situation from their opinions of “boring councils,” but giant spiders weren’t everyday subjects), but no, they had chores to do. Washing the dishes had only been at the top of the list, which had also consisted of grooming the other horses, watering some of the plants in the massive gardens, helping Lord Glorfindel in a task, which included of the accountancy of armory, etc., etc.
“Careful, Estel, you’ll break that one, and then we’ll be in more trouble,” Elladan took a beautifully crafted plate, and wiped it with the towel he had been holding. The plate’s dampness had already affected Estel’s hair, and now the dark locks stood half-flat, and half-sticking up. Estel grumbled and pushed it back again; he hated trying to fix his ever-untidy (or untidy to him, anyway) hair. Fifteen, gangly, and self-conscious, Estel was the kind of person who always seemed to get into trouble.
“Too bad the ‘innocent eyes’ trick never works anymore,” Estel responded with a grin. The innocent eyed trick was the ploy that Estel had used when he was younger. His wide silver eyes and ruddy cheeks couldn’t often let the victim go without letting Estel do whatever he was aiming for. Now tall, handsome, and often making a fool of himself, (at least in his opinion) he only got a laugh and a “That won’t work anymore” when he tried that maneuver. “Then I could’ve persuaded Ada to let us get off chores.”
“True.” The twins said in unison, and sighed. “You grow up too fast for your – and our – own good.” Estel just smiled, shrugged, and tried to figure out if he could make this chore go faster. He couldn’t.
After a couple of more minutes, the siblings finished. They all went their own separate ways: Elladan and Elrohir were going back to the wilderness five days later, and had not even begun to pack, while Estel went outside for swordfighting lessons with Glorfindel, stopping by his room to pick up his sword. The training fields, west of the Last Homely House, were a combination of an archery field, a close-combat melee practice “arena,” and wilderness. Part of the fields was covered with the trees, which expanded into forests and then the edge of Rivendell.
Estel stretched, feeling a little sleepy under the warm early summer sun. Everything seemed to be perfect; the forests were emerald leaf-filled seas, Estel didn’t have anything to be overly concerned about, and his studies were going good, at least, so far.
Estel impatiently waited for Glorfindel. Swordfighting was one of the things he didn’t trip over his own feet in, and seemed to have a talent for it. Leaning against the tree, he looked lazily around the training fields to see if anybody was friendly enough to make a good conversation.
There were a couple of youngsters – three in fact, who would have been equivalent to the age of seven in Human age – hanging around the archery shoots, gawping at the perfect shoots the older ones made. Their archery lessons had already begun, but they couldn’t shoot that well as the more experienced archers. Estel cringed with the memory of when he actually shot himself in the arm. He had been eight, and the experience had taught him to be careful around bows.
The two of the three children Estel knew quite well; they “hero-worshiped” Elladan and Elrohir. Narieth and Celmarin were both spirited and bright, with sweet faces that wouldn’t have spoken of their trouble for the world. The third one Estel couldn’t recognize, which was odd, as he knew most people in Imradris.
The child was a girl. She was clearly older than others, around eleven in Human age perhaps, and had a look of both fascination and embarrassment on her face. Her fiery red hair predicted of an aggressive but reasonable temper, and currently her light green eyes shone with wonder.
‘A newcomer,’ Estel thought. ‘Must have arrived with the company yesterday.’ A company of thirty Elves or so had arrived yesterday in Rivendell, asking Elrond if they could stay here awhile as they planned to journey into Lothlorien. They were Elves from the Northern realms, always traveling. They, however, wished to travel to Lothlorien where some of their family lived. (Haldir was one of them.) Elrond had told them they could stay here as long as they needed to.
Another Elf walked over to the training fields. He must have been an older brother of the red-haired girl, for he had the same characteristics of flaming red hair – this time braided hastily - and green eyes. He seemed around Estel’s age, and had a narrow, pointed face. He began talking to the girl, frowning. The girl scowled at him, said something back, and the older Elf left her alone.
The older Elf had his bow and arrows, and he began shooting at targets fifty, seventy feet away. Although Estel couldn’t help thinking ‘showoff,’ he had to admit that he was pretty good. Actually he was beyond the level of “pretty good,” he was even better than some of the Rivendell warriors here. (But then, they had better work with their knives and melee weapons.) The other Elves must have realized that, for they watched him in wonder and said something – probably praise. Estel grinned at the slightly embarrassed but proud smile of the other Elf. He looked friendly – maybe he could get to him better sometime, maybe today this evening.
Tathar looked around the training fields in interest. He was a master archer for his age, and he knew it. He smugly knew that he had everybody’s attention, admiration, and awe here.
Tathar had heard tales about Rivendell, good ones, too, before he came here. He knew it was one of the last Elvin-realms of Middle Earth – along with Lothlorien and Mirkwood – and wonderful. Indeed, from yesterday when he and the others had arrived, he had been filled with wonder and fascination. He had met Lord Elrond briefly, when the head of Tathar’s group, Gelmir, had asked if they could stay. He knew Lord Elrond had two sons and a daughter – Elrohir, Elladan, and Arwen. Tathar never had heard of Estel, until now.
It was then Tathar saw the Mortal. He was leaning against a tree inconspicuously, a sword in his hands and an “innocent” look on his face. Hrrmph. Tathar had felt eyes on him; strange ones, and knew that the Human had been watching him. Tathar could tell he was a human: no pointed ears, traces of a beard coming, and just no feeling that he was an Elf.
Tathar wondered, what could he be doing here? A Human, inside an Elvin-Realm? Tathar never had heard of anything such as that… From the boy’s appearance he was reminded of a Numenorean, or perhaps of Gondor.
He turned and proceeded to go in, knowing that his younger sister would go in some time after, when she found that Tathar had gone inside.
He was still thinking. That mortal boy was destined to be a Wanderer, like himself.