Glorfindel in Imladris: a Moment with Frodo
Glorfindel has taken Frodo to walk in the pine woods as he asked. It is a cold winter afternoon...
The mountains that cradle Imladris are sheer and fantastic, crowned
with snow and mantled with fir. Like a wall they rise above the hills,
an impassable spine of bony peaks, cleaving the world in twain. They
are colourful and vivid, carved by the violence of a war of gods,
breaking the lands that were once a vast forested plain. The air is
pure and cold, smelling of ice and pine and wind. All around are
gathered clouds like white shadows, clinging to the flying granite sky.
The trees crowded on the mountains grow tall, like pillars in the halls
of heaven. Beneath their shining boles flourish juniper and sage,
saxifrage in the sunlit gaps; fragrant spills of winter flowers. Paths
wandered amid, not forced or compromised but negotiated between the
Elves and the land that housed them, to share the beauty that is
cherished and protected. A wild garden it was to the Elves, hanging in
the sky like a tapestry of living stone and trees.
An Elf and a Halfling walk beneath those trees.
Frodo’s eyes were full of the beauty around him. Never had he seen such
landscape before, and the maps and drawings in his uncle’s study had
given him no true inkling to the majesty and danger of the world. As he
walked beside the tall Elf Lord, his shorter legs taking three steps to
each of Glorfindel's, he found himself gasping for breath, even though
they are not hurrying. He stumbled, clutching Glorfindel’s hand.
The Elf Lord stoped and knelt before him. "Are you unwell, Frodo Baggins?"
Frodo shook his head, unable to speak yet. The Elf sat himself in the path and spread his cloak for the halfling to rest on.
Frodo drank many draughts of the crisp mountain air before he could
speak. "I am sorry, Lord Glorfindel. I don’t know what’s come over me.
I got so dizzy, like I was looking down from a great height, even
thought the trees are tall around us and hiding the view of the valley."
"The air here is colder and thinner than next to the earth where
hobbits normally dwell," said Glorfindel. "You are unused to being so
high above the ground. Let us sit here for a while, and you can catch
your breath. Are you cold? Are you sure you are not in pain?"
Glorfindel wrapped the folds of his cloak around Frodo, whose face, he
could see, had gone rather pale.
"In truth, I do feel something, though I mean no disrespect to Lord
Elrond. He has cured me of the knife-stroke, and I am well of it. In
fact, I feel better than I have for a long time, now that I have seen
Bilbo and know that he is safe."
Frodo closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Glorfindel drew him onto his
lap and placed his arm around him to warm him. Colour returned
gradually to the hobbit's face. Frodo leaned his head trustingly on
Glorfindel's shoulder, his curls dark as ink against the fall of golden
hair. "I can still feel it," he said in a whisper, covering
Glorfindel's hand with his two small ones over his heart. "Sometimes...
like an ache in my bones, deep down where it cannot be soothed."
Glorfindel was deeply aware of the proximity of the Ring, beneath a
thin coverings of linen and weave. He turned his mind from it and
concentrated on the soft hammering of the hobbit's heart, fluttering
like a bird under his hand. Frodo shivered. From the treetops came
spiraling and dancing many large flakes of snow.
Glorfindel looked at the sky. "I should bear you back now to Imladris,
Frodo. The weather has turned cold, and you are too soon from your
sickbed for such exertion. Lord Elrond will have words for me, if you
should come to harm."
"Can't we stay for a while? It is all so beautiful..." Frodo watched
the snow fall, and Glorfindel watched the reflection of it in the
hobbit's large eyes, more blue than the sky above. "I wish I could stay
here, in Rivendell, for ever." His eyes closed slowly.
In Glorfindel's mind a thought occurred. How easy it would be, to take
it now and hie off over the mountain. Like a force of nature he would
blow over the peaks of Hithaeglir and down the Anduin River valley,
until he came to that old battlefield...
...you remember where it is, Lord. Where Gil-galad fell and Oropher, Anarion and Elendil...
The Quest would be over so quickly, and then Frodo could have his wish. He had but to ask... he knew Frodo would not deny him.
Glorfindel raised his eyes and tracked the fall of a single flake of
snow, a feather of frost. It drifted and spun and passed close to his
face, so that he felt the cool kiss of it as it brushed his skin. It
lighted on Frodo's cheek, and Glorfindel realized that the hobbit had
been watching his face intently.
"Do not fear, Frodo Baggins. I heed not these thoughts that are not my own."
The snow ceased, and the sun fractured the clouds and caught the world
in a spray of crystal lights. Together they sat in the glade beneath
the trees, feeling the sunlight on their faces warmly and the cool air
was made refreshing but not uncomfortable. Glorfindel gave Frodo a
drink from his flask, smooth miruvor that had no taste. His eyes were
bright and clear, no longer clouded and remote as they had been, when
they had been fleeing from the wraiths toward the Ford of Rivendell.
Glorfindel stood and lifted Frodo in his arms. The halfling was asleep
now, peace in his face at last. With extra care, the Elf Lord returned
to Rivendell, bearing his own precious burden.