Glorfindel in Imladris
Chapter 1: Salute the Sun
If you rise before the Sun, and climb to the top of the tower in
Elrond’s Observatory you will find a balcony that runs from below the
sweeping turrent to the wall of the mountains, anchoring the graceful
structure to the bones of the hills that hold Imladris cradled in
strength. Walk along that railed terrace until you can go no further,
and you will find a shelf of stone, hewed by the axes of ancient ice
and polished smooth by the laving wind. Sit upon that stone and look
out when the sun raises Her head over the mountains behind, and you
will be overwhelmed by the beauty of a hundred rainbows scattering over
the countless falls. The light of morning is gilded ere it touches the
ground. Here one can feel the spray of the water on their face, and
feel the kiss of the wind and the golden embrace of the sunlight all at
once. This is Glorfindel’s favourite spot.
He was sitting there of a morning waiting for the Sun’s debut, when he
heard the horns blowing in the valley, hailing some new arrival. He
paid little heed for the golden moment was approaching quickly, and
though all news lately was full of dread and import, still a sunrise
was not to be dismissed. Even having lived for as long as he had, and
even for having passed through Mandos and returned, still Glorfindel,
Prince of the House of the Golden Flower did not take such things for
granted. He turned his blue-grey eyes upward and watched Elbereth’s
last lamp fade in the greying dawn.
Sounds behind him; the soft tread of elven feet on the turrent stair.
Glorfindel kept his eyes on the rising mists over the falls, but he
called a greeting blindly over his shoulder, "Good Morning, Elrohir!
What news cannot wait for Ariel’s assent?"
"Lord Glorfindel," Elrond’s son, brother of Elladan and Arwen Evenstar,
bowed toward the back of Glorfindel most respectfully, though a smile
was playing upon his face. This Elf always knew the difference between
the twin’s, though they looked so closely alike. "My father asks will
you please come to Council? Tidings from the West have arrived in the
darkness of the night, and it is gravely important."
Glorfindel sighed and turned reluctantly away from his meditation. The
morning would still come withou his regard, but how many more sunrises
would there be, if the rumours and portents that had been already
discussed proved prophecy? "Last night they came, you say? To whom then
do the horns of morning sound a greeting?"
"I know not, Lord. I have been searching for you."
They descended the tower and he followed Elrohir to the chamber where
Elrond was waiting, already attended by most of the household. Erestor
was there and Finarato, and here was Gildor Inglorion speaking softly
and urgently to the Edain. Elrohir took his place standing behind his
father, ready should there be any need of his swift feet or hands.
Glorfindel greeted Gildor warmly. Not often did these two elves meet;
Gildor prefered the wild halls and wooded paths, and he wandered
endlessly covering the lands between Rivendell and Lindon and bringing
news or interesting tales when he did return. Thought his face showed
his delight in greeting Glorfindel he looked grim still, as if some
heavy news lay upon his heart.
Bells pealed from the towers, and with the ringing the Sun was saluted
by the Elves in welcome of the Day. Glorfindel raised his eyes to the
light that was now streaming down and gleaming off of white stone and
polished wood, sending warmth that could not penetrate the coldness
that now gripped his heart.
Elrond was listening attentively to a page who had run up and was
whispering in the Half-elf’s ear. He rose and gestured, and all present
fell respectfully silent. He spoke and his voice was low and solemn,
"Thank you for coming so swiftly. Many tidings have come to us, and
they should be heard by all of you. We wait now only for another
And as he spoke Elladan appeared and with him was Bilbo Baggins.
Dressed hastily and sleepyeyed yet, the hobbit had a woolen scarf
draped over his shoulders against the dawn chill. Elladan joined his
twin flanking Elrond’s chair. Bilbo came to Elrond’s side with the
briefest nod to the gathering of Elf-lords there and laid his small
hand on his arm.
"What is this news, Elrond, that your son has brought me to hear? Is it about Frodo? Where is Gandalf?"
Elrond seated the old hobbit on his chair and standing before all he
spoke calmly with a note of solemn urgency in his voice. "Word has come
from the west in grim tidings. Gandalf is minssing, and the servants of
the Dark Lord arer riding through the land, searching for something he
hass long thought llost forever. Gildor has come to tell me that he has
seen your nephew, Bilbo, wandering out of the Shire, and fears that he
is closely persued. He advised him to seek Rivendell, and I think that
this is likely to be his course, but the journey will be more than one
or two travellers can manage alone if they are harried by the Enemy. If
Gandalf did not meet him on the road, then he is in need of guidance
Guildor spoke, "The Dunedain are alert to Gandalf’s absence, and it is
possible that Estel has joined Frodo Baggins and is guiding him,
thought this is but guesswork; he is no longer watching the Road and
Frodo and his companions have all disappeared into the wild. The
Travelling Companies have not heard a word nor seen a sign of them
since they left Bree-Hill. It is to be hoped that they have found each
other, and are bound hither. I would that I had discarded our custom,
and brought him hither myself. I did not realize the darkness of their
peril, nor recognize the urgency of his errand." The Elf was so
distraught that Bilbo climbed down from his chair and comforted him
with forgiving words.
"You are not to be blamed, Gildor!" added Elrond. "Gandalf promised
that he would be there, and he yet may be... yet we cannot assume
this." The tall Elf paced a few steps, his face was creased with
concern. Glorfindel knew what it cost the Edain in worry; Estel was his
fosterchild, like a son he had raised him, and he had grown into a
noble and skilled Man. Even though he was loing past the need of
fathering, Aragorn was dear to Elrond. Glorfindel recalled the years of
Aragorn’s growth, when his name was Estel and he had no knowledge of
his ancestry. He had himself taught the sensitive young man how to
catch fish with his hands, and which plants that grew beside the road
were best to eat when travelling light. He remembered clearly the
nobility that the boy had shown even then. Now the years had flown past
and the boy had become a man, and proved himself in battle and wisdom
many times over. Glorfindel know and trusted his skill, abut also he
knew the fell strength of the servants of the Enemy. He stood and gave
Elrond a bow.
"Lord, give me your leave to search for them! Perhaps we can find them
and give aid, and help them to reach the safety of your valley. I will
depart at once..."
"Hold, Glorfindel! You foresee my intent, and I thank you. Remain long
enough for us to organize a search. I would have those who are willing
search north, south and west. Any who have the strength to face the
wraiths... I shall go myself, as well."
"Nay! My Lord Elrond, you should remain here." Erestor exclaimed, and
Finarato stood beside him, and both of their faces were set. "We shall
ride forth, and you should keep the borders of your land. We will go,
and with us others who are able."
"Go then, and comb the land for the halflings. Gildor says that he had
at least two companions with him when they met. If Aragorn is
discovered not in their company, perhaps he can employ his abilities to
aid you in tracking them. Bring them all swiftly to Rivendell, when you
find them. Most importantly, Frodo should be kept from the hands of the
wraiths... at all cost." Elrond swept them with a long gaze, and paused
as he looked down at Bilbo, whose eyes were dark with worry and
anxiety. "Ride now with speed and wisdom."
Bilbo came to stand next to Elrond and they watched the horses file out
of the stables and down the paths that threaded the valley. The
broadening light caught flashes of gold and silver off of hair and
headstall, and over the endless murmuring of the waterfalls the creak
and slap of leather was heard. Sparks flew from hooves upon
flint-shale, and in the distance, horns called like the voices of
"Elrond, why is this happening?" Bilbo asked. The years he had spent
here in Rivendell had passed peacefully, and he had hoped that someday
Frodo would come and visit him, but not under such strange and
dangerous circumstances. "Why are these horrible creatures after my
nephew? Where is Gandalf?"
Elrond looked at the hobbit, and he placed a hand on his shoulder. "I do not know yet, Bilbo. I do not know."
Glorfindel hastened to the valley floor where the horses were housed,
and he whistled sharply while buckling his weapons securely. Elrohir
had helpfully prepared his kit; the clever half-elf had acurately
guessed the course of action that Glorfindel suggested. A touch of the
father’s foresight the twins had, perhaps. Glorfindel was grateful that
there was no need for delay.
Asfaloth was ready, his riding gear was oiled and supple, as Glorfindel
had the custom of riding in the morning after observing the Sun, and
the grooms had prepeard for his ride. For a parade or ceremony would
the jeweled harness have been more appropriate, perhaps, but Glorfindel
would not take the time to change them now. He felt the need of haste
as he had not for many long years. He leaped onto Asfaloth’s back and
they were flying away, before any other Elf was mounted or ready. As he
rode past Erestor and Finarato, and Fereveldir and a handful of others
who were preparing their steeds, he shouted, "The Road west I shall
cover, so seek ye north and south! They may have turned far aside to
throw off persuit. Safe journey to us all!" and then they were riding
into the fading mists as Rivendell Valley warmed and unwrapped its
Asfaloth’s paces were sure on the familiar path, and he caught his
rider’s mood and neighed his willingness to Glorfindel’s whispered
urging, and ran with great heart and so fast that his very shadow might
have fallen behind.
The Elf leaned forward, lying low on Asfaloth’s neck, lessening the
break of the wind and lending speed to the horse’s passage. White as
unstained snow was Asfaloth; like adamant his hooves and silken webs
his mane and tail. Glorfindel and Asfaloth had long been friends, and
the horse bore him ever willingly, and obeyed all of his words, and
they loved each other as is the friendship that exists between elves
amd good beasts ever.
Asfaloth whinnied and tossed his head, and Glorfindel looked behind to
note the twins riding hard on his trail. Asfaloth eased his speed to
allwo them to catch up. Riding abreast, they grinned at the Elf-lord
and flanked him until they reached Mitheithiel.
Glorfindel called a halt upon seeing the bridge. Three dark shadows
stained the landscape, leeching the light from the very air. Glorfindel
firmly restrained Asfaloth, who belled a challenge and sought to
charge; the great horse was trembling with fury. He turned to Elladan
and Elrohir, and they could see the dangerous light shining through
him, and his eyes were dark as a starless sky. He spoke to them, and
his voice was cold and sharp as his naked blade. "Ride back now to thy
father, and report this! I will persue them and see where the others
lurk. If they are watching this road, then Frodo is still free at the
moment. Perhaps I can drive them off and make his passage safer. I will
ride even to Amon Sul, and check every path between. If Gandalf
returnes before us, send him to Elrond to aid in strenghtening the
Ford. They will come this way, I feel it!"
The twins did hastily ride with this message, and Glorfindel released
Asfaloth to make his charge, and added his own bellow to challenge the
wraiths; their horses danced nervously, then turned to bolt into the
trees beyond the river. As they rode fast over the Last Bridge,
Glorfindel let fall a stone he had prized loose from Asfaloth’s fair
headstall, a token the sharp eyes of a Ranger might locate and take as
The wraiths fled before his fury, and Asfaloth followed hard;
Glorfindel’s sword glowed forge-hot in his hand. They pressed on for
nine days, through sunset and rise; neither moonsoar nor starfall
stayed their search nor slowed their pace, all the way to Weathertop
and back to the bridge, through rain and wind until Glorfindel saw at
last what he sought: faint prints upon the damp ground of small bare
feet, and to his delight, the light prints of a booted foot were there
to be descried, cleverly masked in a technique he had taught a young
Ranger long ago. The stone he had let drop was gone. Aragorn was with
He did not slow his search, but charged forward with renewed energy.
Across the bridge and into the trees again; now that the trail was
found, Glorfindel would not lose them again. He was aware of the
tainted wind and the feeling of evil; the wraiths were not far away.