Two by Two

Chapter Four: How the Mighty are Fallen

by Jay of Lasgalen

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Elrond stood at the window, gazing out across the valley, marvelling at the beauty of the day.  Silvery droplets of water shone like pearls on the leaves and grasses, dripping gently to the ground. The sun had risen, but was hidden behind thick layers of heavy, mithril-hued cloud, and a thin, gauzy drizzle misted the air, gusting in sheets above the trees which bent in the wind, the leaves twisting and dancing.  Eastward, low clouds obscured the mountains, dark with more rain.  The grey light of early morning filtered slowly through the trees, parts of the valley still shadowed by the mountains.  The morning was fresh and clean, and Elrond felt he had never seen such a wonderful dawn.  He drew a deep breath of the cool misty air, and murmured an automatic prayer of thanks to Vána– but then turned, looking into the room behind him.  The beauty of the morning paled into insignificance against the events of the previous night.  Awe and wonder still gripped him as he recalled what had happened, and he looked down at his sons yet again, deep in cosy, sated sleep.  Crouching down beside them, he gently traced the outline of an ear, a nose; smiling at the reflexive curling of tiny hands as he brushed a finger across their palms.  They did not wake, and he settled onto the bed, content once more to simply watch the twins as they slept.

He was roused from his silent contemplation of wonder as the outer door opened, and Glorfindel entered.  As he crossed to the bed, Elrond raised one finger to his lips, signalling his companion to silence – though there was no need, he doubted if even the winding of Oromë’s legendary great horn Valaróma would rouse them.  Glorfindel reached the bed and paused, looking all around.  “Where are they?” he whispered.

In response, Elrond merely pointed downwards.  Glorfindel leaned across the bed, and peered over the side as indicated, breaking into a broad smile.  “A drawer!”  he chuckled.  “The twin heirs of Imladris sleep in a drawer?  And on the floor, at that!  Surely your craft workers can provide something better?”

“Oh, they did,” Elrond explained.  He waved a hand towards two beautiful, intricately carved cribs in one corner of the room, and sighed.  “My sons cry most piteously, heartrendingly and above all, deafeningly when we attempt to put them in separate cradles.  Once together again, they fall silent and agree to sleep.  The drawer was the only thing we could think to use for now.  My best artisan has already been instructed to make something more fitting.”

Glorfindel chuckled again.  “A drawer,” he repeated.  “What will their grandmother think of this?”

“My mother would understand perfectly,” Elrond explained with dignity, deliberately misunderstanding.  “She knew, as well as any, the unequalled trials and delights of twins.  I believe my brother and I spent our first few days in a feed trough,”  he added reminiscently.

Glorfindel ignored this attempt to divert him, and continued: “And the Lady Galadriel?  What will she have to say about her grandsons sleeping in a drawer?”

Celebrían emerged from the bathing room, wearing a loose robe tied at the waist, and drying her hair.  “I sincerely hope that my mother will not find out until after she has arrived.  Once she has seen them, all complaints about the unsuitability of their sleeping accommodation will be irrelevant.”  She cast a long, loving look at the sleeping babies, then turned to Glorfindel with a smile.  “Good morning.  Will everything be ready downstairs?”

He bowed very formally, hand on heart.  “Of course, my Lady.  Your wish is my command.  The entire population of Imladris will be assembled in the Hall of Fire, as you requested.”  Abandoning his formality, he leaned forward and kissed her.  “Congratulations on two such beautiful elflings.  Celebrían, you look wonderful.  Radiant. ”

“I do?  I cannot think why.  I feel sore, exhausted, and utterly terrified.  I ache all over.  And yet I have never felt so happy.”  With her final words, a brilliant smile broke over her face, and she seemed to glow with joy.

Elrond stirred from his position on the bed and crossed to his wife, reflecting that ‘exhausted, terrified and never so happy’ described his turbulent emotions perfectly.  Taking her hands, he pulled her towards him, and kissed her gently.  “Glorfindel is right.  You look more beautiful than ever.  And I have a message from Turtaur.  He is working on a new crib for two with all speed,  and promises me that it will be ready in days.”

She smiled with relief, returning his kiss lovingly.  “Good.  Why did you never warn me that twins could be so – demanding?  They have not even spent one day on Arda!  Yet they have already turned our lives upside down. How have they managed to insist on a double cot without a word being spoken?  Already they show every sign of having extremely forceful personalities!”

“They take after their parents, then,” Glorfindel commented slyly.  He had dropped to the floor, and sat cross-legged next to the drawer with a cat-like grace.  One hand trailed idly over the twins’ heads, a slender forefinger caressing the dark, downy hair, and he looked down at them with an indulgent smile.  Then he turned, with an expression bordering on panic.  “Elrond!  One of them is awake!” he hissed.  He looked back, squinting at the name engraved on the bracelet around the tiny wrist, and began murmuring softly.  “Hello, Elrohir.  Good morning.  I am Glorfindel, and I am very pleased to meet you at last.  I hear you have already scared your parents into a few more grey hairs.”  He leaned over the drawer, and trailed the end of one blond braid across the elfling’s face, tickling him lovingly.

Elrond watched the besotted elf self-consciously, knowing he was every bit as bewitched.  He leaned closer to Celebrían.  “They have claimed another victim,” he breathed, his lips brushing against her ear.  “Look at them.  So small, so helpless, so totally dependant on us – yet they wield such power.  Glorfindel is one of the greatest warriors on Arda, and he has been bested by two mere elflings.”  He chuckled.  “How the mighty are fallen.”

“I predict many more willing slaves soon.  Glorfindel and Erestor have everything prepared downstairs, so we should make haste to prepare ourselves – and the twins.  It is time to present our sons.”  With a final kiss, she broke away from him, and began to brush her hair, weaving it into ornate plaits.  She shed the loose robe, and crossed the room again to select a gown of midnight blue, edged and embroidered with silver.  As her head emerged, she looked at him quizzically.  “Are you coming?”

Elrond dressed with equal care in a matching robe of silver and blue, then turned to their sons.  Both were awake now, placidly kicking each other; blue-grey eyes calmly regarding Glorfindel as he bent over them, crooning gently.  “When you have finished entertaining my sons, can we go?”  he asked dryly.  Deftly he scooped up one twin, wrapped him in a soft blanket in the same blue and silver hues; handed him to Celebrían and repeated the action with the other twin, nestling him in his own arms.  Before either Elladan or Elrohir had time to draw breath to protest the separation, they were side by side again, safe in their parents’ arms.

Glorfindel rose languidly to his feet and gestured to the door.  “Shall we go?” he asked.

Elrond stopped him.  “In a moment,” he said.  “I want to show them their first dawn – it is such a beautiful day!”  One arm around Celebrían, he turned them to the open window, which led out to one of the terraces which surrounded the house.

“Beautiful day?” Glorfindel echoed in disbelief.  “It is pouring with rain!  The wind howls!  My friend, have you taken leave of your senses?”

“Aye,” Elrond replied absently.  Together, they stepped out onto the terrace, standing beneath the shelter of the eaves of the roof, revelling in the cool, clean bite of the air.  Elrond shifted the twin he held – Elladan – a little more upright, wrapping him more snugly in the warm blanket.  “’Tis a beautiful day, to have such wonders in it.”  He placed a loving kiss on the elfling’s head, and turned slightly to show him the valley.  “Look, my sons.  This is Imladris.  This is your home.”


Later that day, Elrond and Celebrían walked along one of the many pathways that bordered the valley, casting frequent glances up towards their rooms.  “They will be all right?”  Celebrían asked for the third time since leaving the twins with their nurse.

“They will be fine,”  Elrond reassured her.  “They have been fed, and are sleeping soundly.  They are warm and content.  They are together.  At this stage, what more do they need?  And if they should wake, Tasarian will care for them, change or bathe them if necessary.  They will be fine.”

Celebrían sighed.  “I know.  I know.  And they need to get used to  Tasarian – and she to them.”  She shook her head.  “I am being foolish, I know.  What could possibly happen?”

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