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Later that day, Elrond was not-so-calmly finishing a long, deeply personal, disturbingly open letter for the King of Mirkwood, Thranduil Oropherion.
By Eru, he wished it would be enough to bridge the gap between the clans. Elrond knew well that it had been only the dire need to meet Gandalf that made Thranduil send Legolas to his valley. The prince was bound to be needed in the defence of his own homeland.
And Elrond had sent him to Mordor.
Iluvatar Almighty. What a mess.
... and it is only the deep belief that he will be the most apt to perceive and battle the shadow, still not be tracked by the Enemy or his minions that convinced me he was the elf for the Quest. Your son is a mighty warrior, but above all he is a sensible character, and I have faith he will be fundamental in the destruction of the Shadow.
I know well it is little comfort for you. But we are both rulers, both blessed and cursed with the responsibility of the welfare of others. I am aware you will feel robbed of your son, and mayhap furious that I should send him in stead of any of the powerful lords of the Eldar.
I, too, am a father, Thranduil.
He paused at that. The king was likely to see it as a further insult, Elrond thought. But yet his instinct told him to be straightforward. Blunt, even. So be it.
I pray you do not see in it any ill feeling of me towards you or yours. It was his valour and prowess that guided my hand, no more. If they suceed, the lond twilight of Endor will be over, and great honor bestowed upon your house. I wish it should be so. If they fail, we shall have war upon our doorsteps of the likes we have not seen since the ancient wars. Endor is tired, our numbers are diminished, and our list of allies grows thin.
I do not think we have any other path to walk.
Call me a fool if you like, if that eases your parental fears any. Know that my own sons will be outside the protections of my borders soon, battling the shadow on their own, beyond my reach.
I pray you find it in yourself to look kindly upon my envoy when the worst of your anger has passed.
The lord of Imladris studied the missive in dark and brooding silence. It was not the most eloquent work he'd ever done, but it would do. It had to do.
A timid know on his door startled his thoughts. the door to his office was rarely closed, and when so, few interrupted his labours. Therefore Elrond knew who it was.
Come, Lady Alassiel. I have been waiting for you.
The cowl-covered she-Elf enters the study on quiet feet, her only sound coming from the gentle brushing of her pewter colored gown on the floor.
Alassiel comes forth, and stands before the desk of Lord Elrond, the old patron commander of her father. If only she knew more of her lineage. Her hands shake a little, but one of them rests over her heart as she lowers her covered head in a bow, face all but an obscured shadow, as it has remained since she first arrived in Imladris.
"I thank you for your time, hir nin. I know that the spare time afforded you is slim with your present business."
Elrond stands u in respect as the lady approaches his desk. he silently motions to the chair straight across his, and waits until she is at ease to begin his speech.
"It is indeed a turbulent time, but we have had worse." Of course, they had had a lot better too; but he did not mention that. It was not gracious.
You have come here with a purpose, have you not? The search for one's self is always a commendable Quest, no less important than the one your friend rathmir is to take tomorrow.
Mayhap I'd be more able to help you if you would give me something to work on. Do tell me, Alassiel, do you know that which you seek?
Almost immediately, an answer seems to come to her, but she visibly quells it, maintaining her modesty. One deep breath, two.
With a hesitant gesture, she sits tall in the chair offered to her by Lord Elrond, and raises her hands to her cowl, slowly pushing it back to fully expose her head.
The hair is a quite rare, strange, and unusual (for an Elf, at any rate) shade of dark red, akin to neither the dark locks of Rivendell, or to the common gold or silver tresses of Lothlorien. The waves of hair glimmer in the light and cascade down her back under the cloak, and it's quite apparent that it took much courage for her to reveal this oddity of her appearance. There have been only a handful of Elves in the history of Middle-earth who are remembered to have had hair in this flaming shade, but few of the peaceful Eldar now choose to remember them aloud.
The face framed by the hair is solemn, almost too grave for a face that looks so young. The eyes are a dark shade of golden brown, much like tigereye stones, and they fix on Elrond calmly, hidden anticipation covered by their glitter.
Though Alassiel knows not the name of her father, it was told to her many times that her face much reminded of the beauty of that dark-haired warrior of Imladris so many years ago. It was this assumption that she acted on now.
Even if Elrond may not remember the name of the servant that doted upon Rivendell so devotedly and then left to tarry with his spouse-to-be in Lorien, the face may surely ring a bell, for it shines with possibility and an odd sort of knowing watchfullness, and is difficult to forget.
The elleth's voice is soft as she regards Lord Elrond watchfully.
"There was a face much like mine that dwelt here under the service of Imladris's banner, hir nin, though that face belonged to a noble lord. He that sired me remains a shadowed mystery to me still, but I would know from where and whence he came, if I can.
Even if I cannot rightly name or claim the birthrights of my blood, Imladris was his devoted home once long before me, and Imladris is in my blood too.
I was raised for necessity by a small hamlet of Men, never to be striking or strange amongst my own people. I have no family, either by lineage or adoption now, so I seek to find my place within the Eldar, in the realm of my father."
Elrond sits back and spends a good deal of time examining the tiger eyes in pale ivory skin that could not quite convey the nervousness.
The only face I cann recall like you is that of a long gone friend of mine. He pauses a little, trying to bring the picture forth in his mind's eye, along with the data about ti. Sinnar I called him, son of Gelmir. He joined our host from Eregion some time before Celegorm fell, bearing tidings and news to Gil-galad. I do believe he met the survivors halfway back to the city, and turned around then and joined the task of building this haven with us.
As for his wife I know little, save that she was a nandor from Lothlorien. I am almost sure she was one of the handmaids of Nimrodel, but that you'd have to ask the galadhrim, who are more comfortable with the annals of their own. Sinnar went to the Golden Woods as one of my wife's escorts, but he did not return. Celebrian told me he bonded there, but truly, I cannot recal her name. I am most sorry.
The elf lord leans forward and captures the lady's hands in his own, soothing the trembling of them. I hope I have been of some assistance, lady Alassiel. As for Imladris, It is your house for as long as you so desire.
Alassiel stares at Lord Elrond, her eyes wide and glimmering with sudden tears. Her hands tremble within the grasp of his and for a moment she almost forgets herself and wants to lean down to kiss the Lord's hand in gratitude for his words.
She refrains however, and instead gathers the remnants of her composure, moving from her seat across from him and kneels before him, her head bowed both in tribute and so that she might obscure the tear that runs down her cheek.
"Hir nin, you have offered to me an assurance and a solace that no other has. Every moment that my father...
*She pauses, swallowing as his newly-found name echoes in her head for the first time..Sinnar.*
...devoted to this realm with love was no less than your House deserved. Yes, your story tells me quite plainly that I am the exiled child of your old friend, for it is the same story told to me by those that reared me from a babe.
My Lord, if I am given leave to claim the role that my father held in Imladris, to continue his honorable legacy, I would not forsake it for all the stars. I bear the sword that once hung on his side, left with me when he left me, and I would now bear it in his stead for your House. I would bear his old duty.
You have given me hope and a way in which to claim my place among my people, Hir Nin, and for that, you have my service. I would that you will simply tell me what you may require of me. I may be a She-Elf, exiled and of shadowed lineage, but I was raised by a strong, proud House of Men in Gondor, and I can fight as any of your warriors. But give me a place that might allow me to be of use to your realm, and repay all that you have given."
Elrond all but squirms in his seat.
Let us hope it will not go to drawn swords, lady. Nor can I readily pass Sinnarn's position to you- that is one earned, not bequeated.
There is truly no need for payment. I am glad to do what I can for you, as much for my friend as for yourself. But if truly you feel the need to gain entrance in this house per deeds, then I shall think of something.
"I would make myself of use to this House, My Lord. Too long have I wandered Arda alone, without purpose or reason for conviction. I will leave to you the manner of my service to this realm. Whether by my sword or not, I will do as you bid. If the role that my father held in this realm is not to be passed on as his legacy, perhaps I will make my own."
She straightens herself up again and nearly blushes with frustrated embarrassment at her near display, cursing herself inwardly for lacking the social graces necessary for a meeting with an Elf of Elrond's stature. As she sits back in the chair, she bows her head quickly again to him and rises, forgetting in her hurry to raise her cowl back over her head to hide herself. Or perhaps the acceptance of Lord Elrond has somewhat tempered her shame.