The Last Message by Hare
Summary: Arwen reflects on her lifelong relationship with Erestor.
Categories: Erestor's Library Characters: Arwen, Erestor, Glorfindel
Beta Reader: None
Challenge: Written For...: None
Genre: Angst, Drama, Humor, Romance
Pairing: Surprise!
Posted at...: Erestor Lovers
Timeline: 4 - Third Age
Warnings: Het, Sexual Situations
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: Yes Word count: 13400 Read: 13014 Published: January 05, 2009 Updated: January 05, 2009

1. Chapter 1 by Hare

2. Chapter 2 by Hare

Chapter 1 by Hare
Title: The Last Message
Type: FPH with a twist of FPS
Author: Hare (harefic@yahoo.com)
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Arwen/Erestor
Warning: First person POV, angst, romance, sexual scenes
Disclaimer: Amateur at work here! No profit has been gained and no infringement of copyright is intended.
Beta: Ezimachia and Erviniae (Ervy). How could I go wrong with Double E’s?! With special thanks to Ervy for the last minute beta-help and going the additional mile by checking on my LOTR canon/fanon accuracy. All mistakes are mine.
Timeline: Imladris - Third Age
Notes: Written for the Mereth RhÓw Winter Writing Challenge. My prompts were “up on the rooftop” and “snowballs.”
Summary: Arwen reflects on her lifelong relationship with Erestor.


CHAPTER 1


A charmed life is such a pretty sounding sentiment. If only it truly occurred. Good fortune leads to dread when one who has led such an existence finally faces rejection. And inevitably heartbreak must arrive for no course is perfect.

Mine own started on a cheery path. The first daughter and youngest child, enthusiastically welcomed by my parents, the Lord and Lady of Imladris, with pampered beginnings and elves who catered to me. It all spurred a bit of pomposity and a sense of entitlement on my part.

And where my parents may have, in their generous ways, overly allowed these attitudes there remained one who never permitted me an out of proportion sense of myself. Again and again he found gentle ways to ground me and force me to think about whom I was and who I would be as I aged. From the moment of my birth his presence is there in many memories, both good and bad. That special day when he accepted his role as my mentor, to this day now when I write these thoughts…one special elf, one special guardian, who greatly molded me into my future.

He influenced my every day, and I followed him incessantly as though I craved his gruff ways. I have a vague awareness of crawling after him when I was a mere babe then toddling behind him when I could barely walk. Never did a day end without sitting on his knees as he read me stories or snuggling up to him when it was cold. If I played and he gifted me with his presence, I always looked to see if he watched and if not my antics increased in outrageousness until his eyes once again trained only on me. No trick did I consider off bounds when I meant to assure his attention did not stray again. My Erestor, mine alone.

His most important role as the chief counselor for my ada, kept him amused but not as busy as most suspect. During times of calm and peace I freely ruled his days but when a dispute arose or the dark minions threatened he disappeared.

Erestor’s secondary role, and the only duties I thought mattered, involved my education. In charge of my guidance from birth, he had absolute command over those decisions with my parents’ blessings. Ada and Nana met with him periodically to discuss and agree on my further learning, and then Erestor decided how to carry out the resolutions. I continually longed for him to be more directly involved, but usually I would see him for an hour or so each day, my direct education coming from skilled tutors who monitored me to the letter of Erestor’s instructions.

But if a day should go by without Erestor at least peaking in on me, my temper flared. The first time this occurred, I wailed my spoiled royal voice hoarse until he appeared. I smile now, remembering how he smartly remedied the situation. Gathering me close, he promised his duties would not take him away for long and that I must stand in his stead. Whispering conspiratorially, he had explained exactly what I would be doing while he toiled elsewhere.

The next day his assistant, Melpomaen, and I started our hard labor constructing an exact replica of Erestor’s desk. We worked for a solid month, molding the wood and sweating at the forge crafting knobs and fittings. When Erestor reappeared, my tiny desk stood next to his, and there I sat in my dark robes, dark hair pulled back in an imitation of his elaborate braiding, scribbling away at some important missive. He laughed. A genuine chuckle, straight from the belly and his eyes danced with mirth. I remember beaming with pride as he complimented and swooned over the quality of my work. And how I adored him more when he handed me a scroll and set me to work replicating it.

Ah, but it was then that he became responsible for what happened next, for his handwriting had always fascinated me. He did something special with his “E’s”, a long flared loop at the beginning and end, and since everyone I loved had an “e” in their name I began attempting an imitation of his script. I took any spare note he had written and copied it over and over until I created a perfect match to Erestor’s writing.

Of course, I could not leave well enough alone, the temptation too great and I an innocent elfling. So, I concocted a farce, something clearly doomed to failure though I was too young to realize. Carefully scribbling notes in a perfect forgery of his handwriting, I had live goats delivered to a meeting where my ada hosted a group from Linden. Oh, as absurd as it seems now, no one at the time dared question a directive from Erestor and the goats arrived promptly as instructed. I had heard ada refer to the delegation as stubborn old goats, so one thought flowed easily to the next and an idea was born. And truly I did protest at my punishment, after being easily discovered, for I knew nothing of mating seasons. It took a dozen elves to pull the bucks off the she-goats while shouts and insults poured forth from the gathered elves.

My brothers, present at the meeting, had witnessed the carnage and came to me late that night, as was their wont anytime they approved of one of my stunts but wanted no others to know. They graciously rubbed my sore muscles, garnered from tending to the goats for an entire day, while we giggled into the early morning. I felt completely cleared of all wrongdoing when the kidding season that followed proved to be the best in centuries, and I heard many comment that mayhap introducing a bit of excitement into the goat herd might spur greater reproduction.

After that day, Erestor’s notes were scrutinized more closely, but eventually he forgave my mischief, and I agreed to cease reproducing his handwriting.

Though many commented on my beauty as I grew, never could I influence his mind with my charms. Consistently stern, he would explain quietly his decisions and the matter ended. Once I had decided I would not attend my scheduled lute lesson, for the contingency from Lothlůrien was due at the same time, and I could not possibly miss greeting Haldir. Nana had infected me with stories of the Marchwarden, and I had paced with nervous excitement for days before his arrival. I have never forgotten the horror of being forcibly escorted, by Erestor, from a cozy sitting room where I sat ensconced with Haldir and Nana to my purposefully forgotten lute lesson.

Yet though stern and commanding, he also indulged me in many ways. On his begetting day and for winter solstice I proudly crafted crude gifts for him and he made a point to keep each one. Whether it was some silly paper hat or seed necklace, he would wear it proudly declaring it was made especially for him by Arwen. He even went so far as to have office shelves built to hold all the presents and to this day those gifts remain on display. Many of them so old they are crumbled to nothing but there they dwell, a beacon to me and in my mind, a statement of his feelings for me.

~o0o~

On a cold winter day, while ruminating and plucking at my lute, I realized my awareness of Erestor had changed dramatically. I found myself fascinated by the nuances of his face, the cute way he scrunched his nose anytime Cook served goose, the lovely long lashes that lay dark against his pale cheek when his eyes closed, the breathtaking way he annihilated foes during a debate. Powerful. Beautiful. But a chance enticing glimpse of him wearing nothing but leggings, physically uninhibited as he washed in a tributary of the Bruinen, finally revealed the truth.

My elfling adoration of Erestor had evolved into something more, something frightening and exciting, and I found my breath leaving me at the thought of kissing him while running my hands between his muscular thighs. My mouth dropped open, and I stopped playing in mid-tune. I loved Erestor. And further, he had to know. This year, I determined my gift to Erestor would not be placed on a shelf to decay.

Not long after my revelation, late on Solstice eve, pleasantly relaxed from several cups of warm spiced wine and a lazy evening with family, I made a hasty decision to corner Erestor and speak my heart. He had left our gathering several hours earlier to check on some missives before the Solstice celebration the next day. Casually, I said my goodbyes emphasized with a yawn and strolled toward my rooms. Slyly, I had checked to assure no one followed as my brothers have an innate sense when it comes to my business. And what was about to happen did not concern them in the least.

Once satisfied I had aroused no suspicions, I stealthily crept down the stairs towards Erestor’s office. The time was late and most were bedded for the night, but there were several still working and preparing for the morrow. I thoughtfully nodded to each, but continued unhesitating in my quest.

The candlelight shone as a beacon from his office and a faint whiff of ink greeted me. I entered quietly, closing the door with only a soft *snick* pronouncing my entrance. He looked up at the sound, and I smiled in what I thought was a seductive way, though I had never attempted such a thing before. His own grin drooped a bit and seemed to freeze on his face as I walked forward pushing the shoulders of my dress down until it fell and puddled at my feet. Gracefully, I stepped out of it and continued toward him. He sat rigid when I approached and flinched slightly when I pushed his hair behind his perfect ear and leaned in to whisper.

“I love you, Erestor.”

I could not stop my tongue when it flicked out to trace his ear’s outer shell. He leaped up and away from me. Undaunted, I followed and put my arms around him pulling him close, inhaling his unique scent and resting my cheek on his long silken hair. We stood like that for I know not how long until he sighed deeply, relaxed and turned in my arms so that we faced each other.

I know I swooned when he gently stroked my face and it was then that he reached around and broke the circle of my embrace. He held my hands, and spoke quietly.

“I love another, my lady.”

The perfection of the evening broke suddenly and harshly with those words, and I inhaled a ragged breath. Embarrassment and dread surged through me and immediately I struggled to break his hold. He would not release me, but pulled me close.

I heard the desperation in his voice as he urgently spoke to me. “Nay, do not flee. You had the strength to come here and speak your heart, and I am forever grateful that you have done so even though we are not to be. If I release you now you must promise to stay, redress, and speak to me.”

I nodded my agreement if only so he would unhand me. The ache I felt being so near him and knowing I could never have him overwhelmed me. Quickly I donned my clothing and stood with my back to Erestor convinced I could never again look him in the eye. But he knew me so well. Erestor moved before me, and I felt his fingers beneath my chin tipping my gaze up to meet his. Resolutely, I scrunched my eyes closed, unwilling to show the pain they would reveal. Undaunted, he moved closer and his breath trailed across my overly sensitive skin.

“Come, now. Is it so bad, pen dithen? We have always been able to speak on any topic and this shall be no different. Open you eyes. Please, Arwen.”

Even as a child, I had rarely defied him and his well timed plea spoke to me. His wide brown eyes held mine. His face a red mask of embarrassment? Possibly desire in his gaze? Even now I am unsure in my reflections what he felt on that night. Unmistakably, he did care and through my haze of disappointment I recognized this even though, at the time, I craved a great deal more.

“I do love you, Arwen, but as a daughter or a young sister. There is another who holds my heart.”

The pain of rejection quickly changed to anger! Surely after his incessant tutelage he did not think me so dense.

“Your words are gentle, yet I know what I see, Erestor. You are not adorned with a ring, nor does your hair contain love knots. Why is she not here with you? It is clear why! There is no other, you are alone and have always been alone. So please stop these attempts to placate my ego. It is insulting! Let us be honest with each other. You do not find me appealing.”

If possible Erestor’s face reddened further before he stuttered his response. “I do not deny that you tempt me, for my basest needs have not been met in many years. Your appeal is not lost upon me, Arwen.”

He dropped my hands then and turned his back to me.

“As to why I wear no ring? That is complicated. Suffice it to say my love remained unrequited. For all that I felt, there was none in return, and when the affair ended I was tossed aside as an afterthought like so much rubbish.”

Turning Erestor to face me once more, I pleaded with him.

“There is no need for you to suffer further. I am here and I love you. Let me show you how wonderful it can be. Please, a chance is all I ask.” I knew I begged but I could not cease.

“It would be no hardship to love you, Arwen. But what you ask is impossible.”

All my hopes were slipping from my grasp, yet I could not let go of the idea of having Erestor. In my desperation, I unwittingly switched tactics.

“You have admitted your desire for me. If that is all I can have I will gladly accept it. It is enough and someday mayhap you might even find happiness with me!”

His face softened. “How could I be unhappy or ungrateful for your love? I rejoice in it, but accepting your proposition would be completely unfair to you - always knowing your spouse pined incessantly for the love of another. You might think you can accept this now, but I know your current consent would not last nor can I ever take advantage of you. Nay, the great love of your life has yet to make himself known and you must strive for equal ground. He will come, my beautiful Arwen, but you must wait and watch and feel.”

“But I am safe and comfortable with you. How can I allow another close for I know not their motivations? I fear being taken advantage of because I am an innocent in these matters and there are those with queer ideas about peredhel. My education has always centered on defeating my vulnerabilities. I cannot appear weak, ever. You taught me this, my brothers reinforced this, and Ada insists upon it! You are and have always been my teacher, Erestor. If you cannot give me the love that I seek, please agree to one final mentoring task.”

His answer to my plea came swiftly, briefly and with a curt nod before he walked from the office.

“It is agreed, my lady.”

~o0o~

I sobbed and moped for weeks after Solstice. My nana fretted and questioned, but I refused to answer. This pain and humiliation was mine own to bear. When the horror of my plight, that of unrequited love, dissipated slightly I realized I still had a precious gift. Erestor had grudgingly agreed to tutor me once more in a much more intimate way. He would provide me memories for a lifetime, and when I finally found that one who loved me as I loved him, I would not be a cowering virgin trembling and uncertain of physical desires.

Curiosity pushed away most of my selfishness, and I resolved to find this elf who did not return Erestor’s feelings and question her. I must find a way to bring back his happiness and for several months I pondered on how to make this occur. I watched him, yet garnered no clues as he seemed to socialize with no one save Ada. I covertly asked those who seemed to know him and that got me no further. Only then did I realize more drastic measures were necessary.

Still, I could not bring myself to invade Erestor’s privacy for he held it dear and would certainly resent any intrusion. Never once had I been allowed into his quarters. Each day, when his duties were completed he would disappear, and I never knew how he spent his alone time. I respected this for I knew it important to him.

His office was another matter altogether. There he welcomed me any time any day. He had even made it clear I was allowed to use it when he was absent attending to business elsewhere.

Late at night, I stealthily explored his office for some inkling of Erestor’s lost love. Surely she had left him some tokens of adoration, but I despaired of ever finding clues knowing that Erestor must have them tucked somewhere within his private rooms. However, I retained hope and searched incessantly.

One day to my delight, my persistence finally produced a curious reward. While rummaging through an old warped wooden cabinet filled with musty files, I happened upon a folder labeled “LaurŽ”. Immediately, I knew Erestor had written this word and the “e” flared more flamboyantly than usual. Even more puzzling, in this same folder, I found a carefully wrapped and sealed package. Out of place in the files filled with endless meeting notes, schematics, and ledgers, it appeared to have been placed there intentionally.

I remember running the package through my hands for a few moments, awed that I had actually found something obviously special to Erestor. The material was decorative and expensive and ageless. The ribbon securing the package was stamped with an unfamiliar crest…a stately tree upon a green background. I inspected it thoroughly and could find no signs of aging yet it smelled old. Could it be this easy? Even now, I laugh at my innocence! For of course, this mystery was more complicated than imaginable.

I pieced together what I knew of Erestor’s life, and I truly knew nothing. Our relationship rotated around me, not what he did before Imladris. Honestly, I only discovered that Erestor had not been born in Imladris by spying upon others conversations. His existence before Imladris seemed a complete unknown. I suspect Ada knew, but other than him, Erestor had no close personal friends. So, my inquiry began blind while I continually hoped I would not be forced to open the package

~o0o~

I launched my quest with the first clue.

The word “laurŽ” seemed familiar, but I could not gather my mind around where I had heard it. And what of the strange symbol on the ribbon adorning the package…a tree on a green background? Surely the answers could be found in the library. But that was Erestor’s territory, and he would be overly interested if I suddenly spent too much time there. Further, I had no idea where to start, and the history of elves is long and complicated and fills thousands of books. It could take me years to locate a reference to this emblem, if ever.

Counselor Melpomaen proved an invaluable resource. As underling to Erestor, he is an unlimited font of information for Erestor would accept no less in one who assisted him. Always eager to share, fortune shown on me the night I found him working alone in the library.

“Ah, Melpomaen! It is timely that I find you here. Please say you can help me and save many hours of work!” I rushed toward him smiling, whilst startled he rose shakily, his face flushed red. I noticed he quickly folded his robe over the book he had been reading. Curious behavior, but not my business on that night.

“I heard a word today. The sound of it is pleasing to my ears yet foreign. And now I find I desire the use of this word for mine own, but fear no one knows its meaning.”

My trap lured him in for Melpomaen specialized in languages and my ada regularly turned to him when translations were needed for visiting envoys. I could see the anticipating sparkle in his eyes.

“Absolutely, my lady. Tell me the word, and I shall do my best to assist you.”

“LaurŽ. Is it familiar to you?” I held my breath in hope.

“Aye, it is and a beautiful Quenyan word, however it is pronounced a bit differently.” He carefully spoke it several times until I could imitate his sounds. “Its meaning is layered though, deceptively so for it does not only mean gold but more accurately translates to golden light.”

“Golden light.” I mouthed it silently wondering at the mystery of Erestor’s folder.

Quickly, I thanked Melpomaen and strolled to my rooms. Why would Erestor name a folder golden light and place an important package within it? It seemed learning the meaning of laurŽ brought me no closer to the truth, and I fretted, tossing and turning before finally slipping into slumber that eve.

But sleep brought me no respite for that same night I dreamed vividly….a golden light swirled around me whispering in an odd language, yet understanding taunted me just at the edge of knowledge. A letter wrapped in the same stamped ribbon from the package drifted just out of my reach. Each time I approached, it danced away in a swirl of bright yellow beams, leaving my hands and arms covered in golden sparkles. I chased it, undaunted as it floated through the corridors of the Last Homely House, down the staircase, through the kitchens, and up a chimney. I raced out the door and caught a glimpse of it swirling around in the upper currents heading towards the knobby hill where I had played as a child. It looked so different in my dream. The knoll, no longer rocky but smoothly covered in green, lush plant growth and on the very top stood the same tree from the stamped ribbon. Tall and noble, it twitched frantically, its movements creating a mournful song as its leaves shriveled from the branches and fell to the ground. Swaying to the melancholy of that song was a field of celandine. The yellow flowers trembled with each note, and their petals wilted and dropped. My legs faltered as I sprinted up the hill but I knew the letter contained all my sought after answers, and I could not let it reach the tree. As if sensing my desperate thoughts, the light hurtled forward, the letter gleefully bouncing within. Its path suddenly became destructive, scourging away the life from the green hill and leaving once again the bare crag. Dead leaves and petals swirled in a giant golden whirlwind, the letter on top, and it raced off to the clouds until all fell silent.

I awoke, gasping for breath and fighting the cover, which had wrapped itself around my legs. Sweat rolled down my body, and my sheets were wet from the exertion, yet I shivered suddenly cold. The dream still vivid in my mind, I knew it foretold certain doom - Erestor’s death.

Convinced I had interpreted the dream correctly, I seemed unable to move the next day crushed by the weight of my lethargic depression. Finally, I forced myself to emerge from my rooms only to aimlessly roam the gardens unsure how to process this new unwelcome realization. I saw him then through a window directing his assistants in their tasks. The normalcy of these actions made me question myself. Possibly, in my hysteria, I had overacted and created an issue where none existed. Erestor had always counseled me to investigate before accepting a conclusion, so I would take his advice. I began my new task of watching him.

Daily, I searched him out and dared not let him from my sight. His every move and gesture dominated my vision until it was clear, my dream prophetic. Indeed, I could see the signs of his fading. Erestor died before everyone’s eyes, the cruelest and most lingering death to afflict an elf, and yet no one saw.

They were subtle changes, but glaring once I recognized what I saw. It amazed and angered me that Ada, Erestor’s best friend and closest confidant, could not see that Erestor’s hair no longer shone with the light of the First Born. His normally robust and ruddy skin turned pale and wane, his face showing fine lines of aging. And still I could hardly fathom Erestor, so practical and reasonable, being brought down by something as intangible as the emotion of love. The sight frightened me, and though I ached for his attentions and despaired of never having it, I knew Erestor needed she whom he loved to survive.

~o0o~

During this time of introspection, I spent much of it seated in the solarium, for I desired the heat and light of Anor to keep away the daunting darkness. It was there that Ada came upon me as I dawdled. My hand lazily colored the large tree I had drawn amongst a field of green.

His voice startled me. “This emblem is my favorite of the twelve, a strong healthy tree amongst the flourishing green of life. Such an inspiring and uplifting House crest.”

I looked up blankly not really hearing his words but knowing my previous anger at him had dulled, and I welcomed his calm presence. He sat beside me and picked up the paper.

“My own ada enjoyed recounting stories of Lord Galdor of Gondolin. Elros and I would sit for hours listening and begged him incessantly for more tales.”

I sat straight up in my chair finally understanding that Ada recognized this emblem! He seemed not to notice my sudden interest, but continued on.

“He considered Lord Galdor a most brave hero even before Gondolin fell, and afterward his idolization became more like worship. You see, Lord Galdor led the Gondolin survivors to safety, but more importantly his presence reassured them, and he impressed upon them their worth and reasons to go on and live. Ada remembered him constantly moving amongst the elves whispering words of encouragement, carrying those who could not take another step, foraging for food and water each night. He was relentless in his desire to make sure they all survived. My ada held such warmth for Lord Galdor and his bravery that he had considered that name for me, especially as my ada’s own great-grandfather was also named Galdor.”

He smiled when he spoke of his father. Speechless and enthralled at this rare insight to his past, I merely sat and nodded as my voice had abandoned me. As a further boon, I now had another answer; the unknown emblem belonged to the House of the Tree in Gondolin, Lord Galdor their leader. But my ada had not finished and to my further surprise, he added more.

“It pleases me that Erestor has finally confided his past to someone and it does not surprise me that he chose you, for you two have always been close. I know he misses his brother daily.”

Stunned, I barely recovered my ability to speak before he knew something was amiss.

“I am pleased too, Ada and am constantly fascinated by Erestor’s stories.” Carefully, I omitted exactly what stories Erestor told me for none of them were about Gondolin.

Ada chuckled then. “True, my daughter! Never is Erestor as animated as when he speaks of his eldest sibling, Galdor, and his gaggle of sisters. You must someday ask him about his doll.”

“His doll? Surely you jest!”

“Nay! I promise it is the funniest of stories and you will forever view Erestor differently.”

He stopped suddenly closing his mouth tight. Realization finally registered on his face. Truly, I sat there amazed, gleeful actually, that Ada had revealed so much. It almost seemed he babbled, uncomfortable for some reason.

A red tinge crept up his cheeks, and he harshly cleared his throat.

“Well, Arwen. I know I can trust your discretion in this matter. In the meantime, here I sit blathering on when I was sent by your nana to gather you up. We have not seen you for days and insist that you dine with us this evening.”

He held out his hand then for this was no request but a command and one I willingly obeyed. Ada had unwittingly supplied me with key information to unraveling this mystery and I found a celebration in order.

~o0o~

I left my parent’s quarters, late that night, and even though the food and conversation pleasant, my mind never left Erestor and his unknown lover. The clues to the mysterious package swirled in my thoughts, and yet I knew they were not enough. By the time I reached my rooms, I had firmly decided the package must be opened.

Immediately upon entering, I walked to the bookshelf. Moving aside several large tomes regarding painting styles, I retrieved it. With shaky hands, I carefully unwound the knot of the ribbon and gently removed the material. Enclosed within were dozens and dozens of letters and slips of paper with hastily scribbled messages, too many to count. Most were written on heavy durable paper and had at one time been sealed, but the seal on each letter was now broken.

I gathered a candle close and inspected the seal as best I could. Each was of dual color, partially gold – partially green, perfect halves of a circle. And there were barely discernible characters on each seal. There appeared to be flowers? And a slip of cloth? I studied it diligently, but its meaning was frustratingly unclear.

My neck ached from being hunched forward, and my eyes were strained, and as I laid back on the couch the first letter fell open.

Flowing script sweet and loving poured from the page, and the emotions reached for me. Through watery eyes I could read only snippets…

“Beloved.” “Dreams of you.” “Absolute power over my heart.” “Secrets and understandings.” “Overwhelmingly in your debt.” “My Anor.”

I skimmed each message. Giggling through my tears, embarrassed at my prying into such a personal affair, I gaped at the passages of strong passion and heat. Awed because they were written of Erestor, who I had known my entire life, but who I obviously did not know at all.

“Ache for you.” “Indescribable pleasure.” “Undying passion.” “Fire of longing.”

And as I read further, I realized their ardor spanned centuries. Entranced by these missives of love, haunting in their purity and desire and determination, overwhelmingly beautiful poetry proclaiming undying commitment and intense need, yet no personal signature appeared on any and they all ended, “Yours forever.” I sobbed at the ferocity of their devotion and the knowledge that it had been sundered.

But the most glaring realization came from the knowledge that Erestor had lied to me. Absolute affection had existed between him and this lover. I re-read every note and there was nary a harsh word between them during the long years of their involvement. Indeed, my hands could barely close around the testimonials to their zealous yearnings. His was no unrequited love.

In the midst of all the paper I realized I had not examined one. And where the other messages had shown multiple readings this remained unopened, stiff and apparently untouched. I spun it through my fingers and sat up to move closer to the candle. An unbroken seal graced the back, and now I could clearly see the pattern…a slingshot not being used for harm, but as a catcher for a cascade of golden flowers falling into it. Questions ran swiftly through my mind. Why had it never been opened? Would Erestor’s lover finally be named in this missive?

Quickly I retrieved a sharp opener and with delicate care I managed to pry the seal away from the paper. Unperturbed, the seal seemed a beacon of hope for a broken love once more whole. Cautiously I unfolded the letter.

Gondolin I 510

My Dearest Erestor,

To see you unhappy and know that I am the cause of it breaks me. The rain today seemed a fitting response to the despair I have wrought between us. I walked the grounds for hours alone thinking and the beautiful places that are ours, now haunt me. Our fŽa found each other in this most unlikely hidden haven, and I am loathe to return to a place of solitude. Duty is a harsh mistress and I am overwhelmed by its demand for sacrifice. How can I face this world without your love? The idea of sharing passion with another sickens me, and I cannot imagine the horror of such an act.

I am a fool for even considering a life without you. Since your departure I sit and hear only your voice and think only of you and see only your face before me. My heart beats panicked in my chest as it fights to emerge and be reunited with you.

I have graced this letter with a thousand kisses. Take them. They are yours and if your love is strong, I beg you return them to me another thousand-fold. Please, my love, run to me. If you are beside me, I can weather any storm and together I will have the strength to turn aside those who seek to force my complicity in taking a wife and producing heirs.

Tonight when the light wanes and Helluin first appears in the sky, you will find me at our usual place. I am trembling as I prepare to seal this, beloved, for I fear you will not show. How will I survive? Please I beg you, come.

Humbly and Hopefully,
Yours forever


“Nay!” I wailed out involuntarily.

The pain held within shattering, the despair of knowing Erestor had never read this letter daunting. I know not how long I sat and stared at the wall wondering at the implications of it all. A wife? It repeated again and again in my mind.

Erestor loved another male.

With newly opened eyes, I reread the memories of nights shared together and it was made clear. An unwelcome laugh escaped me for surely I knew nothing about Erestor. My face burned hot with shame now knowing Erestor’s preferences and that I had forced onto him my greedy burden. Surely though, faced with the contents of the last message the truth would be revealed and he would run to his lover. Selfishly, a sad pang shuddered through me. Erestor would never be mine for I would release him from his promise to me.

~o0o~

Even now, I remember with trepidation this discovery. I fretted myself into a frenzy after reading the letters. Emotions rolled through me incessantly…despair, pain, guilt…until I knew I must confess to Erestor. My only desires to have him admit that this male, this suitor, existed and all happiness could be salvaged and grow. Surely the words written by Erestor’s lover showed that his breaking of their relationship came not from him but was seemingly coerced.

Once my mind is turned, I cannot cease until I see it through, so I charged down the hall and up the stairs to Erestor’s quarters. This time he would not deny me entrance and he would, for once, listen! I dared not knock and alert him to my presence but boldly flung open the door and strode in.

He sat, adorned in plain dark robes, but his hair flowed loose and casual down his back. In a flash I took in the surroundings...dull simple furnishings and no decorations…all in stark contrast to the complex vibrant elf who lived here, the same one who now eyed me with mild surprise and a hint of curiosity.

“My lady, Arwen…?”

But I was determined to have my say, and I rushed to interrupt his question.

“I read the letters, Erestor. You did not speak truly when you told me of your love for it is clear that he DID love you but felt an overwhelming sense of duty to provide an heir. You must go to him!” I fell to the ground in front of Erestor and grabbed his hands.

“Please tell Ada of this. Confide to him what you will not to me, and he will surely release you to return to Valinor to find him. Please, Erestor.”

By this time, I sobbed uncontrollably, releasing my grief for this great elf whom I loved. The thought of him losing the passion of his life and the thought of me losing Erestor to Valinor proved too much, and I slumped to the cold, hard floor.

He came to me, gathered me into his arms, and soothed me. Erestor, strong and proud and fading to death, comforted me. Resolutely, I pulled myself together and wiped the tears from my eyes. I knew I must be as forceful if I was to help him.

“Why did you lie about him, Erestor? He loved you then, and I dare say he must still desire you. Why are you not running to him, wherever he is, and binding yourself to him? Did he marry? I saw the dates on the letters, and it seems he had not the time to find a wife.”

Erestor put up a halting hand, and I caught my breath before blurting out more questions.

“I did not lie to you, pen dithen. He never loved me…”

“Nay!” I cried and surged forward to grab his hands again. “I read those letters. You have obviously forgotten!”

He smiled sadly and his tone turned harsh, soliciting no further argument from me. “Will you listen, Arwen? For speaking of this matter tortures me, and I would have it done with quickly and never alluded to hence. Do you understand?”

I nodded. Of course I needed to hear his explanation but wondered how I could never speak on it again.

“Remember this, pen dithen, and guard this knowledge close for when you find that elf for whom your fŽa sings you will know it to be absolute. Love, pure and true, is never turned, never discarded. It will survive anything and you will fight for it until your final breath. But when one is turned from a love by petty concerns such as passing on a lineage….”

Erestor forced his head down then and his hair slid forward creating a dark barrier, as he choked on that last word and a tiny sob echoed forth. Frightened and worried, I reached for him but he held me at arms length shaking his head. Finally, his breathing slowed yet when he faced me his eyes shown brightly with unshed tears.

“Love demands everything and it cannot possibly exist when one willingly discards it for a life others say he must live.”

“But he did not throw it away gladly.” I reached into my bodice and removed the last message, the one he had not read. I waived it in front of his face.

“You never read this one, Erestor. He felt such a sense of overwhelming duty and the pain at doing so broke him. He pleaded with you to come to him and support his stand against those who would run his life…”

“Enough!” Erestor snatched the letter from my hand and shoved me away as he stood abruptly. He stalked over to the candle and in a flash the edge of the letter caught fire.

“Nay!” I screamed. Panicked I rushed for him and the burning message, but he stopped me with an outstretched, stiff arm while the ashes of the letter gently floated to the floor.

“You know nothing of my affair and there will be no further discussion on this subject!”

I clawed at him and continued screeching desperate to save the letter. His salvation contained within. I could not understand then, nor do I know now, what drove him to destroy it without a glance. When it burned to the last corner, he gave me a gentle push and in my shocked state I collapsed in a sorrowful heap. I could not bear to look at him. Instead I wept again, great sobbing sounds that echoed dully in his sparse rooms. Erestor said no more and quietly left.

Much later when I had recovered my senses, I moved to action scooping up the precious ashes and contained them in a folded paper. My mind and my voice also returned and with them a sweeping epiphany. A new and rare insight of my mentor, and I whispered the truth to the air.

“You are wrong, Erestor.”
End Notes:
Click 'next' button (see below, far left) for Chapter 2.
Chapter 2 by Hare
Title: The Last Message
Type: FPH with a twist of FPS
Author: Hare (harefic@yahoo.com)
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Arwen/Erestor
Warning: First person POV, angst, romance, sexual scenes
Disclaimer: Amateur at work here! No profit has been gained and no infringement of copyright is intended.
Beta: Ezimachia and Erviniae (Ervy). How could I go wrong with Double E’s?! With special thanks to Ervy for the last minute beta-help and going the additional mile by checking on my LOTR canon/fanon accuracy. All mistakes are mine.
Timeline: Imladris - Third Age
Notes: Written for the Mereth RhÓw Winter Writing Challenge. My prompts were “up on the rooftop” and “snowballs.”
Summary: Arwen reflects on her lifelong relationship with Erestor.

CHAPTER 2

Our relationship surprisingly returned to its normal character within weeks of the confrontation. On his part, Erestor treated me as he always did, caring and considerate. I continued to wonder incessantly on the topic of his lover, but resolved to respect his wish that it never again be mentioned. However, my anger and confusion at his reaction continued. I had meant to save him, to show him the truth of the matter and liberate him from his pain and certain death. The violence that had greeted me was staggering. Still, I decided I was free to research and dig for more answers. Further, I would not relinquish the other letters to anyone but kept them safe in my care.

As the months rolled by and mine own desires resurfaced, I did begin to question if Erestor had forgotten his promise to me. Even in the midst of my despair, I still ached for his touch and often wondered if I could turn his love towards me. I knew the thought was mere fantasy, but hope springs eternal when one has nothing else.

But Erestor had never broken a promise to me. Ever true to his word he came to me one night when the heat of summer waned and Ithil shone relentless through my open window. With a soft knock he entered without permission and stood watching me with hard, dark eyes. After a short time, during which we neither spoke nor acknowledged the other, he padded forward and laid a hand upon my cheek. He stroked it soothingly before speaking.

“Show me how you pleasure yourself, Arwen. If you cannot find pleasure alone you will be unable to accept it from others.”

And with that he strode over to a chair hidden in the corner and sat. His entire face was shadowed, yet I could see his long graceful fingers leisurely resting on the arms of the chair while he nonchalantly crossed his legs.

I felt none of his calmness for he asked me to display myself. Though he had tested me in many ways this command by far the biggest challenge, as he intended it be done without the warmth of his encouragement. Never had he demanded so much of me. Yet I knew without this test I would never taste Erestor, and if I could not have his love I absolutely intended to know his taste.

And then a smile graced my lips for I remembered my initial experience with the enjoyment found between my legs. Newly released from my first riding lesson I had burst into Ada’s meeting room. In graphic detail in front of all those present, I had described this strange new feeling that still tingled through me. Ada had with a bright red face escorted me from the room and gently spent the next two hours explaining what had occurred. I was never to be ashamed, he said, but it should be a private matter. Surely Ada never envisioned this.

And that simple thought sent a shiver through me. I had few secrets. Tonight I would add another, shared only with the one who waited in the shadows, the one who I loved but loved me not. Still it would be ours alone, this secret.

Though I usually preferred to be nude, I knew I could not allow that, too open and vulnerable. My sleeping gown would remain on.

Reluctantly, I moved toward the bed and began to climb upon it when Erestor interrupted my progress.

“Light a candle.” He commanded it.

I did so, sparking the one closest to my bed. I threw a questioning look towards Erestor as I climbed upon my bed once more. Satisfied he had no further demands forthcoming; I lay down on my back. My nervous breath panted forth. The entire scene played through my head, surreal, as I lifted the gown up to my waist and pulled off my undergarment. My heart pounded in my chest.

Cool air assailed my legs and lower torso, and I could feel the flesh pimple. Slowly, I ran my hands down across my belly as I lifted my knees and spread them. I stopped rigid when another command broke the silence.

“Wider.”

Awkwardly, I opened my legs fully, flushed with embarrassment, but oddly excited. My limbs trembled from the stretch. Unaccustomed to this position, I ran my hands quickly between my thighs, teasing, hoping to distract my mind. I knew this game well concocting fantasies to further my gratification and the object of my desire sat mere feet away. Tentatively, I touched that place of pleasure…hot and moist, as I recalled Erestor naked in the Bruinen. Yet in this fantasy he sees me and stalks me, presses against me, erotically caresses me. Those simple thoughts are all it took to send my vision black and a strong climax shuddered through me.

As I lie there panting, I had momentarily forgotten Erestor watched until a shadow fell upon me, startling me, and I looked up into his aching, hungry eyes. His breath also swift and as I dared look downward I could see his erection solidly outlined against his left thigh. I reached out to touch it, but he moved quickly away from my fingers and firmly grabbed my questing hand.

“I will come for you in my own time and when I do you must not deny me for you I offer only this one chance.”

His words dampened my pleasant feelings for they were said so solemnly and his face reflected such sadness. I opened my mouth to release him from his promise, but the words caught in my throat. Desire and dread warred within me. And then the opportunity was lost for he left my room with nary a look backwards.


~o0o~

Summer’s heat fled and the chill of autumn took full hold. Mid-winter descended upon us and it turned frightening and quickly frigid. My mood waned with the failing light and the deepening of the seasons, as Erestor did not come to me. Nay, instead his days were filled with endless meetings as visitor after visitor arrived in Imladris, amazing considering the depth of the snow, with problems and requests. Never a glance my way; neither during meals nor when I sat in the library. Even more frustrating, my search for further clues to Erestor’s lover remained unfruitful.

Desperation became my constant companion. Nightly dreams of Erestor sneaking into my rooms aggressively laying waste to my virginity and declaring his hidden, enduring love taunted me. It became a frequent fantasy, yet one I dare not grasp hold of for my heart perched delicately balanced on the edge of madness. Still, those dreams sent me each evening racing to my rooms, grappling off my clothing, and fanatically pleasuring myself, stopped only by pure exhaustion would I fall into slumber. This frenetic routine lasted a full month.

Until, my brothers, nosy as ever, approached me one day in the corridor. Each took hold of an elbow and steered me away from prying eyes.

“Who is he, little sister?” Elladan started the interrogation.

I, in turn, and determined to avoid their questions, jerked my arms from their grip and proceeded to sniff the air.

“You both smell of ale and perfume. Have you been drinking and whoring again, my brothers?”

Elrohir laughed heartily while he twined a strand of my hair through his fingers. “Such a perfect student of Erestor is our little sister. Never deny, but misdirect whenever possible. Come now. We have both watched you for a month shuffling sideways like an old mortal woman, and the grimaces on your face whenever you sit are impossible to ignore.”

I rankled at their interference even knowing they only sought my well being. My brothers had harshly taught me an enduring self-sufficient toughness for survival. From my earliest memories, I recalled their tests of me. It did not seem to matter to them that they were significantly older, rough and tumble they waylaid me, constantly forcing me to defend myself from their attacks. Even a game of fidchell or brandub seemed an opportunity for a ruthless lesson of humility.

And then the day came when I laid my own trap concocted from a book I had recently read. The snare successfully sprung and with a few well placed incapacitating blows, learned from my brothers, I trussed them up neatly using knots also learned from them. The insults and threats they hurled my way did not deter me and with surprising strength I dragged and deposited them in the open sparring area for all their friends to see. That same night I, unsurprisingly, received a visit from my brothers, their demeanor bright and happy and they chatted with me for hours congratulating me on besting them.

They loved me thoroughly and I them. Even when they left me bruised and hurting I always knew there existed an underlying tenderness. They fretted about my welfare, constantly warned me of those who might seek to take advantage of my position as Lord Elrond’s only daughter…of those who viewed peredhel as lesser beings and might seek my pleasure to satisfy their own inappropriate curiosity. This confrontation was no different for I could see the concern in their eyes.

I reached out to both of them and tugged them close for an embrace.

“You worry for no reason, my brothers. All is well and will be as long as I have you both to guide and reassure me.”

I punctuated my statement with several fierce squeezes before sending them on their way. Luckily, they were inebriated enough to follow my directives without much fuss.

“Now off with you and make sure you bathe well. Ada will not appreciate a morning meeting with your debauched scent wafting through the room, distracting the counselors.”

“We will have the truth from you, Arwen,” declared Elladan.

“You have the truth from me. There is nothing more to tell. Go!”

They both looked as though they might argue further, so I raised my eyebrow slightly but grinned at them when they reluctantly moved away. I waved each time they looked back at me with questioning gazes, knowing their curiosity remained unsatisfied. Those two were ever monitoring my activities and those around me. My twin towers of protection had successfully taught me to defend myself, even from them, and for now my secret remained secure.

~o0o~

Each year, Nana and I were in charge of preparing and planning for the Solstice week celebrations, seven days dedicated to overindulgence. Her duties put her at the head of all entertainment decisions, and the day I reached my majority I became her faithful assistant. My favorite, by far, the week of Solstice for it held such fond memories of frolicking in the snow, vats of nog consumed, and food not served any other time of the year. The mouth watering smells of Solstice preparation, for weeks permeating the Last Homely House…fermented cider, mince meat pies, cookies of various shapes covered in brightly colored icing, sugared fruit, crunchy candies sticking to my teeth. I can think of nothing that compares to the cries of delight heard during this time, the elflings squeals of laughter and joy, me perched up on the rooftop pelting my brothers with snowballs, and the smile that never seems to leave my ada’s face. For only during this time of gaiety does he allow the mantel of his burdensome duty to fall away. Even now, I lick my lips and anticipate next year’s gala determined that the events of the past weeks will not mar my future Solstice traditions.

And so it was that the time right before Solstice week progressed slow and sluggish, as it is inclined to be before a much anticipated event. A restlessness overcame me, and I could no longer wait for Erestor to approach me. A plan to call Erestor’s attention my way, hatched fully in my mind.

Nana and I always purchased new gowns for Solstice week, and this year I knew something more revealing would not go amiss. He had conceded his desire for me and if Erestor needed a further incentive I would do my best to provide it. In the meantime, I knew I must make myself even more available to him.

For weeks I circled around Erestor flitting in, garnering his attention, then skillfully falling back and observing. I conveniently went to the library at times when I knew he would be present, casually discussed the books I had been reading, sitting as close to him as possible without being obvious. My plan seemed flawless for in a few days he seemed to be looking for me any time I entered a room he occupied. Yet he never appeared overly happy to see me.

The entire situation then became more confusing. During one of these forays, I began to notice something that had previously escaped my attention. Now when I think back with clearer eyes I realize it had always been happening. Glorfindel was constantly around Erestor and intent on pushing me away.

At meals he smoothly managed to sit next to Erestor, forcing me further down the table. In the library, Erestor already cornered into unknown conversations with Glorfindel so he had no time to speak with me. Increasingly frustrated, I changed my daily habits and came to Erestor at off times or barged in on him with legitimate business related to the upcoming festivities. More often than not, Glorfindel already resided in a chair near Erestor and always seemed to have a question just as I arrived. His intentions were so subtle I had convinced myself I dreamed his interference. Until one day, I caught a glimpse of a look Glorfindel threw my way. I do not think he meant for me to see, yet it bounced frightfully toward me, reflected off the looking glass I faced. An icy gaze full of contempt trained straight at my back. The shock almost knocked me from my feet! I had known Glorfindel since birth but not as I knew Erestor. Glorfindel had been mentor to my brothers and rarely interacted with me, but never did I suspect this level of disdain.

Shakily, I left the library and shied away from Erestor. Some undercurrent existed between the three of us, and I could not ferret out its source. Erestor seemingly recognized my absence and sought me out soon afterward and to my delight requested I accompany him to the bard performance on the first day of Solstice week. Of course I accepted and used that opportunity to display my new gown…dark green with a spray of golden light flowing through it, the bodice only slightly revealing, but the fit nicely snug in all the important places.

To my dismay, the sight of me in this new dress did not entice Erestor into my bed. Nay, indeed we spent most of the night, after the entertainment, drinking and in discussion with Glorfindel on the merits of harmonious acappella pieces versus those accompanied by instruments. I sat yawning while they engaged in the most intense discussion I had ever heard about absolutely nothing. Admittedly, I did remain somewhat alert to see if Glorfindel would again pierce me with a contemptuous look, which he did not, until I purposely hooked my arm through Erestor’s. I did not imagine he became more contentious when he saw that, and I watched amazed as their argument deepened. Erestor finally ended it and left in a huff with me in tow, before depositing me at my door, and stalking away.

Four nights before Solstice, still utterly confused and frustrated at my lack of progress, came the bonfire and dance. A full evening of merrymaking directed at ushering in longer days and chasing away the darkness with light. Ada and his counselors each presided over one of the dozens of fires and in perfect harmony lit the blazes which sparkled brilliantly off the newly fallen snow. Life prevailed. We sang a few praises to the Valar before the dancing and imbibing commenced.

That night Erestor turned wild. Never had I seen him in such a frenzy…frolicking and drinking until all the braids fell from his hair and it swirled freely around him. He danced with one no one yet spoke to all, laughing and cavorting.

Contentedly, I gazed around at the gathered crowd, grateful for this time to celebrate and forget the worries of an evil world outside our borders. My senses were completely alight, taking in everything at once yet nothing at all - the crunching of the trodden snow, puffs of white breath escaping from each elf into the cold night, laughter, shouting, amorous displays, families and friends chatting, elves coming and going as the mood suited them. My vision briefly lit on my parents who held each other closely and swayed to the music, then to my brothers who changed partners as quickly as they gulped down warm wine, but always they circled back to Erestor.

My eyes were not the only ones trained on Erestor. Across the fire I noted that Glorfindel also watched. He looked nowhere but at Erestor, so I had freedom to observe him undetected. Tiny smiles graced his face and occasionally he would shout out for the playing of some particular song. Each time the tune would send Erestor prancing off in obvious enjoyment. Glorfindel knew Erestor well, very well. Yet, I knew this observation was not common knowledge. Never had I heard it commented on or alluded to. Erestor seemed to realize Glorfindel controlled the musical selection, but he appeared content to allow it. No fighting between them. Nay, tonight it seemed they were harmonious and an invisible but apparent thread bound them to each other.

But tonight belonged to me, and I intended to share it with Erestor. Skirting around frisky couples, I moved toward Erestor ready for a dance when out of nowhere a large body broadsided me! Large blunt hands reached out, steadied me and a low voice whispered near my ear.

“You must watch where you tread, my lady, or harm will befall you.”

Wiping at the wine stain on my dress the speaker’s choice of words set off an alarm in my head. Curious, I looked into Glorfindel’s face. Oh aye, the threat was there and it hung between us. His eyes glittered aggressively and the muscles of his jaw jumped as he ground his teeth.

I broke the tension with a laugh and agreed with him while I held his gaze, but he said nothing further and moved off toward Erestor.

Glorfindel smoothly matched steps with Erestor and gathered him into his arms. Never before had I seen Erestor dance with another yet, he fit Glorfindel perfectly and they spun through the snow never missing a beat. Erestor suddenly threw his head back, his face a mask of ecstasy and a grin from ear to ear. I stood entranced and exceedingly jealous. And then a large log fell through the bonfire sending a cascade of sparks lighting up the celebration. A cheer rippled through the crowd but my attention remained trained on the dancing pair and in the new light beheld a sight that forced a gasp from my chest.

Glorfindel’s hair held two elaborately woven love knots that swayed with him and seemed to reach out occasionally caressing Erestor. But his decorative over robe is what truly caught my vision. Now as I write this account I wonder at my blind eyes for the sight is still emblazoned in my mind. On the back of his over robe prominently displayed was a luxurious rendition of the seal which adorned every letter Erestor’s lover had written him.

I could only call myself a fool! The clues so obvious in hindsight…golden light, celandines, a sling the weapon of choice for those of the House of the Tree, and golden flowers representing the House of which Glorfindel had been the head.

Glorfindel was frequently at Erestor’s side, constantly searching for approval. Nay! Now it seemed clear he desired forgiveness and it was never granted. He remained the brunt of Erestor’s ire and temper and nasty barbs, Glorfindel’s eternal punishment for rejecting Erestor’s love, for pushing him aside in the name of duty. To be near him, yet not have him, ever again. I would never possess the ability to wound Erestor thus for only true love could maim this completely.

Their dance ended quickly and with it came a renewal of Erestor’s awkwardness. He firmly pushed Glorfindel away. I did not rejoice when Erestor headed straight for me and marched me forth to begin another frenetic turn around the fire.

I could not resist looking at Glorfindel, his venomous gaze trained fully upon me. He viewed me as the enemy, a rival for the affections of the one he loved and longed for! All along, the answer to my question stood in the open, but I proved too selfish to see. Dangerously unnecessary, I smirked a victor’s smile at him and leaned closer into Erestor’s embrace.

Glorfindel appeared startled at my display and a frown of sadness crossed his face before he stalked away into the darkness. I felt no regret. He had once held Erestor’s heart and had foolishly thrown it away. For that there is no pity.

~o0o~

The next day I discovered that Glorfindel had left unexpectedly to monitor the patrols and would not return until Solstice morning. I felt relieved and grateful for his interference and dreadful behavior towards me had taken a toll. Erestor and I spent the following days unencumbered by his presence and able to fully enjoy the remaining week of celebrations, except that Erestor seemed distracted and sullen. His good cheer was clearly an act and never once were his hands free of a cup of wine or spicy nog.

I still suffered from his nearness. This new wildly animated Erestor relaxed by drink drew me in more as his inhibitions dropped. I had never seen him behave this way, so seemingly out of control.

I should have expected he would come for me during this time, but I did not and was completely astounded when he did so. In an attempt to release my frustrations I had volunteered to assist Cook in baking for the Solstice Day meal. A night of kneading and throwing dough seemed the perfect mind-numbing remedy to my Erestor problem. For hours I rolled and floured thinking of nothing but the banquet to come, and I continued to work unaware that all the other elves had left for bed.

When questing fingers smoothly ran down the length of my arms until soft hands lay on top of mine, I jumped. His strong arms then encircled my waist, startling me to rigid attention. A wicked chuckle threw hot breath against the shell of my ear and the smell of strong ale assailed my nose.

“Nay, you are too rough. Gently, Arwen. You must encourage the dough not beat it to submission. A light touch goes the distance and it will rise steadily and stately. And when it reaches your mouth you shall experience a hot, moist morsel that melts on your tongue.”

“Solstice eve,” he murmured. “Wear your green gown, the one with gold sparkles, the one that hugs your hips tightly. And your hair will be pulled up off your neck.”

His lips brushed gently against my ear before he turned me for a light kiss filled with a deeper promise of more. He left as quickly as he came, leaving me the lingering heat of his lips and savoring the hint of alfirin ale.

~o0o~

The fated night arrived quickly and per his orders I wore my new gown and my hair drawn up and gathered atop my head. I spent the time nervous and twittery, laughing loudly and frequently inappropriately. Matters were not helped by Erestor who found any opportunity to be near me and remind me of his presence with subtle touches. Truly, I wanted to turn to him and shove him away for surely he knew I was aware of no one but him and his nearness just unnerved me further! Mayhap he thought to calm me, but only the opposite resulted.

My nana knew something was amiss as I caught her eye on me frequently. Ada kept my wine glass full but his face remained unreadable. My brothers, thankfully, had thoughts for only each other and played some private drama the entire night. I do recall Lindir once calling out what a shame it was that Glorfindel could not be present, but Erestor quickly moved us from that subject. He threw Lindir his lute and commanded he play, and he did song after song, Erestor singing the loudest of all.

Finally, exhausted, I could take no more. The entire evening wore a desperate tinge, an undercurrent of forced gaiety and I sought to escape it. For tonight and tomorrow would change my life and Erestor’s life forever. I would wait no longer.

With quick apologies, I excused myself and hurried to my rooms. I had preparations to see to, and I knew not when Erestor would arrive.

Minutes turned to hours as I lounged nude in my bed awaiting his visit. I had completed all my errands and had already bathed and combed out my hair which only left me to toss nervously and fret. Surprisingly, I must have dozed for his touch woke me and he stood unclothed and brilliant beside me. Not wasting another moment, I reached for him and pulled him down. It scared and thrilled me to be pinned beneath his weight. His hard solid muscle and smooth skin bore me down into the bed, and I could feel the hot length of his shaft pressed against my thigh. But I had trusted Erestor with everything and knew I could trust him with my body.

He started at the top of my head, kissed each eyelid, my nose, my smiling lips. Fingers traced my eyelashes. I gasped as his tongue wrestled within my ear and laughed when he lightly touched my neck and shoulders. His hair smelled of cinnamon as it tickled against my breasts, his skin exuding a musky scent as his slim welcoming body slid down mine, and his familiar fingers, permanently stained black, touched every part of me.

His mouth, when not busy causing groans from mine own, uttered words of guidance.

“There is more pleasure to be found than that between one’s legs. You must insist that he investigate every inch of your being and find those sensuous places gifted to you by Ilķvatar. They can be quite different for each elf and if you have more than one lover you may find that those places sensitive for one may not be for others.”

He burned a hot path down my body sweeping away any inhibitions or doubts and my skin prickled every place it was touched. Short, fierce kisses interspersed with whispered instructions on what I should demand from a lover, his chatter not at all distracting or clinical but sensuous and loving.

I learned more about my body in those slow minutes than I had discovered in my prior lifetime of self exploration. The sounds he forced from me so foreign, I did not recognize their origin. Until the sight of Erestor, my life long mentor, sucking on my toes forced a laugh from deep within and he smiled in return.

His mouth turned upward in a grin that caught the breath in my chest. So rare was this moment that I willed time to slow so I could savor the rare instance of happiness. It lasted for only a few seconds before the shadows returned to his eyes as he once more became serious.

His strong hands still gripped my feet and he spread my legs firmly apart. My heels dug into the bed as he started an agonizingly slow pathway up my left leg, pausing to taste and lick any area of exposed skin. Valar, how I wanted to grab his head and force it to task between my legs instead I groped at the bed coverings, my hands balled into tight fists.

My eyes rolled and I could not stifle a groan when Erestor suckled the skin of my inner thigh, and I marveled at how painful this bliss was to bear.

“Patience.” The word floated into my consciousness, a gentle ridiculous command.

“Please, Erestor. Get on with it!” I growled, my voice insistent, but barely above a whisper.

When he failed to move, I urgently grabbed the back of his head and pulled it upward. Initially he resisted but then I heard a soft chuckle before hot breath followed by insistent lips lurched forward and consumed me. I groaned again this time from pure exhilaration.

A moan began low in my throat as he continued to suckle between my legs his tongue swirling relentlessly. It seemed my mind left me, and I became a primitive being heaving about and crying out until a jolt of power exploded through my body and I arched up tense and rigid. My cries echoed loudly around me and then I fell back to the bed completely limp while shivers of pleasure pulsated through me.

It took me several minutes to realize that Erestor had abruptly left me and rolled over beside me, but his voice brought me back to the moment.

“A good lover also shows an equal amount of attention to her partner.” He stated matter-of-factly as he hauled me upwards, I still groaning and panting. A small smirk played across his lips.

“My mouth needs your attention.” He said huskily before pulling my head down and covering my lips possessively. He tasted wonderful, and I plundered inside, wrestling with his tongue, eager to take charge.

I moved and my mouth found the strong pulse on his throat, the heartbeat of my lover. Just this once. But mine for one special night. Erestor’s breath caught as my hand reached the line of his fine, sparse hair and quickened as I combed down toward his shaft.

Unaccountably shy after all we had already experienced, I touched him and felt him harden further beneath my grasp. Clumsily, I stroked him enjoying the feeling of his silken skin overlaying such rigid aggression. Completely unsure of his desires, I moved down and contemplated and waited. He had not stopped my movement, so I extended the tip of my tongue and licked the crown of his erection. His taste not extraordinary, but not vile either, so I ran my lips around the head and down the shaft. Amazed, I watched as Erestor became undone, shivered, groaned and his legs fell completely open. I dropped neatly between them. Clearly he enjoyed this act so I continued with vigor until his moans turned wild. He thrashed so violently I had to press my weight on his legs to continue.

I do not know what overcame me, mayhap I became bold at my power, but I knew there existed a place were males might find even more pleasure. Carefully, I slid my fingers under him and quested for his opening. In an instant he sat up, his hand reached out grabbed my wrist, and yanked my left hand from beneath him.

“Nay.” His eyes flashed fear and the pressure on my wrist increased.

On the verge of begging for release, he forced me onto my back and mounted atop me, pinning one wrist above my head. His legs knocked my knees open and he pushed between my thighs.

But he stopped, appeared tentative, and poised hesitantly waiting, almost unsure. We had come this far and made it this close, and I refused to allow him to withdraw on his promise. So I reached out with my free hand and ran a finger lightly down his cleft delving deeper until I neared his forbidden entrance. It seemed that broke his resistance for his hips bucked forward strong and hard and he entered me in a single thrust. A flash of agony flared within me, though only a fleeting glimpse for I had been well prepared and relaxed by Erestor’s ministrations. The sensations overwhelming as he rode hard and frenzied and all I could do was gasp and cling to him. My eyes never left his face and when he once more became aware of me; his vision shot downward searching out mine. I gazed into his brown eyes and realized they were scared, so much hurt from the past.

Extending my right hand, I lovingly cupped his face and he leaned into my touch. Our rhythm gentled, more thoughtful and sweet, and we settled into slow deep mating. Erestor’s fingers quested between us, the dual sensations of being thrust into while his clever fingers manipulated me, sending me to my pleasure again, over and over. The sounds - our bodies joining, our voices raised - created a chorus of pleasure building in a crescendo echoing off the walls so pure I shall never forget it. I reveled in the closeness of the act, the bonding of being physically linked with another.

And then Erestor stiffened and released within me, a look of pleasure or pain, I could not be sure, rippled across his face. The heat of his essence filled me, leaving something of him inside, and soaked the bed beneath us as it overflowed. He made no sound until he fell heavily upon me and his heartbreaking sobs wetted my shoulder. Tenderly, I grasped Erestor to me, running gentle hands over his back, soothing his anguish until he relaxed and slept.

~o0o~

He left me sometime early this morning. When I awoke Anor glared full in my room and the bed cold. There will always be a bit of me missing, an emptiness unfulfilled by this unrequited love. I yearn for him already, but his destiny lies with another, and I am left with only hope. Hope for my future and for Erestor’s.

I do not think I have imagined that Erestor has recently become more welcoming to Glorfindel, their famous arguments not quite as frequent or contentious. Mayhap the truth of Glorfindel’s last message, the words Erestor only knows because I screamed them at him, has finally sunk in. No matter, because his continued resistance to Glorfindel’s amorous advances will soon cease. I know the truth and so does Glorfindel. Erestor will be unable to stand against our combined efforts, for I intend to cooperate with Glorfindel and see Erestor happy once more. His life shall not end in a whimper of faded agony.

Glorfindel returns this morn; possibly he has already arrived and seen his Solstice gift and acted on it. Last night, before Erestor entered my rooms, I quickly visited Glorfindel’s chambers and left all the letters bound together in the stamped ribbon atop his bed, and the ashes of the final note strewn around them. Prominently displayed on his pillow sits my Solstice gift to him, and eventually I hope Erestor will also see it as a token of my love. For I have broken a promise to him and written a note in my best imitation of his handwriting. It is securely closed with their special seal. A chance to fully open communications between them, and I count upon Glorfindel’s undying love to never accept the word “nay” from Erestor again, once he reads…the last message.

Imladris III 933

My Dearest Beloved,

Four days ago, in your arms, we danced as if the years had disappeared and we once more dwelled in the bliss of our love. I can still feel the strength and heat of your arms around me, holding me close, engulfing me in a safe haven. I hear the kind words that made me smile. The familiar smell of your unique scent and I conceded, finally, that I can no longer be apart from you.

When Gondolin fell and chaos reigned, I knew I could never go on without the memories of you, and I ran for my rooms. Foolishly, I needed your letters and notes knowing life was not worth living without these meager reminders of what we once shared. And I retrieved them and escaped only to see you fall. Daily, I read them to convince myself that I had mattered to someone even if only for a short while. Each day and each night they were my stalwart companions, and I mourned you anew when your scent upon them faded completely.

But one remained untouched. You see, beloved, I never read your last message, but I now know your words. Forgive me for foolishly surrendering our love so quickly. Please run to me, come and collect your thousand kisses and with them wash away the memories of the thousands of tears I have shed. Let us heal and rise together from the ashes of our mistakes.

Humbly and Hopefully,
Yours forever, Erestor
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