Theme: "Where Have You Been?"
Author's Notes: N/A
Summary: Elrond's choice after the Last Alliance
Word Count: 351
The air still stank of acrid smoke, but the stars were visible, strewn diamond-bright across the night sky. Elrond had stopped well away from the better-lit part of camp, leaning against a tree and looking up at them. Under his breath he named the constellations he could pick out - Maedhros had taught him their correct Quenya names, but the voice he heard was another, taking those names and adding the Sindarin translation.
His throat tightened momentarily: he was not yet ready to think about Gil-galad or the heat and noise of an angry giant or that flash of white light brighter than the sun, hotter than a smith’s forge…
“Have they finally left you alone?” Gildor had stayed silent in the arguments that had raged in Elrond’s tent, standing aside, his face grave. Only once had he spoken, to tell Elendil’s sons to go, that the choice of elven High King was a matter for the Eldar, not the Secondborn. He had spoken with such disdain that even Isildur was silenced.
Elrond didn’t look round. *Where have you been? Have you come to try and persuade me more privately?”
Gildor snorted. “This night is no time for foolery,” he said. “You’re sure you’ll not have Gil-galad’s crown?”
Elrond was sharp. “I’m going back to Imladris with my people. Maybe more will join us. Maybe others will prefer Círdan as lord – or Galadriel, nesting there in her wood. The rest will sail West. High King is a travesty of a title now, and I’ll not leave the home I’ve built to live in my cousin’s palace, sit on his throne…” Despite his efforts, his voice shook.
“Don’t decide in haste while your heart is heavy.” Gildor was unexpectedly gentle. “Give it time to settle, for Gil’s death to become real.”
“It’s real enough,” Elrond said grimly. “I was so close I have burns the length of my arm. No Gildor, my mind is set. Gil-galad was the last of the High Kings, the only king Lindon will know. From now onwards we have no overlord: we each set our own path.”