Summary: 3018 Third Age. On the road to Rivendell, an elf keeps his watch.



Keeping Watch

by Nieriel Raina


The sun was just peeking over the horizon, brightening the mists hanging over the ground. Birds chirped from the trees, and a few darted wildly around before disappearing over a rise of ground. A hundred yards down the road, a deer crept out from the cover of the trees. The doe looked at the pony standing near the road almost blandly before moving on, nosing around the ground for soft shoots of grass beside the road. The pony also grazed, snorting softly as the deer moved past him. She moved with grace and ease, lifting long, stilted legs as she wandered through the heather. Suddenly, she stopped short, freezing in place as she looked with fear at the five creatures lying in the heather in her path.


"Easy, my friend. They will not harm you."


The deer swiveled its head towards a tall figure she had not seen before. He stood on the edge of the road, his gold hair gleaming as the light of the early morning sun touched his head. With the sun behind him, she could only make out his outline, and her tendency was to flee, but her instincts told her this was no creature to fear.


He moved forward, and as he did, she could make out one who emanated peace with her and the world around her. He smiled. "They simply rest from a weary journey. Go around them and enjoy your breakfast, lovely one." 


The doe eyed him curiously for a moment, then altered her course, skirting the sleeping figures in the heather.


Glorfindel watched her move on before turning his eyes back to the awakening world. He could not let his guard down, not even to enjoy the morning. The sound of hoof beats caused him to turn to look out over the heather as a white horse crested a rise of ground. He smiled at the beast, and it tossed its head, whickering softly as it moved eagerly towards him.


"Did you enjoy your drink, my friend?" he asked Asfaloth as the horse trotted up to him. In answer, Asfaloth rubbed his cheek vigorously against the elf's chest. "Ah, and now you want to be spoiled, eh?" A soft snort answered him. "Not today, friend. We must stay on guard. The enemy would  like nothing more than the valuables we escort."


The horse's ears swiveled at his words, and the stallion looked over at the sleeping Hobbits and Man lying in the soft heather. Soft, dark eyes turned back to him, and the question was as clear as if the horse had spoken.


"Yes, valuables, both of which the enemy would like to get his hands on - one to welcome, the other to destroy." Glorfindel took several steps towards his sleeping companions, looking down fondly at the Man snoring softly in his sleep. Estel looked exhausted, and well he might, considering all he had endured the last few weeks.


No, not Estel, he reminded himself sadly, Aragorn. The endearing child he loved had long matured into a man worthy of his heritage. Glorfindel sighed heavily at the thought. His task was almost complete.


Sitting down a pace away from the sleeping Man, Glorfindel turned his eyes back to his surroundings. And as he watched, he wondered how many more trials the heir of Isildur would have to endure before the end. The thought caused his heart to ache.


Turning his eyes to the West, where the sun reached streaks of gold as if trying to grasp the still darkened Western sky, he began to sing softly a prayer of petition for the Man sleeping beside him. Long he sang, as the sun rose on its steady course, until finally, he moved to kneel beside Aragorn.


Bending over, he placed a kiss on Aragorn's brow and whispered, "You will succeed. I have faith in you." Then, placing a hand on the Man's shoulder, he shook it slightly. "Come, we must be off." 


His watch had ended.


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