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Morning Mist and Silver Sun by StarSpray

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Author's Chapter Notes:

Written for the "Horse of a Different Color" challenge at Tolkien_Weekly




Unexpected Guides
Chestnut

They were forced to stop long before Elrond would have liked, but the wounded and the children needed to rest. Exhausted himself, he dropped his things at the roots of a large old chestnut tree, and almost instantly a chestnut, still inside its spiky outer shell, dropped on his head. Laughter followed when he flinched; Elrond looked up into the branches to find two identical faces smiling back down at him.

"Worry not," said one, dropping lightly to the ground. "It isn't much farther."

Elrond blinked at him. "What isn't?"

"A hidden valley, in the foothills of the Misty Mountains."

.

First Glimpse
Bay

Celeborn frowned. "You said there was a valley."

The hunters grinned at him. "Just follow us, and watch your steps!"

Elrond and Celeborn exchanged glances, but followed without argument. They could jsut hear the distant baying of Sauron's hounds; the sooner they got their people to this hidden valley, the better.

The hunters darted up the hill ahead of them, dark hair flying behind them like banners in the fresh mountain breeze.

The ground dropped away so suddenly that Elrond nearly fell over the edge. But there it was--a beautiful green valley filled with the sound of flowing water.

.

Recognition
Dappled

Elrond found the hunters sitting beneath a beech tree, dappled sunlight dancing on their hair and faces, apparently entirely at ease, in spite of the army practically on their doorstep.

One of them smiled up at him. "Has everyone made it?"

"Yes. Thank you. I don't think we would have escaped Sauron's army without you."

One of them fell backward onto the grass, sighing as he stretched his arms over his head. The other peered at Elrond, bright grey eyes sharp, his smile slipping just a little into wistfulness. "Has anyone ever told you you look just like your mother?"

.

Unpopular Opinion
Dun

The hunters flitted in and out of the valley, often returning suddenly and unexpectedly, covered in dust that turned their dark hair dun, and smeared across their faces in sweat-damp streaks, or else splattered with dark orc blood with an almost feral light in their eyes. But even those who feared them and thought them strange phantoms cheered when they brought back news that the tide of war was turning.

That evening they found him watching Gil-Estel. "Hideous, isn't it?" one of them remarked.

"What?"

"The Silmaril." The hunter bared his teeth. "You can almost see the bloodstains from here."

.

Impossible Ghosts
Black

The hunters only laughed when Elrond asked--again--for their names, vanishing wraithlike into the shadows under the trees, as though they wore copies of Lúthien's black dream-cloak, leaving him standing alone with his frustration and questions.

Celeborn only shrugged when Elrond told him about it. "I'm half-convinced they're Maiar grown bored in the Undying Lands," Elrond muttered, "or kin to Iarwain Ben-adar."

"I don't doubt they know him." Celeborn smiled. "And I think--" He stopped, expression turning almost wistful.

"What? Do you know who they are?"

He shrugged again, and turned his gaze toward Eärendil's star. "Impossible ghosts."

.

In the Middle of Winter
White

They blew back to Imladris with the first white-out snowstorm, rolling their eyes at Elrond's fumbled greeting. "Those who call you wise must be mistaken; it cannot take so much wisdom to recgonize your own uncles!"

Elrond opened his mouth to protest--Eärendil had no brothers--before he recalled the tales OF Doriath, and shut it again. "But you--"

"Of the fate of Eluréd and Elurín no tale tells," intoned the second twin, before thrusting a bottle of wine into Elrond's hands. "Oropher sends his regards."

Impossible ghosts, indeed. Smiling, Elrond took the wine. "Welcome back to Imladris, uncles."




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