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Chapter 1: Choices

by brindlemom2

His brother watched in silence from the bedchamber doorway as he continued his packing of the saddlebags lying on the bench at the end of the bed. There was a soft knock at the outer chamber door and his brother turned to answer it’s summons. A slender woman entered and nodded her thanks to him before crossing to the bedchamber.

“You have made your final decision then.” Her soft voice asked.

“Yes.” He continued his task without looking at her.

“And you planned to leave before I returned.”

He paused momentarily. “Yes.”

“Why would you do that? I do not understand.”

He tossed a tunic angrily onto the growing pile and turned to face her. “I know, that is the problem, you have never understood and I knew you would be this way. I did not want to face that again.”

Her face twisted in pain. “I thought you cared for me.”

He turned back to the packs and closed his eyes against the hurt he saw. “I do, but this is the path I must follow.” He hesitated. “You could still come with me.”

She worried her bottom lip with small white teeth then answered with great sadness. “You know that is impossible. I cannot choose to follow where you go. A bond would mean an eternity of loneliness for me once you and our children passed beyond the circles of the world. And even if I went to the Halls of Mandos before the ending of our time here there would still remain the loneliness for me if I were re-housed.”

“I know. It was selfish of me to even hope.” He resumed his packing.

“When do you depart?

“As soon as I finish with my packing.”

“Then this is farewell.”

“Yes.” He refused to look at her.

A hand touched his shoulder. “Then may the grace of the Valar hold you safe, meleth nin, and may you find what you seek. Namarie.”

He reached up and squeezed her hand. “Thank you.” He did not look at her as she stood there nor as she turned and left the chamber. “Namarie, heart of my heart, I wish things could have been different.” He whispered.

A short time later when he had completed his task he turned to his brother. He swallowed hard. It was quite possible he would never see his twin again.

“Well, I guess it is time.”

“You will not change your mind?”

“I can not. I am not like you. I must choose what is right for me.”

His brother smiled ruefully. “I know. That does not make it any easier to accept. I thought we would always be together, united together against the world.”

He bowed his head and closed his eyes. He would shed no tears, nor show any grief. His choice was made, as was his brother’s. They would both have to live with it.

“You will look after her? See that she will find someone else?”

“I will do what I can, but I do not believe she will want me around to remind her of you. It would be best if she relied on the support of her family.”

He nodded. Grey eyes exchanged looks of pain and regret mixed with understanding. Turning he strapped on his sword and swung his fur lined cloak across his shoulders. He picked up the saddlebags and gestured towards the two trunks that held the rest of his belonging. “I will send word where to send them once I have settled.”

His brother nodded. They embraced one last time and he whispered “Namarie” and then swiftly left his brother standing there alone.

Elrond swallowed hard and slowly followed Elros out to the courtyard and watched as he mounted the grey stallion that stood there patiently waiting for his master.

Elros gave his brother one last long look before turning and with a wave of farewell swept out of the gate and out of Elrond’s life.

Elrond shook his head. How could two brothers be so alike and yet so different? One was commanding, eager, and impatient for life and the other was responsible and dependable yet curious and a patient seeker of knowledge. He knew he would always be there to care for his brother’s children through the ages, even as he had cared for his brother. He wondered if they would always have his brother’s need to challenge the very essence of life and somehow that thought cheered him immeasurably. His brother would be with him in one way or another, for there would be children he knew.

Choices, sometimes easy, sometimes difficult, their effects ripple out like pebbles dropped in a pool of water and never completely die.