Wall, The by Zhie
Summary: Glorfindel and Erestor find themselves at a pivotal point in history, attempting to figure out what side of the wall they should be on.
Warnings: Violence, Character Death, NSS (Non-sexual Slash aka Slash-lite aka my elves are gay but they don’t have time to get a room ‘cause this is WAR, so the only wood is the horse. Okay, I’ll stop now.)
Categories: Stories of Arda > Extras Characters: Erestor, Glorfindel
Awards: None
Challenge: None
Genre: None
Special Collection: None
Series: None
Chapters: 4 Completed: Yes Word count: 5449 Read: 16606 Published: March 19 2015 Updated: March 19 2015
Story Notes:
Cross-over written for TME Challenge. Lord of the Rings (Tolkien’s writings) crossed with The Iliad (Homer’s writings). Not sure if that would make the other fandom Greek Mythology or Homeric Poetry, but I’ll take either one for the win, Alex. They’re both listed on Fanfiction.net, so it’s whichever works for you, dear reader. I’m just in it for the Elves. Er, I mean, Nymphs... yeah.
Betas: Lalaith_Raina and Smaug, who also helped with the header.

1. A Far Sight by Zhie

2. A Killing by Zhie

3. Bearing Gifts by Zhie

4. His Story by Zhie

A Far Sight by Zhie
They stood on the wall looking down upon the foreign army camped in the distance. Fires were lit across the land, some for cooking, some for warmth, and some the funeral pyres, burning bright, with thick plumes of smoke twisting toward the heavens as if to try to reach Mount Olympus. There were fires burning behind them as well, within the walls of the city, where – for now – they were safe.

“Reminds me of Gondolin.”

An amused chuckle was the reply. “Gondolin happened in a day. This,” said the blond warrior, extending his arm with his palm open to acknowledge the Achaeans below, “has been going on for years – and it will continue for years.”

“But Hektor is dead now and—“

“And what am I?” Glorfindel shook his head, the braids his hair was woven into giving their own disapproval. “Am I not still a warrior?”

“You are indeed,” agreed Erestor. “A stubborn one at that.” He placed his palms flat against the stone of the wall and leaned forward just slightly, observing what he could see in the far distance. “However, I am not about to allow you leave to go forth and prove that fact.”

“It hardly seems of any use that I am here, then,” Glorfindel grumbled. He crossed his arms over his bared chest to further express his disdain of the current situation. “I should go out there tonight and slay a few, just to spite you.”

Erestor glanced sideways and smirked. “Says the warrior wearing a skirt.” He was glad they chose to speak in Sindarin, and glad that King Priam had decreed that they were allowed such liberty to do so, for a pair of similarly clad soldiers strolled by as he said such. The two parties greeted one another amicably; these ‘far-seers’ as they were called for their ‘gift’ of cunning vision (which Glorfindel had attributed to Apollo on a whim to appease the king upon their initial meeting), and the citizens of Troy who had taken these strangers to be a blessed sign from their gods.

As soon as the others had passed by, Glorfindel turned to lean with his back against the wall, arms still crossed, and shot a glare at his companion. “This is not a skirt; this is the latest most fashionable armor. You should talk – what is that, a dress?”

“Robes, darling.”

“Sure they are,” scoffed Glorfindel. “Wait, now, you just tried to change the subject!”

“I did change the subject. I wonder what the latest fashion is in Kemet?”

“So do I, but I think we need to discuss the situation at hand.” Glorfindel repositioned himself so that he was right beside Erestor, looking over the wall with him. His voice dropped lower, despite the inability every other inhabitant of Troy had to hear them. “We are stuck here, and all you will let me do is shoot arrows over the wall. I am restless, love. I need to be down there.” He pointed firmly toward the ground. “My blade is furious that it has remained sheathed for so long – let me make it sing for the gods.”

“Whose gods? Certainly not yours,” admonished Erestor. “Or have you exchanged Eru for Zeus?”

“I am restless – and I am a warrior! Upon that, we have both agreed,” Glorfindel reminded him.

“Yes, yes, you have not ceased to remind me.” Erestor walked away slowly, annoyance building. Glorfindel followed until they reached a bend in the wall that placed them at a corner. “What would I do if you were to fall?”

Glorfindel sighed. “I will not fall.”

“I cannot take that chance. YOU cannot take that chance. This is not your war to fight, my dear. From afar and from these walls I still fear you might bring about the wrath of Manwe or Elbereth, but once you stand amid those Men, it will be their gods whose wrath you shall face, and they are not so merciful. Some days I wonder if we are even on the right side of this wall.” Erestor paused, and tried another tactic. He placed his hands upon the strong shoulders of his partner and asked, “Who will go with me to Persia if you were killed here? I know how great a champion you are,” continued Erestor as he squeezed the firm biceps. “No one out there knows,” he whispered, stepping closer. “Now is not the time for them to learn. What shall we do if one of them were to slip past our guards or fly like Daedalus over the walls, with Hektor here no more? You are needed here, darling, but you must be patient.”

“Did Cassandra tell you to say that?”

“Not in those words, precisely, but I have learned that no matter what anyone says about the poor girl, she tends to be right most of the time.”

Glorfindel abruptly pulled Erestor to him, and then gently held him as the flickering fires all around them began to burn down to golden embers. “I miss Hektor more than I thought I would. I see little Astynyax and know he shall never see his father again. I want so badly to go out there now and avenge Hektor’s death. I want to hear the men dying on my blade, I want to taste their blood on the air. I want to find that bastard Achilles and run my sword through him and spit in his face. Before he is dead, I want to rope him behind my chariot and pull him through the streets as he did to Hektor. And then, before he dies, I want to say to him that he is not the greatest warrior ever, that he is nothing, nothing compared to Hektor, and certainly, he is nothing compared to me.”

Erestor was quiet for some time. Finally, as the last of the fires burned down to ashes, he spoke. “You scare me sometimes,” he whispered in the darkness.

“How do you think I feel?”
A Killing by Zhie
-A Killing-

Many nights passed, and many of those nights were spent by Erestor within the lesser temple of Apollo. The main temple in Thymbra was inaccessible with war on the doorstep of Troy, and thus the priests and priestesses took their prayers to the smaller temple within Troy, hoping that Apollo or even his sister Artemis might hear their pleas.

It was under the guise of scribe and priest that Erestor had come into the city; he practiced these self-taught occupations in moderation to keep up appearances. Scribe was not far from the truth; his purpose – their purpose – for staying was to continue to document history until such time that the sea finally called them home. As of present, no gulls had informed them of anything, and so the journey he and Glorfindel had begun when Elrond had departed continued.

In the nearly empty temple, the sound of bare feet upon polished stone and the shift of fabric against the floor alerted Erestor but did not alarm him. Thus far, none had made it within the walls of Troy, save Trojans and those counted as friends. He could guess the identity of the visitor, but waited until they spoke to find out that his assumption was correct.

“I hope he answers your prayers,” whispered the voice of Cassandra. “Mine fall upon deaf ears.”

Erestor stood a little longer with his hands extended and palms open, though it was not from Apollo that he asked for guidance, speaking the words in his own language. After he finished he stepped back from the altar, upon which a carven statue of Apollo stood. The god was a model of perfection, unabashedly depicted in the nude, with one hand reaching towards his beloved sun. “Tell me what you pray for, and I shall ask for it.”

“I pray for my brothers, and they continue to fall. My nights are filled with the horrors of their deaths; Troilus had been the worst, and I thought Achilles a monster then. Now Hektor... his death is still fresh upon my mind as if it were yesterday,” admitted Cassandra. “I thought Achilles could be no more brutal than he had with Troilus – to kill upon the stairs of the temple of Apollo! To behead and disembowel an unarmed youth...” She turned away. “I fear now for Paris. He has taken Hektor’s place now, though his skills lack.”

“Glorfinnius could help refine his skills.” Why Erestor was offering such a thing now, when he had wanted them to keep from offering direct aid could only be explained by the tears he had seen roll down Cassandra’s face before she looked away from him. A weeping woman is oft no match for even the strongest man, be he Man or Elf. “He is a patient teacher and you have seen his bow work.”

“Even so, I am afraid that our city is doomed to fall,” said Cassandra. “Paris returned; Troilus is dead. Now Hektor is dead. The end is coming for us all.”

The way in which she spoke chilled Erestor. On the surface, he wanted to tell her she was being ridiculous. It sounded melodramatic. In fact, it did sound ridiculous – they were within a well-made fortress, and unless a way in was found, the Trojans would be safe. Something, however, nagged him. Some little bit of his mind felt how sincere she was, and how much she believed the words she had said.

Before he could offer comfort or advice, Erestor’s ears picked up on the faint sounds of panicked screaming. He and the soothsayer exchanged a brief look, and then ran from the temple only to meet Andromache as she ran up the stairs with her infant in her arms. “Achilles! Achilles has climbed the walls! The gods have forsaken us! We are doomed!”

While Cassandra took to the task of calming her sister-in-law, Erestor began to track the sounds of the horrified citizens of Troy. Though Achilles had been seen to have done more than most mortal men – and why not? thought Erestor as he ran, knowing the truth of the matter – that he managed to find a gap in the defenses was alarming for what might come. Everyone believed with Troilus dead that the city would fall, but the wall had always kept them safe.

“Maybe he flew over.” Erestor glanced to his left and found that Glorfindel had also heard the screams, and they now ran together as they approached the end of the bloody path Achilles cut through the city. “Split up?” Glorfindel had his sword drawn, and Erestor pulled the bow and quiver from Glorfindel’s back.

“It should never have come to us,” muttered Erestor as he hastily strapped the quiver over his robes. “We should have stayed in Kemet. Fishing in the Nile... farming in the marshes... all the pet cats anyone could ever want. No one ever bothered us there.”

“I had to dye my hair black the entire time,” Glorfindel reminded him. “That was bother enough. Are you ready?”

Erestor nodded, and they parted ways around a granary, each of them armed in preparation to fight the hero of the Achaeans.

It was to the left that Glorfindel went. It was the shortest route, and it gave him the advantage of being behind the warrior. It also made him more vulnerable; with Erestor having taken his bow, he was reduced to fighting at close-range. His mithril blade shined silver in the moonlight; though orcs would make it glow blue, it had not done so for some time – not since their visit to the Graeae, which had proved to be useless (and is a tale for another time).

Glorfindel did not step from the shadows; not at first. He meant to surprise Achilles, and with sword raised and unshielded for dexterity, he stepped just to where he should have seen him. The streets were lit by oil lamps, casting an eerie gleam upon the blood that had been spilt that pooled on stone walkways and seeped into the dirt along the roadside. It was a rampage – a complete massacre, and Glorfindel was determined to stop Achilles before any others were victimized.

He stepped forward, thinking that Achilles had perhaps entered one of the houses or was hiding between them. As soon as he was revealed, he realized the mistake he had made in the heat of the moment. He heard the breathing before he saw him, and attempted to move back. Achilles, if he was scaling walls around cities, was no stranger to climbing the side of a small building.

The Achaean made the attempt to leap down upon the Elf from the side of the granary, and caught enough of Glorfindel to bring him down onto the ground. It gave Achilles the advantage for only a moment, and by the time he had readjusted his blade to strike a blow, Glorfindel had rolled over, and put his legs together to kick Achilles down, thrusting his feet at Achilles chest.

Both warriors took a moment to recover and get to their feet. They circled and began that dance of destruction that has gone on for centuries. A jab there, a slice there, sizing one another up, waiting for the other to take the initiative. For several minutes, they crossed blades sparingly, distanced from each other, saying nothing. Finally, Glorfindel spoke. “Your campaign ends tonight, Númenórean. Too many have suffered your wrath, and your actions are not fitting a son of Elessar.”

“You speak strangely to me,” answered Achilles. “Yet I know one thing – your sword is drawn against me, and mine to you. Do you fight for Troy?”

“I fight for the side that is just,” Glorfindel replied.

“Then you are on the wrong side of that wall.” Achilles lunged, and the fight began. Each played to their strengths. As Achilles was used to short battles with sudden, unexpected movements, he used this tactic again. Glorfindel, however, fought with fluidity and grace, the sword merely an extension of his own arm. They battled on, metal hitting metal, the bronze sword of Achilles clanging angrily, while the mithril blade in Glorfindel’s hands sang out each note just as the Elf had predicted.

Evenly matched, neither could manage a successful strike to the other, and as the sun was driven into the sky by Apollo to chase his sister’s watch away, a crowd had gathered about them to form an arena. It was comprised mostly of soldiers, awed by the constitution of both warriors to continue, and by the beauty of the fight happening before them.

Erestor was not in this crowd. He had climbed to the top of the granary when the fight began, and stood there now with arrow drawn. He had kept steady in that position for the majority of the fight, ready to strike Achilles should he overpower Glorfindel.

He, too, had company. Cassandra had discovered him there, and brought her father and brother to the safety of the storage facility for them to watch the battle. “When you have a clean shot, kill him,” Priam had demanded more than once, but Erestor ignored those around him, concentrating solely on the battle below.

It was the dawning of the day that gave Glorfindel a sudden advantage. The bright sphere he believed to now be heralded across the sky by Arien announced its presence with a shock of light that caused Achilles to squint, and in that second Glorfindel used his might to knock the bronze sword from his hands.

They were down upon the ground, in the dust and the drying blood from the waning night. Glorfindel had Achilles pinned; the slim silver sword was pressed against Achilles’ throat, so that the neatly etched tengwar on the blade left an imprint upon his neck. “You are of the House of Elessar, of the people of Elros, Tar-Minyatar,” he said in a low voice. He wanted to slide the blade across the throat of the monster before him, wanted to pierce the blade through Achilles’ heart. But he knew somewhere that Erestor was watching, and long ago they had made a promise to watch over those who claimed descent from Aragorn and Arwen, for however long they lived in Middle-earth, no matter what became of the lands they once knew.

Sometimes, it was very difficult. Sometimes, it felt that ending the line was a much better proposition. Still, he had promised Erestor that they would always give each one a chance. “This is not your war. Surrender yourself; come with us and be at peace.”

“I never wanted this to be my war, but it is now. I am Achilles, and I do not surrender.”

At the top of the granary, Erestor had lowered his weapon, much to the annoyance of King Priam. “You have a chance! Kill him now!”

“He is not resisting; they are talking. I will not kill a man who is in negotiation.”

“Then you are a traitor.”

Erestor looked for a moment to Priam, trying to think of words to say that would appease the king. As he did so, he missed the movements of Paris, who came up around the other side of him and grabbed for the bow. “The gods will not take kindly to the killing of a man who is unarmed!” scolded Erestor as he attempted to wrestle hold back on the bow.

Priam, by no means a frail king, grabbed hold of Erestor’s arms, giving Paris the advantage of taking the bow. “This king does not take kindly to a man who has killed his sons.” Priam managed to hold Erestor back long enough for Paris to fire a single arrow down at Achilles.

On the ground, Glorfindel was still attempting to reason with the Achaean, despite his personal view of the situation. As he was talking, he heard the familiar whistle of one of his own arrows. He saw it; he attempted to shuffle both himself and Achilles away from it, and nearly succeeded. Achilles hissed in pain as the arrow pierced his ankle, tearing his heel open, and Glorfindel sprang into action, no longer as a fighter, but as a healer.

“Stay still. The more you move, the more blood you will lose.” Glorfindel looked around warily; had Erestor been the one to shoot, he would not have been so slow and would not have missed.

The blood poured out and splashed up from the ground like a vessel being emptied too quickly despite Glorfindel’s efforts to wrap the wound with fabric from his cape. Before he could do more to tend to the warrior, he was pulled back and restrained by a trio of Trojan soldiers.

“King Priam demands an explanation,” was all one of them would say as Glorfindel was taken from the place of Achilles’ death.
Bearing Gifts by Zhie
-Bearing Gifts-

“I have no idea what irks me more – that we were thrown out of their city, or that their cowardly prince has my sword and bow!” Glorfindel turned around and hit the door of the city with both fists in a fit of anger.

“Be grateful we were thrown out in a state better than that of our companion.” Erestor looked around for things to be used to create some sort of a stretcher. There were three of them left outside of the city, though their companion had already expired much earlier in the day. Wrapped in linens to keep the flies from their goal, the body of Achilles was slumped against the wall of the city.

Glorfindel stepped away from the walls and looked them up and down. “Instead of telling him of his heritage, I should have asked him how he made it over the wall.”

“We can go to the River Styx later and see if we can catch him before he sails.”

“Not funny, love.” Glorfindel turned to watch his companion. “What are you doing?”

“Looking for things I can use.” Erestor had gathered a half dozen broken spears long enough for his purpose and a pair of battered shields. “He is all muscle; too heavy for us to carry all the way to the camp.”

“I thought we could just roll him down,” suggested Glorfindel.

Erestor flicked Glorfindel behind the ear as he passed by. “Now you are the one being ridiculous.”

Glorfindel smiled. “If we get out of this, I promise never to interfere with your plans. If you say we go to Persia, we go to Persia. If you say we go to Kemet, we go to Kemet.”

“First, let us go to the Achaean camp,” said Erestor as he hastily built the simple stretcher upon which they would pull the body of Achilles. “Your friend is starting to get a stench about him.”

The better part of the morning was spent dragging Achilles to the encampment. It would not have taken so long had they not both been exhausted from the events of the previous night. Most of the journey was spent with Erestor silently contemplative, and Glorfindel cursing and muttering his luck at losing his weapons.

Upon crossing onto the beach where the Achaeans had their operations set up, they were almost immediately surrounded by a group of warriors. Erestor raised his hands in supplication; this was not the first time in his long life that they had walked into an unfamiliar or enemy occupied area, and his speech was well-practiced. “We have no quarrel with you and come to you in peace. My friend and I are unarmed.” Erestor almost laughed to himself at that point; it was the only time thus far that Glorfindel truly had been unarmed. “We request an audience with your leader.”

“With whose leader?” An average-looking man with a neat beard and trimmed hair casually approached them. “We all fight for the pride and honor of Menelaus, but our lords and kings differ. Separate, but united.” He unsheathed his sword casually as he passed through the circle of gathered warriors and stood in front of Erestor. “To what end would you speak to someone?”

“We have come to return the body of your champion.” Glorfindel motioned towards the body. “Achilles.”

The sword that had been drawn swiftly found its place beneath Glorfindel’s chin. “Killed by you?”

“No. This deed was done by Paris, son of Priam.”

“Paris?” The man laughed, but held his blade steady. “Paris, son of Priam? There is no chance of that!”

Erestor made to move to the body, but was stopped when two of the soldiers blocked his path, closing in on the strangers. “I suggest you look at the corpse. His foot is wounded and he bled to death. It was not in battle that he was killed, but as Achilles was being... questioned... after he entered the city and was... temporarily subdued.”

“Odysseus? It may be a trap,” warned one of the soldiers. “The mere thought of Paris killing Achilles—“

“It was prophesized so,” reminded Odysseus. “Not in battle was he to die, and Paris would be so cowardly. Unwrap the body, Sinon.”

The soldier knelt and unwrapped the linens, revealing the beautiful face, eyes closed as if only sleeping. The armor had been left on the body so as not to sully him as he had done to Hektor; when the legs were revealed, so, too, was the wound. “It is as he says.”

“Now that we have delivered your comrade, we shall take our leave,” said Erestor, but no one stepped aside to give them leave to go.

Odysseus kept his blade against Glorfindel’s throat. “You just came from the direction of Troy. What purpose did you have there?”

“We were sent by the gods,” blurted out Glorfindel before Erestor had a chance to think of a better answer than ‘We accidentally wandered in.’ “Apollo was aggrieved by the deeds of Achilles and therefore we were sent to keep watch upon the walls.”

“Who are you that the gods would call upon you for such a deed?” demanded Odysseus.

They already had one foot in, so Erestor decided to jump the rest of the way. “We are what your people call nymphs,” he said, and he pushed back the hair that covered his ears. “We humbly serve Artemis, but in this time of need, her brother was given leave to use us as he saw fit.”

“Nymphs? You seem a bit odd for nymphs,” answered Odysseus, seeming amused. “Mainly, you seem to be the wrong gender.”

“Do you truly believe that there are no male nymphs?” asked Erestor, giving Odysseus a look that was wrathful.

“I have seen many nymphs, but never one who is male,” Odysseus replied.

“And just how do you think baby nymphs are born? Certainly, not everyone can be springing fully grown from someone’s head,” Erestor admonished. This granted laughter from a few of the soldiers gathered around them, and Odysseus lowered his blade.

“I will allow the benefit of believing you if you can answer my next question. If you were sent by your mistress and master to watch over Troy, what are you doing here?”

“That I can answer,” said Glorfindel. “We have been rejected from the city by King Priam. While Achilles was being questioned, my friend tried to wrestle the bow from Paris that was used to wound Achilles. After the arrow hit, it was I who tried to staunch the wound. Look for yourselves; a part of my cape is torn away,” said Glorfindel, lifting up the side of his cloak that was frayed. “You will find that missing piece to be the tourniquet which I tried to apply to the wound before I was pulled away by King Priam’s soldiers.”

“He speaks the truth,” said Sinon as he lifted up the blood-soaked piece of cloth and matched it to the part that had been torn from Glorfindel’s cape.

Odysseus nodded and looked appeased as he sheathed his sword. “You are a healer, then?”

“I am most at home healing plants and trees, but I have often tended to men and animals,” Glorfindel replied.

“And you?” He pointed to Erestor.

Now that they were knee-deep, it was hard to step back. Scribes were not among the compliments of Apollo or Artemis, and Erestor had to think quickly to come up with a suitable purpose for himself. The thought of his hobby when he had lived in Rivendell came to mind, and he said, “I live by the river, and I delight in making crafts of clay for—“

“You are a sculptor?” Odysseus made a motion for the soldiers to clear a path in the direction of his tent. “Come; there is work to be done. What are your names?”

“I am Epeios, and this is Glorfinnius,” answered Erestor quickly with the pseudonyms they had chosen for this land they were in.

“Follow me, Epeios. The gods have smiled upon us in sending you here today.”
His Story by Zhie
Instead of leaving, as they had intended, both Glorfindel and Erestor were welcomed by the Achaeans, and especially by Odyssues, who had a task of epic proportions for Erestor to undertake. The idea was brilliant by Erestor’s standards; the only trouble was that Odysseus had not been able to find anyone with the skills needed to execute his plan.

Even Erestor’s amateur skills as a sculptor by the standards of his own people were rated highly by the Achaeans as being expert level. He worked tirelessly on the design and building of the giant equine, being sure to make it too large to be taken directly in through the gate so that part of the wall would need to be taken down for the Trojans to take the spoils into their land, and too beautiful for the Trojans to leave on the beach.

When the horse was completed, Odysseus called for the best fighters to accompany him inside of the horse. Glorfindel was not among them; he had spent his time in the Achaean camp tending to the wounded in order to keep up appearances.

In a strange turn of events, Erestor was chosen by Odysseus to be in the war party that would hide inside of the hollow horse. “He cannot figure out how to lock the latch,” explained Erestor. “I had to make it appear seamless from the outside, and yet secure enough from within to keep someone from accidentally kicking it open. That would be quite embarrassing for the Trojans to be pushing the horse back to the city and someone suddenly falls out from the belly of this beast,” he said, patting one of the gigantic legs.

“Just be careful,” fretted Glorfindel as the last of the Achaeans climbed up the rope ladder into the massive wood and clay horse.

“The only thing I am going along to do is open the hatch and hold the ladder. And find your weapons,” added Erestor quickly before Glorfindel could make that request yet again. Ever since learning that Erestor would be along for the siege, Glorfindel had hinted, and then begged, that if he had any way to recover his sword and bow that it be done.

It looked as if Glorfindel was about to say more, but Odysseus approached and made a motion around the shore. “We have ‘deserted’ Troy. Time for us to put the plan into action. Sinon has sighted the Trojan party approaching.”

“I will be there in a moment. I need a minute of privacy with my friend.”

Odysseus gave a bemused smile but nodded and began to walk towards the horse. Sinon came down from his perch on the rocks where he had been scouting for the Trojans, expecting them to send a party from Troy as soon as the ships had been hidden from view. He began to walk towards Glorfindel and Erestor, but was motioned towards the horse by Odysseus.

“Is something wrong, sir?” questioned Sinon of his commander.

“No, just give them a minute. Stop looking,” scolded Odysseus playfully when Sinon glanced over his shoulder. “How would you feel if someone was staring at you while you were saying farewell to your wife?”

“I had no idea those two were like Patroclus and Achilles!” Sinon tapped his foot impatiently, and after a minute, glanced over his shoulder again.

“Are they done?”

“They are still embracing intimately... and...” Sinon shrugged and his cheeks became flushed. “Maybe that was why they were thrown out of Troy.”

“While I am still doubtful of some of their story, I am doubtful that would have caused their banishment.” Odysseus slapped Sinon on the shoulder and then walked to the ladder. “Give them another minute, and then send Epeios up to the horse. The Trojans might not be the brightest, but if the floor is hanging open with the feet of a half dozen soldiers hanging down, they might just get suspicious about this horse.”


“You still owe me for retrieving your weapons,” Erestor reminded Glorfindel as they stood upon the wall overlooking lush greenery and majestic mountain ranges. Despite their heritage, the cold air chilled them, and Erestor drew his fur cloak closer as they kept watch in the darkness.

“I will find a way to make it up to you some day,” promised Glorfindel. His hand rested upon the hilt of his blade, and he sighed peacefully in knowing it was still with him after all these years. “I still wonder, even now, who was right and who was wrong in that war.”

“It was war. In war, both sides believe they are right. It has less to do with right and wrong, and more with who has the justification.” Something caught Erestor’s gaze, and he straightened up and kept a keen watch for a moment. “Mongol raiders. See them?”

“Yes... too far to hit from this distance.”

Erestor nodded in agreement. “Better to get ready for them now, darling. If we wait until they are upon us, we might not have time.”

“Yes, dear,” chuckled Glorfindel. He checked his bow and tested the string, then counted and examined his arrows. “Do you ever wonder sometimes if we are on the right side of this wall?”

For a moment, Erestor paused in his preparations. “If I was going to spend eternity second-guessing myself, I think I should have sailed to Valinor when everyone else did.”

“A very good point,” conceded Glorfindel.

“Besides, we have our promise to keep,” Erestor reminded his companion. “So long as the Ming Dynasty continues, our place is here, protecting what remains of the Númenórean line.”
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