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.”