Beyond Canon

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When Erestor arrived at the Academic Library of Valimar, he already had a visitor awaiting him at his desk. “Haldir, what a truly wonderful surprise to find you here before me!” Setting a leather sack that likely contained the lunch that Glorfindel had packed for him and a book or two down on the back counter, Erestor made his way to the carved oak desk at which Haldir was sitting. “I was very much hoping I might see you today. Are you well? Glorfindel came with me this morn; perhaps the three of us might have lunch together.”

Haldir’s eyes followed Erestor around the room, but it was not until he declined to answer that Erestor really looked at him. “Haldir, what is the matter?” Erestor placed his hands flat on the desk, palms down. “You look pale, pen-neth. Is something wrong?”

“Break my calm.” Misty eyes darkened to steel, and the smile fell from Erestor’s face. “Why, Erestor? Why did you not tell me?”

Erestor held onto the desk for support. “What was I to say? What should I have told you?”

“The truth, Erestor.” Haldir’s eyes glossed over with unshed tears. “You could have told me the truth.”

“Haldir, pen-neth... ion, how could I? You must understand-“

“Good morning!” The cheerful voice of everyone’s favorite reborn elf rang through the library. Though anyone else would have been dutifully shushed, the slayer was instead greeted by many happy waves and even a few flirtatious smiles. In no time he had made it across the room to Erestor’s desk, where he slid his arm comfortably around his lover’s waist. “Good morning, cousin!” he said, addressing Haldir. “Has Erestor invited you yet to lunch? I am sure he has,” he added, giving the aforementioned elf an affectionate squeeze around his middle. It was then that he took note of Erestor’s shuddering and Haldir’s icy glare. “What is going on?” he demanded in a low voice. A few of the other scribes and librarians had begun to take note as well and were warily watching the situation.

“Haldir-“ began Erestor, but the younger elf slammed his fist down onto the desk before standing up. The chair skidded along the floor as he shoved it back, causing a few others to peep out from around the stacks of books and scrolls. Haldir stared one final time while Erestor gave him a pleading look, then left in a huff, pushing past a page as he exited.

Shifting his gaze from the door to the shaking elf beside him, Glorfindel maneuvered Erestor around to the other side of the desk and moved the chair closer so that the dark elf could sit on it. “Sweetheart, what happened?” Most of the other elves began to go back to their work, all looking rather bewildered but not about to get involved with whatever had just transpired. One of the newer librarians came around the circulation counter and approached with obvious concern.

“Master Erestor, whatever is the matter?” she asked. “One moment, you were so happy to see that ellon, and the next you looked out of your wits over it. Is there anything I can do?” she offered with deep sincerity.

Erestor, who had let his hands fall into his lap, stared down at them and shook his head. Glorfindel had crouched down so that he was eyelevel, and was stroking the mane of black hair soothingly. “Erestor, did he say something, love? What did he do?”

“Nothing,” mumbled Erestor, still looking down into his lap.

“Who was that?” questioned the young librarian, her eyes trained on the doorway lest the one who made their mentor so upset enter again. Erestor answered in a choked, inaudible voice. “Sorry, my lord, I did not hear you.”

“I said, that was my son.” As he repeated the words, he turned his head to look at the doorway, and sat and stared at it for some time.

- - -

For the next few hours, Haldir wandered about the streets of Old Valimar. He did not wish to see any of his close family or friends, or those he thought to be his family, so he chose the old pathways instead of the new ones that encircled and spread out from Oropher’s Palace, which was at the center of New Valimar. His grandparents, at least the pair he had thought of as his grandparents for so long, lived and worked in a building close to the heart of the newer parts of Valinor’s main city. They owned a confectionary, which his Grandmother operated, and his Grandfather was a carpenter for hire. Orophin was apprenticing with their Grandfather- and it struck Haldir suddenly, to think of how many things he had thought were true were actually lies that no one knew to be lies, except one very secretive pair of elves.

Celeborn, the ellon who had tucked him into bed, read him stories, taught him to fight and hunt, the ellon whom he had looked up to and run to when he felt the most lost, the one who praised him when he was good and scolded him when he was bad, was quite simply, not who Haldir had thought he was. And yet, the thought of anyone else being his father was completely alien to him. So much so, that upon trying to wrap his mind around the idea that Erestor- Erestor!- was related to him in any way, Haldir had the immense urge to kick something or hit something really very hard.

He wanted to confront his parents- again, it seemed odd to think ‘parents’ and try to replace the easy-going, relaxed, silver-haired ellon with the tall, shadowy one he had known as a teacher and friend. His intention had been to talk to Erestor, to find out first if what he was supposing from the memory he had seen was true, and second, to question him. Confusion had led to anger, and by the time Erestor had arrived, it was full blown fury. A day ago, he would have done anything to make Erestor feel better, to make him happier. Now, he wanted nothing more than to make the older elf feel just as terrible as he himself did.

A small pub at the end of the road caught his eye, and curiosity turned him toward it. The old stone structure looked to have been patched many times over and probably needed a new coat of paint. Over the door was a carving of a swooping eagle in lieu of a sign, and very faintly Haldir could hear the sounds of a harp from within. Pushing the door open, he found the inside to look more charming than the outside. It wasn’t much, but it was cozy and clean. There was a counter to sit at, and an array of mismatched tables if you preferred a place to sit with a group. In one corner, the customary minstrel sat and played, but did not sing. Discussions here were quiet, and many of the elves had their noses in a book or a sheaf of papers scattered upon the table which they sat.

Haldir took a place at the bar; no one had looked up to see him when he entered. Even the one tending the bar looked to be lost in thought, staring out a window in a dreamy fashion as he wiped the counter in a rhythmic movement. It took several minutes for him to notice Haldir, which he did with a look of surprise at first, and then gave him a warm and friendly smile as he hurried over. “Fine day to you. What is it you wish?”

With a shrug, Haldir said, “Something strong. Stronger than wine.”

“Drinking to forget?” asked the bartender as he pulled up a glass and set it upon the counter. “Or drinking to remember?”

“Why would one drink to remember?”

Lowering his voice, the bartender said, “Many of those around you drink to remember. You have stumbled upon, or perhaps you meant to be here but somehow I doubt that, the Brotherhood of Manwe.”

“The what?” questioned Haldir as a glass of strong smelling and probably potent liquor was poured for him.

“The Brotherhood of Manwe. Surely you’ve not heard of us or else your jaw would not hang so low.” The bartender plugged up the bottle he held with a cork and leaned upon the counter. “We are the dreamers of dreams, and the lovers of words. It is Manwe who delights most in poetry, and it is we who provide him with it.”

“I see.” Haldir looked around at those in the room, stooped over their work with dedication. There was a calm here, and calm was what Haldir needed. This calm to the scratching and scribbling of quill upon parchment, and the languid notes of the harper in the corner.

“Someone give me a word that rhymes with cloud!” shouted a particularly tattered old poet, looking as if he had perhaps foregone sleep for a few days and instead spent it here, sitting at his table. “And not shroud! I already used that one!”

It was astonishing to Haldir that the sudden outburst did not shock the rest of the room, and had not caused the harper to missed a note. One of the others began to recognize the shouter, scratching his chin as he tried to think of something to fit the description of what was needed. Haldir looked to the bartender, who was grinning at the way the shout had jarred Haldir. Clearing his throat, Haldir called to the poet, “What about, LOUD?”

“No, too complex. It will come to me!” The poet bowed his head and began to scribble once more.

Thinking perhaps everyone here was mad, Haldir considered leaving. The bartender extended his hand to him. “Mae govannen. I am Rumil, the Loremaster of Valinor.”

Haldir’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. “You? You are- you are Rumil? The one who created language?”

“Well, just writing, but... yes, yes, that’s me,” Rumil replied. “A number of other things as well, like the ruler and addition, but everyone seems to like the whole writing concept the best.”

“This is just... this is just incredible!” Haldir was in awe, and had he not had such a trying night and upsetting morning, he may very well have counted this among one of his best days ever. “You know, I named my little brother after you.”

“Really? Incredible! How marvelous!” Rapping on the counter with his knuckles, Rumil announced, “Did everyone catch that? I have a little brother named for me. Well, not MY little brother, but HIS little brother. Fabulous, no?”

“So? I have a play named after me,” bragged the writer who had been scratching his chin.

Laughter came from the shouting elf. “Tis because you were the one who wrote it!”

“How incredible,” repeated Rumil, pouring a drink for himself. “A little brother, named for me. Me. The great Rumil. Stupendous.” Walking around the counter to the side that Haldir was on, he said, “Do you write, er, sorry, I did not catch your name.”

“Haldir,” he said. “Haldir Cel-“ Pausing, he pursed his lips together. He was at a loss now, whether he should add ‘Celebornion’ or ‘Erestorion’ after his name, so he changed the subject. “I do indeed write, but only a little now and then. I love poetry.”


“Oh, come now. Let me read it to you.”

“I hate poetry,” sighed Celeborn, and he turned his eyes towards Haldir, who was looming over him with a number of pages in his hand. “Why not put it to music? I do love a good song.”

“Because it isn’t a song,” countered Haldir, settling himself onto the sofa in the parlour of the First Homely House of Valinor. Built on the seashore, it was really to have been Elrond’s house, to be shared with his beloved Celebrian, and perhaps their sons, their sons spouses, and any grandchildren that may have come along. Instead, it had turned into a home for extended relations as well- the cottage that had been built for his mother-in-law was not one that Celeborn cared for, and so they moved into the First Homely House as well. Prior to that, Celebrian’s three brothers were all welcomed with open arms, as were the wives of Rumil and Orophin, as well as Rumil’s son, when they arrived. At any given time, there were usually about a dozen elves living in the house, give or take two to ten, and a pink flamingo who kept guard at the door and preferred to sit either upon Galadriel’s or Glorfindel’s lap.

Celeborn stabbed at the fire with a poker, and then repositioned the grating before he stood up again. “Ion-nin, I did not mean to upset you, but I really wish to relax. Why not read your poem to your mother?”

“She is sleeping. I dare not wake her.” Haldir had not heard the soft footfalls of the dark haired elf who walked into the room and approached him from behind the couch, but he did see Erestor’s reflection in one of the mirrors.

“I would listen to your poem, pen-neth, if you would not mind the critique of an old elf such as I.”

Haldir turned around and looked up into the gentle, hopeful eyes of his brother-in-law’s ex-advisor. “You would not mind?”

“I love poetry,” Erestor reminded him as they left the room to sit on the porch and recite lyrical lines of colorful, descriptive, emotional poems to one another.


Haldir was jolted from his temporary reverie by the hand that was waved in front of his eyes. “Sorry, I think we lost you for a moment.”

“My apologies.” Haldir blushed slightly. “I was... lost in a memory.”

“Oh, excellent. You will fit right in here,” said Rumil, leading him into the midst of the members of the brotherhood.

- - -

Haldir was attacked from both sides before the door even closed behind him.

“We have been worried sick over you!” Elodien was clinging to his left side, while Legolas had taken the right and had his arms around both Haldir and their wife. “When you did not return, I thought perhaps you had fallen asleep somewhere, perhaps in one of the studies or in the museum. At breakfast, the maids told us you were no where to be found! We went looking all over for you! Your mind was closed to us, so we could not-“

“You must be exhausted,” interrupted Legolas, patting Elodien on the back to calm her. Stepping back only just a little, he touched the darkness beneath one of Haldir’s eyes. “You did not sleep last night. Something troubles you.”

One of the last things Haldir wanted to do at the moment was talk about what had transpired since he had left, but more than that he did not wish to lie to either of them. When asked by Elodien, “Where have you been?” he answered truthfully:

“I saw my father today. Then I spent a little time... with some poets.”

Legolas raised his eyebrows, unseen by Haldir, in Elodien’s direction. There was a heavy scent of spirits on Haldir’s breath, and he had been gone for an entire day and the previous night. Something was quite obviously wrong, but there was no reason to bring it up if Haldir would not himself. In time he would. Still, times like these always concerned Legolas. Being the eldest of the three he was prone to what his father, Thranduil, liked to call ‘First Age Elf Syndrome’, the need to know everything all of the time and to keep everything in perfect working order. Flaws were inescapable, especially when one was married to second and fourth agers, so Legolas simply bolted the door and awaited for Haldir to make the next move.

“Are you hungry?” asked Elodien.

Slowly, Haldir turned to look at her and nodded, his arms weaving their way around her back.

“I shall have something sent up for you, then,” she said, but Haldir shook his head and did not loosen his hold on her. He leaned forward, kissing lightly upon her lips, then again, and deeper. He slid his tongue into her mouth, bringing forth a muffled moan.

Letting his hand drop from Haldir’s back, Legolas walked across the room to shut the curtains. He looked forward to the show his two lovers would put on for him, but he was a greedy sort of elf and did not take kindly to others watching as well. As he began to dim the lights by blowing out a few candles, he heard his name called out by a deep voice. Turning around, he caught the look in Haldir’s eyes and lowered his head just slightly as he walked back, giving them both the most seductive look he could muster. By the time he had reached them, Haldir was already concentrating on the elleth once again.

“Is this what you want, my lord?” Legolas smiled when he heard Haldir groan into Elodien’s mouth. He pressed against his silver-haired lover, a hand wandering between the pair to tease them both, but mostly, to caress Haldir. “What is it that you want? Do you wish for me to take you, right here, on the floor? Or shall we go to the bedroom? You can have our darling little princess, and I shall have you. Is that what you desire?” he whispered. “Spill within her, and I shall come inside of you?”

Come inside... dance with me...

Break my calm... my reverie...

With a start, Haldir yanked himself away from Elodien, forcing Legolas to stumble back. By the time the other two regained their bearings, Haldir was backed up against the door with his arms encircling himself, hugged around his chest. He looked angry, and disgusted, and sad, and so very, very alone.

“Love, what is wrong? What have I said?” Legolas tried to approach him, but Haldir pushed himself further back against the door. “Haldir, tell us what is going on. Tell us what we can do to help you. Please, Haldir.”

The inner turmoil was evident: Haldir was trying so hard to keep his stoic, solid appearance, but the mix of emotions marred his features. The battle within raged for a little while as Haldir left the safety of the door and he began to pace, from the middle of the room to the windows and back again, stopping sometimes to look at one or the other or both of his spouses before beginning again. The chimes of the grand clock that Oropher kept at the bottom of the great spiraling staircase leading to the family rooms of his palace startled Haldir as he stood at the window.

No one could hear the sounds of the battle, but within Haldir’s head the same words echoed over and over like a curse placed upon him. The chiming stopped now, and the anticipation lingered before the gong of the clock struck.

Break my calm...


My reverie...


Come inside...


Dance with me...


Break my calm...


My reverie...

On the eighth stroke of midnight, Haldir fell to his knees at the window, collapsing into sobs. Elodien slid to his side and gathered him up as any mother would; Legolas took his steps with caution, listening to everything and anything for a clue of what was going on. He joined them on the floor for a short while, soothing Haldir along with Elodien when it was evident that Haldir was too upset to give him more than the single name he had managed to utter in the midst of his whimpers and sobs.

It was nearly one in the morning by the time Legolas managed to carry Haldir into the bedroom. He and Elodien undressed him as he began to doze off into a restless sleep.

“Take care of him. I will return as soon as I am able.” Legolas pressed his lips to the soft tufts of hair to kiss Elodien’s forehead before giving her a hug and then leaving the room.

His steps took him immediately to the Elm Room. Unlike the First Homely House, where anyone and everyone entered whichever parlor they chose, those in the palace either came to the Elm Room for a drink, a smoke, and a game of cards away from their wife, or to the Mellyrn Room for a glass of wine, a bit of gossip, and a bit of rest away from their husband. At half past one in the morning, it was not unlikely to find someone both older and wiser relaxing in the Elm Room. His hunch was not wrong, however, Legolas would much have preferred to have found his father or grandsire here. Still, it was worth a moment to see if either of the elves still up at this late an hour had any idea of what was going on with his husband.

“Good morn, Thaladir. Galion.” Legolas nodded in the direction of the pair, who had been having a drink and, as was suspected, were playing a few hands of cards. At any other time, Legolas might have been tempted to ask Thaladir just how proper it was for an elf to play cards at half past one in the morning, however, he had much more important matters on his mind than the seemliness of his father’s ex-seneschal’s actions.

Galion pointed to an empty chair. “Care to join us?” he offered, shuffling the deck.

Legolas shook his head, yet sat down anyway. “My mind is too ill to concentrate on games.”

“Something is ailing you?” questioned Thaladir.

“My husband is unwell, and that troubles me.” Legolas continued as Galion poured him a bowl of wine. “He was gone all day, and the past night as well. When he returned, he was agitated, but tried to have myself and Elodien disregard it. Then, something set him off, and he became wild, and scared, and then- he broke down when the clock chimed. I can not explain it. All I have to go on are his behavior and what few words I heard him say.”

“Go on.” Thaladir had long since put down his bowl and was now concentrated fully on Legolas, as was Galion. “Tell us what he said.”

“I could not make out everything, but he was troubled. The name I did hear was Erestor, and something about a secret he kept.” Legolas caught Thaladir’s flinch, but said nothing. “I fear he has discovered something troubling him greatly, something he believes he must keep a secret, but I do not know what it might... be...” Legolas trailed off as the sound of Galion’s snoring grew. The old butler had fallen asleep on his chair, his head, tilted back and his mouth open.

“Oh, for Eru’s sake,” mumbled Thaladir, and he nudged the other elf’s foot with his own. “Galion!”

“Hmm? What? Coming sire!” Galion jumped up, upsetting the table a bit and spilling some wine. “Is it morning already?”

“Galion, take rest. Your wife is probably lonely in your bed.” Thaladir waited until Galion had sleepily said his goodnights and left the room before Thaladir began to clean up the sloshed wine.

As Thaladir set down his bowl on the now cleaned table, Legolas said, “You know something that you do not wish to tell me.”

“I know something that I promised not to tell anyone,” answered Thaladir.

“Normally, I would not pry, but he was in quite a state.” Legolas gave Thaladir a pleading look. “Whatever it is, if it may have affected Haldir, surely you must tell me, Thaladir.”

Recalling a time long in the past, Thaladir finally acquiesced. “I will tell you, but only because it is so serious a matter. You must swear to me you will not tell anyone, save your wife. I will need to tell Erestor that I have told you what I am about to say.”

The clock in the hall chimed two.
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