“Quickly, we must assemble a search party!” Elrond said, taking Elladan by the hand and dragging him down the hill in his hurry. “The woods are dangerous and he may be hurt, especially in the night.”
“Then we should go now and find him instead of wasting time assembling a search party!” Elladan insisted, the thought of his beloved brother coming to the dreaded harm awakening terror in his racing heart.
Elrond hesitated, considering the point. He released Elladan’s hand and shoved him toward the yellow lights of their house below. “Go find your mother and tell her what has befallen us. She will know what to do. I will search for Elrohir now.”
“Go!” Elrond ordered in a tone that threatened dire consequences if disobeyed. Elladan turned and fled homeward.
Elrond stood and watched to assure himself Elladan’s shadow would not come slipping after him before he turned, pulling his cloak tighter to him in the cool air, and made for the trees.
The forest was quiet and dark as he picked his way through the brush, following the dim lines of paths worn into the dirt through the moss. Elrond looked up at the silver streaks of moonlight running across the sky, visible through the branches and leaves.
“Elrohir!” he called. “Elrohir!”
He strained his ears for the sound of running feet, cries, or brush snapping in the wake of fleeing but he heard nothing besides the chirping on night crickets and the low howls of the wolves living high up in the hills. He shivered at the thought of his son assaulted by teeth and claws.
“Elrohir! Come out! Show yourself! It is me, ion nin, ada!”
” . . . Show yourself . . . it is me . . . ada . . .”
Not far away, huddled under the overhang of a rock protruding off a hill, Elrohir shivered and wrapped his arms tighter around himself. He was cold and stiff and uncomfortable and the dried tears on his face pricked his skin but he dared not come out.
He heard the sound of leaves brushing against fabric, and the footsteps of Elrond as he neared. The elfling shrank back as he saw a shadow emerge from the trees to his left, praying the cavity in the hill would conceal him. He did not want to go home to that horrible and unfair life. He hated it and every day in it tore away another part of his delicate soul. He refused to adapt to it. He wanted something different . . . something that would prove ada loved him despite all else. And Elrond’s current methods were a lie shoved in his face!
“Elrohir! I know you cannot have run far! Come out or you will be sorry when I find you!”
Elrohir peeked up over his arm at the figure of his father, his robes whirling around him like evil tendrils of demons sneaking out of his soul, and shivered. He was not sorry and he did not want to be.
“Elrohir! Please!” Elrond’s voice sounded more desperate now. “I do not wish for you to be hurt. I love you!”
Elrohir’s hands curled into fists unbidden and his lips curled back into a snarl. He sprang from his hiding place and pointed an accusing finger at Elrond. “You are valar born liar! You do not love me!”
Elrond spun around and bounded across the ground toward Elrohir, holding out his arms. “Thank the valar; I feared for your life.”
“I cannot believe you see that as the truth!” Elrohir cried. “Maybe you really believe the great lie but it is plain for me to see through the fabrication while you remain blind! How can you be so cruel and so utterly stupid?”
Elrohir turned and ran, his heart hammering against his ribs, hot tears blinding his vision. He looked over his shoulder, horrified to see Elrond was catching up. His feet stumbled and he fell, his head impacting with something hard. He let out a low moan as he heard Elrond yell, and slumped forward into blackness.
Elrohir groaned and opened his eyes, the ceiling swimming. He blinked until he could focus and saw Elladan looking down at him.
“Are you all right?” Elladan asked, his face ashen. Elrohir felt a hard grip on his hand and knew it was his brother’s worried squeezing.
“Yes,” Elrohir croaked. “I-I am in the healing wing . . . father got me.”
Elladan sighed and gave a small nod, looking down into Elrohir’s pain-clouded eyes. “You tripped and hit a tree.”
Elrohir reached up a hand a felt the lump on his forehead with a slight wince. His head pounded, threatening to escape its shell.
“Is—is ada mad?” Elrohir asked finally.
“No,” said Elladan. “But he is worried.”
“He did no understand why I ran away from him,” Elrohir said miserably. “He believes what he does is right and he . . . is too much in the center of the web to see anything but what he has immersed himself in. I wish I was dead!”
Elladan brushed a finger across the tear trickling down Elrohir’s cheek. “Running away only made it worst . . .”
A flash of fear streaked through Elrohir’s eyes. “W-what do you m-mean? He-he did not blame you, did he? He-he did not beat you, did he?”
Elladan shook his head.
“Then what is it?”
“Ada and naneth talked long into the night about your behavior,” Elladan said, looking away. “They said it—it is not acceptable nor excusable but punishing you does not solve the problem.”
“It never does!” Elrohir snarled.
“They think you are possessed with evil spirits,” Elladan said in a faint voice. “They called me and asked me if I thought Elrond’s methods of discipline were wrong. I-I did not want to undergo what you have to so I lied and took their side . . . they have arranged for you to undergo an exorcism.”
Elrohir’s eyes opened wide. “No, Elladan! No . . .” His voice trickled off into a sob. “No! It is not true! This is who I am and it is ada’s fault I am like this; he should not hit me like he does! No!” His vice rose to an hysterical scream.
The door flew open and Elrond came in. He took Elladan by the arm and dragged him out of the room, hissing, “What have you been telling him? I told you to keep him calm!”
“I am sorry,” Elladan said meekly.
Elrond frowned at him. “If you let it happen again, I will have your hide! Now, leave. Elrohir needs his rest. The demons have drained most of his strength.”
Elladan glanced over his shoulder at his screaming brother in the small, dark healing chamber before he slumped away down the hall, feeling like he stabbed his twin in the back for lying to his parents about the deepest truth and abandoning him to the terrible fate lying ahead that he would have to face alone.
Thank you all for reading. I appreciate sharing this story with you and knowing my words are being enjoyed.