Gates Of Dawn

BY : Massanie
Category: +Third Age > Threesomes/Moresomes
Dragon prints: 1548
Disclaimer: I do not own Lord of the Rings, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

CHAPTER 2: The Sweet, The Bad and The Stubborn Tempered



'Thoughts'; ~visions~; **mind speech**; -l-Letters-l-

In a long line the caravan of two dozen elven horses moved along the pass, leisurely ploughing through the snow masses covering the way. Their riders had enveloped themselves in long dark cloaks to protect them against the bitter cold, the rich fabric floated over the mounts' lean muscled backs and their hoods were drawn into the handsome elven faces.

A single figure stood out with the eccentric, tall hat and the long grey beard that was slowly getting white with frozen snow: Gandalf.

The wizard seemed comfortable in his grey riding cloak, Erestor thought, as if no weather could ever spoil him the wanderlust, and neither the circumstances that pulled him onwards. History, saga, myth, mystery ... conspiracy ... whatever it was that moved him, he was secure and confident in his role.

And this time *he* was the reason. Erestor didn't know if he liked that, but he couldn't change it either. Instead he did what he always had done: he believed with all his reason that intelligence was the ability to adapt quickly and optimally to new situations; and Erestor *knew* that he was intelligent. He would adapt, or so he told himself, he would adapt to Gandalf being his father, he would learn to handle the newfound over protectiveness of his fellow elves. He would - his superior mind would - adapt!

Only that it didn't.

At first, he had been doing fine; at least in Greenwood, among Thalion and Celairdúr and all the others. He had been able to suppress his nightmares with sleeping draughts and forget it all for a few perfect days.

But not anymore, his days of hiding had found an enforced ending as his brothers had not been able to accompany him, had not been allowed to at the behest of their king. Erestor highly suspected that Thranduil merely wanted to prevent further disagreements between his soldiers and the Imladrian elves: while the Noldor were still somewhat suspicious of Thranduil's people, especially after the latest happenings, the Silvan elves were not yet ready to forget that Erestor had been fading over decades without anyone breaking the circle of self destruction.

But – in the chief advisor's not so humble opinion - it had not been self destruction, but pure logic: his masterpiece to save everything he held dear! He had planned for decades that formed into centuries, to create something as perfect as the ice crystals that gathered on his dark cloak. It needed dedication and skill and a very assiduous and painstakingly accurate personality to achieve perfection, a logical and patient mind ... someone like him.

And yet, looking at the snowflakes Erestor was painfully reminded that his own schemes had turned out to be the most imperfect chaos he had ever seen. What should have been his masterpiece had proven too frail and complex to stand the field test, all beginning with the misjudgement of the event's point in time, which had forced him to spontaneously throw his plans over.

Naturally this was not something his pride was taking easily, especially not when all elven leaders in almost every elven kingdom (and he was sure that Círdan would somehow learn of it, transferring this statement to *every leader of every elven kingdom*) were perfectly aware of it.

And this fact, this terrible fact, had dire consequences for his self-confidence when confronted with the last week's happenings: he felt so vulnerably exposed, knowing how those elves had crossed his scheming to save him, how they found him naked and bleeding to death ...

Always when he spoke with one of them a wave of nausea flooded his mind at the memory, the kind of nausea one feels when overcome with shame: they had all seen him naked and though there had been nothing sexual about the situation they were aware of what Fiondil had done to him in the cave and probably thought that his cousin had gone all the way with the rape.

Now Erestor was not the type to be left tongue-tied in the face of such a humiliation; decades over decades of mockery and malicious remarks behind his back had taught him exactly how to respond to the unwanted attention of his fellow elves: with cold superiority.

The only problem was that he was not dealing with the typical Imladrian elves who did not care to look behind his mask and were easily deterred by his brusque manner. His current travelling companions were unpredictable in his eyes. His haughty inflection was simply connived, more than that: it seemed to provoke even more fortification towards himself, more sympathy ... Erestor couldn't stand it! And he hoped with all his heart that they would stop their mothering once they had left the Misty Mountains behind and were safely back in Imladris.

For now, he had to endure...

Yet there came the next problem of his stubborn personality: he had never been one to suffer the unbearable demeanour of his fellow elves with grace and humility, be it chicanery or excessive solicitude. And with the nightmares that plagued him during the nights and left him vulnerable and agitated he was already at the limit of his patience; it did not help that – while sleeping in the open with his lord and his family, his father and the rest of the soldiers – everyone was witnessing them.

Erestor paled at the sickening thought and buried himself deeper into the folds of his warm riding cloak.

"Are you all right, Erestor?" He heard his father's voice next to him. "Are you cold?"

It was all Erestor could do to stop himself from groaning out.

"Nay, I am fine. Thank you." He said, pronouncing every word as clearly as possible while trying to mask his irritation at least towards his father - and almost, almost succeeding.

"Maybe we should rest for awhile." Arveldir tossed in, eying the younger ellon with concern.

"Really, I am fine and I am not weary!"

"It's all right; I think we all could do with a short rest." Glorfindel intervened diplomatically.

"Nay, I think we should continue." Elrond said with his calm voice, his serene eyes settling on his chief advisor as he addressed his husband through their bond.

**Let it be, beloved. Erestor is fine. He is just not comfortable with the amount of attention he receives.**

He was sure that Erestor would lose it if they kept up their well-meant yet excessive consideration. The poor advisor just didn't know how to handle it, overwhelmed with the amount of changes his young life had undergone recently. And while the healer in him knew that Erestor would need to face his memories someday instead of hiding them in a remote corner of his mind, Elrond would prefer that to happen in a more private and assessable situation.

Out loud, Elrond continued. "We last rested merely three hours ago. If we continue at this pace, we won't reach Imladris for at least another week. Then the lady Galadriel will be hard pressed to return to Lothlóriën before the continuous snowfalls bar the pass. And during the coming winter the Golden Wood will need Nenya to offer protection against the wargs and orcs, Galadriel will not be willing to stay until spring."

**You are the healer...**Glorfindel said through his link a little bit doubtingly.

**Trust me, he'll be fine. Let's continue our journey, I'm anxious to leave this cursed pass.** To get Erestor off the pass, to be more exact. It could not be easy on his chief advisor to be constantly reminded of what had transpired there mere weeks ago.

Elrond had been right with his concern, it seemed that Erestor's nightmares grew more violent the further they travelled along the High Pass and the advisor himself withdrew even more from his travelling companions. He was pale, ill-tempered and short-spoken; every interaction forced and unnatural, drawing the concern and attention of his fellow elves.

His sulkiness had reached its peak when they crossed the top of the High Pass and with it the remains of the avalanche. Two dozens of Silvan elves had been sent out to clear the pass a week before the Imladrian elves had ventured out from Greenwood and when finally the party arrived, they had already disposed of the greater part of the snow masses.

Nevertheless the hillside and the valley down below showed the havoc that Erestor had wreaked there four weeks prior.

Erestor had surprised the other elves and had not deigned to look at anything but the path that lay ahead, his head held up high and proud, his face void of emotion. But with darkness came the nightmares and Erestor awoke thrashing and screaming, wakening the whole camp.

With softly spoken elven words Gandalf – who was ever sleeping next to his son during this journey – had tried to soothe him; but it was Elladan, Erestor's sworn guardian, who succeeded in that task, and for the remainder of the night the peredhel sat at his charge's side.

The next morning, Erestor had rebuilt his mask again, his cold glare resting on those that would approach him. And yet again, his behaviour was countered with compassionate and sympathetic smiles, and with concern as the others assessed his hostility, doubtlessly thinking it a result of the last weeks' happenings.

Yet more than the memories, it was their observation of him and the conclusions they drew that caused his ill temper and made his blood boil. How could those elves that had never cared before dare to judge his behaviour now? He had always been secluded, had always kept himself away from others, and he had always defended his privacy tooth and nail! It was just that no one aside from Lindir, Glorfindel and Elrond had ever *tried* to breach his walls and the three of them had learned the hard way that Erestor did not allow any trespassing without fighting the intruder with everything he got; now that those elves actually did try they had the guts to be surprised at being rebuffed! Had they thought he would suddenly become one of those sociable, cheery cretins that would dance around the trees and sing silly nonsense because they weren't intelligent enough to think of better things to preoccupy them?

Irritated Erestor pinched the bridge of his nose. He really had to stop talking himself into a rage whenever his mind wandered. It gave him headaches.



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