Elrond dismounts, gesturing to his escort to stay behind. He needs to do this alone, so he walks down to the beach, leaving it to his men to make camp. When he had got word that he would be here, Elrond had left Imladris in a rush, travelling to Harlindon as quickly as he could, to a wide estuary to the south of the Blue Mountains.
Elrond stops at the bank, looking out. The area is deserted, the next settlement, a village of Men, half a day’s ride away. A darker shade in the slope to the north suggests a cave, and a fine tendril of smoke rises into the crisp air. He lets his mind wander, remembers. Sirion, his mother flying away. Feeling deserted, just he and his brother left, and despair as people around them fled the burning city.
He senses a presence behind him. He knows who it is, can still feel it after all this time.
“Atto,” he says with a smile. He turns.
The tall, dark-haired Noldo looks at him solemnly. There is no smile in his eyes, just the barest recognition of his visitor, but he does not refuse the tight embrace Elrond is giving him.
He looks worn out. What little Elrond knows about him these days indicates a bleak, a solitary life. But this is what Maglor wants, what he sees as his punishment. Ever since that fateful day when he had lost his last brother, Maglor has been wandering the lands of Middle-earth, never accepting company nor staying anywhere close to where people live, living off the land with the occasional trade of a fur or two. He prefers the company of trees and stars and to observe, but not to take part. Elrond knows he is trying to escape his pain this way, but he doubts that it is very successful.
“Come,” he says, “I have food, and clothes.”
Maglor nods and follows him to the camp. This is not the first time they meet, since Sirion, but it does not happen often either. No matter how much Maglor refuses, Elrond always insists that he eat and accept some bare necessities like a new knife, clothes, boots and such. But he has given up inviting Maglor to come to Imladris, even just for a visit.
This time, however, something is different.
After the meal and an afternoon spent mostly being silent together, they stand at the beach again, looking out. A rainbow spreads over the estuary, painting the leaden sky behind in bright colours and, wher it ends, making the dark woods glow in reds, oranges and yellows.
“I will come,” Maglor says.
Elrond spins around, staring at him, a spark of hope lighting up in his eyes.
“What do you mean?”
Maglor gives a crooked smile. “To your home. Not today, but soon. I will come.”
~ finis ~