“The Valar grace us with elflings and children so that we may learn humility.”
There were times when Elrond really disliked Mithrandir and most of those times were when the Istari was giving sanctimonious pronouncements. Right now though, Elrond was wondering just which of the Valar he had managed to piss off because surely there was no other explanation for what was happening in his normally tranquil realm.
Now Elrond Peredhil was used to fostering elflings of all ages and human children as well but very seldom did he have more than one or two at a time, and never before had he been responsible for such a young human girl-child.
Mithrandir had brought the child to him months ago, a tiny scrap of humanity that was barely clinging to life. Her parents had been injured in a raid of some sort and she was found with deep gashes on her arms and a badly injured leg. Mithrandir had convinced the frantic parents to allow him to bring her to Elrond, where the advanced Elven healing methods would be her best chance for survival. Indeed, Elrond privately had serious doubts about her survival but Mithrandir insisted that the child would play an important role in the future of Middle Earth. It had been touch and go for a long time but finally the little girl showed signs of responding to the long months of healing.
Though very ill, Gilraen had been aware of Gandalf taking her from her mama and papa. She didn't understand why she was being sent away but she knew that she was to "be a good girl and go with Gandalf." Since Gandalf could do no wrong in Gilraen's eyes, anywhere he took her had to be a good, safe place. Closing her eyes, she twisted her fingers tightly into the Istari's beard and fell into an exhausted sleep. For his part, Gandalf hoped that the little girl would sleep soundly, for he had no wish for her to cause Shadowfax to falter.
Several days later, Mithrandir rode into Rivendell and hurried with her to the healing halls. Not surprisingly, Elrond had been expecting him and watched as the Istari laid the child on a small cot, struggling to untangle her tiny fingers from his long grey beard. Elrond gave her a brief examination and prepared a general tonic that had proved helpful to him in the past. However, as he was to learn to his chagrin, things seldom worked as expected when it came to Gilraen.
The tonic which had soothed so many elflings and human children in the past, acted as a highly charged stimulant to Gilraen. She became extremely restless and agitated, hopping out of bed and staggering dazedly in a circle, crying out for her mother.
"What?" Mithrandir looked worriedly at Elrond. "This doesn't usually happen, does it?"
"No it doesn't." Elrond puffed slightly as he made a determined grab for the child, who instantly foiled him by hiding underneath his formal robes. Elrond turned an extremely bright shade of red and was thankful that only the Istari was there to witness his humiliation. For his part, Mithrandir would have laughed out loud if things had been less serious. Instead, he helped Elrond remove his robe and both were immensely thankful that eleven modesty dictated full dress of leggings and tunic at all times.
"Dress!!" Gilraen howled at the loss of her hiding place. "Want dress! Mama!!"
This was going to be a very long night. It had taken nearly a full day for the tonic to leave the child's system and it left her limp and exhausted. Elrond had prepared a new tonic for her and he hoped it would work -- or at least, not cause such a severe reaction. Luckily, this new tonic seemed to work so that Elrond could refocus his efforts on healing the deep gashes that marred her pale skin.
Elrond had watched over the child with a great deal of worry. He was convinced that the gashes were contaminated by the same poison that was creating so much havoc with the elven patrols; his only hope was the fact that Gilraen was human which might lend her a certain resistance to the poison. It was a slim hope but better than nothing at all.
At first, Elrond was beginning to think that he was wrong, for Gilraen suffered from a series of fevers and other illnesses that made him wonder if the poison would prove to be the least of his worries. The child seemed unable to sleep unless heavily drugged and there were times when Elrond dared not give her any more medicine for fear of killing her with too much of it. But if she could not sleep, she screamed in pain and fear. The only solution had been for the elves to hold her in their arms and walk with her -- the constant movement seemed to soothe her into a light slumber.
But even elves tired of constant walking, so a rocking chair was brought into her room. Here was another surprise, for it was Erestor who spent many long hours rocking the tiny child, singing soft elven lullabies to her.
It was sheer bad luck that Erestor was called away unexpectedly but as Elrond's advisor, he was used to it. And since bad luck always brings more with it, it was perhaps no surprise that the next elf to wander into the healing hall was Glorfindel. The captain of the guard had somehow managed to acquire a large, nasty-looking gash on his upper arm. //Probably taking a risk in sword practice again,// Erestor thought in dismay. //Well, this should keep him out of trouble for awhile.//
"Glorfindel, I have a job for you."
"Oh?" The blond Elda was instantly wary of Erestor's honeyed tone. "What sort of job?"
"Here. *You* sing to her for a change."
"Me!?" Glorfindel was duly horrified as Erestor slid the sleepy child into his arms. "I don't know what to do with her. I'm not a babysitter."
"But you do need someone to stitch that gash up. And until someone is available, you would just have to wait here anyway. Elrond wanted me five minutes ago. Just keep her entertained and quiet."
"But Erestor..." Glorfindel trailed off uncertainly. "I don't think this is a good idea."
"I'm sure everything will be fine. Now make yourself useful and *sing* to her."
Glorfindel sighed as he watched Erestor hurry from the room. Almost instantly, Gilraen began to whimper and stirred as if about to wake. Panicking, Glorfindel began to sing the first song that came to his mind -- and that song was most definitely not a lullaby. Gilraen opened her eyes wide and stared up at the blonde Elda, utterly entranced by this new form of entertainment.
Cirdan was a rare guest and Elrond was anxious that everyone made a good impression on him. The dinner that night was not large or formal and it wasn't long before Glorfindel walked in, his arm freshly stitched and still carrying Gilraen.
"Ah, your newest foster-child." Cirdan smiled benignly. "Hello, little one."
"Adar?" Cirdan looked askance at the greeting and turned to Elrond.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time." The Elf lord shrugged. "What have you been doing today, little one?"
"Singing, Adar Elrond."
"Oh? A new song?"
"Would you sing it for us please?"
Always ready to perform for an audience, Gilraen was more than happy to oblige and began to sing the newest song she had learned from Glorfindel -- a particularly reprehensible sea chanty about two sailors and a nymphomaniac sheep.
Cirdan was not amused.
Despite the title, this *Is Not* a bdsm or slave fic. This is a WIP and currently un-beta'd. Also, since this is a wip, parts of it may change without notice.
Chapter end notes:
This is one of my older LotR fics I've been working with lately. Simply put, I love writing backstory especially when I have a free hand, so I decided to write about Aragorn's mum, Gilraen. In this she is very young, roughly age 2-3. Since everyone in Middle Earth seems to end up in Rivendell sooner or later, I decided to make it sooner. Besides, I liked the idea of Gilraen being somewhat familiar with the elves and Imladris, with good memories -- especially considering what will happen later on in her life.
Also, since this is a wip, parts of it may change without notice.
Also, since this is a wip, parts of it may change without notice.