Warrior by Mirasaui

Morning dawned bright and sunny and Elladan awoke with a yawn. "Ro," he asked, "are you up?" There was no answer. Turning over Elladan realized his brother was not in bed. That was unusual; Elrohir was normally the last one to wake. Rising from his own bed, he put on his slippers and robe and looked in the adjoining bath. Elrohir was not there. He smiled, sometimes his brother hid under the bed. Dropping to his knees he peered underneath, but no Elrohir.

Elladan did not think he had overslept, but just in case, he hurried through his morning toiletries, then walked as fast as he could to the dining hall. The only elves present were the servants readying the table for breakfast. "Have you seen Elrohir?" he asked one of the maids.

"No, Master Elladan, perhaps he is with Lord Erestor, he was in here earlier."

"Thank you," Elladan replied, turning around and heading towards Erestor's office. He stood in front of the door and knocked.

"Come in," Erestor called out, and Elladan poked his head around the door.

"Lord Erestor, h-have you seen Elrohir?"

"No, Elladan, I have not. He is not in your room?"

"No, my lord, I even looked under the bed. One of the maids said she thought she saw him with you."

Erestor rose from his chair and walked over to Elladan. He put his arm around his shoulder. "Come, pen-neth, I shall help you find him."

After searching the wing that housed the family members and senior staff, and checking all of Elrohir's usual hiding places, Erestor began to worry. Elladan was usually the impulsive one, not Elrohir. What reason would the youngster have to run away? He did not want to cause undue worry, but it was time to notify Lord Elrond that Elrohir had disappeared.

Soon Glorfindel, Elrond, Celebrían and Lindir plus many of the household staff had joined the search. Every inch of the Last Homely House was covered but Elrohir was nowhere to be found. They decided to split into teams and search the grounds. Elrond and Celebrían paired together, Glorfindel went with Elladan, and Erestor searched with Lindir.

"Did you and Elrohir have a fight?" Glorfindel asked Elladan as they searched around the stables.

"No, my lord, we did not fight. Nana told us a story and we went to bed. When I awakened, 'Ro was not there."

"Was Elrohir upset before he went to bed?" Glorfindel asked, trying to think of what could have caused the young elf to run away.

"No, my lord" Elladan replied. "'Ro was not upset. He would have told Nana if he was."

Glorfindel nodded and directed Elladan to search the stalls on one side of the barn while he searched those on the other. Together they opened every door, but the only occupants they found were the horses. They looked in the tack room, but Elrohir was not hiding behind the blankets or various other items that were hung from pegs or draped over wooden supports. Nor was Elrohir in the room where the stable lads and grooms sat and drank tea or told stories in their spare time. They checked in the sleeping quarters, but each bed was neatly made, there was no Elrohir hiding under them. Glorfindel climbed the ladder to the loft. He looked behind every hay bale and into any space he thought a young elf could possibly crawl into, but again, no Elrohir.

Lord Elrond and Lady Celebrían were checking the garden and the trees near the house. They looked in and under bushes, up through boughs and branches, in the gardener's shed; Lord Elrond even dug through the compost heap, but there was no sign of their wayward elfling. They searched through the herb garden, the vegetable garden, ducked under and around the clothes hanging on the lines outside the laundry room, but he was not there either. They looked in the bathhouse, peering into each pool, wardrobe, dressing chamber, even clothesbaskets, but there was no Elrohir to be found. Celebrían grasped Elrond's hand. It was too early to panic, but where could her youngest son be?

"We must find him, Elrond, he could be hurt!" she said, her eyes telling her husband she was more upset than she cared to show.

Elrond put his arm around his wife. "We have everyone out looking, he will be found soon, try not to worry." But even he had a feeling of dread inside his stomach.

Erestor and Lindir were checking the paths through the nearby woods. Erestor was becoming more and more concerned. Hunger should have driven Elrohir in by now. He looked at his companion. Lindir's eyes were red and swollen and Erestor could tell the minstrel had been crying. "We will find him, Lindir, he is just an elfling, he cannot have gone far."

Lindir nodded. "I hope you are right, Lord Erestor. I have grown very fond of the twins and Master Elladan will be frantic if we do not find him soon. They have never been separated for more than a day."

It was true. Lindir was fond of the twins, having been chosen by Celebrían as the ideal elf to watch over her sons when she was busy. Lindir had a rapport with the young ones and they trusted him. But although he cared deeply for Elrohir and was as upset over his absence as the others, that was not why Lindir had been crying.

For the past fifty years, Lindir had been courted by one of the Imladris guardians; a tall, congenial, brown-haired elf named Cirith. Six months ago, they had discussed their future and Cirith had given Lindir a silver betrothal ring. Lindir had been one of the happiest elves in Imladris. But yesterday that had all changed. Cirith had told him it was over, that he had found someone else. Poof, just like that it ended. Lindir still did not believe it. He had made it through the rest of the day, through dinner, but that night in his room he had cried and cried. At least now, in front of Lord Erestor, he had an excuse for his red eyes and swollen lids.

The search continued all morning. Cries of "Elrohir!" could be heard all throughout Imladris, but by noon, he had still not been found. Celebrían was in tearful conversation with Lord Elrond, and members of the household staff were preparing to check the manor again. A grim looking Glorfindel was organizing a mounted patrol to search the deep woods, while Lindir and Erestor planned to continue looking in the woods closer to the house. The kitchen staff had provided cold food that could be easily carried, and once it was distributed, everyone went back to the search.

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