The sun rose blood red over a city landscape of steel, glass, and cement; to some, it was a threatening omen of things yet to come.
Elrond sat before a thermos of steaming coffee, his eyes glued to a small glowing screen. Not good news; it never was. Frowning, he absently poured himself a mug of the thin, dark liquid. It was bitter in his mouth and scorched his throat. Arwen had forgotten the sugar again, he realized with a sigh. He pushed it distastefully away from him.
The door was pushed open and the lights flickered on. There came a startled gasp behind him, and Elrond turned with a slight smile to face Legolas who had just come in. "Why were you sitting in the dark?"
Elrond didn't answer, but turned back to the tiny television set."They haven't found him." His face seemed suddenly careworn. "We'll have to double security on Frodo." He said it more to himself than he did to Legolas, who was peering silently over his shoulder.
"Is Glorfindel in charge of that?"
"No. Not anymore." The old dark-haired elf brought a hand thoughtfully to his chin. "I'm taking that task upon myself." A smile slowly broke across his lips. He knew just the man... elf, rather...to help him.
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Light glinted off of the dark sunglasses that wrapped around Haldir's pale head. Clothed in a slick ebony suit, he looked painfully out of place on the broad front porch of a house that could have been made of gingerbread. He impatiently tapped a shiny black shoe on the creaky wooden planks. Birds flitted around the front yard. They were singing. He could almost smile; he liked birds.
Just then, the screen door slammed behind him, causing him to swing quickly around.
"Sorry I made you wait so long." Elrond walked up to stand beside him. His shirt, bereft of its dark cut dress jacket, showed blindingly white in the afternoon sun. "How are you?"
He peaked over the rim of his glasses and arched one ivory brow. "As I am usually." He said in his distinct, raspy voice. He knew when Elrond had something troubling him, and this was one of those times. "What is it?"
The elder elf turned now, and they were face to face. "Frodo Baggins, heir to Shire Park and the Baggins fortune, must be protected at all costs. Our progress depends upon it."
Haldir's nod was solemn. "Indeed."
"I have placed myself on this task. Now, I am placing you as well on it." He added, glancing at Haldir out of the corner of his eye. He couldn't help but to smile at Haldir's expression of surprise.
"We are the Foundation's best agents, Lord Elrond!..."
"Exactly. And this means that young Mr. Baggins' life shall be secured." He held up a key encased in black plastic and narrowed his slanted eyes. "Every necesity, every luxury has been seen to. You start on the morrow, bright and early on this new mission." With that, he dropped the key into Haldir's spread palm. The pale-haired elf wore a frown.
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