Many Guises and Many Names
Playlist Navigation Bar
Lords of Gondor: 7. Thorongil
visiting the wounded in the Houses of Healing. But
today it was a fairly cheerful task as those remaining
were well on their way to recovery and looking forward
eagerly to release from the healer's toils.
As he approached the chamber occupied by two
Rohirric sword thains Ecthelion heard them speaking in
their own tongue to some other visitor, but it was not
until he'd reached the half open door that his ear
caught Captain Elfwine's habitually low pitched voice
answering. He knew enough of the language to gather
the Men were eager to escape the healers and go home,
and that their visitor was assuring them they soon
Ecthelion withdrew to a bench in the corridor and
waited for Elfwine to emerge, speaking only after he
had closed the door gently behind him. "You are eager
to leave us, captain?"
Elfwine went absolutely still as he always did when
startled, a mannerism he shared with his brother, then
turned calmly to face the Steward. "My Men are
naturally anxious to see their homes again."
"But Rohan is not your home." Ecthelion observed,
rising from his bench.
"Nor is Minas Tirith," Elfwine returned composedly,
"and I am not accustomed to cities of stone or great
concourses of Men."
"Do you think you could become accustomed to them?"
the Steward asked, falling into step with the younger
"No doubt with time." he answered confidently.
"I am glad to hear it," said Ecthelion, "for I
would ask you to enter the service of Gondor."
Once again Elfwine was caught in that sudden
stillness, like a wild thing startled by a hunter. "I
thank you, my Lord," he said after a moment, "but I
have already given my oath to the King of Rohan."
"I have written to Thengel, and he has agreed to
release you on condition your brother returns to him.
He will not spare you both he says, not even for the
love between Gondor and Rohan."
A ghost of a smile curved the captain's lips for an
instant. "That sounds like my Lord Thengel." then
soberly. "My Lord, I must consider this, and consult
with my brother."
"I understand. I await your answer, Captain
"I can't believe you're seriously considering
accepting!" Barahir fairly sputtered.
"Why not?" Aragorn demanded, pacing their chamber
in restless excitement. "It's a perfect opportunity to
really get to know my Southern Kingdom, and discover
what kind of opposition I can expect."
"What about our mission in Rohan?" Barahir
"You know perfectly well only one is truly required
for that." Aragorn flashed a quick smile. "They sent
us both that you might keep an eye on me."
"And the One knows you need it!" his brother
retorted. "Estel, this is madness and far too
"No, brother, it is perfectly safe." Aragorn
countered. "The Gondorim believe the Line of the Kings
is extinct, that the last Heir of Isildur died nearly
five hundred years ago. Nor will I give them any cause
to think otherwise...for the time being."
"How much time?" Barahir wanted to know. "Estel,
already we've been away a full four years. Ecthelion
will certainly insist on holding you several more at
the least. What of the North? You are our Chieftain,
you have responsibilities at home."
"I have not forgotten." he answered, sobered. "But
I have a very effective Regent in our Grandmother and
Lieutenant in our Uncle Armegil. They managed very
well during the years of my childhood and no doubt
will do so again." pleadingly. "Amin, this could be
the first step to restoring the fortunes of our
people. If I am to have any chance at all of reuniting
the Dunedain I must know the South as well as I know
the North. I must *not* come to them as an alien and
an outsider that was why Arvedui was refused."
"He was refused because the Gondorim would cling to
their stolen independence."(1) Barahir snapped, ran a
hand through his hair and sighed. "I see your will is
set on this, Estel, but at least promise me you will
not put forward your claim without a few of our own
people to guard your back!"
"The Gondorim too are our people." Aragorn reminded
him. "But I give you my word I will do nothing drastic
without consulting with Grandmother and our Uncles.
Will that do?"
"If needs must." Barahir sighed.
His brother's triumphant smile was edged with
relief. "Then I will tell Ecthelion I accept his
"Sir," Denethor said through clenched teeth, "I
firmly believe it would be a grave mistake to accept
this nameless Man from nowhere into the service of
Gondor. I have many times spoken of my distrust of
both him and his brother -"
"And I have warned you against allowing your
personal feelings to sway your judgment, my son." the
Steward answered coolly from behind his writing table,
his attention apparently fixed on the papers before
"It is the forsight of our people which makes me
distrust them." Denethor snapped back, shaking with
barely contained fury. "I tell you this Elfwine
carries some great peril with him, better he take it
back to Rohan - or better still to whatever obscure
kennel he came from!"
Ecthelion raised a bleak face to his son. "Such
jibes do you no credit, Denethor. You must learn to
control your temper, son, and your prejudices. *My*
judgment tells me in Elfwine Gondor has gained a great
captain and a strong sword for her defense, things she
*The great captain and strong sword I cannot be.*
Denethor told himself bitterly. His father read the
thought and his expression softened.
"I too have little skill in the arts of war, my
son." he reminded him gently. "It is not necessary for
a Steward to be a great warrior and captain, only that
he be able to recognize and make use of those who are.
This Man will be useful to Gondor, remember that and
let it conquer your dislike of him."
"Yes, father." Denethor said tightly, unconvinced
Ecthelion studied his heir's rebelious face and
sighed inwardly. Before he could say more there came a
quiet rap on the door and his secretary poked his head
in. "Captain Elfwine, my Lord."
"Admit him." the Steward ordered, rising and
casting a warning look at his son.
Denethor lowered his eyes sulkily. Lifted them as
the other Man entered to widen involuntarily.
Elfwine had put aside his barbaric Rohirric
trappings and was clad now in the simple elegance of
grey leather and velvet, hems picked out with delicate
traceries of silver thread, a star of glittering
adamant fastening his cloak at the shoulder. A
veritable lord of the Kings of Men he looked, grave
and stately with the clear Elven light gleaming in his
eyes. He made his bow first to the Steward and then to
the Steward's Heir.
Ecthelion returned it but Denethor was frozen in
place by his intense loathing and a kind of fear.
*This Man will destroy me, destroy the Gondor I love.*
he knew it with a certainty beyond all reason. *I must
get out of here!*
"Father!" he jerked a bow in the Steward's general
direction and brushed by Elfwine as if he didn't exist
on his way to the door. Ecthelion frowned after him,
then turned to the captain with a sigh.
"I apologize for my son, Elfwine, he sometimes
allows his temper to lead him into rudeness."
The captain nodded his acceptence of the excuse but
his brow puckered in a worried frown.
"Denethor dislikes being gainsaid. He will get over
it." Ecthelion dismissed his fractious heir from his
thoughts, smiled at Gondor's new captain. "Elfwine is
scarcely a fitting name for you now, my friend, as you
are no longer a Rohirrim even by adoption. But in the
Elvish tongue it would be Elendil and no lesser Man
may bear that name."
"No indeed!" the captain agreed emphatically. After
a moment's hesitation offered: "I have been called
"The Eagle's Son." Ecthelion mused. Yes, there was
something eagle-like about the younger Man's regal
bearing and piercing eye. His gaze fell on the
glittering star. Emblem, he knew, of the Northern
Dunedain. "Make it rather Thorongil, Eagle of the
"As you wish, my Lord." said Thorongil.
1. Meneldil, son of Anarion, falsly claimed Isildur
had ceeded the realm of Gondor to him and his heirs
before his death at the Gladden Fields. By right he
was no more than the High King's viceregent in the
2. So called by the Great Eagles, in reference to his
father whose name meant Royal Eagle and was regarded
by them almost as one of their own.
Playlist Navigation Bar