11. Part 11
It is by Glingal that I sit, but I find no warmth in the glow of the gold, no pleasure in the brilliance of topaz and diamonds. I wonder, once, if I would find more satisfaction in the Tree had I wrought it myself.
But I begin to doubt the joy of possession, for with it comes the cost of dispossession.
Tuor walks among the fountains. He is not yet aware of my presence, for I am all but hidden by the rise of a fountain bowl, but through the streaming curtain of water I watch him. Without the cloak of Ulmo and the Vala's words in his mouth, Tuor appears of less stature and might, his speech more plain; and yet his prescence is not dimmed by this lack, his voice no less potent for its homelier words. It is the careful measurement of each step that speaks strength, the compelling truth in his speech which delights the ear, a purpose and the will to carry it out which lights his eye.
He seeks something. I do not call out. He will find me.
I stretch my legs so that the loose grey material of my trousers rustles against the smooth floor before folding them once more underneath me, fixing my gaze on the golden trunk of Glingal as though I hope to see her face blooming in the false fruits of gemstones. But finding nothing I look instead to the softly rippling pool in the basin beside me, and my face in reflection is distorted, dark eyes that flicker rapidly, set deep beneath fair brow, pointed chin wavering as though in attempt to contain a great grief.
When Tuor's reflection appears beside mine, I see that the pool is still.
"Master Tuor son of Huor of the House of Hador," I greet him coolly. "How do you fare in the City?"
He stands a respectful distance from the Trees when I turn round. The Messenger of Ulmo is clad in a plain leather jerkin, his flaxen hair loose against broad, lean shoulders, beard trimmed neatly on his face, with eyes of a fair and bright blue unfamiliar to me, and in the humble simplicity of his demeanor appears again the unaffected dignity of a lord, a king.
It is maddening, for I am as engaged by it as the simplest maiden.
"I feel a stranger," Tuor replies to my inquisition. "An oddity."
"You are," I counter. "The last to pass through the Gates who was not of the Gondolodrim were your father and his brother, who stayed not long. The last to come to dwell here was myself, and that is many years in the past."
He looks upon me in warmth now, as though we are kindred. "Then I am not alone. From whence came you to this place?"
From the Dark Elf and the White Lady. From a black night under bright stars. From the lust of my father and the pride of my mother. Out from the grudge-bound chains of Eol and into the fear-built walls of Gondolin.
"A forest not far, near to Doriath," is my answer. "Gondolin was my mother's home, and for her sake I was accepted."
Tuor's face is to the Trees, and the sunlight casts both gold and silver on his face so that he appears as a noble statue carved of steel. Yet his eyes look not at the precious metals, his brow low as though in troubled thought, and now he turns to the fountain, listening in silence to the gentle rush of the water.
"Do you seek answers in the water?" I ask quietly, tilting my head to study him.
His mouth crooks faintly to a smile. "I hear but the echo of my questions. Still, I find solace in the sound. The sea shall never speak ill to me."
"And you fear that Turgon will."
Tuor sinks to the floor, legs folding as mine though his head leans against the ivory fountain bowl. "He does not speak of the Message. With each day that passes Ulmo's words grow dim in his mind, for they stand pale against his own: Ondolinde, Loth-a-ladwen." The son of Huor looks now to the Trees, the Fountains of the Tower. "I fear his devotion to this Kingdom."
My palms flatten against the cold marble floor. "Why do you fear? Are you not granted the privilege to leave? You need not be encompassed in our destruction."
"I fear," says he, eyes meeting mine, "because I too begin to feel the hold of this City and the Lady which lights it."
My mouth feels dry, my body not stirring. "Truly the hold of Gondolin is not in its stones."
So perhaps it is Idril that lights his eye.
Why do mine only grow darker?
"And you, my lord," says Tuor with a smile. "What is it that you ponder, and does the fountain answer you?"
"I do not ask anything of it." I arch my neck, chin lowering and raising again to the white pillars above us. "I only reflect. Today I am lord in title; tomorrow I take the charge and duty of a lord of a House of Gondolin. A House that is, as of yet, unnamed."
Tuor peers at me. "What is your function at present?"
"A blacksmith." I pause. "But long have I been away from the smithy. Now my place is delving into the dark places of Amon Gwareth, burrowing deeper and deeper for such jewels and metals as I have not yet the skill to work. I am a miner, a dweller underground."
A moment, and I find myself near to smiling though inside I churn with repulsion. "I shall be Lord of the House of the Mole."
Tuor's face breaks into mirth, but I lift an eyebrow. "I do not jest, Master Tuor."
"Nor do I," he replies, extending his hand. "I approve."
I take his hand and we rise to our feet, stepping back though our are eyes are still met in farewell. Without thought I incline my head in deference.
Tuor returns the motion. Even bowed, his golden head seems loftier than mine.
"I will speak to Turgon on your behalf," I say to him.
"Then you will set my mind at ease," speaks Tuor with a solemn trust.
I watch him leave, as I watched him come, and I wonder if Turgon does not indeed fear this Man, for his power is truly not in strength or words, but in his unsullied spirit which can only inspire love, trust, allegiance.
But this power is held only by his presence.
I sit alone by Glingal.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.