Beneath the Light: 2. Part 2

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2. Part 2

I had not intended to find her, but now that I have, I do not intend to leave her. Her back is to me so I stand openly near the green banks of the shallow stream, relieved from the afternoon heat by the shadow of the birch grove behind me, unmoving, watching.

The hem of her pale blue-grey skirts Idril holds up with one hand; the other carries a garland of flowers, golden elanor woven among stark white evermind. Her feet are bare, slender and silvered white, and lightly they skim the mirror surface of the water. Now she stands still, face lifted and eyes closed as the wind blows a light spray to her face, and it is not the sun's light, I know, but that of Idril which breaks the water to rainbowed light, red and gold and violet. Her hair is pearled with droplets, gently flailing against her back in a shimmer of unadorned radiance.

Her eyes open, Idril leans and lays the blossom wreath to the stream, scattering water through her fingers over the petals, following for a few steps as it begins to flow with the current. But soon it is carried out of sight, and Idril straightens, lips parting in a faint laugh.

"Why do you not speak, Maeglin?" she asks, her feet stepping nimble to a stone in the steam. Her face turns, her eyes seeking me among the trees.

I wait until she sees me before replying. "I have naught to say, lady." I step forward, but I am uncertain, unused to the ease of her voice. She does not withdraw, but smiles, and with a dewy willow arm reaches to me, a beckon to come closer.

"That cannot be true," her voice carries light and eagerly I step toward her into the steam, the coldness shocking brisk against my bare feet. "You see much," Idril continues, her eyes fixed on my face. "And long days you spend learning from the craftsmen and loremasters of Gondolin. Tell me what you know, Maeglin," she says and her voice is filled with a curiosity too sharp for idle interest. Yet I care not, for her sunlit eyes are unblinking upon me and I am almost to her . . .

"Tell me what you are thinking," she speaks softly, her chin tilting to the side, and I perceive that she dreads my silence, know that she mistrusts my thoughts and words both.

Now I am unsure, apprehensive, and my pace grows unsteady, the river stones shifting beneath my feet. I strive for balance. I will not tell her what I think, I cannot tell her, surely I cannot speak what I know in the presence of one so sublime and retain my sanity . . . But lovely and silver and wordless her hand is held to me still, and cutting through the water I reach and in sudden desperation clasp it with my own--

"There is a darkness," the words are gasped from my mouth, unbidden. "I cannot escape it, for it comes from within me, and it will hold no light. It is like a pit, a gaping void, and I cannot . . . get out . . ." I try to breathe but I cannot see her, I cannot think. "The sky does not warm me. You have so much light, Idril, Celebrindal . . . I can feel it, sometimes, when you are near . . . I feel it, and it is almost there, almost inside of me . . ."

With a gasp I can breathe again, and Idril's eyes are suddenly in front of me, looking at me filled with fright, her face pale and drawn. My gaze turns down, and I see I hold fast both her wrists, that I strain her toward me though she recoils and her fists are tight. Close is her body, damp from the water, and though I am sickened by the fear in her face I do not withdraw, I cannot, for she is warm and bright and pure, and I feel her skin, and if I lean closer her face is almost to mine, and I feel dizzy, blinded, disoriented . . .

It is too bright-- it is burning . . .

I release her, and she nearly falls, stumbling through the water, her hem dropped and soaking. My hands are limp, my shoulders heavy, and I only wish to plunge myself into the stream, into the clear water, but with the quietness of her voice Idril commands me to look at her.

"Maeglin--" She stands with arms at her sides and the water streaming unheeded against her legs, her eyes no longer fearful but grieving dark in her white face. I feel cold.

A moment she takes to gather herself, then she speaks. "You cannot gain by taking from another."

I am afraid, afraid she will leave me, so I also speak. "Can you not gain by giving to another?"

Now she does not look at me, her eyes lowering to the stream. "I cannot give to you what is not yours to have."

I am in the dark again, at the end of a long, black, airless tunnel, and in the crystal-petal hands of Idril is carried away my only light. Again I feel dizzy, I reach for her.

But she does not respond, her hand fastened against her side. "You are a child of night, Maeglin," her face is grave but not unkind, and she steps back. "The sunlight is not for you. Perhaps you should look to the stars."

There is a tightness, a choking in my throat and my words are hoarse and vulgar to my ears. "I will have none but you."

She does not break her gaze, nor does she speak, but I see her, I see that she withdraws from me, and between us is laid a sky that cannot be reached.

While I am still waiting for her to speak, she leaves.

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.

Story Information

Author: Mouse

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 1st Age

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 01/10/03

Original Post: 07/08/02

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