Beneath the Light: 5. Part 5

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5. Part 5

There is screaming, screams of pain, shouts of challenge, calls to rally. There is clanging of sword against sword, sword against shield, pulpy splitting of sword through flesh and blood. My ears ring with the noise until I know not where I am or what I hear-- but there, it is my name, shouted desperately from my left. I turn to the sound, swinging my sword, striking down the orc in my path. But it is too late, the elf lay dead under the orc. I do not know his name, but his face is known to me; it is the face of all who have died on this field, brave, valiant, dignified.

We are all of us here united. Eldar, Edain, both with the intention of defeating Morgoth. But none for the same reason; some fight for glory, some for love, others out of duty or for a sense of purpose. I do not know why it is that I came; I do not know why it is that I still fight when the battle is lost, only that I do.

I jab my short-sword through the goblin rushing me, turn sideways with the other hand to my belt, releasing the slender knife to swipe the throat of an Easterling. The sudden impact of an arrow against my armour no longer startles me. The pain in my forearm I have all but forgotten. I cannot separate sweat and tear, seeking through the rising, falling waves of soldiers for the face of Turgon.

Perhaps it is he that I fight for; my king, my mother's brother, lord and keeper of Gondolin, my city, my world, my life. Perhaps it is for my mother's sake; I would not have her death come to naught. I would not have my life come to naught as hers did with her death. Perhaps it is Eol's choice that I fight, that I will not die, not for him.

Perhaps I simply fight to live. Perhaps I fight to kill.

I press onward, cutting through the lines. I hear the voices of monsters as I draw closer to the front where the battle is fiercest, even after the exhaustion of these six days now past. Turgon is there and I break forth to his side, steeling myself once more for desperate charge.

It is painful, to be back in the darkness, to see the hideous minions of Morgoth ill-masked in torchlight, black, dripping, disfigured. Painful to remember that in darkness I also came to be, like an Orc, bred by evil to fear the sun . . .

I cannot think this, not now, and I sweat heavily, for while my mind wandered a beast broke through and now coils, ready to spring on Turgon. My nerves tense, I snap forward, hacking viciously even as the Warg jumps, cutting his leap short though I am knocked to the ground, his belly caught on the sword point, his snarling teeth near to my throat. An arrow pierces his eye and I roll to my feet though the muscles in my legs tremor, bracing my foot to the Warg's chest to withdraw my sword, heavy with blood.

Turgon is nearer, his face cast grey, his voice heavy when he says, "The battle is lost."

Still we fight on, side by side, and I answer him not.

"I would not have Gondolin also lost," Turgon speaks again, his voice pitching higher, his hand driving harder.

"Gondolin will not be lost," I say. "As long as she has her king."

His eyes are all about him, his sword lingering in the foe dead at his feet. "They still fight on . . ." he hesitates.

"Those who fight now fight only to their own death." I am weary. "There can be no other end this day."

Turgon draws himself up, and raising my head I see the younger of the two leaders of the Edain, he who is called Huor, and his shoulders hang as though weighted though his face is gallant and unflinching, his armour slick with the entrails of his enemies.

His looks at us with keen eyes. "Gondolin retreats," he says without question.

Turgon can but nod, and I feel hateful, angry that I encouraged him to such dishonour.

But Huor does not show spite or scorn, for he smiles, raising his sword once more. "Then some will live to fight another battle.
Go now. . . For in you lies the last hope of the Eldar, and while Gondolin stands Morgoth shall know fear in his heart. The forces of Dor-lomin will see that Gondolin withdraws in safety."

He summons the remnant of his battalion, even as Turgon does likewise, and I am left standing in thought, for a strange light has taken the face of Huor. And now before they part he gazes at Turgon, his hand put to the elf's shoulder in a sign of friendship.

When he speaks, though his voice is low, I hear his words. "This I say to you, lord, with the eyes of death: though we part here for ever, and I shall not look your white walls again, from you and from me a new star shall arise."

I do not see Turgon's face, for I am quailing with a sudden dread, a wonder, a hope, and a fear, the sum of which I cannot understand.

And blinded for an instant, I see a star and it scalds my eyes.

And before we retreat, I look upon Huor's face and in his eyes see my mind reflected, and if only for his sake, in this moment I would that I had died in battle.

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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