7. Part 7
I drift, sloth, through a pool of sensation. Sunlight and trees, fields of slain bodies, death screams, the faint, high call of an elven lament--- it is dreams. Cold, rigid steel against my head and back--- mail and armour-- no it is the Gate. The light fades, the night of Gondolin reawakened to my eyes. Slumping at the foot of the Gate, finally, I had fallen asleep.
One thing remains from my dreams--- there is a voice.
I breathe in the stillness, but do not move, listening as the duclet notes circle near me, now fading, now rising, in and around the pillars of the Gate until she stands behind me, and all the more hard seems the pillar at my back.
"What do you dream of, Maeglin?" she asks, not so much stopping her song to ask as weaving the words into her breathless music.
"Battle and death," I say, the words fit to the night in which I lay but unsuited to the ears which hear them.
"Dreams of the past, soldier," she is gentle in her chiding, but she does not draw near, and I know she will not, not ever again.
I close my eyes.
"I see a star." I meet her song, throwing memory into my voice with violence. "A new star, rising, alive, moving, bright and beautiful beyond any light before put in the sky . . ."
Her singing dwindles, her voice yielding to mine, and I feel her, hear her breath, know her eyes look upon the stars above us. I do not wish to continue, do not wish to move, yearning the spell upon me to extend to space and time and hold the world around us in this twilit state, the burning of Idril's sunlight hidden under nightcloak, naught but her silverness now seen.
"But it is not beautiful to me," I whisper now, feeling the pain this will bring her. "What I see in dreams comes only by my sleep. This star will come only by my death."
She is silenced, distant, yet only a circle of steel away from me. I dare not move, knowing she will run. My arm I lift, stretched back, arching around the pillar to seek some proof of her existence, that she was not a figment of the starlight. But rather than the hem of her gown, it is her skin that I touch, her shoulder, and I am startled by the coldness of my fingers. She sits also, then.
"Celebrindal," I say, for at night she is truly silverfoot, silver maiden, bereft of the worshipful terribleness of day. "How many tears did you let fall when it was the Nirnaeth?"
"Arnoediad," she says softly. "I did not count, Maeglin,"
"I would," I say, and my fingers lift from her shoulder lest she move it, "that you would grant me one."
"You have one," she says. "For each day, each word, each thought that has brought you pain."
"I could not have you grieve so, my lady, for surely it would collapse my spirit," my voice is low, the words a pain to my throat. "I must have a smile, a word, a song, matched to each tear, so I would not drown." I reach again, arm sliding against the smooth white steel, fingertips almost brushing her throat. I lean my head against the pillar.
"I can give you naught but tears, Maeglin," she whispers. "Tears and silence."
I can almost feel her. "Tears to blind me," I say bitterly. "Silence to fill my throat and still my breathing."
"Tears to clean your wounds," says she. "Silence to learn from you."
Now my arm drops, my hand pressed to her ribcage, feeling the expansion of her breath, the breath that gives me life. "Learn this," I speak quickly, harshly, for short is time before she flies. "The sun is an inconstant maiden, uncertain in herself and of the world, so that the clouds cover her, and the sky falls over her. Night always comes, and she, her glorious, yellow heart, submits to it."
Her breath is caught fast now, and she banks to escape my hand, springing for flight, but I am to my feet, turned, and she runs but to me, our bodies closed in,and my hands are fastening in her hair, and I am scared to breathe, scared to blink, scared to let go, angry at my brutality, angry at her fastness, hungry for her.
I hold her, I breathe her, feel her heart beat, feel mine answer in turn.
"Maeglin," she cries out, and I see her eyes, burning through the veil of night, bright and white-lit. "Why do you not hear me? Do you not know that it is this I cannot give you? It is this," her voice is broken now, almost to a weep. "It is this. It is my heart. It is my life. It is me."
"You do not give it," I breathe, I touch her her arms, her brow, her hair. "I take it."
"You cannot!" Her voice is high and sharp, ringing in my ears and though I am dizzy with the force, with the sound, I do not heed her.
"You do not speak to me as such," I say quietly, my fingers clenching tighter. "I am not your subject."
"But are you my friend," she speaks softer but she does not plead, her chin raised and unquivering. "Are you my kinsman, my cousin? Are you indeed better than Eol, stealing what woman you would by deceptive speech and force--"
I throw her away in an abrupt surge of hatred. She stumbles back in silence, her eyes not blinking, her face stretched in suprise, falling still in the moonlight.
"You do not speak to me as such," I whisper.
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.