Beneath the Light: 8. Part 8

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8. Part 8

I lower the back of my hand near to the sheet of silver flattened in front of me, finding it has cooled. Selecting a small hammer from the work table behind me, I begin to tap lightly on the malleable metal.

So easily it is shaped. How interesting that such a marvelous piece of nature, its making as of yet unduplicated by any hand on Middle-Earth, after it is broken down and reforged and shaped by my hands, becomes a work of my own. For that is how others see it, forgetting its pre-existence. The silver that Maeglin wrought.

So easily it becomes mine.

Ecthelion stands near and watches with interest. I did not request his company. He does not offer to relieve me of it. So I do not offer him a seat.

"An honour to have my armour forged by the sister-son of the King," he is saying now, more for the peaceable purpose of smoothing my ego than to begin an actual conversation. "For even he speaks highly of your skills."

"Even he," I repeat, the next tap of my hammer striking harder than I intended. "Perhaps only he."

I am relieved-- though admittedly also somewhat disappointed-- that Ecthelion does not continue his line of political flattery and reassure me of my far-reaching repute. He merely turns his eyes from the silver to my face, studying me.

"Indeed, you are held in the King's favour," is his neutral observation.

More words wait in my mouth but I simply bend closer to my work, frowning to keep my lips together. It will not do me good to speak too freely to one of Turgon's lords. It will not do me good to speak too freely to anyone.

But I say, "Perhaps his favour is too easily won."

Ecthelion holds his bland face, even whilst mine turns abruptly to scowl, and I pound violently against the silver.

"Perhaps," the Lord of the Fountains replies. "But if that be so, then let me say that it is also easily lost. It is keeping his favour wherein lies the task. Do not think that your blood will blind Turgon to your wrongs."

This is not the topic in which my mind is immersed, but interesting nonetheless. I lift an eyebrow to peer up at him. "Does my lord speak of a particular wrong?"

"I do not," his voice continues to be pleasant.

I return to a frown, running a fingertip against the beaten silver, the subtle beginnings of a breastplate taking shape. "Then you seek to reassure me of my worth? Do not allow yourself the trouble. I have no doubts concerning the genuinity nor the longitivity of the King's affection."

"Then it is the favour of another which troubles you."

Perhaps it is merely your proximity that troubles me, Lord of Many Questions.

His face is still the portrait of disinterest, and my earlier annoyance turns to blatant suspicion. Too many times have I allowed Ecthelion to observe me; too often have I spoken to him. He begins to see too much.

"I know not of what you speak," I say to him firmly, my attention in full upon the bending of the armour. "There is much in the world that troubles me. Favour with others is among the least of my concerns and desires. Rather like companionship."

Ecthelion is not put off by my words, and rather seems amused by them, though he does hold his tongue. And because he retains his silence and resumes regarding my hands with an undulled curiosity, I allow him to stay, albeit grudgingly for he has offset my concentration and I must now repair a dent in the breastplate.

Finally, he breaks his silence.

"I know of what and whom it is that so greatly torments you," his voice is yet quiet, almost gentle. "And though I am perhaps not what you would seek in an advisor, I have only these words for comfort: that even this, in time, shall pass you by and leave naught but a memory of faint regret."

There is a solid coldness in the pit of my stomach, for I perceive in the expression of his eyes that he speaks truth and has indeed discovered the secret of my heart.

"Now it is you that knows not of what you speak," I respond in a voice of equal softness.

"I speak as one who has known the burden."

"There are none who have known this burden."

He keeps quiet a moment, and the clear ringing of the silver is all the sound that passes between us.

"You are called Sharp Glance," Ecthelion's voice is again flat, impartial. "Does the glance extend to yourself?"

Blackness-- blood-- I cannot breathe!-- flame-- burning-- I cannot see!-- a star-- a star-- a star---

I mask my gasp against my cloak, twisted right to reach to my table of tools.

My breath is shallow, so that I speak fast. "Be still Ecthelion, or your breastplate shall become a sword with which I will cleave your tongue."

He is quiet again, and the moments pass from tension to peace. But my work now is slower, my hands unsteady, and this time it is I who speak first.

"I was also called Lomion, in the Quenya, by my mother," I say to him, quietly. "Do you know the meaning of it?"

The Lord of Gondolin nods, speaks hesitantly. "Son of Twilight."

I return his nod, my gaze on his face. "Do you believe in the prophetic gift of mother-names?"

He speaks even more hesitantly now. "I have too often seen it proved to disbelieve it."

"Then you understand some of the occupation of my mind," my tone of speaking is now dark. "For there are few with the gift of interpreting these names. Understanding comes only with fulfillment."

He does not shy from my stare, his eyes hooded in thought. "Perhaps that which is called understanding comes only because it is sought. That which is looked for too often exists only because of the looking."

I gaze at him, his fair brow drawn in thought, pointed chin tilting to the side, and I wonder at his reasoning. It troubles me, though I cannot guess why.

"No matter the reason of its existence," I say. "Does it not still exist?"

He blinks, slowly. "It does."

Our eyes are locked, and I wonder which it is that truly has the Sharp Glance.

I turn from him. "And perhaps my mother had no thought of prophecy. Perhaps I am named only for the place of my birth, for truly Nan Elmoth knew nothing but night."

"Yes," says Ecthelion. "Perhaps."

I know that neither of us believe it.

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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