Archer of Gondolin, The: 3. Chapter 2

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3. Chapter 2

To that promise she held as the dying cling to dissolving memories. Ethuiel began her long study of the art of archery that very day. Legolas remembered that during their sad journey she was full to the eyes with questions regarding the ways in which an archer might be most effective in myriad circumstances. Usually her queries were direct and astute, but every now and again a nine-year-old little elf would pop out of her head and ask some outlandish question.

Once she had asked him, "What if you were waylaid by Orcs and with them was an Ent whom they had captured and bewitched with a evil spell, thus changing him into an evil Ent who growled fiercely and frothed about the mouth and said, "I want Elf meat!’” (She said this in what she described as her 'very most scary evil Ent voice'.) "Well," she continued and opened her eyes as wide as the lids would allow and poked her face very close to his. "THEN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?"

He had replied in his own 'very most scary evil Ent voice,' "Then my dear, I would be Ent food. And a most excellent fertilizer if I may say so myself!" Ethuiel had rolled upon the ground in a fit of giggles.

It would be sound to believe that Legolas' heart might have been gladdened at seeing her merriment, but it was not so. It was just the contrary indeed. At such moments he felt the wrath run all the hotter in his veins, for she was truly a dear, sweet little maiden. She was not born to walk in sorrow. Neither did her fair mother give her birth that she might wander in rags and bear hate upon her lovely brow. Her brow was meant to bear a crown and she should have walked in peace through fair Gondolin.

But alas, it was not to become, for Ethuiel sat within the boarders of Lothlórien, the most tranquil and pleasing land in Middle Earth, in seemingly inconsolable grief. Legolas was summoned from his memory by the final lyric of the song:

Gondolin is lost, Gondolin has fallen
sundered are we beyond The End
Gondolin is gone and hears not my calling.
Rest your head lightly now,
upon Ecthelion’s breast.

She laid the lute beside her, drew up the hood of her gray cloak and rested her head upon her knees. Merry looked at her unshod foot and saw there a long, scarlet scar that stretched from the smallest toe to the ankle and up past where her cloak hung about her legs. He felt ill with pity. He then turned to the company and made a suggestion. "Maybe we should say something to her. She's so sad; it breaks the heart. There must be something we can do to bring her around."

Pippin quickly and hardily agreed. "Yes Merry! That's a good lad! Perhaps she might come with us and take some wine and be cheered a bit--verily."

Before anyone could stop him, Pippin called out to her. "Hullo there! Ethuiel, would you care to come and have sup--" Aragorn stopped his mouth with his hand. Legolas stood stone still. He hoped in his heart that she would at least turn to acknowledge the call, for he dearly wished to see her face again.

He had become so fond of her in that time of weary wandering that when the refugees finally parted to their separate paths, he had proposed to take the orphan Ethuiel and care for her as his own. But Brynowen, who had been her mother’s dearest friend, could not bear to be parted from her. And so Legolas had relented. How she had come to Lothlórien and also had become the Lady Galadriel’s champion, he knew not. Although he had thought of her often through the ages, he never expected to find her again in Middle Earth. It had always been his hope that Brynowen had brought her over the Sea and that they might meet again in the majesty of Eressëa.

Ethuiel raised her head as if she might turn, but at that same moment a low and subtle voice came to them from behind. "The sorrow of a daughter for a fallen father is a most doleful, and private matter about which none of you shall ever know." It was Galadriel. She stood in glowing white, gazing at the heartbroken maid with an expression of love and compassion.

Gimli stepped forward and bowed so low before The Lady that when finally he stood erect, his beard was a mesh of golden leaves. Legolas managed a smile to himself.

"Lady," Gimli said, "Though you speak the truth, as is always your wont, I am sick to the tip of my beard for the sorrow of this creature. Does poor Ethuiel find ever any relief from despondency? Is there naught we might do to ease her suffering?"

"The answer is nay to both of your questions Gimli," Galadriel replied. "Although her despair is not always so thick a mask as you see it now. It is, at some moments, but a sheer veil of mist about her eyes. Yet sadly, it is an ever-present mark as the one that stains her poor foot and fair leg. I am certain that it has escaped the notice of none here."

They turned to see the hooded figure slipping on silver-gray shoes, and there they saw that the lash, indeed, climbed nearly up to her knee.

"That wound was given her by the balrog’s whip. There it rises and falls with the ebb and flow of her torment and the hatred she bears for the ones that took from her Gondolin, and slew her father and her beloved mother." Galadriel gazed up into the west. "So kind and amusing was Silriel--and so fair." She said aloud though speaking to none.

After a moment she turned back toward the company. There she saw standing before her a rather pale and horror-stricken Dwarf. Gimli's pity touched her most deeply. She felt that she had perhaps underestimated the capacity of the Dwarves for the concerns of others. "Let us walk together. I will tell you all that you wish to know, but let us leave Ethuiel to her thoughts. I think she does not seek the comfort of counsel or company just yet." She turned and started northward toward Caras Galadon.

All but Legolas followed. He stood for a moment, longing for her to turn at last and allow him to look on her. But alas, she slowly rose, gathered her lute and her bow and quiver, slung them across her back and drifted into the wood. At length Legolas turned and followed the company.

As he approached, The Lady looked to him and spoke. "Fear not, Legolas Greenleaf. I believe that you will look on her face again at last, ere you leave Lothlórien."

Frodo looked both confused and fascinated. "Do you know her, Legolas?" he asked.

All present anxiously awaited his reply. Galadriel looked on but said nothing. After a long silence he answered. "Aye Frodo. I knew her once. But it was a long--long time ago."

The company continued on toward the city and Galadriel told what she knew. "Ethuiel has only just returned hither this day from an errand upon which I sent her in Rivendell some weeks ago. She tarried there for a short time with Elrond and the Lady of Rivendell whose friendship to her is especially dear." Galadriel stared into the wood and once again thought aloud. "Perhaps I should send for her now that she might soothe the anguish of a cherished friend." As she said this she turned her eyes to Aragorn. He stared back at her with an expression of longing and reverence.

Galadriel continued, "Understand that she has known mere hours of Gandalf's fall." The company peered into the trees. "The news and the way of it have caused the birth of a new grief that springs forth to draw the old grief near." The final ribbons of sunlight skipped along the golden leaves, dwindled, and were gone. They walked the rest of the way in silence.
***

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: Lasbelindi

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Romance

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 04/25/03

Original Post: 03/11/03

Go to Archer of Gondolin, The overview

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