Sting: 1. Sting

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1. Sting

Author's Notes - This is purely conjectured on my part. Master Tolkien never said what the origin of Sting was other than to say that it was an elvish blade, a knife judging by its size. I am basing my story on the fact that Glamdring, Gandalf's blade from the same troll-hoard, was the sword of King Turgon of Gondolin. As Sting also glowed blue in the presence of Orcs/Goblins, it may have been from Gondolin as well, made for the Goblin Wars. Thence my tale. If you have read my other stories, then you know which side of the Glorfindel argument I fall on. Legolas is mentioned in this tale, though he isn't present. This story concerns my other two favorite characters: Bilbo and Glorfindel.

The inscriptions on Glamdring and Sting are taken from The Lord of the Rings Fan Club Official Movie Magazine, Issues 1 and 2. Sting's inscription is found in Issue 1 page 65, and Glamdring in Issue 2 page 19.

Thank you to al my wonderful beta. I don't think I could get it all straight without you. Hannon le, mellon nin.


Bilbo Baggins of Bag End, the Hill, Hobbiton, the Shire was certain at times that he was dreaming. What other explanation could there be for what he had experienced? If it were a dream, as he sometimes supposed, then at this present moment it was a very pleasant one. There had been some bad moments what with trolls, and Gandalf disappearing at odd times, hunger, no pocket handkerchief, spiders, wolves, the dwarves being captured by the elves, the dragon, the battle and all the sorrow it had wrought. But right now it was rather nice again. He was at last headed home, and the excitement of seeing his comfortable hobbit-hole made him very happy indeed.

It had been a long dream, this adventure of his, very long. Over a year had passed now since he had run so hastily from his home that Thursday morning to meet the dwarves at the Green Dragon Inn "at 11 a.m. sharp." In that time he had been through fire and water, flown through the air, and traveled beneath the earth. He had seen some very wonderful things, and some very horrible things that no one should have to see. He had seen what was best and bright, and what was dark and fell. He had lived an entire lifetime of experiences in that year's time, and he didn't doubt that he had done more and seen more than any other Hobbit in all of history.

At this moment he was standing on a balcony in Rivendell, the hidden valley of Elrond. Sunlight sparkled off the waterfalls in the distance, the spray at their feet sending prisms of color into the air. This was a truly beautiful and peaceful place, but his heart yearned for home and its familiar comforts.

~Soon I will be hearing the sound of my own kettle singing to announce teatime. I will sit in my garden at twiligh,t enjoying the sound of crickets in the grass and the songs of the toads and frogs drifting from the river. The singing of the elves is merry, but the sounds of home are just as beautiful, ~ he thought with a smile. He had enough adventure to last quite a while, and it was with relief that he looked upon this last leg of his journey. He had many wonderful souvenirs to remind him of his adventures abroad, and they would help him recall more clearly everything that had happened when he decided to take up a pen instead of a sword, and write it all down. "I wonder who will read it," he chuckled, pulling his pipe from his jacket.

A curl of pipeweed smoke lifted on the early morning air as Bilbo sat quietly on a carved bench in the sun, his eyes on the surrounding mountains, a smile of contentment playing about his lips. So lost was he in his thoughts that he didn't hear the soft, near silent footfalls of someone approaching him. It wasn't until Bilbo heard someone clearing his throat that he realized he was no longer alone. He turned about to see a tall elf with a long spill of rich golden hair standing a few feet away, the intense blue eyes upon him.

"Forgive me," the elf said, bowing his head slightly. "I do not mean to disturb you."

Bilbo stood, and bowed toward him. He could tell just by the way the elf stood so tall and straight, by the carriage of the noble head, that this must be someone most important in Rivendell. Power rested in that slim body, a power that was restrained and held in check, but present nonetheless. Bilbo stared up at him in amazement.

"There is no need to apologize. I am just enjoying the morning air, and you are most welcome to join me, if you wish. Bilbo Baggins at your service."

The elf smiled, and held one hand to his heart.

"Glorfindel of Imladris at yours," he said in a smooth, rich voice that made Bilbo wish he could hear this elf sing something. "I would be pleased to join you."

Bilbo stood by the bench as the elf crossed the space between them. He moved very gracefully, and in such a manner that Bilbo wondered just who he was. He didn't recall seeing him before, either during the last few days or from his visit the past June. The elf was tall and very impressive looking in his blue tunic embroidered with tiny gold flowers, the blond hair shimmering in the sunlight.

Glorfindel gestured for the Hobbit to seat himself, then sat beside him. For a moment the two merely studied one another with curiosity. At last Glorfindel smiled, and shook his head.

"I have heard much of you, Bilbo Baggins. It seems I sit in the presence of a true adventurer hero."

Bilbo laughed with delight at this statement, and shook his curly head.

"Well, I don't know about the hero part," he said modestly, noting that the elf's blue eyes matched his tunic perfectly. If there was one thing he had learned about elves they knew how to impress people. "Though I have had quite the adventure."

Glorfindel smiled back at him, a flash of white teeth in the perfect face.

"So I have heard. You have caused quite a stir here in Imladris. It is not often that we entertain such as you. I was not here when you arrived late last spring, so I was delighted to hear that you have returned in one piece to grace us with your presence once again."

Bilbo felt his cheeks redden slightly at this. It was most disconcerting to be looked upon as a hero adventurer with great tales to tell. He thought he rather liked it.

"Well, yes. I did not think I had seen you before. Are you a relative of Lord Elrond's? Though you do not look like him much. Your hair rather reminds me of King Thranduil of Mirkwood, whom I found most impressive. He is rather a nice fellow, too. He called me Bilbo the Magnificent on our parting."

Again, a smile flitted over the elf's lips.

"Yes, he is," Glorfindel agreed. "But to answer you query, no, I am not related to Elrond, though we are great friends. I have known him since he was just an Elfling, toddling along with his brother Elros."

Bilbo's eyes widened.

"My goodness!" he gasped. "You must be old indeed. You elves are very mysterious, you know. You look entirely too young to be *that* old."

Glorfindel laughed, a most delightful sound to the Hobbit's ears. He did like the way it sounded when the elves laughed.

"Well, I will take that as a compliment," the elf said, his blue eyes merry and bright. "I am rather old by your reckoning, and have seen much of this world. Though I think you may have seen more of it than I," he added with a wink.

Bilbo chuckled.

"Well, I don't see how, though I think I must have traveled nearly the entire length of the world by now. It will be good to see my home," he added thoughtfully, the smoke of his pipe curling before his eyes. "It has been a very long time."

Glorfindel nodded, his own eyes growing distant.

"Yes, home always beckons to us, does it not? No matter how far we have roamed, it calls to our hearts, beckoning us to return."

Bilbo turned to regard him, hearing the slight note of sadness in the other's voice. The elf's gaze was on the distant mountains, but the Hobbit could tell that he was not really seeing them, not anymore than he himself had earlier as he dreamed of Hobbiton.

"Is this not your home?" he asked after a moment. "If you don't mind my asking."

Glorfindel turned to him, and Bilbo was struck by what he saw in the elf's blue eyes. They suddenly seemed very ancient, filled with the wisdom of ages, and a sorrow that Bilbo had not ever glimpsed before.

"It is now, yes. I . . . had another home once. . . a lifetime ago."

"Oh? Where was that?" Bilbo studied the elf, wondering if he was being too prying, but he saw the smile that touched the elf's lips, and the blue eyes warmed slightly.

"I understand from Lord Elrond that you bear a knife found in a troll- hill," Glorfindel said, evading the Hobbit's question. "I would very much like to see it."

"Sting? Oh! Of course. One moment please," Bilbo slid from the bench, laying his pipe down. "I suppose that is rather rude of me. I will put this out," he said with a grin. "I forget how you elves don't like smoking."

Glorfindel raised his brows questioningly.

"It is true that we do not smoke your "pipeweed," but I do not mind if you do," he said.

Bilbo laughed at this, and shook his head.

"Well, Prince Legolas did not much care for it," he said. "Or it did not care for him, perhaps I should say."

Glorfindel studied him, his eyes twinkling slightly.

"You met Prince Legolas in Mirkwood, did you?"

"Yes, and he is quite a delightful fellow. They all were, in their own way. A very merry place is Mirkwood."

Glorfindel laughed at this statement.

"So I have reason to believe," he said enigmatically.

"I will have to tell you about it sometime, but let me go fetch Sting for you. It is quite a good little sword, or perhaps I should say knife since that is how you would regard it."

Glorfindel watched him scamper off to his room, then he turned to study the mountains once more, noting how the sun shone upon the grey stone and sparkled on the water and the trees. He had heard from Elrond, when he had returned to Imladris after Gandalf and the dwarves had left on their journey east, about the swords found in the troll-hill. Elrond had watched his friend's face closely as he related that the one carried by Thorin Oakenshield was Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver, known as Biter to the Goblins. Glorfindel had started slightly at this, surprise and wonder filling him. Then Elrond had told him of the great sword that Gandalf the Grey bore: Glamdring the Foe Hammer. Glorfindel said nothing for a time as he contemplated this. He had not seen Glamdring in many years, not since it had flashed in Turgon's hand on that fateful night so long ago in a vanished kingdom.

When at last Gandalf had returned to Imladris, Glorfindel had asked the Istar if he might gaze upon the now fabled blade. The wizard had smiled gently at the request, and unsheathed the great sword. Glorfindel had gazed upon the silver blade, covered with runes in the ancient language of the Gondothlim.

"Turgon aran Gondolin tortha Gar a matha I vegil Glamdring Gud Daedheloth, Dam a Glamoht"

"Turgon king of Gondolin wields, Has and holds the sword Glamdring, Foe of Morgoth's realm, Hammer to the Orcs"

A face both beautiful and wise formed in his mind: Turgon king of Gondolin, his liege. The last image he had of this great ruler was lit by the leaping flames of a burning city, this very sword grasped in strong hands, long dark hair flowing about him as anger and disbelief filled the grey eyes as he beheld Morgoth's Orcs, Dragons, and Balrogs wreaking death and destruction all about him, tearing apart everything he had built and protected for so long.

Glorfindel was startled from his reverie by the sound of Bilbo's voice close at hand.

"Here it is," he was saying as he hurried toward the elf-lord. In his hands he carried the short sword in its scabbard. Glorfindel sighed as the Hobbit handed it to him, and then seated himself back on the bench. "It is the most wondrous thing really," Bilbo continued, not seeing the look on the other's face as he slowly drew the leaf shaped blade forth. "As I said, it is naught but a knife to you, but it has served me quite well. Do you see the inscription? Elrond had them put that on there for me. It reads: "Sting is my name. I am the spider's bane." Rather nice, don't you think? It very nearly rhymes."

Glorfindel read the delicate script that ran up the blade and onto the crossbar. He smiled faintly.

"It is rather a nice name. I think that its former owner would be most pleased with it."

"Oh? Well, fancy that. I know that Lord Elrond told Gandalf and Thorin what the names of their swords were, but I never asked him about mine. It wasn't even called Sting then. That came later in Mirkwood."

"Yes, the spiders," Glorfindel said with a wry smile.

"Prince Legolas had one in the palace, though his father did not seem very pleased with it. A spider that is."

Glorfindel chuckled and held Sting aloft, watching the sun slide over the edge, glinting brilliantly.

"That does not surprise me at all. He has always had a fondness for them, strange though that is. Shall I tell you about this blade, Bilbo Baggins?"

"Oh, yes. Please do! I know all you Elves have a love for history, and things of that nature. I would love to know where Sting came from. Did it come from Gondolin, like Gandalf's sword?"

"Yes, it did. Though this is no knife as you suppose it. It is a sword."

"Really? It seems awfully small to be an elvish sword."

Glorfindel smiled, his slender fingers tracing the words inscribed on the blade.

"Well, it was made for a small elf, a young prince of Turgon's line."

"A prince? Really? Well, fancy that!"

Glorfindel handed the sword back to the Hobbit, who studied it with renewed interest.

"Yes, it was made for Turgon's grandson, Earendil."

"Earendil? Truly? I did not know that. He was Elrond's father, wasn't he?"

"Yes, he was. Tell me, Bilbo, how does a Hobbit come to know who Earendil is?"

Bilbo smiled, still gazing in wonder at his small sword.

"I asked Gandalf about Elrond. Imagine my surprise when he told me about Earendil the Mariner. Elrond's father! I might like to write a song about him one day. Gandalf knows quite a bit of history himself, you see."

Glorfindel laughed at this, causing Bilbo to look over at him, not realizing he had said something funny.

"Yes, indeed. He does know quite a bit of history. It seems that you do as well now. Your little sword, Sting, was made in Gondolin specifically for young Earendil, who wished to have a sword of his own, like his father and grandfather. And his mother."

"His mother? She was a warrior as well?"

"Oh, yes. There were not many that did not know how to wield a sword in our fair city, though it lay in peace for many a year."

"'Our city?' You mean you were there? In Gondolin?" The Hobbit stared up at the elf by his side with something akin to awe.

"Yes, I lived in Gondolin. I knew King Turgon, his daughter Idril, Tuor her husband, and their son Earendil."

Bilbo's brows knit.

"I beg your pardon, Glorfindel, but wasn't that a long time ago? I mean, I know you are older than Lord Elrond, but can you be *that* old?"

Glorfindel chuckled, turning his blue eyes on the Hobbit.

"Indeed I can. I was there at Gondolin's beginning, when the first stone was hewn and laid. And I was there the night it fell in flames."

The Hobbit's eyes widened at this revelation, Sting lying forgotten for the moment across his knees.

"I admit that I do not know much about Gondolin, Glorfindel," he said in a low voice. "I have looked through some of Elrond's books, he has a great many as you know. But I admit that I was more interested in his maps."

"Maps are interesting things, are they not?" the elf agreed. "I am not surprised that one from the Shire would not have heard of Gondolin. It was in the First Age of this world, and has vanished completely. Would you hear of it now?"

"Oh, yes. I would love to hear any tale you would have to tell me."

For a time the two sat side by side, Glorfindel's fair voice rising and falling as he told the tale of Gondolin, the Hidden City. He spoke of its beauty, of the two trees that bloomed before Turgon's palace. He told of the splashing and singing of the many fountains; of the songs sung in the trees by the birds that dwelt there. He spoke of the coming of Turgon's sister Aredhel, and her son Maeglin, the one who brought such woe to the city.

"He was well versed in the knowledge of metals, for which we were all grateful," he said, speaking of Maeglin. "He had learned the art of forging from his father Eol, and from the dwarves, masters of the forge. Riwmegor learned the craft from him, and it was Riwmegor that forged your Sting for young Earendil."

Bilbo's eyes once more went to his sword, his fingers touching the wooden handgrip about which twined a silver vine.

~Earendil's sword, ~ he thought with awe. ~I never realized what a grand weapon you were. ~

"I remember the day that Earendil first went to Riwmegor with his father to commission the sword. He was filled with a child's impatience, and didn't understand that it took time to make a blade. Riwmegor was one of our finest weapon makers. He made the blades strong and fair. He was second only to Maeglin in this craft."

"Why didn't this Maeglin make the sword for him, if he was the most skilled? It was for the King's grandson, after all."

Glorfindel smiled sadly, his blue eyes growing distant.

"Maeglin. . . Maeglin did not like Earendil over much. In truth in him he saw all his dreams shattered."

"Shattered? What do you mean? How could a mere child ruin his dreams?"

Glorfindel drew a deep breath and sighed. He recalled Maeglin's features, which were not as fair as his kindred's, and the fell moods that plagued him. He was ever secretive and delighted in dark dealings. It was not surprising that he was lord of the House of the Mole. Glorfindel recalled also that it Salgant, Lord of the House of the Harp, that had denied the aid that he had called for that fateful night in Gondolin, the same Salgant who ever fawned on Maeglin.

"Maeglin's mother Aredhel was sister to king Turgon, and when Idril, Turgon's daughter, married the man Tuor, Maeglin saw all his hopes for the throne of Gondolin crumble. He hated many, and in his hatred he betrayed us all. He had a special hatred for Tuor, and for the son Idril bore him. He would not make a sword for his cousin's child, so Riwmegor agreed to forge a wondrous sword to fit the child's hands." Glorfindel's somber mood dissipated somewhat as he remembered the look on Earendil's fair face as he showed off his sword, running to everyone and bidding them look upon it. Had a fairer, better sword ever been created?

"What did Earendil name the sword?" Bilbo asked curiously. He read the inscriptions that Elrond's people had inscribed over it. Perhaps it shouldn't be there. Perhaps it should bear its first, rightful name.

"I am not aware that Earendil got the chance to name it. You see, he received his present from Riwmegor just before the city fell. He did not have time to choose a proper name for it. So Sting is its only name. He must have lost it that night, so much was happening. He would have liked the name you have given it, I think. I also think he would like that it has come to you now, and has had so many wonderful adventures. Keep it with you; you may have need of it again at some time." He smiled kindly at the Hobbit, the blue eyes twinkling. "Earendil would have enjoyed all your tales, even your 'spider stories.' He was a bright, lively child, full of fun and mischief. We all loved him dearly, as we did his parents. He was lucky to escape the ruin that night. They all were. Thank you for allowing me to see it, Bilbo."

The tall golden elf stood suddenly, and tipping his head in acknowledgement before turning he walked slowly away. Bilbo watched him go, thinking him somehow just as mysterious as he was before they had spoken.

It wasn't until later when he once again visited the library of Imladris that he realized what Glorfindel had never said. He read about Gondolin's glorious history, tucked safely away from Melkor and his vile evil, protected and hidden for so long; about Idril's rede and the secret tunnel that would eventually allow the remnant of the people to flee from Gondolin. He read about the treachery perpetrated by Maeglin, and it was with great sorrow that he read of the beautiful city's destruction, the full hatred of Melkor unleashed upon it. Then he read of the Cristhorn, and the Balrog that menaced the survivors, and of Glorfindel the Golden of the House of the Golden Flower. He blinked in amazement, for surely this could not be the same Glorfindel that he had spoken with so briefly this day. He had gone to Elrond then, telling him what Glorfindel had spoken of, asking if Elrond had wanted his father's sword. Imladris' lord had seemed surprised by this revelation, and asked to see Sting. He had studied it for a time, his dark blue eyes distant with memories. At last, he handed the sword back to Bilbo.

"It is yours now, Bilbo. Keep it with you, for perhaps you might need it again."

"Glorfindel told me something similar. I don't see how I would ever need it again, but it is a fine weapon, and I will keep it in honor of my own adventure, and to remember what happened in Gondolin. But tell me, Lord Elrond, Glorfindel cannot be the same one that fell, can he?"

Elrond had smiled sadly, and nodded.

"Yes, he is. He came back to my family when he was needed," he answered enigmatically.

The hobbit knew that was the only answer he would receive. Elves were elusive when they chose to be. That was what made them elves.

When at last, Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf were preparing to leave Rivendell, having stayed for a week in the Last Homely House, and his feet were itching to be on the road to the Shire once more, Glorfindel joined the others at their parting. Bilbo hadn't seen the elf since that day they had spoken, and wished that he had more time to speak with the elf-lord. He moved away from his laden pony, and stood staring up at the elf.

"I wish I had more time to speak with you, Lord Glorfindel," he said with a bow.

Glorfindel smiled down at him, laying one hand on the Hobbit's shoulder.

"One day I am sure we shall. We shall sit before the fire and speak of our adventures. I am certain of this. Roads do go on, and perhaps yours will lead you back here one day."

Bilbo smiled slightly, not quite certain what to make of this.

"I hope it shall. I want to thank you once more for sharing the story of my sword with me. I will treasure it always. I cannot wait to tell this to some young, lively Hobbits. Some of the Tooks, I daresay, as they are the most adventurous. I don't know if they will believe me, but I hope some will." He chuckled suddenly. "I daresay there won't be any more Bagginses going on any adventures. Too much to hope for, I suppose."

He moved to where Gandalf waited, and bid them all farewell. A clear baritone voice joined the rest in the song of farewell, and Bilbo knew it was Glorfindel's. He sincerely hoped that they would meet again, to sit by the fire and speak of their lives.

"Well, perhaps one day. Who knows."

So he left Rivendell to the accompaniment of elvish voices calling for him to return one day if his path should lead that way.

"Roads do go ever, ever on," he said quietly. "But now for hearth and home. It has been quite an adventure all around."



I Methed (The End)



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: TreeHugger

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/02/03

Original Post: 03/15/03

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