6. Hecilë – She Who is Lost and Forsaken
They call me and call me and will not leave me in peace, though I tell them in my silence, by my silent example, to be silent, for they are not calling to me, only my shadow, the not-she, not-me, Not-Idril they had rather than I. But she is gone, turning back into dust when I forget to remember her, and so they would change me into the not-girl instead—
I think I will go into the stones, where it is quiet, and stay there forever, running through the walls like a wind through the wood, or water through the roots of the mountain. —But then I remember that I am going home someday, and if I am in stone then I shall not easily go home: must all of Gondolin go then, I wonder, or would but one worked stone suffice?
Which stone might I be? The fan-shape of flame-cloud over the archway, or the soft lace of the lattice within? —Else, rather — yes — the stone fish carved on side of my fireplace, leaping laughing out of the sea-stone but for a moment, safety always around her — or no — I shall steal into the ashlar, simple squared stonework of wallstones, each smooth-shaped like the other, and no one will guess where I hide me… from there I shall run, as I run ever, throughout my City, and fly along the walls and roofways and I shall stand within the silent Watchers and see through their eyes and perhaps then I shall see clearly, as they see…
"Idril! —Daughter!" —So hard, so hard it is to ignore the voices, when they will not stop calling me… So easy it should be to go into the stone, as once I went into the Ice, fleeing the Night and the knowledge… "How long has she been thus, my lady?"
"Since she was punished. Often she sits so, staring at naught, and we thought it no more than anger at her chastisement and the way she would punish us in return for being kept to the ground, — but this has gone on far longer than ever in the past, my lord!"
"Sire, I do not like this at all. It has overtones of fading to me, though here is neither wound nor grief, and yet that is not all of it. I am put in mind of a plant that withers in one shoot as it sends forth runners that rise up from the ground elsewhere, as the lupine-blossom. She is held here by the runes and should not be able to flee these chambers — yet I sense her efforts to flee, and I fear that you shall only be able to hold her in the least part, that her fëa is not bound, and may not be able to be held, if she forsakes her flesh—"
"—Miriel…" whispers the King — he interrupts him, though ever I am told it is rude to interrupt, child—
"—and goes to whatever, or whoever, may be calling her."
I watch them from the walls, from the farther wall and the nearer wall and the other fountain in the middle of the room — my father and Meleth and brilliant Pengolodh, that I know not, that does not know me, but wishes me well, though he does not hear me — Ah! at last there is silence, for such a short while, but I rest in it while it lasts, and do not let myself see when it ends.
She is happier now, the girl who sits by the inner wall's fountain, her eyes on the blue enamel beyond the window, that is not the sky, and we look at her from the waters, the stone fishes and I, and wonder if she will ever go home, for no one can see through these walls of woven stone past what is in them, and no one in this chamber will make up their minds yet…
"If I give in to her it will only encourage her in it the more."
"This is no childish fit of sulks, my lord," the Sage warns him. He is truly worried, his patience unravelling around him like a skein of gray silk tossed out a window for birds to build nests of… Usually it takes me far longer to undo his patience, he will sigh for long arcs of the Sun while I spoil pages of parchment with pictures of the words I am supposed to be writing, or ruin the nib of the pen by drilling it through so that the letters can shine when I hold them up to the light…
"Turgon, my King, the City pines for her. In the White Lady's absence she has been the life of it, though none knew it until we looked for her and saw her shadow no more on the walks and walls." That is the Guardian of the Gates, I hear him tomorrow, through the walls, in the court where the not-Trees stand in their jewels, but my father is harder than white-shining adamant in his will.
"You know she is my only child, and must be my heir, —yet how can she, if fate should befall upon me, if she is but a child? We had hoped, it seemed she was beginning to recover here, and make such good progress — and now we find that she has not only disobeyed every direction that displeases her since our coming, and who can say if not in Vinyamar as well, but has masked her transgressions with a making of sorcery too strange for any to say whence it comes — and she cannot or will not explain it! What can I do if she has no responsibility, or worse yet, is answerable to our Enemy?"
"Surely that is not so. —One has but to hear her voice, to look at her eyes, to see that there is no mark of the Shadow upon her."
"But she has no sense. And howsoever good-willed she may be, that alone will not defend her against the Enemy, nor guide her in the guiding of this City through our long war."
But herenow it is my teacher he tells this, as he is telling others afar, and so they still choose not to choose, still they have not made up their minds, and hope I will make the choice for them.
—But there is not forever to decide! Nor can they see the choice that is before me—
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