6. Agawaen Nor
"This is yours, if you'll have it. Strange it was how I came by it. A wizened old creature stopped me when he found out what I was doing and bade me wait: he had a sword for my master, Elessar, he said. My master, Elessar. Not commander or governor. Why would he call you by such a strange title?" Thorongil stared at Fallon questioningly. Laying it across his desk, he unwrapped the weapon. It was old; the blue-dyed scabbard so old it appeared black. It curved in a graceful arch from the gold throat to the enameled point and the leather was covered with faded tracery. He ran his hand reverently down the chased scabbard.
"Like from the forges of Tuor," Thorongil whispered.
"Who, by the Valar, is Elessar? Elf-stone?" Fallon asked again, translating the name. Thorongil ignored him and lifted the sword carefully.
"This is magnificent." The commander's reaction to the ancient relic baffled Fallon. Thorongil grasped the gold-wired hilt. He slid the blade out, fearing it would be pitted with rust from age and non-use. The blade gleamed in the lanterns, fire seemed to ripple from the runes. Thorongil traced the Quenya tengwar, reading softly. "'I am Agawaen Nor, blood-stained fire of Gondolin. Attack my lord and repent.'" He turned like a delighted boy to Fallon. "This is a Noldor blade from the lost city. It has been preserved for thousands of years! It could actually be mate to Hadhafang; the sweeping tracery hints of the same Elven smith!" He mused over the beautiful weapon.
Fallon mouthed 'Hadhafang?' to Quillion who shrugged his ignorance.
"This is far too valuable for our purposes. Where did you say the old man lived? It must be returned to him," announced Thorongil.
"I don't know. He wore a cloak. He handed it to me and seemed to disappear into the street crowd." Fallon examined the blade. "Frankly, I don't understand your reaction. It's pretty enough, I'll grant you that, but it seems too delicate to hold up in battle, too fragile. One good whack with a real long sword and it will snap. Besides," he said handing it back. "there's no real guard. The wielder's hands would be cut to ribbons by his opponent's downswing." Thorongil smiled and swung the blade, testing its balance. It whickered through the air, its sharp edges deadly. He felt the history of the blade singing through his hands; the weapon surely had seen action at Dagorlad. In an instant, he was there before the Black Gates; he could smell the sulfurous stench and feel the hot, black orc blood splatter his hands. For a moment, he heard Elvish calls to charge and the horns of Gil-galad rallying them. Then he was back in Pelargir, facing his captain.
The commander took a stance, balancing evenly on both feet, not unlike an archer, his body half turned to his left, elbows bent and blade raised horizontally even with his eyes. Fallon recognized the pose as one of those fey Elvish exercises the commander went through before sword practice or battle. He had been party many times to the devastating effect Thorongil's swordsmanship had on their enemies and he himself was a bruised victim of his uncanny skill in practice, but those battles were waged with the fine steel long sword the commander carried.
"Come at me!" Thorongil commanded. Fallon looked in disbelief at him. He did not want to injure his commander just before they set out to rout the pirates. He was sure with one blow the ancient metal would snap, exposing Thorongil to hurt.
"No…." he said reluctantly.
"No, really…" he shook his head. Thorongil sighed and called to Bainon. The young lieutenant was a recognized swordsman who had already won many regimental medals for his skill. Fallon had seen him in real fights. He battled like a demon, ruthless and accurate, taking joy in his kills.
"Lieutenant, show us your skill. Attack me!" Thorongil commanded.
The young man drew his sword, the heavy battle saber of the City Guards. "Yes, sir." He had longed to match swords with his commander and at their mess table, he often bragged to the junior officers he was certain he could defeat him.
After removing his jacket and taking a few practice swings, the lieutenant charged, confident his blade would ring on the lighter one, but there was no metallic contact as his unchecked momentum carried him passed Thorongil. Instead, neither the Commander nor the sword was where they had been, but Bainon felt a sharp slap on his right shoulder. In battle that could have been a mortal wound. What Fallon saw was the Commander move in a blur at the last moment; the scything Elvish blade could have decapitated Bainon if he had so chosen. Now Thorongil stood in a similar easy posture, a few feet to his right, turned to face Bainon's return attack, the blade held vertical, the hilt at shoulder height.
The young officer narrowed his eyes in anger. He saluted his commander, "That won't happen again." He rushed again and this time feinted left, swinging his sword with more force than he should have. It closed on nothingness again and he received an even sharper slap on his left shoulder. Bainon swore and turn right into the commander's full circle spin, and the Elven blade met his with a ringing blow that numbed his arm. Before he could recover, Thorongil somehow hooked a leg around his knees, and Bainon found himself disarmed, lying on his back, looking up the shimmering blade into the luminous grey eyes of his commander. A shudder of something akin to fear went through the heart of the fearless young officer, one of Gondor's finest, and he said a brief prayer of thanks to the Valar that this man was on their side. Thorongil grinned, extended his hand, and helped him to his feet. He slapped Bainon amicably on the back and said well done. Fallon stood, awestruck.
"I know you are fey upon the battlefield and I have never desired to fight you in earnest, but even I am astounded by this. How did you do that? You seemed to move at the last moment when he was already under your guard."
"That," said Thorongil, scabbarding the sword, "is how the Elven lords of old fought. With a sword like this, battle is an art: deadly, terrible, and beautiful to behold. I'll carry it though I am undeserving." Fallon silently disagreed with his assessment and he would take the odds on Thorongil, commander of Gondor, against any Elvish lord, old or new.
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.