8. Interlude I: Hopes
Note: So this puts an end to the introductory arc, I guess. Heartfelt thanks to those who are still following this, I promise that your patience will be rewarded much better next time!
Note II: Translation of the quote mostly mine- excuses for ineptitude, I guess.
Interlude I – Hopes
"And Zeus said to Helios: "Do you see this child? (...) He is your son. So swear by my Sceptre and by yours that you will care for him above all things, that you will protect him and cure him from disease. For you can see how he is covered in smoke, dirt and cinder, and there is a risk that the fire you once put in him will be quenched, unless you show yourself in full might. I will help you, and so will the Fates. Take care of him, and raise him."
Upon hearing those words, King Helios felt joy, and happiness at the creature. He discovered that in him still lay a tiny spark of himself, and from then on he protected the child from afar, saving him from bloodshed, the angry mob and the massacre. And Father Zeus told also Athena, the virgin born from no mother, to tend to the small child together with Helios.
Once that the boy grew up, and became a young man whose first beard was beginning to show, and whose age was the most enjoyable, understanding the legion of evils that had infected his house and kinsmen he was about to throw himself into Tartarus, horrified at their magnitude. But Helios, in his goodwill, together with Athena the Protectress, plunged him into a a deep sleep that dissuaded him from the idea; upon waking, he retired in solitude. He found a small rock where he could rest, and examined his heart to find a way in which he could escape such great evil, for in that moment he felt as if everything was filled with malice and there was nothing good in the world. Then, Hermes, who thought of him as a kinsman, showed himself to him in the shape of a young man of his same age, greeted him kindly, and said: "Come here, for I will guide you through an easier and smoother road, once that you have crossed this steep and craggy region where all men stumble and retreat. "
And the youth began his travel, filled with piety, and carrying with him a sword, a shield and a spear, though his head was bare. Trusting Hermes, he advanced through a smooth and untrodden road, wholly purified and filled with magnificent fruits and flowers, all which the gods themselves loved, and trees covered with ivy, laurel, and myrtle."
(Flavius Claudius Julianus, "Against the Cynic Heraklios")
Year 3062 of the Second Age – 30th year of the reign of Ar-Sakalthôr
His father leaned back with closed eyes, laying the letter back on his table. There was the distinct sound of creaking paper, and then a small breath, like an almost inaudible sigh.
"Father." he muttered, advancing a step towards him.
The older man gave a vague nod of acknowledgement, but did not move.
"How is she?" Valandil asked. Eärendur shook his head, and his son could see a brief flicker of sadness cross his features.
Valandil reached his side, extending a comforting hand to lay it on his shoulder. Long ago, they had argued –so fiercely that they had even reached the core of each other, and discovered things that usually remained hidden behind stoic countenances and formal smiles. He had seen an unbearable pain cloud Eärendur´s eyes, and doubt and anguish upon the brow of the man who had always led them without faltering.
Is it necessary?Is it really necessary?
He swallowed, forcing his stare to meet that of his father.
"It was necessary." he answered his own floating question of years past, in a tone of quiet acceptance. For a moment, it seemed as if Eärendur would show surprise.
Soon, however, his brow unfurled, and his features relaxed slightly.
"He is a fine young man."
"He must have reached his majority by now."
"Aye. Next year he will be twenty-eight."
Valandil nodded, not surprised at his father´s exactitude. He knew that Eärendur followed the young man´s progress avidly from afar, with the full strength of his deep beliefs and hopes for the change, even though he had not been allowed in his presence even once.
And he knew, too, that his father felt in his heart that this situation would not last forever.
"Soon." he muttered.
Almost involuntarily, both sought the Palace hill from their window, letting their glance linger for a while over the Western Wing. Bathed in the light of the setting sun, the lacquered towers and terraces stood proudly upon the brink of the precipice.
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