He had known from the moment he first saw her that she was the girl he wanted to marry. And now, Glorfindel had a name to attach to his vision of feminine perfection.
"Itarillë will not be joining us," Turgon said as he entered the salon. "She was having her hair washed after all the dust and travelling yesterday, and then she wished to explore the gardens."
Itarillë. It had a perfect sound, delicate and pure, that made Glorfindel smile despite the news that his reason for following Fingon to the salon in the first place would not be making an appearance. He had discovered her name. It was enough to satisfy him for the time being.
He sat beside Fingon on one of the salon's cushioned benches as they waited for two of Turgon's men to carry in a large travelling chest. Directly across from him sat Turgon, who artfully avoided so much as a passing glance in Glorfindel's direction, and to Turgon's right was Fingolfin. Fingolfin, to Glorfindel's relief, made no reference to their conversation of the previous evening, nor did he act as if anything had occurred between them. Similarly, he had received no discussion from Fingon. Fingon said nothing as they made their way to the salon, save a brief comment on the day's agenda, and Glorfindel did not press his luck by asking any questions. He gladly accepted Fingon's silence as forgiveness.
At Fingolfin's right sat a man Glorfindel generally went out of his way to avoid: the man who had stepped in to fill the position of favoured attendant after Celeiros' spectacular downfall. He was called Rodhalair. Glorfindel had seen him about the castle, usually with Fingolfin, and assumed that he was a Noldorin lord. Oropher was under the same impression, guessing that his name was actually Rosselairo, and that Rodhalair was only a poorly-though-out attempt at Sindarinisation. But as they sat in the salon, Fingolfin formally introduced him to Turgon as Rodhalair of Doriath, an ambassador appointed by Thingol to keep watch over the actions of the Noldor in the north and ensure quality of life for northern Sindarin citizens. Whether or not he ever did this was unclear. He held, in Glorfindel's experience, a very Noldorin level of respect for the Sindarin natives, going so far as to treat Oropher with outright hostility the few times their paths had crossed. The one duty he seemed to have performed with any regularity was to act as Fingolfin's personal language tutor. Fingolfin, it turned out, could speak excellent Doriathrin. Unfortunately, the language was so far removed from the local Northern dialect as to be mostly incomprehensible.
Only a quarter or less of Rodhalair's speech made any sense to Glorfindel. The words he spoke to Turgon as they sat in the salon sounded like a strange hybrid of Sindarin and Quenya, with none fully belonging to either language. Some sounded recognisable, but whether they were actually the words Glorfindel thought them to be, or simply similar by coincidence, was impossible to tell from the twisted sentence structure. The only certain thing was that Rodhalair began many of his thoughts with, "In Doriath." It was likely that whatever followed was either a complaint or thinly-veiled insult.
Fingolfin's words were easier to follow. He spoke Doriathrin for Rodhalair's benefit, but coloured the sounds with a familiar Noldorin accent. "I am honoured that you thought to bring me such a gift, Turukáno," he said as the chest was placed before his chair. "Shall I open it?"
"Yes, of course," Turgon answered. "I am eager for you to see the evidence of our prosperity on the coast."
"I am eager to see as well." He lifted the lid, and began pulling items from the tightly packed interior. "Ah! How lovely. Some of your excellent wine."
"That is not all, naturally," said Turgon. "We also brought several barrels, which I ordered taken down to your cellars. This is only a small amount in a nice jug. I thought we could have it with our dinner today."
"That's very thoughtful of you, Turukáno. I do appreciate a good, proper wine. Here we have only those black stone grapes that grow wild by the river, and they make an inferior drink." He reached back into the chest. "And vinegar! Good, good."
"There is a full barrel of that in the cellars, as well."
"In Doriath," Rodhalair said in a bored voice, "such things are plentiful, and are hardly considered luxuries." At least this was what Glorfindel assumed he said.
"Well, we must all make do in the north here," said Fingolfin. He continued pulling things out of the chest: boxes with jewellery, coloured candles, rolls of fabric, and something made of black fur that was likely a present for Fingon. Fingolfin smiled. "You seem to be doing quite well out west."
"In Doriath," said Rodhalair, "we are entirely self-sufficient and have no need for outside goods."
"In Valmar," Glorfindel said quietly, "it is considered very impolite for a guest to insult his host."
Fingon coughed into his sleeve trying to hide a laugh. Rodhalair, uncertain of what had just been said, gave a nervous smile as he tried to guess whether or not Glorfindel's speech was something to which he should take offence. Turgon, clearly wishing neither to defend Rodhalair nor approve of anything to do with Glorfindel, pretended not to have heard. He turned his full attention to Fingolfin, who continued to obliviously sort through his presents.
"I have one more gift for you, Atar. I could not pack it in the chest with everything else, so if you will excuse me one moment..." Stepping back, he opened the salon door and beckoned one of his men inside. The man carried a large basket draped with a quilt, which he set on the floor in the centre of the room. With a grand flourish, Turgon pulled the blanket away, and Fingolfin, leaning over to peer into the basket, gasped.
"Stars, Turno! What are they?"
"They are called 'toy silkfurs', and first came to us from the Havens in the south." Grinning smugly, he reached into the basket and pulled out one of the strangest animals Glorfindel had ever seen. It was the size of a small cat, but with stouter legs and a rounder head, and covered all over in long, straight, ivory hair. It had large, black eyes and a short snout with a black nose.
"Here," said Turgon, holding out the animal for Fingolfin to take. "Hold it."
Hesitating a moment, Fingolfin set it down in his lap, where it immediately curled itself into a crescent and closed its eyes. "Oh! How adorable! Is it going to sleep?"
Turgon's grin widened.
"But what sort of animal is it?"
"A dog," Turgon said. "A miniature dog. They are bred specifically as pets, and enjoy nothing more than being carried and held and cuddled, or sleeping on your lap. Watch this."
He took another one, black this time, from the basket, and turned to Fingon. "You see; there's even a black one for you." Carefully, he draped it over Fingon's shoulder. The little dog lay there, completely motionless and relaxed, while Turgon picked up a third to place on Fingolfin's shoulder in the same manner.
"It's just like holding a baby!" Fingolfin laughed.
Turgon nodded. "Yes, many people say that."
"It makes me nervous," said Fingon.
Turgon ignored him. "There are six dogs in varying colours. Four females and two males, all of different litters: enough to breed them effectively."
Glorfindel leaned over far enough to see into the basket. Three miniature dogs, all mottled colours with patches of ivory, black and brown, looked back up at him. Their tails wagged expectantly.
"Would you like to hold one?" Turgon asked. His voice was not friendly, but neither was it edged with the same tone of disgust Glorfindel had heard the previous night.
"Oh... No thank you." Dogs, Amma had always told him, were dirty things that ate whatever they could scavenge and never cleaned themselves, as cats did. But the temptation to touch that glossy fur was too great. They looked clean enough, in their little nest. Perhaps Turgon had bathed them. "I would maybe just like to pat them," he said.
Rodhalair, sneering over the insult of not having been offered a dog to hold, watched through narrow eyes as Glorfindel stroked the back of a spotted brown one. "In Doriath," he began sharply, but was interrupted by Turgon the moment the words had passed his lips.
"Well, Atar, it is nearly dinner time," Turgon said loudly. "I am getting hungry. Do you think it would be nice to eat outside today? We could take the dogs to play on the grass. They've been in this basket all morning, and would surely appreciate the exercise."
"Ah..." said Fingolfin. "I suppose, yes, that might be a pleasant change. We can have our food brought out to the lawns and the dogs can have a run." Carefully, he passed his two dogs back to Turgon to put into the basket, offering Rodhalair a vaguely apologetic smile as he did. Rodhalair appeared to neither notice nor care as he resolutely stared up at the windows with a foul expression on his face.
Glorfindel quietly turned to Fingon. "Might I be excused?"
"Of course," Fingon said with a nod. He looked to his father. "I would also ask to be excused."
Fingolfin frowned, which in turn elicited a frown from Turgon. "You won't be joining us on the lawns?"
"I have an appointment with my surgeon."
"For what?" Turgon asked. "You look perfectly fine to me."
"Nervous stomach," said Fingon, clapping his hands over his middle. "I am suffering from feelings of restlessness and disquiet, especially after meal times. He thinks it is likely because I am eating too many pale and airy foods, which combine badly with my naturally white spirit and cause a colour imbalance."
For a moment, Turgon only clenched and unclenched his jaw. "I really ought to know better by now than to expect a serious answer from you," he finally said.
Fingon smiled. "It's very true. One's colour balance is highly important to health and harmony. You, for example, would benefit from pale yellow. I suggest you try turnip soup for dinner, and avoid beets. Beets will compound your banality."
Graciously, Turgon said nothing in reply as Fingon bowed and excused himself from the salon. Glorfindel took the opportunity to follow. But while Fingon veered left with a man who had been waiting near the door, certainly his surgeon, Glorfindel went straight to the tower stairs. He needed to find Oropher. Somewhere in the gardens, Idril was wandering, away from her father's strict and disapproving supervision. Oropher would know what to do.
Idril had inherited her mother's small size and her father's large sense of authority. Or, as Oropher phrased it, she was "little and bossy". He grumped and fussed over having to follow her through the gardens, always at a safe distance in accordance with Glorfindel's terror of being caught spying on her, though the caution was wasted. She seemed oblivious to everything but her own voice as she skipped and sang, prancing from stone to stone down the winding paths with the sort of carefree whimsy more appropriate to a seven-year-old than a seventy-year old. Her clothing was likewise more suited to a very young girl than a grown woman. She wore a loose blue dress with a frill around the hem and bows on the sleeves.
Glorfindel thought it to be very endearing. She was so perfect and precious, with her skipping and singing and frills, that he was halfway convinced he needed to swoop down on her right then, collect her into his protective embrace, and gently carry her wherever she wished to go. He was not particularly strong, but then, she would not be particularly heavy. He would use every last flickering bit of strength in his body to carry her.
"...By three I count the highest word, and four is mother's murmur heard, and five is darkness, deep as night, but six is doubled worldly light..." The rhythm of her childish nursery song, caught by the wind, rolled lazily back down the path behind her. "With seven, children all around, with eight a prince declares his crown. Though nine is three and three and three, the elements in harmony!"
Abruptly, she stopped and twirled in place, coming to rest facing directly toward where Glorfindel and Oropher had crept too close. The two of them froze where they stood. A look of horror widened Glorfindel's eyes. But Idril merely tilted her head to the side, swished her skirt with her hands, and said, "Who are you?" She had a startlingly loud voice for someone so small.
"It is I," Glorfindel called, "Lauron. From the play yesterday, and I saw you on the way to supper last night, on the stairs. Do you recall?" He took a few hesitant steps forward.
"Oh right. Indis. I remember. Who's he?" she asked, pointing her chin in Oropher's direction.
"Is he Sindarin?"
"Yes," said Oropher, at the same time as Glorfindel said, "No." He elbowed Glorfindel in the side. "Of course I am. I look it, don't I?"
"You're not speaking Sindarin," Idril stated. Her words were more observational than accusatory.
"Neither are you."
She shrugged. "Not many Sindar know how to speak Quenya. But I think Sindarin is very interesting. It has funny sounds. You should speak it."
"No," said Idril. "Sometime else. I'll ask you." Then she leaned back, staring at the clouds and sighing a thoughtful sigh, as if trying to decide whether or not Glorfindel and Oropher were worthy of any more attention. Her decision must have been negative. In the next moment, she turned her back on them and knelt down to study something in the grass: some flower or bug or pretty stone.
But Glorfindel, who had no intention of giving up so easily now that he had been caught following and not shouted at for doing so, went nearer. "It's a lovely day for walking, isn't it?"
Idril did not answer.
Clearing his throat, he tried again. "What do you see there?"
After a long and uncomfortable pause, Idril stood. "Nothing," she said. "My feet hurt." And she lifted her frill to show her bare feet, smudged with dirt and leaf matter from the unswept pathways.
"I will carry you!" Glorfindel said immediately. "You needn't walk barefoot back to the tower."
She looked at him in an appraising way. He did his best not to appear too eager, but forced a look of concern for the well-being of her feet across his face. Finally, she nodded. It was clearly less of an ordeal to be carried by a strange boy-girl than walk all the way back across the cold garden stones. "Alright." She held out her arms and let him pick her up.
Ever since he had started to consider the possibility, Glorfindel had imagined that girls would be very light and easy to carry, like birds with hollow bones and fragile bodies. In his mind, he could picture himself heroically carrying Idril across the grass in effortless strides. Fingon had carried him across the stage in the play, after all. It had been so simple. But now that the task was set to him, he found Idril to be less like a graceful swan and more like an unwieldy sack of vegetables. She was nowhere near as airily weightless as he had expected. After only six steps, his arms ached fiercely.
He gave a brief thought to what should have been the focus of his mind: the warmth of her body against his chest, the nearness of her breath and heartbeat, the clean scent of her skin, and the way her hair gleamed in the sunlight so that he could see, from so close, that the gold was laced with strands of pale silver and reddish copper. These things were what he wanted to consider and memorise, to sigh over later when he was alone, but reality crudely interrupted. Instead, he found himself unable to think on anything but how Idril seemed to grow heavier the farther they went, how his legs began to burn with the work of stumbling, and how her hip bone jutted painfully into his stomach. It helped none that she swung and kicked her legs idly as she chattered, disrupting the balance.
"I'm not sure what my father has planned tonight. Last night we had that nice supper, but he hasn't said what's happening tonight. I think he might be doing important talking things with Haru and Taror Finno. I don't want to go to that. Talking about cities and laws and armies is dull. Are there any good books to read here? Maybe I can make Melessë read to me. I like old stories about Valinor."
Glorfindel, who had to filter Idril's speech through a mind slowed by worries of tripping, had only halfway formulated what he was about to say in reply when he heard Oropher's voice. And Oropher spoke the exact words he would have said, had he been able to concentrate on his speech rather than the effort of not letting Idril fall.
"If you're bored this evening, you should come to the wedding."
"It's a Sindarin wedding, down in the groves. I don't know if it'll be like a Noldorin wedding, I never been to one of those, but I reckon it'll be a good time. There's singing and dancing and food."
"Oh!" said Idril. "That does sound very good. I am fond of weddings, you know. I think I would like to come."
Oropher grinned brilliantly. "Then I will meet you in the fifth floor corridor at sunset to escort you."
Whatever eloquent declaration Glorfindel thought he might say to counter this devolved into a weary grunt before it even reached his lips. He bounced Idril in his arms, trying to shift her to a more comfortable position.
"Aua!" she said. "You're pulling my hair! It's stuck on your hand!"
Oropher valiantly stepped in. "Let me. Just the end of your hair has tangled and caught on his thumb." With exaggerated gentleness, as if picking a speck of dust from a flower petal, he freed Idril's tangle. Then he gathered her hair in his hands, wound it loosely, and tucked the coil safely over her shoulder. "There you are! That should be safe. You must forgive my friend for hurting you; he is nervous around fair ladies and can be a bit of an oaf at times."
"Oaf!" said Glorfindel. He had meant to sound indignant, but on the tail end of a gasp for breath, the word came out as a horrible, half-witted agreement. Oropher gave him a strange look. Idril tilted her head back, gazing up curiously at his face as she undoubtedly tried to guess exactly how oafish he was. He refused to meet her eyes. Whatever smile he attempted, no matter how innocent, he was certain it would appear as an exhausted and leering grimace. Instead, he stared at the goal ahead. They were halfway to the tower stair at the parapet wall. Keep walking, he told himself. Step after step. We are nearly there. Only walk. This can be done.
He felt fit to collapse as they reached the base of the stairs, and it was with a pathetic groan that he stooped to set Idril back on her feet.
"No!" she shouted. "No no no no no!" She squeezed her arms around his neck and kicked her legs up, refusing to touch so much as a toe to the ground. "You must carry me up the stairs and inside! These stones are cold and I don't want to walk on them! I'll only walk on carpets!"
He groaned again. "But..."
"No! You said you would carry me, and you must carry me inside! We are still outside! I don't want to be outside any more!"
Thirty-four steps rose before Glorfindel like a great stone trial, and it was impossible to say whether or not he still possessed strength enough to overcome them. But still, for Idril's sake, he bent his knee, placed his foot on the bottom step, and shifted forward. His leg wobbled dangerously beneath him.
"Ehm, here," said Oropher. "Maybe I should carry her now?" Before Glorfindel could answer, Oropher had come forward to place one arm at Idril's back and the other in the crook of her knees. She gladly wrapped her arms around his neck instead as she was carried, with no trouble at all, up the stairs and into the tower.
Glorfindel stumbled back, leaned against the wall, and slid down to a sitting position. If he closed his eyes, he could try to convince himself that everything had gone rather well. At the very least, he had been in close physical proximity to his future wife for a short while. That thought was nearly as comforting as a soothing balm to his aching limbs. He was still sitting there, letting his mind wander down its imaginary paths, when Oropher returned.
"She made me carry her all the way up to the third floor of the tower before she remembered her shoes were in the King's salon, and we had to go get them," Oropher said. "You still think she's delightful?"
Glorfindel gave a faint smile. "Yes. She's perfect."
"Well I hope she don't boss me around all night at the wedding, is all I'm saying. Else I might give her a good slap."
"She won't boss you."
"How do you know?"
"Because," said Glorfindel. "Just listen. I have a wonderful idea that will ensure you are neither bossed nor nagged all night."
Oropher looked sceptical. "Which is...?"
"I will take her to the wedding and leave you free to take somebody else. Anyone else. One of the kitchen girls."
With a crude snort, Oropher turned away. "Right. I thought you'd say that. Sorry, but it won't work. I have an arrangement and I'm keeping it as it is."
"Oropher, wait. You don't understand." In an instant, Glorfindel was on his feet. "I have to take Itarillë to the wedding. If I want to marry her one day, I must start somewhere."
"Since when are you going to marry her?"
"Since last night, when I first saw her."
"Does she know?"
"Not yet," said Glorfindel. "And that's exactly why I need to spend the time with her. So that she will come to realise that we belong together, as I have. This wedding will be a perfect opportunity, because it's certain to make her think about getting married herself."
Oropher shook his head. "You're full mad. She's not about to... Oh, forget it, will you? She's a princess from way out west, and you're you."
"It could happen."
"If you told me you wanted to escort her tonight just because you fancied the idea of being able to tell everyone you took a foreign princess behind the bushes, that's one thing. I'd let you take my place, you know. But wanting to marry her is stupid."
"There is nothing stupid about marriage," said Glorfindel, narrowing his eyes. "I love her. And I will not stand back and allow you to 'take her behind the bushes', as you crudely say!"
"How should you stop me?" Oropher asked.
With a hiss of breath, Glorfindel stepped forward and straightened his back. He had grown taller in the years since arriving in Eithel Sirion, and now held the advantage of a good six inches of height over Oropher. As he lifted his chin, he could look down his nose with an intimidating gaze. Oropher, though, seemed little affected. He stayed his ground, setting his hands on his hips and squaring his shoulders. In his years since arriving at Eithel Sirion, he had grown only slightly taller, but significantly stronger. His chest was broad and his arms well muscled. Even from six inches taller, Glorfindel could plainly see that Oropher held the advantage in any sort of combat.
As Glorfindel stared, Oropher repeated his taunt, with a mocking accent to the first and last words: "How should you stop me?"
"I will pay you," said Glorfindel.
"How much do you want?"
Oropher rocked on his feet and drummed his fingers against his stomach as he considered. "Six kulustar."
"Six kulustar, are you mad?!"
"What, your precious princess isn't worth that much? I'll have to tell her."
"I don't have six kulustar!"
Oropher rocked faster, swaying arrogantly as he grinned up at Glorfindel. "Five."
"I don't have five, either. I have..." He shoved both hands into his pocket, pulling out a small collection of coins. "One and some tyelpilindi."
"Not good enough."
"I have one here, maybe one more back in my bedroom. That's all."
"This one plus the silver plus whatever I have in my bedroom plus whatever I can ask from Finno and whatever I can steal from his desk while he's not looking."
Oropher stopped rocking, choosing instead to make a show of running his tongue over his teeth as he frowned and creased his brow in concentration. "Very well," he said after a moment. "I accept your odd collection of kulustar. Itarillë is yours. I reckon I'll have to take Emmith to the wedding instead, now."
"Isn't she the one who threatened to throw a kettle of boiling water over your-"
"Right," said Glorfindel. "Ah. What makes you think she'll agree to this?"
"She will when I give her four kulustar worth of jewels and candy," Oropher answered with a grin.
"You're spending my money on gifts for some vulgar kitchen girl?!"
"No," said Oropher. "I'm spending my money on gifts for the most beautiful kitchen girl. Want to come to market and help me choose a really big necklace?"
Glorfindel shot Oropher a dangerous frown.
"Suit yourself. But I want my payment."
Glorfindel remained coldly silent the entire walk up the tower.
He should have suspected that the day would only go from bad to worse. After the fiasco with Idril in the garden, he should have had the sense to wait for another day, when the stars were on his side and he could be assured a fair chance to represent himself. Instead, Glorfindel sat in the bath, nearly choking on the overwhelming smell of oranges as he stared down at the broken bottle of oil sinking into the water. His first thought was that Fingon would strangle him for wasting so much of such an expensive thing. His second thought was that Idril would surely change her mind about being escorted to a wedding by someone who had accidentally drenched himself in perfume. This second thought was more worrisome.
He rubbed his arms as he stepped from the bathtub, in a failing attempt to wipe away the oil. Shining, scented water only beaded and stuck to his skin. The towel did little more than spread the perfume evenly. His skin still felt damp. Even once he was fully dressed, his arms and legs still felt coated and separated from his clothing, which in turn did nothing to cover the smell. He had chosen his best clothes to wear for Idril, even though their heaviness was more suitable for winter, and now the fabric would be ruined by too much oil on his skin. He sent that thought to the back of his mind. At least he looked nice.
Once dressed, he fixed his hair into the most important Vanyarin style he could remember, which he was certain Idril would appreciate. And he donned as much of Fingon's jewellery as he thought he could borrow without anyone becoming suspicious. Rings slid easily onto his oiled fingers, and their precious stones glinted against the gold bands at his wrists. In all, he thought the guise of a decorated lord suited him well. He looked important, with his rich costume and careful hair and many jewels. Idril would have no choice but to agree.
Briefly, he listened at the door to the bedroom. There was no sound beyond; Fingon had already left to spend the evening with his brother. So, confident that he would not be seen by anyone with authority enough to take back the jewellery, he stepped out into the corridor.
Oropher, who had the good timing to be leaving Fingolfin's room just then with what appeared to be a borrowed cape and sash, stopped still in his tracks and stared. And then, he began to laugh. Not a subtle or quiet snicker, but a full, ringing laugh that weakened his knees and drove him helplessly backward to sag against the wall. He gasped for breath as he covered his mouth with both hands.
Glorfindel only raised his chin to support haughty, narrowed eyes. "What?"
"You look like a... Oh, stars! And smell like... What is that?"
"Orange oil," said Glorfindel. He tried to shape the words as sharply as he could, but still suspected that Oropher, for all his laughing, took no notice.
"You the one getting married then tonight, in all that fanciness?"
"There is nothing wrong with dressing well!"
"No," snorted Oropher, "but you look passing stupid. Wanting to outshine your princess with all them jewels? Or just hoping the show'll trick her into thinking she's with somebody important?"
Scowling, Glorfindel stepped back into the shelter of the doorway. The rings felt suddenly heavy on his fingers. The twining gold chain tugged unpleasantly at his neck, and the clasps in his hair pulled with a great weight. Even his clothing prickled on his skin. "You are a right shit, Oropher," he said. "I hope Emmith does have a hot kettle waiting."
If anything, the curse only prompted Oropher to laugh louder. Disgusted, Glorfindel slammed the bathroom door, shutting himself safely inside. He took a calming breath, and crossed to the mirror. An excessive amount of finery showed in his reflection. Perhaps, he allowed himself to think, he was somewhat overdressed for a simple forest wedding after all. He removed it all and started again, dressing this time in his second-best outfit and only a few of Fingon's more subtle pieces. Oropher had been right, he grudgingly admitted. He did not want to outshine Idril.
However, he need not have worried. As he opened the door for a second time, he could see immediately that Idril was already waiting for him. And she appeared to be wearing an enormous cone of bright blue frills, nearly half as wide as she was tall and dotted all over with jewels and ribbons in flower shapes. The costume was topped by a crown of silver and pearls sufficiently large enough to dwarf the fist-sized cluster of gemstones at her throat. For what seemed like a horribly drawn-out moment, Glorfindel could do nothing but stare in disbelief at this pollution of opulence. He opened and closed his mouth, swallowed, and forced his lips into what he hoped at least resembled something of a smile.
"You look... beautiful, my lady."
Dropping her chin coyly to one side, Idril grinned back. "Thank you. Of course this is only my third best dress because we're going to an outside wedding. It's not as fancy as my best dress. That one is lilac and much prettier, with lots of pearls on it." She held out a hand gloved in blue and silver lace, which Glorfindel tentatively accepted, and broadened her grin as she stepped closer. "You smell nice," she said.
Glorfindel only nodded, not trusting himself to answer. No matter how genuine she sounded, the chance that Idril meant her smell comment as truthfully as he had meant his beauty comment was too great to ignore.
"Come on," he said, steering her around to face the opposite way. "Let's go down the back stairs. I know a secret way to the forest."
She squeezed his arm happily. "Oh, good! I love secrets!"
Glorfindel afforded her a tight smile. Now he could only hope that Idril's love of secrets would help her agree to hide from Oropher for the rest of the night.
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.