6. Chapter 6
The next few days often found Námo and Súrelindë together. They walked in the gardens, talking as if life-long friends. Súrelindë played the harp and sang for the Vala either in the garden or in the Great Hall after dinner. When she attended to her duties in the Healing House Námo sought other distractions. After frightening the young mother, the Vala of Death thought it best to avoid the Healing House. He visited with the ancient shipwright, wandered through the market or just read in the vast library. The Vala was keenly aware that one cycle of the moon had passed. He had less than thirty days to find his mate. He looked out the window at the beautiful day and his spirits lifted. Although he had made the acquaintance of several ellith, none sparked his interest. No, he seemed drawn to the half-elf. He wanted to get to know her better.
Súrelindë stood and left the room quietly. The young elf rested peacefully in a deep healing sleep. The fall from a nearby cliff nearly cost him his life, but fortunately his companion remained calm and managed to get him to the healers. She felt exhausted, as she often did when she sang this way. She poured everything she had into her song, convinced that she helped bring peace. As she left the room silently, she thanked the Valar that she did not have to sing his fëa into Námo's care. This made her wonder. Who was tending to the fëar while the Vala was in Arda? While elves did not die as often as the Adain, they did pass on. She also wondered if her playing as they passed really made a difference, as Círdan said it did. Súrelindë thought not; her playing may bring comfort to the living, but surely not to those following Námo's call.
She lifted her head to the breeze and smiled. The wind played with wisps hair that escaped the confines of her braid. She smiled. Happiness filled her being as it never had before. For the first time since she lost her sight she felt at peace with the world around her. She knew it was because of the attention Námo gave her. He made her feel normal and intelligent and grown up. Although he always offered her his arm and gave whispered words of direction or caution, he never directed her or maneuvered her as so many others did. The young peredhel found herself drawn to the compassionate being. From the gossip she heard, he was as beautiful on the outside as he was inside. Her hands itched to touch his face, to 'see' him, but she dared not without permission. The rational part of her mind never let her forget that her new friend was one of the almighty, a servant of Ilúvatar. Her heart on the other hand reminded her that she was lonely and desired love. She breathed the crisp air and sighed. Enjoy it now, she told herself. Námo will eventually have to return to his realm and duties and will soon forget you.
Using her cane to guide her, Súrelindë made her way across the courtyard. She climbed the steps to the main house, hoping to clean up before supper. As she reached the top, an unexpected voice stopped her.
"What is this I hear about a suitor?"
"Adar!" Gildor pulled his daughter into a warm, familiar, and greatly missed embrace. "What are you doing here? I did not expect you until the fall festival!" Súrelindë asked as she squeezed him around the neck as she had as a child.
"A little bird told me you had a suitor. What kind of ada would I be if I did not come to investigate?"
Súrelindë Gildoriell laughed, "Suitor? No, though I have a new friend."
"And is this friend an ellon?"
"Well, not exactly."
Gildor was surprised. He thought his daughter preferred males, but perhaps things had changed. "An elleth then?"
A laugh that rang like music filled the air. "No, Ada. He is male, but not exactly an ellon."
"Ah! A peredhel, wonderful. When do I get to meet your suitor…I mean friend?"
Súrelindë slapped him playfully. "Just for that, perhaps never," she said mischievously.
"But I should very much like to meet your adar, penneth," a deep voice said from behind them. Gildor turned, protectively placing himself between the Doomsman of the Valar and his precious daughter.
Súrelindë pushed passed her father to stand between the two males. "Ada, *this* is my new friend. Lord Námo, may I present my father, Gildor Inglorian. Ada, Lord Námo."
Gildor stood in stunned silence. Surely this could not be the "suitor" to which Círdan alluded.
Námo bowed low, his hand over his heart. "It is an honor to meet you again. You were but a child when last I saw you."
Námo's voice brought Gildor back and he quickly returned the greeting. "Hîr nín. The honor is mine. I fear I did not know you were in Arda; I am afraid…"
Námo raised his hand to stop the elf-lord's words. He moved forward. "Understood. I suppose one would not expect their child to befriend the Vala of Death. I would be concerned also."
Súrelindë gave the Vala a disapproving look. She hated the way Námo said that, as if he was something terrible. Gildor watched the interaction carefully. He did not miss the look of admiration in the Vala's eyes, or the barely concealed desire. When he looked at his daughter, he saw loyalty and affection. Gildor decided to be a silent observer at least until he could speak with Círdan. Námo, aware of the scrutiny, thought it best to let father and daughter have some time alone so he excused himself. "If you will excuse me, I will let you get on with your reunion. I hope to see you at supper and I will understand, Mistress, if you wish to postpone our walk today," he said with a slight bow to Súrelindë.
Gildor watched as disappointment flashed in his daughter's sightless eyes. So, she enjoyed the Vala's company. Well, he did not wish her to be disappointed. "Actually, I have business matters to discuss with Círdan before evening meal. That is why I sought you out now. I thought we could visit for a bit before my meeting. Perhaps, penneth, we can spend the day together tomorrow instead?"
Súrelindë's face lit up. "I would like that, Ada. My lord," she addressed Námo, "May I meet you in the garden after supper for a walk?"
"I would enjoy that greatly," the Vala replied. His black eyes locked with Gildor's blue ones. The gypsy elf nodded before taking his daughter's arm and steering her towards her rooms. Námo watched their retreating forms. It was no coincidence that the Elf-lord arrived now.