7. Chapter 7
"So how is it you have become friends with Lord Námo?" Gildor asked casually.
Súrelindë told the tale, answering questions along the way.
"So you had no idea who the 'stranger' was?" Gildor asked.
"Ada, I never imagined a Vala would be in Arda, let alone lying in such the state; his body was so near death."
"How do you feel about him now that you know?"
Súrelindë wondered about her father's questions but answered just the same. "I feel a bit unbalanced and embarrassed. I admit I grew found of him. I actually thought that perhaps our friendship might become more until I learned his identity."
"And now that you know who he is you no longer have that desire, to be more than friends?" Gildor watched with a well-trained eye. Súrelindë began to shuffle around her room, doing really nothing. "Penneth?"
"I still have feelings for him, but he is a Vala. He could not have such feelings for me. I am nothing to one so great. Anyway, I am sure he has a mate or at least a score of lovers."
Gildor heard the sadness in her voice. He went to his daughter and gathered her into his arms. "Do not sell your self short, penneth. You are as beautiful as any elleth inside and out. You have many gifts to offer, not the least is your understanding, compassion and music. Do you realize how many you have soothed with what Ilúvatar gave you? Even Námo is moved by your music."
"Are you actually saying that Námo could be interested in me beyond friendship?" the young peredhel asked, disbelief coloring her voice.
"What I am saying iell, is anything is possible and you should not forget that." He kissed her forehead. "Now, I will let you get cleaned up for supper and your stroll. I must seek out that ancient barnacle of an elf." Súrelindë giggled as she bid her father goodbye, agreeing to meet for breakfast. She shut the door behind him.
Gildor made for Círdan's study and was not surprised to find the shipwright waiting, two glasses of wine setting on a small table flanked by comfortable chairs. "Expecting me?" he asked, taking a seat and eyeing the older elf suspiciously.
"You made me wait longer than I thought."
"I took some time to see Súrelindë; Námo approached us."
The bearded elf's eyebrow rose. "So you have met him."
"Yes. When I asked about a suitor Súrelindë claimed to have none."
"Perhaps she is unaware of his interest. I am not sure Námo is aware of it himself."
"I think you need to tell me what you have observed that leads you to think the Vala desires her."
Círdan sipped his wine. "Let me tell you why Námo is here. He is searching for his soul mate. It seems that he is lonely and none in Valinor touch his inner being. Ilúvatar granted him two months to search Arda. He lay on the break of death for nearly three weeks, Súrelindë played for him as she does for all so seriously ill. He has been hail for a bit over a week now and has made no move to leave. That leads me to believe that something, or someone, has caught his attention. The only one he really spends time with is Súrelindë. They take walks in the garden, he reads to her in the library, and she plays for him in the great hall or in the garden. He treats her with kindness and respect. However, as far as I know he has never been in a private setting with her…other than when he lay in the Healing House. He is the perfect gentleman. She glows in his presence. I have never seen her so alive and happy."
"Alive. That is a key word. How could there be a relationship between them? She would have to live in his realm. Could she do that and be alive?" Gildor took a sip before continuing, "I know it is selfish of me, but would I ever get to see her again?"
Círdan understood Gildor's concerns. They were the same reservations he had. "I suppose those would be questions to ask Námo. Perhaps you should ask the Vala's intentions regarding your iell."
The lord of the Wandering Company choked on his wine. "You think I should approach one of the Valar and ask his intention? Are you mad!"
"You would demand to know the intensions of an ellon, would you not? What is the difference? She is you daughter. You want what is best for her and you have concerns. Námo is a reasonable being and will understand. It is not like he will strike you dead."
Gildor stared into his wine, swirled the crimson liquid and drank the remaining half a glass in one gulp. "What if we have read too much into this? What if he simply enjoys her company, as a friend? I do not wish to embarrass anyone or cause her false hope. I saw how she lights up at his voice. She admitted to wondering about a deeper relationship before she learned his identity. I would not see her heart broken."
"If she has feelings for him that may run deeper, she will not be able to ignore them. I do believe he remains here because of her. I think she is the one for him. As I see it, she cares for him having never seen his physical form. Moreover, it began before she knew the truth. Námo said that others only wanted to bed *him*, the Vala, a trophy. His other prospects thought Mandos lacking and the fëar there unnerving. Súrelindë cannot see the shades or Mandos. Her world is already dark. Furthermore, I feel her music could be of benefit to those who stay in the Halls. In a clamshell, I truly believe they are a solid match."
Gildor listened and thought hard. Círdan was known for his wisdom and uncanny sense of perception, bordering on foresight. Gildor always hoped his little one would find a good, loving husband and you could not do better than a Vala. He would speak with Námo about his concerns and go from there.
"Well, now that that is settled," Círdan said abruptly, "there will be a welcoming feast in your honor the day after tomorrow. That should help those two realize their feelings. Námo is running out of time and being the gentleman he is, is moving just a bit too slow."
The old friends finished their discussion and moved to the great hall for supper. Círdan's chief advisor Saelind, Súrelindë, Námo and a few others soon joined them. Gildor joined in the conversations around him, but was keenly aware of his daughter and the Vala. After the meal, the two excused themselves. Gildor noticed how Námo offered his arm to Súrelindë instead of taking it and leading her out. That was good. When they exited the terrace doors, Gildor returned his attention to the Great Hall.
Súrelindë and Námo walked through the moonlit garden in silence. The Vala could tell something was on the young one's mind. He hoped that there had not been strife between daughter and father over their friendship. If there was, then any hope of pursuing more was over; he would not come between them. Finally, he spoke up. "Would you share with me what troubles you?"
Súrelindë turned her head towards his voice, pulled from her thoughts. "I am sorry. I was thinking that is all."
"What are you thinking?" The Vala asked.
"It is silly really, for it is of little importance, but I wonder what you look like." She blushed. Námo thought it was a most endearing sight.
"In this form I am an ellon with dark hair and eyes and pale skin. Nothing unusual."
"That is not what I hear," Súrelindë replied, her blush deepening. "I have heard it said that your hair shines like obsidian. Your eyes are like onyx, fathomless and wise. They compared your skin to flawless porcelain. I know you are taller than most and your build is lean but strong. They say you are beautiful like a deep lake, reflecting the stars on a moonless night."
"See you know what I look like," Námo interrupted, feeling embarrassed by such scrutiny.
"I have heard how others see you. I would like to see you for myself." She said holding up her hands. Námo now understood her request. Súrelindë 'saw' through her hands. She was asking permission to touch him. The thought filled him with both joy and trepidation. What if she did not like what she felt? After a mere moment, he took her hands and placed them on his cheeks. She had to step closer in order to reach. Námo caught her scent as it mingled with the breeze. The balmy summer was fading and there was a chill in the air. His heart thundered in his chest as she began to move her fingers lightly over his features: forehead, eyes, nose, and cheeks. A rush of heat pooled in his groin as her fingers ghosted over his lips. He wanted to place a kiss on them but refrained.
"You have strong features, though they are not harsh," she whispered, lifting her head. Looking down into her eyes Námo realized that his heart belonged to her. He wanted to bend down and kiss her ruby lips, run his hands through her hair, press her body close. Her fingers quested along his jaw and down his neck. Passion's flame caused his member to stir. Her hands moved over his shoulders and across his chest. "They are right. You are beautiful." He felt her warm breath tickle his neck. Before he realized what happened, his arm wrapped around her waist and he pulled her close. He felt her tremble, but before he could lower his lips to hers, they were interrupted.
"Pardon me Hîr nín, but I need to speak with Súrelindë." Círdan's chief counselor approached the couple.
Námo stepped back and Súrelindë wondered what the counselor needed of her.
"If you will excuse us," the counselor said, moving to the lady's side. "I will see she gets back to her rooms." He gently took Súrelindë's elbow.
Námo saw her tense briefly. Something about the counselor's request bothered him but he could not put his finger on it. "Very well," Námo said with a slight bow, "if Súrelindë has no objections." There, he would let her decide.
"You are free to speak in front of Lord Námo."
The counselor eyed the Vala. "I would prefer to speak with you in private."
Námo did not want to leave them, however he had no grounds to stay. "Mistress, I have something to attend to anyway, perhaps we can continue our walk tomorrow." The Vala tried to hide the displeasure from his voice and smiled at the counselor.
"Very well then, good night." With that, the ellon began to usher Súrelindë down the path. She barely had an opportunity to wish Námo a good night herself. The tall Vala watched them disappear around a hedge before turning towards the main house. Perhaps now would be a good time to seek out Gildor Inglorian. Námo's feelings for Súrelindë grew stronger everyday. He wished to make them known. Before he could do that, he needed to speak with the lady's father.
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