9. Chapter 9
Súrelindë enjoyed the day with her father. They rode along the seashore on Gildor's steed, walked in the surf, and talked. Gildor filled his daughter in on his adventures and she in turn filled him in on all the latest castle gossip. They discussed at great length her work with the minstrels and in the house of healing.
"Do you really think my music helps the fëar that follow Námo's call?" she asked rather out of the blue.
"I am sure they feel more at peace with your music. Music touches our fëa. It stands to reason that music touches our inner being regardless of what our physical body is experiencing."
The younger elf tucked her knees up as they sat in the sand. "Would I make a good wife?" Her question came softly. "I mean, I cannot cook and house cleaning takes me forever. I cannot sew, paint, or ride a horse"
Gildor put a hand around his daughter's shoulders and pulled her close. He placed a kiss on the crown of her head. His heart constricted as he watched drops land on her knees. The silent tears tore at his heart. "You will be a fine wife and a wonderful mate. There is more to it than cooking and cleaning. It takes love and compassion. You excel in those. You have a beautiful voice and gifted hands on the harp. Pray tell, penneth, what brought about these questions and doubts?"
"Counselor Saelind. He approached me last night and said that he wished to court me."
Gildor felt his stomach flip. She had not agreed had she? Námo would be devastated. He posed his question as calmly as he could. "What did you tell him?" He hoped he sounded nonchalant.
Súrelindë sniffed and wiped the tears with the back of her hand. Leaning her head on her adar's shoulder she replied, "I thanked him but said I could not accept."
Gildor let out the breath he had been holding. So far so good but he needed to find out more. "Why did you turn him down? He is well established, handsome, and honorable…for the most part."
Tears spilled anew. "But Ada, I do not love him. You would not ask me to wed someone I do not love would you? I do not mind being alone, really!"
"Hush, pen dithen, I only asked why you said no. I would never want you to marry for anything other than love. Is there perhaps someone else you fancy?"
The young minstrel sobbed harder. "He is well above me. He can have anyone; he would not settle for me. Oh, Saelind is right." She slumped dejectedly against him.
For his part, Gildor wanted nothing more than to assure his daughter that all would be well, that her feelings were returned; but that was something she needed to hear from Námo. "I am proud that you did not give in to Saelind just because he lead you to believe he is the only option. Know this, penneth, no one is above another when it comes to love; all are equal. The heart will love whom the heart loves, be it king or Edain or orc…or Vala."
Súrelindë looked up in shock. "How?"
Gildor laughed and hugged her tight. "I may not be around much, but I am observant. I see the way you look at him. I am guessing that your feelings run a bit deeper than mere friends. Am I right?"
"Not that it matter, but yes. However, he is so important and would never need someone like me. What could I possible offer him? How could I possibly be of any help to him? I would be a burden that would keep him from his work! I am nothing but a silly child with dreams of grandeur!" She buried her head in her arms, shoulders shaking. Again Gildor thought to share his knowledge, but thought better of it. "Perhaps I should accept Saelind's offer. I will never love or want another as I do Lord Námo, but with Saelind I know that everything will be taken care of for me. You would not need to worry about me and I am sure in time I could learn to have feelings for him. Perhaps even have chi…" A dam of pent up emotions finally broke and Súrelindë let it all loose, her true fears, what she wanted but felt incapable of having due to her lack of sight.
Gildor had had enough. His iell deserved a wonderful life, loving mate and a family! If he had any reservations about Námo as a match for his daughter, they vanished in that moment. "No!" he said firmly. "Do not settle for less than your heart desires just because you think your dream is impossible," the elf-lord said, holding her chin so they looked eye to eye. "At least not until you are certain that your heart's dream is beyond reach. Promise me, you will not just give up."
Súrelindë looked deep into her father's blue eyes. She saw the love he had for her and something else, some knowledge that he refused to share.
"Keep your options open and follow your heart." Gildor stood and taking her hand helped her up. "Come. There is a feast in a few hours and we need to get ready. Let us show these Sea elves what we wanderers are made of."
Súrelindë laughed as Gildor dried her tears with a corner of his tunic. Her heart began to feel lighter.
Súrelindë took a long bath, enjoying the warm water. She washed with her favorite scent, a combination of sweet and lemon grasses. After drying off, she donned a dressing robe and began to work on her hair. Usually, it was held back in a single braid, but tonight she wanted something different. Tonight she wanted to turn heads. Brushing it into soft waves that cascaded down to nearly her waist, she began to twist pieces from the front along the side, adding hair as she went until she clipped it at the base of her neck, just behind the ear. She did the same to the other side, using jeweled clips Gildor had gifted her. This would keep it away from her face, but still left it long in the back, not her usual style. As she moved to the wardrobe, there came a knock.
"Pardon me my lady," an elleth said. "Your father asked me to come by and offer assistance should you need it."
"Yes, thank you." Súrelindë was not so proud as to deny help. "I have a dress in here, somewhere, that is burgundy with cream trim. Would you be so kind as to find it for me? Also, there are shoes to match."
The elleth found the dress and helped Súrelindë into it. Next came the shoes. They were harder to locate, buried in the back of the wardrobe. The servant then helped pick out earrings and a necklace. Both had been gifts from Gildor to Súrelindë's mother.
When at last she was ready, Súrelindë stood. "How do I look?" she asked the elleth.
"You are beautiful," the servant replied.
"Thank you and I am sorry, I do not recognize your voice. Have we met?"
"No, Mistress, but my family served your grandfather and father's house for millennia."
"My grandfather?" Súrelindë questioned. Gildor never shared his family history with her and she wondered about his secrecy.
The servant chuckled. "Yes, Finrod."
Súrelindë sank into a near by chair. She was the granddaughter of Finrod…*the* Finrod? Son of Finwe?
"I see that you did not know."
Súrelindë shook her head in stunned silence.
"Your father gave me something and asks that you wear it." The servant held it out for Súrelindë to feel. "He said it was time you wore the emblem of your house."
Súrelindë's hands trembled as she took the delicate circlet. Her fingers traced over its delicate scrolls. She could feel gems dangling from small chains. "Would you help me?" she asked in a small voice, holding out the precious item.
"Aye, my lady." The elleth carefully placed it on Súrelindë's brow, arranging the gems around the side and back. "It is about time you knew the truth and let people around here know it too," she said with a hint of displeasure. She was well aware of what people thought of Súrelindë and the Wandering Company. It made her very upset. There was a knock on the door. The elleth moved to answer it.
Súrelindë heard her father's voice in the outer room and rose to join him.
"Is she read…" The words died on Gildor's lips as Súrelindë entered the room. Never had she looked so grown up. He realized that his little iell was gone. In her place was a beautiful, noble woman.
"Adar?" Súrelindë asked hesitantly. "Is something amiss?"
"No, penneth. It is just that you look so…so different. Every bit the princess you are."
She blushed at her father's complement. "Thank you. You never told me."
"I know and it was wrong, but I think it is time to let the cat out of the bag. I want everyone to know that you are so much more than the daughter of the gypsy elf." He kissed her cheek before taking her arm, and with soft thanks to his servant, led her to the ballroom.
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.