Always Been There
'Now thou shalt go at last to Gondolin, Turgon; and I will maintain my power in the Vale of Sirion, and in all the waters therein, so that none shall mark thy going, nor shall any find there the hidden entrance against thy will. Longest of all the realms of the EldaliŽ shall Gondolin stand against Melkor. But love not too well the work of thy hands and the devices of thy heart; and remember that the true hope of the Noldor lieth in the West and cometh from the Sea!'
Ulmo to TurgonÖ
"This is a city of Watch and Ward, Gondolin on Amon Gwareth, where all may be free who are true of heart."
The guard's voice rang out as the heavy wooden gate opened for its King. Turgon had finally come to his hidden city, the last to leave Nevrast. Turgon rode through the rivers abandoned tunnel, past the first wooden gate; next he passed through six more made of stone, bronze, iron, silver, gold, and steel.
The streets of Gondolin were paved with stone and were wide and kerbed with marble. Fair houses with courtyards filled with flowers of every color lined the way. The skies were dotted with many towers of great slenderness and beauty built of marble and carved marvelously arching to the sky, but the tallest of them all was the Tower of the King, the turret standing eight hundred feet above the Vale.
Squares with fountains and trees beckoned all to come and join together, to sing with the birds that filled those squares with their joyous voices. But the sight that stopped Turgon's heart and had the breath catching in his lungs was the King's square. He had drawn the plans himself, outlined what he had dreamed, but nothing could have prepared him for the sight before him. He saw the smiling happy faces around him, and his eyes filled with tears, but he blinked them away, determined not to miss any of the beauty before him.
Fountains played before the palace; their waters shot twenty feet in the air and fell in a singing rain of crystals. The sun glistened by day and the moon magically shimmered by night. Special birds called the King's square home. They were of the whiteness of freshly fallen snow and their voices voice sweeter than any lullaby.
Turgon's eyes finally fell upon a gift he had carried across the Ice and had guarded along with his memories of the fair city of Tirion. On either side of the doors were replicas of the two trees, one that bore blossoms of gold and the other of silver. They would never fade, for they were images of the glorious Two Trees of Valinor, and Turgon named them, Glingol and Bansil.
That night a great feast was held, the first in the fair city of Gondolin. Happy voices filled the King's hall. During one rousing speech, Turgon rose and held up a hand for silence. He smiled at his people, joy in every face - every face except one. It was time to keep a promise. "This home of ours, it took much sacrifice to make this dream come true. I asked much from a trusted few." Turgon paused and glanced around the room until his eyes met those of Erestor's.
"My advisors were told nothing but to fill my request, and they did. They spent months and years going over old dusty tomes, searching for every bit of information to be found about the fair city of Tirion. From the brave Noldor who crossed the Ice with me and left our city behind I ask a special task; to search every corner of their memories and write down all they could recall of our old home. They followed my wishes day after day, telling no one. So, my friends, raise your glasses," and Turgon listed off the names of his advisors.
But at the end he added. "Most of all, I want you all to thank a very young, but wise Elf, Erestor, whose fresh mind remembered the most of what we had left and strove the hardest to help recreate something new here. To Erestor." And with these words Turgon kept his promise to see his young councilor rewarded - the clearing of his name.
Erestor said nothing during the rest of the evening. He accepted the congratulations and humble thanks with much grace and dignity, but the only Elf he really wanted to hear from was conspicuously silent. Glorfindel did not approach him. Instead, the blond warrior stayed by the side of those from his house of the Golden Flower.
Ecthelion insisted that Erestor come join him for a drink by his house's beautiful fountains, and it was with a heavy heart that Erestor accepted. Ecthelion handed him the flute filled with rich golden liquor that Ecthelion's house was becoming famous for. He eyed the silent advisor, taking in the sadness that still clung to the dark-eyed Elf. He knew that Erestor had hope for a kind word from Glorfindel, as Erestor ever did. But Ecthelion could not figure out why the blond's approval meant so much to the other Elf. Perhaps, he thought, it was the bonds of childhood; did that not account for his and Glorfindel's own friendship?
"Erestor," Ecthelion said, waiting until those dark eyes met his own. "Did you spend much time in Glorfindel's childhood home?"
Erestor started, greatly surprised by the question. He looked at Ecthelion curiously, but saw only frank interest in the other Elf's gray eyes. "Well some, when we were very young Elflings, but none as we became older," Erestor answered honestly. He was a little hurt at Ecthelion's questioning, well remembering that it was to Ecthelion that Glorfindel's friendship went after the blond lost interest in Erestor.
But Ecthelion said nothing of this. He only nodded his head. "It is as I thought," he replied. "His was a very strange household, Erestor."
"What do you mean?" Erestor asked with a frown upon his brow.
Ecthelion took a drink and looked into the distance for a moment. "I had to attend many a dinner there when we were growing up. His parents and mine approved of the friendship, us having so much in common and so many similar interests. But his parents were strange, Erestor. Each dinner started the same. Glorfindel's Ada had a detailed list of everything Glorfindel did that day and he went over it like a checklist of some military campaign, checking off each task. He never asked for greater detail, his concern was only that it had been done. For example; dressed in the morning, ten minutes, made bed, five minutes, had breakfast, twenty minutes and so on. It was most strange. Glorfindel was even timed on playtime, or 'unaccountable time' as his Ada called it. One hour alone allowed each day,"
Ecthelion looked back into Erestor's shocked eyes. His own now held a deep sadness for his oldest friend. "But do you know the most shocking part, Erestor? Glorfindel never once acted like anything was wrong with that." Ecthelion looked away once more, and the pair now sat in silence, both their thoughts on a certain blond.
Erestor finally murmured a quiet thank you and rose to return to the court. He had much to think on this night, his thoughts awhirl about Glorfindel. Ecthelion stopped him as he was leaving the courtyard.
"Erestor," he said. "It is not that Glorfindel is not sorry for the harsh words he said to you; it is just that he does not know how to say he is sorry for them." Ecthelion gave Erestor a small smile before he watched as the young advisor left his house.
That night Erestor lay abed, his mind filled with image after image of his childhood. He relived every encounter he had with Glorfindel. Could his former friend have regretted the things he had done, but had been unable to say so?
To be continued...