Always Been There
Chapter Twenty

502 F.A.

Gondolin

 

 

 

 

 

“S-so today is the day. “

 

The words were slurred, drifting in from the open door to the King’s library.

 

Erestor looked up, his eyes widening at the slumped figure of Maeglin. That the Lord had too much to drink was obvious; what gave Erestor pause was the bitter hatred in Maeglin’s eyes.

 

“My Lord?” he asked, not at all sure what had provoked the Lord to this state.

 

Maeglin stumbled forward, catching himself by bracing both hands on the end of Erestor’s desk. He smirked at the shocked councilor, but his face quickly became twisted with malice once more.

 

“Today is the day,” he spat. “Our beloved King gives his only daughter and heir to a Mortal.” The last word was said with such disgust and loathing that Erestor recoiled.

 

But Maeglin was consumed by his own demons and took no notice of the fear he was causing in Erestor. Maeglin lurched away from the desk and stood with his back to the advisor, his fist clenched. “How I curse the day Ecthelion brought him up from the gates; if he had only been turned away then!”

 

He turned back to face Erestor, eyes blazing. “Tuor, son of Huor!” he all but shouted, and Erestor cast an anxious glance at the open door; if the King or any of his Lords appeared, Maeglin would be ruined. Turgon himself had cast his approval on Tuor and this union.

 

Erestor slowly walked to the door, hoping he would not regret what he was about to do. He closed and locked it and turned back to Maeglin, his gaze serious but not without compassion. He knew what hurt drove Maeglin to drink and cause the poisonous words to spew from his lips, but what he wanted would never come to pass. Idril would never be his.

 

“She loves him, my Lord,” was all Erestor said. He calmly and gently led Maeglin to a chair, seating the inebriated Lord, and turned to pour him a glass of water.

 

Maeglin looked up into Erestor’s dark eyes. “Seems many fell under his spell, and not just our Lady, Erestor” Maeglin’s voice was sly, and Erestor flinched at the bitter mocking in the Lord’s gaze.

 

Erestor turned away, but not before Maeglin saw the flush upon the advisor’s face. He gave a disgusted snort and then said bitterly, “Why did you not seduce him? You could have saved us all this grief.”

 

Erestor put a tight grip on his emotions, nothing of which showed on his face. He had become very successful at hiding what he was feeling from others, something that saved him a great deal of discomfort and pain from those who still thought him to close to the King. He met Maeglin’s gaze head-on, no hiding or submission in his eyes. “His heart has been hers since their first sighting of each other, and you know this to be true, Maeglin.” Erestor made his voice harsh and colder than perhaps was warranted, but Maeglin needed to stop this foolishness before the King’s displeasure fell upon his head.

 

Maeglin looked away, unwilling to acknowledge the truth in Erestor’s words. “I remember that other mortal’s words, the other one you were so fond of. I thought them nonsense, the ramblings of a defeated human. If I had only known. I would have guarded the gates to the city myself and never allowed him entry!”

 

Erestor looked at Maeglin, perplexed. “What words?” he asked. “What other mortal?”

 

Maeglin’s gaze was still distant, as if he was again seeing the messenger of the words that disturbed him so. “It was at the battle of Nirnaeth Arnoediad, when the human brothers guarded our retreat. Huor had joined his brother in urging us to flee, saying that the future of Gondolin and our King must be saved.” Maeglin’s eyes suddenly swung back to meet Erestor’s, and Erestor could not help the shiver that traveled up his spine at the look of madness in the Lord’s eyes.

 

“Huor then spoke a vision, I think, though not even the King seemed to know what to make of his words.” Maeglin looked down at his hands gripped tightly together in his lap, and Erestor frowned.

 

“What did Huor foretell?” he asked, surprising himself when his voice came out in a whisper.

 

“He said that as Gondolin stands, out of our King’s house shall come the hope of Elves and Men.” Maeglin again met Erestor’s eyes. “He spoke of his own death and of never setting eyes upon Gondolin or the King again. He then said that from Turgon and he shall arise a new star. I did not know of what he spoke none did; but now his seed and our King’s join together, bonding Elves and Men. Think you, Erestor, that he saw this union?” Maeglin asked, his voice suddenly small, like that of a child who is afraid of a ghost.

 

Erestor shook his head, suddenly weary. He blinked and looked away, eyes unseeing and trained to some distant point. “I know not, my Lord,” was all he could offer Maeglin.

 

The Lord, now all too sober, rose and quietly opened the door. He departed without another word, leaving Erestor alone with his words, and Erestor realized that for Maeglin, there were no good nights.

 

Erestor shook himself; he had not the time to sit and let dark thoughts worry him. Tonight was the celebration. Turgon had granted Tuor his request of Idril’s hand in marriage, and the entire kingdom was looking forward to tonight’s feast. Over the last seven years, Tuor had become precious and loved by all... all except Maeglin and a few of his supporters. But even they could only be so vocal in opposition of the mortal, for Tuor had also won the King’s regard.

 

He had not been that way at first. Tuor had arrived at the City of Seven Names with only one guide, but it was a guide that none never thought to see again. Voronwë had been one of the mariners sent by Turgon on a mission to reach the Undying Lands. He alone survived, rescued, he said, by Lord Ulmo himself, for the sole purpose of guiding this messenger of Ulmo’s to Gondolin.

 

It was the armor and weapons Tuor wore, left in Nevrast by the King himself at the Vala Ulmo’s urging years before, which ultimately made Turgon heed the Man’s words. The Lord of the Waters had forewarned Turgon of the Curse of Mandos and that Gondolin would fall victim to it.

 

Long did Turgon take council and heed of Tuor’s warnings, but in the end, the loss of Tirion still a haunting memory, Turgon discarded the approaching warnings of doom. He would not give up the city that had eased the pain of parting from his beloved Tirion, and a deep belief in the might of Gondolin gave him false comfort.

 

One thing the tidings of Tuor did accomplish, and that was to raise fear in Turgon’s heart. The King ordered the entrance to the hidden valley closed and orders were given that none should ever go forth on any errand from the Hidden City.

 

Tuor was left to wait for the King’s decision, but he was made welcome, for Huor had been well loved by the people of Gondolin and his son was received with much curiosity and interest. It fell to Erestor then to satisfy the curiosity of the human, for Tuor loved the stories of his father’s time in the Hidden City. It did not take long for the Man to fall in love with the city and its people, for Gondolin’s glory was mightiest to his eye of all dwellings of the Elves in the Hither Lands.

 

Like his sire was Tuor, hungry for the lore Erestor could share and share Erestor did. For despite Tuor’s fostering by the Grey-elves, of the Noldor he knew little. Many an afternoon was spent in the King’s vast libraries poring over tomes and volumes of lore. And in return, many a tale did Erestor share with Tuor; of the crossing, and the early days in Valinor. Erestor came to love those afternoons. It was no small wonder that he became infatuated with Tuor, for great was the beauty of the Man.

 

Erestor was not the only one to fall under Tuor’s spell. Many of those afternoons, Idril would join them in their pursuits, and it was not long before Ecthelion and Glorfindel became frequent visitors as well. But never did Tuor’s eyes light like they did when they fell upon the King’s daughter, so Erestor kept his admiration close to his heart, begrudging them nothing, wishing nothing but the best for Idril and Tuor.

 

Erestor put down his quill. The last of the reports due the King was finished. No more work would he do this day, for the King had declared a day of rest and celebration. The birds sang happily on the windowsill of the library, and Erestor could see peeks of bright blue skies. It seemed the very weather was happy this day, with just a hint of expectation on the air. Once this day ended the second joining of Elves and Man would be complete...

To be continued...