“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
“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
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
“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...