The Song of Tuor
From "The Shaping of
Then the magic drifted
from me and that music loosed its bands--
Far, far-off, conches
calling--lo! I stood in the sweet lands,
And the meadows were
about me where the weeping willows grew,
Where the long grass
stirred beside me, and my feet were drenched
Only the reeds were
rustling, but a mist lay on the streams
Like a sea-roke drawn far
inland, like a shred of salt sea-dreams.
'Twas in the
that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir
calling--and shall hear them till my death.
Erestor climbed the south
wall and sat next to Glorfindel.
“You are late,” the blond
said. “Where is Ecthelion?” Glorfindel passed the bottle of rich wine he had
been drinking from, and Erestor drank thirstily.
“He is still upon the south
wall. His relief was late, but he will be along.” Erestor replied.
Erestor sighed tiredly. The
preparations for the Gates of Summer festival had taken much of his time,
and he was grateful that his duties were over. This yearly tradition of
theirs - Glorfindel, Ecthelion, and his - of greeting the dawn upon the
walls a heady beverage their only accompaniment, was something Erestor
looked forward to all year long. That they often they spent the entire
night in silence did not take away from its pleasure for Erestor. Many of
their friends questioned the trio’s unusual actions, that they sought and
found pleasure in simply being together without other motives was
astonishing to many.
With those thoughts occupying
his mind, Erestor broke the silence. “Think it strange the three of us here
like this every year?” he asked Glorfindel, eyes trained on the stars in the
He noticed Glorfindel’s
glance but did not return it. He wanted to hear what the blond had to say.
Erestor had his own opinions on the subject, but he and Glorfindel had never
discussed their companionship; it was just something that seemed to happen
Glorfindel did not answer
Erestor’s question; instead, he shocked Erestor with what he did speak of.
“I was very cruel to you as a
Erestor winced at
Glorfindel’s matter-of-fact tone, and he could not help but stare at the
blond in shock. The silence built between them until Glorfindel turned
toward Erestor and looked him in the eye. Erestor could see the regret on
the Elda’s face.
“I was a very unhappy child,
Erestor, and I was terribly jealous of you.”
Glorfindel’s words were heavy
with regret and shame, but Erestor’s mind was frozen on what the blond said.
“Why?” was all Erestor could
say, stunned, and despite time and distance from that past, hurt.
“My Ada was not easy to live
with Erestor; he had very set ideas on what I was to do and to accomplish.
But while he had no problem holding you up as an example of academic
achievement, Vala forbid I should build a friendship with you.” Glorfindel’s
words were self-mocking and Erestor felt a flash of hate for Glorfindel’s
Ada, but he remained silent, letting Glorfindel unburden his soul like he
seemed to need to.
“I had no problem pleasing
him with my warrior skills, but it was excelling in the classroom that he
constantly found fault with me. You were the standard that we all were held
to, and everyone in Tirion knew that you were the smartest of Elflings. It
enraged my Ada to hear the councilors and even the King speak of your
Glorfindel touched Erestor
for the first time since that foolish drunken night so long ago and laid a
hand upon Erestor’s knee.
“I know it is no excuse for
the way I treated you, but I am sorry, Erestor.” The touch was brief, but
Erestor was thankful for it, for that touch alone reassured him of the
sincerity of Glorfindel’s words.
He was not sure Glorfindel
had told him the complete tale, but it did ease some of the hurt that,
despite his age, still lingered from his childhood. What could he say
except, “Thank you, Glorfindel.” That seemed to be all the blond needed, for
he turned back to look up into the night sky, and the silence between them
became comfortable once more.
“Why?” Erestor whispered as
he stared down at the yellow flowered-covered mound. ‘Why did this have to
happen?’ There was nothing left, they were gone; his friends, his companions
from childhood, those he had braved the Crossing with, who had comforted him
when his parents had died. Could one still be standing and breathing in and
out and still be alive? Should he not feel something?
There were no words he could
say as he stood frozen over Glorfindel’s grave. Erestor had not seen
Ecthelion’s fall, but Glorfindel had told him of their friend’s brave battle
and of his death. Erestor had been numb from that moment on, racing through
the burning streets of his home with blood and death all ‘round them. So few
had made it this far, and then he had to watch Glorfindel, brave shining
Glorfindel, battle the demon sent after them. He had not been able to call
out, to comprehend the fall; it was not until Thorondor appeared from the
abyss carrying Glorfindel’s burned and broken body that the truth had hit
Erestor. His eyes had believed, but his frozen heart refused to...
Tuor placed a hand upon
Erestor’s shoulder. “We must go forward, or their sacrifice will have been
for naught.” Tuor’s words were gentle and the Man’s heartache could be heard
in his voice, but all Erestor could do was stare at him in disbelief.
‘Go forward to what?’ he
suddenly wanted to scream. There was nothing left. Erestor did not answer,
nor did he move; instead, his eyes lifted to the direction of his home, the
black smoke over his once fair city curled up into the heavens. It spoke the
truth to Erestor; his home, his friends, were no more. All they could do was
numbly push on...
The Land of Willows
The nightmares were always
the same: running through burning streets, the air filled with steam from
the burning fountains of Gondolin, the path littered with the dead, Elves
that should have been immortal, lying defiled...
He would wake, chest heaving,
Glorfindel’s and Ecthelion’s names on his lips. Erestor curled up in a fetal
position, clutching his chest. The guilt was crippling. He had done as
Glorfindel ordered; he had run straight to Idril’s hidden way, stopping for
nothing and for no one. That is what he could not live with; so many
perished and he had run. Glorfindel and Ecthelion had fought heroically,
dying so that their people, and Erestor, could escape.
What had he done?
The night air filled with the
sound of Elven voices raised in mourning song. They sang of the fall of
their beautiful city, of the loss of their beloved King and of their heroes,
but Erestor could not join in. He knew he should get off the ground and join
them. Idril had lost her father, and many others family members and mates,
but Erestor could not make himself rise and leave his self-imposed
Erestor had never before
questioned his worth, but he did now. He knew nothing could have prepared
them for Maeglin’s betrayal, but Erestor’s bitterness would not let him
rest. He had known of Maeglin’s extra journeys in the mines, of his ignoring
the King’s orders not to leave the leaguer of Gondolin, but Erestor said
nothing. He had questioned in his mind the sudden turn-around of the Lord’s
behavior. After their dark conversation that night in Erestor’s office, he
had expected to hear more of Maeglin’s scorn for Tuor and see the darkness
that would cloud Maeglin’s features. But the Lord had gone about with a
smile, and though Erestor knew that smile to be false, still he said
No suspicions did he raise,
not even with Ecthelion and Glorfindel, and when the time came, he did not
defend his city, but ran... Erestor did not think he could bear this burden.
His faer cried out for healing, but he ignored it and his thoughts grew
darker still. The idea to take ship and leave this cursed land occurred to
him, but the thought of facing the Elves of Valinor and of them knowing his
failure was too much; he was a coward. At best, he could stay in
Middle-earth and serve, if anyone would want his service.
Caught up in his own misery
and self-pity, Erestor did not hear another approach; it was only when
Legolas’ voice came close to his head that he uncurled and sat up.
“You do their sacrifice a
disservice,” was all the Lord of the House of the Tree said. Legolas sat
still, legs curled under him, next to Erestor, eyes thoughtfully trained on
Erestor rubbed his hands
across his tear-dampened face. He avoided Legolas’ eyes, his clenched hands
in his lap. “How do you go on?” he asked brokenly.
Legolas looked down and laid
a comforting hand on Erestor’s arm. “By remembering that they died so that
*we* could go on.” Legolas rose and with one last look at Erestor, he
rejoined the feast for the fallen.
Erestor looked up to the sky
with clear eyes. He could see what appeared to be several new stars, and he
hoped that those bright lights above were his friends. He remembered
Glorfindel turning toward him after seeing the red lights and hearing the
screams of the invaders. How the first thing the golden Lord had done was to
send Erestor to safety.
Erestor felt the tears start
anew as he remembered what Glorfindel had told him Ecthelion’s last words;
before the Lord of the Fountain had fallen, he had asked Glorfindel if
Erestor had survived. Erestor thought of his King, the same Elf who had
comforted him after the passing of his parents; he recalled the faces of his
fellow councilors and remembered the joy of his work.
Erestor allowed himself to
shed tears for those lost, but not for himself. Legolas was right... he did
need to honor his friends. And to do that, he needed to go forward, living
for all of them, his own life a tribute to their sacrifice.
Filled with new resolve,
Erestor rose from the ground and went to join the singing refugees from
A/N: Many wonderful and
talented authors had written of Gondolin’s fall, and done so, emotional and
detailed accounts. I did not want to try and match their works, so this was
my approach to that event.
To be continued...