|Of the Fall of Gilgalad
Author: HaloFin17 PM
Simply how I've always envisioned the Fall of Gil-galad. Elrond POV. Oneshot. Rated T for violence, just in case. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to review!Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Elrond & Gil-Galad - Words: 4,741 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 5 - Published: 07-25-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3065566
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Summary:Title says it POV. Oneshot. Rated T for violence, just in case.I know there are a lot of other fics already written by various people that are very similar to this one, but this is simply how I've always envisioned it happening. Hope you enjoy and feel free to review!
Disclaimer: Tolkien is the only real genius among all of us here. I don't own anything or anybody.
Of the Fall of Gil-galad
The Orc unleashed a piercing shriek and fell dead at my feet as I withdrew Hadhafang from his torso. I glanced down at my gory blade; the weapon of Idril had served me well throughout the entire war. Breathing hard, I took a moment to view the conflicts raging around me. All of our troops, both Elves and Men alike, were near exhaustion. This particular battle, a great offensive push on our part, had already lasted for over thirty long hours without a moment's rest, and the siege of Barad-dur itself was now in its seventh year. Things had to come to an end soon.
Right now, though, the battle continued. I side-stepped the blow of an Orc who tried to attack me from behind and cleanly severed his head from his shoulders, blinking away the hot, black blood that spurted into my eyes.
I sighed in sheer disgust and suddenly thought of the beauty of Imladris, of its lofty trees and musical waterfalls. My heart then went out to Celebrian as well. I sighed again, this time in wistful longing, as I recalled the flawless beauty of her radiant face. Would she ever be truly mine? When the war was finally over, could I possibly ask Celeborn for her hand in marriage?
No, not as long as Gil-galad was still alive and unwed, for Celeborn had long desired to see the High King married to his daughter, even if for no other purpose than producing an heir to Gil-galad's throne. Apart from Celebrian, I loved my King more than any other being in the world, and my loyalty and devotion to him had never faltered in over three thousand years. I only wished he did not stand in the way of my union with Celebrian, though it was by no conscious action of his own.
What if I simply told him of my love for her? Surely he would understand. I had always been able to talk to him about anything, and he would always listen as my closest confidant. Indeed, that was the best course of action! But not now. Now, I needed only to focus on the physical battle surrounding myself and those I loved. I would speak to Gil-galad concerning Celebrian later.
I quickly dispatched two Orcs close to me and again surveyed the battlefield. I spotted Cirdan fighting tirelessly not too far from where I stood, but when I looked for my King, he was not to be found.
"My lord?" I called out. No answer. "Gil-galad!" When there was still no reply, I began forcing my way through the masses of struggling Orcs, Elves, and Men until I at last came close to Cirdan.
"Cirdan!" I cried.
My old friend and mentor heard my call and immediately turned to fight his way to my side.
"What is it, Elrond?" he asked.
"Cirdan," I said again, "where's Gil-galad?"
"Do you know where Gil-galad is?"
My companion shook his head and quickly scanned the field. When he turned back to me, his face bore the same look of confusion and grave concern as my own.
"No, I don't know. In fact, I haven't seen him at all for some time now."
Feeling panic surge within me, I swallowed though my mouth was dry and tried desperately to suppress the knot of dark foreboding that was tightening in my stomach. But before Cirdan or I could say another word, Isildur was suddenly beside us.
"My lords," he said, nodding to us in greeting. "Have either of you seen my father? I've looked for quite a while, but I haven't found any trace of him." There was no mistaking the worry in his voice.
Cirdan and I exchanged uneasy glances for a long moment, a shadow of fear falling on both our hearts. If Gil-galad and Elendil were both missing, then….
"What is it?" Isildur's anxious voice broke into our meditation. Cirdan's eyes left me and came to rest on the mortal prince before us. I knew what my friend would say long before the words left his mouth.
"I think there may be a problem here."
Isildur opened his mouth to further question the elderly shipwright, when suddenly a horrible, piercing cry echoed across the battlefield. Fighting on both sides ceased temporarily, the chilling effect of the scream still lingering in the air.
"That came from the other side of Orodruin," I said, looking intently at Cirdan. "I know of no troops, Elves or Men, stationed there."
"Come!" my friend exclaimed as he immediately turned and ran in the direction of the cry. Isildur and I followed, running as fast as our legs could carry us. The sounds of struggle increased as we approached, and when we finally came within view of the conflict, a grip of cold terror suddenly clenched my heart, and I was helpless to resist it.
There on the black slopes of Orodruin, Gil-galad and Elendil fought side by side, their common enemy none other than Sauron himself. At last, the Dark Lord had personally emerged to defend his fortress or fall in the attempt. Dark and menacing in the sable armor that covered his entire body, he towered over the two Kings, enveloping them in the dark void of his shadow.
But Gil-galad and Elendil both stood tall and erect, Aiglos and Narsil gleaming in their hands with a cold, pale light. Yet the greatest light of all to pierce the shadow shone in the eyes of my King, and I understood more clearly than ever why his epesse was Gil-galad, meaning "starlight." For though the stars themselves had long been cloaked by the evil handiwork of Sauron in Mordor, I now saw their light shining fiercely in the eyes of Ereinion Gil-galad.
"Ereinion!" Cirdan's anxious shout woke me from my daze as I followed him and Isildur up the slopes.
"Gil-galad!" I cried, and Isildur also called out to his father, but the kings paid us no heed. Intent on the task before them, they knew full well that, one way or another, this long, grueling war was about to end.
Suddenly, I could feel the weight of Sauron's gaze upon us, and my left hand unconsciously moved toward my pocket. I could feel Vilya through the material of my tunic, and the tiny ring now felt so heavy that I slowed my pace. I looked up again at the Dark Lord. Could he sense my struggle? Did the power of the One, now borne openly upon his finger, enable him to feel Vilya at such a close distance?
At that moment, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I jumped, only to see that Cirdan had come back to assist me. By the grave look in his eyes, I could tell he shared my concerns. No doubt the Ring of Fire, Narya, now weighed heavily on him as well.
In that brief moment, my thoughts abruptly darted back to Imladris where, after the War of the Elves and Sauron, I had first received Vilya. After a long discussion with Gil-galad, Galadriel, Celeborn, and the other Elven lords, it was well into the night, and I had every intention of going to sleep as soon as possible. When I had reached my room, however, Gil-galad was there waiting for me. He had been sitting in a comfortable chair next to the fire but rose to his feet when I entered. I bowed to him in greeting, but he waved away the gesture.
"You know you don't need to do that when we're alone," he said with a smile. I grinned back at him. He told me that every time, but I never could bring myself to break the habit.
"I'm glad you're here," he went on, laying a hand on my shoulder. "I've been wanting to talk to you in private ever since my arrival, and now I finally have the chance. You've done extremely well here in Imladris, far exceeding even my own expectations."
"Thank you," I said, inclining my head toward him.
"As was discussed earlier this evening, we shall make Imladris our new stronghold in eastern Eriador, rather than attempting to rebuild Eregion. I'm sure you are already aware of this, but as the founder of Imladris, you are the obvious choice to remain here as lord of these people. I know you are capable of such responsibility, but do you desire it? If so, this place is yours; if not, there are others who could assume the position."
He was silent, waiting for me to respond.
"I am willing to stay if my King wishes it," I began slowly. "Indeed, I have grown very fond of Imladris and its people. I would be sad to leave. However, I am likewise loath to dwell apart from Lindon – apart from you and Cirdan."
"Please don't imagine the separation would be any less difficult for us," my mentor said with a sad smile. "You would be missed greatly. Naturally, we would always write, and I would expect you to return to visit Lindon every few years. All the same, I have foreseen great peace and prosperity for you here, Elrond. But only if you wish to take it."
I nodded. "Very well, then. With your permission, my lord, I will remain in Imladris and continue to serve you here."
"You do have my permission, as well as my most sincere blessing. You shall be my vice-regent in Eriador, second only to my own command."
"Thank you," I said, unable to suppress a broad smile.
Gil-galad gently took my face in his hands and kissed the top of my head.
"You will do well, my son," he told me, his eyes beaming with fatherly pride. "And now, I have something else to show you. Do you know what this is?"
"It's a ring," I replied, taking the tiny ornament from his outstretched hand. "Gold and sapphire – a beautiful piece of work, but I see nothing extraordinary about it."
"You are not supposed to." My King lowered his voice and took a step closer to me. "This is Vilya, Elrond: the Ring of Air, the Ring of Firmament. It is the most powerful of the three Elven rings forged by Celebrimbor."
My eyes wide, I could only stare at him in stunned silence, and he did not wait for me to speak.
"The other two rings," he continued in hushed tones, "Narya, the Ring of Fire, and Nenya, the Ring of Water and Adamant, are in the keeping of Cirdan and Galadriel. Use your own in harmony with theirs."
At that, I found my voice.
"Why are you telling me this?" I asked him urgently. "You can't possibly be giving this to me!"
"Why not? In my eyes, you have already proven yourself worthy of it."
"But as our High King, it is only sensible that you should bear one of these rings!"
Gil-galad only laughed. "I don't need one. This way is actually very sensible. We will have one ring in Lindon, one in Imladris, and one east of the Misty Mountains when Galadriel returns to Lorien. I think it wise to spread them out as much as possible. Besides, should Sauron return to power, he will no doubt assume that I do possess at least one of the Three, and I'm already an obvious target for him. In the end, I truly believe it will be safer with you."
For this I had no reply and could only return my gaze to the seemingly trivial object resting in my hand. As usual, his wisdom made perfect sense; his guidance had never failed me.
"Use it for the good of our people, Elrond," he further instructed me, his voice still soft. "Use it to preserve the lands we love so dearly. But use great discretion when wielding it, for your own sake. Remember, as long as the One Ring survives, the Three are bound to its power. Be very careful, lest you fall under the dominion of the One."
I nodded, still trying to comprehend it all, and looked back up at my dearest friend.
"I will be careful," I told him. "But are you sure this is for the best?"
Gil-galad simply nodded and closed my hand over Vilya. "I know you will not fail me."
With that, he wrapped his arms around me, and I gratefully returned the embrace, once again awed by the immense strength those arms contained. And as I rested my head on his shoulder, I remembered thinking that it would surely require someone, or something, of unspeakable power to ever take the life from the arms of my king.
"It's all right, Elrond."
I jolted back to the present to see Cirdan still standing beside me. I nodded but said nothing, and he firmly pulled my arm to get me running with him again. We soon stood with Isildur as close as possible to where our loved ones fought, but to our dismay, we could go no farther. So intense was the heat and aura of evil emanating from the Dark Lord that none of us reach our Kings. How they managed to endure it all themselves is still a mystery to me.
Suddenly, Sauron struck out at Gil-galad with his mace, but Ereinion was not idle. With Sauron's arm outstretched, Gil-galad lunged forward and thrust his spear in beneath the Dark Lord's arm where his armor was weak. Aiglos hit home, and Sauron let forth another horrendous shriek. But the Evil One's blow had been true, as well, catching the Elven King heavily across the side. Uttering a cry of sheer hatred, the Dark Lord wrenched himself free from Aiglos and with another swing of him mace, sent Gil-galad flying through the air away from him to land on a large pile of boulders down below.
"Gil-galad!" All thought my own safety now forgotten, I tried to run to where my beloved King now lay, but Cirdan's strong grip held me back. I struggled to free myself from his grasp, and when I looked up at him with pleading eyes, he only shook his head. Yet I could see on his face the same anguish that I felt in my own heart, and his eyes were already filled with tears.
"NO!" Isildur's sudden outcry finally drew my attention back to the battle where Elendil had apparently taken advantage of Sauron's distraction. His malicious thoughts momentarily focused entirely on Gil-galad, the Dark Lord did not see Elendil charging him until it was too late. The King of Men rushed upon Sauron and drove his sword Narsil through the Dark One's armor and into his neck. The Lord of Mordor unleashed one final cry and began to fall. But still driven by his wrath, he brought his mace around in a last, desperate effort, and the heavy weapon landed squarely on Elendil's head.
Isildur watched in horror as his father's helmet caved in, a cloud of dark blood spraying up from the wound. Elendil never had the opportunity to cry out in his pain. He died instantly and landed on the ground next to the inert form of his fallen adversary.
I saw Isildur dash up the steep, black slope to his father's side and abruptly realized that Cirdan was no longer restraining me. In fact, he had left my side and was approaching the rocks where Gil-galad had fallen. Instantly, I rushed to join him, panic and sorrow pounding through my body with every step as I drew near.
Cirdan knelt by Gil-galad, one arm supporting the High King's head and the other resting gently on his hand. I dropped to my knees on the other side my foster father and fought back the wave of nausea that struck me upon seeing him. All of his exposed skin had been badly burned, and a deep gash ran from the middle of his forehead to back behind his ear.
But he's still alive, I thought. Surely these wounds won't be fatal. Not for him.
Laying one hand on my King's shoulder, I began to gingerly wipe some of the blood from his face and then poured a few drops of water on his lips. I sighed softly in relief as his eyes slowly opened and he looked from me to Cirdan. I quickly motioned for him to remain quiet and placed my hand on his head, trying to transfer as much healing energy from myself to him as possible.
"Don't, Elrond." It was Gil-galad's weak voice that spoke.
"What do you mean?" I asked in confusion. "Your wounds are not too grave. You can survive this!"
But he shook his head. "There are some wounds beyond even your ability to heal."
Only then did I look down, and my hope broke. Gil-galad's left hand was pressed tightly against his side where Sauron had successfully delivered a blow. Despite his armor, the finest of the Elven race, the King was clearly wounded beyond repair. The Dark Lord's mace had completely crushed his entire left side. Every rib was broken, and his lung had no doubt been punctured, as well. A jagged corner of the mace had also pierced through the armor and deep into his body.
I squeezed my eyes shut but finally opened them again, knowing that sooner or later I would have confront the truth. I could not stop the tears, however, when I realized that Gil-galad's hand over the bloody wound was the only thing now holding his entrails inside his body. An anguished cry broke from my lips as I reached down, trying to help him hold back the gore that threatened to spill from his torso. Warm blood flowed freely over my hand, and I could feel the entrails slipping past my fingers.
Desperate, I looked back at my King. His breathing was heavy and broken, but his face, though ashen and drawn in pain, was surprisingly calm.
"It's all right, Elrond," he said quietly, reaching up to lightly touch my cheek.
I shook my head, gently taking his hand in my own.
"Don't go," I pleaded. "Please, don't leave us."
Gil-galad's face suddenly filled with pity, tears shining in his eyes.
"I'm sorry, my friend. Rest assured I do not leave willingly." He turned to the old mariner on his other side. "Cirdan, thank you for your many years of faithful guidance and service. You have ever been a father to me."
Cirdan smiled down at him in sorrow but remained silent.
"Elrond," my mentor said, turning again to me, "when you get home, I want you to marry Celebrian and make her your wife in Imladris. Will you do that for me?"
Stunned by this unexpected request, I had no reply. How had he known?
Gil-galad smiled faintly at the perplexed look on my face and exchanged amused glances with Cirdan. "Did you really think you could keep something like that from us? I want you to be happy, ion-nin, and perhaps her love will help you forget the sorrows of this war."
"I will," I promised him with a short nod of my head.
"Good." My friend's voice was barely audible now, and Cirdan and I both had to lean in close to hear him. "Namarie, my friends. I shall miss your love and companionship, even in the presence of my fathers in the Halls of Mandos."
With that, Ereinion Gil-galad slowly closed his eyes, their great radiance fading at last, and wearily rested his head against Cirdan's supporting arm. One final breath, and he was forever still.
Trembling, I sobbed uncontrollably into my king's shoulder, letting my tears streak down the bloody armor that had once shone so brightly. How many times had I rested my head against that shoulder and wept out my sorrows! And every time his warm, strong arms would wrap around me, comforting me in a way only possible for a father's touch. His soothing voice would ease my pain, calming my spirit with its low, musical tones.
But now those arms lay limp and cold beside me, and that soft voice had been silenced forever. He had seen me through every loss I had experienced during my life; he had been my steady rock, my constant foundation in times of grief. Where could I turn for comfort now, when he was the one I had lost? Everything within me screamed in an agony far worse than any physical pain I had ever known, and I felt as though my heart would surely be torn asunder by the grief.
"No!" my mind raged, although who exactly it was addressing I'll never know. "No! Not Gil-galad – not him too! Please, not him! What will I do without him? Please, no!"
Cirdan only stared absently into nothingness, tears falling unheeded down his cheeks to land softly on his silver beard. His face was full of sorrow, yet surprisingly tranquil. I didn't understand it! How could he appear so calm and impassive when the King he had raised and loved like a son was dead?
But in my heart, I already knew the answer. Over the course of his long lifetime, Cirdan the Shipwright had seen the rise and fall of many, many Elven lords and kings. But I was still certain the loss of Gil-galad would hurt him far more deeply than any of the others. For my part, Gil-galad was the only King I had ever known, yet I had known him and loved him for nearly three and a half thousand years. He had been my King, my friend, my mentor, my father. And now he was gone forever.
"Isildur! What are you doing?"
I raised my head upon hearing Cirdan's stern voice and followed his gaze to where Isildur stood between the bodies of Elendil and Sauron. I looked closer and saw that he cradled something in his hands: a small, golden object. Suddenly realizing what it was, Cirdan and I leapt to our feet and hurried toward Isildur.
"The One Ring," I breathed, staring at the tiny cause of our extraordinary losses. "Isildur, you must destroy it! Cast it into the fires of Mount Doom which are near at hand! Only there can the Ring be undone. Please, you must destroy it!"
"Why?" Isildur asked, a strange look passing over his face. "Why should I destroy this thing? In our hands it can do no harm. I will keep this Ring as a wergild for my father and my brother. I myself have cut the Ring from Sauron's hand, and here he lies defeated. I see no reason to give it up!"
"As long as the One Ring remains, Sauron's spirit lives," Cirdan insisted. "His return will always be a threat unless the Ring is destroyed. You say you want to honor the deaths of your father and your brother, but their sacrifice will have been in vain if you do not destroy this Ring!" My old friend's eyes narrowed. "Do not think that you alone have lost someone dear to you today."
But Isildur shook his head. "No. I will risk no hurt to this thing, for it is precious to me, though I buy it with a great pain. Impart your wisdom to your own people. Today, I shall heed my own counsel."
With that, Isildur turned, and gathering the pieces of his father's broken sword, he left without another word. Cirdan and I were left standing in silence among the dead.
Three months later, I stood outside the royal palace in Lindon with Cirdan and a large assembly of Elves who had come to formally mourn their fallen King. I could only stare at the ground as I stepped forward. Tears longed to be released, but I held them back. With a shuddering sigh, I began to speak.
"Gil-galad, you were my king and my captain, my friend and my mentor. You were, in every possible way, my father. Despite whatever joys or sorrows the future may hold for me, there will always be an emptiness in my heart: an emptiness only you can fill. I could never forget you, my friend, even if I tried.
"I miss you so much! I swear I would do anything if I thought it could bring you back! You never failed me but were a steadfast comrade to the end. Indeed, you can never be replaced, in Middle Earth or in my heart. Thank you, Mellon-nin. "
I could have said so much more, but instead I simply stepped quietly back and watched as Cirdan came forward.
"Ereinion," he began, "just as you were a father to Elrond, so were you a son to me, the son I never had and never will have again. When you first came to me, you were so young, so uncertain, so helpless. I have no qualms in saying it was I who raised you. Indeed, I brought you up as though you were my own child. I taught you and guided you much as your own excellent father would have done, had he been given the opportunity to do so.
"Yet it was under my tutelage that you learned to fight so well, and it was with my guidance that you developed your wisdom and your foresight. In all my life, nothing has given me greater joy than to raise you and watch you grow. And I could never ask for a better or a dearer friend! Nor could your people desire a greater ruler.
"You were proud, yes, and overly stubborn at times, for your strong will never failed you. But you were also kind and gentle at heart, a fact quickly discovered by those who knew you best. Wisdom and justice were ever with you."
Cirdan paused to sigh with the same desperate longing that I could feel gnawing at my own aching heart. I relinquished my hold on the tears and let them flow freely, my breath catching in my throat as Cirdan continued.
"You were a great king, Ereinion, and your name is more than worthy of being held in the same reverence as those of your fathers. Rest in peace, dear friend, for I can only pray you have not died in vain. Namarie."
As Cirdan finished speaking, I felt a soft touch on my arm. I turned and beheld my dear Celebrian. Tears were in her eyes, as well, yet she smiled warmly up at me. On our return, I had fulfilled Gil-galad's dying wish and asked Celeborn for her hand in marriage. He had readily agreed, and Celebrian and I were to be married in a few short months, just before our return to Imladris.
Returning her smile, I slid my arm around her waist and pulled her to me. And as she held me in a gentle embrace, I could indeed feel some of my agony over Gil-galad's death fade slightly. But only slightly. It would be a very long process, but I would indeed move on without him, as would all of our people. Yet, as I stood there with Celebrian in my arms, I could not help but shudder in vague foreboding as I recalled Cirdan's final words of farewell to Ereinion Gil-galad: "I can only pray you have not died in vain. Namarie."