Narn Gil Galad
Chapter I – Tol Sirion
Disclaimer:I'll say it once and it stands likewise for all following chapters: it belongs completely to the great prof Tolkien. Nothing of it is mine except the faults, some characters and the fun of writing this.
Canon:this first chapter of the story can be considered as AU. It depends on the reader's opinion about what is canon, for I used some details mentioned in the HoME.
Later chapters, however, definitely will be. So don't say you haven't been warned… ;)
Curtsy:thousand thanks to Nemis!
Not only for beta reading (and this is no small work considering my sometimes quite "special" concept of the English language), but most of all for encouraging me to translate and publish a story, which originally had been written only for private fun. Lots of orc-cookies to you! And a nice teddy (to wear or to combat…) :)
Dedicated?Yes, to Nemis for the reasons mentioned above, and to the cranky Kiwi in Bonn for (unwittingly) establishing my contact with her!
For Gil Galad's parentage I used the version mentioned in the History of Middle Earth, volume 10 ("Peoples of Middle Earth"), where Gil Galad is the son of Orodreth (and thus brother of Finduilas) and Orodreth the son of Angrod. Tolkien, however, said nothing about his mother except that she was "a Sindarin lady from the north".
Dear reader:enjoy yourself!
I. Tol Sirion
The Noldor had arrived in Beleriand and founded their realms. But they were stained with the blood of their kindred at Alqualondë, and Morgoth, the great enemy, had still held on to the Silmaril. Much grief they had endured and more awaited them.
The sons of Finarfin had wandered into the north-east, and their regions were situated like a buffer between those of the sons of Fëanor and those of Fingolfin and his sons Fingon and Turgon.
In Dorthonion, the highland southwards of the wide plain of Ard-Galen, which stretched out until the cliffs of Thangorodrim, Angrod and Aegnor lived. Their elder brother Finrod was lord of the vale of the great river Sirion between Mithrim and the west of Dorthonion. Far in the east, in direct neighbourhood to the pass of Aglon and Himlad, Orodreth son of Angrod hold a position which he had chosen intentionally. There was close friendship between him and Celegorm and Curufin and he didn't want to be separated completely from them, as much as he was shocked by their deeds at Alqualonde and Losgar. They had admitted their faults and asked his forgiveness and Orodreth was unwilling to judge them, as Mandos would undoubtedly do some day far in the future. He wanted to help them and believed in their repentance. So they lived in close proximity and often assisted each other in the struggle against Morgoth and his foul creatures.
But Ulmo sent a warning to Finrod regarding Morgoth's evilness, and with the help of the king of Doriath Elwe Singollo, who was called Thingol Greymantle by the elves of Beleriand, he found the ravine of the river Narog in Taur-en-Faroth. There he built the secret stronghold in the cliffs, which afterwards was called Nargothrond, and the dwarves who helped him in this work gave to him the name ‚'felak-gundu', ‚'cave-builder'. The elves took this name and changed it into their own tongue and so he became Finrod Felagund.
He was well aware that the pass of Sirion could not stay unguarded. Long he thought about to whom of his kin or leaders he should give the task, because this meant more than patrols and struggles with orc-raids.
But deep in his heart he knew already who would be his choice, he only wanted to be sure that he made no fault with his selection. And as he found nothing like that, he visited his brother Angrod.
Angrod was happy to see his elder brother again. "It's a relief to see you once more, felak-gundu", he said with a smile, calling his brother by the epesse he just recently had gained.
"I came to talk about a serious matter. It's about Tol Sirion. And about him who should take charge of its defence."
"What's the problem?"
"I wish that Orodreth takes hold of the isle."
Of all his relatives, Orodreth was closest to Finrods heart, they had the same calm temper and were both equally renowned for their knowledge of the old languages of the Eldar. There were not many who could match Finrod and Orodreth in this matter and this shared interest had only fastened their friendship. Though Angrod knew, that this was not the main reason for his brother's decision. He beheld him with a thoughtful glance.
"And why do you plan to bestow this honour on my son? Until now it was a great advantage to have him in the east. He is close with Curufin and Celegorm and it will be much more difficult, if he isn't there anymore to deal with them."
The lord of Nargothrond shook his head. "Don't you see the peril? Are you not bewildered about this ongoing friendship? Angrod, you know in which high esteem I hold my nephew, but he can't stand against these two. He has patience and gentleness and keeps them at arm's length for us, yes, but I fear for him. If he has to decide some day between them and us..."
Angrod frowned. "If you think that poor of him, I wonder why you would give to him the pass of Sirion."
Finrod raised his hands in defiance. "I don't think poor of Orodreth, and of all you should know that best. He is bright, has many good gifts and he has proven more than once his qualities as a leader. And if it were not the sons of Feanor, I would not be frightened. You know how they are. And you know how he is."
Angrod had to agree. He loved his son dearly, though he saw his weaknesses. And one of them was his old friendship with the sons of Feanor which survived even the burning of the Telerin ships at Losgar and the horror of the Helcaraxe.
"Yes, I know how he is", he answered evenly. "And I know, too, that he fulfils his duties, if that is your worry."
Finrod gave a small smile. "That is the second reason why I wish to have him at Tol Sirion. Here there's not much for him to do. Dorthonion is defended well enough by you and Aegnor, and Himlad, well, at least in this we can't complain about Curufin and Celegorm. But Tol Sirion needs more than just a warrior, Angrod, and you know that. It's more than repulse the attacks of Morgoth. He would have to deal with the troops of Fingolfin and Fingon and, most of all, with the Sindar living in these area. And there are few who I would count better in these things than my nephew."
"Not to mention the short distance between Tol Sirion and Nargothrond, say - for instance - to thoroughly discuss about philosophy?", Angrod repeated with a knowing smile.
Finrod laughed and nodded. "I won't deny that it would be great to have closer contact with Orodreth. Out in the wilderness his talents are clearly wasted."
There was nearly nothing to discuss about this matter any more and to the great bewilderment of many Finrod passed over his brothers Angrod and Aegnor and chose his nephew as new leader of Tol Sirion.
Orodreth strengthened the tower Minas Tirith on the island and sent guards through the forests between the mountains of Mithrim and Dorthonion. Often he rode to the north, and through the Fen of Serech he came to the regions of his father and his uncle.
Finrod tried to become closer with the elves of the Falas, who lived under the guidance of Cirdan the Shipwright at the coasts of the Belegaer. Actually they were subjects of king Thingol, but with the realm of Nargothrond between the Falas and Doriath, this responsibility passed more and more unto the lord of Nargothrond.
Long Finrod thought about how to make friendship to the Falathrim. And at least the destruction of Eglarest and Brithombar by Morgoth's orcs was a good reason to start with. So he offered Cirdan skilled workmen of from Nargothrond, to help with the reconstruction of the cities. This was gladly accepted by the Shipwright, who was equally interested in friendly relations with Nargothrond and its king.
As soon as Cirdan's affirmative answer had arrived, Finrod summoned his nephew Orodreth.
"I ask you to travel to Eglarest on my behalf. You know how the city has suffered from the orcs of Morgoth. Cirdan is our neighbour, he may be subject to Thingol, but he has acknowledged my leadership and I feel responsible for the Falathrim. This could help to improve the relationship between Noldor, Teleri and Sindar. And there's no one", the lord of Nargothrond smiled mischievous, "who is as good an organiser as you are. Or more qualified to lead the reconstruction of a city."
Orodreth only bent his head as a sign of understanding, but even he couldn't stifle a smile, for Finrod certainly knew about his sketches. From the very beginning the son of Angrod had been interested in building and designing of cities, and as a child he had already stunned his relatives with a detailed plan for Tirion upon Tuna which - had it ever been used - actually would have made the city more efficient for its inhabitants.
Nearly a month later the craftsmen of Nargothrond headed west. Orodreth looked forward to the work ahead, for he liked Cirdan and longed for the sea. Water meant a great deal to him, and he preferred to have it closeby. Even the mighty Sirion couldn't quieten this longing. His love was for the ocean, the infinite plain of water, the rhythm of the tides, the song of the waves, breaking on stony, pebble-covered shores.
They got a warm welcome from the elves of Eglarest. They were happy and thankful for the help the Noldorin king of Nargothrond had sent them for the rebuilding of their city, for it was already common knowledge how talented the Noldor were in the matters of craftsmanship.
Orodreth completely dove into his task. Finrod hadn't overestimated his talent for organisation. He ordered to clear the ruins away and to sort out all which could be of further use, then in co-ordination with Cirdan he began the planning of the new town.
When the reconstruction of Eglarest had advanced to a point that made his further help unnecessary, Orodreth spoke with Cirdan.
"If you don't mind, Lord Cirdan, I and my men would go for Brithombar. Its damage is great, too, and maybe we could be of use again."
The Shipwright mustered Finrod's nephew with a smile. "You would like that, wouldn't you?"
Orodreth blushed, not of embarrassment, but out of sheer eagerness. "To build a city is a wonderful thing. One doesn't work for oneself, but for other people, and it's not like a gem, nice to look at, but without any practical use, but rather the foundation of the community itself!"
"I've already heard about your useful ideas for the arrangement of streets and squares."
"I have often had thought about those matters, and liked to design. It's a pity that I never had any opportunity to test my ideas. It enlightens my heart if those, who will live in the city, are confident with my work."
"And that they are - in a high degree. But I thought it were you to help your uncle in the planning of Nargothrond?"
Orodreth gave a short laugh. "Getting in Finrod felak-gundu's way? I'll do nothing like that! Nargothrond is his love, his heart, there's no place for anyone else. It must have been hard enough for him, not to advise the craftsmen in every single piece of work!"
And so the son of Angrod soon after began his next task.
To rebuild Brithombar was much more difficult than Eglarest, because here nearly nothing was left to use for building. Moreover, the city had a huge shipyard, so there was already a lack of wood.
But Orodreth didn't recoil from these problems and he worked long and hard to organise all what in his opinion was needed to build a blossoming city out of the ruins. Not only should it be practical, but beautiful also, a mirror of the beauty, he had left on the other side of the great ocean.
And his efforts were richly rewarded. Not alone by the gratitude of the Falathrim and the sheer delight in his work, but also by meeting a Sindarin lady called Helegethir. During his stay, she lived with her kin at the coast, though her family was from the north, living near the spring of the river Teiglin, south of Dor-Lomin. Few elves lived in this area. They were all Sindar, who had lived here even before the Noldor came from the west to settle in Hithlum and Dorthonion. Before her travel to the coast Helegethir had seldom met any Noldor, for her family was fond of the peace of the woods and tried to keep away from others. The young lady knew that there had been war between the elves from the west and the Dark Lord. Even her own forests, which she knew so well and loved more than anything else, were no longer safe.
After the evil in the north had stirred again, she had been sent to a far-related uncle at Brithombar. Surely none could have expected that it was there where she would come into danger.
She was related to Olwe and thus to Cirdan and Orodreth, and it was the Shipwright who managed a meeting between them. It was his hope that Orodreth would be willing to accompany the elven lady at on her journey home, when he returned to Tol Sirion.
Helegethir cast a kind look at the elf who was guided into the hall by Cirdan. She had heard tales about him: this was the nephew of Finrod, the king of Nargothrond, who had been sent to help rebuild Brithombar and Eglarest. According to the tales, through his work Eglarest was now even more beautiful than it had been before.
His outward appearance was pleasant. He was lean and light-built, with a friendly face and thoughtful grey-bluish eyes. Even his hands were slim, the hands of a loremaster, but not for one single moment did she doubt his warrior-skills. His hair was blond as it was said to be typical throughout his family, but with darker strands in it which caused it to look as if gilded by single rays of sunlight.
The whole evening Helegethir watched Orodreth closely. He seemed to have a friendly smile for everyone and looked completely different from what she had expected or known of the Noldor. All his exterior seemed to shimmer with golden light.
She never had had problems with making new friends, especially not between the friendly and open-hearted Falathrim, so she went without any fear to the handsome man. He acknowledged her approach and looked upon her and under the glance of his shining eyes she blushed slightly.
In a similar way Orodreth felt a sting through his heart, but a confident one, as the beautiful elvenmaid came for him, dark haired as many of the Sindar were, with humorous eyes of a shadowy grey under even brows and with fair skin. Her lips were small but eager to smile and as far as it was his concern, her dress of moss-green suited her very well.
"You are the architect of Eglarest, aren't you?"
Orodreth bent his head before the fair maiden and looked very flattered. "Architect is more than I deserve to be called. I assisted in the rebuilding and planning of the city, nothing more", he answered. Than he bowed in the manner of the official introduction. "My name is Orodreth son of Angrod of the house of Finarfin."
Helegethir bowed likewise. "So I bid you welcome, Lord Orodreth. May your visit be much of an advantage for Brithombar as it has been for Eglarest. My name is Helegethir daughter of Laerion of the House of Aewarn."
With regret she watched the beautiful smile fade away.
"Did I say anything wrong?"
The Noldo apparently didn't hear her, but seemed to concentrate on something far away, like a sound he alone could hear. Cautiously she laid a hand on his arm and he returned to reality as well as to her.
"Is anything the matter?", she asked insecurely.
He shook his head. A strand of his hair fell down and lay, soft and shining and inviting, on the fair skin of his cheek. How easy it would be to stroke it back, feeling this smooth hair on her hand. Helegethir dismissed the unfitting thought at once.
He regained his composure and answered. "The Noldor don't name their children after snow and ice, lady. Not since the crossing of the Helcaraxe. The memories and the grief are unbearable to us."
She didn't answer at once, but her hand stayed on his arm. After some moments he covered it with his own and smiled reassuringly, though weak. She returned the smile.
"I'm sorry, if my name is a grief upon you. Then why don't you tell me anything about your work in Eglarest?"
Orodreth never needed encouragement to push away the worries of the past and was always eager to talk about his work, and bound by the shining grey eyes he began his tale.
They spent a wordy evening with house-building, city-planning and the hospitality of the Falathrim. When at last the singing began, Helegethir was not in the least pleased to be interrupted. It was, though, a certain comfort to her that Orodreth didn't leave her side but leant back and listened to the others with a comforted expression on his face instead. Later the guests from Nargothrond were asked for some of their songs and they sang something from the land of the Valar, of which the text was elaborately translated into Sindarin.
Helegethir thus perceived that his voice was as pleasant as his face and manners. And when it was her turn she sang for him with her own deep, warm voice, songs of the Sindar, songs of stars and the soft, deep shadows of the woods and the music of the leafs, whispering in the wind.
The next months she often came to him, for some talk or to look over his shoulder as he drafted plans or brooded about various outlines of halls and workshops. At the third or fourth of these visits she took his pens, cleaned and sharpened them and refilled the ink. Only when she asked him where to place the unused sheets he registered what she'd done. At the sight of his nonplussed face Helegethir laughed out loud.
"You're not used to have someone to do this for you."
He looked at her with a new seriousness. "No. No, I'm not."
When autumn began and the weather grew more and more unfriendly, he invited her to his study where they spent many an hour with talking and reading and discussing various matters. Even if Orodreth mainly was sent to Eglarest to build up the city, he was too much of a loremaster to miss the chance of taking a look into the books of wisdom of the Falathrim.
Two years lasted Orodreth's visit in Brithombar, until its reconstruction reached a degree which made it possible for him to return to Tol Sirion. And as Cirdan initially had hoped he offered Helegethir his company and protection on the way home.
She already had been away longer from her family as it had been planned. But every time one of her companions had suggested a departure she had found ways to delay it, to earn some more months of living in Brithombar. To no one she had yet spoken about her feelings towards the youngest member of the House of Finarfin, least of all to Orodreth himself, though she was sure that they were returned.
On a late summer morning they started their journey in a good mood. Many elves of Brithombar came to see the visitors depart and to bid them farewell and Cirdan bowed with a serious expression.
"Thank you, Orodreth - for helping with the building of our cities as well as for escorting this lady. Please give your uncle my thanks and best wishes."
Orodreth cast a glance at Helegethir, standing beside him, her dark hair shimmering in the sunlight, and he blushed. "Lord Cirdan, you honoured me with your confidence. But don't thank me for accompanying this lady, it will be my pleasure."
And the lord of the Falathrim knew that this was nothing less than the truth.
They mounted and began their journey to the east. At first they rode to Nargothrond, where most of the craftsmen, which had accompanied Orodreth, had their home. After a short glance on her lady, Helegethir's companions had agreed to a short stay at the halls of Finrod Felagund. This was a special pleasure to Orodreth, who not only took a great liking to the Sinda and her company, but also planned to enjoy it for a very long time - in fact, for all days he might be granted in Arda. And if he was to introduce her to his family, Finrod Felagund was a very good person to start with.
They rode carefree and cheerful, happy about the last warm rays of the sun and enjoyed themselves in each other's company.
In Nargothrond they were joyful greeted. With a look of admiration and shyness Helegethir wandered through the halls and corridors of the residence at the Narog. Two years with Orodreth had been enough to appreciate the fine work of craftsmanship she saw on walls, doorways, ceilings and furniture in the dwelling. She had been in Menegroth once to visit her distant kinsman Thingol, many years before. She remembered the beauty of the Thousand Caves but this seemed similar to her astounded eyes. Maybe it had to do with the reliefs and ornaments Orodreth showed her, made by himself.
When they arrived in Finrods great hall, Orodreth gave Helegethir a reassuring squeeze to the hand before he left her to greet his king. She smiled nervously. Finrod Felagund was maybe not a great and regal lord as was king Thingol and the lady Melian, but he was lord of the greatest elven realm in Beleriand. And here she was only a distant kinswoman, a mere visitor with the desperate wish to make a good impression on the relatives of the man she had granted her heart.
But soon she perceived that the great and venerable Finrod Felagund was a kind and friendly host, eager to make her visit comfortable. They had a short talk, and Helegethir heard with astonishment of the high regard in which Orodreth was held by the king. He had told her about his work for Finrod, but always in a manner as if he was only the king's herald. Now she learned that he held Tol Sirion nearly completely under his own responsibility and was chosen for this even before his father Angrod and his uncle Aegnor. And for the first time she learned about his high rank between the loremasters of his people and how much his wisdom was appreciated by the king of Nargothrond.
The Noldor were already famous for their fine craftsmanship among the Sindar, but those often deemed them to be less crafty in the art of music. In Nargothrond, though, Helegethir learned that especially the children of the House of Finarfin were great singers. Every evening was spent in Finrods great hall, where by candlelight tales of Aman were told and songs of Beleriand were sung. Orodreth was always at her side and when sometimes a song in Quenya was sung, he translated it for her.
Though she knew of Thingol's edict about the noldorin language, she found it beautiful and asked the son of Angrod to teach her his mother-tongue. And at last, hesitantly, he did as she requested.
One evening Orodreth took her hand and led her out of the hall. They went through the corridors of Nargothrond until they reached the great doors and so at last came to the banks of the river. The waters of the Narog murmured in the dark and the last full moon of autumn was shining like a white gem.
"It's wonderful to be home again" Orodreth said. "But one of Nargothrond's disadvantages is the difficulty to find a quiet place for talking." His smile shone upon her, it shone only for her, and there was nothing she could do but return it and take his hands into hers. Together they sat down in the grass and listened to the voice of the river.
"Do you really want to leave us in such short time?"
She looked at him. "I have to, lest it will be to late to reach the Ered Wethrin. And then I'd have to stay in Nargothrond until spring comes again."
"Would that be such a hard task for you?" Oh, how warm his voice was, so warm and sweet - how was he able to put so much affectionate mockery in it? She still held one of his hands and now began to caress it softly. "Of course not." 'How on earth can you ask?`, her tone said. "But my family has been expecting me back for weeks. And how should I justify taking advantage of the king's hospitality in this way?"
"You don't know that?"
Now she was surprised. Was there anything she should know? She gave him a questioning look. "No, but I'd like to know."
He released her hand to prop up on his own and leaned towards her. She detected his intention, and if it had not been her wish, there'd been enough time to retreat. Her heart made a happy leap inside her. Not only because at last he did what she so many months had longed for, but also because he did it in such an affectionate and careful manner. Because in spite of all the time they had spent together he didn't took this kiss as something already belonging to him, instead giving her the free choice.
But if there had been a free choice to Helegethir, she had made it long ago and so she also leaned closer to him and earned the softest kiss imaginable. It was short and shy, but filled with love.
They sat back and looked at each other. "This is a very good reason", Helegethir said after a moment of quiet pleasure. "Could you imagine another one?"
It was only her intention to provoke another kiss, so his answer took her by surprise. "Yes. You should stay here to get to know the family of your betrothed." Out of his tunic he took a small package of fabric. And in front of Helegethir's unbelieving gape he unfolded it, to show her two small silver rings, of fine work but yet unfinished.
Orodreth had to clear his throat before he could speak. "I made them yesterday. They may be not as perfect as a real smith could have made them, and I had to assess the size of yours. Put it on, I wanted to be sure before I finish them."
It came to Helegethir's mind that she shivered, though the night was warm and the breeze gentle.
"You want me as your betrothed?"
At once she giggled at the plainly unnecessary question and he smiled as well.
"Yes, I want, does that seem so very strange to you?" Then he became serious. "I know that I should have asked your parents first. But to tell the truth, I don't care at all about our family's permission. I only care for your answer: do you want to marry me?"
She looked at him and thought of all the evenings spent together, of the talk and the reading. She would get a gentle scholar, if she took his offer, neither a warrior nor a politician. Someone who always would cherish his books more than any riches and whose love for wisdom was greater than his pride.
She leaned forward and kissed him - not as short and soft as before, but fervent and with growing desire. She pushed against his body until he yielded and sank back into the smooth grass. And there they laid until sunset, close together, kissing and caressing each other. And when the morning came and they returned into Nargothrond, Orodreth knew he had to widen her ring a little bit.