Narn Gil Galadby Earonn
Chapter XXV – Mithlond- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Curtsy: To the best
Beta-Balrogs in the whole of Arda Marred, Eldrond and Gild-Galad, and
their Mistress Fymhrisfawr.
And to Jaschenka for introducing me to the world of Wraeththu.
To all those who helped me during the past months. Who helped me to find back into life, who gave me council, encouragement, a much-needed 'frying pan of death' or just a shoulder to lean against and cry.
To Erik who learned so much about Tolkien and his world without reading so much as one of his books – just by listening to me talking about it. I'm so glad we're still friends!
To Chris who believed in our friendship and taught me about oysters.
And to Christian. We got a second chance, dear friend. hugs
Not to forget Tsatsiki. Thanks for two wonderful days. You deserved better.
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Therefore I ask your forgiveness for all remaining mistakes and a special 'Sooorryyy!' to my three betas!
important:this chapter has been only roughly beta-ed. That is, Fymhrisfawr, Eldrond and Gild-Galad did the beta-reading but stupidity manifested in the authoress and lost their manuscript.
It's been such a long time since my last
chapter that most likely all who started this story with me have died
of old age. ;)
I won't apologise, though. It's been a difficult, painful and very salutary year (in various respects). Also it was necessary.
In this chapter I'm still using the term 'Grey Haven' instead of the 'Grey Havens' we are used to. That's because at this time there's still just one city at the mouth of the river.
Celme: I'd recommend to start
with 'The Peoples of Middle Earth' or 'Morgoth's Ring',
they are the most helpful for us poor fanfic authors. And you proved
quicker of mind than even Master Elrond, very impressing! ;)
Unfortunately I don't see any sequel of 'Dark, Forbitten, Beauty'
at the moment. Finch:
Finch:I'm so happy that you liked your birthday present.
Redheredh: don't worry about Ael, she's going to stay for a while! Thanks for the information on the naming of Lindon! As for Círdan talking to Ents - I imagined they would have stayed as long as possible, especially east of the Ered Lindon where Mithlond was situated.
Sometimes I wonder myself how Gil Galad could fail to realise his
own relationship with the Sindar. Guys! shakes head
Thanks a lot for the encouragement. Hopefully you'll like my view on the Second Age. I promise some more peaceful moments for your enjoyment. ;)
Trunks2598: blushes deeply Thank you. Don't know what to say...
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Chapter XXV – MithlondCírdan entered the study and sighed when he found no one inside. The High King had developed the unnerving habit never to be where he could be reasonably expected.
Something caught his attention and he
walked into the dimly lit room to have a closer look at the map on
the table. It was freshly drawn, the wet ink still shimmering. Some
of it seemed strangely familiar. Recognition struck him and he
"History repeats itself," the lord of Mithlond whispered. "More than five hundred years ago Orodreth rebuilt Eglarest and Brithombar. And now his son builds Mithlond."
He remembered times long gone, a slender young Elf with the light of Valinor in his eyes, and an Elf-maiden from the North with the even brighter light of love in hers.
Following the fine, precise lines with his forefinger, careful not to touch them, he could see the city in his mind as it finally would look like: homely and welcoming, green and spacious, protected by high walls of stone without being overwhelmed by them. Room enough for many to live in, for the inhabitants of the harbour and the guests who awaited their passage west.
"Everything is perfect. You have taught him well, Orodreth, and I think you would like what he is doing here," Círdan said in a low voice. He examined another part of the drawing and laughed quietly as he remembered one of the parks from the drafts Orodreth had showed him many years before. Drafts the son of Angrod had made for Tirion, without any hope they ever would be used.
He looked closer and, yes, he found even the small signs that suggested pines for the planting.
"When Brithombar and Eglarest were destroyed, we deemed it the end of our life. Yet without it there would be no High King Gil Galad today, and the Elves of the West would be lost without him. Great are your works, Eru Ilúvatar, and subtle your plans."
It were moments like this which made his heart light with renewed trust in the ways of the One. The old Elf smiled while he hurried down the main stair, past the open gate and through the busy streets towards the shipyard.
He just had another idea where to find the one he sought.
Everything smelled of it. Was covered by it. The living creatures breathed its dust. Everywhere in the great harbour of Mithlond and its shipyards, there was wood. Timber for homes, firewood for stoves and furnaces. Mostly, however, planks for the ships. Literally day and night people worked in order to build countless vessels.
The Firstborn living in Mithlond in those days never forgot the songs of Men, Dwarves and Elves; of Sindar and Noldor and Falathrim. But most of all they remembered the smell of wood and the dust that covered everything and even coloured the air with yellow light.
stopped when he reached his main shipyard. Smiling affectionately, he
watched one of his protégés working at a ship's hull.
With typical Noldorin skill the Elf smoothed a plank, humming a song
that had once been sung by the craftsmen in the vast halls of
Nargothrond. This was not the Elf's usual work yet he did well. The
Shipwright noted gladly the heritage of his great-grandmother's
"You have the hands of a Teler," he said, stepping closer.
Gil Galad stopped the movement of his planer and looked up. Little of a Lord of the Noldor was in his appearance, the less of their High King. Sweat gleamed on his face, his clothes were dirty and splints clung to his dust-covered hair. "And the smell of an Orc, I fear," he replied.
Círdan approached the younger Elf and picked some of the wood from the dark strands.
"No, you don't. I have smelled them. Still it would be a good idea to take a bath. The messengers from Belegost may appreciate it."
One eyebrow shot up. "Messengers from Belegost?" Gil Galad asked, opening a bottle of water.
"Yes. They have brought a guest no one could have expected."
Soon after the dirty, sweat-sodden ship-builder was gone, making room for the High King. He met the visitors in one of the smaller council chambers in his high, airy home near the top of the cliffs. Two Dwarves in full armour, bearing the colours and emblem of Belegost, awaited him. Between them stood another Dwarf. His hair and beard were white and thin, and his face wrinkled with age. He wore no chain mail and had no weapon like the others, resting upon a beautifully carved staff instead. Once he must have been strong and broad, now his frame was small and bowed from time and hard work. But his eyes were bright and filled with experience and wisdom - and the friendly patience of an elder towards the young.
"Hail to you, Gil Galad, High King of the
Elves of the West," he said. "I am Telchar, Master-Smith of
An unexpected visitor, indeed. Gil Galad bowed slightly, allowing a little of his astonishment to display. "Welcome in Mithlond, Master-Smith Telchar. Long have I wished to meet you, whom his people name alongside Fëanor in skill."
He led the old Dwarf to a low table were some friendly hands had prepared food and drink. Telchar walked slowly, carefully attended by one of his younger companions. Gil Galad wondered how one so old had managed the strenuous journey along the mountains. He poured himself some apple-juice and took a small sip. The dwarves favoured the water.
"Ah, this comes right from the heart of the stone," the youngest one said. "I can taste it - the spring is deep and pure and long has the water sought its way through the depths."
His companion touched the silver jug and the elegant intricate lines engraved into its surface, admiring the fine making of the piece.
Gil Galad took a seat across the old Dwarf who had sat down on a low bank where the warm sunlight shining through the window could warm him.
"What errand leads you to Mithlond, Master-Smith?"
Instead of an answer, Telchar beckoned to one of his attendants who fetched a longish parcel from a corner of the room, something wrapped in leather and cloth. Carefully he laid the parcel on the table between them and unfolded the fabric. The Elves could not help but gasp when they saw the exquisite sword shimmering against dark velvet. The Dwarf made an inviting gesture and the High King took the weapon, weighing and balancing it tentatively in his hand.
"I would like to show this to my cousin Celebrimbor. He is much more qualified to appraise this work. It is perfect."
"Narsil is its name in the tongue of the Elves. It is one of my final works, born from repentance of what has happened in Doriath. Take it, as a token of reparation. Not all Dwarves approved the attack on the Guarded Realm." (1)
Gil Galad nodded, his face stern. This matter was usually avoided between Dwarves and Elves. "I have been told," he said matter-of-factly.
"What you won't have been told is that there was a great disagreement even among those who dwelt in Nogrod. Unfortunately, greed, pride and the so-called superiority of nobility made the decision. In the course of events, many of us left Nogrod and offered their service to other settlements. I went to Gabilgathol, which you call Belegost, and have lived there and worked for its people ever since, despite my wife's disagreement with my decision. There I made this for the heir of Thingol. However, guilt and shame cannot be left behind." He coughed and it was impossible to tell whether he had done so to hide something else.
"High King, we are well aware that one piece of weaponry, no matter how beautiful, cannot make up for the loss of hundreds of lives. This is just an apology made in metal, spoken in the language the Dwarves know best."
Gil Galad forced his eyes from the slender blade to the old Dwarf's eyes. "I understand." He put it back on the table, went to the window and looked over the peaceful waters of the harbour and the gulf behind its entrance. Instead of grey waters he saw the face of Thingol Greymantle smiling before him; immediately followed by Mablung to whom he had looked up to as one of the finest warriors of the Sindar. The wise eyes of Melian, with the Music of the Ainur in their depths. So many lost. Finally, and with distinct effort, he turned back to the guests.
"You know that I cannot grant you forgiveness. No one can. Too many have died. Still, I appreciate your gift," he continued with cool politeness in his voice.
The younger Dwarves did not move but Telchar nodded. "I know. Thank you, my lord." Then he stroke the blade lovingly, taking leave from his work, and carefully folded the cloth around it.
"Once I gave a knife to your kin and with its help a great deed was accomplished (2). Now I have made this sword. I rely on you, High King Gil Galad, that it will be put to similar good use. Many years may elapse until then, but far in the future there may be an opportunity. Although I cannot see it, since foresight is not given to the Children of Aulë."
"It will be given to Elrond and Elros, the heirs of Thingol Greymantle. Rest assured, the blade will fulfil whatever high and noble fate lies on it."
"Good. I would love to see it, yet my life will end soon and I am not going to know the end of this tale." He rose and gathered his staff.
The sadness in the old Dwarf's voice touched Gil Galad's heart. Here was one who truly repented but would not live to see the fulfilment of his repentance. He longed to give a sign in return that peace between Eldar and Naugrim might be possible one day.
"We have done most of the caving here in Mithlond," he said slowly. "Yet there is still much to do. Your people could build for me at the place where I will live, as your forefathers have helped my relative Finrod Felak-gundu to build Nargothrond. A home as beautiful as the halls of Nulukkizdin once have been."
Telchar smiled weakly. "A great work it was, by the hands of both Dwarves and Elves. How often I have wished to see its beauty with my own eyes! And a generous offer. I will think about it and talk to those who might be interested. The beginning of a renewed friendship between our races."
He clearly enjoyed the idea. "Perhaps there is still something left to do for me before Mahal our creator calls me back." (3)
Slowly he left the room, leaning heavily on his staff.
To the High King's surprise his friends spoke
fiercely against his plan.
"No! I do not want to have them live there among my people. They killed Thingol and devastated Doriath, do you really believe we could bear the look of a Dwarf any longer?," the usually calm Celeborn almost snapped.
Galadriel said nothing but neither did she speak against her husband.
"The Falathrim have built many harbours and many cities. Your father managed to rebuild Brithombar and Eglarest without any help from the Dwarves, we don't need them." Círdan said matter-of-factly. Yet the true message was clear for everyone: they killed my friend Elwë.
Confused by the harsh words and strong emotions, Gil Galad looked around. "Those who fought against the Doriathrim perished in the fighting afterwards. How long will you maintain your anger against their offspring?"
"So you have forgiven the Orcs of today, none of whom took part in the destruction of Nargothrond?" Celebrimbor pointedly remarked and, at the shocked look on the High King's face and the hurt in his eyes rose his hands. "Forgive me, 'Ellach. But it had to be said. You expect the people of Doriath to forgive the Dwarves of Nogrod, ask yourself if you are able to do the same."
"And what do you think about my plan, Master-smith?"
"You won't like it, but I agree with Círdan. The Naugrim did great work in Nargothrond, undoubtedly. Yet what we will build in that bay you have in mind is different. We are not talking about caving out a whole dwelling out of a mountain. This will be building, stone by stone. A work for Noldorin hands. What caving we have to do can be done by our own miners."
The council came to a
swift and awkward end. Soon Gil Galad found himself alone with Gildor
Inglorion who looked at him in a strange way.
"I thought it a good idea, a way to create beautiful homes and, yes, to heal the wounds between the adopted and chosen Children of the One. But I can see that you do not agree any more than the others did."
Gildor sat down beside his friend and poured them some water.
"You are right, I don't, but for different reasons. Though I can understand theirs. 'Ellach, you always had to mediate between people. Throughout your life you were forced to unite fractions just to keep us alive. You are good at that.
"This, however, is different. It is not 'unite or die'. Do not push too hard. Some wounds need time to heal. You cannot simply talk them away. It would not work with Celeborn's anger, nor with Círdan's... and it would not work with yours."
"Why do I have the impression that you are trying to tell me something else than just politics?"
"Because you know me. And I know you, 'Ellach. I think you have a hidden agenda to ask the Naugrim for help."
"Go on!" Gil Galad replied lightly, yet with a certain caution in his voice.
"You want to create a second Nargothrond. But this is something that can never be. It is your right to long for your old home but you should, no, you have to accept that it is gone."
The High King pushed his chair back and rose abruptly, irritation in his eyes. A sudden anger swept over him, one he could not understand but was neither willing - nor able - to control.
"Apparently you do not know me as well as you think, Gildor Inglorion. I do know very well that Nargothrond is no longer, much better than most others. I have seen its ruins." He turned away from his friend's scrutinising glance. "And I would appreciate if you stopped lecturing me about my own feelings." He left the room.
In the long silence that followed, Gildor thought. 'Just the opposite, old friend. Apparently I have never been aware enough of their true nature.'
The Army of Light had left the shores of Middle Earth, taking with it many of the Firstborn, most of them slaves freed from the dungeons of Thangorodrim who were in the most dire need of healing. Countless more were waiting at the shores of the sea, for the greater part these were Elves of higher age. Some of them had made too many sorrowful experiences, some felt weary of the world. Many hoped to find family and friends beyond the Belegaer. Others feared the fading of their hroar. (4)
They took ships to the West, commanded by
Círdan's most trustworthy sailors. Not the coasts of Aman
were their destination, instead they settled on Tol Eressëa, the
big island halfway across the Belegaer which had been mostly deserted
after the Teleri had left to live in Aman ages ago.
Despite their decision to leave the Hither Lands, the Elves from Middle Earth could not forget their home, nor endure to live utterly remote from the places of their birth and former life. Thus the island was filled with singing and dancing again.
Some of them later ventured forth to Aman, to meet their families or just to behold the Blessed Lands themselves. From there they brought, besides flowers and animals of grace and beauty, also wisdom and lovely items to adorn their new home with. In this way news were carried between the lands of the Valar and Middle Earth, yet no one ever returned to Middle Earth. For who once had beheld the splendour of Valinor, of Alqualondë and Tirion upon Túna, no longer wished to see the ever-changing lands, even though they might remember them fondly.
Gil Galad worried about so much wisdom and experience leaving the Hither Lands. He could understand those who left, in fact, he often wished to go with them. But this loss weakened his people. Fortunately, it were mainly Sindar who went over the sea while many of the Noldor remained in Middle Earth, unwilling to abandon the lands they had defended and suffered for so much.
Eonwë had remained in Middle Earth when the Army of Light returned home. He informed the Edain that they would be rewarded with a new home across the sea, just like the Elves. Far in the West the Valar had raised an island from the depths of the ocean, a place for all who wanted to go thither.
Who can measure the joy and wonder the Edain felt? A
home was given to them, a gift unfathomable in its worth. Since the
days of their Awakening they had been the Aftercomers, the guests in
the wide lands of Middle Earth, sometimes even unwanted and only
grudgingly welcomed guests. For the first time the land would be
truly theirs and from the very first moment they loved it for this
Therefore its first name was Andor, 'Land of Gift'. Later they also called it Numendor, West-Land, or Anadûnê in the old language of the House of Hador which later was to grow more and more important. (6)
The Elves, too, admired this marvellous gift and they understood that indeed the younger Children of the One were no longer just the Aftercomers but blessed like themselves. It was taken as a sign that the Secondborn had atoned for the Fall of Men under the shadow of darkness in those dark years before their arrival in Beleriand.
Eonwë also declared Elros son of Ëarendil son of Tuor from the House of Beor through his great-grandmother Rían and from the House of Hador through his great-grandfather Huor King of all Edain and there was not one who would have spoken against it. In fact, they had taken him for a leader themselves, because of his high and noble birth as well as for the great lore and experience in leadership he had gained in the years spent with the brothers Maedhros and Maglor.
some among the Edain were unwilling to leave the Hither Lands. To
live there in peace seemed them reward enough for the loss of their
old homes in Beleriand.
"We have fought, bled and died to defend Middle Earth against Morgoth, why abandon it now as it is free at last?" Thus they spoke, and it were mainly descendants of the people of Dor-lómin and Ladros who still felt bound to their home of old.
While their relatives and friends learned to build ships and to master the sea, they wandered eastwards, to the lands far behind the Ered Lindon. There they met distant kin who never had crossed the mountains in the first place. These had had no part in the War of Wrath, only rumours had reached them, of the horrible war behind the mountains and they believed that all of their people who had once crossed to enter Beleriand had perished.
They welcomed the Edain from the West as long lost kin and mingled with them and through them the blood of the Elf-friends of old came to the families from the East. Thus the memory of Beleriand and the great and marvellous realms of the Elves was preserved in song and tale. Never did these people forget those ties, as loose as they might be, that bound them to the High King of the Elves, far-off in a fair country close to the sea. Similarly Gil Galad kept the knowledge that in the remote East there lived descendants of the Three Houses of the Edain who were close to his heart.
Círdan himself taught the Edain the art of building great ships to carry them over the Belegaer towards the great new island. He also showed them how to find their way across the bottomless seas with the help of sun and moon and Elbereth's stars. Still it required rather experience than knowledge to cross the wide ocean, therefore his mariners who already had gained practise in travelling to Tol Eressëa were to navigate the ships through the wide and dangerous waters of the Sundering Seas.
None of the Elves would set foot on the
isle after their journey to Andor, unlike Tol Eressëa where they
could rest for a while before starting their way back to the East. It
was strictly prohibited for them to leave their boats. Once, when
Círdan wandered along the shores, Ulmo spoke to him about the
decree of the Valar.
"No one who lives in Middle Earth is allowed to touch their land. It is their home alone and there they shall live in peace and, if this is their wish, undisturbed by any matters of the Hither Lands."
Círdan thought of all the Secondborn he had come to know and to esteem, and Elwing's elder son not the least of them.
"Does this mean we will never see them again?" he asked with distinct pain in his tone.
The Vala felt the hurt of his most beloved Child of Eru and his voice was deep and soothing like a long and soft surf when he spoke, a soft caress made of sound.
"This is something beyond my knowledge. Maybe they will return one day, then you may welcome them. But even for you the journey west to the island is forbidden, Lord of the Falathrim."
Compared with the War of Wrath, the Shipbuilding of Mithlond seemed a small and unimportant matter. Yet it was a great feat, achieved by the works and incessant efforts of many. Three hundred ships were built for the Edain, and at the same time hundreds more for the Elves who wanted to leave Middle Earth. Each had a name, and for many long ages a scroll with a list of these names was kept in the library of Mithlond, until it went with the last ship into the West.
However, it were not
stoneworkers alone who worked for the beauty of Mithlond, nor only
shipwrights who proved important. Countless were the craftsmen
working day and night. They came from all Elven people, Sindar and
Teleri and, of course, Noldor.
By nature these workers asked less for house or bloodline but for skill. They chose Celebrimbor as their spokesman and leader since he was amongst the most talented of them as well as one of the most devoted and eager.
"A new age has begun. And I will use it to clean my house's name from the stains of the past," he said to the High King. A fire was in his eyes, that both enlightened and frightened his friend, for he saw the eagerness to heal and the overzeal of the House of Fëanor.
"Celebrimbor, what you want is impossible," he replied. "No one can undo the Kinslayings. Serve our people as a descendant of Finwë, that is all duty requires of you."
The smith gave him a disappointed look. "I thought, you of all would understand, 'Ellach. My duty is much greater than yours or Galadriel's."
"I fail to see how any of us can have a duty greater or more important than the others'. We all are descendants of Finwë, we all are obliged to serve our people to the utmost." He laid a hand on Celebrimbor's arm. "You are only asked to fix what can be fixed. There are losses you cannot amend, cousin."
This was only one of many conversations the sons of Curufin and Orodreth held on this matter. It lasted over the years, an ongoing point of disagreement between them. And the Master-smith felt a certain distance between them, while Gil Galad did not worry about its influence on their friendship. Not out of carelessness or indifference but due to the many new and unforeseen duties that suddenly weighed on his shoulders.
everyone seemed to find his own place. Erestor took the duties of a
librarian and steward, controlling their stocks and provisions.
Elrond, already promising to become a great healer among the Eldar,
took care of the countless wounds that had to be healed, wounds
inflicted by war, by loss, by the sinking of Beleriand; wounds
inflicted upon the body, the heart or the fëa; wounds inflicted
upon Elves, Men or even Dwarves. He also wandered along the
mountains, searching for tribes of Silvan Elves that might still
reside in their old hunting grounds. Those had once taught him the
secret of many a weed and shown him where to find the plants he
needed for his work.
Sometimes he was accompanied by Argon and some of his warriors. With the High King safely embedded in his work in Mithlond, the leader of Gil Galad's guard undertook many journeys around, up the river Lhûn and along the mountains north and south of the gulf. He sent out many scout patrols, to drive away the wolves and to learn about the land. From each patrol they brought invaluable maps of their surroundings and news from the country and its inhabitants. And through them the people came to know of the High King in Mithlond.
Silíel exercised her duties of old as a housekeeper. Though Galadriel was the highest ranking Elf-woman with the duties and the rights of the Queen, it was Silíel who kept everything running and made the place of official gatherings and decisions also a cosy home for its inhabitants as well as a welcoming place for the numerous guests.
And finally, there was Gildor. He loved to roam around with Argon and his men. More often, however, he was to be found at Gil Galad's side, discussing, giving council and acting as the King's conscience by his own grace. His good humour and friendliness soothed many a heated argument and Gil Galad listened to his advice even when he - as Gildor used to put it - became 'too Finwëish'.
thirty years passed before the fleet of the Edain was ready to leave
for their new home. During this time they had been taught by Eonwë,
and their lifespan was prolonged through the power of Manwë. To
take back the gift of Ilúvatar was not given to the Valar nor
did they desire to do so. The new land seemed a less dangerous and
more appropriate reward.
And this was the second change the Valar undertook in the settings of Arda after the invitation of the Eldar to Valinor, and it proved to be as great an error as the first.
Several thousand men, women and children with all their
belongings set sail to the West. Among them were those who once had
served Maedhros and Maglor. After they had lived so close to the
Elves they felt especially attached to the Firstborn, an attitude
they were to preserve until their descendants would eventually become
the Faithful. (6)
With them they took the heirlooms of the elder times: Aranrúth, the sword of Thingol that Elros bore at his side; and Dramborleg, Tuor's axe which he wielded in the Fall of Gondolin; the ring that Barahir had been given by Finrod Felagund and the great bow of Bregor. Only Maglor's great harp remained in Mithlond, as Elrond had asked for it. He never played on it but kept it as a memento of his foster-brother whom he still loved. Elrond would sail with them, for he wanted to spend as much time as possible with his brother and longed to see the lands where Elros would dwell, before returning with Círdan's mariners to Mithlond and Gil Galad.
Before he left Middle Earth, Elros took an oath before all inhabitants of Mithlond to be a good king to his people, invoking the Valar and even the One; and later his solemn words were to become the Oath of the King of Númenor. Afterwards, Gil Galad embraced him and called him brother as now they were equal in rank. On that evening a great feast was held, the last that Elves and Edain would celebrate together, as they thought.
Late at night,
Elrond came to Gil Galad who was sitting between Galadriel and Silíel
at one of the tables, and he asked the High King for a private
conversation. The two Elves walked in silence along the streets of
Mithlond, climbed many stairs, until they reached the rim of the
crater. There they sat down and looked across the lights of the
harbour and the ships, listening to the songs and the laughter. After
a while the comfortable silence was broken.
"What do you want to tell me?" Gil Galad started when it became clear that Elrond either did not want or know how to begin. "You have not led me this far just to say goodbye, have you?" he added with warm humour vibrating in his voice.
The young Half-Elf chew on his lower lip. "Maglor taught us his song. His greatest song. The Noldolantë."
"I'm glad about that. The songs of Maglor should not be lost or forgotten. And?"
"He taught us much. As did Maedhros. And we learned." Elrond folded his hands in his lap, then looked up in Gil Galad's eyes. "An oath is a dangerous thing, my King. It may be spoken even with the best intentions but it can turn against its bearer and destroy him as well as those around him."
The High King breathed deeply. "That is true."
"We have sworn loyalty to our foster-brothers. And we had to forsake it." Elrond broke the eye-contact and looked down in shame.
Gil Galad reached for the younger Elf and touched his shoulder lightly. "Sometimes it is better to break an oath than to allow it to destroy everything."
"But then it better had never been sworn in the first place! Maglor and Maedhros never demanded much from us. But they asked us to be careful with what we promise and learn from their history."
"So what did you learn?"
"Never to take any oath."
Gil Galad leaned back on his arms and looked up to the glimmering stars high above them. "You have a special reason to tell me this, haven't you?"
"Yes, my King. After Maedhros and Maglor...left, you took care of us. You accepted us as your followers, even kin, and we felt bound by that. Yet..." Elrond turned to watch the face of his relative where curiosity and patience were battling each other in the dark eyes. Once he had loved Gil Galad as an uncle, now this had turned into a different kind of love, the love of a pupil for a teacher who also was a dear friend. He trusted him with his life, his heart and his fëa.
"Many years ago I have decided never to take an oath. And I will stand to that decision - with one single exception." He took a deep breath.
"I swear to you my loyalty as your vassal. Your orders I will follow and where you send me I will go. I will fight for you and call you my King...if...if you allow."
Gil Galad did not make the faintest attempt to hide his pleasure.
"Gladly I will accept your service, dear son of my chosen sister." He sat up and embraced Elrond. "And I will prove myself worthy of this oath you have taken."
This was the first of the two sole oaths Elrond son of Eärendil ever would take. (7)
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Footnotes:(1) Narsil: translated as 'Sun-Moon', see 'Narsilion' 'the song of sun and moon
(2) the knife Telchar made with which a great deed was accomplished: he speaks of Angrist, the dagger Beren took from Curufin and later used to remove the Silmaril from Morgoth's crown
(3) Mahal: the Dwarvish name of Aulë
(4) Fading: although Elven fëar exist as long as Arda itself, their hroar (bodies) are consumed in the ever changing lands of Middle Earth. Slowly, inevitably, they are reduced to spirits unable to interact with the world.
(5) The language of the House of Hador: this was the language that later was to become Adûnaic and therefore the base of the Westron spoken in the Third Age. The Sindarin equivalent for Númenor - 'Dunador' was never used. Andor is both Sindarin and Quenya, the Adûnaic equivalent was Yôzâyan
(6) the Faithful: that the descendants of the Edain who followed Maedhros and Maglor became the Faithful is my invention. Tolkien never told us exactly how the population of Númenor descended from the Edain. I just liked the thought that in this way the fidelity of the Edain to the sons of Fëanor should prove to be a benefit. For more information and good inquiry I recommend Michael Martinez' articles on Elrond's two oaths: the second will be, of course, his marriage with Celebrian
all of you who expected Elrond to develop a...different...kind
of love for Gil Galad:
Forget it. :D