Lord of the House of the Golden Flower

Part 1: Festival

Gondolin was at the height of her beauty as this time of year, Glorfindel, Lord of the House of the Golden Flower mused as he strolled through one of the magnificent gardens. The many gardeners had been working especially hard for tonight's celebration, and the flowers filled the air with scent and delighted the eye with their beauty.

So Glorfindel smiled happily as he walked the paths of Gondolin on this night, the eve before the great feast named the Gates of Summer. This night no one would sleep; all Gondolin would dance and sing all night before greeting the sunrise next morning. As for the elf lord moving gracefully across a flowerbed as he took a short cut to his destination, he had an assignation with a lady.

Favulea was the lady's name; she was one of Lady Idril's handmaids. Originally one of small group of Avari who had joined Turgon's people in Nevrast, she was one of the women who had grown close to Idril, and it was through Idril that Glorfindel had come to know her.

Nearly a year ago Glorfindel had convinced the lady to agree to a betrothal; he rather suspected that Idril had had a hand in that. For Idril was so happy in her marriage, such a doting wife and mother that she couldn't conceive of anyone who would not want to be married, and very likely had spoken at length to Favulea on the matter of marrying the blonde elf-lord who had been courting her for over 50 years.

What Favulea didn't know was that Glorfindel had been patient for so long because he was fully aware that the Avari lady thought herself not good enough to wed him. She had actually been a young elf newly come to maturity when she and many others refused the journey to the West, and as such believed for many years that the handsome lord was only playing with her, she still had difficulty believing he really loved her. Then again, perhaps she had been avoiding a commitment to him for another reason, Glorfindel thought as he strode up the stone staircase that led to Idril's reception room; his lady was in attendance on Idril tonight.

Perhaps Favulea feared loosing him as she had lost her family, her parents, sister and two brothers to death in battle, her older brother to Morgoth's captivity. Glorfindel and anyone else who knew the truth had never told Favulea of her brother's probable fate, that he likely had been tormented into an Orc. That she didn't know was not unusual, the elven men knew, but had tried hard to keep that story from the women.

Glorfindel knocked on the door, trying to shake off the feeling of unease that now surrounded him. It was, he told himself, just unsettling thoughts troubling him, nothing bad could happen tonight, or any night in Gondolin, the hidden city he had helped build. Like many of the masons and smiths he had literally bled and wept over the city as she was made, and like many, King included, he couldn't conceive of danger to her, this great stone lady they lived in. Ulmo's warning that Tuor had brought with him just couldn't be true, could it? Gondolin would not fall to Morgoth, even if Gondolin were to be discovered, her defences were too strong, her watchmen too vigilant.

To Glorfindel's surprise, young Earendil opened the door. Only Earendil and his father were within.

'Greetings to you, Tuor, and to your doorward,' said Glorfindel

'Greetings, Glorfindel,' said Tuor.

'I know who you're here to see,' said Earendil at the same time as his father.

'Do you, Earendil, and who do you think I am here to see, besides yourself,' Glorfindel laughed.

The boy giggled, 'Lady Favulea, of course.'

'Correct!' said Glorfindel. 'For being right, I have something for you, Earendil.' He nearly always brought the youngster a gift, for he liked Earendil, but tonight and tomorrow gift giving was a traditional part of celebrations, especially for children.

Tuor meanwhile had stuck his head out the window that overlooked his wife's private garden, and had caught Idril's eye, letting her know they had company. She had smiled, and lifted an elegant hand in reply, and gathered her ladies to her, in preparation to come inside.

As he waited for his wife's arrival Tuor observed the elf lord kneeling on the floor beside his son, going through the pockets of his voluminous gold and blue robes, making a game of finding Earendil's present.

'Ah, I have found it!' Glorfindel exclaimed as he gave Earendil a paper wrapped package. The boy unwrapped the package, to reveal a beautiful hand carved wooden toy boat, complete with cloth sails and rigging. Earendil's face lit up with pleasure for he loved boats, and even though he'd never seen it, anything to do with the sea.

'Thank you,' the boy hugged Glorfindel in thanks just as his mother entered the room flanked by her ladies. 'Look, look mother, look what Glorfindel gave me!' Earendil ran to his mother, a big smile on his face.

'And Lady Favulea, too,' said Idril as she examined her sons' gift, 'She wove the sail cloth, and twisted the little ropes.'

'Thank you too, Lady Favulea,' said Earendil. 'I shall treasure this gift.'

Glorfindel moved towards a dark haired, silver-eyed woman, shorter and more slender in build than a Noldor lady, who slid into his arms for a hug and a quick kiss in greeting. They were interrupted by a tug on Glorfindel's sleeve, and both looked down into a pair of sky blue eyes.

'If you'll stop that,' said Earendil in disgust, 'I can give you my gift.'

Laughing, the couple broke apart, and knelt to receive Earendil's gift. It was a pair of blue glass goblets rimmed with gold that had actually been made by Earendil's grandfather, Turgon King of Gondolin, but the lad had assisted, and proudly said so.

'They are beautiful, Earendil,' said Favulea, who like everyone in Gondolin was very fond of Earendil.

'They're for your wedding,' the boy announced, 'to toast each other.'

'Why, thank you, Earendil. That is a lovely idea, did you think of it yourself?' asked Glorfindel.

'Mother gave me the idea, and Grandfather and I thought up the design,' Earendil said.

'They are indeed lovely,' said Favulea. 'I think I shall put them away in my chambers safely for now.' She looked at Earendil for confirmation of this idea, and he smiled brightly.

'I think I shall put my ship away, too, until tomorrow,' said Earendil, 'for I cannot play with her tonight.'

Once the gifts were put safely away it was time to attend the celebrations. Tuor and Idril with Earendil between them led the small procession from her chambers, for all the ladies-in- waiting followed, each escorted by a man. Some by husbands, some by brothers or sons, two by two they walked the high stone ways of Gondolin to Turgon's tower.

There the King greeted his family, and then all the lords and ladies of Gondolin sat down to a feast, as did all Gondolin. The feasting and merry making continued for several hours, and then of course singing and story telling commenced. Many people left the festivities at this time, going for walks, catching up with friends.

Glorfindel took opportunity to slip up to the northern Guard's tower, for he was in charge of those watchmen, and check on the assigned watchmen, who were having a quiet little party by themselves. All seemed in order, but he warned them to be alert, and not to drink too much. The watchmen laughed merrily, and assured Glorfindel all would be well.

'Go back down, my Lord, and enjoy yourself,' laughed the elf in charge, 'all is well here!'

'Never forget this wall faces Angband,' said Glorfindel, less sternly then he might have at another time. He then ran lightly down the stairs, impatient now to join Favulea again for the rest of the evening.

And there she was, in the rose garden at the base of Turgon's tower, attending Idril.

'Ah, there you are Glorfindel, take your lady, and enjoy her company,' said Idril smiling. 'Go on, Favulea, you are dismissed into your lord's keeping for this night.'

'Thank you, my Lady,' said Favulea, blushing slightly, as she ran across the lawn, to take Glorfindel's hand. He wound his fingers through hers, and two elves walked through the gardens, chatting to each other and the many friends they met as they wandered.

Finally, they found themselves in a deserted area, a little herb garden behind the main kitchens, unfrequented except by cooks during daylight hours. Now the only inhabitants were Glorfindel and Favulea, and as she looked up into her love's handsome face she realised that their walk had not random as she had thought, but planned by him to end here, one of the few places in Gondolin they could be assured privacy this evening.

'Wait here,' he whispered to her, as he swung his cloak from his shoulders, and spread it on the ground. Favulea sat and watched as Glorfindel stole into the kitchens, and carefully removed some pastries and a wine skin. She smiled as he joined her, fortunately he had also acquired some plates and wine goblets and the couple enjoyed a little picnic in the deserted gardens. As they ate and drank, Favulea, normally a quiet woman, spoke of the stars above, the legends and stories of the Avari. Many tales Glorfindel had heard of the early days of the elves, but now his lady spoke at length of things he hadn't heard of, and as he listened, and watched her, her changing expressions, her graceful gestures he understood the lady was doing more than telling a tale. She was sharing the story of her life before the Noldor came back to Middle-Earth, and he felt as though he heart might burst with love for Favulea as he realised she had never trusted anyone this much before.

Needing to touch her, Glorfindel reached out Favulea and took her gently in her arms 'do you want to join the festivities again, love, or stay here?' he asked as he pulled her down to lie on the cloak with him.

'Stay here,' she whispered, 'I want only to be with you tonight.'

He laughed happily then, and kissed her deeply, and she responded passionately, her hands tangled in his golden hair.

'Mmm, my dear, that was nice,' he teased her as their lips parted.

Favulea didn't answer, but pulled him towards her for another kiss. She pressed herself against him, one hand still in his hair, the other fiddling with the laces of his shirt, which she finally pulled free, so she could caress the expanse of his muscled chest.

The golden haired elf broke the kiss then, his face flushed and eyes dark with passion. 'Don't Favulea. Don't do that!' he whispered.

'Why?' she questioned, her voice as soft as his.

He brushed her dark hair from her face with a hand that trembled.

'Because I want you, I want to lie with you, and if you touch me again in such a way, I will not be able to resist your charms, my love,' he explained.

'Oh,' she said. Then she snuggled against him again, 'Why should we not? I mean, we are betrothed, and the custom of my people allows for such near the end of the betrothal, if the couple wish. And I wish to love you fully tonight.'

Her honest, loving answer and the gentle touch of fingers caressing his face broke the last barrier of resistance Glorfindel had, 'As my lady commands,' he whispered, as he dropped soft little kisses on her neck and shoulders, hands undoing the lacing of her gown to reveal her creamy breasts, which he covered in tender caresses.

By unspoken mutual consent, they then removed each other's clothes, and as the moon rose above Gondolin Glorfindel and Favulea came together tenderly in love.

Part 2: Betrayal

It was some time near day break that Glorfindel stirred. Wrapped in his cloak, both he and Favulea had slipped deeply into dreams after their lovemaking. What was it that disturbed him now, he wondered.

Shouts, screaming, the smell of smoke and blood, the clash of weapons? Snapping to full alertness, Glorfindel leapt to his feet, dragging on his breeches, shirt and boots.

'Get up,' he said urgently to Favulea, who was starting to stir. 'Gondolin is under attack!'

She too leapt to her feet, pulling on her gown and shoes. Hand in hand the two fled the garden, leaving discarded Glorfindel's robes and cloak.

Running as only elves could run, they headed for the main tower, and Glorfindel's chambers for weapons. No time for armour, thought Glorfindel as he found them both swords and shields. They ran hard again, Glorfindel cutting down 3 orcs that attempted to bar their path to where they could see little Earendil, separated from his parents.

A cold horror settled on Favulea's heart as she saw Maeglin swing Earendil into his arms, and run off. Where were Idril, and Tuor? Turgon's tower was under attack, and Ecthelion fought a Balrog in the formal water garden. She watched, frozen to the spot as Ecthelion and the Balrog fell together, the Balrog's fall weakening the base of the great tower.

Idril ran from the tower, towards Maeglin who still held her struggling son. Like his mother, he had never trusted or liked the chief smith and was struggling wildly to be released. He kicked Maeglin's shins as Idril dealt Maeglin a fearful blow to the face. The smith staggered but grabbed Idril hard, and started to drag both her and Earendil through the fighting, heading for the west wall. Curiously, the orcs and wargs gave way before him and Glorfindel and Favulea glanced at each other, each confirming what the other thought, that there was only one way for Gondolin to be under this sort of attack, and that was treachery.

That however could wait, for there was no way Glorfindel or Favulea would let Maeglin kidnap Idril and Earendil while they lived. As they ran towards where Idril was wrestling madly with her cousin, two things happened; the weakened tower collapsed, killing many as it fell, and Tuor appeared, his sword black with Orc blood, as Maeglin finally dragged his captives to the top of the west wall.

Maeglin didn't see Tuor until he was almost upon him, and battle-rage gave the blonde mortal fearsome strength. The first blow of his sword almost took Maeglin's left arm off, and Idril and Earendil, now free, fled a few yards, and turned and watched the battle with looks of terror on their faces. Maeglin fell at Tuor's second mighty blow, and hardly managed to block the third. Throwing his sword aside, Maeglin begged for mercy, and Tuor thrust his sword into the elf's heart. He then kicked Maeglin's body aside, over the edge of the wall not far from where Maeglin's own father Eol had been cast to his death for the murder of Aredhel, his wife and Maeglin's mother.

Glorfindel, Favulea and a group of armed warriors had now reached Idril and Earendil.

'The secret way,' asked Tuor, 'can we reach it.'

'I believe so,' said Glorfindel, and a pact passed unspoken between the two blonde warriors, one mortal, one elven. Earendil Turgon's heir must live!, and both men, his father and his friend would willingly die to achieve that.

The group of people began to run, across the west wall where the capped top was wide, towards the Northern side of Gondolin where lay the secret way. As they fled, many more survivors from the sacking of the city joined them, but most were women and a few children. Few warriors, and most wounded, thought Glorfindel, his mind chilled by the thought of being trapped by Orcs with this company of followers.

As they fled, Glorfindel noticed that Earendil was carrying his toy ship. The boy must have been showing his gift to friends when the attack came. Strangely, the sight of the ship gave the elf hope; hope they could flee the ruins of Gondolin safely.

And then, in the pass of Cirith Thoronath, they met a great company of Orcs, and a Balrog was with them. As the only warrior who had lived in the Blessed Realm, Glorfindel stepped forward to battle with it, to his shock he noticed Favulea at his side, determined to fight with him.

'No, love, you must protect Idril and Earendil.' He cut short her protests, 'you fight as well as a man, and I must halt the Balrog, alone, do you hear me? Your duty is to your lady.' He touched her cheek gently, 'We will meet again my wife, I swear it on my soul.'

Blinking back tears, and feeling as though her heart was being ripped from her body, Favulea acknowledged the truth of his words, and fell back to Tuor's side.

'Go, go now,' Glorfindel said to Tuor, and the mortal obeyed, leading the survivors on, cutting a swathe through the Orcs as they went.

The elf lord now faced the Balrog alone, and he took firm hold of his courage, 'By Elbereth, you shall not pass,' he said firmly to the Balrog, who roared fire in answer. Then the battle joined, and the two strained and struggled. Finally the Balrog gained the battle, for Glorfindel could not endure the flame and heat any longer. Sorely wounded, he lost his balance, and fell, grasping hard to the fell beast's fiery whip as he did, dragging the Balrog with him.

Shocked, the survivors saw the fall, and despaired. But even in that hour, Manwe's eagles arrived, and they fell upon the Orcs, and drove them back with great slaughter. Thorondor himself bore Glorfindel's body back up from the abyss, and Idril helped her friend Favulea bury him in a high cairn.

'Come,' Tuor it was who held his hand out to the grief stricken elf woman, 'We must make sure he did not die in vain.'

Standing carefully, Favulea took Tuor's hand, astonished by the grief and the understanding in the mortal's eyes. 'I shall not forget,' it was Earendil who spoke, and he took Favulea's other hand. Comforted beyond her ability to understand, she suffered herself to be lead away.

Part 3: Rivendell, the second Age.

'So now you see why this child's toy is so special to me, Lord Elrond,' said a slender dark haired Avari woman.

'Yes, all is clear now. I saved it from the sacking of Sirion, I knew it was important, but not why until today.' His fingers ran across the wood of the toy, his face drawn and brooding. 'Maglor it was who mended this thing, I wondered why he showed such compassion to me as to mend my toy; years later he said he too felt it was more than a simple child's plaything.' Suddenly Elrond smiled, 'I never knew it had been my father's, thank you for the tale, Lady Favulea.'

'You are welcome, Lord, for it has eased my heart to tell this tale. I only hope Glorfindel was right, that he and I will meet again.'

Elrond smiled, he knew something she did not. His position as Lord of Rivendell and Herald to High King Gil-Galad made him privy to interesting information at times. This was one of the times he would be in a position to see one of those who lived under his protection made happy. He remembered Favulea's spirited protection of himself and his brother Elros clearly. She had attempted to hold off Maedhros and Maglor, and had been wounded nearly to death. For many years, indeed, he had believed the brave lady's maid dead, and it had been a great joy to discover she lived after the War Of Wrath. She had sworn herself to his service, and now dwelt as part of his household.

'A messenger from the King, Lord Elrond,' said an elf that had knocked on the door, disturbing his chat with Favulea.

'I will go,' said Favulea, making as if to withdraw.

'Nay, stay, for this concerns you closely, good friend,' replied Elrond.

The messenger was fair-haired, and as Favulea watched, there was something familiar about him. Could it be? Surely not. But as the messenger approached, she was sure, she didn't know how or why, but it was Glorfindel.

Elrond was watching Favulea with affectionate amusement, and when she turned to ask him how was this possible, he simply smiled and said no one said the messenger came to see him. By now, Glorfindel had recognised the woman by Elrond's side, and flew up the steps and into her embrace. Elrond discreetly withdrew, leaving Glorfindel and Favulea to their reunion.