Come What May
Disclaimer: All characters and places are the property of JRR Tolkien and his estate. I am making no money in any way, shape, or form from the publication of this story.
Your mother came to me some time ago, with you cradled against her chest, your beautiful eyes darkened by drowsiness. I was sitting on the floor, writing, though I do not now remember what or its significance. Your mother spoke no words, only came to my side. With you still held her arms, she sat down, curled into my lap like a child herself. Her curls brushed against my bare skin as I wrapped her in my arms; silk, and shadows, and twilight. She rested her head against my shoulder, relaxing against my body. You lay upon her breast, looking up, quietly regarding this man who is your father.
No words needed to be spoken between your mother and I. Her expression, her touch, her contentment, was enough. Look at our son. Look how beautiful your child is. And so you are. A dark beauty, like your mother, though your eyes are more intense than hers – perhaps even more so than my own.
You sleep now, as I still hold you and your mother in my arms. Your long dark eyelashes rest upon your perfect cheeks. You smile in your sleep. I wonder what it is that you see. You are only two years old. You are innocent, you know nothing of the world beyond the dark corridors of your home. Would that I could keep you as such for eternity.
But such is not your path. I knew the first moment I held you in my arms, your mother still weak from the birth. I knew the first time you looked at me, your eyes fathomless pools of darkness. Will you ever know the silent tears shed for you in the dark hours of the night? Even now as you sleep, I can see what will happen.
I can see your mother's confusion as I forbid her to speak to you in her People's language. I see the tears she will shed when I tell her that you can never know the tales of your ancestors. She cannot understand why. I can hear her crying softly in the night, her body pulled away from mine. I see the rift that shall grow between us. I hear her name you in her heart. Lómion. Child of the Twilight. I pretend that I do not know that she whispers the tales of your People to you. I pretend that I do not hear the words spoken to you in the Ancient Tongue.
I watch you grow into a young man, I see the longing for something more than this dark forest realm grow in your heart. I return from a journey to find our home empty. I cry in utter desperation, praying that this fate could pass, wishing that I could have let you both go. But in the end, I follow you, and in the end I find you. And you denounce me. I see your mother fall by my hand. I see what will follow.
Even now, I hear every bitter word which I shall speak, hating myself for them even as they leave my lips. I see through your proud countenance, see that I am crushing you with every word. And I hate myself for it. Would that I could take you into my arms, my son, my child, one last time, and let you know that I love you, that I have always loved you. But that is not to be.
I see you fall in love with a golden-haired beauty. I feel your confusion and inner turmoil over your love. I feel your fear and desperation as you stand before the Great Enemy, threatened with torment and death. Be strong, my son. I hear you utter the words that will condemn your City, your People. I count each tear you shed.
But you are only two years old. A tiny child, sleeping on his mother's chest. Your mother curled in my arms, like a child herself, staring at you in quiet awe. She smiles as I kiss her forehead, lay my hand upon your back. I feel the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe. I feel your heart beating. And I know that come what may, these are the moments I will always hold in my heart. The times I shall look back upon and smile.
The fire burns low on the hearth, casting shadows upon the walls. We sleep where we are, I sitting upon the floor, your mother curled in my lap, you laying upon her chest. We sleep, innocent, unaware of the dark shadows growing outside. My last waking thoughts are of you. I wonder if you will one day look back upon me and see a man who was made your mother weep, one who demanded that you obey his words or be set in bonds. A man who cursed his only child before his death. Or will you look back and see the man who knew what you would become, and yet held you and kissed you and loved you all the same.
Author's Note: I am not overly fond of fanfics which portray Eöl as a deranged mad-man, bent on lust and hatred. I, myself, have never gotten this impression of him from reading the Silmarillion. I have always believed that his actions were rationalized (or so he thought) by the possibility that he knew what Maeglin would be responsible for. In other words, by forbidding Aredhel to tell him tales of her People and of Gondolin, he felt that he could prevent what would happen. Likewise, in Gondolin, it was notable to me that he was willing to allow Aredhel to return to her People, but demanded that Maeglin must return with him. I wanted to portray a softer and gentler side of Eöl than what one usually sees in a fanfic. He loved his wife, and he loved his child. And they, for a while, loved him in return. It is far too rare that one sees this in fanfiction, however.
The inspiration for this fanfic comes primarily from two sources. First, from an amazingly poignant speech given by the character Agatha in the movie Minority Report. (if you've seen the movie, you'll probably know what I'm talking about, if you haven't, don't worry about it.) And secondly, and perhaps most surprisingly, from a religious statue on the desk in the secretary's office at my church. This incredibly beautiful sculpture, entitled, "A Quiet Moment", which you can (and should, because it is an absolutely beautiful work) view at the following link…
…shows a young (about 17), barefoot Virgin Mary with the tiny infant Jesus sleeping upon her chest. Mary, herself, is curled in Joseph's lap, as he sits cross-legged, arms wrapped around his wife and child. Carved from white marble, it is not, at first glance, a piece religious artwork. There are no haloes, no wounds on the Infant Jesus' hands, nothing typical of most religious icons; nothing to indicate what was to come in the Child's life. Which, I think, makes the scene all the more poignant. It was simply a moment of absolute peace and love between family members. Even for a non-religious person, the tenderness and love expressed in this sculpture is remarkable. It is this sense – along with the sense of sorrow at what was to come – that I have tried to capture in this story.