Alalaes : It was actually unintended, I only realized it after I published the chapter haha. But yes, it seems Galadriel really did help Maglor. And, I was under the impression Maglor/Elrond reunion was a pretty common theme, but you're welcome! It took me a while to be statisfy with this particular episode.
There's a lot of geography involved in this chapter, I did my best to be accurate but I might have made some mistakes. Lands often changed names and usually on Middle earth maps, older and newer names are mixed... and I had to check how things were in every one of those places in T.A. 2078. Since Moria will be mentionned, I would just like to point out that although the Balrog had been awakened by the Dwarves a little before T.A. 1980, it was not yet inhabitated by Orcs, and the mountains in the area were still relatively safe (the real danger being the landscape itself).
12 - Havens
It was in early September that Gilmith bid farewell to her aunt and to all the Elves she had befriended while staying in Lothlórien. The forest was such a magical place that if felt bittersweet to leave at last and surely, had she not been so eager to be reunited with Maglor - and with her mother -, Gilmith would have happily dwelled there for years and years, forgetting about her desire to sail West. Yet Lórien was simply a stop on her journey and many wonders awaited her on the way to the Havens, and then to the Undying Lands. And so she had decided time had come for her to depart, as the weather was still mild, for she had realized she and Maglor would have to cross the Misty Mountains soon to reach Eriador.
Gilmith did not leave Lothlórien empty-handed - no one did apparently - and she now wore one of those grey cloaks weaved by the Galadhrim, one whose color seemingly changed depending on its surroundings. They had provided her with food too, and although Maidhlas did not possess much, she had given her two green dresses she had sewn herself - there was one for Gilmith and one for her mother. And to Gilmith's utter surprise, even Lady Galadriel had gifted her with a small wooden box, telling her not to open it right away, but to wait a little, and this vague indication had left her slightly confused as to what to expect.
Rúmil had traveled with her to the northen edge of Lórien and perhaps he was the only one who suspected someone was waiting for her outside the woods, although he could not have known who exactly. And once Gilmith was alone on the plain, back on her horse, she peered around the land, wondering where Maglor would be waiting for her - they had not discuss such details. She headed towards the mountains, as it was there that lord Elrond had met with him, and she rode up a gentle slope, on a small path that had been abandonned some time ago and had become just a narrow dirt track meandering through high grass and bushes.
"Over here, young lady!"
Gilmith saw him, standing a little farther on the road, as if he had appeared there all of a sudden, and a wide smile spread on her face as she jumped down her horse to run towards him. They had not been apart for long - merely a little over two months - and for both of them it had been a bright Summer, preluding to happier days, yet they had missed each other dearly. Their love was fresh and ardent, but mainly it had gone through too much uncertainty for them to endure a long separation. And yes, for Maglor too it had seemed to be a ridiculously great amount of time, thus he merrily welcomed back Gilmith in his arms, sweeping her off her feet and twirling with her, before hugging her tightly.
"I see they have taken good care of you in the forest," he told her, nuzzling her hair in which lingered the enticing smell of mallorn flowers. "You look positively radiant."
"It is a wonderful land and indeed the Galadhrim are most gracious hosts," Gilmith said as she was putting a flock fluttering kisses in his neck - it tickled him frightfully. "But..."
"But...?" he breathed, feeling a little lightheaded from the feel of her lips on his skin.
"No more partings?" she whispered, entwining her fingers in his hair.
"No more partings," Maglor replied earnestly and he did his best to focus. "I do not know exactly where this journey may lead us, however I can promise you we will be together, till the end."
"Coming from you, this is a rather optimistic statement..." Gilmith said, grinning.
"It is... yet you should know, I finally saw one... I saw an Eagle and I thought it did not only mean I am allowed to sail back to Valinor, it perhaps also means I am to be forgiven." He was almost shy to tell her this, to say these words out loud, and a slight blush covered his cheeks as he lowered his eyes.
"You deserve it, Maglor, you truly do."
Gilmith leaned in to kiss him and any of Magor's misgiving vanished right away. Once more he found himself torn between a furious desire to roll with her onto the grass and a more reasonable and more gentle wish to simply keep on cradling her in his arms. Infinite tenderness he felt for Gilmith, and great desire too, and sometimes it made him forget his own purpose. For a few long and delicious minutes he forgot they had to cross the Misty Mountains and that the road to Eriador might be a difficult one.
He maybe even forgot about the Eagle... He was with Gilmith and he was happy, oh so happy.
Dimrill Dale (Misty Mountains)
Maglor had long studied the maps Gilmith had taken with her from Minas Tirith and, during the Summer, he had scouted the mountains' slopes in search of a road leading to the other side of Hithaeglir. It seemed only logical they should try to go through the Redhorn Gate, the fastest way to Eriador, and it was a good thing Gilmith had not lingered too long in Lórien, for September was still a good month to undertake such a travel.
"They say the pass is steep and dangerous," Gilmith said as they were studying a map, by the fire they had lighted, in Dimrill Dale.
It was their last stop before climbing Caradhras and perhaps it would be the riskiest part of their journey, thus they had decided to rest by the lake Nen Cenedril, source of the Celebrant, and a highly important place for the Dwarves who had built along its banks a stone pillar called Durin's Stone.
"It is, yet we shall proceed slowly and cautiously," said Maglor who was not overly worried about the pass. "We should depart early in the morning, for I do not like this area..."
"This dale? I find it surprisingly beautiful." Gilmith was only mildly acquainted with the legends of Dwarf-folk, but she had read the lake had played a great part in the establishment of one their greatest cities - and she loved legends greatly.
"The eastern gate of the Moria is not far, it is a proximity I would have rather avoided..." whispered Maglor, darkly. "A terrible fiend these Dwarves have awaken."
"What is it...?" asked Gilmith.
As strange as it was, this monster, Durin's bane, was the reason Gilmith's parents had met, however improbable their encounter had been. After all, it was because her friend Nimrodel feared the shadows dwelling in Moria that Mithrellas had headed South, to Edhellond, and that lord Imrazôr had stumbled upon her in the forests of Belfalas.
"A fire demon, a most horrifying enemy," Maglor answered and he dared not say more, for it would uselessly scare Gilmith, he thought. After all, even at the height of their power, the mightiest Noldorin warriors could hardly defeat the Balrogs and when they did, it was more than often at the cost of their own lives. "But the pass is out of its reach, and Elrond told me Elves still follow this road."
'Elrond told me' was something Gilmith had heard often during the last days and every time it had been pronounced she had seen a gleam of sheer pride flash in Maglor's grey eyes.
"I have to admit I felt slightly crossed when I understood you knew lady Galadriel would sense your presence nearby her woods," said Gilmith, while she laid down, resting her head on his lap. "Yet since it lead you to meet lord Elrond... it meant you had not quite given up on seeing him."
"I would not have gone to Imladris myself, yet I entertained the silly hope he would find me before we reached the Havens," Maglor explained, running his hand in her hair.
"I could have been your messenger, had you asked me to."
"You had your own issues to sort out, I would not have burdened you with mine."
"It would not have been a burden," she said, closing her eyes as he bent down to put a kiss on her forehead. "Anyhow, you and lord Elrond met and that is all that matters in the end."
"There is something I did well in my life after all", said Maglor, smiling. "For I did raise two young boys who both have become great lords... Well, Elros was even a King..."
"Had you ever doubted they would achieve great deeds?"
"No... from the beginning, I could tell these children had brilliant destinies laid ahead of them, however I did wonder to what extent their upbringing would play a part in this."
"Did you... did you know King Elros had been the first ruler of Númenor?" Gilmith inquired and she was holding his right hand in hers - she often did this, as if to make sure it was still intact.
"Yes, that much I had heard, for it happened not long after I chose to lead a lonesome life, and I still knew where to gather tidings of the world," Maglor replied. "I had also understood the island had been crushed down, I saw flashes of it from afar and that day the sea and the wind were filled with wrath... But before I met Elrond, I knew not Elros's line had survived the downfall of Númenor."
"Alas, the last king of Gondor passed away almost thirty years ago... Hopefully, in the North, a king still lives, even though he has no throne to claim and calls himself a chieftain."
Gilmith had never had any special interest in these political matters, perhaps because living in Belfalas often felt like living in some independant area, yet she had registered the death of King Eärnur as a grieving event - her father especially had been dismayed upon being told about it. As for Arthedain and its kings however... the last one, Arvedui, had died before she was even born, and since then there had been fewer and fewer exchanges between the South and the North. In Minas Tirith it was said the Dúnedain of the North were a scattered people, but little was known about them in general.
"Elrond told me he fosters the son of the chieftain, in Imladris... Is it not an odd twist of fate that he helps preserving his brother's line, after all these years?"
"It is remarkable," whispered Gilmith and she thought she would be glad if she were to meet some of Galador's descendants, one day - how long would her brother's line last?
"This line is that of Elros's direct descendants, however he had four children who, in turn, had many children too..." Maglor reflected out loud. "Could it be that your father was one of his descendants as well? Had not most of the nobility of Númenor some of his blood?"
"Father's family was kin to Elendil's, thus it might be that they were somehow related to royal house of Númenor..." presumed Gilmith, pouting as she tried to recall some of those old genealogies she had browsed through in the libraries of Minas Tirith. "But it was long ago... I surely could not claim being kin with lord Elrond!"
Maglor chuckled. "Indeed! Yet what a marvel it is, that his line lasted so long... and what a marvel to have met Elrond..."
Nîn-in-Eilph - Mid-September
Going through the Redhorn Pass had been a arduous road and at some point they had almost resolved themselves to free their horses to continue without them - Caradhras was not a welcoming mountain, especially to quadrupeds. Yet, quite slowly, they had managed to reach Eriador and to put some distance between them and Moria, as they had crossed the region that had once been called Eregion. They swiftly rode westward, as they planned to cross the Gwathló at Tharbad, a ford previously occupied by Númenóreans and that had once been an important waypoint on the road connecting Gondor to Arnor. But before, they had to go through marshes, or skirt it, and they once more had to survey all their maps Minas Tirith to decide what path would be safer.
There were barely any traces of the Gwaith-î-Mírdain in the land they had inhabited during the Second Age and Maglor cursed Sauron for having so cruelly slain his nephew when they caught sight the ruins of Ost-in-Edhil, at the eastern edge of the marshes. By then it was late afternoon and they had decided they would not venture further away this day, for they feared the marshes would prove treacherous in dim light. They had found a small belvedere, that was roughly still in good shape despite most of its stones being covered with moss, and from there the view was beautiful. Dusk came and, while the first stars lighted up in the sky, swans paddled gracefully on the water, fireflies zoomed among reeds and a variety of toads and frogs croaked, jumping here and there.
"I wish we would have a small boat that would allow us to cross the marshes," said Gilmith, gazing at a tall heron who perhaps thought the batrachians were too loud - but quite juicy.
"It sure is a wonderful place, and it is full of birds of all sorts," Maglor said and since he had just finished tending to their horses, he added, "however hooves and wetlands do not mix well."
"No... and according to the maps, no road go through the marshes."
"Let us enjoy these peaceful waters tonight and tomorrow we shall cross Glanduin river," declared Maglor who, truth be told, was hardly concerned by the marshes.
The warm evening light twinkled in Gilmith's long brown hair and she was wearing one of these white dresses the Galadhrim had given her, the soft fabric was flowing in the breeze - beneath it Maglor could discern the curves of her hips, the roundness of her breast. Great desire ever haunted him when he was by her side and he had yet to figure out how to tame it, if such a thing was even possible. He knew lust was just another side of his love for her, but at times he feared he could not control himself very well, and it burned him from within...
"What worries are clouding your mind?" asked Gilmith, the tip of her fingers brushing his face.
He had taken her hands in his, kissing the back of it.
"There is a crease on your forehead, it only appears when you ponder overly about some trouble of yours."
He smiled, sliding an arm around her waist to pull her against him, and he whispered hoarsely into her ear, "It is a real torment sometimes to merely look at you..."
She blushed, yet she tiptoed to kiss his lips being well aware it would only further heighten his longing. Nonetheless he took his time to undress her, carefully untying one by one the ribbons that held her clothes together, and everytime his mouth trailed on the skin that had been freshly uncovered. The way he proceeded was furiously enticing and soon Gilmith found herself entirely naked, whereas he had not even taken his cloak off. Pleased, Maglor took a few seconds to contemplate her, yet he could hardly restrain himself anymore and thus he sweep her off her feet, kissing her avidly.
Afterwards he could not recall exactly how he had gotten rid of his own garments, but they had been discarded at some point and with a sigh he had welcomed the voluptuous sensation of his skin rubbing against hers. Again it took him much concentration to keep a steady pace, especially since Gilmith had now become accustomed to their embraces and she welcomed him eagerly - her moans and cries drove him crazy. But that night Maglor could not be satisfied easily and he had no wish to rest, he was too happy they were together and too happy he and Gilmith shared the same craving
Sarn Ford - End of September
If Maglor often refered to his encounter with Elrond, Gilmith on the other hand could talk endlessly about the wonders of Lórien and its people and her description of the great telains of Caras Galadhon were mixed with random inquiries about other Elven realms. Maglor had become less reluctant to talk about the past and about life in Valinor and in Beleriand, although, admittedly, he had not seen all lands and of some he knew but little - Doriath, perhaps, was the best example of his limits. However he always tried to provided her with lenghty answers and he was quite glad to do so, for he found he could now revisit some of his memories almost painlessly, almost objectively. And he was happy Gilmith had so fully embraced the Elven lifestyle in Lórien, since he had feared she might have realized in these woods that she loved her life in Gondor better. But it seemed she had no regrets about her choice, even though it had no been an easy one.
"Are all the Noldorin ladies as fair as lady Galadriel...?" asked Gilmith and as she pronounced the words she realized her question was silly - her voice had lowered towards the end.
They had settled on the western banks of Baranduin river, just after having crossed the ford, and this night was the first cold night of the season, thus Gilmith and Maglor had wrapped themselves in thick woolen cloaks. Sitting by the fire and huddled against one another, their conversation on Númenor had strayed and they had begun wondering about Eregion and the Elven realms of the Second Age, of how many of the Noldor had chosen to remain in Middle-earth... and when lady Galadriel's name had been said, Gilmith had suddenly felt concern.
"Some say she is the fairest of us all," answered Maglor who had absolutely no clue of what Gilmith's real worry was, "which means she is certainly not a typical beauty and could scarcely be compared to others."
"I saw the ladies in Lórien, they are all so beautiful and graceful, I thought I could perhaps blend in, I thought I manage to blend in, but..." Gilmith muttered, frowning. "And in the West, what could it be like.."
"It does not matter that you are a Half-Elven, you shall be allowed in Aman nonetheless and-"
"Yet, over there, will I not be a little ugly compared to the other ladies...?" she whispered shyly, for she was speaking her mind at last.
"Ugly? Why would think of yourself being ugly?" exclaimed Maglor, genuinely surprised by her inquiry.
Gilmith long hesitated, before saying, "I am no High Elf..."
"No, you are not, and perhaps this is why you are so charming," he said, amused to see her look so pitiful. "Oh my dear Gilmith, what does it matter that your hair is not as shiny as lady Galadriel's? Or that your mother was a Silvan Elf and your father a man of Gondor?"
"Does it not make me a rather lowly match for someone like you?" Although they had not openly discussed it, it was clear that she and Maglor could not have considered spending the rest of their lives without one another - and for the time being, that made her his suitor.
"Someone like me? I am but a fallen prince and any prestige related to my name or to my father's has long faded..." said Maglor and he could hardly imagine he would ever again be called a prince. "It might be that you are the one doing me a favor and I still marvel at the fact that you did not flee right away when I told you who I was."
"I could barely stand on my own, let alone run..." muttered Gilmith, shrugging.
"Yet my name, or my father's name, did not scare you," Maglor insisted.
"I'm afraid it has nothing to do with any virtue from my part... Even now, to me what you did thousands of years ago has no real consistency, or at least no more than a sad song could have..." Gilmith told him and she had forgotten all of her aesthetic concerns. "The blood that once covered your hands has long been washed away and I deeply believe you shall nevermore act as you did under the influence of the Oath. And you have been freed from it, what remains is you, your genuine self, and this Maglor, well... it is no marvel I fell in love with him."
She had spoken softly, in a low voice, and she had cupped his face - when tears rolled down his cheek she wiped them away. And she cradled him in her arms, all night, not because he was grieving, but because he was safe and relieved and he needed to acknowledge it fully.
Near the Tower Hills - Early October
"What is this?" Maglor asked, gesturing at the little wooden box Gilmith was holding in her hand.
It was dawn and they were slowly getting ready to go back on the road, gathering their belongings and preparing their horses.
"A gift I received from lady Galadriel, however she told me not to open it 'until later'... I do wonder what 'later' means exactly... Perhaps I should do it now, before we reach the Havens?"
They were just a few days away from the Grey Havens and already they could detect the salty smell of the sea in the wind. They also had come in view of the Blue Mountains, westward, and the white towers built by the Elves, eastward, and Maglor was moved by this scenery, for it was partially familiar to him - he had seen these mountains often when he had dwelled in Beleriand. Furthermore, Gilmith had told him a palantír was being kept in one of these towers and not only was the stone a creation of his father, it was also connected to the Master-stone, thus allowing anyone who was granted access to it to gaze at the Undying Lands. What a temptation it was...
"A gift from Galadriel?" repeated Maglor, crouching by Gilmith's side. "I'd wager you may safely open it now, for she most likely meant she did not want you to open it in front of her."
"I reckon she wished you opened it in front of me," he said, intrigued.
"Could you be right?" wondered Gilmith. "It is but a small box, what you could she have possibly put in it...?"
Inside the box was a white satin pouch and Gilmith carefully untied the ribbon to reveal its content : two rings fell in her palm, two golden rings, sleek and shiny. She stared at them in utter bewilderment, not quite processing what such a gift implied, till she noticed one ring was bigger than the other and would certainly not fit any of her fingers...
"There is one for you," she whispered and she felt blood rushed to her face - surely her cheeks had never been redder than in this moment. "I never... I never asked the Lady for rings like these..."
"That is unexpected...!" exclaimed Maglor and, next to Gilmith, he too felt startled, and his heart pounded hard in his chest. His hand was slightly trembling when he took the smallest of the rings to have a closer look at it and suddenly he laughed, loudly and merrily, as he had not laughed in very long time - he had completely forgotten about Mithlond and the palantír. "She has given us a wedding...!"
"Can... can we really do it, even though it is just the two of us?" Gilmith inquired and, despite being baffled, she could not help but chuckle, for his good mood was contagious and he was quite handsome when he was happy - it softened his harsh features.
"We have the rings, as for the vows, I can easily teach them to you, and... we are together," Maglor replied with fervor and he swooped her in his arms, eagerly searching for her lips.
He laughed and kissed her again and again, but, despite his mirth and enthusiasm, Gilmith could not help but be a tad pragmatic.
"Would not a person of your rank deserve a more official ceremony, something more grandiose?" she managed to ask between two kisses.
It was hard not to giggle for his breath tickled her neck.
"The sky is cloudless, birds play their music in the trees and the wind dances with the autumn leaves, is there need for any other guests, my dear Gilmith?" He said while he laid down with her in the thick grass.
"You are a prince, Maglor, your wedding should be magnificent feast, should it not?"
"I am no prince, I am a mere wanderer... Many centuries have passed since last I slept in a proper house, why would a humble wedding not suit me then?" he countered. "Perhaps... perhaps you would rather celebrate our union in due forms...?"
Locked in his arms, her hair tangled with his, Gilmith gazed at the rings, the one she held, the one held, and she was fascinated by the way the sunrays reflected on their smooth golden surface. "No... anyhow the wedding I dream of will never happen..." she whispered thoughtfully. "And all I really need is for you to be by my side."
"We shan't think of those who are gone, neither of those who are far," Maglor declared and he felt an urge to kiss her, to chase away the sadness that lingered in her beautiful green eyes - he'd be a father, he'd be a brother to her, as much as he would be a husband.
"Will you marry me then?" she inquired, staring at him intently.
"Yes I will, beloved Gilmith."
Mithlond - Spring T.A. 2079
Gilmith and Maglor reached the end of the road at dusk, after having lingered some time in the countryside, where he had told stories of the old days, for once, East of the Blue Mountains, his brothers and he had ruled lands and fought great and terrible battles. Their wandering throughout Lindon had lasted a few months and they had done so happily, as husband and wife, golden rings glittering on their forefingers.
The wedding had been a modest one - a mere exchange of rings and vows - but it mattered not to them, for not so long ago they would have not even dared think it possible to formally seal their union. And so gaily they had traveled, and when the warm days had been back, when the flowers had bloomed again in the meadows, they headed to Mithlond. It was finally time for them to depart, to leave behind Middle-earth and to turn their hearts solely towards Aman.
The towers of the Grey Havens were high and such a view brought one last doubt to Maglor's mind. He was about to meet Círdan, another of this great Elves who had yet to sail West... This one Maglor could have killed with his own hands, had he not come too late to the help of the hidden Havens, and this thought still terrified him. Yet lord Círdan was wise and gifted with extraordinary foresight which, according to Elrond, would lead him to listen impartially to Maglor's plea and to let him embark on a ship.
"This is the end of our journey," said Gilmith, peering at the Sea, and already the white veils of the ships were visible, glimmering under the sunlight.
"Yes, and this is farewell to our old lives," said Maglor, holding her hand, and as they walk through Mithlond, among bewildered Elves, he sang a song, soft yet powerful, sad yet hopeful - he was thanking the seagulls who circled above their heads, for his friends had come seeing him depart to the Undying Lands.
What happened from then on is unsure to those who remained in Middle-earth.
It is however said they did reach the shores of Aman, and that Maglor was forgiven by the Valar and that he was reunited with lady Nerdanel, while at last Gilmith found Mithrellas. It was also believed they dwelled among the Noldor, in Tirion the White, upon the hill of Túna, although the two of them oft went on long wanderings, across vast lands, for they had grown to love sleeping under the stars better than under roofs.
'Suitor' only applies to men apparently, but I used it for Gilmith anyways...
I have no intentions of writing about them anymore and I leave their fate in the Valar's hands :)
One thing though that I haven't really thought about is that, if Maglor is forgiven by the Valar, what of his brothers? Does it not create a precedent? I suppose it's not a 'package deal' and that if one is forgiven, the others might not be, but a few of them do deserve forgiveness as well (I'm thinking Caranthir and the twins because it seems they at least did not do worse than Maglor). I do hope Nerdanel gets back her flock of sons at some point...
Ah and at the end of the Third Age, Elrond will join them :) (I hope he'll tell Gilmith that her brother's line still exists and that Imrahil is a worthy representant of their family!)
Anyways, thank you to everyone who read this story and espcially to those who followed/favorited or took some time to review it! I must admit that at first I thought it was a bit risky to match Maglor with an obscure Half-Elven from the Third Age (sorry Gilmith!) and I was genuinely surprised no one objected to it.