When the World Was Still
The city spread out in circles before them, pristine and sparkling white. Waiting for dawn like a new bride waits for her lover, the sounds of song and music rising in the air, heightening the anticipation.
He loved this day, watching the sun peek over the mountain tops, seeming to hesitate for a long, breathless moment before suddenly bursting into golden radiance, and flooding the plain below Gondolin with honeyed light.
A soft thump on the wall next to him announced the arrival of another, and he smiled without looking, already knowing whom it was. "You were almost late."
"Yes, and you almost clipped my ear off yesterday, but look!" The merry elf turned, pushing back golden strands of silky hair to reveal the leaf-shaped ear, quite intact. "Almost is nothing, Ecthelion, or have you not learned that yet?"
It was impossible to become annoyed with Glorfindel when he was in such high spirits. Typical. His friend was not one to hold back anything, and though he certainly was not an elfling, he had the joyous heart of a child. It was one of his most endearing traits, and not one Ecthelion would see dimmed by the darkness that walked the lands. Nodding, absently pushing a wisp of silver hair behind his ear, the Lord of the Fountains fingered his flute. "Yes, I know, my friend."
Friends, and such opposites in many ways. One silver as Telperion, one gold as Laurelin. Ecthelion was of a far more even temperament, slow to anger, deliberate in his actions. He had lived many long ages in Endor, even before the coming of the Noldor. His heart told him it was likely that many elves would make the journey to Mandos' Halls, both in the fight against Morgoth, and, tragically, in the mad quest for the stones some desired over near everything.
Yet here was Turgon's city, shining and white, pure, untouched by the blight that walked the land.
Ecthelion shivered, wispy fragment of a vision coming back to him, haunting him like the barely remembered notes of a song. Turgon was sure none would find the city. They would be safe.
"Why so somber, old friend?" Glorfindel interrupted the silver haired elf's musings, squeezing his shoulder. "Or do you search for that maiden that so captured your attention several nights ago?"
Looking into the cobalt-blue eyes, gleaming with the light of stars and a light now lost to the world but for the two globes that sailed the skies, Ecthelion smiled. "Nay, you giddy elfling. I was but recalling how long we toiled at building this beauty before us, and asking Elbereth for wisdom that I might not be persuaded to more of your mad schemes."
One elegant golden brow lifted in a delicate arch. "'Twas not my idea to serenade Idril on her conception day, was it? I certainly never would have suggested doing so from the top of that..." Glorfindel grimaced, gesturing towards the crafted trees of which Turgon was so proud. "...thing."
"Our king is mightily satisfied with that so-called thing, milord. I would mind my tongue were I you."
Grinning merrily, Glorfindel shook his head. "Have I ever?"
"Nay." Ecthelion shook his head, wry smile curving his mouth. "You speak from your foolish heart and beguile even those who would come against you with that charm of yours."
The golden elf swept a courtly bow with a flourish of his deep blue cape. Straightening, he chuckled. "Someone must speak truth when others would but flatter."
"Or stay silent, I know, my friend." Ecthelion sighed. "I promise I will be silent no longer in the face of foolishness." He slanted a look sideways, smirking. "Even if it 'tis your foolishness I must decline."
Glorfindel snorted. "I have never sought to hold anyone's tongue, friend or otherwise." Bending, he swept the harp he had brought along into his hands. "If I am a fool, then I expect you to tell me...before all others, please. I would rather hear it from a friend."
Chuckling, Ecthelion raised his flute in a salute. "I promise."
A nod from Glorfindel and both elves turned to face the mountains again. The silver strains of Ecthelion's flute whispered on a breeze, growing stronger as the sun's gold blossomed behind the mountains. When she burst into the sky, soaring upwards like one of the Great Eagles, the elves of Gondolin raised voices and song, blending seamlessly with the cries of the Eagles as they too soared in the sky to welcome Anar in her summer reign.