Wayland Smith

A strange AU fic, inspired by some of the wonderful portrayals of Tolkien's characters in the Gondolin RPG, especially Ithilwen's Maeglin. It is also dedicated to Ithilwen for the kindness she shows to all her fellow writers, and big thanks to her as well for a favour she did lately.

Some credit can also go to Lipstick, and her Quendi flatmates.

Disclaimer: Any characters, places, or settings you recognise belong to the great JRRT. I only borrow them.

The Elf

The locals call me Wayland the Smith, and leave me gifts. Food, clothing, money; is all left at the entrance to my cave several times a year. Lucky it is that I really am an elf, one of the elder folk who can live on little nutrition, for I am unable to leave the cave, and a small area around it until one arrives who will free me. Until then, here I must stay, shoeing the horses the mortals leave by the anvil for a coin, making armour by orders left in the same way.

For many years, though, there has been no work. As this land becomes more settled, and the local folk less inclined to believe or follow the ways of their ancestors my work has ceased although they fear me too much to cease their seasonal offerings completely.

It is early spring, and the shadows are drawing long across the ground at the finish of a lovely warm day when I hear the weary hoof beats of a horse that has travelled a long way. A few more moments, and I could hear the horse was lame, near fore, I think. Probably a loose shoe, and I wonder if the rider (just now aware of the horse's lameness) will lead the animal here, to be shod.

Soon, horse and rider come into view; only it is a mortal woman who leads the horse, a beautiful, dainty black mare. The woman is dressed unusually, for she is wearing leggings of some kind, they fit her slender form tightly, and the shirt she wears, if it can truly be named such, barely covers her. She is tall and slim and has lovely golden hair. She reminds me of another golden haired lady, and she is weeping.

This clearly very young lady is not here to seek me, but appears to be fleeing something. I step from my cave; I am showing myself to another person for more time than these mortals could comprehend and I bow to the lady, 'Can I be of assistance,' I ask, 'you are weary, maybe lost,' I query as the confusion in her mind suggests she might be indeed be lost, 'and your mare needs her shoe mended.'

The Mortal

I get the shock of my life as he appears. Tall, and darkly handsome, with amazing long black hair bound tightly into a single braid down his back, I blink hard and notice two more things as he takes Firefly's bridle and bends to lift her left forefoot. He is dressed as if he stepped through a time portal from a thousand years ago, and his ears are pointed!!

Not obviously so, for I didn't notice at first, and nor do I pay much attention to his beautiful voice although he speaks like music. I am tempted to snatch Firefly's reins from his hands, and run, but the poor mare needs her shoe fixed. So, I watch, and when he leads Firefly into the cave, I follow. I watch as he lights a great forge, and lays out tools.

Finally, he speaks, 'you carry some food for yourself, and Firefly, you should eat, and rest while the forge heats.'

I jump when he mentions Firefly's name, and he gives a small smile, 'She told me,' he explains, 'often beasts will speak to me.' His brilliant eyes have a faraway look as he says, 'the only creatures I had to play with as a child were animals.'

I take my saddlebags from Firefly's back and open them, pulling out my sandwiches and some grain for Firefly. Also, I pull out a sweater; it's not so much that I'm cold but this strange man is unnerving me and I suddenly want to cover myself. I feel that does not approve of me showing so much skin.

His eyes are on my food, and I realise that he's hungry. On impulse, I hold out the second package of sandwiches, 'here, the least I can do is share my sandwiches, they're a bit squashed but they'll be Ok.'

He accepts, eating neatly yet quickly. He pours hot water into an old teapot from a battered kettle I hadn't noticed, and makes us both some delicious herbal tea. He strips off his shirt, and puts on an old well-worn leather apron, and gets to work. The only light is from the forge fire, and the orange glow reflects on the man's skin, and I watch the play of his muscles under his skin as he hammers the shoe into shape.

Very soon, Firefly is shod, and I thank the smith rather shyly, which is unusual for me, normally I feel comfortable with nearly everyone.

'You are welcome Lady,' he says in an old fashioned manner, but I gathered he was asking for my name.

'Mandy, Mandy Smith,' I say; then, 'what is your name?'

He laughs, and it sounds like singing. 'Your people have called me Wayland Smith for time almost beyond even my memory, but my true name is Maeglin.'

'Your people?' I question, as I look him over again, 'you are all alone here? What happened to your people?' I ask curiously

The Smith.

Mandy has lost any unease she may have had once I told her my name. Her resemblance to Idril is remarkable, except she is not as lovely as Idril, no woman could be. I have seen enough mortal women over the years to know that she is very young indeed, and that for a mortal she is exceptionally beautiful. Could she be a descendant of Idril's through Elros, her grandson that chose to be mortal?

I make a sudden decision, that Mandy cannot leave my cave tonight, it is too dangerous, and secondly to tell her truthfully who I am.

'I betrayed my people to an evil lord of great power, Morgoth. By his hand and my deeds were my people and their city destroyed.'

Mandy's look is one of shock and horror, 'But you seem such a kind person.' Then once she gathers her thoughts, 'Why?'

'The love of a beautiful woman, who loved me not.' I give her a tiny, stiff smile, 'you look very like her.'

She thinks on this before answering, 'So this,' and her hands indicates the confines of my cave, 'Is your punishment?'

I nod, 'the survivors of Gondolin, the city I betrayed, thought I died with the city. I was badly wounded, and thrown from the city walls, but I lived. The Valar, however, knew that I was alive and decreed my punishment.'

Mandy stares into the forge fire for a long moment before she speaks again, 'The Valar, who are they?' Then again a silence I choose not to break, 'No, on second thought, I don't think I want to know. Instead I'll thank you for shoeing Firefly Maeglin, I should pay you I suppose but I have no money.'

I look outside and notice it is full dark now and the trails leading down from my high cave are steep and winding, very dangerous to negotiate on a night when the moon and stars are hidden by thick clouds.

'You may thank me by staying here for the night, it is too dark and dangerous to ride down the trails tonight, and I would enjoy some company; someone to talk to,' I ask quietly.

Author's Notes: If Maeglin is good I think there will be two more chapters, and some curious developments.