Notes: It is probably best if everyone knows that I pronounce Glorfindel with the stress on the second syllable. It seems consistent with the LotR Appendix.
Disclaimer: I wrote the story and the poem; the settings and characters are from Tolkien, of course. I gain nothing from this story except thewarm fuzziesof sharing it with others.
After the lively scene at the table that night, it was with relief that Glorfindel joined the rest of Elrond's household and guests as they settled into the Hall of Fire for a soothing evening of poetry and song. Glorfindelsank into his chair as Estel took his place in front of the fireplace and turned to face his audience.
"What are you going to sing for us tonight, Estel?" Elrohir asked from the side of the room. "Do you have something new, or an old favorite?"
"I learned a new song about Glorfindel!" announced Estel, bouncing up and down on his toes with enthusiasm. "It is called 'Glorfindel Fair' and it is all about how he rescued Elves from a burning city and foughta Balrog!"
" 'Glorfindel Fair?' " Elrond asked with interest, casting a sidewise glance at the golden-haired Elf sitting nearby. "I do not believe I have heard that one."
Glorfindel, meanwhile, was truly mortified. "Estel, I do not think -"
"It is very good," Estel said earnestly to Elrond. "And I have memorized the whole thing!"
"It is drivel," Glorfindel contradicted, face hot with embarrassment. "We did not even ride - we walked the entire distance! And could anyone really believe that I -"
"Hush Glorfindel," admonished Elrond, settling back in his chair. "Do not spoil all the hard work Estel has done in learning his new piece." He turned to Estel. "Go on, my son, we are all ready to hear you."
Estel stood in front of the fire and smiled. "It really is a very good song," he assured everyone. He took a deep breath…
"Eh-hem….'Glorfindel Fair'. ..
"Glorfindel Fair with Tuor rode"
"Walked," said Glorfindel under his breath, but no one heard him.
"While flames in Gondolin still glowed,
For ill had Morgoth wrought that day
With fiery dragons sent to slay
The peaceful Elves of Gondolin -
Thus Morgoth wrested kin from kin.
"Dressed within a mantle gold
Glorfindel Fair was fierce and bold
His sword was mithril, flashing bright
His breastplate held the dying light "
Glorfindel rolled his eyes. How would anyone know what he wore or what he looked like during the fall of Gondolin? Glorfindel himself could not have said what he was wearing that day.
"He wore a crown of golden flowers
And fought atop the burning towers. "
"A crown of flowers?" muttered Glorfindel incredulously, "While fighting dragons? And those towers were made entirely of stone!"
"Shh!" hushed several Elves nearby. Elrond gave Glorfindel a quelling stare. Estel continued, oblivious to the minor commotion.
"Glorfindel paused to find his liege
Who bade him leave that grievous siege
That from the ruined city he
Might find a remnant company;
Andthuswith Tuor that smallband
Went forth to seek an unknown land.
Children, women and sick had fled
That city filled with Noldor dead -
For Idril whispered, word was sent,
And through the secret tunnel went
Those that could not fight that day "
Glorfindel blinked. He was glad that Idril herself was not here: she would not have taken kindly to the women being lumped together with the children and the infirm.
"So these were also led away.
They passed through narrow Eagle's Cleft,
Steep rock to right, abyss to left
The strongest Elves in front and back
Lest Morgoth should again attack
Indeed, ere long there came a roar
Of Orc and Goblin at the fore. "
Glorfindel tried to remember events, but they were a little hazy. It seemed there were some Men attacking as well - but then, whoever had written this song was taking an amazing number of liberties anyway. One more probably did not matter.
"All able Elves went front to fight
For Orcs were naught to Elvish might
Ai, Glorfindel! Fair Golden Flower!
Your doom was sealed within that hour -
For now the Orcs assailed the rear
And yet no Elvish sword was near."
Glorfindel looked outraged. "We did not leave the back of the line unprotected!" he protested.
"Glorfindel turned to make his way
From front to back, toward the fray
That was behind the company -
With blazing eyes and heart came he!
But came a sound that chilled the blood
And froze the Noldor where they stood.
"Now we are coming to the good part," Estel interrupted himself to announce. In a more dramatic voice he continued:
"Burning bright with Morgoth's ire
A vast Balrog with skin of fire
Now stood above the frightened weak
And gave a weird, unearthly shriek!
Glorfindel also gave a cry
And to the Balrog's flames leapt nigh!"
Here Estel gave a great leap towards the fire, and came so close to singeing himself that Elrond rose half out of his chair. Estel was unharmed, though, and began mimicking the actions in his song, drawing forth an invisible weapon as he sang:
"With fearless grace he drew his sword
'Go back thee to thy evil lord!'
So spake Glorfindel, and stepped forth
And pressed the beast for all his worth
Yet knew that he was one, alone,
Against a mighty evil thrown."
Several Elves looked to Glorfindel sympathetically. Glorfindel, cheeks aflame, tried not to meet anyone's eyes.
"Long they struggled, small and great
Upon the cliffs each called his fate -
But lo! Glorfindel plunged his knife
Into the beast, and took its life!
Yet ere the evil creature fell
It caught the hair of Glorfindel. "
…Who slid down in his chair. Just how the Balrog had thrown himhadnot been generally known…until now.
"The Elf fell back, he could not stand
His foot was slipped, and his fair hand
Could grasp at neither grass nor stone -
Into the crevice two were thrown:
The Balrog and the gentle Elf
Who, for his kin, was slain himself. "
"Ai!" Murmured the sympathetic audience. Glorfindel, however, was glad that Estel had finally come to his death, as it meant the song was nearly over.
"So for a time his body lay
Where breezes cool would dart and play
Until an eagle came and found
Glorfindel's shell upon the ground
And bore him to the quiet hill
Where golden blooms may flower still. "
Everyone clapped with enthusiasm when Estel ended his recitation, and the little boy proudly bowed. Elves all over the room were giving Glorfindel curious, awed looks.
Glorfindel felt his face must be flushing as red as an autumn tomato. Where on earth had Estel learned that wretched song, anyway? If Elrond had never heard of it, how had Estel come to know it?
His question was soon answered as Estel passed by Erestor, who was not quite discreet enough when he pressed a few sweets into Estel's hand. The councilor also bestowed upon the little boy a satisfied, approving smile.
"Ai, Erestor," thought Glorfindel, narrowing his eyes, "one day, when you least expect it..."