Blinded Choices

          Who in this world truly recalls the past?  Certainly not those who encounter me here, in this desolate place.  They only know what they were taught, tales meant to teach a lesson.  All they know is of Aredhel the Vain, Aredhel the Foolish, Aredhel the Selfish.  Foolish indeed would I have been had I known the future consequences of my actions, and stayed on the same course.  How could I have known, answer me that.  I could not have.  Now you will hear my tale, untainted by retellings and outside judgments.

            I am a free spirit; I always was.  Seldom did I take to the feminine arts, preferring hunting and riding to embroidery.  I willingly journeyed from the Blessed Lands with my kin, thinking only of the untamed forests of Arda.  My brothers always wished to protect me, and I cannot resent them for that.  I was the youngest in the family; it was a natural response.  Turgon insisted that I live with him in his new city, Gondolin, and I happily accepted.  It was beautiful, to be sure.  For a short while, I was content.  But, it could not last.  My restlessness finally got the better of me.  I went to Turgon to get leave to ride to my cousins, the sons of Feanor.  My brother tried to refuse.  He only worried for my safety, and I could not scorn him for that.  My harsh words were said in exasperation, not anger.  I had fully expected this reaction, but not Turgon's persistence.  I accepted his guard only reluctantly.  To be honest, I did not understand his worry; he knew perfectly well that I could take care of myself.  Ah well, brothers are brothers.  I would find some way to lose that bothersome escort.

            I was successful in losing the escort, perhaps a little too successful.  I became trapped in a forest unfamiliar to me.  Do not misunderstand; I did not fear for my life.  I had gotten myself into, and out of, worse predicaments than this.  Still, this forest seemed strange.  It was filled with shadows where there should be none.  Worse, I could feel someone watching me, though I could not see the person.  If there is one thing I absolutely cannot stand, it's a lurker.  I did not know how long I had been wandering, only that I was weary.  I came upon a home in the middle of the forest.  I was surprised; this was no forest hut.  It looked more like a manor house.  Surely someone had lured me here.  The door opened, and a tall Elf stood before me.  Why did I get the ugly feeling that it was he who had stalked me through the wood?  He invited me inside, but I only warily accepted.  The tall Elf introduced himself as Eol, kinsman of King Thingol of Doriath.  He did not react well when he found that I was a Noldor.  Eol noticeably stiffened when I told him my name, but did not become hostile.  I was prepared to draw my sword on him if need be.  I asked Eol why he had followed me through the woods, more to relax him than out of curiosity.  His reply did little to soothe me.  Eol told me he was merely curious about the fair lady who had wandered into his wood.  Eol asked that I remain with him, at least for a time.  I wondered what "remaining" entailed, but knew that I had little choice.  I would never get out of these woods without help.  I agreed reluctantly.  How bad could it be?

            I soon found out what remaining with Eol meant.  He wanted me as his wife.  Again, I had little choice but to agree.  I found the constraints he put on me trying.  He forbade me to go out into the sunlight.  Instead, Eol said we could wander together under the moonlight.  I was not entirely happy with this arrangement, but I could live with it.  Moonlight wasn't such a bad thing

            Childbirth, on the other hand, was bad.  I bore Eol a son about a year after our first meeting.  Where was Eol when I was in agony?  Nowhere to be found.  I was thankful that his servants at least cared about me.  One was even kind enough to help me through my labor.  When I finally beheld my child, I was surprised and pleased to see that he resembled me more than Eol.  Eol would not be pleased, I thought with a smirk.  In my heart, I named him Lomion, Child of Twilight.  I knew that Eol would never approve, but I did not care. 

            So it went, day after day.  Only after the passing of twelve years did Eol decide to name my son.  What an ugly name as well: Maeglin.  It sounded violent to my ears.  I saw little of my son after that day.  Eol took him to the forges of the dwarves constantly.  However, I soon found that my son delighted in the tales of the Noldor, especially of my kin in Gondolin.  Every time I tell those stories, my heart longs for that beautiful city.  I wondered how I ever grew tired of its light and fountains.  Often I laugh to myself about my restless spirit.  But I realized that I was not the only one growing restless.  Eol stopped taking him to see the dwarves, ever since my son mentioned the desire to see my kin.  He has stayed home with me lately.  Soon after Eol's latest excursion, Lomion proposed that we escape together.  I was so proud of him; my son had found the courage that I lacked.  We fled together that afternoon, for we knew that Eol would not return for some time.  We soon found our way out of Nan Elmoth.  With a little luck, we would reach Gondolin without being detected by my wretched husband.

            My son was as delighted to see Gondolin as I was.  I was gald to be back.  Turgon all but crushed me in his embrace, so great was his joy at my return.  He also accepted my son as a new lord of Gondolin.  Lomion, for his part, seemed especially interested in his cousin, Idril.  And why not?  She is considered a beauty even among the Eldar.  Alas, our new joy was not to last.  Eol was caught trying to sneak into the city; by ill fate he had discovered our trail.  I could tell that Turgon was not pleased, but, bless him, he received Eol in good grace.  Turgon offered Eol his hand and called him kinsman.  If only Eol had such manners.  He was outright vile to Turgon, and had some choice words for me, and my son, as well.  At this, Turgon finally grew angry.  Turgon told my husband that he must either live in Gondolin, or die there.  Turgon would suffer no outsider knowing the hidden location of our city.  Eol remained silent.  Never could I have expected what happened next.  Eol took a hidden javelin from his cloak and cast it at my son.  He cried that no one would possess his son but him.  I did what any mother would have done; I leapt in front of the weapon so that it struck me.  I took the blow in the shoulder.  Turgon was ready to have Eol killed on the spot.  However, Idril and I moved him to spare Eol's life.  My wound was little, I said, and not worth an execution.  Turgon reluctantly agreed.  I was only happy that my son was safe.

            I felt ill that night, and could not fathom why.  Elves do not fall sick; we cannot.  I did not grow better as the evening wore on, only worse.  Too late was the cause of my sickness found: poison.  I had taken a death blow meant for my son.  Lomion stayed by my side the whole time, as did Idril and Turgon.  I comforted them as best I could, but could feel the darkness gathering around me.  My son burst into tears, begging me not to leave.  I had little choice in the matter; I was gone within a few minutes.  My last thoughts fell upon my son.  I did not wasn't him to be an orphan. 

            I now dwell in the Halls of Mandos, home of all the Elven dead.  I saw all that happened after my passing: how Lomion grew to great stature in Gondolin, his might in arms, and how he would betray my beloved city to its doom.  Turgon, Glorfindel, Ecthelion, all dead because of my son.  No, not my son.  Me.  If I had not given my life to save his, Gondolin would still stand.  Had I even the faintest notion of what my son would do, I would have allowed the javelin to enter his heart.  Indeed, I may have even helped it on it's lethal way.  But, alas, motherhood blinds a lady to the truth.  Always has, always will.