I was planning on writing a multi-chaptered fic involving the people (of all races) remaining in Middle-Earth after the Ring-Bearers left to Valinor, but, try though I did, I could not get the first chapter right…so I stopped it and decided to write something else, see how it goes, and then pick-it up again.
I changed some facts about what happened during the Fall of Gondolin, and I hope that by doing that I did not ruin the effect of the whole thing. Reviews will be most welcome!
Disclaimer: It's all Mr. J.R.R Tolkien's, not mine. But come on, you already knew that, didn't you?
The Fall of Gondolin:
Turgon gripped his daughter's hand as they started moving towards the secret passage. His eyes, though determined, showed that he did not think that Gondolin would last against the onslaught of Morgoth.
"You must go," he said softly. "And lead the people to safety. Make for the Havens. Cirdan the Shipwright will aid you." Idril Celebrindal stared at her father, afraid.
"What about you…?" she whispered, pushing her son in front of her, where she could see him. Turgon smiled gently, squeezing her hand.
"I must defend my Kingdom and my people…till the end," he said. He set his gaze upon the young boy, leaning against his mother, and his eyes softened, although a gleam shone in them. "The fate of the Eldar will lie in your hands. Go now and we will still have hope." He stroked his grandson's head. "You must keep your mother safe, Ëarendil…"
"But – " Idril was cut off when terrified screams reached their ears, causing her to turn pale. Elves were running here and there, screaming and unable to stay calm. Peeking through one of the archways facing the gardens, Turgon's face turned white as he spotted the shimmering clouds of stark red flame that seemed to be advancing towards the main buildings.
"Valarauko…" he muttered, under his breath, hoping against hope that Morgoth had sent with his army just the one Balrog. Judging by the amount of fire that he could see, however, he doubted it.
"Ada…" whispered Idril in horror, catching a glimpse of what her father was staring at.
"You must go now, Idril," said the King, turning his back on the archway. "There is not time to waste."
"I will not go without you, Ada!" exclaimed Idril, her stubborn nature kicking in.
"Listen to me!" ordered Turgon, raising his voice, although his heart was heavy. He knew that he would never see his beautiful daughter again…or his precious grandson. Idril stared into her father's eyes. Why? Why did she have to escape whilst he remained? Did being the High King of the Noldor make it necessary for him to stay? Surely his people would not think any less of him if he escaped with the most part of his men? She was snapped out of her thoughts when an Elf ran up to them, breathing heavily. His golden hair was not as neat as it usually was, and his gleaming sword and armour were stained with a dark substance that looked like blood.
"Your Majesty, your highness, hurry. You must leave. We'll take care of things here," he said, as he caught his breath and reached out, holding a part of the archway to steady himself.
"No. Glorfindel, I have one last task for you, as your Lord," said Turgon, turning his eyes away from the young Captain and, looking it, seeing the fire getting closer and closer to where they were. Glorfindel stared hard at his King, having a sinking feeling in his gut that he knew what his task was to be. And that Turgon did not plan on leaving the City to its doom. "Lead Idril and Ëarendil to the secret passage…there safety is important. I am sure that there will be many others taking refuge in the passageway, so we will have survivors…" Glorfindel stared sadly at his King for a moment or two. "Glorfindel?"
"I will do as you say, your Majesty; I give you my word," said the golden-haired Elf. "Your Highness?"
"…I…I cannot leave…" said Idril, tearing her gaze away from her father and looking pleadingly at Glorfindel. "I – how can I leave without Ada?" Turgon cupped his daughter's face in his hands, forcing her to look at him once more.
"Celebrindal, you do not need me to remind you of the vision you had, many years ago, do you?" Idril shook her head slowly. "I thought not," said Turgon, nodding, "In that case, you know that you must leave, do you not?" Idril opened her mouth, looking like she was going to argue, but Turgon interrupted whatever it was that she was going to say. "Do not argue my daughter; you must go. We will meet again one day…in the Blessed Realm, when the Ëa is remade." He let go of her. "Till then… nai tiruvantel ar varyuvantel I Valar tielyanna…" (May the Valar protect you on your path…)
Steeling herself, Idril nodded slowly, turning away from her father. "…T-till then, Ada…" she whispered, moving slowly from her side. Glorfindel inclined his head to his King, the sadness evident on his face.
"Your Majesty – "
" – Take care of them, Glorfindel," said Turgon, hurriedly clasping his shoulder, "I beg of you…" Glorfindel nodded as Idril slipped her free arm into his, as she was holding onto her son with her other arm. With a last look at him, Glorfindel turned around and hurried away, heading towards the secret passageway that Idril had had built, fearing treachery.
Turgon smiled softly as he watched them leave. He sent up a prayer to the Valar – a prayer for their safety. He was distracted from his thoughts when he heard the scream, cutting through the tense and bloody atmosphere.
"Gothmog! It's GOTHMOG!"
Idril's face was full of apprehension as they entered the narrow, passageway that led from where they were standing to the other side of the mountain. She was glad that she had got the passageway made, without informing Maeglin, her dear cousin. It was his treacherous deed that had gotten Gondolin into this position, and she would never forgive him for that. She could still remember the expression she had last seen on the son of Ëol's face, before he had fallen off the walls of the city, into the abyss that his father had been pushed into after the death of Aredhel, Turgon's sister. She shuddered as she remembered how he had stopped her and Ëarendil right when the attack on Gondolin had begun. If her husband Tuor had not arrived when he had, Maeglin would surely have taken her away with him.
She stopped running suddenly, her arm slipping out of Glorfindel's. The said Elf stopped as well, turning around with a puzzled expression on his face as he saw her standing there, with her eyes wide open in fear.
"…Princess?" he questioned, taking the few brisk steps needed to stand beside her.
"Tuor…T- Tuor…" whispered Idril, looking horrified, "He – he is still out there…" The golden-haired Elf's own light-blue eyes widened slightly as he realized what she was saying.
"Are…are you sure?" he asked, slowly, not wanting her to panic. Idril nodded.
"Yes! I – I have to go back – " she turned around, as though to run back to the turmoil. Glorfindel's arm shot out, stopping her. "Let me go Glorfindel, I have to – "
" – You will not be going anywhere," said Glorfindel, his grasp firm. "Where did you last see him? And when was this?"
" – We were at the walls of the city…he fought Maeglin and defeated him…he brought me to the tower and then left me there…and then Ada came and…let me go this instant, Glorfindel!" She continued to struggle, attempting to get away from him. "Do it before I order you to!" Glorfindel sighed as he took in the defiant expression on her face.
"You and Ëarendil will move forward, with the rest of these people. I do not care how slow you move, but you must move, do you understand me?" asked Glorfindel, using the tone he used on his men when he wanted it made clear that he would not approve of them disobeying his orders.
"I will not – "
" – Do not worry, Princess, I will bring Tuor back to you," interrupted Glorfindel, giving her a grim smile before he reached into one of his boots and drew out the dagger he always kept there, and untied the quiver of arrows from his back. "Keep these, you never know what you will need them for," he said, as he gave the bow and arrow and the dagger to the surprised Princess. With that, he moved forward hurriedly, heading back towards the chaos.
Ecthelion staggered backward, his left arm stinging. Gothmog stood before him, not looking as confident as he had a little while ago, when the battle had been rather one-sided. Despite the numerous injuries that he had, Ecthelion could not help but smile. Glorfindel would have been proud, to see Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, severely injured. It seemed as though all of their hard training did have its benefits. His smile vanished as Gothmog charged at him again. He dodged the fire that was spat out at him…but it was not enough, he realized, as he went sailing backwards when Gothmog's fire whip slammed into him.
Opening his eyes, he saw everything looking rather hazy. In fact, if he did not know any better, he would have sworn that there were two Balrogs standing before him. He narrowed his eyes as he saw Gothmog advancing on him. He would not allow his life to be claimed without claiming Gothmog's. The sound of air rushing around him as he tried to stand up told him that the end was nearing. Very well…since he was going to die, he was definitely going to take this fiend of Morgoth's with him.
Gothmog charged at him, not seeming to be too bothered about the scattered Elves who were standing some distance off, wondering whether they should shoot him down then or not. In the meantime, Ecthelion finally straightened, ignoring the pain that seared through his spine as he did so, with his sword steady in his hand. His grey eyes were narrowed as he stared at the quickly approaching Balrog. The bodies littered around him were the Balrog's fault…hundreds of innocent people had died because of the dark creature. He would take it down, if it was the last thing he did.
He did not duck, nor did he dodge, instead holding his sword straight, in front of him. Gothmog flew right into his sword, allowing him to slice the Lord of Balrogs almost into two perfect halves.
Gothmog fell, releasing a dreadful wail from his mouth as he did so. Ecthelion stared at the whip of flame, his body not moving, even though it was clear that he was going to be hit. He closed his eyes, a small smile on his lips as he went flying backward. He fell to the ground with a thud, the smile still on his face.
Turgon leaned heavily against one of the pillars behind him. He had heard Gothmog's scream of rage before he fell…and he had seen Ecthelion fall a moment later. He closed his eyes. Ecthelion of the Fountain…he prayed that the Elf-Lord would have a safe journey to the Halls of Mandos…the Halls of the Dead.
He opened his eyes, a light gleaming in them. His men's efforts to save the City were not going to be in vain. He smiled at Glamdring, the blade he held in his hands. The Elves with him stared in wonder as they saw the bright light that gleamed about his entire figure.
"We hold the tower!" he yelled. "Tangado haid!" (Hold your positions!) He turned around, Glamdring gripped tightly in his hands. "We will not give up now!" The Elves with him agreed as one. They would hold the tower – at the cost of their lives.
Glorfindel rushed outside, looking around furtively as he did so. So far, he had not been able to spot any sign of Tuor…he had just come across the bodies of people he had once known, and a few bands of the vile Orcs which he had killed, but they did nothing to help in his search. He needed to find the Man, soon. He did not think that the city would hold against this onslaught, and – he stopped walking suddenly as his light eyes fell on it. Lying on the ground before him, in the midst of the pieces of rubble…was a slender metal head-band. Engraved on the head-band, was the Sun…and two mountains on either side of it. His eyes widened as he bent down and extracted it from the rubble. The back part of the head-band, he saw, was broken.
"Ecthelion…" he whispered, knowing very well that his friend never took that head-band off. Looking around with a queasy feeling in his gut, he spotted Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs, dead. Not further off…he spotted him, lying still and still gripping his sword in his hand. He knelt beside the dead body of Ecthelion. His friend, he saw, had been gravely wounded, despite the smile of satisfaction on his face. A tear streaked down Glorfindel's face. If only he had remained by his friend's side…they would have probably managed to finish off the Balrog easily. His clasped his best-friend's now cold hand in his, his heart heavy with sorrow. Orcs ran around him too busy looking out for the King to bother about him and his dead friend.
A yell snapped him out of his thoughts. He raised his head sure that he recognized the voice. With a last glance at his friend, he stood up, tucking the broken head-bang into his tunic. When he turned around, his heart almost stopped as he saw the group of Orcs standing with their spears drawn and pointing at Tuor, who was surrounded by them. Taking a deep breath, he sprinted towards Tuor, mercilessly slaughtering the Orcs that stood in his path. When he finally reached Tuor's side, after taking out a fair number of Orcs, he tapped him on the shoulder, trying to tell him that they needed to get away from there. Not even bothering to look at him, Tuor moved forwards, to charge at the remaining Orcs, when Glorfindel held him back.
"No! We must get back. Her Highness and Ëarendil are waiting for you!" he yelled, hoping that he could be heard above the Orcs uncivilized cries.
"But what about them -?" asked Tuor, nodding at the snarling Orcs.
"I promised them that I would bring you back," said Glorfindel, slicing the head off one Orc who had thought that the Elf-Lord was distracted and thus would provide him with an easy target.
"What – what of King Turgon?" panted Tuor, ducking and turning around, stabbing one of the Orcs who had aimed at him. Glorfindel bowed his head for a moment, before looking up, his eyes determined.
"We must leave, now," he said, "If you do not come with me willingly, I swear that I will drag you all the way there." Looking at him, Tuor could easily tell that he was being serious. If he was not, he would never have agreed to leave his King and his men to fight. Nodding briskly, he indicated that Glorfindel should take the lead, and that he would bring up the rear.
Idril gave Tuor a bright smile, a relieved expression on her face as he approached them. Her eyes scanned his body for any severe injuries, but found that he only had burns and small wounds. Glorfindel stood a small distance away from them, facing the entrance to the secret passageway. A host of Elves had gathered around Idril and Ëarendil – males, females and children alike – ready to fight for the Princess if it was necessary.
On Glorfindel's word, they moved forward, with Tuor in the lead. On Tuor's bidding, Idril and Ëarendil were in the centre of the procession – being in what was almost the safest place for them, should anything happen, and Glorfindel guarded the rear. The bridge-like passageway was very narrow. One false move and the plummet into the darkness of either side of the passage would result in an instant death. Due to this worry, progress was slower than either of them would have liked. Ëarendil, walking in front of Idril, stumbled and swayed, off-balance. If Idril and one of the male, almost grown-up Elves had not grabbed him in time, he would have fallen into the abyss.
"We must hurry!" yelled Tuor from the front. "The sooner we get out of here the better!" Just as they picked up their pace, it appeared. Glorfindel stopped in his tracks, turning around. He saw what would have appeared to the others as a ball of fire approaching them.
"Hurry!" he yelled, not bothering to keep his voice down lest the Balrog heard it. "Àva pusta!" (Don't Stop!) With terrified whimpers, the women and children moved forward. And yet, progress was still slow. Glorfindel knew that unless something was done – and soon at that – they would not make it out of the passageway alive. Images of Ecthelion and King Turgon flashed through his head. He gripped his sword in his hand.
As they continued to make slow progress, Idril turned around, wanting to see exactly where the Balrog was…when she saw Glorfindel standing still, his sword drawn. She found herself coming to a halt as well. What was he doing?
"Glorfindel!" she yelled, drawing everyone's attention to what was going on.
"Glorfindel, what are you doing!" shouted Tuor, seeing what was happening. "We have to keep moving! Come on!"
"You go on ahead," called back Glorfindel, without turning around. "I will hold him off…for as long as I can…" Tuor's eyes widened as he realized what the golden-haired Elf-Lord was proposing.
It seemed that Idril realized it at the same time. "No! You cannot! Are you mad?" screamed Idril. "Glorfindel!" She saw the Balrog advance towards him, recognizing him as his opponent. "Glorfindel, come on! You cannot – " Idril's voice died out in her throat as the Balrog charged at Glorfindel, its whip of fire glowing in the darkness. "Glorfindel!"
Glorfindel held his ground as the Balrog charged. He did not dodge or duck as the whip came crashing down on him. Holding his sword up, he stood straight. Sparks of light erupted as fire met steel. Ëarendil and many of the other Elves shielded their eyes.
"Tuor, he cannot battle here," called Idril, her voice hoarse as her husband made his way towards her and their son. "It – it is…too dangerous…"
"I know…yet I do not think that the Balrog will allow us to have this battle elsewhere," yelled Tuor, raising his voice over the din of the Balrog's roars.
"Tu-or…" yelled Glorfindel, grunting from the effort of holding the creature's whip at bay, "…H – hu-rry…" He grunted as he was thrown back a few feet, miraculously not falling over the bridge-like passageway.
"Naneth…is he…going to die?" asked Ëarendil, softly, his eyes never leaving the battle that was going on in front of him. Idril opened her mouth to answer him, and stopped when her son took a step forward, seemingly transfixed with what was taking place.
"Ëarendil – NO!" yelled Tuor, placing a firm hand on his son's shoulder. They had to get going…they could not waste time. Or Glorfindel's sacrifice. "Hurry! We must get going!"
"But what about Lord Glorfindel?" asked one of the Elflings. Glorfindel had always been popular with the little ones, by the Valar; he acted like one of them himself. Tuor glanced back at the golden-haired Elf-Lord.
"He…will be alright…" he said, wincing as a roar of age erupted from the Balrog's mouth. Glorfindel had given the beast a large gash on its arm. The bridge trembled slightly, suddenly giving Tuor the impression that it could collapse. "HURRY!"
Glorfindel risked looking back at the Elves for a moment. They were not as far away from him as he would have liked, yet – he saw Idril open her mouth, horror quite clear on her face and turned around in time to meet the scorching flames coming forth from the Balrog's mouth. The passageway was soon becoming covered with fire and smoke. He staggered, losing his balance. At the last moment, he dug his sword into the ground for support, and succeeded in steadying himself.
Everything was happening in slow motion for him. The stench of smoke mixed with fire did nothing to help him. His hair was singed in places as was his clothes. Blood oozed out from a gash on his right arm and his back was burnt where the whip of flame had hit him. Despite all of this, he was satisfied to see the Balrog unhappy with the gash on its arm…although when compared to his injuries, it was nothing at all.
"Everyone get down!" The yell caught his attention. Looking at the Balrog, he saw it opening its mouth which was full of fire. He turned pale as he realized that it was aiming at the other Elves. He looked back, aghast, and saw Tuor hurriedly fit an arrow into his bow and raise it, taking aim. With his keen Elven sight, he could see Tuor's mouth moving, as though he was saying something. Unfortunately, he was far too weary to make out what the Mortal was saying. Watching the arrow's progress from the moment it left the bow, he smiled as it lodged itself in the Balrog's shoulder, drawing a roar of rage from it. His smile disappeared as he saw the creature raise its whip – no doubt to destroy the Elves.
Drawing his sword from the ground where he had dug it in, to keep his balance, he took a deep breath as he pulled himself straight. The end, if he could judge from the way the world was swirling around him, was clearing near…for him.
Idril and Ëarendil watched the golden-haired Elf stand straight, staggering all the same, even when he managed to do so. Everyone watched as the Balrog gripped its whip, ready. Tuor's face was grim. However much he wanted to believe that his friend, the mischievous trouble-maker, would make it…he had his doubts…
The Balrog charged at him, whip raised, and fire coming out of its mouth. In reply, Glorfindel stood still, despite the fact that his body was begging the end to hasten. He mentally urged his sword to bear with him for these last few moments…and held it up, at an angle, with its blade gleaming dully.
Ëarendil felt his father's grip on his shoulder tighten. He did not tear his eyes away from the battle. Idril trembled slightly as the other women held their children to them and as the men spread out, creating a barrier between the Balrog and Glorfindel and the rest of the people.
Fiery-whip and balls of flame met fabric and soft skin at the same time that Balrog flesh met gleaming metal. Glorfindel pushed the sword into the Balrog's side as hard as he could, despite the fact that his body was being tortured by the Balrog's weapons of Fire. His knees shook terribly as he tried to hold his ground, well aware of the Darkness that was waiting…threatening to over-power him.
He did the best that he could. The Balrog tossed him aside with its massive hand, even with the fairly large injury on its side. Glorfindel lost his balance and struggled to regain it, precariously close to the edge of the bridge. It was no use…He toppled over. As he felt his feet leave the ground, and his body cutting through the air, he turned his head to the side, catching sight of the Elves who were staring at him in horror. He saw Tuor…his face clouded with horror…Ëarendil burying his face in his mother's dress…and Idril…opening her mouth, screaming. He nodded at them, just once, before everything turned Dark. He had not kept his word to King Turgon…
Tuor was stunned as he watched Glorfindel fall. He did not need to look at the Elves around him to see that they were more or less in the same state of shock as he was. As he stared at the Balrog, he set his jaw. It looked like he would have to carry on Glorfindel's battle, or the Balrog would pursue them. It was then that, what would later be retold in countless tales, took place. From the dark abyss that Glorfindel had fallen into soared Thorondor, King of the Eagles sacred to Manwë Súlimo. In his talons was the lifeless body of Glorfindel, Lord of the House of the Golden Flower of Gondolin.
The Elves fell silent, watching as Thorondor flew towards the Balrog with Glorfindel's body held securely in its talons. Opening its large beak, it flew to the injured side of the Balrog and, before the fell creature knew what was happening, the Eagle bit hard onto the side, drawing a large quantity of blood from the injury. With a shriek of rage, the Balrog wheeled around, trying to hit the Eagle, but lost its balance as it attempted to do so. It fell into the abyss, and with it went the smoke and the fire that had filled the passageway.
Thorondor flew to the Elves, directing down the remaining stretch of the bridge-like passageway.
When at last they reached the grassy plains of the other side of the mountains, the Elves were sober and downhearted. There was not a single smile on anyone's faces, despite the fact that they had managed to escape the falling, or rather fallen City. Glorfindel had been known to everyone, being the type of person who was everyone's friend…and he was a great one at that.
Flying around with the Elf-lord's body still in its talons, Thorondor suddenly came to a halt and laid the body down, in between two lush and leafy trees. As he placed the body down, the last few rays of the setting sun shone on it, illuminating the golden hair and the armour. With that done, the Lord of the Eagles took to the skies again, leaving the Elves behind.
A grave was dug in that very spot and Glorfindel the Elf-Lord was laid to rest there. Amidst small tokens the grieving people left on the mound of the grave and with tears streaking down her face, Idril laid the bow and the quiver of arrows that Glorfindel had given her before he had gone to search for Tuor.
Songs were sung for those who had perished in Gondolin at the hands of the enemy, but for Glorfindel the Beloved, many songs were sung; songs that spoke of the battle that had taken place…and of how the Elf-Lord had selflessly sacrificed himself for the sake of the people. It has been said by those who passed the area afterwards, that the area surrounding the Elf's grave was afterwards covered with bright golden flowers – the symbol of the House of the Golden Flower, of which Glorfindel was the Chief.
Well, I hope that was a good one! If there's too much Glorfindel in it…I'm sorry, because I did my best to not let my fascination with that particular Elf show…but I guess I didn't succeed at that. Hehe.
In 'The Silmarillion' in the Volume 'Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin' it states, on pg 243, that: 'Tuor sought to rescue Idril from the sack of the city, but Maeglin had laid hands on her, and on Ëarendil; and Tuor fought with Maeglin on the walls, and cast him far out…then Tuor and Idril led such remnants of the people of Gondolin as they could gather in the confusion of the burning down the secret passageway which Idril had prepared…'
I changed that a bit, in that after Tuor got rid of Maeglin, I wrote that he and Idril separated for a while – and that's where the story starts, when Idril's with Turgon – instead of leading the people to safety straightaway. Like I said at the beginning, I hope it didn't ruin anything! Another thing that I changed, was that I made it so that the Balrog entered the passageway a short while after them, instead of ambushing them with Orcs at the other end of the passage, as 'The Silmarillion' states.
Comments/reviews will be gladly accepted!