Glorfindel remembers a time long ago…
Remember, I will still be here…
The sound of a thousand hoarse voices crying out in agony…as their owners passed from this world. The sight of those whom he had know, those whom he sworn to protect and then those he loved; their bodies mutilated and destroyed laying in filth and blood…so much blood. The roar of battle echoing in his ears, the sound of his sword and shield, the sounds of a thousand swords and shield…and then, the silence that followed…and…the scent, the scent and sight of the dying and bleeding…
Glorfindel looked over the edge of the balcony, his hair hung around his face, shadowing it from view. The rough winds caused a strand to break free from one of his warrior braids. It caressed his face lovingly before being blown away in the breeze and whipping out like a banner of gold. Glorfindel, however, paid it little heed. His mind was far too occupied at this moment.
Visions, ones like he had only seen in his worst nightmares, were flitting through his mind at surreal speeds. They showed him images that any other person would take for being illusory dreams. But as horrifying and unreal as they were, Glorfindel knew that they were anything but dreams. In fact, he knew them as memories, memories of what had been the spiral which had led him to his own inevitable end. Though these memories plagued him daily, it was only on this day, the memorial of the fall of Gondolin, that they returned so vividly.
As long as you hold me in your memory…
His hands clenched the railing in a white knuckle grip as more visions and memories swam in and out of focus. Suddenly, Glorfindel could clearly see Gondolin on the horizon. Its white pristine beauty and its majestic size, the Tower of the King that loomed in the distance, proud and regal as the king was. He saw it in all of its glory and grandeur, and then he saw it burst into flames. Hungry fire licking its sides, as an animal might the freshly spilled blood of its prey. Glorfindel stared in horror as that night's memories, most of which he could only remember on this day, were dragged from the corners of his mind and replayed before his eyes.
He saw the people, frantic and terrified as they ran the city; each and everyone trying to find a haven, a shelter, a sanctuary, anything to hide from the slaughter that they would never be able to run from. Glorfindel could see their terror as the orcs and much worse grew closer and closer to them. He could see the foul beings' ecstasy in the people's fright and his blood boiled in anger.
He fought, oh how he had fought. But it hadn't been enough; it would have never been enough. As he was forced to retreat back with what remained of his people, he saw the terror in their faces. Hundreds of faces all that begged and pleaded with him for help, all of which he longed to help, but none he could. And then he saw her, the little girl who had presented him with a posy of flowers earlier that day. He remembered her well, for never before had he seen a child as beautiful as she had been.
Her hair was dark and shiny like satin and her eyes wide blue and grey like a sky after a spring storm. He remembered how shy she had been, so timid to present her simple gift to the great warrior. Ecthelion had teased him about her shyness, saying he was far to fierce. Glorfindel looked now, as the same hand reached out, only this time it held no gift.
Blood drenched fingers were reached towards him and the child's eyes now held pleading not admiration. Those eyes begged him for help, for salvation. Glorfindel wanted to run to her, to help her, to keep her safe. But he could only watched in horror as her small face was crushed underneath the foot of an orc. One that didn't even look down at the fragile beauty, the innocence, it had destroyed.
Remember, when your dreams have ended…
Glorfindel grasped blindly for the railing, his breath coming in short gasps and his eyes looking wildly about, as his mind tried to determine the real from the surreal. He had revisited it, Glorfindel knew it. He could practically smell the blood that had hung in the air that night and hear the screams… The screams of all those innocent lives; lives whose blood now rested on his hands, lives he had been responsible for.
Time can be transcended …
Glorfindel's mind wandered, against his will, to the first battle during the fall. It had been his men who had stood against the foes and bravely so. They all gleamed, strong and proud, in their armor and defended what they could of the city. They had rushed to protect the city, and under his order had made attempts to flank their enemy and cut through the ranks.
Yet, they fell… in the end all of his men would fall. For the enemy had been of Mordor and had used the darkness to trick them. In the end, it had not been Glorfindel's troops who had flanked the enemy, but the enemy who had flanked them. Because of his folly, many of his men had perished. Glorfindel could remember the first who had fallen.
Sellion, child, that had been his name, and indeed he had been a child. He had only just finished training; he wasn't ready to fight such a fight. But with few men, Glorfindel had had no choice.
Glorfindel's hand gripped the railing tighter, if only…his mind whispered over and over again. If only he had stopped the young one, told him to turn and flee. But no, he had sent to his king for aid; he trusted aid would arrive soon. The young one would be fine to fight until aid arrived, he thought. A tear dripped down on his hand, but aid never did arrive…
They were fighting hard, none had fallen yet under one of the blades, yet it was becoming only a matter of time. Glorfindel could feel his forces weakening, he could sense their fatigue. Then, he saw all of his fears confirmed. He saw the youngest of his troops make a mistake that he knew would be mortal.
Sellion had thrust his swords mightily, thinking he would be able to take his opponent out with ease. It was a fool's mistake, any beginner would make, but in this battle of battles it had been fatal.
Glorfindel remembered how time slowed as he watched the orc ready itself to strike down the young one. He watched as the orc plunged his sword through the young ones body. The scene moved slowly, as though it was moving through water. He saw the Sellion's eyes go wide as the orc's cruelly crafted blade plunged into his young and unmarred skin. And then Glorfindel remembered the silence that took over him, the cold, terrible truth. Sellion had been a child, young and carefree, and now he was dead. After that point more fell as they tried to defend the city, more of his men perished while giving their lives for this cause. And the aid, the aid he was dependant on, the aid he was sure would come was long over due and Glorfindel knew now that no aid would come.
Just remember me…
Glorfindel moved his men into retreat and backed further into the city. He remembered seeing those around him fall as they retreated; his numbers disappearing by the seconds. He recalled when one of his men had fallen close to him; he draped the injured solider over his shoulder and shouted to his men to continue their retreat. He looking down at his armor, which had recently been polished, only to find it drenched in the blood of his comrades, of his friends.
He did not know for how long or far they retreated into the city, barely cling to one another for support. It wasn't until Glorfindel found himself nearing the Great Gate of Gondolin did he realize how far they had pulled back, how much of the precious city had been lost. And yet he knew now there was nothing he could do, he had precious few men still able to bear arms. And of those, many were only standing by their sheer will and stoutness of heart.
Glorfindel looked up once more and turned his gaze to look at the city which was crumbling around him. He saw the army of darkness, the force which was swallowing whole his city and home and for the first time he realized something he would never voice. The city would fall; it would collapse into ruin and destruction. The city of his birth, childhood and life would be destroyed this night, and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
I am the one star that keeps burning, so brightly…
Glorfindel held back the tears of sorrow that threatened to spill down his face. He wouldn't allow his emotions to show, his gaze flickered towards the elf that he was supporting with his shield arm. There was no life in his face, no rise or fall of his chest. Glorfindel turned his head away. Another death, so many have died…
"Glorfindel!" a voice shouted his name, calling to him. Glorfindel turned his head to see Tuor there, his dark hair blowing in an unknown wind, his armor covered in blood that wasn't his own. "To the Square of the King!" he bellowed and then disappeared once more into the mass of warriors. Glorfindel followed the orders given to him and with his remaining men, entered the last stronghold.
As soon he entered he saw the remnants of the House of the Fountain's army, they were already badly beaten. The last defense, his mind murmured. Ecthelion's forces had been the last of our defenses… Upon remembering his friend, Glorfindel looked for him, hoping to find his friend among the soldiers still able to bear arms. When he didn't, he looked to the wounded, but not finding him there either, he cursed the fate that had befallen his friend.
It is the last light, to fade into the rising sun…
He was still mourning when Tuor found him once more, "Glorfindel, how do you fare?" he asked. The man's grey eyes bored deep into Glorfindel's own blue and he looked away only to examine the blood that coated his armor.
"I am well, but Ecthelion…Did he fall here?" Glorfindel asked softly, his voice breaking in his sorrow.
"Nay!" Tuor exclaimed, "He has not fallen, though…" Tuor trailed off and looked towards something behind Glorfindel. The previously mentioned elf turned as saw the fountain, and at its base saw a lone figure leaning over against its base, hunched over itself.
It only took Glorfindel two strides to reach the fountain; however once he had he wished he had taken his time. Ecthelion was badly wounded; so much so that Glorfindel realized the other elf, should they survive this battle, would never fully recover.
Ecthelion's shield arm was badly mangled and rested limply in his lap. It was marred by terrible slashes that looked to have been cauterized. The whip of a balrog, Glorfindel's mind prompted, the heat would have melted the skin. Glorfindel shuttered at the thought, and then dropped to his friend's side. Ecthelion's breath was coming in short, weak gasps and to Glorfindel it seemed as each previous breath would be his last.
I'm with you…
"Ecthelion," he whispered, not trusting his voice to be any louder. As response to his name, Ecthelion's eyes fluttered open and he stared dully into the blue orbs of his longtime friend.
Ecthelion smiled faintly when he recognized his friend. "Glorfin-" his greeting was cut short by a grimace of pain that cut through his words. Glorfindel gripped his friend's shoulders in support.
"Be at ease, mellon-nin," Glorfindel soothed as he reached for his friend's good hand; trying to give him the only pain-relief he could, comfort. When the pain had past, Glorfindel looked over his friend, his eyes taking in the devastating wound. "How has this come to be?" Glorfindel whispered, looking at the gravely wounded arm that Ecthelion was now holding tightly to his chest.
Whenever you tell, my story…
"Balrogs," Ecthelion said, his voice tightened with pain and with a gasp he looked down.
"He fought against three," Tuor's voice stated behind him. Glorfindel jumped in a most un-elflike manner; he had forgotten that the man was still present. "Ecthelion took on three balrogs single handedly. He dispatched the first two with ease, but the last's whip destroyed his shield and then his arm…" he trailed off. "I must check the defenses," the men said abruptly, fleeing the conversation.
Both elves stared after him for a few moments and then Glorfindel smiled down at his friend, "For such bravery, I'm sure they will sing your name for many years to come," Glorfindel said in jest.
Remember, I will still be here…
Ecthelion looked at his friend and then smiled, though it was pained. "Perhaps, I can only hope to be there to hear when the ballads are sung," Ecthelion murmured.
Glorfindel caught the underlining message, if. If they made it out of this alive, if he survived his wounds. "You will be there my friend," he stated solemnly, "We shall both be there together, and together we shall hear them sing of your glory." Ecthelion gave Glorfindel a small smile, and for a moment, time stopped and the danger that was all around them ceased. In that moment, by the fountain, Glorfindel felt his soul fill with peace; they would make it out of here…
However it was briefly cut off by a cry from Egalmoth and Tuor, "Brace the Gates!" both elves heard them cry, "Make ready! Draw your weapons!" Glorfindel shut his eyes briefly, and then looked towards the gates, already he could see the steel bending under the force of the blows. He then looked to the barricades, which would not hold much longer either. They will be on us in moments. It's time to make our final stand, he thought. He was about to join his comrades, when a hand grabbed his wrist.
"Glorfindel," Ecthelion panted, to Glorfindel, it looked like the small movement of grabbing his arm had cause Ecthelion much effort. "Help me get to my feet, mellon-nin," he said, reaching out his hand.
Glorfindel stared at his friend as if he hadn't heard him right, "No," he said flatly, "No, you shall stay by the fountain and rest," Glorfindel ordered.
Ecthelion raised and eyebrow, "Fine," he sighed tiredly, and then he began to push himself, one-handedly to his feet. However, Glorfindel prevented him from rising all the way.
"No, I forbid you. You will only hurt yourself more," Glorfindel argued, trying to push his friend back to a sitting position as gently as possible so not to aggravate his wounds.
"You forbid me?" Ecthelion asked incredulously from the ground, "Glorfindel, how long have we been friends? And how long have you known me?" Ecthelion asked irritably, "Do you really think you can forbid me to do anything?"
"I don't know my friend," Glorfindel said, still not releasing his grip on his friend's uninjured arm, "But I can still try."
"If our places were reversed and you asked me for this, this one last favor. I would never deny you it," Ecthelion's eyes were pleading now, "Glorfindel, this is my stand; my last stand. I can no longer fight in this battle or any other hence," Ecthelion's words cut through Glorfindel, "Please my friend; I cannot fight, but allow me to stand greeting my death. Do not make me sit like some helpless child, allow me to greet my death like the soldier I am."
As long as you hold me, in your memory…
For the longest time, Glorfindel just stood there. His mind waging wars against itself, it wasn't until a loud crash echoed through the courtyard, that Glorfindel was snapped from his reverie. "Very well," Glorfindel said slowly, and then he took his friend gently by the underneath part of his arms and raised him up. Ecthelion swayed for a few moments, much to Glorfindel's dismay, but he did not collapse.
"My sword," Ecthelion requested, sounding as though he had just run a great distance, "For I do not possess the strength to pull it out myself." Glorfindel pulled the sword from its sheath and handed it to his friend, "May the Vailor keep you safe," Ecthelion said as Glorfindel pressed the weapon in his hand.
Glorfindel nodded, "And may we met again and in good health after this battle," he said, and then with those words the two parted.
Glorfindel made his way through the masses towards where Tuor and Egalmoth stood. "What of Ecthelion?" Tuor asked, when Glorfindel took his place beside him, "How will he fare in this battle?" the mortal questioned.
"He is going to make his stand by the fountain of his house," Glorfindel responded quietly, to himself he said, he will die by his namesake by what his house stands for.
Tuor noted his tone, "I am glad you were able to convince him," he said softly to Glorfindel, "It is something I was unable to accomplish," the mortal informed the elf. Looking seriously at the blond lord, he added, "His injury is far more serious than he lets on."Glorfindel nodded, Ecthelion always did have a way of hiding injures, especially the severe ones.
"Ready your weapons!" Egalmoth shouted. Glorfindel pulled his sword from its sheath, and heard numerous others as well. His eyes followed, Egalmoth's which were looking ahead at gate that was bending now under the pressure from the other side. "Archers, make ready!" Tuor shouted, the sound of many bows being knocked filled the air, and to Glorfindel's ears it was a welcomed sound.
For a moment there was silence, and then the gate broken open and from it spilled orcs and other demons like water from a fountain. Glorfindel brought his blade up and with Tuor and Egalmoth he gave a battle cry and dove forward to defend his city, his king and those whom he loved…
I am the one voice in the cold wind that whispers…
Glorfindel paid little heed to how violently or gruesomely he ended the lives of the creatures. Normally he was not one to dwell on malicious hatred and anger, but now, now as they destroyed everything dear to him; everything he had ever loved, he felt only hatred. And it was in that hatred that he found strength to push his weary body, to kill … and he knew he was not alone.
His men, those who had been with him when the city had first been attacked, were fatigued both emotionally and physically. They had seen far too much for one day, and yet they continued. They fought with a ferocity he had never seen in them before. They fought as though they had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and Glorfindel soon realized that was true.
Whether or not the city fell, they would not be among the survivors, they knew this well. But, when they died, they would be remembered, their stars would be forever looked at as the stars of the fallen heroes of Gondolin. Through those stars, they would become immortal once more.
Even Tuor, who was mortal, fought beside Glorfindel with such passion and fierceness that he was almost inclined to believe it was his true partner, the one person who he wished had been able to join the fight. Ecthelion…Glorfindel would stand beside Ecthelion into Mordor itself. Ecthelion, with his grace and swiftness in battle was a powerful ally and an even more powerful enemy. Glorfindel shook his head and decapitated an orc that had gotten to close to him, his rage returning. But it was because of these creatures that Ecthelion could not be with him; it was because of them that his home was being destroyed, and it was them who would pay dearly for it…
And if you listen, you'll hear me call across the sky…
In a swift motion, Tuor, who had been beside Glorfindel, was pushed away from the rest of the fighters. Glorfindel was so caught up in his emotions and anger that he failed to identify the threat before it had been on him. Tuor fought vigilantly to regain his place beside Glorfindel; however, he didn't regain the upper hand until he was almost next to the fountain where Ecthelion resided. The mortal had just finished decapitating the last of the orcs that had pushed him away from the other elves, when a horrible sound echoed from the gates. Suddenly a monster of all monsters, a balrog came forth from them. The balrog lord himself, Gothmog, stood there, whip and sword in hand. His impressive red eyes looked at the fighting and then at Tuor who stood apart from the group, and with an evil grin, he moved toward the man.
Tuor only had a moment to ready himself before the balrog was on him. Glorfindel pushed the orc he had just slaughtered away from him and began to shove his way to the mortal. He knew Tuor could not defend himself for long. The balrog raised his whip and brought it down with a crack, but Tuor shield protected him.
The balrog raised the whip once more, cracking it against Tuor's shield, only this time he brought the man to his knees. Glorfindel increased his pace; he had to get to the mortal. He had to protect the husband of his princess. The balrog raised the whip once more and then nearly flattened Tuor underneath it. This time, however Tuor did not rise. Glorfindel then realized he would never be able to make it in time; he would have to watch as Tuor was killed right before his eyes. Glorfindel swung his sword in a high arc, slaying many orcs that were crowding around him. He wouldn't give up, he would get to Tuor; he would save him!
The balrog raised the whip once more and brought it down, however it was not Tuor's or his shield it contacted, but Ecthelion's long sword. Glorfindel stared in shock at the other elf as he parried the whip. Ecthelion's shield arm hung limply at his side, but he held his sword gallantly in front of him. Ecthelion looked into the balrog's eyes in challenge and then took a step forward, placing his body between the balrog and Tuor's prone form.
The balrog hiss in anger and brought the whip down again. Ecthelion parried the blow for a second time, but while his sword was caught in the fiery whip, the balrog's own sword of flames swiped the blade from Ecthelion's grasp, leaving him weaponless and vulnerable. Glorfindel stared on in horror, without a sword to parry the whip or shield to take its force, Ecthelion would be killed. He shoved aside another orc, but more only got in his way. He fought them as quickly as he could, but no matter what he did they remained in his way; they prevented him from helping his friend.
As long as I still can reach out, and touch you…
"Ecthelion!" Glorfindel cried out in desperation, swinging his sword in front of him blindly. Ecthelion briefly turned to look at his friend. He gave a quick smile and then his face became set. Before Glorfindel knew what was happening, Ecthelion was charging forward, a war cry blossoming from his mouth. He tilted his head down and then rammed his silver spiked helmet into the balrog's exposed chest. The creature's howl of pain and Ecthelion's battle cry intertwined in the air, mixing the grinding sound and the sweet melody, making them one. And then together, using the force of the blow, both crashed down into the cool waters of the fountain.
It only took Glorfindel a second to realize what had happened, and he watched the water steam and bubble as the hot demon sunk to its grave. It was then that he remembered something; Ecthelion was dressed in full armor. Brutally killing the last orc that dared to get in his way, Glorfindel took off towards the fountain and looked into its depths for his friend. He saw Ecthelion badly burned body sinking rapidly toward the bottom; his heavy armor dragging him downward.
Glorfindel raised his arms to dive into the bottomless fountain, but someone latched their arms around his middle and began to drag him away from Ecthelion and the water. It took him only a few second to realize it was Tuor. "Why?" he asked his anger and sorrow melding together as he looked at his friend's watery grave. "Why did you stop me? I could have saved him!"
"No, Glorfindel," Tuor said shaking his head. For the first time, Glorfindel realized that there were tears streaming down his face. "You are dressed in full armor as well, you both would have drowned," The man said. "There was nothing you could have done. Ecthelion died a hero's death. Even if you had managed to pull him from the fountain, his wounds would have been too devastating. Now he will live on in the night sky," Tuor said looking up
Then I will never die…
They stood there for a moment, until Egalmoth came running toward them. "The King has order for us to flee. We must now leave here, the fighting will never cease. It was the King's last wish, but we will not have long. We must follow the paths out of the city. We must go; Idril is waiting for us with the survivors," Egalmoth said. They obliged their king's last wish, and left the city. Only the king and the House of the King remained behind, to defend the city until its end.
When they reached the edge of the city, they found Idril with the survivors waiting for them. She looked at Glorfindel and Tuor, her wide blue eyes then looked to the heavens in thankfulness and she embraced her husband.
"Glorfindel," she murmured, embracing him as well, and then kissing his forehead. "You are safe … But Ecthelion?" she questioned, and then looked around for him. But when he didn't show himself, she looked to her husband and Glorfindel's faces. "No," she whispered, upon seeing the sorrow in the depths of their eyes. Idril lowered her head, tears beginning to run down her face.
"Come, my love," Tuor said; put a hand on her check. "There will be a time for grief later, but not now. We must make to the Eagles Cleft and beyond, first." Idril nodded her beautiful face tear-streaked and allowed herself to be led away from her home, her father and her life.
Remember, I'll never leave you…
Glorfindel remembered little of the journey from the city. He and his men made up the rear of the Gondolindrim, protecting all who were in front. He refused to allow anymore who he loved to be harmed. The days they travel past in a blur of fights, so many fights. Yet Glorfindel's mind was never on the task at hand, but on another, that had and would plague his mind continuously. Ecthelion… all day and night his mind was focused on was Ecthelion and his sacrifice; the ultimate sacrifice, his life.
Glorfindel looked at the people, would they remember he wonder? They all talked of those who had been lost. Of Turgon, of Ecthelion, of countless others each of them dear to those who had survived. But will they remember them? He asked, looking at those who has survived, mostly the young and the women. Women, Glorfindel thought, did they even know the courage it took to give up your life? To willingly allow yourself to be killed for the good of others? Would they even remember, would they write the ballads and sing songs to honor those who had died? Would they sing of Ecthelion who deserved so much more? Would they remember him, and all of those who fell?
Glorfindel watched a child, one who looked no older than eight. Her pale hair spilled down her back unbraided and tangled. She was collecting flowers along the trail they followed and then weaving them into jewelry; she already had a necklace and bracelet. He watched her young innocence; did he want her to remember? Glorfindel shook his head; he did not know; he would never know…
Later that night, during his watch, Glorfindel looked up at the stars. He spotted many new among the great mass. His eyes roamed over them, until he found Ecthelion's. "Why?" he questioned his friend's star. But all he heard was the wind, whispering soft words…
"Glorfindel," the blond elf turned to see Idril standing there. Glorfindel had seen her on many occasions, but never one such as this. Being the king's daughter, he had never seen her dressed in anything less the splendor. Yet here and now she stood dressed in rags that would not have suited the lowest maid. To Glorfindel it marked just how much things had changed.
"My Lady," he said raising and bowing. Even in times such as these, Glorfindel would never forget who or what Idril was, firstly a princess and second a lady. Though she may have been dressed in rags and weary from walking all day, Idril still commanded attention both with her beauty and her regal presence.
"You are troubled," she said, coming towards him and seating herself by the fire, Glorfindel sat down beside her. "His death weighs heavily on you. I know, for it is the same for me," she said turning her face so there eyes met.
"I feel as though I am responsible for his death, and at the same time I am angry with all those…" Glorfindel could not continue.
"Those who what?" Idril asked, "Those who you perceive will not remember him or his sacrifice?" she asked her eyes searching his. Glorfindel refused to look at her; instead he kept his eyes on his hands which were resting in his lap. "Glorfindel look at me," Idril ordered.
Glorfindel obliged and when he did, he felt ashamed. Idril look just sorrowful as Glorfindel himself felt. "Glorfindel, he will never be forgotten, not now, and not later. He will live on in our hearts, so long as we remember him," she finished looking at him, imploring with him to understand.
He shook his head, "Our hearts is not enough for his sacrifice, Idril, lady," Glorfindel said. "For hearts forget, hearts don't remember. We have nothing to remember him by, nothing that he left behind," Glorfindel said, thinking of the custom of placing a dead soldier sword into the hands of his family, as a remembrance.
"That is not true," Idril stated sharply.
If you will only…
Glorfindel looked at her, "Because of Ecthelion," she continued, "I still have my greatest treasure," Idril said. Glorfindel still did not understand, and it must have shown on his face, for Idril then said, "Coming with me." She rose and beckoned him to follow her. Glorfindel did as she requested and trailed after her. Idril led him only a few feet or so from where he had been sitting. When he looked around all he saw were bundles, all of them still. Some were big, but others were very small and Idril then knelt beside the smallest bundle and gently lifted it. "Come," she said, carrying the bundle and leading him back to the fire. Glorfindel followed her, evermore perplexed. When they were seated again, she removed some of the covers from around the bundle, and Glorfindel saw what she held so dear to her.
"This Glorfindel," Idril said, tears glistening in her clear eyes, "This is what Ecthelion died for. This is my greatest treasure … my son," she choked as the tears began to come. "For all of our sons and daughters he died. Tell me now," she whispered, "Do you still think he gave up his life needlessly? Was the sacrifice he so willingly gave in vain?" Idril asked, "Because of Ecthelion my son will grow up knowing his father, because of him I still have my husband, my lord," she whispered. "How could you ever think we would forget him?" she asked, tears spilling down her face.
It was in that moment the Glorfindel understood. Ecthelion's sacrifice was far deeper than anything he had ever experienced. It was a sacrifice given of love, a sacrifice for those who he loved with all of his heart, and for those whom he did not. It was for those who had died long ago and those who had not yet entered this world. Because of his sacrifice, Turgon's line would continue, because of him Idril had her greatest treasure.
"Do you want to know what I believe, Glorfindel?" Idril asked, as she gently cradled her son in her arms. "I believe that if the Vailor has switched your places, and it had been youand Ecthelion's places, and it had been you who had to defend Tuor; I have faith that you would have done the same thing," Idril said, and then she pressed her lips to her sons head. "I know your heart, Glorfindel, just as I knew Ecthelion's. You two were friends like you were one of heart. You both would have done anything to protect this," she said, gesturing to all that was around her. "And for that, you both will be remembered," Idril finished, looking once more at Glorfindel with her penetrating eyes.
Glorfindel could not find words to express what he was feeling inside, but Idril seemed to understand this. And so together they both sat, silent and still waiting for the sun to rise…
Remember, I will still be here…
Glorfindel pressed on, his body was beginning to shake. It had been many days since Idril's conversation with him and many more since they left the city of Gondolin behind. All were growing weary from the constant trekking and many had fallen, most of them Glorfindel's men. He could feel the people growing disheartened with each step they took and each life that was lost to the journey. Glorfindel found himself growing discouraged as well, but he kept his thoughts to himself and instead focused his energies on getting the people safely to Eagles Cleft.
Suddenly, he heard cries from the front though they were rejoicing. "We've made it!" he heard the people cry, "We are safe now!" Glorfindel smiled in spite of himself. The people cry filled him with such joy that he no longer felt the pain of the journey or the sorrow from the lives lost. Now he was filled with hope; they would make it. They would all make it, Glorfindel once again, just like the conversation with Idril, found himself filled with undying peace.
"At last!" one of Glorfindel's men, Faelon said. "Now they will finally be safe." The younger elf looked to Glorfindel, "We have managed it, my lord," he said with a tired smile. "We have led and protected the remaining people safely out of Gondolin." Glorfindel returned the other smile, but kept his thought to himself, if only you could see it, Ecthelion, Glorfindel said, I know you would be proud of your men and of Idril and Tuor…Glorfindel smiled, their would now be a time to write ballads and songs to honor Ecthelion's memory as well as Turgon's and all of those who gave what was most scared, their lives, for these who survived.
As long as you hold me…
Glorfindel made his way to the front of the survivors. He left all of his men behind, knowing that danger could still be around them. After he had pushed his way through the hoards of joyous people, he saw something that made his own heart rejoice. As he was just reaching the front, he saw Tuor and Idril in an embrace, tiny Eärendil clutched tightly between them. Idril had tears in her eyes. "We are safe now," she whispered to Tuor, and then she embraced him tighter.
It was Tuor who finally noticed Glorfindel, "Glorfindel," he said in greeting, "My friend, we owe you and your men so much for keeping us safe," Tuor said, grasping his arm.
Glorfindel inclined his head, "To see something as joyous as this," Glorfindel offered, gesturing to the displays of happiness all around them, "I would gladly do it many more times."
"Your nobility will be remembered, just as Ecthelion's will be. I plan to write a song to celebrate both of your bravery and courage. That is," the mortal said, "As soon as I have a decent place to write it," he broke into a smile as he looked around at the surroundings.
"I await it anxiously," Glorfindel said, in was then that he felt a small tug on his robes. He looked down to Eärendil standing their, looking at him with great wide eyes. "What is it little one?" he asked the child.
"Glorfin," the child said, using the name he had gifted the elf with when he had learned to talk, "Where is Ecthelion? Is he hiding from me again?" the child queried, looking over Glorfindel's broad shoulder, as though the other elf might have been hiding behind him.
Glorfindel looked sadly at the child. Since his birth, both he and Ecthelion had spoiled the child with attention and in return the child had looked up to the two great warrior of his grandfather's court. Glorfindel knelt down to Eärendil's eye level. "He is not here with us at this hour," Glorfindel began, placing a hand on the child's shoulder. "But tonight, if your parents will let me, I will show you where he stands brave and tall in the night sky, would you like that?"
Eärendil cocked his head to the side, "He's in the sky?" he asked, puzzled as his young mind couldn't wrap around the idea of Ecthelion being in the sky.
"Yes, little one. That's where all great warriors go. It is the way we remember them," Glorfindel explained.
In your memory…
Eärendil accepted Glorfindel's idea, "Ada," he said, turning to his father, "Please?" the little one begged.
Tuor smiled, "Of course, my son," he said smiling at Glorfindel, who returned it. The child gave a little whoop and then rushed to his mother telling her about how he would see Ecthelion in the sky tonight. As Idril lead Eärendil off, Glorfindel could hear the child chattering excitedly about the upcoming night.
"Your offer was generous," Tuor said, looking at Glorfindel once his wife and child had left. "I know it will please my son greatly, for he has always admired you and Ecthelion," Tuor spoke the second name with hesitation and sorrow. "But my friend, are you sure that you are alright with this?" Tuor asked.
Glorfindel smiled at his friend, "Of course mellon-nin," he said, after all, he thought, it was your wife who helped me. I would be honored to do that same for you. "I would not offer without out thinking it out at first."
Tuor smiled and was about to say something, when loud shouting filled their ears. Both spun to see the back half of the people, the place were Glorfindel left the remains of his army, under attack. Tuor then took off towards the fighting, but Glorfindel remained and began to herd the people away from the battle that was taken place. Idril, he saw beside him, she clutched Eärendil tightly against her chest, one hand supporting his body, and the other wrapped firmly around his eyes to keep him from seeing what was all around.
Glorfindel cursed his stupidity; he should have expected an attack. After all, the dark forces would have known the survivors would have taken this path out of Gondolin. You don't have time to dwell on that, a voice in his mind berated him softly; you must get these people out of here! He was just rounding a corner when blast knocked him off of his feet and into the side of the gorge.
When he was finally able to clear the stars from his vision, he felt the color drain from his face. There, in the narrow gorge was a balrog, a fiery demon far too like the one that Ecthelion had died slaying. Glorfindel's eyes looked from the whip in its hand to the flaming sword in its other hand. It's far too similar, his mind said. Glorfindel rose to his feet and was surprised when the balrog didn't notice him. He looked around trying to see what held its gaze. He followed the balrog's eyes and then found himself staring directly at Idril.
Remember, when your dreams have ended…
Glorfindel looked at Idril who was clutching Eärendil close to her. Her eyes were wide with fright as she protected what was most important to her, her son's life. It was then that Glorfindel remembered Idril's words, as though they were being said once more to him by the fair lady.
"Do you want to know what I believe, Glorfindel?" Idril asked, as she gently cradled her son in her arms. "I believe that if the Vailor had switched your and Ecthelion's places, and it had been you who had to defend Tuor; I have faith that you would have done the same thing," Idril said, and then she pressed her lips to her sons head. "I know your heart, Glorfindel, just as I knew Ecthelion's. You two were friends like you were one of heart. You both would have done anything to protect this," she said, gesturing to all that was around her. "And for that, you both will be remembered," Idril finished, looking once more at Glorfindel with her penetrating eyes.
It was then that Glorfindel understood, he understood Ecthelion's sacrifice, and he was ready to prove Idril's word true. He raised his blade; his weary body no longer in control and with a bellowing battle cry charged forward and placed himself between Idril and the monster. "Go!" he shouted to her, "Take the women and children! Flee!" he shouted to her and she did. Taking Eärendil she fled. Once she was gone his mind began to swim with memories of Ecthelion's fight with the balrog, only this time he saw it not from his point of view, but from Ecthelion's.
He saw the great balrog before him, but instead of the rock gorge and deep crevices on the sides, he saw Gondolin. He saw the flames and the white city of Turgon. He saw the Fountain, the very same one that Ecthelion was sent to his death in. He had become Ecthelion and the balrog, Gothmog, and together they were reenacting the battle, in full. And during these brief moments, time stopped.
Time can be transcended…
Glorfindel faced off with the balrog, all the while a voice in the back of his head told him to flee. But something, something he couldn't explain refused to allow him to leave, in fact it compelled him to stay. He now knew that Ecthelion's battle was being reenacted by him, he had the power to charge what had happened. It will be here, he thought, rising his sword in front of himself.
The creature didn't give him a second to ready himself; it viciously began to attack him. He parried the blows, just as Ecthelion had. He dodged and parried both the sword and whip. He grew so focused on the battle that he soon found that little else mattered. It was when he was fighting that he suddenly realized what he had to do. He realized what he must do to avenge Ecthelion's death.
I live forever…
In his peripheral vision, Glorfindel saw Tuor struggling to reach him, to help. He wondered then if that was the way he had looked when he had been trying to reach Ecthelion. He smiled; he knew now that he would never get the chance to ask. Glorfindel raised his sword and charged the creature. He jumped high and with a mighty blow cleaved the creatures whip from his hand. For Ecthelion, he thought. The balrog shriek in anger and then stumbled backwards howling in annoy. It teetered on the edge of the ravine. Glorfindel then made an attempt to get away from it; however the creature grabbed him with its remaining arm, by his golden hair.
Pain … that was all Glorfindel's mind would allow him to think as the terrible heat began to burn and blister the skin on his scalp. And as his consciousness swam in and out, he heard a cry. It was then, just as the golden hair on his head began to ignite into flames from the balrog's fiery grasp, that he heard his name cried, for what would be the last time…
"Glorfindel!" a voice that matched Tuor's said, however the face was not that of the long departed man, but of Elrond, his grandson, of the Lord of Rivendell. Slowly the whole scene dissolved, the blood red body the balrog became the dying sun and Glorfindel watched as Tuor's and Elrond's faces began to meld together until they were one in Elrond. Glorfindel released his vice-grip on the railing, and panting tried to make sense of what had transpired.
Glorfindel eyes saw no more of Gondolin or the Eagles Cleft; instead he was standing once more on the balcony that overlooked Rivendell. And the person who had shouted his name was not Tuor, but Elrond. "Yes, mellon-nin," Glorfindel said his eyes now leaving the dying sun and looking into the depths of the grey eyed lord; the very same eyes that were shared by his paternal grandmother, the very same eyes, the eyes of his king. "The end of another year," he whispered.
"It will be over in a few hours," Elrond said softly, "The pain will ease and then you will have another year before it plagues you again."
Glorfindel looked out over the valley, "Yes," he whispered, "thank you, mellon-nin," he said softly.
"It is nothing my friend," Elrond said with a smile, "I will gladly wait out this nightmare with you, just as I have done every year and will continue to do. Though, I wish you would let me give you something so that the nightmare would not plague you so greatly," Elrond said with disapproval.
"It is good that I remember," Glorfindel argued, "Someone must remember…"
Hope you all found that enjoyable! Sorry I haven't written in…two…yes two years. Been slightly busy as of late, to those who were faithful to me and sent me letters asking me why I was…being so terribly mean… a thousand million billion pardons. Really! I am so sorry about this. But since most days are only 24 hours I had to give and take (and unfortunately this was on the give list…) As for mistakes in this writing, I am once more in the market for a beta…so…yeah…
Anyway, please review and tell me what you thought of my interpretation of the Fall of Gondolin.