The Song of the Rock

Based upon "The Silmarillion", as translated from the High Elven Tongue by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Author's note: Somehow inspired by Neil Gaiman's "A Tale of Two Cities".

It is beautiful, is it not?

I have been told the hope of the Noldor lies in the west – there beyond the ocean in the Blessed Realm, there were I was born, me and my brothers and sister, and my mother and father before me. I remember its light, think not I have forgotten. I remember the fair Tirion; it is not within my power to forget.

But standing here near the window in twilight, sometimes I can imagine I stand in Tirion, and it does not take much lying to myself.

It is beautiful; it will stand.

Come, then. I shall show you the city.

If you wish to live here, which I am sure you will once you have seen all my wonders, you must know the city. It is like a lover, a shelter rather than a house, not merely pale walls and faraway towers. The city is alive around you, it has a soul, it has dreams, it has a name.

Its name is Gondolin – song of the rock. Do not forget it, nor its meaning. It is the song we have sung on our journey here, the song the wind carried as we built and labored, the song we sing every morning at the rising of the sun and every evening before the wondering moon. Song of rocks and people, here lies the hope of the Noldor, in the songs we have sung on our own, in the rocks we have shaped for ourselves. Is it not beautiful? Know the city, love the city. In you the city will be made eternal.

Ah, well… not in you, perhaps. I am sorry.

Come and I shall show you all my wonders. There stand the towers, can you see them? Are they not magnificent, defying the pull of the earth? Are they not fairer than all you have known, because they were made by living hands? What trees, what lovely mountains can compare? It is said the Valar made the trees and mountains, that they are works of art just as the city is. But what value has art if made in the hands of a god? Nay, it is the art that we make, lowly creatures of the earth, which you look upon, much truer.

Can you see the towers? All can see the towers, and yet they are hidden, and Gondolin is hidden. No enemy will break down our gates; no blood will stain our white towers, nor smoke trail high above them, obscuring the beacons in their tops. Here we are safe, here we have hope. Here lies the hope of the Noldor, and it will stand, don't you think? Can you see? Love the city, the city will survive to tell your tale.

Come and I will show you the art of my people, come and see the walls, come and see the houses, come and see the windows opening to the air. In the windows stand my people, they look out and the sun shines over our city, and light beckons light, and there is a song of light in the song of the rock. I am being poetic now, perhaps overly so. What is it you say? That I love my own works? Aye, say that once more. How right you are.

But come and see them, come and see their purity, walk now with me among the white streets. Tirion that my grandparents have built was never this fair to behold. The hope of the Noldor does not lie there in the west; it lies here among the rocks, in the clear air and sunlight, in what we have made ourselves. Breath the fresh air, it will always be here for you to breath, look upon the light. Once it is ours, it will forever be so.

Maybe not yours, but ours.

It will stand; do you see that it will stand? Though mortal be your eyes, behold immortality. Love the city. The song will do on forever, until Arda is remade, and then we will sing it still.

Come and I will show you the beauty we have created, we the Noldor who have left our hope in the west. Here lies new hope, as here lies new light. The trees are silver and golden, can you see them? No mortal eyes have gazed upon that which inspired us to shape them, and yet are they not here? This is the city, everything beautiful we have known, we have created anew. In us it will live on, though now destroyed and dead. It lives on here, in the city, in the song of the rock lives on the Song of the World. Can you see it? We have made immortal what the Valar themselves could not.

It will stand – they shall ensure that it will stand. Where else did their most hallowed creations live on? Nay, it will stand. Love the city, for here you see the eternal. Here are echoes and memories with shape and substance of their own. Our city, the hope of the Noldor. We, too, can create light. Can you see it?

Come and I will show you our pride. Look upon that wall, look upon the carvings, look upon the gentle shapes we have laid in the pavement and the doors. Many years of labor went here, and yet we work on, not tiring, unthinking of the end. There will be no end, not in the city, we will shape on, those gentle works of art, we have time for them. See that wall, the clear white wall, there I have sat for more days than I can recall, and yet still the work is unfinished. The work goes on forever, layer upon layer, form upon form; we see it unfold as if it is a tale, a song. Can you see how beautifully the song and the rock interweave?

Maybe you cannot, after all you are human.

I am sorry, sorry that you can see only a few scattered notes.

But it will stand, comfort yourself with knowing it will stand even after you are but dust, that it is as immortal as your soul. Here are our souls, here in the rock, here in Gondolin. Our souls will give it strength and light, our souls will give it hope. Here lies the hope of the Noldor, and let the west be forgotten. Here in this wall alone, here is everything.

Love the city, love it, you of all my people, love it best, for it is everything your kind has ever wished for. Light, song, immortality, the ability to shape, to give yourself hope. Everything is here in Gondolin; everything shall always be here. Love the city, within it is the power to make you immortal, to add the notes your own soul plays to the great song of it. Where is immortality if not in the city, in what we have created? Where else may we be remembered but in the beauty we leave behind?

But we shall not leave it behind. Never.

It will stand, our pride will stand, the hope of the Noldor will stand. Look upon my works. It is beautiful, is it not?

Now, what were those tidings you have said you bring me?