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Spiced Wine
03/24/17 02:30 pm
Most of my teachers were lovely - there were just a couple that were not nice.
ziggy
03/22/17 11:06 pm
I hate hearing about teachers who ruined a child's interest or confidence or curiosity- as a teacher myself, it actually hurts to think how someone has done that. It doesn't happen much now.
Spiced Wine
03/20/17 10:15 am
I was a very quiet student, easily cowed and very much a loner, nevertheless I was a good student, but he was not a nice teacher :(
Ysilme
03/19/17 03:00 pm
Spiced, what a horrible experience about that teacher! That would drive anybody off the subject, I'd imagine.
Ysilme
03/19/17 02:59 pm
UnnamedElement, my husband has a doctorate in chemistry, so he might be able to help. *g* Just drop me a note through the PM system here, or at LJ or DW (same name).
UnnamedElement
03/18/17 03:05 am
Spiced- how horrible! My friends made fun of my poor attn to detail so Chem and I did not get along either. But no! Can find no handy calculators online. Oh well!
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I'm bad at keeping up w tv, but I support anything that inspires you to write eomer more, ziggy!
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03/18/17 01:07 am
Oh - please do...
ziggy
03/17/17 11:53 pm
Yes- that is EXACTLY right!! I might have to write Eomer a bit more:)
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Ziggy - I keep wanting to pinch the characters and turn them into Rohirrim....
Shout Archive


A New Road by Alquien

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Story notes:
Written as a gift for Jaiden_S. : Ardor in August 2014.

Beta'd by Kenazfiction -- thank you! Any/all remaining mistakes are mine.

The request was:
Rating up to = NC-17

Requested pairing = Egalmoth/Voronwe - Elves from Gondolin.

Story elements = I'd like to know how they met and the details leading up to their escape from Gondolin through Idril's Secret Way. You may wish to include details of Egalmoth's role in the battle in the square. I'd like a bit of romance and a happy ending. After all, they both escaped alive. What happened next? Angst is probably necessary for the tale, but please temper it with a little humor, too.

Do NOT include = Try to avoid too much fluff. No elflings, puppies, kittens or cloying sweetness.

(See the end of the work for more notes.)
~*~
NÝrnaeth Arnoediad was over; the battle lost and Fingon the High King was dead. How had it come to this? Turgon stared blankly at the wall of his tent. After days of waiting, everything had happened so quickly – with Maedhros’ army defeated, Fingon and Turgon’s armies had been forcibly separated by the Enemy. From that point, Fingon was slowly isolated from his men to be trapped by balrogs – which resulted in his death.

Turgon hadn’t seen that part, for which he was thankful. But it seemed that Maedhros had, for it was he who brought the news. Turgon fought to control his anger, for the cursed eldest son of FŰanor had remained in Fingon’s tent, staring at the small circlet which had once graced Fingon’s helm and now laid upon his desk, waiting for Turgon to speak.

Fingon had always been a fool where their eldest cousin was concerned. It was a pity his arrow had missed, and that Thorondor had helped in the rescue. Truly, it must have been the will of the Valar for such a thing to succeed. Of course, they had eventually resumed their relationship, a move that Turgon swore Fingon did only to enrage him and Father. It was not that Turgon cared about the fact that they were lovers, for there were many such couples in Gondolin and they had his full approval. No, it was the fact that he had known that Maedhros would fail his brother and be the cause of his downfall. But this time he would not fail his brother, Turgon told himself grimly – he would not let Maedhros take guardianship over Fingon’s son as well.

“It seems that I am king now,” Turgon mused quietly as he turned the circlet over in his hands.

“Fingon’s son is now king, not you,” Maedhros argued. “You are merely Lord Protector, if you wish a title.”

“The child is not yet of age,” Turgon snapped. “You know as well as any what we were taught by E÷nwŰ in Grandfather’s court. Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child.[1] As the eldest, it is I who am high king now.”

“Do not quote law to me,” Maedhros’ eyes flashed with unnatural fire and his lips thinned. “I know the laws far better than you, little cousin.”

“You forget your place, cousin. And it is ‘Your Grace’ now.” Turgon said to him. “At least the boy will have a chance to grow up in safety with CÝrdan.”

“Very well, do as you please.” Maedhros ground his teeth briefly. “I only hope you know what you are doing, Your Grace.” He bowed deeply to Turgon, his bright red hair nearly sweeping the ground before backing slowly out of the tent.

~*~

“I must leave, meleth. It is the king – the high king’s – command.” VoronwŰ hastily finished packing his bags and turned to his companion.

“I know, but that doesn’t make this any easier for us,” Egalmoth replied sadly. “But you do not have to leave until morning do you?”

“No. We still have tonight.”

They undressed, climbing into the rough bed they had fashioned and laying quietly with their thoughts.

Egalmoth knew it would be a waste of time, for he had been with Fingolfin when the Doom was pronounced. Privately he thought the Valar were strangely forgiving when it came to their own but much less so when it was one of the Firstborn who was in error. But he said nothing, for he was already afraid that he might have ill-wished his lover.

For his part, VoronwŰ believed it was a futile journey, for his father AranwŰ had been with Fingolfin when Mandos spoke. AranwŰ had told him little of the time Before (as he called it), preferring to leave the Noldor and live with his wife and her Sindarin family of the Falas.

But they said nothing, for each already knew the other’s heart. They were too exhausted to do more than embrace and they fell asleep holding hands.

*

They parted with great sorrow, for they had recently met at one of Glorfindel’s famed house parties, where Idril presided as hostess. While they had known each other in passing, they were little more than acquaintances. But Idril had made a point of introducing them, smiling one of her pleased smiles for she loved few things as much as she did match-making.

“I am certain that the two of you will get along wonderfully.” Idril beamed at them before hurrying off as the musicians began tuning their instruments.

They continued to sip their wine, both too nervous to continue the conversation until the silence between them was broken by the opening notes of a stately pavane.

“Do you dance?” Egalmoth asked nervously.

“No, not really,” VoronwŰ finally managed to say. “Since the Princess has found a partner, perhaps we should leave now.”

“That is an excellent idea. Come on, I know where Glorfindel keeps his good wine.” Egalmoth gave him a sly smile and VoronwŰ responded with one of his own.

The two of them left the room arm in arm. It was, as the poet said, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


~*~

Turgon’s mission for VoronwŰ failed; the Doom was still upon them and the way was shut. On the journey back, disaster struck. Of all who had sailed, only VoronwŰ was saved through the intercession of Ulmo and came ashore at Vinyamar.

“I see you’re alive.” Someone placed a blanket around his shoulders and stepped back.

Coughing, VoronwŰ rose to his knees and sat back, peering up at the stranger. A Man? He pulled the blanket close around him. “Who are you?”

“I am T˙or. Come with me now and rest. We have much to talk about.” T˙or offered him a hand and pulled him to his feet. They made their way off the beach and up a low path before walking a short distance to the man’s small hut.
“Lord Ulmo bid me welcome you and to tell you that you are to guide me to Gondolin.”

A week later, they left Vinyamar and began the long journey east along the southernmost slopes of Ered Wethrin. In this way they hoped to avoid the gaze of the Enemy.

*

When VoronwŰ finally returned to Gondolin, none of the guards had recognized him at first. He wasn’t surprised, for he had been gone for nearly a decade. But the hostility toward him and his companion was unsettling. Only the timely arrival of Glorfindel and Ecthelion prevented the situation from further deteriorating, for they recognized him instantly and VoronwŰ was allowed to enter as a former resident. T˙or was less fortunate. He was held captive at first, but when Turgon learned he had a message from Ulmo he was released and spoke privately to the king.

*

Taking advantage of the king’s audience with T˙or, VoronwŰ left the tower. As he made his way through the streets, he could hear the buzz of conversation that followed his footsteps. Few people greeted him though and he wondered why. Was it because of his journey? But that had been the king’s direct order, so that couldn’t be the reason. Was it because he had arrived with a stranger: and not just any stranger but a Man who carried a message from the Valar? Probably, he decided. Yet another unsettling thought occurred to him – perhaps it had to do with Egalmoth. But what could it be?

VoronwŰ found himself hurrying along the well-trodden path to Egalmoth’s house, uncertain of his welcome. Did Egalmoth wait for him even now? As a member of the council, Eglamoth would know of his arrival with a stranger to Gondolin. Would he be jealous even though there was no cause for it?

Although they had been lovers, neither he nor Egalmoth had formalized their union before the war broke out. It would not surprise him if Egalmoth had decided to move on and take another lover. If that were true… VoronwŰ forced the disquieting thought from his mind as he entered the courtyard of the House of the Heavenly Arch. He looked up and thought he saw someone staring down at him from the main balcony but when he looked again they were gone.

Slowly, VoronwŰ mounted the steps and hesitated a moment to gather his composure. Before he could raise his hand to knock, Egalmoth threw the door open and met him with wide grey eyes in a still white face.

“Hello.” VoronwŰ smiled as he stood irresolute on the doorstep.

Egalmoth stared at him one more moment before wrapping his arms around VoronwŰ in a crushing hug and pulling him inside the house. Egalmoth placed both of his hands on VoronwŰ’s face and pulled him forward into a bruising kiss, accidentally banging their heads together with such force that VoronwŰ saw stars for a moment and wondered if either of them had broken their nose.

“Never leave me again,” Egalmoth whispered. “Swear it.”

“Better yet,” VoronwŰ said huskily, “let us ask the king for his consent to marry tomorrow.”

“Yes, oh yes.” Egalmoth replied as he began to undo the buckle to VoronwŰ’s worn, travel-stained cloak.

The cloak fell in an untidy heap as Egalmoth laced their fingers together and began to pull VoronwŰ to the main staircase. “But first, let us retire. We have much to speak of before sunrise.”

*

The next morning, they ate a light breakfast and looked out over Egalmoth’s private gardens.

“I have the feeling the king may already know our plans,” Egalmoth mused. “for Idril has an uncanny knack of learning these things.”

“We will find out soon enough.” VoronwŰ said as he sipped his tea. “Are you ready?”

*

Gaining admittance to the king was a simple task, and he quickly agreed to their marriage.

Many of the elves had been shocked to learn Turgon permitted these relationships, for the king had made no secret of his disapproval of Fingon’s life. But the reality was far different. Turgon had no strong feelings either way about it: as long as the people were happy in their relationships and productive, it was none of his business. The only thing he frowned upon was a second marriage, for the family had suffered greatly from FinwŰ’s obsession with his first-born, FŰanor.

As they left the king’s private office, they met Idril hurrying along the corridor.

“You are just the people I wanted to meet,” she exclaimed. “Will you come to tea this afternoon?”

“It will be our pleasure,” they said, bowing to her.

“No need for such formality now,” she laughed. “I will see you at tea.”

“I wonder what she wants.” VoronwŰ said in a quiet voice as they watched Idril continue on her way. She had always been beautiful but now she seemed to glow with an inner radiance.

“I don’t know, but I feel certain that it will be something important.” Egalmoth replied.

*

That afternoon, the two arrived back at the palace and were escorted to one of the private drawing rooms where Idril greeted them warmly. Glorfindel and Ecthelion were standing beside one of the outer windows; VoronwŰ noticed that T˙or was there also.

“Please be seated, gentlemen.” Idril moved to the nearest couch and sat behind an elaborate silver tea service, carefully preparing each cup before serving them. The lack of servants was surprising in itself; seldom did such a thing happen, and then only for high-level council meetings.

At first they spoke only of inconsequential things but as soon as the second cups were being served, things became quieter and more serious.

“I have something to tell you, Idril said “but our guest T˙or will speak first.”

“As you already know, I was charged with a message from Lord Ulmo to King Turgon. Since the king has heard the message and not forbidden me to repeat it, I will do so now.” Once more, T˙or repeated the message to a rapt audience.

"Behold, 0 father of the City of Stone, I am bidden by him who maketh deep music in the Abyss, and who knoweth the mind of Elves and Men, to say unto thee that the days of Release draw nigh.
There have come to the ears of Ulmo whispers of your dwelling and your hill of vigilance against the evil of Melko, and he is glad: but his heart is wroth and the hearts of the Valar are angered who sit in the mountains of Valinor and look upon the world from the peak of Taniquetil, seeing the sorrow of the thraldom of the Noldoli and the wanderings of Men; for Melko ringeth them in the Land of Shadows beyond hills of iron. There- fore have I been brought by a secret way to bid you number your hosts and prepare for battle, for the time is ripe."
[2]

After he finished, he sat down again and looked at the elves, whose faces were studies in uncertainty, fear and dismay.

“I was there as well.” Idril looked steadily at them and only the twisting of a tiny lace handkerchief in her slim fingers betrayed her nervousness. “I feel very strongly this warning must be heeded. We need to make plans before it is too late.”

“What are your plans, cousin?” Glorfindel asked. As one of the city’s leading commanders, he needed to know what these plans were; as Idril’s kinsman, he had already guessed. “A secret passage?”

Idril glanced at Glorfindel and nodded before rising and walking to stand in front of the great windows.

“I dreamed – there is a small passage through that little valley there. It leads to a cave that is to be the starting point for supplies. It will take time, but it can be enlarged.”

“But digging a tunnel – won’t the debris from such a project draw attention from the new leader of the miner’s guild?” Ecthelion knew that Idril understood he was referring to Maeglin.

“Yes, well – there will be no trouble.” Idril said more confidently. “My cousin lives in darkness and shadow; he will not see. The grace of the Valar will blind him to the delving.”

“I will take care of the delving,” T˙or said. “But I will need help from you.”

“You have it,” replied Egalmoth. “The four of us will make a list of our most trusted men; of course, we will do our share as well.”

~*~

To no-one’s surprise (except perhaps Maeglin’s) Idril and T˙or were wed with the King’s full blessing and within a year they welcomed their firstborn, a son, whom they named Eńrendil.

Work continued on the secret passage with surprising swiftness, yet it was far too slow for Idril’s liking. She was gripped with an ever-increasing sense of urgency that seemed to grow each time she met her cousin Maeglin. For though he took great pains to present a fair face to all, she knew that something had happened to make the darkness in him grow and twist ‘til she could scarcely recognise him as an elf.

*

Seven years passed.

As the great celebration of Tarnin Austa drew near, so did the completion of the secret passage. Both Glorfindel and Ecthelion had encouraged the stocking of basic supplies; there would be need for them soon enough.

*

The long night was slowly giving way to the dawn. At first, only a scant few realised that the red glow came not from the East but from the North over the Crissaegrim.

Wakened by their son’s questions (for he had never once slept past dawn since the day of his birth) at the strange sight, T˙or and Idril dressed quickly in armour that had been set aside just for this day. Idril quickly dressed Eńrendil into his own little suit of mithril while T˙or hurriedly gave orders to gather his men before attending the council called by the king.

The chaos of that terrible day would be long remembered by the survivors and their descendants, although their memories were piecemeal at best.

T˙or and his men fought beside Ecthelion; later, when they were in retreat, T˙or helped Ecthelion who had been badly wounded by the whip of a Balrog.

Just as Idril and her son began to leave the king’s tower, Maeglin darted forward and seized the boy from her. But Idril fought back with all of the fierceness and cunning of her grandsire Fingolfin and wrested the child from his grasp.

VoronwŰ and Egalmoth, who had been left behind to act as guard for Idril and Eńrendil, were sent ahead to begin guiding the survivors to the secret passage. There were some women and children who began to run from the city in an attempt to find the escape route Idril had told them of. Strangely enough, the foul beasts of the Enemy largely ignored them, no doubt thinking they would have better sport after the battle was won. T˙or and Idril were among the last stragglers and it was Glorfindel who brought up the rear.

Glorfindel paused only once, and that was to kiss Idril and Eńrendil briefly on their foreheads.

“Now go,” he cried in his ringing voice, “and do not look back. Go!”

~*~

Many years later, Idril and Tuor and their followers decided to settle at the Mouths of Sirion in Arvernien, a region of southern Beleriand. The building of a port city began and life slowly returned to normal.

VoronwŰ and Egalmoth, however, chose to build their small house away from the main part of town. After all that had happened, they craved the peace and quiet of the countryside. Both men realized that it was very unlikely things would stay quiet for long, but for now it was what they had hoped for all those years ago, and it was enough. They were happy.

~*~*~*~

xxxEndxxx
Chapter end notes:
A/N: Quotes are from:

[1] Ecclesiastes 10:16.

[2] BoLT, Ch. 15

Title is from:
Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate.
-- J. R. R. Tolkien

Please note: This was originally posted at the 2014 Ardor in August collection @ AO3 under my alternate pen name of laSamtyr.
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