The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
"You're just a child," Turgon hollers as he slams his fist on the table. "You're to remain in Gondolin. Your mother it the best proof, that it's too dangerous to venture outside the walls."
His nephews face is just as thunderous. Turgon has to keep himself from flinching every time he sees it. Lómion looks so much like his mother that it hurts. But the loss of his sister is all more the reason to keep her child here in Gondolin, where he's safe. Turgon has to do that much, after his irresponsibility caused Irissë's death in the first place.
Maeglin's sharp eyes are fixed on Turgon and his hands are placed on his hip. He appears relaxed and confident, but probably has to keep himself from crossing his arms over his chest in order not to look like a sullen teenager. For he's not, among the Sindar he's an adult already. That he wears Anguirel on his back, is in part a choice of comfort, because the blade is large and heavy. But right now it's subtle sign of protest. Keeping it everyone's line of vision as they discuss the matter, which has the King and his Lords up in protest.
But he won't budge. Maeglin has a clear vision of what he wants.
"I refuse to stay in a city of murderers." His voice is quiet, but it cuts the tension like his father's sword does with iron.
Turgon reels back, as if he as been slapped. The Lords break out in whispers and the King's daughter looks outraged, when Turgon denies it.
"It was within my right to meet out justice, young man," Turgon speaks, but his kind face isn't enough to deter Maeglin. "Your father spilled blood in my city, killed my beloved sister after he kept her in his house like a prisoner. I'm sure that she didn't consent to the kind of treatment he subjected her to."
Rage boils up in Maeglin. For a moment the world threatens to tilt sideways. He has to take a few deep breath in order not to ripe King Turgon's mind apart for the insults. How does his uncle dare to indicate that his mother is a victim of rape? That she didn't bear her son willingly. That she didn't gift Eöl with the greatest offering, something the Lord of Nan Elmoth never dared to hope for? Anguirel's weight on his back is the sole reason, why Maeglin doesn't lose control. Doesn't hurl himself over the table to punch the King into his pretty face.
"I'll leave your city, King Turgon. Before the evening is out, I'll be gone," Maeglin spats. "You spoke judgement over my father, and while it's within your right to punish crimes, you still had a choice. You orphaned me, uncle. You spilled my father's blood and as the coward you are, you couldn't even do the deed yourself. Instead you turned two of your most loyal men into Kinslayers."
Silence reigns as Maeglin speaks. To his left Lord Glorfindel lowered his head and next to him shame flickered over Lord Ecthelion's face. In part Maeglin wished he could hate them, but through his mother's tales it seems as if he knew them from the bottom his his heart. Although he's going to have nightmares from the day, when they cast Eöl into the chasm, Maeglin knows that his mother's friends suffer in the same manner. Guilt will wreck their sleep for a very long time, so Maeglin refuses to punish them for something beyond their control. Besides if it hadn't been them, Turgon would've picked someone else.
Eöl certainly didn't walk off that cliff by himself.
But with a shudder Maeglin remembers the cell his father had been kept in.
The slow one now
Will later be fast
Maeglin spend the first weeks in Gondolin in a daze. Finally he arrived in the city, his mother had told him about to much, but he couldn't bring himself to enjoy it. In fact, he barely noticed it as his cousin dragged him over the market. Idril was a sweet girl and under different circumstances they could've been good friends. Both of them preferred intelligent conversations, spend their free time pursuing their skills, and possessed a similar kind of humor. Yes, Maeglin could've loved his cousin. Could've been the brother Idril never had. But he right now he couldn't get over the fact that both his parents had been ripped away from him.
His mother they had buried with great fanfare. The mourning lasted weeks and the entire city changed its colors, while the King grieved his lost sister.
Meanwhile Maeglin was left alone. He doesn't know what to with the servants, who bring him food and clothes. The bed is too big, the sheets too soft and the sun is too bright. Being out through the day proves to be more challenging than Maeglin initially anticipated. The light hurts his eyes, the white stones of the city make it impossible to escape it. Maeglin does his best to fight the headache he has been nursing, but little works. For staying up during the night and sleeping through the day seems just as difficult. All his life he spend under the shadows of Nan Elmoth. Sometimes he climb into the trees, higher and higher until he reached the top in order to greet the sun, the moon and the stars. But that's vastly different than being exposed to so much light.
Idril advised him to wear white. The color would keep at least the heat away. She's right, hence why Maeglin is hiding his face under a white hood that only comes of after sunset. According to his cousin, he looks good in it, the white cloth creating a stark contrast to his dark, pitch black hair, but whenever Maeglin looks into the mirror he only sees his mother. He keeps wondering if that's intentional.
"Have you an idea, where my father is?" Maeglin asks his cousin one day.
They're both sitting on a balcony, looking over the city. It's late evening, a time when Maeglin is less grouchy for the headache is finally retreating. It'll be back in the morning, but for now he'll enjoy what little peace he's able to get.
Idril looks up from her book. She has drawn her bare feet onto her chair and her golden hair flutters in the wind. In moments like this Maeglin has trouble what to make of his cousin. Sometimes Idril appears like a little girl, a princess that has never known hardship. In other instances she's a grown woman, wise beyond her years who refuses to wear shoes and whose dresses are so thin, many men have trouble to look anywhere but at Idril's round, firm breasts.
Given that both of his parents always ran around in various state of undress in the house, Maeglin has long learned not to stare. To keep his gaze off certain body parts.
He's not sure if that makes him more or less likeable in Idril's eyes.
"In a cell somewhere beneath the city, why're you asking?" Idril closes her book.
It's been months since her aunts death and this is the first time Maeglin asked for his father. Until now he only told tales of Nan Elmoth.
"King Turgon keeps saying that my father will be punished. I can understand that, but so far nothing has happened," Maeglin says and stares at his eyes. "The King avoids all my questions. He says I must focus on healing, but I've never seen my father ever since the guards dragged him away."
For a few minutes Idril is quiet. Maeglin never knows what to make of her in such instances. His theory is that large parts of her personality is crafted to survive in a city like this. No matter how beautiful, wise or influential she is, just like any other she's not allowed to leave. Instead she has to make nice to her father's Lords and has to come with reasons again and again, why she doesn't wish to be courted. Perhaps his cousin is just another pretty bird in a golden cage. Throwing herself at Maeglin's side, helping her poor and traumatised baby cousin is a good excuse that keeps admirers and false friends away.
Maeglin indulges her, keeps the act up and his cousin has become far more open during the last weeks. It's a silent alliance.
The rustle of paper tells Maeglin that Idril has opened her book again. He noticed a few hours ago that, while the cover advertises tales of the gods in the west, the writings largely consist of numbers and all sentences speak of higher math. Of course he'll never mention it to anyone. Nor he'll ask, at least not very soon, why Idril has to pursue her interest under such disguise.
"I'll look into it," she says after a while.
Maeglin hums a thank you. Her network of spies and loyal friends is far more extensive then his own. Perhaps Idril will demand a favor in return, but Maeglin doesn't mind. In the last meetings of the Lords of Gondolin, which he has been allowed to attend for some reason, Eöl's fate had been discussed at lengths. Or not at all, depending which mood Turgon was on.
In his chest grows the fear that Maeglin will never see his father again. That Turgon will leave Eöl to rot somewhere deep down and forget that he exists one day.
As the present now
Will later be past
It's freezing cold down here. No candle to light the cell, but Maeglin's eyes are long used to such pitch blackness. Eöl hasn't moved since Maeglin stepped into the cell, but it's not difficult to spot the chains that keep his father trapped like an animal. Forgotten is mother's death, her last sigh when her heart failed to keep the poison away. Maeglin has always loved his father, spend his whole life looking up to him. Learned many, many secrets from him. No matter what happened between them, how often they shouted and hurled angry words at each other. Seeing his father like this is enough to hate Gondolin far more than he ever could hate Eöl.
"Ada," Maeglin whispers and knees before his father. The ground is wet, Eöl sits in a puddle of cold water and barely reacts, when Maeglin touches his cheek. "Ada, can you hear me?"
Eöl blinks in confusion. It's as if he doesn't recognize his own son. Maeglin can't help but notice how thin his father is.
"Iôn," Eöl whispers, using the epithet he used an entire decade, before he gifted Maeglin with his name. "Iôn."
The Lord of Nan Elmoth doesn't say anything else, he just drops his head against Maeglin's shoulders. The younger Elf has to suppress his rage and his grief at seeing his proud, unrelenting father like this. Eöl only touches other people, when he's in distress. A long time ago he managed to escape a band of Orcs, who captured and tortured him for fun. It was after that incident that Eöl forged swords, which can cut through iron.
Still, being kept in a cold, lifeless place like this, must bring back the worst of all memories.
Not even Eöl deserves that.
"I'll get you out of here," Maeglin swears and emotions flicker through his father's mind.
"Not alive," Eöl rasps in a horse voice. "I won't leave this place alive."
Either he hasn't spoken to anyone in weeks or he screamed so much that he permanently damaged his throat. Maeglin blinks the hot tears away that threaten to fall from his face. At first he felt guilty for coming here. If he was spitting on his mother's legacy if he spared Eöl only a single glance. But finding his father in such a state, ... no even Aredhel would be outraged. She'd be the first to free her husband from this cell, had she survived the attack.
Would Eöl be well dressed, fed and taunting him with insults, his reaction would surely be different. But no one deserved such a treatment.
"I know, father. There's no escape, no way to get you out of the city." Maeglin pulls Eöl into an embrace. It's the last one they'll ever share. "But I can spare you years of torment. Turgon isn't feeding you, he'll leave you here until you've faded away."
Eöl huffs. He doesn't have the strength to speak, but Maeglin understands the message anyway.
"Whatever drove you to your actions, it's not me who'll speak judgement over you," Maeglin says. "It's up to you and mother to fight it out, when you meet her in the Halls of Mandos."
The broken whimper, which leaves Eöl's mouth, tells Maeglin that his father doesn't have long anyway. His greatest fear is now that the King will keep Eöl alive, just barely, out of a twisted desire for revenge. This can't happen. Maeglin won't allow this scenario come to pass.
"Use me," Eöl croaks, just as Maeglin contemplate on smuggling a poison into the cell next time he visits his father. "I won't leave this place alive and I don't deserve a quick, honorable death, but... perhaps you can still escape."
"Ada." Maeglin nearly breaks at what he sees in Eöl's mind. A public execution. Something ugly, which gives Maeglin ground to challenge the King's verdict. "Ada, you can't..."
"I can and I will, Iôn," Eöl speaks with determination in his voice. "Plan carefully. This city is poisonous and if you remain here, it will swallow you as if has taken your mother. As it will take me. Go anywhere, anywhere you wish. The Khazad in Nogrod and Belegost will gladly take you in, if you mention your relation to me. Pick an Avari tribe, go west and see your grandfather. Hell, join the blasted Fëanorians if it makes you happy."
Eöl looks at his son, opens his heart and pleads, "Just don't stay here."
Maeglin wants to scream at unfair it is. He has forgiven his father, he has overcome his own grief and hatred, his self-loathing for his helplessness. Yet the stars conspire against him. He feels the truth on his tongue, as he leaves the dungeon again. Eöl will die in Gondolin. When he meets Idril, who has been waiting on the other side of the door, she looks pale. Maeglin can see it in her eyes that she's just as sickened by the treatment of Eöl as he is.
Well, it's one thing to sit in a palace and talking about bringing justice. It's quite another to see the deed done.
The order is
In the end Eöl doesn't get another trail. According to the King, he had one already and lost the right for another, when he killed the woman who pleaded mercy in his name. Maeglin suspected as much, but Idril is clearly shaken by the fact. Her father's cold and harsh treatment is new to her. Or course she knows his stubbornness, his narrow-minded thinking that drives her nuts from time to time. Yet never she believed her father to be capable of such inhuman acts.
On the evening before Eöl's execution, they've huddled in a room together. With them are Glorfindel and Ecthelion. Idril roped them into helping Maeglin see his father, played at their guilt for having lost the princess in the first place. Maeglin doesn't know what to make of them yet, but since he saw their reaction at Eöl's sorry state, he can at least trust them to certain degree. All four of them agreed that Eöl deserved a quick death at least.
It sits heavy on Maeglin's heart, but his father's fate has been decided. Of course that decision hadn't come as quick as he would've liked, but with his promise to his father to leave the city in mind, he endured the slow days.
In the end it the role to breach the subject had fallen to Glorfindel. In a gathering of all noble houses he accused Turgon of cruelty, after having discovered Eöl's sickened state seemingly by accident.
"The entire city knows your golden heart, Laurefindel," Idril had said. "Turgon believes you above any corruption and such an accusal, coming from you of all people, will at least start the discussion. For you're known on not letting a subject lay, if it's close to your heart."
Maeglin hasn't been allowed to attend to all meetings, but Idril has her spies. While Duilin and Galdor firmly believe Turgon's course is just and exactly what Eöl deserves, Egalmoth and Rog heavily spoke against it.
"Lord Egalmoth is one of the guards my father assigned to be your mother's escort," Idril tells him later. "He feels no particular pity for your father, but the thought doesn't sit well with him that we're treating another Elf in such a way. He'll vote in our favour, if only to spare you more hardship. Out of all other's, he's our greatest ally."
Despite his doubts, Idril's words come true. Egalmoth visits the dungeons himself and as result he raged a full hour against Penlod, who is discovered to be responsible for Eöl's condition in the first place. Maeglin keeps his silence, when Penlod relents and offers a marginally better treatment. Which is the moment Maeglin has been waiting for. He isn't a very good actor, but pleading to Turgon in a blank and shaking voice for this nightmare to end, is enough to bring a more final solution on the table.
It's not easy to manipulate Turgon into thinking that a public exection from the peak of Caragdûr is his own idea, but it works. Mainly, because Idril the political game better than anyone else in the city, despite the fact that her father never granted her actual power. The day Turgon announced Maeglin will be allowed to establish his own house and unite people under his banner, Idril seethes with badly masked fury. Wise enough to stay out of his cousin's machinations, Maeglin lets Idril handle nearly everything, what had to do with the foundation if the House of the Mole. It gives his cousin the outlet, while Maeglin dreads the day he's going to lose his father as well.
"I'll have to find a way to thank Lord Rog for casting his vote in our favour," Maeglin mumbles as he stares out of the window.
He can see Caragdûr from his bedroom, since the mountain lays directly on the other side of the city. Has Turgon never spend a single thought of what it could to do his nephew, if Maeglin had to see Eöl's grave every time he stepped outside the door? Probably not.
"He's much like you," Idril comments. Despite her bravery, Maeglin knows her well enough by now that tomorrow weights heavily on her mind. "He's a passionate blacksmith and strong in his believes. I was surprised, when he followed father to Gondolin. For staying in Hithlum would've served his needs far better."
Maeglin has seen the armor and the swords Rog has crafted. While they're good, he knows he can do better, but he respects a fellow craftsman.
"Perhaps he didn't anticipated such heavy restrictions from the King," Maeglin muses. "Finding the right metals and enough ore, can't be easy if you aren't allowed to leave Tumladen."
"Well, he'll certainly lose no sleep over your father's death," Idril snaps and hugs herself.
All three of them, Maeglin, Ectheltion, and Glorfindel, know better than to touch the princess right now. The last weeks have been difficult for her, after she witnessed all the cruelty done to Eöl. No matter how much they tried, Maeglin's father was still subjected to beatings, entire days without food and water, or other humiliations Maeglin refuses to think about. As someone, who always supported the King in his convictions, Idril now struggles to rebuild her worldview, after it has been so throughly shattered.
Maeglin dares to sit down beside his cousin.
"You don't have to come with us," he says and puts an arm around her. "You don't need to witness the final act."
"Lómion is right," Ecthelion joins in. Paranoid as he is, the warrior chose to guard the door. Neither he nor Glorfindel said much in the last hour, but they seemed glad not to suffer through this night alone. "By now Eöl's end is decided. You can spare yourself the image of witnessing his death."
The extend of Turgon's anger showed itself, when he ordered that Ecthelion and Glorfindel would be the ones to carry out the act of casting Eöl down. A clear sign of resentment, a way to punish the escort, who failed to protect the King's sister in the first place. Maeglin lost his temper, when he saw Ecthelion's and Glorfindel's horrified faces after the meeting. By now it's random, when Turgon choses to exclude Maeglin from the gatherings. Maeglin guesses it's a half-hearted attempt to spare him hearing any details about what had been planned for Eöl.
If the whole plan of leaving Gondolin for good, woulnd't hing on accusing Turgon to be a kinslayer, Maeglin would gladly do it himself. By now, his father has turned into a mad shadow of himself. Due to the solitary confinement, the lack of starlight and nourishment and the torture Eöl resembled a wraith. It's not a pretty sight.
"He deserves that much. The right thing to do would've been to lock your father into a tower, give him something to do or him work in the mines. Anything, but the pain he suffered from our hands," Idril's voice quivers, when she speaks her mind. Her hands are cold and they're trembling. "If I'm aiding in robbing Lómion of his father, when I'd give everything just to spend another minute with my mother, I need to go through with this."
These words silence Maeglin. He always wondered about the lack of a Queen in Gondolin, why Idril carried out these duties in everything but name. He hadn't wanted to ask, after Aredhel never spoke of her. But it warms his heart nonetheless.
"You're a better person than I'm, sister," Maeglin says, not able to keep the emotions out of his voice.
Glorfindel and Ecthelion give them privacy, when Idril starts to cry against his chest, spilling the tears Maeglin can't find in himself.
And the first one now
Will later be last
By the next morning all tears have been spilled. They've worked hard for this and the success of their plans depends on the barbarity, which is carried out today. The King's degree not to leave the city weights so heavily on the minds of the citizens of Gondolin, that nothing short of something like Eöl's death, will shake them out of it. Of course Idril planned everything, from the location, the rituals, the music... right down to the color of their clothing.
In the last days Idril made a show of loudly arguing with her father, what a barbaric act an execution was. In his usual manner Turgon told his daughter the verdict is absolute and will be carried out, all but indicating that she shouldn't mess with affairs of men. It's a surprise to everyone, but their little group that she appears just as the Lords of Gondolin and its King are about to leave. Despite the lack of an official announcement, word has spread what will happen today. Hence why Turgon refrains from sending his daughter back to the palace.
Behind his mask of an traumatised teenager, Maeglin feels pride for his new-found sister. She came dressed in the colors of his house, and thanks to the watchful eyes around them Turgon can't even say anything about it. It's a statement. A sign of support for Maeglin.
That Ecthelion and Glorfindel are dressed in similar colors escapes the King's notice. When Egalmoth comments on it on the way up, they argue it's because of the horrible task that awaits him. Their faces are enough to make Egalmoth swallow hard. While he has been task of transporting Eöl up the mountain, Maeglin's father doesn't have the strength to walk on his own anymore, the fate of performing such a vile act hits close. It could've easily been him in Glorfindel's and Ecthelions's place.
The march up the mountain is gruelling and takes several hours. It's midday by the time they reach the destined place and Maeglin suspects that Turgon chose the timing on purpose. Like Maeglin himself, Eöl finds the sun uncomfortable and in broad daylight his condition is undeniable. His father is far too thin, hasn't eaten in days and not even granted a bath the entire time he spend in Gondolin. Hell, Eöl is dressed in nothing more than rags. The clothing is torn and Maeglin spots wounds, fresh and festering ones.
He wonders what the King is trying to accomplish with denying Eöl even the slightest amount of dignity.
Perhaps Turgon hopes Eöl will invoke fear in his people, by making him look as much as an Orc as possible. That his father is close to death is obvious to everyone. It must look like as if Turgon hurried the execution or he'll have nothing, but a corpse to thrown down the cliff. Since his father is a master in his craft, Maeglin knows he possesses enough strength to will his spirit into the Halls of Mandos if needed. Instead Eöl prolonged his life, clings to it in order to give his son the opening he needs to escape the death trip of a city.
Turgon turns to Maeglin. "Do you have anything left to say?"
"No," Maeglin shakes his head and does his best to look numb. There's a time for rage and it hasn't come yet.
Besides he has said goodbye to his father already. Their minds touched on the way up and they exchanged their farewells. Maeglin wishes he could hug his father, tells him reunite with his wife, that he'll be fine, because he has a sister looking out of him. But he can't do that, not in front of Turgon, who has been watching every single of Maeglin's steps.
What follows is an announcement Eöl's crimes, a speech about a dark soul has tainted the beautiful city of Gondolin, and Turgon is passionate about it. But he's the only one. The Lords to their best to appear stone faced, but their eyes hold more pity than condemnation when Eöl is brought forth. Glorfindel's face is green, when he and Ecthelion walk Eöl towards the cliff. To this day Maeglin can't tell if Eöl found the strength to jump, perhaps to spare Maeglin's only friends a nightmare.
The only thing Maeglin hears is the sickening crunch as the body makes impact several hundred feet down below.
On the way back, they have to pass Eöl's body. It's too far away to recover it and on Turgon's orders, spoken in a harsh yet satisfied tone, the corpse will stay there as reminder. While the King almost looks happy, several of the Lords seem disturbed. Salgant has to throw up, for a second time on this day. Penlod manages to avoid that particular disgrace, but it's not difficult to guess why he refuses food and drink, when they take a break. Even Duilin and Galdor look uncomfortable, because they block any of Turgon's attempts to discuss Eöl's death any further.
Egalmoth looks guilty, deep in thought, and probably contemplating his life choices. While Rog seethes with open fury.
Maeglin suspects it's only Glorfindel's arm on his shoulder and the improper timing that keeps him from lashing out.
The Lords are too preoccupied to notice, how Idril takes his hand.
"It's over soon," Maeglin promises. His sister looks shaken, but is in a better stat than he first anticipated. The determined look on her face reminds him of his mother. "We're going to leave this place."
Idril nods. "Before the months is out, we'll be gone."
Maeglin never made the offer for Idril to accompany him. Such a decision is difficult enough, without having to chose between two people. But he's glad nonetheless. He smiles. Idril might be the one good thing Gondolin is able to produce. Otherwise he'll be glad to leave the city behind.
When the gate finally opens, it's just the four of them them heading out. A lot of people have come to stare. They're whispering in shock, because for Ardhel's son to leave the city is one thing. That Lady Idril and Lord Glorfindel and Ecthelion accompany him is a scandal. It's proof how bad the situation has gotten. Rog's people are fencing the walls, making sure that the small company can leave the city unharmed. Maeglin doesn't want to know what happened to the city guards, but Lord Rog's wrath shook the entire palace, once the day of Eöl's execution ended and Maeglin requested from the King to leave the city. Perhaps it wouldn't have come to blows, but when Turgon spoke of confining Maeglin inside the palace, placing him under house arrest until he came to his senses, several tempers boiled over.
"I hope you all will be well," Egalmoth says, just before the small group rides through the gates. "If you're wise, you'll visit the Highking firsthand. Report, what happened here and what madness has taken hold of his son."
Maeglin nods. One day he wishes to travel to Nogrod and Belegost, but since he's so far west already, it's his duty to meet his grandfather.
"What is going to happen to the city?" he asks. For the people are in uproar and Turgon has been locked into the chambers.
Word is that he can't be trusted to rule Gondolin anymore. Since Galdor and Penlod refused to see reason and tried to free the King by force, they too have been placed under arrest. Their temporary prisons seem very comfortable and Lord Rog threatened to throw them in Eöl's cell, if they make cause any trouble. That quieted their protests very quickly.
"Rog has been named Steward," Egalmoth answers. "At least as long as the Highking says otherwise. Where it up to him, he'd probably accompany you."
"You're no longer prisoners in your own home," Idril joins in. "You can leave Gondolin anytime you want and in case you need an ally, send word to the Sons of Finarfin. They'll gladly aid you."
She's dressed in different clothing now. Gone is the white dress. Instead she wears light armor, a sword and heavy boots. Maeglin isn't sure how proficent she's at wielding a weapon, but they have two guards to train with. Maeglin feels a bit guilty that the two former Lords have pledged themselves to him. But he saw their intention, their determination to keep Aredhel's son safe. To protect Eöl's son even. They won't tell, if they ever exchanged words with his father, but Maeglin suspects as much. Of course they'd honor Eöl's last request, especially since they view themselves as his murderers. No matter that Turgon easily found someone else, had they refused.
When they're finally allowed to depart, a weight falls of Maeglin's shoulders. Both his parents have been free spirits. To be trapped was a nightmare they both shared and would've never tolerated. Even if his mother will refuse all contact with Eöl in the halls of Mandos, Maeglin knows she'd have supported his actions.
An entire year Eöl spend in that blasted cell and no matter Maeglin's own feelings, not even a kinslayer deserved such a fate. And at least three other people agreed with him.
For the times they are a-changin'.
"Itarillë?" is the first thing Fingolfin says, when he spots the group. His eyes are drawn towards his granddaughter, because they chose to travel in secret and didn't announce they arrival in Barad Eithel.
Three weeks ago Orodreth welcomed them with open arms in Minas Tirith, while keeping up a healthy dose of suspicion. Much to Maeglin's approval. The people of Gondolin had been naive enough not to search Eöl for hidden weapons, when he arrived. Something both Aredhel and Maeglin had insisted upon, had they been informed in time. Orodreth is far more reasonable. While he's overjoyed to see his cousin, this is also the first time since Gondolin was built, that people returned from there. Many, who searched for the city, simply never returned.
Maeglin notices that he sees neither wife nor children. Or any kind of servant, for that matter. Only guards, who seem alert yet not openly hostile.
"I can't tell you, if my father knew of those, who died in the mountains," Idril says and lowers her head. "But there are a few residents, who found Gondolin on accident and have not been allowed to leave. Not even a decade ago, I'd have supported such politics, but I must admit that the recent events changed my mind. We never had a case before, where the person in question wasn't eventually convinced by the peace and quiet Gondolin had to offer."
Quietly she tells the story of what happened in the last year in Gondolin. When she's done, her resolve weakened, because it's the first time of telling the events to an outsider, Orodreth curses for nearly half an hour and breaks out the wine after that.
"Come one, cousin, you had a difficult year." He says to Maeglin and sits down beside him, while Finduilas takes care of Idril. "I'd understand it, if you never wished to see anyone of Finwë's line again, but I promise you that not all of us have such stick up their ass like Turgon does."
Maeglin laughs, perhaps for the first time since he left Nan Elmoth. Together with Ecthelion and Glorfindel, he empties three bottles of wine and falls asleep wrapped three pairs of arms. Despite what Orodreth told them, ultimately they end up sleeping in the same bed. Their little group of four survived so much together, a year of sharing each other's pain and suffering, that it's liberating to go to sleep without having to worry about tomorrow.
Right now on the other hand, standing in front of a bewildered Fingolfin, the anxiety is back in full force. Ecthelion and Glorfindel don't look much better. The Lord of the House of the Golden Flower especially, since as Maeglin learned on the way to Barad Eithel is related to the House of Finwë as well. Grandson to Findis and nephew of Idril's own daughter Elenwë. News which threw Maeglin off for the rest of the day.
"My King," Idril says and bows, when she dismounts. She's clearly not sure how her presence is going to be received, given how she saw her grandfather last roughly three hundred years ago.
"Itarillë!" Fingolfin says and again and takes his granddaughter into an embrace. "My dear, sweet Itarillë, it's been to long."
Maeglin is glad to stay back for the moment as Idril presses into her grandfather's chest. Both cling to each other as if they feared to wake from a wonderful dream the next second. It takes a long time, before Fingolfin finally takes a step back to properly look at his granddaughter.
"Look how much you're matured, Itarillë," the Highking says with wonder in his eyes. "Like your mother, like Irissë. They would be both proud of you, if they could see like this."
At this words Idril is startled out of a trance and winks for Maeglin to come closer. Now, finally Fingolfin takes a better look at the Elves, who first believed to be just his granddaughter's escort. But he recognizes Glorfindel at least and stops dead, when his gaze falls on Maeglin. In his heart Fingolfin already knows who the young man is, but Idril's words confirm his hopes.
"Haru, this Maeglin, Son of Eöl and Irissë," Turgon's daughter says and takes Maeglin's hand into her own. "Your grandson."
Maeglin prepared himself for many things, but not for the bright, dazzling smile just before he too is engulfed by strong arms. If he cried tears, because it was the first parental embrace in over a year, everyone was too preoccupied with their own to call him out on it.