~ Glorfindel knew, and perhaps both his eldest sons knew that Finwë would not leave Aman. The first High King of the Noldor spoke to those three and no-one else, and to Glorfindel alone he said that Fëanor was of him, and yet with his birth something had come into the world which was unique and of itself, a new flame whose potency had lit other fires. He was Fëanor, passion and peril now cloaked again in flesh. Even Finwë had not been able to resist the will and the flame that blazed there, Fëanor would never consent to be ruled now, not even by his father. He had planned to leave Valinor long before the theft of the Silmarils, to found realms in the Outer Lands.
There were some open doubts about his kingship, but Glorfindel said:
"Eru has given this vision to me. Fëanor shall be High King of the Noldor in Ennorath."
After his words, there were not many objections, at least no-one voiced any. Not yet. They would, Glorfindel knew, oh, they would, but now, now they were reeling with freedom. It would not last, of course and he realized, with a wry inner smile, that the Noldor saw him as the counterbalance to Fëanor, and that would be an unenviable position to occupy. But it was not for him to be both King and Vala; his duty was to protect the Elves of Middle-earth, allow them to live free in the world. He had been shown that they had been sung into the Great Music for precisely that purpose, to enrich and beautify, whether wild Avari in distant forests, or the Noldor in their new haven. They were bound and wound inextricably into Arda. And there Glorfindel did foresee problems, but no Power, not him, nor the Ainur who were the offspring of Eru's mind, could see the One's vast, time-spanning plan of creation.
The ships came across the sea like gulls, white and graceful, sails cupping the wind. The Noldor of Tol Eressëa, who had come there after the War of Wrath and the ages since, weary and wounded by Middle-earth, waded through the shallow waters with a light on their faces like the rising of the sun.
In the days which followed, the ships were loaded with cargo. The backdrop of many voices was constant, ringing out or softly murmuring as they wove their own threads – many broken and bloodied – into the tapestries of their lives. The Valar had vanished to take council together, save those few who came to Glorfindel and spoke with him.
Not all of the Noldor would leave Aman. Finarfin and his people remained in Tirion, as would Finwë,and there were some who did not come forth to greet the reborn.
Glorfindel, as he walked the white ways of the city where, in the Light of the Trees, he had first been born thought, The circle has been joined at last. A ring forged of death and doom, life and hope. No words could encompass all that had passed.
"It is both like and unlike I imagined," Legolas said, as they came from Glorfindel's now empty mansion. "Beautiful, yes, but like a gem locked within a casket, buried in snow."
"Once it was lit by fire, and then the fire went out," Glorfindel replied. It was evening, and the vast shadows cast by Taniquetil and the Pelori covered Valinor in deep gloom. "The Mountains of Defense," he murmured. "The Valar lavished their love and all their care on Aman, and raised the Pelori sheer. They did not desire to battle Morgoth until a blood-price had been paid both by Elves and Men. And many paid that price, both the innocent and the guilty." His face was stern, pitiless, and then as he looked at Legolas, the expression melted as if charmed away. He smiled and a gleam of pure wickedness entered his eyes. With a quick thrust, he pushed the prince against a marble wall and kissed him, long, sensuously. He laughed as he drew back, and whispered, "This was once wrong here. I am finding it most satisfying, flaunting this, knowing full well the Valar can do nothing."
From far away, yet close as his own mind, came the amused laughter of one who also appreciated this very much.
Glorfindel mentally saluted before he slipped his hand about Legolas' hip, who was smiling, and whose eyes gleamed with desire. Together they walked to the horses that waited at the gates.
"Thou art not afraid of me?" he asked. "Of this power?"
The eyes of all those who saw him held ether frank curiosity or a tinge of fear. Curufin, in the presence of his father, Celegorm, Amrod and Amras, had demanded why he had been chosen. It bordered on rudeness and Glorfindel thought exasperatedly that whatever flaws the Fëanorions possessed, cowardice was not one of them. And too, he was known to them, he was Elda as they were.
To his surprise it had been Legolas, the blood rushing beautifully into his cheeks who had answered, standing tall and with uptilted chin before those whose names resounded in legend with doom and violence.
"Perhaps, my lords," he had said clearly. "Those of you who died long ago, should first think upon Lord Glorfindel's history. He gave his life to save the refugees of Gondolin, allowing Eärendil to come to Valinor. He returned to Ennorath because he had loved it, loved both the Elves and Men who dwelt there. He fought evil for thousands of years. He knows our sorrows better than any, he has seen three Ages of them. Whom else would Eru choose?"
Fëanor, who had interestingly not questioned Glorfindel's apotheosis, looked at Legolas with those vivid, unearthly eyes for a long moment, then flung up a hand in an arrogant gesture which forestalled any further words.
"Thou art right, Prince Laiqualassë," he spoke in Quenya, having never heard the Sindarin tongue of the hither shores before now. "I would not debate the choice of the One." And he had inclined his head and laid a hand on his breast, with a bow to the wood-Elf which should have pleased Glorfindel, but did not. This was, after all, Fëanor.
He saw Tindómion nearby, and his smile was wickedly delighted. Already the factions were forming, as they had in Tirion and in Beleriand. Death had not altered the dynamics between the Noldor, which had less to do with hate or dislike than competitiveness.
Legolas said now, answering his question: "No more so than usual."
His voice was so pensive that Glorfindel paused and looked sharply at him, to meet a glance suspiciously innocent, laughter brimming in the bright eyes. Then Legolas smiled and Glorfindel caught him hard, with another very public, very thorough kiss.
"I could not be what I am without being Glorfindel. I have not changed," he murmured, when they were both flushed and roused and oblivious of the glances they had gathered.
"I know you have not changed," Legolas murmured provocatively. "I would not wish you to."
It had given Glorfindel pause, in his lovemaking, wondering if the power would spill over into that. He reached for that other presence so far away and so close.
I do not know, Vanimórë admitted. I have not bedded any-one since it happened.
I cannot. I am afraid to take him.
Glorfindel could not help. He had loved Legolas before his changing, and would never cause him harm. He did not think Vanimórë would hurt Elgalad, but he understood the fear. Elgalad had died at Vanimórë's hands, albeit by dreadful accident, and now Glorfindel saw deeper, saw the self-hate within Sauron's son, something he had lived with almost since his birth. He was afraid to stain Elgalad. Glorfindel's mind touched Vanimórë's in sympathy and the response was insouciant, a shrugged shoulder.
"Come," Glorfindel said, seeing his prince gazing at him with a lifted brow. "Before I take thee here and now on the street !"
The Vala whom would now be keeper of the Timeless Halls greeted Tindómion in his gardens, sweet with the scent of cedar, where the red poppies of Fumellar breathed forth sleep, and the waters held the stars in their cool depths.
This was the place where those came who needed deep healing, and the one who came had suffered greviously on Middle-earth. She did not look as Tindómion had seen her last, drained of vitality, eyes scarred by violence and pain. When she smiled in welcome and astonishment she was again the Celebrian whom had called him, "My knight," and he went down on one knee to her as if she were a queen.
"My lord Lórien has told me what has come to pass," she took his hands and he rose and said, "My Lady, I wish Elrond were here."
"He will come."
"Wilt thou not return with us?"
"Not yet," Celebrian said after a moment. "Perhaps one day."
"Then shall I carry a message to him?"
"There is naught I can tell him that he does not already know, Istelion. But there is much I do not know. Come, walk with me." She slipped her arm through his. "Middle-earth will never be cleansed of evil, and memories are sharper than a blade for us, you know this."
"I know it indeed." If he were to have loved any woman it would have been Celebrian. He had loved her, and like her own sons would ever feel guilt that he had not been one of those who escorted her on her journey to Lothlórien. Later, they learned that great companies of orcs had been secretly massing to bar the passes into Eriador. Yet secretive as they tried to be, the Great Eagles had espied movement north about the springs of Mitheithel, and words had come from Thranduil of orcs in the skirts of the Ered Mithrim. Concerned that they were making their way to Mount Gundabad, one of their ancient holds, Elrond had sent out his sons, with Glorfindel and Tindómion and they had traveled with some of the Dúnedain. The Redhorn Pass had seemed quiet and Celebrian had set forth to Lothlórien and been ambushed by orcs.
Elrond had done all he could. His wife had healed in body, but not in soul. At night sometimes they heard her screaming. It drove Elladan and Elrohir out to hunt all, any orcs with savage grief and hate. And they killed enough, but it did not assuage the horror of Celebrian's rape. She scarcely spoke. Once, on a summer night with the air full of the scent of honeysuckle, she sat in the garden, fragile as broken lily, and Tindómion had played for her. A tiny sound had brought his head up and he had seen tears pouring silently from her eyes. He had known then that she could never find healing in Middle-earth. After she left, Imladris had mourned, the waterfalls seemed to weep.
Now he told her what he could, although there were some things that only Elrond should speak of. When he learned of Arwen's choice of mortality, she became still, her grey eyes wide as if looking beyond the gardens, beyond Valinor. She whispered, "My children have their own lives. We always knew this, Elrond and I. I would not sway them, even if I could. Yet it is so hard !"
Later, as they parted, she said, "I will wait for him," and, "We will meet again, Istelion."
He kissed her cheek and left her standing, tall and lovely as a rose wrought in silver. She would not, he thought, have very long to wait for her husband.
It was a very different departure for the Noldor this time. Many thought back to the kinslaying of Alqualondë, the theft of the Swan-ships, but these ships were offered freely and felt eager as they rode the swell of the ocean, sails booming under a west wind. Dolphins leaped in graceful curves about the bows of the vessels and at night the stars were huge and brilliant, and the sound of lyres and harps came over the dark waters. They were headed for Mithlond whence some would ride to Imladris.
It was a time to speak, but softly. They would be confined on these vessels for a far greater length of time when they embarked on the long voyage to the east of the world, and there was little room for quarrels and divisions on board ship. All of them knew this without being told, so they trod softly, spoke with courtesy or not at all. Their new lives would truly begin when they reached the place Glorfindel named New Ciuviénen.
Tindómion had felt a sense of unreality from the moment he had seen Vanimórë fighting with his father in Lindon. The events since then had shaken him as nothing had since the death of Gil-galad and now the world was changed and Gil-galad had come from the depths of Night. Yet the divide of an age had not been joined, and he did not know why. They had come together in love, and after a long moment of holding one another, knitting the ragged edges of their wound of separation, they had drawn back, only their eyes still clinging. Something invisible and solid as a pane of glass had slid between them again. It would take more than reunion to heal the long sorrow.
Gil-galad had said nothing, his hand had risen to touch Tindómion's face, a faint smiled, half-puzzled, half-ironic had stirred his mouth as if he too felt this divide, knew that nothing was simple.
Nothing is simple
The sea-wind in his hair, Tindómion looked across to the great ship where Gil-galad stood with Fingolfin. He saw a glimpse of copper-bronze, for Maedhros was travelling on that vessel with Fingon.
He raised his hand and over the plunge and skim of the ships which raced each other across the water, Gil-galad's eyes met his, and he too lifted his own hand as if they placed them together through the sluice of the wind.
His cloak and hair streaming, Maglor came to his side with two cups of hot wine. Tindómion took one with a nod of thanks. He had come to realize that if any-one understood him, it must be his father.
"We have been parted from those we loved, Istelion. It is not as simple as mending a broken vase." Maglor stood beside him at the rail and a smile passed between he and his elder brother who stood beside Fingon. There were two that had come together like magnet to metal, and it warmed him more than the wine to see it. Maedhros' years after Fingon's death had been agony to him, there were some pains to deep to touch, to share.
"Gorthaurion..." There was a hesitation on the name, an edge and difficulty to it which revealed Maglors unhealed wounds. Tindómion placed his free hand over his father's, where it rested on the polished wood. "He told me thou didst love Gil."
"I wish I had found thee before thy torment," Tindómion murmured.
"There is nothing left when the heart is gone, save memory," Maglor said, eyes opaque silver in the sunlight. "And something which kept me alive. Fear of losing even memory. I did not know where I was, when I was. I wish thou hadst found me also, and released me from this life."
"Wouldst thou not have slain me, Istelion?"
In the last days, Tindómion had been able to observe how deep, how truly passionate were the attachments between those of the line of Finwë; love, desire or hate, they felt with all of their souls. It was in every glance of fire-bright eyes, every movement, every nuance in the voice. He looked at his father, at the white, beautiful face, the sultry mouth and unearthly eyes, saw the pain which ran under as a river still runs under ice.
"I could not have, adar." Their brows touched, and he felt the tenseness melt, for a moment, from Maglor's sinews.
They sat down on a great coil of rope, cradling the winecups. Near the bow, Glorfindel was standing with Legolas, gold head turned to gold, and Maglor murmured, "There are some who are going to be disappointing in that coupling. He is forged of a fine metal, that one."
"Legolas has more than proved his worth in the great matters of this time and in Sauron's defeat," Tindómion replied quietly. "I also count him a friend. Their love is a very deep thing. And Glorfindel needs him. When he came back to Middle-earth, reborn, a hero and saw again the long ruin, it isolated him. It was a weight that he could not lift from his shoulders. He needed a deep and pure love, and Legolas gives that. He is not unlike Elgalad."
"I understand," Maglor said. "But my father wanted Glorfindel, and determined to have him, both as a lover and as a lieutenant." More complexities in the words, the guilt at having desired his own father. Having seen him now, felt that fire against his own flesh, Tindómion was unsurprised.
"Glorfindel always wondered whether he could have influenced him, had he gone with him."
"I do not know. He was fey with grief." Maglor paused, took a breath, a sip of wine. "I wonder if this was not all foreshadowed long ago, when he brought Glorfindel back from the fringes of death. Thou knowest of that?"
"Yes. Glorfindel said Fëanor changed him forever, that every-one touched by him or those of his blood were changed. And doomed."
"He let no-one wear the Silmarilli, no-one at all. Only Glorfindel that once. And I do not think it was because he feared punishment if Glorfindel died. Yes, we were all touched by him, all changed by him. But I was not thinking of Glorfindel alone."
Tindómion glanced across the deck to the third ship which made up the triad spearhead of the fleet, and which bore his grandsire. "Yes, I see. I hope it does not come to that. Glorfindel is possessive."
"So are all the Finwii." A smile came, tinged with all the chiaroscuro of ancient memories. "If it were not for my father, Glorfindel and Ecthelion would have known magnificent love. He smashed what might have been, uncaring in what he desired. I do not think he has changed. I am glad that Glorfindel found the love he needed."
He fell into silence again, the silence of one who has been solitary for so long, then said, in an abrupt uprush of rage, "They knew where they were, their very souls were mocked. They were shown many things. But my father does not know of him, of Gorthaurion. My torture, yes, not the other." He looked straight ahead, his profile still as marble. Tindómion's fingers closed about his father's wrist. "It is between he and I."
"Why would he not be shown that?"
Maglor shook his head, then hissed savagely, "It was not in Sauron's plan was it? That I should be freed? Hells, I cannot think of those I love lost in the dark, bodiless spirits. Now they seek to live, for fëa and hröa to be one. And we who have not died, who lived with their loss, need our own time to blend our hearts with theirs again. I understand thee, Istelion, as I understand Gil-galad, both of thee have been apart too long for it to be easy. It is no different for me."
"I saw him and I wept, it is too great for me to encompass easily. The years, father...the endless years where I lived, fought, ate drank, even laughed, and yet there was a void within me."
"I know, I know." They turned to each other and embraced, and Maglor thought, I never knew I had a son, and yet out of my own emptiness I reached out, and he heard me, felt me, lived the burden of my life and memories. I was so enwrapped in my own guilt and madness that I could not feel him, and I should have been with him in his uttermost grief. He should hate me. He should wish me dead, yet like all of our blood, he loves like a flame. ~