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Awakening
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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1
Awakening

Disclaimer: The characters, the context and the main plot belong to Professor Tolkien, whom I greatly admire. I’m only trying to fill in the gaps he so graciously left for us, fanfic writers, to have some fun.

Dedication: a belated birthday ficlet for Earonn, the leader of all non-Elvenprincesses. :))

Author’s notes:
To the former relationship between Gildor and Celebrimbor see my stories “Seaside Conversations,” “Reflections of Past and Future”, “Seaside Conversations 2” and “Dreamwalkers”. Reading these is not absolutely necessary to understand this one, but it might help.

Gildor Inglorion’s ancestry and his role as the Lord of Edhellond are entirely my creation, so are the individual members of his household and those of the Wandering Company. These elements are used in the same context in all my stories.


~~~

Awakening

Many long years, filled with the joys and sorrows of mortal life, had gone by in the Outer Lands – more than a hundred, but no-one counted them here – and Celebrimbor was still wandering the silver fields of healing dreams, while his white-clad body, as fresh and new as the ceremonial robes covering it, was lying on the immortal grass on the small island in the tree-shadowed lake of Lórellin, in Irmo’s gardens.

At first, his dreams had been vague and confusing, but little by little, the memories of his previous life began to reintegrate themselves into his mind and heart. He had faced the bad ones in the Halls already – the reminiscence of horrors he had seen, the Kinslaying, the crossing of the Grinding Ice, the wars of Beleriand, the fall of Nargothrond, the sinking of the Isle of Balar, the sack of Ost-in-Edhil and his own horrible, brutal death. He had faced the mistakes he had made, albeit with the best intentions. He had recognized his errors, and that recognition had set his spirit free.

Now, in the peace of Irmo’s gardens, he dreamed of the good things in his former life. Of the sweet voice of his mother, singing to him in his sleep. Of the silver laughter of his baby sister, her warm little hands touching his face like the wing of a butterfly. Of the proud smile of his father, when he showed him the first little jewel he had forged, secretly, with Fëanáro’s help… back, way back, when the fire burning in the hearts of his father and grandfather had not yet turned dark. Of the heavy hand of Lord Aulë, resting upon his head in a gesture of blessing. Of the fierce joy of that day, an Age and a half ago, when the secrets of power had finally been unlocked and the Great Rings had been completed.

And of that single night, shortly thereafter, when he had finally tasted love. The ecstasy of the complete joining of body and soul and heart, a joy and awe hat not even regret could spoil. That one, perfect moment, in which he had seen the Light of the Two Trees again, silver and golden, falling like soft rain, permeating their joined bodies and souls, and in which he had felt the light wash away all stains of the darkness from his very being.

He had been cleansed again – but at what cost? The Joining had saved him from sinking into darkness, but his young lion, his beautiful golden prince would never be free again. And yet he could not regret what had happened, not even after having gone through death and rehousing, for it had been the most perfect thing of his life that was now behind him, as strong as birth and more beautiful than the Two Trees themselves.

True, these memories were not as sharp as they used to be – they were only the memories of the mind, unrooted in this new flesh that was unblemished and without true knowledge. But they were still his memories, they were what had shaped his very being – they were him.

And when he understood this simple truth, he woke up.

Twilight lay upon Irmo’s gardens, the dreams of the Lady Estë, not yet awake, floating above the small island like silver mist. It was peaceful and quiet, save from the distant song of the nightingales that permeated the evening like a warm spring rain. Celebrimbor felt a not-quite-familiar weight at his shoulder, and looking down he saw a golden head resting comfortably upon his chest, near his heart. Gildor must have moved somewhen during their long sleep, snuggling up against his side, seeking closeness after so many millennia apart.

He remembered the last time – the only time – he had woke up with Gildor sleeping trustingly in his arms. How young he had been, his golden prince, how desperately in love! Celebrimbor had to send his young lover away, on the morning after their bonding, for the Rings had to be brought to safekeepers – and he wanted Gildor out of harm’s way. He knew that the Abhorrent One would come back for him; for him and for the Three Rings.

Celebrimbor had managed to hide the Three from the Abhorrent One, so that they had never been touched and stained by darkness. And his lover, who had helped him to bring them to safety, was now sleeping in his arms once again… no more young and merry, but battered by an Age and a half of loneliness, waiting, hard battles and bitter losses and by waning hope. Yet he was still here, and he was still in love. It was not the infatuation of youth any longer, but the utter devotion of a mature Elf, hardened by war and grief yet grown through experience and in wisdom.

Celebrimbor tried to free his numb shoulder, careful not to wake his sleeping lover. But Gildor held to him in his sleep desperately, as if Celebrimbor were his lifeline – which was not that far from truth.

“Let me help,” a soft, almost dreamy voice said, and to his surprise Celebrimbor detected the tall, grey-clad form of Irmo sitting next to them.

“You cannot wake him,” the Vala continued, “not without calling him by his father-name. But losing touch with you would upset his sleep.”

He rose and repositioned Gildor with gentle but irresistible strength, so that the golden head now lay upon Celebrimbor’s lap, facing outwards.

“You can sit up now and stretch a little,” the Vala said, and Celebrimbor did as he was told.

“How come that I am awake and he is not?” he asked from Irmo.

“He cannot wake up on his own,” answered the Vala simply. “It is up to you, if he ever returns.”

Celebrimbor looked at him, a little frightened. “What do you mean?”

“He has been deeply wounded by the loss of you,” said Irmo, “ and the only thing that kept him alive and going was the hope that one day he would be reunited with you. He has been grieving ever since your death, as he was too strong to fade away or die from broken heart – until now.

“He still could die?” asked Celebrimbor, shaken. Irmo nodded gravely.

“He was the one who found your tortured and maimed body amidst the smouldering ruins of Ost-in-Edhil, and had lived with that wound for more than four thousand years. Not even the Blessed Realm can heal a broken heart. Not even my gardens can. Only love can do that. You alone can heal him. That is why you have been released from the Halls before your time. For he needs you.”

“What can I do?” Celebrimbor was determined to do everything in his might.

“You have three choices in this,” said Irmo slowly. “You can let him sleep on, indefinitely, ‘til the end of Arda or until he fades away slowly in his sleep. You can call him out of his sleep, if you want, but if you do so, be careful. Have you changed too much in the Halls for the renewing your bond, he will die from broken heart. But if you still feel the bond that the two of you once shared, you can call him back to you – and begin a new life together.”

“But is it not law in Valinor that a bond, once forged, cannot be broken anymore?” asked Celebrimbor.

“It is,” said the Vala, “but there are exceptions. Ilúvatar is merciful and does not demand unnecessary sacrifices. Your bond was not a conscious act – it happened almost without your decision. Binding you to it, when you cannot feel it anymore, would be an act more cruel than letting Gildor fade away in his sleep.”

“It might have happened by accident,” replied Celebrimbor, “but we have merged, with every part of our being. Such a thing cannot be undone.”

“Not for the living, it cannot,” Irmo agreed. “But, as Glorfindel said once, death is a powerful experience. The breaking of flesh has been known to have broken the bond of spirit before.”

“How often has it truly happened?” asked Celebrimbor. “Aside from Finwë and Míriel, that is?”

“In Valinor?” Irmo asked back, and Celebrimbor nodded. “Only once. But the bond of Glorfindel was one-sided anyway, and the changes that enhanced him and brought him closer to our kind than to yours, have been much more profound.”

“And yet you offer me the chance to break my bond?” said Celebrimbor astonished. But the Vala shook his head.

“Nay I cannot offer you such thing. I am asking if the bond is still there – for that is which should decide what you choose to do now.”

Celebrimbor nodded his understanding and remained silent for a while.

“In my dreams, I have relived the moment when we merged,” he finally said. “And though ‘tis only my spirit that can remember, I still know that it was the most profound joy that I had ever known in my previous life. I know not if I have loved him as much as he loved me – or if I can ever love him that much – but I would like to try. For he is dear for my, precious for my heart, and I do not wish to lose him.”

At that, the Vala smiled, and it felt as if a grey cloud had been lifted from the gardens.

“Then call him,” he said.

And Celebrimbor took the hand of his beloved and called him by the name that had been given to him, two Ages earlier, upon the shores of Beleriand ere they had crumbled into the Sea.

“Nildorë, son of Lintári and Ingalaurë, wake up!”

~The End~

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Note: Nildorë is the Quenya form of Gildor. Thanks, Finch!

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