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2
Part One

I was unsure whether I should label this story as "drama" or "romance". So I left the "general" label on.


~~~

PART ONE

When the last battle was over and Thangorodrim broken and Melkor, once again, imprisoned in the Void, and even the sons of Fëanor had finally fulfilled their horrible oath that caused so unspeakable pain and so much bloodshed among the Firstborn, Eönwë finally returned to his tent and collapsed onto a leather field chair.

He was weary beyond measure. More exhausted, in fact, than any of his noble kin should ever have been. Wearing his Elven disguise had become more and more confining and burdensome with every passing year. Truth to be told, during these forty-two years of ongoing warfare he had become his first glimpse of what the passing of time truly might mean.

Sure, he was accustomed to wear a physical form, even in the Blessed Land, while dealing with Elves – they all were, and as Manwë’s herald, he even more than the others of his kin. But incarnating himself without a break for such a long time – a time that he spent entirely outside the Blessed Realm – meant, that he had to nourish his body from the hröa of Arda(1) – and that flesh had been soaked by Morgoth’s evil presence to the smallest clod, staining with it all those who had an incarnate form, shadowing their bodies (and therefore their spirits) with His darkness – at least to a certain extent.

This was an effect that disturbed Eönwë greatly. The thought that part of him should be turned towards Morgoth was not a pleasant one. So he considered to spend an uncertain amount of time in Mandos’ Halls after his return to Valinor, in order to cleanse and heal his spirit from Morgoth’s influence. The fall of other Maiar, who had got infested with evil, showed how perilous such thing could be.

He yearned to return. The sight that offered itself his eyes was so hurtful he could barely bear it. Even marred, Arda had been the beautiful fruit of Ilúvatar’s thoughts and the Music of the Ainur – but all that remained now was hardly more than smouldering ruins.

And he was the one who had been sent out to cause all this horrible destruction.

Of curse he knew that it was inevitable. When Melkor incarnated himself permanently – thus becoming Morgoth forever, – he lost the greater part of his powers of old (those of mind and spirit; after all, he used to be second only to Manwë himself), but as an exchange, he gained a terrible grip upon the hröa of Arda.

His black thoughts and evil powers soaked the very lands, were present even in the waters and the winds; they were all over and under and in the earth. Therefore, he only could be fought by physical force, which meant that any direct combat with him, victorious or otherwise, would tear the flesh of the Earth apart.

To diminish the strength of Morgoth, Eönwë had to destroy the land that was, in a sense, the extension of His incarnate body.

And destroy he did.

Oh, yes, he tried to keep the destruction as limited as possible. He made his host land as far to the North as possible, as close to Angband as he could get – the closest to His physical incarnation he could manage, for that was the only part of Him that actually could be destroyed.

He tried everything to spare Arda as much as it was within his powers. The destruction still was devastating.

The Blue Mountains were sundered, and the Golf of Lhún now cut a deep slash into the flesh of Middle-earth. Most parts of fair Beleriand sank under the Sea, and Sirion, the beautiful and beloved and often sung-about by the Elves, was no more. Gone were the vast forests of Doriath and Taur-in-Duinath, the lands of Dor-lómin and Brethil; the Isle of Balar, the last refuge of the Elves of the West sank under the towering waves, and cold waters covered the ruins of Nargothrond and Gondolin, the most wondrous Elven cities ever built east of the Sea.

Naught of what the Elves had built, created and fought for so bitterly had remained. And though Morgoth finally had been overthrown, the wounds that his defeat had torn in the flesh of Arda will never be healed again.

And knowing this, Eönwë, mightiest of the Maiar, covered his face with his hands and wept.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A good amount of time he spent alone, grieving over a beauty that shall never be again, over greet deeds that were done in vain, and great works that would be forgotten, and many lives lost uselessly, and he thought that the time of Elven spirits spent in Mandos’ Halls must be spent like this: in tearing pain and deepest regret.

Then the flap of his tent was lifted, and in came Glorfindel, his own herald, wearing the rayed sun of the House of the Golden Flower on his shining breastplate; and on his broad shoulders he bore a mantel so broidered in threads of gold that it was diapered with celandine as a field in spring; and his arms were damascened with cunning gold(2).

And the weight of grief was lifted a little from Eönwë’s heart, for lo! There was one who gave his life for defeating the evil and yet returned, and who now was closer to his own kin than to the Firstborn.

And Eönwë looked admiringly at the incredible beauty of the re-born Elf who had once belonged to those who opened their eyes to the newborn starlight at the waters of Cuiviénen (thinking that this must be how Oromë had looked at them in awe(3) when finding them by accident all those Ages ago), and finally he understood what always had been a mystery for him: how could Melian fall for one of the incarnates so deeply that she had left the Blessed Realm to live with him in a permanent incarnation, on an Earth that was infested with Morgoth’s darkness.

For Glorfindel’s hair, that had loosened in the heat of battle, shone like the undying golden light of Laurelin, and his eyes were deep midnight blue as the sky ere the Two Trees had been born, and brighter than Varda’s stars at the time of his Awakening, and his skin had the slight golden hue of all those of pure Vanyarin blood, of which he had been one of the very first. And he glowed with the blinding inner fire of a hidden power, given him by Manwë and Varda themselves, after he had been clothed in flesh again, that manifested itself in the form of pure white light now that he let it burn freely in his battle-wrath.

He was definitely more than an ancient Elf now: Glorfindel, the Balrog Slayer, who had faced those monsters on Oromë’s side once again, and this time proved victorious – defeating even one of the winged dragons that tried to grab him from the field of battle and to tear him apart in the air. But to those who have tasted Death before, fear comes less easily than to others, and in his fierce combat Glorfindel had looked no less mighty and frightening than the dragon itself.

Now, that the combat was over and the dragons were all defeated, he returned to the tent of his warlord, to make his report as it suited a herald. And the vivid memories of that last, terrible battle reminded Eönwë of another dragon slayer – the slayer of Ancalagon the Black, who now floated high above their heads on the sky with his winged ship, shining brightly with the last remnants of the light of the Two Trees – and of a promise he so far had not been able to fulfil.

“Have you succeeded in locating the boys?” he asked, not caring that Glorfindel might see the trails of tears upon his face.

The golden Elf nodded, reaching out a slender hand and brushing away the remaining tears with his thumb. No-else would have dared to touch the Herald of the Elder King in this intimate manner, without asking, without being asked for. But few of the restrains that ruled the life of other beings bothered Glorfindel anymore.

“Yes, my Lord,” he said with his clear, ringing voice, and Eönwë had to think of silver trumpets by that sound, so gentle and yet powerful it was. “They are on their way here. Yet they are no children any more, and you shall have to let them make their own choice.”

Eönwë leaned into his touch for a moment, allowing himself the first small weakness since the onset of this horrible war that now hopefully was over. Then he straightened, and now his eyes were alert again – though very tired.

“You believe they would refuse to come to Aman with us?” he asked.

“I cannot answer that, my Lord,” Glorfindel replied, “yet it seems that the roots the Children of Ilúvatar have in Arda are deeper than the Valar ever might have thought. I strongly advice against forcing them to do aught. They have more than just Finwë’s blood in them to make them strong-headed.”

“Have we ever forced any of you to do aught that you would not want to?” Eönwë asked, feeling insulted and mayhap even a little hurt.

“Nay," Glorfindel answered thoughtfully. “Yet you always thought you knew better what is good for us than we do. Most of the times you were right. But not always. I only ask you to approach them with care. They are of two nature, of twilight and starlight – no-one of us can foresee what they shall do.”

“I hope I have not gotten too haughty to listen to the wisdom of others, even if they are not of my kind,” Eönwë smiled tiredly. “Now, is there aught else we should discuss?”

Glorfindel shook his head and gave him a fond smile. A strange little smile it was, that of a father to a frightened child. For though Eönwë certainly stood high above him like the very hills, he knew something the Maia would never know. He knew Death and the freedom that knowledge could bring.

“Nay, my Lord,” he said gently, “there is naught that could not wait ‘til later. You should rest now. As long as you are in this body, you need it, like the rest of us. Sleep now; I shall watch over you ‘til morrow awakes.”

TBC

~~~

End notes:

(1) The “flesh of Earth”, the actual physical matter, in this case.

(2) So appears Glorfindel in Gondolin when Turgon musters his armies. Why should he look less good when going to war with the Valar themselves? Quoted from “The Book of Lost Tales 2”, pp 174-175.

(3)In “The Silmarillion”, p. 46, it says: “And Oromë, looking upon the Elves, was filled with wonder, as they were beings sudden and marvellous and unforeseen; for so it shall ever be with the Valar. From without the World, for all things might be forethought in music or foreshown in vision from afar, to those who enter verily into Eä each in its time shall be met at unawares as something new and unforetold.” Why should it be different with the Maiar?


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