Lily of Gondolin - Chapter Six: Torn
Recap: Morien has woken up, drained, but they have continued on.
Chapter Six: Torn
Taurion woke me about four hours before dawn. I had recovered just enough to keep going. He carried both of our packs, and that helped, although it irritated me how much of a difference that small lightening made.
There is little to tell of the days that followed. We hid during the day, and made our painful way southwest during the night. There were a few narrow escapes, for Gorthaur's servants were searching for us. But by some providence we were not found.
My strength and power slowly returned, coming back more the farther I got from Tol-en-Gaurthoth. We followed the Crissaegrim where they bent south, remaining on the eastern side of Sirion, between it and the mountain range. And then at long, long last we were out of Gorthaur's realm.
The ground had a covering of dry grass, rather than the stone which I had been treading for so long. It was very early spring, and the plants were just touched with a delicate green. The air was cold, but it carried the faint clear scent of a place unpolluted by Morgoth. The sky was cloudless, and a deep, pure blue.
I stood still for a moment. I had almost forgotten what it was to move in the light, to walk unhidden in the sun's rays. It had been so very long since I had done so. To slip unseen through the dark and shadow was what I knew.
I took a deep breath. The air was clean and crisp, a breeze blowing, and it was the air of my homeland. It struck me very hard that I was free, that I could at last go home.
No, a quiet voice told me, you can't. After what you've done it couldn't be as if you were never taken. Don't you understand? Morgoth's sign is on you; do you think you will ever be free of the darkness?
But am I just to cling to memories? I argued weakly with myself, although I knew the answer. I love them, and Calien will be almost grown by now.
But do you realize the grief you would bring your family? They remember Indil, their daughter and sister, a healer. Do you want to break the peace they have found thinking you died for Gondolin?
Indil did, I thought. I did.
"Morien?" Taurion was looking at me with an expression of faint concern.
I came out of my mental debate, knowing the verdict. "Yes?"
"Are you all right?"
I knew he didn't believe me, but he continued walking. I followed, with a silent bitter laugh at myself. When was I last all right?
That night as I took watch I looked up at the mountains, visible in the silver moonlight. They were achingly familiar; I had covered this same ground with the patrol, and from what I guessed Taurion and I would cross the Dry River the next day.
It's so close, I thought. Home's just a few leagues away, I could find the entrance with my eye shut, that's all it would take..........
No, said that quiet, reasonable voice. Don't dream about what you know can't be. There's a mountain between you and all the Eldar. You failed all before - where would you find the strength to cross it?
I bowed my head. "I don't know," I said softly. "I don't know."
A cloud drifted across the moon, and I couldn't see the mountains any more.
The next day we did reach the Dry River. I didn't look at the mountains surrounding my home. Only Iluvatar knew where I would go, but it could not be there, the only place I truly wished to be. I kept my eyes on the ground and ignored the bitter grief welling inside of me. I would not yield to it; I had endured far worse. Fate is a strange thing, though, for the wrenching pain that I endured then would come to nothing.
That night, for the first time, we dared to light a fire. Sitting by it in the quiet of evening I heard a bird delicately trill. It was a soft, sweet and plaintive song, and suddenly reminded me that there was still light in Arda. I shook off that strange thought and noticed that on the other side of the fire Taurion was listening intently. "It's a nightengale," he said with an unexpected smile. "We are nearer the forest of Brethil than I realized."
We sat in silence for a time. That was not unusual; we had not spoken much since leaving Tol-en-
Gaurhoth. Neither of us had need for idle conversation, and there was nothing we had to know. Therefore, we did not speak. Until then.
I looked up, and Taurion continued. "It won't be long now before we reach Doriath. You have not spoken of your course, and in truth I do not know if you would be welcome there as one of the Noldor."
"I know of your lords understandable enmity toward my kindred," I said quietly. "I do not intend to go there."
"But where do you intend to go?" he asked. "To Nargothrond? Or the Isle of Balar?"
"Perhaps." I answered. I did not know myself.
"Gorthuar must have captured you from somewhere," Taurion said. "You must have a home."
"You do not now?"
"It is lost to me." Speaking of it was horribly, tearingly painful. I had turned my back on home that day.
Taurion sensed something amiss. "Why is it lost?" he asked, his voice suprisingly gentle.
I stood up, no longer able to bear staring impassively at the flames."It is a long tale that I do not wish to tell," I said, turning away. He'd hate me if he knew, and I wouldn't be able to blame him. Eru knew I hated myself.
"Morien, after all we've been through I think you owe me an explanation." Taurion stood up and walked around the fire. He took hold of my shoulders and turned me around to face him. "You can trust me," he said.
I looked at him, and saw that he meant it, although that might change. We were to part ways soon in any case. "Very well," I said quietly, and walked back to the fire.
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