Lily of Gondolin - Chapter Two: Passages and Doubts
Passages and Doubts
There's a place in the darkness
That I used to cling to,
It presses harsh hopes against time.
In the absence of martyrs
There's a presence of thieves,
Who only want to rob you blind.
Steal away any sense of peace,
Though I'm a king I'm a king on my knees.
And I know they are wrong
When they say I am strong,
As the darkness covers me.
--J. Knapp, Martyrs and Thieves
I carefully stood up. My entire body was bruised, but I had been trained to work through pain like that. "It's time."
Taurion rose. "How precisely is this working?"
I pulled a small knife and a short length of stiff wire from my boot. "On your shoulders I can reach through the bars to pick the lock. After that, we get to a passage."
"Right." He braced himself against the door. I caught hold of the bars in the window, and pulled myself up to sit on his shoulders. Once steady, I reached through the bars. I could just touch the lock. The metal was gritty under my fingers I slid the wire into the keyhole, feeling it out. It was simple, as I knew it would be. I drew out the wire, and bent the end down. Holding it and the small knife together I carefully turned them in the keyhole. The lock made a rusty, groaning, sound, but slowly gave way. I reached as far as I could, the bars pressing against me, and was able to give the lock a hard yank. It came free in my hand and I brought it through the barred window. Taurion made a small involuntary noise as I shifted, and I slid down off of him.
"Try the door," I said, replacing the knife and wire in my boot. Taurion pushed it cautiously, and it swung outward, grating in its hinges. We stepped into the dark corridor, listening for any sound of orcs. There was none, and no other sign of life save the torches flickering at either end of the hall. I motioned for Taurion to follow me, and walked silently to the farther end. "Be as quiet as possible. The nearest passage opens near here, but past a guard." He nodded.
I slid into the shadows that were all around us, and he followed me down the next corridor. I reached into my right sleeve and drew out a dagger. Fortunately the orcs had not searched me after......I pulled my mind back. I was not going to think about that.
Approaching the end of the passage I saw the orc standing guard, inattentive and relaxed. Taurion looked at me questioningly, and I motioned for him to remain still.
I crept up behind the orc, surveyed the weak points of his armour for a moment, and jammed the dagger into his ribs in exactly the right spot. He never knew what happened. I turned, and saw that Taurion was looking at me with a sort of horrified shock. I shrugged it off, jerked my head for him to follow me, and set off down the next corridor, still in the shadows.
We were now in the main hall of the dungeons that all the others branched out from. Torches flickered here and there, casting a dim, restless red light. I could hear harsh laughter from one of the guardrooms across the hall. The one on the right was mercifully disused, and that is was where I headed, keeping close to the wall and skirting the torchlight. It took a few minutes to reach it, creeping around the hall's edges to avoid being sighted from the occupied guardroom door.
Reaching the empty room I stepped inside, Taurion close behind. "The orcs have never used this chamber," I whispered quietly. " The power of my people lingers, and they are not easy near any magic that is not their foul master's." He nodded, and I turned to one of the walls. It was.....I searched my memory.......yes, the third from the left in the fourth row.
I pressed my palms against the stone and began to chant very softly in my birth-tongue. "Power of my people, builders of this fortress, open the way. By might and magic granted me, a child of the Noldor, reveal your secret." The stone suddenly slid to one side, revealing a dark opening.
"How does that work?" Taurion whispered from behind me.
"No time now. We need to hurry." I stepped into the passage and he followed. Turning, I again placed my hands against the cold granite. "I thank you, stone and power." It slid back into place, sealing the passage. It was very dark, only a few faint glimmers of light at irregular intervals, wherever a spyhole looked into a torch lit room. The nearest one opened into the guardroom, and I took a brief look. The orcs were quarreling, as usual. I did not wait to find out what the fight was about, but caught Taurion's arm and hurried down the passage. We would need to go to the armoury as well as the storeroom for the Men in Gorthaur's service. I could force down orc food but doubted that Taurion could.
The tunnel branched, and I took the left. Beyond that were more turnings and openings, but I'd used those unseen ways more times than I could count. They were the only place not swarming with Gorthaur's creatures, and I had often retreated there. I knew them better than anything else, even the quiet hidden lanes of my home where I used to wander, through the city with all its gleaming white stone and softly shading trees, and the fountains, always splashing a quiet crystal song in the backround. I'd missed it horribly, that soft, ever-present music. There was no flowing water in Tol-en-Gaurhoth, only the river Sirion crashing on its cliffs. I knew that abhorrent fortress and the knowledge served me well, but I was leaving, if I could
make it out I would be free. Maybe.......could I even go home?
Home. A hundred images flooded into my mind as I walked through the darkness. My parents, Amme teaching me to heal, slowly learning songs of power from my father, my brother showing me how to shoot a bow, holding my little sister, her laughter as I pushed her on her swing, laughing with her - but I would never be like that again, I knew. I had been captured and used and tainted by Morgoth's evil. Would my family even know me? Would my mother see her child in this escaped thrall, who killed with the efficiency and calm marking a creature of the darkness? And, worst........could I even bear to face them? I wasn't their Indil any more.....My thoughts were cut off as we reached the storeroom. I looked though the spyhole and found that it thankfully empty.
I placed my hands on one of the stones and chanted the opening spell. It slid to one side, just like the one in the guardroom, and we stepped into the store chamber. I took two packs from a disorderly pile and handed one to Taurion.
There were various sacks and barrels filled with dried meat and hard travel bread. I quickly filled my pack with that, as well as a waterskin, flint, and tinder. It would not be missed-Gorthaur was not very organized in some respects, thank the Valar.
It took only a few moments to fill our waterskins from a barrel, and then we slipped back into the passage again. It was dark, and my train of thought returned as I set off for the armoury. Could I go home after what had happened to me, after what I had done? I knew I wasn't Indil any more.....I was Morien, walking through the hidden ways of Gorthaur's fortress.
A/N I apologize in advance for any things messed up in the format, as well as a rather screwed up timeline. I couldn't find a chronological list of events in the First Age, so I was just guessing. Then I found out that my guess was wrong, but it was too late to change the entire story. *sigh* It will get more apparent in later chapters.
Please review! You wouldn't believe how happy reviews make me. Last time I was bouncing all over the house, I was so excited to get reviewed. PLEEEEEEASE??!! I begs, I begs, yes I does, precious....