Sunlight Upon Ivrin - A short story of Gwindor and Finduilas, reincarnated.
Sunlight Upon Ivrin
I walked through the mellyrn with no real destination, but my feet turned unconsciously onto the narrow path that led to the Celebrant. It was autumn, and the leaves above me were a beautiful faded gold. The early sunlight filtered through them, leaving splashes of its own color upon the grass.
I reached the riverbank, and continued along it. The trees grew denser, and I picked my way along the small trail that led to my clearing. Not that it belonged to me, of course, but it was far away from Caras Galadhon, and I had never found anyone there before.
That day, as I emerged from the mellyrn, I saw an Elf standing a few feet away, by the Celebrant's bank. Hearing my step he turned, and I gasped.
I knew him, his jet-black hair and achingly sad, kind dark eyes. I knew him perfectly, and for all Arda I couldn't say how.
He froze for a moment, looking just as shocked and confused as I felt. Then he stepped toward me. "Finduilas?"
How did he know my name? I took a step forward, my mind spinning. My dizziness must have shown, and he caught my elbows, steadying me. He stared down at me, and I could tell he didn't understand any more of this than I did. I stared back, and for a moment remembered.
"Gwindor," I whispered. And then it was gone and all that I knew was his name.
He seemed to suddenly realize that he was still holding me, and carefully let go of my elbows. I took three paces to a tree, and sat down rather abruptly at its roots. He seated himself on front of me, and I rubbed my temples. "Gwindor," I asked, "how do you know my name? And how do you know mine?"
"I don't know," he answered. "I've never met you before. But you're Finduilas."
I swallowed. "Yes. And I feel as if I'd known you my whole life. I don't understand."
"Neither do I," Gwindor said. "It's the same with me - I know you, but I don't know anything about you."
"I'm a weaver, one the Queen*'s handmaidens," I replied. "I've never left the Wood. And you?"
"I am from Rivendell, and came here with a message from the Lord Elrond," he said. "And this is my first visit to Lorinand*."
I absentmindedly raked a hand through my loose golden hair. "That only makes things worse."
Gwindor watched me, smiling. "Perhaps we shouldn't look for an explanation. If we're meant to know, we will."
I sighed. "You're probably right -" I stopped abruptly and looked at him, frowning. "I was about to say `as always.'"
Gwindor laughed, and it startled me. I knew that he had never laughed often, and after - after - the memory flickered out and I was left more confused than ever. I sighed again, in irritation, and he looked at me questioningly. "I nearly remembered," I explained. "Something happened to you, and I can't think what."
He frowned. "I don't know either, but I'm sure you're right."
Without thinking I caught one of his hands. "Gwindor, whatever it was, it was horrible, and it hurt, it hurt both of us, you were gone, something went wrong, and we - we can't let it happen again!" I realized that my eyes were brimming with tears. I'd had a sudden wrenching memory of waiting for Gwindor for years, desperately refusing to believe that he was dead but slowly losing hope.
"Hush, Faelivrin nin," Gwindor murmured, squeezing my hands comfortingly. It didn't occur to either of us to wonder where that name came from. We both knew it. "It's all right," he said softly.
I blinked hard and wiped my eyes on my sleeve. "I'm sorry, Gwindor. Whatever happened, it was worse for you than me. I shouldn't - I mean -"
"Shh, Finduilas," he cut me off gently. "It's all right now."
I swallowed. "I suppose it is."
We sat in silence for a time as the sun climbed higher above us. It was an oddly comfortable silence; that of friends who have no need for words.
I reluctantly realized that I had to go to the weavery. There was a half-finished cloak I needed to work on. "Gwindor?"
He looked up. "Yes?"
"I have to go to my loom now, but will you be here again?"
"Yes. I am to stay til the Lord Amdir* needs a message taken to Imladris. Tomorrow morning?" he asked, following my thoughts.
I nodded, smiling. "Good. I'll see you around dawn."
He smiled back. "Of course. And if I may walk you to the weavery?"
I couldn't keep from grinning like a fool. "There's no need to ask." Gwindor took my hand to help me up, and as we walked back to Caras Galadhon neither of us let go.
* * * * *
That night I lay in bed trying to sort out the day. I had just met Gwindor, and yet I knew him in a instant, and he was, undeniably, dearer to me than many older friends. I wished I could remember why and how and what had happened. I knew I had heard his name before, close to mine, and another. Gwindor and Finduilas and .....and ......I drifted to sleep, wondering.
In my dreams I saw us, walking hand in hand by a small lake. We were so obviously in love. The image was slightly faded but clear, like an old, old treasured memory pulled up to light of day. And then it changed and Gwindor was wearing armour and holding me and I was trying hard not to cry. Then he was gone and and I watched the small band marching north. And I waited, and I waited, each day stretching out as I restlessly paced, wondering what had happened to my love. And then at last came news of the Tears and the fate of that small valiant company. None of them returned, and knowing was worse, oh, far worse than waiting in hope.
* * * * *
I woke shortly before dawn, and remembered my dreams with strange clarity. Normally they flitted away like phantom dragonflies, dissolving in the light of day.
I found Gwindor waiting in the clearing. He rose from his seat beneath a mallorn as I approached, and I saw that he looked tired. "Did you dream, too?" I asked.
He nodded. "Yes. And they were not pleasant."
"You were gone," I said. "To a battle. And," I swallowed,"and you didn't come back."
"Not then," he answered. "But I did return, I'm sure. I was not slain. Gelmir - " he stopped and shook his head. "No. I can't remember."
We sat down side by side beneath the trees. We did not speak of our dreams again, but of Rivendell and Lorinand, and out lives there. And all the while the feeling grew that there was a time we had forgotten.
All too quickly the time passed, and I had to go. Gwindor and I walked back together. It was understood without words that we would meet again in the morning.
I wove automatically all the rest of the day. Around me the others laughed and chattered, but I was silent, trying to sort out the tangle of my thoughts. I could not make sense of my scraps of memory. And then someone began to sing the Song of the Children of Hurin. I listened absently, as I had never had particular interest in that tale.
His fear-worn face was fallen in shade...."
The memory tugged at the corners of my mind.
"And Beleg the Bowman embraced him there
And learnt his lineage and luckless fate*...."
I almost remembered, I almost knew, but then the singer ceased and the looms fell silent. It was the end of the day.
I distractedly folded the cloth that I had woven, and then went to my flet. I was beginning to understand, but my dreams that night made it clearer still.
I had been waiting so long, and had nearly despaired. But now I was running through the corridors, feeling that my heart might break with hope. I'd heard that one claiming to be Gwindor son of Guilin had returned. I had not waited to hear more, but ran to the guardroom where it was said he was detained. Someone tried to stop me at the door, but I brushed past him.
Standing in the center of the room, surrounded by guards, were a darkhaired Man......and an Elf. He was bent and wearied and broken, aged as one among mortal Men. But as I entered he looked up, and our gazes met. They were the dark eyes that I had known so well, but in them was a pain and anguish I had never found there before. But despite all he was still Gwindor.
I ran to him and embraced him, my face buried in the rough worn cloth of his tunic. "Gwindor," I sobbed, "oh, Gwindor, you're really home....."
"Hush, Faelivrin," he murmered, holding me tightly, "hush, it's all right....."
* * * * *
I woke, and found that it was nearly dawn. I hurriedly pulled on a dress and cloak, and half-ran to the clearing. "I'm sorry I'm late, Gwindor - Gwindor?"
He was standing by the bank of the Celebrant, and as he turned the pain in his eyes was so appearant that I started toward him.
"Have you remembered, Finduilas?" he asked quietly.
I stopped short. "I have remembered some, but Gwindor, what is the matter?"
"You will remember," he said softly, turning away. "You will remember."
"Gwindor," I started, hesitantly laying a hand on his shoulder, "all I know is that you returned at last, and if you mean how you were changed - "
"No," he said bitterly, turning away again. "I do not." I stepped back and he caught my hands, seeing the hurt in my eyes. "I am sorry, Finduilas. But you will remember and then I cannot hope that........" he looked away and I bowed my head, not understanding.
* * * * *
The rest of the day I tried miserably to remember what had happened. Gwindor clearly knew more than I, but he would not speak of it. That night I dreamed, and I remembered, as he said I would.
* * * * *
I saw myself back in the guardroom. The soldiers had moved back, realizing that Gwindor was whom he had claimed to be, and I saw his campanion clearly for the first time.
He was a tall, darkhaired young Man who could almost be taken for one of the Noldor. It was said that he was a hunter from the wild, whom Gwindor had met in his journey. His name was given before my father as Agarwaen, son of Umarth. The Blood-stained, child of Ill-fate. And so he was.
He stayed in Nargothrond, he won honour and renown. No! I wanted to shout at myself, you faithless maid, how could you? But I could only watch as aganst my will and knowing it was foolish, and hating myself for it and my inconstant love, my heart turned away from Gwindor, whom I had waited for so many years, and toward him.
Though I'd hurt him horribly Gwindor tried to warn me, to make me see. He did not want me to be caught in Morgoth's web around the kin of Hurin. But even when I knew the name of Turin son of Hurin I was too fickle and too foolish to come to my senses. And I knew he did not love me, and I knew that Gwindor did. And I knew that what I'd done had hurt Gwindor more than all his toils in Angband.
* * * * *
I woke hours before dawn to find my eyes wet with tears, and I remembered the rest of our story with heartbreaking clarity. The battle, the dragon, and dying against a tree with a spear in my side.
I paced until the moon began to set, and then walked to the clearing. I waited by the Celebrant, and it was almost full daylight before I heard a quiet step behind me. I turned, and Gwindor was standing there, watching me with the same pain that he had before. "Finduilas," he said softly. "You've remembered?"
I stood hesitant for a moment before flinging my arms around him, holding onto him tightly as I began to cry. "I'm sorry, Gwindor," I choked out. "I am so sorry. I was such a fool, such a cursed, cursed fool. I hurt you, I know I did, and you warned me. I hurt you, and Gwindor, I have never wanted to do that."
He wrapped his arms around me gently as I wept. It felt familiar, as though he had comforted me many, many times long ago. "You were a fool, Faelivrin?" he asked softly. "What do you mean?"
"I mean - I mean I love you," I whispered, tears spilling down my cheeks. "I love you, I always will, and I wouldn't blame you if you hate me after what I've done to you."
"I could never hate you, Faelivrin nin," he answered gently. "I have always loved you, and that will never change."
I buried my face in his shoulder, my tears now partially those of joy. Despite my idiotic ficklness, somehow Gwindor still loved me. I didn't deserve him. "I won't fail you this time, love," I murmered.
He smiled and gathered me more securely into his arms. "This time, Faelivrin, I won't let you." I looked up at him, and he caught my lips in a gentle kiss.
When we at last parted Gwindor tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear. "I will not lose you again, love."
I leaned against him, happily absorbing the warmth of his love. "I should hope not. I've learned."
He chuckled softly and planted a kiss on my hair. "I'm glad."
* * * * *
We were wed the following year, and lived in bliss together for fleeting centuries. But the shadows of the world around us darkened, and we were parted. One day, though, we will meet again in Valinor.
For my Gwindor perished in the Last Alliance.
*(1)Lorinand is an early name of Lothlorien.
* (2)I figured that as Amdir was ruling Lorien (Lorinand) and had a son, Amroth, he was most likely married.
*(3)Amdir was an early ruler of Lorien, before Celeborn and Galadriel.
* (4) The Lays of Beleriand
The entire story of Gwindor, Finduilas, and Turin may be found in the Silmarillion. Here is an abbreviated version: Gwindor is captured in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the fifth battle against Morgoth. He is enslaved in Angband, Morgoth's fortress, for many years, but eventually escapes. During this time the work conditions etc. age him as Elves generally do not.
After escaping he becomes lost, but is found by Beleg the Bowman, who is following an orc band that has captured his friend Turin. Beleg and Gwindor manage to carry him out of the orc camp while unconscious, but as Beleg cuts off his chains the sword, Anglachel, pricks Turin's foot. Turin, waking, thinks that he is being attacked, and, not knowing who is standing over him with a drawn sword, kills Beleg. Gwindor takes him to Nargothrond. No one there recognizes Gwindor except for Finduilas, King Orodreth's daughter, who had loved him and whom he had loved before the Nirnaeth.
Against Finduilas' will, her heart is given to Turin, who had not revealed his true name. Gwindor tells her that he is the son of Hurin, whose entire family is cursed by Morgoth. She knows that Turin does not love her, but nonetheless continues to pine.
Turin convinces Orodreth to build a bridge over the river Narog to make it easier to reach the plain, and therefore to war against Morgoth's creatures. This bridge reveals the location of Nargothrond, which was previously unknown to Morgoth. He sends a large army to draw away the force from the city, and then sends another group, including the dragon Glaurung, to attack while the army is away.
The Elves march to meet the decoy force, and are defeated. Gwindor and Orodreth are slain. Turin goes back to try to save Finduilas, but is enchanted by Glaurung. Nargothrond is sacked, and Finduilas, among many others, is taked captive by the orcs. She is later killed when woodmen try to rescue the Elf-maids, and is reborn on Lorien in the Second Age, while Gwindor is reincarnated in Rivendell. Turin's entire story is far too long to summarize here.