Silently and carefully Cistailé left her mother alone, unsure of where to go herself. The glistening white wall of strength which was Gondolin held no more appeal, nor did the trees, which before had somehow been able to absorb away her troubles in times past. It was all just wrong! The urge to outwardly grieve all the fallen and lost was still dammed up, and it frustrated her even more then she could handle. The garden and its secrets, Cistailé left behind not feeling content to wear away her laments to the figure of the Two Trees. She passed through the growing atmosphere of the study inside, so filled with books of knowledge and understanding. Cistailé absent mindedly blew out a single candle left burning through the night, which had been placed beside an abandoned pot of ink. She pressed her finger into the cooling wax around the edge of the candle, somehow finding the wax giving way beneath her touch calming. The trailing wisp of smoke diffused into the air, turning and sweeping in mesmerizing currents until that too, died off. Cistail sighed and reached for a pile of thickly stacked parchments on the corner of the elaborate table, revealing a book opened to the page of a well detailed drawing of a swan shaped Elven boat. Familiarly old Elvish script was written underneath the sketch of the ship, describing the more common aspects of the Teleri’s trade. Tracing the lines of the drawing with her long fingers, Cistailé scoffed shrewdly. These were the boats which were all but destroyed in the Kin Slaying centuries before; the event still haunted the minds of her parents. She had seen them pouring over old written accounts in the middle of the night, uttering to themselves, and writing slowly and with undeniable guilt.
She slapped the book shut and carefully replaced it in its vacant spot on the shelf across the room only to return to the parchments, not knowing why for she already knew what was in the pile. There was a well inked map of the topographal layout of Gondolin. A sheet which had the work of several other Elves work of estimation for when the sun and moon would cross paths again, battlementary tactics planned out, the progressing work on perfecting circular jewel shaping, and many other such pieces.
Then beneath it all was the duplicated copy of the map. The map which was missing the middle and had never been completed. Cistailé tenderly and reverendly unfolded the chart, spreading it across the entire area of the table, covering everything beneath it as a layer of snow covers all the blemishes of the land. On the far left was the land of Valinor, drawn with precision and all the details the drawing could hold. There was Alqualondë and there the forests of Lorien, the Pelóri Mountains and second biggest only to Mount Taniquetil was the marker for Tirion; the glorious city of the Noldor. Now a broken mirror reflection of what it had once been before it was almost completely abandoned at Fëanor’s urgings. She had heard stories of the city, how dirt was the dust of diamonds and tarnish was bronze, where laughter and singing was the song of the morning, more so then that of the birds and it’s buildings shone out from the hill upon which it sat upon.
But then the map’s layout of the West stopped at Valinor’s water’s edge and half of the map remained blank until again the ocean picked up nearer the east and continued to show Beleriand and its individual realms.
Cistailé again wondered how long it would take to complete the map, how long it would be until another brave crew of sailors would be able to chart it out and break the silenced commination between the banished Noldor and the Blessed Realm. It seemed a joke to be even thinking it would happen.
Again Cistailé let out a sigh and replaced the map to it’s hidden place under the other parchments. What was she doing here in the study anyway? There was nothing to be had in here but for more lost hope and knowledge of a land she was learning to hate more and more. A tear began to slip down her cheek, but she brushed it away rudely, not wanting to spend the rest of the day crying. There would be more productive ways to show her lost love for her father.
She began to walk away from the library and turned up the spiraling stairs which hugged the gray trunk of the mallorn, winding up the tree. She ran her hand along behind herself absent mindedly feeling every grain of the tree. Every dent, every identifying mark left behind in the bark from hundreds of years of running up and down the stairs as a child, hiding around the corner, pretending no one would ever see her. There were the small nitches in the trunk just at the base of every stair where she had once long ago dragged down Elentuluva, Felinor’s sword down the stairs. Too young and weak to pick it up, the deathly naked, sharp precious weapon thumped along behind her, cutting out little pieces of wood where it dropped to the next stair outside of it’s sheath. She understood now why the long shining metal dragging along behind the little elf girl had caused such a quick reaction from Felinor when she came to make her presentation of accomplishment. Back then she had thought he was just too happy to see the weapon being given to him. Cistailé then had her first lesson in the care of a sword, while her mother watched on, smiling at the actions of her child and husband.
Those times were gone. If ever Cistailé heard a laugh in the city again it would be a marvel to her ears it seemed. Elentuluva was lost in the war no doubt, and the child she was had also disappeared many ages ago. The stairs reached their climax and leveled out, leading Cistailé to her resting chamber on the northern side of the house. She entered the room and flopped down on the floor at the end of her bed, taking satisfaction in the uncomfortable pose. Before her, the tied back drapery which fell across the wide opening to the balcony flipped in the slight breeze, showing off in the distance, the stunning heights to which the Encircling mountains reached. A ragged breath escaped Cistailè and the tiredness which had been harboring, breeding itself with emotions never needed beforehand to such an extent, became overwhelming and at last the shorn continence of Cistailè, a kin to the High King Fëanor, rested at last. With eyes open and staring into the mountains which protected their people, Cistailé mumbled a last blessing for her mother and stumbled onto other paths, forgetting the sorrows which would find her again in waking.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.