Before the astonished eyes of the Elves, Voronwë stepped forward with the young Man, Tuor, who stood tall and straight, not in the least humbled by the sight of the fair Elves and their King.
“Voronwë. Did your ship find its way safely to Valinor? Was the message delivered?” Turgon questioned, hoping Voronwë would have news of encouragement.
“No, my King. All..” Voronwë stopped abruptly, his voice failing. “All were lost, except myself. I alone survived.” Voronwë bowed his head in sorrow.
“Understood, friend. Go, take some rest. When you feel it is time, you may speak to me privately of this matter,” Turgon replied, his voice softer.
As Voronwë exited, Idril looked at her father, unshed tears in her eyes. “Aeglar was on that ship, wasn’t he?”
Turgon nodded his head silently, and then remembered the Mortal.
“Son of Men, what business have you in our city of Gondolin?” Turgon asked.
“Lord King, I have been sent to bring a message,” Tuor replied respectfully, but without fear or intimidation.
“What then is this message you bring, Huor’s son?”
Tuor stepped forward out of the shadows, his emerald eyes fixed on the King.
“My lord, give heed to my words, for in them lies the counsel of the future.”
All wondered at the boldness of the Man’s speech, but then he continued.
“The time when the Curse of Mandos shall be fulfilled is near. The time when the Noldor place more value on the works of their hands than they place on their very lives. You must leave this city you have built and go down the river Sirion to the sea if you would escape death. Morgoth is searching, searching with all his might and the time is at hand when he will discover Gondolin. If you go now, and join with the folk of Doriath in their haven, you will lose the work of your hands, but you will keep your lives.”
“And who sent this message?” Turgon demanded.
“Ulmo, Lord of Waters, lord king.”
“Indeed..” Turgon muttered.
Rising from his throne, Turgon spoke, “Wait here, in this room, son of Huor. I will meditate on this matter you bring before me. Idril, Maeglin, come.”
The Princess stood from her seat and followed her father and cousin from the hall, glancing at the Man as she went.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Turgon sighed deeply, sinking into a chair.
Idril asked quietly, “Father? What shall be done?”
Turgon looked at his child. “Oh, Idril.. I know not. Indeed, the Mortal speaks the truth. We are accursed. Leave our city, the product of years of labor, on the chance that we will soon be discovered? Or stay, hoping we are not found, risking our lives? Do we hope to withstand everything that Morgoth has to bring against us?” He sighed again. “I know not. Indeed we are accursed. But Idril, this dilemma is not the fault of the Man. Take him, give him a room in our house where he may rest. If he wills it, show him Gondolin, since he must stay here. I deem his short years have been heavy laden with pain and hardship.”
Idril smiled at her tired father and departed from the room, fully aware that Maeglin’s eyes followed her as she went.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Idril re-entered the now empty Throne Room, her long dress swishing slightly on the stone floor, alerting the Mortal to her presence.
He turned around, and recognizing her as royalty, he dropped into a deep bow.
Idril reached out and touched his shoulder gently, saying quietly, “There is no need for such formality, friend.”
Tuor straightened and looked at her fair face, blushing when he realized how his wayworn state must appear to her.
“I am the King’s daughter, named Idril Celebrindal. My father has requested that I take you to a place where you may rest and change your raiment, and show you Gondolin, if you wish.”
The Mortal sighed with relief. “Your Highness, nothing would be more welcome to me. I thank you.”
Idril laughed in her sweet, silvery voice, “Ah! Please, call me Idril! I would have you as a friend, not a subject.”
Tuor wondered, for to his surprise, her laugh, devoid of any malice, had put him entirely at ease. “Of course, my lady. If that is so, then you must also call me Tuor.” He smiled, almost hopefully, at Idril.
Idril extended her hand, saying merrily, “Then let it be done!”
Tuor took her slender, white hand in his own rough one and lifted it to his lips, kissing it gently before releasing it.
“Come, Tuor.” That name feels so strange and foreign to my tongue! “I will lead you to your room and when you are rested and desire it, I will show you the city.”
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Idril ascended the stairs gracefully, leading the Man.
Opening a door, she glanced around the room it led to, and then turning to Tuor, she motioned him inside.
He stepped past the Princess, grateful for a place to rest, at last.
“I hope that you will find it sufficient, Tuor. I am going now to fetch you new raiment, and when you awake, I will have a bath drawn for you,” Idril informed him in her soft tones.
“You are very kind, my lady. Thank you,” Tuor replied, genuine gratitude in his voice.
“Well, I will leave you now. Sleep well.”
Idril closed the door and walked away, heading for a certain merchant’s place of business in Gondolin.