Idril walked into the modest, comfortable house of her friend without knocking at the door, for she knew she was always welcome.
“Nárëwen!” she called, cupping her hand around the side of her mouth.
“Idril?” came the answer just as Nárëwen entered the walkway.
Idril ran forward and embraced her friend, saying, “It is good to see you! My father has kept me busy ruling the city, and I have not found the time to get away and visit! But you should come to the palace with me and live, ” Idril scolded, smiling.
Nárëwen lived alone. Her parents had died in the Crossing of the Helcaraxë as Elenwë Idril’s mother had. Though many sought her hand in marriage, Nárëwen refused them all, not wishing to be wed, and made her own way.
Ilúvatar had gifted her with surpassing abilities as a seamstress, and Nárëwen used them to her advantage.
She sewed Idril’s dresses as well as the clothing of the noble-women and men in Gondolin.
She stayed in her own house, refusing to live off of the graces of others, including the King and Princess.
At times, Idril laughed to herself over how fitting her friend’s name was for her temper. Nárëwen. Fire-maiden.
“Well, well. Perhaps I should,” Nárëwen chuckled good-naturedly. “What can I do for you?”
“Nárëwen.. do not laugh at me, but a strange thing has occured, and now I must provide for it,” Idril started, unsure of how to to say it. “A.. a man has come, and he must have clothes.”
Nárëwen burst into laughter despite her friend’s petition. “Has he no clothes that you must purchase them for him?” she gasped.
“Nárëwen!” Idril protested. “This is serious! He is a mortal, and he brought an important message to my father. And so, having entered our gates, he must stay here, and he has lived in the wild with little apparent regard for his garments. He must have new things.”
“Ah, I see,” Nárëwen said, sobered. “And you would wish me to make raiment for a mortal that I have not seen?”
Idril blushed lightly. “I.. I know his size well enough to tell you.”
Nárëwen chose to make nothing of Idril’s blush. “Well, come, come! We must get to work.”
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Idril knocked quietly on the Man’s door and waited for an answer.
She fingered the garments draped over her arm, admiring the fine stitching that Nárëwen could create.
When Tuor did not come to the door, Idril started to walk away to her room, and then stopped.
Opening the door slowly to avoid any noise, she stepped inside Tuor’s room, her feet making no sound on the stone floor.
She saw the Man asleep, and gliding silently to his side, she looked down on his youthful face that mirrored peace.
When awake, Idril had noticed his emerald eyes looked almost haunted, fearful of the unknown. Tuor carried himself with pride and dignity, yet the cruelty of his past remained expressed in his rugged, handsome face.
She had been with him only a matter of minutes, but she could see plainly that he had been used ill in his short life, more than any person, be he Elf, Man, or Dwarf, should.
Idril reached out and smoothed a lock of dark, wavy brown hair away from Tuor’s forehead.
He smiled in his deep sleep when her fingers brushed against his skin. Idril drew her fingertips along his tanned face gently, murmuring, “Sleep, sleep.” Tuor relaxed visibly at the hushed sound of her voice, and she withdrew her hand.
She laid the clothes in an empty chair beside Tuor’s sword and then went towards the door.
Glancing back, she smiled at the young mortal who slept so soundly, and then closed the heavy door behind her.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Turgon sat still as stone in his chair, making no sound, his brow creased in deep thought.
Maeglin stood nearby, looking less troubled, though still concerned.
At last the King threw up his hands in exasperation. “Ai! Maeglin, I am confounded! Even the very wise cannot see all ends, and I claim not much wisdom!”
“Perhaps, lord king, ‘twould be best to simply ignore the message. This mortal knows nothing. If Ulmo did indeed send him, which is to be doubted, then it was a poor choice of messengers,” Maeglin spoke, voicing his ill opinion of Tuor.
“Nay, sister-son. Nay. You have greatly underestimated Tuor. Speak not ill of those who will do you no harm. Tuor is an ally greatly to be desired, if only for the sake of his father, and not valued the less for his mortality,” Turgon chastened. “You were not present at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, young one. You saw not Huor fighting with more courage and valor than ten lords of my House. Nay. If only for Huor and not his own merits, Tuor shall be honored and respected in Gondolin.”
Maeglin stayed silent, though inside, he seethed. His darkly handsome face was smooth and controlled, betraying none of the inner turmoil he felt. ” Who is this weakling that he should so quickly gain favor and renown for an ill-sent message?”
And with those words, spoken not aloud, but voiced in the mind, the seeds of hatred were sown in the heart of Maeglin. They fell upon fertile soil, and they grew without restraint.
But Turgon did not see into the heart of his kinsman, and the ill counsel he heeded, for it agreed with what his heart and pride told him.
The decision was made. There would be no turning back. Turgon the King would stay in Gondolin. He, and all those under him, for they yet placed faith in the secret path and the hidden walls.
But Ulmo was grieved, for he saw that the time of the fulfillment of the Curse was near.