Lalaith Elerrina–Child of the Stars – Chapter 27

by Oct 21, 2004Stories

Chapter 27

Eärendil? Elrohir wondered to himself. But had they not said it was Glorfindel’s name she spoke?

Beside the young maiden, Lothriel gave a soft gasp and traded a look of surprise with her husband. Celeborn cleared his throat softly.

“That is the first time she has said more than the name of Lord Glorfindel,” Lothriel murmured in quiet surprise. “I do not understand-,”

“My little Eärendil?” The maiden muttered again, at which they all fell silent. Within the glade, the young ones continued to laugh and sing and canter about, yet in his ears, their sound grew faded and muted as Elrohir gazed long into the maiden’s deep eyes. She spoke with a strange twist of her words, as of one whose people had been long sundered from their kin.

She reached out, and clasped his hand, large and tanned beneath the grip of her slender, white fingers. Her hand was thin and smooth, her grip tight in spite of its seeming frailty. Elrohir glanced down into her face, his eyes focused upon her wide gaze. Why was she speaking the name of his grandfather as if Eärendil were known to her, and dear in her heart? How could she have ever known him? For Eärendil had long before passed with Elwing beyond the boundaries of Arda, centuries before this maiden could ever have been born.

A soft, muffled sob caught in her throat as the girl looked upon their clasped hands. And fearing that he had frightened her, Elrohir moved to pull back before the girl lunged forward suddenly, and threw her slender arms about his neck.

With startled eyes, Elrohir shot a glance at his grandmother over the maiden’s shoulder, but Galadriel merely smiled and nodded as if in approval.

“I lost you.” The girl sobbed, her face pressed softly against his neck, her tears damp against his flesh. And Elrohir found himself circling his own arms about her narrow waist, and holding her tightly, as well. “I have been searching, for so very long. My little Eärendil.” She drew back to look up, gazing long into his eyes, her own shining brightly with tears.

Her face was close to his, her breath that brushed across his face, was quick and cool. “But at last, after so much despair, I have found you,” she whispered in a voice that he alone could hear. And then, once again, she buried her face against his neck, and sighed, a soft contented sigh that tingled over his flesh. His previous surprise at her sudden embrace softly faded away, and he felt somehow at home with this young, fragile maiden. A strange stirring within him moved through his blood as he held her, a new sensation, sweeter and more ethereal than the compassion and the pity he also felt, woven through it, as the threads of a bright tapestry. Yet he had only begun to wonder at what it might portend, when she pushed back suddenly to look up into his eyes, her cheeks wet with tears.

“How long have I been gone?” She asked raggedly. “It is all a blur to me now. But you have grown so. Oh, the black treachery of Maeglin! He betrayed me! He betrayed us all!”

“My lady, do not fear, you are safe now,” Elrohir soothed. He reached out, grasping her thin arms within his hands. Like slender sticks they were, and he feared to hold her too tightly, lest he might damage her. To him, Maeglin, the betrayer of Gondolin, was a dark character, faithless and twisted, though no more than a name on a page. Yet this maiden, of no greater years than Lalaith, spoke of him as if she knew him. As if she had been the one he had betrayed. But she couldn’t have been. Doubtless her mind had been battered by the unnamable tortures the orcs had put her through.

“You have suffered much,” he breathed softly, and his hold upon her arms loosened, as his fingers slid down her thin arms, and clasped her hands. “But upon my honor, you will suffer no more.”

At his words, she sighed, her eyes softening, and growing warm with gratitude. “Now you are the one caring for me. As I cared for you, long ago when you were small.” She murmured, her words broken with the remnants of her tears as she returned the gentle squeeze of his hands. “How strange a thing it is, and yet how comforting, also.”

“Do you remember your kin, lady?” Elrohir urged gently, saddened that such nonsensical ramblings would spill so blithely from her lips. How battered and abused her mind must be! “Where is your home?”

“Gondolin-,” she murmured, searching his face with timid questions. “But do you not remember? How old are you now Eärendil?” She queried. “You are grown. But I know you, still.”

“My lady,” Elrohir softly protested at last, “I am not-,”

Do not tell her that she is mistaken, my grandson. The gentle, though urgent words invaded his thoughts, and Elrohir glanced up into his grandmother’s eyes. Galadriel’s eyes were trained keenly upon him. Not yet. For her fragile heart is not yet prepared for the fullness of the truth. Tell her only that Gondolin has fallen.

Elrohir nodded to his grandmother, and changed his words.

“Forgive me, my lady,” he sighed his gaze going once again to the maiden’s troubled eyes, “but Gondolin is no more.”

Ai,” she choked, her eyes dimming with a deep and bitter grief that pained him to see, though his heart warmed that she should shrink closer to him as if for comfort. “Our fair valley? Gone?”

“And what of your kin, lady?” Elrohir gently asked, though his heart wrenched with sympathy at the fresh grief within her eyes. His hand absently trailed over her back in a gesture of comfort. “Where do they dwell?”

A confused look passed over her face and she drew in a ragged sigh. “Your mother, the lady Idril. She was as a sister to me, and I had-,” her voice faded.

Elrohir shot a questioning glance at his grandmother, but Galadriel offered him no more than a simple nod.

He pursed his lips softly, and then, as he watched the maiden’s pleading eyes, he murmured, “How do you know Lord Glorfindel, my lady?”

In the space of a moment, a bright flash lit her eyes at the name, and just as quickly faded away, and her face once again, fell. She opened her mouth. “Glorfindel,” she breathed softly, almost absently, as she drew in a shuddering sigh, and said no more.

“Until these past moments, you have said no other name but the name of Lord Glorfindel,” Elrohir urged softly. “Do you do not know him?”

Several tears fell from her lashes to her cheeks at this, and she shook her head, her face written with sorrow and confusion. “Nothing I remember as I should. His face I see, as through a deep fog. All of Gondolin, all that I loved, is as a faded dream.” She sighed with a shudder, and her brow furrowed tightly as if she struggled to recall memories long buried. “And you, my Eärendil.” A soft blush touched her cheeks as she murmured, “Even you have-, changed.”

A short breath caught painfully in her lungs, and she sniffed as more tears trickled from her eyes. “Nothing is as it once was.”

“You need not cry.” He soothed gently, and he smiled as a warm urge of tender affection for this lost and lonely maiden stole over his heart. So natural a thing it seemed to him, that he did not care that he had not met her before this moment. “Lord Glorfindel is known to me. He is my friend, a trusted advisor to my father,” Elrohir soothed as he traded a look with his grandmother to which Galadriel smiled and nodded. “Perhaps he may help you remember the truth of your past better than I. And when the world is safe again, I will take you to him, fair Nimrodel. If you wish it.”

A shuddering sigh broke past her lips at these words, and a new light of bright hope entered her eyes. She sniffed, and looked up into his eyes, studying the contours of his face with a keen gaze.

Her eyes were blue, Elrohir noted, a deep, fathomless blue. Like shining sapphires, but warmer, and brighter.

“I do wish it. But surely you remember my true name.” She murmured, her brow twitching slightly as if she sensed the same emotion that tugged with warm urgency upon his heart. She drew back from him a pace. “Surely you remember me?”

“It has been many years since Gondolin fell. Will you not tell me again? ” he urged gently, trading yet another quick glance with his grandmother who offered him a slender smile, and a soft nod.

“Very well.” she murmured, dropping in a shallow curtsey, as a smile, warming Elrohir like a ray of sunshine, came at last to the soft curve of her fair, pink mouth, “My name, my dearest Lord Eärendil, is Calassë.”

Calassë means “clarity, brilliance” in Quenya.


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