A/N: No, you don’t need to tell me that I don’t own Tolkien’s work….or that I am an evil fiend who ruins her characters’ lives. I know that already. And for some reason I really enjoyed writing this chapter……
Chapter Nine: Home
Some days find me wishing so hard
Walking sad and slow
The spell is broken, the mirror is cracked
Wishing can never bring anything back.
When did the night time start?
Where did the morning go?
—Robin Laing, Where Did The Morning Go
Gondolin was destroyed; its once-green valley opened before me in a picture of complete and utter desolation. I stood stunned, not truly believing that my home could be gone. But as I slowly absorbed the scene of carnage before my eyes I knew that it was.
The white stones of the city where charred and broken, its walls reduced to scattered heaps of rubble. The slender towers that had gleamed like mother-of-pearl in the early light were cast down, and even from a distance I could see the blackening of flames on all of the pillaged land. The trees that I had loved were burned, black stumps, their gentle shade a thing of memory. The valley that had once been fertile and lush with growth was a barren wasteland, devoid of any life. In the light of the dying sun the ruins of my home were a dull, charred, bloodstained red.
Morgoth had found the Hidden Flower.
“No,” I whispered in numb, heartsick pain. “Valar, Eru, no.“
But my words changed nothing, and I slowly walked down the foot of the mountain. Although I could not deny the lingering, acrid smell of smoke or the ashes beneath my feet, somewhere deeply intrenched inside of me was a sense of disbelief. I was cut off, my my heart screaming out but my mind numb.
I continued across the plain as night fell, my steps raising small eddies of ash in the quiet darkness. There was no sound of any other living thing.
The moon rose, and I could see the city clearly once again. The light was sharp, pale, and cold; now instead of being stained with blood the desolated city looked like the bare, age-polished bones of some ancient creature.
As I drew closer I saw, with the same strange detchment, that there were skeletons, those of Orcs and Men and fire-drakes.
I stood before what had been the gate of the city, now fallen and cracked. I remembered the gatekeeper, who had always winked at me as our party returned from scouting. “How many orcs did you slay this time, young Indil?” he had asked. I’d blushed and replied that I was a healer; orc-slaying was left to Arindo and all the rest – I just cleaned up after them. And then we all had laughed…….
I stepped through the remnant of the archway, looking about me. Nothing had been left untouched; all that I could see had been ravaged. Here and there a wall was still standing; a flight of shattered stairs leading to a room that was gone; a broken window looking out at the traces of a burned garden. And now in the city there were the skeletons of Elves.
I turned woodenly, and walked in silence up the lane that led to the right. I followed it, more scenes of destruction revealed with every step. And then I reached it.
It was just like all the other ruined dwellings, half-leveled, its windows gone and its interior burned. Only this one was my home.
I stepped through the doorway, which still stood without walls around it, and silently gazed about me. It was not completely destroyed; only enough remained to recognize it. Suddenly the numb detachment of my mind was gone, and in its place was a wrenching pain.
My home was gone and my family was dead.
Somehow I contained it, the horrible realization tearing at my heart. I’d clung to the thought that my family was happy, I was afraid of how I might change that. Now none of it mattered.
I closed my eyes for a moment, and felt a tear fall down my cheek. I had not cried for such a very, very long time.
Somehow I walked to where my room had been. One wall was still half-standing, a window casement with no top on one side. I moved toward it, and found that it was still there, where I’d carved Indil into the stone, and beside it my brother had added Linedhel. And beneath was a shaky Calien that I had helped her with, so very long ago.
The dam broke; I dropped down to my knees and wept. I cried for myself, for the family that I could never see again, for my fallen, broken city, for all the friends and kin that I had lost. I wept until the store of my tears was completely spent. And then, strangely, beyond all loss and fear and pain and sorrow, beyond the storm of tears, there was a kind of peace.
I had lost everything I could: my home, my family, my freedom, my innocence, for a time even my free will. I could lose nothing more. The pain that I had felt was the pinnacle. It hurt, Valar, how it hurt – but I could bear it. There were other things to come.
I was suddenly aware of the stars above me, clear unchanging lights on their eternal crossing paths, and knew that I was a very small creature on the face of Arda. Somehow that too gave peace.
I wrapped myself in my ragged black cloak and quietly fell asleep in the ruins of my home. Tomorrow it would hurt, but for a time I was unreachable by pain. For a little while, I was a peace. I had returned to Gondolin. I was its child once more. For in some strange way, for some unfathomable reason, in the midst of carnage my darkness had given way. And light was beginning to return.
All right everyone, take a nice, deep breath, and scream “RANA YOU HORRIBLE PERSON HOW COULD YOU DO THAT!?!?!?!!?” Feel better? I do it because the story has definate idead about what happens in it.