Chapter 1-First Age-fall of Gondolin
“ Over here,” a tall blonde Elf bearing a young dark haired boy yelled over the chaos.
Elves ran frantically around the once beautiful city, trying to lose the beings of Evil that chased them. The young boy in the Elf’s arms ignored it all, his eyes fixed to the golden flower charm in his hands, which was in turn connected to his carrier’s neck. A beautiful dark-haired she-Elf paused beside the blonde Elf, prepared to take the child.
“ M’lady, you need to lead us. None, save thee, know the way,” he said gently, keeping the boy from her grasp.
“ Mama,” the boy reached out his hands to her, trying to wiggle out of the man’s arms.
“ Watch him well, Glorfindel. And you, Eärendil, mind Glorfindel,” Idril, daughter of the king of this realm, said before hurrying off and crying in a clear voice, “ Sen athrad (This way).”
Glorfindel entered the throng of peoples, carrying the 7 year old. He was sure Eärendil could walk, but did not want to chance losing the boy in this crowd. Glorfindel glanced back one last time at the last of the Noldor fortresses become a fiery inferno.
They had been betrayed. Someone had told Morgorth of the whereabouts of the hidden city of Gondolin. Anger burned in Glorfindel, an angry flame that would not be quenched. He knew it had been Maeglin. The Elf had been born in darkness and it had consumed him with his desire to attain the lady, Idril. Now Maeglin was dead. Tuor had killed the Elf to free his wife, Idril and son, Eärendil.
Glorfindel pushed ahead until he was beside Idril. The woman’s tight and drawn face softened when she saw her son and knew that he was safe.
“ Cirith Thoronath is but a little ahead,” Tuor joined his wife, taking his son from Glorfindel, “ The path is narrow. Tell everyone to form a line.”
“ Danno Ned taeg (Fall in line),” Glorfindel called, his almost musical voice reigning over the terrified tin of voices.
Silence fell as no one dared to even breath as they walked along the sheer drop off beside him or her. Tuor motioned for Glorfindel to lead. Glorfindel nodded, drawing his sword, not knowing what devilish treachery Morgorth may have laid ahead. Outwardly, the chief of his house looked so peaceful and calm that many found their hope again. Inside, Glorfindel was as nervous as a boy on his first date.
“ Only one more turn,” Idril whispered.
And there doom fell.
An ambush of arrows sliced the dead air and terror stilled the Elves’ hearts as they stared into the chilling eyes of a Balrog. The Balrog lifted his flaming sword, eyes set upon the motionless and wide-eyed Tuor and Eärendil. Glorfindel leapt into action. The brightness of the sun flashed as the swords clashed in a sound like thunder.
The sky was dark with the smoke of destruction and only a little light shone, but all of the fight between the 2 was remembered. Glorfindel teetered on the edge of the precipice and they feared he might fall, but he easily regained his balance, drawing the angry Balrog away from the fearful refugees.
Help came on wings. Mighty eagles heard their cries of distress and with their wings, knocked the orcs and other creatures of doom into the abyss below, but nothing could they do to the Balrog for fear of knocking the courageous golden haired warrior into the darkness below also.
He was tired and the Balrog knew it. Every fiber of his muscles cried defeat; every drop of crimson red blood oozing from nicks on his cheek and arms cried surrender. Glorfindel took one quick back, catching Idril’s praying hands and the fear on the other faces and knew he could not give up. His mind scanned the many maneuvers he had been taught and lighted on the only possible one. The Balrog’s cold hand pushed him backward and Glorfindel hit the ground. Hard.
The Balrog had him pinned. The eagles rose from their perches, circling and ready to push the Balrog into the pit from whence he came. Idril’s hand flew to her mouth as the Balrog grinned, lifting his flaming sword. Tuor buried Eärendil’s head in his shoulder. The boy did not need to see the merciless slaughter they all knew was ahead.
Glorfindel closed his eyes as he felt the cruel wind of his foe’s hot breath and feigned some fear. The Balrog grew lax, thinking the warrior was scared beyond his wits. Glorfindel watched the sword descend as the belly of the Balrog was left unprotected and he lashed out, cutting the stomach. The Balrog cried, the bark of a hellhound, as he staggered back. The body fell to the ground and Glorfindel stood wearily.
The cliff, which had already been unstable, crumbled under the Balrog’s fall and the piece of rock began to fall. Glorfindel leapt towards the end, reaching for Tuor’s outstretched hand. His fingers brushed against Tuor’s as the rock’s fell, but the 2 hands never made full contact. Glorfindel’s mind flailed as wildly as his body did, but he knew there was no hope. The ground loomed closer and closer until the resounding sound of the cracking bones against stone was the terrible sound that would haunt him ever after in the darkness of death.
Idril dropped her head in mourning.
“ He always was faithful, even unto death. I prayed that our houses would always remain close, but now…” Tuor trailed off in grief.
He had been a good friend with the Elf.
“ Father, where did he go?” Eärendil asked.
“ Away,” Idril answered for her husband who was overcome with his grief.
“ To the land of Aman where Father Manwë and Lady Varda are?” Eärendil asked, his eyes bright with the mention of the Sea.
The Elves smiled at the boy’s mention of the highest of the Valar. Idril ruffled her son’s hair.
“ You could say that.”
The great eagle, Thorondor, appeared, bearing the body of Glorfindel in his long talons. Idril could not bear to look at the mangled form of the Elf who had been a dear friend and protector. Tuor set aside Eärendil and took up stones to bury the Elf-lord off to the side. Tuor bid his son to his side when he was finished.
“ Never forget this day and what happened here, my son. Never forget the price that was paid for your freedom and never try to take another’s freedom from them. Do not forget my words nor the deliverance witnessed here if you remember only one thing in life,” Tuor said, his voice carrying to the whole group.
Eärendil nodded, squatting in the dirt to pick up a fallen necklace. It was the mithril chain with the gold flower charm attached to it. Tuor smiled.
“ Wear it, my son, as a reminder,” Tuor urged.
And the son did so, never forsaking its wearing until he gave it to his son, Elrond; for he foresaw that his son would have to learn the price of freedom.
“Hello?” Glorfindel rose, that is, if he did.
The darkness did not waver, darker than any night. He could not see his own body, if there indeed was one after that fall. It was empty here, though his mind eluded him of where exactly here was. Was he alive in the abyss? Glorfindel turned his head, or at least thought he did, but still, the darkness never wavered.
He wandered in the emptiness but found neither end nor a beginning to his knowledge. With much dread, his heart realized where he was: the halls of Mandos, awaiting his final judgment dealt by Mandos from Manwë. And then Glorfindel wept bitterly, finding no comfort in death, not in this place of sorrow and judgment.