DarkElf On the Field of Swords

- Lothithil
Stand on the highest tower in Gondolin
And look you out over this marvel;
As ripples in a crystal pool
The rings of the city spread
And light flows through the walls
And fountains spill in the squares
And music echoes in the halls
A chorus of thousands of fair voices
Not competing but in harmony

Delicate as a fish-bubble it appears
But in it's very bones are strength
The green fields are venue for contest
Early morn until beyond the dusk
Armour shine on breast and helm
Swords gleam in the light, and bowstring sing
Horses run with riders, calling
Sport and practice war
As beautiful to dark eyes as tapistries
And I am drawn there

In his company I have spent
Moments like years to memory's purchase
And of a day of brilliant sun
I shielded myself beneath a woven visor
And went forth alone with my blue-bladed sword
To find a willing fight
An Elf can sharpen her sword only
So many times, then she must hone herself

Like dancers they partner, leaping and whirling
With blades flashing and armour ringing
I wander about, and find no nod or hailing hand
The warriors of Turgon are wary of me yet
Dressed in my fur and leather gear
So I sit and watch, and learn from the seeing
And my hands itch for the weight of my weapon.

"I will partner you, DarkElf," a voice calls, and I stand, squinting against the light off of a white cloak and silver breastplate that dazzles my shaded eyes.

"My Lady Idril." I bow, and she laughs and returns the respect.

"When I dress in armour for warsport, you hardly need call me Lady," she said, taking my arm and leading me toward the center of the floor. "You may call me Rondhiel while we fight."

The warriors of Turgon practiced their sword and hand-fighting on a green sward of grass not far from the outside of the innermost gate. Here the sun did gleam above the trees of shade, and catch full the polished metal and set it ablaze. I tilt my head up, throwing off the shade to ready myself for action, tho I cannot bring myself to draw first on her. "You wish to fence with me, Rondheil? What can a DarkElf teach one such as you? I employ the stealth and hunger of the predator in my style. I would learn the way of the singing blade that your father's soldiers use."

Idril drew out her long sword, and the blade was etched and glowed fair and deadly, and she become no lady in my eyes, but Rondhiel indeed, and my blade leapt in my hand and I crouched and turned as she circled. "I can teach you this way, if you will promise me that you will spar with me until I declare a halt, or first blood is drawn."

A protest on my lips is lost in her first lunge. I leap and sprawl to avoid ending the fight with my own spilling, and my doubts I fling away with my hat. She is armoured and swings her long sword like a dancer piroettes to the flute. I wind my cloak around my arm and test her, finding no gap in her defense. Our laughter and shouts clear the floor, and the warriors watch in awe and shock as the king's daughter teaches the DarkElf to run.

"Morlothiel, you must not be afraid to strike at me! Your blade has not touched me once! How can I learn if you don't return?" She spoke evenly as she laid about me with her hand of steel, and I leaped and dodged and sang back.

"Rondhiel, if there were an opening through which I could strike, I would mark your fair skim but slightly, for only a brief chance to pause and draw breath. But you have the mastery of me."

She snorted, and pressed an attack. "Nonsence! You are not trying! Attack me! Do not treat me like a lady! When I have Hadhafang at your throat, you will not see me as a lady."

I beat aside her attack, and returned with a sweeping leg that brought her to the ground, and her sword flew from her hand. I spun and brought my blade around, but was stayed suddenly by a dozen sharp points that bared my way to the princess. I froze and lowered my weapon.

Idril laughed and stood up, dusting herself. "Release her! What do you mean, interrupting our practice? I was just about to learn her secrets! Away and be off!" She chased the warriors away, and gave me her gloved hand. I took it with a smile, and ducked as Hadhafang sang where my head had been. I pivoted, still clutching Idril's hand, and we twirled and fenced, our fingers touching and blades biting one another in a flurry of sparks.

For hours we danced thus, and she would knock my blade from my hand, and I would lean away like a reed and tackle her like a tiger. We rolled in the dust and crushed the grasses, and the hands of Turgon watched and shouted and called advice, at last relaxed that I would not bring harm to their princess.

Sweat covered my body, and from half a dozen places did my blood seep, and on her white garments between the silver plates did stains appear, and who had bled first is unknown, for we did not stop at that mark. Only when both of us were standing idle for a long moment, seeking a weakness and neither finding, did we lower our blades and begin to laugh. I sat on the churned ground, and she tossed down her sword and called truce.

"Morlothiel, you are a skilled fighter, and may I never meet you in the dark forest or beneath moon, for I precieve that only the brillance of the sunlight has slowed your hand and eye, and given me an edge over you."

"Rondhiel, I would fear meeting you in shade or shine, and a tireless and fell opponent you are. May we never meet in conflict ever, for I know how it would end. Let us cross blades only in sport!"

"It shall be so, DarkElf! Come with me now, and sheath your sword. I have the appetite of ten Elves, and I wish to speak with you on light matters while we dine. Come!"

Leaning upon one another, we staggerd back into the city, laughing at the thought of how we must appear, two battle-worn maidens in a city of crystal beauty, dirt on our faces and stones in our boots. My hands were tired, but the itch was gone, and my heart was lighter within me.