The Coat of Earendil

by Lothithil

A DarkElf Adventure in the 1st Age (using material gleaned from the Silmarillion and The Lost Tales)

Chapter One : Gondolin

In the Square of the Palace, many mighty trees grow. There is a vast oak with branches like arms, and they lift their leafy burden high above the rooftops of all but the wondrous towers. I enjoy sitting in their embrace, looking down into the gardens and sparkling fountains as the city falls away.

I have been longing to be in the forest again. The city and tame groves are lovely, but I miss the airs and shades of the dwelling of great trees, the feel of bark scored by antlers and lighting, limbs heavy with moss and mistletoe. I had petitioned the king to allow me to roam the forests that grew on the Encircling Hills, and he had given his conditional consent: that I stray not outside of the watch in the Hills, and that I report immediately any sightings of enemies or strange occurrences. Readily I agreed, and lingered now only for the setting of the sun, for in its height it beats off of the white marble and dazzles my eyes. I would go first to the House of the Golden Flower and bid my Lord farewell, and then to the trees.

But to my shaded eyes a marvelous image comes. Walking down the street, I see a tall elf-lord taking small strides for a tiny figure walks beside him, his arm stretched up to hold the hand of his guardian. Even from the distance I can see the bright light of their beauty as they come under the many bowed bridges of crystal along the Way of Arches, dressing them in ribbons of light that fall like streamers. I hear them speaking as they reach the Square and Eärendil stops to play in the clear water.

"Where is she, Lord Glorfindel?"

"I know not, my prince. We shall seek her next in the Court of the Fountain. Maybe she is there, listening to Ecthelion play his flute."

"Maybe she has already gone." The boy seems saddened by that. My heart bends to see his joy lessened, so I drop from my perch, landing in a whisper of leather on the grass.

"Maybe I can help you find your prey, my bonny prince. I am accredited with some skill as a hunter."

Eärendil laughs to see me appear, and he runs into the harbor of my arms. "I found her! Look, my lord!"

"Aye, she has fallen from the trees like ripe fruit on a windy day," said Glorfindel with a smile. His eyes are coloured like lapis, and are full of laughter and pride.

Eärendil climbs up to ride on my hip, clinging with a tight hug to me. I lift him to my shoulders to ride, and he puts his little hands over my blinking eyes to keep out the bright sun. Glorfindel steers me with a light hand on my elbow.

"Why am I the object of a hunt, my lords? Have I failed to appear at a promised appointment?" I ask merrily, not really caring where I was going in such good company.

"Mother wants to see you. She sent me to find you," Eärendil said into my ear. Even blind I can see the brilliance of him.

"It is my honour, then," says I, and I tickled his chubby knees with my hands, electing giggles and pleas to stop.

I feel Glorfindel squeeze my arm, and between Eärendil’s fingers I see the king’s nephew watching our little parade from a window that opens to the Square. The shadowy recess hides nothing in his face. Envy and hatred were naked there, and I touched Eärendil protectively, feeling the weight of that regard as we passed beneath the arches.

Idril was waiting in a small garden that Tuor had built for her overlooking the south of the city and the wide green plain of Tumladen. Tuor was there with her and also Voronwë, Tuor’s steadfast companion. As we enter the garden, I release Eärendil to run to his mother for a hug, then to his father who swings him round. Glorfindel’s hand is still on my arm, and I see in his eyes delight as he watches the play of father and son.

Idril greets me, pressing her cheek to mine and seating me next to her. The menfolk wait until she sits down before taking their own places. Eärendil trots to the corner of the flowerbeds to watch some butterflies dancing over the fragrant blooms.

"Thank you for joining us, dear friend. I have needed to speak with you, and hoped to catch you before you left on your sabbatical."

Idril looked at me with her grey eyes, like pools of liquid silver they were, and deeper than the call of the night. I remember the look in her eyes when we first fenced; a look of calculation as thought she were measuring me. Now the look she gave was less judgment of me, more as if she were searching. She was trying to think of how to say what was on her mind. I let her think, watching her son at play.

"Do you love Eärendil, Morlothiel?" she asked softly, and I turned to her in surprise.

"Of course! Who can not love such a child!"

"It is because of that love you bear him that I have asked you here today. I need your help to protect him."

"I am completely at your service, my friend." Who threatened Eärendil? I thought fiercely. I felt as though my claws were coming out.