Playlist Navigation Bar
Not A Substitute But A Fortification: 2. Like A Drawing
The glimmer of gold arrested Ecthelion's idle eye, and he turned his head to look more directly at it. The glimmer repeated, the only motion in the starlit meadow: the wind was playing with the short yellow hair of a skinny boy who was sitting absolutely motionless against the trunk of a tree.
Ecthelion blinked at him in surprise. He hadn't noticed him sitting there: his stillness was absolute, and he seemed asleep. His eyes were open but shadowed, unglittering, and he didn't seem to be aware of Ecthelion.
His body was arranged in one of the sort of complex but strangely comfortable-looking poses the lady Elenwe seemed to favor, his legs folded up beneath him and his hands precisely interwoven, and Ecthelion supposed he must be Vanyarin as well. He admired the Vanyarin aesthetic, at once both precise and haphazard, and it was with some regret that he had accepted he would likely now never have a chance to learn more about them.
This one seemed young, skinny and adolescent, and Ecthelion guessed his age as something under fifty, possibly even under forty. His face was sharp, his cheekbones high and strongly defined. He was lovely, but had an almost exaggerated quality-- like a drawing more than like a real boy. Ecthelion stepped back to see him better, to take in the symmetry of his pose beneath the asymmetrical tree above him: he looked like a painted scene from a Vanyarin scroll.
Ecthelion considered him a moment longer, watching the wind play with the short strands of his fine pale hair, and then remembered that time was passing while he stood here gaping. He sighed, and turned to resume his walk.
"Did you have something to say?"
Ecthelion startled violently, at first not realizing that the voice, jarringly deep and a little husky, had come from the boy. The boy hadn't moved, but now his eyes glittered.
Ecthelion put his hand to his chest, where his heart had nearly leapt out in his surprise. "I thought you-- " He laughed in nervous relief. "I didn't know what to make of you," he said.
The boy was still motionless, and only as Ecthelion laughed did he raise his head. His mouth curved up at one corner in dry amusement. "So I gathered," the boy said, "from how you were staring."
"I am sorry," Ecthelion said, embarrassed. "You looked-- you looked like a statue."
The boy smiled, and unfolded himself. He had long legs, and when he stood up he was as tall as Ecthelion. "I was sitting still," he said.
"Very," Ecthelion agreed. He hesitated, and then went on. "I've never seen you before. Are you visiting?"
Perhaps it was erroneous to think of him as a boy: he shook his head sombrely and Ecthelion thought he was older than his initial estimate had suggested. "I am new come to the host of Turukano," the boy said. His eyes were large in his thin face, and were an almost-luminous blue. Ecthelion was used to being stared at, but this stranger seemed to see him more thoroughly than most.
"Welcome," Ecthelion said, unsettled but intrigued. "I am Ehtelion. I joined Turukano's host only a little while ago myself."
"I am… Laurefindil," the boy said, and punctuated it with a hesitation, as though he were accustomed to identifying himself differently. He lowered his chin a little, finished speaking, and his eyes sadly dared Ecthelion to question the name. The eyes were familiar, and Ecthelion nodded as he made the connection: he looked like the lady Elenwe, wife of lord Turgon.
"You are kin of the Lady," Ecthelion said. Glorfindel's face, already clouding toward guardedness, took on an almost wary cast. "Lady Elenwe."
"Yes," he said slowly.
"I do not pry," Ecthelion said hastily. "It is none of my business. I mean no offense."
"I take no offense," Glorfindel answered. He smiled suddenly, a little sadly, but his face was warm, and open again. "In times like these it is sometimes wise to pry."
Ecthelion nodded, a touch wry, and found himself unable to think of anything to say. He remembered again that he had been on his way somewhere before he had been distracted. "Forgive me," he said, collecting himself. "I have interrupted your meditation."
"Not at all," Glorfindel said with a laugh. "Not at all. I have had enough of meditation. I was sitting there because I know almost nothing about this encampment and have nothing to do until tonight, and to tell the truth I was growing rather bored. In fact when you first walked past I was envying you your sense of purpose. But don't let me delay your errand: it looked important."
Ecthelion looked down with an embarrassed laugh. "I had no important errand," he said. "I was simply going for a walk. I have nothing to do until tonight either."
At that, a hopeful expression crossed Glorfindel's face, and he looked very young indeed, before he schooled his features into a more grown-up expression of seriousness. "Well," he said. "Then I am glad I have not kept you from anything urgent."
Ecthelion suppressed a small smile. "I can show you around, if you would like to know something about the encampment."
Glorfindel looked hopeful again, though more controlledly so this time. "Only if you really have nothing better to do," he said, making an attempt to sound diffident.
"I can think of nothing better," Ecthelion said, a little shyly. It was long since he had been so friendly with a stranger; poor friendly Egalmoth had endured much more coldness for less reason than this, but it struck Ecthelion as not possible to be cold to this disarmingly unreal, ancient child. Glorfindel's face opened in a pure, pleased grin, and Ecthelion had to look down to keep from grinning like an idiot in return.
Playlist Navigation Bar