Following the Hasty-riser: 1. Following the Hasty-riser

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1. Following the Hasty-riser

"Lord Guilin, can I keep Gwindor?" Celegorm asked as he dodged the boy's wooden sword and attacked. Gwindor was quick to dodge the Prince of Himlad. He
feinted left then struck from the right. He almost had Celegorm, but the son of Feanor blocked at the last minute.

Guilin only laughed. "Lord Celegorm, you should not jest so. You know I would gladly give all that I have to you."

"Oh, but it is no jest." Celegorm parried young Gwindor's attack, and as the boy became more ferocious, Celegorm was forced to fall back. Though only ten (as
accounted by Men), Gwindor was skilled with the sword, for he had been most diligent in his lessons and often practiced even when the teachers did not require it.
His hard work paid off, and Celegorm himself had noticed the boy's skill and had taken over Gwindor's swordsmanship lessons. "There is a fire in Gwindor that I
have not seen since last I looked upon the Jewels of Feanor." Gwindor didn't let the compliments distract him. He'd always been taught to block out all distractions in
the heat of battle, even those of his comrades.

"What do you expect of a tiger?" Guilin said, grinning from ear to ear.

"Tiger? I thought him a mere cat," Celegorm said with a laugh. Oh, Gwindor wasn't going to stand for that. He took advantage of Celegorm's moment of laughter and
lunged. Celegorm blocked, but Gwindor drew a small hidden knife from its sheathe attached to the back of his belt and sliced off Celegorm's practice sword just
above the hilt. Celegorm was taken aback, and Gwindor took the opportunity to hit his wrist. "Ou!" cried the Prince of Himlad as he dropped his sword. Before
Gwindor could seize the moment and hold his sword to Celegorm's neck in a decisive victory, Huan was upon him. The Hound of Valinor knocked the boy off his
feet. They tumbled, and somehow Gwindor lost both his weapons in the fray. Huan pinned the boy down with his greater weight and licked his face.

"That's not fair!" Gwindor screamed as he giggled from the licks. "Down, boy, down!" He tried to scramble free from underneath the huge hound to no avail.

"Apparently I mistook the tiger cub for a cat," Celegorm said ruefully as he rubbed his wrist. Gwindor hadn't been gentle in disarming his lord. "Huan." The hound
was off Gwindor and by his master's side in three great leaps. Celegorm patted his dog absently.

"He certainly is skilled for a youth his age," Guilin said proudly.

"It's because I listen to all of Prince Celegorm's stories about the glory of the Noldor," Gwindor said matter-of-factly. He went to Huan and scratched the dog
behind his ears.

"Tales alone don't make you good," Celegorm said.

"No, but I think of them for inspiration. I imagine myself as you in the Dagor-nuin-Giliath, the Battle-under-Stars, waylaying the armies of Morgoth that came up from
the Havens of Falas." Gwindor grabbed Huan's tail, but Huan pulled it free from his fist. Gwindor reached for it again, but Huan flicked his tail away and then
swatted it into Gwindor's face. Gwindor laughed and moved away from the wagging tail.

Guilin smiled as he watched his son. "Come, there is still some packing to be done, and we'd best not leave Gelmir to do all the work."

"Can't I stay, Father?" Gwindor begged.

"Don't be lazy," Guilin chided.

"I'm not trying to get out of helping, Father," young Gwindor protested. "I'll help pack. I just don't want to go to Dorthonion."

"Gwindor," Guilin said sternly.

"Yes, Father." Gwindor retrieved his knife from where it'd fallen during his skirmish with Huan.

"Let your son stay with me a while longer, Lord of Tigers," Celegorm said. "He bested me in our last match, and I would not let that stand. I'll send him home to you
once I have taught him who is better."

"Very well," Guilin said with a bow. "But don't keep him too long, my Prince."

Celegorm grinned. "Of course not. Our rematch shouldn't take long."

Gwindor knew that Celegorm was teasing, implying that he'd beat Gwindor quickly, but the boy wasn't offended. He fetched a new practice sword for Celegorm
and then armed himself with his earlier sword. Gwindor fought with all his might, and the practice fight was not short, but in the end, Celegorm had the victory.
Afterwards, they refreshed themselves and rested.

"Snow will fall soon, and then trade with Dorthonion will be impossible. Why don't you want to go to Dorthonion?" Celegorm asked.

"I want to stay by your side and learn what I may of the art of swordfighting," Gwindor said.

"Angrod and Aegnor are skilled fighters as well. Your swordsmanship will not rust while you are away from my tutelage," Celegorm said.

"But I like learning from you, and I want to hear more stories of your past victories."

"The tales can wait. This is an important journey; the trading of goods also helps to strengthen our alliance with the sons of Finarfin."

Young Gwindor fell silent, and when he could think of no other way to beg to stay in Himlad, he decided to speak his mind. "I don't like going. Every time I go,
Father spends all his time boasting to Lord Gelmir of the Ospreys about how good my older brother has become with the sword or the bow. And then the Lord of
the Ospreys brags about his son Guilin and how great he's become. And it's all well and good that they're such good friends and that they've named their sons after
each other, but by the darkness, I always feel left out."

"Well, if you had been born first, then your father would have named you Gelmir instead of Gwindor," Celegorm said. "Gelmir didn't choose to be the older brother;
you shouldn't hold it against him. Nor should you hold a grudge against the lordling Guilin."

"I don't. And I love my older brother. It was Gelmir who taught me to read and to hunt. And it was Gelmir who first taught me to shoot with bow and arrow."
Gwindor felt as if his blood had turned to fire as he continued to speak. "But by the stars, Prince Celegorm, you are also a younger brother. Surely you understand
my frustration? Because he is older, he is more skilled than I, but even if I were to exceed him in martial prowess, still he would be more important because he was
born first, and I would be introduced as an afterthought. I just don't want to deal with it. I don't want to see Lord Gelmir, and I'd have to if I went to visit the Lands
of Angrod and Aegnor. It's like the Dagor Aglareb. You played a key role in countering the strokes of Morgoth, and it was you who pursued the Orcs across
Ard-galen and destroyed the least and last of them within sight of Angband's gates, but the credit for your accomplishments goes to your eldest brother Maedhros,
for you were of his army."

For a moment, Gwindor worried that he'd said too much, that perhaps his words were treason, for he had spoken ill of Maedhros, but Celegorm smiled and clasped
young Gwindor's shoulder. "You are truly a boy after my own heart. No, do not regret that you spoke your mind to me. Like you, I love my eldest brother, but I do
resent that I must always live in his shadow. For this reason, I do not regret leaving Aman, for here in Middle-earth, I can rule my own Land of Himlad." Celegorm
rose and straightened his tunic. "If you don't want to go to Dorthonion, you don't have to. As you said, you'd only be introduced as an afterthought anyway. I'll speak
to your father and tell him that I want you to stay here with me. After all, I was serious when I said that you had great potential, greater than even your older
brother."

"Really?" Gwindor bowed low to Celegorm. "Thank you, Prince of Himlad! I am in your debt."

---

Thereafter, Gwindor did not travel with the House of Tigers to trade with the Elves of Angrod and Aegnor. His father Guilin did not mind, for he was greatly pleased
that Gwindor stood so high in Prince Celegorm's favor. Then one winter many years later, Guilin and Gelmir delayed returning from Dorthonion because of an early
snowstorm, and after the blizzard had passed, poisonous fumes rose up from the Mountains of Iron. Great rivers of fire destroyed all of Ard-galen, and many of the
Noldor perished in that burning. And from that foul darkness came the armies of Morgoth, and thus was the Siege of Angband at last broken in what was later
known as the Dagor Bragollach, the Battle of Sudden Flame.

Gwindor was lord in his father's absence, and he calmed his people and then took counsel with Celegorm, Curufin, and the other Lords of Himlad.

"We will hold the Pass of Aglon for as long as we may, but my heart tells me that the war will go ill for us," Curufin said.

"What of the people of Dorthonion?" Gwindor asked, for his father, brother, and a half of his House was there. "Surely we must send some aid to Angrod and
Aegnor."

"We can't spare the troops," Celegorm said.

Gwindor, being of a strong strategic mind, understood well why this decision was made and so spoke no further of this matter. He led his people fiercely in the
defense of the Pass of Aglon, and when he was not at the forefront of battle, he prepared the women and children of his House for hiding. The people of Himlad did
great damage to Morgoth's armies, but at last the Pass of Aglon was forced, though with great cost to the hosts of Morgoth. Celegorm ordered his people to flee
southward.

"Let me take a small host of men to the North," Gwindor pleaded. "Yesterday night, I dreamt that my father Guilin was slain by an arrow in his eye but Gelmir I saw
taken captive. I must save him."

"No," Celegorm said sharply. Then his face softened. "Gwindor, you must be strong. If your dream is true, then you are now Lord of the House of Tigers. When
Maedhros was taken captive, my brothers and I did not submit to Morgoth. We could not. Morgoth could afford to lose a host better than we to lose a company.
That is true even now. Let us retreat and plan to fight another day." Gwindor's brow furrowed, but he nodded in silent agreement with his lord. Celegorm patted
Gwindor on the back. "Someday, we will have a chance for revenge, and then we will come even to the Gates of Angband, as we did in the Dagor Aglareb, the
Glorious Battle."

---

The people of Celegorm fled to Nargothrond. Several years after the Bragollach, a Man of Dorthonion came to Nargothrond. He had with him the Ring of Felagund,
and because of an oath sworn to his father, Finrod set out with ten of his men to aid Beren's quest. But Finrod and his companions were slain, and only Beren lived.
In time, rumors spread of the treachery of Celegorm and Curufin, and the greater part of Nargothrond turned again to the house of Finarfin. Perhaps Orodreth, being
the sole survivor of the House of Finarfin (save Galadriel only, who dwelt in Doriath, at last saw his chance to wield great power and authority, and being corrupted
by such temptations, he chose to believe these dark rumors that were undoubtedly the work of Morgoth's servants. When the majority was in his favor, Orodreth
drove the sons of Feanor out of Nargothrond.

"Let it be so!" said Celegorm hotly, for he had shown friendship to the sons of Finarfin in every need and was now sorely betrayed.

Gwindor never doubted that he would depart with Celegorm and Curufin. After all, the House of Tigers followed the sons of Feanor. Then word spread that
Celebrimbor repudiated the deeds of his father Curufin and refused to leave Nargothrond, and others of Celegorm's following wavered when they heard this news,
but Gwindor did not. Then the night before Celegorm was to set off, Finduilas, daughter of Orodreth, came to Gwindor's chambers. They had spoken rarely before,
and so Gwindor was surprised to see her.

"Are you going forth with Celegorm and Curufin?" Finduilas asked. Her eyes were averted, and a light blush colored her fair cheeks.

"Of course. I do not believe these rumors of foul play. Celegorm and Curufin are both honorable men. They would die before they break that honor. I do not believe
these lies of their treachery against Finrod," Gwindor said. Yet as he spoke, his mind wandered, for the daughter of Orodreth was very lovely to behold, and she
seemed scared and in need of protection. Her eyes became luminous from unshed tears, and her lips trembled.

"Stay, please," she said. Before Gwindor could reach out and comfort her, Finduilas fled into the night like a moonlit shadow dancing upon the waters of Ivrin.

Gwindor went the next day to Celegorm feeling quite miserable. "My Lord, my mind is in doubt for the first time," Gwindor said.

"Oh?" And though Celegorm was in foul spirits, he listened attentively to Gwindor, for the Lord of Tigers was a close friend and like a son to him.

"The daughter of Orodreth came to me last night," Gwindor began, but he didn't know how to finish.

"And she asked you to stay." It was a comment, not a question. Gwindor nodded, and his brow furrowed as indecision wracked his mind. Celegorm laughed. "The
others stay because they have been polluted by the lies of Morgoth. Only you remain true. But now another matter comes between us."

"I do not wish it to be so," Gwindor said.

"The love of a lady is a rare and beautiful thing," Celegorm said, and his eyes looked far away as he spoke. "Finduilas is the daughter of a weakling king, and
Nargothrond has become a hidden kingdom of cowards. If you do not stay to protect her, who will?"

"Are you advising me to remain in Nargothrond?" Gwindor said in disbelief. "Or are you testing my loyalty to you? My mind is in turmoil, but my heart and my sword
belongs to you."

Celegorm shook his head. "I appreciate your loyalty to me, and I know that you need no testing. Finduilas has watched you for some time; I have seen it. But she
knew not how to approach you. Now she has at last made her feelings plain to you, and I perceive that she has stirred some feelings in you as well. Morgoth's evil
may have turned the people of Nargothrond against us, but I know my own worth."

"As do I," Gwindor said quickly.

"I know it." Celegorm held Gwindor with his bright eyes. "To many, love comes but once in a lifetime. Do not miss this opportunity, Gwindor, son of Guilin! I do
indeed advise you to stay in Nargothrond, my friend. Court the Lady Finduilas and learn if you and she are meant to be together."

"But Prince Celegorm--"

"I cannot yet go to aid Maedhros in Himring so long as I have no army," Celegorm said. "Curufin and I will go to Ossiriand and join our brothers. There, we will
sway what peoples we can to our cause. When you have discovered the truth of your heart, then come and join me again."

Gwindor felt tears welling up inside him. "But Prince Celegorm, I do not want to be parted from you. How could I stay in Nargothrond for my own selfish
purposes?"

"Then stay for me as well," Celegorm said. "Those who follow me now believe the lies of Morgoth. They believe that Curufin and I sought to murder our cousin and
wrongfully take the kingship of Nargothrond after his death. You know this is not true. Stay and share your faith in me to those who would give ear to you. It is for
this same reason that Celebrimbor has chosen to stay in Nargothrond. He pretends to be repulsed by the actions of his own father, but he knows the truth, and he
will spread it where he can." Celegorm embraced Gwindor. "The Noldor must unite or Morgoth will singly destroy us. For now, we must fight our battles apart,
Gwindor, Lord of Tigers, but if fate will have it, then we will meet again."

"I hope that it may be so," Gwindor said gravely.

And so Gwindor and Celegorm parted company that day.

---

When the Union of Maedhros was formed, Gwindor went forth from Nargothrond with a company and joined with the hosts of Fingon, for many of Fingon's men
had been lost in the Bragollach and he had greater need of reinforcements than Maedhros. Upon Barad Eithel, Gwindor beheld his brother for the first time since the
Bragollach. Gelmir's eyes had been poked out, and the Captain of the Orcs cut off Gelmir's arms and legs and then his head before the Elves. Gwindor became fey
and rode out to war, and Fingon soon followed.

The Lord of Tigers and the Elves of Nargothrond were ever at the forefront of the battle and could not be restrained. They burst through the very Gates of Angband,
and there, Gwindor expected to meet Prince Celegorm upon the battlefield, for the hosts of Maedhros were supposed to meet with the hosts of Fingon and take the
might of Morgoth as between hammer and anvil. But no help came, and Gwindor, last of the Tigers, was taken captive.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Cirdan

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 1st Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/07/03

Original Post: 04/07/03

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