2. Chapter 2
They had joined a troop of returning wardens and were approaching the entrance to Menegroth when Gildor suddenly pulled his mount to a halt. An overwhelming feeling of fear took him. For a reason he could not guess, he reached for the cloth-swaddled sword he carried across his horse’s withers instead of his own weapon. Grasping the hilt, he felt pain emanating from it. This was replaced with remorse, but there was a slow, burning, righteous anger behind that remorse. And then there was nothing. Gildor gently released the hilt and, to no one in particular said, “Finrod is dead.”
Gildor and Farothir waited in the Lady’s private offices. The maidservant had offered them refreshment, but they respectfully declined saying that they would deliver their message first. A few moments later, she ushered Gildor into the main parlor, Farothir choosing to stay in the anteroom.
The parlor was a spacious room with comfortable chairs and couches placed throughout. On a couch near a window sat the King’s sister. She did not stir as he entered, but stared out the window.
In a forced voice, she said, “You may leave me, Ithilwen, please have some chilled wine and food brought for my guests.”
With a look of pity she answered, ”Yes, my Lady,” and turned and closed the door.
Gildor shifted in the heavy silence that followed.
Without turning from the window she said, “Finrod walks this world no more.” It was a statement.
Gildor, bowing his head and with compassion and remorse answered, “ No, Lady Artanis.”
Hearing her name she turned to him. He saw her sorrow turn to anguish in her face.
“He was the last one to call me that… Here I am Galadriel…” and she turned back to the open window. He saw her collect herself in a way that reminded him of the last time he saw his King. She faced him and stood.
“Please forgive me Captain Gildor, I see you have come straight from your travels and have urgent messages. I would not ask you to prolong your errand.”
Seeing the strength return to her, Gildor gathered his courage, “ He sent me with this saying that you would understand why he sent it.” He offered her the shrouded sword. As she reached for it, her hands trembled. Gildor placed it in her grasp and knelt before her.
Bowing his head, he quietly but, firmly said, “My Lady, I once gave an oath to the House of Finarfin and failed. I would now offer you and yours my life and obedience.”
Galadriel placed one hand on his bowed head. “ I accept, my young Captain. And I promise to lead as I would be led and not squander your faithfulness. May your association with this House now prove more fruitful. I know what burdens your heart, but it was not your time. You have a destiny other than the one my brother chose, but your actions will be no less helpful.”
Gildor looked up and saw a tear running down her cheek but a wan smile on her face. She placed a hand on his shoulder and had him rise. She saw the pity in his eyes but did not resent it.
Gildor made to excuse himself, “Can I do anything for you my lady?”’
“No, Gildor, you have done enough. Have Ithilwen show you to my guest quarters and tend to your needs.”
“Yes, my lady” he replied and exited the room, closing the door behind him. He did not see her sink to her knees, clutching the still shrouded sword to her body, and begin to weep.
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.