1. In A Still Uncertain Voice
Disclaimer: The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, etc. is copyright of J.R.R. Tolkien and his estates. No money is being made off of the production of this fictional work and no copyright infringement is intended.
It’s the same old story, walking to and fro to your own heartbeat without giving a single thought to what was, what is, and what you are now. It matters very little in fact since nothing’s changed in thousands of years and it may not change for thousands more.
He lay with his arms stretched over his chest, staring at the endless ceiling above. Ecthelion breathed carefully past his lips, not making a noise, as his heart hammered under his hand. He struggled to stay awake, eyes drooping every so often. If he closed his eyes, if he closed them for just one second, he might fall asleep and leave his body behind.
It was silent where he was, save the voiceless tapestries that were strung on the walls swinging with an unheard breeze, that he tried to focus on. The stone beneath him was cold and firm, sort of like a coffin.
Well, it was about time someone got around to burying him.
It’s hard to watch your friend’s enjoy themselves while you’re thoroughly miserable. Ecthelion watched as Glorfindel plucked a water lily from the water, the purple silken petals looking glorious against his golden locks. Then again, everything seemed to suit the Lord of the Golden Flower.
Moonglow fell upon the white squares from the clouds above; they passed between them like stepping-stones in the underwater blue of the night. They were graceful, as the nymphs running through the glades of the eve. One would be seen in the flicker of silvern hair or the shimmer of iron scales of mail.
The place was like a cathedral, a catharsis to pale beauty, to the King’s Elenwë. There was a white pearl coffin in the sanctuary; it blushed pink at the edges like the morning, marble roses crawling over it. They had put Elenwë in the box, like the musical jewelry case where the music would sing, you never know dear, how much I love you... She had looked like a painted doll, all dressed in silk from the east, crowned in diamonds which looked more akin to the ice that had slain the pale queen. It was at the service that looking down into the little rose box that she had thought that underneath all that fabric and blush, she was being slowly smothered.
He even thought in a moments fancy to rescue Elenwë from the box, for surely Turgon didn’t realize how strangely fake and mournful she looked, winter blue.
Ecthelion, who was too fiery, too loving, too real to really deserve his title, crept quietly behind Glorfindel, Egalmoth, and Galdor in the moonlight, avoiding the colors in the floor mosaic. Distantly as though from somewhere he could hear a children’s rhyme from his youth that the cautious and superstitious said walking throughout Arda before Valinor was in sight.
Step on green, eyes were keen
Step on yellow, poor wretched fellow
Step on blue, the frozen slew
Step on red, passion dead
Step on black, never come back
“Sometimes Turgon comes here alone with Idril.” Glorfindel said in his lyrical voice, fitting a song in each word. He had his cloak wrapped against him, guarding his sleeved pale arms from the cold.
Cold like the waters at the bottom of the fountains.
Glorfindel has always smelt of burnt flowers to Ecthelion, always sickeningly sweet like blood and dried potpourri. It was somehow beautiful, though didn’t sit well with his personality. He moved in a careful circle singing, falling down–the sound rose to Ecthelion’s ears. Small birds shouldn’t be made into birds of prey just as poets shouldn’t be made to be warriors. The blonde had no great love for blood shed and violence.
Glorfindel was pacing quietly, his usually mischievous eyes slightly dulled by the shine from between the creaky branches of ivy in iron work above and the sound of dry blossoms being crushed. His golden hair was not as brilliant in the sullen light and the green he wore was muted in the shadow.
“Look at this,” said Galdor, shaking his blonde head. “Do you suppose this is the tomb Turgon has chosen for himself and Idril?” Two white stone tombs also sat in silent purpose; they almost looked morbid when the moon cast upon them. His friends moved to them like humans to flame, eyes alight with unhealthy curiosity. Children have burnt the wings from butterflies before...
“I like it not that Turgon looks so early for his death. Nay, does he even anticipate Idril’s death? Our lord king has always seemed so confident in Gondolin’s safety.” the golden haired Glorfindel said pacing around Elenwë’s dais.
“Tuor has made Turgon unsure. I know not what to believe, but as it is my duty, I shall abide with the decision of the king.” said Ecthelion, still eyeing the squares of white on the marble.
Glorfindel cocked an eyebrow slightly and gazed down to the awaiting tombs. “It is strange to build such a monument to the dead. I could understand a garden or even a fountain,” he looked to Ecthelion, slightly amused, “if you preferred. I hope that our lord king does not plan on adding another addition for Earendil.”
Ecthelion felt sick thinking of the young prince still and soundless, surrounded by those awful fabrics like his grandmother. He turned away, eyeing the pattern on the floor. It turned and wove in an incomprehensible pattern. It trailed his eyes to where the walls of the cathedral met white aspen trees, golden with the autumn’s cold.
“Ecthelion! Would you lend us your ear for even a moment? Nay, if not a moment, perhaps just enough time for Egalmoth to finish a sentence.” said Glorfindel, chewing at the corner of his lip. Chances were that the Lord of the House of the Golden Flower has grown weary of Galdor and had ran over to the sarcophaguses. “It’s not that special,” he said in a whisper, “just dusty. This, I believe, is Turgon’s for here I see the standard of the Scarlet Heart upon the lid. It’s not very petite either.”
Ecthelion moved in a waltz to the coffin next to it, what could only be Idril Celebrindal’s, and shoved at the lid. Apprehension crossed the faces of the other elf lords as they watched him struggle with the stone. He pushed up, wedging himself against the floor , arms straining to lift the lid. The coffin shivered, making the sigh of stone upon stone, but try as he might, the covering was too heavy, the weight of sorrow on his shoulders. (Sorrow? For what?)
Nothing still, his friends beginning to crowd around him. A sadness laced and tainted with childish anger rose up and spread its wings, burning everything it touched.
The stone fell with a loud thump, slightly cracked on one side from taking the brunt of the fall. Rushing with arms open wide, he tried to leap over the high sides of the dais. He would climb in with whatever was within, if only to relieve the wonder that had grabbed him as the ocean drawing the tide out.
With a running start this time, Ecthelion jumped, pitching over the sides in a flurry of robes and armor, black hair clouded in his face. He landed with a cushioned thump that was only the sound of dry flowers being crushed, cherry blossoms; they danced in the pale light in a soft pink, like the glow of the sun just before she vanishes in the winter. From inside the narrow box, the world looked much larger and for a moment, he was a child again.
The elf-lords gasped a bit, wondering what madness had overcome the Lord of the Fountain, what thought would make one of the most subtle jump like a fool into another’s tomb. All that could still be seen of Ecthelion was a lock of hair sitting like a black rope upon the rosy stone.
Ecthelion lay still in the potpourri of flowers, a hand fisted over his heart. He had been like this before, he had to have been. The whole scene felt like practice, a ceremony being rehearsed. He stared up in to the blue tangle of black illumination, like what water looks like from beneath.
After awhile, he felt like he was drowning.
“Ecthelion!” called Egalmoth, flicking a strand of his silver hair from his face, indigo eyes slightly lidded against the moonlight. “Is it not sacrilege to defile the resting place of the dead?”
“None who are dead abide here, nor would they remain in their bodies when Mandos calls their souls to the halls.” Ecthelion said quietly, rising with the blossoms tangled in his dark mane. “But it is late, and the lark is about. Can you not hear her call?”
“I know the morning lark well and her shrill voice too, but I believe it was the nightingale.” Glorfindel said lightly, picking a petal from Ecthelion. “Nay, it was the lark. Surely the song in the halls of the king have died out though.”
“Hm, indeed.” Galdor muttered, wanting in his voice. The Lord of the Tree was fond of the colors and life of the evenings.
“Then let us be gone.” said Egalmoth.
They closed the sarcophagus with an unsound scraping on the floor. It sounded like nails on glass or armor scraping the bottom of a great lake...
Perhaps there was something wrong with him. Ecthelion rarely ever thought of anything grotesque, long since expelled memories of Nirnaeth Arnoediad.
Leaving was a relief and the flowers had long since fluttered out of his hair and sat unmoving on the dirty ground. They looked like tragic little corpses on the frigid grey stone. Galdor stepped upon one of the only full blossoms.
“It will be good to get home. I have much to think about.” Ecthelion said aloud, not really talking to anyone. Maybe if he was quiet enough, he’d disappear.
It was never told what happened to Elenwe after her death or what the burial customs of the eldar were so I may have taken a liberty or two.
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.