10. Chapter 10
Círdan had arranged for robes, befitting a Vala, to be delivered to Námo's room. The Vala already expressed his wishes to return to his realm in the very near future, perhaps as soon as the morn. Círdan knew that there was little time to get Námo and Súrelindë together.
Námo looked at himself in the mirror. The outer robe was a blue so dark it was almost black. The under robe was a rich twilight blue with silver trim and accents and a silver sash at the waist. He decided to let his shining black hair flow loose. It fell over his shoulders to the small of his back. As he turned to examine his reflection in the mirror, he caught sight of something on the table. "How did that get here?" he wondered aloud. Moving to the table, he picked up his circlet and set it on his brow. He suspected that his brother had something to do with it. Looking again in the mirror, Námo studied his reflection. It would be clear to all who saw him that he was indeed Námo, Ruler of Mandos, Keeper of Fëar, Doomsman of the Valar. However, the one he wanted to impress the most could not judge him by his looks. Tonight he would approach Súrelindë. The great Vala did not like the feeling of butterflies in his stomach but nothing he did stopped them. Taking a deep breath, he left for the feast.
When Námo entered the hall, there was a collective gasp. Súrelindë did not need to ask who arrived. She tried hard to imagine Námo in his entire splendor. Her heart leapt when she heard his greeting and she could do nothing more than smile shyly and curtsy.
For his part, Námo could not take his eyes off the peredhel. Never could he have anticipated her beauty this night. The minstrel looked radiant, every inch the princess he knew her to be. His heart and spirit sang for her; if she denied him, he would return to his realm at dawn and never seek love again. As they took their seats for supper, Námo was keenly aware of the admiring looks Súrelindë received. It seemed that the ellyn of the city finally realized what they had been missing. Círdan's counselor, Saelind, was the most obvious in his attentions. He monopolized conversation with her; he reached across the table several times to touch her arm or hand. At one point, Námo wanted to 'accidently' drive his fork into the advisor's hand.
After dinner, servants cleared the tables and pushed them aside. The minstrels moved to the dais and prepared for the night's entertainment. There would be dancing and singing all night long. Gildor, with the help of Círdan and Námo, convinced his daughter to sing a song. Knowing they would not relent until she complied, Súrelindë moved to the stage and took up the harp. Strumming it lovingly, she began to sing a love song. The hall fell silent as they listened intently.
"Upon a darkened night
the flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest
Shrouded by the night
And by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
while all within lay quiet as the dead
Oh night thou was my guide
of night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
to the beloved one
transforming each of them into the other..."
Her voice held the Vala transfixed as the world around him vanished and only her song remained.
"...beneath the cedars all my love I gave
From o'er the fortress walls
the wind would his hair against his brow
And with its smoothest hand
caressed my every sense it would allow
I lost myself to him
and laid my face upon my lover's breast
And care and grief grew dim
as in the morning's mist became the light
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair."
When she finished, Námo wiped a tear from the corned of his eye. He stood and moved toward the dais. Counselor Saelind, however, moved quicker. He reached Súrelindë first and swiftly maneuvered her to the dance floor as the slow music began. Námo watched with growing jealousy as *his* love was pulled close, too close, to the counselor. Whatever Saelind whispered in the minstrel's ear caused her to frown. While she maintained composure and drew no attention to them, it was clear to Námo that the woman did not wish to be in the counselor's arms. Námo moved to the dance floor, ignoring the various ellith who attempted to catch his attention. Couples parted for him. Standing his full height, Námo tapped Counselor Saelind's shoulder to cut in. The elf looked none to happy, but aside from Námo being a Vala, it would be rude to deny him and many were watching.
With a kiss to her cheek and the whispered word "Melethron" spoken not so soft that Námo did not hear, Saelind stepped back. "I will speak with your father now, my dear," he said smiling as he walked toward Gildor.
Námo could not contain his growl. "I hope I did not intrude on a private moment," he ground out. Súrelindë visibly relaxed and melted into the Vala's strong arms. Caught off guard, he instinctively tightened the embrace.
"I am so grateful it is you," she said resting her forehead on his chest. "He will not leave me in peace. He wishes to court me and I do not want to be courted by him and he is going to talk to my father who hopefully will *not* give him his blessing and… oh I am rambling. Forgive me Hîr nín."
Námo held her close, the music forgotten. He stroked her hair; it felt like the fine silk Vairë used in her tapestries. His cool fingers brushed her exposed ear, sending a flash of desire through her. Súrelindë felt safe, cherished and she never wanted to leave his powerful embrace. However, as the last stains of music floated out into the night, she moved to step away. This was no more than a dance, embellished in her mind by childish fancies. Námo however had other ideas. Holding her about the waist gently, he leaned in. He could feel her tremble…or was it he who now trembled? Námo's whispered words tickled her ear. "Walk with me."
Súrelindë shivered. Did she just feel his lips brush her cheek as he drew back? Feeling lightheaded, she allowed herself to be lead from the hall. The crisp night air exhilarated her. Námo lead her through the gardens until the music and laughter became a low din. The Vala had not relinquished his hold on her waist and she made no move to step away. Stopping he turned her to face him. Looking deep into trusting hazel eyes, Námo spoke from his heart.
"I came to Arda hoping to find my soul-mate. Now that I have found her, I fear I have run out of time to do this properly. Súrelindë, I must return to my realm very soon. Therefore, I cannot court you properly." He paused here to let his words sink in. Súrelindë's expression went from confused to uncertain to joyful realization. Before she could speak, Námo continued, "It also is not fair to ask you to accept me and my realm sight unseen. Since it is also not in my power to return your sight, the best I can do is ask Irmo to send you a dream in which you could see my realm, see me. I spoke with your father last night and he has given his blessing should you chose to accept me as your mate."
Súrelindë's trembling hand slid up the strong chest till she was able to caress his cheek. Her hand felt hot against his cool skin. Námo leaned into the touch. "I do not need a dream to show me anything," she said softly. "I have seen you here," she reached up to tap his temple, "and here." Her hand retraced its path down his cheek and neck to rest upon his beating heart. The Vala covered her delicate hand with his.
"You should be able to see what you choose. My home is not a bright place; it is cloaked in mist and shadow."
"I am unable to see no matter who I should marry or what my home would look like. I am blind and have accepted that some things will have to be accepted on 'blind faith. No, what would be unfair is to show me in my dreams what I can never see awake," she said with conviction. "I would gladly bind with you…sight unseen." She stopped here and cocked her head in contemplation. She continued hesitantly, "But what I cannot understand why you would settle for me. I am no one, a simple blind half-elf, the daughter of a gypsy. There are so many who could be a proper wife for you; ellith of high standing, with proper manners and beautiful elfin features; ellith who might be of some use. I have nothing to offer. I cannot even claim to be an adequate bed partner!"
Námo brought her knuckles to his lips and bestowed a gentle kiss. "That mîr nín [my treasure] is where you are wrong. You are beautiful beyond words, inside and out. You accept and treat me with the same kindness you show others. Your voice and music moves my inner being and I believe that your music would help those in my care. You are not just some peredhel. If you wish to bring in appropriate birthing, you are an Elven princess of the House of Finrod. And as far as being an adequate bed partner as you put it, I do not doubt that you are quite capable of being more than just adequate." Súrelindë blushed at his words. "I love you, heart and soul. I need you and if you reject me, I will accept it with a heavy heart yet leave you in peace. However, know that I will yearn for you forever; my soul can never be completed by another."
Súrelindë so wanted to believe the Vala, so wanted to accept him, but she still feared that in time he would grow tired of her stumbling blindly into everything. Námo saw the doubt and fear in her eyes. He understood her reservations and knew only one way to ease them. He leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. Súrelindë was surprised at the softness of his lips. They were cool like the rest of his skin, but the tongue that begged entrance was warm. Not wanting the kiss to end, she opened her mouth, allowing the Vala his first taste. He moaned at the sensation. The slight peredhel snaked her arms up around his neck, pulling his firm body closer to hers, knotting his hair in her fingers. Námo reacted instantly, wrapping both arms around her. When the need for air finally drove them apart, Súrelindë rested her head on his shoulder.
"I will bind with you, for my heart and soul belong to you and will accept no other," she answered softly. Námo hugged her tight when the voice of a female touched his mind.
'In your pocket.' The voice was gone as suddenly as it came. Reaching into the pocket of his outer robe, Námo found a pair of beautifully crafted mithril rings with a gold rim. Black diamonds sparkled against the polished metal.
Dropping to one knee, Námo reached for Súrelindë's hand. "Will you return to the feast and bind with me this night?" he asked.
By way of answer, Súrelindë dropped to her knees, threw her arms about his neck and kissed him soundly. With a joyful laugh, Námo stood, bringing the slighter body with him, swinging her around. Súrelindë giggled and held tight to his neck. "Come, let us tell your father the news and ask Círdan to perform the bonding ceremony."
Wishing to return to the hall as quickly as possible, Námo scooped Súrelindë up and carried her. He set her down on the balcony just outside the hall. Giving her one more kiss filled with promise, he offered her his arm. They found Gildor and shared their news.
The elf-lord beamed and drew both his daughter and future son-in-law into a warm embrace. "Does this me I can call you ion?" he asked with a cheeky grin. Námo raised an eyebrow in response.
Círdan, seeing what transpired, made his way to the happy group. "Would some one like to share?" he asked, a knowing twinkle in his eye.
"I need your services this night, Master Shipwright. As ruler of these land you are authorized to conduct a binding ceremony. I wish to bind with this elleth and she with me, tonight."
Círdan looked at the couple closely. "Is this true, penneth. Do you wish to be forever bound to Lord Námo?"
"Very much so," Súrelindë replied confidently.
"So be it." Círdan approached the dais and the musicians stopped playing. "My dear friends, tonight was to be no more than a welcoming feast for Lord Gildor. Now it gives me great pleasure to announce that a bonding will take place!"
Cheers arose as everyone began to look around for the lucky couple. None, however, were dressed in wedding garments.
"Would the blessed couple approach," Círdan called out.
The hall went silent as Súrelindë and Námo approached. The crowd moved before the dais. The expressions of those gathered varied. Some appeared genuinely happy, others quite envious, but all were interested in witnessing this rare occasion, a Vala of Valinor binding to a daughter of Arda.
Author's Note: Súrelindë's song is actually by Loreena McKennitt called 'Dark Night of the Soul'. Her music is often the inspiration for my writings.
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.