8. Chapter 8
"You look lovely this evening," the older ellon said softly.
"Thank you," Súrelindë said hesitantly. "What can I do for you, Counselor Saelind?"
"I must admit, I have been watching you these last few decades. You have grown into a fine woman."
Súrelindë stopped walking and turned to the counselor. "Thank you again, but I am afraid I do not understand, what this is about."
Saelind took Súrelindë's hands in his and raised them to his chest. "What this is about is...us. I find myself attracted to you. I know that you are not in a relationship with anyone. You blindness deters many. I have moved beyond your limitations. I could offer you the life you deserve, love and comfort. You would not have to be alone anymore."
Súrelindë was shocked. She vaguely remembered this ellon from her youth, before the accident. He was not unattractive. He had rich brown hair and a lean body, but his eyes, as she remembered them, were always calculating and a bit distant. His voice also held a tone of cool arrogance. They had little contact and when they did, the minstrel always felt uncomfortable. Now she learned he has been watching her.
"I do not know what to say," she finally managed to say. Her hands were pressed against his chest, held captive there by his lager ones. She very much wanted to remove them, to step back from him.
Trapping both hands in one, the counselor reached up and caressed her hair and cheek. "You could accept my offer. Allow me to court you; attend the feast with me tomorrow. I will speak with your father at that time. I know he fears you will remain alone." He stepped closer; his final words a mere whisper in her ear. "I can take that fear away from you both."
"I…I cannot…" she stammered as she tried to pull away. " I thank you but I cannot accept the offer. I do not have feelings beyond respect for you. I am sorry."
Saelind tightened his grip on her hand. "You cannot? Do not be a fool. No other has offered you half of what I have and no one ever will. You are blind! You cannot be the proper wife and housekeeper. Fortunately, I do not require someone to fix my meals or tend my house. I have servants for that. The only duties you need fulfill are those of a proper lady of the court and intimate wifely duties, which should be no great hardship for I am not an inexperienced lover…I can teach you much."
Súrelindë shook her head, trying to free herself. She did not want him; she did not love him. She wanted Námo; her heart desired the Vala.
As if reading her thought, the counselor pushed her away. "Oh I see; I am not good enough for you. You have set your sights on a higher prize!" he spat out angrily. "Do you really believe that a Vala would want you? Really, penneth! You think too much of yourself. Námo toys with you. You amuse him; that is all. He can have whomever he chooses and I am sure that he rarely lacks company!" Tears began to sting Súrelindë's eyes. "What will you do when he leaves? What will you have then? Tell me! Nothing! You will have nothing. You will look and feel like a fool. You clearly are not capable of making a practical decision, therefore, I will speak with your father. He is a rational, albeit eccentric elf, who will heed the voice of reason. He will see that you are taken care of by me!" With a swoosh of his robes, he left.
Súrelindë stood rooted to the spot, silent tears streaming down her face. Was he right? Had she chosen an impossibility? The minstrel did not think the Vala toyed with her, but had she misread his attention. Perhaps he felt pity for her like the others…and what would happen when he left? She would again be alone. Her heart began to ache. Walking slowly back to her rooms, she examined her feelings for the Vala. As she collapsed onto her bed, she realized that at some point, she had fallen in love with him! She broke out into uncontrolled sobs as she realized she loved one she would never have.
Námo reluctantly left the gardens. He still had an odd feeling about Counselor Saelind and he certainly did not like the way he looked at Súrelindë. Of course, it did not help that the ellon had interrupted what surely would have been the sweetest kiss he had ever felt. His mood soured. With meaningful strides, the Doomsman headed for Gildor's rooms. He would feel better after speaking with the elf-lord.
Gildor sat back in the wingback chair, legs stretched out on the ottoman, sipping his wine. Tomorrow he would spend the day with his iell. He missed having her with him but his life of wandering really was unsuitable for her. Still, perhaps she could accompany him on a short trip to one of the other elven realms. Of course, he would worry less if he knew she found a mate, or at least went out more, did more with others her age. From what Círdan said, she rarely attended functions, then only with the shipwright. He rested his head on the back of the chair and sighed. Now there was this 'thing' with Námo. Although he was flattered that a Vala found interest in his daughter, he feared her feelings for Námo bordered on love. Her heart would be broken when the Vala left. A firm knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. Rising gracefully, he answered the door. He did not expect to find himself face to face with the Doomsman of the Valar. "Hîr nín," he said with a bow, to what do I owe this unexpected visit?" He sidestepped to allow the Vala entrance.
Námo nodded in greeting. "I wish to speak to you about your iell," he said stepping farther into the room.
"Ah. Well, shall we sit? May I get you a drink? Tea or wine perhaps?" Gildor asked as he retrieved his own glass from the end table.
"Wine, please," the Vala said, settling down on the couch. Gildor willed his hands not to shake as he refilled his own glass and prepared one for his guest. Though he had no fear of Námo, it unbalanced him that the Vala choose to seek him out. He moved back to the sitting area and handed Námo his glass. With a nod of thanks, the Vala accepted the glass.
"So what has my little Súrelindë done now?" Gildor asked half jokingly as he sat.
"She has stolen my heart," Námo said bluntly.
Gildor stared at the vision before him. "Excuse me?"
"I said you iell has stolen my heart…and my soul. I came to seek a mate and I believe I have found her. I would like your blessing to pursue my feelings for Súrelindë and examine hers for me."
Gildor did not know what to say. Who would have thought one of the Valar would ask permission from an elf! What was more, Námo had just confessed his love. Gildor took a slow, deliberate sip from his glass. Had Círdan not just advised him to get answers from Námo? And here was the Vala, ready to talk. Gildor took a breath and focused himself. 'Forget that he is a Vala. Talk to him as you would anyone who sought to court you iell.' Gildor looked the waiting Vala straight in the eyes. "So you believe you have fallen in love with my daughter."
"No. I know I have."
"And how does she feel about you?" Gildor inquired.
"I can only speculate, but I believe she has feelings for me."
"If you are not sure of her feelings, should you not be speaking with her?"
"I do not wish to cause her pain. If you do not approve of my intentions, I will not pursue her."
Gildor watched for any signs of deceit. "So if I forbade you from courting her, you would not?"
"That is correct."
Gildor chuckled. "You do realize that IF my iell has feelings for you, and I do think she does, and she wishes to act on those feeling, she will not stop because I say no."
"That would not be an issue for I would not respond to her advances."
"And you think that you could, deny her that is?" Gildor smiled at the confident Vala. He had made the same promise to Súrelindë's grandfather and look where that got him, ten years of marital bliss and a beautiful daughter. No, Námo would not be able to refuse her charms, Vala or not.
"I would return to my realm immediately."
"And seek another mate?"
"No." Námo stood and moved to the window. Looking out at the emerging stars he continued. "She is my soul mate. I will take no other for mate or pleasure if not her." His voice conveyed his sincerity.
Gildor rose and came behind Námo. Placing a hand on the Vala's shoulder he said, "Come, we have things to discuss." Námo turned and looked that the elf-lord with hope filled eyes. They moved back to their seats.
"I do have some questions about all this," Gildor said. The Vala gave a nod, and the elf continued. "Would my daughter have to die to be with you in your realm?" Gildor rushed the unpleasant question out.
"No. She would take a ship to Valinor and from there come, living, to my realm. The living can survive in my halls. It is just not the most cheerful place so most leave quickly."
"Would she be happy in your Halls?"
"I would do whatever is in my power to make her happy. My halls are not extravagant, like Manwë's, but they are roomy and comfortable." He hesitated. It was his halls and the fëar that drove most away from him.
Gildor saw the fleeting doubt on the other's face. "Súrelindë lives in a world of darkness now. It will matter little to her what your halls look like, but would she be able to walk in the outdoors? She does love the fresh air and the ocean."
"She would be able to roam in Lórien's gardens at will. And, if she desires the company of the Eldar, I will make arrangement for her to visit those in Valinor," the Vala added.
This brought Gildor to his last question. "When will see my iell again?"
Námo looked at Gildor as a father about to give his daughter away. His heart filled with compassion when he realized that Gildor would not stand in the way of his daughter's happiness even if it meant never seeing her again. "I will work something out with Irmo for you to visit in his gardens. I know it would only be in the dream state for now." He paused before adding, "But when you tire of wandering these lands, you will sail West and be able to see her whenever you desire." A long silence followed. Námo dropped to his knees before Gildor. "I swear, Súrelindë will want for nothing. I will love her with my whole being for all of eternity. She will be happy. She will not lack for company or things to do. I would love her music to fill my halls. I think she would be of great value to many of the fëar in my care. She would oversee my realm as my queen and all would treat her as such." Námo's eyes pleaded with Gildor to bless their union.
It amazed Gildor that the Vala humbled himself so. Námo could do what he pleased, yet he came to ask permission, to answer a parent's concerns, to demonstrate his love and devotion. What more could a father want for his daughter than to have so honorable a suitor?
"It is not my decision to make, but if my iell will have you, then you have my blessings." Námo looked up from his knees with a smile of gratitude. "But understand this," Gildor continued with all seriousness leaning closer, "hurt my daughter, and Vala or not, I will hunt you down and end your existence." Námo did not laugh at this threat, impossible as it would be to carry out. Instead, he nodded with understanding. Gildor Inglorian was a fine elf. Námo wondered why he never spoke up and accepted his birthright as a prince of the Noldor and Vanya.
Standing, Námo smiled. "I would like to announce my intentions at the feast tomorrow. I fear I must soon return to my realm for I have left it in the care of others for too long. If Súrelindë will accept me, she may have time here to tie up loose ends and when she is ready, Círdan will have a ship for her. I hope she will not tarry to long, for I will miss her terribly."
Gildor stood and walked the Vala to the door. "Good night Hîr nín. I hope I am right about my daughter's feelings for you. I think you are a perfect match."
"Thank you for accepting me. I know I am not the most…liked…of the Valar. But how I must be towards the fëar and who I truly…"
Gildor squeezed Námo's shoulder. "Peace, mellon nin. Rest well. Súrelindë and I will see you at the feast." With that, they parted. Námo returned to his rooms, dizzy with anticipation while Gildor finished his wine and sought his bed. His iell had captured the heart of a Vala and he, a mere elf, had threatened him.
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.