Rivendell; Early Third Age
Elrond laughed and grabbed an elfling in each arm, swinging them round and round, hearing his son's giggles mix with the laughter from Celebrían, who ran in to join the wild circle, their daughter Arwen in her arms. A happy family, completely unaware they were being watched. None saw the flash of golden hair in the shadows of the garden.
Glorfindel strode through the corridors of Imladris to his room and slammed the door closed so hard that the echo reverberated along the wall. Then his knees buckled and he collapsed on the bed, burying his head into the pillows to hide the sobs that wracked him
It was the first time he had said that name since his return to life. Tuilindo, his son.
Gondolin; First Age
He turned and smiled down at the half grown boy who tugged his sleeve "Ma sa Tuilindo?"
"Come and see what I've found"
His smile grew broader and he allowed himself to be dragged down streets and into a stable where a mare stood with her foal.
Glorfindel looked over the young colt, instinctively appraising his conformation "He's beautiful."
Tuilindo gave a sigh "I helped with his foaling. The owner said I could have him when he's trained"
"Yes, my lord, he may" a third voice indicated the entrance of the mare's owner.
Glorfindel turned to face the other Elf, a full blood Noldor by the name of Hinalagon, and dropped his voice to a whisper as he stepped closer "For that I thank you, Tuilindo has had little to love since his mother died."
Hinalagon simply smiled and spoke louder so Tuilindo could hear him again "What will you call him?"
"Carnirocco… Red Horse" But the boy didn't turn as he spoke, he gazed over the stable door at his new friend.
With a smile on his face, Glorfindel left his son to his daydreaming.
"Can I have a story Atto?"
Glorfindel turned at the plaintive note in the boy's voice "Of course." He strode back to the bed and sat down, scooping the boy, blankets and all, into his lap "Which one do you want?"
"Tell me of Valinor, Valinor as it was."
Tilting his head back as if trying to remember, he began the story "Far to the west there was a green land, full of peace and beauty…"
…And the land will ever remain pure in Elven hearts, for we despise those who destroyed it."
He finished as the small head lolled against his shoulder, then lowered the boy back into his pillows and tucking the blankets in. Stooping, he dropped a lingering kiss on his son's white forehead… so pure, so delicate, so precious. So innocent.
And he would die before seeing that innocence corrupted.
"Out! Everybody out! Flee, if you value your lives then flee"
Tuilindo followed the sound of the bellow, weaving through the crowd that ran the opposite direction. He tripped and saw a pair of hooves falling towards him.
Glorfindel heard the scream and charged in its direction, plunging through the crowd and snatching his son from under the plunging stallion. The boy clung to him like a drowning man to wood
"Atto I'm scared"
He tightened his hug "I know yondo, I know." Sounds of stone crashing to the ground made him shift the child to a more comfortable position for carrying and draw his sword "Hold on tight and don't slip." With that caution he broke into a run, herding the last stragglers along. Soon they would be away, soon they would be safe.
The bellow rang out along the line, followed by cries of panic as the fiery demon rose out of Cirith Thoronath.
Glorfindel felt his son stiffen and draw closer, despite already having his small legs entwined around his waist. Swallowing he spoke with calmness that he didn't feel
"Tuilindo… I need to help the warriors. You will have to walk for a little while until I come back. Alright?" The child nodded, trusting his words implicitly. Glorfindel gently set him down on the rocky ground and made to move off.
"Atto? How will you know me when you return? There are many people here"
He turned back and knelt down, lifting a thin gold chain over his head, on it hung the engraved image of a flower "Wear this, the symbol of our house. Through this shall I know you, on my return."
Tuilindo nodded "And through this shall I know you." He pulled off a chain of his own, which Glorfindel solemnly put on.
"Now remember, stay with the others."
"I will Atto"
His long running stride ate up the distance to the ridge. Once he was there he paused and bellowed his challenge "Balrog of Morgoth, do not harass them, try your fire on a true warrior. I, Glorfindel of the Golden Flower, challenge you!"
From there on he remembered nothing but fire, heat and pain. Then he slipped, falling into the Balrog's clutches. But even as the fire scorched him beyond bearing he heard something that would stay with his fëa forever. A cry… A wail of grief
Rivendell, Third Age
Glorfindel lay still, shocked by the power of his own memory. The cry, it reverberated in his head as though Tuilindo still cried out within hearing. He scrabbled at his throat, seeking the chain. Grasping it he pulled it out from under his robes, trembling fingers freeing the catch on the tiny locket. It opened to reveal a miniature painting: Tuilindo standing with Carnirocco, his arm thrown over the colt's neck.
"I'm sorry Tuilindo, I'm so sorry…"
He pressed the locket shut and tucked it back in safety. He'd already lost his son, he wouldn't lose this last memorial as well.
Cirith Thoronath; First Age
"Atto!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Tuilindo saw his father fall and charged forward only to be held back by strong arms "Let me go, I have to help him." He thrashed and fought, but was held firm.
"No little one. You cannot help him now. Come." He didn't know the voice, didn't recognise the man who carried him away. He simply sank into grief, heedless as the band of refugees trekked down the mountain… oh to fade and pass into the Halls of Mandos, free of his grief. He'd see Atto and Ammê again, never be parted from them. It would be sweet…
Yet still he existed, not resisting as the healers poured foul draughts down his throat and reached out with their powers to bring him to the light. And still, against his heart, lay the charm that his father had given him, the Emblem of the Golden Flower. One final gift, a talisman of safety. A ghostly inheritance he could not give up lightly.
Rivendell; 2951 Third Age
"I give you here the Ring of Barahir and the Shards of Narsil, Aragorn Arathornion"
Everybody had been secretly gathered around, listening to Elrond. But Glorfindel shoved his way out of the press and fled to the library, seeking amongst the ancient tomes for those saved from Gondolin.
There. He pulled it free and rifled the pages, trying to lose himself in history.
With a soft thuwp a folded paper landed on the floor. Gently he eased it open to reveal other pieces of paper tucked inside it; sketches. Sketches he had done; of the seven towers of Gondolin, of Tuor, Eärendil and Idril… and of Tuilindo.
"Glorfindel, melloneg, what is wrong?"
Elrond's gentle voice broke his stupor
"What is wrong?" His voice cracked and grated "What is wrong? Nothing! Except the fact that I should have seen my son grow to maturity and take up the inheritance from his grandfather, seen him marry and have children of his own. Now… Now he lies dead."
A hand dropped onto his shoulder "I'm sorry Glorfindel, I never considered the idea you had a family in Gondolin."
He blinked tears and shook his head "Not a family by the end, just Tuilindo. His mother faded when he was very young… so I had to raise him on my own."
A rustling indicated Elrond was looking through the sketches, one slid into his vision, propelled by the Peredhel's hand "Is this him?"
Glorfindel found it hard not to laugh "No, that's your father Eärendil as a young boy." He glanced between Elrond and the picture "Granted there is only a middling resemblance between the two of you now, it was probably stronger when you were an elfling." Reluctantly he turned to the drawings and pulled one out "This is him."
Elrond's voice was soft and respectful "He looks like you…" Then he sat down next to him "Do you want to tell me about him? It might help…"
"No Elrond, all I want is peace, to remember and to mourn. Nothing you could say would help…" He raised his head from the desk, voice bitter "Perhaps after Aragorn dies we will speak of this again."
Rohan 2979 Third Age
A party was in full swing as he sank onto an empty bench, head reeling.
He turned to see a dark haired man surveying him from the corner of the room.
"Who are you?" The challenge came out instinctively, even though he'd been seeing this man around Edoras for nearly a year, since Thengel returned from war.
"I am Thorongil"
Something about this man's pronunciation stirred his brain
"Im Sigeberht estar" he saw Thorongil's eyes widen as he carried on speaking "Ni cheniol?"
Thorongil lowered his voice to a whisper "Pedin edhellen, Ni Núnadan."
A roar came from outside "Sigeberht! Come drink with us". Reluctantly he stood up and abandoned Thorongil.
He dreamed that night. Hearing Sindarin woke memories he thought long dead and buried.
Green trees grow in the garden, and fragrant flowers bloom on the grass.
"Massë nalyë Tuilindo? Massë nalyë?"
And there is his father, golden hair glowing in the sun, bending down to sweep him into the air, spinning around and around so he feels like he is flying. Then, as he lands on his father's chest with a thump, there is the same jovial roar of laughter rattling through him.
His father smiles and kisses him. Then he sets him down and walks away "Áni apsenë Tuilindo."
"Atto!" He runs after him but the distance only increases "Atto, a tula ninna"
But the grass turns to flames, flames that leap at his father and swallow him
He shot upright with a scream as the flames flashed in his vision.
"Easy, Sigeberht. I didn't mean to scare you." He blinked and saw Thorongil holding the torch "Was it a nightmare?"
He nodded, still incapable of speech
"Fire… flames, my father… We were playing… I was a child… then he walked away and the flames leapt up and ate him, they took him from me. Just like at Cirith Thoronath."
He didn't realise the last two words had come out until Thorongil covered his mouth to prevent a gasp
"Telil o Gondolin"
He replied in the same language "Yes, I was born there, and spent the first years of my life there. Then it fell." He drew away, hating the memories of love and warmth that filled him, they were nothing but shadows now
"What is your real name? I am Aragorn Arathornion."
"Ú merinyes" He snapped, reverting to Quenya in his anger "Eca!"
Aragorn was frowning in confusion, his face blank. Then he stood up and moved away
"I'm sorry" came the quiet Sindarin from across the room "I didn't mean to hurt you… Sigeberht."
"Oi Sigeberht! Hurry up!"
"What for?" He yelled back, thoroughly confused
"Thorongil's leaving to go north again, everyone's saying goodbye"
"Leaving…" He froze for a second then shouted to his informant "Cerdic, make him wait, I don't care how you do it but make him wait." He had the tack on his gelding in seconds and rode it out of the stables. Thorongil was sitting on his own horse, a smile playing on his face
"I take it you wish to come with me Sigeberht."
He nodded, and shot the King of Rohan a glance "If Thengel permits it."
"I do… fare thee well, my warriors." The king favoured each with a rare smile, while Théodwyn waved a piece of cloth enthusiastically in her own tribute
"Fare thee well Thengel King" They replied, turning the horses down the road to the gate
"Where were you in Lórien Aragorn?" He shot the Dúnadan a look "and who was that lady I saw you walking with.
"Do not mention that again in this valley if you value your skin" Aragorn made a face which was half grimace, half smile "She was and is Arwen Undómiel, daughter of Elrond Peredhel… We plighted our troth on Cerin Amroth."
He whistled, a gesture picked up in Rohan "You tread a thin rope if ever there was one, Aragorn. Doesn't that mean she will become mortal?" He had quickly become educated as to the line of the Half-Elven, and the choice given to them.
"It does, as her foremother and likeness Lúthien did before her. Hush now" Aragorn pointed ahead "We have arrived."
"Estel, well met my son" He saw a tall, dark haired, elf stride down the steps with his arms open, and Aragron dismounted to step into a warm embrace
"Well met Lord Elrond."
"Who is this?" Tuilindo felt the Elf's gaze turn to him, and he looked away, up at the buildings beyond the courtyard, to a gallery walkway that looked out over it. Dimly he heard Aragorn introduce him as Glathur, the Sindarin translation of his Rohirric persona, but he wasn't listening. His eyes had been drawn to a tall figure on the walkway, one who had turned to look down on the arrivals. Golden hair framed a strong face and grey eyes that carried a deep sadness, a long past… eyes that settled on him full of regret for parting.
Glorfindel blinked at the cry and simply stared as Estel's companion threw himself off his horse and started to scramble up the tree nearest to the walkway. The man looked up as he climbed and suddenly Glorfindel found his eyes meeting another silver grey pair, sparkling with joy and restrained tears… a child's eyes full of trust and belief
Tuilindo? It couldn't be
Instinct alone made him haul the man over the rail onto the walkway. When the stranger stood beside him he realized they were of similar height. Trembling he reached out and pulled the hair away from the man's neck, revealing pointed ears, elven ears.
"Tuilindo?" it was a whisper, little more
The elf nodded "Lúmë anta avánië… Atto".
Glorfindel swallowed at the crack on the last word, reaching out to touch his son's jaw with one finger "Yonyo" Then he enveloped him in an embrace, pressing him close and whispering in choked Quenya "I thought I'd lost you." Tuilindo clung to him as he had when they fled Gondolin, and Glorfindel felt his son's shoulders shaking with sobs.
"Don't leave me father, don't leave me again"
"I won't Tuilindo, I promise." Glancing out of the corner of his eye he saw that the courtyard was empty, Elrond had obviously taken Estel away to allow them some privacy. Reluctantly he stepped back from the embrace and led Tuilindo along the walkway to a bench in the wall where they could sit.
"How?" His son's eyes were alight but perplexed "How did you survive?"
He looked out over the buildings "I didn't… The Valar restored me to my body and gave me leave to return. I arrived in Arda in the Second Age and have remained here ever since… and to hear Elrond talk, apparently plaguing him beyond belief."
"Lord Elrond… was that who greeted Aragorn down there?" Glorfindel saw his son gesture at the courtyard
"Yes, he fostered Estel when he was a little boy, the grown Aragorn will ever be welcome here."
"I recognized him, or rather, he looked familiar… I've seen him somewhere before. Has he ever left Imladris?"
He nodded slowly "He was Ereinion's lieutenant in the Alliance." A slapping sound made him swing around to see Tuilindo striking his forehead with the heel of his hand "What is it?"
"I am not worthy of the brains the Valar gave me, Father. Aragon's been telling me about the half-elven for the entire journey and I couldn't even connect Sindarin with the Common Tongue… Peredhel. That's what the Silvan elves called him."
Glorfindel took his son's hands "Now it is my turn to ask a question, how did you survive the Alliance? All of Oropher's elves died."
A merry light sparkled in Tuilindo's eyes "I listened… Elrond warned us to wait for the orders. When Oropher charged I deserted and joined up with the Gondorians, fought alongside them and tried to protect the elves." Glorfindel saw the light in his eyes fade and his head droop "I failed… if I had been quicker to run forward, if my brain had registered what it saw sooner, then Âr Gil-galad would still be alive today…" tears began to run down the Elf's cheeks and Glorfindel once again saw the child he had left at Cirith Thoronath
"Hush Tuilindo, you did your best, of that I am certain." He drew him close and rocked back and forth as if calming a child "No person, be they Elf, Man, or Dwarf can change the Valar's will."
"It is good to be among Noldorian elves again." Tuilindo stretched and wriggled deeper under the blankets, away from the morning chill "Nice to be able to speak Quenya when I wish… to not have to hide away anymore." He watched his father who sat by the fire, staring into its depths. Slowly Tuilindo smiled to himself then adopted a plaintive tone "Father? May I have a story?"
The older elf turned and looked at him, eyes glowing with love and unshed tears of joy. "Of course yondo"
Slowly Glorfindel rose from his seat and walked over to the bed. Tuilindo closed his eyes and felt a kiss pressed to his on his brow. Then came the quiet whisper.
"I'm glad you're home."
Atto = Father (Q)
Ma sa Tuilindo = What is it Tuilindo? (Q)
Yondo= Son (Q)
Ammê = Mother (Q)
Melloneg = My friend (S)
Im Sigeberht estar = They call me Sigeberht
Ni cheniol = Do you understand me?
Pedin edhellen, ni Núnadan = I speak Elvish, I am a Dúnadan
Massë nalyë Tuilindo? Massë nalyë? = Where are you Tuilindo? Where are you? (Q)
Melinyel Atto = I love you Father (Q)
Áni apsenë Tuilindo = Forgive me Tuilindo (Q)
Atto, a tula ninna = Father, come to me (Q)
Man egennil = What did you see? (S)
Telil o Gondolin = You come from Gondolin (S)
Ú merinyes= I don't want it (Q)
Eca = Go away (Q)
Lúmë anta avánië = It has been too long (Q)
Yonyo= My son (diminutive) (Q)
Âr= King (S)
A note on names
Sigeberht and Glathur translate as "Bright Victory" in Old English and Sindarin respectively.
Comments and Criticism, gently put, welcomed