The Golden and the Black

Secret Rings

Erestor was indeed disappointed.

“That silly girl,” said Erestor, as he and Lindir made their way down the great, sweeping central staircase towards the dining hall. “I thought her more intelligent than that. But at least she is not the sort to swoon and giggle over that dolt as other maids do.”

“You are right that she is different—a shy and reserved creature. I once talked to her two hours, and found at the end of it that I had told her much of my own thoughts and more of myself than I intended—and learned but little of her. I trust her. She can keep a confidence.”

Consummate diplomat and negotiator that he was, Erestor would never have fallen into that trap with Maeglin. She was cleverer than Lindir realized, and Erestor admired her guardedness more than he suspected it. He frowned slightly. “How could the outcome be anything but tragic? She is deep, that one, and stern of spirit. I do not believe her heart, once set upon a thing, would be easily turned.”

They spoke in low voices, and went out onto the wide verandah running down the length of the dining hall to escape being overheard. Lindir was beginning to be anxious. “Do you fear she would pine or fade for him?”

“She does not strike me as the kind to fade. More apt to brood, and grow withdrawn and grim.” Erestor saw with annoyance the object of Lómiel’s affection in the distance, enjoying the last hours of summer sunlight with Emlindir in the garden, and laughing and chatting with the captain merrily. “You say she was most secret about it. She fears any knowing, then. I wonder still how she came by his hair.”

There had been a time in the valley when admirers had fought over the cuttings of that glorious hair from Glorfindel’s yearly trim. The chambermaids clearing the basket of litter in his room were pestered for the shining strands ere they were mixed into the compost heap with the rest of the household’s refuse. The more enterprising maids had even bartered them for a small profit. Once Glorfindel had realized this was happening, it had so discomfited him that he no longer tossed the trimmed-off ends into the basket. He would take them with him on a ride, and quietly cast them into the Bruinen.

“I have hardly noted her speaking with Glorfindel or even venturing nigh him,” Erestor said.

“Nor I. But their chambers are nigh each other in the east wing.”

“Indeed. There could be exchanges betwixt them none are privy to.”

“Elbereth… could she have stolen a lock as he slept?”

“It would take a lock thick as this finger, and at least as long, to weave a ring such as you saw. He would of a certainty have noted its loss and fussed over it. Unless...”

The councillor and the minstrel looked at each other.

“She asked for the lock and he gave it her?” gasped Lindir.

“Hard to imagine that she would ask, or he would give.”

From the verandah, they saw the black-haired smith walk past the warriors on her way back to the house. Emlindir was not facing the path and saw her not. Glorfindel and Maeglin did not so much as glance at each other.

“She treasures a ring of his hair, but staunchly ignores him?” wondered Lindir.

“She is no fool, and proud to boot,” said Erestor. “Whatever her affections are, she has been here thirty-eight years now and knows well how hopeless a cause it is to love him. She would not make a spectacle of herself mooning over him like other maids.”

Lindir looked thoughtful. “So… she has affection for Glorfindel, which given her nature, would be strong and deeply felt, and which given his nature, he would never return. You believe she will not be turned from it, and will not act upon it… As a friend, is there aught I could do?

“See if she might take you into her confidence. A heartache shared is a heartache halved,” said Erestor, as they turned to enter the dining hall. “But keep that mouth of yours buttoned tight! Little birds here carry news on swift wings through the treetops and corridors. One loose word, and you might find your lute smashed to smithereens by a smith’s hammer!”


Glorfindel was leaving the stables with Asfaloth when he heard Lindir reach the end of a song as he sat outside the smithy under the apple trees. Yet another plaintive love ballad of unrequited love. The minstrel had been doing this for three days now, and the balrog slayer was growing perturbed.

“Sad songs for summer, mellon-nín,” the warrior heard his beloved say, and he halted in his tracks. It would seem that Maeglin, intrigued, had emerged from the smithy. With Hatheldir to assist her and Camaen, she had more leisure now. Nor had she been as fiercely driven in her craft since her return from their travels years before. He could imagine her, probably still in her leather apron, seating herself by Lindir on the bench.

Glorfindel saw Asfaloth eyeing him and lifted his finger to his lips. Horse and elf lingered near the stable doors and Glorfindel stroked the white mane as they both listened.

“Oh, I was but thinking of the plight of a friend of mine,” the minstrel said, plucking a plaintive melody on his lute strings. “And wondering how I might help him.”

“Ah.”

“He loves one from afar who knows not of his love… and the one he loves is well-known to have a heart untouchable by love. He has nursed this secret long, and believes it hopeless. I have been pondering how best to counsel him.”

Seeing Glorfindel frown, Asfaloth gave him a gentle nudge with his head.

Maeglin said nothing in reply. Glorfindel could imagine her impassive face as she gazed over the meadow through the apple trees.

“Should he tell her his love?” Lindir was saying.

“And invite scorn and rejection?” Maeglin said, recalling an autumn night in Gondolin. “Is there aught more terrible to the pride of an ellon?”

“Should he seek to deny this love then? And turn his heart to others?”

“If love be true, would a true heart turn ere the sun rises in the west?”

“How well you understand my friend. As he is proud, I dare not counsel him to declare his love. As he is steadfast, I dare not counsel him to love another. Have you, too, known the ache of love? And you, but a bud not long full-blossomed?”

“I have heard the songs and the tales. History is instructive. You certainly sing sad love songs with much feeling, Lindir. I hope your friend’s tale has not been yours.”

Lindir laughed. “I have tales to tell and many more such songs to sing, if you have any wish to listen.”

“I shall listen to your songs from the workroom. My work summons me.”

“Very well. Abedithon le…”

And as Lindir took to haunting the bench beneath the apple trees daily for a few hours to sing sad love songs, and to sitting next to Maeglin each night at dinner, a certain balrog slayer’s thoughts became rather dark, and the minstrel’s lute was in far more danger of being smashed than he realized.


The letters from Lothlórien arrived a month after Tarnin Austa, in the hour after dinner.

After settling the messenger in one of the guest suites, Glorfindel went in search of Elrond. The Lord of Imladris was not in his study, but his friend of five millennia guessed where to find him.

Stars were lighting in a sky of deep twilight blue as Glorfindel climbed up to the Star Dome. Elrond stood at one of the large windows of the round room, hands behind his back, gazing out across the valley at the Evenstar glittering bright above the encircling mountaintops. Glorfindel climbed up onto the ledge of the window next to his lord’s, and perched there quietly.

“I used to bring the children up here to learn about the stars.”

“Arwen would sit on your lap,” said Glorfindel. “And point at Eärendil’s Star, and say, ’Daeradar’.”

After a stretch of silence, Elrond said, “I knew this day would come. Yet I had prayed it would not.”

Glorfindel said nothing, but waited.

Elrond gave a heartfelt sigh. “I felt compassion for Estel, when I first spoke to him twenty-nine coranári ago. How could he but love her? He was but a boy, in the first glow of manhood and the glory of his inheritance. In her, he saw a loveliness to bring strong warriors to their knees and spur the craven to great deeds, to inspire stones to sing symphonies and make poets fall mute.”

Elrond leaned forward and rested his arms on the window ledge before him, and gazed bleakly at the father he could scarcely remember, shining brilliantly in the sky.

“And what was he to her? She had known his great-grandfather in diapers, and his grandfather as a pimpled youth. Nothing should have come of it. Nothing!” He sighed again. Pulling out two letters from his robe, he perused them once more by starlight.

“Elrond,” said Glorfindel gently, “We have followed Estel’s battles from afar, and heard Mithrandir’s recount of his deeds. Young as he is, already we can see it: he is a captain a young soldier would die for. Men will look at him and say, ‘This is my lord, and I would follow him to the ends of the earth.’ He is the man we made him. The best of a long and noble line.”

“I am proud of him, believe me,” replied Elrond quietly. “’Tis a fair and noble letter he has writ me. He hastens now to Gondor to lead its forces against Umbar, and begs to speak with me once he is released, and able to come north to Imladris. I almost would that it were an adan whose suit I could deny. One less worthy. One I could urge her to turn away. One I loved less.” He turned to look at his gloriously beautiful friend, luminous in the starlight as his golden-hair was lifted by a gentle breeze. “She was smitten with you, once upon a time. Did you know? I have foolishly this past hour wondered what might have been had you only seen it and returned her love.”

For a moment, Glorfindel almost lost his perfect balance and toppled off the window ledge. He lightly jumped back into the tower room. “Elrond!”

“Celebrían dreamed of it. She loved you as a brother and would have loved you even more as a law-son.”

“Elrond! That would have been unthinkable!”

“I understand… Arwen is as a daughter to you.”

It was more than that, of course, but it was not the time to speak of their tangled web of kinship. It had flashed through Glorfindel’s mind as Elrond spoke… he was Arwen’s first cousin once removed through his father Finrod… her second cousin through his mother Rîlel… he was furthermore the second cousin of Elrond’s mother… and the second cousin of Elrond’s paternal grandmother…

Glorfindel had told none but Maeglin of his lineage, and would keep it secret till he had met and spoken with his father. One day in Aman, he and Elrond would sit down, and talk and laugh at leisure over a flagon of wine. For now, all that mattered was Elrond’s sense of impending loss.

Losses. Elrond had imagined, on the day that Elros Tar-Minyatur had sailed to Elenna, that nothing could ever hurt as much again. He would see his Celebrían again one day, and that moment drew closer with each passing hour. But on the day his twin and other half had chosen to be mortal, the peredhel had felt the full weight of what forever meant. From the moment he had held his own children in his arms, he had lived in both joy and fear, knowing the choice that lay before them. And he had prayed. That he would not need to say farewell forever again.

Elladan and Elrohir were away north on an orc-hunt at this time… which was why Glorfindel now said gently, “If it is your wish, I shall depart for Lothlórien to escort her home.”

“Thank you,” Elrond said quietly.

So Glorfindel rode south to bring Arwen back to Imladris. There, with her father, and her brothers, she would remain till the fate of Estel and the Dúnedain was known… glory or oblivion, restoration or ruin.

Two ages ago, King Elu Thingol had named a bride-price for his daughter’s hand, and set in motion a quest that had breached the stronghold of Angband, wrested a jewel from the Iron Crown, and ended in the death of the two lovers. Elrond’s ancestor had lost that which he most sought to withhold, and the first line of peredhil in Arda had come into being.

Elrond, too, would set a bride-price for his daughter’s hand. Forgive me, my children.

Should the descendant of Elros overcome the Shadow, Middle Earth would be free, and the adan would win a queen.

Should he be defeated, the Eldar would abandon these lands to darkness and horror. They would sail west, and all Elrond’s labours for five thousand years would have come to naught, ending in futility and failure.

But he would still have his daughter.


It was a dark and moonless night over Lothlórien. Tired from a long journey on which he and Asfaloth had seldom stopped to rest, Glorfindel yawned as he climbed the stairs to his flet.

Galadriel and Celeborn were still deep in talk with their granddaughter, and knowing they would not see her for a long season, they would probably be up all night.

Closing his eyes as he stretched out on his pallet, Glorfindel reached out to Maeglin. He did not know if this was a rare gift of the Valar, or an inherited mind-gift from his father’s blood, but even across the distance between them, he could feel her, awake and well, beyond the mountains to the northwest. No words. Just the comfort of a light touching of minds. Whenever he had had been away for days beyond the borders hunting down orcs or wargs, he had reached out in this way to reassure her nightly. Knowing their bond could still be felt across the leagues had assuaged her anxiety at his departure for Lothlórien.

Glorfindel drifted into Irmo’s realm, and was having a very pleasant dream about Maeglin when he suddenly heard a silken voice in his ear saying, “Why, Glorfindel… Ready for me at last?”

Opening his eyes he saw Thranduil’s sister, in a tiny white slip, kneeling astride him on his bed and smiling alluringly at him.

In his sleepy, half-dreaming state, he wondered in confusion if he was in the Mirkwood and how he had forgotten to lock his door. And how had he been sleeping so soundly that she had managed to position herself on top of him?

At least she was wearing something this time.

She laughed melodiously. “Surprised to see me, meleth-nín? I just arrived. Imagine my delight when I saw Asfaloth, and learned you were here. How long has it been? Three hundred years, or more?”

Arwen’s cousin Teliaris Oropheriel was a tall, willowy beauty who resembled both her brothers in different ways. She had her younger brother’s pale silver-gold hair and her elder brother’s playfulness, and both of her brothers’ azure-blue eyes.

Both Thranduil and Teliaris had inherited Oropher’s pride and stubbornness, and had adored him. After Dagorlad, grief had sundered rather than bonded them, and Thranduil had been unable to restrain his sister as his father had before him. The duties and burdens of the throne were her little brother’s to bear. Embracing her freedom with feckless abandon, Teliaris immersed herself in the Silvan culture of Eryn Lasgalen, and become a wanderer and a hunter of the woods who returned but rarely to the Halls of the Woodland King. At this moment, she was a predatory cat, and Glorfindel the prey she had pinned down.

“Teliaris,” the golden-haired warrior groaned. “Please. You have to stop doing this. If your brother ever hears of it, he will kill me.”

“Why do you always say that? Silly creature. Tonight, Thranduil is over a hundred leagues away and need never know. In fact, why should Thranduil even care? What I do is none of his business. Besides, how could my baby brother succeed in killing the greatest warrior of the edhil?

Glorfindel knew family honour mattered as much to Thranduil as it had to Oropher his father. He had the briefest vision of himself fighting the armies of Mirkwood and unleashing the fourth kinslaying because he had sullied the honour of the Woodland King’s sister, for he knew well Teliaris had no thought of marriage in doing this.

The vision evaporated quickly. Of course, he would never lift his sword against kin. He would simply get thrown into Mirkwood’s dungeon, and drawn and quartered by Thranduil. And castrated by him before that.

“What are you doing in Lothlórien?”

“Visiting my kin, of course. I thought it would be good to, once a millennium.”

“Your great-uncle and Lady Galadriel are in the next mallorn. You know exactly what they would have to say about this.”

Her azure eyes flickered, for she was in some awe of the Lord Celeborn and frankly intimidated by Lady Galadriel. “Well… if I am to be thrown out of the golden woods for misbehaviour, let me be thrown out happy.” And kneeling on all fours over him, she slipped a knowing hand under his blanket.

With an agility and speed that never failed to impress her, he was out of bed with his blanket wrapped around his waist. “Teliaris, please, just leave.” He snatched up his breeches and began to put them on under his blanket. She pounced on him and caught him off balance just as he was putting one leg in. They tumbled onto the floor with her on top.

“How tense you are, meleth-nín,” she purred in his ear as she bit it, and ran strong fingers through his gloriously radiant golden tresses and down his back. “Let me help you relax.”

With a weary sigh, he rolled her off before she could try to remove his blanket, got to his feet and quickly finished putting on his leggings before she could make her next move. Taking her by the arm as firmly yet as gently as he could, he propelled her towards the narrow stairs of the flet, his other hand gathering up her clothes and belongings as they went.

She pouted. “May I not just sleep next to you in your bed as before? No flet has been prepared for me.”

“Forgive me, Teliaris, I do not think that a good idea.” The last time she had sworn she only wanted to cuddle had not ended well. “But I am sure Haldir will be happy to oblige.” The dashing Silvan marchwarden of Lothlórien had carried a torch for Oropher’s daughter since the Last Alliance.

The balrog slayer adroitly set the beguiling beauty upon the steps, bundled her clothes, her bow, her quiver and other effects into her arms, and gave her a gentle push. “Please excuse me if I do not escort you, híril-nín. Down the stairs, third mallorn to the left, fifth flet from the base. No vaer i dhû.”

And he pulled the woven screens of his flet shut. No door and no lock, but she would be foolish to try to return after that. He wished Haldir joy of her.

That was probably the least chivalrous he had ever been to any elleth. Maeglin must be rubbing off on him, he thought ruefully.

It was only as he lay down on his pallet again that the realization finally hit his sleep-addled brain and brought a wave of nausea.

Teliaris Oropheriel was his sister.


Elrond caught sight of Maeglin’s face in one of her unguarded moments. Rare as they were, these moments now occurred far more than in Gondolin, when the prince had been perpetually watchful and wary of his surroundings.

“Does that child look rather morose to you?” Elrond asked Erestor, as Maeglin left the Hall of Fire while Lindir warbled the Lay of Nimrodel.

And despite all his exhortations to Lindir to be tight-lipped, Erestor leaned very close and murmured into his lord’s ear, “Methinks she misses absent friends.”

Elrond sat taller in his great chair and raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

“The question, of course, is… which friend?” Erestor could not help but smirk a trifle smugly.

“You mean…one of my sons?” She had been in their company often enough.

“One wishes her taste was so discerning. It has come to light that she has, like many smiths, a penchant for… precious metal of a gaudy hue.”

His lordship’s eyebrows lifted slightly. “Aahh...Interesting.” Leaning back in his chair, he rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

It was not the response Erestor had expected. “Interesting, hîr-nín? The child is to be pitied. She has cast her heart where there can be no hope. And, if I judge rightly, such matters go deep with her. Frighteningly deep. Of age she may be, but she is naïve, and lacks the wise counsel of parents.”

Elrond took a leisurely sip of wine and set down his goblet on the tray at his elbow. “Are you offering to advise the child out of your vast store of wisdom, Erestor?”

“Oh, no, no,” Erestor said hurriedly. “I have, after all, no experience of parenthood.”

“That is well. I do not think this young lady would take kindly to any meddling in the matters of her heart.”

“She most certainly would not.”

They listened as fair Nimrodel was lost forever, and her lover Amroth, waiting in vain, cast himself despairingly into the churning sea.

As the last notes of the lute fell silent, Elrond called to the minstel, “Sing us something cheerful, Lindir.” Then, leaning close to his adviser he said quietly, “Our young lady’s love may not be as hopeless as you believe.”

Erestor’s face was a study in astonishment and disbelief. An eyebrow shot up sharply. “Hîr-nín?”

It was Elrond’s turn to look smug.


It was a crisp, cool autumn day, and the branches of the apple orchard were bowed with the weight of rosy fruit.

Hearing Lindir’s lute, Maeglin looked up from the sword she had just finished sharpening. “So, a happier tune today. How does your friend?”

“The same, I believe. But there has been a new discovery that may change that,” said Lindir as he stood outside her window.

“Oh?” She lightly wiped the blade with an oiled cloth before returning it to its scabbard.

“It is possible that his beloved may not be as cold to him as he believed.”

“Good.” She came out of the smithy, and sat on the bench, and tilted her face to catch the warmth of the gentle autumn sun.

“But she is as shy and secret as he. It may be that both are holding aloof and loving from afar.” He looked meaningfully at her.

“How very ironic. It is worthy of a song,” she said, picking up one of the crisp, red apples that had fallen to the earth, and polishing it on her tunic.

“It is indeed!” Lindir’s grey eyes twinkled as he strummed his lute, and as he stood before her, he struck a dramatic lovelorn pose and burst into a mock-tragic ditty.

“Oh! my heart is lost to a maiden fey,
So cold and fair, like frost in May,
As far above me as the stars so high.
Should she scorn my love, I am like to die!”

Maeglin chuckled as she bit into the apple.

“My love I’ll tell to the mountains tall,
My love I’ll sigh to the leaves that fall,
My love I’ll sing to the stars that shine,
Till the day I dare woo her to be mine…”

Lindir faltered and the lute abruptly fell silent.

Glorfindel, cloaked and in armour still dusty from the road, was leaning against a tree near them, tossing and catching an apple casually with one hand. His violet eyes were gazing at Lindir with a dangerous glint that unnerved the bard.

“Why, Glorfindel, mae g’ovannen!” said Lindir. “You are back!”

Mae le’ovannen, Hîr Glorfindel,” said Maeglin coolly. “Welcome home.”

“Well met, Maiden Lómiel, Lindir,” said Glorfindel courteously, his face pleasant. “An entertaining song. Pray continue.”

His eyes resting still on Lindir, the warrior’s bare fingers lightly wrapped around the apple and crushed it effortlessly to a pulp.

Lindir avoided Glorfindel for the next month and did not darken the bench outside the smithy for the rest of the year.


“No.” Maeglin’s eyes narrowed as she set down the cloth she was using to polish and oil his armour, which she had cleaned as he had his bath. “And I do not appreciate your attempts to change what I choose to wear.”

Melmenya, you would look utterly lovely in this. You know it.” His hair was still damp and unbraided from his bath, and he had pulled on a clean pair of leggings.

“I would look like my mother. And did you not think of the murmurs it would cause, your obtaining a dress for an elleth? All the valley will be abuzz by tomorrow morn. If they are not already so.”

“I did not go to the tailor here. I asked Lady Galadriel to procure it for me, in Lothlórien. She knew, the moment she laid eyes on me, that we were wed. You know there is no hiding these things from her.”

Maeglin looked at him even more sharply. “How much does she know?”

“No more than that I am bonded, which pleased her. She sensed my reticence to speak of you, and she did not pry. But it afforded an opportunity—I had long wanted to get you something, but here my hands are tied. Look—is the needlework of the Galadhrim not very fine?”

It shimmered as he held it up for her to see: white silk edged with white lace, the full skirts and long, flowing sleeves covered with subtle, elegant embroidery of silver-grey leaves and grey-blue flowers.

“A trifle too embellished. But yes, the needlework is very fine.” A darker shadow crossed her face. “But why white? Was that your choice, or hers?”

“Mine. I thought it would be nice to vary your clothes from dark or deep colours, vesseya.”

“What were you thinking of? Do you desire that I look like my mother? Did my mother and you ever…?”

And as her fists clenched and her face darkened further, for one wild moment Glorfindel did not know if he was facing a jealous elleth or an ellon up in arms over his Amil’s honour.

“No!” exclaimed Glorfindel in indignation, lowering the dress. “I like white. I have always liked white. That is all! How could you ever think that of your mother? Or me? She was my king’s sister, and my princess.”

From the flush on Maeglin’s cheeks, she was probably reliving some rather vivid memories of growing up with Aredhel and Eöl as parents. Glorfindel smiled wryly. “If anything, melmenya, you should know that I was never your mother’s type. Nor she mine.”

“For that matter, I have doubts if my father was her type.”

“Oh, he must have been, from what you told me.”

“Because they could not keep their hands off each other? You know well there is more to a marriage than that. When they were not coupling, they were sniping at each other continually. They made each other miserable, and violent, and insane.”

“She had fervent admirers aplenty in Nevrast and Gondolin, and she scorned them all as silly boys. She went to Eöl’s bed more than willingly. No denying they had severe issues, but he was still her One.”

Maeglin was still eyeing him dubiously. “Do I remind you of her?”

“You did when I first saw you, all wrapped in an infirmary gown in the healing hall with your hair falling over your face. But from the moment I first looked into your eyes, I could see only… you.”

“I thought that you were blinded by the lack of something else.”

“That too. I am only male. You should know what that is like. Now. Are you going to try on this dress?”

She smiled slowly, a wicked glint in her eyes. “If you want me in it, you are going to have to put me in it.”

He smiled back, his eyes glinting as well. “As it pleases you, my prince.”

The chase went over the bed and around the bed, and through the wardrobe area, and around and over the half-unpacked saddlebags, and the pieces of armour being polished, and the table where they played chess, and the couch where they cuddled before the hearth. When he decided it was enough, he picked her up and tossed her onto the bed, and they were both chuckling as he began to divest her of her raiment and she pummelled him.

“Careful with the buttons! I happen to like this tunic!”

“It would help if you didn’t squirm so, my little mole.”

Ai! A pusta! That tickles!”

That tickled? How about this?” He blew a long raspberry into her bare navel and she burst into a peal of irrepressible laughter.

A loud knock on the door sounded.

They froze and stared at each other. Over the past twenty-nine years they had been disturbed whilst together in their chambers only seven times. Thrice, it had been a call to arms for the Commander in the middle of the night. Twice, it had been Elrond seeking to confer with Glorfindel on some matter of gravity. Another two times, it had been Thalanes at Maeglin’s door inviting her to partake in some revelry. It had not happened in the past fourteen years, and they had grown complacent.

In a second they were both off the bed, and in another three seconds he had bundled her into the small room behind the drape with the dress and her clothes.

Slightly dishevelled and hurriedly pulling on a tunic, Glorfindel opened the door.

Elladan and Elrohir stood in the corridor, smiling rather enigmatically, eyes twinkling.

“We rescued a caravan of traders from wargs, and so grateful were they that they gave us five of these, mellon-nín.” Elrohir brandished a ceramic and cork-stoppered flagon at the balrog slayer. “The most delightful little vintage!”

“Thranduil would part with a barrel of his Dorwinion for a taste of this,” said Elladan, who was holding three empty goblets. “Welcome home!”

Glorfindel managed a laugh as he combed his hair with his fingers. “A moment. Allow me to find my belt and boots and I will join you—”

“Oh no, no—you have your unpacking to do and your armour to polish.” “We will ply you with wine as you do both.” And with the nonchalance and over-familiarity of almost three thousand years, the twins slipped past him and sauntered over to his couch and the table. Much as they had barged in as elflings to bounce on his bed and climb the bedposts.

As Elladan poured out the wine, Elrohir picked up a book peeking out from under the bed.

“Advances in the Heat Treatment of Non-Ferrous Metals?” the younger twin read out. He looked up from the title page to Glorfindel with raised eyebrows.

As Glorfindel disliked lying and was terrible at it, he chose to avoid Elrohir’s gaze. His foot conveniently knocked over one of his saddle-bags, and he became engrossed in picking up a cooking pan, leaves of lembas, drying linen, and vials of elven toiletries from the floor.

On the other side of the wall, Maeglin had murmured softly, as Glorfindel quietly and quickly closed the door behind her, “A calë.”

By the golden glow of a wall-lamp shaped like a lily, she saw a small, windowless room six rangar wide and eight rangar long.

She had tried for twenty-four years not to think of this room, had not once looked in it again, had done her best to ignore the door behind the drape, and all that she thought lay behind it.

The walls were covered with tapestries. Gondolin. Vinyamar. Tirion in the Calacirya. Five carved-wood chests lined the wall to the left. An elegant black-walnut cabinet inlaid with pearl stood against the far wall.

The mountains of crates full of the love-gifts of five thousand years were gone.

She bit her lip. He had told her, twenty-four years ago, Go through it all if you wish…

With that permission in mind, she began to open the chests and the doors and drawers of the cabinet, hearing, as she did, laughter and familiar voices from the other side of the door.

Three chests were empty. One contained an assortment of pieces of armour, helmets, vambraces. The last held spare cloaks and blankets and travel packs. She recognized these as things that he had cleared out from his wardrobe to make space for her clothes and belongings in the main bedchamber over the years.

In the walnut cabinet were a variety of beautiful boxes and caskets and bags full of jewels and jewellery, sorted into gold, silver, gems and semi-precious stones. There were drawers full of offerings from the elflings of the valley… childish drawings of balrogs and golden-haired warriors and flowers, and little notes and letters scribbled in shaky Tengwar. She did not recognize all the names, but she saw a few from Elladan and Elrohir, Arwen, Estel, and even one from Camaen. There was not a love letter or lovesick song or poem or inscribed portrait in sight.

In one drawer she found the wooden carvings of Asfaloth and an eagle they had made many Midsummers ago.

Maeglin closed the drawers and sat down on the lid of a chest. And smiled.

After an hour or less, the flagon was empty. Glorfindel pleaded tiredness from his travels, and the need to rest before dinner. Elladan and Elrohir exchanged a look, and took their leave with what looked like knowing smiles.

“They have left, vesseya.” He sent the thought to her even as he made his way to open the door of the side room.

What he saw when he opened the door astonished him.

Maeglin stood in the centre of the room wearing the dress, and had braided her hair in a style that was simple but of the utmost elegance. As she shimmered in the light of the lamp, she took his breath away, no matter that he had just travelled a hundred leagues in the company of the fairest creature breathing in Arda.

“Where did it all go?” she asked, with a princely wave of the hand about the room.

“Thrown onto the compost heap in small batches. I kept only these for you.” He entered and opened the cabinet, showing her the bags of gold, silver and gems. “You can smelt down the metals, and use the gems.”

“Hantanyet,” she murmured. She closed the cabinet doors, and looked up at him.

“Well, I should get dressed,” Glorfindel said. There would be a feast to welcome Arwen home that evening. “Should I wear white to match you, do you think? Or the blue one—”

Before he could say anything else, Maeglin had pushed him against the tapestry of Gondolin and was kissing him senseless.


A few years later, on the night of Tarnin Austa, they returned to their high love-nest above the valley. They shared a flask of elderberry wine and a harmonious silence interspersed by talk about friends and news. Estel’s latest adventures. Rumours of dwarves returning to Moria. The birth of a third son to Bain Lord of Dale.

“I will eternally be grateful to Bain’s father for that bottle of urnen,” Glorfindel said with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

“I have no idea what you mean. I took no more than a sip.”

“You downed half the flask, melmenya. I believe you would not have fallen into my arms otherwise, that night,” he said with a laugh. “Not the most auspicious of beginnings.”

“Agreed,” she said. “But we have not done badly since.”

“No. Not badly at all.”

Maeglin reached out her hand for the wineflask, and as she took it from him she slipped something into his hand.

By the silver radiance of the moon and stars, Glorfindel saw on his palm a pale, slender, shimmering ring, gossamer-light and barely visible.

Ithildin,” he said in surprise.

Her hand uncurled to show a second ring in her own palm.

Ithildin. The mithril alloy perfected by the Noldorin smiths of Eregion, which had not been made in Ennor since the days of Celebrimbor, since mithril was no longer to be found.

“There was little in the books to go by, but I managed to figure out the formula.” Pride glinted in her long, black eyes. “They will be invisible when worn. Not even the sharpest of elven eyes would note their faint glimmer by moonlight or starlight against the sheen of elven skin.”

“But where did you get mithril…?” And then, he remembered.

A year into her apprenticeship, he had found her sitting outside the smithy, reading a book on the smiths of Eregion. Camaen had been born after the Last Alliance, and she had questions about mithril, which she had never seen. Ecstatic at being so welcome for once, Glorfindel had spent a happy hour answering her questions as best as he could. Seeing the speculative gleam in her eye when he told her the mines of Khazad-dûm were closed, he had added firmly, “And no!—I am not leading an expedition to Moria just so you and Camaen can mine mithril.”

But he had brought her something the next day.

“A comb?” Aghast and in awe at the same time, she had turned the light, precious, silvery metal reverently in her hand. The slender thing was worth more than seven hundred times its weight in gold. At least.

“I have never used it. It was a gift from an admirer,” he had said a little sheepishly. “It is yours now. Do what you will with it.”

Now, as they stood on the high ledge by the waterfalls, he asked her, “What made you decide to make the rings?”

She shrugged and smiled. “I wanted an excuse to experiment with Ithildin.”

Glorfindel smiled. Maeglin would not say it, but he sensed her heart’s answer. Somehow it felt right. It felt like time. And one day, he prayed, she would feel the same about breaking their secrecy.

“So when shall we…?”

“Why not now?”

“As we are?” He looked at their attire: hunting tunics and leggings and boots.

“Why not? Does it matter?”

It did not. So under the Midsummer moon and stars, they joined hands, and called on Eru Ilúvatar and the Valar as witnesses, and prayed blessings on their bond, and slipped the secret rings on each other’s right forefingers.

And after they kissed, they smiled radiantly at each other.

Vesseya,” Glorfindel said, kissing the ring on her hand.

And smiling at him a little wryly, Maeglin replied for the first time, “Vennoya.

“You are not going to pursue any other… special ring-making projects after this, are you?”

Her eyes twinkled in amusement. “Oh, no. I think the Noldor are quite done with all that.”


The knock on the door reverberated in the dark, silent corridor. “Hello there! Begging your pardon, but… are you quite all right in there?”

No answer.

The elderly hobbit shivered in the cold of the dark corridor. Wrapped in a green robe tied at the waist with a yellow sash, a matching night cap perched on his head, he had just raised his fist to knock again when the door swung open. Obsidian eyes gazed down on the diminutive visitor in some astonishment. In the light of the taper held aloft by the hobbit, the elleth’s hair shone like black silk. She was wrapped in a blue robe dark as midnight.

“Bilbo Baggins?” she said faintly, with a perplexed frown.

Bilbo recognized the smith. “Oh, my dear Lady Lómiel!” he said in admirably fluent Sindarin. “Forgive me for disturbing you at this hour… but I heard some sounds through the wall. I thought someone was hurt. I did not know this was your room.”

The glittering obsidian eyes widened slightly in shock as they gazed down at the hobbit. “You… are… next door?”

“Yes, indeed!” the hobbit, hugging himself to keep warm, nodded his head in the direction of the bedchamber into which he had just moved. The chamber between Maeglin and Glorfindel’s, which had lain empty for a hundred and seventeen years till it had gained a new resident this night.

She looked appalled. “Oh… I must have been dreaming. About a battle. A furious and frenetic battle.”

The bachelor nodded understandingly. “Ah, I dream of battles sometimes too… giant spiders, and goblins, and, of course, that terrible battle at the Lonely Mountain. Please knock on my door if my dreams keep you awake too.”

She managed a smile. “May no further dreams disturb either of us tonight. Ollo vae, perian.” She bowed her head gracefully.

“Ollo vae, híril-nín,” replied the hobbit, beaming affably. The tassels on his nightcap swung as he bowed politely in return, then ambled back to his new chamber at Imladris.

Maeglin closed the door behind her, leaned on it, and exhaled slowly.

Glorfindel, who had been hiding behind the door, slid his arms around her, and they leaned against each other and stifled their laughter as much as they could.

“Now we know how thin these walls are,” said Glorfindel softly, kissing her on the nose.

“They were a foot thick at Gondolin,” said Maeglin with a regretful sigh.

“Not that we had need of it then, my prince,” he said, as they made their way back to her bed.

“Are hobbit ears very sharp?” she asked, as they slipped under the sheets.

“Fairly, for mortals. Poor Bilbo. I would dearly love to hang Erestor by his ankles over a ravine right now.”

“Hmmm… ‘a furious and frenetic battle’. Shall we resume?”

“Will it not disturb our good hobbit?”

“I shall do my utmost to die quietly. But it depends, of course, on how you wield your weapon…”


As the archer dressed in the green and brown garb of a Mirkwood hunter rode through Imladris valley with Glorfindel, his eyes were busy taking in every detail of the trees and gardens lining the road, and the grand house ahead of him.

Standing before the great entrance, Elrond observed the laughing violet eyes and pale silver-blond hair of his guest. Glorfindel said something to the young ellon and they exchanged warm, oddly similar smiles that lit up the spring evening. But once the archer’s eyes rested on Elrond, his face grew solemn and he pulled himself taller, conscious of his role as ambassador.

“Le suilannon, Hîr Elrond,” said the stranger solemnly and courteously, after he had gracefully dismounted from his steed. He swept a deep and deferential bow. “Ni veren an le ngovaned! I am Legolas of the Woodland Realm, and I bring greetings and well-wishes from my king and father, Thranduil of the Greenwood.”

So, amongst themselves they still call it that, thought Elrond, as he bowed his head to his guest. “Welcome and well met, Legolas Thranduilion,” said the Lord of Imladris with a smile.

At dinner that night, Legolas befriended Elladan and Elrohir, who remembered him as a shy, tiny elfling peeking out from behind his father’s robe during their visit to Mirkwood eight hundred and fifty years ago. Before long, the Woodland Prince had warmed up and was merrily regaling his neighbours at the table with tales of their adventures on the way to Imladris, and the awesome prowess of Glorfindel in slaughtering the pack of orcs and wargs they had encountered just east of the Misty Mountains. It was his first journey so far from his birthplace, and the older elves at the table smiled at his youthful enthusiasm and excitement at discovering the wide lands of Ennor.

“Legolas exaggerates—he had quite an impressive head count himself,” said Glorfindel. “He is the Mirkwood’s finest warrior!”

Legolas glowed with pleasure at his hero’s praise.

“And how did you find your sojourn at the Mirkwood, Lord Glorfindel?” asked Erestor. “Not too many spiders, I hope?”

“Only about two dozen spiders on the way in and out. The Dorwinion wine was, as always, excellent! And I must say that the woodland folk outdid themselves in hospitality.” Even Thranduil had been in a singularly good mood.

“Do you mean the hospitality of our woodland realm ellith?” laughed Legolas. “I believe they declare a day of mourning every time he leaves,” he said to Elladan and Elrohir. “I have never seen anyone attract so many maids in their wake.” He lowered his voice confidentially as he spoke. “He cannot keep them out of his bedchamber at night no matter how hard he tries. There was one really funny incident with a tenacious Silvan damsel. She almost caused a riot in the guest wing, and in the end the guards had to escort her out of his room—”

Soft as his voice was, an intense hush fell over the entire dining hall. Just a fraction of a second. Then everyone seemed highly engrossed either with their wine or the food on their plates, and tried not to look somewhere.

Legolas paused in mid-sentence, arrested by the stricken look on Glorfindel’s face. The elflord’s blue eyes had darkened and for the first time Legolas saw what looked like trepidation in the face of the fearless warrior. He was staring at someone at the far end of the long table.

There, seated in between Lord Elrond and an elderly hobbit familiar to Legolas, was a beauty with hair as black as a raven’s wing. She sat very still, her eyes fixed on a point on the table just beyond her plate. She wore a gown of deep red and its ruby hue threw into stunning relief her snowy skin and shining black hair, which fell loose down her back, held only by a thin gold circlet with a single white gem on her brow. Her perfect features were immobile and expressionless, but a golden fire was beginning to flicker and flash dangerously in her obsidian eyes. Her slender white hand held a fork poised in mid-air above her plate, and her fingers were tightening on it as though she might stab someone with it.

Very quietly, she laid down her fork, rose from her chair with the regal dignity of a queen, made a small curtsey to Elrond at the head of the table and walked out of the hall.

Glorfindel flushed, rose quickly, and with a bow to Elrond and the whole company left the hall as well.

“I am so sorry, I had no idea!” cried Legolas remorsefully.

There was much less state and formality at Imladris than the woodland realm. Erestor, Lindir and Elrond’s twins rushed out to the verandah that ran the length of the dining hall. After some hesitation, curiosity won over propriety, and Legolas followed.

They saw the lass running through the gardens with Glorfindel in hot pursuit. Near the pond, he caught her hand and pulled her to a stop. Tried to placate her earnestly.

“Melmenya—”

Five pairs of elven ears tuned into the conversation.

“What is he saying?” asked Legolas, who had perfectly good hearing but could not understand Quenya.

‘Nothing happened—’ ” said Elrohir, straining his ears, for the golden-haired lord was speaking quietly and quickly. “It is not easy. They are using a very old Quenya.”

“For how long have they been—er—” enquired Legolas, imagining with some glee the mourning of the Mirkwood maidens once they learned Ennor’s most eligible bachelor was spoken for.

“Forty-six years,” said Erestor.

“No, fifty-eight. Since the Gondolin anniversary celebrations, I think,” Lindir said.

“Fifty-eight!” said Bilbo at Lindir’s elbow. “Oh my! What are they waiting for?”

“Well—it has all been rather secretive actually. I think she is a bit shy—” began Lindir.

The shy beauty gave the golden-haired warrior a tight slap across the face. It resounded loud and clear across the rose gardens.

Oohhh. . .” murmured the audience at the dining windows.

“What is she saying now?” asked Legolas, seconded by Bilbo.

‘Go kiss a balrog—’” said Erestor, who looked like he was enjoying this more than he should.

“Those choice words were a little ruder than that, I think,” said Elrond drily from behind his sons, having joined the group on the verandah at some point in the last few seconds with Arwen, who looked highly amused, at his side.

“Now he is angry.”

“There she goes again.”

“She runs well.”

“No one outruns Glorfindel. Oh, he has her. Good tackle.”

Glorfindel, all too aware of the attention they were getting from the dining hall, slung his kicking and struggling beloved over his shoulder, and carried her towards the bridges near the waterfalls, out of earshot.

“All righty, everyone, I think dessert is being served,” said Bilbo, eyeing the plate of delectable lemon tart being placed on the table behind them.

“You must excuse us, Legolas. We are all family here in this household,” said Elrond, as everyone took their seats again.

“Extremely nosy family,” said Elrohir cheerfully as he sat down.

Legolas reflected that this lack of ceremony would take some getting used to, but he liked it.


“How can you know me so poorly after all these years?” Glorfindel was protesting indignantly. “How many times must you hear me say it? I have bedded just one in all my two lives: you. There is just one for whom my heart beats: you.”

“How can you wonder it upsets me when you let half of Endórë paw at you and press up against you?”

“I know, vesseya, I know. But I do nothing to encourage it. And you know I never reciprocate! I step back, or hold them away.”

“Oh yes—ever so courteously and chivalrously! I heard the twins’ tale of the time they accompanied you to Mirkwood. You let one Silvan skank stick her tongue down your throat!”

“Holy Varda! Don’t you know by now how much they exaggerate? And that was eight-and-a-half centuries ago!”

“Was it the same skank in your chamber this round?”

He sighed. “No. Someone else. Thranduil entered with Legolas and his entire retinue just as… I was trying to… persuade her to leave. The King doesn’t believe in knocking. Nothing happened that should worry you.”

The mind-bond between mates could be a curse at times. Maeglin’s eyes narrowed dangerously at the flashes of images. A bed. A brunette with grey-green eyes. A lot of flesh and very little clothing.

Nothing indeed!” she growled. “She was all over you, I surmise?”

“She was… a little aggressive, but I had it under control.”

“Under control!” she snarled. “You know what I think it is? You enjoy it more than you will admit to yourself!”

“I do not enjoy it! You have no idea how tiresome it is!” He caught hold of her hands, and gazed into her obsidian eyes. “Do you know how much I have missed you these seven months? Have we not gone through this enough? There is nothing I could say that I have not said a hundred times already. By all that is holy, what will it take before you give me your trust? Before you will believe in me?”

The fire in Maeglin’s black eyes died down. She gazed at him wretchedly. “I… Forgive me.”

He pulled her into his arms, and they kissed with all the hunger and need of a seven-month-long fast.

When they finally broke apart, he looked down at her tenderly but also with some exasperation. “Why, why is it so difficult for you to trust me? I have been and will always be true to you. You know it.”

“Yes. Yes, I do know it.”

“Why do you fear so much, then?”

“I do not know.” Deep within Maeglin’s fëa, scars lingered still. The deepest among them, that she was not worthy of love.

After a silence, Glorfindel took her hand and looked resolute. “There is one and only one solution. Marry me.”

“What are you talking about? We are married—”

“Before the whole world, I mean. Shout it from the peaks of the Hithaeglir! It is the only way. I am sorely weary of throwing nissi out of my bed when I travel. I want you to move into my room, and not have to be creeping about every day—”

“What is wrong with my room?”

Whichever room. Our room. I want to kiss you in the corridors if I want, and hold your hand during festivals if I want, and not worry anyone will see. Everyone knows! Every nér and nís and rocco in Imladris. No nís in our valley has propositioned me for the last three decades. Bilbo knew within a week of his arriving to stay here—not because he heard us next door, but because a little bird who plays a lute told him. Our good hobbit wagged his finger and told me not stay too long away from my lady and ‘be good’ when I left. The entire valley knows about us. And you know full well that they know! Why else did you march out of the dining hall in front of the entire household?”

Yes. She did know. She barely kept up the pretence, nowadays. But she folded her arms and looked away from him, her mouth pressed in a stubborn line.

Vesseya,” he said firmly, “I want our friends to no longer have to play this ridiculous charade, pretending they know nothing. And it annoys me that some imagine I have a commitment problem. Erestor refers to you as ‘that poor, wronged girl’. Bilbo pats my hand and advises me to ‘do the right thing’. Gildor the nomad had the gall to tell me last spring that it is about time I ‘settle down’. I should like to see him ‘settle down’!”

Arms still folded, she gave him a sidelong glance. The corner of her mouth was beginning to quiver in amusement.

“Give me one—one good reason why we should not,” he pressed her.

“Hmmm…”

He got down on his knees before her. “Maeglin Lómiel Eöliel, make an honest man of me, I pray. Let us keep away and treasure the secret bands of starlight and moonlight. And once I wear your gold ring on my finger for all to see, I assure you that all the nissi in Arda will give me a wide berth. Forever.”

Maeglin gazed down at Glorfindel in silence for a while.

It might have been that fifty-eight years of connubial contentment had at last given her confidence in the durability of their love.

It might have been the thought of all the elfmaids of Arda weeping at the sight of the gold ring on his finger, including the skanks of Mirkwood.

It might have been a casual comment he had made one evening six years ago, about exploring the lands to the east together some day—a hint that he might consider heading east to Cuiviénen and beyond, rather than west to Aman.

It might have been the scare she had four winters ago, when Beril carried him back to Imladris gravely injured. She had faced, for six terrifying, devastating hours, the possibility of a life without him, and come close to collapse. As the household thronged outside the healing hall, murmuring and anxious, Lindir and Camaen had hovered anxiously at her side, unable to offer the comfort she refused to acknowledge she needed. Silently, she had framed her first desperate prayer in this life. And, not having much faith in prayer, had resolved to brave the voyage to the west should his fëa go to Mandos a second time.

But Eru had been kind. Within a day Glorfindel was out of danger, and conscious, and able to smile as Maeglin gave him a tongue-lashing for his utter stupidity at almost getting himself killed. If the incident had not entirely restored her faith in prayer, it had shifted something within her. Dreaded it might be, but Aman was no longer an impossibility.

It might have been all of these things, or something else altogether. Whatever it was, Maeglin now smiled, and took Glorfindel’s face in her hands, and kissed his lips with the utmost tenderness.

He could hardly believe it had finally happened. “I take it that is a… yes?”

She nodded. And as his face lit up with jubilation, she held up one finger and spoke sternly. “But a very quiet ceremony, mind you. No crowds, no fuss. We shall announce it after the event.”

“Very well. Lord Elrond to say the blessings for us?”

“And Lady Galadriel, I suppose, if she would consent to travel here. No one else.”

“Certainly, vesseya.”


The twilight ceremony took place two months later, on a high bridge near the largest waterfall in the valley, just as spring began to make way for summer.

“If you imagine I am going to forgive you for this, you are mistaken,” Maeglin said to him, as she accepted the congratulations and gifts of the eight-hundred-and-ninety-seventh guest, her smile beginning to hurt.

“You shall survive. Relax. Enjoy it.” Glorfindel, at ease and luminously smiling, was in his element, as he received the gifts from another guest and handed them to the elfmaids standing behind them, who were arranging and organizing the gifts on and under two large tables on the lawns before the house.

They were both resplendent in robes of white and grey embroidered with silver and gold, the handiwork of Arwen and her ladies.

The wedding feast had begun at noon. Numerous white pavilions had blossomed across the gardens, and between them were spaces for dancing, and tables groaning under the weight of the Imladrin chefs’ most delectable dishes. Milling around the nuptial couple was a crowd of just about every ellon and elleth and roch in Imladris. Mingling with them were Estel and some forty of the Rangers of the North. A contingent of almost thirty from Mirkwood included Legolas Thranduilion, while the party of ninety from Lothlórien was headed by Celeborn and included Haldir and Teliaris his wife. Gandalf the Grey and Radagast the Brown represented the Istari, Círdan was there with some mariners from the Havens, and Bilbo Baggins of the Shire graced the event in his finest waistcoat. Under the jewel-coloured lamps festooning the trees, the multitude of people stretched out from the lawns before the house, to the waterfall pools.

To be fair to Glorfindel, it was not at all his fault. He had spoken only to Elrond, and sent a private message to Galadriel, just as he had promised Maeglin. Yet the word had somehow spread like wildfire, and the world had invited themselves. Amazingly, Erestor and Lindir had been able to handle the load of guests with no problems… and seemed barely surprised by the influx.

Maeglin had been more nervous about meeting Lady Galadriel than she would ever care to admit. Upon her arrival at Imladris, the Lady of the Golden Woods had looked deep into the black eyes of her nephew’s chosen with her piercing, brilliant gaze. Then slowly, she had smiled.

“I rejoice to see the beauty of Irissë daughter of Nolofinwë walk the mortal lands again.”

And taking her cousin’s daughter by the arm to walk into the house, the Lady had added, as their lips spoke of the journey and the weather, “You have much of your mother’s beauty and spirit, but your lot shall be happier by far than hers, young one. May this life be blessed as the other was not.”

Maeglin had caught her breath, and turned her own sharp, dark glance on the Lady of Lothlórien’s face. And then the two had shared a smile.

There was joyous feasting and dancing and revelry until the sun set. Then, as the stars grew brilliant in the sky, Lady Galadriel and Lord Elrond declared the blessings of Manwë and Varda over the joined hands of Glorfindel and Maeglin, as the four of them stood on the waterfall bridge. And as the gold rings made by the bride were slipped onto their forefingers, everyone murmured to see them glow in the twilight with a brightness beyond that of the finest gold... a brightness akin to that of the famed hair of the groom and the Lady of Lothlórien.

For Maeglin had finally discovered the use most fitting for the tress shorn from Glorfindel’s head, that so long ago had been the proof of his love for her. Finding a means to capture its light within precious metal, she created gold brighter than any that had been before, or has been since.

After the vows there followed music and song, and feasting and dancing all night. Bilbo contentedly fell asleep on cushions under an oak tree. Gandalf illuminated the night with exquisite fireworks of flowers and fountains and great citadels. The Imladrim laughed when Círdan got tipsy and pushed Erestor into the fountain. And Estel and Arwen stole kisses high above the crowd in the Star Dome.

And when the Lord of the Golden Flower led out his bride for a dance under the stars and the moon and a blaze of fireworks, the Lord of the Mole did not decline.

In the brilliant flares of jewel-light that streamed from Gandalf’s staff, Glorfindel thought he saw the faces of the Valar smiling down on them, as the glittering sparks hung high in the sky, and ere they dissolved into the darkness of the night.

Woven into the music of the flute and the harp, Maeglin thought she could hear faint dance music, echoing down through the ages from a great hall in Gondolin.

And in the memories, as she danced at last with her golden-haired love, there was no longer a shadow of shame.

Glossary

Abedithon le (S) – talk to you later

Daeradar (S) - grandfather

No vaer i dhû (S) – may the night be good (good night)

A pusta (Q) – Stop that

Ollo vae, perian (S) – Sweet dreams, halfling (hobbit)

Le suilannon (S) – I give you greetings (reverential)

Ni veren an le ngovaned (S) – It brings me joy to meet you

Rocco (Q) - horse

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