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Crossroads of Time

Chapter 4: Chapter 4

by ellie

Title: Crossroads of Time
Author: Ellie
Betas: Fianna, Julie, Rianna, and my husband who doesn’t have a screen name yet
Chapter:4/?
Rating: PG for now
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters. They belong to JRR Tolkien and I am only borrowing them for a while. I make no money from this.
Cast: Glorfindel, Ecthelion, Idril, Turgon, OFCs and OMCs
Summary: A woman not of Arda but in the position of being able to change Arda’s past, finds herself becoming a part of it instead. Not a Mary Sue.
Feedback: Please let me know what you think. This is my first fan fic and the longest story I've ever written.


Chapter 4

In the morning, Ariella met Glorfindel at the door of his house. A dozen armed soldiers, bedight in the colors of the king, awaited them. Ariella quickly put up all of her mental barriers, then glanced over at Glorfindel and smiled nervously. The smile he returned was confident, but his eyes betrayed his uncertainty. He clasped her hand and squeezed it briefly before tucking it in his arm as if he were escorting her to a pleasant formal gathering, and not to a court of doom.

The assembly made their way out into the street in front of Glorfindel’s large stone house and formed up with Glorfindel and Ariella in the center. Glorfindel looked exquisite in his heavily embroidered forest green robes with matching leggings. His tunic and shirt were trimmed in golden flowers as on the day she first awoke in Gondolin. Ariella, bedecked in her wispy lavender dress with her long hair loose and lightly braided, tried to keep her chin up and look worthy of standing by his side. His deportment was so high and noble that the king’s men more closely resembled an honor guard escorting a regal dignitary and his lady to an audience with the king than soldiers leading prisoners to their judgment.

Fear and wonder fought for control of Ariella as they marched toward the palace of the king. The first several streets they traversed were lined with close-standing houses, all adorned with lush gardens. People gawked from their windows or stood to the side of the streets and stared as they passed, all seeming to want a glimpse of the maiden for whom their beloved Lord of the Golden Flower was standing trial. The party turned and entered a market with various vendors selling food, wine, jewelry, painted pottery, and colorful fabrics. At the opposite end of the market stood the Square of the King and Turgon’s immaculate white palace. On either side of the entrance to the palace stood images of the Two Trees wrought by Turgon himself: Glingol and Bansil made in fair memory of the Two Trees of Valinor.

Having read about the fall of the city too often for her own good, Ariella was briefly assailed with visions of the last rally of forces before Gondolin finally fell. She saw the fountain where Lord Ecthelion and Gothmog lord of balrogs would slay each other. Looking at the two trees, she pictured Turgon standing there throwing down his crown and ordering the evacuation of Gondolin. She could imagine all too easily the milling and cries of the terrified refugees and struggling desperate warriors. Everything about her seemed so surreal. Surely she was not marching to her own doom in the same place where so many would meet theirs in such a short span of years as the elves reckoned it?

She was pulled out of her horrific reverie by the company halting at the palace doors and Glorfindel’s other hand loosening the viselike grip her hand resting on his arm had assumed without her knowledge. She looked at him apologetically and relaxed her hold on him. He gently patted her hand as he leaned toward her slightly and whispered, “Be brave, lovely one, and answer all questions truthfully. I will be at your side no matter what.”

“Thank you,” was all her nervous mind would permit her to respond, and he smiled encouragingly.

The palace doors opened and they were led inside and then on through another set of doors into the main hall. The entire court was assembled, adorned in deeply hued robes and gowns, lining the walk to the king’s throne. Ariella stared open-mouthed in awe at the spectacle before her. She had never seen so many elves as great and beautiful as those gathered in this hall. At the end of the walk sat Turgon, robed all in white, upon his throne of marble. He was greater and more glorious than either Glorfindel or Ecthelion. She could see from whence Elrond had inherited much of his lordly bearing. Turgon’s presence filled the hall far more than his court did. Idril stood beside him to his right, dressed in white as well.

The guards remained at the inner doors as Ariella and Glorfindel continued on alone. Ariella sensed Glorfindel’s body tensing as they walked, and out of sheer reflexive terror, she renewed her death grip on his arm. Glancing sideways at him, she saw that he continued to bear himself in every way like the lord of a house of princes that he was.

When they halted in front of Turgon, Glorfindel released her hand from his arm. He bowed deeply and Ariella followed suit with a curtsey. Turgon’s face was unreadable as he nodded toward them.

“Tell me, Lord Glorfindel, do you still think it was worth it to incur my wrath and bring this elleth to Gondolin?” Turgon asked Glorfindel.

“Yes, my Lord, I do,” Glorfindel responded confidently.

“I see. So you are Ariella?” Turgon inquired.

“Yes, my Lord,” she answered nervously.

“My daughter tells me that your family served my cousin Artanis and the Prince Celeborn of Doriath. She also says that your father was mortal. You have the eyes of a mortal.”

“Yes, my Lord,” Ariella answered. She thought it best not to correct the King about Artanis’s new name.

“Prove to me that your family served my cousin,” he demanded.

Ariella was at a loss for what to say. How could she prove this to his satisfaction? “What kind of proof do you desire, my Lord?”

“Tell me something that only someone who knows her well would know,” he challenged.

She desperately thought about it for what seemed like an eternity, but the only things she could think of had to do with Galadriel and Celeborn’s interaction with her family. She certainly couldn’t talk about her brother’s marriage to their daughter who hadn’t been born yet, or the interactions between them as grandparents with their grandchildren, or the Lord and Lady’s visits to her parents’ house. But, what else was there to say?

“My patience wears thin,” Turgon cautioned irritably, drumming his fingers on the armrest of his throne.

Ariella felt her face growing hot as her cheeks flushed from the pressure. Her hands fidgeted with her dress. The silence in the hall was unbearably oppressive. There was only one thing she could think of that she thought Turgon, the close friend of Galadriel’s dearest brother Finrod, would know as well.

“Princess Artanis is extremely ticklish!” she blurted out far louder than she had intended.

Glorfindel turned and gave her a shocked yet perplexed look. Turgon sat back and chuckled as the room filled with laughter.

Ariella looked down, the blood rapidly draining from her face. She felt very small and incredibly stupid. She had just signed her own death sentence. She just knew it.

When the room had settled again, Turgon regarded her with a smile, shaking his head.

“I can see you know my cousin well. I do not believe that most knew that about her and I am rather surprised that you know it. Your family must have been close personal servants indeed to know such a thing. Admittedly, that was not the kind of information I was looking for,” he chuckled again. “But it will do.” He paused for a moment then continued. “I understand that you are a healer, and quite a talented one at that to have survived your injuries.”

“Yes, my Lord,” Ariella answered.

“Excellent.” Then he turned his stern grey eyes upon Glorfindel who noticeably stiffened.

“My Lord Glorfindel, Ariella is to be your ward, under your care as a member of your household, and is now your responsibility. She is not free to leave Gondolin unless it be by her death. This is our law. However, I am most disappointed in you, Lord Glorfindel, for your disregard for our rules on allowing visitors to enter Gondolin, no matter how noble your intentions. You have put me in a most difficult position between kinship and the law - a law that you, as my kinsman and a member of my council, should have been most willing to uphold.

Your punishment shall be thus: You will pay a fine of 100 gold pieces. The House of the Golden Flower shall be removed from its responsibilities for maintaining the guard of the Great Gate for the duration of this year. The House of the Golden Flower, led by you, will assume responsibility for the guard of the First Gate for three consecutive months, as opposed to the customary one month, beginning tomorrow night. Perhaps, Cousin, this will teach you new respect for the laws of our fair city.”

“Yes, my Lord,” Glorfindel cast down his eyes and bowed his proud head.

“Lord Ecthelion of the House of the Fountain will assume the responsibility for Warden of the Great Gate, and the house responsibilities for the other gates will be adjusted accordingly by Lord Ecthelion. This is my judgment. You may go.”

“Thank you, my Lord,” Glorfindel and Ariella each replied as they paid their proper respects. Idril smiled at them as they turned and walked out of the hall.

Ariella felt elated and horrible at the same time. She was thrilled beyond belief that she had survived Turgon’s judgment, but she felt terrible that Glorfindel had been so dishonored. She remembered reading somewhere that the First Gate of Gondolin was in a cave, and that Warden of the Great Gate was the most prestigious position a lord could assume. Now Lord Glorfindel was going to spend his summer doing guard duty in a cave because of her.

Glorfindel was silent and preoccupied for the duration of the journey back to his house. Out of respect, Ariella remained silent as well. Once inside the house, Glorfindel gave instructions to his servants regarding Ariella’s status as a member of his house and instructed them to see to her needs until he returned from his duties and could decide what her role would be. He bade her good day with a nod and quickly disappeared up the steps to make ready for his three months away.

He was so distant and so different now in his hurry and humiliation. She felt so guilty. It was all her fault.

She was preparing to start up the steps to her room, but was stopped by a commanding voice.

“Ariella!” It sounded almost like Glorfindel, but couldn’t be as he was already upstairs.

She halted and turned around. Two dark haired lords dressed in green stood in the doorway of the house. They approached with equally irate looks on their beautiful faces.

“We are Glorfindel’s brothers Celoril and Elindir,” Celoril informed her as he gestured to himself and his brother to indicate which was which.

“It is nice to meet you,” she said uncertainly as she curtsied.

“I am afraid the feeling is not mutual,” Celoril responded curtly. “We will be assuming Glorfindel’s responsibilities as chieftain of our house while he is away. Though you are a new member of our house, are you aware of the shame and dishonor you have already brought to it and to our brother?”

“Yes,” Ariella responded sadly, her shoulders slumping as her chin met her chest.

“Then do not forget it. If you do anything else to dishonor our family or our house, you will deeply regret Turgon’s decision not to slay you today, as we regret it now.” With that, they turned and strode toward Glorfindel’s study.

Ariella turned and fled up the stairs to her room. Tears were dripping from her chin by the time she entered her room, slamming her door shut, and flinging herself on her bed. Maybe it would have been better if Turgon had killed her.



Notes:

I made up the names and existence of Glorfindel’s brothers.

In Unfinished Tales, when Tolkien described Tuor’s arrival in Gondolin and the meeting with Ecthelion at the Great Gate, he described Ecthelion as being "Warden of the Great Gate at that time." I took that to mean that the position was probably held by different lords on a rotating basis. I also read somewhere else (perhaps in the History of Middle Earth series?) that guard duty at the gates lasted for one moon or one month.

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Chapter 4
Created
24 Sep 2004
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24 Sep 2004
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