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Gentle Time
by Elwing

PAIRING: Gil-galad/Elrond
SUMMARY: Elrond muses on a dream of Gil-Galad
DISCLAIMER: It all belongs to Professor Tolkien, god bless him.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This story takes place east of the battlefield of Anfauglith, at the close of the War of Wrath (end of the First Age.) Morgoth has been defeated and the Elves are almost at the point of being called by Eonwe to leave Middle-Earth. Gil-galad and Cirdan are rescuing the Elves of Balar, which is slowly being overtaken by the sea, and the other Elves are being moved eastward by the Maiar, as Beleriand is flooded. Elrond is still encamped with the forces of Maedhros and Maglor, who have not yet stolen the Silmarils from Eonwe. This is my take on why Elrond ended up with Gil-galad in Lindon, and, ultimately, why he chose the life of an Elf rather than that of a Man.

"This is the season dearest to the heart,
And time most fitting to the ancient town
With waning musics sweet that slow depart
Winding with echoed sadness faintly down
The paths of stranded mist. O gentle time,
When the late mornings are begemmed with rime,
And early shadows fold the distant woods!
The Elves go silent by, their shining hair
They cloak in twilight under secret hoods
Of grey, and filmy purple, and long bands
Of frosted starlight sewn by silver hands."

from "Kortirion Among the Trees"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I dreamt an Elven king last night. I created him piece by piece, so it wouldn't do to say I dreamt "of" him. No, I put him together from all the parts I could remember, and what was left I filled in with the myths Atto told me of the Beautiful Ones.

Because he was beautiful, my Elven king - the one I was remembering and the one I dreamed to life.

I've lived among simple beauty all my life. Since I can remember clearly, I've been a child of Makalaurë, my Atto, living with him in the wild and listening to him sing. My brother says he remembers another time, another place, where someone else sang to us in higher, birdlike voice. I cannot fix her in my mind, though, so I keep the thought of her with all the other myths that I am told. Nothing I've ever known has been more beautiful than Atto's songs, though - until I saw the Elven king.

I thought he was a myth, when first I saw him.

But I get ahead of myself. I meant to tell about my dream.

It began with his arms, I think because they were the first things I noticed about him. When my Elven king fights, his arms are never still. They wield his sword without tiring, in pretty arcs of silver that mean death to his enemies. So I dreamt his arms smooth, with muscles that tapered down to strong hands. The palms were calloused from sword fighting, but his fingertips were light, like warm air rising off the grass in the afternoon.

I dreamt one of those hands moved up and the fingers ran through long, dark hair. Ah, what can I say about that shining mane. It comes to life in battle, marking his honor like the proudest banner as it follows his movements, a river of dark silk. Then it quiets when he does, and so I dreamt him riding as it hung down his back like the noblest cloak.

My cheeks get hot when I think of how my hands itched that last day - wanting to reach out and take hold of that dark hair. But I'm happy watching it and in my dream I watched and watched as the ends of it brushed his waist. I dreamt his body, then, his shoulders, his chest, the long, lean strength of his legs.

He moved like water, at times - other times like a swift and powerful animal, but I liked it best when he moved only slightly - little movements that let me know how intently he listened to me, a nod of understanding, a tilt of the head as I puzzled him with foolish words. So I dreamt that small lean forward to accept a confidence, the faint touches of his fingertips on my cheek as he sought to comfort.

Small movements, like rain on leaves, and suddenly there was thirst I never knew before.

Last of all I dreamt his face. I think I intended to wait until the rest of him was in place before I recreated that kind visage. Without that face, I could have dreamt any Elven king who ever walked the earth. Without that face my Elven king could be arrogant, or pitying, or cruel, and the one I dreamt was none of those.

His face is all compassion and nobility. If fierce pride and humble selflessness can exist in one countenance, his is it. Add to that justice and mercy, contempt for evil, and a firm belief in himself and those who fight for him, and you may come close to knowing what lies in that face.

I dreamt him complete and he stood at the edge of our camp, looking eastward across Anfauglith's dust toward the glimmering peaks of the Ered Luin. For a moment, he looked back at me, and my breath faltered, though I don't know why. He stretched out a hand, his face all warm welcome, and in my eagerness to reach him, I moved too quickly, and woke too soon.

Now I lay here, watching the faint shimmer of dawn near that horizon - the one to which he asked me to follow him, and I know, somehow, that I will. There is the peace of certainty about it - we will be in that place together.

And in the moment I realize that, I also discover why he has taken up residence in my thoughts so completely. I know now why our meeting on that bloody battlefield was like all the earthquakes of Arda to my soul.

He has shown me the direction my life will take - must take. All my life I've held two warring races in my heart - the beautiful Elves and the powerful Men. Though I never said a word to anyone about it, I've struggled with which I should be, to which I owe allegience. But that struggle ended when I saw him and now I'm at peace with who I am and the path I will walk.

When he is near me, I see and hear only the grace of the Eldar. When he speaks I hear their song in his voice, and it calls me home. When I think of him, my mind is filled with such piercing beauty that my choice is made. His people shall be my people and I will an Elven life, within the circles of Arda.

With him.


* End *

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