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Asfaloth, Across the Sundering Seas 2

Author - Marghana

Written on - Monday 6th August 2012 (08:16pm)

Voices, said Glorfindel to himself suddenly. Are they in the air around me or in my depths only? He looked around for his friend and saw him nibbling still, no outer sound arousing his attention. I was drifting within, he said to himself again. But the hour grows near.

Rising, he breathed a short whistle to Asfaloth, who came trotting right away, tail swishing, a sparkle in his eye. “You grateful creature, always ready for a tussle…” Glorfindel smoothed his hands over the gleaming coat, picking out bits of thistle, straightening the tresses of the heavy mane. “One day you will be decked out with precious shining crystals and little golden bells,” he confided to the horse. Asfaloth was doubtful. “You will not have it in you to resist, Asfaloth my friend, when lovely adoring ladies bring you silken ropes twinkling with jewels, braided in devotion with your likeness in their hearts…” Asfaloth did not know any lovely ladies.

“O wonderful wild thing, this life in the Blessed Realm has come to an end for us, and what will be is still unknown.” He paused, plaiting a little braid in his friend’s mane as his memory flew back, searching. “The lands I walked long ago are no more, broken and sunk into Ulmo’s deepest. Few remain with whom I ever spoke… in the far-gone days… There is, I have heard, the Lady Galadriel. The sons of Eärendil, and perhaps the son of Fingon, but I knew them not. They were very young, refugees at the Mouths of Sirion under the care of the Teleri master shipwright Cirdan. What became of them after…” he dwindled off. Asfaloth whispered in his ear, bringing a smile to his face. “You are right, my friend,” he finished.

Evening was upon them, and through the shadows appeared the Vala Oromë. He took his seat in the Ring and called out, “Hail, Asfaloth. Laurefindil.”

Glorfindel bowed deeply, answering in proper fashion, Asfaloth nickered and lowered his head in obeisance. He had been foaled in Oromë’s stables, and looked to the Vala as Great Father.

“We are coming together this night with no surprises for you, Laurefindil. Long have you known the will of Manwë; Varda has blessed you, Nienna has prepared you. Námo has gifted you with prophecy, and Aüle, too, has foreseen your needs. Yavanna has yet to instruct you… perhaps in the later hours.” Oromë looked back towards the city gates. “They have come, my sisters and brothers.”

Glorfindel steadied himself with an effort, and moved close to Asfaloth. It was one thing to study at the feet of a Vala, another to stand before them all together at once. Asfaloth was very still. The two followed with their eyes the long strides of each of the Powers as they came into the Ring and found their seats. The silence seemed unbroken, but Glorfindel sensed the speeches flowing among them and Asfaloth looked from side to side, following. Suddenly the Noldo, addressed directly, heard a clear voice both within his mind and around him, the voice of the wind that is the speech of Manwë.

“Your day of parting draws near, favoured Child of Iluvatar. Are you prepared, strong in body and mind?”

“I am, Lord of the Powers,” said Glorfindel with humility. “I carry with me the careful devoted hours that your gracious mercies have blessed me with. My companion, as well, is restless with desire to sink his hooves into the soil of the Outer Lands. On the morrow a ship will come from Tol Eressëa, and we shall set sail into the East.”

Aüle raised his hand. “Not without a proper blade at your belt, Laurefindil,” he said in serious reflection. “Battles unnumbered await you.”

“The Master has forged in his smithies a weapon of great worth for thee, my son,” the warm smile in the voice of Yavanna stirred him, as it always did. “It is assured to us that this sword will never be raised save in the cause of Iluvatar.”

“Most certainly, dearest Mother,” Glorfindel answered, meeting her gaze with an effort. “Ever my part in the bloody fray has been carried in sorrow. Decision, yes, but never joy.”

Manwë spoke again. “Through the eyes of my eagles I have witnessed your prowess in battle and in mercy, time and again. We saw your work in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, both fighting the creatures of Melkor and covering the retreat of the people of Turgon. And your sacrifice for the escape of the surviving Gondolindrim won you redress of your errors.”

Glorfindel said nothing, and waited with head bowed. After a moment, the deep voice of Aüle rang forth once again. “By this twain of virtues you were brought from the Halls of Waiting as our emissary to the Firstborn, and to those of the Second Children that remain true. Go forth, Laurefindil, and keep fast this blade at your side. It was forged from the heart of the mountain beloved by Manwë and Varda. Take now your weapon, and may we see it return in your hand, its work done. ”

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