I haven't followed exactly what Tolkien describes in The Silmarillion, so please forgive me for taking some liberties! Any quotes I have used are in asterisks.
Feedback, as always, is welcomed. :)
A few hours beforehand
Idril stood by Turgon's throne in confusion. Only moments ago she had been summoned to see her father and now quite a crowd had gathered, all murmuring amongst themselves. Obviously the matter must have been of some import, but what it was, Idril did not have slightest idea.
"Atar? What is going on?" she whispered to Turgon.
Her father sighed and turned to her. "You will see."
The princess rolled her eyes in annoyance. Why does nobody ever tell me what is going on here, including my own father? she thought, feeling very frustrated.
The great wooden doors opened and a woman accompanied by a very young man strode in with quick steps, flanked by the guards who were nearly jogging to keep up with them. Idril's eyes widened and she gasped.
The woman looked up. "My dear Idril!" she exclaimed, running up onto the dais in her usual wild manner and embracing her niece. The King, looking both overjoyed and rather irritated at the same time, stood up and greeted his sister in like manner. So grateful was he that Iluvatar had returned his stubborn sister to Gondolin that for once he did not care much about maintaining the face of the stern, formal King of Gondolin. Tears were in his eyes as he pulled back and looked upon Aredhel, who aside from looking a little worn from travel, was still the same pertinacious elleth with unrestrained spirit he knew.
"Thanks be to Iluvatar," he murmured, once again embracing Aredhel. "I never thought I would ever see you again."
"And I never thought I would ever return here," she replied, quickly wiping her sleeve across her eyes.
Idril shifted slightly so that she could get a better look at the other one who had come in with her aunt. His black hair was kept in a long braid down his back and his eyes, nearly as dark as his hair, were framed with thick lashes. He looked very young. At present he was looking all around him at the splendour of the room, at the high arched ceiling, the carved pillars and marble floors. Then his gaze rested upon her and their eyes met for a moment before they both looked away.
Aredhel saw Idril and the young man staring at each other and she said, blushing slightly, "Turgon, Idril—this is my son Maeglin, whom I have also named Lómion."
Turgon looked for the first time upon his nephew and smiling extended his hand. Maeglin looked up at him hesitantly but seeing the kindness shining in his uncle's eyes, he smiled back and took his hand shyly, stepping up onto the dais to join his family. Idril was startled at the change that came over his sorrowful countenance when he smiled. The shadows fled from his face and he looked quite handsome.
The King pulled Maeglin into an embrace. "Child of the Twilight you shall be no more," he said kindly, "for henceforth I will think of you as my own son."
Maeglin's voice was quiet, almost shy. "Thank you," he said, informally.
"And this, Maeglin, is my daughter, Idril."
He turned his head and looked in her direction. In his eyes was a spark of curiosity.
"Cousin," he murmured, taking her hand and kissing the back of it. For some inexplicable reason, Idril shivered. It was not an unpleasant sensation.
A messenger came running into the hall, heeding not that this was a solemn occasion. Breathing heavily, he nearly skidded to a halt before the King.
"My Lord," he repeated, "there is trouble."
The King quickly rose from his seat. With a frown, he demanded, "What trouble?"
Suddenly the doors flew open and crashed against the wall with surprising strength and an Elf walked in, followed by running guards. Aredhel gasped, Maeglin frowned and Idril could do nothing but stare. After all, she had never seen this Elf before and with his mud-splattered clothes and the fell light shining in his eyes he looked wild.
Without any formalities – or any shame, for that matter – he strode up to the dais and stood before Turgon defiantly.
The messenger who had burst in moments before was still gasping for breath and with admirable effort he stood up to his full height and announced, "Eol he names himself, and he claims the Lady Aredhel as his wife."
Turgon was speechless. After a moment he managed to choke out, "Excuse me?"
Aredhel, with resignation in her voice, replied, "*He speaks but the truth. He is Eol, and I am his wife, and he is the father of my son.*"
Glancing at the strange Sindarin Elf, Idril noticed the sullen look on his face and the wonder at all that he saw swiftly turning to hatred. With him seemed to be a darkness that cast a shadow upon the hall, at least for a moment. She liked him not at all. He looked insane.
Standing up, Turgon offered a hand to him and said that he was welcome as a kinsman to dwell in Gondolin. Eol's eyes flashed.
"*I acknowledge not your law,*" he spat. "Nay, I come only to claim my wife and son. But if she will, and if you have some claim on her, let Aredhel remain—the bird may go back to her cage, where she will sicken again. But you shall not deny me my son." He now fixed his dark eyes on Maeglin.
"*Come, Maeglin son of Eol!" commanded his father. "*Leave the house of his enemies and the slayers of his kin, or be accursed!*"
All eyes turned in the younger Elf's direction. Maeglin, whose eyes held no expression, stared back at Eol. Aredhel looked worried.
Before anyone could even move, Eol suddenly pulled a spear out of nowhere. With swift accuracy he hurled it straight towards Maeglin. But Aredhel leapt before her son, the spear piercing her shoulder.
Immediately tall guards, eyes sparkling in anger, came running in from all directions and seized the Sindarin Elf, amid the noise of the crowd gathered there. They dragged him out of the hall whilst Turgon bent down and picked his sister up in his arms himself.
In the flickering light of the candles, Aredhel's pallid face looked almost golden, with curls of dark hair clinging wetly to her forehead.
Sitting quietly by her bedside was her son, whose dark eyebrows were joined in worry. His father, it was true, had an unpredictable temper but had had never done anything worse to Aredhel than shout at her when he was in a rage—and Eol had always told his family how much he loved them. Never had he once suspected that fury could take Eol so far as to try and kill his own son. Maeglin was still quite shaken by it—but more so by the fact that his mother had taken the wound to her shoulder in his place. His mother would be the one to die.
And when he thought of the look of revengeful satisfaction that had come over Eol's countenance before they led him away. . .Maeglin clenched his hand into a fist and let out a ragged breath through his teeth.
The voice of his mother, usually so strong and melodious, was now reduced to barely a whisper. He immediately turned his attention back to her.
"Has. . .has Idril come back yet?"
"No, but she will soon. She must speak to Eol, as well as Turgon."
The corners of Aredhel's mouth turned upwards into a slight smile and she closed her eyes once again.
Maeglin found himself somewhat eagerly anticipating the moment when Idril would walk into the room. He could find no reason for it but that he loved to look upon all that was fair, and she was more fair than anything he had ever seen before. His mother was certainly beautiful, and her beauty was as the light of the stars illuminating the clearing in Nan Elmoth where she and Eol would stand together during long nights with hands clasped—but Idril's beauty was as the light of Anor through the high windows of Turgon's white palace.
It had greatly surprised him, and maybe even disappointed him, to discover that they were cousins.
At the sudden sound of swift but light footsteps, Maeglin's eyes turned towards the doorway, where the very object of his wandering thoughts appeared. She placed her lantern upon the table next to the bed and sat down.
Idril did not say a word as she took her place opposite the soft-spoken young man that was her kinsman. She had not even known that she had a cousin until Aredhel's unexpected return. It was a pleasant thought to know that there was one more near to her age than many others whom she could befriend and talk to—even if Maeglin did not look particularly talkative—but Aredhel's state was something that for now diminished the joy quite considerably. She knew that it would not be long now before her beloved aunt would depart for the Halls of Mandos.
It wasn't fair - they had only just been reunited.
There was a quiet rustling sound, and it was Aredhel's hand moving weakly on the sheets. Maeglin gently took her hand and held it reassuringly, giving a small smile at his mother.
He was actually quite attractive, Idril thought, but too quiet and joyless. Well, that was understandable. Maeglin had been dwelling in some dark forest all his life without seeing much of the sun, his mother was dying and his father had tried to kill him only hours ago. He could not be much past his majority, if he had indeed come of age yet at all. No one, especially not one so young and sensitive as Maeglin, should have had to go through what he just had.
"What said your father?" Maeglin's quiet voice seemed almost loud in this room where death had begun to descend. He did not look up.
"He said that, for Aredhel's sake, Eol would be spared his judgement." Though whether he deserves it or not is something else, she thought to herself, not realising that a bitter look had crossed her face.
"You do not think that my father should be spared?" asked Maeglin. Idril's head snapped up and she looked in surprise at her cousin. Sharp Glance, indeed. The thoughts of others he can read like an open book. For some reason, she felt as if she should guard her thoughts carefully whenever she spoke to him.
"N-no, that is not what I said—" began Idril.
Maeglin nodded. "It is alright." His tone was emotionless, and Idril wondered if he had any respect or love for his father. He looked up as if she had spoken. "Little love do I have for him, especially now when he has killed my mother. He held us in a cage, whether he knew it or not."
"Is this why you left the shadows of the woods?"
"Yes." His eyes shone as he spoke. "I longed to see what was beyond the borders of Nan Elmoth, to see the sun every day—not just in those moments I could steal when my father was abroad."
The idea of never, or hardly ever seeing the sun was a strange thought to Idril, whose memory was always filled with light—except for that dark journey across the ice. . .Involuntarily she shivered.
"Idril? Is that you?" Aredhel's voice was weak. "I cannot see well."
"Yes, it is I," she answered.
"Eol. Is. . .has your father. . ."
"Eol will be spared, just as you wished."
Aredhel turned her head towards Idril, tears running down her face. "I just wish I could have lived long enough to tell him. . ."
The princess felt her own eyes begin to water, knowing that she would not be there much longer. "Tell him what?" she asked softly, her voice thick with unshed tears.
"I love Eol. I never told him. . ."she whispered. "It is my one regret. . ."
"Hush," murmured Idril, placing a hand on top of Aredhel's gently. "Do not speak. You need your rest if you are to recover."
Maeglin's lips were set in a tight line as he looked upon his mother's beautiful face, which was contorted with agony. Aredhel's look when she opened her eyes spoke plainly. But I will not recover, will I?
Idril quickly wiped at her eyes, not wanting to shed tears in front of her aunt. Aredhel had always wanted her to be strong, and it was only right that she respect her wishes whilst she was dying. The weak hold that she had on Idril's hand suddenly strengthened for a moment.
"I want the both of you to look after each other," she murmured, looking from Maeglin to Idril. "For my sake."
"Of course," said Maeglin. "We are kin, after all, and I hope that we will become friends."
Idril gave a small smile in her cousin's direction. "I am sure we will."
"Then my heart is at ease." Aredhel's face twisted again as another spasm of pain wracked her being. Her breathing became slow and shallow. When she gave a long sigh, Idril knew that she had passed away.
Maeglin was still holding his mother's hand, staring ahead with eyes smouldering. Idril stood up and went to his side.
"She took the wound for me," he said quietly. "I should have been the one to die, not her."
"It was not your fault. Do not blame yourself."
"I am cursed," he whispered, turning to Idril. She saw tears in his wide, dark eyes threatening to brim over.
"No!" she exclaimed. "Indeed you are not. You are safe now, within the walls of Gondolin."
He shook his head, but said nothing.
Idril did not know it, but his gaze went to her every so often—within himself he wondered how, when his father had told him that all the Golodhrim were Kinslaying lowlifes, his cousin could be so beautiful, and so kind. There was a part of him that yearned for the companionship of someone closer to his age. Separated from everyone except Eol's household for all his life, he had been deprived of true friendship. In his heart he hoped very much that Idril would see past his own shyness, his half-Sindarin blood, his father. It would be wonderful to have someone to confide in. . .especially now that Aredhel was gone.
For a long time they sat together, Idril shedding silent tears, and Maeglin staring ahead, his dark eyes expressionless.
Tomorrow would come payment.
And the sheer cliff wall was an exacting avenger.