I know, I sympathise with the bad guys way too much. First Eol, now Maeglin. :) Any comments are welcome. Enjoy!
The cheers that were sent up in the morning air affirmed the belief that the king had finally given consent to his daughter's betrothal to Tuor. The streets below were milling with excited people eager to share the news.
Truth to be told, it was odd to some that the princess had taken a liking to the shabbily-dressed Mortal who had arrived all of a sudden claiming to be the long-awaited messenger of Ulmo. But the king had no such qualms. He had not been averse to the idea at all, when Tuor went to him to seek his approval, and because the king was happy, the nobles were pleased too. Idril and Tuor were happy. The entire city rejoiced.
If there was one person in the whole of Gondolin who was terribly unhappy it was Maeglin, the king's nephew. He was currently leaning in a despondent slouch against a wall, his long legs stretched out in front of him, and a deep scowl marring his handsome features.
The one thing that was preventing him from throwing himself from the city walls was the fact that deep down he still harboured some hope – though presently he couldn't bear to admit it to himself because he was far too occupied with revelling in all the unpleasant thoughts of love-sick depression. That, and the fact that there was one particular individual towards whom unending hate smouldered in his heart like the flames of a dark fire.
With a sigh he leaned out over the wall and let the breeze caress his dark locks. The city lay before him in all its whitewashed glory, the sun glinting from the buildings and nearly blinding him. How depressing. How the sun could continue to shine when his entire life had just about shattered into a thousand pieces irritated him to no end. And how in the realm of Arda she could let that, that mortal put his filthy hands on her was beyond him. Honestly, where was the attraction? Idril was brilliant, passionate, beautiful. Tuor did not deserve her. Short-lived ruffian. He was just some scruffy renegade mortal boy who'd been living on the coast for the last few years and who had meddled in their lives, as if it were his business to come between himself and Idril.
Not, of course, he thought bitterly, that there was anything going on between us to interrupt anyway. No, it was always reserve, cold-hearted reserve. It wasn't fair. Tuor's easygoing, open personality had gained him favour with the king and he was met with friendship and admiration everywhere he went. Maeglin too was high in the king's counsel, even having claim to kinship, yet he certainly did not remember being greeted with instant popularity on his arrival. He knew very well what the Golodhrim whispered in their dark corners when they thought he wasn't there. Dark Elf. Son of Eol.
Son of Eol. How he loathed it! Lómion, Son of Twilight, half of each kindred – never belonging fully to the dark, and never fully to the light. Well, he couldn't help it. His lineage was something he resented as much as everyone else did. He was not his father. Why couldn't Idril see that? He would never hurt her, as his father had sometimes done to his mother in a fit of rage. He would see to it that she was treated right. That he gave her more love and care than that presumptuous mortal ever could.
The sound of light footsteps distracted him from his thoughts and his head quickly turned in the direction from where they came. He soon wished he hadn't. Of all the ghastly things to happen, he had to encounter her. He'd been avoiding her for days, ever since it had become known among the inhabitants of the royal house that she was betrothed. There were two options: either to walk away and subject himself to humiliation, or to stand exactly where he was and hope with all his strength that she would pass.
He opted for the latter.
From under a messy lock of hair he stole a quick look at her, seeing that she hesitated and looked as if she was about to turn back. A sudden look of determination swept over her lovely features and she tentatively took a few steps forward, coming to stand on the other side of the pillar and effectively putting a distance between them. Evidently she was uncomfortable. But determined, too – determined enough not to go away.
He sighed and bowed his head. Whoever had ordained that he should fall in love with the fairest and most golden elleth he had ever seen, and that she should happen to be his cousin – oh, the perversity of it! He had seen pity in her gaze before, when he had first arrived, that later turned into a disdainful aloofness. But never had she turned to him with that warm glow that shone in her eyes whenever they rested upon that scruffy Adan. She just regarded him as everyone else did – son of Eol, Moredhel. Well, to him she could just as easily be a Kinslayer, slowly killing him off, gradually, painfully wresting every tiny part of his soul from him until he could not live without her. And yet not once had she given him any cause to hope that she would ever return his sentiments. She played games with him, cruel games, he was sure of it. He felt like shaking her. Why, Idril? Why?!
Unaware of the thoughts that were passing through the ellon's mind Idril rested her head against the intricately carved pillar, letting out a soft sigh, momentarily forgetting his presence. She was so happy. She always knew that she had been drawn to Tuor from the moment their eyes met, when he was led by guards before her father's throne. Never mind that he was of the other race.
Remembering someone else's thoughts on the Secondborn a slight frown creased her fair brow. It did not help things in the least, knowing that he was standing on the other side of the pillar. She had walked, no, danced down the halls in her delight, only coming to an abrupt halt when she saw a familiar figure standing at the balcony. Maeglin. He had already seen her. No, she could not turn back. She was grateful for the distance between them – grateful that he could not see her trying to hide her emotions. She shivered.
"Idril?" She knew that quiet voice. "Why do you shiver? It is a warm day." Startled, she looked up and saw Maeglin leaning against the column, an expression of what looked like concern on his face. She could not deny that he was good-looking, with his dark eyes and hair, and slightly crooked smile, though his smiles were rather in short supply. But it was all wrong, so wrong! What dark force possessed him to pursue her and toss all law and propriety to the four winds both puzzled, and terrified her.
Did he not know he was tormenting her, with his insinuating looks and subtle words?
He had never actually said anything about his feelings openly, but it was all quite plain to her whenever she had the misfortune of encountering him alone.
Maeglin saw his fair cousin shiver. Her distress was nearly tangible. Her emotions were never hidden from him, for all her cold reserve. "What is the matter?"
Her ice-blue eyes turned toward him. "Indeed, you have no cause for concern. The day is warm, certainly, but the breeze blows chill."
He arched an eyebrow, and she quickly turned away once more, looking out over the city again, the wind stirring her thin white dress. She reminded him of a lily – white, fair, pure. And vulnerable too. Ai Belain, how agonising this was! That it was not his hands that stole around her waist and made her laugh in surprise. That it was not him at whom she smiled, not for him that she danced with her swift feet. It was not his fault he had fallen completely and utterly in love with her, before he had even realised that they were related. Why did she run from him like this?
Did she not know she was tormenting him, with her disdainful looks and cold words?
Honestly, all he was asking for was a kind word or gesture every now and then. He was not asking for much.
"Come now – we can dispense with the formalities, can we not?" he asked, noting how careful she was not to show any emotion. A pity she did not know that her reserve only made him more determined in his purpose. Their eyes met for a moment but she looked away first. It gave him the opportunity to study her whilst she was not watching, and to allow himself a slight smile at the fact that she was so obviously discomfited.
"Maeglin—" she began, though she was immediately interrupted.
"Though we be kin, you have always been hostile toward me. As to why, I cannot imagine." He took a step forward. Idril remained rooted to the spot, her cerulean eyes unable to leave his face. What was he doing? He bent forward a little so he could tell her in almost a whisper, "What I want is your friendship, cousin." His quiet, melodious voice was so persuasive. Her friendship. . .but she knew he wanted more than that. Didn't he?
"Can I have that from you?" he asked softly, extending his hand. He was pinning her beneath his intense gaze, determined to draw her answer from her. Her heart began to thud in her ears and he wobbled a little in her vision. She realised that she was shaking somewhat. His intentions remained obscured, his eyes unreadable.
Why was she shaking? He was her cousin, for Elbereth's sake! She had never feared him before – only despised him.
If it weren't for the way he looked at her and the way he insinuated things, she could easily have believed that her fears were just unfounded suspicions. Was it not enough that she had chosen another? This was beyond even obsession. This was – she did not know what it was, but what she did understand was that it was dark and twisted. Certainly, when he had first arrived, she could but pity him. He was barely come to his majority, his mother had died, and his father, the vile creature, had died cursing his own son. He was lost, he knew not where to turn, though her father had shown him all possible kindness. As she had tried to also. But as soon as it dawned upon her that she was the object of his attentions, any attempt at friendship she had replaced with a cool tolerance, one that she felt her kinsman was silently endeavouring to break through. She closed her eyes for a moment, Maeglin's words echoing through her mind.
It came as a shock when her hand was gently taken in his own. Who knew Maeglin could be gentle? She drew in her breath sharply and tried to turn her head away. Oh, this was wrong. Where was Tuor when she needed him?
Her hand fits there perfectly, thought Maeglin almost exultantly. She felt so fragile! He would be careful not to let her break.
"You already do," she answered, a little shakily. She could not pull her hand back.
"As you also have mine," said a deep voice from out of no where. Maeglin quickly released her and Idril whipped around, to see her future husband standing there with a smile on his face. She glanced from betrothed to cousin and for the first time saw the stark differences between them.
What was most interesting about the two were the eyes. In Tuor's eyes she could only see honesty, affability and a confusion as to why Maeglin was glaring at him so balefully. But Maeglin had an almost tangible aura of secrecy about him – it was only in the way his eyes narrowed fiercely at the Adan that she could see the hatred he bore toward him.
Could she have made things better if she had tried to be friends with Maeglin?
Well, it was too late for that now.
Her betrothed stepped forward.
"I will soon have the pleasure of calling you kin, it seems."
Maeglin nearly cringed. What? The very idea of that Mortal being related in any way to himself? He might as well run himself through here and now before having a claim to kinship with that despicable, base-born—
"Indeed," said Idril, interrupting Maeglin's thoughts and drawing closer to her betrothed. She smiled up into Tuor's attractive face and he stooped a little to kiss her brow.
Maeglin did not even noticed that his hands had clenched into fists. Nothing would alleviate his depression more than for his fist to meet Tuor's jaw.
And Idril. . .she was completely and utterly oblivious to the pain that she inflicted upon her poor lovesick cousin every time she shunned him, through looks or words. She forgot about him completely while Tuor folded her in his strong arms.
She gave a little laugh as Tuor tucked a strand of her golden hair behind her ear. Maeglin in that moment hated Tuor with the dark fire of a thousand Balrogs. It hurt. He had to leave, right now, before he did something that he might regret.
Fortunately Tuor spoke before his jaw could meet the acquaintance of Maeglin's fist.
"I am afraid we must take our leave of you, cousin."
Maeglin could only just choke out, "Farewell, then," before he turned around and stormed off in the opposite direction.
It was perhaps fortunate that Tuor had no idea what inventive ideas Maeglin was having about how to murder him. He wanted to crush him, like the insolent young mortal upstart that he was. He wanted to obliterate him. He hated him like he had never hated anyone before.
The pain of seeing Idril walk away with Tuor's arm about her shoulders was nearly unbearable. He had stopped and turned to watch them. Idril did not turn back. He stormed down the halls in a rage, his eyes burning with an implacable fury that caused a maid who was coming in the opposite direction to quickly get out of his way. He could not breathe. His gut tightened painfully.
Why did Idril insist upon ripping his heart out like this?! That cruel, cursed, beautiful Kinslayer. How could she not know that he would do anything, anything to win her love?
The door to his chamber swung open so quickly that the door handle made a dent in the wall then slammed shut with a loud bang, sending echoes down the hallway. He picked up a glass and threw it forcefully against the wall where it shattered into tiny pieces after a rather satisfying smashing sound.
Furiously shoving aside a curtain he sat on the windowsill and let out a shaky breath. The anger in him slowly subsided and gave way to the blackest feelings of despair and rejection. Maeglin buried his face in his hands and sobs wracked his body as he allowed himself to pour out his tumultuous feelings for the first time since he came to Gondolin.
Somewhere in the palace Idril sensed his hurt and misery, and overwhelming pity washed over her. She sighed as she closed the door to her own chambers. If it were not for the bonds of kinship, the horror that welled up inside her when she thought of Maeglin's dark feelings—maybe, just maybe things could have been different.
But they were not.
Adan – singular of 'Edain', Men.
Belain – Sindarin for 'Valar'.
Golodhrim – Sindarin for 'Noldor'.
Moredhel – my Sindarin translation for Moriquendu, Dark Elf.