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STING: Blades of Destiny
SUMMARY: Every weapon has a purpose, even when that purpose does not manifest itself until long after its forging.
Elrond knew all about runes of every kind. That day he looked at the swords they had brought from the trolls' lair, and he said: "These are not troll-make. They are old swords, very old swords of the High Elves of the West, my kin. They were made in Gondolin for the Goblin-wars. They must have come from a dragon's hoard or goblin plunder, for dragons and goblins destroyed that city many ages ago. This, Thorin, the runes name Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver in the ancient tongue of Gondolin; it was a famous blade. This, Gandalf, was Glamdring, Foehammer that the king of Gondolin once wore. Keep them well!" — JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit, Chapter III, "A Short Rest"
Gilrust checked the blade one more time, giving it a final swipe of the cloth, smiling in satisfaction. Yes, a fine blade indeed, and the king would be quite pleased with it, and with the other. He turned to look at a second sword lying on the bench in its scabbard. Orcrist, Tuor had named it, Orc-cleaver. The Elf-smith nodded in satisfaction. A fitting blade for so puissant a Mortal.
There was the sound of a heavy tread nearing the smithy. Gilrust smiled as he replaced the sword in its scabbard and stood to greet his expected visitors. He bowed as three people entered. "A fair day to you, aranya," he said, "and to you, too, Tuor son of Huor."
Turgon, king of Gondolin, smiled. "A fair day indeed," he boomed, giving them a joyous laugh. "For see, my daughter has been delivered of a son this very morn as Anar broke the bonds of night with her radiance."
Gilrust clapped his hands in delight. "O glorious news indeed, aranya. I rejoice with thee and thine." He turned to Tuor who was standing beside the king, looking pleased, terrified and abashed all at once and the elf-smith laughed, taking the Mortal’s hand and drawing him towards the bench where Orcrist lay.
"Seest thou, O Son of Huor and most belovèd of Idril, here is the blade thou didst desire of me." He lifted the sword and presented it to Tuor with a short bow.
"My thanks, Gilrust," Tuor said with a shy smile as he took the sword and drew it reverently out of its intricately tooled leather scabbard. He examined it with a critical eye, taking note of its clean lines and admiring the runes of power engraved upon it. He turned to Turgon. "Seest thou, Ada, how well Gilrust has done his work. Orcrist will be a fitting heirloom for mine Eärendil, thine heir."
Turgon nodded, his grey eyes bright with merriment. "I see, yonya, and I am well pleased."
"And here, aranya," the Elf-smith said, handing over the other sword, "here is Glamdring. May it serve thee well."
Turgon took the sword and after a quick examination declared himself pleased with it. "My thanks to thee, Gilrust. Thy craftsmanship is as superb as ever."
"What wilt thou do with Gloruilos, then, aranya?" Gilrust asked. "Ever has that sword served thee, so I was amazed when thou didst ask of me another sword."
"Ah, Gloruilos has indeed served me well," Turgon said as he replaced the sword in its sheath. "Yet, it is in my mind to gift Gloruilos unto my son-in-love in thanksgiving for presenting me with mine heir."
Tuor looked at Turgon in surprise. "Truly, Ada," he protested, "I have already a fine sword. There is no need..."
"Sérë, hinya," the king of Gondolin said with a laugh, giving Tuor a hug and a kiss on the brow. "Gloruilos is thine, or if thou would’st, give it unto my daughter for safe-keeping. Perhaps thou and she will gift me with other grandchildren and thou mayest give it to one of them."
Tuor gave Turgon a sly grin. "Idril may well decide to keep thy sword for herself. Thou knowest well how she delights in bright pointy things."
Turgon threw back his head and laughed uproariously; the others joined him for they knew quite well how accomplished a swordswoman the daughter of the king was. Turgon kissed Tuor again, giving him a fond grin. "That will be well."
Gilrust then turned to his third visitor. "And I have not forgotten thee, Glorfindel of the Golden Flower." He went to a side table and picked up a smaller blade, a long dagger in a plain sheath and presented it to the Elf-lord with a bow. "Here is thy new dagger."
The golden-haired Elf-lord exclaimed in delight, his fair countenance beaming. "I thank thee, Gilrust of the Hammer of Wrath," Glorfindel said as he took the proffered blade and gave it a close examination. "It is indeed one of thy finest works."
"It is naught but a dagger, Glorfindel," Tuor said with a laugh. "Would’st thou not prefer a trusty blade of greater length instead?"
Glorfindel merely shook his head and smiled at his Mortal friend. "A blade I have, nildonya, but this dagger is special to me."
"How so?" Turgon asked his trusty Councillor in surprise.
Glorfindel gave his king a grave look. "I have dreamt true of late and this dagger looms large in the foretelling." He glanced down at the dagger, frowning. "I know not what fate is in store for thee, bright blade of mine, save that a perian shall find thee and thou shalt be the saving of many. That I might have some small part to play in that pleases me well."
There was a deep silence amongst them as they all contemplated the Elf-lord’s words, wondering at their import. Then, somewhat hesitantly, Tuor asked, "Uh... Glorfindel... what’s a perian?"
All words are Quenya unless otherwise noted.
Aranya: My king
Ada: (Sindarin) Hypocoristic form of Adar: Father.
Yonya: My son.
Sérë, hinya: "Peace, my child".
Nildonya: My friend.
Perian: Halfling, Hobbit.
Gloruilios: (Sindarin) "Gold-(ever)white"; the name I have given Turgon's sword which is described in Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin", note 31, in which Christopher Tolkien gives us his father’s synopsis of the story beyond where it leaves off. Turgon is described as meeting Tuor carrying a "white and gold sword in a ruel-bone (ivory) sheath".
Note: The House of the Hammer of Wrath, one of the Twelve Houses of Gondolin, was made up primarily of smiths and craftsmen. Its Lord was Rog. [See Book of Lost Tales II, "The Fall of Gondolin" and Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin"]
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