The motor car drove off the coast road and into the village of Ewebridge.
The dead soldiers pointing their accusing fingers in Erestor’s direction maintained their chant. “Why are you not dead? You should have died.” It seemed never ending and relentless.
Erestor felt hemmed in. They seemed to be closing in on the motor car, and whereas before they had kept to the pavement, now they seemed to be in the road. “Fin,” he whispered, his strangled and panicked voice sounding small and ineffective against the loud chanting. “They are coming closer.”
“They are not real, meleth,” Fin smiled and squeezed his lover’s arm reassuringly. How he wished he could do more; however, he was always very aware that he lived in a time where any expression of male closeness was frowned upon and even punished. It would not be forever though; soon they would leave this land for all time and bask in the light of the never-dying land of Valinor. The mechanics of getting there were proving to be problematic, but Erestor would come round in time; of that, he was sure.
The car stopped in the high street, just outside Betty’s Tea Rooms. “They are always called Betty’s aren’t they?” Erestor said with a contrived breeziness. Glorfindel noticed that he sat closer to him than before.
“What is the matter, meleth?” Glorfindel asked as Erestor gave him a look of worried uncertainty.
“The soldiers are right up to the door,” he whispered as though they might hear him.
Glorfindel looked around. The street was deserted and the tearooms had one customer whose back was to the window looking onto the street. It could not hurt, he decided, and would never be believed anyway. Reaching within himself, he sought the part of his psyche that allowed him to exist in the twilight of the dead and he began to glow intensely like a beacon of light flushing the evil that would attack his lover so readily. That which was ordinarily invisible, became revealed, unable to hide from the one who had stepped from the sunlight into the shadows of their existence. The soldiers stayed in position and maintained their chant, but some slipped away and the warrior saw them depart into the blackness of the one who was pure evil, who stood at the back like some sentinel guiding their actions, as he had always done throughout history and time.
“Kill me, why don’t you?” the darkness taunted him. “Draw your sword, Glorfindel.”
The warrior stood before the Lord of all Darkness and smiled. “If I kill you, then good shall die as well, for one cannot exist without the other.”
The Dark Lord, seductive in his beauty and wicked in his temptation, smiled, “Why would one as good as you are, shining hero of Gondolin, not kill the evil that stands before him? Then surely, all would be good? Wars and wicked cruelties cannot be maintained where virtue and nobility exist.”
Glorfindel laughed. “You make it seem so attractive and some would indeed be tempted by your honeyed deceit, but I know you as the master of lies and all that is corrupt. Why would I hasten to kill you if you asked it of me? After all, good without the existence of evil ceases to be good anymore. It becomes meaningless.”
“You sentence mankind to war, pestilence, death, famine and relentless attack if you do not kill me,” the Lord of all Darkness said with a cruel, sardonic smile playing as a hint upon his lips.
“It is Eru’s song that says what will happen; all you do is fulfil it. Do not think that you have remained unrecognised through every incarnation throughout history.” Glorfindel gave a victorious smile. “I have always fought you, and you have always lost. You will stay here. Valinor shall not be yours, not now or ever. If I kill you, I will become you. It will not happen.”
“You do not know to what evil you sentence mankind,“ the Lord of all Darkness hissed and licked his lips. “I will see that they destroy themselves. The next hundred years will see an escalation of evil on a scale never before imagined.”
“So be it,” Glorfindel replied.
“You do not care?” The Lord of all that was dark and evil was astonished.
“For every evil human, there are a thousand good ones. They will do what they believe is right, and they will risk everything for that which they consider just, in the hope that future generations will know peace. How can either of us compete for their hearts when they give up their lives so freely? You will never share in the love they have for one another, and to them you will always be an outsider living in your ever increasingly splendid isolation. You will cease to exist in their thoughts except as a fairy story to tell their naughty children.” Glorfindel paused and then smiled benignly. “You see, Sauron, humans will blame themselves for their own evil and you will cease to be a part of their lives or their thoughts and beliefs. You will diminish and become as nothing.”
The Lord of all Darkness roared; thunder crashed and lightning hurled bolts of electricity throughout the streets of the small village. Tiles flew off rooves, windows smashed, chimneys crumbled away from their perches and the ground heaved upwards, dismounting the paving blocks and displacing the kerbs at the sides of the road. Erestor sat in the car terrified, with eyes tightly shut, praying to the Valar for protection and knowing that they would not listen because he had chosen to stay away from his homeland for so long. Out in the middle of the English Channel, a maelstrom whirled to an incredible height, sucking ships under and spreading outward, towards the land.
Glorfindel stood in the middle of the road, looking down the high street towards the furious sea and raised his hand. “Calm,” he said, and all was still. His glow diminished as the danger faded, the Lord of all Darkness beaten once again.
The occasional tile fell and as the dust settled, the villagers nervously came to their doors.
“Are you all right?” the owner of Betty’s tearooms asked. “Look, come in and have a cup of tea and something to eat. You poor things,” she said as she opened the car door to let Erestor out. “You have both been very lucky. How awful to be caught in the middle of an earthquake. Never seen an earthquake in England before.” She reflected for a second, “We don’t get them.”
Erestor was in a state of rigid terror. Glorfindel and one of the villagers helped him into the tearooms and sat him on a chair. The waitress, a plump, middle-aged woman with just the suggestion of a moustache at the corners of her mouth, dusted the table off and put a tray of tea and cakes down.
“Put plenty of sugar in his, Sir,” she said motioning to Erestor; her fingers trembling slightly. “He has had a bit of a shock, hasn’t he?”
“Thank you,” Glorfindel said. “It is very kind of you, especially as you must be shaken yourself.”
She beamed and walked away, happy that the man at the table had smiled at her. It made her feel good that one so shaken and, dare she say it, handsome, would be so thoughtful, caring and polite when you considered what he and his friend had just been through.
Outside the villagers collected together, milling around and making sure that they were all safe and accounted for. Sauron had vastly underestimated their willingness and ability to care for each other, Glorfindel reflected. The Lord of all Darkness in his many names might heavily impact upon their lives but he would never own them. Mankind did not need the elves, and had probably never needed them. With that thought, Glorfindel felt happy to leave them, even though the presence of Sauron weighed so heavily upon their lives.
Several times during their tea, various villagers came into the rooms to ask if they were all right. When they were satisfied that the two were able to travel, one of the villagers brought a block and tackle pulley system and the car was pulled out of a fracture in the surface of the road and pushed up the street to where the ground was unbroken. All this was done without discussion with the two elves who sat watching.
“They are truly marvellous,” Erestor said. “Humans never cease to inspire me.”
“Well,” Glorfindel replied in a soft voice. “When you see them like this, it is not hard to know why they went to war. They will always fight for what is right.”
“And they will always die for it, as well.” Erestor gave a rueful smile as he reflected upon those he had left behind.
“Then they are like the elves and just as noble,” Glorfindel said and gave the one he loved the fondest of smiles.
They returned to St. Michael’s Leap by the back roads because Glorfindel suspected the coast road would be impassable. The soldiers were not in attendance; they had gone to the rest where dead warriors throughout the ages had always gone. An overwhelming peace descended like the rays of a new sun blessing the day and the heaviness lifted from Erestor’s heart.
“Fin,” Erestor said as they drove past Piddler’s Hill. “I am not worried anymore. I feel so light.”
Glorfindel looked lovingly at him. “I am so relieved, Melethen,” he replied and smiled as joy filled his heart.
Erestor gave his cheeky and characteristic pre-war grin and winked at his lover. “I think everything is going to be all right.”
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