Even after the death his father, it had taken much coaxing for Maeglin to leave his burrow and once again face the reality of a foreign world.
He had already gotten a taste of the people, shortly before Eöl’s execution, and they were not kind to one they assumed to allied himself with a dark elf. Maeglin had given up trying to explain himself to these people; trying to prove that he loved his mother far more than his father, but none believed him.
Many muttered rumors about he and his father. Not all hurt nearly as much as the speculation that he had enchanted his mother to love him, just as Eöl had. None of which were true, but who was he to tell the kinspeople they were wrong about their beloved lady?
Maegliin grunted and turned underneath his sheets.
Gondolin was no home for him, no place of solace. Perhaps for Aredhel yes and blindly, she took her son, already assuming that many would view him with love and respect, but that was not the case. She had built the image of a city of gold for her son, only for him to see nothing but an ashen cloud of dim shadows. It was not as it seemed.
Maeglin sat up quickly when he heard a loud pound on the door. The visitor did not wait for his permission to enter, for it was his king, and his uncle, Turgon. The young elf stood quickly, and made way to bow somewhat sloppily, but Turgon simply waved him off.
“Sit Maeglin. You are my nephew, not my servant.”
Silently, he did as he was told feeling a flutter of desperation in his heart. He so greatly wanted to ask Turgon for permission to leave, but feared that his only response would be death. So he remained quiet. If he wanted to leave, then he’d sneak away on his own accord.
“I understand that the death of my sister still pains you…as it does me.” He sat on the edge of the bed, near Maeglin, keeping his distance.
“But this kingdom has much to offer; I want you to go out and explore, find your kin and befriend them. I am not sure if you are aware, but I have a daughter, Idril and she is kind and sweet. And like you, she knows the loss of a mother and could perhaps help you cope. She was very close to your mother, and I thinks he will take well to you. Though heed her age, as you are still a child…some of her banter will not make sense but you will find comfort in her.”
At the mention of someone close to Aredhel, Meaglin’s heart fluttered. Perhaps he and this Idril could talk hours on end about Aredhel, and how wonderful she was.
As excited as Maeglin was, he concealed himself on the outside, and quietly thanked Turgon. The king smiled and eventually stood. “If you are feeling well later, then please join us for our feast.”
“I will…” Maeglin managed, before resting on his pillow once again.
That evening, the mole emerged from his dark cave in search of this Idril.
For hours, he had gone over in his head all that he would tell her and all they’d discussed. He’d hoped she wouldn’t be as nagging as Aredhel! Oh, but he wondered if she looked like Aredhel, or acted like Aredhel. Well, at this point, he didn’t care how she acted or looked. As long as she was kind to him, as long as they could be friends that was all that mattered.
Maeglin scurried about the palace, asking many people if they’d heard of or seen Idril. The kindest ones simply ignored him, but the angriest spewed comments like “Keep away from Lady Idril!” or “Do not spoil the princess with your black magic you wretch!”
He simply kept on his way, not wishing to let those cruel words derail him from his path, and for so long he continued to search until he stopped at a clearing in the palace. There was an exit he saw that lead to a garden, which Maeglin entered, feeling the sun uncomfortably on his skin once again. However, for some time the pain was dulled as he looked a head and saw a woman walking in the garden.
She sang sweet songs, and her hair was long and golden like a river of brilliance. She was clad in white, with her gown dragging like a cloud behind her, and for the love of everything, her face looked as if it was carved by the Valar themselves.
Maeglin couldn’t stop himself from going over to her, enticed by her beauty and supposed kindness. When she spotted him, she froze like a rabbit, recoiling slight and drawing back. Maeglin slowed his strides, noticing he may have frightened her.
“Forgive me for my intrusion…I am new here, and I have been in search of a friend. I hope that you can help me find her…for she is my cousin.” Maeglin realized that her gaze straightened as well as her form. It was then that Maeglin started to recoil, nervously playing with his fingers; he certainly was not good at this stuff. “I…I want to compliment your beauty…if I may. You look like a statue carved from the Valar themselves...And I suppose I should introduce—”
“Silence, for I know who you are.” She stood tall and more proudly, glaring at Maeglin in the eye. “For I am Idril Celebrindal, princess of Gondolin, and daughter of Turgon; you are Maeglin, son of Eöl.”
Maeglin’s heart sank, just as quickly as it had fluttered. Upon knowing who Idril was, he was filled with happiness, yet, she called him son of Eöl…why?
“No, princess, you mistake me, for I do not claim him as my father.”
“It is written in your race, and your heart, for there is a darkness implanted in you by the nature of being a dark elf, of being his son. A darkness you will never escape.” She took a step back. “Save your compliments for I do not want them. For you realizing my beauty makes me sick, as I can only imagine that like your father you’ve nothing but ill intentions. The darkness in your heart keeps me away, no matter if you are Aredhel’s child or not; you and your father worked enchantments to keep her at bay. I will never have kinship with you, nor see you as a friend. You will find no respect with me, you dark elf. Stay away from me and my kin; approach me again and I will cry to my father harassment, and you will meet an end just as your wretch father.”
And with that, the Lady of Gondolin, and the woman who was to tell Maeglin of his mother’s greatness departed.
It was not anger or hatred he felt for her when she left, but sadness and the ever-standing fact that he would never be accepted in the eyes of the elves, not even his kin. He was his father’s son, and that is all he was recognized as.
As he watched Idril leave, she did not look less beautiful in his eyes, but even coal glimmered when the light hit it right, and at that moment Maeglin saw no difference between the two. And he saw no difference between coal and Gondolin either. Brilliantly described, but dull to the touch.
Maeglin turned around, his shoulders slumped and his spirits low. Perhaps he would ask Turgon if he could leave, or perhaps, he’d run away. It is not like any would miss him.