Niphredil by Gwenniel
This less than 900-word is the story of the beginning of Túrin’s friendship with Finduilas, lady of Nargothrond. The friendship that almost turned out to be something else…
Túrin stood silent and alone in the halls of Nargothrond. When was the last time he had smiled or felt joy? No idea. An eternity ago, maybe? He was deep in his thoughts still grieving for Beleg with no feelings to spare except for sadness. He thought about his life, his deeds and his doom. What wouldn´t he do to turn back time, go back to Beleg, or to his youth in Doriath — or better yet, to his childhood with his mother, his father and dear Lalaith. The time when nothing of this had yet come to pass.
He heard light footsteps. Someone was approaching him in the corridor. Opening his eyes in order to forget his feelings he drew breath so that he could greet the daughter of Orodreth who seemed to want speak with him.
“Hello, Agarwaen,” Finduilas said as she silently drew nearer. Túrin nodded in answer. Finduilas looked at him with a strange look on her face. “I am not disturbing you, am I?” she asked cautiously.
“No, my lady, you are not,” Túrin said stiffly.
“Are you all right?”
“Yes, quite so,” Túrin lied. He could see that she didn´t believe him even if she said nothing. “I merely admired the works of art in this hallway. Very beautiful.”
Finduilas smiled faintly. “Yes, I like them too. I come here often to just have a look at them.”
They walked together in the hallway. Its walls were covered with carvings, paintings and woven cloths. Instead of being hoarded deep within the dungeons they were at display in the many halls of Nargothrond. Many of them told tales of old; a painting described the bliss of Aman; a wooden carving told of the journey across Helcaraxë; and a sculpture there was of mighty Finrod Felagund.
Túrin pretended to look at the paintings with great interest, but in truth he hadn´t got rid of his dark memories. Often he thought he saw Finduilas observing him with a look mixed with concern and curiousity, but each time he glanced back she simply smiled briefly and looked in the other direction.
Then Finduilas stopped in front of one painting. It was her favourite painting and she bade Túrin to take a look at it. It was a big and beautiful painting potraying Beren and Lúthien in the forest of Neldoreth.
“You know, you look a bit like Beren,” Finduilas remarked as she stood beside Túrin. “Are you two related?”
“Perhaps,” Túrin replied ever so politely, not wanting to reveal his ancestry. Finduilas seeing this changed quickly the subject and turned back to the picture.
“Look how detailed it is,” she exclaimed. “You see every leaf in every tree, every star is unique, and those small white flowers… beautiful as gems. I wonder what they are named…?”
Finduilas looked at Túrin in surprise – maybe wondering how a great warrior, as strong and grim ashe, knew the name of such a small flower. But Túrin´s mind had become flooded with with bittersweet, long lost memories from his childhood. He had suddenly remembered vividly a day long ago when he and Nellas, his friend, had walked in the woods of Doriath.
They had seen tiny white flowers growing by the path. He had asked what they were and Nellas had called them the Niphredil. “They grow where Lúthien Tinuviel danced.” Her words echoed in Túrin´s ears. He remembered having asked her whether she thought this was the same spot where Lúthien had met Beren. She had laughed and said no.
“It is Niphredil. The flower,” Túrin said quietly. “It grows where Lúthien danced.”
A gentle smile spread over Finduilas´ face. She was apparently impressed by Túrin´s knowledge. She turned towards him and looked into his grey eyes. Túrin swallowed trying to end the burning feeling in his throat. Her face was hardly seven inches from his.
“Would that I had a brother like you,” she whispered. It was close that Túrin´s efforts not to let his emotions show had been in vain.
“Would that I had a sister like you,” he sighed.
“Why do you never smile, Agarwaen?” Finduilas inquired.
“I never have a reason to do so,” Túrin answered sadly. “I haven´t had a reason to do so for a long time…” he muttered. Finduilas looked at him filled with pity.
“Smile again, Adanedhel,” she said. “It is time to forget your troubles.” She lifted her hand and gently, with a light touch her fingertip stroked the corner of his mouth as if drawing a smile upon his face.
Túrin looked into her bright eyes and at her lips that made hard things sound so easy. Finduilas smiled at him, and then Túrin felt his mouth broaden. He smiled. A real, genuine smile that lit up his face.
“You´ve got a beautiful smile, Adanedhel,” Finduilas murmured as she stroked his hair and he felt as if he had a reason to smile again.
*** The End ***