Element: "Do you have any idea of where we are?"
Author's Notes: Stand alone; Bunniverse compatible
Summary: Three elf lords of Gondolin debate whether or not they have lost someone, and if they are lost themselves. First age. Ecthelion, Glorfindel, & Egalmoth.
"Do you have any idea of where we are?" -*_*-*_*-*_*-*_*-
It was quite obviously a rhetorical question, for not only had Egalmoth delivered it in such a way as not to expect an answer, but he also spurred his horse forward once the question was asked.
Ecthelion shouted loudly at him anyhow. “Of course I know where we are! What sort of captain would I be if I managed to get us lost?” He cleared his throat and pulled his horse back. Behind him, Glorfindel rode silently and remained unbiased. Once Glorfindel caught up, Ecthelion hissed to him, “Do you have any idea where we are?”
“You are lost,” replied the blond lord, neither accusing nor amused. He brought his horse to stop beside Ecthelion’s. “You should tell Egalmoth before he gets too far ahead. It would be worse if we lose him as well.”
“We did not lose Aredhel,” insisted Ecthelion. “She wandered away from us and would not listen to reason. There was nothing we could do. Nothing.”
Glorfindel simply nodded.
Now that Egalmoth was far ahead, Ecthelion did not worry about whispering his words. “This is just impossible. How am I supposed to know where we are if I cannot see the sun to find which way north is?”
The slightest smile pulled on the corners of Glorfindel’s mouth. “Just as we do not need the sun to know it is summer, we do not need it to tell us which way we are facing. North is that way.” He lifted his arm and calmly pointed to his right.
Ecthelion disbelievingly narrowed his eyes. “How can you be so certain? There is no sun, not even a glimpse of light. The stars that might guide us are absent from the sky, or else the clouds cover them.”
“The mountains are to the north of where we are,” explained Glorfindel. He pointed once in each of the other three directions. “No mountains, no mountains, no mountains.” He paused when Ecthelion gave a huffy sigh, and when he had the other lord’s attention again, pointed north once again. “Lots of mountains. North is that way.”
“Then we are going in the wrong direction,” realized Ecthelion. He whistled sharply, and Egalmoth slowed and turned around. “Wrong way!” he bellowed. Glorfindel squinted his eyes closed and rubbed the ear that had been closer to Ecthelion.
Egalmoth coaxed his horse into a canter and joined his companions. “Gondolin is still in that direction, is it not?”
“Of course it is,” answered Ecthelion matter-of-factly. Glorfindel was still trying to get his ears to stop ringing.
“And we still live in Gondolin. Correct?”
“Yes, Egalmoth, but we cannot return without the princess. Turgon will have our heads!”
“I would rather take my chances with the king. I am sure he knew it was a hazard to allow her to leave in the first place. We have no idea where we are, so it makes the most sense to go back to Gondolin to gather reinforcements before venturing any further.”
Ecthelion scratched behind his ear, a sure sign to those who had played poker with him that he was bluffing. “I know exactly where we are, and Aredhel cannot be more than a day ahead of us. If we ride all day and night, we are sure to find her.”
“Alright.” Egalmoth crossed his arms over his chest and looked Ecthelion squarely in the eyes. “If Gondolin is that way and Princess Aredhel is that way, then just where are we?”
“Uh, yes, Glorfindel and I were just discussing that,” explained Ecthelion. “We appear to be in...” His voice trailed off as he mumbled something that sounded like ‘Hithhimangdoldorion’.
Egalmoth pulled his steed closer. “What was that?”
“Obviously, we are in Dor—“ The rest Ecthelion covered up with a cough.
Glorfindel, having managed to shake the ringing from his head, frowned at Ecthelion. “Doriath is that way,” he said, pointing south. He was shot a stern look of rebuke from his fellow lord.
“And just where exactly is Hithimdringdolion?” questioned Egalmoth.
“Hithhimangdoldorion?” asked Glorfindel. “I think he made that up.”
Ecthelion growled under his breath. “Fine, Egalmoth. If you are so intelligent, you tell us just where we are.”
“If I were the leader of this party,” said Egalmoth in reminder of Ecthelion’s position, “I would have made sure I knew where we were going in the first place so that I knew where we were later on.”
“So in other words, you are lost as well,” stated Ecthelion.
Egalmoth shrugged. “We are all lost. You, me, him, the princess—“
“The princess is not lost!” argued Ecthelion. “She knows damn well where she is going, and I am sure she meant to separate herself from us from the very... Glorfindel what are you doing?”
The youngest of the three lords was now sitting sideways on his saddle searching through one of the bags on his horse. “Getting the map.”
Glorfindel brought out a rolled up piece of parchment and unfurled it. He held it up so that both of his comrades could see it. “This is a map,” he said quietly with little emotion. “Has places on it. You read it, to find out where you are. Match up landmarks to see where you are going. Mountains to the north, forest to the south, rivers on either side. Welcome to Nan Dungortheb.”
“I was wondering why King Turgon sent him with us,” said Egalmoth to Ecthelion as Glorfindel rolled the map up again.
Glorfindel shook his head, the first sign of frustration he had shown. “He did not send me to read the map. He sent me along to keep the two of you from killing each other.”
“So if those are mountains, and that is a forest, and this is Nan Dungortheb, then what are those?” asked Egalmoth, pointing toward a skittering group of creatures that were kicking up dust and dirt in their wake.
“The welcoming committee,” replied Ecthelion as he dismounted and drew Orcrist from its sheath. Thankfully, the sword did not glow blue, but it did seem to shine radiantly in the darkness anyhow, as if ready to serve its master in slaying any foe who dared attack.
Egalmoth dropped down beside him, sabre soon in one hand and a curved knife to match in the other. “I was beginning to wonder where all of the allies of the enemy were hiding.”
Remaining on horseback, Glorfindel drew his first arrow. “I count about forty of them. Most of them are nymphs. I am going to try to pick off the imagoes if I can.”
“Good plan. Egalmoth, you and I should meet them halfway to keep them from reaching the horses,” suggested Ecthelion. Egalmoth gave a nod, and the two lords jogged toward the spider swarm.
Each arrow that Glorfindel fired was accompanied by his personal mantra. “I hate spiders.” An arrow pierced one in the prosoma. It stumbled but kept moving. “I hate spiders.” The next shot directly into one of the spider’s many eyes and it dropped to the ground, convulsing. “I hate spiders.” Knowing the urgency of the situation as the spiders plowed forward, he drew back two arrows, taking out one of the young ones and injuring another adult. He cursed his luck and dismounted, for the equines were voicing their displeasure at how close the arachnids were getting.
“Look who decided to join us!” shouted Egalmoth as Glorfindel ran towards the beasts.
Ecthelion looked briefly over his shoulder and called out some extermination advice. “Stop slashing at their legs, Glorfindel! Just stab them! If you have your knives, put your sword away first chance you get and use those instead!”
Glorfindel raised his sword and launched it like a spear into a particularly devious looking spider who was crawling over the others, pedipalps twitching and mouth salivating. It shrieked and fell back while Glorfindel drew his shorter blades and plunged them into the next one that leaped toward him.
“I am starting to rethink my plan!” admitted Ecthelion once he had managed to squash a spider who had wrapped itself around his leg. “Maybe we should go back to Gondolin. I am sure the princess is fine!”
“There are no giant spiders in Gondolin,” Glorfindel added. He tried not to shudder as he took out another one with disgust.
“Good!” Egalmoth swung his blade and sliced another beast in two. “We should be able to ride back quickly, gather our forces, and return with enough soldiers to make short work of any other creatures that are lurking out here in the shadows.” The final spider was taken down, and Egalmoth looked around with concern as Ecthelion cleaned his sword. “Glorfindel?”
The blond was carefully navigating through the carnage. As he took hold of the hilt of his embedded sword, the legs of the spider it was lodged in became reanimated. He leaped back, waited for the movement to cease, and then quickly yanked the blade from the beast. “What?” he asked as he hurried back to his companions.
“Where did you put the horses?”
“I...” Glorfindel looked around. “I think they must have started home,” he said as he noted tracks leading west.
“Lovely. The princess is missing, our horses are gone, and we are stuck lost in the middle of nowhere,” complained Egalmoth.
Glorfindel corrected him. “We are lost in Nan Dungortheb.”
“Oh, shut up,” mumbled Egalmoth. “You and your stupid map.” For a moment, Egalmoth brightened. “The map is with your horse. I bet you have no idea where everything is now.”
Glorfindel was silent at first, but as Egalmoth began to grin smugly, the younger elf said, “Beyond Nan Dungortheb is the river Esgalduin, and past that, Dor Dinen, and Himlad to follow. I do not need a map to know where the princess has gone.”
“That is all well,” announced Ecthelion, “but without horses to carry us she may well have gone to Nevrast. We have little choice but to turn around and return to Gondolin.”
Ecthelion and Egalmoth started on the long return journey back to Gondolin as Glorfindel stood amid the dead spiders. His look of disappointment was unseen by them as he asked, “Are we just going to give up on finding her?”
“We could always find a few more of these spiders and ride them to Himlad,” suggested Egalmoth.
Glorfindel ran to catch up with the other two lords. “We probably should return to Gondolin,” he replied with a shiver.
"Do you have any idea of where we are?"