Part 83 – To Face A Dragon
The second day of reading progressed much like the first. The only hints of creatures in caves beneath the earth were of the wyrms. Nothing mentioned the serpent inside the earth and if it did they only were of that of the wyrms. With the second day of searching being wrapped up, Theomin, Estonethiel, Magla and Teryndir prepared to depart from Lin Giliath.
The night was young and Estonethiel finished readying her horse. Behind her, another elf came up. She bore a crest on her shirt and a chainmail undercoat. Her golden hair fell down to her sides only covering up part of her pointed ears. “Mae Govannen, Estonethiel, teacher of potions and lore.”
“Gwesgyllial,” Estonethiel said with a pleasantly surprised smile. “I thought you had gone to the Grey Havens. What keeps you here in Middle Earth?”
“I’ve ‘oft wondered the same,” she said. “Much does not keep me here but the feeling of longing I already have for this place. I will miss the rivers; the lakes and all of its forms of life. I will miss the trees. I have become quite fond of them. From the ancient ones to the ones very old. I will miss the mountains and the hills of this land; the valleys and the gullies. I will miss all the people who live here, hobbits, men, and yes even some of the dwarves.”
“Yes,” Estonethiel said, “I too will miss those things. When my tasks here are done, the glade in Evendim is ready for us to leave, and men and dwarves no longer need me, I will too depart from this place. And I too will miss this Middle Earth.”
“With that I would like to give you a parting gift,” said Gwesgyllial as she unsheathed her sword. “I will no longer need my sword, Guddaganir.” The sword was long and curved. Its blade shone bright, though the darkness of the evening prevented it from showing its full brightness. The hilt bore no guard, for the blade was born straight from the hilt as if it was only an extention of the blade.
“Guddaganir,” Theomin as he looked curiously at the sword. “What does that mean?”
Gwesgyllial smiled as she said, “It means ‘Foe Bane’ in the common tongue. I have slain many orcs and goblins with that sword. I was given to me by my friend and mentor before the retaking of Fornost. A glorious battle it was but my friend was cut down by an onslaught of a hundred orcs. It was Guddaganir that sliced through the orcs so quickly and cleanly that I was able to find his body and honor him properly. A thousand more I killed that day, to honor the life of my fallen friend. I know it is a fitting blade for you to bear, Estonethiel. Its swing is true, and its blade never dulls.”
“My ancestor faught in that battle,” Theomin said.
“Our ancestor,” Teryndir butted in as he approached with Magla.
“True, Teryndir, our ancestor,” Theomin said.
“Truly?” the elf woman said with delight. “Who was he? One of Earnur’s men from Gondor?”
“He was one of the Marchalls of Annuminus,” Theomin said.
The elf’s eyes widened. She bowed and sunk her head down as if bowing before a king. “I had not a clue I was among such a line of men.” She rose up, “I heard they were all but extinct.”
“It was said the rangers of the north were as well,” Teryndir said. “Though there are few of us left, we still live.”
“Your ancestors were honorable men. I know that is true because he was a close part of our alliance back when we retook the fortress. It seems not long ago when we retook it. My friend and I knew the Marchells of Annuminus. Their hearts and convictions were strong as were their strength. Many great tales were told of the day when the armies of Earnur, Glorfindel, and the elves of Lindin including myself and my friend, Elvallon.” She bowed her head in sorrow at the name. “It has been long since I said his name. Elvallon was a friend to all elves under the sun. I miss him most of all.”
“I thank you for the sword,” Estonethiel said. “I will always remember it was a great sword that slew a thousand orcs.”
“You are most welcome, melon,” she said with a smile. “One more thing though. And this is what set me on the whole feeling of giving away my belongings. I see your dress is much like that of men.”
“Why is that a bad thing?” Teryndir asked in a cocky way.
“I have not an issue with the dress,” Gwesgyllial said. “It is not what I would see an elf wear, though.”
“Yes,” Estonethiel said. “My former dress was quite ruined by fire.” She looked at Theomin with a serious face, “The same fire of the dragon Naglangon. In our last meeting with the dragon I was met with a quite unfortunate flame that singed me and my coat.”
“Really?” Theomin said with surprise and uneasiness. “I never knew this.”
“It was not something I wanted to share,” she said.
“If you head to the northern house of Lin Giliath” Gwesgyllial said, “you will find a fine elven dress there. It is yours if you wouldn’t mind wearing it.”
“I can’t,” Estonethiel said. “The sword is enough.”
“Then if you do not take it, the dress will go to waste. It is there for you,” she said. “I care not to give it to anyone else and I doubt anyone else would be fit to wear it. It is of a cloth that does not singe too easily from flame. Perhaps that is most fitting for your journey.”
“Thank you,” Estonethiel said, “For everything, Gwesgyllial.”
“I will remain in Middle Earth for just a while longer,” Gwesgyllial said. “Just enough time to say goodbye to my tree friends.” She smiled at Estonethiel as she began to leave, “Farewell, Estonethiel. May the strength of Guddanganir always be by your side.”
She left as Estonethiel watched in sorrow. Her feelings of sadness washed over her, knowing that her time in Middle Earth was also coming to an end. A tear fell from her eye as she then looked at Theomin. “It is time. I shall bare the cloth Gwesgyllial has provided and will meet you at the arch soon.”
She left and Theomin led Magla and Teryndir to the arch leading out of Lin Giliath. Theomin had mixed emotions of the trip to the elf refuge. It was a beautiful place, full of amazement and garndure. But it also held sorrow for the absence of lore that pertained to the finding of the great serpent in the earth lead Theomin to do what they all feared. To face the terrible dragon.
Soon, Estonethiel emerged and headed toward the three waiting men. She was clad in a dark-green dress which included a black vest that held a lapel holding strange designs running down toward the belt. The belt, which was made of a material that resembled leather, was wrapped around Estonethiel’s waist and tied hanging down to her knees. The arms of the dress were also green and at the ends were long black cuffs. It looked as though Estonethiel quite enjoyed her new cloth, as she continued to gaze upon it with gladness.
“Are we ready to ride?” Theomin asked. Magla nodded, showing he was ready. The others looked ready too and soon they were off north toward Esteldin. Only a half hour passed when they arrived at the camp just outside of Esteldin. There, Helesdir, Eleswith and Sergee were waiting, watching out for their arrival.
“Hail, Theomin,” Sergee said. “Have you found our quarry?” he asked as Theomin and the rest dismounted from their horses.
“We found not a mention of the serpent,” Theomin reported. “And you? Have found any mention?”
Sergee looked at his two companions. “We have not.”
“Then we have but one choice,” Sergee said.
“We do not need to choose it,” Helesdir said. “We do not need to face such a creature. If we but return to Annuminus, we will loose nothing but time. Our need to,” he tried to choose his words carefully with the fear that Teryndir would catch on to what he was talking about, “locate the lost elves is not that important.”
“He is right,” Teryndir said. “We need not risk our lives for elves. I vote we return to Annuminus. I know I am not the only one in this group who feels this way. Helesdir apparently feels this way too.”
A sigh of relief washed over Theomin. But at the same time a sense of regret. He did not want to risk his life, but that was what he did since he left his house in the Wold. He risked his life every day he went on the road. Such a creature as the dragon is terrible, but any foe he faced on the road was just as frightening.
“Listen,” Theomin said, “We have faced, as a group, far worse things. We faught hundreds of orcs and won. We retook a city and survived. We are warriors, all of us. Do not forget that Estonethiel knows the secrets of the dragon. She knows what will make him talk. She knows this dragon.”
“This is true,” Estonethiel said. “I know the dragon. He is a terrible creature but we can get him to talk.”
“How?” Teryndir asked.
“Within the perch of the dragon’s nest there lives also a dragon matron. She sits atop the perch and delivers eggs for the worms of the valley to watch over before they hatch. Her main purpose is not to fight, but to deliver these eggs that the dragon, Naglangon, fertilizes. If we were to catch her at the moment of delivering another set of eggs, we can restrain her with strong chains. The time that she delivers her eggs is when she is most weak and therefore she will be more apt for capture. If we capture her and use her as bait, we can draw out the dragon. We can get him to talk. But doing so will take the efforts of all of us.”
Theomin looked at his companions. Instead of doubt, they all had a look of intreague. She, indeed, had a plan. “What would each of us do?”
“Naglangon’s armour is tough. Much tougher than the dragon matron’s armour. There is no attempting to slay him. Because the matron’s armour, though tough, is much less tough than Naglangon’s, he would risk no harm to her as she is the future for his spawn. If we held down the matron, we can then aim arrows toward her eyes. The armour is tough, but she is most weakest in her eyes. A well placed arrow will travel through her eye into her skull. Two arrows will be more likely to destroy her.”
“Who will be the barrers of the arrows?” asked Eleswith.
“Helesdir and I will aim the arrows at her,” she said and then continued. “It will take the strength of the Magla, Teryndir and two others to keep her down. She will be a difficult one to keep down. But one of us needs to talk with Naglangon. Who will that be?”
“I’m out,” Eleswith said. “I know I am not one to speak to a dragon.”
“I suppose it is up to Theomin and I,” Sergee said. “Never before have I spoken with a dragon. Nor have you, Theomin, if I am correct.”
“I have not,” Thoemin said with a slight chuckle, unwelcome under the circumstances.
“Though,” Eleswith said, “you are my choice,” she said as she looked at Theomin with a sudden realization. “On your way from Rohan you spoke and befriended many people.”
“As you pointed out, Eleswith,” Theomin said, “They were people.”
“And you worked out an agreement with Ost Forod. You made friends with the elves, which is why Estonethiel is here. You befriended a mad girl who had not but any intention but to slay you at first meeting.”
“Who was that?” Theomin asked.
“Me,” Eleswith said as the rest chuckled.
“Yes, a spot crazy you are if you were to ask for my opinion,” Heleswith jested.
“Hush you,” she said to Helesdir with a knowing smile before turning to Theomin. “You are a much more powerful negotiator than you realize.”
“I second that,” Sergee agreed. “I could not have negotiated those supplies from Ost Forod. Everything that went right with Annuminus was because of your aid.
“I will not third that,” Teryndir said.
“But I will,” Magla said. “I third it because he is of true conviction. Something that can be rare in these days.”
“Yes,” Helesdir said. “I agree too. I feel much safer if Theomin was our spokesperson for the whole group.”
“So be it,” Sergee said. “Theomin, your speech will be the only speech which will keep us out of danger.”
“And I would be willing to bet you will be the last to speak with a dragon since that old Hobbit, Bilbo, spoke with Smaug,” Eleswith jested. Theomin just gave a slight laugh and sank deep into thought. A new fear dropped weight on his shoulder because he knew his actions and words were going to be the only chance the group had of facing the dragon and coming out alive.