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Story [Tolkien] "The Histories Shall Say", DDC 2014, Celebrían's diary, Entry 30 up 1/06!

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Mira_Jade , Jan 2, 2014.

  1. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh. Oh. That was ... super duperlicious! The mother-daughter moments [face_love] !!! And Galadriel's display of power. She is just beyond magnificent. Indisputably. Like Amroth's courteous sincerity and his timing ;)


    Yes, the world as we know it has a dark, evil taint and it is how we deal and cope that proves our strength and endurance. Wisely written, Miranda. [:D] ^:)^ We all long for the day when all is made new. :D :D
  2. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    A battle with Orcs before they arrive in Lorinand to see Amroth.
  3. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    earlybird-obi-wan: And just in the nick of time, at that. :p Thank-you for reading! [:D]

    Nyota's Heart: I am glad you enjoyed the update! I am afraid that my Galadriel=all-things-awesome predisposition made it through a bit in my writing, but it was all for the best. :p [face_love] Amroth too is such a dear, and I am looking forward to fleshing his character out a bit more.

    Yes, the world as we know it has a dark, evil taint and it is how we deal and cope that proves our strength and endurance.

    And perfectly surmised there! It is a truth in any fandom you choose to write in - and real life itself. [face_love][:D]

    RX_Sith: That's it in a nutshell! :D Thank-you for reading, as always. [:D]

    Thanks to the few quicker updates, I am now closer to where I wanted to be in my outline! Mwaha! I also have a grab-bag of notes on names/people/places, but I won't post that until we actually reach Caras Galadhon in the next post, and then just include them all at once. So, for now, enjoy, and thank-you all for reading! :)


    Entry XII

    We walked deeper and deeper into the forest. Here, the trees turned older and larger as we passed underneath their boughs, until they were at last large enough to hold the Silvan Elves' ingenious form of dwelling in raised platforms - telain - high above the forest floor.

    The March-warden's posts were more rustic compared to the city of Caras Galadhon in the heart of the forest, and we used rope ladders to ascend into the talan, one after the other. We were up very high, I thought when I at last lifted myself onto the platform. Very high indeed. Though the slanted roof overhead kept the worst of the rain away, the walls were still open to the elements, and only a thin railing divided the talan from the open air around the tree. It would, I thought only to myself, be rather harrowing to sleep at the edge of such a formation - for the talan was simply that, an open, elevated space and nothing more, build to house the turning of the Wardens and little else.

    Even so, there were torches lit, and they burned on warm and cheerfully in the shadows of the night. The two Wardens awaiting our arrival already had dry cloaks for everyone, and I smelled a pot of hunter's stew on the far side of the talan, cooked before the rain began to fall. I felt my stomach rumble, not realizing just how enticing the idea of a hot meal and a warm place to sleep was until it was thrust upon us.

    As we traded in our wet cloaks for those dry, I watched the Elf who had been by Amroth's side during our journey to the post. He had looked behind to glance at me more than once while we walked, and even now his eyes sought me out when he thought that I was not looking. When he put down his hood and removed his sodden grey cloak I was met with another handsome face. I could not tell if he was Sindarin or Silvan, for his hair was a pale shade of gold, near to the silver of my father's people - and yet, his clear blue eyes were touched with the green of the forest-folk. He had a dark brow, narrowed and seriously set, with a strongly shaped jaw and a long, straight nose. His mouth was full and soft looking – or it would be, if it was not set into the grim line that he currently wore.

    “Haldir, son of Hadrion,” I looked up when I realized that Amroth was making introductions. “Rúmil and Orophin are also sons of Hadrion, and rarely found apart.”

    I turned to those next to the Elf – Haldir – to see the two who were his brothers. I could easily espy the similarities between them, even though Rúmil's features were sharper, and Orophin's face had a beautiful delicacy that would have seemed effeminate if it were not for the telling strength of his body. Orophin looked curiously at Galadriel and me, and yet, Rúmil did not look up from the bow he still held in his hands. His fingers made absent patterns as they traced over the wood.

    I looked away when Haldir again glanced at me, not wanting to be thought for staring. Instead I paid attention to the rest of Amroth's introductions, inclining my head to each new face as they were named. Nórui was a swordsman whose spirit already felt like sunlight through the trees. He was shorter than the rest in the group, but his face seemed to be permanently shaped in a smile that brightened both the night and the rain. Next, Thandir was introduced - a solemn man with grave features who held a longbow in his hands. He stayed close to Amroth as he spoke, and I assumed that he was a guard of a more personal nature, as well as a member of the Wardens. Langron and Laerorn were another pair of brothers who hung further back, and were clearly Silvan for the sharp look of their features, and the green in their eyes.

    “It has been too long since last the Golden Lady of the Noldor walked beneath these trees,” Amroth said when his introductions were complete. “If you recall, Adar was all but ready to hand his kingdom over to you the last time you were here.”

    “As always, Amdír is adept at acknowledging the strengths of others by downplaying his own,” Galadriel said, inclining her head.

    “It is a shared trait, I see then?” Amroth returned in kind, and Galadriel's eyes twinkled in reply.

    Amroth sobered a moment later, his easy expression settling into something more serious as he asked, “And yet, you had quite the following giving you chase. We have had curious Orc-scouts from the north poke at our borders once or twice over the years, but never have they entered in force as they did tonight.” There was a question waiting in his eyes.

    Galadriel's brow settled into a neutral expression, and Amroth inclined his head, understanding her answer before she gave it. “You wish to take counsel with my father,” he said. “I shall not make you tell your story twice. The storms shall pass with the dawn, and we will carry on then.”

    My mother inclined her head, and thanked Amroth for his kindness once more, thus signaling the end of the formalities. Afterward, the Silvan brothers took to the high posts above the talan for their turn at the watch, while the rest either went to set up their bedrolls for the night or sit down next to Amroth as he started sorting through the weapons and maps they had plundered from the Orc-captain, talking in low voices about the battle just past.

    Galadriel sat next to Amroth to join in on the discussion, and yet, I had little wish to talk about the battle. Instead, I went to the edge of the talan and sat cross-legged by the railing, balancing my bow on my lap as I stared out into the night. I looked, but could see nothing moving in the shadows. I held my hands out from the shelter of the roof, and watched the rain as it struck my palms and rolled over over the edge of my thumb before falling to the forest floor, far below.

    A shadow came over me a few minutes later, and I was not surprised when I looked up to see Haldir standing next to me.

    “Is your contemplation a private one?” he asked. His Sindarin was accented, but sounded all the more pleasing for it. I waved a hand at the spot next to me.

    “I believe that we are the ones intruding here,” I answered with a rueful shake of my head. “Do not let me keep you from doing what you would please.”

    Haldir took a seat beside me, sitting closer to the edge than I would dare. “Sometimes, it is rare when duty and pleasure coincide, but they did so tonight. We were happy to be of aid in a time of need.”

    I gave a small smile at his pleasantries before turning to look out at the rain again. Everything seemed to be moving in the shadows, I could not help but think, still restless within my skin from the events of the day. Though I thought to spy a foul creature in the dark a dozen times, I did not feel that nameless sensation of dread that had accompanied each of my encounters with Orc-kind so far. We were safe, and yet, I could not call myself to calmness.

    “You made a good showing for yourself,” Haldir said after a moment of silence. He gestured to the bow on my lap.

    “Somewhat,” I gave, not wanting to admit that today was the first time I had seen true battle. My mouth still recalled the sour taste of bile if I all but thought about it. “And yet, I had a great teacher.” Speaking of my father, even in such a casual passing, caused a warmth to fill my heart, chasing away my feelings of disquiet.

    Haldir understood my reference without my having to explain – for Celeborn's name was well known throughout the Sindarin ranks as a Prince of old. “My father's father was of Menegroth,” he said. “It is good to see another keeping the legacy of the Doriathrim alive.”

    “Good indeed,” I said, pride for the heritage of my name filling my voice.

    “Then, is that your father's make?” he asked, gesturing to my bow again.

    “The design is,” I answered. I handed him the bow freely, eager to have the opinion of another archer. “My father instructed me, and yet, the majority of the crafting was my own. Doing so was the Noldo in me coming to the fore, I was told.” I flushed at my words as I said them. Better would it have been to let a master craft my weapons, and yet, something inside of me had lightened at the idea of shaping my own wares, and I had not yet regretted doing so.

    Haldir carefully turned the bow over, and while I saw appreciation lighten his eyes for its shape and form, his brow furrowed a moment later in puzzlement. It took me not but a moment to discern why as he carefully traced the runes Nothri and his friends had left – their inscriptions just as numerous as the designs of vines and flowers that I had originally worked into the wood.

    “These markings,” he muttered, not understanding their place. “They are fresh . . . and Dwarven, at that.”

    “I made friends when we passed through Moria,” I said, tilting my chin up as I said so. “They wished to give me a token to remember them by, and as this is one of my dearest possessions, I thought it fitting.”

    I watched as his eyes shadowed, distaste passing over the clear orbs before he forced it away. I set my own jaw in reply.

    “Nothing good can come from the children of the mountains,” Haldir said a moment later, passing my bow back to me. “You were fortunate – for it has been my experience that they would rather stab you in the back before offering up anything of their own.”

    “We encountered the opposite in Moria,” I felt my own expression darken. “Fáfnir's people were gracious hosts and true companions. I learned much while amongst them, and I value the friendships I made. At least,” I added, my voice turning cool in a way that was all my mother when she was moved to anger, “they knew how to hold civil words in their mouth, even if they cared less than little for my kind.” I did not mention Loni then, for he was one amongst many, and that was not the point I wanted to make.

    “I am sorry,” Haldir's voice softened. He had earned my dislike when he had not intended to, and clearly wished to back away from my ire. “I was simply confused as to why a daughter of Doriath's prince would bear such a liking for the Naugrim. You have explained yourself now.”

    Gonnhirrim,” I hissed the name out in a low tone. While I knew it wise to let the subject go with his apology, the name sparked my ire all over again - Naugrim meaning stunted where Gonnhirrim translated to stone-masters. “Gonnhirrim, it is respectful to call the Dwarves. And do not apologize when you do not mean what you say. It cheapens the meaning of your words as a whole.”

    His jaw set, and I knew that he would try again to mend the rift he had unwittingly caused. Yet, I would not let him. The events of the day seemingly heaped upon me then – from my being far from home, to the life of the Orc beneath me flickering . . . I even remembered Nothri's smile, and proud Loni humbling himself as he tried to mend his own hate in asking to carve his name onto my bow. He with so few years tried to do what those with ageless memories could not, and I felt anger fill me for the thought.

    Instead of walking away from the situation until I could cool my temper, which would have been the wiser course, I found myself continuing, “We are just as bad as those who wronged us if we cannot let ourselves heal enough to cease heaping the blame for ancient wrongs on those who are far from those who actually comitted the crime.”

    My every word turned louder and more impassioned as I spoke – Finwë's temper, Celeborn would often accuse my mother of having whenever her ire was sparked, while she would return that he bore Elwë's in kind, and here I now was, a match for both.

    “Ill it is indeed,” I continued, “if we use our endless years to carry such a hatred and still call ourselves fair folk. If you cannot let yourself rise above such an ancient rage after so much time has passed, then how can you call yourself any better than the Orcs you slew this eve? In the end, you are just as bad as them.”

    My voice was very loud by the end of my saying so . . . very loud. With a start, I realized that the conversations in the talan had turned quiet as a result of my outburst, and everyone had overheard. I felt the skin of my face color when I saw the tight way Haldir was looking at me . . . I did not even want to look my mother's way, for I could already feel the cool shape of her disapproval. I did not want to turn and see such a thing reflected in her eyes.

    “My apologies, my lady,” Haldir rose, and inclined his head to me. “I shall choose my words more carefully next time so as to not offend you.”

    This was not the first time my quick tongue had gotten me in trouble, but it was my worst error yet for the possibility of negative repercussions. We would need Lórinand's aid if the days were truly darkening as we forsaw. While I did not hold what I said as wrong, how I said it was wrong . . . I had insulted Haldir, and by extension I also insulted our host. If Amroth too chose to take offense . . .

    As a descendant of Thingol's brother Elmo through his daughter Gilornel (Amdír being Gilornel's son, and my own father's cousin as a result), it was very possible that Amroth held the same prejudices that so many of the Sindar did. And now, if I had unwittingly opened up the scab on such an ancient wound . . .

    I summoned my courage to look over at the woodland prince, but Amroth's eyes were carefully neutral when he returned my gaze. He did not seem to hold any anger in his words as he said, “It has been a long day for all, and tempers are understandably thin as a result - let us not make this an equally long night. No doubt we will all find ourselves to be refreshed and in higher spirits upon the morn.”

    His answer was diplomatic, soothing over the tempers and hurt egos of all in the talan. Even so, his reaction was not damning – I had not offended him. I exhaled a shaky breath and tasted relief – that was, until I looked to my mother to see a cool disapproval lightening her eyes.

    There is much more to the tale here than meets the eye, her mind touched my own. You spoke in ignorance, and touched upon a wound greater than you know. Not – she interrupted me when I made to protest – not of the deeds which you so declare to be in the past, but those fresh, and still raw before the mind.

    I did not understand, I thought. What -

    It is a tale for later, Galadriel continued. You were not wrong – not in whole – but your handling of your counsel was very poor . . . very poor indeed.

    I fought the urge to hold my head in shame as I walked back over to my pack. Instead I tilted my chin up, and stared stonily ahead as I passed Amroth's men to take out my bedroll for the night. Amroth was right about tomorrow being a better day, and perhaps upon the morning I would find the will within me to apologize. I glanced over to Haldir to see where he was stubbornly avoiding my gaze.

    I set my jaw, my anger still not completely forgotten. Yes, I thought with a sigh, the dawn would hold better tempers for all – myself included. And so, I settled myself in for the night, turning my back on the others in the talan.

    I closed my eyes, and let the rain take me off to sleep.

    RX_Sith likes this.
  4. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    Celebrian lets her emotions get to her as she speaks her mind unwisely. Hopefully, all will be forgiven.
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Celebrian is forthright and right as well in the facet of letting go of old grudges and not holding innocent parties of a particular race guilty for things their ancestors did. [face_thinking] I think her bitter barbs sprang from wnating to defend her newly found friends but in no small amount from being stressed out and overwrought over the events of the day, as Amroth so insightfully pointed out. Haldir sounds a delightful one to get to know, and I think they'll perhaps develop affection and respect before the sojourn is concluded.
  6. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    The dwarves were friendly to her, causing her reactions. I hope she will be friends with Haldir too
  7. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    RX_Sith: She definitely had a bit of a moment there. :oops: There will be apologies on both sides coming. :)

    Nyota's Heart: Exactly! [face_love] Any other day, and I do not think that she would have snapped that way, and Amroth - and even Haldir - understand that to an extent. Poor Haldir got off on the wrong foot when he just wanted to talk to a pretty girl, but he will have his do-over too. :p All in good time. :D As always, thank-you for reading! [:D]

    earlybird-obi-wan: Exactly. Their next time talking will go much better than this one, that's for sure. :)

    Now, this update has a lot of history and backstory crammed into one post to set up the updates to come, so it is relatively short when compared to the last few. I also have my notes at the bottom for any who are interested. :D

    That said, enjoy. [:D]

    Entry XIII

    After the hills leading down from the mountains into the valley, the land leveled out and turned flat in shape. The trees growing in Lórinand were memories of the Elder Days, with their trunks thick and their boughs massive in shape. Their branches rose to mingle over our heads, one tree indistinguishable from the next as their peaks strained to seemingly touch the sky above. Even in the last days of fall, the leaves clung to their places, the trees healthy to the point that they did not shed their foliage until the first storms of winter forced their crowns away.

    True to prediction, the last peal of thunder left with the dawn. While we did not have to walk and worry about the rain falling on us, the storms had taken the last warmth of the season, and the air was now crisp with cold. Our breath frosted on the air, and a thin layer of ice clung to the trees, only melting as the thin sunlight through the trees rose with the noon hour.

    I did not speak at all during our journey through the forest. If Haldir sought to catch my gaze I did not notice, for I did not try to catch his. I only became aware of his eyes on me when we came to cross the Celebrant, which was now a broad and rushing river when compared to the stream we had first followed, its waters deep and cold.

    Here the Galadhrim kept no bridges for defending the inner Naith of Lórinand. I waited silently as Haldir gave a call to an Elf in grey on the other side, upon which a rope was cast over to our side of the river. Back and forth the rope was thrown and then tied off around the trees until a primitive bridge, of sorts, was formed. There was one rope at hand level, and another pulled taut to use as a foothold. A third rope was stretched for added security at waist level in between, in order to help prevent against any accidents in crossing the river.

    While such a bridge was not anything I had ever used before, it was no worse than some of the more foolish things that Sítheril and I had tried in our youth. When Haldir caught my eye in challenge, as if daring me, I climbed up to cross the rope bridge without blinking, my mouth tightly set and my feet sure as I made my way over the pale eddies swirling below me.

    Nórui, the swordsman, did not even try to hide his amusement at our wordless battle. Instead, he whistled merrily in deference to the tension in the air as he crossed the bridge by my side - valiantly offering to be my rescuer if I missed a step and fell into the river below. His words had me smiling, even when I would had rather not. And yet, curiously, Haldir's jaw only seemed to set all the more so at his words.

    We made it to the other side of the Celebrant without incident, and then it was only an hour's walk to Caras Galadhon from there. We approached the city through a bridge in the south, thin and elegantly crafted over the Deep Fosse surrounding the heart of Lórinand. The Deep Fosse was a thin, deep ravine that was filled with still standing water from the Celebrant, creating a moat of sorts as an added defense around the city. The city itself was not very large, only half the size of Ost-in-edhil with its shape on the ground, but upwards . . .

    Upwards was another story altogether.

    Here the great trees were threaded through with great fortifications of telain – massive structures that formed a venerable maze of silver dwellings in the golden boughs, literally creating a city for the people above the ground. It made sense, I thought – for the land here was flat, leaving no room for the great underground kingdoms that the Sindar of old kept. The Silvan people would not harvest the forests to make room for their dwellings, and neither would they lift stones upon stones when the trees themselves created such a bounty of shelter and succor from the world around the forest. It was quite ingenious, I thought as I looked up and up and up, my eyes trying to take in everything all at once.

    Where I had at first thought the talain to be a Silvan invention, I then learned that they were unique to Amroth himself – explaining his name of high dweller, now that I thought about it – and the great city in the trees was only the product of the last two hundred years or so. When asked, Amroth simply shrugged and said that Shadow again touched the land, and from such great heights they could keep a more watchful eye on the world at large.

    Nórui smiled and whispered something about a maiden named Nimrodel that I could not quite catch, but understanding settled in quickly enough. I recognized the name of the woman the river was named for - for whether she realized it or not, she had spawned a great building in the forests, and the results were both beautiful and practical, mingling together the natural land with the work of hands in a way I had yet to see.

    As we made our way into the trees, I could not help but feel as if the forest embraced me. The part of me that was my father's spirit all but sang in welcome to the high trees surrounding me. The forest sang a song of its own as the trees turned their boughs to the sun; speaking of the things their eaves had seen, and the far off lands their roots had touched. I could spend days in the trees just listening to them speak, and my fëa warmed with a fullness of spirit that I had not felt since leaving Ost-in-edhil. The forest here was old and wise, and it welcomed its children to dwell within its branches. There was healing to be found in Lórinand; healing and peace and song, and though the weather around us was turning cold, the shape of my heart was warm . . . warm and bright indeed.

    After being appointed a dwelling of our own and taking a moment to change from our travel clothes, we were introduced to Amdír, King of Lórinand. He ruled alone, having lost his wife long before crossing the mountains to come to Lórien. After the destruction of Doriath in the Second Kinslaying, the surviving Sindar followed young Elwing the White (Lúthien's granddaughter, and my parent's ward with the death of her own parents in the battle) to dwell in Sirion by the sea. Amroth was born before Sirion too was sacked by the sons of Fëanor in the Third Kinslaying, and yet, Amdír's wife had tragically not survived the battle. Less than a century later, at the end of the War of Wrath - with Elwing long gone and no one but for my father and Elmo's few other remaining descendants left to lead the few remaining Sindar - Amdír started the great move of his people across Eriador and then over the Misty Mountains. He, along with Oropher's host, found the forests while attempting to seek out kin of old, and it was not until my parents settling in Eregion on the eastern side of the mountains that contact was made with them once more.

    Now that I looked, I could see where Amdír was also of Elmo's line, he having the same silver hair and sea-blue eyes that my father bore. The weight of his presence was old and wise, and he, like the forest he ruled, seem to exude an aura of welcoming and peace. It was easy to see how the Silvan residents of old had accepted him as their lord with such a weight of spirit, for it felt natural to bow before him and receive his welcome.

    We stayed with Amdír for only an hour or so before he ended our meeting, saying that we would speak more when we were rested from our travels. After, I tried to seek out Haldir in order to give my apologies – and receive them in turn, I was still not so ashamed by my own behavior to admit – but I found out that he left with his brothers shortly after arriving. The March-wardens would gather to see the threat from Gundabad completely done away with, and it was not yet known when they would return to Caras Galadhon – or even if they would. Haldir preferred the outer posts in the forest, and even the lands beyond when he could, Amroth told me when I asked, and thus, I was left with a wound open between us before I could find a way to make amends.

    And so, the winter passed while we stayed in Lórinand. My mother was often in council with Amdír during that season, and I was mainly left to my own devices. I was content with the solitude when it was my own, and when I had company it was often Amroth himself – who, despite his glimpse at my temper at our first meeting, seemed to be amused by me more often than not. He took my curiosity in stride, and answered the myriad questions I had about the forests easily enough – enjoying the role of teacher and guide as it was thrust upon him. He was much as a brother to me in those days, and he filled my first winter in the Golden Wood with both smiles and warmth.

    There was one day late in the winter, when the snows clinging to the branches started to melt and the birds hesitantly sang to welcome the first days of spring, when we climbed to one of the higher talans in the wood. This talan was in the north of the forest, and more of a watch-post for the March-wardens than anything else - built as it was high into the tree tops in order to offer a sweeping view of the ice encrusted forest below. We were high enough that I was able to see the winding Anduin river at the eastern edge of the forest. The Great River ran from its birthplace in the Grey Mountains to the south of Belfalas, all the way to the Great Sea itself. I looked and saw an unusual thing directly across the river – a hill completely devoid of trees or greenery, surrounded by the forest on all sides.

    I could not completely see due to the distance, and yet, I thought that I could make out dwellings atop the hill – figures, even.

    “There,” I said to Amroth, gesturing across the river. My breath frosted on the air as I spoke.“What is that I see?”

    Amroth looked where I pointed, and understanding lit his eyes. “Amon Lanc,” he answered. “That is the seat of Oropher's settlement in the Greenwood.”

    I raised a brow in surprise, not expecting his answer. Where Amdír was Elmo's grandson through his only daughter, Oropher was the eldest of Elmo's three children. His was an old and ancient name – older than my own parents, even, and I had long grown on his stories.

    “Why did they not stay here?” I asked, curious. “Caras Galadhon seems to be a more defensible position than that hill.” It was too open, dwelling on such a scar in the forest. Though the hill provided a good vantage point to keep watch on the river vale and the forests on both sides of the water, I still had an uneasy feeling creeping up and down my spine as I looked on Amon Lanc. It was a sixth sense that I was quickly learning to trust.

    Amroth was silent for a moment. I watched, seeing where he thought how to shape his answer. “It has only been since the dawn of the Second Age that Moria has truly grown in might as a kingdom,” he started in explanation. “We have traded with the King Under the Mountain, and have benefited from helping the Dwarves protect their trade roads leading down into the Anduin vales. It has always been a symbiont relationship between all in this part of the land - the sons of Men receive their wares from the Dwarves, as do we, while the Dwarves benefit from the food and supplies that we give to them in return. While the majority of those living in Lórinand are Silvan, and have little cause to distrust the Gonnhirrim, there were those enough who migrated here from Doriath who did not care to be in contact with Aulë's children – especially to such an advantageous degree on Moria's part.”


    I set my mouth, seeing where Amroth's words were leading.

    “And, yet” Amroth's voice turned, loosing much of its inflection, “while many of the Sindar could hold their tongues with dealing with the Dwarves, it was not until we came into contact with the Noldor in Eregion . . . and welcomed Galadriel's input for the bettering of our realm when she first journeyed here, that Oropher took his folk and crossed the river.”

    At that, I understood why Amroth spoke carefully. Not only was my mother Golodh – but she was the Noldor's warrior princess. She was the granddaughter of Finwë's himself; the daughter of the Noldor King in the West, and a sister and cousin and aunt to each High-king in Exile as they lived and died. It was not any woman of the Noldor my father wed, and many had been ill at east for his choice. It did not matter that my mother renounced the wars of her kin, and found a peace in the forests of Middle-earth as if she were one of the wood-elves herself. Galadriel bore a grace and understanding with the trees that even few amongst the Sindar ever reached, and there were times that I found it hard to remember her Noldor blood – her Noldor curse – until I was reminded of it through the sharpness of her mind, the ease of which she took to pride and craft and steel.

    Before the arrival of the Noldor in Ennor, my father had been close with his great-uncle. And yet, Oropher had been one of those most vocal in his advocating against working alongside the Noldor upon their arrival from Valinor. The Noldor brought with them the rise of the Sun and the Moon, and chased away the light of the stars the Sindar so adored – and such a light was not raised to assure those living in Middle-earth that their fight against Morgoth was not forgotten, but rather, it was lifted to light their way, only solidifying the unease and lack of reverence many of the Elves of Ennor bore for the Valar in the West. In those days, Oropher foresaw many pains coming from the hands of the Exiles - both through the Oath lashing the backs of the Kinslayers, and through their provocation and desire to war with the Dark Lord in the north. All would suffer for the violence of the Elves from the West, Oropher proclaimed, plagued as he was by visions where the forests burned from root to bough, never to be replanted again. When Doriath fell, not only was his insight proved to be correct, but he also lost his wife of many centuries to the scourge of Noldor blades – and his age old disquiet then flared into an outright resentment and hatred.

    Oropher too had traveled as a refugee to Sirion, but he had bristled underneath Elwing's leadership – both for her giving an ear to my mother's advice, and her taking of a Noldorin prince as her husband. (Never minding that Eärendil would rather be counted amongst the ilk of Men over any other race of people.) After Sirion was destroyed, Oropher and his followers remained on the Isle of Balar only to fight in the War of Wrath, but then no longer. Afterward, he cared but little to live beneath the law of Gil-galad – and he cared even less to follow my father and the Sindar underneath his leadership to Eregion while my mother still led at Celeborn's side - and so, he had joined his host to Amdír's in their plans to cross the Misty Mountains to the lands beyond.

    As the closest living relative to Thingol of old – besides Elwing's son Elrond, who was a descendant of Thingol's daughter, rather than a nephew to the crown – Oropher was known to title himself as the Elven-king in the forests. There were those of the Sindar who preferred Amdír's more subdued leadership and wisdom, and thus stayed in Lórinand underneath his rule. And yet, those of like heart with Oropher were quick to follow him and seek a place of their own deeper in the forests.

    The Silvan folk further to the north-east were more rustic than even their kindred in Lórinand. The Silvan of the Greenwood were descendants of the first Elves to turn back from the Great Journey in the earliest of days, and as a result they held a deep, soulful bond with both the forests and starlit nights. While primitive, in a sense, they held a natural lore, understanding the earth itself like no other people living in Ennor. In the Silvan, Oropher found what he was seeking – a land out of time, and a simple people who knew only the trees over their heads and the peace that only the deepest forests could provide.

    As I put the various stories together in my head to form a complete tale, Amroth sighed at my side. I looked at him, drawn from my thoughts.

    “Do not get me wrong, Oropher is a good leader. Only, there are times when he lets personal tragedies – and his infamous stubbornness, at that - color his judgment,” Amroth said after a moment. “The Silvan have greatly benefited from his counsel, and the Greenwood grows all the more wondrous underneath his lead. And yet, a land founded in such wounds can only lead to more such pains, I cannot help but fear. I wish for Oropher to find peace before the day turns dark once more – for the Shadow has a way of picking open such sores, and we will need not of such inner discord when the time comes.”

    I nodded, agreeing with him. That was one of the reasons that Haldir's prejudices had so baffled me. I was born of two great nations, and was raised in a place where Dwarves were as expected in the city square as Elves were. It was hard to hold such prejudices when all I had ever known was the opposite . . . and yet, I then thought from another point of view. If had I had been raised otherwise, with such views indoctrinated in me from my earliest days . . . Perhaps, I reflected then, I had been too harsh in my judgments in that way alone.

    I looked down, and the forests did not seem quite so fair to me then. Ever was the world painted in shades of grey, with little of the purely right and wrong to be found. Always, the line between the two seemed to grow all the more muddled still.

    “Oropher has a son, does he not?” I asked next, not liking the shape of my thoughts. “Thranduil was close to my father in Doriath, before the Noldor arrived, but I do not think they have spoken since Ost-in-edhil was founded.”

    “Thranduil remains in Lindon to this day, acting as a leader for the Sindar who still live in southern Harlindon. He rules in fiefdom to King Gil-galad, and prepares for the eventuality that he may someday need to move east to reign over his father's realm,” Amroth answered her. “Someday, if Oropher's rulership passes to him, I do hope the best for his people. Thranduil is more like his mother than his father – or so my father says, and is more cool in comparison to Oropher's flame of a temper. If such a coolness is better mixed with such prejudices . . . well, only time will tell.”

    We were silent for a long moment, each lost to our thoughts. Finally, I took one last look at Amon Lanc, and then we started the long climb down to the forest floor.

    “And yet, if you take nothing else away from my gossip, you can at least see that everyone in this land has a tale of woe to tell,” Amroth said with a smile as he leapt down from the last branch. He then held an arm up to help me do the same. “After so many years of living, it is nigh impossible not to develop a tragedy or two.”

    “Then, do you have a tale of woe to tell?” I asked, ready for the answering twinkle in his eyes to chase away our more serious words of earlier.

    “I bear no tragedy,” when Amroth smiled, it was all teeth. “I am simply a hopeless romantic, worse than even Daeron of old.”

    This Nimrodel again, I thought. There was a story waiting between the river maiden and Lórinand's prince, and yet, it was not yet mine to know.

    “Fine,” I arched a brow in reply to his silence. “Keep your secrets, I will not pry for more.”

    “I only aim to keep your interest,” Amroth teased as we started back to Caras Galadhon. “If the Valar are kind, we have many years left in our knowing each other, and I wish to keep my air of mystery for as long as I may.”

    “Your secrets are yours,” I said again. While my voice was teasing, Amroth still turned his gaze back to the forest path, his eyes lost to some distant thought. As much as he tried to brush off my questions with humor, his heart was heavy where this woman was concerned, and I had unconsciously picked at a wound.

    We walked in silence the rest of the way, and yet, I did not move to break it. My mind was still swimming with my thoughts, and I needed the silence to thread them together to reveal a more complete picture.

    Yes . . . Amroth had given me much to think on, indeed.

    End Notes:

    I have to first say that all of this is highly pieced together from bits and pieces. Tolkien never completely put pen to paper for all of this, and some of the history above was patched together with a fan's theorizing. :)

    Lórien at this Time: We know the Amroth started the building of the flets (telan/telain when plural) in the trees for Nimrodel, the woman he loved. Nimrodel was Silvan, and worried over the safety of the forests, and yet, we do not know when that transpired – it could have been in the Second Age, or later in the Third Age. I chose to have it earlier in the Second Age, simply because I had no idea how I would describe Lórinand otherwise – especially when the Unfinished Tales specifically mentioned that Lórien was primarily flat, with no good stone to be had for building. Caves were not an option, and quarrying stone from the mountains and then carrying it down the Celebrant would have been too difficult a task. So, flets it is!

    Also, the planting of the great Mallorn forests – the famous golden leaves and silver trunks that we all know in Lothlórien – did not come to be until the Third Age. The enchantment from Galadriel's use of her Ring also did not come until some time in the Third Age, when she took up rule of Lothlórien after Amroth's death. (Amdír was killed in the Battle of Dagorlad, along with Oropher - both Amroth and Thranduil started ruling from the dawn of the Third Age on.) So, at this time, the forests were simply a primordial wonder, and even a lot of the names we know from LoTR do not yet exist. I kept the name of Caras Galadhon for the capitol, simply because of how old the name Caras appears to be – apparently it is a form of the Silvan word for 'moated fortress', which would be in use long before the Third Age. (Although, Galadhon may be a reference to Celeborn's father and throw that whole reasoning out of the window. 8-}) Either way, I am assuming that Caras Galadhon is the name that was always in use. And, if it is not, I am using it anyway for simplicity's sake. :p

    Amdír and Oropher: Tolkien mentioned that Oropher was related to Thingol, and dwelt in Doriath – where we can assume that Thranduil was born. Oropher's exact relation to Thingol is made up by me, and not directly supported by canon. But hey, if Tolkien can use Elmo as a genetic placeholder to explain Celeborn's relation to Thingol, then I can use him to link Amdír and Oropher as well. ;)

    Amon Lanc and Oropher's Folk: It is canon, according to in Appendix B of The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, that Oropher led his few Sindar into the Greenwood to avoid Lórien's contact with the Dwarves of Moria, and also to escape Lórien's ever growing influence from Celeborn and Galadriel. Oropher was embittered against the Dwarves and Noldor both, and sadly, he never let himself heal from the hurts he suffered in the First Age.

    Oropher first settled on the east banks of the Anduin river, on the hill of Amon Lanc. Much later in the Second Age, after Sauron returned as a spirit from the destruction of Númenor, Oropher moved his people north to the Black Mountains (Later called the Mountain of Mirkwood). Thranduil did not build his underground caverns until the Third Age, when Sauron returned as the Necromancer – building Dul Guldur on the now abandoned hill of Amon Lanc - and Shadow started to turn the Greenwood dark. Around this time, Mirkwood was named by the Men living in the forest.

    Interestingly enough, Tolkien specifically mentioned that Oropher and his Sindarin followers found peace in the Silvan people and their ways, endeavoring to become like them in all things - and thus recreate a time similar to before the Valar came and 'disturbed' the peace of the Elves. The Silvan, in turn, benefited from the wisdom of the Sindar, and together they were able to create great and beautiful realms in the forests. Which is interesting in the face of Thranduil's apparent Silvan prejudice in Peter Jackson's adaptation. [face_thinking]

    Just to Keep Everything Straight: Since I mentioned this in bits and pieces, I figured I would lay the whole Sindarin history out out here for simplicity's sake. In the year 503 of the First Age, Doriath was attacked by Dwarves. King Thingol was killed, and Queen Melian the Maia fled to Valinor, taking her spells of protection with her. In the year 506 Doriath was destroyed completely by the Fëanorians in the Second Kinslaying. The Sindar then followed young Elwing the White – who was heir to Thingol's throne as his great-granddaughter - to the Havens of Sirion. Sirion was then destroyed in 538 during the Third Kinslaying. Afterward, there were none left to lead the Sindar of Thingol's direct line. Elwing fled West with her Silmaril during the battle, and her sons – Elrond and Elros - were kidnapped and then spent the majority of their childhood with Maedhros and Maglor Fëanorian. Understandably, even after their return to Gil-galad's care, the Sindar would want little to do with two who were raised by Kinslayers, no matter their relation to Thingol. So, those like Celeborn, Amdír, and Oropher, would then have to step forward to lead their people. After the War of Wrath in the years 545-587, when Morgoth was finally defeated and the First Age ended, many of the Sindar then followed their leaders east - and over the Misty Mountains in Amdír and Oropher's case. At this point in the story, we are now 1400 years into the Second Age, for reference. :)

    . . . I know that is a lot of history to swallow. So, I will let you all step back and take a breath now. ;) As always, thank-you for reading! [:D]

    ~MJ @};-
    RX_Sith likes this.
  8. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Splendid detailing in another captivating entry
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent reflections and histories glimpsed. =D= They merge and mesh in a tapestry of emotions, motives, and choices. Very well-written. @};-
  10. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    Beautiful as always as emotions continue to swirl around.
  11. Space_Wolf

    Space_Wolf Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 13, 2007
    I've been trying to find out about how Thranduil is related to Thingol, but as I've been relying on websites, rather than the books, I've not found out much about it. I want to know how they are related as it would explain why Thranduil is so suspicious of Thorin. I can see why Elrond would be because he is related to Thingol, it's not clear how Thranduil is, other than that he was from Doriath.
  12. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    earlybird-obi-wan: Thank-you so much. :)

    Nyota's Heart: Thank-you for saying so! I felt like I was just rambling on and on there, and I was trying so hard to keep everything straight, so I am thrilled to hear that everything came across clear. As always, thank-you so much for reading, my friend! [:D]

    RX_Sith: Thank-you! [:D]

    Space_Wolf: Well, we know that Oropher was kin of Thingol, so as his son, Thranduil is as well. The bit of canon we know about Thranduil and Oropher comes from the Unfinished Tales, in The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, if you ever wanted to check it out! The Unfinished Tales is a book of short stories, and a great read if you are looking for a place to start delving into Tolkien's work. The UT also features a short story that details Thorin and Gandalf setting up the Quest for Erebor, which you may find more than relevant for your own stories. :)

    Thranduil's character is . . . complex, that's for sure. You also have to remember that Sauron was growing in his forest, the forest the souls of his people were bound to, and he was all but paranoid for spies and foul play - unlike in the movie, Thranduil knew who and what was coming back to life on his land for centuries, and he was sick for the Shadow returning to the world through his realm. To quote: "There was in Thranduil’s heart a still deeper shadow. He had seen the horror of Mordor, and could not forget it." Which is interesting, because so many fought at Mordor and lost much, and yet, Tolkien only specifically mentions this burden for him. Couple that with his age-old mistrust of the Dwarves from his ties to Doriath - well, there you have it! His character is very steeped in shades of grey. Elrond too is a bit of a special case. He is the ultimate mutt. Sure, he is related to Thingol, but he is also Noldor and Vanyar, and born of the First Three Houses of Men - heck, he has a Maia in his family tree. So! He is quite literally a little bit of everything - and yet, he sympathizes the most with his Noldor blood, as he was raised by Noldor 'foster-parents' before serving in the Noldor court. For the most part, the Noldor elves respected the Dwarves as the children of Aulë, and that is most likely how Elrond views them too. :)

    . . . . Not that I love dissecting these backstories, or anything! ;) This world just fascinates me, and I can never get enough. [face_love] Thanks for stopping in. :)

    Entry XIV

    Spring came to Lórinand with joy and song. When we first arrived, the forest had only just shut its eyes to the winter. Now she yawned and blinked in welcome to the sunlight shining upon her boughs once more. I had first thought the song of Lórinand enchanting, but now it was a melody so poignant that it seemed to constantly fill the air around me, even when I did not consciously seek to hear it. It hovered between conversations and filled up silent moments until there was not a soul in Caras Galadhon who could not help for smiling at the new life blooming around us.

    The trees budded, their new leaves finally forcing away the dead foliage that had refused to fall with the worst of the winter storms. Flowers of yellow and white bloomed in thick carpets on the forest floor, while the sunlight fell through the canopy of entwined bough in rivulets of warm, golden light, catching on the newly growing foliage to turn the whole forest alight.

    Overhead, the larks sang in the high branches, while warblers and finches circled to find their nestmates for the season. The forest gave her call, and those who slept the winter through now ventured forth to greet the year anew. The week before, when traveling with Amroth and Thandir to where the waters of the Celebrant flowed into the Anduin, we saw a massive brown bear and her two cubs, drawn to the bountiful river for the spawning fish. The waters were teaming with schools flocking on the currents, all thriving underneath the nutrients provided from the snow melting further up in the mountains. The bear immediately saw us in the cover of the trees, and put herself between us and her cubs. She made no threatening movements, but her warning was clear as she largely ignored us in favor of teaching her little ones how to fish in the rushing white waters.

    We watched her for the better part of the day, sitting on the sun warmed rocks and catching our own fish downstream from the small family. By the end of the day, the more daring of the two cubs finally found the courage to approach us. His brother gave a squeal – which I suppose he intended as a growl – in warning, but the older cub ignored him and was awarded with a fish from our basket from his efforts. The smaller of the two brothers was quick to follow after that.

    Their fur was thick and soft when they finally let us close enough to touch, a beautiful shade of gold underneath the darker brown tips of their waterproof coats. Already there was an old and ancient wisdom in the liquid brown of their eyes – a burning weight of spirit that was even more so in the eyes of their mother, who still kept her distance from us. She had accepted the peaceful intentions in our hearts, but she was nonetheless of the wild and had no use for our attentions as such wild things did.

    Ost-in-edhil had been too open a land for such creatures, positioned as it was in the foothills of the Misty Mountains, far above the teaming forests that covered Eriador as a whole. Such a meeting was a blessing, and one that I smiled in memory of during the our trek back to Caras Galadhon.

    Now it was time for the Mettarë and Yestarë festivals – the last and first day of the year, according to our calenders, which coincided with the last day of winter and first day of spring. Already some of the smaller elven settlements had taken to celebrate Mettarë on the winter solstice – especially to coordinate with the festivals of the nearly settlements of Men, while Yestarë still fell on the spring equinox to mark the start of our year. Yet, Lórinand was old and set in its ways, and Mettarë was still observed alongside Yestarë.

    Mettarë was a solemn day of reflection and remembrance. We sang to the land and thanked it for sustaining us during the previous year, and with our last song, the winter was officially called to a close. It was tradition to give gifts on Mettarë, but those gifts were not opened until the following day – when the year began anew and we welcomed the renewed growth of the land with songs of thanksgiving and celebrations of good cheer.

    There were many in Lórinand who did not live in the confines of Caras Galadhon, and many more of the wandering bands of Silvan in the lands between the Misty Mountains and the Anduin river. Many made their way to Lórinand's capitol to celebrate the holiday with friends they would not see the rest of the year through, and the forest fairly teamed with new faces. This was also a time for clan heads to meet and talk, while wares were sold and traded in the markets that were set up just for this occasion. Judicial matters were seen to, and marriages that had been betrothed the year before were now officially bound and celebrated underneath the newly blooming trees. Three marriages were celebrated this year, more so than any year besides the first Yestarë the Sindarin spent dwelling in Lórinand, or so Amroth told me. This year, two children were also welcomed into our fold – a feat, when most years there was not even one child to present to our race of endless years. A couple could spend thousands of years together, but only one child was common and anything more than two was rare – for elvish parents literally gave up a piece of their own soul in order to create the soul of a child, and rarely did so when there was a sign of war hanging above our heads. Seeing the two smiling boys was a sign of a fruitful year to come – and a good omen for the feeling of Shadow that was growing all the more tangible with each passing season. The forest all but bristled with life and movement as a result, and none were immune to the good cheer in the air.

    My mother and Amdír had been planning for this meet, and I knew that they talked about the growing threat of Annatar over the mountains with all of the family heads, preparing for the possibility of violence in the future to come, hanging over all of our shoulders like storms in the sky.

    Amroth was beside himself with excitement for the Yestarë festivals, for this was one of the few days in the year when his reclusive Nimloth could be found mingling with the others of her kind. He did his hair in ornate braids, over which he settled a circlet of beaten silver. The metal was blemished with imperfections, resembling natural stone more so than any other richness, but it suited him. He was dressed in the full gilt and glamor of his station, handsome in his dark grey and forest green – so much so that Nórui paused when greeting him that morning, pretending to clean an imagined smudge from his cheek before he declared him presentable. Even grave Thandir was smiling at the side of his Prince, glad for his friend and his happiness.

    And yet, as Mettarë passed and we approached the later hours of Yestarë, I could not find any woman who caught Amroth's eye in particular. Aware that I could be potentially be causing a harm, I finally asked outright, “Which one is your Nimloth?”

    Amroth did not blink. “She did not come this year,” he finally admitted – to both himself and to me. His voice was toneless, and his expressive eyes were weighed down with his disappointment. My heart ached for him in reply. “I am afraid that I am not the best company for such a day as this,” he said, waving me on. “I do not wish to bring your spirits down.”

    “Aiding a friend can never exhaust one's spirits,” I replied, not wanting to leave him alone on a day that should have been happiness and cheer.

    “And yet, I would like the solitude,” Amroth said, flashing me a lopsided grin to tell me that his wish to be alone was from nothing I had done. “Please, I release you from your obligations as a friend.”

    I paused, still hesitant, but Nórui looped his arm through mine, and turned me away. He had known Amroth since childhood – along with Thandir, Amroth's guard, who stayed in his shadow even when we turned away. “Leave him,” Nórui said gently, his normally jovial voice grim. “She has plagued him for many years now, and she will continue to do so for many years to come, I foresee.”

    There was sadness in his voice on Amroth's behalf – and anger to the lock of his jaw and the tilt of his chin, I saw. He did not think too highly of this woman, I understood, and I could not help but share his ire without knowing her to hear her side of the story.

    “Sometimes, the fey ways of our souls are a curse more than a blessing,” Nórui said as we approached the main throng of people once more. “Be sure that your heart settles on a true match in the years to come, for I do not think that I would be able to stand by as I do now for Amroth.” Finally, his voice picked up a note of teasing, breaking through the heavy fog of emotion that had settled upon us.

    “I shall endeavor to do so for you,” I said in reply, amused. For a people of endless days, we often found our match of spirits within moments – our fëar knowing and recognizing our matches even without our con0scious minds deciding on a mate. For Thingol loved Melian at first sight, as had Beren been drawn to Lúthien. Human though he was, Tuor had noticed none but Idril with the splendor of Gondolin all around him, and even as a child, Eärendil had seen Elwing for the first and known. Our history was riddled with such matches, for good and for ill. Long ago, when I asked my mother, she had hesitated before saying that she learned to love my father. However, my father did not even blink before admitting that he had seen Galadriel and loved her from first sight. She had been as the second dawn of the sun to him, and he never looked back to the dark of night afterward.

    I hated that Amroth's soul bound him to someone who could not yet return his affections – for not always were such fey ways the thing of legend and the romance of a bard's tale. Sometimes, they were tragic.

    But Amroth was still young, and he had many years left to him. I could only hope and pray that this Nimloth realized the gift of what she had before it was too late.

    Nórui drew me back to where the festivities were still going strong, and I followed him. There was music coming from by a ring of harpist and the flute players, and many couples were already dancing. The dance was wild and moved quicker than I could make out a pattern or rhythm – these dances being ancient, handed down from generation to generation since the Awakening itself. Before coming to dwell in Lórinand I had known the careful and exacting steps of the Noldorin dances, taught to us by Vána herself. I knew too a good majority of the graceful and flowing Sindarin forms, and yet, there was something breathless and raw about the Silvan and their dancing – something that moved more with the song of the forest rather than the melody given by harp and drum.

    A ripple of cheer went through the crowd as we approached, and I realized the reason why. The March-wardens from the outer posts had come home for the Yestarë celebrations, and there were many who greeted family members and friends – some they had not seen since the last new year, I understood from the rapid conversations going on around me.

    I looked through the figures cloaked in grey, searching for a familiar face. I had still not said my apologies to Haldir, and I wanted to take this unexpected opportunity to set a grievance to right.

    I glanced from face to face, but could not find the one I sought. For a moment I felt my spirits fall, remembering Amroth saying that Haldir preferred the outer eaves of the forest, and even the lands beyond Lórinand when he could. He may not have been moved to return home, even for the celebrations surrounding Yestarë. I bit my lip, looking around one last time, before -

    “Do I dare presume that the lady searches for me?”

    A voice spoke at my back, and I spun to meet Haldir's bemused eyes and stern features. He was still dressed in his Warden''s garb, nearly blending in with the forest shadow that fell to dapple his shoulders. A quiver rested on his back, and he still wore his stone knives at his belt. He had sought me out before anything else, I realized, not quite sure what to make of that observation.

    “Perhaps,” I said, arching a brow in reply. I wanted to set things right between us, but I did not particularly want him to think me desperate to do so.

    “I am flattered,” Haldir said, and I looked, expecting there to be sarcasm in his gaze. Instead, he looked almost . . . uncomfortable as he stood before me. He did not know what to do with his hands, first resting them on the strap of his quiver, and then dropping them to tap restlessly at his sides. The tips of his ears were flushed a faint shade of pink, as if from embarrassment.

    My own ire softened almost instantly upon seeing so. I took a step forward, ready to break the barrier between us. “I wanted -” I said at the same time as he said, “Let me -” and we both stopped as one, clearly flustered.

    “I fear that I did not make the best of first impressions the last time we spoke,” Haldir began, and I inclined my head, sharing his sentiment entirely.

    “Sometimes my mouth runs away from me,” I admitted ruefully, “and I do not think on how to phrase my words before I speak. I was ungracious and needlessly cutting, and for that I apologize.” And for that only, the thought brushed my mind before I could push it aside.

    “You spoke your mind,” Haldir shook his head, disagreeing with me, “And you were not wrong. Indeed, I have thought on little else but for your words during the winter.” He looked down, fighting away a look of frustration before I could see it clearly upon his face. When he looked up again, he seemed more poised before my eyes, determination lining the steel of his brow. “I offer you my apologies, and ask that you see them as the truth they were not before.”

    A moment passed, and I inclined my head, feeling as if a weight was lifted from my shoulders. “I accept, and thank-you,” I said, my words lined with sincerity. “Perhaps,” I admitted wryly, “it would be best for us to simply start over.”

    “I agree,” Haldir said. A smile tugging on the corner of his mouth, he held out a hand out to me. “Let us begin again. I am Haldir, son of Hadrion, and may the stars shine upon the hour of our meeting.”

    I accepted his hand. “Greetings, Haldir, son of Hadrion. I am Celebrían, daughter of Celeborn, and I pray that the stars ever shine to guide your way.”

    “Much better the second time,” Haldir nodded. He tapped his fingers on the leather strap of his quiver once again, and his face settled, as if coming to some decision in his mind. “I know it is tradition to give gifts on Mettarë, but as our patrol was late upon arriving, I ask leave to give you this belatedly,” he said formally, reaching behind his back to unbuckle his quiver of arrows. He handed me the quiver, and I raised a brow, not understanding until I peered at the arrows within.

    I had never seen arrows fletched as these. They were made of a dark wood, long and straight, with wickedly sharp heads made from a black stone that I did not recognize. The feathers were strong and stiff beneath my fingers, cut to aim far and true – but it was the coloring of the feathers that caught my eye. They were brown, speckled with black and a pale shade of ash near the base, while the tips darkened to a deep color of jeweled green. I could think of no bird with feathers like this.

    “They are beautiful,” I praised, meaning my every word. “I have never seen anything like them.”

    “They are yours,” Haldir said then. “Unusual arrows to go with your rather unusual bow.”

    I blinked, surprised. These are too much, I first thought to say, but I did not want to be rude in pushing his gift away. Instead, I placed the arrow back inside the quiver with an appreciative hand. “I thank you,” I said, sincerity lining my words. “This is a great gift.” I understood how much time and effort must have went into their construction, and I meant what I said.

    “I am glad that you are pleased,” Haldir said, two spots of color highlighting his cheeks.

    “I am afraid that I have nothing to give to you in return,” I admitted ruefully. I moved to sling the quiver over my shoulder, already eager to try them with my bow.

    Haldir gave a half bow in a show of graciousness. “If you wish, view these as an apology, not as a gift for the new year,” he said. His eyes flickered past me, to the ring of dancing couples, and something like steel flashed in his green touched gaze. He took a breath, as if fortifying himself. “However, if you would do me the honor of a dance, I would consider that gift enough.”

    “A dance for these arrows?” I said. “It is not enough, but it shall have to do if it is what you wish.” Something about the line of his shoulders seemed to relax then, but only just.

    “Excellent,” Haldir said, offering me his arm, and I accepted.

    This was a truce between us, I understood. I still did not hold my opinions as wrong, and yet, such points of view could not be changed over night, and I would not ruin a new friendship I could make by forcing my views on him. I could only hope that with enough time – and more well formed reasoning on my part rather than words spoken in anger, that his thoughts would shift on their own. Until then, I would accept his cease-fire for what it was, and continue on from there.

    In the end, Haldir could have chosen better in a partner. The Silvan dances were quick and spinning, and I stumbled over my own two feet trying to learn the fast and wild paces. My clumsy steps broke the ice further between us, and Haldir proved to be a capable enough teacher. Soon enough I was not quite flowing with the others in the clearing, but I was no longer stumbling – and I would count that as a victory.

    The steps of the dance seemed to beat in time with the awakening of the forest. It was as if the trees heard our song and sang in tune - or rather, it was we who mimicked the song of the trees to encourage them to life once more. There was a deep lore and respect for the land itself in the Silvan's ways, and I could all but feel it pulsating in the clearing now. I hummed in the back of my throat, and the dance came more easily to me as I followed the pull in the air rather than the spin of the music. After doing so I was not an embarrassing partner for much longer.

    “You understand,” Haldir said simply when the music slowed, couples spinning arm and arm rather than fluttering too and from each other, only fingertips touching as they wheeled like butterflies in the wind.

    “I think I do,” I replied. “I can feel it . . . and yet I still feel like I am grappling to understanding half of a conversation, hearing a whisper when there is something louder reaching right beyond my grasp.” It was difficult to put such feelings into words, and I floundered. “But it is beautiful, and I am enjoying the search.”

    “It will come in time,” Haldir said, his voice warm. “Many felt as such when we first came to these trees, and the aura you now feel was the reason why many decided against moving on. The forest sings; once hearing her song it is hard to go far from her.”

    Curious, I tried to spy out his eyes, but I did not know him well enough to deign the thought therein. Was he born in Lórinand, I wanted to ask, or did he too cross the mountains with the Sindar? Then, there was also the green in his eyes and his heavily accented Sindarin – was there the blood of the Silvan in his veins? I wondered, but did not quite know how to ask.

    “I can imagine trees no more content in their forest as they are here,” I said rather than asking. And it was true. Even the great forests of Doriath – nay, even the wooded lands of Valinor – could fail to compare to the wonder here. At least, that was how it felt in moments like these, with the breath of the forest matching our own breath and the pulse between the trees pounding in time with our own hearts.

    “No more content, perhaps,” Haldir allowed, “And yet, there are strange and wondrous things to be found in the woods to the south of our borders. There, even the -”

    His voice broke off abruptly, and he looked at me, considering. “And yet, I fear that I cannot put into words what dwells in the trees of Fangaorne.”

    Fangaorne, I wondered at the ancient name, curious. Once was, the forests here stretched to carry on over the mountains and all the way across Eriador, stopping only at the sea itself. And yet, since the arrival of the Men from Númenor and their colonies established in Middle-earth, the great sailors had been harvesting the forests for use in their ship-building – even going as far to fell the trees and send the lumber back to Númenor, fueling the ship-yards there as well. So far, treaties with Gil-galad kept the destruction of mankind to a minimum – arranging that they took no more than the forest would be able to replenish, but there were careless harvesters amongst the Men, and already worry existed for the safety of the forests in the centuries to come. The Elves did not have the numbers to enforce the safety of the forests for the great span of Fangaorne, and, someday . . .

    But that was many years to come, I thought then, and the Men of Númenor were ruled with Kings of elven blood as descendants of Eärendil; heirs of Finwë and Elu Thingol both. My thoughts were naïve then, and I thought only: they had to understand. I could not comprehend how they could not hear the forest as it cried – even with their veins steeped in mortal blood. Even the Dwarves did not harvest so carelessly – and they were known for delving into the forests, determined to feed the fires of their forges to the point of obsession, even. Surely, these sons of Men would stay their hand before true damage was done.

    I shook away my thoughts, seeing as consideration grew in Haldir's gaze. “My brothers and I are to journey to the southern Marches to relieve the posts there. If you would care to join us, there is something there I think you would enjoy seeing.”

    My curiosity was struck. The music spun between us, and I nodded. “Yes,” I answered after a moment. “I would see what you have to show me.”

    ~MJ @};-
    RX_Sith likes this.
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Lovely! =D= The truce and the dance and the nature-watching. :D
  14. Space_Wolf

    Space_Wolf Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 13, 2007
    I do have a copy of the Unfinished Tales somewhere, but we've moved house so many times in the past few years that I have no clue what I've done with the book. I have found the wiki and other websites useful though because if I tried to read anything other than The Hobbit and LOTR without it, I would get lost. (I did try to read the Unfinished Tales and the Silmarillion once, but gave up because I wasn't prepared for the disconnected nature of them. I always wanted to know why dwarves and elves mistrusted each other so much (and also why dwarves didn't like trees - that isn't explained well in LOTR films and I just assumed that dwarves didn't like trees because elves tended to live in woods - it was only when I started looking into the incident with Thingol that I found out why.) The Book of Lost Tales also has some interesting things to add. I think this is something Ori will enjoy investigating.

    Edit: I did manage to find the book and read the Quest for Erebor bit. I found it quite amusing. It's a shame that it's not included as a supplement in the Hobbit because I bet most people don't know its existence.
  15. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    A dance to break the ice and bring about a true friendship that even the trees are happy.
  16. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    She has great friends and what a nice description of the gifts
  17. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Thank-you! There is a lot of 'in-between' material to cover here, and I am glad that you are enjoying this even still. :D [:D]

    Space_Wolf: (I did try to read the Unfinished Tales and the Silmarillion once, but gave up because I wasn't prepared for the disconnected nature of them.

    That can be a bit offputting, I know! 8-} It threw me too at first, but the Silmarillion is now my hands down favourite for its depth of plot and broad stretch of character arcs. It is such a pity that Tolkien couldn't flesh out that masterpiece as he no doubt envisioned it. That would have been amazing! [face_love]

    I always wanted to know why dwarves and elves mistrusted each other so much (and also why dwarves didn't like trees - that isn't explained well in LOTR films and I just assumed that dwarves didn't like trees because elves tended to live in woods - it was only when I started looking into the incident with Thingol that I found out why.) The Book of Lost Tales also has some interesting things to add. I think this is something Ori will enjoy investigating.

    You may find a bit of the information on Ents interesting below, then, as to why the Dwarves do not like the trees. :p If Ori is investigating, he is in the perfect spot. Ered Luin was the home of both the Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost, and I am sure he can dig up something. ;) BUT, there are also some beautiful stories to be found there too. The Dwarves of Belegost actually helped Thingol build his capitol of Menegroth, and the great pearl Nimphelos was gifted in return for their labor - it is still revered as a treasure amongst the Dwarves. Actually, the Dwarves of Belegost refused to aid the Firebeards of Nogrod in attacking Doriath, wanting nothing to do with a 'dishonorable' fight. At the dawn of the First Age the Sindar and the two Dwarf Fathers who awakened at Mount Dolmed - which would later be part of Ered Luin, and the start of the two Dwarf-clans there - fought side by side against Morgoth in the First Battle. Later, the Noldor made alliances with the Dwarves to fight against Morgoth's dragons with their (relative) resistance to fire. Somewhere down the line, those tales have to be remembered before the wounds dealt between the races. [face_love] (And I am so sorry for getting wordy here, I shall shut-up now! :p)

    Edit: I did manage to find the book and read the Quest for Erebor bit. I found it quite amusing. It's a shame that it's not included as a supplement in the Hobbit because I bet most people don't know its existence.

    That story is a fun bit. I am glad you found it helpful! :D

    RX_Sith: Perfectly surmised! :)

    earlybird-obi-wan: She really does. [face_love] Thank-you for reading, as always! :)

    Entry XV

    The March-wardens did not stay long in Lórinand. After a week or so they were ready to move to their spring posts, and I set out with them. I had not yet been to the southern expanses of the forests, and in those days, before Sauron's devastating march across the land, there was no barren land between the woods of Lórien and the woods of Fangaorne. Instead the forests stretched from the river Ninglor, north of the Dimril Dale, all the way south to the lands that are now the great plains of Rohan. At the time of my penning these words, so little of the forests of old remain; but the trees still standing remember, and, in a way, are all the more glorious for their loss.

    Yet, in those days, I could not fathom a world without the forests as I then knew them. Our trip was long, but spent in good company amongst the Wardens. Haldir was mostly silent as we walked, only speaking when he had something to say. Yet when he did speak I was able to glimpse a mind steeped in forest lore and rich with tales from the lands beyond Lórinand. He had been as far north as the Grey Mountains that marked the furthest border of the Greenwood, and as far south as where the Great River poured into Sundering Sea at the border of what would now be known as the desserts of South Gondor. He had restless feet, and there were times when he would leave for a year or more when not patrolling with Lórinand's guard. Before leaving, Amroth told me that he now kept to Lórien more often than not. Haldir had risen quickly through the ranks, so quickly that he was now a likely candidate for the captain of the guard in the centuries to come. He would not leave as often as he once had for the sake of duty.

    During our journey, I was able to better acquaint myself with Haldir's brothers. Orophin was softly spoken, and it took much patience to draw him into a conversation. Even so, he wore a small, pleased smile when he finally answered my queries, and his humor was surprisingly wry when I coaxed him to utter more than a word or two - the kind of sharp insight that you could easily miss if you but blinked. Curiously, Rúmil did not utter a word as the days past. Not one. At first I thought that he was still offended by my cross words with his brother, but I soon noticed that he did not speak with anyone in the group. He stayed close to Orophin's side, and I thought that there was a time or two when they communicated between their minds, but I could not spy anything more than that.

    When we set up camp on the second night, Orophin caught my curious stare and touched my shoulder to turn my attention to him.

    “Rúmil does not speak,” he said simply as he sat down next to me. “He was young when we crossed the mountains, too young, perhaps. Our mother . . . she fell during the journey, and while he was old enough that he did not fade to follow her, the scars still remain on his fëa.”

    I felt my heart twist at his words, for such was a tale heard too often amongst our kind. The bond between souls that bore children also made those very young dependent upon those bonds. For a parent and child to be parted before a child's soul could survive on its own . . . the results were always tragic.

    “She fell?” I asked, my mouth dry as I shaped my question.

    Orophin looked as if he would tell me, but Haldir sat down to my right, and at a look from his brother Orophin changed his mind. “She fell,” he simply repeated on a whisper, and would say no more.

    My curiosity was piqued, but I was prevented from pushing for more when another in our group pulled out a harp and started to sing a star-song in welcome to the night. The Silvan singer was wistful with memory for the time before the Sun and Moon, and all fell silent to listen to him. Haldir, I thought, looked a little too attentive, but I let him take his escape. I did not truly wish to pry where I was not wanted.

    Three days later, the forest thinned noticeably, before turning dense again, rolling over hills and deep, rocky ravines. The feel of the forest changed around me. Where Lórinand felt gold and silver to my senses, this forest felt blue and purple, if such an aura could wholly be put into words. The trees thickened again, but instead of the straight, tall trunks I had known in Lórien, these trees were unruly, twisting and twining in strange and exotic shapes as they grew one about the other. Vines and curtains of moss draped from the tall branches, and the ground was thick and spongy beneath our feet as we walked deeper and deeper still into the woods. Fog rose from the ground, billowing in white and phantasmal patterns against the silver-blue and purple-grey of the trees in the morning light. The song of the forest turned about me, different, but no less poignant than the one I was coming to know in Lórinand.

    “We are no longer in Lórien,” I observed, turning to Haldir.

    “Indeed not,” Haldir confirmed. “We have passed into the eaves of Fangaorne. Our posts are on Lórien's border, but there is a spring move in the forest that we observe out of respect for the Tree-host. We head there now.”

    I looked at him curiously, but he would say no more. When we came as far as the river Limlîht, we stopped and climbed into the tall trees to wait for something past my ability to see. I settled in, staring into the forest to espy whatever it was that had the Wardens so enthralled. Conversation, if it was made, was conducted in low whispers so as to not disturb the serenity of the woods around us. Each set of eyes searched the woods, flickering too and fro over every forest shadow. A tangible excitement clung to our group, and I restlessly tapped my fingers against my thigh in response.

    “We may wait here for minutes or days,” Haldir said after a moment. “The Caretakers never quite keep to the same schedule, or if they do, it is one in their own minds only.”

    I looked at the forest shadow with a renewed interest, an idea of just what I was looking for brushing across my thoughts. To see them would be a story come to life, and I could not yet wrap my mind around the idea.

    In the branch opposite of us, Orophin chattered softly at Rúmil, who, as ever, said nothing in reply. However, that did not keep Orophin from trying, and I felt a pang in my chest for the earnestness of his efforts – unfaltering for decades now.

    Haldir caught my gaze. “Your mother met with him after Yestarë,” he said, his voice as quiet as the forest. “She says that he will someday speak, but she has not of the healer's gift to heal the lines on his fëa, though she can see them clearly. Her words gave us renewed hope.”

    I heard the subtle undertones of awe and thankfulness in Haldir's voice, and knew that my mother had won a faithful follower for the years to come. A slight smile touched my mouth, happy as I was for their hope, but still troubled for the reason behind its need.

    “You crossed the mountains, then?” I asked, seeing an opportunity to ask the questions that had been pressing against me. “With your accent, I could not ascertain if you were born in Lórinand or not.”

    My asking caused a full smile touch Haldir's mouth. “It is something that confuses many,” he answered after a moment, amused. “Our mother was of the Nandor – Denethor's daughter, from Ossiriand that was. When the Green-elves moved from the river-lands to Doriath after Denethor's death, my mother met my father – Hadrion, who is the only son of Mablung - ”

    “ - the Captain of Thingol's guard,” I finished hollowly. I fought the urge to wince at the revelation. Mablung had served Thingol with all of the devotion that a sovereign could ever ask from his favoured warrior, and their friendship had been close indeed – only Beleg Strongbow, perhaps, holding a closer place in Mablung's heart. He died outside of the treasury in Menegroth after Thingol fell, and his name lived in legend amongst my people still to this day.

    “Yes,” Haldir answered carefully. His eyes held mine for a moment before falling away to the forest again. “When Doriath was destroyed completely, my father, rather than moving to the Havens of Sirion, took to traveling with those remaining of my mother's kin in the river-lands. I was born in no named place, and lived a nomadic life with the Green-elves until the dawn of the Second Age. Hence, my rather strange way of speaking, or so I have been told.”

    The Nandor and the Silvan were but one race, separated only by the mountains. Little was left of the Nandor way of life, and what remained would have merged seamlessly with their kin of old. I fiddled with the ends of one of my braids as he spoke, piecing the story together with what I already knew and observed.

    “You were met by Amdír's host when he crossed,” I continued thoughtfully. “You joined him then?”

    “Amdír came across our band just after setting out from Lindon, and he remembered my father from Doriath. He spoke of rejoining our long lost folk over the mountains, and there were those amongst the Nandor who found the idea appealing. The more they spoke about it, the more they wished to seek out those they had been sundered from for centuries. My mother was hesitant, for while Orophin and I were old enough to endure such a journey, Rúmil had only then reached his first decade, and such a venture was not to be taken lightly for one so young.”

    So young, I thought with a pang. It was no wonder that he still did not speak.

    Haldir's jaw clenched for a moment, and then he moved on. “But her people wished, and as Denethor's daughter it was to her to make it so. So, we crossed the mountains with Amdír's host, and settled in Lórinand.”

    That was not it . . . there was more to the story, I could feel it pressing in against me like a weight, as heavy as the fog in the air. “And your mother?”

    For a moment, I thought he would not tell me. He was silent, his eyes drawn to a sound in the woods. I too turned, but saw only a squirrel who had misjudged his leap, falling through the branches while his companion chattered at him from above. I blinked, and looked back to Haldir.

    “There was a storm in the mountains,” he said, his every word pushed from his mouth. “Common enough, and yet, tales tell of the mountain itself moving when the storms rage above. We had already made our way down the path – Orophin too was still young, and my father helped him on the narrow ledge. Our mother was separated from us up above, for she moved slower with Rúmil. The side of the mountain fell, and they were left hanging on . . .” he swallowed, his words catching in his throat.

    “We could not reach her, not from below, and there was no way for us to make the climb to help her from above. And yet, we were not the only ones to cross the pass that day.” He was silent for a moment more, his eyes studiously on the trees.

    I felt my heart twist, a whisper of foreboding telling me where his words were heading. Not in those wounds ancient, but those fresh and tender to the touch, I remembered my mother's voice in my mind. I remembered and I understood.

    “In those years, the Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost were just venturing forth from their ruined homes in Ered Luin to seek out their kin in Moria. They were hard and angry, for they were the sons of those that fell in repayment for Thingol's death – some may have been of that generation itself, even. I will never forget the flame of his beard as the Dwarf looked down at my mother . . . and then turned away. He had only to reach down his hand . . . and yet, such a thing was fitting, the Dwarf said in our tongue, making sure that we would understand his words. Their own clan was crippled by their losing so many of their dwarrowdams when Beren and his army sought vengeance for his wife's kin, and he thought to repay an eye for an eye. After the Dwarf turned, my mother was able to get Rúmil up to safety, but at the cost of her own life.” He finished his story in clipped and simple words, as if anything more was beyond his ability to speak.

    For a moment, there was only the sound of the forest between us; the wind through the branches, and the chattering of the cold stream over the rock below. Strange birds gave long and warbling calls, singing to the forest as the day awakened around us. I gave Haldir a moment to collect himself, unsure of what to say in reply. I wished that I was my mother then, full of wisdom and poised words so as to aid the grief I could clearly see before me. But all I could do was push the vaguest sense of sympathy and support towards him, and hope that it helped but little.

    “Where is your father now?” I asked after a long time had passed, wanting to break the silence between us.

    “He crossed the river with Oropher's folk,” Haldir asked after a moment. “He could not abide living so close to Moria, and his heart was quick with anger, even with the healing of Lórinand.”

    “And yet, you stayed?” I was surprised.

    Haldir looked down. “Lórinand has a peace about it, a healing; and it has done Rúmil good. Oropher's spirit is quick and biting, and I did not want to serve such a leader – and I most certainly did not want Rúmil around a people who saw fit to follow him. I have been more of a father to my brother than Hadrion, for while he did not blame Rúmil for my mother's death, per say, there has never been warmth between them since.”

    Another sound came from the forest. Haldir's head snapped up, but it was not that which he so carefully searched for. He looked to me again. “I wish Moria's children no ill will, and I would not leave Lórinand for our proximity to the mountain people. Nogrod's survivors are few and now intermixed with the sons of Durin; generations have passed since the murders committed by their forefathers. I would not hold that against them to the point where I would leave my home on their account.”

    I was silent, reevaluating what I had previously thought to so completely understand. I felt small in the wake of my hasty words then, small and humbled. And yet, not completely wrong, I still allowed myself.

    Haldir tucked a smile away when he saw my first moment of dubiousness at his words. “I saw your eyes when I mentioned Mablung's death – but I never knew my grandfather, and I would not leave his murder at the feet of an entire race. Indeed, the Dwarves of Belegost were great friends of Doriath in the Elder Days. All too often our people forget who it was who helped us carve Menegroth from stone; who it was who stood shield to shield with us in the First Battle against Morgoth.” He seemed amused by the doubt in my reaction. “Although I see that you have built up quite the opposite picture of me in your mind. I have little liking for the Dwarves, it is true, and I find it hard to trust them. But I do not wish them ill, and when need be I can stand beside them in peace for the good of both of our races. . . I had thought myself more healed than that until your words pointed out my own shortcomings.”

    His voice was thoughtful then, wry even, and I was reminded then of my father. Such was Celeborn's opinions on the children of Aulë, even after my mother's gentle patience and subtle coaxing over the years. Sometimes, I thought then, our long memories were a burden, making deeds of centuries ago seem as but days . . .

    My temples pounded then, burdened by the twisting of my thoughts.

    “I meant it when I said that I reflected much on your words over the winter,” Haldir said again. On my back, the gift of his arrows felt heavy. “And I realized that the feeling of foreboding I bear for the Gonnhirrim, I bear for all of the races. It is true, my heart bodes ill for the greed and arrogance of the Dwarves.” And upon hearing so, I could not help but think of the sleeping monster, deep beneath Moria, safe only so long as the King Under the Mountain reigned with wisdom and a restrained hand. “And yet, I fear their greed the same as I fear the hunger of Men. It is the same as I worry for the staleness and . . . while I hate to dub it apathy, apathy is what it is, that comes to our race with our many years.”

    There was wisdom in his words, I could not help but think. Was that not why we were here in Lórinand to begin with? The forces that pushed us here . . . if worse came to worst, then our closest allies were the Dwarves in Moria and Oropher's folk in the Greenwood. Who knew how long we had to heal old hurts in order to work together for the good of all? One year? Fifty? A hundred? At the very least, strides had been made this day, and I felt a twinge of hope as I thought about the years to come.

    And yet, my thoughts were interrupting by a movement in the wood. I peered into the mist, and -

    “Shh,” Haldir put a finger before his mouth. I looked, and saw where all of the Wardens leaned forward from their perches in the trees. Even silent Rúmil blinked, his eyes glittering for the arrival of something . . . something tall and slow and old . . . I could feel an old presence touch my senses, an ancient presence that breathed with the forest and exhaled with the wind in the trees. No, I corrected myself, the forest breathed with these beings . . . these . . .

    Onodrim, I understood as my heart twisted in excitement. The great Shepards of the forest.

    I looked, and sure enough, what seemed to be the trees themselves moved towards us. The Tree-folk were tall beings, standing some fourteen feet high, with limbs like branches and soft brown skin covered in layers of grey bark and green moss. They stood on massive trunks of legs, with seven toed feet that stretched like roots as they moved slowly over the ground. Their deep eyes were brown, shot through with a green light - within seemed to glow all the wonder and glory of Yavanna herself. There were about a dozen of them, moving slowly eastward. If they noticed us, they did not slow – to an even more sedate pace than already they used, but many of the Wardens stood as if preparing to follow.

    “They head to visit the Entwives across the Anduin,” Haldir said to my wide eyes. “They go every few summers to try and convince their woman folk to return to Fangaorne. But the Entwives like to cultivate the land; to order the fruit tree and the planted field to yield before their labors. They want more than the wild growth of the forest, and yet, the Onodrim cannot quite see their point of view – so they migrate to visit each other when they can, each one content in their place.”

    “My father has such stories to tell about the Onodrim,” I said. “He was one of the ones who first taught them speech in the woods of Ossiriand, and Fangorn himself holds a special place in his heart.” Fangorn, whom my father simply called Eldest, and revered above most.

    “You shall see Fangorn on this march,” Haldir said. “Though, if you bring up Fimbrethil, you will not be able to get a word in edgewise. They took the gift of speech and expanded upon it at length, as you will see.”

    “We shall accompany them?” I asked, unable to keep the excitement from my voice.

    “To the Anduin,” Haldir answered. “It has been tradition for many years, and the Onodrim are always . . . glad for listening ears.”

    And I was more than ready to listen, I thought, joy in my heart as I too rose to follow.

    To this day, that first march with the Ents remains a treasured moment in the long years of my memories. There had been Entwives waiting on the far river, and to know that their great and fertile gardens were turned to ash underneath the wheels of Sauron's armies, one torn from the other during the long days of their separations . . . It was a thought that caused me a deep sorrow, even to the day I left the shores of Middle-earth.

    And yet, the Ents still sing of hope for the future to come, believing in reunions and lost loves found once more. Theirs is a song shared by all who toil in Ennor, in one form or another. The glory of the forests in those days now survives only in the memories of my people, but it is a memory I treasure. I treasure, and I hope . . .

    I simply hope. For now, I place my quill down, and remember the old songs the Onodrim had sang to the trees as they passed – chastising unruly sprouts and greeting old oaks like cherished friends, all the while singing in anticipation of greeting their spouses across the river beyond. Their words were long, but worth the time it took to listen. Even now, thousands of years later, I remember. I close my eyes now, hearing the waves themselves roll in time to their song as I was carried even further West.

    End Notes:

    The Rivers Ninglor and Limlîht: The Gladden river, and the river Limlight, in the Sindarin tongue.

    Nandor: The Green-elves/Laiquendi, who broke from the Great Journey to settle in the river-lands of Ossiriand. They are the Silvan of the eastern side of the Misty Mountains, and kin to the Sindar as well. Haldir's parentage presented me with a pickle, because I wanted him to have crossed the mountains, but I also wanted to explain the 'accent' Frodo heard in FoTR. This was my solution. (Christopher Tolkien said in the notes of the UT that Silvan as a language would have died out midway through the Second Age, but words and 'tones' remained, and so, Frodo did not hear a different tongue than Sindarin, but rather, a more rustic form of Sindarin compared to the very high form he was used to hearing in Rivendell – a small geek note, but there you have it! :))

    Fangaorne: The Sindarin name for Fangorn Forest. There is an interesting passage in the UT where Fangorn said to the original king of the Galadrim: I know mine, and you know yours . . . but if an Elf should walk in my land for pleasure he will be welcome, and if an Ent should be seen in your land fear no evil. So, once was, there was no distinction or boundary between Lórinand and Fangorn. The forests were that all-encompassing before Sauron burned through the land on his march to Eriador. :(

    Ents: Onodrim in Sindarin. Also known as the Tree-host and Caretakers. When Aulë created the Dwaves, Yavanna his wife despaired over her forests, foreseeing just what would be used to fuel the forges of the Dwarves. She entreated Manwë to speak to Eru, and Eru gave her the Ents as a race to safeguard the forests against the axes of the Dwarves. In the eldest of days, the Elves taught the Ents to speak, 'curing them from their dumbness – always wanting to speak to everything, the Elves of Old were.' There was a great friendship between Ents and Elves – Ents even aided Beren and his army when they chased the army of Dwarves from Nogrod out of love for Thingol (and Lúthien, who dwelt in their forest in Ossiriand as a mortal, but, I digress!). Unfortunately, by the time Pippin and Merry met Treebeard, the Ents were few from the destruction of their forests, and the few remaining Elves (compared to their once great numbers in the First Age) retreated to their own realms to defend against Sauron.

    Entwives: Where the Ents loved the wild of the forests, the Entwives loved to cultivate the land, farming and fielding and 'teaching their craft to others'. They lived across the Anduin river, and the Ents would visit them to try to convince them to come back to the forests. (There is a lovely song about this in TTT that Treebeard sings.) They 'lost' the Entwives when Sauron marched across the land, turning the gardens of the Entwives to the Brown Lands – but there has been a curious sighting or two around the Shire (a people who cultivate and love the land) that may suggest that the Entwives have not gone too far. ;)

    Fangorn: Better known as Treebeard. [face_love] Celeborn simply refers to him as 'Eldest' in a form of respect in ROTK – so I am guessing as to an older friendship there, especially if Celeborn was one of the ones to give the Ents speech.

    ~MJ @};-
    RX_Sith and Nyota's Heart like this.
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Beautiful - wonderful - I felt I was there right in the majestic forest =D= =D= Haldir's personal history - so fraught with burdens of hurt and resolve and choices to forgive. @};- A very thoughtful and insightful conversation he and Celebrian had. :)
  19. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Great to see more about Haldir's history and Rumil, he should speak again.
  20. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    It's too bad that Celebrian is more like an afterthought in LOTR and the follow-up movies. We don't get to see her at all due to what happens to her. I do though appreciate her back story and the uniqueness of her character.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  21. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Why thank-you! Events will culminate in the future with Moria and Lórien having to work together, so it is interesting setting the groundwork for that now. Haldir too is a character who really leapt from the outline to come to life, and I am glad you enjoyed the history I concocted. :) [:D]

    earlybird-obi-wan: That will definitely be a plot point in the time to come. [face_love] As always, thank-you so much for reading! [:D]

    RX_Sith: It is a shame that circumstances forced her West before the stories told in LoTR, that's for sure. :( Most of what we know about Celebrían is all in footnotes and small bits and pieces, so I am having a blast building her tale from the ground up. I am thrilled to hear that you find her story unique and enjoyable. [:D]

    Now, for this update we have our first jump forward in time. Tolkien had some very odd gaps in years during the events in the Second Age, and I am going to do my best to fill them in - but, more about the timeline will be addressed in later notes! The only note I would add for this entry is that Brokkr, Sindri, and Eitri are all names stolen from Norse Mythology. They were the Dwarf brothers whom Loki goaded into forging Thor's hammer, and had the dubious privilege of sewing his mouth shut when he sweet-talked his way out of giving the Dwarves his head in exchange for the hammer. (I know. *sigh* Loki */sigh* :p) Technically, Sindri and Eitri are translations of the same name. :)

    Now, that said, I thank you all for reading, and hope that you enjoy this latest entry!

    Entry XVI

    For the most part, our first years in Lórinand passed quietly. The forests were silent and peaceful, continuing onward as they had for centuries; much as they would continue to do so long after those dwelling beneath their branches would depart. I learned much in those years, growing and deepening my wisdoms in ways I had not whilst living in Ost-in-edhil.

    I met Haldir at the turn of every new year, and observing the march of the Onodrim turned into a custom between us. When he was stationed at the western marches, he would often accompany me past the shade of Lórinand to the Dwarf-roads just beyond. There I would meet the traders from Moria, who were ever passing to and from the Anduin vales with their wares. I became a familiar sight to them, and they carried my correspondences with Nothri back and forth with good humor for the unconventional shape of our friendship. As the years passed our bond grew strong and stronger still, mainly deepening through our letters, which spoke of everything from his burdens of state to my own exploits and discoveries in Lórinand.

    Once, when Haldir accompanied me to the Dwarf-road, it was Loni himself who delivered Nothri's letters to me. I darted a glance at my companion, but he said nothing more than polite pleasantries, and his interaction with the Firebeard was civil. Loni too looked curiously at Haldir, but there was nothing more to their encounter than that.

    I expected Haldir to say something about the Nogrodrim once we turned back to Lórinand, but all he said was: “Have you ever seen a more curious colour of hair?” and nothing more.

    It took me a moment to reply. “The Dwarves are blessed by Aulë,” I said thoughtfully. “Such a colour should not be too terribly surprising.” Besides the House of Mahtan in Valinor – the copper-smith who was beloved by Aulë – it was a very rare elf who bore hair the color of flame.

    “You speak so easily,” Haldir teased, glancing at me from the corner of his eye. “Did you too not stare at the first?”

    “Perhaps I stared a very little,” I returned. “And yet, they found my own hair to be an equal oddity, so the fascination was mutual.”

    Haldir gave a true smile in reply, and I was pleased - even relieved - that meeting the Firebeard had not dampened his spirits with memories.

    When we stopped for the night, I showed him the moon-runes that Nothri used to write to me. The paper, once blank, came to life before our eyes as Ithil rose fat and full above us. The runes danced upon the parchment in welcome to the night, shimmering from silver to blue as clouds passed before the light of the moon. Even after years of such a feat, I could not help but smile at its novelty, and this time was no exception.

    Haldir was not as impressed. “A pretty, but ultimately wasteful trick,” he said – raising a brow dubiously when I told him that the runes could be further enchanted to only show during a certain phase of the moon, or when certain words of Power were spoken. “While useful for secrets, much will be lost that would be better found in the years to come.”

    “Perhaps,” I returned. “But the secret of the runes shall be remembered, and as long as that secret is known, the words can be recovered again.”

    “So you say,” Haldir was not convinced. “Either way, such a form of communication is tacky and extravagant – a showy waste of wealth. Yes, it is a very dwarven invention to my eyes.”

    I looked up at him, but when I recognized the humor in his voice, I simply rolled my eyes in reply to his words. Swatting at his arm, I took the parchment back from him, eager to read Nothri's latest letter and compose my own in reply.

    Two summers following, when traveling westward along the Nimrodel to deliver my latest bundle of letters to Nothri (yes, perhaps I got a little carried away) we encountered a woman singing in the wood.

    Her song was enchanting and lovely, sung in a language ancient and long out of use – one that I only recognized from the snatches of Silvan that had survived in Lórinand's every day speech. Her voice seemed to be something more than that produced by a mouth and breath, for her song was the laughter of the river and the dance of the cool water over the stones. It was the trees where the wind brushed fondly through their tall branches, coaxing their leaves to dance. I stopped, unable to keep myself from listening.

    I could not make a clear sight of her. Like a glimpse of a doe in the dappled sunlight, I caught but a flash of pale hair and the darkest of green skirts, but then I could see her no more.

    “Was that . . .” I started, but could not finish my thought.

    “Nimrodel?” Haldir finished for me. “Yes, that was her.” He was silent for a moment, a story I had long glimpsed at resting in his. He sighed. “She followed our host when we first entered the forest, but she would speak with none but Amroth. She was drawn to him, and he, in turn, was bewitched by her.”

    “He is smitten,” I said, remembering Amroth's eyes as they fell with every passing Yestarë that she did not attend. I felt a pang in my chest, wishing more for my friend.

    “As completely as Thingol was by Melian,” Haldir agreed. “He is enchanted, and has no wish to break free.”

    I looked down the river, hoping to catch sight of her again. While I could see her no more, the river still carried her song, singing softly and sweetly into the mid-day light. “Is there any future for them?” I asked after a moment.

    Haldir paused before answering. “Nimrodel is very fey,” he at last said. “She is of the earth, of the water. She remembers the stars and mourns the light that the sun cast on war and discord. She can feel the Shadow upon the land, and she will not wed with her mind so ill at ease.”

    “Hence the talain.” I whispered, understanding. “Amroth wanted to create a haven for her.”

    Haldir shrugged. “And still it is not enough. Nimrodel smiles for Amroth, but she will not pledge her hand with his, and so Amroth waits, and hopes.”

    “Would that he could love someone worthy of his devotion,” I said, unable to hold a note of frustration back from my voice. I could only think of Amroth earnest and hopeful, peeringinto the forestand waiting for Nimrodel to show her face. My heart hurt in response to his own pains, and I could not keep from feeling so.

    Haldir looked at me, and there was something strange in his gaze. “I would merely call him patient. He understands that some hearts require time.”

    He did not blink, nor did he look away from me, and I at long last looked down, as if drawn by the river's song. I did not look up for a long time, and when I did, Haldir too had lost his gaze in the river.

    More years passed, until one day I stopped and realized just how long we had dwelt in Lórinand. Nothri's latest letter was joined by an invitation, for Fáfnir his father had grown ill with his many years, and he wished to pass his crown on to his son while he still had the vitality to do so. How old was Nothri now? I had to pause and count my own years. Ninety-two years had passed since the first time I travelled through Moria, I realized with a start . . . which would put Nothri just over a hundred and twelve years of age come the spring.

    . . . Already? I narrowed my brow, thinking about the swiftness of time as it passed. It seemed just yesterday that I journeyed to Moria to see Nothri wed his bride – a strong and fierce Longbeard who stood as the perfect foil for his softer sensibilities and warm kindness. At first, he had worried that he would come to love his mate – for he, like most Dwarves, chose a wife for her strength and the might of her name, as befit the future Queen of Moria. He had counted himself as blessed when love grew between them, and for that I too was grateful - for I could not imagine a marriage based on anything else.

    Nearly twenty years ago I journeyed to Moria to see the celebrations surrounding the birth of Nothri's heir – a beautiful black haired boy named Brokkr, who was as much a light to his parents as he was a reason for his people to rejoice for their King to come. I had missed the birth of Sindri, his daughter, some fifteen years ago, but nine years prior I had seen his second son born – a boy named Eitri, with bright, watchful eyes who smiled even as a babe. While holding him I could feel the mountain's song in his tiny pulse, and I knew that he would be a great crafter of wares in his years to come.

    Thanks to Nothri's letters, I already knew of Fáfnir's failing health. It was something that weighed upon my friend, and I had always been at a loss of what to say in reply. I had never experienced even a common sickness in my lifetime, let alone knowing of someone who suffered from the curious failing of heart that his father did. Now, to know that Fáfnir had but months left to him was something that I could not comprehend. He had been the picture of vigor and health the first time I passed through Moria, and to imagine that his beard could whiten, that his brow could crease with age . . . it was something I could not understand.

    And yet, it was as Nothri had said. I saw Fáfnir during the ceremony, and where once his great beard was black, now it was white from where it hung from the hollow lines of his face. His strong brow was heavily creased by time; his skin spotted in places as if bruised. He stood with a stooped back, leaning upon a gilded cane. Even so, his eyes were untouched by the time that crippled him. His gaze was clear and blue and strong – and openly did the King of Moria blink back proud tears as he took his crown from his own brow to set it atop his son's head. There were no cheers for the new King, not yet. Instead there was a solemn silence that turned into the chanting of a thousand tongues as those gathered bowed their heads and sang to Aulë, asking their Maker to bless their new king in the years to come.

    As I had for Nothri's wedding – a ceremony that outsiders were normally forbidden from witnessing – I stayed to the back of the Great Hall and to the side, not wanting to stand obviously in a place where I so clearly did not belong. I understood the great honor Nothri granted me in being able to witness such a sacred event, and while I had not yet mastered Khuzdul to the point where I would join in their song, I did hum in the back of my throat, offering my voice to the prayer as it rose to fill the massive chamber with a strength that was all but living in its potency.

    Not only did Aulë bless the Dwarf-king, but the superstitions of the Dwarves said that Durin himself would come to dwell in the heart of his heir - to see through his eyes and rule through his scepter. The sacredness of the coronation was where they believed such a transfer would happen, and all waited with baited breath. I did not know if it was the spirit of Durin or the blessing of Aulë, and yet, something hot and powerful settled over the chamber as the song reached its crescendo, only to vanish completely with the last whisper of voice.

    Then and only then did the people cheer, and Fáfnir embraced his crowned son, pride and adoration shining from his eyes.

    The feast to follow was grand indeed. The celebrations were open to all in the mountain, and every public corridor and open space of Moria seemed to be flowing with strong ale and rich delicacies as their new King was toasted and honored from the highest of courtiers to the lowest of bellow-workers. While I was glad to be present to see Nothri receive his crown, I kept to myself during the festivities, not wanting to give the tongues that disapproved of my presence any more reason more to wag. This moment was for Nothri's family and his people, and so, I found my feet wandering to where a few of the elderly dwarrowdams had the children of the royal family and highest noble-dwarves gathered in a hall of fountains and luminescent blue stone, minding them while their elders enjoyed the festivities for the night.

    I sat down at one of balconies overlooking the hall of fountains, and let the murmur of the water and the laughter of the children mingle with the sound of the revelries from beyond. Both filled me with a sense of joy, one that I held close as I found a moment of peace amongst the chaos and good cheer.

    I do not know how long I sat there before I was joined, but I looked up when a shadow fell over my spot on the bench, smiling to see Nothri himself. He was resplendent in the dark blue and black of Durin's house. Mithril lined his beard and circled each finger, while giant sapphires and yellow diamonds were sewn into every hard geometric design upon his doublet. He too looked worlds different from the youth I had first met in Moria, all of those years ago. Wrinkles creased the corners of his eyes in smiling lines, and age touched his the black of his hair white in one eye catching lock that flowed from his temple.

    For a moment I could not help but stare, processing the differences that letters could not quite capture. The youth I had first met had just started to grow hair upon his chin, but the man before me had his beard elaborately braided down the front of his chest, showing the years he had put into such an accomplishment with both boasting and pride. He was handsome with his strong features and his curling black hair – more majestic than fair, I had at last come to decide. He looked every inch Durin's heir with his bearing and grace.

    And yet, his eyes had aged more than anything else. Wisdom and insight filled his pale blue gaze, shining from behind his warmth and kindness - fitting, I thought, to match the weight of the crown atop his head, a wonder far outshining any other bauble he wore for his coronation. I looked at the great diamonds set into his crown. There were seven of them, representing both the stars of Durin and the First Fathers themselves. Each was the size of a walnut, and all glittering with the facets that had been cleverly cut to emphasize their perfection and brightness.

    His crown, I thought, looked very heavy indeed.

    “It is,” Nothri said wryly after a moment, “as heavy as it looks.”

    “You, my friend,” I said in reply, “have an uncanny ability to read my thoughts.”

    “Such a talent,” Nothri deadpanned, “is not only a gift belonging to the Elves.”

    “So I have proof of before me,” I replied, standing so that I could bow properly in greeting to the newly crowned King of Moria.

    “Please,” Nothri waved me up, “I have had quite enough of such protocol to fill all my days, and I have not spent one turn of the sun as King.”

    “Very well,” I straightened from my curtsey. “Though you deserve every form of respect as it comes. I am happy for you, Nothri, and want you to know that your father was not the only one to shed tears of joy to see you don Durin's crown.”

    His cheeks flushed beneath his beard, and I bit back a smile at the sight, joining him as he sat on the bench by my side. His youngest son was one of the children playing below, and the smiling little boy paused from where he had been involved in a game of tag with Sviur and Austri's children to wave a chubby hand up at the balcony above. He was a tiny thing with a thick mop of curling black hair, and I could not help but smile at the absolutely adorable picture that the children made as one tackled him for his moment of inattention. But Eitri was on his feet a moment later, their game resumed as easily as if he had never stopped to welcome his father.

    It seemed that just days ago Austri had been that young at her brother's side. Now she was a mother of two daughters herself – and two princesses blessed to the royal family was said to be a gift from Aulë himself – and so accomplished in her smith-craft that she had crafted all of the finery that Nothri wore, all but for Durin's crown itself. I felt an ache, thinking of how quickly time was passing for my mortal friends, but that was a thought I quickly tried to push away, not wanting to think of it until I was confronted with the full truth of their limited days.

    “It is staggering,” Nothri muttered, watching his son as he played, “Just how quickly they grow. Just yesterday I could hold him in the crook of my arm to the palm of my hand. Now he grows too tall to even sit in my lap.”

    I could hear the wonder in his voice; the mingled fear and pride of a father. I felt warmth fill me for it. “You are a good father,” I said after a moment. “Your children adore you.”

    “Yes,” Nothri muttered, “but can I be father to all?” He bowed his head, looking troubled with the weight that rested upon his shoulders, no doubt as seemingly heavy as the mountain itself. “It . . . it frightens me, the idea that I will fail my people . . . that I will lead them astray when I have sworn to do only good by them. It . . . it is said that Durin's spirit now resides within me, but I cannot tell a difference. I still feel as me, and I cannot help but think that I am not that which my people need.”

    He looked down, and his crown caught the light.

    “I cannot speak yes or no as to Durin's soul,” I said after a long moment, considering how best to shape my words. “But I can say that you start by asking the right questions. It is a humble king who can admit to not having all of the answers, and it is a wise king who shall seek the advice of others before making the hard decisions with the welfare of your people first in mind. As long as such a head wears the crown, I foresee that you will do great deeds in the name of your people.”

    Nothri glanced at me, his smile tugging at his mouth. “Is that the famed insight of the Elves I hear?” he asked, teasing. Even still, there was gratitude in his eyes. Peace, as well.

    “It is the faith of a friend,” I shook my head. “Moria deserves such a King as you, and you will be the leader she needs in the time to come.”

    “I hope you are right,” Nothri said after a moment. “Truly I do.”

    He did not say anything more than that, and neither did I. Instead, we both sat in silence, and listened to the children laugh below.

    ~MJ @};-
    RX_Sith likes this.
  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wow, I did a double take also when I read how many years had passed! I am happy she had Nothri's letters to keep her apprised of events, and the insights she shared with him were indeed wise and well-spoken.


    On Nimrodel and Amroth -- =D= Very heart-tugging that entire tale ... Do I imagine an undercurrent surrounding Haldir's mention of patience? ;)

    Struck afresh at your glory of words ... I feel I am in the beautiful woods of Lorien, which let me say straight up for the record is never a bad thing [face_laugh]

  23. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    Great introspective on Nothri and his path as King; he is both humble to seek Celebrian's knowledge and that of the Elves, while also realizing that being King means ultimate responsibility to his people.
  24. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Beautiful descriptions again of Nimrodel and Amroth and the dwarves
  25. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: I know, right?! The first time I figured out the timeline I just blinked at it and went: how in the world am I going to portray that? [face_laugh] :oops: But it is interesting to deal with the side plots here - Amroth and Nimrodel's tale is just a tragic one, and as for Haldir . . . I'll just say that he is nursing a bit of a crush for now. The poor guy can't help himself. :( As always, thank-you so much for reading. Your words always mean a lot to me. [:D]

    RX_Sith: Nothri is a wise one, that's for sure. [face_love] Thank-you for reading! :)

    earlybird-obi-wan: Thank-you very much. :)

    Now, for the next entry! As always, I thank you all for reading, and hope that you enjoy. [:D]

    Entry XVII

    Once every hundred years, the people of Lórinand and the Greenwood would meet in order to reforge old alliances and reaffirm the ancient bonds existing between our peoples. The Silvan had carried on this tradition long before the arrival of the Sindar, and since the dividing of the Sindar between Amdír and Oropher's people, it had become an even more anticipated day for both realms.

    My mother and I had arrived in Lórinand in the winter of 1400, and had missed the Meet only by a season. Now, a hundred years had passed, and most in Caras Galadhon readied themselves to travel from Lórinand to the Greenwood beyond. As we traveled, we were joined by many of the Sindar and Silvan who lived beyond the high places of Caras Galadhon. The people from the woods and even those few from the river vales journeyed us from both the south and north to sail across the Anduin in the great swan ships that the people of Lórinand had crafted - for there were those amongst us related to Círdan's Falathrim, and even the great shipbuilders in the West beyond. They knew their craft well, and I appreciated the chance to make use of their wares.

    Amon Lanc was located no more than a league from the banks of the Anduin river. The hill rose massive and proud from the never ending sea of the Greenwood. Upon its bald face, an eleven settlement had been built with graceful mosaics of carved wood and sculpted stone, endeavoring to resemble the splendor and natural beauty of the forest surrounding it. The settlement was open and airy, letting in the birdsong and the sweet wind from the river beyond. The summer had come on the heels of a healthy winter and a spring heavy with rains, and the hill was covered in rolling green grasses and carpeted with endless flowers of purple and pink and white. Banners and streamers hung from many of the trees and dwellings, and the harpers were already strumming their melodies when we arrived. Their song was bright and cheery, seemingly mingling with the zest of the summer itself.

    This visit to the Greenwood was my first time meeting Oropher Elmoion, the Elven-king of the forests east of the Great River. While our kind did not show our age upon our faces, I could feel the years that emanated from him as we stopped before his throne. His presence was ancient and powerful to my senses, reminding me of the thrum of power that came with the oldest trees in the forest. Oropher was brother to my father's father, and old enough to remember my father when he was still a babe in swaddling clothes – something he never failed in reminding Celeborn of. And yet, I could not quite begrudge him his pride in his years, for few were the elves of Ennor left who could count so far back in their days.

    At first, Oropher reminded me of a magpie - decorated as he was with milky white stones and blue crystals, shining from the nest-like carving of twining antlers that formed his throne. My mother caught my thought, and her eyes crinkled when she hid her smile from showing. I was aware that I was staring, for it was strange to see how clearly he resembled my father, and I was struck then by a lance of missing. The differences were few - where Celeborn's hair was a shining silver, Oropher bore a long mane of blonde hair, so pale it was nearly white. He wore his hair bone straight, with no braids or ornament - only a twined crown of branches tipped with the white flowers that bloomed beyond. His features were haughty, more pointed than my father's, but he was impossibly beautiful for the severe arch and shape of his countenance. His eyes were the same blue-grey of my father's – the same eyes that I bore, inherited from Elmo himself – and they blinked long and slow upon looking at me. Everything Oropher did seemed to be slow and thoughtful. It was as if he had lived so many years that he now felt no need to rush even the smallest of motions. There was an almost static like sense of power emanating from him, and I knew from my father's tales that his tongue was quick and biting to match. I found myself both fascinated and wary next to the might of his presence, the way a tree would both appreciate the rain and fear the lightning from a spring storm.

    I stared openly, but it did not seem to matter when Oropher returned my stare unblinkingly. He looked at me even as Amdír and Amroth gave their pleasantries, and my mother too greeted the King of the Greenwood with all the grace she would have held in Finwë's court. Oropher was silent through this all, and yet, I could not tell the shape of his thoughts for good or ill. After the last greeting was given and returned, the corner of his mouth slowly lifted, and he said, “You have your father's look to you, child. You are fortunate in that.”

    While Oropher had been curious as to me, he had scarce given my mother more than a passing glance since she entered his hall. In all my years I could count on one hand the people who could turn Galadriel away from their thoughts when she willed her presence upon them – really, only Celebrimbor could, and my father demonstrated that talent when they were quarreling. Now, I was amazed to see the disrespect that Oropher paid to another ancient power of our people.

    His words were intended as a slight, I instinctively felt – not for me, but for my mother. It was true, I bore little of Galadriel's appearance or talents in my blood, and yet, Oropher had been one of the loudest tongues suggesting the little of her spirit and power she had been willing to share for my birth. I felt my own ire rise at his implications, and I had to bite away my instinctive first words in reply – not wanting the Elven-king to glimpse where I had inherited the Noldor temperament in spades.

    “I am fortunate with my lineage on both sides,” I said, still bowing my head respectfully before Oropher's throne. “Few are those who can boast of such a heritage as mine, and I know pride for the names behind my birth. It is a similar pride you can claim to, is it not, good-King?”

    Oropher's pale brow narrowed in irritation. He was unable to refute my words when I turned them to compliment his own lineage, and I could feel both my mother's amusement and pride at my words.

    Not is it a mere Noldor fault you bear, she commented wryly into my mind, and I had to bite back my own smile in reply. For none are those who would ever call Thingol and his line placid in their temperaments.

    The leashed power of Oropher's spirit danced across my senses, building like lightning before it struck. At my side, I could feel my mother's golden spirit rise in unconscious response to the challenge – something that was more light and firmament in comparison to the natural pull of Oropher's soul, drawn as his power was from the land and hers from the light itself. All gathered could feel the warning therein, and yet, Oropher merely smiled. He inclined his head gracefully as he drew his power back.

    “I know not to which side of your heritage that I may attribute that silver tongue of yours,” Oropher finally said. “And yet, something tells me that I shall enjoy attempting that discernment. For now, I welcome you to Amon Lanc, and wish you and yours luck in the Games to come.” He turned back to Amdír and Amroth as he spoke. “It shall be the Greenwood's pleasure to come out the victor once again, this I can assure you.”

    “One poorly aimed arrow was the difference between victory and defeat when last we met,” Amdír returned with relatively good cheer. His jaw too had set for Oropher's initial rudeness, embarrassed as he was for his uncle's actions. “You shall not find us so easy bested this year.”

    “Perhaps talent will decide the winner more so than blind luck during these Games,” Oropher gave an elegant shrug. His eyes glittered. “I look forward to seeing you defeated truly.”

    “As much as I would hate to disappoint you, I am afraid that I must. The honor of Lórinand would not allow me to return home with two defeats suffered two centuries following,” Amdír bowed mockingly, and at the levity between the woodland kings, the atmosphere as a whole lightened. The court breathed.

    “Then you shall be a guest of mine for longer than I first anticipated,” Oropher said, and his eyes were smiling. “You may stay as long as it takes for your ego to mend, my friend.”

    “Forgive me if that is an invitation I hope not to make use of,” Amdír said, and at that, the formality of the court fell away. Oropher stood to talk to Amdír more privately, and the muttering of the audience rose from a whisper to a happy chatter as old friends greeted one another and old rivalries were playfully rekindled for the Games to come.

    The Meet was always celebrated by tests of strength and skill in the Games – where everything from horsemanship to archery pitted the Golden Wood against the Greenwood in friendly competition. Through all of the individual competitions, score was kept, and one realm was declared the victor by the end of he Meet. I was filled with anxious excitement for the competitions to come, and many around me felt the same.

    My mother joined Oropher and Amdír in their conversation, though I could feel the tight cast of her annoyance, even from where I stood. I tried to push what support I could her way, and I felt her warmth brush my spirit in return, even as she urged me away. Oropher had been her dragon to slay for some time now, and while her efforts in Lórinand were yielding fruit for the days to come, this was one battle she had long been preparing for.

    For a moment, I almost pitied the Eleven-king. Almost.

    “Do your teeth hurt?” Amroth asked, knocking his shoulder against mine as we turned from the hall. “With the way you were clenching your jaw back there . . .”

    I raised a brow in reply, and fought the urge I had to huff at his words. “If I bite my tongue,” I responded as sagely as I could, “then it shall not wag unseemly.”

    Amroth laughed. “Such wisdoms you bear, even with the unfortunate blight of your Noldor blood.” He drawled his voice in an impressive mockery of Oropher's haughty tones.

    “I do not know,” Nórui said from Amroth's opposite side. “True wisdom would be in you drawing out completely from the swordsman's competitions, my friend. Your footwork costs us points every year.”

    “Perhaps I shall spare you the pain of watching me, and send Celebrían to fight in my place,” Amroth shoved his friend, but did not move to deny his claim. While he was a great archer, he was only a passable swordsman, even though I knew that he had been working on improving his skills.

    I gave a look of distaste, glancing at Nórui. “While I appreciate your attempts at educating me in the ways of steel, I am humble enough to acknowledge my limitations. I fear that I will lose us more points than Amroth's faulty footwork.”

    “You are an . . . attentive student,” Nórui said diplomatically, to which we all laughed.

    “And I will continue to be so until I advance to the point where I do not run as great a risk injuring myself on my own blade as I do on my opponent's.” I still smiled, but all of our moods dimmed at that point. Over the last few years training had intensified for all in the wood, and what was once done for simple defense and good sport was now practiced with an edge of urgency. Even the Meet this year bristled with a nearly palpable energy, that which was more than just the rush of the Games and the joy of greeting old acquaintances.

    And yet, we brushed our darker thoughts aside and moved to join the queues already forming in the rings that had been erected just for these events. In the days following, the Greenwood ended up taking the overall lead during the sword games. Amroth made a valliant showing for himself, fighting to where even Nórui was proud of his performance. I spied a blue handkerchief tied around the leather strap of his scabbard, and I raised a brow in question, curious.

    She is here,” Amroth whispered, his eyes searching the crowds. Nimrodel had given him a token, I understood then, which would explain his rather inspired performance earlier. “I shall prove my worth for wearing a symbol of her favor during the archer's tourney.”

    “It is not fair,” Nórui complained, reaching over to tug on the handkerchief in bemusement. Even for his teasing, his eyes were happy for his friend. Behind him, even grim Thandir was smiling for his prince. “Not all of us have a fair maiden inspiring them from the sidelines.”

    “Here,” I said, reaching up to take a long blue ribbon from my braids. I then tied it in a neat bow around the arch of Nórui's bow. “Now you are equal.”

    “I shall treasure your token, fair lady,” Nórui beamed at me. He gave a sweeping bow. “However, you have now given me no way to excuse my failure to come when Amroth slaughters me in the archer's tourney. It is an impossible task you heap upon my shoulders.”

    “It is not I you should worry for defeating,” Amroth pointed out, “but rather, the lady herself.”

    Nórui grimaced, and I could not help the small flame of pride that warmed me at his words. Those I had met in Lórinand put even the best archers of Ost-in-edhil to shame (besides Celeborn, perhaps), and I had developed my skills over the last hundred years to the point where I looked forward to show my father all that I had learned. If I could take even a small placing in the archer's tourney to come, I would be pleased.

    Behind us, Haldir looked on in silence as we bantered. He had been the only one of his brothers to leave the marches for the Meet, and now he looked at the ribbon tied around Nórui's bow with a thinly concealed look of distaste. I tried to catch his eye, wondering what was bothering him, but he evaded me. The next competition was then starting, and I put the odd moment out of mind.

    We made up the points we lost in the sword games with the equestrian tests, and broke even with the Greenwood in the foot races and the knife tosses. Haldir made a good showing for himself in the archery tests on horseback, and Nórui took multiple points for his performance in the melee – for where he was shorter than any other in our circle, he was impossibly strong and crafty, and he knew his weapon well.

    And yet, the highlight of the Games was always the archery tournaments, the bow being the specialty of the wood-elves since the earliest of days. There were accuracy tests with the longbow, and tests of speed with the shortbow. There were games which mimicked battle with both moving targets and archers, and yet, as it had at the last Meet, it all came down to the last game of the week – a traditional archer's show-down, with the winning point awarded to the last archer standing through a process of elimination.

    All throughout the day, an archer from the Greenwood continued to catch my eye. At first I had thought her Silvan for the feel of the forest I could sense emanating from her, and yet, the silver-blonde of her hair whispered of her Sindar blood. Her Sindar blood, and something else . . . something more.

    “Calelassel is part Noldor,” Amroth indulged my curiously with a grin, enjoying the surprise that bloomed in my gaze. “Her father was one of Thingol's Lords in Doriath who acted as Oropher's right hand. Upon settling in Sirion he met a rather fetching Lady of Gondolin, and Calelassel is the fruit of that union.”

    “Oropher forgave one of his own a Noldor marriage?” I asked, dumfounded.

    “It was not his place to say yes or no as to the union,” Amroth said, for it was as simple as that. “Oropher has respect for the lady and her talents, enough so that he keeps his own prejudices to himself – for the survivors of Gondolin too suffered at the hands of the Kinslayers, did they not? Besides, Calelassel favors her Sindarin blood, as I am sure you can feel. She would not be here otherwise.”

    . . . that I most certainly could feel. Her connection with the forest all but shimmered on the air around her, and as a result each of her arrows flew straight and true, the high trees and twittering birds seemingly guiding her every move. A peace and confidence emanated from her to where it was as much as a joy watching her as it was competing against her.

    I was able to keep pace with her in the longbow matches, while she took a decisive victory with the moving targets. When it came down to the final match of the day, all of the archers lined up for a traditional archer's showdown. Each contestant lined up fifty paces away from our individual target, and then took our aim. We were to fire four arrows in the time of a minute. Those who were most accurate advanced, and the field was halved with each round. As the rounds advanced, we backed up ten paces for each shot, both our time to shoot and the target turning smaller and smaller still with every round.

    I made it to the second to last round. At that point, there were only four of us left – Amroth and I from Lórinand, and Calelassel and a Silvan archer with rich chestnut hair from the Greenwood. The targets were now far across the field from us, and I had to squint to make out the center ring. We only had ten seconds to shoot our arrows for the final rounds, and my pulse was leaping and racing for the challenge this round presented. I breathed slowly, in and out, holding my hands still by my side as I waited for the signal to begin -

    The flag fell, and I drew my first arrow in a smooth motion. Before I aimed, my heartbeat was wild in my chest, and yet my breathing was now calm and collected. I moved with a cool certainty as I let my arrow fly, over and over again. The four arrows were gone before I could blink, and then the second flag fell, declaring the end of our time. I walked down to retrieve my arrows, and was pleased to see that all of my arrows hit the center two rings – a personal best for me in that time from that distance. I glanced to my side, and saw that Amroth had done better than I by one arrow more in the center ring. He was smiling widely, searching the crowd for Nimrodel, and I smiled, pleased for my friend. To our right, Calelassel had hit all four arrows in the middle ring – the last arrow even splintering the first in their crowding to hit the exact center of the target. I blinked, impressed, even with my being disqualified from the contest.

    I retrieved my arrows and stepped back to the sidelines where my mother was waiting. As I walked up to her, the smile widening on Galadriel's mouth made me feel as if I had won the entire tourney.

    “Your father is proud,” Galadriel whispered when I was close enough to hear. She cupped my cheek with a cool hand, and leaned down to touch her brow to mine. At the touch I could feel where she let me glimpse her bond with my father – undimmed, even with such a distance between them. My father was as a shadow to my senses for the last century, but now he blazed at the forefront of my mind. I could feel Celeborn's love and pride as I had not since leaving Ost-in-edhel, and I felt weightless in the glow of his adoration. I let my father's love fill me as one hungry, basking in the affection of my parents even as the last round of the tourney went on unnoticed beyond us.

    In the end, Amroth just barely took the win from Calelassel. They each shot a near perfect four arrows in the last rount, and their scores were so matched that they had to do a dead shot in order to determine the winner. Two small double-sided targets were tossed into the air, and both archers took their aim as one. Amroth won only by shooting into the upwards side of his target, while Calelassel hit the bottom – and there were whistles of appreciation for the skill of both archers for the feat.

    Oropher grudgingly declared Lórinand the winner of the Games, and Amdír's smile was a bit too pleased in reply.

    After, I looked, and saw where a lovely woman with dark brown hair and impossibly green eyes came out to greet Amroth after his victory. She did nothing more than touch the handkerchief still tied to his scabbard, but I instantly knew her to be Nimrodel for the easy look of affection that filled his eyes, and the almost awestruck way he lifted his hand to touch the side of her face. I looked away a moment later, giving them their moment, and found that Calelassel was coming towards me, her bow still held loosely in her hands.

    “I enjoyed the competition you provided this day,” she said when she was close enough to do so. Her voice was low and warm when she spoke. This close, I could see the green in her blue eyes. “Should you allow yourself but a half a moment more in your follow through, I do not think that I would like to face you in the next Meet.”

    “That always proves to be my fatal error,” I replied, hearing both my father and Amroth in my mind at once – echoing Calelassel's constructive critisism. “Even still, I am sure that you would have nothing to fear from me. You were amazing today.” I meant my every word, and she smiled prettily in reply.

    “Not amazing enough, it would seem,” she said, glancing over to where Oropher was suffering through Amdír's well meaning teasing for Lórinand's victory. “And yet,” the corner of her mouth lifted. A playful look touched her eyes. “I do believe that the loss was worth it. There are few things more enjoyable than seeing our King quite so put out.”

    I instantly decided that I liked her. I smiled in reply, wondering just how wicked her tongue could be behind the gentle face she held. “Now,” I had to ask, “How do you manage loading a third arrow on one draw? I have mastered two at once, but never anything more.”

    “And you,” Calelassel said, “must tell me about the strange feathers your arrows are fletched with. They give an added burst of speed, I am sure of it, and you have me perplexed.”

    “It would be my pleasure,” I said, and went into detail about the northern bird that Haldir had used to gift my first set of arrows to me – which I had since used in all of the arrows I made.

    We talked until long into the evening feast, and made plans to speak again upon the morrow. Meeting her, I was almost painfully reminded of Sítheril, for I had not yet met a close female companion to even begin to match her place in my heart. Already I looked forward to knowing her better in the years to come.

    When the sun set, it was then time to award the victors of the individual games with their prizes. My mother stood next to Amdír and Oropher to hand out the tokens. The awards ceremony went with applause and well meaning teasing and encouragement from friends and rivals, and yet, it was not until my mother passed an arrow made of a glittering black stone to Haldir that I became of something wrong.

    It was short and subtle; a hitched breath, and her eyes flickered. I could feel a wave of coldness from her spirit, before she just as quickly pushed it away. Anyone else would not of caught it, I was certain, but I knew my mother well, and I knew that all was not right.

    She caught my eyes over the crowd. Later, she said, and later did not come soon enough.

    When I was at last able to find her alone, the night had fallen and the primarily Silvan gathering was loud in singing their star-songs for the night. Where normally their music would draw me to the fires beyond, I instead found Galadriel on the edge of the festivities, her eyes glazed in the way that said she was lost within her mind – communicating with my father, perhaps? Or someone else?

    Her eyes focused when I joined her. They sharpened. I waited patiently for a moment, and then two, before asking, “What troubles you?” in a voice that worried.

    Galadriel was silent for a moment more. Her gaze flickered. “Annatar left Ost-in-edhil this eve, by the east road.”

    I blinked, startled. For this was not what I expected at all. Cold dread settled in my stomach, matching the sensation I had glimpsed from my mother earlier. “Then his purpose with Celebrimbor has been achieved,” the words were stiff from my mouth. “He no longer has any use for him.”

    “That is what your father and I fear,” Galadriel's voice was carefully neutral as she spoke.

    And still . . . it did not make sense. “Then why still keep a fair face?” I asked, bewildered by this turn of events.

    “For now he maintains his facade,” Galadriel said, and I heard what she did not say.

    “Then,” I said slowly. “It was not what he created with Celebrimbor . . . but rather, what he learned.” Premonition struck at me, and yet, it was a faceless threat we faced, a nameless dread I felt.

    “That,” Galadriel said, pride in her gaze alongside her concern – for I had unerringly touched upon a bruise in her thoughts, “is a question that shall plague us until its answer is revealed.” I fisted my hands together, anxious then. The dark now seemed to be full of threats, of promise, and not even the light of the stars was enough to shine through when knowing that somewhere -

    “ - and yet,” Galadriel followed my thoughts, “we will deign no answers this eve. Go, enjoy yourself and the friendships you have cultivated. In the days to come, they will be needed more than anything else.”

    I nodded, understanding the wisdom in her words. And yet . . .

    “Will you join me?” I asked, not wanting her to be lost to dark thoughts for the rest of this eve.

    “In a moment,” she answered after a pause. There was fondness in the touch of her mind against mine, but also a subtle withdrawal. For years uncountable had she born these burdens upon her shoulders, and she would continue to do so for many more. I only hoped that I could help ease her load in the days to come - for truly, I felt ready to do so, to do more than blithely live through my days while the Shadow grew overhead.

    “You do more good than you think,” my mother said simply, my mind ever a blank page to her. “Now, go, and I will follow.”

    I nodded, but still I hesitated. I turned to go back to my companions, but there was now a shadow on our festivities. The night hour was suddenly more around me, and its shadow was one that would not lift with the morning hour.

    End Notes:

    The Odd Gaps in Time: We are only hitting the first of them, believe it or not. 8-} While Galadriel left Ost-in-edhil in 1400 SA for the growing threat of Annatar/Sauron, Sauron did not leave for Mordor until the year 1500 to forge the One Ring - and that forging took him another hundred years, upon which Celebrimbor was able to sense him for who he truly was. Afterward, it would be another ninety years before all out war broke out. I know, these are some large chunks of time, but I guess that is what you get when you have a Maia (older than the physical universe) warring against a race of immortal elves. Their timelines move so much more slowly than ours. :p Either way! We will be filling in the blanks in the next few updates to come. :)

    Calelassel: Did you figure out who she was? ;) [face_mischief] Although the courtship of Legolas' parents is something I won't be touching on until much later, I had to include Celebrían meeting Calelassel here. Calelassel's heritage is an ever developing story for me - seeing as how Tolkien did not provide her with even a name when developing his universe, for even Legolas was a late addition to the story. For a very long time, I always assumed that Legolas' mother was Silvan. Yet, in Peter Jackson's 'Desolation of Smaug', Legolas called the elves of Gondolin his kin when taking Orcrist from Thorin. At first I did a 'hold up a second, did you do your research, Jackson!?' and then I paused . . . and I thought about it. After all, in Sirion there was a highly concentrated mix of Sindar from Doriath and Noldor from Gondolin. It was very possible that Legolas' mother was born of those two peoples (since I highly doubt that Thranduil would wed a purely Noldor bride. [face_thinking]) And then, with Legolas' eventual sea-longing and sailing West . . . it made sense that he had a bit of the Exile's curse in his blood. (That, and the idea of Thranduil telling Oropher that he was going to marry anyone with Noldor blood was instantly something that made me laugh. So! This head-canon was then accepted. :p )

    For her character, I wanted someone who could inspire Legolas' prowess with the bow (it certainly wasn't Thranduil, for all that we have seen him with a sword in the behind the scenes for the Hobbit [face_thinking]), and someone who could be a role-model – and inspiration - for Tauriel and her determination to become Captain of Mirkwood's guard. So, here we are! Calelassel's name is another translation of 'green leaf', which is the meaning of Legolas' own name - and the root name that Thranduil eventually gives to the Greenwood after it is healed in the Fourth Age. [face_love] I know, that is a lot of notes to explain a few lines, but we will touch more on that later. :)

    Now, until next time! [:D]

    ~MJ @};-
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