1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

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
    LOL Celebrian held her own and quite forthrightly and diplomatically with Oropher. ;)

    Happy for the shared moment between Amroth and Nimrodel and the family contact for Celebrian and her mother ... Though the news was dire indeed that followed in its wake.


    Calelassel - cool name and great surmises and expansion and tying together of histories and characters. =D= =D= :cool: that Jackson apparently has done his 'homework' as a fan as well as a professional. :D
  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Beautiful and great details again
  3. RX_Sith

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

    Mar 13, 2006
    Great backstory about Calelassel and her expanded role in your story.
  4. Mira_Jade

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

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Thank-you! It was fun writing the rather prickly Oropher, and the family moments are the moments I relish in these tales, as you know. [face_love] And oh, Jackson! I have such a love/hate relationship with that man. The LoTR trilogy remains amongst my favourite movies of all time, and I even supported many of his changes from canon therein. The Hobbit movies . . . I really enjoyed the first one, even though his handling of cannon made me scratch my head at times. But DOS was such a CGI-ed action-fest with very little heart and soul (a waste of such amazing actors!), and that disappointed me so very much. :( I'm hoping that the third instalment will restore my faith, because I ready to love PJ again, really I am. :p

    earlybird-obi-wan: Why thank-you! :)

    RX_Sith: Thank-you so very much. :)

    Entry XVIII

    The years continued to pass; only now they moved as if holding their breath. It seemed as a blinking of the eye until, one day, it was not Nothri who wrote me, but Austri.

    I had been expecting this letter for some time, but expectation did not help sooth the pang I felt when she relayed her brother's wish that I come to Moria to see him one last time before the end. Durin called to him, and he would not live to see another winter, she feared. So I gathered what I needed, and set out for the Dwarf-road. Activity from Gundabad grew all the more fierce with each passing year, and this time I had a small escort accompanying me across the foothills. I had not been to Moria since Nothri's grandson was born – Durin, the third of his name – and that was nearly thirty years ago for all of the turbulence coming out of the north.

    Nothri wrote at length about their toils against their Orc neighbors. So far, they had been able to keep their northern most halls free of their black filth, but it was a long fight, and one not without cost. When I had ventured the idea of elven support the last time I walked Moria's halls, Nothri had given a sharp grin and said that they had been dealing with Gundabad since the early days, and they would continue to do so until the last. Premonition had flared thick at his words, and I had to contain a shudder to imagine the gilded halls around me filled with nothing but dust and memories; the chatter of goblins overrunning the song of the forge in the mountain ways.

    My friend had been the king Moria needed during this time, and I knew that Brokkr would continue on in his father's stead. Still, the idea that Moria would need another head beneath the crown could not quite sink in. I knew of my friend's failing health, and yet, it was not until I was admitted to his study that I fully understood time's hold on him.

    He is mortal, the thought ghosted across my mind, as lost as any wailing spirit. How could he have changed so much, so quickly? I had known him for nearly two centuries, a mere breath of years, and already time betrayed him. His thick black hair had thinned and turned the color of steel; while lines creased his skin and potmarked his face, each one telling a tale of his years. He did not stand from his small couch to greet me, and the idea that his strong body providing him no aid was something I could not at first comprehend. He was not sick, his body was simply giving out on him, one thing after another failing him until his breath too would leave. The tide and turn of age and death left me bewildered, and I merely stared, at a loss for words.

    Nothri caught my stare, and he made himself stand. He used a walking stick now, but his balance was tricky even so.

    “This is,” he commented wryly, “the unfortunate price of bearing mortal blood.”

    “You do not look a day older than last I saw you,” I said with a straight face, endeavoring to keep my expression serene. I did not need him to move to comfort me when he was the one in pain.

    “You bluff,” Nothri said slowly, “as horribly as ever.” His smile stretched, and that was familiar to my eyes. “I have at least one game of dice left within me, so I hope that you came prepared with coin.”

    He tried to lift my spirits, and so, I let my mouth smile. Still, it was pained. “Your eyes are the same,” I said honestly. “I spoke the truth.” His gaze was still pale and blue and piercing, and within it I saw the friend I had long known.

    “I could, however, say the same about you,” Nothri blinked as he looked at me. “You do not look a day older than when first we met . . . but for your eyes. There is a weight there, showing where you have aged in spirit as I have in body. No longer are you the wide eyed girl I first met, your mouth agape for my kingdom's splendor.”

    “I keep my mouth closed only through supreme effort,” I returned. “It is not always easy.”

    “Even so,” Nothri smiled. "Even so."

    Something painful twisted in my chest as he turned, heading to his desk and the odds and ends that still blanketed it – he unwilling to let his duties pass until he could attend to them no more. “I am glad that you were able to come before the snows made such travel impossible,” he said as he walked. His progress was slow, he leaning on the desk for support as he did his cane. “Come spring, your trip would not have mattered. Already I can feel Mahal call to me . . . he speaks from the stone, promising me such a rest before I am to give him my hammer in aiding with the rebuilding of the world . . . and I am tired, my friend . . . so very tired. I know not how long it is until I have not the will to resist my Maker, and then I shall sleep.”

    My eyes burned as he spoke so wistfully of death; so fondly of peace. I inhaled deeply, and let my breath out slow.

    “Ah, here we are,” Nothri said, sifting through the scrolls and parchment for a bound leather book. He picked it up as if it were a treasure, and I looked, curious. “I wanted to give this to you myself. I did not want it to pass to you, cold from the hands of another.”

    It was a book, but not any mere tome, I immediately saw. It was thick with many pages, as thick as my two fists put together. The cover was painstakingly lacquered, tooled with geometrical designs and overlaid with mithril where the crest and stars of Durin had been laid into both the cover and the spine. I recognized Nothri's surprisingly subtle hand, and knew that he had designed this himself. Curious, I looked and found stories within – tales and histories and lays; legends and songs and the simple day to day stories of his people. As many as he could fit, he had translated within – writing the great lore of his people down where now it only existed passing from mouth to mouth. It was only a fraction of his people's cultural wealth, but it was still a lifetime's work.

    “This is beautiful,” I said, my voice low and reverent. It was a great work I held in my hands, priceless in its value.

    “I knew from our meeting that the day would come when my days would force me to say farewell,” he said. His voice was thick from his throat. “I had always wished to present this to you at the end of my days . . . this way you may remember me, and remember for me when even my own people forget.”

    “I will treasure this,” I said, looking away from the book to meet his eyes, “as I have treasured your friendship.”

    I had not my mother's ease with the mental arts; her ability to touch any soul in any being, but my years of knowing Nothri had been long, and my fëa recognized him for the bearing he had had on my spirit. I tried to show that in return, pushing a wave of appreciation and love towards him, saying without words how much I had treasured his friendship. At first, I did not think that my efforts were successful, but a moment later Nothri touched my hand, and his eyes were shining with unshed tears.

    “Now then,” he said, turning to sit down on the cushioned couch once more. His place was close to the warm hearth, and he looked comfortable. Comfortable, and weary. “I find that I tire easily these days, and already I need respite. Would you humor an old dwarf and gift me with one of your lays? Perhaps the tale of the fairest-born . . . your morning star?”

    I was willing to do anything that he wished, and I sang Lúthien's story in a voice that wavered. Nothri did not say anything to my delivery of the song, and soon, he feel asleep to my words. I continued to sing, whispering of mortality and numbered days until my throat burned within me.

    The week following, Nothri passed his crown on to Brokkr as Fáfnir once had to him. He was white knuckled as he let his crown go and his hands trembled, but the tears in his eyes were not only those of mourning.

    And then, only days later, on Durin's Day, Nothri answered Aulë's call, and joined his ancestors in the Halls beyond our world. The mountain filled with songs of mourning that day, strange songs sang from deep within throats and given with tears in eyes. Nothri was entombed in the stone of the mountain that had birthed and sustained him, and each in his family whispered his true name before saying their farewells. I was quick to offer my own goodbyes before stepping aside, not wanting to intrude on the family's grief. Even so, Sviur embraced me with tears in his eyes, and Austri too thanked me for coming. Each of my friends were now white haired and many of days, and looking upon them only caused a fresh pain to bloom within me.

    The mountain grieved, and I grieved with it; but where Moria mourned in her own way, I made my way to one of the higher summits on the slope, one still open to the cold night – needing as I did the cold fresh air and the comforting light of the stars. I sang my own songs of mourning into the night, and upon the morrow my voice was hoarse and dry.

    Days later, I departed from Moria and made my way to the marker of Durin's Stone by the Mirrormere, where my escort had camped in wait for me. Haldir was the first one to see me approach from the mountain, and he came out to meet me, concern in his eyes when I did not immediately return his greeting with a smile. My heart was heavy in my chest, and each step felt as something forced. My eyes constantly burned, as if I was ever a moment away from tears. I did not meet his eyes, not wanting him to see the listless look in my gaze.

    I was not quite ready to turn back to Lórinand, and no one pressed me. The day was cold, and all wore thick cloaks with their hoods raised against the chill sweeping down the mountains and off the lake. Even so, Haldir joined me in walking the shore. The normally green grass was brown and dead of life, patiently awaiting the winter's blanket of snow, and the earth crackled underneath our boots. There were no birds singing above us, and even the sky was grey overhead, thick with the promise of the year's first snow.

    It fit my mood perfectly, I could not help but think.

    Death was a most curious thing, I contemplated. The Wise called it a Gift – an untold blessing given from the One to his children to enjoy in the time after, but I could not understand where the gift precisely laid. It did not feel natural, this grief, this pain – knowing that for all of my great years I would never see my friend again, never speak to him or hear his voice in return . . . it did not yet feel real. It was not something I could properly wrap my mind around, and I was little more than a child in the eyes of my kind, few in my days. Was there something waiting for me to understand? Was there some great secret that my years would yet unveil, explaining the necessity for death to exist as it did?

    Many amongst my kind had friendships with Men – and some even with Dwarves, as I had – but many also drew back after that first true friend died, understanding death and its bite and not wanting to endure its pain again. I was unsure of how to deal with my grief now, having faced nothing like it before. I felt a moment of abstract appreciation for mortal kind – for I was nearly four-hundred years old, and yet, they knew something that I did not. They still managed to carry on with their shortened years, and endured so much within those days. Even with death's shadow, still they lived with love and joy! What secret did they know that I did not? Would they simply answer time to my queries, and understand the necessity of embracing what little they could in the few years they had?

    My thoughts ran in circles as we came to a stop on the bank, looking down at where the seven stars of Varda's sickle glittered in the lake, even with the grey skies overhead. Durin's stars, I thought with a pang, and my grief assaulted me anew. My eyes burned in warning, and my breath caught in my throat in an alarming way. But I would not cry. I would not.

    I stubbornly blinked through the tears filling my eyes, and I saw Haldir look at me in concern. He did not say anything, but there was an understanding in his eyes as he opened his arms, and just like that, the dam holding back my emotions burst. It was ugly and undignified, crying like this, but I could not seem to stop myself as Haldir awkwardly embraced me and soothed a hand down my back as if I were a child. He made shushing noises, and muttered that it was okay to cry – to grieve – and whispered that I would feel all the more healed for doing so.

    A voice within me whispered that I was turning the front of his cloak wet. Surely we had garnered attention from the others, as well, and I did not want any to be concerned for my sake. At long last, I was able to call myself to order, and I stepped back just enough to wipe my eyes and gather my breath once more.

    A moment passed, awkward and strained. “I do not understand how this is supposed to feel natural,” I finally admitted, rubbing at my eyes. “It feels anything but.”

    I felt embarrassed for breaking down like that in front of him, but he was simply watching me with a sympathetic expression. Even for our immortality, we were not immune to death, and he knew of its bite better than I.

    “It does not seem so now,” Haldir said after a moment, “but the pain will fade. Your memories will become those things you cherish, rather than the pains they are now.”

    I could not yet believe that, even though I knew that his words had to be true. “His fëa is not even elvish,” I said after a moment. “I do not knew where he goes in death, and the Wise only have their whispers . . . do they go to the stone? Or does Námo take their souls too?” I had exhausted myself singing to Námo that first night, asking him to keep my friend's spirit safe – for even if Námo did not keep the souls of dwarves in his Halls, he would know where they did dwell in death, and if he could but listen . . .

    “I cannot even look forward to him walking the Western shores in a reformed body,” I continued. “It feels . . .” Permanent. Final. Enduring. There was a separation between our fates, and it was one that I could not see though.

    Haldir was silent for a long moment, before saying, “I know not why the One made some to live and some to die. I only know that he is a father to his children, and his purpose in creating the world was not one for pain – even with Morgoth's rebellion and taint. But he has promised a breaking and reforging of the world anew, and in such a promise, many things are possible.”

    “There the Dwarves will hold hammers to build alongside Aulë their maker,” I muttered, for it was a story I knew well.

    “It is only the theory of the Wise,” Haldir said, “but I cannot imagine anything else to be true. Whether such a thing takes a hundred years or a hundred thousand years, we will be there to see it, and welcome back whom we may – for no sundering is permanent, even those that at first seem to be impossible.”

    I took in a deep breath. I swallowed. There was truth in his words, a solace too if I allowed myself to think of it. And yet . . . “Still,” I whispered, “it hurts.”

    “It is the price of immortality,” Haldir shrugged. “We have our own sets of burdens to bear, the same as any other race.”

    My lungs hurt, but no longer did they seem intent on keeping me from breathing. I wiped my eyes one last time, and told myself that was the last of my tears. I would miss my friend, and I would mourn him, yet, he would not want me to lose myself to grief. Instead, I would remember him, and, in time, that memory would prove to be dear.

    For I had forever to do so.

    I looked out to the lake, and this time, I let myself see the stars dancing on the water, rather than the overcast sky ahead. My grief and my missing was still there, but I now felt as if I could breathe with them.

    Haldir looked at me, and I managed a smile. “Are your men ready to set out?” I asked. “I wish not to make them linger in the cold.”

    “Are you ready?” he asked instead, evading my question. His eyes were piercing as they looked at me, searching for even a flickering of untruth.

    I nodded, looking away from the water. “I am ready,” I said, and spoke my words truly.

    ~MJ @};-
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Nothri with Celebrian -- touching. @};- @};-

    Haldir's consolation with actions and words -- definitely were what she needed and helped tremendously. :)

    His insights and conclusions are wise and hope-filled.

    Another superb entry, at once poignant and gentle.
  6. RX_Sith

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

    Mar 13, 2006
    Beautiful as always as Celebrian experiences the death of Nothri and the gallantry of Haldir.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  7. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Touching scene with Nothri and Celebrian. Mortals and immortals
  8. Cael-Fenton

    Cael-Fenton Jedi Master star 3

    Jun 22, 2006
    Finally got round to reading this now that the semester's over!

    The mother/daughter relationship is nicely done, and your Galadriel is so so awe-inspiring. As she should be. But not everyone can be Nerwen, and I like how you portrayed Celebrían, as vulnerable in ways that Galadriel hasn't been for millenia, but just as compelling a character.

    Great backstory for Haldir, Rumil and Oropher. I thought it was a cool idea to have them as Mablung's grandsons. Makes Haldir's tetchiness towards dwarves in canon a lot more understandable and sympathetic. And the whole concept of elven children being psychically linked to their mothers' fea, to the point of being in danger of slipping away if she dies, is brilliant and heartwrenching (may I crib this idea?); something which is a trope in the romantic context but I think is under-explored in other very close familial relationships.

    And Celebrían's first real experience of mortality was everything it should be. As readers we see it coming from the moment she befriends Nothri and company; yet her surprise at his ageing and grief at his passing still struck me deeply. I liked the bit about taking up his hammer again alongside Mahal when the world is healed (I assume that's something you came up with, not canon? Haven't read all of HoME and UT, so I can't be sure). It is a poignant glimpse into another mortal race's view of mortality, and the world that is to come. I've been absolutely fascinated by that aspect of the mythology since I read Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, but it's difficult to get much more of it since the Silmarillion itself is almost completely from Elvish perspectives :p
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  9. Mira_Jade

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

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Thank-you so much! It certainly was a weighty one to write, so I am glad that it hit all of the right notes. :)

    RX_Sith: Thank-you. [:D]

    earlybird-obi-wan: Exactly. :( Thanks for reading! :)

    Cael-Fenton: Hello there! Thanks for stopping by for this story as well! :D I am glad that you have enjoyed what you read so far. I have had such an interesting time fleshing out Celebrían's character - and Galadriel's, by extension - so I am glad that their characterizations have rang true for you so far. That said, yes please, feel free to use anything you would like from here. And that said, if you ever have any works of your own to share, I would love to see another Tolkien enthusiast on the boards. [face_batting] As for the Dwarves . . . I could have sworn that I read that somewhere, but now I cannot remember where. It's a common thought in the fandom, too - so I assume it was a snippet snared from the Professor's letters or the Peoples of Middle-earth, but now I will have to look that up to be sure. 8-} It may be fan lore that spiraled out of control - but it makes sense if Men and Elves are going to aid in the Second Song of Creation, that's for sure. [face_thinking] The concept of mortality/immortality is something that fascinates me in this world - like you! - so I am glad that you liked that bit. :) [:D]

    Those welcomes given, I now present you with a rather long entry - where answers are given, and the threat they face becomes most clear. [face_worried] [:D]

    Entry XIX

    With the dawn of the following spring, the shadow we long feared took its name and shape.

    I was scouting with the March-wardens on the eastern borders of Lórinand, eager for fresh air and exercise after the long and harsh winter spent indoors. The straight trunks of the trees were still dark with snow melt, and the ground was thick with mud, sucking at our boots as we passed. Buds just starting to dot the branches, waiting for the warm air to coax them into life again, while a tentative bird sang overhead, a question in his voice for the arrival of the spring.

    We were tracking the trail of a hart in the wet soil when we heard movement in the underbrush, followed by a splashing in the river Nimrodel just beyond. Curious, we headed towards the sound. It was no Orc who walked so light of step, we reasoned amongst ourselves. And yet, whoever it was hurried through the forest with a jarring and lost step, clearly unsure of his way. The figure slipped more often than not, muttering curses beneath his breath as he went. Had a Man from the river vales lost his way in the woods, we wondered? It had been many years since a mortal soul last passed through the eaves of Lórinand, for mankind seemed to instinctively sense the soul of the forest and give it a wide berth when they could.

    When we peered through the branches to see our visitor, I did not first recognize him. To our surprise, the man was elven – and Noldor, at that – with his pale skin and his night black hair. Such a sighting was curious, for the nearest Noldor settlement was Ost-in-edhil itself, clear on the other side of the mountains, and yet -

    Haldir and his men lowered their bows upon seeing the man's fey identity, and yet, their looks were suspicious and tightly closed. Something about the man tugged at my memories, and it took me a moment to remember him. I had to look beyond his travel-worn figure and pale, pale face to recognize -

    “Celebrimbor?” I stood from the shadow of the trees to greet the elf, surprise in my voice.

    Celebrimbor all but started upon hearing his name, jumping back so that he almost fell into the river once more. He was soaked from the waist down, and the river had splashed the upper half of his body to match, but he did not seem to register the cold of the water. The whites of his eyes were wide as he looked from me to the March-wardens in the trees with the flickering gaze of a doe contemplating flight or fight.

    I swallowed against the sight of him, my heart twisting for just how changed the last two centuries had left him.

    “Celebrimbor?” I asked again. I pitching my voice softly, as if coaxing near an injured animal. “Do you remember me? I am Celebrían . . . Galadriel's daughter,” I had to clarify my identity when his eyes flickered. He frowned as if trying to grasp something just beyond his ability to reach.

    “Celebrían . . .” Celebrimbor worked the syllables of my name as if he had not known me since my birth. “Galadriel . . . Artanis,” at the last, his voice strengthened. His eyes sharpened. “Yes, Artanis. I need to speak with her; for she will know what to do, she will know what to say . . .” and just as quickly, his eyes were lost again. He held a hand to his head, and for a moment I do not think that he was aware of anything around him.

    “Yes . . . Artanis,” I tried to reach him once more, my mother's name of old awkward upon my tongue. “She is here, and I can take you to her.”

    I could feel where Haldir stiffened behind me. I leapt nimbly down from the tree, carefully approaching Celebrimbor with a cautious step. Haldir followed me, his stride slow and his eyes distrustful when I glanced back at him.

    “I do not think that he is well,” Haldir said. His voice was thin with distaste as he looked Celebrimbor up and down.

    “Most clearly,” I darted a look at my friend.

    Haldir ignored me. “He does not feel . . . I cannot give a word to describe it. The trees did not wish to let him pass. Only Galadriel's name let him through, else they would have cast him out. Can you not feel it?”

    I set my jaw, ignoring the strange pulse of power I could feel pouring from the Fëanorian. It was a unsettling power; rippling and hungry in comparison to the feeling of light upon the water my mother bore, even in comparison to Amdír's peaceful calm and Oropher's sparking might. I did not like the feel of it in the slightest, and yet I liked the thought of turning him aside to allow him beyond our reach even less.

    “It is my duty not to allow any to enter who may present a threat to the forests,” Haldir continued. Behind him, his men looked uncomfortably between Haldir and I. They too could feel the sense of otherness emanating from Celebrimbor, yet they did not wish to turn away someone who needed their aid – or worse, someone whom they would be better off keeping an eye on. They were unsure of which course to choose.

    “There will be a greater threat if we let him leave,” I said with a calm certainty. At the back of my mind I could feel my mother stir, only a heartbeat of surprise coloring her presence before a calm determination passed from her spirit to mine. “It matters not what you or I think; my mother wishes to hear what he has to say, and Amdír has left this decision to her.”

    Haldir still looked on Celebrimbor with distaste, taking in the tattered hem of his cloak and the worn brocade of his fine clothes. He was mud splattered and forest stained; his fingers were scabbed and bled sluggishly, and his black boots were almost unrecognizable for their color. He wore no pack, he carried no supplies, and I had to wonder if he crossed the mountains as such. The thought of the practical and exacting Celebrimbor I had known wandering until he found Lórinand left me with an unsettled feeling, and I pushed my thoughts aside as I tried to approach him once more. He jumped when I touched his arm, wheeling around to look at me with wide, unfocused eyes.

    “My mother is this way,” I said gently, coaxing him down the path towards Caras Galadhon.

    “Artanis?” Celebrimbor whispered. His voice was low and wistful. “Have I found her?”

    My heart twisted inside of my chest for the lost look in his eyes. “Yes, Artanis is here,” I answered him, slipping into Quenya as I said, “She is this way, if you will follow me.” My accent was awkward and cumbersome when compared to the smooth tones my mother bore when speaking in the language of her home, but it did the trick. Celebrimbor's look focused, his eyes sharpened.

    “I will follow,” he answered me in kind. His words were smooth and rolling, accented with the lilting tones of the Noldor-king's court – a sea away and centuries out of use now. “I thank you for showing me the way.”

    I could feel Haldir's look dip for my use of the Exile's tongue, but I ignored him. Instead, I concentrated on keeping Celebrimbor's attention during our journey through the forests. The trees looked down on us as if judging, and for the first their graceful canopy of boughs felt unwelcoming. They trusted us, but they did not like having to do so, and the air of the forest was nearly smothering as a result.

    It took us twice as long as it should have to draw Celebrimbor to the heart of the wood. Night had fallen by the time we crossed the Deep Fosse, and Celebrimbor stared down into the moat for an uncomfortable moment, his hands white knuckled about the slim wooden railing. He muttered underneath his breath before turning, and for a moment it sounded as if he carried on a conversation with someone unseen, someone only he could hear.

    Galadriel was waiting for us when we arrived, and though I could not see her thoughts upon her face, I could feel her surprise and her concern when she saw the state of her kinsman. She was able to convince him to wash and change before speaking with her, and it was not until an hour later that Celebrimbor was admitted to my mother's study. He looked only slightly more like the man I remembered with his hair brushed and oiled and his skin clean and unmarred, even if various scrapes and bruises from his traveling the wild still remained. His grey Sindarin robes looked odd on him, but at least they were clean and unstained. He gingerly accepted a cup of tea, but he would take no food – not surprising, I thought, with the thin and nearly skeletal appearance of his form. His elbows and wrists poked through his sleeves, and if I were to reach over I was certain that I would be able to feel each of his ribs. His cheekbones were prominent on his face, the hollow of skin on the sides of his face deep and shadowed where it should have been round and full. If I wanted, I could place the whole of my hand in that hollow. The sharp cast of his brow matched, looking fit to cut.

    Once, I thought with a pang, he was beautiful – nearly breathtaking with the last of Fëanor's fire all but bursting from the form he wore. And yet, his spirit was now flickering and fractured before us, his great beauty as wan as a ghost ready to flicker from view. His skin sat uncomfortably about his body, dry and brittle and grey, while lines normally foreign to our kind creased the corner of his eyes in deep wrinkles. His eyes themselves were glazed and far away, their warm grey color now a pale smear of pigment, indistinguishable for its shade. There were great purple bruises about the sockets of his eyes from his lack of sleep, and his fingers tapped out a restless, anxious beat against the side of his tea cup. But, he would not speak at first. His spirit felt anxious and racing, like sparks dancing over a fire, and everyone in the room could feel the heat of his fëa as if flickered.

    My mother must have felt so too, for her mouth pursed in a thin line before she reached out with her own spirit, trying to pierce through the haze that blanketed the jewel-smith's mind. I do not know how successful she was, but I waited, equal parts curious and apprehensive for what he had to say. While my mother and Amdír sat before Celebrimbor, I stood to the side of the chamber with Amroth and Haldir, each of us there to listen rather than to speak.

    “Celebrimbor,” my mother greeted when at last she was able to hold his gaze. “It has been many years since last we spoke.”

    “Has it?” Celebrimbor muttered in reply. His voice was a dry, hoarse sound, but it was absent the lost quality it bore earlier. “On most days I cannot tell weeks from months, and the years themselves are as a haze. How . . . how long has it been?” He blinked, and took in a deep breath, fortifying himself.

    Amdír leaned forward as if he would speak, but he instead said nothing. Galadriel merely waited, patient for whatever the Noldo had to say.

    “I know why you left,” Celebrimbor finally said, his voice turning stronger with every sylabble uttered. “I know that you saw what I would not let myself see . . . and yet . . . if I could only explain to you . . . We left the lands of Valinor for a cursed realm in Middle-earth, but those like you and I came to love this world, even as marred as it was. I wanted to give back to this land; I wanted to give to it the same wonder and radiance as Aman itself . . . I wanted this so very dearly, and the things he showed to me . . .” His voice quivered, taking on a note of awe and adoration. “It was like being home again. I felt as if I were once more a child learning my craft in Aulë's forge. I could imagine that I heard my father in my ear . . . my grandfather, even, and to imagine that they would know pride for the works of my hand . . . what I created . . .”

    He was quiet then, his voice faltering as his eyes turned lost to memory. Galadriel's look was unreadable in reply. “Celebrimbor,” she entreated him. “What did you create?” Her voice was gentle and coaxing.

    “Many things,” Celebrimbor blinked, coming back to himself. “Many things which now pale in comparison to the ultimate fruit of our labors. You see, I wished to give to this world the same deathlessness as Valinor itself. I wished to preserve and protect, not only the glory of the Elves, but rather the might of all the races! I will not be Feanor, dragon-like in his need to keep his Silmarils for his own. No . . . I crafted for the good of all . . . And yet . . .” he muttered, his eyes flickering. “Perhaps I must show you what I mean.”

    Slowly, reverently, he pulled out three velvet bags from an interior pocket of his tunic. He undid the string on the first bag and slowly, carefully, he revealed the contents within. Onto the table between he and my mother he placed nine rings of polished silver, unadorned and plain. And yet, within the bands . . .

    I flinched and took a step back from the table. At my side, Haldir and Amroth did the same.

    He undid the next bag, and withdrew seven rings - seven rings of polished mithril, each with a different stone set into its face. He waited to undo the last bag, watching my mother with unblinking eyes as he did so. Galadriel did not give her thoughts upon her face, but she did draw in a quick breath for the discordant note the rings left upon the air. This was the power we had felt upon Celebrimbor. This was what was other about him, unnatural and tainted.

    “Nine Rings for the sons of Men,” Celebrimbor said in explination. “You may wear it, and the Ring will do nothing for you. Yet . . . upon an Atani finger . . . I poured into the Ring Man's vigor and lust for life; their determination and quick brilliance to live in the days they have. Wearing these Rings shall lengthen the span of their lives and deepen their wisdoms, giving them the grace and the bearing to rule and augment their realms as their mortality denies to them.”

    I held back a frown as he said so - for while my ideas on the nature of mortality were one thing, it was quite another to move past what the One intended in such an unnatural way. Such a helping for nature could only bear ill fruit, even when crafted with the best of intentions.

    “There are seven Rings for the Dwarves,” Celebrimbor continued. “One for each of the Seven Families, and each ring will be the founding trinket beneath a great treasure. Into these rings I poured their resilience and their affinity with the deep places of the earth. With these rings they will be able to magnify their riches tenfolds, and the kingdoms that they will raise will be great indeed.”

    He swallowed, and breathed in deep. “And yet, there is more in these Rings. I . . . I was not alone in crafting them, Annatar aided me – even imparting of his own fëa to increase the potency of that which we forged. Can you imagine? The soul of a Maia strengthening the bonds and spells . . . it was a craft unheard of, even in Aman. I thought only of that which we could create together, and not of why Annatar was helping me . . . why Annatar would give such power away so freely . . .”

    Galadriel still looked at him, and Celebrimbor held her gaze. He did not look away. “I was not so completely naïve,” he finally said. “By the time the last of the Seven was forged, I knew that there was something not completely . . . right about Annatar. As I result, I kept my last creation to myself, wanting not of his aid. In frustration, he left Ost-in-edhil a century ago – to attend to his own lands, he said. Yet, there was a promise in his voice, saying that when he returned I would tell him what I crafted in secret. But I will not let him have these last Rings, I will not . . .” his voice took on a note of the fanatical once again, glazed and staring far away – into a land past our own, I could not help but think.

    “These were created by my own doing. Annatar's hand touched them not.” He undid the last bag with a careful consideration, and when he took the three rings from within, his touch was as reverent as that of a lover. “These . . .” he swallowed, and had to start again. “These I made alone. Three Rings for the Elves . . . First is Narya, the Ring of Fire,” he introduced a winding gold band with a blood red ruby. “This ring shall inspire hope in those around its wearer, and give resilience to the hands of time – even that weight which we feel with our endless days.” He pushed forward the second, a golden ring with a deep blue stone. “This is Vilya, the Ring of Air. This ring I created to preserve and heal. It is, perhaps, the strongest of the Three, and yet . . . the greatest . . .” My stomach rolled upon seeing the ring, though I could not deign the reason why.

    “This,” he breathed reverently, taking out the third – a band of mithril with a great white stone, shining with the light of the stars themselves, “is Nenya, the Ring of Water.”

    My mother, carefully neutral until then, started upon seeing the ring. She stared at it, and I felt my feeling of disquiet swell and rise. She looked as if she wished to reach for it, as if she wished to pick it up and slip it on her finger. Celebrimbor watched her hungrily – expectantly - and I did not like his look in the slightest.

    “It calls to you, does it not?” he tilted his head like a wolf, watching a doe in the wood. “It sings to you?”

    Galadriel made a fist of her hand, but she did not look away.

    “Nenya was made for you,” Celebrimbor said lowly. “To protect . . . to preserve . . . to lighten. All this and more shall Nenya accomplish on your hand.”

    I did not like it, even still. If it was not touched by Annatar's hand, it was still created with Annatar's crafts and methods, and such a thing could only bode ill. And yet, Galadriel did not cast the ring aside. She did not look away.

    “And . . . when it was on your hand . . .” Galadriel looked away only through supreme effort. “You saw something that day, and it is that you are here to tell us of.”

    Celebrimbor flinched, called back to himself. “I saw . . . I saw . . .” he muttered. “Oh, but I saw . . .”

    Next to Galadriel, Amdír's mouth creased. He looked as if to press the answer when Celebrimbor finally said, “I wore the Three, all Three, and the world was open before me as if I was glimpsing the mind of the One himself. And yet, the Rings know, the Rings answer, and he . . . he is their lord.”

    Galadriel's patience bore a limit. “Celebrimbor,” she prompted sternly, her voice filling with the weight of her spirit. “What is it that you saw?” her eyes were bright, nearly matching the glow of the Ring before her.

    Him,” Celebrimbor whispered. “I did not know, I could not know . . . for he was beautiful and fair and wise when he showed to me his craft. But what he created . . . One Ring.” He looked at my mother with suddenly sharp eyes. “He created the One Ring to which all other Rings shall bow . . . One Ring to take his own power and magnify it, magnify it until . . .” he made a distressed noise in the back of his throat. “I saw him through the eyes of the Rings. I saw his dark land of fire and brimstone, and he in turn saw me. His great eye of flame saw everything, and I saw the fell spirit his fair form concealed. He whom we thought lost from the First Age . . . Morgoth's foremost Lieutenant and devoted servant . . . Sauron Gorthaur.”

    There were no words in reply to his revelation. Only silence, horrified and stunned. My heart twisted in my chest, and a cold dread settled upon my bones as the black name echoed ominously through the room. By my side, Amroth was very pale. Haldir's look was grim. My mother, I thought, did not look truly surprised.

    “He searches for me even now,” Celebrimbor muttered, putting a hand to his temples. “But I will not let him. I will not let him see.” He hissed out his last words like a snake, bearing his teeth to the voice in his mind. “I pulled off the Rings, but still he saw me . . . still he chased. He wants the Rings - all of them, even the Three. But he shall not, he will not . . .”

    “We should destroy them,” Galadriel muttered on a low, hard voice. “All of them.”

    Celebrimbor shook his head. “The lesser rings I cannot destroy. The forges that birthed them have since cooled and been relit. Destroying the One Ring should render those lesser dead of their strength. Or, theoretically a stronger flame than forge-fire could destroy them - dragon-fire, perhaps, but even that may not work. The Three I may destroy, and yet . . .” He swallowed. He did not wish to part from that which he created, I saw. And my mother . . .

    Still she stared at Nenya, and I did not like the shape of her gaze.

    “Sauron will come for them,” Celebrimbor whispered. “He will come, and war will follow in his wake. I . . . I strove to create something beautiful, something greater than that which the One allowed Middle-earth to know. Now thousands upon thousands will suffer in the days to come, and I . . . their blood will be on my hands . . . their deaths shall weigh on my shoulders.” He swallowed. For a long moment, no one spoke. “I am no better than my father . . . my grandfather,” Celebrimbor finally muttered, “even though I swore I never would be.” His voice broke on a low sound of grief.

    Fëanor's fire was broad and consuming, I thought, pushing him to craft and push the boundaries of creation. In Celebrimbor, Annatar – Sauron, had seen a fertile and brilliant mind ripe for the picking. My thoughts swirled between pity and cold apathy as I looked on Celebrimbor, for while he was filled with grief and regret, the damage he had wrought was great - even when done with noble intentions.

    “You knew full well of my suspicions of the beginning,” Galadriel finally said, and yet, there was no judgment in her voice, no crowing over the accurateness of her foresight. “And yet, I will say that Sauron's evil would have returned with or without your aid. You proved to be an instrument in his plans, but those plans were not wholly contingent on you. The Shadow was bound to reappear in one form or another, only know we know exactly how and where it shall strike, and we may now plan our own reply.” She exhaled, and for only a moment her eyes were weary. Determination then filled her gaze, and I felt the touch of her spirit upon the air as she buoyed the confidences of all those in the room. I inhaled, and found my courage bolster underneath her touch.

    “Now,” Galadriel whispered, “There is much to discuss and much to do. But the morn will see to that. For now, take your rest, Celebrimbor, and try to find what sleep you may. The days before us will be long indeed.”

    The smith nodded, and without meeting our eyes he gathered his Rings. His motions were heavy and awkward, and he flinched and muttered as he did so – and only now we realized that his doing so was his own way of trying to keep Sauron from his mind. I bit my lip as I imagined what lengths the angered Maia would go to try to rip what he wanted to know from his thoughts. I did not envy him his struggles and his demons.

    He retrieved the Three last, and Galadriel watched Nenya until it was swallowed by the velvet bag. Only then did she turn away.

    Celebrimbor left us in silence, and the silence remained heavy for a long, long time as we all processed what we had learned. Beyond us, the night was cool and the stars were out in full, but the shadows felt tight and oppressive even with their light shining overhead. The trees still whispered in warning, liking not of Celebrimbor's wares beneath their boughs, and their discordant song was smothering when coupled with the dark shape of our thoughts.

    When Galadriel at last looked to us, her gaze was shadowed. “What do you know of Sauron?” she finally asked, addressing my friends and I rather than Amdír.

    Not much, I admitted to myself with a frown. “Really, what we know is mainly from Lúthien's tale,” Amroth answered first. “The lord of captured Tol Sirion and master of the foul creatures there.” And there he was the tormentor and murderer of Finrod Felagund, who perished to preserve Beren alive on his quest. I thought of the uncle I never knew with a pang, glancing over to see a flash of memory in my mother's eyes.

    “He was Morgoth's Lieutenant,” Haldir said next. “But his exact role, we do not know more than that.”

    “A Maia, fallen from grace,” I said with a dry mouth. “Though, of his fall . . .” I faltered, realizing that we did not know nearly as much as I thought we did.

    Galadriel nodded in reply to our words. “His story is known in full to only a select few, and I know what I do only for my time underneath Melian's tutelage and my childhood in Aman.” She gestured to us, and we came to take a seat before her, curious for her tale.

    She looked to see that we were ready, and then started her story by saying, “I believe that you know of my grandmother, Queen Indis.” She waited for us to nod in reply, and then said, “Though she was Queen of the Noldor through her marriage to Finwë, she was fully Vanyar, and the Vanyar find their life's meaning through their absolute devotion to the Valar. As such, they had many . . . cautionary tales of the consequences of turning away from the worship of Eru. It was she who told me the first of his tale.” Through Indis' blood, my mother had inherited her talents with the uncanny and her stunning mane of golden hair. Sometimes, I thought ruefully, it was forgotten that my mother was only partially Noldor. She was more Teleri than anything else in her blood, placing her more as kin of Thingol than many would let themselves remember.

    “Sauron is a Quenyan name, meaning abhorred,” Galadriel continued, and I cast my thoughts aside. “As such, it was not always his name. Once, he was a Maia of Aulë – dear to the blacksmith Vala's heart and first amongst his collection of spirit followers. Aulë named him Mairon – the admirable - for his talents and his power, and revered him above all others amongst his Maiar. Mairon helped create the universe during the Great Music, and even stood opposite of Morgoth when he sung his discord into the Creator's Song. Mairon was a creature of order and numbers, and it is told that when he saw the land the Song birthed, he was dismayed for the chaos and disruption that was created with it. He was drawn to the power of Morgoth – for Morgoth, as the strongest of the Valar, thought that absolute worship of all those in Arda should belong to him. For the great span of his might, he wanted even his siblings amongst the Valar to bow to him, and when he was not awarded that, he set himself to destroying all that they created in a show of his absolute power. Mairon took note of his might, and through Morgoth he saw a way to cast this world aside and start anew with a land perfect in shape and countenance. In the beginning, his motives were not quite evil. And yet, such ambitions rarely stay that way . . . as we have seen with Celebrimbor.”

    Galadriel paused for a moment, her eyes far away. “The Vanyar say that it was simply his wondering, his allowing himself to question the rule of the One that led to his fall. They used his tale as one of warning, but Melian told it differently from that point out. In a way, Sauron was her kinsman, but she did not know him personally. Yet Olórin, a Maia dear to her, knew him well, and told the rest of the tale . . . Olórin is a Maia of Manwë, yet, in the days before Valinor and the Trees existed, he would combine his command of the heavens with Mairon's mastery of the flames, and together they created lighthearted things to amuse their fellow Ainur. Fireworks and things of that nature,” Galadriel's voice was soft, and I knew she told us this for a reason – for no evil was ever truly absolute, and it was important to realize the humane aspects of that which later turned to rot and hate lest we copied their mistakes.

    “Melian said that Morgoth noticed his wandering eye and coveted the great scope of his power. Morgoth was smitten by the might of this mere Maia, and wished to have him for himself. And so, Morgoth exerted his will and spirit, and seduced Mairon into his service. Melian said that Aulë wept the day his betrayal became known, for he more so than any of the Valar delighted in those he could teach and call his own, and he views his Maiar as his children as much as he does the Dwarves. He blamed himself for the horrors cast by Sauron's hand, for while Morgoth was raw power and consuming chaos, Sauron was order and cunning. Without his aid, I do believe that Morgoth would have fallen centuries sooner than he did. Sauron was the mind behind his military victories, and the craftsman behind his evil creations – giving shape to his Dragons and Balrogs and Wargs while Morgoth provided them with the flames of their spirits. Together, they were nearly unstoppable.

    “At the end of the War of Wrath, the land was even further from the order Sauron wished to grant it. Out of either fear or true remorse, Sauron tried to repent to Eönwë of his many sins. And yet, Morgoth's hold on his spirit was too great for him to turn aside completely. You see,” Galadriel leaned forward, “Maiar are not like you and I. They are not born; they do not grow. In some ways, they are merely tools – servants of their master's will, created solely for the purpose of obeying the orders of their respective Vala. It was a wonder that Sauron was able to cast aside his oaths to Aulë in order to convert to Morgoth's service, and Morgoth . . . Morgoth was not as kind a master as Aulë, and he demanded absolute devotion from his servants. In his own way, Sauron adored Morgoth, for as a Maia, he was able to do nothing else. It was unnatural for him to break ties with his master, and so, he was never able to cast his chains aside and return to Valinor – even though Eönwë searched long and hard for him before his own duties called him away.”

    I serve a great master, even still, I remembered Annatar's sensual voice whispering into my ear as we danced. His tone had been low and reverent then, and I felt a shiver travel up and down my spine for the memory, even after the passing of so many years.

    “We knew that Sauron would only be able to resist the call to complete his master's will for so long. For, you see, in a way, this world is Morgoth's. As the One Ring is Sauron, this world is Morgoth's ring. He poured so much of his spirit into Arda that it is marred, and will continue to be so until the breaking of the world and the One creates his fine work anew. Perhaps Sauron simply wishes to exploit this taint until it turns consuming in homage to his master, subduing Endórë in readiness for his master's reemerging from his prison beyond the Doors of Night. Perhaps Sauron sees Middle-earth as abandoned by the Valar, and seeks to order it as fit to his own wisdoms, viewing himself as heir to Morgoth's right to rule. In either instance, the Rings are only his his first move.”

    I processed all that she said with a stone in the pit of my stomach. The world was a dark place, made so from Morgoth's taint in the beginning of all things. And yet . . . “Why the Rings?” I asked. “Why would he share his power in such a way?”

    For a moment, Galadriel considered my question. “The only reason for Morgoth's defeat in the First Age was because of his depleted power. Between his sharing so much of his power with his vassals, the holy burn of the Silmarils, and Ungoliant herself gorging on his fëa after the destruction of the Two Trees, Morgoth's strength was but a fraction of its might during the War of Wrath,” Galadriel answered. “From each Dragon and Balrog, to each of the firstborn amongst the Orcs – all bore a spark of Morgoth's flame, and he spread himself thin in his creating. Sauron is a Maia, and he has not the depth of spirit that Morgoth bore. Instead of sharing his own power, he will augment his strength on the strengths of others . . . it is a cunning plan, playing on the greed and weaknessess of those who share this world, and it is a strategy that gives me true fear and disquiet.”

    Galadriel was silent for a moment before she sighed and touched her brow in a rare show of weariness. “I have burdened your mind with heavy things,” she said a moment later. “And yet, I fear that the days to come will be filled with such conversations as we find our path. For now, try to find what sleep you may. In the morning we shall have much to discuss . . . much to plan.”

    And much to defend, I could not help but think. As I turned away, I glanced back once to find my mother staring at the place Nenya had been, her brow creased in thought. I wonder what crossed her mind then . . . memories of the crippling wars against Morgoth . . . memories of the West as its light was destroyed . . . perhaps she remembered Annatar himself with his mouth twisting and his bow deep as he humbled himself in order to achieve his own ends. Such humility was dangerous, I could not help then – for our foe could smile and hide when it suited him, rather than challenging us openly from the light, and in the days to come . . .

    I forced myself to exhale as I reflected that at least we now knew the foe we faced. He had a name and a purpose, and we were no longer left blindly jumping at shadows. Now, there was nothing left to do but to stand up tall and prove that our world was not only a world marred – but a world that still bore the light, no matter what tried to take that away.

    My steps were heavy as I turned, but I made fists of my hands, determined for what the next day would bring.

    End Notes

    I am pulling together bits and pieces from many different sources to tell my story here - especially for Sauron. Believe it or not, Morgoth's Ring uses the exact words saying that Sauron 'adored' Melkor, while a lot about the celestial bond between a Maia and Vala is a bit of my own spin. I think that I covered everything I wanted to in the text, but if you have any further questions let me know and I will be happy to chat about them. ;) Oh! And if anyone is interested in reading Tolkien's theories on good vs. evil, Sauron's fall as a whole, and even the Professor's reasons why Gandalf/Galadriel/Elrond would be a worse choice for wielding the One Ring than Sauron, there are some very interesting excerpts from Tolkien's letters [link=]here[/link] that I just found fascinating. :)

    That said, I thank you all for reading! [:D]

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

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Beautiful detailing of Celebrimbor's motives and realizations and the pull of Nenya for Galadriel and Sauron's back-story. (The letters excerpts were indeed fascinating, love that word.) ;)

    I applaud the strength of resolve at the end.




    I love just immersing myself in the shape and feel of your words when you write Tolkien, -- wriggling my toes and just literally basking in the poeticness.


  11. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    revealing and giving depth to the forging of the rings and Sauron's evil influence
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  12. RX_Sith

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

    Mar 13, 2006
    Sauron's presence definitely brings chills to the land.
  13. Mira_Jade

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

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Fascinating indeed! (That truly is the best word. ;) [face_love]) As always, thank-you so much for reading and taking the time to leave your thoughts. I always appreciate it. [:D]

    earlybird-obi-wan: That's it in a nutshell. :) Thank-you for reading!

    RX_Sith: That it does. [face_worried]

    Entry XX

    The months passed as we readied ourselves to confront Sauron's threat. Through it all, Celebrimbor withstood the Maia's constant onslaught against his mind, though the battle taxed him all the more so with each passing day. He further waned during his stay in Lórinand; his body thinning and the shadows around his eyes deepening as he fought against an enemy only he could see. My mother tried her best to help bolster the light of his fëa; yet, as the days passed, not even my mother augmenting his strength was enough. Celebrimbor would eventually break underneath the pressure heaped upon him; this we knew as surely as the inevitability of an all out war. Sauron would come for the Rings. Sauron would come . . . and the world would burn in his wake.

    The summer of the year following Celebrimbor's revelation, our scouts at long last returned from their first venture into the black lands of Sauron's rule – a land we started to refer to as Mordor. Riders were then sent to Lindon to share with Gil-galad that which we had learned. Upon receiving our reports, the High-king then deemed it necessary for the powers leading our people to meet and discuss what was best to be done for the first time this age.

    With the distance between the elven realms in Middle-earth, such a meeting was difficult to arrange. Yet, my mother had other ways of speaking with those far away past those ordinary. I had only once seen her practice this art, and I was intrigued to see her work her power in such a way again.

    To do so, we gathered in a green dell to the south of Caras Galadhon. Surrounded by a green wall of earth and reached by a twining set of ancient steps, here the ground was bare and ringed by an sheltering rise of trees. A small brook flowed down the slope of the hill, where it then poured into a small, gently singing fountain of water. In the center of the clearing, a silver basin had been set upon a pedestal carved to resemble twining branches. As Galadriel poured a pitcher of clear water from the brook into the basin, Celebrimbor followed her, matching her every move as if he was her shadow. He glanced from her eyes to the Ring she wore constantly, as if unsure where to rest his gaze. Though Galadriel wore Nenya not upon her finger, the Ring never left her keeping. She wore it on a chain about her neck, and there it shimmered with a silver light for all to see. While she had yet to don the Ring, I knew that she wished to, and the strength of her denying her desires was something that prickled against her place in my soul. She was quiet and lost in thought all too often as of late, and I worried for what paths her mind walked when she fell away from me.

    For now, Galadriel paid Celebrimbor little heed, nodding and providing him only with the barest of responses to his queries. And yet . . .

    I swallowed, and tasted worry as something bitter in the back of my throat.

    While waiting for my mother to finish her preparations, I stood off to the side with Amroth and Haldir. As Lórinand's ruler, Amdír waited patiently at the side of the basin – where he would partake of the talks with Galadriel and those whom she would call upon. My companions and I were there to listen and observe, not to comment. Even still, I understood the honor and weight of responsibility assigned to us with our being there.

    For now, I watched Celebrimbor while we waited, liking but little how his hands clenched and unclenched. He constantly fiddled with his first finger, as if searching for that which was no longer there. The missing in his motions rocked me when I saw Nenya flicker in the forest light, its light flashing as if calling . . . No, I did not like the smith's influence on my mother at all.

    “He is as a serpent, with all of his hissing and fangs beneath his lips,” I whispered to Amroth when he caught my stare. He too watched Celebrimbor, much as I did.

    Amroth set his mouth, hesitation in his gaze. “While I can understand your mother's reservations, the Three were forged with good intentions, were they not? Would there truly be evil in using them?”

    “They were still forged with Sauron's craft, even if they bear not of his spirit. From such a thing, no good can come,” I said with decisiveness in my voice. “I fear that it will be for ill to use the Three.”

    “And yet, if this craft can help protect our people, should not a thing be considered?” Haldir interjected thoughtfully. His eyes found my mother. “If the many can be aided, could any cost then be deemed too high for the bearer?”

    “Your mother is strong,” Amroth said, his eyes clouding at Haldir's words. “The effect of wearing the Ring should not be as it was for Celebrimbor . . . for he was touched by more evil than the Rings.” He looked, no doubt seeing Celebrimbor sunken and shadowed as I did. I had to push away a thought of my mother much the same, burdened after her centuries of keeping Nenya, waning until her fëa was fractured and frayed . . . No, I would wish such a thing upon none. Yet . . . even with my reservations, I knew that it was only a matter of when, and not if, the Rings would be worn. As such, my thoughts were a burden to me.

    “We are ready,” Galadriel announced softly. Her eyes found me, and I had an uncomfortable moment where I was certain that she knew the very shape of my thoughts. In reply, her spirit brushed mine with a wave of strength and reassurance. Normally, such a thing was all that I needed to push my doubts aside. Yet, I could not cast them completely from my mind. Not this time.

    And yet, now was not the time to think of such things.

    “This was a craft taught to me by Melian herself,” Galadriel explained to those assembled as she touched the tips of her fingers to the water in he basin. “The Mirror can show many things; that what has been, that what is, and that which could be. When asked, it can even reach the consciousnesses of others, much as you would speak mind to mind with those dearest to you. Today you will be able to see through the Mirror, while those listening will only be able to hear. And yet, for now, such a thing shall be enough.”

    Next to me, Amroth and Haldir both looked down curiously, while Amdír stood calmly at Galadriel's side, expectation glittering in his gaze. Perhaps, he thought of Melian before a similar basin, and remembered the days of old in a way few others could.

    My mother had once explained her craft further to me, showing me how the Mirror to project a 'shadow' of another's fëa, allowing her to communicate with those she was not bonded to across any distance. Such a thing had proved useful during wartime in the First Age, and now that such a time had come upon us again . . . I had never been able to copy her art, for which I had at one time thought her to know disappointment for. And yet, I now knew that we all bore our talents and skills in different ways.

    Galadriel dipped her hand into the basin, and whispered a word of power into the twilit air. The forest around me hummed in response to the great cast of her spirit as she asked the water to help her focus and magnify her own strength. She closed her eyes for a long moment, and when she opened them, her eyes were aglow with a light so bright that it was nearly white. The water in the basin rippled and spun, answering her unspoken command before it parted to reveal faces in its depths . . . faces both familiar to me and not.

    Galadriel let her hand hover over the basin, and then she raised it. Answering her command, images then stood from the water in shadowy mirrors of their true selves. The figures stood no more than a foot tall in shape, and yet, it was enough to make out expressions and faces, eyes and mouths. I felt a ripple of appreciation for my mother's power as Amroth leaned forward in unabashed curiosity. Even grave Haldir stared openly, intrigued by the spell-craft before him.

    But I looked away from my friends when I saw my father and two of his captains from Ost-in-edhil on one side of the Mirror. My heart leapt when I saw Celeborn's face for the first time in over two centuries, for while the touch of his soul could sustain much, my eyes were hungry for his visage. I stared, and even though he could see me not, I knew that he was aware of my gaze for the way his spirit brushed against mine before returning to the meeting at hand.

    Across from Celeborn stood three elves from Lindon. The first caught my eye for the sheer curiosity of his appearance. This elf was Sindarin, of a sort, with hair as white as snow and skin tanned from his days spent upon the ocean. His form was strong and broad for an elf, and his hands were thick and imposing to match – like the paws of a bear, I could not help but think. This was Círdan the Shipwright, I knew from the beard that he wore carefully groomed upon his face. He was the only one of our people yet to manage such a feat – for his appreciation and understanding of the sons of Men, some said, whilst others whispered that as one of the Unbegotten he was simply at a stage in his uncountable years where such a growth was possible.

    Next to Círdan was a man I knew of in name only. Yet, I instantly identified him for his elegant crown of gold and the weight of his presence, even when viewed through the eyes of the Mirror. Ereinion Gil-galad was the High-king of the Noldor in Exile - a scion of the might of Finwë through his father Fingon the Valiant, and living memory of the beauty of the Elves of Aman with his glimmering black hair and his commanding cast of features. In the noontime of the First Age, Fingon had foreseen his immanent death and had given his then toddling son to Círdan to foster, ensuring that the line of Kings would be secure, even after his fall. Fingon found his end only a few years later when marching alongside Maedhros Fëanorian in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears – the last time the Elves banded together in an all out war against Morgoth before the arrival of aid from the West, and at great cost. Fingon had not fallen easily, and his death was a thing of legend – for it had taken one Balrog to hold him still for the very Captain of the fiery demons to land a killing blow when faced with the might of his spirit. In the end, his fëa had burned through the flesh of his body for the ferocity of his fighting, and many had been the tears of our people in lamentation that day. Gil-galad had no memory of his father, and viewed Círdan as his mentor in all ways. Great was the love between them, that even I could see from the way they stood and glanced at each other as Galadriel's power filled the air around them.

    Yet, for all the might of the High-king, for all of the ancient wisdom of the Shipwright, it was the third elf who caught my attention, and held it. Fostered by Gil-galad from a young age, Elrond Peredhil was now the High-king's herald and heir in might both through his blood – he being the last descendant of Fingon's brother, Turgon – and through the merit of his own deeds, great as they already were for his relatively short span of days. His was another name I knew of only through hearing, though my parents were well acquainted with him before they moved east to Eregion. I meant to glance at him and then look away, eager as I was for the conversation that was about to begin. And yet, I looked, and found myself then unable to turn my gaze aside . . . Much as I first drank in sight of my father, I now stared - following every line of his strong features, and tracing the long fall of his night-black hair with my eyes. He looked patiently ahead with a pale grey gaze – Lúthien's eyes, I knew the stories would say - and I had a queer moment where I wanted him to turn and look at me. Something inside of me flickered in a curious way, as if an ember long sleeping in my spirit warmed and sparked to life. I felt burned in its wake, yet, it was a heat I did not want to flee from.

    I realized that I had missed out on the greetings and introductions. Yet, I was drawn away from my so rudely staring when Gil-galad started to speak, the warm tenor of his voice piercing the air with the strength of a war-drum. “You bring us troubling news, my lady,” he said to my mother. “Though, we have anticipated its telling for long a time.”

    “Only more troubling still do our reports grow,” Galadriel said gravely, not curbing her words with soft shapes for this conversation. Her power was not absolute, and I knew that she could only hold the connection in the Mirror for so long. “Our scouts have returned from Mordor; few as survived for the numbers they were sent in.”

    For that I knew a pang -- our first casualties having fallen even before outright war began.

    “Already Sauron's numbers count past five thousand score of Orc-soldiers and Warg riders," Galadriel informed the High-king. "The pits are breeding, and by the time his last yield of creatures mature, his numbers will be more than twice that. The forges bellow; siege engines and sword and spear are crafted in multitude. The steel is infused with Sauron's own taint – forming black weapons to poison as much as they shall render flesh from bone. Mordor's own might will be joined by the Men of Harad and Rhûn, who ever have served the Dark Lords and their ways for fear of anything else.”

    The High-king blinked; the only sign of his surprise. “Such a number does he possess already . . . ” Gil-galad muttered, clearly taken aback.

    “Sauron has dwelt in Mordor for nearly a century,” Galadriel said through her teeth. “His years of planning were many beforehand, at that, we have to assume for his waiting so long since Morgoth's defeat to strike.”

    “And, in reply . . .” Gil-glad steeled his jaw in determination as he looked down - where he no doubt had maps and tallies awaiting him. “We shall be able to raise twenty thousand men from Lindon . . . perhaps thirty if we are pressed.”

    “The force of Ost-in-edhil will number nearly five thousand once I call in the Sindar from the woodlands and the foothills,” Celeborn said for the first, and my joy at hearing his voice was sobered by the staggeringly low number he spoke. “Already, all within our reach ready themselves to fight, and we work to train those who are ignorant to arms – for Sauron's forces will not distinguish woman and child from our ranks of fighting men. Undoubtedly, his wrath will strike here first in his search for Celebrimbor and his wares.”

    So low was this number in comparison to the hundreds of thousands Sauron would have marching at his command. I clenched my fingers into fists, fighting not to be disheartened. The overall population of elves in Middle-earth had plummeted drastically with the death toll taken during the wars of the First Age. After the War of Wrath, when the Valar welcomed us West again, the first to partake of their generosity were young families and childbearing couples. Those of the Edhil left in Ennor loved the land, and loved it dearly . . . yet, that love would not be enough in the face of the numbers we faced. Sauron bred his Orcs by the hundred-fold and forged his monsters from the Pits, while an immortal couple would only see a child or two for the whole of their lives together. It was not possible for us to keep up with the numbers our enemy would heap upon us.

    “You will have nearly eight thousand men from the people of Lórinand,” Galadriel replied. “And that number shall all but empty the forests and the surrounding vales for all but those who know not how to arm themselves.”

    Gil-galad looked at the scrolls before him again, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “And from the Greenwood?” he asked. “What help does Oropher pledge?”

    “I know not,” Galadriel answered honestly. “We mean to beseech him – for his archers are the best that Middle-earth can boast of, and many of his people are veterans of the last war. And yet . . .”

    Yet, Oropher was secluded so deep in the forests, and he was happy to remain that way. I did not know how much the Forest-king would want to give – or be willing to give, at least.

    “I see . . .” well aware of Oropher's tempestuous personality from his days of reigning side by side with the Sindar lord during the War of Wrath, Gil-galad then looked weary. He glance to his side, hearing a voice that we could not - others gathered on his side to observe the meeting much as I stood back with my companions. “Thranduil says that while he will not pledge the whole of the Sindar in Lindon, he will put the choice to each of his people. They may fight if their hearts move them to, and do so with his consent. We can expect another thousand from him, maybe even two.”

    “We should have nearly forty thousand in total, then,” Galadriel surmised, “And that with us scraping the bottom of our coffers.”

    “I would taken an elvish warrior for every twelve count of Orcs,” Gil-galad waved a hand. “I am not yet so disheartened.”

    “For a dozen Orcs, I would as well,” Galadriel agreed. “And yet, with this One Ring . . .”

    Silence descended, raw and uncomfortable as we each considered the horror that was to come from the weapon worn upon Sauron's hand. At my mother's side, Celebrimbor closed his eyes and rubbed at his brow, muttering beneath his breath all the while.

    Gil-galad touched a place on the map before him. “If you wish to move your men over the mountains from the east, I presume you wish to make use of Moria. What help do you think could come from the King Underneath the Mountain?”

    “The thought has crossed my mind,” Galadriel admitted. “We are on good terms with Moria, and intend to beseech the Longbeards for aid. They fight their own battle with Gundabad in the north, however, and I am not sure what help can be provided, if any.” Galadriel's eyes sparkled, though, and I knew she meant to try.

    I, however, was not so sure. If Nothri still sat the throne, I knew that he would but empty the mountain for the good of all – understanding that Sauron was a threat not only pressing against the throats of the Elves. After Nothri's death, his son Brokkr continued to write to me - at first out of duty, and then out of a true pleasure in my correspondence. Yet, he had tragically fallen in the battles against Gundabad during the winter. His son Durin III had reigned since the spring, yet he was different from his father and his grandfather . . . He had not carried on his father's letters since taking his crown, and what I remembered of him from my journeys to Moria was that of a hard youth with eyes full of gold. No . . . I was no longer sure what help would come of Moria should we ask.

    Gil-galad nodded thoughtfully, making another mark on the scroll before him. “With these numbers . . .”

    “We will not be able to attack Sauron from the north when he makes to pass the mountains, as first I would have hoped,” Galadriel said.

    “Sauron will make his way east through the Gap of Isen, we presume, and then push his forces north towards Eregion,” Gil-galad shook his head. “Even if you had the numbers, that is too far a path to cross from the north – especially with the mountains cutting you off from aid. Better it would be for you to cross the Misty Mountains through Moria, and supplement Ost-in-edhil's forces from there. Celeborn will not be able to hold the city long enough to retreat if Sauron reaches Eregion before I can set Elrond to march from Lindon. Their survival may depend on whatever aid can come west over the mountains.”

    “I may be able to buy Celeborn time to retreat,” for the first, Celebrimbor spoke. His voice was grim, and while his words did not shake, he made fists of his hands so that they would not tremble. “Sauron will approach the Guild first, looking for me and that which we created together. I . . . I can resist his methods of persuasion for some time, and give Celeborn's men enough of a reprieve from Sauron's attention to hold out until Elrond can arrive.”

    All were silent in the wake of the Fëanorian's calm statement. For all of my dislike for the man, I felt something in my heart twist at his words. Such a fate . . . it was not something I would wish on even a most loathed enemy. A shiver went through me as I imagined both Sauron's wrath and him free to do what he wished to extract the information he sought. That shiver was then joined by an echo – a whisper of foreboding that my mother's foresight occasionally birthed in my blood. Yet, I pushed the wisp of foreboding away in frustration when it refused to take its full shape.

    Celebrimbor forced a wry look to his face. “It is my fault that Sauron is able to march in such force. You sent word, warning us before Annatar even arrived,” he said to Gil-galad, “And you counseled me time and time again not to trust his fair façade,” he turned to Galadriel with his saying so. “I did not listen to either of you. Many will suffer for the weakness of my heart, and if I may save even one life through cost of my own . . . it is not nearly enough for what I have done, but it is a start.”

    What could be said in reply to that, I wondered with a pang? Celebrimbor's sins were many, but his motives were pure – pure as his heart would continue to be, even when weighed down by the black might of that which he had created.

    “You will be remembered for this, Celebrimbor, rather than the craft of your hand.” Galadriel said softly. I could feel her spirit reach out to buoy his, heavy as both of their presences were in that moment.

    Celebrimbor nodded tightly. “No . . .” he said honestly. “No, I shall not. But if you will remember me for this, then I shall deem that well enough.” He could not look at my mother, but all could feel the weight of his regard in that moment, even as hopeless as it was.

    A moment passed, long and fraught with tension. “And yet,” Gil-galad broke through the silence before it could turn uncomfortable, “Help may come from an unexpected source.”

    I looked up, curious for what he would say. “I intend to sail for Númenor,” Gil-galad informed us. “The Queen ages, and already many of Númenor's dealings lie in the hands of her nephew. Tar-Minastir will be King by the time war reaches us, and he may prove to be kind to our plight, even with the rippling of . . . unease, we have had with the Men of the West as of late.”

    With each passing generation, the people of Númenor grew further and further from the peace and wisdom their realm was founded in. Their knowledge and craftsmanship was greater than any other race of Men – so much so that they were equal to the Elves in many ways. The Númenoreans had only one permanent colony on Middle-earth, the shipyard at Lond Daer, where they carefully stayed just to the south of Gil-galad's lands in Eriador and harvested the trees there to nothingness.The native Men of Minhiriath and Enedwaith (descendants of Haleth, the same as the Númenoreans, though they were not recognized as kin for their rustic ways) greatly protested the invasion of their lands and the destruction of the trees that provided their ways of life. There, the wood-elves of the land supported the Men in their constantly trying to drive the West-men away. Already Númenor whispered of further settling the lands in the south and the east of Middle-earth, and soon . . . I sighed, knowing what a headache and a blessing Elros' descendants proved to be for the High-king. If . . . if Númenor helped us, there was even a risk that those native Men would turn to Sauron for aide in driving the Númenoreans from their lands, which presented another line of worry for us to consider.

    They said that Minastir had a tower built to look on the West and dream of immortality - for the coast of Valinor's Tol-Eressëa was visible from the mountains of Númenor. The Men were still friendly to their elvish kin, but there was envy and longing in their hearts to match that love. And, in time, such a thing could only . . .

    Yet, I pushed those thoughts away. For now Númenor was our ally, and our friend. We needed every sword that could be pledged to our aid, no matter where that sword came from.

    Galadriel merely inclined her head to Gil-galad's words, saying neither yes or no as to his decision. With her visions, I wondered what she could see for the days to come, and what she remained silent to.

    Gil-galad inclined his head one last time, casting his eyes around as if he could see all whom my mother bound together. “We have faced worse than this and came out triumphant before,” he moved to rally the spirits of those who looked for him to lead. “At least we have not to fear from Dragon-fire or Balrog-whips . . . Morgoth sleeps in the Void, and we shall push his Lieutenant to join him as we should have so long ago. This Ring, though . . . this Ring gives me true pause. Yet, we shall rise up to this challenge as we have every other. The Shadow is not yet so great in Arda marred that it cannot be pushed back through casting our light. Take courage my friends, and I shall speak to you again soon.”

    He glanced to where he knew Galadriel would see, and nodded, understanding the strain that holding the connection caused her. As my mother dipped her hand in the basin, I let myself glance at Gil-galad's herald one last time. While Gil-galad spoke, I had to force myself to look away and pay attention to the High-king's words, but now I allowed myself a last glance as my mother moved to end the spell. A strange sort of awareness tingled as it whispered up and down my skin, as if in anticipating the build-up of a storm on a summer's day. For a moment Elrond glanced to the side, and I could have sworn that he looked right at me before the image in the Mirror flickered and then disappeared completely. The silver water reflected only the height of the trees above, and nothing more.

    I took a deep breath, blinking in order to free myself from the odd sort of haze that had taken me. A curious warmth remained deep within me, seemingly reaching for my bones, and it took Haldir touching a hand to my shoulder to cause the sensation to dissipate and finally fade away. I started at his touch, feeling as if I should grasp for something which I had lost. I frowned, confused by the strange flicker in my spirit.

    “Are you well?” Haldir asked, concern in his gaze.

    I nodded in reply, unable as I was to first find my voice. “Of course,” I muttered when at last I could. I was saved from having to answer any more of his questions when my mother slumped wearily against the basin with the spell's end. Her one hand was white knuckled about the silver rim, while she cradled her forehead with the other - a rare and uncharacteristic show of weakness on her part.

    Concerned, I passed Haldir in order to approach my mother, finding her place within my soul and opening our bond so that she could take of my strength to supplement her own. When I stopped by the basin, Galadriel reached over and touched my hand in reply, but the touch was weak.

    “Such a skill has not grown easier for me, not even with all of my centuries spent mastering it,” she remarked wryly. “Elrond attempted to help me maintain the connection, but he has always been a poor student when it comes to the Mirror.”

    Celebrimbor too stood very close to my mother's side. “If you wore the Ring,” he pointed out, “such a connection would be trifle for you to maintain for twice the time.”

    “My own power is great enough,” Galadriel said sharply in reply. With her using so much of her energy, a nearly fey aura clung to her from her fëa rising to compensate for the tax she placed upon her body. I watched where she fought to keep her face composed, near as she was to bearing her teeth at Celebrimbor for his words.

    “Indeed it is,” Celebrimbor said docilely, stepping back from the challenge he had unwittingly uttered. “And yet, it can be more . . . so much more. Was not such a power why you crossed to this land to begin with? Artanis as she was would not have hesitated before grasping such a might and making it her own.”

    “Artanis I am no more,” Galadriel stated simply in reply, composing herself once more. “Now my motivations are different than once they were.” She looked at me, and I understood that which she did not say aloud.

    “Then, if not for your own power, don Nenya for the sake of the people you strive to protect,” Celebrimbor continued to push. His dull eyes took on a fierce, nearly fanatical gleam. “Please, think about that, if nothing else.”

    Galadriel set her mouth into a firm line, but she did not say anything more in response to his words. Her hands made fists at her side, as if she was trying not to reach up and touch the Ring she still wore around her neck. And yet, it was the consideration shining in her eyes that gave me more true concern than anything else.

    End Notes:

    Galadriel's Mirror: We know next to nothing about how it works, or the parameters of its power, so this skill here is completely my own invention for practicality’s sake. Since this war is a lot of planning in several realms with thousands of men moving . . . well, letters can only do so much to accomplish that planning. 8-} As always, magic solves everything! Though not without a price, as we see. :(

    Who Exactly is Gil-galad: Tolkien himself did not even have that completely figured out. :oops:8-} In the published Silmarillion, he is named as Fingon's son, although Christopher Tolkien later recanted that and said that he was the son of Orodreth, who was moved from being Galadriel's brother, to the son of her brother Angrod and his wife Eldalótë. Now . . . I can see that . . . kinda . . . but that really puts Gil-galad far from the king's line. After Fingon's death, the kingship would have passed to Turgon if Fingon had no son – and then to Turgon's descendants after his death. While I suppose that Idril could have passed the crown aside, and Eärendil would have been too young to rule (with zero interest in the crown, at that), that is the only way Gil-galad would assume the crown – and that is assuming that Angrod was Galadriel's older brother and not younger, else the crown would have came to her. It is just cleaner labeling Gil-galad as Fingon's son, even if you have to wonder how Fingon ever peeled himself from Maedhros' side to even find a 'Sindarin lady of the north' to court. [face_laugh] (That said, does anyone notice how Tolkien develops the male names in these family trees, and we are constantly guessing as to wives and mothers? It's the Ents all over again! We just lost them all. :p) If anyone is curious, a handy dandy family tree can be found right [link=]here[/link]. Yes, everyone is related. 8-}

    Númenor: The First Three Houses of Men fought so valiantly in the War of Wrath that the Valar saw fit to gift them with a land of their own – an island nation in the sea, comparable to Atlantis. Elros, Elrond's twin brother, chose mortality over immortality, and as he was conveniently heir to all Three Houses through Tuor and Beren's blood, he was chosen to be the first King of Númenor. (Aragorn is Elros' 63 times great-grandson, to tie all of this together. [face_love]) Númenor was unmatched in lore and learning and ship-craft, and they eventually yearned for immorality to the point where they welcomed Sauron amongst their ranks, worshiped Melkor/Morgoth with human sacrifices, and even stormed the shores of Valinor in challenge to the Valar themselves. Númenor was then sunk by Eru Ilúvatar (God, in Tolkien's world), and the realms of Arnor and Gondor were founded in Middle-earth by the few faithful men who survived the destruction of their home.

    Lond Daer: The port that the Númenorean King Tar-Aldarion set up in Middle-earth, where the forests were harvested both to supply the shipyards in Middle-earth and Númenor with wood for their massive fleets.

    Minhiriath and Enedwaith: The lands south of Eriador – parallel with Rohan on the eastern side of the Misty Mountains. Later, these lands would become part of Arnor, but at this point in time they belonged to a rustic race of Men – descendants of Haleth who lived as hunters and foresters. Númenor would destroy the majority of the forests with their harvesting, and the native Men would welcome Sauron and his wars to push the Númenoreans out. Yet, Sauron, would later take their allegiance and repay them by burning their forests completely, and most of the forest-men with it. The Men who survived became either the ancestors of the Dunlendings, or mingled into the Númenorean realm of Arnor in Exile – such as the Men of Bree were descended from. Over time, wars, plagues, and deforestation would turn most of these Men extinct. Yet Gandalf said about these wastelands: “The waste in time will be waste no longer, and there will be people and fields where once there was wilderness.” So, there is hope for this land healing. :)

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

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    I too am concerned about Nenya's pulling. [face_worried]

    Love your extrapolation on the "Mirror". Celebrimbor's contrasting moods and stances with Galadriel - very intriguing ... [face_dancing] on Celebrian and Elrond's first -- glimpse/encounter across distance, but still the tug is there! [face_dancing]

    Your dialogue is stellar! =D= =D= It has the Tolkien-esque richness.

    [face_love] [face_love]
  15. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    the rings of power and the mirror. All are leading to the great war with Mordor
  16. RX_Sith

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

    Mar 13, 2006
    Don't do anything with the Ring; it only brings about destruction.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  17. Cael-Fenton

    Cael-Fenton Jedi Master star 3

    Jun 22, 2006
    I really like your take on Mairon's fall, and his devotion to Melkor. Poor little dark lord :(
    Thanks for the link! It's handy having those thoughts of Tolkien's all in one easy-reference bookmarked page. His views on the nature of evil definitely influenced my own.

    And poor, poor Celebrimbor. You made my heart ache so for his blinkered idealism and the openhearted enthusiasm he had for creating beautiful things. And the awful loss of those qualities we see in these past two chapters, it's like a microcosm within him of Arda Marred. Your portrayal of him is very unFeanorian, in a way, in how trusting and unsuspecting he was, and how ready to share. But his grim, iron determination at the end was totally the Feanorion again --- although his motives are far better!
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  18. Mira_Jade

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

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Why thank-you so much! Once again, that was a lot of information to get across without bogging down the dialogue, so I am so happy that worked out! And their first contact! I could not resist, especially since it looks like I will not be reaching the end of this phase of the war until the beginning of September according to my outline. 8-} [face_love] As always, thank-you so very much for reading! [:D]

    earlybird-obi-wan: Yep. :( Although it looks like we won't be getting to the big throw-down with Mordor until a sequel if the muse keeps this going. We still have loooooots of nasty business to uncover with Sauron in the meantime. [face_worried]

    RX_Sith: More truer words were never spoken. :(

    Cael-Fenton: Sauron is a character that just fascinated me in the books (minus the one-dimensional villain he was in LoTR ;)), and his backstory just made the conflict all the more interesting for me, so I am glad that you enjoyed that. :D Celebrimbor is another character whom I have really enjoyed exploring - he tried his whole life to be unFëanorian, in a way, and yet, some genes can't just be willed away, it seems. :( As always, I thank-you for reading, and I am glad that you are enjoying this tale as it unfolds. [:D]

    Entry XXI

    The spring following, we readied to travel to Moria and beseech the Longbeards for aid.

    For my friendship with the Dwarves, I, after long debate, was elected to speak on behalf of my people. I protested at first, seeing this as something my mother or Amdír should handle. Yet, my fears and doubts were turned aside as I argued them, and now I prepared to travel to Moria as a diplomat and an ambassador rather than a friend and a guest.

    Even as I prepared to leave, my mother and Amdír poured over maps of the lands east of the Misty Mountains. As our scouts had been sent to Moria, there were Orcs and other dark things traveling the lands aplenty – even as far north as the eaves of our forests. Crossing between realms was now difficult and dangerous, and we spared men aplenty to protect the roads for trade between the three races who found their sustenance from the fertile river vales. Sauron knew this, and his bands of filth were pointed in their attacks, never striking where they would not do the most harm to all.

    “And yet, you are certain that the forests will not draw his attention?” Amdír asked my mother when I peeked in, trepidation clear in his voice. “With his numbers, he can easily head north before crossing the mountains, and do away with the threat we present to his flank.”

    Galadriel shook her head. “His thirst for the Rings is fierce, and his confidence in his absolute power will be his downfall. No, Sauron will head first for Eregion, passing through the Gap of Isen so not as to risk his army on the treacherous mountain ways. His only other option would be to cross all the way north at Gundabad after dealing with the forests; and that would delay him from seeking out Celebrimbor in Ost-in-edhil. No, we shall be quite free of his full attention for now.”

    For now, I thought with a wave of foreboding. For if Sauron succeeded with his conquering west of the mountains, then there would be little stopping him from subduing the rest of Middle-earth, especially with the Rings as his own.

    “I can double and triple the watches,” Amdír said. "Yet, we still do not have the numbers to protect the boarders of the forest, let alone give aid to the Men in the vales. Already they suffer the most, and they come closer and closer to the boughs of Lórien for protection. When all out war comes, we can expect them overcoming their own superstitions to enter the forests, even. Few of the Men here are warriors. They are farmers and foresters, who know how to use their weapons only for fish and deer.”

    “Then they may wish to pretend that Orcs bear antlers when aiming,” Galadriel said, determination creasing her brow. “A Man moved to fight for what is his is a fierce opponent indeed, and they are fast learners. They will bring as much aid as they will bring burden.” She was silent for a long moment, resting her hands upon the map before her. “And . . . the forests will not go without protection,” she stated firmly. “The only shadows in this realm will be natural, this I promise you.”

    Amdír looked at my mother warily, and I saw the same concern in his eyes that I held in my own. “You were Melian's pupil,” he said slowly, “And you are great in memory of her gifts. Yet, for all of your power . . . you are no Maia to bind this land in your spells. Already you give too much of yourself.”

    Galadriel set her jaw, and I could feel her determination fill the room as her fëa rose to the surface of her skin in a flare of golden light. “Perhaps,” she whispered, “I can make my power more . . . it only remains to see what price I will be asked to pay.”

    Even in the bright, cheerful morning, Nenya cast a light greater than the sun above. I felt trepidation rise in my throat, fit to choke me. And yet, I had no time to yet again offer my counsel against the Ring when Haldir appeared at the end of the hall.

    “We are ready,” he said to me, and I turned from my mother to start the day's trek to Moria.

    Since Nothri's death, I had returned to Moria only for the coronation of his grandson, Durin III, the last spring prior. Even in so short a time, the changes in the mountain kingdom were acute. Where Moria had always sang with a restless and pulsing energy – as if Aulë himself were breathing through the mountain – that energy was sharp now . . . staccato, almost. I could not explain the prickling to my skin as I walked through the King's halls as I had so many time before. The scent of brimstone and forge-fire was sharp on the air, and the loud, boisterous populace that I used to know now went by with a purpose in their strides that was almost military in shape. I had known Moria in times of war both through Nothri and Brokkr's reigns . . . but this was different . . . this was more.

    I closed my eyes, searching to feel the comforting heartbeat of the mountain, but all I could feel against my senses was the cadence of drums, low and pulsing. I swallowed away my unease at the sensation, telling myself that it was just my preoccupation with Sauron's threat that was causing me to look into every shadow for a foe. I had not to worry for, not here.

    I took in a breath, preparing myself as I was admitted to Durin's throne-room. I schooled my features, trying to replicate my mother in all of her poised glory as I set my expression serene and grave upon my face. Just barely, I let my fëa rise to the surface of my skin in a controlled display of confidence and power. Where I normally came to Moria in practical tunics and leggings, I now dressed as befit my place within the Houses of Finwë, Olwë, and Elwë. My gown was a shimmering grey and white, graceful and unadorned but for the green Elessar that my mother had lent to me for this occasion, brighter than any other stone in the mountain kingdom. Instead of simply braiding my hair away from my face so as to not have to worry for its mass, my hair was now left to curl over my shoulders in a wave of molten silver. Tiny, ornate braids were plaited in the hair that fell from my temples, and just at the crown of my head to hold in place the netting of elegant silver mesh and green-blue stones I wore – the only ornamentation I bore outside of the dagger I had belted at my waist - Sviur's gift to me, from so long ago. I hoped that the ornate weapon would help remind Durin of my friendship with his people, and incline his ear to listening.

    Durin III was dressed to fit his station the same as I was. At first I stared, taken aback by how much he resembled Nothri when first I met him. Durin was little more than a youth, the youngest King Moria had yet to know in her long history. His beard was shallow about his face from where it had yet to grow, but his curling black hair and his pale blue eyes were as familiar to me as my own. He wore Durin's crown upon his brow with a haughty regalness, and the great sapphires and white diamonds set into his doublet shimmered in the silver-blue torch-light. But where Nothri's eyes had been warm, even with their frosty coloring, Durin's eyes flickered with something that I could only call gold. They reminded me of metal, cold, no matter how precious the ore was considered to be. I uttered a silent prayer to Aulë, asking that he move the heart of his servant to openly hear my words and decide for the good of all.

    I next blinked in surprise to see that the Queen's seat was already filled to Durin's right. Though he was considered too young by Dwarvish standards to marry – and he would not until his fortieth year - he already had his intended chosen and great in her mantle of fiery orange sapphires and golden-diamonds. I took in the great mane of orange-red hair the queen-to-be bore, seeing no friendship in the amber of her eyes. A daughter of Nogrod would reign at Durin's side, and already she held his heart and his ear, it would seem.

    Knowing that my task had just turned that much more difficult, I bowed low before the king's throne, but not so low that I forgot the kings whose blood I myself bore. I met Durin's eyes fully, even as I gave my respects to the sovereign of the realm I walked through. He did nothing more than incline his head in reply, and at my back I could feel even kind Amroth's spirit prickle in annoyance at the slight, small as it was. I did not need to look back to see Haldir's face; I could imagine it well enough.

    “You come,” Durin said without the usual preamble of court, “Asking aid against that which the Elves have stirred into anger, do you not?”

    “I come,” I began, steeling myself for the conversation to come, “asking the aid of the Longbeards against the returned threat of Sauron Gorthaur, the Lieutenant of Morgoth and the Lord of Mordor.”

    Durin inclined his head. “So we have heard from our kin in the Red Mountains. Some of the Stonefoots travel beyond the Wild Wood to trade in the wide grass-lands of Rhûn, and they see black smoke rising anew from Mordor. They say that the Easterlings gather for war at their Lord's command, and their numbers are great indeed.”

    “Then you know well the reason I am here,” I said, my voice bold and forthright. I gathered the strength of my fëa to me, infusing both my words and presence with light as I had long seen my mother do. My words echoed in the stone as they were breathed in by the mountain itself. “The men of Harad and Rhûn gather to march behind Sauron's banner, and they make for Eregion. It is our wish to transport the Elves and Men of the East-woods and the vales of the Anduin river to give aid to our people just west of the mountains. We will fall on the rear flank of Sauron's forces, and meet him as he approaches Ost-in-edhil for the wares he wrought with our master-smith, Celebrimbor.”

    “You assume much to think that your men of arms would be so readily welcome in our halls,” Durin raised a thick black brow, as if he was truly surprised at my words. “You expect even more if you think that our own shields will march behind yours.”

    I raised a brow of my own. “Is it wrong of me to assume that the children of Aulë would wish to fight when the blackest foe we have faced since Morgoth himself passes not even a league from their domain?”

    “And yet,” Durin countered, “my domain he shall not touch. Not even Sauron's fell magicks will pierce the doors of Moria – not without him investing more time and numbers than he can currently expend. We shall be safe with our holds barred and our people succored underneath the ground. It is for their safety I worry, and for their safety that I want not of any beneath this mountain to pick up arms for those not our own. We have fought for the good of all before, and we shall not do so again.”

    “You speak as if yours were the only ones to fight in the First Age,” I could not keep a note of incredibility from my voice, though I tried. “Who were your commanders in the war against Morgoth? For I can remember them not. While valiantly those few fought, the fact remains that few were the dwarves who bestirred themselves for the greater good. In the end, those few who did could not make the pages of history beyond a footnote for the blood of Men and Elves being spilled in rivers so that you could sit your mountains in peace.”

    “Great did Azaghâl aid you and yours in the wars against Morgoth,” Durin interrupted, his face hot with anger for my words. “Or do you forget your own histories, elf?”

    I forced my temper to remain still, my words to remain level, as I said, “And great was the aid of the Broadbeams of Belegost, that I do admit. We were indebted to them for the help they provided. And yet,” here my voice hardened. “Azaghâl aided the Noldor only because Maedhros Fëanorian saved his life from Orcs on the Dwarf-road from Ered Luin. He owed Maedhros a life-debt, and was unable to ignore his request for men in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears; his honor would not allow it. Yet, I will ask you this, and request that you form your answer honestly: would Azaghâl have pledged his armies without that debt standing unpaid before him? Would he have fought for all, or would he had thought only about his mountain-home, and left the fight against the Dark Lord to others?”

    I did not bother mentioning how the Dwarves of Belegost had fled when their lord fell in that very same battle – hopeless as it was from the beginning, no matter Maedhros' fiery zeal and best laid plans for Morgoth's defeat. Durin knew his histories well enough, and I would not insult a people for not standing through a battle they did not consider to be their own in the first place. Belegost was later honorable with their refusal to march with Nogrod – their brothers since the Awakening of the Seven Fathers, living in the same mountain range together – in war against Doriath, calling their kindred dishonorable and wrongly placed for their feud with Thingol. Let Durin think on that, I thought, and make his decision truly.

    A flicker of thought crossed Durin's face, and I knew that he considered my words. “Please,” I said next, pitching my words plainly. “Sauron marches to Eregion; which is but leagues away from your gates. If Sauron succeeds in capturing both Eregion and Eriador, what makes you think that he will next leave the mountains be? When Men and Elves are gone, what hope remains for the Dwarves? And yet, if we were to fight now, strike now, we can end his threat before he has the opportunity to do this world a true harm.”

    “We have heard these words spoken many times before,” the Firebeard said from Durin's side, casting her cold amber gaze my way. “Yet, there is always a Shadow in the world, and ever do the Elves see fit to disturb that which should be left alone. Leave Morgoth in the north or Sauron in the east - it seems to me that there would be peace only so long as the Firstborn knew when to leave that which they cannot defeat alone.”

    I set my teeth at her reasoning, unsure for a moment how to even refute such a thinking. “And how do you think they were so long kept to those far off lands?” I asked frankly. “Not through the effort of the Dwarves, but through the swords and blood of the Elves and those faithful Three houses of Men. And yet, our numbers are not what they once were, and this is a battle we can no longer fight by ourselves.”

    “So, you must humble your elvish pride to seek out allies?” there was amusement in Durin's voice to match his words. It prickled against my skin as his smile stretched on his face, as if carved from a knife. “You are what . . . closely descended from each of the First Kings of the Elves, or so my grandfather was ever going on about? Even with such a lineage, you would bow before my throne if I but asked, if only to make sure that our swords swear fealty to your cause.”

    At my back, I could feel Haldir take a step forward in anger, but I touched his mind with a wave of force, keeping him to his place before he offered an insult that our host was trying to coax us towards. Even Amroth, as gentle as he was, started in anger for the Longbeard's words, and his fëa in rage was as the rise of a tide when pulled by the moon. My temples ached from both trying to coax the King of Carven Stone to see reason and calm my companions all at once, unused as I was to using the weak gift I had in the mental arts in such a way.

    “Yes, such is my herritage,” I answered him plainly, refusing to be shamed. “And yet, what you would call a degradation, I see only as the act of asking a friend for aid. There can be no abasement when there is only respect and mutual admiration on both sides. I loved your grandfather dearly, and I was learning to feel the same for your father before his fall. I would not have felt diminished in asking them for help, only confident and secure in their regard for me. And yet, they would not have asked such a thing, knowing how they did to treat an ally and a friend in return.”

    I bit my tongue, wanting to say that I had known him as a babe in his mother's arms, and to be talked down to by a child, even amongst the eyes of his own people, was a true blow to my ego – but I kept those words to myself. I contented myself with thinking of how appalled Nothri would be by his grandson's behavior. Even a few amongst Durin's court – those old enough to remember my friendship with the old kings - looked uncomfortable for their sire's words. I caught the hard eyes of Austri's daughters and Sviur's son as they stared in disapproval at their King. In them I knew kind faces where Durin's eyes were as hard as metal. At his side, his Nogrodian wife-to-be smiled in such a way that I made fists of my hands, hating the way satisfaction bloomed in her gaze. Durin's dislike of me and mine was partially through her words, I could not help but think, and I felt trepidation fill me for the influence she would have on the crown in the days to come.

    “My father . . .” Durin whispered in reply to my words, his eyes lost to thought for a moment. When he focused his gaze on me, a shadow of his haughtiness fell away, and he instead looked thoughtful. “You know then of our battles with Gundabad?”

    “Intimately,” I answered. “Nothri spoke at great lengths of your struggles, and Brokkr did too in the time he had.”

    “Then you know that we have naught the men to spare for any campaign east of the mountains,” Durin answered, the condescension fleeing from his voice as he answered with the frank honesty of a monarch concerned from his people. “I would not leave my people so bereft of aid to lend arms to another.”

    “It may still be some years until Sauron is set to march, for an army such as his requires time to gather,” I said. “Please, let us help you free your northern halls of Gundabad's filth; then, together we can march on Sauron's army long enough to give those living in Eregion time enough to flee. We do not ask you for any more than this.”

    For the first, Durin's eyes looked thoughtful. While Moria was adept at mountain warfare, there was something to be said for the arms of the Elves. I knew that he now looked on us for a warrior's advantage as my mother had first looked on the Longbeards when passing through Moria. I paused, sure of his answer, even with his blustering words. It was in the best interest of his people to push Sauron away from their doors. If it was not, I knew that I would be turned away from the court in laughter.

    “Then,” Durin inclined his head, “I would accept the help of a friend in clearing our northern halls. If Gundabad is contained, we will help distract Sauron's army long enough for you too flee, but no more. And yet,” his voice turned hard in warning, “The doors of Moria will then close so long as Sauron scours across the land. We will be a kingdom apart, seeking the aid of none and offering aid to none. So you are warned, and so I hope you understand.”

    A bitter taste rose in my throat for the Longbeard's words. I swallowed it away as I bowed, understanding that this was the best I could hope for. “You will be remembered kindly by the Elves of Ennor for your deeds,” I said flatly, fighting to keep the hardness from my eyes.

    I succeeded in keeping my true thoughts hidden, I thought, when Durin stood from his throne to approach me. He held his hand to me – as an equal - and yet, even as my pride was soothed from earlier by the unexpected gesture, my thoughts were cast aside when I saw the mithril ring he wore upon his first finger, inlaid with a great blue stone . . .

    One of Celebrimbor's Rings, I realized. The First of the Seven Rings, forged for the leader of the First of the Seven Families.

    I felt a sinking feeling in my heart as I reflected on Durin's arrogance and stubbornness in a new light. Both traits were more than I had first thought myself to know in his character, and with the mountains working triple-time in both mine and forge . . .

    Could this be the work of the Ring? I wondered, fear rising within me as I concentrated on the sound of drums on the air, recognizing where I had heard such a cadence before . . . the spirit of fire sleeping underneath the rock was stirring, attempting to answer the far-off call of his master through the Ring.

    “How came you by this?” I asked. Durin narrowed his brow at my avoiding his hand, but I had more pressing things to worry for than his slighted pride.

    “Your master-smith gave it to me,” Durin replied carefully. “When you and yours came last spring to attend my coronation.”

    Celebrimbor, I thought with a sigh, weariness filling me rather than irritation.

    “He said it called to me – that it was meant for me,” Durin muttered, his voice low and alight with his reverence for the trinket he wore on his finger. “It has proven to be a great gift indeed . . . a most precious gift, to both me and my people.”

    “Know you the dark hand which touched this?” I asked, my heart rising in my throat. “Do you understand what it is you wear?”

    Durin met my eyes, apparently unconcerned for the tremor of unease he could both hear in my voice and feel from my spirit. “Sauron the Deceiver underestimated the might of Durin's sons,” he boasted proudly, his eyes glittering. “He will have no shadowy vassal for us donning his wares. Instead we will take his own power and turn it back on him. The mountain has come alive through the eyes of the Ring, showing us every strain of rich ore and every untapped place deep in the earth. Great will the wealth of Moria be through the Ring's guidance, for even Gundabad in the north is laid bare through the Ring's sight. We shall wage war on the Dark Lord with his own weapon for his own lack of foresight, and rich indeed shall be the satisfaction in our triumph.”

    And yet . . . Sauron had been a Maia of Aulë. He would understand the minds of his first master's creation better than even they did themselves. If he did not need the Dwarves as his servants, but instead intended to watch from afar as they tore their own kingdoms down through the greed of their own hands . . .

    It was a cruel, sick gift, these Rings, and I felt my heart seize for Nothri's children finding such an end. They would not, they could not . . .

    “How deep do you delve? Where do you set your mines to dig?” I asked, hating the answer that would come to me, even as I hoped for him to say differently. Around me, the sound of drums pounded.

    “As deep as need be,” Durin answered, his face closing off at the tone of my voice. “They will stretch as far down as the Ring commands us.”

    “This Ring will only bring ill to you and yours,” I warned. “Please, I entreat you -”

    “Do you wish for us to give back a gift?” Durin's tone went from guarded to openly hostile. He held his opposite hand over the Ring as if cradling it from the reach of a thief. “Do you desire it for yourself?”

    “No, I do not wish to take what is yours,” I inclined my head, trying to placate the temper I had unwittingly inspired. “I only wish to advise caution. The Ring is a fell thing, and not to be trusted.”

    Caution,” Durin snorted, “Caution is what prevented my grandfather from triumphing over Gundabad in the first place. Caution was my father's weakness, as well. I will be greater than them both; greater than even Durin the Deathless and Durin the Second, who reclaimed the halls of Moria for our people – and that greatness will come from the Ring. The Ring will lead us, and we will follow where it tells us to go.”

    His words echoed horribly in the grand chamber of his throne-room. As horribly as the sounds echoing up from the mines below. Though distant, they were all that I could hear. Down and down the Longbeards would delve until . . .

    “Please,” I tried yet again. “Ignore my counsel on the Ring, and yet . . . do not delve deeper than need be. Your stories speak of an evil dwelling beneath the rock, and I can confirm that they are no mere tales. I can feel the black spirit who lingers here, and you will tempt him into waking if you continue on the course you are on now.”

    “Your counsel is heard,” and yet, Durin waved his hand at my words. His queen-to-be came to stand at his side, and there was satisfaction in her eyes as she flicked her gaze up and down my form in open disdain. “And yet; I am Durin's heir, his hallowed vessel and resting place for his spirit. The mountain will answer to my will, and not the other way around. We will lend you aid as you aid ours, but I mean what I have said. In the days to come, do not look for our gates to open, for they will remain closed. We shall be a kingdom apart, and great will our legend continue to be.”

    His words were as binding as steel, and in his gaze, the far off shimmer of gold flashed. His resolve was final, his mind made up, and there was nothing further I could say. And so, I inclined my head.

    “So be it,” I said gravely, and felt as history wrote itself.

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

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Brilliantly stunning! Celebrian is truly her mother's daughter in this: via her eloquence and forthrightness. She presented compelling and valid arguments on all counts: the alliance and mutual aid and caution in use of Celebrimbor's gift.

    [face_nail_biting] So it was more than just racial pride that stirred Durin's obstinate and arrogant stance. Yikes!

    Yup, ever the owners of the Rings held them to be 'precious' endowments. :p

    Did have an :eek: moment surrounding Nenya. Galadriel's stance is not as boastful or orverborne as Durin's - her heart is all golden light, but still [face_worried]



  20. Cael-Fenton

    Cael-Fenton Jedi Master star 3

    Jun 22, 2006
    Wow. That was chilling and awe-inspiring and heartbreaking all at once. You made me tremble so for Durin and his people. Despite how he's such a jerk on the surface, you manage to convey some of the youthful vulnerability he must be feeling as a young ruler keenly feeling a need for guidance, and seeking it somewhere he *thinks* he can trust: a powerful *thing*.

    I always felt that's got to be one of the most tragic untold stories in Middle-earth: how the greatest, proudest kingdom of the Dwarves awakened the Balrog and Khazad-dum was burned out by its hellish flame. I'm so glad you're portraying even their last king, stubborn and heedlessly selfwilled as he is, in an at least partly sympathetic light.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  21. RX_Sith

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

    Mar 13, 2006
    The Ring has definitely corrupted Durin and his people; like it always has and will corrupt those that try to harness its power.
  22. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Durin is corrupted by the ring. And delving deep in the mines. Yikes the balrog will come
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  23. Mira_Jade

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

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Why thank-you! I really have been having fun exploring her character, and there I had a great way to let her do a little bit more than simply watch history unfold. I am thrilled that you are enjoying this so far. [:D]

    Cael-Fenton: Durin was an interesting character to write. There are very few just 'negative'' characters, so it was interesting trying to couple arrogance with youthful vulnerability and that damning Ring all at once. Moria's tale certainly is a tragic one, and it was bittersweet to write about her history here. :(

    RX_Sith: It certainly isn't doing Durin any favours, that's for sure. :(

    earlybird-obi-wan: It really is a sad fate for so great a wonder as Moria, that's a fact. :(

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

    Entry XXII

    Unfortunately, our talks in the Greenwood went about as smoothly as those in Moria.

    Oropher was cold upon his throne when Amdír finished speaking, glancing between my mother and Lórinand's ruler with his icy blue gaze, not a thought visible upon his face to match the growing bite of his spirit upon the air.

    “Once again,” he at last replied, “the Noldor prod the beast, and are surprised when it turns to bite their meddling hands.” His brow dipped in a dark look, troubled for the revelation of Sauron's return.

    “Rather, I would say that the Shadow is always trying to gain a foothold in this land,” Amdír wove his words diplomatically. “Celebrimbor was merely a means to Sauron's end - it could have been any one of us that he used. Yet, as always, there are those willing to stand and fight for the light in this marred world, and that is all that I choose to see in Gil-galad's call for aid.” There was steel in his voice to match the static rising from Oropher's bistling presence.

    “As always, nephew, your soft heart shows a stunning lack of insight in these regards,” Oropher gave in a clipped tone. “Ever has it been the Noldor coaxing the shadows from their resting places, and yet you would welcome them underneath your trees and give your bows to aid their foolishness. What next? Would you have simply waved farewell to the Dwarves of Nogrod after they took their ill gained due, or broken bread with Kinslayers at the melee’s end?”

    Amdír's gentle face flickered for the insult, before smoothing over once again. He took a step forward. “Dwelling on such old wrongs will not protect both me and mine from the threat we will face in the days to come,” he stated, his voice firm rather than hard.

    “Then, what do you think marching on Sauron will do to you and yours?” Oropher retorted.

    “I remember the War of Wrath, the same as you,” Amdír ignored Oropher's barb, yet again. “I remember the foes we faced and the losses we endured. And yet, this is one Maia when compared to the might of a Vala and his unnatural host. If we were to fight now, before his might grows any further -”

    “ - one Maia?” Oropher repeated incredulously. “This is the Maia whom Morgoth's many victories can be attributed to. And now, with this unholy weapon gracing his finger . . .” His words faltered, and his eyes darkened for a moment – a monarch's concern for his people shining through the careful mask of indifference and scorn he had worn until then.

    “This land is one land, no matter the divisions we may place upon it,” Amdír said after a long moment, choosing not to address the matter of the Ring – for it was a subject that bore no words. “The fates of all are bound, and now it is only left to see who will rise to fight the fight that needs fighting.”

    Oropher's face lost its contemplative look. His eyes darkened, and I felt a whisper of warning prickle up and down my spine before the Elf-king said, “As you have already proved, with your asking Moria for aid. The Naugrim are to march at the Noldor's call, or so I have heard – yes, it is a fine alliance you have forged indeed!”

    Suddenly, Oropher's hostility and unwillingness to listen to Amdír's wisdom took on a new light. I tensed, understanding where the other would have seen insult in our doing so – as incredulous as it was to think.

    “As I said,” Amdír's voice bore a hard edge, refusing to be shamed for the friendship we had forged with our dwarven neighbors, “this is a fight that belongs to all, and the Gonnhirrim have found the courage and humility to answer that call.”

    “Yet, not again shall we,” Oropher stated in a deadly calm voice. “The fates of the world will rise and fall, but here, here we will linger and endure, much as we ever have. Let the world toil; I care not so long as it does not touch my borders.”

    “Do you truly think that you can remain so untouched underneath this threat?” Amdír challenged. “If Sauron succeeds in taking the lands west of the mountains, what makes you think that he will let the forests be? The roots here are deep, and they stretch far – the forest will know, and the forest will wilt for the suffering of Ennor. No amount of your remaining deaf and blind to the world beyond will keep that from happening.”

    “Then with our forests we will burn!” Oropher snapped. “I will set that fire myself before using the evil you carry with you!” His eyes were furious, glinting with blue fire as they narrowed in on Galadriel - he no doubt feeling Nenya's call and pull as we all could. “I had thought that your time amongst the trees has given you sense, Artanis Arafiniel,” he sneered at my mother. “And yet, Noldor is as Noldor does, and you simply could not resist, could you?”

    “I wear Nenya; Nenya does not wear me,” Galadriel said coldly in response to Oropher's temper. I could feel the hot flare of her spirit at his words – for which Oropher merely tilted his head, as if daring her. “I know well the burden of the Ring, and it has not yet touched my finger.”

    “Not yet,” Oropher's eyes flashed as he picked that one word from her speech. I felt a lance pierce my side for his saying so, unwillingly agreeing with the cold Forest-king in this, if in nothing else. “But I can see it now,” he continued, “you want to. You yearn for it. The gleam in your eyes is the same that Dior bore for his Silmaril, and Elwing soon after – and look how our people paid in blood for their weak obsessions! Do you tell yourself that you shall burden yourself with this power for the good of all? Is that lie enough to sooth your conscience as you wield a weapon none of us should even think to bear? No. Protect your realms the way you may, and I will protect mine.”

    Galadriel tilted her chin. She stepped forward. “And for how long will your archers be able to hold of the might of Sauron when he comes? This Maia is as wildfire, and even the great Greenwood will be as kindle before his wrath. Our only hope comes in the form of a union between all the races sharing this land, as it did once before. Thingol too thought himself safe underneath Melian's protection, but what happened when that spell broke? Doriath was as lambs before the slaughter for those with ill intentions, from one foe to the next.”

    Amdír had been silent and brooding while Galadriel spoke, but he stepped closer to his uncle's throne at the end of her words. There was a hard truth in his eyes as he opened his mouth to say: “If Emlineth still lived, she would know shame for her husband's words this day.” For the first, Amdír spoke as a kinsman to Oropher, rather than a fellow lord. No matter what was said, his spirit remained strong and steady in comparison to the angry forces of both my mother's and the Forest-king's.

    If I had thought to know Oropher in anger before, his response to those words proved my assuming so wrong. He did not rant, he did not rave. Instead, his whole countenance simply became cold . . . so very cold, even when his eyes burned. Something low and base inside of me wanted to take a step back in the face of his anger, but I forced myself to keep my place as he stood from his throne.

    Oropher approached Amdír with a slow, deadly stride, and for a moment, I thought that he would strike the other. Instead, he only said on a hiss of a whisper: “She would be alive if it was not for the allies you have gained for yourself. Dwarven blades rent us low, and we had not yet rebuilt when the Noldor came calling for blood. Think about her loss – about your parents' loss, about your own fallen wife and the hundreds whom Námo welcomed from the edge of their swords - when you march with their ilk. Tell me then – truly - that you cannot understand why I will not lower myself to doing so again.”

    “In this way I prove myself stronger than them,” Amdír's voice was low to match Oropher's. He did not back away. “I am greater than the hate that felled us; greater than the losses they inflicted. And if through my marching I can spare even one father or husband or son a pain such as mine in the days to come, then I count my decision to be made for the better!”

    He shook his head. With his next words, Amdír spoke lowly, as if betraying a great secret. “You spend so much time blaming the Dwarves, blaming the Noldor, but did you ever think to turn that same blame to ourselves? If Thingol would have allowed his wounded pride to march alongside the Noldor centuries earlier, who is to say that Morgoth would have lasted as long as he did? If we would have fought in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad when Maedhros asked, perhaps we would have been enough to turn the tide of that battle when the Easterlings proved to be false friends . . . If we would have swallowed our pride, perhaps friendships would have been cultivated through our victory, and we would have returned the Silmaril out of understanding and affection for brothers in arms – as Lúthien herself may have done if the choice was put to her! Not one life need have fallen had it not been for the stiff neck of our monarch – a stiff neck you now share, and to the ill of those following you!”

    “I cannot listen to this,” Oropher shook his head, disgust dripping from his gaze as he turned from Amdír.

    “You can not, or you will not?” Amdír continued to challenge as he stepped forward, not letting Oropher go so easily.

    “You are out of line, nephew!” Oropher rounded on the other, but Amdír stood tall. He turned up his chin.

    “And you, as always, see not where that line truly lies,” Amdír returned in a voice free of accusation or hot feeling. His words simple were. “Please, think about what I have said, uncle – for this will not be the last time the threat of Sauron is faced with force, I fear, and I will someday stand before you asking again what I do now.”

    Even still, Oropher set his heart as stone. He would not be touched. “You may ask, but I will not set my people to march – I will not pay for the safety of the whole with their blood. Not again.” He set his gaze coldly as he sat back upon his throne. “Stay the night through before journeying back to Lórinand, but come nightfall tomorrow, I want the evil you bear gone from my forests.” He waved a dismissive hand in Galadriel's direction. “Past that, do what you will with the lives of your own people; it matters not to me.”

    And with that, he would say no more – or hear no more.

    My heart sank as we turned from the throne-room. Even with the allies we had managed to scrounge together, our numbers were still few when compared with Sauron's black might, and I knew a true worry for the days to come. While even Oropher's numbers would not have completely tipped the scale in our favor, an aid they would have been, and now . . .

    Our party was quiet for the rest of the evening, and few were the words spoken as we took our places for the night. It took a long while for me to take my sleep, and when I did, my dreams were strange and restless.

    With the first stirrings of the dawn, I awoke from a shallow sleep that gave me no respite. I could hear voices beyond – my mother and Amdír, and knew that the day had an early start. As I rose, I was aware of a third voice speaking – one whom I would of wished to have visited Amon Lanc underneath better circumstances for.

    I hurried through my morning routine, and stepped out into the common room of our guest's suite still tying off the end of my last braid. I looked, and saw Calelassel taking tea with my mother. Her hair was unbound but for a single braid that pulled back the hair from her temples, secured at the back of her head with a fishbone plaiting. She wore a tunic of the darkest green and storm grey leggings, the cut of her clothes sewn to resemble the veins of a leaf. A thoughtful line furrowed her pale brow, and she spoke to my mother in low, careful tones until she heard me. She turned, and a small smile ghosted over the grim planes of her face in greeting.

    I looked to my mother, but Galadriel merely bid me good morning and asked how my night had been as if this were any day in Lórinand. I reached out, and felt a glimmer of satisfaction about her spirit – an emotion that I considered to be at odds with the events of the prior day. I sat down and took a cup of tea for myself, curious as to what they discussed.

    “You may wish to drink that quickly,” Galadriel said to me. “And break your fast while journeying.”

    “We will leave so soon?” I asked, not terribly surprised, but regretting having to do so nonetheless.

    “Amdír and I will leave before nightfall, as Oropher will not suffer Nenya in the Greenwood,” Galadriel answered. “However, you shall accompany Calelassel north in the forests – for there is something she reports that unsettles me, and you may benefit from seeing what she has to show.”

    Now I was doubly curious. I looked to Calelassel, hoping for a further explanation, but she merely put her own tea cup down with a slow motion. “I have not the words,” she said simply in reply to the look in my eyes. “And yet, you will understand when you see.”

    There was a tug to her words – an unconscious strength of command, even though she gave me no order. And yet, it was not burdensome to answer her will, and so I turned and gathered together my things, donning my cloak and slipping my pack and my quiver over my shoulders.

    Calelassel already brought supplies for a journey, I saw, and after she finished her tea we set out. Oropher's people were just awakening, and we passed few in the halls of the Woodland-king. The sentries at the gates bowed their heads to Calelassel as she passed, and asked us no further questions than that.

    We started out on a northward course, spending one day and then two crossing through the narrows of the Greenwood, where we walked beneath the boughs of more trees than I could count or name. The further north we went, the older the forest turned – older than even Lórien or the great might of Fangaorne. While Fangaorne twisted and turned with strange shapes and mossy textures, and Lórien stood with her straight, mighty trunks, the Greenwood was as it was named. Each tree was full with seemingly infinite, twining branches – each bearing such a thick, leafy foliage that I could forget that there was even a sun above. In Lórien, the light was golden as it gently streamed down through the canopy of treetops. In the Greenwood, the light was only green, the sunlight known only by the shadows defined in the thick, rich shapes of the trees. Between the trees, the ground was thick with fern and a silver-green, vine-like plant that spread to carpet every free area of the underbrush. Small, peach coloured flowers grew on dainty stalks from the vines, their colours touched with orange and red for the upcoming autumn. In this part of the forests, the cold seasons were mild, and they would see little of snow as the forest replenished itself anew.

    Birds sang around us, but their song was unusual to me – haunting, even. I caught sight of yellow wings high in the canopy and yet, I could not name the species of birds around me for ignorance. Even with the bows upon our backs, during out seventh day in the forest, we were followed by two fawns in the underbrush as they trailed behind their mother. They had almost lost their spots, and the male of the siblings already bore the tips of a young rack of antlers atop his head. The small family walked close to use for a mile, and then two, before going their own way in the wild. That evening, we came across a white hart in the wood, who bore a crown of antlers greater than any I had yet seen during my years in the forest. As we passed, Calelassel inclined her head in solemn respect to the animal, bowing to the beast as she would to Oropher himself before passing on with a soundless step. The animal's eyes were uncannily clear and perceptive – a strange shade of forest green – and they stared with an ancient sort of understanding in their depths. I copied Calelassel's bow, instinctively knowing that we passed one of Yavanna's servants in the wood, and honored by the sighting.

    When we set up camp that night, I could not help but wonder: what sort of mystical place was this? I understood that no forest was the same; and yet, this was different than the light of Lórien and the might of Fangaorne. This was something ancient; something enchanted, in a sense – almost how I imagined Doriath must have felt to walk through in the prime of its power. I contemplated that, and for a moment, I could understand Oropher's stubborn wish to live apart from the world – existing out of time for the memory of the home he had lost. My next thought was for how my father would find this place as beautiful as I did, and I fell asleep that night with the Greenwood watching over my dreams.

    The next day, we passed a narrow road in the wood, which Calelassel explained as one that cut the forest east to west, running from the Misty Mountains all the way to the river Celduin beyond – used by the Northmen who made their homes in the wood. The terrain turned hilly soon after that, with great rocky ravines cutting into the land as it dipped in great highs and lows – some treacherous for their shape, and impossible to pass. And yet, Calelassel picked her way carefully through the paths, and we never once had to double back.

    “The Emyn-nu-fuin – the Black Mountains - rise to the east of here,” Calelassel explained as we carefully climbed through yet another steep ravine. “They are a small range of mountains – no taller than the lowest peaks of the Misty Mountains, and yet, we do not have the time to cross them during this journey. We will travel north and then east, keeping parallel with the hills as we do so.”

    And so we did.

    Once was passed the worst of the Greenwood's dips and turns - enough to see where the mountains peeked over the tops of the trees - we came to a narrow, quick running river that danced and skipped with white foam for its restless current. This river would run north all the way north to our destination, Calelassel explained, and we turned to follow it.

    “The river is enchanted,” Calelassel said as we crossed a rope bridge of our own making, careful not to touch the water below. “Although, by whose arts, we do not know. But it mires the one touching its waters in memory. Many are those who have drank of its depths, content to linger with their loved ones in the halls of their mind. Some are those who prefer that world to the one waking, and they rarely leave the river again.”

    “And you?” I raised a brow at the decisiveness in her voice. “Have you ever drank from the river?”

    “Only once,” she answered vaguely. “But I was young then, and I felt lost in a new home. The memory of that which I left behind seemed preferable to me, but the memory was empty – stagnate in comparison to the time it showed me.” She rolled her shoulders elegantly, “Now, I live my days fully, careful not to look too far behind or too far ahead. It is better this way, I think.”

    We walked alongside the river, and I looked down into the pale eddies for a time. Oddly enough, I remembered that stolen moment in the Mirror where I stared at Gil-galad's herald, and I felt the urge to touch the water and remember that glimpse in every detail. For a heartbeat, the want to do so was nearly overwhelming, and I made a fist of my hand so as to keep my wayward fingers underneath control.

    But such an urge was silly, and we instead continued on.

    We followed the enchanted river north for two days, upon which the small river met a much larger river – this one running east and west, flowing from the Grey Mountains, down to the falls of the Long Lake, where it would join the river Celduin all the way to the Sea of Rhûn – which was one of the last waters remaining from the Cuiviénen, where the Elves had first awakened. I trailed my hand fondly through the river when we knelt on its bank, imagining that I was touching the same water my first ancestors had, as far off as it may have been.

    The trees were old here; very old, standing taller than my eyes could see. The canopy had grown even thicker, if such a feat was possible, and the air thrummed with the power of years.

    “This is the oldest part of the forest,” Calelassel told me next. “The Greenwood first thrived along this river, and grew south as the mountains the north prevented its spreading in that direction. In its infancy, this was the first forest our people came to on the Great Journey. At that time, the trees still slumbered in Yavanna's Sleep, yet, those sapling drew the first of the Unwilling, who could not bear to cross the sea to Valinor and leave such a beauty behind. Many of our Silvan are those folk – for their numbers did not suffer with the wars as others of our kind did – and their descendants. For their decision to embrace the trees of Middle-earth, their forest-lore is great indeed.”

    For a moment, I listened as the forest murmured around me. I even thought that I could hear those songs of old – still echoing in the memory of the trees, preserved for even longer than my kind would walk these shores. The forest hummed, and in that cadence there was a song that something low and primordial in my spirit understood and answered to. I held my breath, overwhelmed by the beauty of the wood around me.

    “You can feel it too?” Calelassel asked, watching me closely. In the forest-light, I could not tell the blue in her eyes for the green.

    I did not answer, for when we took the next turn on the path, I saw the origin of the song . . . a tree, massive in shape – larger than any I had seen in my life thus far. If more than a dozen of us circled our arms around the trunk, we would still not be enough to surround it. The trunk spiraled and wound rather than standing up straight, and the folds of her roots were great indeed to support the massive weight of her branches and uppermost leaves. I looked up and up and up, but my eyes could not find her crown – I would have had to climb for an hour, at least, to even try, I thought.

    Awed, I stepped over the uneven texture of her roots to press the flat of my palm to her rough white bark. The song picked up in cadence, and it only took me a moment to realize that she sang in time with my heartbeat – for the ultimate Song was strong here, and she still carried on its melody as all living things did.

    I blinked, and found my eyes wet for the beauty of what was before me.

    “This is the mother of the Greenwood,” Calelassel said in a reverent voice, standing beside me so that she too could touch the bark of the tree as if she was a supplicant touching the hem of a monarch's robes. “She is the reason why only the Greenwood is called Great, over the might of every other forest found in Ennor. She is the first tree who awakened at Yavanna's command, after the long Sleep in the starlight, and her roots have since spread to touch every other forest in this world.”

    I could believe what she said – for there were echos in her song. I listened, and could hear the familiar beat of Lórinand, the pulsing cadence of Fangaorne, along with whispers of melody I could not recognize – forests whose boughs I had not yet walked under. Awed, I leaned forward to press my ear flat against her great trunk, eager to hear more.

    “No matter what happens,” Calelassel continued softly, “her roots will stretch deep, and she will remember, no matter the harms done to the land. As long as she survives, there is ever hope for healing in this world.”

    “Why do you show me this?” I asked after a long moment passed, remembering that my mother spoke of something unsettling her. If . . .

    I bit my lip, hating to think that anything could touch this beautiful and awesome place, and yet, the look of pain on Calelassel's face confirmed my suspicions as we circled around the great trunk to where great ropes of vines hung down from her branches in a curtain of green leaves and orange fall-blossoms.

    She pushed aside a hanging vine, and with sorrow in her eyes, she showed to me a wilting leaf on one of the back-most tendrils. At first, I could only see one, and then two . . . three . . . and then four.

    “Is this from the cold season approaching?” I asked, knowing that it was not, even as I said so.

    “Look closely,” Calelassel simply replied, and I did. I could see tiny black veins feeding the dead leaves, pulsing with an unnatural ichor. With an unsettled feeling, I knew that this tree – who was bound to all trees - knew the threat we were facing as well as we did.

    “She can feel the Shadow as it grows,” Calelassel whispered. “She can feel it. I . . . I do not want to see what will happen to her if the land should darken further. To know this, and think that I simply stood by and did nothing while she suffered . . . Her suffering is naught but a mirror of our own suffering, and always it will continue to be.”

    For a long moment, she was silent. She let the curtain of vines go, her touch nearly apologetic upon the great tree.

    “I have seen many places in this world, but none have struck me as much as this forest,” her eyes lighted as she spoke, taking on a rich cast of green. “Beneath us, there are limestone caverns from the mountains we passed, and the river runs beneath the ground where I have explored. If ever we lose our footing at Amon Lanc, we could built such a home here . . . surrounded by her roots and succored upon the river that feeds her. Just beyond the edge of the forests are marshlands and glacial planes, but there are lakes with fish and fields even further beyond that could bring in a farmer's yield when the sons of Men make it that far. We could live in harmony here - all of us - and yet, what use is such a vision if the forests wilt before it comes to fruition?”

    “You wish to help?” I asked, surprised by the calm certainty in her voice. I remembered then, my mother's satisfaction the morning I left, and thought that I understood why.

    She inclined her head. “I can only speak for my archers, but many are in like accord with me. With confidence, I can pledge thirty score to your aid – perhaps more, when others are moved by our action to join.”

    “Then, you are not the only one who thinks this way?” I asked, curious as to the inner state of affairs at Amon Lanc.

    “Many are those who agree with Oropher,” Calelassel replied honestly. “And each who follow him have their reasons for doing so – for, unfortunately, there are memories with wounds aplenty who moved to this forest. These souls have lingered, stale with their years, rather than allowing their hearts to heal and move on.”

    “And those who agree with you?” I could not help the note of trepidation that rose with my tone. “Would Oropher will let you march when he has expressly refused to offer his involvement?” I did not want to give aid to treason, and yet . . .

    “He will not like it, and yet, even Thingol let those few who wished to fight when Maedhros Fëanorian sent out the call for arms – and Thingol's reasons to hate the sons of Fëanor were greater than Oropher's unease for marching in war once more,” Calelassel shrugged. “In this way, he may offer aid without looking as if he was reasoned upon to alter his opinion. This shall prove to be the best for both his pride and the good of all.”

    She saw my look, and her mouth tightened with an emotion I could not read. “Oropher is a good leader to his people,” she finally said a moment later. “But his tending to his own can tend to leave the good of the whole to fall by the wayside . . . Amdír is a wise ruler, and wisely he sees beyond his own forests. Perhaps, at one time, I would have even preferred staying in Lórinand underneath his rule, before knowing what I do now about the Greenwood and her wonders. And yet, my father served Oropher faithfully until his death, and my brother continues to this day in my father's place. I could not part from him after all we lost during the final days of Morgoth's reign. And there were . . . other considerations that have since kept me faithful to Oropher's leadership.”

    The same thought that took her when we spoke of memories by the Enchanted River came upon her then. For a moment she stared, her mind lost far beyond me. When her eyes focused, they were still soft with the fondness her thoughts had inspired. She turned to me once more.

    “If Oropher wishes, he can further blame my doing so on the unfortunate blight of my Noldor blood,” she smiled that same wry smile that had first drew me when we met, and I smiled along with her. I could not help it, I laughed, and the forest around me seemed lighter for my doing so.

    “Now,” Calelassel said as she stepped away from the great tree. “On our way back, there is a most curious sight to be seen where the trees end – a single, solitary mountain, standing separate from the Iron Hills to the east and the Grey mountains to the north-west. You must see this, and then we will make our way back south.”

    And so, we continued to walk, my mind racing with that which I had seen and that which she had told.

    End Notes:

    Greenwood the Great: I have been wanting to describe the Greenwood in its days of glory for a while now, and this provided me with the perfect vehicle to do so. [face_love] It is canon that the Greenwood was the first forest the Elves passed through, and the first group of the 'Unwilling' broke off there. The great tree, and the exact form of the forest, though, was a lot of me expanding on canon. The Greenwood would start to darken with Sauron's return to Dol Goldur as a spirit in the beginning of the Third Age – by the year 1000 the Northmen started calling it 'Mirkwood' for the cancer it bore. :( So, while the forests are safe for now, it would eventually take the destruction of the One Ring and great diligence on the part of those living there to heal the forests anew again. [face_love] (I will probably be going into more detail in that in my Silmarillion ficlets, because there is so much to explore there – both good and bad. [face_love]:()

    The Enchanted River: By the time of the Hobbit, this river was so polluted with black enchantments that it caused deep sleep and forgetfullness to any who touched its water – as happened to poor Bombur when crossing! :( Canon does not say if there was any enchantment on the river before that, so this was my own theory to have the opposite of the black magic that existed there later.

    Oropher's Aid: Tolkien only said that the Dwarves of Moria and the Elves of Lothlórien caught Sauron's army in a pincer movement when he marched against Celeborn and Elrond's forces. By having Calelassel's aid here, I can have the Greenwood giving support without contradicting canon. Oropher finally moved himself to fight for the Last Alliance when they fought that last war against Sauron in the Second Age, yet, unfortunately, he died there for moving his troops too early - against Gil-galad's command. Sadly, his arrogance and unhealed wounds end up betraying him fatally in the end. :(

    Nírnaeth Arnoediad: The Fifth Battle of the First Age, or the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, that has been referenced a few times thus far. :)

    That said, I thank you all so much for reading! [:D]

    ~MJ @};-
  24. RX_Sith

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

    Mar 13, 2006
    Beautiful description of the Great Forest and Calelassel's honor to Oropher.
  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh so many gems of delightfulness!

    Amdir's eloquent wisdom - bravo! He is correct that no place is secured against assault and desolation especially if each current refuge is stripped and laid to waste.

    The description of the mysterious River of Memory -- very intriguing! I am touched and tickled by the memories that held Calelassel and the one that threatens to ensnare Celebrian. ;)

    The Mighty Tree that is starting to reflect the harm to many places and peoples [face_worried] Calelassel's promise of assistance is not just welcome but necessary I think before there is a loss of all that even those who want to stay inured in safety can endure.

    I love the depth of detail you give to the physical landscape. I feel the majesty and marvel of literally walking those paths.