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Old 08-06-2020, 09:21 AM   #1
Mithadan
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Orophin dreams of the Waters of Awakening by Davem

Orophin dreams of the Waters of Awakening
By Davem

- Part One -


"Orophin has now gone back to our dwellings to warn our people. None of the Orcs will ever return out of Lorien. And there will be many elves hidden on the northern border before another night falls. But you must take the road south as soon as it is fully light"
Haldir.
'Lothlorien'

The dell where they wait is near to the northern edge of Lorien. Orophin stands on the lowest branch of a great Mallorn. The stars are shining brightly, piercing through the branches of the trees. He knows where his companions are, but cannot see them. He holds an arrow nocked, but the bow is not drawn.

The beasts will be here soon. I can hear them. They are breaking the flowers and hacking at the lower branches of the trees. They will not leave the wood.

An Orc halts at the lip of the dell. Orophin raises his bow and draws back the arrow. He knows many others have done the same, and decides to wait for others to come before he shoots.

The stars are bright, but not so bright as they were once, before the Sun and Moon. At least so it is said. The strangers bear ill tidings. I know this. The Prince Greenleaf would say nothing, but there is a grief in his heart. And he has seen a horror which I could read nothing of. He would not tell of it. He will tell Them first. The Perianath are strange to me. Why are they here? I would have slain the one he called Frodo. He bears something I cannot understand. There is a presence of evil hovering about him. Haldir would not have me press him, but trust the Prince. I would do as Haldir bids, always. But the desire to end the Perian's life, rid the woods of that evil, was strong within me. This is not like me. I do not understand this desire for death.

The first Orc falls. The arrow splits his larynx, and he pitches forward, dropping his sword, grasping at the shaft, coughing out blood. He hits the ground, rolls over and over, and comes to rest. Many others follow him out of the trees. Orophin shoots one through the eye slit of its visor and watches it run forward into the hollow, screaming and clawing at the flights.

This is the end, or it is finally coming. The outside world, which the Lady has held so long at bay, will overwhelm us soon. Whatever 'soon' is. Time. I know there is such a thing. I think it must be a thing men have made, though Rumil has told me he believes The Black Foe first called it into being when he sang in the Music. It is an evil thing to me, so perhaps he is right. It takes all from us. Or it would, if the Lady did not keep it out. Rumil has said to me that she may bear one of the Rings that Celebrimbor made. I do not understand such things.

Orophin shoots another arrow into the mass of Orcs clustered in the middle of the dell. They mass behind their shields. They are surrounded, and are falling, some dead, many wounded to the death, making feeble attempts to escape. He watches as one runs, loping straight towards the tree where he perches. It is a large beast, pierced already with many arrows. He lets it run under his tree, and loses an arrow at its head. From this range his arrow punches straight through its helmet and kills it instantly.

Rumil is wise. I wonder sometimes if his wisdom comes from his name. Such a name would have been wasted on me. I would sing if I could find the joy of song. I cannot sing my sadness , or my fear, for it is too deep within me, and would not come out. Rumil has told me the end is coming. I think this Perian brings it. Maybe if I had slain him all would be well.

The Orcs are falling, one on top of another. They are screaming. Pain. Anger. Hate. Orophin shoots two more. One dies instantly. The other screams and vomits blood, falling to its knees. Then Saeros falls. The Orc arrow has split his skull open, and he drops through the branches of the tree he had been standing in, grabbing at the branches as he falls. His body thumps dully onto the forest floor. Orophin watches for movement, but there is nothing but the slow rise and fall of his breast. He leaps from the branch where he has stood from the start of the battle and runs towards him.

Why was he named Saeros? I would not have given that name to any child of mine. Names are omens, Rumil has said. I smiled when he said that. But he is wise. Yet others have borne the name, maybe, without harm, and perhaps to good fortune.

Three Orcs break free from the slaughter and run at him, the first holding his spear low, to disembowel him. Orophin drops his bow and draws his knife, holds it forward in his right hand. The Beast screams. Hatred and pain. Arrows protrude from him at many places. He comes within spear reach, and thrusts it forward to gut Orophin. He moves to the right and catches the shaft as it passes. He twists it and the beast loses its grip. Orophin kicks it hard in the lower belly and as its head comes forward he thrusts his dagger through the eye slit of its helmet. The blade passes right through the beast's head and the point rings slightly against the inside of the helmet. He withdraws the blade with a smooth motion and catches the reflection of starlight in the black blood on the blade. The next one is upon him, swinging its scimitar at his head. Orophin drops to one knee, braces the haft of the spear against the earth. The beast runs on to it. Its momentum drives the spear deep into its belly. He releases the spear, and the beast falls forward onto the grass, the spear passing through him and protruding its full length from his back. It lies still. Dead. He turns the dagger so it is pointing downwards. The final Orc passes him, and he sweeps the blade back, striking it between the base of its skull and the first vertebrae. He twists it sharply, separating backbone from skull and the beast dies standing. He leaves the others to his companions and runs lightly over to where Saeros lays.

He is dying. No. He is departing. Men die. We remain.

He looks down into Saeros face. He is mumbling, dribbling blood. In his eyes Orophin sees the reflection of the stars, glimmering through the mallorn branches. His voice is barely audible, but Orophin catches the words “...O Galadhremmin ennorath....”

...tree entangled Middle Earth....

The light in Saeros’ eyes seems to coalesce around the pin points of starlight, then fade to dull emptiness.

The Hroa is broken. The Fea will arise and return into the West. Whence we all must go, in the body or out of it. So Rumil says. I wonder if he will go. I think sometimes he would stay here, in the face of Men and of Time. I also think sometimes that I would stay with him. But Haldir will go. I have wondered why he has stayed even this long. Perhaps he stays to fight. I think he likes to fight. No. I am cruel. He will stay here and hold back the ending of the World. As I shall. And Rumil will tell us of the Old days, when there were no men, and time was not. These travellers, Edain and Perianath, Followers, and followers of Followers. I do not like them. Haldir should have turned them back. But he would not. "Aragorn will not be gainsaid, and Greenleaf is our kindred" . But there is a Dwarf. "I would not have a Dwarf enter these woods" I said to him and sought Rumil's support, but he only smiled. I wonder if Rumil will stay here. But Haldir will not. I do not know what I will do. I would not leave Middle Earth yet. I am not ready for the West. But If all depart this place, where shall I go? O Illuvatar, I am not ready for the last journey.

The night passes in blood. Soon all the beasts lie dead. At last.

I hate them. They have brought death here. But so have the new ones. All will die. All except us. The night passes. Saeros has passed into the West. I will tell Haldir. I do not know if he will envy him.

Orophin turns to watch the Sun breaking through the trees to the east.

It is there, the place we awoke. Not in the West. I think I will seek the east. Cuivienen. If the others depart I will go far into the East and find the place of our birth, beyond Time and Death. If, with the blessing of Illuvatar, we can still find the Road into the West, then perhaps the Road into the East is not forever lost. I will seek that road. I will find the waters and the long shores. And then I will wander by the Waters of Awakening, and seek wisdom of Illuvatar, my Father. Perhaps that wisdom will bring me peace. This world is dark now, even the stars seem fainter than I remember. The Darkness grows and seems to swallow all things. But I cannot seek the Light of the West as I am.

He turns from the body of Saeros, retrieves his bow, and follows his companions out of the hollow. The night is not ended.

“The marauding Orcs had been waylaid and almost all destroyed; the remnant had fled west towards the mountains, and were being pursued."

Lothlorien


-----

- Part Two -

“Now the places about Koivie-neni the waters of awakening are rugged and full of mighty rocks, and the stream that feeds that water falls therein down a deep cleft .... a pale slender thread, but the issue of the dark lake was beneath the earth into many endless caverns falling ever more deeply into the bosom of the world”
Gilfanon’s Tale: The Book of Lost Tales


The scent of pine trees fills the air. He looks at the surrounding hills, seeking signs of life, listening for a voice on the wind.

How long have I wandered, seeking this place? Or is this truly the place of our awakening? Are there not lakes & shadowy mere s unnumbered in Middle Earth? Rumil did not believe the road to Cuivienen could be found. But why should the East be closed to us, if even the West is not?

He descends to the shore, watches the waves approach, but turn before they touch his feet. The earth seems reluctant to take his footprints.

Is it not said that the Fea will burn away the Hroa ? Perhaps that has begun in me already. Rumil has said that we must go over Sea, or become shadows among the trees. This earth seems not to feel my weight. Yet I feel heavy. Rumil would tell me what is happening. Why would he not come with me?

A faint breeze moves the reeds away to his right. He watches them intently for a moment and listens to them whisper .

How long is it since anyone heard the sound of those reeds? Perhaps not since the beginning. Perhaps they have forgotten how to speak to us, & can now only whisper to themselves. Perhaps this earth has forgotten how to feel the imprint of feet.

The breeze passes across the lake without marking the surface. Orophin does not feel it. He only knows it has ceased when the reeds fall silent. He looks up for the first time since arriving here. The stars blaze in the sky.

That is right. It is a sign. I cannot remember the stars being so bright. Not even in Lothlorien. Lothlorien. I wonder...

He turns from the shore, deliberately not looking at the earth.

Perhaps this earth will come to know me. But I cannot make this place hear my voice if it has forgotten how. Who spoke to you last? Do you remember us? But why should you wish to. Rumil said you would not wish to know us any longer, so he would not come. He said that he bore within him all of Cuivienen that he could hold, that you filled his heart, as the West fills Haldir’s heart.

All around the lake shore great boulders cast shadows, deep black in the starlight. He looks at the nearest one for a long time before the question forms in his mind:

Why does the Light make Darkness?
No, Darkness is absence of Light.
But without the Light the Darkness would not be.
I am Moriquendi. A Dark Elf. And yet, if we had not left this place, there would be neither Moriquendi nor Calaquendi. We would speak as one people.
Or if all had passed into the West. Who is to blame? Those who sought the Light, or those who chose to remain in the dark?
But the Darkness came even into the West.
Yet the Light remained, & came even back here to Middle Earth. The Holy Light that Eru Illuvatar made, for the Light of Sun & Moon is the Light of the Secret Fire, which the Valar set in the Great Lamps. And when the Lamps were broken the Light took form in the Two Trees. And Feanor of that Light & made the Silmarils. And now, that same Light shines here in the Darkness of Middle Earth. In Sun, and Moon , and in the Silmaril borne still by Earendel. The Light may be broken, but it remains always.


He walks to the stone and places his hands on it, seeking to absorb its stability. He cannot look at the stars any longer, so he stares into the deep black shadows cast by the ridges upon its sides.

How far have I come, how long a journey have I made? For what, to touch a stone at the water’s edge?
To touch a stone at the water’s edge.
Were there no stones in Lothlorien? Was there no water there?
There are stones everywhere. There is water everywhere. Why have you sought this place?
Are these not different stones? Is this not different water? Are they not Holy?
Holy to whom? To you, or to Illuvatar? Is not everything made by Illuvatar Holy, merely because he has willed it to be?
Rumil would know.
What do you think he would say?
I think he would say that stones are stones and water is water, in Lorien or here, or in the West.
Have you found the wisdom you came here seeking?
I do not know. Is this Cuivienen?
Yes. Will you come home?
Where is my home?
In the West.
We were not born there.
You were not born here.
Must I go there?
It is Time.


He moves away from the stone. His hands still retain its coldness. Another breeze sweeps down from the high hills, and the reeds whisper again.

Farewell.

He turns and looks across the water.

Remember me.

“In Cuivienen sweet was the water under unclouded stars, and wide lands lay about, where a free people might walk”

--- Feanor: Of the Flight of the Noldor
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:43 AM   #2
Huinesoron
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Time. I know there is such a thing. I think it must be a thing men have made, though Rumil has told me he believes The Black Foe first called it into being when he sang in the Music.

The Elf as alien. I really like this, though I admit I rather glossed over the fighting parts. But Orophin's thoughts, portraying as they do a mental world entirely different to our own - one where it's entirely reasonable to treat a name as an omen, and to forget that time is a thing - really grab me.

And then Part Two... "to touch a stone at the water's edge". Yes. Orophin here is like Legolas in Eregion, speaking (not speaking) to the stones, and hearing (not hearing) their thoughts. I like it.

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Old 08-26-2020, 12:47 PM   #3
Pitchwife
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Pitchwife is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Pitchwife is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Pitchwife is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Pitchwife is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
What I love about this, especially the first part, is how Oropher is involved in a deadly battle which demands his full concentration at any moment but at the same time detached and lost in thought, resting his mind in the strange paths of elvish dreams. Maybe the Elven experience of the world is not linear but simultaneous (think of the horizontal and vertical dimensions in music, melody vs harmony) - which would explain a mindset to which linear time, in which things have a beginning and an end, is alien, even menacing.
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