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Old 04-07-2009, 06:36 PM   #201
littlemanpoet
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"Nimrodel! Nimrodel!" he cried. She did not hear him, given as she was to the dance. Thus had it always been. Maegeleb would go to where she was, but she would not see him. He would call and she would not hear, distracted by the stream and falls she loved. He had not the heart to force her attention, enraptured by the vision of her. He had always been content to watch and wait.

Then Amroth had come and taken her love and her heart away. He had regretted his inaction ever since, and his anger at himself for his lack of boldness had curdled into hate and envy against Amroth. Worse, it had turned to anger and bitterness that she paid him no heed. She would pay him heed!

But that had all been wiped away! Here now she was again, in the newness of the world, and all was fresh and full of promise. This time he would not wait.

"Nimrodel!" he cried and walked toward her. She whirled by in the dance, stlil paying him no heed. The rage came in an instant. He wanted to grab her and stop her in the middle of the dance, and force her to look at him, listen to him. But what if he joined the dance? She still might not notice him. Dared he take the risk?
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:14 PM   #202
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Leaf

A waft of cold seemed to pass over the dance, and NImrodel braced herself against it. She preferred the warmth of suimmer.

Perhaps it was the cloud that passed over the sun. Several of the menfolk missed a step, stutter-stepped to catch up, caught a hand on the second try. Indil frowned. The song of the birds seemed to falter for a moment. A tendril tangled around Ædegard's left foot. He yanked it loose.

Nimrodel met Indil's eyes, and they stepped into the center of the dance, letting it whirl around them. Erebemlin's brow furrowed, and he shook his golden head; his lips tightened. The cloud passed away, and the sun shone brightly; the birds sang again, the warmth returned, the rhythm of the dance once again grew in power.

From the center of the dance, Indil and Nimrodel turned, together, shoulder to shoulder, and faced the newcomer. Though they were surrounded with pulsing green, a frost was in their eyes. Nimrodel studied the newcomer silently for a long time, and then warily spoke.

"Stranger, do you know the song of that stream which I seek?"
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:52 PM   #203
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Taitheneb watched Avarien pacing on the streambank in a slow circle dance. Though she was bent on her dance and heeded him not, he rested in her presence.

Bending to the stream, he dragged his fingers across its surface, and began tracing a circle. There were many in the circle dance; Rohirrim, and a man-child, and a lithe elf-maid. And many stood within the circle; the red-haired man; the ranger from the north; Avarien-- nay, the young mannish lady from the stone city.

Erebemlin was there. And Amroth was there. A strong, weary elf-woman-- he knew her. Mithrellas! And in Erebemlin's arms was-- an ancient woman, golden and silver-- or grey? Withered she was, and weary; yet young she was and lithe, dancing, and seeking-- seeking for the voice of the stream.

He sighed. Small wonder Erebemlin was weary. He searched for the king.

And found despair.

Lord Amroth.

A cold fear burdened his heart, and he fought it. Weary though Erebemlin was, nothing had prepared Taitheneb for the weakness of his king.
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Old 04-15-2009, 07:33 PM   #204
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Maegeleb

"Stranger, do you know the song of that stream which I seek?"

The question brought him up short. Yes, he knew. It was the stream that would bring her straightway back to Amroth. That he could not endure. She had noticed him. So had this young girl with her who knew him and did not like him at all. Well she should not! But his use of her had been necessary to his aims. No matter. He must proceed with care.

"What stream, lovely one?"
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Old 04-16-2009, 06:38 PM   #205
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Leaf

Taitheneb heard a dim whisper.

How dare he ask her.

Amroth waited on the edge; nay, he waited on the outside. And he lacked the strength even to speak to the dark elf. Taitheneb knelt by the king, and held him by the shoulders, and pressed his thoughts deeper into the king's mind, searching. He sensed Erebemlin's thanks even as he tried to raise the king up onto his own shoulders; but he could not do it. He tried again, and again, but the king slipped from his grasp each time.

There is little time, Taitheneb, friend and faithful one. I give you my thanks.

Taitheneb fought the despair. Avarien stood by his side. Together. Almost they raised him, but he slipped from their grasp. Avarien met Taitheneb's eyes. They knelt beside the king, and strove against his weakness.

***

What stream. She frowned, and slowly walked towards him. As she passed through the ring of the dance, the dancers wove around her. Her gaze bore into his eyes, and beyond.

"I deem you know what it is I seek, yet you hold it from me."

***

Mellonin turned towards Mellondu, and glanced up at Ravion. She knelt by the blacksmith. Ravion soaked a corner of his cloak in the stream and washed Mellondu's brow.

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Old 04-17-2009, 08:58 PM   #206
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Maegeleb

He had forgotten her perspecuity. Now was the time to meld the future's hypnotism with Elvish osanwë. But somehow it eluded him! He could not seem to make his mind work in that way. Maybe it was how all was changed. And why did his mind stray to thoughts of Raefindan?

What had he just been thinking of? He could not recall.

But she wanted to know of the stream. If he told her, it would lead her straightway to Amroth. That must not happen! But if he refused to tell her, she would scorn him. If he told her she would be grateful to him, but still cleave to Amroth. What use gratitude as meager payment in exchange for the prize? He did not know it but his face twisted into disgust and rage.

"I'll give you no answer. Better your hate to me and loss of him than empty gratitude!"

He turned his back to her, blinked once, and was of a sudden standing again in the vale, staring somehow at Raefindan who regarded him sadly. In a sudden rage he ran at Raefindan, wielding naught but an arrow. He fell upon him in fury.

The Gondorian Ranger, the Eorling, and the minstrel pulled him off the redheaded man; who had somehow escaped injury altogether. Then he saw the arrow, its point buried in the sward.

He wanted to speak his wrath but no words would come. They sat him down on the turf, his hands tied behind his back, guarded. The dog growled at him from by the little girl.

"Mandos take me," he growled. "There is nothing left for me in the lands of the living."
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Old 04-18-2009, 06:14 AM   #207
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She looked down at the strange elf, now bound and sitting on the grass. His answers had been strange. But they lingered.

Better your hate to me and loss of him than empty gratitude.

...loss of him...

...loss of him...

She turned, and looked towards the dance. The rhythm slowed, slowed, slowed, but the harmony and power built yet more. She looked at each of the dancers, slowly, in turn, and searched their eyes.

Strangers, yet they loved her. They loved her each in turn with hope and peace but could give no path. They did not know.

The little girl, Indil. She searched her deeply. She had begin the song-- nay, she had begun a song so like it that it had woken her, given her longing and the hope of peace, but it was not the song.

What of those who had not danced? She gazed round. Three mannish folk sat near the stream, dark and weary. Two more elves and a weary elf-woman were near them, gazing at her. And a red-haired man stood with a dark haired regal elf lady, waiting. And far off was yet another elf, golden, but quiet.

She would speak to each in turn. First, the red-haired man, who was different than other men; and the elf-lady.

She approached them. She bowed her head to the man first, and then to the lady.

"You have loved me well, I deem. Somehow, I also know that I have not loved you well. "

She turned to the lady, and caught her breath. Long moments passed.

"I know you. You are my Mithrellas."

And Nimrodel wept, golden tears shimmering in the sun falling onto the green sward. Around them the trees darkened into a deeper green; faded into gold; the leaves fell; snow began. And still Nimrodel wept. When the snow grew thick around their ankles, she stepped forward and embraced Mithrellas. Mithrellas' strong and gentle arms encircled her once again, and Nimrodel knew that those arms had held her many, many times. Nimrodel's heart sank into the embrace. Finally Nimrodel spoke.

"Truly and well you have loved me these long ages. Yet I have given you only cruelty and despair. Great is my wrong. Oh, how great is my wrong toward you. And how great is your good toward me."

Indil came and stood, knee-deep in the snow, and looked up at Raefindan and took his hand.

Slowly Nimrodel's golden tears slowed, and she drew back, holding Mithrellas at arm's length, to look into Mithrellas' grey eyes.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:11 PM   #208
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Mithrellas was weeping also, but for joy and not sorrow. With her smile, the snow began to melt, and with her gentle words, the cold winds grew gentler and warm. Nimrodel's grief stricken tears slowed, and taking Mithrellas' hands, she laid her golden head upon them. Mithrellas spoke soft and long. Betimes Nimrodel trembled; betimes she was at peace. But the sun's warmth grew until the grasses went from new green to deep green, and the leaves came again.

The mortals blinked, and some passed their hands over their eyes, and stooped to touch the myriad flowers that bloomed anew. Ravion shook his head, and looked at Indil. "She is taller."

Indil smiled. "I am."

Ravion looked at Maegeleb. "He is older." Tharonwe all but hissed in reply. "Mortal fool."

Nimrodel raised her head and stood tall. She turned to each of the elves in turn: Mithrellas, Erebemlin, Taitheneb, Avarien. To Avarien she bowed. "May you find what you seek."

"And you, " replied Avarien.

Erebemlin and Taitheneb were waiting with baited breath. Taitheneb wondered whether he had breathed at all while the seasons had flown past. He must have, but he did not remember it.

Amroth. He had faded still more. How could he fade? Taitheneb turned towards the blacksmith, but he seemed a mere shadow. Where was the king?

Erebemlin reached one mighty arm to touch the blacksmith, and Taitheneb saw Amroth, faintly, faintly, standing afar off at the edge of the glade.

My lord!

I am here.

And now Nimrodel saw him. She glanced at Indil, who waved her towards the king. She turned to Mithrellas, who nodded, and reached for her shoulder, and spoke. "He has waited for you for an age. It is he who has what you seek."

Nimrodel started, and searched Mithrellas' eyes. "This one-- this king? He knows the song of the stream?"

Mithrellas nodded.

Indil nodded.

Nimrodel looked round, and all eyes seemed to her to be filled with hope; except the surly stranger, whose anger had become a black rage. She turned her back on him and walked toward the king at the edge of the clearing.

Amroth saw her approach, and began walking toward her. Erebemlin followed Nimrodel, and Taitheneb waited close at hand.

Nimrodel whispered to Erebemlin. "Why has your king faded? Is he so old?"

Erebemlin's face was tight with fear. "Perhaps you will heal his weariness, " he replied.

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Old 04-20-2009, 10:20 AM   #209
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Silmaril

She halted three paces from the king, wondering at the hunger in his eyes. She bowed her golden head.

"Nimrodel, " he whispered.

She met his gaze. "That is my name, " she said. Then she tilted her head. "These are silvan elves like me," she said, gesturing to the others. "But though your hair is golden as ours, you are not silvan."

He knew they stood beneath the eaves of Fangorn. "I am Sindarin, yet my love for you is none the less. You have captured my heart, Nimrodel, and naught will free me."

"I know not why you speak of love. Those who come out of the west ever bring strife, " she said.

"I would free you from all strife, beloved. I would see you at peace and in bliss."

"How?"

"I have begged you to sail with me to the undying lands, and there we will wed, far from darkness and war."

"Wed? But I came only to ask you for the song of the stream."

"This I may give you, Silversong."

"Then give it me, for this is why I sought you."

He stepped forward and offered her both of his hands.

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Old 04-20-2009, 11:30 AM   #210
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"Wait, " said Nimrodel.

Amroth's hands fell slowly to his sides.

"The game began, " she said, "with a big tree, and a king that lived in the big tree." She looked at him. "Are you the king that lives in the tree?"

"I am."

"And the game said that you loved the girl."

"I do."

Her brow furrowed. "Yet you said that you asked me to follow you, to the undying lands, and there wed. How can you ask me this if you love the girl who lives by the stream? I thought she, " Nimrodel turned and gestured to Indil, "was the girl who lived by the stream."

The king looked gravely on Indil. "Only in the game. Indil is a child. But there is a real stream, and Indil never lived near it. You did." He studied Indil, who was womanlike in mind and heart, yet had the form of a child. Yet Nimrodel was tall, lithe and womanly, and despite the weeping and healing her mind and heart were still childlike. He looked back to the early days of his quest, and remembered Fellwyne, and Eruvalde, and the other children at the Inn, and how they had befriended him, and he them, and how he had loved them. He half wondered if such a child stood before him now. If so, then all became simple, did it not? That was good, for he was weary. He gathered what strength he had left and turned back to Nimrodel. "Search my heart, little one, and tell whether I am true or false."

Nimrodel looked up at the king, pondering. And then she stood tall, and tossed her head, and took a deep breath. "King though you be, I shall search your heart," she said.

Only his eyes smiled. "I fear you not, " he said. "Search me."

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Old 04-20-2009, 04:57 PM   #211
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She passed the gates of a settlement. Silvan elves surrounded her. Some looked up and smiled. More silvan elves sat gathered beneath the trees, some eating and drinking, some singing. All were more than content. The path went on ahead of her. She walked on it.

At the end of the path was a small fire, and beyond the fire sat many elves. Two stood before one on a throne, and on the throne sat a king, beautiful even among the Eldar. She drew near, listening. The standing elves spoke in turn, eager and bold, and the king listened to each. Back and forth they spoke. The king put his chin into his hand, and gazed for a moment at the ground. Then he stood.

"I can not yet judge, and I shall not judge in haste. Return to me in seven days, and I will choose."

The elves were startled; but they bowed, and turned, and walked back along the path. They were smiling and talking as they went.

The king turned and looked at the tall and mighty elf that waited on him, and now walked beside him. "Erebemlin, what think you?"

"Both are worthy. I cannot choose."

"Even so, " replied the king. "And it is the harder that their brotherhood is strong. Every day I give my favor to the one I loved less yestreen."

Erebemlin laughed. As they walked, they passed other elves, who bowed as they passed; Amroth looked into every eye, and met no faithless or unloving heart. He longed to be a father to each one; longed to give bliss and peace, longed for an age of still greater peace than they had ever known. Yet he could not even choose between two brothers.

"What shall you do, my lord, to choose before the seven days end?"

"Either will be a good father for the lad. Perhaps we should let the lad choose? Yet he is still too young. The doom must rest with me. How shall I choose? I must forget the choice for a time. Were we in Greenwood, we could hunt the white stag."

"Perhaps we should ask every tree on the western marches which one is best suited. Perhaps the trees will know."

"Better than the river?"

"That would not take seven days."

"No. The western borders it is, then. And I shall reach the borders before you."

The two stopped, and the challenge passed like fire between their eyes. They turned as one and sped westward, golden hair streaming behind them.

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Old 04-20-2009, 05:16 PM   #212
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The two golden elves passed from tree to tree, laughing, and gazing up at each one. Sometimes they played a sort of tag, sometimes racing past each other, sometimes running together through the morning, Lorien in winter, golden above and below. Suddenly they halted, listening.

Though gold surrounded them, the voice was silver. Erebemlin listened in wonder, and smiled at its beauty. It mingled with the stream, and which one borrowed music from the other was hard to tell. He turned to the king.

The king stood rooted and pierced by wonder. Erebemlin waited. On the song went, wandering and piercing in beauty. The king did not move. Erebemlin almost forgot the song for the joy it had brought to his king. The joy grew as the song went on.

"Shall we seek her, my lord?"

The king closed his eyes. "I shall not stir while she yet sings."

Erebemlin nodded; but he swung into a nearby tree, and climbed until he saw the singer.

The song ceased, and the king stirred. Erebemlin climbed back down the tree and stood beside him, and saw that he trembled.

"She stands alone by the stream, not two hundred yards hence, " he said softly. The king met his eyes, and he understood. He watched the king walk slowly westward toward the stream, the enchantment of the song still trembling in his veins. When the king was hidden by the forest, Erebemlin turned and walked back the way they had come.

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Old 04-20-2009, 05:54 PM   #213
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Eye

He had promised to choose on the seventh day; it was the sixth, and now he must run. He had stayed til the last possible moment, and departing took all his will.

He slowed. Seven feet tall, the magnificent golden elf appeared on the path ahead, running towards him. "I have come to bear your decision to the two brothers."

"Erebemlin! My faithful friend! How did you know--"

Erebemlin bowed to hide his smile.

Amroth stopped, and nodded. Then he shook his head. "I cannot choose, still. They are both worthy to be chosen. Therefore I choose the younger; the elder is too often chosen. And I can choose no other way."

Erebemlin raised an eyebrow. "The brothers are twins."

Amroth threw his hands in the air. "Was not one born after the other? Then have them draw straws!"

Erebemlin laughed. "You need not choose. I told them you have been delayed."

"I said I would choose. Which one was born later? He shall be the father of the boy."

Erebemlin nodded. Then he gestured back up the path. "Return to her."

"I shall, " said Amroth. "But not til I have given the brothers my choice. My path lies east."

Erebemlin and Amroth ran eastward; the road wearied Amroth, but Erebemlin ran easily.

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Old 04-20-2009, 06:18 PM   #214
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The Lorien elves saw the change in their king, and were glad when he went westward. Some of the elves migrated deeper into the forest, closer to the western edge. Amroth spent more and more time by the stream.

A day's march from the waterfall, there was a green hill that bore a great mallorn tree; from it Amroth could still hear the stream, and he could still hear her voice.

His folk brought white saplings and mallorn saplings, and planted them in two circles around the crown of the hill, where grew the great mallorn. When she came to the hill, she sang for him. Elanor and Niphredil sprang up in the grass, and grew there ever after.

High in the tree they built a flet, and there he held court. When his duties freed him, he went to the stream where she stayed. He built a simple flet there also, and his joy was as great as his love for her. But she would not wed a Sindarin elf. He waited, and wooed her through ever changing seasons. The years passed; he loved her yet more and more.

And then the darkness came.

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Old 04-20-2009, 06:46 PM   #215
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"I fled, " said Nimrodel.

A tear ran down Amroth's face.

"You searched for me. And when you found me, you vowed to bring me to a land of peace, and wed me there. And then we passed down into Gondor. But the land was restless."

"Drenched in evil. And I was parted from you there. I never should have left you, not for a moment. How I have rued that day since."

She gazed at him, doubting. And then she plunged into his mind again.

"You grieved. And searched, and searched. But we had pressed southward. You did not know this til we entered the mountains."

His tears fell freely. "The darkness over the land clouded my thoughts. I strove in my thought to see you from afar; yet however I strove, I could not."

Her face fell. "I was fearful, " she said. "I closed my thoughts. I feared to open my thoughts, lest the darkness find us."

Amroth waited.

"Instead, a different darkness found us. Found me, " she said.

Erebemlin shuddered, and Amroth and Nimrodel startled to see him standing beside them. Amroth reached to his shoulder. "Faithful friend, you could not have forseen that."

Nimrodel turned to gaze at Tharonwe, sitting bound by Raefindan and Mithrellas. "Great grief has he sown. Yet I proved to be fertile ground for such seeds of jealousy and resentment. Bitter I was, and driven to madness, and imprisoned by the darkness I tried to flee."

"Beloved, I would see you free from that; free, and in peace, and bliss."

"You would not enter that bliss without me." She turned back to Amroth, and they both shuddered.

"Nimrodel!" he cried, and leapt from the deck of the ship. A day and a night he fought the waves, but this time he felt her by his side. Then deep green surrounded them; their hair streamed around their faces. They gasped for breath and found none. Nimrodel braced herself at first, but then followed fearfully as Amroth sank deeper, and in the deep, he cried again. "Nimrodel!"

"That was the moment I heard you cry out to me?"

"You heard... perhaps it would have been better had I not cried out to you."

"That cry gave me hope!"

"And despair. Through the long years, it fed your despair, did it not?"

"But what else did I have?"

Suddenly a shriek came from the bound elf. "You had me! You could have had me! All I ever wanted was you! Yet you would have me not! Darkness take you both, darkness forever!" The bound elf was now screaming from frothing lips.

Nimrodel stiffened. Her eyes blazed and she began to tremble. She took three steps toward him, and she cried out. "I defy you. Begone! You have cursed me long enough! Begone and trouble us no more! Begone!"

The redhaired man raised one hand, and Nimrodel fell silent, and bowed her head. She turned, still trembling, and sought Amroth with pleading eyes.

"Show me, " she said.

He showed her his search through Gondor; his race to Edhellond; his pleading with the last elvish crew. The storm; the broken moorings; the receeding shore; his plunge from the deck of the ship; his battle with the waves. His last battle with the deep. And then silence.

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Old 04-21-2009, 05:14 PM   #216
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Nimrodel stepped backward and put her face in her hands.

Amroth waited, but his eyes shone with hope.

~*~*~

Taitheneb stepped closer to Erebemlin. "He chose Ithildir over Celemir simply because Ithildir was the younger?"

Erebemlin searched Taitheneb's eyes before he answered. "Yes."

Taitheneb, thunderstruck, shook his head. "On a whim?"

"Yes, on a whim. There was no other way to choose. Celemir and Ithildir are both fine elves. Among the finest."

"But I had always believed he had a firm reason for choosing Ithildir over Celemir simply because Ithildir was younger!"

Erebemlin raised an eyebrow. "Younger by moments, Taitheneb. What lead could Celemir possibly have had in those things usually gained by long years?"

Taitheneb gazed blankly at Erebemlin.

Amroth spoke, as if out of a great distance. "Did Ithildir father you well?"

Taitheneb nodded. "Of course. He is a fine father."

Amroth smiled. "Why then, I am glad. As you should be. And Celemir was a fine uncle?"

Taitheneb thought this over, and then laughed. "I guess I would have been well raised either way."

Erebemlin slapped his younger friend on the shoulder, and a rare smile lit the ellon's face. "You were well raised indeed."

Their attention turned back to Nimrodel, who was pacing on the nearby sward.

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Old 04-21-2009, 06:01 PM   #217
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NImrodel paused, and gazed at Amroth, and lingered. And then she approached him, and stood before him.

He watched her, and waited.

She looked into his eyes again, and trembled. She spoke then in a whisper, but the glade quivered to hear it.

"You are true."

Taitheneb watched the king steadily brighten, and Erebemlin's fear began to ebb. At last, he thought. She knows him. An age seemed to slip away like a dream upon waking.

Erebemlin turned suddenly to the north. "My lord, hark to the breeze." Taitheneb caught his breath. Amroth's spirit burned brighter, for from far away, as if borne upon a breeze from a thousand years, he heard a silver voice, falling. His blood trembled in his veins. Once again torn between listening enchanted, or joining her in the song, he listened. His spirit burned steadily brighter. But Nimrodel stood still and silent before him.

Amroth offered her his hands, again, and she gazed down at his hands; slowly, she placed her hands in his, and then returned her gaze to his eyes.

"I will go with you."

Erebemlin bowed his head to hide his tears of joy; Taitheneb stifled a shout, for a moment, but then gave a great shout, and wept, and turned laughing to find someone to embrace. Some of the mortals laughed, some wept, some shouted for joy. Only Raefindan and Mithrellas neither moved nor spoke.

"Beloved, my heart desires naught else." He kissed her brow as joy swept through the glen.

Then he said, "But I can not take you with me."

Stunned silence fell, and one of the mortals gasped. The mocking laughter of the bound elf echoed in the glen before Raefindan silenced him.

Erebemlin's heart all but froze. She had been healed for moments, and now must she be wounded again?

"I do not understand," Nimrodel replied. But she did this day what she could not do for the past thousand years: she trusted him. "What must I do?"

Amroth's gaze kindled. "You shall choose whether or not to follow me-- alone."

Her eyes grew very wide. "I am afraid."

"I know."

"I felt the pain you knew under the dark water. Must I follow you into the water?"

"I do not know. Your way will be made clear if you are willing to take it."

"I have been in the sea. It is cold, and too strong. I fear it."

"The stream does not fear, but sings as it rushes to join the sea."

Her eyes sparked, and she pressed his hands. "Will the song give me hope?"

"The song of the stream." He lingered over the words. "That is what you came to ask me for."

Nimrodel gathered her courage. "Give me the song, " she said.

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Old 04-24-2009, 09:06 PM   #218
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Roy was saddened that Maegeleb could not change. He had not completely given up hope, but he was not about to take any risks that might ruin Nimrodel's chances to find Amroth. He turned his thought to Indil.

She had grown! Her thought was all given to Nimrodel, as was Mithrellas'. But he sensed Angela too, and in the sensing discovered her thought. And she was aware of him.

There you are. You have been busy, and that is good.
It still amazes me that you are here.
It's a grace.
Don't I know it! And it's been a long journey.
Yet we're much nearer the beginning than the end.


So true. He sensed that this was just as much so for Nimrodel and Amroth.

And it includes Mithrellas, Raefindan.
It is strange, you calling me that. And now you will become my step-daughter while she and I make a life we once had. Most passing strange!
All of it preparation.
Was your life cut short such a preparation?


Roy sensed a sigh from her.

You still grieve a little.
Don't you? How is it for you?
I wonder what it would have been like to become a woman who loved you.
You were already.
For years, I mean.
Now you get the chance to do both, but as my daughter.


Angela began to laugh for the sheer hilarity of it, and Mithrellas joined her for she had been listening all the while - without jealousy - which increased his love for her.

And so we receive reward and grace far beyond our desserts.
So it always is.
May it be so for Nimrodel.
Aye, may it be so for us all,
said the thought of Mithrellas.
Then the three quieted for Nimrodel had just asked Amroth to give her the song.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:43 PM   #219
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Silmaril

The long winter would soon be past. The sun gleamed on the snow-covered mountainsides. The snow crystals sparkled with golden light behind the glistening sheen of melting water. Below drops formed, and running down, joined into the merest trickle over the ice. Beneath, rocks and pebbles lay hidden that would soon see the sun. The trickle found her way downward, joining other drops, and finding a channel. Further down that channel would find a golden wood, and among the golden wood, the stream would find her voice; her sweet, silver voice.

To the south, Celebdil towered over the Wild, and Celebrant flowed from his mighty sides down towards the golden wood, cascading and rushing. Yet the voice of the Celebrant sang less sweetly than she. Falling silver ran beneath the golden sun, down, down, laughing downwards; the forest yet lay far below in the warmth of the valley.
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Old 10-03-2009, 04:17 PM   #220
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Silmaril

Far above the treeline, the rocks glittered golden in the cold sun; over them raced a sheer smooth silver gloss, singing, singing. The cold golden rock rejoiced beneath the silver song that flowed over it, bringing its color to life. The low sun shone off the silver surface, and a young elf paused, high above the snowline.

He came to the shining stream, bent down to the stream, and his lips met the water. He drank. The cold filled him and he laughed aloud, exulting in its sweet taste; then he stood, and caressed the stream with his hand before he turned to chase the water down the hill. He sped away towards the forest far below. Beside him, the water shimmered and glowed in the cold winter light, laughing, singing, racing down, down, down.

Far below, eagles left their soaring and turned towards their eyries. A great stag darted away from the stream as the young elf sped past. The elf cried to him, and the stag looked back. The elf ran on. Beside him the stream gained strength.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:31 PM   #221
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The cold sun set and the stars kindled. Raefindan looked up.

"Do you see, Mithrellas? Indil? These same stars were seen by Frodo and Sam as they crouched beneath Cirith Ungol and talked of the story they were in. And we are part of the same story ourselves!"

"All the stories," said Mithrellas, "are threads into the weave of the Tapestry. But unlike a simple tapestry they merge and intermix and part ways, and some rejoin."

"And some are always sundered," said Indil's child's voice with Angela's wisdom beyond her years.

"Yes. So it is for some among the Eldar."

"But even for the Eldar-" Raefindan paused "-beyond the walls of Arda's time, I believe that even those sunderings will be ended. And ours is a foretaste, thee and thee and me, for others to see, and to hope."

"I believe it may be so," Mithrellas said, "and as it is for us, so it is becoming for Amroth and Nimrodel. Look."

They turned their attention back to the interplay of places and dreams and the now and the not yet but soon to be, and expectant, waited for the moment of waking that was soon to come.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:33 PM   #222
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Silmaril

On and on the elf ran, down, down, beside the glowing stream. Through the ice the stream ran, than through rocks and over sand; lower down on the slopes, the deep green of moss lay beneath the silver sheen, and grass grew along her sides. Still she sang, and still the elf ran by her side. The sun set; she sang beneath the stars; he ran on.

Dawn came, and the elf slowed to a walk in the golden light. The silver voice sang beside him, and his voice began to mingle with hers. The forest neared. The golden leaves were falling from the trees, and some fell into the stream, and floated away beneath the stars. He came to the forest eaves. Golden buds swelled on the branches. Moss flourished along the stream banks; the stream was deep and cold, and her song remained silver. She danced down rocks and rushed over rapids, and the silver song went cascading on, til they came to one more waterfall over golden rocks; the song shimmered and sparkled like stars in the coldest night, and her silver laughter fell into a shining pool.

The elf stopped beside the pool, knelt, and drank; then he sat on the bank, and listened. Another elf appeared, and they nodded a greeting, but did not speak. Another elf came, and another; women and warriors came out of the wood, and without speaking (but with much laughter) together they began a circle dance. Across the waterfall at the top of the pool, around the north of the pool, and across the second waterfall at the bottom, around the south of the pool and back to the top waterfall, their steps quickened and their laughter rippled and blended with the stream.

A new note sounded in the stream. You are true. I choose to trust you. The dance changed; it had been merry and glad; now it held a more solemn joy. The elves laughed less and smiled more, and now they began to sing. As the flowers sprang in the grass, the song rose among the tree branches, and the golden mallorn blossoms opened. Fragrance swept southward on the wind. The song of the stream, cold silvery joy, rode the same wind southwards toward the sea.

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Old 11-06-2009, 05:25 PM   #223
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Silmaril

Southward towards the sea...

The mountainside elf slipped from the dance, and followed the stream. The circledance song faded from his ears even as it took root in his heart, and ran like sap through his veins. Beside the stream he ran, as it swept through Lorien west to east; golden leaves beneath his feet, golden blossoms drenching the air with fragrance; silver stream glistening like cold moonlight under the sun.

Ever and anon he paused, and bent towards the stream, and drank the glowing shimmer; ever the laughter welled up in his heart, but none escaped his lips. Instead his heart soared, and he exulted in his strength even as he caressed the stream. The song grew, lilting laughter, rippling song that rivalled the sweetest nightingale.

Down the stream flowed; down the mountain-elf ran; til the stream joined the mighty Anduin, where the elf paused, and stood on the bank, and watched the water, the silver laughing moonlight, flow past and blend with the seaward rush. As the sun sank into the horizon, the elf stretched tall, feeling the song vibrating in his veins; then he turned southward, dove into the rushing mighty river, and swam southward immersed in the moonlit song.

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Old 11-06-2009, 05:44 PM   #224
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Question

Raefindan, gazing up at the stars, closed his eyes. Mithrellas watched him, and knew that he trembled with the strength of great joy, and that his blood sang in his veins.

She understood.
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:07 PM   #225
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Silmaril

Nimrodel stirred, and her grey eyes opened, and looked up at Amroth. His gaze met hers.

She spoke. "I thought I loved the stream more than anyone else ever could."

"You loved the stream for its own sake, " he said. "But I loved it for your sake. Which love was the greater, who can tell?"

"I loved the banks and the rocks, the trees and the pool, and the waterfalls. But you loved the water?"

"And the journey. The long, daring, self-forsaking journey."

"That is what you call me to now, is it not?"

He nodded. "Will you follow me as I followed you; will you seek me as I sought you." He spoke without fear, and she knew her own heart.

She closed her eyes again.
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Old 11-14-2009, 07:54 AM   #226
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The stream turned around the bend and joined with the Anduin.

Wider, broader, deeper, in a long slow sweep, the song turned southward. Leaves tumbled in it; weeds waved in it; the mountain-elf was swept joyously along. Sometimes he lay on the shimmering surface, and watched the tree-laden banks sweep by; sometimes he plunged to see the rocks or the sand. Sometimes he chased the leaves, laughing. Silver trout nosed him as he passed; some swam beside him, and he spoke with them, or sang to them. At night he sang to the stars, or to the moon if he hung low on the horizon tangled in the trees. Three days and three nights passed.

Soon the song of the river steepened; the mountain-elf turned to watch his ways, now, as rocks sped past. Around the rocks the river rushed, hurrying, laughing aloud. Soon the laughing became a shout. Around one rock, around another, the mountain elf raced with the skill and agility of an otter. He spared no breath for singing, now, but swam downward through Sarn Gebir flanked by laughing trout.

All around him the silver song grew in strength and power, and the trout shared it, and the moon echoed it, and the banks flew past.

Then slowly it grew quiet again. The water widened, the downward rush slowed to a steady quiet flow. For another day, the mountain-elf took a well-earned rest, surrounded by a school of trout that sang softly to him as he rested on his back and gazed at the silver sky. Then once again the song grew in power, but still he lay on his back and the school of trout paced him. Faster and faster they swept, til far overhead two vast and mighty warriors stood watch. He greeted them with joy as he sped between them, tiny next to their vast feet. They hid the moon as they slowly passed overhead.

Quiet came again as they swept into a broad and peaceful bay, and the silver trout sang once more; but in the distance thunder brewed. THe mountain elf rested, and gathered his strength.



***


"He cannot pass the falls!" gasped Taitheneb. Ravion struggled to his feet; Mellonin stood by his side. Together they watched Amroth's face.

Raefindan shook his head. "His flesh long since ceased to trouble him." But there was doubt in his voice.

Erebemlin remained deep in thought.

Indil spoke. "Will he swim the falls?"

It was the cracked and wizened voice of Nimrodel that answered. "I shall bear him."

Erebemlin trembled.

Behind them, Ædegard drew near. "Courage, Lady. But remember that you bear the weight of two; and one remains mortal."
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:24 PM   #227
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Slowly, all the men drew near. Raefindan had stood by, and Indil; and near them Ravion and Mellonin; but now Ædegard, Argeleafa, Liornung, Bellyn, and Nethwador stepped closer; Gwyllion and Aeron clasped hands and stood over the water.

Taitheneb went to Erebemlin, and waited. The air was still in the glade, and the fall at the foot of the pool murmured softly in the midmorning sun.

Mithrellas alone seemed at peace.

***

The rumbling drew nearer; it was a faroff army, a wall of storm.

Nimrodel's lips twitched; her eyelids fluttered; slowly she stirred.

Erebemlin trembled, and Taitheneb frowned.

***

The mountain elf gazed restfully at the sky, his back to the falls. From the gates of the kings, the north wind swirled; high above rode the hawks. Beneath and beside him the silver trout sang.

"Let us turn back, " said the blacksmith.

The school of trout slowed, and their song faltered.

"There is yet time, " said the boy. "We can return to your stream, and there abide through the long ages. I will stay with you always."

"Amroth, " said Erebemlin.

"Come back with me, " said the blacksmith. "Nimrodel, let us return to the trees and the riverbanks you loved, and to your own shining waterfall that sings so sweetly and so gently. Not to this, not this wrath."

"Amroth!" said Erebemlin.

"Leave him, " pleaded the boy. "Come with me. I do not ask you to die! I ask you, bide with me, and live! I will never leave you! Do not leave me!"

"Amroth!" Erebemlin shouted, and his eyes snapped upen. "Return him to me! What have you done?"

Nimrodel struggled out of Erebemlin's arms, rose to her feet, and turned to face Mellondu. "Mellondu, do not speak so, " she said. But Erebemlin leapt to his feet also, and Erebemlin's voice rose and filled the glen. "Return him to us, " Erebemlin cried. "Return-- Amroth, return to us! Amroth! Amroth!"

There was no wind, but the massive elf's golden hair swirled about him as if from the heat of a fire. "Amroth!" he roared in desperation, and strode to Mellondu, who shrank from him in fear. The elf filled the glade with golden flame, and his voice and his eyes were fire; Mellondu screamed and writhed. Erebemlin took the blacksmith's shoulders and lifted him til they were face to face; still he called to Amroth; stilll the blacksmith screamed.

Raefindan stood frozen as the fires of Erebemlin raked through the soul of the blacksmith desperately seeking his king. One breath passed; two, three; four; and now Raefindan spoke. "Release him!"

Mellondu's cries slowly abated; he shook like a leaf and wept in terror. Erebemlin held him still; but the elf shone no longer; he had gone suddenly cold.

Nimrodel raised her wizened face and gazed at Erebemlin. "The king is not here, " she said. "My lord is gone. Trouble the boy no more."

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Old 11-20-2009, 11:47 PM   #228
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Silmaril

"Trouble?" said Erebemlin, gazing bewildered at her. He did not move at first. Then slowly he lowered blacksmith to the ground.

Raefindan stepped forward, grasping Erebemlin's shoulder with one hand and Mellondu's shoulder with the other. Mellonin, as if suddenly woken from a dream, gazed from face to face, and then reached for Mellondu.

Mellondu gazed now at Nimrodel, and she waited. Slowly his fear and pain abated; he trembled now under her silver gaze. He pleaded with her. "Let us leave the river, and return to the stream; the shadow is gone; you are free; I am free. We can dwell there again in peace. Nimrodel, Nimrodel, sweet Silversong, let us go back home, and there dwell. I will never leave you."

Erebemlin and Taitheneb listened with icy and sinking hearts. Mithrellas turned to Nimrodel and waited.

Ædegard spoke. "Mellondu, you cannot. She cannot. Do not speak so." Liornung and Bella began to plead with Mellondu, but Nimrodel raised her hand.

She stepped forward to him, and stood before him; the young blacksmith and the wizened crone. Yet as they watched, and she spoke, her voice came clearer. "Darklove, heed me. I shall not allow you to enter the same prison I dwelt in for these thousand years."

"I love you, " Mellondu said.

She nodded. "You speak truly. Yet it shall not be as you wish; I shall go west; and you shall remain. I wish you joy, Mellondu; there are those here who love you as I cannot. Your sister," she said, nodding at Mellonin, "and your friends, and those at home. You must remain with them and for them."

"I will die without you, " he said.

She straightened her back and stood taller. "I hope not; not, at least, until your hundred years are past. And now, young Darklove, I must carry you down the falls."

Erebemlin and Taitheneb stood numbly by, too lost in their grief to know what came next. But Mithrellas watched with shining eyes as Nimrodel stood straighter, taller, stronger by the moment. Her eyes seemed to clear. Her skin seemed less heavy. The wind, coming now from the south, caught her silvery-golden hair and lifted it. And now the mortals saw her changing, and Raefindan and Indil began to sing the song of the stream. Straighter and taller she stood; her eyes shone like the moon on the water; her skin was as smooth as the stream at dawn; her hair streamed in the wind; and she began to sing. Though it was nearing mid-day, moonlight filled the glade. She stepped forward and took Mellondu's hand as if he were a child.

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Old 11-21-2009, 07:51 AM   #229
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Silmaril

Ravion turned to Erebemlin and Taitheneb, but their eyes were glassy and their hearts were as stone, and he turned from them with a shudder, and sought out Raefindan.

"She cannot take him down the falls alone."

Raefindan nodded. "I know this." Yet he too was steeped in grief.

Mithrellas came forward, and strode to Nimrodel. "I shall aid you."

Now Indil stepped forward. "As will I, lady. You are young again. And very pretty."

A slight laugh answered the child's voice; but Nimrodel shook her head. "Take a moment, and heal the elves, and the redhaired man. I will need all of your strength."

She turned to the ranger. "Ravion. Once, three boats departed Lorien, carrying mortals in great danger. One remains. Can you not bring it to me?"

Startled, Ravion turned to look at the far side of the little pool. Far across the Anduin, at the foot of the Emyn Muil, he was surprised to see a small grey elven boat. In the boat, Mellonin paddled it swiftly hither; or was it Avarien? He called to her, and waved. She turned it towards him, and drew near.

"They endure the east wind, but do not ask tidings of it," she said grimly. "So this boat has lain hidden these long years."

Ravion shook his head in wonder and bewilderment, and turned to Nimrodel. "Your boat, lady, " he said. Beside them on the little stream, a boat shimmered like the mist; or was it a leaf floating past? Beneath the leaves, a school of little silver trout flickered by, and swam towards the little fall that led downward toward the sea.

"I am afraid, " said Liornung.

"Sing with me, " said Bella. "She needs us, too."

From the mouths of the Sea the South Wind flies, from the sandhills and the stones;
The wailing of the gulls it bears, and at the gate it moans.
‘What news from the South, O sighing wind, do you bring to me at eve?
Where now is Amroth the Fair? He tarries and I grieve.’
‘Ask not of me where he doth dwell-so many bones there lie
On the white shores and the dark shores under the stormy sky;
So many have passed down Anduin to find the flowing Sea.
Ask of the North Wind news of them the North Wind sends to me!’
‘O Amroth! Beyond the gate the seaward road runs south,
But you came not with the wailing gulls from the grey sea’s mouth.’


Liornung sang with Bella, and it seemed to bring him comfort. Ædegard and Argeleafa knew parts of the song, and sang hesitantly. Mellonin sang, softly, but she wept as she sang. And for Ravion and Raefindan, the grief was still to near.

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Old 08-26-2010, 07:08 PM   #230
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Silmaril

Nimrodel stepped into the grey boat from Lothlorien, stood in the stern, and began to sing. Mellondu followed, and the boat swung out into the current. He hid his face, for a moment, but then raised his eyes, and looked full into her face, and waited.

The roar of the falls grew.

Ravion watched, surrounded by song, as the boat dwindled and rushed toward the falls. He could see as clearly as if he stood nearby. He shook his head; suspended over the falls with Gwyllion and Aeron, he caught his breath as the grey boat hesitated on the glassy top. A moment it hung, and then it plunged down the falls.

They waited.

Beneath the thundering foam, silver trout rippled and flashed southward. Ravion, Gwyllion, and Aeron flew above the river, and gazing, saw the grey elvish boat filled with clear water. Nearby swam Mellondu, and the boat seemed to pause and wait for him.

Nimrodel was nowhere to be seen.

Mellondu's cry pierced even the thunder of the falls. The boat swept him switfly southward; he clung to it, at first, and then crawled over the gunwale, and sat in the clear water. It seemed to Ravion that day turned to night, and the river slowed. Mellondu passed six streams, and when he came to the seventh, he took up the paddle, and steered into it, and got out of the boat, leaving it carelessly in the shallows.

From the marshes, a bent and haggard woman in green came slowly out to meet him. He knelt before her, and she took his face into her bony hands, and his tears poured through her fingers and onto the grass.

She let him weep awhile, and then taking him by the shoulders, raised him to his feet, and turned him to look at the boat. She raised one hand, and the boat turned, and floated past; he cried aloud. Nimrodel now lay, composed and still and young, in the boat beneath the clear water. Only her hair moved, as tiny silver minnows flickered about her. A school of silver trout swam south, around and beneath the grey boat.

Marigold stood with one hand holding Mellondu's shoulder, one hand still raised in farewell; Mellondu froze in disbelief as the grey boat followed the current south, dwindling into the distance til it faded from sight. Mist rose from the river, and the cold settled deeper and deeper into Mellondu's heart. They stood so til dawn.

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Old 08-26-2010, 07:40 PM   #231
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Eye

Ravion stood by the bank, and wondered at Erebemlin's silence, 'til he saw his eyes downcast. The glade grew quiet; Mellondu was gone; Nimrodel was gone. Aeron and Gwyllion were gone; so were Indil's parents. The Rohirrim still sang, softly, but Bella was silent. Mellonin wept. He longed to find peace for her.

Instead he turned to the elves, and placed one hand on Erebemlin's shoulder, and another hand on Taitheneb's head. Part of him wondered why he did so; yet even as he wondered, he saw Marigold lift her wrinkled face, and call Erebemlin; her voice was soft and golden. Slowly Erebemlin stirred, and looked down at Ravion as if from a great distance. Taitheneb slowly opened his eyes. Ravion heard Marigold speaking, long and low; the elves waited, numb with grief. Anon she ceased, and the elves closed their eyes again.

The Rohirrim ceased singing, and the glade was still.

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Old 10-11-2010, 12:16 PM   #232
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Between the reeds, shadows flickered as muddy eddies swirled. A fog had settled in over the marsh, and the porch was slippery. The old man leaned on the railing.

"Come to dinner," called a thin voice from within.

He did not want the oily marsh trout again, so he stood clutching the rail. She hobbled out, stood by him clutching the rail, and gazed at the eddies and the fish below.

The fish turned, and swam southward. They would have flickered silver in the sunlight but the fog was too thick.

"He will come to us soon, " she said.

He stirred. "I would rather he lived."

"Fear him not," she replied, in a voice no longer thin. He looked at her; she was clothed in green, and there were golden glints in her hair. He looked up; the sun was still behind the fog.

"Does he not owe the elf-lord his life? Erebemlin? Is he not bound to him?"" he replied.

She stood taller, and the green and gold grew brighter. "The elf-lord has released him. He will be home soon, " she said.

A thin voice called from within. "Come to dinner." He looked within, and his wife stood waiting. He looked back to the railing. There was no one.

He turned, and shuffled inside. "Mellondu will be home soon, " he said.

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Old 02-09-2011, 02:01 PM   #233
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Liornung waited, and wished he could sing. But the mist was too heavy.

He waited, and watched, especially the two elves. They felt so cold. WHy he could feel it he did not know; he had felt Erebemlin's fire, a little; now he felt their ice.

Yet it was not quite despair. Not quite. Erebemlin and Taitheneb stood locked in thought, lingering, wondering, missing the mountain elf; missing their golden king. Erebemlin missed Nimrodel, too; and even the blacksmith, a little.

In his mind's eye, Liornung saw a lady in green, with golden hair, by the riverside. Yet when he turned to the bank, there was no one.

Behind him, Taitheneb stirred, and looked toward the same spot on the bank.
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Old 10-14-2011, 12:58 PM   #234
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Leaf

Beneath several minty-smelling quilts Mellondu slept deeply. His breathing was regular, and deep. Dried salt tracks whitened his face and his dark beard.

Marigold walked up the path towards her little house laden with herbs. She had walked far, but nothing had disturbed the lad; Jorje had seen to that. He thumped his tail on the floor at her as she entered the house, and Mellondu stirred. She added a handful of the fresh herbs to the kettle, hung the kettle over the fire, and bent down and brushed the hair from the blacksmith’s brow. “Sleep,” she whispered. “Be at peace.”

With a contented sigh, Jorje lay his head back down. Marigold smiled at him, and then returned her gaze to the blacksmith. His dreams were no longer of death, but neither were they of joy. She stood watch over him. Nearby, Taitheneb and Erebemlin waited; she smiled at them, and they faded from her sight, but they were near nevertheless.
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:15 PM   #235
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Silmaril

No one in the glade spoke.

Through the cold night, some stood, some sat by the water's edge. Several of the Rohirrim huddled together for warmth; some even slept. The elves stood like statues, their eyes gazing far to the north. The only moving thing was the mist, rising from the water and rising from the lips of men and elves.

When the stars had all faded and the eastern sky was shot through with gold, Raefindan stirred and stood; Mithrellas met his gaze, and Indil gave them each one of her little hands, and they walked to the water's edge and washed their tears off of their faces.

Slowly the Rohirrim joined them, washing and drinking. The mist caught the sunrise, and the glade was filled with soft golden light.

Far on the edge of the glade, the dark elf lay still. He had been forgotten. She watched him for a moment, and then turned toward Erebemlin. He was as cold as the night had been. But in Taitheneb she felt a glimmer of the dawn.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:49 PM   #236
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Jorje Tirril had much to do! The river woman had said so. The One-toes needed a pack leader and he was to be it. He had a long way to go but he knew how to scrounge up a meal where he needed to, and the river woman said he was allowed to sleep.

He sniffed his way back up the tilted land and through stony places where it was cold and windy with few scents on the wind. Then he scrabbled down past where the big snow had fallen (that was gone now and warmth had made it all turn wet) to where the one-toes were.

It took some yammering and calling before these silly over-sized dogs with the single toes and the wrong shaped noses understood what was needed from them. Jorje wished he was working with his own kind of dog - or at worst the fluffy stupid grass-eaters. These one toes, for all their length of nose, just weren't good dogs. Didn't they have any sniff sense? Well, some but not much. And the two-foots could ride them. No, grass eaters would not do.

Finally they got the sniff of it and allowed themselves to be hallooed down the tilted land. It was a long way around. They passed the walled burrow where many two-foots lived and kept going, following the big river, then kept the tilted land in sight to their right until they came to another river, the one the river woman said was the one to follow up into the tilted land. And there they were to stop. It took many sleeps to get there, but he got it done without losing a single one-toe.

It had been close one time when a group of one-toe riders had tried to herd his pack away, but the river woman must have helped because his one-toe pack had outrun them (sometimes it was good not to have riders on one-toes).

At last they came to the place, with lush warm grass for the one toes and little four-foots Jorje could catch and eat, and he sniffed on the wind the words of the river woman: "Good dog, Jorje Tirril, you are a very good dog! You have done well! Red-top is coming with all the others."

Red-top? Jorje was happy and waited eagerly.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:25 AM   #237
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Marigold stood by her little fire and slowly stirred her pot of steeping herbs. Nearby Mellondo's breathing settled, peaceful and steady. She smiled. One by one she took the mint-scented quilts off of him, and folded them carefully, and set them aside, until there was only the green velvet coverlet beneath him. His fever was gone, and she knew that the cold would no longer harm him.

**************

Mellondu stirred, and resettled on the thick green moss.

Nearby a doe tested the wind, and turned to look at the man lying in the moss on the stream bank. She drew near, warily, and sniffed his black hair; here was no threat, and she walked past into the stream, scattering silver minnows as she drank.
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:47 PM   #238
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The Elves and Raefindan took turns guiding the bound Tharonwé down the mountain slopes. The others negotiated the difficult path in pairs that had formed during their sojourn: Mithrellas and Indil, Aedegard and Argaleafa, Ravion and Mellonin, and last Liornung and Bellyn.

Whereas most pairs had a caregiver and receiver to varying degrees, Liornung and Bella had come through the harrowing adventure unscathed, in body if not entirely in soul. So it was that the travelers had by turns song, story, jest, or just good talk floating down from above and behind them from the last pair.

As they followed the stream, the cold and winter of the heights gave way to the warm scents and colors of early summer. At last they reached the foothills where neighings and raucous, hilarious barking greeted their ears. Around the next bend there were horses and one dog jumping excited from paw to paw.

"By Jorje, I think it's Jorje!" Roy laughed.

The dog's ears perked and his eyes found the red haired man, and he bounded toward him and jumped full on his chest. Roy fell back laughing, glad that Taitheneb held the prisoner.

"How is it that you brought these horses with you, Jorje?" he asked as he scratched his ears and got a tongue washing to rival any puppy.

"He was sent," said Mithrellas. "I see a woman near a river, smiling and stirring something warm and satisfying in a pot."

"That would be Marigold," said Erebemlin. "It is time for us to mount these steeds and be on our way."
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Old 06-01-2015, 08:20 PM   #239
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Homecomings followed by epilogue. (Bump)
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