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littlemanpoet 04-13-2008 06:34 PM

"Indil? Angela?"

"Yes, it's me. You took your time getting here."

Roy was at a loss for words. His mouth worked but his tongue would not cooperate. Indil laughed with the richness of expression he remembered from Angela. Roy was dumbfounded. Finally he managed two words.

"But - how?!?"

"Call it a special grace," Indil replied, looking up at him from a child's eyes that were beyond their years in understanding and wisdom. The voice was that of a child's, but the words were all Angela. "It's not the first time, and it won't be the last."

"But - why?!?"

Indil turned and looked up at Mithrellas, and raised her arm in a gesture of inclusion. "For her!" Mithrellas smiled. Then Indil looked over to the pool. "And them!"

Mellondu and Erebemlin were on their knees by the side of the pool. Mellondu lay on the ground nearby, Ravion kneeling over her, holding her hand lovingly. Just a little way back, Bergil, Ædegard, Leafa, Liornung, Bella, and Nethwador stood looking by turns bemused, wistful, intense, and longingly at Mellondu and Erebemlin. Almost out of eyeshot stood Tharonwe, his face taut and malicious, watching the two as well. Mithrellas spoke.

"Let us go to them, for they are trying to revive Nimrodel. They will need our aid."

"Hold my hand!" Indil said, and this time it sounded completely like her, as if Angela had gone away. Roy looked in her eyes, and believed that he saw Angela there yet. The three approached the pool hand in hand, Indil in the middle.

mark12_30 04-25-2008 08:19 PM

"The chill goes too deep, my lord. We should not tarry in the mountain stream." Even elves have their limits, and the body of a man, more so. He took Nimrodel from Amroth's arms, and turned to carry her up onto the bank. Amroth swayed, floundering with one hand. With the other he steadied himself against Erebemlin's shoulder.

Erebemlin's heart sank even as he leaned hard against the king's hand. The king steadied, and they walked up out of the stream, and settled onto the bank.

Amroth met his gaze. "It is not only the chill of the stream that you spoke of, Erebemlin."

They sat side by side on the bank, Erebemlin holding Nimrodel so that her head leaned against Amroth's shoulder. The king shivered with the cold.

"My Lord, the cold settled into her soul many, many winters ago. We will not bring her back to the summer without a struggle."

Amroth gave a wan, wintry laugh. "No, I suppose not, my gentle friend. Yet neither will we leave her trapped in the ice."

"Rest a moment, my lord, " Erebemlin replied. "We have found her, and we will not leave her. Take a moment, and rest."

For several silent minutes, Amroth did just that, even as he gazed at the friends who had come with him. The Rohirrim looked on, and Nethwador waited earnestly. And nearby stood Raefindan with the child, Indil. He smiled at the little girl, knowing that she was bound to Mithrellas, and thence to Nimrodel. He did not fathom it all. He did not want to. Nimrodel was here, and that was enough; that was all he wanted.

And all too soon, for Erebemlin's taste, he was ready to search again.

"Let us begin, " said Amroth.

Erebemlin gathered himself, and nodded.

littlemanpoet 04-26-2008 01:08 PM

"Let us begin, " said Amroth.

Raefindan watched Erebemlin nod his reluctant agreement. The Elf was slow to express emotion, but the weariness and worry were plain to see in his face and the way he held himself. Raefindan shook his head. This would not end well, he thought to himself. He understood that Amroth's fëa was in Mellondu, and that Avarien's fëa was in Mellonin, and the Elvish fëar were wearing out the human bodies. Mellondu was likely to die before Amroth could achieve his goal of saving Nimrodel from her own madness. It was not going to end well; at least, not with himself and the others standing by.

What had that thought been that had passed through his mind almost as softly and faintly as a wisp of a breeze? The little girl is bound to Mithrellas, and thence to Nimrodel in some unfathomable way. That had been Amroth's thought, but he was so concentrated on Nimrodel that he gave it not a second thought. Surely she was here for just such a purpose; and if Indil, was it not also that way for himself? ...and the rest of them?

"Lord," Raefindan said with some force, "we would give you aid in some way, whatever way we can. What can we do?"

The others added their agreement to Raefindan's words. Nethwador took a step toward Amroth, as if Raefindan's words somehow freed him from a paralysis of some kind.

littlemanpoet 05-10-2008 03:51 PM

"Let us begin, " said Amroth.

Erebemlin gathered himself, and nodded.

"Lord," Roy Edwards from the future said, "we would give you aid in some way, whatever way we can. What can we do?"

What aid would these humans give, Tharonwë wondered. They were fools to cast about in the affairs of Elves. Only this Roy Edwards was a danger to him ... except, maybe, for this little girl, this little trouble maker who seemed beyond her years in word and thought - for he read her mind still.

He would stop them. Not, he now knew, in the way he had expected, for the one called Nimrodel was gone forever. The husk that remained disgusted him. They thought to blame him for the decrepitude that she now was, for they thought that he had brought her to it. But they were wrong. He had hidden her, that was all. It was her own despair and her constant feeding on it that had turned her into an aged crone, too weak of will and fëa to keep herself in youth. He hated her! She was not what she had pretended to be! And so he made a new decision. He would not kill her. That would only free her to the Halls of Mandos, where the fëa of Amroth awaited her. No, he would give them no such simple cure to their self-inflicted ills. They deserved their despair, and if Amroth thought to join her in her depths, he would ease his way.

He had still Roy Edwards of the future to thank for the fascinating art of hypnosis, such a supple tool in combination with osanwë. All he need to was enter Amroth's and Erebemlin's thought - not Roy Edwards'! - then locate their desires, then uncover the one most suited to his end, and twist it ever so slightly so that their purpose ran just the slightest degree wide of their aim, and sealed their own fate, deep in the despair, the ice cold despair and slow death that would leave them wasting away until the Ages ceased. It was perfect.

He reached out with his thought subtly, ever so carefully, arching wide of Roy Edwards and the girl Indil, and arching wide of the Elven woman Mithrellas as well, for she was a honed will, sharpened to the cutting point by virtue of having given herself so competely to another's benefit for millenia. It was folly! Yet somehow she had made herself strong through it. Tharonwë did not understand her, and so steered his thought clear of her. And he found Amroth. Ah yes, nothing was important to him, at all, except Nimrodel. And that was his fatal mistake, for every other being there was a mere tool for Amroth's use in finding Nimrodel.

And then he saw it. All he needed to do was let Amroth find Nimrodel at the deepest of the deeps, in the midst of her despair, and help them unite, and help Erebemlin aid them in this, and their fëar would be joined as one, and all he need to then was kill the boy Mellondu, and r kill outright the bodily form of Erebemlin, and the result would be that Amroth's fëa would be imprisoned in the aging and despairing being of Nimrodel, and Erebemlin along with him. If all he could do was weaken Erebemlin's will, then a part of his fëa would be trapped with Amroth and Nimrodel, and he would forever be a shadow of himself. Tharonwë grinned in delight at his plan. It would work! He bided his time.

mark12_30 05-21-2008 08:25 PM

Amroth looked slowly around, and studied the face of each friend, and took a moment to silently thank them. And then he nodded at Erebemlin.


The wind was in his flowing hair; the foam about him shone,
Afar they saw him strong and fair go riding like a swan.

The winds raged, and tore at Nimrodel's clothing and her hair as the surf pounded the shore. She cried, and cried, and cried. She called out to him, she ran along the shore westward, leaping the rocks, racing over the sand. On and on she ran. In her heart, she could feel the water pulling at him, the fury of the waves, the foam that thundered over him again and again. She ran on and on, westward, screaming his name into the wind.

The land came to a point, and she stood at the end of it, facing southwest, calling him again and again. His heart called to her still, but she felt him losing strength.

The waves were madness. Foam flew in the wind, and stung her face. The tide sucked at her feet as she stood gazing into the storm, looking for some sign of his golden hair in the sea. Her voice was swept away, torn out of her mouth and gone.


Her cry rang out once more. And then gathering her strength, she ran forward, and flung herself into the storm.

mark12_30 05-22-2008 02:35 PM

Amroth bent over Nimrodel as she moaned, and stirred. Her eyes closed, and her fingers twitched. His lips brushed her whitened hair, and he sighed deeply.

Erebemlin's gaze flickered toward Amroth, and then back to Nimrodel. Nethwador edged a little closer, and then a little closer. Finally he sat down, and gazed into the water.

She fought the waves as they broke in the shallows, struggling. She had never swum in a storm before, not in the ocean, not like this. The wind had shifted, and the waves were breaking across the beach, not against it, but still they rolled her back toward the shore. She tumbled over and over, ground into the sand, and she gasped for breath, and fought her way toward the deep again and again, only to be rolled back into the breakers and into the sand. Finally she learned to dive under the breaking waves. She worked her way outward, then, feeling her way with her heart. Coming up for air was the hardest; she learned to ride to the top of the wave with her mouth shut, breathing in only after the wave had crested and rolled by. Outward she fought, pulling hard. THe horizon was grey, the sky was grey, the water was grey. On she swam.

mark12_30 05-23-2008 07:58 PM

Amroth shuddered, feeling the water close over his head; his lungs ached, his throat hurt, his eyes glazed.

Nethwador touched his arm.

Amroth's eyes snapped open. Erebemlin started, and their eyes met.

"Courage, my Lord."

Amroth shook himself. Nimrodel shuddered.

I have left her alone. Again.

Erebemlin held Nimrodel tighter, and Amroth closed his eyes, and strove inward. But he opened his eyes again, and looked round once more at the sunshine, the trees, the cold hillside. Nethwador tightened his grip on the king's arm. Amroth nodded, and closed his eyes again.

Hours she had spent at war with the waves and their blinding spray. She listened, reaching, reaching. But now her lover's cry was silent. She heard his voice no more.

She surrendered herself to the heaving waves, and knew no more.

mark12_30 05-27-2008 07:12 PM

Tears trickled down Amroth's face; his breath came in shuddering gasps.

Erebemlin held his thoughts steady, even as he held Nimrodel in his great arms. "Courage, my lord. Courage."

"Where, " asked Amroth in a hoarse whisper, "did she go next? I cannot see it."

And no wonder; you were drowned, sweet king, drowned and dead. Erebemlin's lips tightened. Where had the thought come from? He had felt it, deep in his heart, but nay, he knew, he had chosen to hide it from the king.

Nethwador's hand closed around Amroth's arm, and the boy spoke in his harsh tongue. The boy, then; perhaps he had shown his heart to the boy. Erebemlin steeled himself, and turned towards Nimrodel's thoughts.

He found her, rolling, rolling in the breaking surf, scraped again and again across the sand. There Mithrellas had found her, and dragged her ashore, and with difficulty wakened her. But Mithrellas' loving work was met with thanklessness and anger.

Deep beneath the waves, Amroth's body was being slowly swept towards the shore.

Amroth saw it, saw her, stood by Erebemlin as Mithrellas tended Nimrodel. Amroth knelt beside Nimrodel, trying to brush the sand out of her golden hair, but his hand passed through the hair and the sand both. Nimrodel sobbed with anger; Mithrellas tried to soothe her.

Amroth leaned over her and spoke earnestly. I am here, my love, my singing water, my starlit nightingale. I am with you, I am here.

Nimrodel's strength wore thin; her weeping slowed. Amroth spoke to her again, and again. But his voice was carried away by the sea wind, and she heard him not.

Erebemlin held on tight, held Nimrodel's frail form, held on to Amroth's thoughts, Amroth's will. And Erebemlin waited.

mark12_30 05-30-2008 02:33 PM

"Faithless wretch, why did you not leave me to my death? I would have joined him." Nimrodel, salt water rasping in her lungs, turned her face from Mithrellas.

Mithrellas, her arguments rising from her soul and withering on her lips, struggled for a few moments in silence, and then bowed her head.

Amroth spoke on her behalf. Because she loves you, as do I.

"What kind of love would keep me from my love? You love me not, else you would have let me go, " said Nimrodel.

Mithrellas turned and gazed in surprise at Amroth. "She heard you, my lord."

Nimrodel frowned. "Heard what?"

Amroth spoke again. She is loyal to you, as am I. Sweetwater, Clearsong, do not despise her love. Cherish it.

"Cherish one that keeps me from my lord? Take your foolishness and go."

Mithrellas stood as if spellbound. In truth, she heard you, my lord. She heard you.

Erebemlin wished he could burst out in song. Instead, he held his breath, and the moment lingered. Amroth waited. Nimrodel was vexed at Mithrellas, yet Mithrellas stood transfixed with hope.

The tiniest seed had begun to sprout.

mark12_30 05-31-2008 08:12 AM

Ravion glanced at the elves as they struggled to reach Nimrodel's heart and soul; and then he turned his heart back to Mellonin.

I am still here, Mellonin. I am still here.

Ravion. He sensed her gladness, and beyond his fears for her, he felt a joy kindle deep within. He did not know whether it came from himself, or from her; he hoped it came from her.

He sat beside her, then, and lifted her shoulders, and held her in his arms, and kissed her brow. Her voice spoke within his heart.

How fares the lady?

I do not know, dearest. They search for her even now.

How fares my brother?

A new fear iced through his heart. He wondered again, whether they had found him only to lose him. I do not know, dearest... I cannot tell.

Ravion, please take me to his side.

He stood, and lifted her, and carried her til he stood near the elves. They scarce noticed him, or her, at first. He sat down, beside the blacksmith, and held Mellonin so that she could see the blacksmith's face. He tried to quell his fear, lest it somehow weaken Mellonin, or the elves. He tried to give her any courage he might find in his own soul. And he waited.

alaklondewen 06-01-2008 08:19 PM

Erebemlin raised his eyes briefly as the ranger and positioned the young girl nearby. He cared not of their nearness unless they interfered with the king’s work.

An icy breeze blew sharply around those that were seated on the hillside, lifting the elf’s golden hair behind him. The coldness of the air sharpened his senses but he saw the king (or more specifically, the body he wore) shiver and his muscles tense. Much still needed to be done if they were to save Nimrodel, but he was greatly concerned about his lord’s health and if the human’s body would hold under the stress of the weather and fire of Amroth’s spirit.

Lowering his eyes, Erebemlin re-entered Nimrodel but this time the beach was gone. The sound of the sea was not within reach, and Nimrodel was alone. Stone met her feet now…cold stone and dust.

Where are you going, my love? Amroth reached for her slender hand as she stumbled near, but as with her hair and sand, his hand passed through her.

Her gown was torn and her feet, hands, and face were covered in ash. She mumbled to herself but did not respond to Amroth.

My Lady, please hear me. I am here…Lovely, Lady, please.

Again, Nimrodel walked on without a word.

Nimrodel! I am here! Please, my love, hear my voice. Amroth’s voice rose with apprehension. Erebemlin reached out in mind and body and gave his king calm support.

Wait, my lord.

I cannot wait. She must hear me. She heard my voice before…

And she will hear it again, but you must not be overly distressed. Erebemlin wanted to remind the king of fevered body he wore outside this dream, but he stopped himself before going further.

mark12_30 06-01-2008 08:57 PM

She looked around at the cliffs, the dust, the ash. The bones. Tall and proud, she breathed deeply, feeling the acrid air searing her throat. Amroth stood beside her.

Nimrodel, I am here.

Here? It is but the wish. Folly. It is folly. Wish all you like, foolish one. He is not here. O, I am a fool. I am love's fool. Wish, wish, wish. I am sick to death of wishes. He is not here. How long did I watch beside his corpse? Shimmering in the stream, golden hair flowing, dead, dead, dead. Waiting, waiting, waiting, for the dead to speak, to move, to call to me. Fool. I am love's fool. He is not here. He was not there.

She pursed her dry, cracked lips, and ringing laughter rolled through the cliffs, echoing. Her eyes burned, clear and grey, but fiery.

Where are you, my love? Where have you been? I am waiting for you. Dreaming of you. When shall I sleep again, and dream of you, my love? Your prating fool, love's fool, sees you only in dreams. Yet I am still your fool, my love, though you leave mehere, alone, still. Love's fool, wandering among the ash and dust and bones. Soon I will become like them; ash and dust and bones.

Amroth walked beside her, and the ash swirled around his footsteps, but she saw it not. Nimrodel, wait. Wait, listen to me. Hear me. Do you not feel my touch? Take my hand.

She laughed bitterly.I have sat in the stream, and taken your hand, cold and lifeless, day after day after day. Winter after winter, I have held your hand. You never spoke. You speak now? To make me a fool? Nay, it is but my wishes. Wishing, wishing, for many winters I have been wishing, wishing. Wishing. I held your dead hands and wished, wished. Now I hold the hands of death, and they hold mine. And you speak to me now. Perhaps I should have come here many years ago, instead of waiting beside your corpse.

Her ringing silvery laugh echoed coldly among the cliffs.

Silversong, hear me. Let me hold you.

She laughed again.

littlemanpoet 06-02-2008 07:25 PM

Every last one of them was so intent on the drama between Amroth and Nimrodel that no-one was watching him, not even the dog.

Amroth was walking with Nimrodel now and they were talking to each other. It was time. They were still estranged, he could tell, and all Tharonwë had to do now was kill the blacksmith's body and Amroth would be marooned in the desolation of Nimrodel; both fëar trapped in her aged body.

He walked on silent feet to the horses, grazing and tethered, and found Erebemlin's bow and a few arrows. What perfect irony, to kill the arrogant Lorien Elf with his own weapon. He tested the bow and studied the arrows. Pleased, he walked quietly back to the vale. When he had passed between the trees and had a clear view of Erebemlin and Amroth, he quietly, so quietly raised the bow and arrow and aimed, first at Amroth. He aimed for the neck; just a little bit above for the arrow would sink. He pulled back until the arrow string was at his ear, and let go, immediately putting another in place. The arrow flew true, piercing Amroth's - the blacksmith boy's - neck, through the jugular. Blood spouted like a fountain and fell all over Nimrodel. He released the next arrow. It flew and pierced Erebemlin in the neck even as Amroth fell over. Erebemlin lost his balance and grabbed for his neck and his fingers ran into the arrow. He turned and gave Tharonwë a wrathful glare before chaos ensued.

The others reacted. Mithrellas the women who were on their feet, ran to the two stricken Elves. Even the blacksmith's sister raised her head to look in horror. Roy Edwards, Ædegard and the one called Ravion turned and saw him. He smiled, pleased with his deed and their astonishment and indignance. The men started toward him, but there was a sudden roar. Then Tharonwë was knocked off his feet and found himself on his back, the dog's toothless mouth reaching for his neck. Even though the dog could do him no mortal harm, he was fierce in his attack. Tharonwë reached for one more arrow to use as a minature javelin. He struck. The dog yelped, then his growl became even more fierce. Tharonwë pulled the arrow back to pierce the dog again. Before he could, he felt hands grab his legs and arms. He knew it would end this way, but he had his revenge. He grinned at his captors.

But they were all looking away - including the dog. And he was standing there with a bow and two arrows in hand. And the young blacksmith was still bent over Nimrodel, and Erebemlin by his side, intent on their purpose, no wound on either neck. Did I only imagine it?


Raefindan who was Roy Edwards who was Imrazor stood holding Indil's hand, watching Mellondu with his physical eyes. With his inner eye he watched Tharonwë, and knew his purpose, and thwarted it, and did not let Tharonwë know how he had been thwarted; and closed his own mind from the Swamp Elf. He reached out to both Indil and Mithrellas with his thought, and told them what the Swamp Elf had intended, and imagined, and how he had stopped him; and how he had placed in Tharonwë's thought that he had only imagined it. He told them that they must appear to be intent on Amroth as he was, for Tharonwë would try a second time, and a third, and so on until he was defeated. Raefindan did not know how long it would take to checkmate the Swamp Elf, but he would play each turn depending on the Elf's move until the game was done.

alaklondewen 06-04-2008 05:42 PM

She laughs…why does she laugh? Amroth spoke half to himself and half to the tall elf beside him. He did not wait for an answer. Why do you laugh, my lady? Why cannot you not hear me?

Hear you, I am a fool and only hear you. I am a fool because I hear you, because I wait for you, and because you’ll never return. Nimrodel laughed wildly again.

She hears you, my lord.

Amroth’s eyes widened and excitement came to his voice. Nimrodel, I am here! Feel my touch! I am here!

Shall I always be a fool, hearing your voice and seeing your face in my every thought?

His face…did she see his face? Erebemlin strengthened his will toward Amroth, shining all the light he could muster on his King. He dearly hoped Nimrodel would see.

littlemanpoet 06-06-2008 04:34 AM

Tharonwë raised the first arrow to the bow and pulled the feathertip it to the string. This time would be real rather than his own thought. Why was that dog looking at him this time instead of at the others? Why were its hackles raised? No matter. The dog was as naught. He pulled the bow taut and aimed at the neck of the young blacksmith. Next moment he would release.

Before he could he heard a roar and the dog was upon him. Quickly he released, but his shot was awry and flew off course, and came home in the back of the blonde girl who had given up an ear to the Merlocks. He saw this even as the dog's weight knocked him off his feet. It growled with ferocity and menace.

The one handed wainwright caught his betrothed in his arms, his eyes wide in shock and fear. The arrow had pierced clear through her and her life's blood flowed its ending stream. But she smiled, looking into the wainwright's eyes.

"It will not be long love, till our wedding day." Her head fell back. The wainwright wailed. The others reacted, some coming to him, others to the pair.

He was standing, two arrows in one hand, the bow in the other, watching the two standing arm in arm, no wound upon either one. Had he imagined it all, again?

mark12_30 06-06-2008 07:37 PM

Nimrodel laughed, clear, long, piercing like a sword.

I dreamt last night that my true love came in
So softly he entered, his feet made no din
He came up beside me, these words he did say,
It will not be long love, til our wedding day.

"What is it the mortals say? Dust to dust? Dust you are, and dust I am? And dust we shall be together. Dust. Though you shine golden in my dreams, yet dust is what I waken to. Dust! Dust and ash!"

She raised her arms, stretched them outward toward Amroth, smiled with sorrow, and with brightly burning eyes, began to spin. Turning, twirling, she danced barefoot in the ash, wandering in circles. Always she gazed at his face, laughing, turning here and there, away and towards, tangled in her golden hair. The white of her mantle grew grey with ash that was stirred up by her feet.

He called to her. She answered him, laughing, turning in circles round him. Ever he called; ever she laughed, dancing. He reached for her; his hands passed through her, keeping only ash; ashes and dust. It filled his mouth, his eyes. He labored to breathe. He called to her again and again. She stared at his face, seeing, but not believing.

When she was beyond weariness, she stopped, and let her hands drop to her sides. "Your lovely face. How I long to hold your face in my hands, and touch your eyes, fool that I am. Wretch that I am; foolish wretch. Soon I shall wake, and you will be gone. Therefore I will that I wake not, but dream evermore."

No, my SilverStream. Wake. Waken to my voice! Hear me! Heed me. Be not afraid; come to me. Hear me, Silverstream, heed me.

She stood, rapture-still, eyes locked on his face. "Almost I hear you, my love. Almost you speak to me. Oh, to hear your voice again. Oh, to bask in the light of your eyes. Fool! Fool that I am! In a moment I shall wake, and where shall my golden hopes be? Ash, ash, ash. No, I will not wake. I will sleep, and dream again."

mark12_30 06-07-2008 05:25 AM

O Erebemlin, how shall I reach her!

Remember, my lord, that you rest by a fair stream. THe ash does not belong to you, nor you to it.

As Nimrodel watched, the ash fell away from Amroth. He stood clean before her, just washed, radiant and golden. He reached for her. For a moment she gazed, spellbound. But then her hope turned to wrath.

Always you escape me! Even death does not hold you! Even the ash does not remain! You slip away! You slip away yet again! She raised her fists to her own face, and cringed away from him.

Erebemlin cringed with her. Nethwador went to Nimrodel's side.

"Courage, lady. He loves you."

She lowered her fists, and looked at him. "You are a mere child. How are you among the oathbreakers?"

"Nay, lady, I broke no oath."

Ravion's head came up, and he watched Nethwador. But beyond Nethwador, he saw the glimmer of Aeron's eyes, gazing at him. Oathbreaker. Faithless. As he watched, he saw Gwyllion quarreling, defending him. Her attempt to bless stung him even more than Aeron's curse. I broke no oath. He had never meant to, yet always, it seemed, fate intervened, immersing him in failure. I broke no oath. I never meant to fail you. I broke no oath.

"So they all say. Yet here you stand, in the ash." Her eyes faded. "Yet I may be glad of your company, young oathbreaker. Bide with me a while. Tell me, who loved you?"

"The king," said Nethwador. "He was never faithless to me. He will prove his faith to you, lady."

"Why would I want the faith of an oathbreaking king?"

Nethwador shook his head. "No, not the king of the oathbreakers. Amroth. Your king and mine."

She waved her hand. "Oathbreaker he was and remains. Speak to me no more of him. Yet stay. Nay, speak. Speak of him, young one, for I would fain hear. Speak to me of Amroth. I shall dream of him again. Speak, young one, speak." And she lay down in the ash, curled up against a rock, and went to sleep.

littlemanpoet 06-08-2008 07:37 PM

Bellyn thought of her dreams of Nimrodel, how she had found her in a desolate ridge, how her eyes had burned at first, then the hope had died. But before it had died she had asked Bellyn to tell her friends that she had not left off her quest.

It took all her courage, but Bellyn knelt down between Amroth and Erebemlin. She was not sure it was proper to do this, but she had promised Amroth many days ago that she would help him if she could. And now she remembered a song that she had sung for him, that he had liked so well, the one she had sung after which he had likened her to his very own Nimrodel in small ways. She wanted very much to give the gift back, and so opened her mouth and sang.

"We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are friends upon the road.
I will help you tread for miles;
I will help carry your load.

We will travel far from home now,
We will go where no one goes.
Hope remains when there is faith,
And our walking never slows.

If you grow tired I will help you!
We will keep each other strong.
Upon the road I met you,
On this road we do no wrong.

You tell your tales and laugh with us.
I listen as you sing for me!
We walk by day, sing at night,
Enjoying your company.

Companions on the sad journey,
Friends walking the hardest trail.
Some day we will reach the end,
'Til then our bond shall not fail.

We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are friends upon the road.
I will help you tread for miles;
I will help carry your load..."

"Lord," she said, "once in a dream she told me to tell you that she has not left off her quest; she still seeks you, even after she has lost all hope."

Peace flooded into Bella's mind. She stood upon a steep mossy bank, with golden leaves scattered across it; the wind played with them, sometimes tossing them down into the musical water below. Upon the wind was borne a song of such heartbreaking loveliness she wept to hear it, and turned into the breeze to search for it. She would have run to its source, were she not rooted by its silver beauty.

Indeed you refreshed me when all seemed lost. Indeed, you traveled with me, far from home; we went where no one goes-- here, to this stream. You carried my load; you helped me tread for miles; you were my friend upon the road. Your songs were my road here, to this clear cool harmony, Bella. Your voice brought me here again and again. Do you not see that you were rest for my soul? Hope returned to me when you strengthened my faith, by bringing me back to this singing silver stream.

littlemanpoet 06-10-2008 06:39 PM

Liornung was moved by the courage of Bellyn, and just as much by her simple words. Stricken that he had not done better, he scowered his memory for a fitting song but discovered much to his dismay that all he knew were not quite right for this most unique occasion. Some were simple marriage songs more befitting of humans, others songs of love lost which seemed very wrong right now. One only, he considered, might be somewhat useful at this strange time, but perhaps not. Yet it was the best he had to offer, and offer it he did.

'Hey now, step along
along the road so dreary
dark shadows lie before us now
but let us all be cheery!
For what is past is past indeed,
and what is lost fell from the lead,
if we have music and good feed,
why should we all be weary?

Hey now, step along,
lassie looking sadly,
the darkness on your face does show
that you've been treated badly,
but if a cheery smile did grace
your wholly fair and lovely face
there'd no time nor any place,
for naught but dancing gladly!

Hey now, step along,
a cast aside your sorrow!
Tears and groans and angry words
are naught but trouble borrowed.
So step and give a little dance
and light and lively sway and prance!
For recall, there's still a chance
of happiness tomorrow!'

Once he had finished, the song seemed too light for the occasion, and Liornung was abashed, until he heard happy words.

"I like that!" Indil cried, smiling wide. Raefindan, though seeming occupied, smiled grimly while Mithrellas nodded and smiled mildly.

mark12_30 06-10-2008 07:22 PM

When Liornung's song was half done, a heavy sigh came from Amroth, but after it a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth and a light came into his eyes: different than the fevered glitter; this was easy merriment.

Liornung, you should have joined us in the clearings on a midsummer's night. Would that we could have brought you there, even as you have just brought me there.

Liornung cheered up still further, and Amroth bent his gaze upon Nimrodel. But you did join us, my gazelle. I did bring you there. You remember. You were the fleetest of us all, and your song the sweetest. You remember.

Liornung gasped. He stood in the center of a ring, and all about him, elves and elf maidens wove a wild maze of pathways. Circling round and round, madly weaving, wildly laughing, singing as they danced, and yet there was never a mis-step. He wondered how they could catch their breath. The dance went on and on, with never a hint of weariness. Flowers bent under their feet, but sprang up again, only to be tread upon by the next, and the next; yet Liornung knew that in the morning, there would be no marks to show where their feet had passed.

Nimrodel, lying in the ash at the foot of the rock, stirred. "The circle dances. Of course. How could I forget? The endless circle dances."

Liornung gasped again, filling his lungs with ash. He stood beside Nimrodel, in the center of a ring, and all about them, the dead wove a wild maze of pathways. Circling round and round, weaving, crying and mocking and wailing, they danced; they were never out of breath. The dance went on and on, with never a hint of weariness. Rocks went through their feet undisturbed; there were no footprints prints in the ash. In the morning, there would be no marks to show where their feet had passed.

Nimrodel swayed to the rythm of their cries, and waved her arms at them as they whirled round her.
"So step and give a little dance
and light and lively sway and prance!"

She nodded, and turned to Liornung. "Yes, Oathbreaker. A fine song, for a circle dance. Shall we join them? Here, take my hand!" She laughed, and reached for Luiornung's hand; her hand passed through his. Or was it his hand that passed through hers? Her laughter raing out harshly, and Liornung winced.

The ash cleared, and it was Amroth's hand she was reaching for. Her hand passed through his, but she gazed into his face, her eyes hungry, her breath caught. She reached for him again; he reached for her; their hands passed through each other. Her anger flared. "Oathbreaker, " she hissed. "Hey, now, step along! Oathbreaker!" She recoiled from him, and then stopped. He held her gaze.

"Why have you not come, " she accused him.

"I have come now. I am here, Clearwater."

"You are... here?"

"I am here. Leave the ash behind, my love."

"The ash." She turned, and looked around; the midsummer green of Lorien beckoned to her. Yet the leaves began to fall. As they fell, they turned from green to gold; and then brighter and brighter, they began to burn.

Amroth cried out. Elves broke out of the circle and began to flee, beckoning and crying out to Amroth and Nimrodel that they should run. Nimrodel gazed in horror. To the west, a shadow grew. Amroth and Nimrodel shrank from it; but they were rooted to the ground, unable to run. On it came; the blackness grew, the shadow deepened, and even the leaves still on the trees began to burn. Soon entire Mallorns were engulfed in flames, and the shadow towered over the trees. Nimrodel screamed; Amroth cried out in horror and fear.

Shadow and flame.

Erebemlin stood beside the king. My lord! Heed it not! He laid his great hand on the kings' shoulder, and furrowed his brow against the shadow.

In a moment, there was only grey. They stood among the ash, and the barren stones. Nimrodel went back to the rock, lay down in the ash, and shut her eyes.

littlemanpoet 06-14-2008 07:56 AM

Tharonwë blinked. Thrice now he had imagined the deed, but only once had he meant to. The second and third times, he had believed that it was real - it had been real! - until he had realized that he was standing there still, near the edge of the vale, with the same two arrows in his hand, as yet unreleased. Erebemlin still knelt by the blacksmith who was holding Nimrodel above the stream bed, both of them uninjured. The two maimed Eorlingas still stood together, arm in arm, watching the Elves. And now the minstrel and Gondorian woman had sung songs dripping with sentimentality. All this nonsense must come to an end!

He raised the first arrow to the bow again. Yes, all of them were watching the drama by the streambed, except for the dog, who was watching him. No matter. He aimed at the neck of the blacksmith again. He pulled back on the bowstring to his cheek. He let fly.

How had the dog moved so quickly? How had it jumped into the air at just the right moment and taken the arrow in its side with a yelp? Now it lay on its side panting heavily. The Eorlingas turned and looked in horror, and the wainwright let go of his love and came at Tharonwë. He raised the other arrow, aimed it at the wainwright, and let loose. It pierced his left breast; blood flowed like a river: the arrow had found his heart, and he fell. The earless girl screamed.

Tharonwë grabbed another arrow from the quiver and aimed again at the blacksmith.

Aeron and Gwyllion

"See what Raefindan is doing?" she asked him.

"Yes, I do."

"Want to help him?"

"But he killed me."

"That was when he was being used by the swamp elf. It was the swamp elf who really killed you, so that means he killed both of us. Now Raefindan's in control. Let's go help."

Aeron nodded. They rose from their place by the edge of the vale and made their way to the swamp elf, who stood staring at dreams. They walked straight into him. Being ghosts, they could see the thought waves that Raefindan had patterned into a door right into Tharonwë's mind. Together hey opened the door and went in.


He was standing there, seeing that the dog was still alive watching him, and the Eorlingas were still hand in hand observing the blacksmith. But now the two orphans were standing in front of him, looking up at him quizzically. They could not be here! He had killed them both! One was in a watery grave by the Entwash swamps, the other a broken corpse in a mountain valley.

"You really think you're somethin', don't you?" the girl asked.

"You don't get it, do you?" the boy added.

"You're not going to get your way, plain and simple." the girl shook her head in mock sympathy.

"You are dead," Tharonwë said. "You cannot be here."

"Oh, we're dead, but we're here," said the girl.

"And you're just wasting your time," said the boy. "In fact, your whole life is a waste from what I can tell."

"You have no idea what you're talking about," he said crossly to them both. "Out of my way!"

The girl crossed her arms dramatically and lowered her brow, pursing her lips meaningfullly. "We're not going anywhere!"

"And you're not going to do anything. Just try!" said the boy, grinning mischievously.

"I have been tr-" Tharonwë stopped. He was not about to explain himself to a pair of sillly human children. But he had been trying, and he had not been doing anything. How could this be?


"You're dead. You can't be here."

Ædegard frowned and turned in curiosity. The swamp elf had spoken. He was looking down in front of him, holding a bow and a pair of arrows in two listless hands. Had the elf gone moonstruck? Ædegard nudged Leafa and tilted his head in the direction of the swamp elf, who was apparently carrying on a conversation with phantoms of his own imagining. Leafa raised a hand to her smiling lips and giggled mildly, then turned her attention back to Amroth. Ædegard looked at Raefindan, who smiled and winked once before returning his gaze back to Mellondu.

mark12_30 06-16-2008 07:04 PM

An echo glimmered in Erebemin's mind. It took the shape of a young boy and a young maid. No, that could not be right. What boy was with Nimrodel? There were none. It had to be Nimrodel and Mithrellas. Who was the third? Perhaps Avarien. But it did not seem to fit.

"You think you are an ancient one, do you not?" Nimrodel asked.

"The world has changed and you know it not," Mithrellas added.

"You will not find the way." Nimrodel shook her head.

"I will. Fare thee well. I go to find the birthplace of the elves."

"It is dead," Mithrellas said. "You cannot be there."

"It cannot be dead. I shall go there."

"You shall waste your time," said Nimrodel. "Beware lest your whole life be a waste. Who can tell?"

"You know not of what you speak," she said crossly to them both. "Bar not my way!"

Mithrellas shook her head. "We bar nothing."

"You shall find nothing. You were faithless and unwilling before, you are faithless and unwilling now, " said Nimrodel.

"I have tried, " she replied. "You neither desire nor trust my faith. I shall seek the shores more ancient than you, for they shall not break faith with me."

"Go then!" cried Nimrodel. "Faithless you are, and unwilling you have always been. Avarien I name you. Go!"

Avarien wasted no more time with the madwoman and her handmaid. Swift and silent, she ran northeast, and the woods soon hid her from their sight.

Mellonin was restless, and cried out in Ravion's arms. He spoke to her. He looked around the glade; he saw only Nimrodel and Mithrellas. He gazed again at Mellonin, and knew Avarien was not far away.

mark12_30 06-25-2008 06:31 PM

Amroth looked at Erebemlin, and leaned on him in his heart. Avarien? He did not know when she had left. She felt near yet far, or was it far yet near? And she had never before seemed a... a rascal. Or ... a thief? He frowned.

The boy. And his waiflike, wraithlike sister. He shuddered. So they had lingered here?

He knew more than he wanted to remember, about lingering. It sickened him, and he wanted to weep for them but revulsion was stronger.

Go. Go to where your fathers await you! Linger not! Linger not, children. Fly, fly to your ancestral home. Be at peace.

He was surprised to be met with laughter, and Erebemlin stirred, looking down at Mellonin in Ravion's arms.

Nimrodel lay quietly in her ashes.

littlemanpoet 06-27-2008 06:32 PM

Gwyll and Aeron watched as Raefindan had Tharonwë thinking in circles. It was like watching a three ring circus. They looked at each other, surprised at the image in their minds, and laughed, then looked at Raefindan, for the thought had come from him, something from his own past and their future. A three ring circus! With trained mûmak on two legs and silly men with painted faces - one of which had a big angry scowl painted on his face - that was Tharonwë! They howled with laughter at the silly elf. But then they had had enough, and walked away from him.

They came to Amroth and Nimrodel, and looked within their thought and saw. Nimrodel, hopeless, lay in a heap of ash while Amroth stood by unable to reach her, hope and despair vying with each other in his mind.

"Let's go, Gwyll," said Aeron.

They came into the ash filled place.

"Don't wish us away," Aeron told Amroth, "we're supposed to be here, for you!"

Gwyll walked over to Nimrodel and tapped on her shoulder. "Wake up! Amroth is here! It's time to play games!"

mark12_30 06-27-2008 06:56 PM

NImrodel sat up, and looked at Gwyll.

"" she said. "Hello, little one. What kind of games?" She wiped the ash out of her hair, a little. "I like games." And she stood.

mark12_30 02-19-2009 09:18 AM

Gwyll picked up a stick. "Once, there was a great big tree."

Nimrodel waited.

Aeron picked up a pebble. "And in it, lived a mighty king."

"In the tree?" replied Nimrodel.

"Oh, yes. High up in the tree. But nearby, next to a singing stream, lived a lovely girl. "

"I love streams, " sighed Nimrodel.

"You can be the stream, " said Gwyll mischievously.

Nimrodel brightened. "All right. What does the stream do?"

"Sometimes it's cold, " said Aeron.

Nimrodel's eyes frosted.

"That's helpful, " Gwyll hrumphed. "It sings. The stream sings."

"Of course it does, " replied Nimrodel. "All streams sing. But what does this stream sing?"

Gwyll and Aeron glanced at each other, eyes widening. Aeron wavered. "Ah, a song of, ah, running downhill."

Gwyll's eyes rolled.

Erebemlin leaned forward. "Perhaps the king who lives in the tree, knows."

"How would he know?" said Nimrodel impatiently. "The girl who lived by it, would know, because the stream is her friend. We need to ask the girl, not the king."

"Ah, " said Amroth, "but the king loved the girl."

"Maybe, " said Nimrodel. "But if the king loved the girl, does he also love the stream? Or why would he live afar off in a tree?"

Erebemlin caught his breath. "Again, she heard you, my lord."

mark12_30 02-19-2009 09:46 AM

By the side of the stream, Avarien sat, and raised her eyes. The stream sings sadly of what once was; a tale of loss and woe. But this is not the song that Nimrodel rejoiced in long ago. Long ago... what did the stream sing long ago?

Taitheneb paced on the high flet. A far off cry seemed to reach him like a cold wind, and he felt the branch tips stirring, yet when he lifted his eyes all was still.


Nay. One who served her once, and does so again.

Taitheneb hesitated, listening, and hearing nought; searching the wind and finding nought, then reaching, reaching with his mind, til all his body tensed with the effort. He knew her not. But where she was, he knew.

Swiftly down the great mallorn, past the circle of white trees, and westward he ran, crossing the forest floor at his best speed. He came to the stream, the beloved stream, and stopped. There was no one there. He searched, and searched again, and then closed his eyes.

The mannish girl from the land of stone?

The unwilling elf laughed. Not she. Yet perhaps I was once like her.

mark12_30 02-20-2009 09:32 PM

What do you seek here, lady?

A song.

That is well, for I know many.

Avarien laughed, and a silver shiver ran through Taitheneb. I must learn the song of the stream.

I knew it long ago.

Know ye well enough to sing it now?

Nay, lady. Only to know it if I heard it again. There was only one, I deem, who could have sung it for you aright.

Her silver smile faded, and she sighed. So the stones say also. But my mistress is long away, and her song faded.

mark12_30 02-20-2009 09:40 PM

With a sigh, Amroth stroked Nimrodel's ash-grey hair. "You know the song, Silverstream. It lies deep within your heart."

Her withered lips moved, and her brow twitched. Nethwador watched, Erebemlin watched, many watched from within; but the king waited without.

Amroth raised his eyes, and met the gaze of the red-haired man.

"When we came, she was womanly in her madness. Not now. She is like... a child." His eyes wandered from Raefindan to Indil, and the little one came forward. The king touched the child's little chin, and shook his head, and then looked from Mithrellas to Indil, and knew that Angela was also.

Raefindan told him.

The king's weariness worried Indil, but she let the king study her. Raefindan spoke long with the king in thought, and then the king blessed Indil, and turned to Nimrodel again.

Do you not know the song of the stream?

mark12_30 02-20-2009 10:11 PM

How would I know the song of a stream I do not know?

She turned to face him, tossed her head, and looked him full in his sea-grey eyes.

He froze, his heart racing; her gaze pierced him to his marrow, and he thought he should die for joy; yet her gaze was innocent, curious, with a trace of impertinence, and idle laughter. She knew him not. Tears sprang to his eyes as he looked into her heart; the anger and the hatred and the bitterness were all gone, but she knew him not. She knew him not.

Silver Song, do you not know who I am?

Nay, golden one, shimmering fair and proud as any elf. Yet tell me. What is the song that the stream sings? If I am to be the stream, I must know.

Dearest, you know. You know the song of the stream.

She shook her head. I do not. She turned to the others, and gazed at them one by one. Who among you knows the song of the stream? Speak, and be not silent. Or sing; sing it for me, that I may hear.

mark12_30 02-21-2009 08:25 PM

Erebemlin searched his own heart, but he knew he did not remember Nimrodel's song. Almost he berated himself, but wisely refused; now was not the time for self-interest.

Nimrodel's handmaiden was nearby. "Mithrellas?"

"Nay. Her laments are burned into my heart, and her old joy is remembered only in her loss of it. She never sang it near me; she said it made her miss the stream too deeply. "

"We must seek elsewhere, then."

Gwyll and Aeron glanced at each other. Suddenly this game was life and death-- to learn the song of the stream.

Aeron stood back. Of course. It was more than life and death; it was her sanity, and somehow the quest turned on it.

Ravion looked up from holding Mellonin, and met Aeron's eyes. Where would they find the song? It was a thousand years old. Who knew thousand year old songs?

Mellonin spoke. "Taitheneb, tell me, where did she dwell?"

Not a thousand yards hence. We will go there.

Ravion's eyes widened; he had heard Taitheneb speak. That shocked him, for he knew the elf stood on the borders of Lorien by the stream. Yet more, he pondered; he had met the gaze of Aeron without a second thought. He searched the banks and did not see him. His head spun; but then, he looked down at Mellonin, and gazed into her eyes, and then closed his own; and there was Aeron, and Gwyllion, standing beside young Nimrodel-- silver and gold-- and golden Amroth.

Mellonin stood beside a different stream... a singing stream. NO, it was Avarien. But near her stood Taitheneb. And both seemed sad.

The banks have changed; the rocks are worn, and the stream floor is bright no longer, but dark with dead leaves.

The song is much changed.

I came hither for nought, then.

Yet stay, replied Taitheneb. Tarry yet a while.

She sat by the stream, and Taitheneb sat near her, wondering, amazed that she had faded so as to be invisible to his eye. But closing his eyes, he knew that many were near. He gazed from face to face, and waited.

littlemanpoet 02-21-2009 09:34 PM

Raefindan held Indil's right hand, and kept guard on Tharonwë, who was so doubtful now that he stood paralyzed, unsure of what was real and what was dream.

Mithrellas held Indil's left hand even as she set her thought on Nimrodel and Amroth. Long had she been with Nimrodel, caring for her ever, thanklessly. Never had she despaired. Even when hope seemed vain, she held firm from love. Then Imrazor had come back in the body of this young red haired man, and hope had rekindled; but more than hope, she had begun to know joy again. His name was Raefindan, and Imrazor, and Roy Edwards, and he loved her no matter who he knew himself to be for he was one. And hope had grown when little Indil had come, Indil who was a young woman named Angela. All these names, all these two-souled men and women! Some great thing must be afoot! So she hoped that Nimrodel would regain her own mind, and that she could again reunite with Amroth.

Indil glanced at Raefindan, proud that he was such a good defender of them all. Then she glanced at Mithrellas, who met her eyes with a smile, and loved her. She knew that she had lost her mother and father, but somehow chance had brought her a new mother and father, maybe not better than the old, but more than hope could have hoped.

Indil knew that she was Angela, and thought back to the short but full life she had lived, that Roy had been part of as her love's heart. It could have been overwhelming to Indil, but Angela was able to hold the seeming contradiction, and reminded Indil that there was something she had yet to do. There were two parts to it.

So Indil glanced back to Jorje Tirril and smiled back a the smiling dog.

"Come, Jorje, we need to go meet play with Nimrodel and Aeron and Gwyllion. Come sit beside me and I'll take you with me."

Jorje trotted over to Good Child. He loved her. He licked her hand and her chin and she laughed. Then she placed her hand on his head.

"Come with me."

Angela was guide, for she had through some special grace come from an undying realm to be Indil, and from that wondrous place she had taken ineffable secrets that aided her now. They passed into the place of ash and saw Nimrodel sitting in the ash, throwing it up with her hands childlike. At first they watched from behind Gwyll and Aeron and Amroth and Erebemlin as they spoke of a game of a swift stream and its young maid, and a king in his tree who loved her.

Indil started to sing a nonsense song and Jorje began to prance around her, yipping playfully, licking her hand and the others'. He came to Nimrodel and tried to lick her hand but his tongue passed through it, catching only ash. He coughed and started talk to her.

"What? Why not lick you? Play!"

mark12_30 02-22-2009 07:02 PM

Nimrodel saw the dog, and stopped throwing the ash. "Mischief. Good hound! Are you thirsty? The stream is near. "

Indil laughed, and met Nimrodel's eyes, and Nimrodel saw her. Nimrodel leaped to her feet. "The girl! Are you the girl? Know ye the stream's song? You are singing now! Let me hear you!"

She ran forward after Indil, who ran between Aeron and Gwyllion and Nimrodel, dodging Jorge. Jorje yipped and bayed, and Gwyllion and Aeron giggled and whooped. Nimrodel's laughter rippled, now cold as starlight, now warm as sunlight; her tangled hair flew in the breeze, and she playfully tried to catch Indil's hands, listening to every note that Indil sang.

The blacksmith stroked the grey hair of the stooped and wizened crone, and watched her face twitch and brighten, and her withered lips move. She smiled, a faded and dry smile; her eyes blinked open and shut, and her hands began to twitch and reach for the child that she could see better in her mind than with her fleshly eyes.

But the smiles were real. The blacksmith leaned closer to her, kissed her brow, and watched her. His skin was red with fever, and his brow glistened.

Erebemlin watched the lithe elf-maiden dancing with the little man-child, and their glee blended in a rippling laughter, sweeter and sweeter to hear. Joy, sweet joy, began to fill the dell; the laughter spread from child to all the maidens, from maidens to warriors, till the only face not bright with laughter belonged to the dark elf.

littlemanpoet 02-22-2009 07:19 PM

Indil kept singing for though she skipped she did not become breathless. The song never quite repeated the melody, but was everchanging like a clean flowing stream, yet like a cascading fall over rocks, parts of the melody repeated over and over again; thus Aeron and Gwyllion picked up the repeated notes as they danced. Even Jorje's barking and yipping found the same cascading notes.

While they sang and danced the ash began to change. It seemed to writhe at first, but began to take on color, turning green and reshaping as blades of grass and fronds of reeds. Then long stemmed flowers grew and the darkling gray of the enclosed place gave way to a growing light just at the edge of the land, and slowly began to light the sky.

But the singers and dancers paid it little heed save that it added to their play. The lithe Elf maiden did not tire and her face began to shine, for she began to pick up the same cascading notes of the children and the dog.

mark12_30 02-22-2009 07:21 PM

Nethwador approached Aeron, and then turned to Gwyllion, and held out his hand. She took it. With his other hand he reached to Bella, and she joined hands with him; Liornung stepped forward onto the green and flowering sward, and then Leafa.

Ædegard came forward, hesitating, eyeing Leafa. But he looked down to his own arms; and he gasped. Leafa reached for his missing hand, and he felt her warm grasp; his missing fingers wrapped around hers. And he joined in the dance as the sky glow brightened.

The only ones with open eyes, now, were Tharonwe, Raefindan, and the blacksmith. Raefindan saw in both realms at once; Tharonwe was lost in his own confusion; but the blacksmith's stare grew weary and distant, even as he stroked Nimrodel's ashen grey hair and sagging skin. He heard the laughter, and saw Nimrodel's withered smile, his eyes grew bright with tears, and he leaned forward once more and kissed her brow.

mark12_30 02-24-2009 10:46 AM

save just in case

mark12_30 02-24-2009 10:47 AM

The sun rose. The grass, young and tender, now grew thick around the dancers' ankles. Summer daisies, lupines, and columbines grew amidst the winter niphredil and elanor. Honeysuckle-bearing tendrils wove across the banks of the stream; mint blossomed amidst daffodils and yarrow; the air was thick with fragrance. Ravion, watching, could not choose the season; the laughter of the dancers made him smile, but it was the humming of the bees that summoned his first tear. Soon, sparrows and swallows swooped and sang, whippoorwills and owls and nightingales serenaded, but the clearest was the cry of the lark. It pierced his heart. Ravion pressed his eyes against Mellonin's neck, gathered her as close as he could, and wept in earnest.

Raefindan stepped forward, and laid his hand on Ravion's head; Ravion shook as he wept, burrowing into Mellonin's shaggy dark hair, drawing his knees up, tightening into a block of racking grief. Raefindan stood stock still, and waited. The dance wove, now further, now closer, and suddenly splashing through the stream, circled around Erebemlin, Nimrodel, Mellondu, Mellonin, Ravion, and Raefindan. The laughter surrounded them, the song flowed through them, the fragrance caressed them, and in time, as the dance grew wilder, Ravion's storm fell quiet. Raefindan released him, Ravion drew one deep shuddering breath, and another, and another, and raised his face to gaze at Mellonin. She sat up in his arms, and together they stood. Ravion looked about him, saw all that was made new, and peace flooded through him in waves. He stood in the heart of stillness as the dance whirled around them, and knew that his past was gone.

mark12_30 02-28-2009 05:14 PM

Taitheneb's laughter rang through the dell. The sad song of the cold stream seemed to brighten; Taitheneb rose and reached out his hands, but the dancers were far to the south, and he paused. But his laughter grew, and he looked for a wide place to dance.

He stopped, and closed his eyes, and looked down at Avarien, and reached his hand to her.

She stood, gazing into his eyes, and took his hands, and led him three steps up the gentle hillside, and smiled.

He waited for her to laugh with joy. BUt instead, he was surprised to see tears forming in her eyes.

What ails you, lady?

Nought ails me, young one. But tis an odd thing, for an elf to see.

What do you see?

Perhaps tis what I do not see.

Taitheneb waited.

All the wounds, and the griefs of my past. I no longer see them.

His laughter quieted, but his smile deepened. Tell me?

Perhaps I do not know how. But the regret... and the sorrow are no more.

She pressed both his hands in hers, and released him, and walked slowly away.

At first, she only walked in circles. But slowly, quietly, she began to move, and Taitheneb watched her weave a slow, peaceful, quiet dance among the trees on the bank of the stream.

littlemanpoet 03-15-2009 08:03 AM

Roy held Indil's left hand, Mithrellas her right, and they watched Mellondu and Erebemlin minister to Nimrodel as the others danced in spirit with the children. The only other who stood stock still was Tharonwë, confused by his thoughts which were buffeted by Roy's willful spirit.

"I know your thought, Imrazor," said Mithrellas, her brow creased. "He does not deserve such a grace."

She spoke over the head of Indil whose blissful face with closed eyes showed what they both also knew, that she was elsewhere in her thought. Jorje lay on his side at her feet, the tip of his tail wagging, his paws moving in sympathy with his dashing, running dream, letting out a whispered woof now and again.

"No, he does not. I read a story in which words similar to yours were spoken, and a wise counsellor answered that of course he doesn't. But who are we to judge? Who knows how he against his own desires may do what he does not intend?"

"That sword cuts with two edges, my love," she answered.

"Don't I know it?" said Roy. "It could be for the worse and my judgement in doubt for its failure; but should it fail, that does not mean I was unwise to attempt it. If he repents, its worth is undoubted."

"And if he does not?"

"I think it worth the risk. There is no other way for him to turn from his ill will."

"Aye, that is so," Mithrellas allowed. "I do not like it, though."

"Your thought and my thought may follow him. And Indil, Gwyllion, and Aeron are there too. So is Jorje."

"You have answered my fears, though my fear is not entirely quelled. Nevertheless, I will follow you in this."

Roy nodded and smiled, and gently squeezed Indil's hand, who squeezed his and Mithrellas' at once. Mithrellas matched his smile with a grave one of her own.

Roy sighed. "Soon, now," he said, and composed himself.

littlemanpoet 03-22-2009 06:31 PM

Roy had firm control of Tharonwë's mind already. However, that which he intended to do required a greater degree of control. So far he had only cast illusions so that the Swamp Elf believed that he did what he did not. Now he must actively meld the Swamp Elf's thought with that of another without letting him know what was happening. And this must be done carefully so as not to break his mind and undo all he intended.

He had composed himself in order to determine the best way to proceed; and now rejected pulling the Elf's thought to Nimrodel's and Amroth's. The moment he knew what must be done, it began to be done. He brought the images of the young Elf maiden dancing with the dog and the children, to Tharonwë; to Maegeleb, for the Swamp Elf must be made to go into this thought thinking of himself as the former and not the latter.

The moment the images came to Maegeleb, the Elf started, his eyes gone wide. His face took on a look of hunger and of longing. And he was in.

The young Elf stood in the grass, looking at the dance of the children and the maiden and the frolicking dog. At this point he did not see the ghostly shape of the Elf Lord. Maegeleb stood and stared, enraptured.

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