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Chapter I: Awakened (Pt. III)

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Once we were ready to leave our sanctuary, we emerged to an eerie calm. Nothing seemed out of place. Couplings surrounded the trees as we made our way to a sparsely occupied place where my new household held an audience. When we were noticed, Galadhon approached us with another elf close behind.

“Orothôn,” he began. “I do not believe you have met Denethor, son of Lenwë.”

“No,” I answered, bowing to him. “It is an honor.”

“For me as well,” he said gleefully, turning to wife. “Lady Mîrwen, you are looking more beautiful than before. Love agrees with you.”

“And with you,” she answered. “May I inquire about Arethuil?”

“She is with Mother,” he said, his demeanor changing. “Both are with Orowen.”

“Then I shall join them,” Mîrwen said. “I will leave you to your ways.”

Galadhon and Denethor bowed as she left my side. I felt lonely—even with Galadhon standing beside me.

“Come, Orothôn,” he said. “As one of us, it is your right and obligation to attend the council.”

We made our way toward a clearing the forest where I could see Elwë, Elmo and Lenwë sitting with other elves—Galathil among them. As we grew closer, we heard discussions.

“We must leave as quickly as we can,” Elmo said. “Beyond these mountains above us lies our path to Eldamar.”

“I do not understand why we must hasten westward on hope alone,” Lenwë argued. “If it was of urgency, we would have followed Ingwë, Finwë and your brother Olwë beyond this wood.”

“Our minds are our own, Lenwë,” Elwë answered. “This much is true. But we are not alone. As the chosen of our people, it is to them our thoughts must belong.”

“Whatever is decided,” Galadhon said. “May it be soon as Celebriel is quick with child.”

“That is wonderful, brother,” Galathil said upon our approach. “I am proud for you.”

“This is cause for celebration,” Elwë said smiling. “My dear brother has started a legacy. May it last the ages.”

As we gave our blessing to Galadhon, I could see Lenwë fuming to himself.

“Enough,” he finally said. “I will give you my decision upon our audience next.”

He stormed away, her his son did not follow. After a moment of silence, a voice broke through the tension.

“So, my firstborn son is to become a father,”

It was Orowen with Taurëa, Nárwen, Mîrwen and two other maidens with whom I was not familiar.

“Yes, Nana,” Galadhon said as he took the hand of one of the three.

Celebriel was an elf of great beauty—her flawless skin was kissed by golden tendrils that fell effortlessly to her waist. The one Denethor went to was Arethuil—equally as beautiful with long golden hair and eyes clear as water. They seemed lost in each other; as they were the only ones in the world. Mîrwen approached me with a smile on her face.

“Arethuil, have you met Orothon,” she asked. “I know Celebriel has yet to do so.”

They bowed reverently as Taurëa came to me.

“You are Orothon,” she asked.

“Yes, My Lady,” I answered nervously.

“I see many great things that will come from you. A great many things.”

I had no words to say—her presence was overwhelming as Elwë’s.

“It is good to see you, Taurëa,” Elwë said.

“You are too kind, Elwë,” she said bowing.

“Where has Lenwë gone off to,” Orowen asked. “Was he not with you? Elwë? Elmo?”

“He was,” Elmo said. “He has taken his leave for a time.”

“You must go the way of the Eldalië,” Taurëa said. “No matter what may come of us.”

“What are you saying, Mother,” Denethor asked concerned.

“Your father has made his decision,” she said. “I will remain with him as his wife.”

“You know these things to be true,” Elwë asked her.

“I know my husband, Elwë. I have made peace with the part of him that will not be moved. For better or for worse.”

“Then I shall stay with my parents,” Denethor said angrily.

“No,” Taurëa answered, “You will go forth beyond the mountains as it is your destiny.”

Taurëa looked around—as to remember something long lost.

“When you leave,” she began. “Do not return to look for me.”

She turned away and left briskly in the direction of her husband. When she was gone, everyone seemed like they were searching for words to say.

“Go your way for now,” Elwë said. “Soon we shall depart for Eldamar.”

Saying no more, we turned away. I felt Mîrwen take my hand and I could feel her fear.

“Have you spoken with your mother,” I asked after some time.

“Yes,” she began. “She knows.”

“Pardon,” I asked. “What does she know?”

“That I carry our son, Orothôn.”

I stopped walking as I felt my breath get caught inside my chest.

“Our son.”

She smiled at me.

“I saw it,” she answered. “I have been him many times.”

“That is not all you have seen to be sure,” I said thinking out loud.

“No, it is not,” Mîrwen said, her face crestfallen. “And I do not wish to speak of those things. I must rest now—alone.”

She walked away toward our sanctuary. Before I could follow her, Iarûr, Êlengolas, and Valdôr were standing before me.

“There are whispers among the elves,” Êlengolas said. “None of them are good.”

“What have you heard, Orothôn,” Valdôr asked sternly. “You are close to the leaders. You are part of their circle, are you not?”

“I am,” I said. “But not a great one.”

“You can speak,” Iarûr said. “I woke beside all the leaders, Orothôn. If you speak truth, then you have nothing to fear.”

“Lenwë will pass no further beyond this wood,” I said abruptly.

“So it is true,” Êlengolas said. “And his son will remain behind as well?”

“No. His mother wishes for him to continue on.”

“He will,” Iarûr answered. “He is close to Taurëa. I cannot say the same for his father.”

“Finëar wishes to journey with us,” Êlengolas said. “He has great doubts in his heart about Lenwë and I as well.”

“What concerns you, Êlengolas,” I asked. I knew him to keep a close eye on the world around us.

“He seemed all too willing to remain by Nen Echui where some have made their home.”

“Elves left behind,” I asked.

“Oh, yes,” Iarûr added. “The Avari, they are forever known. Theirs will become a fate most unpleasant. Their will, like ours, is their own but destiny is written in starlight. What direction we choose will determine our path toward it.”

“I think all paths taken are difficult,” Valdôr said. “Much depends on who is walking with me.”

Where is Finëar,” I asked looking around. “I do not see him nor Nenduriel.”

“They will be along shortly,” Êlengolas said. “I do not presume to know their whereabouts, but something tells me they are attempting to persuade others to come with us.”

“Something tells me you know exactly where they are, Êlengolas,” Iarûr said. “Let no one doubt your knowledge of anything.”

“Or his uncanny ability to hear everything,” Valdôr said smiling.

“It is curiosity, my friend,” he said. “As it is, Iarûr, you know far more than any of us. You saw the great Orowë.”

“You have seen Orowë,” I asked in awe.

“I am called Iarûr for a reason, Orothôn,” he said smiling. “If you will pardon me. I must see about Nimríel.”

We nodded as he went his way.

“What does his name have to do with anything,” Êlengolas asked.

Valdôr and I could not help but laugh.

“I must tend Mîrwen,” I said. “Perhaps your curiosity will lead you to the answer.”

I made my way to our sanctuary hoping Mîrwen was no longer angry with me. As I stood before the entrance, I took a deep breath and drew the cover. Once inside, I could see Mîrwen resting.

“Forgive me,” I said quietly. “I should not have said those things to you.”

“You have said nothing that to be forgiven for,” she said as she looked up at me.

“I would never hurt you,” I began as I sat down beside her. “Please tell me if I have done so.”

She smiled at me and I felt calm.

“I give you my word that should you ever say or do anything to bring me displeasure, I will not hesitate to let you know so you may ask for forgiveness.”

“Thank you, Mîrwen,” I said smiling back at her. “Why were you angry?”

“I was not angry,” she said. “I was remembering.”

“What did you remember,” I asked.

“While I was with mother,” she began. “Taurëa was unusually silent. She and mother have always been close. They have no secrets between them.”

“She has much on her mind,” I said. “Perhaps you mistake silence for thought.”

“She was not thinking about her circumstance, Orothôn,” she said. “She was thinking about you.”

“Me,” I asked nervously. “Why would Taurëa think of me? Have I somehow offended her?”

“You have nothing to worry about,” she said. “She is rather fond of you.”

I sighed in relief, but concern turned to curiosity. I remembered what she had said to me earlier and wondered what they meant and what she had seen.

“I am grateful for it,” I said. “Even if I do not understand her reasons.”

“I do not know her reasons, either,” Mîrwen said. “But before we came to you, she told me never to forget the land upon which I stand. In time we would return and lead the last of our kin home.”

“She is very wise,” I said reaching over to caress her face. “I know I shall remember this land fondly.”

I leaned over and kissed her—never would I feel so wonderful as when our lips came together. I lay beside her and we were soon lost in one another’s arms. After a long while, I rose quietly while Mîrwen rested. In the cool, damp still of twilight, I noticed a bloom of the tree upon the earth. A small round cupule lay undisturbed clinging to a small yet sturdy branch. I picked it up and observed what I could beneath the dim starlight. I decided to take it on our journey west—something to remind me to keep our word to Taurëa.

While I dressed, I heard the sound of voices outside grow louder and more frantic.

“What is happening,” Mîrwen asked as she sat up. “Orothôn?”

“Stay inside,” I said. “I will see.”

I stepped out—nearly running into Iarûr and Galadhon.

“What I sat matter,” I asked watching elves rushing around with looks of terror on their faces.

“Uncle has left,” Galadhon said calmly. “Nothing to fear.”

“How can you say such a thing,” I said. “It is madness out here.”

“Oh, them,” Iarûr said just as calm. “They are with us. We are to leave shortly.”

I stood in wonderment attempting to understand the calm of my companions amidst such chaos. I saw Valdôr, Êlengolas, Finëar and Galathil approach as Mîrwen peeked out.

“Do not tell me you have not noticed this chaos, Êlengolas,” I said to him.

He glanced around for a moment.

“So it is,” he said. “Has Valdúmîr passed this way?”

“I saw her last with Lothluin and Nenduriel,” Valdôr answered.

I remained perplexed at how they seemed unaware of the activity surrounding us. Then, as quickly as it had begun, the chaos ended.

“It stopped,” I said to myself.

“What stopped,” Galathil asked handing something to Iarûr.

“The…never mind.”

“You mean the elves running about,” Mîrwen asked. “They are with us.”

“So I was told,” I answered.

“They are some of Lenwë’s kin coming with us,” Iarûr said. “Rather spritely they are.”

“I see,” I said, relieved calm had resumed. “When do we leave?”

“When father gives his word,” Galadhon said. “It should be soon.”

“Why has Elwë gone before us,” I asked.

“No one can say,” Galadhon answered. “He left soon after speaking with Lenwë.”

“It was not civil, I can say,” Iarûr added. “There was much anger in Lenwë. He is not of the Avari, but he has been touched greatly by their presence.”

“I fear for Taurëa,” Mîrwen said. “I cannot bear to leave her behind.”

“But you will, dear sister,” Galadhon scolded. “It is the command of your elders. You will not disobey.”

“I had no intention of it, Galadhon,” Mîrwen hissed, her voice darker than I had ever heard it. “But even you should show some sympathy for her plight, dear brother.”

She stormed away from us in the direction of her mother’s quarters leaving us looking at one another. Before we could say anything, Elmo and Denethor appeared to us upon a mound above us.

“The time has come,” Elmo said. “Prepare to journey westward.”

As he and Denethor descended, things seemed to fall into place. Galathil and Galadhon moved me toward my place as the others followed. By the time I was beside Mîrwen, everyone I had come to know was in line ready to begin our march. I noticed what Iarûr was holding—it appeared to be a hollow form.

“What is that,” I asked him.

“Our story,” he said smiling. “I will tell it for generations to come.”

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

We began our march—forward we stared into the twilight from where we had awakened without even a glance backward. It was upon the request of Taurëa and her kin. For many miles, we walked in near silence with sporadic lilting voices uttering songs of the Eldalië. I looked at the stars above us—sparkling their approval of our existence. After a time that seemed a short eternity, we stopped near the range of mighty mountains that hid part of the sky. We heard voices conversing.

“Come with me, Orothôn,” Mîrwen said.

I followed her toward the voices which belonged to Elmo and an elf I did not recognize.

“What do they call you,” Elmo asked the elf.

“I am Eäros”, he said, his voice trembling. “I mean you no harm. Me and my kin are lost.”

“Lost,” Orowen asked stepping forward. “How have you come to be lost?”

“I am afraid I do not know,” he began, his long golden hair disheveled from wandering. “I was far behind the leader of our kin when our march ended without cause.”

“Your leader was Elwë,” Elmo asked as to already know the answer.

“Yes,” Eäros said looking down. “He has gone on without us.”

He motioned toward four other elves cowering in fear behind the beginnings of another forest. For the first time, I realized the land from whence we came had changed—the sound of waters I reader and the sky was no longer hidden behind great mountains.

“Surely Elwë ventured farther than this,” Elmo said to Orowen. “He left us long before.”

“There are more of us,” Eäros said. “We went looking for the others.”

Denethor and Arethuil joined us.

“How far have you come,” Denethor asked. “You are quite young to venture in the wild without guidance.”

“From there,” he said pointing.

We all looked where he showed us. In the distance, we saw another range of mountains.

“Celebriel will surely give birth long before we get there,” Mîrwen whispered to me. “As for me, I shall make it farther.”

“You will stay with us,” Elmo said to Eäros. “My brother is still with us. We will see him once more. We shall rest here for a time before we move on. Iarûr, a word.”

Iarûr made his way to Elmo as the rest of us prepared the camp. When everyone had settled, I noticed Eäros and his four companions had become friendly with Galadhon and Celebriel. We stayed but a short time before once again journeying toward home. As we marched, I began to notice Mîrwen had begun to show her condition. Little by little, our child grew inside her.

By the time we reached the mountains, her prediction came true. In what would be called Ossiriand, Celebriel gave birth to her first child. Orowen was delighted—for upon the birth of this child, Galathil and Nárwen announced they were expecting one of their own.

While Mîrwen joined the ladies to care for the infant, I went away from the camp to think.

“What are you thinking about,” I heard Valdôr ask as he approached. “Soon you will have a child of your own.”

“Yes,” I said. “But it will not be a girl.”

“How do you know,” he asked.

“Mîrwen is convinced otherwise. She is usually correct.”

“Of course,” he laughed. “Are they not always? That is why we marry them. They know we would be lost without their intuition.”

“What has Lothluin said to you,” I asked.

“The same,” he said quietly. “Expect a son.”

“That is great news, Valdôr.”

“It will not be if we remain lost in the wilderness,” he said.

“You wish to remain here,” I asked.

“No,” he said. “But Denethor grows weary and has decided to stay.”

“Perhaps it’s for the best,” I answered. “How much longer will we march before we are home?”

“Iarûr says we will remain,” Valdôr said. “Most of us. This world does not seem too dreadful.”

“We are Eldalië,” I said. “We belong in Eldamar.”

“If we belong in Eldamar, then why were we not born there,” he asked. “Why have us march to the home we belong?”

“I try not to question the Creator of all things,” I answered. “There must be a reason we must discover for ourselves.”

“Oh, Orothôn,” he laughed. “I knew there was a reason I liked you. You are wise.”

“Not as Iarûr,” I said.

“You do not need to be,” he said. “Wisdom comes in many forms.”

“Do you think Êlengolas wise?”

He laughed harder.

“I think Êlengolas is something,” he said. “I have yet to discover what.”

“You amuse me, Valdôr,” Êlengolas said as he approached. “May your son be cursed with nothing but girls.”

“What is wrong with girls,” Valdôr asked. “I am quite fond of maidens. I am married to one.”

“So am I,” he answered. “But the tiny ones leave much to be desired. Valdúmîr attends to the one Celebriel bore. If my wife has a daughter, I’ll go mad.”

“What are they calling her,” I asked.

“Níndi,” Êlengolas said smiling. “She is quite lovely when she is at rest.”

“I can hardly wait to see her,” I said.

“Yes you can,” they said in unison.

“Gentlemen,” a voice said from behind. We turned to see Galathil.

“Yes,” I said. “Something amiss?”

“No,” he said. “I was sent to tell you that we will leave here as soon as Celebriel and her daughter are able.”

We nodded, then he went on his way. Looking into the sky we left each other to our own thoughts.

© 2015. “The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy—Book I: The Epic of Eryn Galen” by Jaynaé Marie Miller. All Rights Reserved.

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Chapter V: The Coming of Time (Pt. I)

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We made our way through narrow corridors to rooms filled with armor, shields, spears, and bows that King Thingol had stockpiled over many years for the occasion of war. The only sounds were the clashing of metal blended with the murmurs of armor-bearers hard at work. When they were finished, we took our weapons and began our return to the surface—our armor dragging against stone walls with an eerie lullaby.

We assembled in the empty hall that before had held such promise. I thought of Oropher. I wanted to look for him but my new wardrobe made it difficult. My view remained on the empty throne. Before long, King Thingol and Elmo appeared dressed similarly to us.

“You will follow us into Ossiriand,” King Thingol said flatly; his expression stoic. “I have it on good authority that our enemy looks to start with the least protected to force out the most in the attempt to destroy us all. This is no ordinary adversary we fight. This is an evil from whence time began. Its desire to extinguish life is only matched by its desire to rule over it. It will fight to the death and so must we. The future of this world depends on it.”

King Thingol and Elmo stepped down from their thrones and became one of us. When I was able to turn my head, I could see Galathil to my left.

“We will follow Father,” he whispered. “Galadhon will accompany our uncle.”

“Where are our sons,” I asked.

“They are to remain behind,” he answered. “To protect the borders.”

I could feel relief fall upon me. It was like a cool breeze flowing through my suit. If I did not return, at least my son had a chance to live as he would remain protected by the Girdle of Melian with his mother.

As we followed the king and his brother out of Menegroth, the faces of our families looked on from behind. I dared not look for Mîrwen. I wished the last I saw her would be her smile as our son married his beloved.

With Menegroth growing smaller in the distance, the familiar path we marched brought back the time we first entered Doriath after years the wilderness. Still, beneath the girdle, things were at peace—the world beyond had yet to bear witness to the peace we had known. It was changed and we had not for we chose to live our lives in relative secrecy. The evil around us seemed like myth yet we were told of its reality. We hoped it was legend—something that had passed away never to return. Now we were about to face this nemesis we knew very little about.

We continued our journey to the borders. When we came to it, we stopped.

“Once we cross this boundary,” King Thingol began. “Only the stars hold our fate in their hands.”

Not a sound was heard—not a breath was taken. I felt the earth move beneath my feet only to realize I was walking with other elves into another land. Unremarkable was the world I once left behind yet the air was different. There was a distant stench I was not familiar with. Further away, we heard a rumbling. I noticed we were marching in the direction of both. The closer we came, the greater the sound and the stronger the smell.

With little warning, we came upon creatures so hideous and malodorous, I nearly fainted. Armor-clad with features that could only be called scaly but oleaginous. Their numbers seemed infinite in the light of the stars.

“Fire,” I heard Elmo say. Arrows flew past my head and pierced the flesh of a few of these monsters. It only served to anger them more. They broke ranks and came at us with such fury, I barely had time to draw my sword. I felled one—then another and another and another. Their evil was palpable and their numbers never-ending. I felt I was fighting for every year of my life. Out of exhaustion or perhaps a wound, I fell down amid the corpses of elves.

“Orothôn,” I heard a voice say. I thought I was in a dream. “Orothôn, are you with us?”

I opened my eyes. I was lying on top of a dead elf. His eyes stared into mine in anguish. I quickly jumped up in horror. I looked to see Galathil standing beside me.

“Are you alright,” he asked.

“Yes, I am,” I answered. I looked around to see elves and dwarves lying motionless. The carnage seemed to go the length of the Ered Luin.

“Where is Galadhon,” I asked. “Where is Elmo? Where is King Thingol?”

“Calm down,” Galathil said. “They live. I am afraid I cannot say the same for Denethor.”

I could not help but cry. I was overcome with grief. My visions had come to bear the bitter fruit of death I longed feared. Êlengolas and Galathil helped me navigate through the bodies and off the field of battle. In my grief, I hardly noticed Ónarr speaking with King Thingol nearby. I had again realized his people were among the dead and my grief worsened. I longed to be with Mîrwen and Oropher. I wondered if there was any home left to return to. Just as I began to drown myself in my thoughts, an elf approached me.

“You must stay strong, Orothôn,” he said. “Or else you will perish from your grief.”

I looked up to see Iarûr.

“You are here,” I said.

“I am,” he answered. “Not all is lost. For even in darkness light must shine. Rest, my friend. For soon we will return home.”

I smiled weakly as I leaned against the trunk of a tree and felt myself drift into a deep rest. I opened my eyes to the sound of metal against metal. Startled, I looked up to see soldiers picking up weapons from the ground.

“Did I startle you,” a young elf asked me.

“Yes, but I am fine,” I answered. “Carry on.”

He nodded and went on his way. When I rose to my feet, I saw that the creatures seem to retreat the field.

“They are orcs,” Êlengolas said as he approached from behind. “That is what Iarûr calls them.

“Where are they going,” I asked.

“I do not know nor do I care,” he said angrily. “They killed many of us. They left many a widow to grieve to make orphans. I suspect we have not seen the last of them.”

“Are we to leave for Doriath,” I asked.

“Yes, he said. “We were about to depart. I was sent to tell you. How is your arm?”

“My arm,” I asked. I look to see my arm was wrapped tightly from my elbow to my shoulder. For the first time, I felt the pain. “I was wounded by an orc?”

Êlengolas looked at me confused as he shook his head.

“Come on,” he said.

We made our way toward King Thingol and Elmo eating along with Galathil and Galadhon. King Thingol nodded at me and we began our return to Doriath.

© 2015. “The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy—Book I: The Epic of Eryn Galen” by Jaynaé Marie Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter IV: Darkness and Light (Pt. IV)

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It did not take long for the whole of Menegroth to learn of the news. Êlengolas gave his blessing before Oropher could finish his proposal. As with all princes of the realm, the only approval that mattered was that of King Thingol. Remembering the time I was brought before him was still fresh in my mind; the anxiety lost to the joy of being with my beloved.

Before the moment could arrive, the realities of the world beyond our walls of stone had started to threaten more than our happiness. The presence of the naugrim began to become commonplace. Though the ladies of the court shown displeasure with them, they said very little except in whispers.

King Thingol had ordered guards to protect us; no corner inside or out went empty.  The last I would ever see Denethor was as he was leaving for Ossiriand for the last time. As he was walking away, he looked behind and waved at me with a quiet smile across his face.

As I was to take my leave, Elmo approached me.

Orothôn,” he began. “I wished to inquire about Oropher.”

“He is well,” I answered. “He is eager to marry Nimeithel.”

“So he is,” Elmo said. “We should all share in his optimism.”

“I do not understand,” I said.

“These are perilous times,” he said. “I wish my grandsons did not have to see such times. Neither should their children. I blame myself.”

“Whatever evil lies in this world is not your doing.”

“No, but had I continued on the path, we would not be here.”

“We will face this evil and defeat it,” I said. “It is fate that put us here in this place; in this hour.”

Elmo nodded and walked away—his head lowered. I worried for him. I went to find Mîrwen. As I passed Oropher’s room, I noticed Eldôr leaving.

“I heard you asked for Valdúril’s hand,” I said to him. “Congratulations are in order.”

“Thank you,” he said smiling. “I wished the same to Oropher. He has little to worry about as always.”

He waved at Oropher and went on his way.

Oropher was putting on a crisp white shirt sewn with silver thread.

“Hello, Ada,” he said. “Are you looking for Nana? She is attending to Queen Melian.”

“I know,” I said. “It was you I wanted to see.”

“Is something the matter,” he asked.

“No.”

“What is it, then?”

I sat on his bed thinking about Elmo’s words.

“You will go before King Thingol for  his blessing.”

“I know,” he said, leaning against the post of his bed. “Eäros told me how it was for him. I am not afraid but I cannot speak for Eldôr.”

“I remember going before him,” I said without thinking. “For you, it will be different.”

“How different,” he asked curiously. “I am intrigued. Should I worry for Nimeithel?”

“No,” I answered. “But you are the son of the daughter of the King’s brother.”

“That means nothing to me,” he said softly. “I am nothing more than your son. It is all I know how to be.”

“That may be,” I began. “But that does not change what you are.”

“I am a subject of this realm,” he said. “I will inherit nothing nor do  I wish to. I desire nothing more than what I have.”

I knew my son did not care to hear any more. I remembered the words of Orowen before we came into Doriath and ones spoken before. I stood up and looked at my son.

“Your humility is your crown,” I said. “Your courage is your mantle. They will serve you far greater than any title.”

I embraced him tightly. I wondered how I had raised a son such as this.

I let him go.

“I will be waiting for you in the Great Hall with your mother. Do not be late.”

“I will not,” he said. “You have my word.”

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

The Great hall was filled with elves. All around it was decorated with reminders of nature. The colors once lit by the stars were vivid and bright. The faces I traveled beside were more alive than I remembered. Mîrwen approached me; she was more beautiful than ever.

“How is our son,” she asked, a broad smile crossing her face. “Is he as handsome as his father?”

“Far more,” I declared. “But your flattery will not go unrewarded.”

I gently kissed her as the ceremony began. King Thingol and Queen Melian entered with Elmo and Orowen close behind. Once they took their places, Oropher, Amdir, and Eldôr escorted Nimeithel, Anadriel, and Valdúril down the aisle to stand before the king.

“Amdir, son of Galathil,” Thingol began. “You have chosen Anadriel?”

“I have,” he said.

“And Anadriel, you have chosen Amdir?”

“I have,” she said.

“Oropher, son of Orothôn,” Thingol continued. “You have chosen Nimeithel?”

“I have,” my son said.

“And Nimeithel, you have chosen Oropher?”

“I have,” she said.

“Eldôr, son of Valdôr,” Thingol said once more. “You have chosen Valdúril?”

“I have,” he said.

“And Valdúril, you have chosen Eldôr?”

“I have,” she said.

“Well,” Thingol said. “I say to you all, you have my blessing.”

No sooner had he said those words when an elf burst into the hall. He was disheveled and weary. Anadriel recognized him instantly.

“Eäros,” she cried.

Níndi ran to her husband as the room filled with gasps.

“What is this,” Thingol asked the breathless elf on the floor.

“I come from the Falas,” Eäros said. “I bring word from Círdan. It has been attacked.”

Queen Melian stood up slowly.

“It has begun,” she said.

“Beleg! Mablung,” Thingol called to two elves nearby. “Call to arms!”

They nodded quickly and left. I turned to Mîrwen—her eyes already filled with tears. I kissed her quickly and went with the rest of the elven men from court to take my place in battle.

© 2015. “The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy—Book I: The Epic of Eryn Galen” by Jaynaé Marie Miller. All Rights Reserved.

 

Chapter IV: Darkness and Light (Pt. III)

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I walked into my chambers to find Mîrwen with Valdúmîr and Lothluin chatting among themselves on the stone-carved benches.

“Orothôn,” Mîrwen said excitedly. “Have you heard? Eldôr has asked Valdúril for her hand.”

“That is wonderful news,” I said. “And Êlengolas has given his blessing?”

“You know Êlengolas,” Valdúmîr began. “He cannot help himself. He frightened the poor lad nearly to death.”

“My son wondered if he was worthy of his daughter,” Lothluin said.

“Well, then,” I started. “I know what to expect.”

“What are you saying,” Mîrwen asked, her eyes growing larger in anticipation.

“Your son wishes to marry Nimeithel.”

They stared at me—their mouths agape, frozen in the moment as figures of stone.

“I thought you would be delighted, Mîrwen,” I said, perplexed.

“I am,” she said glancing at Valdúmîr. “We are.”

“Êlengolas is quite fond of Oropher,” Lothluin said smiling. “He speaks highly of him in court quite often.”

“He does,” I asked curiously.

“Valdôr says as much to me,” she said.

“Will you give your blessing, Mîrwen,” I asked.

“You know I will.”

“What of you, Valdúmîr,” I asked.

She rose from her seat and stood before me.

“You will have our blessing,” she began reverently. “Mine and my husband’s.”

Without another word, she left our chambers in a graceful trance. I was bewildered by her actions. Quickly, Lothluin rose.

“I must attend to my duties,” she said. “I will see you again.”

Once she was gone, I looked at Mîrwen.

“Valdúmîr has always been fond of our son, Orothôn,” she said. “Nimeithel is a perfect match for Oropher. Mother has told me King Thingol and Queen Melian will give their blessing as well.”

I had almost forgotten my son was born a prince in the household of the King’s brother.

“Of course,” I said sitting beside Mîrwen. Of course Êlengolas and Valdúmîr will give their blessing. Their eldest daughter is in love with a prince.”

“You think so little of your friend to suggest his motives are not honorable?”

“No,” I began. It is not Êlengolas I question. It is you.”

“I beg your pardon,” Mîrwen yelled. “You question me?”

“Have you told Oropher what he is?”

“I am quite sure he knows.”

“Are you,” I asked.

She thought for a moment then nodded.

“He does not know, does he?”

She shook her head. I leaned back against the wall, the sound reverberated in my ears. I knew Oropher to be wise—perhaps he had discovered his position in the court. I decided to say nothing for the time being.

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

Not long thereafter, as I was preparing for battle alongside Élengolas and Valdôr, I made my thoughts known.

“I understand you have given your blessing to Eldôr to wed Valdúril.”

Valdôr stopped advancing, allowing his sparring opponent to fall. Êlengolas continued on.

“I have,” he said. “What of your son? He has yet to come to me.”

“You have not frightened him as you have Eldôr,” Valdôr asked.

“I am waiting for my chance,” Êlengolas answered as he put down his opponent. “Unless Oropher is afraid. It is understandable.”

“I hear you speak quite highly of him in court in my absence.”

“I do,” Êlengolas said coming over to us. “Why would I not? He is quite the warrior.”

“He is the grandson of the King’s brother,” I said.

He gave me a menacing look.

“So he is,” he said. “That is not the reason I speak highly of him, Orothôn. His skills for battle are formidable. As your friend, I would be greatly disappointed if you thought his rank was the reason I would give my blessing for my daughter to marry your son.”

I began to regret my words—I could see Valdôr with his head looking at the ground.

“Forgive me,” I said softly. “I would never accuse you of dishonor.”

“You want to know if Oropher knows he wishes to wed a commoner?”

“Êlengolas,” I began.

He started laughing—much to my surprise. Valdôr lifted his head; his face relieved.

“I would never say an unkind word about Nimeithel,” I said, feeling foolish. “There are not to be said.”

Êlengolas put his arm around my shoulder as he tried to contain his laughter.

“Êlengolas, you are horrible,” Valdôr said.

“I could not be so horrible,” he answered. “I am allowing your son to marry Valdúril. Orothôn, rank or no, it would be an honor and a privilege to have your son marry my daughter.”

“I feel the same about Nimeithel,” I agreed. “They are a wonderful match.”

“So I have heard for centuries,” he quipped. “But my daughter knows her heart and I know my daughter. You have raised a noble son that will and protect her. That is all that matters to me.”

I embraced my friend. I felt all fear and doubt leave my body. When I released Êlengolas, he was smiling.

“Both of my daughters are happy and I am happy for them.”

As we were preparing to return to the palace, there came a rumbling beneath the earth stronger and louder than it had ever been.

“The time for battle grows ever closer,” Valdôr said.

We continued on our way. I could not help but look around at all the elves following us into Menegroth. I was searching for Oropher. My heart lept with joy when I saw him standing at the gates. He waved at me. When I reached him, he embraced me.

“She said ‘yes’, Ada,” he whispered.

© 2015. “The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy—Book I: The Epic of Eryn Galen” by Jaynaé Marie Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter IV: Darkness and Light (Pt. II)

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Later, while I was alone in my chambers working on my heirloom, Mîrwen entered with a smile on her face.

“You spoke to Oropher,” she said as she threw her arms around my shoulders.

“Yes,” I said. “This pleases you?”

“I think Nimeithel is a wonderful match for him. So does Valdúmîr.”

“I do not think it is up to us,” I said. “The heart does what it will.”

“True,” she answered releasing me. “But it can use a little help now and then.”

“Whatever it is,” I began. “Do not tell me. I would rather leave some things to my imagination.”

“Very well,” Mîrwen answered. “But I had nothing to do with it.”

“I find that hard to believe, Mîrwen. The ladies of the court live for such intrigue.”

“We do not.”

I looked up from my work at my beloved. She had longed for this moment since Oropher could speak.

“He has yet to ask us for our blessing,” I added. “Try to contain your joy, if you will.”

“Do you know something,” she asked.

“No more than you.”

“You do know something,” she said sitting beside me. “What do you know, Orothôn?”

“I know he is waiting for the right moment. Let him come when it is time. He will do what is honorable.”

Mîrwen nodded.

“If I must,” she said softly. “He is a good son.”

“That he is,” I agreed. “I could not be more proud.”

“Shall we go to dinner,” she asked. “It is time.”

I put my work down and rose with her. We left our chambers and made our way to the great hall. When we arrived, we noticed more elves than usual. Across the room, I noticed Denethor with Arethuil. Beside them was a handsome young elf with a maiden of enchanting beauty. Denethor saw me and led the two elves toward me.

“Orothôn, these are my children. Gildúr and Annariel.”

They bowed to me.

“It is an honor to meet you,” I said.

“The honor is ours,” Gildúr said. “To meet the father of such a great warrior as Oropher is humbling.”

“I beg your pardon,” Mîrwen said.

“I have seen him myself,” Annariel whispered. “When I can, Your Highness. You must be proud.”

“I am,” Mîrwen said. I could hear the anger growing beneath royal protocol. “Quite proud.”

Before she could say another word, the call to dinner came. We all took our places—including Oropher beside his mother. We waited in uncomfortable silence until King Thingol and Queen Melian entered with their daughter Lúthien.

Once they were seated, everyone took their seats. I hoped for Mîrwen’s silence to continue through the end of our evening. Sitting across from us was Galathil and Celeborn—nearly himself unrecognizable as he was growing into manhood. Beside them sat their parents Galadhon and Celebriel. I could tell Galadhon has his eye on his sister.

“Mîrwen,” he whispered. “What bothers you?”

“Not a thing,” she whispered. “I am the proud mother of a great warrior.”

Oropher lowered his head. He looked at me and I shook my head. The silence between us continued until the end. When we rose, the silence was broken.

“If I may,” Oropher began. “I would like to call upon Nimeithel.”

As I nodded, Mîrwen spoke.

“You may not,” she answered.

“Mîrwen, let him go,” I said quietly. “You can speak with him upon his return.”

“I will speak with him now,” she said loudly.

The entire room fell silent. Elmo and Orowen looked toward us concerned.

“Mîrwen,” Galadhon whispered. “Not now I beg you.”

“If not now, when,” she asked. “When my son is a lifeless corpse on the field of battle?”

I wanted to hide. I could see Oropher was thinking the same.

“Mother,” he began. He was begging—something he had never done before. “Please do not do this.”

“Daughter,” Elmo began. “Is there something you wish to say?”

I could see his son Galathil take a deep breath as his son Amdir looked on.

“My son is a great warrior,” Mîrwen started. “So I have heard. Why have I learned of this now, Father?”

“Do not be angry with anyone but me, Mother,” Oropher said. “It was at my request.”

“You are a child,” Mîrwen said. “You have no power to request anything.”

“I am no longer a child,” he said sternly. “If I can love, then I can fight. It is my duty to defend this land as my father and grandfather. I do not need your blessing for that nor do I expect it. But as your son, I would do anything to keep your heart from breaking. That is why I dared not say a word.”

I heard the sound of sobbing—several maidens had begun to cry. I looked at Mîrwen; somehow my son had made quite the impression. I could feel the room return to a sense of calm.

“Your son has a way with words,” Galadhon said.

“Yes,” I answered. “I am grateful for it.”

“May I call upon Nimeithel,” Oropher asked once more.

Mîrwen and I nodded together. He kissed his mother’s cheek and left us quickly.

“He is a good son,” I said to her. “You have raised him well.”

“We have raised him well,” she said taking my hand.

I kissed her. I knew she had accepted things to come. We returned to our chambers with some peace of mind.

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

It began with the Marchwardens—King Thingol had ordered more to cover the borders of Doriath. Though things remained quiet, there was little doubt we were preparing for war. In the days before the first battle, the naugrim were seen more often traveling the road between Nogrod and Doriath as well as within Menegroth. The cache of weapons seemed to swell over time. There was never a time I was not on guard—every noise would turn my head as my heart would beat a little harder. Mîrwen tried her best to calm me but she was just as frightened. Once I had finished my heirloom, I marveled at the thought of it being passed on generation to generation. I went to find Oropher. He was inside a keep looking over the land.

“I knew I would find you here,” I said to him as I approached.

“I was thinking to myself,” he said. “How beautiful Doriath is. I wonder what will become of it?”

“It will stand for as long as it should,” I answered.

He looked at me and smiled.

“I suppose,” he said. “Why were you looking for me?”

“I wished to give you something,” I began. “Perhaps make up for lost time with my only child.”

He gave me a curious look.

“I have spent my entire life with you, Ada. Whatever time was lost in your absence was sacrosanct to the service of the King.”

“I wish it had never been,” I said. “You should have been raised in Eldamar—far from this land we live in.”

“I know no other place as home,” he said. “I was born here as many others. Eldamar to me is nothing more than lore.”

“It does exist,” I said, even though I doubted it myself now. “One day we will see it.”

Oropher nodded. I knew he was doing it for me to change the course of conversation.

“I wanted to give you this,” I said, showing him the medallion I had made. “I have been working on it since the very moment I learned of your conception.”

He took it from me and marveled at it for awhile.

“Thank you, Ada,” he finally said. “I will cherish it always.”

He embraced me tightly. When he let go, I could see tears in his eyes.

“Why are you sad, Oropher,” I asked.

“Will I return from battle,” he asked.

“I have little doubt that you will return.”

“I have asked Nimeithel for her hand,” he said softly. “I do not want her to become a widow before she becomes a bride.”

I was as happy as I was breathless.

“Are you asking for my blessing?”

“I am,” he answered.

“You do realize your mother will be absolutely delighted.”

“I know,” he said, laughing. “Grandmother said as much. It would seem Mother has been planning for this day since I was born.”

“You are too generous,” I said. “She has been planning this much longer than that.”

We laughed together. I realized how long I had lived. My son had come of age and was about to start a household of his own.

“I suppose it will be up to me to speak with Êlengolas,” I began. “That is far easier than asking the King.”

Oropher nodded. We stood looking out at Doriath. It was a beautiful land. Its future perils were yet unknown to us as we enjoyed the moment together.

© 2015. “The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy—Book I: The Epic of Eryn Galen” by Jaynaé Marie Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter IV: Darkness and Light (Pt. I)

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It was not long after that the world around us seemed to change. Though we remained under the protection of the Girdle of Melian, the sense of foreboding grew like thorns in our hearts and minds.

As I emerged from my chambers, I nearly ran into Êlengolas.

“Êlengolas,” I said. His face was stoic. “What brings you here?”

“You do not know,” he asked. “Surely you have some idea.”

“I am afraid I am quite unaware. Has battle come to us?”

Êlengolas smirked.

“You honestly have no idea,” he began. “Have you not noticed your son has started to come of age?”

“I have,” I answered, feeling at ease. “So has Eldôr as well as your daughters.”

Êlengolas smiled, then laughed.

“Yes, they have,” he said. “They are quite lovely. It would appear their loveliness has not gone unnoticed.”

“What are you saying,” I asked.

“I am saying that your son has taken a liking to my daughter, Nimeithel.”

I stared at him for a moment.

“I am afraid Oropher has not said a word to me or his mother.”

“And why would he,” Êlengolas said. “He has yet to make his intentions known. He is much like you, Orothôn. Thoughtful and profoundly naïve.”

“I beg your pardon,” I asked, growing angry.

“You, my friend, see only the flowers, never the thorns. Eternally optimistic.”

“You say that like it was a flaw.”

“It is, but one that is tolerable,” he answered smiling. “For now, I would have a word with Oropher. My Nimeithel speaks of nothing but him.”

Êlengolas began to walk away.

“Where are you off to,” I asked.

“Off to find Valdôr,” he answered. “The trouble with daughters is that others have sons.”

I smiled to myself. It was true—I had not spent as much time with my son as I should or would like. I walked to his door and knocked.

“Enter,” my son said.

I walked in—it was much like my chambers in detail. I saw Oropher swinging a sword.

“What is this,” I asked.

He stopped and looked at me. He was far more a man than the child I remembered. He was strong in stature—his golden hair falling over his shoulders like a waterfall.

“What are you doing,” I asked.

“I am practicing,” he said. “Nothing more.”

“You are not going to war,” I said angrily. “I will not allow it!”

“Ada,” he began.

“Your mother will not forgive me if I lost you.”

“Stop,” he said, his voice deeper than it once was. “There are not enough elves to defend this land.”

“How would you know,” I asked. “Who said this to you?”

“We are no longer children,” he said. “Hard as you try, you cannot keep us protected from what evil will come. We have been training for some time now.”

“Who is ‘we’,” I asked, my voice ringing in my own head as it echoed throughout the room.

“Me and Eldôr,” he said softly. “Some others as well. Upon my request.”

“I did not give you permission.”

“I know. You would never allow it. I asked grandfather to ask his brother, King Thingol, and he said yes.”

I stared at my son. He was unrecognizable.

“Please, do not be angry with me, Ada. I did it for you.”

“For me,” I asked—my eyes filling with tears.

“I want to be there to protect you,” he said. “I know Nana would die without you. I could not forgive myself if I did nothing to save you and her.”

I walked over to him and embraced him. I never loved Oropher more if that were possible.

“I love you,” I whispered.

“I know,” he answered. “I love you, too.”

When I let him go, I thought of Mîrwen.

“Do not tell your mother,” I said. “Now is not the time.”

“No,” he agreed. “Not now. She has her mind on other things.”

“What things?”

“She has her mind on Nimeithel. I am quite sure.”

My mind returned to my meeting with Êlengolas.

“I just met Nimeithel’s father in the hall. He says she speaks of nothing but you.”

Oropher smiled, his face flushed.

“She does,” he asked.

“How do you feel about her, Oropher?”

He sat down on his bed.

“I am quite fond of Nimeithel.”

“I have known that for some time,” I said sitting beside him. “Since you were very young.”

“What should I do,” he asked. He was my son again.

“What does your heart tell you?”

“My heart wants to marry her but I know I must wait. Eldôr is in love with her sister Valdúril. I cannot imagine what their father must think of this.”

I laughed.

“I do not think you have anything to worry about.”

“So you will give your blessing,” he asked eagerly.

“Are you asking for my blessing?”

“I do not know,” he said.

When you know, then your mother and I will give you our blessing.”

“Thank you, father,” he said.

He lept from the bed and ran out of the room. I looked around. My world was changing—for the better and the worst.

© 2015. “The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy—Book I: The Epic of Eryn Galen” by Jaynaé Marie Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter III: Doriath (Pt. IV)

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Long after the audience, I sat beneath a tree underneath the stars. It had been far too long since I had spent time outside that did not require preparing for a war against unknown forces. I thought about the naug—he was friendly enough though others found him beneath their stature (in height and in existence). I thought more on his words. What did his people know about what lingered in the North?

As I thought to myself, I was making an heirloom to pass on to Oropher one day.

“I thought I would find you here,” I heard Mîrwen said.

“You spoke to Êlengolas, have you,” I said without looking away from my task.

“Of course,” she said sitting beside me. “Tell me, what is a naug?”

“A naug is rather small,” I answered.

“Is that all,” she giggled. “Oropher is rather small as well but I would hardly call him a naug.”

“Oropher is taller,” I answered putting my work away. “They are small fully grown. They come from the mountains East of Beleriand where they reside.”

“What do you think of these creatures,” she asked me.

“Our time was short and I only met one of them,” I said. “He seemed wise and was pleasant enough.”

“Nana says their kind helped to build Menegroth but said little else on the matter.”

“Has she seen them?”

“No,” Mîrwen answered. “Is it true they had a hand it its foundation?”

“Iarûr said as much,” I began. “He knows many things. I take him at his word.”

“If these creatures created such things of beauty, then they must be good at heart.”

“Perhaps,” I said. “Enough about the naugrim.”

I kissed her. She smiled at me.

“What do you wish to talk about, Orothôn,” she whispered.

“Why must we talk about anything,” I asked as I kissed her again.

“Because,” she whispered. “Talking would have a far smaller audience.”

Mîrwen motioned for me to look away. I saw a few curious elven boys watching us. I recognized the smallest as Celeborn, the youngest son of Galadhon among them—a look of perplexity across his face.

“Oropher,” he began. “Those are your parents.”

“Yes,” my son said with a smirk across his face. “So they are.”

“Why are they out here,” another chimed in.

“Because, Amdir,” I started as I rose, offering Mîrwen my hand. “We thought we were alone.”

“You should go to one of the keeps,” Eldôr said. “That is where my parents go.”

All heads turned to Eldôr.

“To do what,” Celeborn asked innocently. “What could you do up there?”

“I shall explain when you are older,” Galathil said.

“Why are you boys out here,” Mîrwen asked.

“We were sent to find the girls,” Galathil answered. “On the orders of King Thingol.”

“The girls,” I asked.

“Yes,” Eldôr said. “The Lady Lúthien is quite lively. She takes to wandering frequently. Nimeithel and Valdúril are no help at all. They give in to her every whim.”

“She takes after her mother,” Mîrwen said under her breath.

“Then we saw you,” Celeborn added with a smile.

“So you did,” Mîrwen said, leaning down to his height. “Would you care to escort a maiden into the palace?”

“Yes,” he said eagerly.

“I shall see you inside,” she said to me.

As they left, I turned to Galathil and the others.

“I know the king would not send ones so young to find his daughter unless there was discord sown between them.”

They stood in silence before me—their expressions attempting to hide their thoughts.

“No more than one would expect between a parent and a child,” Galathil answered. “But in times such as these, there is much to worry about.”

“What have you heard,” I asked. I was in awe at Galathil’s demeanor—he had grown wise beyond his years.

“Father has told me the reasons why the Eldalië prepare for war. An ancient evil resides in this world.”

“What is this evil,” I asked. I was hoping he would say what others would not.

“He would not say for the time of revelation has not come.”

“Does Galadhon know when that time comes,” I asked.

Before he could answer, we heard the sound of young maidens laughing. Four beautiful elven girls spoke among themselves as they approached. They stopped abruptly.

“Galathil,” the fairest of them began. “Where you looking for me?”

“Yes, Lúthien,” he said. “You know well I was.”

I recognized all but one—a quiet elf whose eyes had fallen on Amdir as his eyes were upon her.

“I know of the dangers of this world,” Lúthien continued. “I would never wander too far from the gates. My father has little to worry about. I would never put my ladies in harm’s way.”

Lúthien’s eyes fell upon me—her wonder as disarming as her beauty.

“You are Orothôn,” she asked. “Father of Oropher?”

“Yes, Your Highness, I said softly.

She smiled at me and nodded as she motioned to Nimeithel, Valdúril, and the other as they continued on their way into the palace.

“You do not recognize her,” Oropher whispered to me. “The other elleth. She is Anadriel, sister of Eäros.”

I looked at her once more.

“So it is,” I whispered. “Time has been good to her.”

“Lúthien goes her own way,” Galathil grumbled. “For all her beauty, it will be hard to find a suitor for her.”

“She will find one on her own,” Eldôr said. “I can only imagine who he will be.”

“Come,” I began. “We need to make our way inside.”

At that moment, there came a low rumble and a shaking from beneath. It reminded me of a time before we left Lake Cuiviénen. This was something beyond this world. We looked at one another. We knew things were about to change our lives forever.

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

I entered my chambers to find them empty. Mîrwen must be with her mother, I thought to myself. I took from my pocket the heirloom I was creating. I managed to shape the wood I took from our first sanctuary long ago. Fashioned within pieces of nature along our journey. I placed it inside a small wooden box.

I looked around—the silence was unnerving. I went into Oropher’s chambers. He was not there. Though I felt my fear misplaced, that did not keep my mind from chaos. I decided that everyone was on their way to supper. I was not hungry. I lay down on the bed and closed my eyes.

There was destruction and flames everywhere. The clashing of swords and shields rang throughout the land. Tears fell from the eyes of mothers and their children. Amidst the battle cries, I heard a voice calling my name.

“Orothôn,” the voice called to me.

I look around but could not find the source. I realized I was standing in a sea of the fallen. The voice continued to call my name.

“Where are you,” I yelled over the sounds of war. “Where are you?”

I looked in all directions but could not find the voice.

“I am here,” I heard the voice in my ear. I turned to see an elf with golden hair and soft grey eyes.

“Who are you,” I asked him. He said nothing. He looked toward the battles. I asked him again.

“Who are you?”

He looked at me. There was a familiarity I saw in him.

“I am Orothôn,” he said. “But known by another name to last forever.”

“By what name,” I asked. “Tell me.”

As he was about to speak, all things fell into darkness. I was alone in nothingness.

“Who are you,” I yelled. “Where are you?”

“I am here,” a voice said. “Look at me.”

I opened my eyes to see Mîrwen looking down at me.

“Were you having a vision, Orothôn,” she asked.

“No,” I lied sitting up. “I am not as you.”

“I am not alone in that gift,” she said smiling. “Some choose to use it while others choose to ignore it. Then there are those that do not have the choice. They will see what the Heavens wish them to see.”

She slipped behind her dressing courier and emerged ready for the evening.

“What did you see,” she asked sitting beside me.

“It was not pleasant,” I answered. “Nothing I would dare tell another.”

“There is nothing pleasant about war, Orothôn.”

“How would you know,” I asked.

She looked at me—her eyes filling with tears.

“I have seen what you have seen,” she whispered. “I know the horrors that will come to pass.”

“Then I will spare you the details,” I said embracing her. “We will keep them to ourselves.”

 

Chapter III: Doriath (Pt. III)

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We were alone together—lying in our bed holding one another for the first time within the walls of a palace. Oropher was no longer sleeping at the end of our bed to hear his parents whisper their love to one another.

As we lay, our chamber doors flew open startling us. It was Êlengolas and Valdôr.

“Orothôn! Mîrwen!”

“Valdôr, what is this madness,” I asked.

“Celebriel is about to give birth,” he answered.

“If you would be so kind,” Mîrwen said.

“Oh,” Êlengolas said. “Of course.”

They stepped out of the room. She turned to me and kissed me.

“I will see you later,” she said. “We have much to talk about.”

She got out of bed and covers herself with her robe and rang for the servants. They came quick and left far quicker. Mîrwen smiled at me and left to perform her duties. I rose from our bed and walked over to our window to watch the falls. The doors opened and Êlengolas entered alone.

“You could have spared me the lurid details,” he said ringing the servants. He grabbed my robe and threw it over my shoulders.

“I apologize, but you do realize this is my bedchamber?”

“We are expected in an audience with King Thingol.”

Suddenly, several elves entered and dressed me in white and silver chain. When they were done, they dispersed.

“What is this,” I asked.

“That is what will protect you in battle if it comes to it. Come, now.”

I started to feel afraid for the first time in my life. By the time we reached the throne room, it was filled with elves. Among them were Valdôr, Fineär, Galadhon, Galathil and, Denethor. Elmo stood by the side of the throne awaiting the king. When he arrived, all fell quiet.

“Darkness surrounds us,” Thingol began. “It wishes to destroy this world and all within it. We must protect all that is good and pure; as the first-born of Eru Ilúvatar, we must prevail. Go and make ready for that day—for it will come.”

At the command of the guard, we followed our masters out of the palace, across the bridge and upon the training field. As we learned many techniques, I came to prefer the bow to the sword. Êlengolas would master everything and seem to delight in being a quick study.

Valdôr seemed overwhelmed though he managed to form a more strategic way to fight; one that depended more on his wits and less on hand-to-hand combat. After our first lesson, I looked forward to the next.

Upon our return to the palace, there was excitement in the air. Mîrwen came to me. She looked at me in horror.

“What is the matter,” I asked.

“You are dressed for war,” she answered.

“Not yet,” I assured her. “Tell me, what has everyone running about?”

“Celebriel has given birth to a son,” she said flatly.

“That is wonderful. What is he called?”

“Celeborn,” she said. “His name is Celeborn.”

With that, she turned and walked away. I knew the thought of me going to fight a war had stolen from her any joy she might have had. As the hall emptied, I noted Oropher with Eldôr, Nimeithel and another elfling. She was an unusually beautiful child with the fairest of skin and the darkest of hair.

“Orothôn,” I heard Denethor say. “Did you hear of Galadhon’s son?”

“Yes,” I said. “Who is that elfling with Oropher?”

“That is the daughter of Thingol and Melian. Her name is Lúthien. Come. Time to get out of this chain.”

I followed him away but I could not get that name out of my mind—Lúthien.

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

I returned to my chambers after washing and dressing in clean clothes. Mîrwen was with Oropher.

“Ada,” he said happily as he ran to me. “I saw you today. Are you going to be a warrior? I want to be one!”

I could see my wife was not as enthusiastic as our son.

“One day, Oropher,” I said. “But not yet. Go find Eldôr. I need a word with your mother.”

“Yes, Ada.” He ran out of our chambers. Once we heard the doors shut, the tension grew thicker.

“I knew this day would come, Orothôn. You will go into battle and die.”

“Mîrwen,” I began.

“No,” she interrupted storming over to me. “There is nothing you can say to me that will take this pain away!”

“I know,” I whispered

“How could you,” she yelled as she began to cry. “How could you do this to me? To your son?”

“I was not given the choice,” I said. “You know I would have chosen you and Oropher.”

“Would you have? Would you have chosen us over war?”

“You know I would have,” I said.

I felt my own tears began to fall. I headed for her, but she pushed me away.

“Do not touch me, Orothôn,” she wailed. “I do not want you to touch me.”

I was shrinking—no taller than a  blade of grass.

“How will I live without you?”

“I am with you now,” I yelled. “Is that not enough? If I am to die, why spend the time we have left this way? Please, do not do this to us.”

Mîrwen’s expression softened. I took her into my arms.

“Forgive me,” she whispered.

“There is nothing to forgive,” I said.

We kissed passionately. We lost ourselves in the moment—our love proved to us its depth.

“I never want to live in this world without you,” Mîrwen said. “Promise me I will never have to live in this world without you.”

“I cannot promise you that,” I said as I began to cry. “I can only promise my love for you will never die.”

“Neither will mine for you,” she answered.

“Then we will always be together,” I whispered.

From then on, after I gave my preparation for war to the kingdom, I gave myself to Mîrwen thereafter.

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

Time for us was measured by our children. AS my skills in the art of war improved, I barely noticed the changes in my son. He grew taller it seemed, yet he was still quite young. Not long after Eäros wed his beloved Níndi, I came across time itself in the hall near the throne room.

Before me stood a radiant beauty—not quite of age but still a young lady in the making. Her hair was nearly white, flawless skin so fair it seemed to glow. Her eyes were a pale blue. I almost did not recognize her until a prepubescent boy called to her by name.

“Nimeithel, have you seen Eldôr,” he asked as he stepped into the hall. It was Oropher. Even as his father I was taken aback.

“Why would I know where Eldôr is just now,” she asked.

“You know everything, Nimeithel,” he teased. “You and your sister both.”

“If that were true, then I would know where you were coming from and where you were going next.”

“You know where,” he said quietly. “I told you, remember?”

She smiled at him—I could see she was having fun with him.

“I know now where, but Celeborn wishes to go with you. He looks to you as a brother as much as Galathil.”

“I know,” he said.

“If I may, I will go my way,” she said.

As she left I could see my son’s demeanor change.

“Oropher, something the matter,” I asked approaching him.

“Nothing, Ada,” he said, his face flushed. “I was looking for Eldôr.”

“Were you?”

“Yes, of course,” he snapped. “Have you seen him?”

“No,” I answered.

“Are you going to combat,” he asked.

“What you would you know of it?”

“We have seen you,” he began. “From the keep. When will I get to be a warrior?”

“There is no hurry, Oropher,” I said as we walked together toward the throne room. “You are still young.”

As we approached, we met Valdôr. He seemed distracted.

“Something amiss,” I asked.

“Where is Eldôr,” Oropher asked.

“He seeks your company in his chambers,” he said. Oropher went on his way swiftly.

“Valdôr, you are not yourself.”

“I am,” he said. “Who else would I be?”

“You know what I mean,” I said. “What has you distracted?”

“I caught sight of the naugrim.”

“I beg your pardon,” I asked. “What is a naugrim?”

“They are rather small,” he said lowering his hand. “Such as this.”

I stood before him puzzled.

“They are hideous,” he added.

I stared at him thinking he had gone mad. I stopped Iarûr as he was passing.

“Iarûr, what is a naugrim?”

“Oh, the nogothrim,” he said. “They are small.” He lowered his hand.

“So I hear,” I said. “What are they other than short?”

“They created all that you see around you. They are the masters of stone and the weapons of war.”

“They are hideous,” Valdôr said.

“Now, Valdôr, they are as they were meant to be,” Iarûr answered. “No more and no less.”

“Where are they now,” I asked beginning to fear what I might see.

“Somewhere around here,” Iarûr said. “Valdôr was fortunate to have met one of them more majestic of their kin.”

Valdôr gave a weak smile as Iarûr laughed and continued on his way. I pat Valdôr on his shoulder and went into the throne room. I thought nothing more of the naugrim as I met Êlengolas with Galathil and Galadhon. I looked around and noticed there were no others with us.

“Where is everyone,” I asked.

Before they could answer, Thingol and Elmo entered the room with a small creature with so much hair I could barely see its eyes.

“Is that…,” I began.

“A nogoth,” Êlengolas whispered. “I see you have spoken to Valdôr. He has yet to get over how short they are.”

We towered over this creature yet it did not seem to fear us.

“Orothôn,” Elmo greeted me. “It is good of you to come.”

“This is Ónarr of Nogrod,” Thingol said. “He and his people are the wielders of stone and smith work.”

This creature walked over to us—his clear blue eyes now visible beneath his unruly black hair and beard.

“It is a pleasure to meet Your Highnesses,” he said bowing to us.

“For us as well,” I said. I looked at Êlengolas, Galathil and, Galadhon—their faces aghast.

“I have seen you wield a sword,” Ónarr continued. “I am impressed by how easily you have come to know it.”

“Thank you,” I answered. “If not for its craftsmen, it would not have the ease for which to wield.”

Ónarr smiled as an elf entered the room.

“Your Majesty,” he said to Thingol. “Might I speak with you in private?”

“Of course, Cúthalion,” Thingol answered.

We bowed as they left us.

“What is happening, Father,” Galadhon asked Elmo.

“There is nothing for you to concern yourself with,” he said. “We are well protected in this land.”

“If we were so protected, what need would we have for weapons of war,” Galathil asked.

“There are rumblings, within the mountains in the North,” Ónarr said. “My people have known of it for some time.”

“What lies there,” Êlengolas asked.

“I cannot say for certain, but it is dark in nature.”

Elmo seemed concerned at Ónarr’s words. We stood in silence—our imaginations alive with visions of the unknown.

© 2015. “The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy—Book I: The Epic of Eryn Galen” by Jaynaé Marie Miller. All Rights Reserved.