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.
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.
“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.