On the next evening Finduilas wove her tale further.
After many weeks of aimless riding, Galrivnil saw from a distance a pass through the mountains. He suddenly felt a yearning to see new far-off lands. Thus Galrivnil followed the small path up along the mountainside. In the high reaches the path became gravelly and riding dangerous. Sliding again and again he led his mount on a long rope while he searched for a secure footing. Shivering Amlukyll followed through the snow-dusted rocks, head tossing, flanks heaving. And at times the large steed lunged to reach bare rock.
Suddenly Galrivnil heard a bleating voice from below “Please, dear wanderer help me ! I am stuck in this cleft.” When Galrivnil looked down he saw a white goat who watched him with large dark eyes. The prince climbed down and cleared away some stones and small rocks which had slid on the goat while she had looked distracted at the two climbers. The grateful goat thanked him profusely and said “Dear helper, if thou art ever in need of my help then rub these three hairs of mine and I will come.”
The well-mannered Galrivnil took the three hairs, put them into his girdle-bag, and bade the goat a warm farewell. Three days later he reached the forest on the other side of the mountain and here on firm ground Galrivnil could ride again. Suddenly he heard a screeching voice from above “Please, dear wanderer help me ! I am stuck below this branch.” When Galrivnil looked up he saw brown falcon who watched him with large yellow-rimmed eyes. The prince climbed the tree and raised the forked rotten branch which had clamped the falcon’s tail while the bird had observed the rider. The grateful falcon thanked him solemnly and said “Dear helper, if thou art ever in need of my help then rub these three feathers of mine and I will come.”
Galrivnil thoughtfully took the three feathers, put them into his girdle-bag, and bade the falcon a friendly farewell. Three days later he reached fields cleared for grain. Suddenly he heard a hissing voice from below “Please, dear wanderer help me ! I am stuck in this hole.” When Galrivnil looked down he saw a green serpent who watched him with gleaming eyes. The prince climbed from his steed and cleared away some clay clods which had slid on the snake, while its attention had been fastened on horse and rider. The grateful snake thanked him and said “Dear helper, if thou art ever in need of my help then rub these three scales of mine and I will come.”
Frowning, Galrivnil took the three scales, put them into his girdle-bag, and bade the snake a good farewell. After three more days the prince reached an old manor fallen into disrepair. There he stabled Amlukyll in the old kitchen still covered by its roof, made a fire on the hearth, and went in search of some bedding to add to his bedroll.
Suddenly horns sounded through the silent woods: hounds bellowed and yowled, and horses crashed through the underwood. Men’s voices called for the hounds. When Galrivnil came out of the manor he saw a white hind pressed to the walls, wide-eyed, blood-covered. The hounds and men went very still when they became aware of him.
The hind pleaded, “Please help me ! Do not allow them to kill me”. Though Galrivnil was a hunter himself the hind’s soft voice touched his heart. Galrivnil went to the shivering hind, laid his arm around her and led her into the house. In the same moment the hunt came alive again, the hounds bellowed furiously, and the men shouted angrily. With the hind safely behind the walls, Galrivnil turned and faced the hunt again. Again, the pack and the hunters stilled when they felt his menacing presence.
“You misbegotten creature, why do you begrudge us our quarry !” one of the huntsmen cried from afar. “Leave our prey to us”. But Galrivnil drew his sword. The hunters commanded their hounds to attack. Yet the hounds only crouched before Galrivnil and whimpered. When the angry men closed in Galrivnil began to swing his sword to hold them at bay. Recognizing the moves of an skilled warrior they backed away. Angry murmurs swelled and slowly the hunt melted into the woods.
When Galrivnil came into the kitchen the hind lay beside Amlukyll. She slowly raised her head and spoke: “Kind creature, man in snake-hide, I owe you my life, could I ever redeem it.”
Galrivnil came to her and washed her wounds with great care. Before the last daylight faded, he went into the woods and searched for healing moss. When he returned the day had darkened already. Hind and horse were sleeping side by side. Galrivnil applied the moss to the hind’s wounds. So weary was she in her sleep of exhaustion that she barely twitched even as Galrivnil covered the deeper gashes. Only then Prince Green-Hide laid down his head on his bedding and slept.
In the dark of the night Galrivnil awoke when he heard a whimper in the kitchen. Beside Amlukyll lay a beautiful young woman covered by her dark hair. Her tresses covered the moss-patched wounds which marred the clear skin shimmering white in the moonlight. Galrivnil slowly rose from his bedding and searched for the hind. Debris fallen from the roof tripped him and the woman opened her eyes. When she perceived Galrivnil standing in the shadows staring at her she looked down her naked body and crouched.
Sadly she said “Yes, man in snake hide, I am the hind you kindly saved and I am a woman for a short time during the night. A morgul spell is laid on me. A Witch Prince had claimed me for tribute, and when my father sent one of my maids in my stead the Witch Prince came himself. My father could not hinder him from taking me or my life. The Witch Prince laughed. “Thrall on the dung heap, you tried to cheat me. Behold my revenge. Your daughter will live from now on in fear for her life, hounded and wounded, and in the end she will be devoured by my Orks.” Then he took me with him secured between his Orks. One night the Witch Prince’s band of Orks was overwhelmed by Elves. When the Ever-Living opened the hutch where I lay bound they saw only a hind. Yet, I could speak to them and they set me free. One of Firstborn said to me ‘You might regain your Man-hide if you find one who is willing to marry you as a hind in the full sun before your father.’” She looked at him “Might you be such a one ?”.
Galrivnil astounded thought back to the words of the Elven woman. Had she not said he had to find a maiden willing to marry him in full sun light to regain his Man-skin ? No, he could not marry a hind. He would never be rid of his scales then. Sadly and yet a little relieved the young warrior shook his head and said “No, I cannot marry you. I have to find a maiden who will marry me as I am in the full sun before her father. No hind can deliver me from my own doom.”
Faramir had his chin burrowed in his quilt and furrowed his brows while Boromir yawned into the crook of Finduilas’ arm. Smiling she tucked her sons side by side into the covering and promised Faramir, who clamoured for more, to resume the tale the next evening.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.