I was the last of us to remain in the land of the forsaken, as many call it. All the others have long since gone. Weary of the trials of the mortal land, they forsook their duties in the other great Elven realms and returned home. Bliss and peace they had, while all that was left to me were the flour on my hands and the last bit of hope.
We were the Sisterhood of the Yavannildi, the makers of coimas, else known as lembas or waybread of the Elves. Many looked upon us as simple bakers, taking for granted both the waybread that sustained their warriors and messengers and the women who made it. It was no such simple thing as to bake a tart or cake, but the secret is long-guarded, known only to the Yavannildi who were taught by Kementári herself. Names we had, all discarded upon joining the Sisterhood, when Yavanna herself renamed us, most for animals or fair things, some for qualities of their hearts unmatched by any creature. But few of us traveled the long road to Middle-earth, though we followed not Fëanor and his rebels. Borne across the Sea gladly we were by the Teleri with whom we were friends.
Aiwë and Filit, so called among the Sisterhood for their love of birds and for their high trilling song-voices, were the Yavannildi of Doriath long ago, aids to the Queen. They were friends of Melian as well as her assistants in the art, and departed with her to the West upon the death of Thingol. Cua, the gentle dove, was a friend to Finrod, and the halls of Nargothrond were supplied by her. But she was ever opposed to war, and it was what drove her away in the end. For Túrin son of Húrin had come, and brought upon his heels the malice of the Enemy. This brought about more war in the land, and at last Cua turned westward. Sercë, named for her lifeforce strength like that which runs through our veins, made home to the valley of Imladris, once having been a friend to Elwing. The wafers she made were said to be able to revive not only the body, but the soul as well. This skill she used to aid Elrond in the saving of his wife from her grievous injuries after her capture by Orcs, and it may be that Celebrían’s life is owed largely to her. But this was considered to be a misuse of her knowledge, and she was made to depart from Middle-earth though she wished to remain. And so the only two left to tell of were myself and another called Arquen, whose tale is a sad one.
She was a lovely maiden, with a face as noble as the daughters of kings, though no royal blood ran through her veins, unless thinly and from distant kin. It was I who brought her before Yavanna and asked that she be inducted into the Sisterhood of the Yavannildi. It was granted, and soon after a plan was announced to send a few of us to the Outer Lands, to bring aid and strength and hope to the people there. I was one of the five selected to go out of all the willing, but Arquen would not be left behind. “You brought me to this place where I have met my true sisters,” she said. “Do not forsake me now, for you are the dearest to me of all. If you should go, upon your return you will have to seek me in the depths of the Sea, for I will follow you, even if that should mean that I swim behind you and perish beneath the waves of Ossë’s discontent. I will not be separated from you.” And so it was approved that there be six Yavannildi sent across the Sea.
To Gondolin she went, as was later found out. But at first it was Nevrast, where dwelt Turgon and his people. We kept in correspondence, lest her coming be in vain, but there came a day when no replies came to my letters. When finally I heard of the desertion of Nevrast, I stopped sending the letters. Long I grieved the loss of my friend, until news of her fate came to me as well. I was the traveler among the Yavannildi come to Middle-earth, wandering the lands and bringing my services to Elven lands wherever they might be needed, and so I heard many tales. It was told to me that Gondolin had been destroyed, a sad thing, but of little importance to me until the mention of its king, Turgon. The news was shocking to I who had half-believed all along that they had long since turned back to the West to seek the pardon of the Valar. Long I wept, knowing that she had perished. There were rumors of survivors dwelling at the mouths of Sirion, but my heart told me that my friend would not be among them.
Many more years passed, and upon the establishment of Lórien, I was invited to remain there when visiting for a time by the Lady Galadriel. I saw that she had much to protect there in her new realm, and that I could be of much assistance. I was also weary of the long years I had journeyed throughout the land, and greeted a permanent residence with the joy like that of an orphan who is in need of a home. So it was that my skill was of great help in the battle against the second Dark Lord, for it was I who baked the lembas given to the Fellowship of nine as they passed through on the quest.
And that is who I am, Ringbearer. Perhaps you thought me just another Elf returning home after many years of exile, but it is not so. I am Osellë, named sister by Yavanna. And as Olórin was the only one of the istari who remained faithful to what he had been sent to do, so am I the single Yavannildi who endured, persevering through the Ages for the good of Middle-earth.
Thank you, I’m glad you thought them tasty.
coimas – lembas, waybread
aiwë and filit – small birds
cua – dove
sercë – blood
arquen – noble
osellë – sister, companion
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.