Miss Niphredil Baggins, Adventuress: 9. Longing

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9. Longing

'A wind came from the west
and brought me a butterfly.
A wind came from the south
and kept her close to me.
A wind came from the east
and blew her far away
A wind came from the north
and whispered in my ear:

'Is it best to live and never love,
or to love and never live again?'


'It is best to love and live,
to live, but never love again!'


'Hard words, my friend, and bitter.' Gimli son of Glóin reproached Legolas, who leaned on the railing of the Bridge of Osgiliath, facing the sea.
'They are only words. Words of the wind, that only the wind listens.'
'You did love her.'
'Love her? Yes. But her deeds I hate.'
'Although she knelt before you and confessed and begged your forgiveness?'
'She did not ask for my forgiveness. She asked for my understanding! She was full of explanations and lacked all shame and honour!'
'I see, then. You feared she would do it again?'
'I feared she had learned nothing.'
'Is that not the same thing?'
'No. I know she could be different, but first she has to do some serious thinking and choose her own way.'
'How do you know?'
Legolas was silent, then spoke softly.
'Her father trusted her. And her mother, the Maia. Eönwë gave her a bow and arrows.'
'A good bow, that one.' Gimli tried to change the subject.
'Indeed. The best one this side of the Ocean.'
'Really?'

'One day, in Ithilien, she challenged me to a shooting competition. Our target was a slice of wood with the rings made by years as its only marks. We put it on the other side of a field, but it turned out to be too easy: all our arrows hit the exact center. We put it in the branches of a tree so that the leaves hid it, but it was still too easy. Finally Niphredil put it behind the trunk of the tree. I protested, and she laughed at me.

'My arrow hit the edge of the slice from above, and I thought it was the best anyone could do.'
'I suppose she scored.' Gimli interrupted.
'She did. Straight in the center, and when she pulled the arrow out it had gone almost trough the thick slice. If the target had been a man hiding behind the tree, it would have killed him.'
'Impossible! I know arrows can be shot like you did, to go up and then directly down, and the wind can be used to make them turn in the air, but to kill a man behind a tree...'
'I know. Such a bow, with such arrows, could do wonders on a battlefield.'
'Or the archer would shoot himself accidentally.'
'Not that archer. Eönwë taught her.'

'There is a story I would like to tell you.' Gimli said.
'Go ahead.'
'Long ago, When Durin, the sixth, was the Lord of Khazad-dum, one day at the Western Gate there arrived a dwarf-woman, carrying nothing but a basket of berries. The gate was open and the guards assumed she had gone out before the changing of guards and was now returning, although they did not know her. She walked in, sat on a bench under a lantern in the city, and offered her berries to all passing children. She did not speak a word. Evening came and someone noticed she was still there. She was offered a place to stay. It turned out nobody knew her. She learned the dwarven tongue easily, but never told her origin. She became a servant at the king's kitchen. The name she used was Dari. She had silvery hair and bright eyes. One day the king, who was a widower, noticed Dari and asked if she was married.
Dari replied:
'I am not, my lord, but I have sworn an oath to marry the man who breaks open this chain that binds my neck.'
She showed him a golden chain with a black stone. The chain looked frail, but the king could not break it, not with his hands, not with any tool. Neither could anyone else. Finally Dari asked to learn some smithcraft herself, and was allowed to. But she, too, failed to break her chain.
Years passed and the Balrog woke and slew the king. The warriors escaped, and saw Dari stand and defend the body of Durin. She took the king's axe and hit the monster. The flames seemed not to burn her, but neither could she harm her opponent. The Balrog threw her into a wall, but she approached it again.
'It is not too late, brother, for you to choose true light again!'
The dwarves do not understand this, but the words were heard and remembered.
Dari raised her left hand and lo! In her finger shone a golden star. Suddenly she seemed to be glowing, and her hair was like fire, her clothes like clouds the sun shines trough. The dwarves knew the star on her finger; Glorharn, the gold-stone, mightiest of the seven rings. They had thought Durin had it, and she had not taken it from the body, so he must have given it to her while he lived. The Balrog attacked her and everyone else escaped during the battle. Durin's son Náin stayed near and listened. When there was silence, he went to have a look. It seemed the Balrog had killed Dari and taken Durin's body away. Náin lifted up Dari and carried her to safety. She woke when Náin took the ring from her finger. She said only:
'It is yours. I am sorry.' And then she walked away and was never seen again.
What do you think of this?'
'She called the Balrog her brother, and wore an unbreakable chain. Did you hear Niphredil tell of her mother?'
'Yes.'
'It must have been her. To think that she, too, was a ringbearer...'
'Very much like Gandalf.'
'One day of her life. Another, she was Elai and fought beside Gil-Galad. Before that, she was other things, with other names. Cal-Urúnya, bride of Sauron. Híniel, child older than mountains. Maialaurë, a mirrored image. El-Carnil, star of fate. Hawkfeather, the adventuress.'
'Do you think that is why her daughter is as she is?'
'Tinwen loved many, but never betrayed.'

__________

Note: the Seven are never named by Tolkien, but it occured to me to name them in Sindarin. So here:

The seven Rings for the dwarf lords in their halls of stone...

The mithrilstone, bright Mithrilgond
The star-stone, blue Galadharn
The silver-stone, grey Celebsarn
The ironstone, dark Angond
The bloodstone, red Seregond
The night-stone, black Morgond
The gold-stone, yellow Glorharn
________________

More to come: I had already written chapters 10-13, but my computer developed a disorder and is now waiting for my brother to fix it. My brother may get a weekend leave from the Army at the beginning of June, so with any luck I'll have the chapters online soon after that...



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.

Story Information

Author: Arwen Imladviel

Status: General

Completion: Ongoing Serial

Era: 4th Age

Genre: Romance

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 06/05/03

Original Post: 05/21/03

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