Held By Doom: 2. Morwen

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2. Morwen

Autumn drew over Dor-lómin in the Year of Lamentation. The sky folded in grey sheets, leaves gold and orange falling in silent reverence around the tall trunks of evergreens. The waters of Nen Lalaith were chilled, and in the house of Húrin Thalion few words were spoken, fewer smiles exchanged. For Húrin had not returned from Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, and Easterlings lurked in Dor-lómin. Of the people of Hador they made thralls, and took all that they possessed. The household of Húrin alone remained, and they were without goods or cattle, the land fallen into decay though they laboured hard.

Inside the house, Túrin son of Húrin stood in his bedchamber, dark-haired, half-grown, unlike his father in solemnity, yet in his eyes sharing Húrin's fire of sudden ferocity, and swiftness of pity. He was alone, and in his hands he held a sack in which he put the few belongings remaining to him.

On the threshold of the house stood a woman, tall and white. Though she was heavy with child, her figure was drawn with grace and dignity, her head held aloft with pride, hung with a mass of hair that shone sleek and black. The Easterlings would not touch her, for they feared her as they feared the power of the Fair Folk. She was Morwen called Eledhwen, the Elven-Fair, and mother of Túrin who was to be called Turambar.




I think my father is dead, and that is why my mother is sending me away. My father is dead, my sister is dead, and my mother will starve if she is not made a slave to the Easterlings as all others are. But I must be spared, so that when I am older, I can come back to save everyone. That is my duty. I am the heir of the House of Hador.

It is a lonely task, but only I may undertake it. It is hard to leave my little room, though there is nothing in it, and harder to know that I will leave Labadal, my only friend. She will not send him with me on the journey because he is lame. But Morwen does not cry, though she gives up all that she has left, so I will not anymore, though I feel as though a great weight is pressing against my chest, and it hurts so that I think I might cry out if I were not afraid that she would think I am weeping.

She waits outside the house to bid me farewell. I hear her footsteps: slow, heavy, pacing.

"Túrin," she calls me, not loud, but still I tremble at the sound for my feet have rooted to the wooden floor. I know why the Easterlings are afraid of her. It is the invisible White Wall that separates her from us, that makes her Elven-fair. It is the coldness, the clearness of her eyes that let you know she sees everything as it is, and she is tall, like a great tower with no doors, only small windows at the top. Sometimes you can see through them; other times you only see your reflection.

The room wavers in front of me, like ripples in a glass stream. I feel lightheaded and realize I am not breathing. But I must; I must live. It is my duty. It is my burden.

When I walk from the bed room I feel the roots ripping up, and they trail from my feet dry and thirsty, never again to find home. I step through the door and the air is not cold but for the distance of Morwen, who stands away from me, slender arms clasped over her swollen belly. She watches me and I do not understand what makes her eyes shine so, and I wish that she would speak for then I would understand her.

"You go to the Elves, Túrin," she says, and her voice is calm. "Those whom your father loved most dearly. You will be safe with them."

"I do not wish to be safe and alone," I say, and I am hurt for she does not speak her heart, only words which I have heard before. "But I will go."

She is far away; only her eyes touch me. "You will learn much lore from the Sindar; much wisdom that I could not teach you."

I do not cry. "You have taught me courage."

"Then I have taught you all that I know." Her hands, slender and beautiful, seize my head, and she brushes my hair back with her thumbs, flattening her palm against my cheek. Her hand is warm against my skin, and it does not tremble as she gazes at me gravely. "We are alike in mood, my son, and I do not ask you to be merry. But do not let your grief overpower you, for though you have met with much sorrow in your life, there is still much that you have yet to face."

I ache at her touch, her voice, for I recall naught of my father's and he has left me. Her hand lifts from me and the warmth fades. Still she looks at me with strange eyes, eyes that are deep and dark like a well, and I wonder what lies at the bottom. Does she hold the face of Urwen inside of her as I do? Or does she hold some memory of me, perhaps of us as we stand now, dark and solemn, without tear, without smile? For that is how she always stands, Morwen the Elven-Fair, Morwen the Proud. Perhaps it is how I will be. Perhaps it is how I am.

I speak only to say, "You will follow when you are able?"

She stoops and swiftly kisses my brow. "Goodbye, son of Morwen," she says softly, and turns me away.

Gethron and Grithnir are my guides, and one takes me by the hand to lead me away from the house, to the hills. I look at the ground we pass over, grass and crumbled leaf, earth and rock, and there, the last of the lilies is crushed beneath Grithnir's heel. I leap away from him in anger, shouting words I do not even hear, for they cry, "Peace! Peace, Túrin!" And they each take hold of my hands to restrain me. The anger fades and I do not know why a lone wilting flower troubled me so. I walk on between them, listening to the crunch of our footsteps, and at last I am glad, glad to be going to Elves who do not die, who do not fear death, who are not sad or cold or foolish. I will be a valiant soldier and people shall not know that I am not an Elf, and perhaps I, too, will be fearless of death.

Gethron leads, but now he stops and looks at me with compassion, his hand to my head. "After this, we will not stop for a long time. Turn and look upon the house of your father, Túrin."

I do not wish to look again, but I do as he says and turn my head, straining to gaze through the writhing trunks of trees to the house of Húrin. The lands around the house have grown sallow, and weeds thorny and twisted overtake what was once a garden. The beams of the house sag, splintered, and where once hung the banner of the house of Hador is shreds. Alone and proud stands my mother, her chin lifted without fear though around her all grows dark and wild, a single erect white figure amid the ruin.

I cannot see her face.

And I see my world as it blackens around me, and I am alone, without laughter, without beauty, without friend. Yet Morwen still stands; and I walk from her.

Pain smites me as a sword, but it is second to the grief which has taken hold of my throat, for I wish to call out, I wish to struggle with these jailors who take me away, I wish to fly back to my mother and never leave, for she stands alone in front of the house, alone and brave, and I know why her eyes shine, I know that she longs for me even as I do for her. And I weep openly now, unashamed for I care nothing of my pride, not while Morwen still stands.

"Morwen, Morwen, when shall I see you again?"

The scream rips from my throat, and I hold to it in desperation, as though by the echo of my own words I will bind myself to this place, to my home, to the house of my father and Morwen Eledhwen. I am shaken violently by my own weeping, and it is by the hand of Grithnir that I am held upright, for I am weak, weak in my grief, and I heed not the words of the men, listening only to the forest around me.

But there is no answer.

I am alone.


"But Morwen standing on her threshold heard the echo of that cry in the wooded hills, and she clutched the post of the door so that her fingers were torn. This was the first of the sorrows of Túrin." ------------ Unfinished Tales


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: Mouse

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 1st Age

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 10/31/03

Original Post: 07/29/02

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