Held By Doom: 4. Melian

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4. Melian

Finch: Of course it was Nellas who taught Plato! You didn’t really think a mortal could figure all that out on his own, did you?


The great beech tree of Menegroth was named Hírilorn, the Queen-Tree, and with the majesty of her name she stood: towering imperiously with thick branches twisting and stretching to encompass all around her. Green moss was her velvet, and the leaves her crown as she loomed over those who were but her subjects.

At her feet they sat: Elu Thingol, Greymantle, the Hidden King, and Melian the Maia, who clothed herself in flesh to be his wife and whose voice had taught the nightingales their song. His hair was of silver and his glance of harsh steel, though it bore a sorrow that did not diminish even as it did not fester. Her eyes bore sorrow deeper and joy greater, and her hair fell to her quicksilver feet in hues of black and deepest red. Both looked to a figure who stood before them-- a figure tall and lean, dark-haired and white-faced.

It was no Elf who stood before the King and Queen of Doriath, but Túrin, heir of the House of Hador and Thingol's fosterling. A boy he was no longer, but a Man and strange to those who looked upon him, for pain and pride had wrought a face fair and fell to see. No flinch or tremble affected him when he asked the King for mail, sword, and shield, and laid claim to the Dragon-Helm of Dor-lómin that was his heirloom.

A boy no longer.

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TÚRIN

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"Beren my kinsman did more," I say.

It is a childish thing to say, a foolish thing-- but so they speak to me, as a child, a mortal child who knows not of what he speaks. I would that I did know nothing of war, of pain, of vengeance-- but it is not so. I am hindered by both my age and my race-- they see no place for me but to serve under an Elf-lord. For what can a lone Man do, Thingol asks, what more can he do but lend to the Elves such little aid as he is able? Such has the House of my kindred fallen, that we are seen as nothing, and capable of nothing.

"Beren, and Lúthien," says Melian. "But you are over-bold to speak so to the father of Lúthien. Not so high is your destiny, I think, Túrin son of Morwen, though your fate is twined with that of the Elven-folk, for good or for ill. Beware of yourself, lest it be ill."

Why do you always name me the son of Morwen, Melian Queen of Nightbirds? Do you forget my father Húrin Thalion, Húrin the Steadfast, who drove the Orcs into the sands of Anfauglith and fought alongside the mighty Elf-lords in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad? Do you forget him who was taken and is seen no more, he who loved the Elves dearer than his own kind, he who was fierce in battle and sudden in pity?

Sometimes I do.

Sometimes I wonder if I did not give all my heart to my sister Urwen, and where it lies now there are none who can tell me.

But then I remember Morwen my mother, and Nienor my sister whom I know not, and, too, Húrin my father, and it is he who I should honour with my strength and my skill, he above all others. I love him, with a fervour that can be dizzying-- I love him for his strength and his wisdom, and for his victories and his achievements. I love him for he is my father-- but that is a fact that has been of little comfort these long years of his absence.

'I do not forget the name of your father, Túrin.'

I steel myself and look to her face, into the eyes of Melian the Maia. They are deep and dark with ages of life before time, before the world, before there was grief. It can bring unnatural peace, and wonder, to gaze into her eyes-- but I am too fearful of becoming lost there.

'But his is a name of great honour, and one you must earn.' Her face is gentle, infinitely gentle, but the brightness of her spirit burns strong and stern through her eyes. 'Son of Morwen you were born, and will remain-- you are hers in more than mood, of like pride and mind, and at times that will be of no virtue to you. Yet we cannot change who were are, Túrin-- only who we become.'

I will earn his name, the name of my father. I will become the Steadfast, the Elf-friend, dauntless of death and mighty in life. It is my birthright-- it is my burden-- it is my Doom.

'Do not speak of Doom, young one.' There is sorrow, too, in her eyes, brighter and colder in the fire of her spirit. Her face is solemn as she looks upon me. 'The Younger Children are not bound to the Music as the Elder-- that is your gift, to shape beyond the graven fate. Do not squander your gift, son of Morwen-- do not bind yourself to the rulings of circumstance. Great deeds you can do, and great evil also. It is you who must choose the one and not the other.'

And that is what I have now chosen, Lady Queen! I would go beyond the marches of this land, beyond this wary defence, unto the very lands of the Enemy himself. I would put him to the defence, challenge him, and lurk no longer in the safety of the Girdle. Great deeds I will do, lady, great deeds as my kindred before me, before the fall of the House of the Hador. Great deeds as my father did-- and for him I will do them.

There are some who say he lives yet, my father-- lives in capture under the eyes of Morgoth.

Can you not see that living here in peace will drive me mad? Can you not see that I am driven by a force greater than my pride?

'Do not underestimate the force of pride, Túrin, nor the evil it can bring.'

How can it be evil, Lady Queen, when it is but a pride in the goodness and wisdom that has been taught to me by those whom I love? What evil can there be in love? What evil, lady? It is love that drives me, love that will drive me always.

'And when it has been taken from you, son of Morwen, what then will drive you?'

My sister Urwen is gone, and from my mother I am sundered, and my father I will see never again-- what more can be taken from me?

They are gone, and still I will both give and seek love. For the love of my family I will do these deeds-- to avenge the dead and liberate the living. For love, my lady-- for love.

For I was taught of love.

She releases me from her eyes then, from the wells of ancient knowledge, from peace not yet forgotten and sorrow that waxes beautiful. A part of me is glad, for there are things there that I do not wish to see.


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"Then after a silence she spoke to him again, saying: 'Go now, fosterson; and heed the counsel of the king. Yet I do not think that you will long abide with us in Doriath after the coming of manhood. If in days to come you remember the words of Melian, it will be for your good: fear both the heat and the cold of your heart.' " ------- Unfinished Tales, The Tale of the Children of Húrin.


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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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