7. Sunbeam and Moonray
'Who I am is no business of yours. I have come to meet the Lady Alatáriel.' She spoke the High-Elven language in a way that suggested it was very familiar to her.
'You mean Lady Galadriel?' They had never heard her original name.
'I might, and then again I might not. Tell the Lady Galadriel that El- Carnil has come to meet Lauremiriel.'
'El-Carnil? Some say Carnil's a star that means bad news when it shines bright.' The younger of the watchmen looked worried.
'I am not shining very brightly at the moment, am I, gentlemen, nor is my namesake up in the heavens behind all those dark clouds that are dropping their water on me all the time I have to explain things to you thickheads!'
The watchmen had never heard quenya spoken in such a tone and the one who had shown an interest in reading fate from stars hurried away to find Lady Galadriel. The other watchman led El-Carnil under a thick-leaved tree that kept the rain away. He felt this woman probably deserved more respect than what she had received so far, so he offered her his cloack to sit on and welcomed her politely to their country.
'You mean, if anyone is ever letting me cross the borders', was the rather bitter response he got. For a while they sat in silence. The watchman tried to start a conversation.
'Any news of what's going on in the north ?'
The woman stared up into the rain.
'Great messages are brought by great messengers. Have you not seen Eärendil? He was worthy of his message, a star brighter than others. El- Carnil is not bright, so fear not.' They waited in silence.
Galadriel did not send a message; she came herself, her clothes wet and her hair drippling. The two women embraced, and started walking hand in hand towards Galadriel's house. The younger watchman stared after them, standing in the rain.
'What's the matter with you?', his companion inquired.
'You know, she's actually sort of beautiful.'
'Ha! Want to know what she said about you when you'd gone?'
'Nothing at all.'
'So what will you do?', Galadriel asked after having heard the whole story.
'I do not have much choice. I cannot marry him, you know.'
'Why not? You love him.'
'I am under a curse. I cannot bring it over him. I am like diseased, my soul is stained.'
'And yet you touched the Silmarils and your hands did not burn.' Tinwen found no answer.The great news came the following day, and soon came Eönwë with his army, but without the Silmarils. The jewels had found their fate.
Many left the changed face of Middle-Earth that time, both elves and men. And finally Eönwë left also, on the command of Manwë. When the last glimpse of his sails disappered beyond the horizon, Tinwen turned her back to the sea and ran away. She ran forward for days without stopping, she ran to the other side of Ered Lindon until she found a wilderness where no-one dwelt. Then she fell on the ground and cried. For years she wandered in the forests of Eriador, hunting and eating wild berries, wearing animal skins, avoiding all peoples. She built herself no dwelling-place. Instead, she slept in trees and under trees, and in earth-holes. Sometimes she moved swiftly from place to place, as if pursued by invisible enemies.
One day Tinwen hid in the branches of a great oak while a company of elves rode underneath. They were obviously returning from a hunting trip. Their saddles were full of prey. They laughed and sang gleefully.
One of them struck Tinwen's eye. He was handsome and had the air of nobility about him. 'That one', Tinwen thought, 'would not leave his loved one in torture'. Silently she followed the hunters into a beautiful city.
Later on, she found the elf-lord she had watched sleeping under an apple- tree in a beautiful garden. She took the shape of a fair elf-maiden dressed in violet, pale-faced, her hair night-black and meticulously arranged. She began a song.
The elf-lord awoke and gasped in amazement. That instant his doom was engraved upon his soul.
'Who are you, fair lady?'
'My name is Tinwen Hiníel Cal-Urúnya Maialaurë El-Carnil.'
'That is too long a name for my humble use. Can I call you Elai? I am Ereinion.'
'The moment I saw you, I loved you, Ereinion. You may call me whatever you like.'
'So did I love you the moment I saw you, Elai.'
They conversed all day and all night under the apple-tree. Elai told Ereinion everything that had befallen her since the making of Arda. Ereinion told little of himself. Instead, he recalled the story of Thingol and Melian.
'Melian was a Maia,' he concluded, 'as are you, but Thingol was king in the land of the moriquendi, although he himself was of the calaquendi. I, on the other hand, have been born in this land of exile, and thus of the moriquendi, but I am also king of the noldor, who are calaquendi.'
'You are king?' Elai was not very surprised.
'Ereinion Gil-Galad, High King of the Noldor, at your service.' He knelt.
'Will you marry me, my fair Elai?'
'I have told you the reason I cannot.'
'Then I swear I will destroy Sauron when the time comes, or die in the attempt.' He put his hand on his heart and the other on his sword-hilt.
'Oh, Ereinion, I hope the time does not come too soon. I fear I shall lose you!'
'Either you lose me, or you get me.'
The time did not come soon. Tinwen was presented to the court as Lady Elai. She remained close to Gil-Galad where ever he went. They spent centuries together, waiting for a dawn of blessed future.
Instead there rose a dawn of blood. Numenor fell, but the Faithful came to Middle-Earth, and Elendil came to Gil-Galad.
All too soon, in Elai's tearful eyes, it was time for the Last Alliance. Elai travelled with Ereinion to Imladris, where all gathered that opposed Sauron. There, in the last evening, many songs were sung in the halls of Elrond. And a song, rarely sung, was then sung of the destruction of Angband. Eönwë was praised. Ereinion saw tears brimming in Elai's eyes. He walked her out into a lonely terrace under the stars.
'You loved him.' It was a statement, not an accusation.
'Yes, but he loved me not. Now I cry for a love that is dead.
'I will love you till death and beyond! Our love shall not die! Do you trust me in this, my fair Elai?
'Oh, Ereinion!' Her kiss was full of passionate fire. It almost burned his mouth, like a boiling drink. Yet the aftertaste was sweet, as always.
'You should not go. I fear for your life.'
'This is my fate, beloved one. I am a warrior. And I have sworn an oath to you. For your sake I must face death, for your freedom I must battle Sauron the Cruel, even with my bare hands should my spear fail me.'
'But what shall I do with all the freedom in the world, if I cannot share it with you, my noble one?
'Ah, Elai!' Ereinion fell to his knees.
'I see I have to explain myself. In your captivation I also am captured. For I desire you, my sweet one! I long for our marriage. I go forth for your sake, but also for my own sake. I could not wait forever.' Suddenly he pointed at the moon.
'Look, there goes Tilion the hunter, ever in pursuit of your sister Arien. Every time he reaches her she burns him with her fire. Poor Tilion! Will you let me be like him till the end of my days?
'Not if I could help it'. Elai took his hands and gestured him to stand up.
'As I am now, I am filthy. A man that would take me as a wife is taken, would soil himself in the poisons of Morgoth.'
'You are impure, as you say, and yet you can live and smile and touch me. Were I to share your burden, could I not do the same?'
'What you suggest! I believe you could not, since I am of stronger make than you, and my strength has been increased by the fire of the silmarils. Had I not touched them, I would not be able to smile. You, I believe, would die a painful death.'
'And yet, yet I desire to take you, tonight! What is death and pain to one who has joined with eternal fire and emptied a cup brimmed with light! Cursed my honour that binds me! Cursed, cursed be Sauron that binds you!' As he spoke, he first embraced her tightly, talking almost into her mouth, then turned away, and buried his face in his hands.
'The cup, I fear, is brimmed with darkness, and the fire breathes evil fumes. Go to Mordor, as you must, my love... but I shall not wish you farewell... I shall ride beside you! Eönwë taught me how to use a sword. I have slain orcs, goblins, and a balrog, too.' Elai grinned wildly.
The rest of the night Ereinion Gil-Galad attended a feat more difficult than turning a mountain upside down; turning Tinwen's head. Unsuccessfully, of course.
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.