4. Of Halvarís and Sian
(Comment by Gilrénna: This account was written by Rían, mother of Halvarís in Mithlond. She translated the accounting of Sían, wife of her son Halvarís, and mother of Halvarís II. She also wrote the accounts as told by the sons of Arvedui at this time)
It was the early days of winter when the Witch-king of Angmar came forth from Carn Dûm to contend with King Arvedui of Arthedain. The people of Arnor were never many, and the seeming endless skirmishes to the north and east had eaten away at them. The winter of 1974 of the Third Age of Middle Earth, hiding their advance behind a severe stornfront out of the north, the Witch-king attacked and routed Arthedain's beleaguered army of the Eastern Watch. They were able to hod out for a short time just north and east of the fortress city of Fornost, but King Arvedui could see that his resources were spent and only time would see the city beseiged.
Though the army of the Eastern Watch was quickly decimated, many small bands of men fought bravely, slowing the armies of the witch-king and buying a day and a night of precious time for the city. This gave chance for mostof the inhabitants to flee to the west. The women and children of the soldiers and royalty. I fled with my sister Ráinna and my daughters in Queen Fíriel's party, taking little with us. The wounded soldiers and the remnents of the exhausted Eastern Watch came with us as our escort.
Long did the battle for the city rage, but when the first breaches in the wall were made, King Arvedui and his men were forced to retreat. The regular army soldiers, commanded by Aranarth, the eldest son of the King, conducted a hurried, but orderly retreat south then west. The King and his Horse Guardsmen fought a tough rearguard so they could reach safety in the west. The younger sons of Arvedui rode about gathering all that were able to fight, and when the brothers were assured we had gotten well west of the battles, Aranarth left the youngest in command and they rode north and east in hopes to rejoin their father. in battle.
But they would never again find him. Instead they met a marauding vanguard of Warg riders, and though they slew many and forcing them to retreat, they were not strong enough to pursue them. So they screened their advance, raiding their colomns when possible and feinting them away from the pursuit, this allowed the refugees to make their way west to the Elven lands of Mithlond. King Arvedui and his men, after days of exhausting battle, were forced well north and west to the Ered Luin. There they took refuge from the harsh winter weather the ancient dwarf caves there. With little provision or winter clothing, they nearly starved and froze to death.
So it was that King Arvedui and his guard in their desperation sought help from an encampment of the Lossoth, the legendary Snowmen of Forochel Now Sorel was the eldest son of the Fohel, Chief of the Lossoth Foro Clan, and was the leader of the south camp. He would not offer any help, food or otherwise, to King Arvedui and his men, for they were uneasy with the foes of the Witch-king of Angmar and did not want to anger his cold breath.
But as the King pleaded for help from the unrelenting Sorel, a woman, short and petite, with dark eyes as coal and long dark hair flowing out from her fur cloak, walked up to Sorel. For she was Sían his sister, second eldest of the Chief's kin. Her curiosity of King Arvedui and his men was stirred. As she looked at the King & his men, she saw one guardsman, Halvarís, who stood at the right end of the line. As she gazed into his bright blue eyes, she became frozen both in movement and in thought. And Halvarís too looked into her dark, glowing eyes and was smitten, forgetting for a time the sorrows of these dark times. As the tall young guardsman gazed into the beautiful dark eyes of Sían it seemed to the King and the other Guardsmen that a cloud was lifted from him even though he was starved and weary, and sick also with worry about the fate of his younger sisters and parents. For they were in the retreat from Fornost, and he knew not what had become of them. Kallam was not seen again after the skirmishes in the Twilight Hills, and Rían he only heard left with the Queen.
But now the sight of one appearing so beautiful to him as Sían seemed to heal him at that moment in some way. But Sorel still would not help the King and his Guardsmen and demanded they leave their camp. Sían was shaken by her brother's loud voice and scolded him for having no mercy or pity on the tired, hungry men. She then agreed with King Arvedui to give them some fish they had caught through holes in the sea ice, and to send a messenger to summon their father, Chief Fohel.
Sorel was angered mightily by his sister's boldness and ready willingness to accept the strangers, of her usurping his leadership at the camp, and especially of her eyeing the strange man so. He struck her hard with the back of his hand with such force that she fell backwards in the snow. Halvarís quickly drew his sword, and some of the other guards near him did likewise.
But King Arvedui shouted to them,
"Men, sheath your swords, for do we treat as enemies ones who would feed us?"
As he said these words he stared coldly at Sorel, who, being terrified at the sight of the mighty blades of war, bowed in submission and moved away from the King & his men. Sían, recovering from the blow, was helped up gently by the hand of Halvarís, and long they stared into each other's eyes before she turned to the King and invited them to share their food.
The messenger came to the north camp and before long, Chief Fohel and his two younger sons, Sachel, and Syon, came to see the strange men who had appeared in the south camp. The Chief took council with the King, and agreed to help the King ere the cold arm of Angmar receded, but he would not let the King & his men stay in their encampment. Maybe it was partially out of fear of angering the Witch-King, and partially to appease his sons. Instead Chief Fohel called for his people that were skilled in building snow huts and sent extra fishermen out for more food.
Soon, King Arvedui & his men were set in an encampment of their own along the shore of the Bay of Forochel, and a fire was kindled using flint they found in the old dwarf cave, and from clothing, driftwood and animal fat given to them by the Lossoth.
Though the Chief forbade the King and his men from entering their camp, he did not forbid any of his people from mingling with the King's men in the King's camp. Chief Fohel allowed this for he desired to learn knowledge from the Dúnedain, and those of his people who were of a mind like Sían's did so freely, and learned much. In this, the Chief's council was divided between his three sons and his one daughter. Sorel wanted to abandon the King & his men saying,
"Why do we feed these men, who have nothing we value? Surely they are the enemy of the Witch-King, and we only bring his anger down upon us by helping them."
The other two sons agreed with him, with Syon speaking angrily,
"They are trouble, already bringing colder winds from the north, for there is yet no sign of thaw or no sign of the strangers leaving.... for this we will suffer"
But Sían, who was deemed wise by her people and favored by her father, spoke against her brothers,
"Though this winter is long and the winds of the north cold, we go with plenty, as fishing and trapping has been good, and has it not been spoken from the days of our forefathers that the kingdom of the south protected us much from the sickness of far off lands? We owe these people, for their existence alone has kept the wrath of the Witch-King from us, and for their sacrifice, we have given them nothing, yet they have always left us in peace."
Then Sorel breaks in saying,
"You, Sian would not be so eager to help them if you did not have eyes for the one."
Before Sian could reply, the Chief speaks up,
"Is this true? Sian, you keep this from me?"
"I did not want to raise the anger Sorel has for the King & his men in you, so I spoke not."
With this, the chief holds his head in his hands and says,
"I must think, please leave me all"
As February waned and March came, Chief Fohel would sit up on a small hill, watching his daughter and the tall stranger together in the King's camp. Soon, the Chief himself came to the King's camp, and at length would counsel with the King on various matters, but mainly about the love shown between Halvarís and Sían. It was during one of these meetings that Halvarís asked for Sían's hand in marriage, though they only met a little over a fortnight before. Her heart rejoiced in this, and he was glad and unburdened.
Long they sat together that day, and the sun broke through the clouds of snow and fog. The brightness of the sun on the snow outside the King's snow hut aroused both the King and the Chief, as the sun has not been seen by either of them since before the attack of the Witch-king. They emerged from the hut, flurries of snow were still being blown in the breeze, and wisps of fog lingered, but where Halvarís and Sian sat, the sun shone bright.
As the sunbeam widened around them a cheer started rising from the around the camp from mainly the Lossoth that were there, but soon the King's men joined in.
"Hail Halvarís and Sían! For their love broke the grip of the Witch-King!"
And there was much joy as the sun chased away the remnants of cloud and falling snow. The sun's warmth felt good and the gathered ice began to melt, and there was much happiness among all peoples there. However, watching from the small hill was Sorel and his brother Syon, and they were angered at what they saw, and they went back to the main camp of the Lossoth and told lies and stirred trouble among the people who would not go to the Kings camp. For most of those who liked King Arvedui and his men were in the King's camp on that day, and there was few there who would speak against the brothers. The sun also failed to break through the fog over the camp of the Lossoth for the dark hearts of the brothers held sway. In this way the smoldering dissention among the Lossoth was kindled.
Now the King and the Chief approached Halvarís and Sían where they sat, and they stood and bowed before the King and Chief. And Halvarís asked King Arvedui and Chief Fohel for permission to marry Sían. The Chief spoke first,
"Sian, my daughter, has appeared as a spring flower in bloom, and her eyes are alight as burning coal. All time before this has not been so. Who am I to extinguish her flame by denial of this? Yet I see only darkness in their path ere too short"
And King Arvedui also spoke,
"It is not our doom to remain here, and ere the ice breaks in the sun in the days ahead. A ship of Cirdan awaits afar and has come to bear us back south to our kin. Will you Halvarís then wish to stay here?"
"For I am sworn to you, and I will not take leave of you in time of war, lest I be struck down in battle, or in time of peace lest you grant it."
Turning to Sian, the King said to her,
"You have removed a vast burden from Halvarís, for he has suffered much for a man of the Dúnedain whose years only now reach for 34. He now has the spirit of a young man again. But dark times lay still ahead, though I cannot see them clearly."
For though King Arvedui had use of the Palantiri, much of their visions were murky and strange and could not be understood. It did tell him of the Elven ships that comes for them.
"Hard will be the days and unknown the dangers, for now we stand in the warmth of the sun, surely the night will see the return of the cold."
And the marriage between Halvarís and Sían took place that hour, and much burden and weariness were lifted from the people, and the day seemed longer, and the sun was loath to set, and its heat broke the ice on the bay.
When night fell the cold fog blew in once again from the north, and the fire on the beach almost failed, but was kindled anew by the spirits of Halvarís and Sían as they lay together, and Sian conceived.
The early morning light was gray with cloud, but the fog was gone, and a great ship was seen out on the bay. The King signaled the mariners by reflecting firelight from a shined shield, and King Arvedui and his men made ready to cross the sea ice to board. Last to leave was Halvarís, as he begged Sían to come with him. But the Chief felt a doom on the ship, and counseled the King to stay ere the season warms and days lengthen, for the Witch-kings breath was still strong. But King Arvedui did not heed his counsel. He instead thanked him for his kindness, and gave as bounty his ring, the Ring of Barahir. Sían wanted to go with Halvarís, but her fear for her father's vision and her heart told only spoke of death. Halvarís kissed Sían long and he begged again for her to come. But her fear of the great ship, her fathers prophesy, and her feeling of death she would not go. She instead begged him to stay with her, but he would not break his sworn duty to his King. For as glad it was the day before, the sorrow of the hearts of Halvarís and Sían weighed heavily on all there, Lossoth and Dúnedain.
"I will come for you ere summer comes."
Halvarís cried to Sían one last time to beg her to come with him as he boarded, but she would not. Sían wept and would smile no more. The ship was filled and all of the Dunedain were aboard. The Elven mariners made sail toward open waters while Halvarís stood and watched the shore until their distance became too great and watch fire ashore faded and he could see Sian no more.
After a days sail, with the Elven captains carefully navigating the broken ice, the night of ill wind came from the north. As foretold by the counsel of Chief Fohel, the out of the north swirld in the bay, tearing sail and driving the ships towards the great islands of floating ice. Fog and snow filled the dark skies before they could break into open waters, and the ships perished with all aboard as it was tossed into the ice and broke up.
Chief Fohel sensed this, and he gave the Ring of Barahir to Sian to keep ere the return of the Dúnedain. He hoped it would give her hope and lift the burden on her heart, but in her heart Sían knew she would see Halvarís not ever again.
The grief of Sían was deep, and sickness took her in the days ahead. It began the night her father gave her the ring, and grew the next day when word from the fishermen brought news of the shipwreck. The broken ice, hard seas, and heavy snow and fog would not allow them to get close to help, and all aboard perished.
As spring thaws came Sian spoke with the Clan's man of lore, and he spoke of much of days of grief ahead. Sian was with Halvarís's child, and her father two of her brothers had taken ill. Though the chief vowed to live to see his grandchild born, it was not to be. For his sons conspired to kill him and Sían, saying their acceptance of the Dúnedain led to their sickness. Upon his death, Sorel became chief of the Foro clan, and Sian, in fear of her and her child's life, fled south in hopes of finding Halvarís's kin.
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.