3. Chapter 3
"Hoom, hoom, yes little Elfling, while I am here I will keep you safe, as will the other one…"
I looked questioningly up towards Brethil's eyes. "Other one? There is another Ent nearby? Will I meet him also?"
"Hoom haroom, not an Ent, little one. An Elf."
"An Elf? Here? Where? Where is he? Who is he?" and I darted to and fro excitedly trying to spy him. Could it be the Elf of my dreams? I scarcely dared believe so.
Brethil laughed in his deep rumbling way. "He is always near when you are in the forest, Elfling. He guards you against any harm, when I am not here with you. He came by this place many times during the winter, hoom, to see if you were here."
My heart was racing. I was right. Even when Brethil was not with me, I had felt a presence in the forest, a protective presence! My Elf.
"Brethil, but why will he not show himself? Does he not wish to be known to me, or for me to know him? Why does he stay hidden from me?" I asked pitifully. Oh, why will you not show yourself, for I know in my heart you are the one from my dream!
"That I do not know, little one," Brethil said, lowering his eyes. "It is difficult for me to understand the hearts and minds of you young creatures, such haste, such bright energy. It is like shafts of dazzling sunlight, hoom, yes. And, like sunlight looked upon for too long, one can be blinded and confounded by it. You must learn patience, little Elfling. Not everything happens the way you wish it to. There may be a purpose to which you are not yet privy to. Let all things unfold in their own time, hoom."
I thought about Brethil's words, and they seemed to echo those of my elders. How difficult it was to be patient! I wanted to rail against those words, and opened my mouth to refute them. I paused and thought back to the day when my impatience and irritation almost brought me to harm. I remained silent in sullen recognition and resignation. Perhaps they were right after all. The time was not right. But when will it be? I thought miserably. Having learned of his existence, I was anxious to encounter my Elf and bring to fruition that which I thought was only a dream. How long must I wait? How long?
Brethil was not there next day when I returned, so I amused myself by visiting my "treasure cave". It had not been touched by winter's hand, or any woodland creature. Or so it seemed at first.
I retrieved my book and writing implements, thinking of committing yesterday's dialogues with Brethil to parchment. I opened to the last written page and inhaled sharply. A flower, unlike any from the forest, lay pressed within the pages. It was faded and flattened, but must have been a most beautiful shade of red. And the scent of it, sweeter than any herb or flower I knew. But where had it come from, and more importantly, who had placed it there? A word was written above it. Meril. An Elvish word? Was that the name of the flower? I would ask my mother tonight, for though I knew many Elvish words, this one was not familiar to me. I would bring the flower with me, for suddenly I knew who must have put it there. My Elf, of course. Then I stopped, apprehensive, for another thought had entered my mind: what if the village boys had finally come into the forest, discovered my copse and were now trying to trick me? But that thought was fleeting, dismissed as soon as it surfaced. The possibility of their having discovered this place was remote. No sign of disturbance lay anywhere to betray their invasion. I was aware of Brêg's destructive tendencies and knew he would not leave this place without ensuring all my treasures had been scattered or destroyed. I relaxed, settled myself against the tree which I had designated my "sitting room", and began to write.
Hours passed and the afternoon wore on. Loath as I was to leave, I remembered Brethil's caution about leaving the forest well before twilight, so I tucked my book and writing implements away and set off home. After supper, I showed the flower to my mother and asked her of the name meril. She said she had heard of these flowers, but they were not native to our part of the world. She said they were cultivated by Elven-kings and were the fairest of all flowers. "In the common tongue, we would call it a 'rose'," she said.
Rose, I thought. Elven-kings? Is that where this 'rose' came from, the garden of the Elven-king of Mirkwood perhaps? If so, how is it that my Elf came to acquire it? And what did it signify? I felt more confused than ever. Even Brethil's words about learning patience added to the confusion. When will it all come clear? Why have my dreams stopped? Will someone not help me? I went to bed, knowing less despite having learned more.
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.