1. Prologue: The Drought
I have never seen my father beg, but that does not mean it has never been done. I know he begged Glorfindel of Imladris to petition Lady Galadriel on our behalf. He was too proud to ask for her help on his own, but desperate times make for strange compromises and he was not above entreating Glorfindel, her kinsman. I was only a boy at the time, hardly more than twenty, but I know as well as any what happened. Three harsh, snowless winters had been followed by summers of drought. The river became low and muddy, the earth turned as dry as sand, and leaves shrivelled and fell from the trees. As the parched forest withered, the animals fled. Our people, left with nothing to hunt or scavenge, slowly starved. So, after three years of waiting for a reversal of fortune that never came, my father had to place the lives of our people above our pride. It is better to live on the mercy of another than die on your own, he said.
That was the year, the third year, that Master Elrond sent a handful of his useless councillors to assess our situation and offer help. What they thought they could do besides starve with us, I do not know, because even the great Elrond could not make rain fall where it was desperately needed. They looked at our dry land, looked at our sorry river, looked at our depleted food stocks, and agreed that things were very dire indeed. Their course of action would be to make a report of it to Elrond and return the next year to see if things had improved.
Father had a different idea. Now that Eryn Galen was no longer green but brown at midsummer, he knew we could not stay another year, though his solution was heartbreaking. We had to leave the forest. We would travel south-west to Lothlórien, to settle at the western edge of the wood along the river Celebrant at a respectful distance from Caras Galadhon. The land of Celeborn and Galadriel had not been touched by the drought, one of Elrond's councillors had reported. The land was rich and the forest free from evil, and we could live very happily there. First, though, we required Celeborn's leave.
This is the part of the story I do not know well. I was barely twenty years old, after all, and nobody thought to tell me the details. But I know Father begged Glorfindel of Imladris to petition his kinswoman Galadriel, who could in turn present our case to Celeborn. What exactly was agreed, I do not know, but from the hollow, defeated look in Father's eyes I believe he expected to lay aside his crown and relinquish kingship of our people to Celeborn. He watched Glorfindel ride off and thereafter did not speak for many days, save for a few necessary words.
And then, fifteen days after Glorfindel's departure, the rains began. A heavy, soaking rain filled the forest with the scent of sweet water and the promise of greenery. Days of warm sunshine followed, and then more rain, and more sun, in a perfect cycle. People laughed and danced and admired the fine mist of tiny new plants that began to appear on the forest floor, while we children stripped naked to play in the puddles. Father, earlier desolation forgotten, bragged that our luck had made a turn for the better and we would no longer have need to wait on charity from Celeborn. It was just as well. No emissary from Lórien ever came to invite us to live in those fair lands. The matter fell out of mind, and it was discussed no more, until Glorfindel returned to Eryn Galen.
That was the year I turned forty-seven.
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.