1. Thrall No More
But what a battle!
How it had felt to avenge his losses: mother, father, sister, lover. All perished yet now avenged. He had pictured their faces with every stroke of his blade, every arrow loosed.
In the peace of the early morning Lindur strolled through the camp making his way toward a central gathering spot. Enjoying the crisp and refreshing air he wandered from his intended path, his feet taking him nearer to the edges of the camp where he looked out across the rent and pitted land. The sky was clear and blue overhead and Lindur assuredly felt a new time had come and with his kin avenged he could make a final journey, across the seas from where he had left so long ago.
A movement on the plain near the camp caught his eye, a stumbling figure wrapped in a heavy cloak wandered aimlessly around. Noting the guards not too far away and the figures uplifted face he knew it could only be one of Morgoth's thralls, liberated yet bewildered in a world forgotten. They had looked pitiful, struggling from the depths and remnants of Angband, shadows of elves they once were. Lindur had been overcome and unable to assist in any way. Now he walked over, intending to speak with the guards, yet as he approached the wary figure swirled about and Lindur was halted in his steps upon seeing its face.
The face. So familiar yet so altered.
"Elenial" he breathed her name fearing anything louder would cause the spectre before him to disappear and vanish back into the unreality he was sure it belonged to. As if in a dream Lindur moved forward yet found his way barred by the two guards.
"It is best if you do not go near," said one as he laid his hand on Lindur's arm halting his movement "Her mind is almost broken"
"No!" said Lindur forcefully, shouldering past the guards in desperation.
The maiden before him shifted uncertainly as he approached, her eyes darting from side to side. The fear on her face pained him more than that which he had felt years before when he believed her lost forever.
"Elenial" he whispered, slowly stretching one hand out towards her, she took one short step in his direction yet still the bewilderment and fear was writ upon her face. She barely remembers her own name he thought bitterly. His eyes noted that beneath the heavy cloak there was nothing to her, a sickly thin body the dress she wore hung off like a cloth simply draped across her frame.
"That's it little one" he coaxed, using his affectionate name for her as she took another unsteady step towards him. Clasping her hesitantly outstretched hand warmly Lindur guided her the few more steps towards him and looked steadily into her dim eyes.
"It's me, Lindur," he said softly, trying to smile "Do you not remember your brother?"
She mouthed his name and then looked up, staring searchingly back into his eyes. Minutes past, the silence was overwhelming, no sound of beast nor bird or forest or stream she once found familiar and comforting. Strain showed upon her face as she wildly sought out any memory. Lindur dared not look away lest the eye contact was broken and with it any chance of her winning the battle with her damaged mind.
"You … you held my hand…" her words came slowly, "There was thunder, and I was scared"
Her words almost made him jump despite their quietness. The image of two young elves sheltered beneath the great boughs of an oak crept into his mind, one hiding behind the other, eyes wide as they glanced around her brother's protective form, their hands clasped tight as the storm raged overhead.
"Yes, that's right," he said, voice cracking with emotion "We had been wandering too long, mother was furious when I brought you home soaking wet and muddied"
"Mother!" Elenial gasped, followed by a shuddering breath as she threw herself into Lindur's arms, a memory springing into her mind."I have been so scared…" she sobbed, clinging to him tightly, "…and I am so lost."
Holding her as tight as he could, Lindur rested his head next to hers, stroking her hair gently as his own tears flowed.
"Fear not little one, I will help you find the way. I will hold your hand again."