14. The Watcher
Tathiel was sitting with Eärundra’s head in her lap, singing to her softly and helping support Legolas, who Eärundra was holding and petting. Legolas was reveling in the attention, playing as was his wont with Eärundra’s hair and cooing his own melody with Tathiel’s singing. They all looked up when Tinánia rushed in.
“What do you mean, Tinánia?” Tathiel questioned. “Did an animal drag it off or eat it?”
“No!” Tinánia was almost breathless. “I mean the horse is gone. The path is cleared of the rocks and the horse is just gone. There are no bones or anything!”
Tathiel felt her chest tighten with fear. “Did you see anyone?”
“No, and I listened to the trees. They did not tell me to beware and the birds yet sing,” Tinánia replied. “I looked all around, but I did not see anything. Although, I do not know very much about tracking. Perhaps I missed something. It has been several days since I have been up that way.”
Tathiel slid out from under Eärundra, laying the child’s head gently on a rolled blanket. She picked up Legolas, and walked to the cave entrance. She reached down, fingering the knife in her boot. It had been a week since the rock slide, and she had regained nearly full use of her arm and could walk unaided, although with a slight limp. She handed Legolas to Tinánia.
“I do not know that I know much about tracking, but I wish to go look just the same,” Tathiel replied. “I will be back in a short while.”
Tathiel slipped out into the sunlight, peering into the clefts of the hills that surrounded them. She saw nothing out of the ordinary, and like Tinánia heard no warnings in the whisperings of the trees and the sounds to which they had become accustomed in the hills were unchanged.
Walking did feel good, however, and she stretched her limbs and began the walk to the main path, turning and following it to the site of the rock slide. She had been trained some in tracking, all wood elves had such in their education, but she noted nothing to suggest that people had recently been that way. There was still a slight darkening of the ground where she has spilled the horse’s blood. She knelt examining the ground and noted that the ground had been swept clean, perhaps by a pine bough. The ground became more uneven and rocky the closer she got to the edge of the ravine, and in the gaps and uneven surfaces Tathiel noted tiny scraps of what appeared to be gristle and bits of flesh.
She surveyed the area again and found nothing out of the ordinary. The path was cleared, even though Tinánia had indicated that the way became impassable not far ahead. Perhaps there were inhabitants in these hills, she mused.
Tathiel walked back to the cave, her eyes watching the hills and wood about her, but she saw nothing. Unable to answer the riddle, she turned her mind again to the children. Eärundra’s injuries were healing, but as she expected the femur bone was slow to mend. A break to that part of the leg was a serious injury under the best of circumstances. Humans often never walked again and even an elf might suffer residual limitations because of it. She suspected that the child’s hips were also broken, and that meant that she had been unable to move since the injury. Tathiel had resigned herself that they may have to remain in their cave shelter for several weeks, and then hope to make it on foot to a friendly village where they might send word for help. She held out hope that King Thranduil’s warriors still searched for them.
The watcher was surprised by the one he now saw near the spring. He had thought the little one to be alone, as he had seen only her about for all the days he had been observing her. This one walked with a limp, yet he still noted a certain grace about her, much like that he had seen in the little one. He saw her scanning the hill, and knew she was looking for whoever had removed the horse. He blended into the shadows on his hill, and her eyes passed over him. Returning to his post, he settled in to resume watch over the cave.
The nights grew cooler and autumn finally passed into winter. Tinánia woke one morning and left the cave to retrieve water, as had become her morning routine. She stepped into the light, and was surprised by the glittering of snow clinging to the branches of trees, weighting down the pines and softly covering the ground. She pushed her hand into the snow, and smiled when the depth was midway up her forearm. She picked up a handful of the heavy wet snow and carried it back inside.
“It snowed! You did smell snow in the air last night, Tathiel!” Tinánia grinned as she re-entered the cave.
Eärundra was sitting up, propped against blankets to provide the most comfortable angle for her hips and leg. She laughed aloud as her sister placed the snowball in her hand, and then squeezed it.
“This is good snowball snow!” Eärundra cried. “We need to have a snowball fight, Tinánia! Oh, please, Tathiel, can you move me outside, just for a little while?”
Tathiel laughed. A good snowball fight might just do them all some good. “Yes, for a little while, but then you must take the pain medicine without argument when we come back in.”
Tathiel carefully picked Eärundra up, and carried her out of the cave. Tinánia place a blanket on the ground next to a rock of just the right height for Eärundra to hide behind. Tathiel lowered Eärundra to the blanket, and pushed a heap of snow to her. The snowballs flew almost immediately, Tinánia darting from rock to rock, throwing snowballs at her sister and Eärundra aiming and returning fire against the moving target that was her sister, then ducking her head to avoid the incoming globs.
Tathiel watched from near the cave entrance, the laughter and smiles on the faces of the youngsters bringing joy to her heart. She sat down on the snow, placing Legolas before her and freeing his arms so he could touch the white fluff around him. One little hand plunged into the cold, followed quickly by the other, and his little face changed from wonder to joy as he batted the snow back and forth.
“He’s giggling!” Tinánia exclaimed, stopping her assault on her sister.
Eärundra took full advantage of Tinánia’s distraction to pelt her with another snowball, this one covering her hair in white, and then quickly dripping down her back and face. Eärundra squealed with delight, for it was the best hit she had scored.
Tathiel picked Legolas up, and he squealed in frustration. He wanted to play! She moved him over to where Eärundra sat, and they all sat down and watched as Legolas plunged both hands back into the snow. His face lit up immediately at the cold on his hands, and he resumed swatting the snow with delightful abandon.
“It was definitely giggling,” Eärundra giggled. “I guess he likes the snow.”
Near the peak of the hill above them, the watcher sat. He was amused by the scene before him, as well as surprised. The infant had been brought out on several occasions in the month he had been watching, but this was the first time he had seen the small girl-child. She appeared to have been badly injured at some point. Even as he watched, the adult handed the infant to the little archer, and picked up the crippled one and returned her to the warmth of their shelter. The child still smiled, but her face had become pale and she appeared fatigued. Not long after, the little archer resumed her task of fetching water, although on this day he noted the adult scooped up snow and brought it inside as well. Her tasks done, he saw the little archer shoulder her bow and quiver and resume her hunt.
She had become quite good, and most days had managed to bring home at least a rabbit. He now wondered what they would do as the winter progressed and meat was less plentiful. He had not realized how many this little one was feeding.
Winter did progress, and the Iron Hills experienced one of the worst winters seen in recent years. Several severe snowstorms battered the hills, blocking the narrower paths and making navigation difficult. Tinánia several mornings found the entrance to the cave blocked by snow, and she and Tathiel had to dig a tunnel out and upwards until they broke free on top of the drift. The ability of the elves to walk atop the drifts was beneficial in that they could move about; yet made little improvement in their lot as the small animals that Tinánia had been faithfully catching could not. The spring stayed open all winter, but on most days they simply scooped snow and brought it inside.
By midwinter the lack of meat and inability to gather firewood had severely drained their resources. Their wood had dwindled to enough to last for only a few days, and they had eaten waybread solely for over a month. Tathiel estimated the waybread would last another month if it were all they ate, but the firewood was fast becoming an immediate problem.
Tinánia had taken to breaking the dead branches off of the surrounding trees after the first large storm had covered the ground in several feet of snow, but even this resource was now depleted. They had not an axe or other suitable tool for felling wood.
Tathiel left the cave and walked lightly upon the snow to the south, through the narrow canyon. The drifts were tall and deep, and it was difficult to see the edge of the cliff. She gazed out over the snow covered hills and valley. She could see the trees that bordered the river, but even the river appeared frozen and snow covered. The view, while beautiful, confirmed in her mind that they would not be able to leave any time soon. Eärundra was walking again, but she would never make a journey of this difficulty. While not terribly susceptible to the cold, none of them had clothes for a winter journey either.
A low, mournful howl broke the silence and echoed around her. She turned quickly, scanning the cliffs above her. A lone wolf stood on a wind-swept ridge, his neck arched and his muzzle extended as he sounded his call. The wolf was close enough to her that she could see his eyes, and they were hungry. She slipped back into the canyon and returned to the cave, a lingering fear heavy on her heart.
The watcher heard the call of the wolf, and watched as the adult turned to seek its source. He followed her gaze, and saw the male wolf standing tall on the rock. He sensed the hunger of the wolf, just as he sensed the fear of the adult. To the wolf she would become prey.
He knew that the adult and three little ones had not had fresh meat for nearly a month. He knew there were no longer any dead limbs within reach for the little archer to break from the trees. He knew that the wolf had a pack, and that pack would be seeking food. He also knew about the low-tunneled entrance at the back of the cave for he knew all the nooks and crannies of these hills. He knew that choices would need to be made.
Tathiel sat on the cave floor, rabbit skins spread around her, as she used needle and thread to sew the soft skins into a tunic. Small pieces had already been fashioned into tiny booties, and were currently being tugged off small feet by tiny yet determined hands.
“Hold him up for me again,” Tathiel instructed Eärundra.
Eärundra stood Legolas on his feet and held him up by hands. He immediately tried to bend down and grab at the booties on his feet, and became impatient with the hands holding him still, a small squeal accompanying his frustration.
Tathiel slipped the rabbit-skin tunic over his head and pulled it to his feet. Legolas’ frustration at his inability to reach his feet was immediately forgotten as he felt the same tantalizing softness encompass all of him. He patted and stroked at the material, and when Eärundra sat him back down he squealed in delight as he could again reach his feet. He rolled over on to his back, one furry foot already to his mouth and he grinned at his audience.
“I would say he likes his new clothes,” Tinánia laughed. “He is the silliest elfling I have ever seen. Look at him suck on his feet! One would think that he liked the taste of rabbit fur!”
Legolas merely giggled and kicked said feet in the air. He was the center of attention, and his infant mind enjoyed having three ellyth to hold, tickle, talk and play with him.
Tathiel smiled as she watched them play with Legolas. She fashioned additional pelts into hoods for Tinánia and Eärundra, and then set aside the remainder of the fur. At the rate Legolas was growing he would need another tunic before they left these hills.
“Do you know what today is?” she asked.
Eärundra looked expectantly at her sister, who thought for a moment before answering. A slow smile graced her face, and she said brightly, “It is the winter solstice!”
Tathiel laughed. “It is the eve of the winter solstice. Tonight in the Woodland Realm there will be a feast with dancing and games. The Great Hall will be decorated with sprigs of holly and pine boughs, and candles will light the tables.
“The trees outside the Great Hall will be glowing with candles, and tiny packets of sweets will hang from the lower branches,” Tinánia continued, her eyes closed as she imagined herself home.
“Nana will sing and Ada will play his harp,” Eärundra remembered. “They will drink of the finest of the King’s wine, and toast the year and praise Ilúvatar that shadow holds no sway over the Greenwood.”
“We should do something for Legolas’ first festival,” Tinánia jumped to her feet, excited. “He can have some crumbs of the lembas; since he doesn’t have to eat them all the time it will be a treat for him!”
“We can sing the songs they will sing tonight, and next year when he is home perhaps he will remember them!” Eärundra added. “And he already has new clothes, so that is special too!”
“I have one small candle left in my pack,” Tathiel offered. “We can burn it tonight.”
A moment of sadness seemed to descent upon them all, and Tinánia finally said, “We will burn it in memory of those who have gone to the Halls of Mandos, for Alagos and Queen Narawen and Elryndel.”
Tathiel gathered all three of the elflings in her arms, “They burn candles tonight, too, that flame bright with the hope to see us home.”
A soft birdcall disturbed their moment of quiet, and Tathiel jumped to her feet. It had been long since they had heard the voice of the birds, and it was late in the day for any to be about. She motioned the elflings to a protected corner of the cave and unsheathed her dagger. She moved to the entrance of the cave, sliding slowly along the wall to the opening. A bundle lay in the snow tunnel. She reached for it cautiously, and then picked up and quickly withdrew into the cave. She opened the bundle, and stared at the contents.
Dried strips of meat and berries, and various nuts, enough to feed them for several days, lay in the wrapping. A small, well worn but sharp axe, and a good sized knife, much larger than their small daggers, were wrapped in oilskin. Leather thongs and a large tanned hide completed the package.
Tathiel turned back to the entrance and crept slowly up the tunnel into the fading afternoon sun. Against the cave wall sat a large pile of firewood. She stepped onto the snow, and looked around. She could see no one. She looked for tracks around the woodpile, but found nothing deeper than the light prints they left behind. She stared into the hills for a few moments, but she felt no fear. Someone knew they were here, and this someone appeared to be a friend.
“Mae govannen, elvellon,” she called softly to the hills. “Elen síla lúmenn’ omentielvo.”
The watcher sat hidden in his perch, watching the adult gather an armload of wood and return to the cave. Her greeting warmed his heart, and he was glad she was unafraid. Settling himself more comfortably to watch over the shelter, he found joy in the songs heard faintly coming from within and he smiled when he heard the exclamations of the little ones inside.
In the distance the call of the wolf was heard, answered first by one, then another.
The Great Hall was lit with lanterns and candles, the trees sparkled with light and tiny packets of sweets were hung on the lower limbs of the trees. Warmly dressed elves were arriving for the great feast that was to be held while others played instruments and sang songs in greeting.
In the family quarters of the King the mood was subdued. Thranduil sat alone in his chamber, his head bowed, waiting for his children to finish preparations and join him. He wished they could forego this celebration, wished only to drink of his wine and lay himself in his bed and sleep this evening. Narawen loved the festivals and feasts, and he felt her absence on this night, felt his grief again overwhelm and consume him.
“Adar?” a voice spoke from the doorway.
Thranduil lifted his head and motioned Bregolas into the room. It was amazing how much Bregolas resembled him, he thought. Of the same height, with the same broad-shouldered build, and perhaps, unfortunately, the same personality. That thought made him smile, and Bregolas returned the grin.
“You would prefer the solitude of this room this eve?” Bregolas asked as he pulled up a chair and sat next to his father.
“My preferences are surpassed by my duty,” Thranduil replied softly, the slightest of sighs audible.
“The others are waiting outside,” Bregolas said. “I have come alone to make a request on behalf of Elenath.”
Thranduil grimaced, “Have I been so ill tempered that my own child dares not ask something of me herself?”
“No, Ada,” Bregolas laughed, easing the tension in Thranduil’s face. “But she knows not how to ask this. Thusly she has asked her much wiser and honey-tongued brother to speak on her behalf.”
This remark did cause the corners of Thranduil’s mouth to crinkle in a slight smile. “Still arrogant and over-confident, I see.”
“Yes, well Naneth always said I was your son,” Bregolas laughed, but he chose his words carefully.
Thranduil stiffened at the mention of his wife, and again bowed his head.
“Ada,”, I do not wish to cause you pain,” Bregolas said cautiously. “We miss our Nana,” dreadfully, but we must speak of her. Elumeril needs to speak of her and of Alagos. We need to speak of Legolas. We speak of them amongst ourselves, but never in front of you. You comfort us in our grief, but you do not use their names.”
“Bregolas, must we …..have this discussion now?” Thranduil asked, his face pained.
“Elenath wishes to give the blessing this evening,” Bregolas hurried on to his point, “the blessing that Nana,” usually gives before the feast. She has worked on it for several days. She wants to remember those who have fallen this last year, those who are missing and those who are searching for them.”
Thranduil sat silent for several moments, his eyes closed and his head bowed. He finally drew a deep breath, and stood, facing his son.
“Call in your brothers and sisters.”
Bregolas did as he was bidden, wondering what his father had just decided in his mind. Lathron, Celebrinduil, Elenath and Elumeril entered the room. All were dressed for the banquet in rich robes befitting their position as children of the king. Thranduil stood facing them, his hands clasped behind his back, his face pensive as if he contemplated matters of great importance. Elumeril fidgeted in place, her hand twisting in her gown as she longed to race to her Ada and throw herself in his arms. She stared at her father, willing him to look at her, and finally he did. Her face lit up, and a small smile appeared on her lips. She let go of her dress, and rocked on the balls of her feet, waiting, wishing…..
Thranduil watched her for a moment, and then beckoned her with one finger to come to him. She was across the room in a flash, and he was hit by a flying bundle of elfling about his midriff. He scooped her up and hugged her close, and then settling her on his hip turned to face the others.
Smile now appeared on the faces of Bregolas, Lathron and Celebrinduil. Elenath still faltered, hesitant, wondering if her father would allow her to give the festival blessing. Thranduil set Elumeril down, and taking her by the hand walked to stand in front of Elenath. He reached for her hand, and raising it to his lips kissed it gently.
“My Lady, I would be honored if you would sit next to me as hostess this eve, and give the blessing upon our people,” he said formally. “I understand you have prepared words. Is there anything we can do to assist you?”
Elenath beamed. “Oh, thank you Ada!” she flung her arms about his neck and he hugged her close, tears brimming in his eyes.
“There is one thing I would like to do, Ada,”. I would like Urithral sit at the family table with us, and I would like another special table for the families of Elryndel and all the families of the warriors who have gone to the East.”
Thranduil glanced at Bregolas, who nodded that it would be done.
“And Ada,” Elenath added, “Elumeril would like to sit next to Urithral.”
Thranduil glanced down at the elleth still holding tight to his hand.
“Yes, Ada, I would like that. He doesn’t have Ethiwen or Tinánia or Eärundra this holiday,” Elumeril explained.
Thranduil felt his heart well, and his eyes tear, at the compassion of his little ones. He had thought of Urithral, of course. Looking at his daughters at that moment he saw Narawen, for he knew it was from she that they had inherited their tender hearts.
“Then it will be so,” he replied. “You may go to the Great Hall and see to the seating arrangements”
His daughters hugged him and dashed from the room. His three sons stood before him still, Bregolas grinning, Celebrinduil proud, and Lathron….the best descriptor of Lathron would be paternal.
Lathron loved all his siblings dearly, and especially had seen to the well being of his sisters these last months. He was glad to see them working through their grief and turning their energies to the concerns of others. It was what his Naneth would have wanted, and Lathron was glad to see to this part of their education.
“My sons, have you aught to ask of your ill-tempered father this evening?” Thranduil asked, facing the three of them.
“No Adar. I ask to be excused, that I might see to Elenath’s plans,” Bregolas laughed.
“Nor I, Ada,” Celebrinduil replied. “I do not believe you to be ill-tempered, not matter what Bregolas says.”
Bregolas elbowed him in the stomach, and the two left pummeling each other as Thranduil held open the door for them.
Thranduil returned to his chair, and motioned Lathron to sit beside him.
“What of you, nín ion? Thranduil turned his attention to the son he related to the least, and the one he felt he had failed the most these last months.
Lathron was silent, as he had been for these long days and weeks. He often knew not what to say to his father, and limited his words to those involving affairs of the realm in which he advised. He remained haunted by the dreams of his Naneth, and now of his infant brother.
Thranduil felt his heart soften to this son as they sat in silence. He reached out and took Lathron’s hand, squeezing it gently when he felt Lathron might pull away. Lathron relaxed slightly when Thranduil did not let go, and instead savored this moment of intimacy with the father he dearly loved.
“I am sorry, Lathron.” Thranduil finally said. “You are tenderhearted as was your mother, and I have always been at a loss to know how to comfort you. Diheno nin, for when you needed me I was not there. Yet you have never failed to be there for your brothers and sisters, and I appreciate that.”
Lathron lifted his hand with his father’s to his cheek, and leaned against it. He slid from the chair, and kneeling in front of his father laid his head in father’s lap. Thranduil wrapped his arms around this child, stroking his hair, thankful for this reconciliation.
“I am sorry, Ada. I miss them so much it hurts.”
Thranduil hesitated a moment, then asked, “Do you still blame yourself?”
“I do not know, Ada. I do not understand these dreams that I have, and I miss mother all the more because she did. I know it was not any fault of mine that this happened, and I do not believe I could have prevented it.”
“Do you blame me?” Thranduil asked softly.
Lathron’s head came up in surprise, a look of disbelief on his face, “No Ada. I have never blamed you.”
“I blame me,” Thranduil admitted. “I blame myself for going on the trip; I blame myself for not taking more guards, I blame myself for allowing them to go to the Iron Hills.”
“Ada, how could you have known this would happen?”
“I could not,” he sighed. “Yet, I wish to blame myself, for I wish to be angry at someone. The men who killed your mother and Alagos are dead, so I cannot even be angry at them anymore.”
Lathron was quiet again for a moment, and then looking his father in the eye he said, “I had another dream last night.”
Thranduil closed his eyes, wondering if he dared ask, yet he really wished to know.
Lathron was surprised. He had not told his father about the dreams he had of his infant brother, and Bregolas had not asked his leave to discuss the matter. Thranduil sensed his unspoken question.
“I was in the garden one night when you and Bregolas spoke on your balcony. I was glad to see you speaking with your brother, glad you could grieve with him. I heard what you told him about Legolas, about his resemblance to his mother. I wished to speak with you about this, but I could not. I barely harbored hope that he lived, and it was only when the message from Rawien reached us that I truly began to believe our little greenleaf might survive.”
“He survives Ada. I am sure of it,” Lathron said. “He grows big and strong, and on this night he was dressed in rabbit skins, of all things, Ada. His hair is golden and his eyes the brightest blue. He laughs and smiles much, and he is loved.”
“You can know all of this from your dreams, your visions?” Thranduil questioned. He had never asked about his son’s dreams, never wondered about their meaning.
“I do, Adar. The message from Rawien confirmed things I have seen. The message stated that Tathiel nurses him, and spoke of his looks as I have described. The daughters of Urithral dote on him, and Tathiel loves him as she would a child of her own flesh. These things the chief of the village told Rawien. They are the same things I have seen.”
“What else did you see in your dream last night?”
“I do not know how to interpret it all, Ada. I wish I did. They are caught in a bad storm, and someone has aided them. I do not know who or why; but they were celebrating the solstice as we are, and Legolas was very merry in the attention of the others.”
“Could you see any of the ones that hold them captive?”
“No Ada. I have never seen that.”
Thranduil was quiet, then he turned to Lathron, who still knelt before him.
“I love you, Lathron,” he cupped his son’s face in both hands, and leaning down kissed him on the forehead. “Please remember it always, for I neglect too often to tell you. I would like it if you would tell me more of your dreams sometime. I cannot promise to understand, but I do wish to know more of this little golden haired child and I wish to know you better too.”
Thranduil stood, and raised Lathron with him. “Come, we have a feast to attend.”
The Great Hall was filled with elves and buzzing with activity when Thranduil and Lathron entered. Many elves were seated and more were seeking their tables, while the minstrels and musicians practiced in a corner. The hall was brightly lit, and gaily decorated with ribbons, holy and boughs of fragrant pine. The family table sat upon a low dais, and immediately in front of it a longer table had been set. Already it was nearly full, and the elves there were sad yet honored by their places.
Elumeril was seated next to Urithral, and she held his hand in hers, her small body resting against his chest as they watched the activity. Lathron joined Bregolas and Celebrinduil at the table, and they stood behind their chairs. Elenath stood behind her Naneth’s chair. Thranduil stood in the entrance, and waited until his herald announced his presence. All of the elves quieted, and stood with heads bowed as their King walked to his chair on the dais. He stopped in front of his daughter, and bowing, kissed her hand. He turned and faced the many faces that now turned his way.
“I am pleased to see all of you here this evening. We celebrate this winter solstice with feasting and song and dance, and thank the Valar for their provision and watch care over us.”
Thranduil seated himself in his chair, and turned expectant eyes to Elenath. She trembled, and he reached out and squeezed her hand; Bregolas did the same on her other side.
“My father has granted me permission to speak the blessing over this feast and festival,” she began in a clear voice. “I wish to begin with a remembrance of those who have gone to the Halls of Mandos for they were much loved and shall be greatly missed.” She turned to her father, and he rose and lit the candle in the middle of the family table, “In memory of Queen Narawen, for she was love and light to us all.”
A hushed silence was upon the Hall, and many eyes sparkled as the bright lights reflected off their tears. Elenath motioned next to Bregolas, who lit the candle in front of the chair that was Alagos’, “In memory of Alagos, who lived life with the vigor of his name, a fierce storm that battled any foe and laughed with the same intensity.”
She motioned next to the table in front of her, and a stately she-elf rose, with several of her own grown children, lighting the candle that sat amidst their plates. “In memory of Elryndel, who served this realm and his king for nearly three millennia, and whose greatest joy lay in coming home always to the family he loved.”
‘To those who are missing,” Elenath continued, and Urithral stood with Elumeril and together they lit two of the three candles placed in front of Urithral, and the single candle near Elumeril and to the right of the king. “Dearly beloved children of Urithral and Ethiwen, Tinánia and Eärundra, who we know are being brave and courageous as any tithen ellyth could be; and Legolas,” Elenath’s own voice caught and she struggled for a moment to gain control of her emotion, “our little brother who we wish to meet soon,”
Lathron rose, and lit the candle in front of him, “In honor of Tathiel, who has loved and served this family for longer than I can remember. She is nana to them all right now.”
Elenath motioned for all the elves who sat at the table in front of her to stand, and said, “In honor of those who search, who are facing cold and danger and hardship to return our missing to us,” she said, and the family of each warrior lit the candle in front of them as she spoke their name, “Galithon….. Bellion…… Meren…… Elunell…… Sadron…… Laerion….. Varandil….. Lachthoniel…… Rawien……. Ethiwen,” she finished, and Urithral lit the final candle before him when his wife’s name was spoken.
“We have much to be thankful for this year, and I thank the Valar and Ilúvatar for their provision and watch care over us all. I ask Námo to comfort and heal my mother, Alagos and Elryndel in the Halls of Mandos. I beseech the Valar to protect Tathiel, Tinánia, Eärundra and Legolas, and to guide and protect all of the warriors who seek them. I ask for the blessings of the Valar for us all in the Woodland Realm. Please eat, drink and be merry this eve, and leave a candle lit this night in your home for the memory and hope of those we honor this evening.”
Elenath sat; trembling, and Thranduil motioned for the feast to be served. He waited until the voices and sounds of the elves filled the Great Hall, for that is how long it took him to gain control himself, and then he turned to Elenath and pulled her into his arms.
“Elenath sila am le, nin sell,” he whispered in her ear. “Thank you.”
Mae govannen, elvellon = Well met, elf-friend
Elen síla lúmenn’ omentielvo = A star shines on the hour of our meeting
nín ion = my son
Diheno nin = forgive me
Elenath sila am le, nin sell = A star shines upon thee, my daughter
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.