"No!" screamed Laerunye, the fair elven Lady, when that man began parting her legs. The elfin was scared to death, so she did obey to any of his wishes. He had threatened to kill her if she would refuse to give herself to him, like he had been killing the half of her family. Most of the Elves of Lúthien had been able to escape to Lothlórien or Rivendell or even to Númenór, the land of men, but Laerunye was too weak to fight or even run away. And so she stayed where she was, being an easy victim to those cruel men. That man, that now had crept onto her, Emonthurin by name, placed his seed into her and then left, taking all the riches and precious things with them, leaving the place destroyed and dead. The only elf that survived it all was Laerunye, and her heart was full of pain. It had not taken long for the conquerors to move on, thus no living elf could be found in Lúthien, except the young elven maiden. There were more cruel ways to kill the immortal elves then just taking their heads, but instant torture would even do good as well. The group set off to find some place else to kill and harm, leaving Laerunye on her own, for suffering and dying. This one man, Emonthurin, knew perfectly well that elves could not die from any injury but being raped meant for them to lose a part of their immortality and this would weaken them so much that they would die.
But one thought, Laerunye knew about what was growing inside of her, that she carried below her heart, made her pull through and survive the worst of pain. When she came down for birth and for the very first time saw the baby, she was amazed by the beauty of the small elven girl. Elves naturally are the most beautiful creatures in Middle Earth, but this baby surpassed them all. Bright as Lady Galadriel herself she was, and so Laerunye named her Márovaí, what meant 'friendly spirit of men's heart', and surely, she would drive men crazy. Márovaí was all the heart and soul of her mother, and she lightened up her life to the full. Pain and harm were soon forgotten and happily the two of them lived in the forests of Lúthien, alone, in peace. When she grew up, she did not develop like a normal elf, her hair stayed short and got a touch of red gloom. This was strange, thus she was not one of the Wind-Elves, only they had red hair.
One of the Mirkwood Elves, a young fair lad with long blond hair and green clothes, watched the girl, being fascinated by her from the very first moment on. He now drew his white horse near her gray one, dismounting, helping her up onto her own horse, a relatively small stallion of an awesome color. For one second she was so close to him, allowing him to breathe her lovely scent, feeling her frail figure close to his body. She smiled at him and he melted in her deep green eyes that were sparkling like the stars at night.
"What is your name, dear lad?" she asked, not being shy at all. He was startled by the sweet sound of her voice, endearing and light as a bell.
"My name, my Lady, is Legolas..." There she smiled again, then made her horse move forward, leaving Legolas standing there, astounded. And so they moved out of the green forests of Lúthien and entered Mirkwood three days later, without speaking a word at all.
Inside, the king welcomed them warmly, giving them bed and rest, and food more than they could imagine, and making them stay with them. But Laerunye always thought of Lúthien, which was her homeland that she just could not forget. She grew pale and sad, and not even the love from Thranduil made her cheer up.
When now Legolas wanted to show her how to use bow and arrow, Márovaí was playing fun on it.
"I do not have skills like that." Márovaí exclaimed, holding the bow.
"Everyone can learn how to fight with a bow. Believe me, even I managed to learn." Legolas smiled in a sweet way and Márovaí had to laugh. Things were just turning out to be fine and all of her best friends were around. Nalana, Legolas' and her own sister, a very nice little elven girl at the age of 250 years, beautiful and kind, and Ewennir, an elf her own age, and fair, and not to forget Legolas, who was always caring for her. Márovaí felt like having the best time of her life.
"The water talks to you? And you talk back to it?" Márovaí asked, astounded.
"I cannot explain, it was really strange. I could feel the water speaking to me, and what it told me...tales and myths so old that no one remembers, older than the mountains, or the foundations of the world. It told me about the growing and settling of mankind and about the Gods of Middle Earth, and the Elves that were placed in Middle Earth by the Gods of Middle Earth." Ewennir smiled, her eyes were shining bright. "I know now why I am meant to be. I know now why I am here..."
"I seem to understand, although I, for myself, have never experienced anything like that before. I am not sure, must every elven being have such kind of magical ability? Then, I have none that I know of."
"Dear friend, don't you worry. See, I have just found out about it, and so will you find out about your own when the time is right. But, you are right, not every elf inherits such powers, but I am sure that you have abilities that are to save the world."
When Márovaí now looked at her, Ewennir seemed to have grown older and wiser. The elf smiled at her and stood up. "Can we come back here tomorrow?"
"We can come here everyday, when you wish to." With that, Márovaí took her hand and together they made their way homewards.
Ewennir and Nalana always smiled when they saw the two of them and did not try to keep them apart. Nalana, young as she was, was glad that her brother had finally found someone that spoke to his heart the way that Márovaí did. Nalana was always caring about both, but soon Ewennir took the role of her elder sister. She was so content with the development of her life that she did not recognize the change of her father. No one did realize it, not even Legolas, although he had been the one that was always close to him. From time to time there was something that made him wonder, but, still, Márovaí made all worries vanish with just one smile.
And indeed, she smiled very often. Mostly, whenever she saw him. It felt to him like the moon and the sun rising at the same time when she appeared, or even, when he heard her amazing voice. He often listened to her learning Nalana and Ewennir the old Songs, of the Earth, the Sea and the Woods. In return Ewennir showed her how to listen to the water and how to talk to it, and Nalana trained her in archery, for herself being trained by Legolas. He often helped them to improve their skills and techniques, and after a short period of time, Márovaí thought she was better than he himself.
It was hard for Laerunye to leave her beloved ones behind, but she just could not stay in Mirkwood. The green fields of Lúthien called, stronger than anything she had ever longed for. She could not go on caring about the others, now it was time to get on with her own life, even if that meant to live alone. She knew, Nalana and Márovaí would have been willing to come with her if she had only asked for that, but it would be better for them to stay in Mirkwood. The elfin's heart was sad but this time she had to do the only right thing and that was to go back to Lúthien.
Legolas was the first one to experience the change. He, of course, had recognized Márovaí's overwhelming beauty, but, he always considered her to be a friend. Now, he saw the woman in her, and that made his heart crave for another playful touch or for just another smile. Márovaí felt that, too. Her point of view on Legolas had changed and her behavior towards him, as well. There was a sparkle in his eyes she dreamt of at night, and she wanted to look into those eyes forever. More often now they strolled through the woods alone, on horseback or on foot. Late at night they came home, whilst early in the morning they had been leaving.
Nalana begged: "Please, Márovaí. I want to learn the song of the Angel. It reminds me of my mother and Laerunye. It fills my heart whenever I hear you singing it. It makes me see things clear, when grief is still to near for me." Her bright blue eyes smiled at the fair elfin. Márovaí finally agreed.
"But, dear elven girl, remember my words, this song can break a heart as well as it can mend it." Slowly she started singing it, again and again, until Nalana joined her with her own light voice.
"Spend all your time waiting for that second chance, for a break that would make it okay. There's always one reason to feel not good enough and it's hard at the end of the day. I need some distraction, a beautiful release, memory seep from my veins. Let me be empty and weightless and maybe I'll find some peace tonight.
In the arms of the angel, fly away from here, from this dark cold place youre at and the endlessness that you fear. You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie. You're in the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort there.
So tired of the straight line and everywhere you turn, there's vultures and thieves at your back. And the storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lies that you make up for all that you lack. It don't make no difference, escape one last time, it's easier to believe in this sweet madness, this glorious sadness that brings me to my knees.
In the arms of the angel, fly away from here, from this dark cold place youre at and the endlessness that you fear. You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie. You're in the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort there."
Nalana smiled contently. Chanting the song she jumped up and scurried away, out into the dark, into the woods to Ewennir. Márovaí had to smile whilst watching her. How much she loved this child. Legolas had watched them the whole time and felt a longing inside his heart he had never felt before.
Thranduil watched them with rising suspicion. But Legolas and Márovaí did not care at all, they enjoyed their youth and freedom and experienced their newly discovered love towards each other. There were feelings that they both never felt before, a never-ending passion, a fire that burnt between them and within their hearts and souls. But then when Legolas became aware of the anger of his father, he began to see the danger and cruelty that would now lie in front of them. He clearly felt the pain that Márovaí would soon feel and his own, even yet, where she did not know about it all. The Elf did not let his father sense that he was knowing about the plans to separate them, and he did not tell Márovaí about his worries. This would only make things worse, he thought.
But as he had feared, things turned out to be worse ever. The king of Mirkwood lost his mind, seeing it all slip away from him, the woman that he learned to love and now his very own son, the only heir there was for the throne of Mirkwood. And he would not have let this all be destroyed by just one senseless decision of a wench. In the same instant he did not think about his own decision on the lives of Legolas and Márovaí.
When, the following night, Márovaí slipped into Legolas room, the king had already alarmed his warriors. More than 10 bows were aimed at the two of them. They glared at each other and Márovaí then perfectly knew what Legolas had been knowing for a long time. She was shocked but remained silent, when three of the Elves got hold of her, pulling her out of the reach of Legolas who was trying wildly to break free. But the men that held him back were stronger than him, so he had to helplessly watch them carry his love away. Thranduil then postured himself in front of his son.
"Legolas!" he spoke, his voice full of triumph. "You know that it has to be this way. There could be no other choice for you to be made. You may now think there would be, but, I know, there is not!"
"Did I decide? I did not decide!" Legolas cried out.
"No, because you would have chosen the wrong path. So I had to make a decision for you, to the best of my people, of your people."
Legolas glared at him, a dangerous gleam in his eyes told Thranduil that his son would not obey to his orders.
"You better forget about that shier. If you stray to seeing her again, you both will suffer. I cannot cast her out, she is one of the last descendents of Lúthien, but if she leaves Mirkwood, then it will be forever and she will be seen as an outcast, not wanted anywhere. So, then try to get clear about what you wantLiving alone or never-ending suffering!"
Legolas winced at the cruelty in his fathers voice.
"Hear me, son, there are rules."
"Rules?" Legolas cried. "Old-fashioned traditions! Ancient ways, stubbornness of ancestors. Is this the way it should be and continue? Then, indeed, I choose suffer, thus I will not live without her!"
Thranduil laughed hard. "Then your wish shall become truth."
Two men appeared in the doorway.
- Blood on the Snow -
"You know what to do!" gave the king his orders to the two men. And off they were, grinning cunningly. Legolas grew pale and his knees started to shiver when he began to realize.
"What are you doing!" he yelled, searching for the eyes of his father.
"It was your decision, Legolas. I do as you please!"
The young Elf shook his head in a fury. "Torture was not what I chose for her!"
"Well, your decision was made and now turned into reality. I do not care anymore." With that he turned and left Legolas standing alone. The Elf-mans heart heaved with anguish and pain, and his thoughts were running wild. He wanted to run out of the room, searching for Márovaí, but his body just did not want to move. He ended up looking out of the window and saw those two men carrying the elven girl out to the free place in the middle of the court. Márovaí had a wild but stern look upon her face when she could cast a glimpse on Legolas, seeing him crying.
"Have no fear!" she spoke out loud. "They cannot separate us!"
"You think so?" Thranduil, standing next to her, smiled. "I can show you how it will be. Your path has been chosen and not by me, but from my very son who had followed my will."
"Your will? Legolas would never follow your force." Márovaí cried out when she saw a black dressed Elf coming up to her, in one hand holding a brand mark, hot and red in flames, she then could smell burnt flesh when it was placed on her bare leg, right beneath the hip. She winced but did not speak a word of pain, although she felt like screaming and ripping her hair off. The ache was incredible, but the Elfin was brave. Thranduils content smile faded slowly, seeing that he could not really hurt her with this kind of torture. He stepped forward.
"Now that you have this branding, this mark should be your only guide into disgrace and demise. May others treat you like a swine. May you never find a place you can call home. May you travel restless and never find peace." A nod from the kind made one of the men around go and the gray stallion was brought to her. "I will not let you leave without a friend. And now, I bid you goodbye." With that he turned and looked at Legolas, who was still standing at the windowsill, unable to move. Tears were straining his face, but at all, he did not care about that. He saw Márovaí blinking away upcoming tears as she now raised her hand to wave at him. With wary thoughts she then lowered her head and turned to go. The horse followed her and right then when she went through the gate, the big white dog ran up to them, barking and growling at everyone who wanted to hold him back.
A slight smile went across Márovaís face when she felt the wet nose of the dog touching her palm. But her heart was burdened with pain and anguish if she could make it all alone. Thoughts tormented her mind, thoughts about Legolas. Why hadnt he come out, at least, to bid her goodbye? She was scared, yet not knowing where to turn to or where to go. She did not know the way to Lúthien, she did not know any way to anywhere, except to Lake Esgaroth. Would that, for first, be a safe place for her? Márovaí turned north and sadly stepped forward. Glaring back at the walls of the court, she thought she saw Legolas, but it was only bare and hopeless imagination. She wiped the tears away from her eyes and brushed her short hair back with one hand before she mounted the gray horse.
"Aerlinn, my brave friend" she whispered, hiding her face in his long and silver hair. The stallion snored softly and the dog looked at the girl. "And my best Islay." She bent over the neck of the horse and touched the dogs head, fondling through its thick fur. "Let us go then, let us begin our never ending journey into the strange lands of Middle Earth. We will yet not yield but strive and find, together we will make it." With that, she led both, horse and dog, into the wild, in direction to Lake Esgaroth.
Legolas was still standing at the windowsill, paralyzed. He had just seen how his father had cast out his love of life, and could now barely follow her vanishing into the forest. Her silver dress reflected the pale sunlight. Until yet, she had always been wearing dresses, carrying her small bow in one hand while hunting. Legolas imagined how she would look like in at least a week, thin, pale and in rugs. How could she survive? Legolas made a few steps back, as if to flee from tears and heartache, but there was no escape. The Elf fell to his knees and covered his face with both hands, failing to hold in sobbing and crying. He felt like his heart being torn out of his chest, so much it hurt.
There he sat for a long time, he could not tell, when his father came back into the room.
"Legolas, stand up! Stand up onto your own two feet!" he demanded, but this time, Legolas refused.
"Legolas! Do not temp me to do harm. You know that this is within my power!" Thranduil threatened.
"I know what is within your power, Father! But, no, I, this time, do not agree. My mind is not within your might. It would have been my decision to make, not yours!" Legolas did not dare to look into his fathers eyes.
"Well son, you would have made the wrong decision. We talked about that beforehand and I do not want to discuss it again. It is better for us all this way."
"You mean, it is better for you! Why cant I be happy?"
"Arent you happy?" the king said, cunningly. "Women only cause worries, they die or leave you behind with a broken heart."
"Dont you dare to think me being the same as you! I am not like you! I still have feelings."
"Dont tell me! I think it is not too far fetched to think that this wench has already poisoned your mind."
Legolas stood still in sudden awareness. "Why cant you let me live my life the way I want? I am not like you, I would not have Laerunye go away. And if I did, then there must have been particular reasons for that, reasons that she had. But you are only thinking about your own personal wishes and seldom about those that should concern you."
Thranduil lifted a hand and slapped Legolas across the face, so hard that the latter fell to the ground. There he laid, unable to move because the punch was stronger than anything he had ever experienced.
The king now laughed. "See, my son, this is the only power that can show you how wrong you were."
"I was not wrong!" Legolas said, blood running down his chin. His father laughed even more.
"You are weak, Legolas, but time will come and strengthen you."
A witch appeared behind Thranduil, speaking in strange tongues. Legolas felt a huge power getting hold of him and deteriorating his senses. Soon he was only cringing on the floor, wincing.
"Do not try to fight it, young fool," the witch said, "This will only make it worse.
Legolas did not respond. Inside, he gathered all his strength left to resist.
Márovaí had been riding the whole day, she wanted to reach Lake Esgaroth as soon as possible. In mid-day, when she was resting, a terrible, unnamable fear crept upon her, making her heart miss a beat.
"Legolas," she whispered, and Aerlinn turned his head, snoring.
"Something cruel is happening to him, I can feel it." The Elfin gazed hopelessly into the deep forest, the direction in where she thought the court of Mirkwood would be. Despondently, she tilted her head, tears welling up in her eyes. Islay came closer and softly laid his muzzle onto her shoulder.
- The Magical Eynala -
In times where Lúthien was still standing fully proud, a little village inside the Old Forest in the Shire existed in the Second Age. There people of all races lived in peace, but all alone and unknown. Mostly it were humans that were disgraced and exiled from Gondor or Rohan, and sometimes it were Elves.
Every race of higher ancient descent knew of it, but it was kept secret and none of them ever set feet in there.
Those times an elfin came down for birth in Rivendell. She had experienced the same fate as Laerunye in Lúthien, only 300 years earlier. This elven woman was named Chyndaru. She lived in Mirkwood, and soon, Humans from Rohan were terrorizing the peaceful lands and forests. A wave of horror swept over the country when the men raped the elvish women day after day. Chyndaru was a slave to a man for years. Her fate did not turn better after he finally released her. This very night he told her about his former life, for the first time ever. As he said, he was one of the apprentices of Saruman the White, and Chyndaru got to know that even now, this Wizard had turned evil and devious long time ago. But after the man let go of her, she gathered all her strength and grabbed for the dagger that was attached to the mans belt, and stabbed him right in the heart. But something was different, the elfin could sense that.
When she now had travelled to Rivendell to see Elrond whose counsel she sought, she recognized that her body changed. She endeavoured to eat less to stop the growing of her belly, but in the end she was so weak that, when Glorfindel, a wise and old elf from the forests, found her, medical and mental help were badly needed. Elrond, Master of Rivendell, offered both, and a third thing too, guidance and enlightenment.
Soon the baby was born and it was kept secret, but even then, a few of the High solved the riddle. They wanted to have the untruthful elfin punished for her surreptitious doing. Elrond saw the magics this young elfin bore inside her and could not let her die. He somehow sensed that she was something special, and so, he ordered Glorfindel to bring the baby to Old Forest to let it grow up with the Humans.
But the Elfman was betrayed by his own devotee thus he had told the High about the journey to Old Forest. In a hurry, Glorfindel placed the little baby, covered in sheets of pure linen, underneath a windowsill of an old house. Hiding himself at the edge of the road, he was glad and relieved when the throng of the High passed without recognising the white something lying there.
As soon as they were out of sight, he flew over to the baby and knocked the door, loud enough to wake up the dead. Then he quickly kissed the baby goodbye and disappeared into the forest. Glancing back one last time, he saw an old woman opening the door and looking at the baby in fascination. The Elfman concentrated on her and whispered the babys name: Eynala. Only seconds later the old woman said the name. Blissfully Glorfindel turned and made his way back to Rivendell to tell Elrond about it and about the fraud of Lornaf, the elf that had betrayed them all.
Eynala was treated like a human child, although the old woman, Maria was her name, somehow knew about her being different. When the elfin reached the age of Seven, Maria died. It was the first time that Eynala experienced something bad, and it hurt her very much to lose her mother. For her, Maria was her mother, and the woman had never dared to tell her how she had come to her. But in her young age it didnt take long time to get over it, and immediately she was adopted by the principal family of this village in Old Forest. Here she was also treated like a human child. She played around with the other children and poked fun on the Elderly.
Yet no one knew about her spiritual powers, not even she herself. But she pulled a lot of attention to herself, when the habitants of Old Forest realized that she did not age that fast and when she asked for information about Middle Earth. The people in Old Forest did indeed not like to talk about the other lands, where they once come from and where they were not wanted. They got suspicious and tried to find out what Maria a long time ago hid.
But the patron, who saw the beautiful girl as his daughter, didnt let the folks hurt her. He exclaimed that she was a part of this community and that she will stay a part of it, alike if elfin or human.
"Isnt this the reason why each and every one of you is here? We all are outcasts and parished people. Even though that she is elvish, she is a part of my family, she is my daughter. And I will never let anyone do her harm!"
The people agreed to his words, for they were true and valid. But for Eynala now her whole world changed. From fairy tales she heard so much of elves and that once they had done cruel things. But she perfectly well knew that she wasnt one of them, a voice from deep within told her.
As time went by, she saw her family grow old and die. She saw the people of the village and her friends grow old and die. But seldom she wondered about why she got so old without looking like it. The other people in the village got used to her, and one day, Glorfindel came along to pay her a visit. Eynala did not really remember the old Elf, but something inside her told that they had met before and that they were acquainted. Soon they were talking freely and Eynala dared to ask about her true parents, because even yet, she was clever enough to figure out that those people around her were humans and no elves. Glorfindel also showed her that she had some magical energies, but even he was not accustomed to the full of her abilities. Soon again he had to leave again, because Lornaf still spied around. It was impossible to Elrond to accuse him of conspiracy, thus he was the son of the King of the Elves that lived on the Lake of Rhn and that was the reason for him to have wait for an obvious matter.
When Eynala was alone now, she started to play around with her magics. Firstly she only poked fun on the young children of the village, and she really got them going crazy, for thus they did not know what it was that made them behave so oddly. As time went by, she became more daring and manipulated women and men and hid when it came to penalty. The people in the village knew that it was her, but they were never really angry at her. From time to time a few were concerned about how far she could possibly be led by her miraculous facilities, as for she could make them do or say things they would have never done or said.
Eynala did not really like being so different to the others. She still looked like a child of about 18 years, but her family was now in the fourth generation. The Patron had died 200 years ago, but yet still, none had dared to harm the young elfin.
The forest had changed, too. More peasants were to pass, more strange creatures she met. Nearby a town was built, Bree was the name of it. A lot of her friends moved to this town, it seemed as if the outcasts were no longer threatened people. In the end, Eynala was left alone in the wilderness of the forests. But she preferred this loneliness to the agony she would have felt when she would be living in a town like Bree. She was an Elfin, nature-loving, native to the Earth.
Some time, later on, when she had been on her own for about 50 years or more, she experienced the telepathic wonders of her abilities for the very first time. Initially, she was scared, as if being thunderstruck. That made her worry, because now she could even follow her friends when they were in Bree, without being seen at all whilst entering the town. Then suddenly she reappeared and left them all open-mouthed and flabbergasted. In the early days of this gift, Eynala could not control it completely, but she learned and became more skilled in doing so. But every time when she was in the Shadow World, the World between the Here and Now in which Eynala was travelling when she used her telepathic powers, she heard strange voices and saw things she now could not fathom. And in her Dreams there were riddles she just could not solve. She saw a brave man marrying a brave Elfin that was having wings. It was a strange thing to see, they were so happy together, whilst around them a War of the Good and Bad was hashing. Somehow she saw herself meddling and interfering in this War. But yet she just could not believe in it.
Becoming more and more curious about the World that was around her, she dared more often to leave the Old Forest to see the other Lands that were near. Eynala had spotted a quiet little village, the people there used to call it Hobbiton, it was the village of the Hobbits, small folks, Halflings. Indeed, the Elfin did not gamble to go any further, she was afraid of strange creatures, thus as Hobbits were to her. But somehow they had a strange effect on her, and at night the Dreams got even more outlandish.
- The Forests of Lothlórien -
From afar she could make out green forests, but there were also clouds that made a definition of the land behind the beautiful forests. Even now she felt this voice inside her head that made her lose fear and angst, and so she entered the City of the Galadhrim.
"I am happy to see you alive and well, dear elven girl." spoke Galadriel, her voice soft and endearing. "I know your journey was full of pain and danger. Now dont let your heart be burdened with old thoughts, you are safe here, you are wanted to be around. The Spell of Thranduil, the King of Mirkwood, shall yet be broken. Ease your mind now, friendly spirit of mens heart, dont let it make you sad and blue." She stroke through the Elfins hair and left.
It had been a long and arduous journey until she finally reached the borders of a forest that she thought to be Lúthien, but soon she realized that it was not her homeland. All of the elves that lived here were nice but calm, and their Queen, Lady Galadriel was beautiful and wise. The City of the Galadhrim was wonderful, and even though it was unimposing everything around her seemed to be splendid with lights and sights.
This very night, Márovaí was not able to sleep as she was supposed to be. Silently she stood up again and wandered through the alighted city of Lórien. She saw the pale light of millions of lanterns that shone down onto the dusty roads, she was amazed by the beauty of the nature and by Nimrodel, the sacred river that floated through Lothlórien. The white water sparkled and almost blinded her.
Then, from afar, she heard Galadriels voice chanting a song she once heard when her mother had sung it to her.
"Mysterious Water and Fire, The Earth and the wide-ranging Air, By hidden Quintessence we know them, and we will keep silent and dare. The birth and rebirth of all Nature, the passing of Winter and Spring, We share with the life Universal, rejoice in the Magical Ring. When daytime and nighttime are equal, when sun is at greatest and least, the four lesser are summoned, again we gather in feast. Thirteen silver moons in a year are, thirteen is the Covens array, Thirteen times at Esbat make merry, for each golden year and a day.
The power has passed down the ages, each time between woman and man. Each century unto the other, ere times and the ages began. When drawn is the Magical circle, by sword or athame of power, its compass between two worlds lies, in the land of shades of that hour. Our world has no right to know it, and the world beyond will tell naught, the oldest of Gods are invoked there, the great work of Magic is wrought. For two are the mystical pillars, that stand at the gate of the shrine, and two are the powers of Nature, the forms and the forces divine. And do what thou wilt be the challenge, so be it in love that harms none, for this is the only commandment, by Magic of old be it done."
Then, the voice faded away. Suddenly she was surrounded by elves clad in gray and white. Bonfires dotted the rolling hillsides, figures danced around and around to drums that pulsed out the echoes of darkness, the elves were moving to the pagan sound that was to hear. Somewhere in a hidden memory, images floated before Márovaís eyes, of fragrant nights of straw and of bonfires, making her want to dance until the next rising of the sun. She could see lights in the distance, trembling in the dark cloak of night, of candles and lanterns that seemed to be dancing. Figures of cornstalks bent in the shadows, held up tall as the flames leaped high. Someone, dressed in green, held the holly bush to mark where the old year had passed by. Márovaí went on and on, until she reached a bridge that crossed the river that went out to the sea. The wind was full of thousands of voices that passed her by. When she now turned her head she saw an ornament tree in woeful destruction, which made her sad, for it stood on the shore of Nimrodel for manys the long day. On either side the river lied long fields of barley that clothed the world and met the sky, and through the field the road ran by to the city of Lórien, being lightened by the candles. Soon Márovaí heard a song that echoed cheerily, sung by reapers in among the barley. The morning would rise in next to no time. But almost immediately the delightful melody of the birds in the trees was replaced by a mournful and holy carol chanted loudly and lowly. The Elfin felt her blood freezing and her eyes darkened wholly.
"But who hath seen her wave her hand? Or at the casement seen her stand? Or is she known in all the LandFor ere she reached upon the tide, the first house by the water-side, singing in her song she died. A gleaming shape she floated by, dead-pale between the trees high. In the lighted palace near died the sound of royal cheer and they crossed themselves for fearBut who hath seen her wave her hand? Or at the casement seen her stand?"
"Dont think he had done you wrong, that he had cast you off discourteously. He was ready at your hand to grant whatever thou wouldst crave. He had both, life and land, waged, only to have your goodwill and love." Galadriels voice was inside of her head.
"Where are you!" Márovaí whispered.
"I am right there where you are, dear elfin. I can be wherever I want to be. I can speak to you from wherever we are."
"How can you talk to me and how can you hear me?" Márovaí was astounded.
Galadriel now emerged from the darkness. "This is easy. Do you remember when you learned how to communicate with the water on Old Lake Esgaroth? When Ewennir showed you? This is just the same. You can talk to every one you want to. You can read their minds. Its a special ability you have inherited from your mother. Dont you think that this is given to every human being. I know you havent met any of them until now. Tell me, what have you experienced whilst traveling through he lands of Middle Earth?"
"Nothingseldom I have met others. I traveled alone and spoke not much."
"But you had Dreams, hadnt you? Dreams of the future, Dreams of the Day?" Galadriel inquired.
"Throughout all the years that I cannot count, I had a Dream that came back every night until I reached the boarders of Lothlórien. Then it faded away, and left a hole in my mind. I cannot seem to fill it up with anything I can gain yet or already did."
"You miss him"
"Yes, more than I can tell.
"Where the wave of moonlight glosses the dim grey sands with light by far off furthest roses, we foot it all the night, weaving olden dances. Mingling hands and mingling glances till the moon has taken flight. To and fro we leap whilst the world is full of troubles and is anxious in its sleep. To the waters and the wild with a fairy hand in hand, for the world's more full of weeping than you can understand." Galadriel said.
"I do not understand" Márovaí whispered.
"You do, dear elfin. You do perfectly well. Do not let yourself suffer and do not let others suffer. One day it will turn out to be clear to you. And now you better go and rest. Do not fear the night, sleep and dream well. Tomorrow we will continue our talk." That were the last words Márovaí heard of Galadriel that very night. Silently as she had appeared from the forest, she had vanished. The young elfin went back to the camp and laid down to sleep. As Galadriel had promised, sweet dreams were comforting her in these hours of darkness.
The next morning when Márovaí woke up, Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn were near, and with them was an elven girl that had wonderful long blond hair. Her light blue eyes were excitedly fixed on Márovaí. She had brought food and water with her.
"Eat and drink, fair elfin. Then we can visit the old trees." That strange elven girl said.
"Who are you?" Márovaí asked, marvelled.
"My name is Telinaesre. I am the daughter of Alkvingion and his wife Nurdagnirwen. But those names will not be familiar to you. I am a descendent from the old race of Gondolin and the king of the hidden city, Turgon. But first eat and regain strength." She disappeared for a few hours and then came back to her.
"Why are you here? I mean, I have only see old elves around here"
"Alas! They are not only old but wise and true. I, for myself, am only 1000 years old or so they say. But dont you care about ages. I know you have been travelling for quite a long time, not knowing where to go."
"You are the first talking to me in that untailored way. Tell me something about you and your family. Are they staying in Lothlórien, too?
"I have two sisters, Pellaalkarwen and Adudolien. My brother Nilardaion was once captured by the Dark Lord, centuries ago, and tortured until he became an Orc. But that we were not sure of at first, it was only chronicled in Rivendell, and now we think he is on his way to Rivendell again. When we found out, my mother Nurdagnirwen died of sadness. My grandmother Gayaraugwen, yet, is a good friend of Lady Galadriel, that's how I'm related to her. I spend a lot of time with my grandmother and sometimes we go visiting Galadriel to make portraits of her. I love to draw." Telinaesre spoke. Márovaí watched her carefully, not wanting to let a word of her go unheard. "I have a hobbit friend named Rosa Baker, I like to visit her in Hobbiton, and like always I make pictures of the town."
"Hobbiton?" asked the red-haired girl. "Friends?"
"Yes, Hobbiton is a wonderful place in the Shire, in the north-west of Middle Earth. Hobbits are a small folk, but very kind and warm-hearted. One day I met the Tooks. They are a very nice family. I havent seen them that often, but whenever I am around Hobbiton, I visit them and we have a lot of fun together." Here the other Elfin stopped, seeing Márovaí suddenly sit in agony.
"I am sorry to have mentioned that! I know that this is an issue not to talk about. Forgive me."
"No, it is not your fault." Tenderly she patted the other girls hand. Then she stood up.
"Have you seen my horse and dog? I wonder where they are."
"They are yours? That white wolf and the gray pony? Both are well, they had been fed and groomed." Telinaesre smiled. "I like them. We dont often have horses here. We only travel on foot or by boat. I guess you have already seen Nimrodel."
"Oh yes, it is a fascinating thing about the river"
"It talks to us." She, now, too, standing, grabbed for Márovaí's hand and led her to the small stables.
- Sleepless Nights -
Now every night Márovaí wandered down to the shore of Nimrodel. The words of Telinaesre had made her remember Ewennir and Old Lake Esgaroth. She memorized how she had talked to the Water for the very first time and learned by heart what it had told her in response. The elfin did not feel tiredness or exhaust anymore. Somehow these frequently visits to the River made her strong, physically and psychically.
And every night she was being watched by Galadriel, who observed her change with full satisfaction. Now she was not longer that frail and tenuous girl that she was when she had arrived the borders of Lothlórien. But the Lady of the Forest did not interfere the actions of Márovaí, she knew that that young elfin had to learn a lot, still. From time to time Galadriel placed some food near the old tree where Márovaí rested or even herself to talk to her.
"You could stay here with us. You will find friends soon, you however have found them here. Do not travel on when you can have a family here. But I see in your mind that the urge of roving is there in your heart and cannot be stilled with resting long in one place. And I know that you have to get things right that do not seem to be right yet. I would insist on you staying, but your heart and mind are just like the summer birds that leave the forests when the winter draws near. I cannot make you stay and I do not want to, not at least to rule over your heart." Galadriel paused, looking into the girls eyes, smiling. "Ive heard it told from long ago that between these walls there lives a soul, visiting me in my deepest dreams, before too long she came to me. A fairytale all dressed in green whose softly spoken words calmed me down. So much to do, so little time. Reveal the pressure and dull the mind, in need of some fair company, make a mend and let them see." Now she seemed absentmindedly. "Go on talking to the Water, dear elven girl, Nimrodel will help you to find the answers to your questions. It can help you making up your mind." Galadriel turned to face her again. "Tomorrow I will come back to see for the path you then have chosen. It will happen tonight but do not hasten to turn it into truth. Goodnight now."
Márovaí lingered, listening to the water flowing restlessly. It was murmuring soft tones and speaking in foreign tongues that Márovaí did not understand. It was neither Doriathrim, the Language of Lúthien, nor Sindarin, as it was spoken in Mirkwood or even here in Lothlórien. Then it stopped, it seemed as if time had ceased for a moment.
"Tell me what is on your mind, fair elfin" the river then said. Márovaís gaze was pulled deep into the shading waters. "Tell me what is burdening your heart." The elven girl thought for a moment and then began to speak, freely and without fear.
"Broken pieces everywhere, I stole my mind, and found I care. Running on the morning tide, something you would say to me, I hope. We drank the waters of delight, we played the games of wrong and right. Did I understand then? They're just footsteps in the sand? Oh long dreaming, find my tears, I could love you, all the years. There are times like today, the wind will blow in a gentle way. Mark it down in frozen glass, you lied to me that i could win. So many ways to share a love with words and touch we promised much. I believe. I believe too easily. Do I understand the footsteps in the sand? Oh long dreaming find my tears, I could love you all the years. Here I stand still the same. Hard to know who plays the fool, never looking back on years. I wonder now which way to choose, I catch a vision of this place. Did we understand the footsteps in the sand?"
"Who is this other that you mentioned? Is it that Elf that now is spelled? Is it Legolas Thranduillion, far away in Northern Mirkwood?"
"Yes, blessed river Nimrodel. Have you got news on him? News that are worth telling me?"
The river went silent again and then, with powerful voices, an echo was to be heard. "He is spelled, and no one can break that spell, but you! Dont think it will be easy, do not believe in it this time. He will now know you anymore, and do not temp on meeting him. This will only nourish your quiet desperation. You will see the change with consternation and great dismay, but peril cannot yet be turned away. This was pre-ordained and is hitherto inevitable." Then the rush of voices ended abruptly and Márovaí fell to her knees, crying. That she had been knowing for a long time, but had not wanted to believe in it. Now the river had spoken what she herself would have never admitted. At that moment she felt so low, at mind and at heart. It was even more worse than leaving Legolas and Mirkwood. There she knelt at the shore of Nimrodel, covering her face in her hands, sobbing, thinking to be unable to subdue the pain. She faltered on getting up and walking back to the camp and the sheltering tree leaves, when now the rain began to fall down on her. Márovaí still seemed to be engrossed by the words of the water, as she sat perfunctory and indifferent, not recognizing Telinaesre approaching her from behind. Timidly she laid her hand upon Márovaís shoulder, nudging her to get up, leading her back to the camp. There she made the elfin lay down, placing her hand onto her own lap, speaking softly.
"Hush, lay down your troubled mind. The day has vanished and left us behind and the wind - whispering soft lullabies will soothe - so close your eyes. Let your arms enfold us through the dark of night. Will your angels hold us till we see the light? Sleep - angels will watch over you and soon beautiful dreams will come true. Can you feel spirits embracing your soul, so dream while secrets of darkness unfold." Telinaesre caressed her cheek until Márovaí was fast asleep.
The next morning Galadriel woke her late. She now was wearing a gray coat over her white dress, and her golden hair floated freely down her back. Márovaí was amazed by her beauty, there was this strange light lingering on her, it was like a circle of pure sun and life around her. Nearer she came and lighter Márovaís heart grew. It seems as if the decision she had made this very night would not be wrong, even if it did not seem right at this moment.
"So you go?" the Lady of the Forest spoke.
"This is my choice. I do not know why I desire to leave but there a force inside me that I have to follow. I think I will make it through. I do not know yet where to go but Ill find my way."
Galadriel smiled and pulled a green colored cloak from somewhere. "This," she said, "I will give you for shelter. This elven cloak will keep you warm throughout the journey." She waved her hand and Telinaesre appeared with the horse and dog.
"They look even younger than before?" Márovaí asked in astonishment.
"They are immortal as you. This was the present that your mother gave you before the left, speaking magic and leaving them both to eternal life. She had perfectly known what would be going to happen." The Lady of the Woods said. "Now take your path, dear Elfin, and stay safe on your way." She bid her goodbye and placed a kiss onto her forehead, wishing her farewell. Márovaí thanked both, Galadriel and Celeborn, who had now come, too, and mounted the horse.
"Namárië, friends. Hopefully wed be seeing each other again soon."
"We will, we will. I am sure. Now take this as the last gift for now." Celeborn handed her a white bow, long and solid, strung with a very fine cord.
"This if elf hair strung to this bow of the Galadhrim. May it be a guide to you in the wide world outside." Márovaí smiled at him and when she turned, she saw Telinaesre gesturing at her, and Márovaí made the horse move towards her.
"A new moon leads me to woods of dreams and I follow. A new world waits for me, my dream, my way. Rain and river, a world of wonder may be paradise to me. To leave the thread of all time and let it make a dark line in hopes, that I can still find the way back to the moment where I took the turn and turned to a new beginning, still looking for the answer. It's either this or that way, it's one way or the other, it should be one direction or it could be on reflection. With the turn I have just taken, with the turn that I was making I might be just beginning or I might be near the end. I do not know yet, dear elfin, but I have chosen." She said to the elven girl standing now in front of her.
"I do understand your decision, but I pray for a safe journey and that you come back soon. Or even that we see each other again in time. This is all I would like to mention now. Farewell, Márovaí from Lúthien." With that she turned and ran away to where Galadriel was standing.
"Atenío!" Márovaí shouted and off she was, galloping into the far.
- A Lonely Journey -
For a long time Márovaí was just riding straight, as Galadriel had told her, but soon she got tired of the country side that was dusty and dead. Right after leaving Lothlórien, the outlook of the land changed immediately. Outside the peaceful city of the Galadhrim no green or velvet colored flowers were to be seen. All that grew barely, was gray and grimy, and so the elfin strayed into the mountains to see some different kind of scene. That way led her directly into another forest, dark and dangerous as it seemed to her at the first impression. Noises were to be heard but she could not tell from which direction nor from which creature.
"Those must be the forests of Fangorn" Márovaí spoke to herself.
A force from deep inside her made its way from her mind to out of her mouth, as if to soothe the elven girl, the horse and Islay, the brave dog.
"I came upon an ancient forest, a guiding power had led me there. Was walking through the mystic forest, the legend, tale of times gone by. Once its whisper in the black night with reflection deep in wooded lands, floating mist that circles shadows. Giant trees are falling night and day for many years and ages past. Will they ever share the answer?"
"What answers do you wish to hear?" a strange voice from up above made the elfin pull the reins hard.
"Who are you strange beast talking to me from afar, not showing me your face." Márovaí asked, full of fear.
"I am no stranger to thee, you are the strange one in this forest. Hadnt they warned you?"
"Who should warm me of what?"
"I dont know who may have better warned you, the ones you have been traveling with."
"I did not travel with someone, I am on my own."
"Oh" the dark voice said, as if startled and now thinking. " So you are alone, a young elfin on her ownwhat a coincidence." There was a loud laugh, making Márovaí grab for her bow, which made her feel more safe and comfortable.
"Weapons are useless, little girl."
"So then come and show me to whom I am talking to!" she demanded and was slightly amused by what she then saw. A very small person came out. The elfin had to stifle a laugh.
"What are you doing around here, beautiful creature?" the small person said. It neither looked like a man nor woman.
"I have no aim which way to go. I am just passing this forest to get to the other side."
"But this dark forest hold mystery and danger for such a frail elf as you are, dear maiden. By the way, I am Franco Baggins-Sandydown, from the Shire. Have you ever been to the Shire?" he asked curiously.
"No, but a friend of mine back in Lothlórien told me a lot about this peaceful country."
"Is she elvish like you?" Franco asked curiously.
"Yes, how come you know?"
"If that maidens name is Telinaesre, then I had already met her. She is a friend of the Tooks. Right before I departed, she was there. Is she now back in Lothlórien?"
"Oh yes. Indeed, this is my friend. She told me a lot about the Hobbits and the Shire. It must be a beautiful place to live."
"It is, dear elfin, it is." Franco sat down into the wet grass and glared at the dim sky. "Hobbiton and the Shirea wonderful world of its own. It is a very funny thing to see how Hobbits reveling and whooping it up when they party. But, dear maiden, where are you going?"
"Well, as for me I do not know yet, I go to where my feet are taking me. It is no special way that I have chosen, I just need to go on all the time. It is a strange fate that I have to suffer. But Ill go through this, I have been through things worse this by now. I have no fear."
"I can tell" the Hobbit laughed. "I can tell, I know that you are brave, dear elfin. I wont disagree. But dont you miss your family?"
"I do not have a family anymore. My mother is living in Lúthien, where I do not find the way to, and well, theres nothing more to my family. My father was of mankind, but he died" Márovaí smiled absentmindedly. "And there were a few more that I once loved, but I had to leave them."
"I am sorry to hear that. I think everyone needs friends and family."
"But, well then Franco, where is your family?" The elven girl asked curiously, watching the Hobbit answering.
"My family is back there in the Shire. I lost a bet and so I had to come here. Well, unfortunately I have to go back tomorrow. I need more than three months for traveling back to my hometown. But you can come with me to see the Shire for yourself." Franco said.
"I would love to come, but my journey has not yet come to an end. I must be traveling on now until I have freed my mind." Márovaí said gravely.
"I can tell, dear elfin. Your face looks like the face of a very old woman, but I can see the youth in your eyes. I know that you have to find peace for your own ease, but you may come one day and visit me in Hobbiton. With this you would do me a huge favor. They would never believe that I have met an elfin here in the deep forests of Fangorn."
Márovaí now had to laugh. "Of course I come and visit you, dear Franco. But this will take time." She hesitated. "When the warmth of the day becomes the night, could you sleep? Beneath a strange moonlight where there is no guiding star and you are so far from home? Even from a child a wish is not enough. For me, the sky may fall but no rains could weep as I have wept, to know a simple dream will not be kept. This way became my journey, this day ends together, far and away. Do you understand that? I cannot stay in one place but moving to another also is a hard thing to do. I often question myself, since I departed. But it seems as if the answers are nowhere to find. Here and now is the way I live, unafraid of what life gives. And there have been times in my life where I couldn't see a difference, in pain or in joy or in sun or in rain. They just seem the same and I am only branded by my ambitions. But I'm going to make it. Is this the way I live, with an open heart and mind and so many intentions? In this life I could have followed many of them, but one of those paths must lead to my heart." She grew silent.
Franco raised one hand to touch the elfins shoulder. "I know what you mean. I wish I could help you, but all that I can offer is some company throughout this very night. I can be telling you stories of the Shire if you like." He saw Márovaís eyes lit up and a smile upon her face. And so he made her sat down and began telling so beautiful stories that Márovaí started dreaming.
The next morning both were woken by strange sounds. The trees were moving loud although no wind was blowing. Márovaí peeked outside and saw a huge tree standing right in front of the little hole they had been sleeping in. In horror she shied away when the tree now bent down and looked her into the eye. From behind she grabbed for her bow, but even then she knew that this wouldnt help now.
"Who are you?" she cried, but immediately correcting herself. "What are you?"
"I am Treebeard" that creature said, and his leaves were rustling. "You dont need to fear me." He spoke steadfastly.
Now Franco poked his head out and startled both, the tree and the elfin with a high pitched scream. Treebart had to laugh, which made his branches and twigs shiver.
"You both small beings do not have to fear me. I am Treebeard, an Ent." He introduced himself. Franco did not dare to look at him, he was way too scared.
Márovaí, now taking courage, piped up. "I am Márovaí, from Lúthien, and this is Franco Baggins-Sandydown from the Shire."
"And what are you doing around here? Seldom only beings like you travel through this woods of Fangorn."
"Do you remember the words I said to you yesterday, havent they warned you? Of that?" he hissed under his breath, being scared to death by this tree.
But the elfin did not care at all. Treebeard chuckled and bent down even more.
"Are you alright, small being? Did I scare you too much? For that, if happened, I am sorry."
Franco glared at the creature in awe, assuming what to do right now. Would running away be a good choice? No, considering his short legs and his age. Fretful the Hobbit took two steps back.
Márovaí tucked his collar and shook him to make him see that from this living thing no harm could be done. That was, far of, what she thought. But nothing happened, and soon even Franco dared to talk to Treebeard.
Hours passed by and the three of them kept chatting and babbling. The Hobbit told more stories and fairytales and then Treebeard spoke of the Ages that had passed the world of Middle Earth before them.
Long they talked, throughout nights and days, time went by without any meaning for the moment they were listening to the Ents tales. Sometimes both could not believe what he reported, those legends and fables were too far fetched, Márovaí thought. She, for herself, had not seen any of those lands that Treebeard was talking about, but deep inside her the wish grew to see everything with her very own eyes.
"Fair elven?" Franco spoke softly. "Were you dreaming?"
"Yes." Márovaí said truthfully. "I really started dreaming myself away to the places Treebeard was telling. Is the journey far? Could I reach the outermost areas or will I fail in getting there?"
Treebeard shook his branches carefully. "I do not know, young lady. But I can tell you one thing: You must accept that you might fail, then, if you do your best and still don't win, at least you can be satisfied that you tried. If you don't accept failure as a possibility, you don't set high goals, you don't branch out, you don't try you don't take the risk. I cannot presage but I can tell you that!" Now he grew silent, patting a few stranded leaves.
Franco put his hands onto the elfins shoulder. "I took the risk and look at me. I am happy to have seen this all, to have met you and the tree" he grinned at Treebeard. "Do not take it personal, dear friend." Then he again faced Márovaí. "I know that you will discover so many new and exciting things on your further journey, but nobody can tell you where your feet may take you or how this will end. You are still young and have lots of time to ascertain the whole bundle of wonders."
"And wonders are there a lot to be revealed. I do not know them, though I have not seen them with my own eyes but I know that there are a lot. Old tales tell of them, Elves were narrating old things and incidents. But I can only retell what I have heard. It is worth the journey." The Ent smiled.
Márovaí had to smile, too. "I may not know where my way will lead me, but I will keep going on. There is nothing much that holds me in one place and for I cannot go home, I will keep traveling. I will not hasten, and staying longer will not change my mind. Yet it is better to rest again, before we both will get ready." She looked at Franco, and the Hobbit was nodding in agreement.
Now Treebeard chirruped: "But danger is there a lot, too. Not to forget the shadows in the South. Something is going to happen in not so far time. Maybe not in a Hobbits lifetime, but Ents and Elves will have to face this danger." The Ent tilted his head. "I am tired nowI better get myself back deep into Fangorn Forest to find some rest. Hopefully, if fate is treating us kind, we will see each other again. Good night now, dear friends." With that Treebeard turned and strode back into the cavernous woods.
Having slept well this very night, Franco moved out of the little cave and yawned. He spotted Márovaí in a distance, looking at the pale sky. Slowly he got up and went over to her.
"Isnt it a beautiful day?" he said, and the Elfin agreed. "The wind is blowing, I can smell some food!" he continued.
"You are not, this is only your imagination. I have the better nose and there is nothing smelling except the nature around us. You are hungry, I bet."
Franco grinned. "Yes, dear elven girl, I am. And I would give everything to have a tasty meal cooked by my wife right now."
"You think some leaves and berries will do, too?"
After some moments of looking at the food Franco finally looked at Márovaí again. "Yes, I think so - though my belly would not refuse to eat, even if it was mud!"
Together they ate the fruits of the forests and slowly began to pack their things together. After a while they departed, and without a look back they walked out of the forest, in direction to the Land of Arnor, there right in the middle the beautiful Shire laid.
- Remembering Home -
But Márovaí only went with him until they reached the mountains, then she said farewell to Franco Baggins-Sandydown and turned to the South, and after she had traveled for days without rest or sleep, she saw the tower of Isengard piercing into the sky. The elfin was startled by its magnificence and wondered what this would be. She did not know what the name of this building was nor who the Master of this kingdom was. Moving closer she felt the power of a great wizard.
"Come closer, dearest elfin, no one will do thy harm here!" a dark voice said, but at the same time it was friendly and welcoming. Márovaí stepped through the doors and saw an old man dressed all in white.
"Do not fear me, for I bore you no ill will, and I will bear none in the future. I saw you adventuring around out there in the unwarranted and devious world and now I endeavor to advice you for your own good. Will you try not to listen scarcely? I know you are proud and do not love advice, having indeed a store of your own wisdom. I am a member of a high and ancient order, most excellent in Middle Earth. My name is Saruman, I am the oldest Wizard. What is the reason why you are here?" he spoke.
"I do not know" she answered honestly. "I really do not know. It is strange, but my mind led me to here, but maybe my perception are betraying me." She laughed then slightly. "But to be true, I do not knowanything.... Nothing is without existence. It is wholly experiencing your perceptions about yourself. Existence is within nothing and by understanding your perceptions you remember what is true." Saruman chanted. Márovaí was confused at first, thus she did not understand the old Wizard. But as he continued, his words were getting clear inside her head. "Dont you miss your home, dear elfin? Dont you miss the green forests of Mirkwood?"
"My home is not in Mirkwood!" Márovaí spat out.
"Are you sure? Your roots lay there, I can see them clearly. I see your friends, friends that are missing you."
"I used to have friends there, this was ages ago, yet no one is waiting for me there to return."
"Is this what you think?"
"Yes, I am sure of this."
"But why do you think theyve forgotten you? Just because he did not follow?"
"Why does everyone know about that?" Márovaí asked fretfully.
"Remember, I am a Wizard, and one of the most powerful ones. I am Saruman the Wise. Listen to me, young elfin, nothing is there that can make you change, but let me tell you a little tale.
A child walks down to the river's edge and looks out as far as she can see and draws each breath as if it were the last and wipes away the tears across her sleeve. She can see where the river crawls to the sea like a baby into mother's care. Somehow the longing is so far away, the innocence so wasted and aware And look at the child with the dream in her eyes holding it deep inside her, thinking about home. So much anger so deeply ingrained seemed a burden that was hers alone. She didn't think that there was anything wrong with wanting a life that she could call her own. How could I explain? You would not want to hear. You wouldn't listen if I talked anyway for you were too weighed down by your own fears. And look at the child with the dream in her eyes holding it deep inside herhome..." His voice was calm and low. "Isnt that how you feel? How you felt when you had to leave? I know you never questioned it, you still believe it was fate. But bear in mind that no rule should make you forget who you are. None should ever do."
Márovaí tilted her head, tears were running down her cheeks without restraint. The old Wizard came over to her and embraced her softly. After a while she felt better.
This night she stayed with Saruman who told her more things about Middle Earth and its shaping before The First Age, things that made her heart crave even more for seeing those marvels. But suddenly he changed the issue.
"Elfin, do you know where your road will now lead you?"
"No, wise Wizard, at a low level, I do not know. I will follow wherever my heart and feet lead me. But one thing I now know, I want to see all these realms and kingdoms the tales tell by myself."
"And you will find your place, in time, believe me. I can foresee it even now. Your name is like a prayer some angel whisper into my ear. Tears were going to be forgotten soon, and soon you will know that this was the past. And yet you will know it was the future as well. Your soul is immortal and as you stand in the eternal, the past and the future become one, the shaping of possibility in the ever evolving present. Is this clear to you? Do you think that you can forget your past? Thus as your past is your future as well. Dont think that you can run away from your olden times, for that you can never long, for that you should never aim." Saruman spoke. " Your home is, your past, it is surely that, a place for you to rest awhile on your long journeys to and from those blessed lands that are your very own. Yet for you it is home, where our family abides and our friends can come and be as one of yours. And this seeking your way to find a period of rest in the midst of your long quest, whatever that might be, is nothing more than an instant longing for your home, whether it is Lúthien or Mirkwood."
Márovaí rubbed her eyes. "I knowbut its hard, you know?" She sighed. "Very hard!"
"I can tell, thus I see the pain in your face so obviously. But I cannot help you, and I guess it was not the reason you came here. Is there any counsel I can give to you, dear elfin?"
"I am afraid, no, Saruman. All I could be in need of is some food and rest for the further travel."
"And that you should have, friend. I will give you shelter, chow and rest this very night and tomorrow you shall ride again without being troubled with sorrow or torment." The old Wizard spoke and left the room, glaring one last time at the girl who looked so lost.
The next morning Márovaí did not see Saruman again, but he had ordered that fresh clothes and enough food had been laid next to her cot. It was funny, this night she dreamed of him, dressed all in white, standing tall and proud, but he was evil then. He commanded hordes of Orcs and other strange creatures into a War against every living thing in Middle Earth. Another thing she saw, a huge Eye that was directly looking at her, burning her skin, scaring her. But then the Dream was over, ending abruptly, leaving her thoughtful and worried. Putting on the clothes the Wizard had given to her, she hurried to leave this outlandish tower and its inhabitants, fixing her own eyes to the South. There, now for the first time, she saw red dust over those mountain that they called Mount of Doom. Márovaí was overcome by a strange thought, and that troubled her so much that she felt the urge of running away immediately. In her mind the vision of the white Wizard turned into violent and evil black. In this mental picture he had gone over to the devilish side long time ago, but the elfin could not figure out, why there was a dark side.
- Shadows in the South -
Late this night the Elfman went outside. He had seen Ewennir entering the court, it was the very first time since the day that Legolas could think of, yet. He, now, could not remember what happened before, although he felt that something has taken place. That he was sure of.
"Ewennir!" he cried, seeing her dismount her horse. "What incidence has driven you here?"
"Dont you remember?"
"Remember what?" he asked, truly innocent.
"Oh, nothing" she said quickly, when she saw the King approaching from behind. He looked at her coldly, and then took Legolas hand and led him away.
"Stay away, she-elf! It is no good for you to stray around, you hear me?" he hissed under his breath.
"I do not fear your words!" the elfin retorted.
"But you will fear my actions, believe me."
Ewennir made a step backwards, touching Nalana, who was standing behind her, and pulled her with her. She followed willingly.
After a while, when the King was out of sight, Ewennir spoke up.
"Have you heard of her yet?" She inquired.
"No, I am afraid, no news had come to me." Nalana said gravely. Ewennir tilted her head, murmuring.
"This all is weird, no one seems to have heard of her. And Legolas behaves strangely, too. And we"
"are not allowed to talk about her when Legolas is near. Thranduil had have one killed because he told him tales of his youth and how he had met her in Lúthien. And now he is dead."
"Now it is even worse. He tries to keep me away from you both. And I know that he will do bad if I come back once again. I think I wish not to let him harm me or even you. So I say goodbye and farewell to you. Now it is your turn to watch over Legolas. And be careful. Do not forget to watch over yourself!" Ewennir spotted the King from afar and turned to go. "Once we become enamored by the mask, we follow it into ignorance, and we lose the ability to converse true, to be able to look at the masks around us and be able to help find the beauty within the eyes and in the substance of the masks we all wear. I pray that we all learn that we all are masks, and that we live through them, and discard them when we are done. Bear that in mind, young friend, remember my words. This mask we all are wearing only comes to those who have something to hide. Or to someone whose heart is kept away by some force I can yet not fathom. Well lose it when we have fought our fight." Her voice was hoarse, as if being short of breath. "I amar prestar aen." (The world is changed.) She said at last and jumped onto the bare back of her horse.
Nalana watched her disappearing and knew that very second that she would not see her again, not in near time. Her heart missed a beat and she missed her so much. She missed them all that had now left her side. First her mother died at her birth, and Laerunye went away, and now, after all, her two only friends were threatened to leave. For how long hadnt she been seeing Márovaí? More than 2 years ago she departed and still there was no sign of her to tell that she was well doing. And now Ewennir who had kept her company throughout the hard times, was gone.
Legolas had just returned into the great hall, when Nalana ran up to him. He looked at her with weary eyes.
"My dearest Nalana, my sister." He spoke, pulling her close and patting her back. "I dont know what has come over me, I feel exhausted and somnolent, more and more with each passing day. It is as if something drains out my life energies and I cannot stop this. It does feel like I am trapped in the Dark and surrounded by doubtful Shadows."
Nalana gritted her teeth and said: "What is the Dark, when Shadows are around you, why not take heart in the new day? No one can promise a dream for you, time gave both Darkness and Dreams to you."
"And I had Dreams, strange Dreams. They do not only come by night. Sometimes I am startled by their power and influence they have upon me."
"What do you dream about?" Nalana asked anxiously.
"It is a strange vision, over and over again. I see far-off places and hear voices that I guess I once knew. I see a face of a girl or was it just a shape? If it was a girl, then she is but as beautiful as no one else. But there is also some anguish about her. I did see fear and pain growing around her, some prevailing force is coming to destroy. I can yet not figure out, I dont think Id ever can." Legolas tilted his head and a strange gloom was to see in his eyes.
"I guess I better go now." Nalana spoke up when she heard footsteps in the hall.
"Why must everyone just go away from me?"
"I am not leaving you, I just dont want to cause danger or imperil it all."
"What are you talking about, Nalana?" Legolas questioned.
"Nothing, brother. I was just thinking and you know my spirits something run wild. I beg your pardon. Have a nice day." With that Nalana rushed out of the room.
"What did she say?" Thranduils voice sounded tensed.
"Nothing, father, she just wanted to say that she is leaving. I am afraid, I dont know where she wants to go"
"Was that all she said?"
"Yes, father." Legolas looked him straight into the eye.
Thranduil seemed to be content by that behavior and the young elf him father think so. For some reason Legolas was aware of the Power that the King had over him and he found it better to do as he wished. It was not his nature, indeed, but he couldnt help it. But why wasnt Thranduil concerned about his daughter going away? Nalana was still so young and innocent and she wouldnt know where to go if she really would leave Mirkwood.
"Is that so?" the King spoke, more stating than questioning. But he did not say anything more, and Legolas turned to go out into the forests.
From time to time he looked up into the sky, and there he felt it again. Coughing, he fell flat to the ground and tried to catch his breath. Energies were drawn away from him. All around him started to fade away and blackness surrounded him. But suddenly, when he felt that he could not go on anymore, a light shone from behind. It was not white, it was bluish but serene and beautiful. His eyes fixed on that light without his own intention and there he saw her. A girl encircled by this bluish light looked down on him and smiled. Legolas did not know her, as far as he knew in that instant, but somehow she was familiar to him. And then she spoke to him and this made him lose his senses.
"Hear my silent prayer, heed my quiet call. When the dark and blue surround you, step into my sigh. Look inside the light and then you will know that I have found you" Her voice was calm and delicate when she said those words. Legolas could not look into the light anymore and gazed into the sky. In front of his eyes the trees twirled and rose up and down until he was dizzy. His hands were grasping at any hold in his reach and he found her hand to cling to. She was warm and it felt as if she was real. But she had no distinguished face, the light was too bright, when he now looked at her again.
"Who are you?" he asked, amazed.
"My name does not matter here." She hesitated a bit. "But I have news of urgent matter. You have to go home and rest, you cannot go on walking around the forests. The spell that had been cast on you is too strong for you to bear. It takes away the energies from you, it drains the life force out of your body."
"I thought it was you" Legolas choked.
"No, it is not my intention to hurt you, dear lad. I am here to guard you, as I always did."
"As you always did? I dont understand."
"Someday you will understand. I have to go now. The men of your father are searching for you. Do not mention our encounter. This has to be kept secret. You hear me?"
Legolas nodded and in a second the girl was gone. He rubbed his eyes, then he heard overwrought voices and the he was found. Men dragged him back to the house of his father. Thranduil cast a long and inquiring look at him but he saw that Legolas was so weak that he would not answer any of his questions.
- Escaping the Huntsmen
Once more Eynala peeked out into the playground of those little human beings called Hobbits. The small children were joking and playing around, just as Eynala herself had done with her friends that now had all died. A lot of the inhabitants of Old Forest had gone away, to start a new life in the widths of Middle Earth, redeemed. This redemption came suddenly but not unexpected, the news of the arrival of Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn in the Old Forest had spread like fire in dry wood and all of the residents had come to listen to what the two elven masters from Lothlórien had to say. It was a joyful night for most of them, they were finally allowed to back to where they once came from. Not all of them really thought about going home, but at least, they could built their new existences in a surrounding more pleasant than the far-off place of the Old Forest. Every single one But the elfin couldnt just get herself up and walk away. This was her homeland, her so beloved forest. For now about two hundred years she strived alone, for none was there for to accompany her.
Being out again, she felt a strange noise making her feel uncomfortable. It was not the sweet laughter of the Halflings children, it was a rattle and clatter as she had never heard it before. A black horse was to see under the hide of trees and a black shape appeared on its back and then suddenly the creature let out a cry that made Eynala cover her ears in impulsive angst. That noise drew a shiver through her bones and she almost ran away, but curiosity won over her anxiety. She dared two more steps closer and now directly looked the Black Rider into the Eye. But he didnt seem to see her, he was only sniveling the air like mad. But then again she looked at the horse and felt the foul and cold breath of it, the air that came out of its nostrils was stinking and foiled. It had its ears pinned up, but Eynala made no move, not to draw the attention onto herself. And then the horrible vision was gone. But the Elfin sensed another creature approaching her from behind. She twirled around and saw a beautiful elvish woman.
Eynala was astounded, this woman looked so much like herself and then she suddenly realized.
"Mother!" gasped the young elfin, in awe of amazement. Chyndaru nodded and opened her arms, Eynala flew over to her, embracing her and hugging her tight.
"My dear Eynala, I longed for that moment so bad. I wish I could have come earlier, but things were appalling for us, for you."
Eynala tilted her head but said: "I understand, Glorfindel explained your doing to me when I was a child. And I never blamed you. I know that the circumstances drove you to do what you did. I have experienced no harm, so no foul is yours. I am just thankful youve finally come to stay here with me."
Chyndaru glared at her. "We are not staying, dear. I came to get you home, to get you to the place you belong. Old Forest is no place for an Elfin."
Eynala stood flabbergasted. "IIdont want to leavethis is my home" She took a step back, somehow sensing a frightful change.
Chyndaru took her daughters hands. "We go away from here"
"No. I am not leaving. I love the time and in between the calm inside me in the space where I can breathe. I believe there is a distance. I have wandered to touch upon the years of reaching out and reaching in, holding out and holding in. I believe this is heaven to no one else but me and Ill defend it long as I can be left here to linger in silence. If I choose to, would you try to understand? Oh, the quiet child awaits the day when she can break free the mold that clings like desperation. Mother, cant you see, Ive got to live my life the way I feel is right for me, might not be right for you but its right for me I believe...I would like to linger here in silence if I choose to, would you try to understand...?"
"I understand, Eynala, too well. I see that this is your life now. And I dont wish to take you away from what you call your home. Butsometimes come and visit me in Rivendell?"
Now the young elfin smiled. "Of course mother. I will soon come and visit you in the most beautiful town of us Elves. But not yet, because I want to enjoy the lands of the Shire."
Her mother tilted her head. "Do as you please, my daughter. But dont forget about me or your roots. When you were born I knew that there was something strange about you and that you once will play a part in a game where there is just bad and good. And you will meet a destiny that none ever met before. But beware of feelings like love, they can cause even worse than war. And I see it coming, I see love coming into your lifePromise me to be careful."
"I will, mother, you know I will."
"Yes I know. You always managed to find your way. I am sorry to have left you so all alone. I had reasons but I know that it was wrong to leave you all alone." Chyndaru cast a sad look onto her beautiful daughter.
Eynala smiled. "Dont you worry, it was not your decision. There were circumstances that you had no power about to change. I understand."
"You always did. You were a lovely child. I regret not having seen you grow." Her mother stroke down her cheek and fondled through her red hair.
"I have to go now, we are leaving. Dont forget about your promise. I see dark times ahead and I dont want to see you harmed or sad."
"Mother. I will be careful and this goodbye is not for long. I promise to come and visit you soon, when I have seen the unknown lands of the Shire." Eynala patted her mothers hand. Chyndaru kissed her goodbye and left eastwards. From far away Eynala could see two or more fair and beautiful Elves, and soon they have vanished. Her heart heaved with the pain of loss but she knew she would see her again soon.
It was indeed a strange day, the elvish girl thought, remembering the cruel vision she had of this one Black Rider, and now she had met her mother again, after this long time. And she had the feeling that it would not be all of excitement for today, another appearance would trouble her much. She felt sleepily and couldnt keep from lying down and drift off. Again in her Dream she was chased by some menacing black figure, but it was even more horrible than the Black Rider she met in the morning. A huge black eye surrounded by red flames, lidless and without motion stared at her, almost blankly, but at the same time knowing. Eynala was petrified and wanted to run away, but she just couldnt move. Then she saw the Black Rider again, this time he dismounted his horse and drew his sword, directing the sharp blade towards her throat. She saw herself letting out a cry of fear and when she felt her legs again, she took a few stumbling steps backward. But there was no escape. She perfectly well knew that this one was the same who had been close to her before, when she was awake. But this didnt feel like a dream either, it was so realistic and threatening.
Suddenly there was another figure, a man, tall and proud. She saw him in a glance with a golden star upon his forehead, which shone brightly and took away all her fears. Without knowing who he was or how she could possibly know, she said: "This is the King! The King will return!" Then she woke up, sweated and freezing, although the sun was shining. Her frail figure was shaking and her heart pounded so heavily in her chest that she felt it would explode any second.
- Old Forest -
Washing her face in the silvery water of the little lake outside the village of the Hobbits, she slowly calmed down. This dream had frightened her so much and still she didnt know why she had dreamt about this. The water cooled her face only for a little while, yet the threat of the dream was too near for her.
At the sudden she heard a nose and that made her jump and her heart miss a beat. But it was only a small child who had gone a little far from its house and now didnt find the way back. Eynala had to smile seeing how the little girl looked at her, she had probably not seen elves ever before. But she was not scared or frightened, she did just stare and smile.
"Hello, young lady." Eynala spoke gently and the girl seemed courageous enough to come closer.
"Are you an elf?" she asked coyly.
"Yes." Eynala smiled, too and saw the spark of interest in her eyes.
The little girl looked at her and smiled back. "Yes, I am a hobbit and my name is Isobel Stratfoot. Are all elves so beautiful?" she wanted to know.
"I do not know, because I have not seen so many Elves since I live here. But my mother is beautiful and I heard tales of the beauty of Elves." Eynala found it so easy to talk to the girl, although she had never met them before.
The tiny girl smiled again, she was so excited to have finally met an elfin herself. "Bilbo has told us tales about the elves. He was in Rivendell once and hed shown us drawings of the City. My wish is it to go there someday. It must be wonderful to live there."
"This I dont know either, for I have never seen Rivendell before. I grew up here in the Old Forest."
"Oh, I thought you were from Rivendell. I am sorry. How come you live here and not at a place together with other elvish people?"
"I have not chosen to live here in the first place, but since i grew up here, i have accepted this as my home and so I am living here. My mother had come to visit me today and told me a lot about leaving and living in another place. But I just cannot leave for I dreamt about things that I first need to consider."
"So this is your home then?" The little girl asked curiously. "Why haven't I met you before?"
"I hid myself away from all unknown, because I have never known much of this world. This here, this forest, is all I know and all I have ever seen."
"Why did you hide? I heard that elves are too proud to hide, they would never hide or flee from anything." Isobel's face was bright and full of naïve wisdom.
"Who told you this?" Eynala was obviously surprised, for she didnt know that others knew about the Elves and how they lived.
"Bilbo!" the child piped up.
"Tell me, Isobel, who is this Bilbo? Is he your father?"
"No!" she laughed. "His name is Baggins, Bilbo Baggins. He has no children, as far as I know, at least none is living with him, only his nephew. Frodo is his name." The Hobbit had sat down on the ground, scratching her hairy feet. Eynala smiled, the girl looked so cute and funny at the same time, but that, she had found out, was the gift of every single Hobbit-child.
"I have to go now, my parents are waiting for me, its lunch-time. Would you like to join us? I am pretty sure that my parents dont bother to have someone more at the table."
"No, thank you very much, dear Hobbit, but I have to find out something that is on my mind for a long time yet. Maybe there is a next time that we meet and then Id love to join you for lunch." Eynala smiled and stroke through the Hobbits thick and curly black hair. She waved her good-bye and saw the tiny girl disappear in the green fields down to the village of Hobbiton.
A while later when Eynala wandered around the shore of the little lake in Old Forest and let her thought run free.
"Down by a shady myrtle grove, just as the sun did rise, the birds they sang right gloriously and pleasant was the air. And there was none save he and I among the flowers fair. In dewy grass and green we walked, how comes it that thou stroll this way?" It was mostly inaudible, but the sounds formed inside her head and she just opened her mouth to let them escape. For a moment she completely forgot where and who she was.
Suddenly she heard the crackle of twigs and branches and the young elfin jumped into the near brushwood to hide. She feared that another of the Black Riders would come along this path through the Old Forest, but it was just a man. Inside, she dared to chuckle, but still she was anxious to find out who he was and what he was doing here. He had a cape which disguised him in a way that she could not see his face. He still did nothing which caused her fear, although she was prepared for fleeing, she was paralyzed and unable to move.
The man now took off the coat, revealing long brown hair, and began to search for branches, picking them up from all over the shore. From time to time he came dangerously close to where Eynala was hiding, but gladly, he never seemed to sense someone else being there.
Now the man bent to make a fire with the twigs he had collected throughout the last five minutes and while he did, Eynala could cast a look upon his face. What she saw made her freeze and, this was the man she had dreamt about, the man with the golden star upon his forehead. Being caught by this sudden realisation, she stumbled backwards and fell over a stone, causing noises that would have woken the dead. It all happened so quickly, suddenly she felt the sharp blade of a sword very close to her throat and the painful grasp of a hand in her hair. She struggled to catch her breath but the man behind her held her tight and firm. Then she suddenly lost her senses and fell into a kind of trance that she had never experienced before. She felt words coming from her mouth, but she did not know what she said or why she said those strange words.
"Yára ar aiqúen. Vinya, nessima ar coranar apanónar núa arwa vorima poldórea, Aragorn, iest bandammen." (Ancient and whoever, a young, youthful and sun-round year After-born child in control of continual might, Aragorn, will save us.) She screamed and while she was shouting again and again, the man behind her loosened his grip and let her slip to the ground, unconscious.
"How come you know my name?" The strange man asked her, sitting opposite of the fire.
She looked at him, startled. "I don't knowDid I say your name?" Eynala lifted her hand towards her head, it was aching.
"Yes." the strange man answered shortly.
"Where did you come from, for I have never seen you around here before?" The girl felt not very comfortable asking him so bluntly.
"From the wilderness!" he said with a little egde in his voice but regretted it immediately when he saw her wince. "I am sorry, but it doesn't happen very often that I meet Elves in the Old Forest. How come you came her?"
"I did not mean to come here by myself. I was brought to this place when I was a child, I grew up with humans and learned from them. I have never met my mother until today, I have never met others than Hobbits or the family I grew up with. As a Ranger, you must have seen a lot of interesting places"
The man stirred uneasily. "Who said that I was a ranger?"
"Didn't you say so?"
"No! I know what I said, but didnt you say it?" His facial expression made Eynala's heart beat faster.
"I cant remember where I know it from. I am sorry. Maybe I just recognized your clothing."
"You are a strange elfin, you know things that Ive never said, you spoke of events that have not come to pass yet. In this vision you had you spoke in the tongue of the High and Noble Elves, but I can tell that you are not one of them."
"Did you understand what I said? For it was new and frightening to me to know those words. I believe that I have not said them intentionally, but I know the meaning, at least now."
Aragorn looked at her. There was something about this elfin that he could not understand, but he felt that they somehow had a kind of connection that would last for a lifetime and beyond anyone's belief. But it was strange to him to feel that kind of thing, for he was always concerned about showing feelings and letting go of them, and now he faced himself confronted with a completely strange elfin who seemed to know him better then he did.
- Heart of Innocence -
Now Eynala moved uneasily and the Ranger realized that she was still wearing the shackles that he used for tying her arms together and he rushed over to her to undo them. The elfin jerked away from him, more a reflex than real fear.
Aragorn smiled warmly. "You dont have to fear anything from me. I did not mean to trouble you, neither did I mean to cause you trouble or pain. I am sorry." His serene gaze laid on the young elfin who looked back at him without any further trace of unease. The ranger's heart suddenly felt heavy and he could not help sighing. Not to have the elfin worry, he tried to start a conversation.
"You have not even told me your name, for you seem to know mine very well."
The girl smiled. "My name is Eynala, dear lad, and I do not know as much about you as you think. I do not even know much about myself."
Aragorn was quite startled by her answer, but he didn't want to let go of it yet. "I wonder why you live here all alone. It can be dangerous in the Forests at times like these when the air holds mighty voices and the elves leave their homes."
"I have not lived here all alone, not all the time. When I was very young I was brought to this place and raised by humans from different generations. It has been a long time since I first came here and I cannot remember much of it. I just know that I take this for my home and place to live. Although all of my friends and folks have died or gone, I keep staying here, for I feel that there is a strange fate that the future holds for me."
"You've lost all your friends and family?"
"Yes, every single one of them. But I know that you also felt the loss of friends. Have they died?"
"Well, they are not dead, but they more or less are dead for me, for they have left me, years ago." The man's face seemed to darken a little and the slight smile that had been there vanished completely. He was so sad and miserable that it hurt Eynala to see him like that. But she needed to find out why she had dreamed about this man and what the purpose of it all was.
Another thought came to her mind.
"You chose the exile to come to terms with your thoughts and feelings. You've chosen to be alone, but some keep being close to you. Why do you reject them? Do they mean any harm to you? Or are you just as afraid of what your future holds for you as you are of your past?"
Aragorn tilted his head. "You know about things that I have never told anybody. It feels as if you could read my inner thoughts."
"Well, I do not know if I have the ability to read one's mind, but your sorrow is obvious, dear lad." Eynala smiled and the Ranger felt a slight relief.
"How many years have you been here?" Aragorn grew more and more curious about this Elfin and felt the urge to find out as many things as she would tell him, and even more.
"I do not know, I lost track counting the endless years. I believe it's been four centuries or even more, but I cannot tell you the exact amount of time that I already spent living. My childhood days bring sad reflections of happy times spent so long ago, my friends and my own relations have all passed on now, like the melting snow. So I'll spend my days now, in endless roving."
"And why didnt you just leave when you had the chance to in the first place?" The ranger was clearly troubled by imagining the young elfin being here all alone and without someone to care about her.
"I like the calmness and atmosphere of this place. This is my home, although lately, I thought and dreamed about leaving. You do indeed dream about how your life is going to be, but surely, as for I can tell you, your dreams do only reflect what already happened, not what is going to be there in the future."
Aragorn tilted his head and thought about what she had said. It was true, and he also knew it, but he could not grasp the totality of her words. "You are truly innocent and yet knowing, you must be a descendant of the race of Scorcerers and Wizards. Only those do speak like you and have this profound knowledge of things. I have met only a few as wise as you are, but they never have been so young."
He looked at the elfin with his dark eyes and saw her arching up into a kneeling position. She crouched closer to the fire, the night had begun to fall and it grew colder. The ranger took off his coat and rose to put it around her shoulders. She gladly accepted it but didnt talk. Her eyes were fixed onto the nightly sky, and it was to Aragorn as if the starlight would reflect brightly in her eyes. Eynala seemed a little absentmindedly, but there was still one thing that Aragorn needed to ask her. "I remember that song that you sang before. Or was it a bird in the sky? I cannot tell, but I remember that song, it spoke to my heart like an old story I've once heard."
"It could have been me, or a bird as well. I sing very often, it makes my heart feel light and free. I for myself, do not remember what I sang about, the lines just came through my head."
"I somehow know that song, I guess I heard it a long time ago. It reminds me of things that I have left behind, yet it doesn't make me feel any different. What can this mean?"
Eynala smiled, and her eyes danced like blue fiery stars in a dark night. "This I cannot tell you, it is a decision that you are making, and you know that you have to make it. It will not be foretold by any vision one could have, it will only be revealed by you yourself. But let us rest now, for you will have a long and strenous ride tomorrow, when you go back home to Rivendell." Eynala said at last and the Ranger wondered again.
"But how can I know?" he asked, helplessly.
"Follow your heart and listen to it with all your power. You know your heart and you know the paths it can go. You also know the path that you yourself want to go. Everyone has a path that they can follow, but there is always a second one leading to a different fate."
"I have to say, elves are of a special nature. They are sometimes gay and playful, sometimes musing and contemplative. Their magical Way is difficult to describe but utterly natural and largely spontaneous. And you are the most special elfin I have ever got to know yet."
"Don't say that, for I see that there is another elfin that you think about every day. She is Arwen Undomiel, the Evenstar of Rivendell. It is her you search for, although she is right there where you left her. Why do you still hesitate?"
Aragorn stood thunderstruck. How could she possibly know about Arwen's and his relationship? No one knew except for Elrond, her father. "How" he murmured.
"I can look into your heart. And I sense your love for her." she simply said.
"But" Aragorn could not utter the words. She knew more than he himself did. It burdened his heart that his feelings were so obviously showing.
"I am sorry. I know I have no permission to read your mind and thoughts and its none of my business. You really should rest now, the journey will be full of toil and sorrow. Put your heart and mind at ease and sleep well tonight." Eynala brushed through her long red hair with one hand and turned her gaze back to the sky. There again Aragorn saw the absentminded look in her eyes and did not want to go any further. He laid down onto the ground and closed his eyes, trying to abandon the face of the red-haired girl who was now watching him under the nightly sky.
- Strangers -
It was another long day and still she was riding on and on, only resting to have the horse and dog feed and drink. She was exhausted and tired, yet she couldnt allow herself to stop. The peril and warning that was in the back of her mind didnt let her decide any other possible way. Her way was leading her to Rivendell, to the House of Elrond Peredhil. She had already crossed the River Glanduin and saw the widths of Cardolan before her. The elvin didnt dare to look back to the tower of Orthanc piercing the darkening sky. It was a strange thing to discover, but the day did not fully develop, there were still some traces of darkness, even though it was noon. Aerlinn and Islay sniffed the cold air and both let out growls and soft neighs. The horse started to dance around nervously when Márovaí tried to mount him.
"Stay calm, good friend. Our journey will soon be over, when we arrive in Rivendell you will get fed the best hay and drink the purest water." She softly patted his neck and tried again to climb onto the stallions back. This time she managed to jump onto his back and on they went on their way to Rivendell.
Due to the heavy rainfall of the last days it was impossible to ride across the Swanfleet of Nîn-in-Eilph, it all had been transformed into a mud-covered land and there was no way through that Márovaí yet saw. It would take seven more days to ride back to the crossing where the path would lead to the Greyflood and Tharbad, then to ride across the barren wastelands of Minhiriath to get to the the Last Bridge near the Trollshaw. She knew she didnt have the time, but she also knew that it was more dangerous to cross the swamp. Aerlinn took the decision for her and began to step into the wet marshes. Islay followed close but with great unease. Every step was slow and hard, taking all the energy from all the three of them. In some units she couldnt ride anymore, she had to walk beside the gray stallion. The path was not to be seen, but Aerlinn, bright as he was for a horse, felt the guiding presence of the light of Rivendell and found the right way through the overflooded terrain. They didnt get as far as she hoped they would, but after all, they were faster as if they would have gone the long way around the Swanfleet.
The night descended very quickly and Márovaí decided to make camp where the Greyflood Gwathló divided itself into the Mitheithel and the Bruinen Loudwater that flowed to Rivendell. She still had another days time to ride but she was so tired. Her heart longed for Legolas, yet though she knew that he wouldnt even remember. It had been more than fourhundred years since she had last seen him in Mirkwood. From time to time she had tried to reach him, but lately, it had been beyond her powers to talk to him. It pained her so much, yet she didnt know what to do. The elfin couldnt find to sleep this night, the vision of Legolas remained in her head, and she could not withdraw from it. She gave up trying to forget, instead she stepped out of the cover of the tree into the light. Islay raised his head but did not get up to follow her, she had the impression that the dog knew that she needed to be alone for a while.
The moon shone its pale light onto the earth and the water reflected it in all the different colours of the night. Márovaí still walked along the shore of the Loudwater, waiting for a vision to arise from her mind.
It must have been about the same time that Legolas was woken from his sleep by strange noises. He went out of his room, unseen by the guards. He slipped out into the night and ran over to the near forest. The moon shone clearly above the treetops and there were even some stars glimmering in a distance. Sometimes it seemed to the Elf that he could touch them if he would only reach out his hand and stretch a little. Somehow he wanted to touch one of them, a bright star, all pale and blue. Was it just him or did the star descent from his place up high in the nightly sky? It did not really grow, but to him it felt as if the star would come closer with every passing of every second. Legolas wanted to run back to the familiar grounds of his room, but yet, he couldnt move. His legs refused to hold his weight any longer, he broke down onto the dry soil and covered his face with his hands. The light of the star was now so close, it could have burned his skin. But it did not feel hot and dangerous, more cool and soothing.
Strange as it was, Márovaí at first did not recognize him. He looked different, pallid and thin. His hair did not shine anymore in the golden gleam they used to have. He must be very ill, she thought. But she needed to speak to him.
All around him the trees were rustling and the wind rushed through the dry leaves. But this wasnt the only noise he heard, there was a faint voice that called his name. At first he thought it was the voice of a distant bird but as soon as he heard his name, again all his strength was drawn from his body. This time he fell and hit the ground so hard that he bit his lower lip, tasting fresh blood. It was the first time that he tasted his own blood, he had never been injured badly enough before. The voice now seemed to be everywhere.
"Legolas" it whispered in the treetops.
"Legolas, my dear lad" it whispered from the branches of the bushes.
Legolas was surprised, he somehow knew this voice, but he couldnt tell who it was from the disembodiment. "Who are you!" he demanded, but it sounded more like a silent question. He did neither have control over his voice nor his body. The shadows vanished and light appeared in the dark night. From within this light someones frail features approached him. It was a female angel, Legolas thought, and a song of his youth came to his mind. Youre in the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort there. Nalana, his sister, used to sing this song when she thought she was alone. He sometimes heard her sing it when she wandered along through the forest.
The song that just had been inside his mind now was to be heard all around in the woods. Thousands of voices hummed the lines that he also knew from a distant time.
"In the arms of the angel, fly away from here, from this dark cold place youre at and the endlessness that you fear. You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie. You're in the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort there" He searched for the one saying those words, but he could not find anyone except the person in the light.
"Hear it now, theres a thousand choirs around us and yet all is still, time suspends when you are near." The girl chanted and Legolas felt an immense pain in his heart.
"Why are you speaking to me, how come you know me for I do not know you?" His voice was only a mere whisper. The vision started to fade again. "No! Dont leave me without the answers!" The elf cried out.
The girls features became clearly visible again, she seemed to smile. Legolas reached out for her, but all he could grasp was cold air.
"I would never leave you, dear lad, never could I let you be alone. I was there and I will always be there, with you. But answers will not help you understand, for you cannot remember. I pray you once will remember."
"Who are you?" he asked again, he had asked this question over and over again, whenever he had seen her.
"Sometimes I've noticed a tear in your eye and a far away smile and I wonder if ever it should come to pass that I stop listening to heartbeats, that I stop trading in dreams, seeing certainties in self deceit and I am hoping that tomorrow's will fill yesterdays."
"What are you talking about? I dont understand" His eyes filled with tears and there was no trace of discomfort anymore.
"Let the tears wash your soul, then you maybe remember what you once had. I was one of those you once had. I am more than a mere dream or a fantasy, theres more to me. And you knew, maybe you will know it again."
Legolas reached out his hand again to try to touch her, and somehow it felt to him as if he touched the light cloth of her gown, but he couldnt grasp it to hold her back.
Márovaí felt her power diminishing and had to grasp for the reins of Aerlinn to stay on her feet. Reflexively she had walked back to her camp to the horse which was snoring anxiously. He had never seen his master so absentmindedly and scared. Carefully he nudged her, but Márovaí did not move. Suddenly she was pulled away from him by a strange force, even though softly, and Aerlinn took a few steps backwards to keep her with him. All out of the blue she snapped back into reality, pulling the reins really hard. The horse snoared with repulsion and shook his almost black head furiously. The elfin opened her eyes and at first she had to choke on upcoming tears.
"Legolas" she whispered and reached out. But there was nothing that she could touch except the horses fur and mane. Desperately she cried out and dropped to the ground, weeping.
It took her quite a while to recover her strength and dry the tears, before she could mount the horse again to continue her way to Rivendell. Her heart was heavy and her mind was burdened with thoughts that she just couldnt forget about. The animals seemed to sense it and didnt leave her side until they reached the Bruinen Ford where they crossed the Loudwater. There were birds in the trees singing and Márovaí saw Elves on horseback patrolling the borders of the most beautiful elvish city, the hidden refuge of Elrond Peredhil. It layed in the deep valley in the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. But still, it was a place of peace and harmony.
Soon she was spotted and two Elves clad in dark gray on white horses led her into the heart of Rivendell to their master.