A Tale of the Fourth Age: Chapter Two
It was a bright midday in the middle of October, and Daewen was already exhausted. She had just finished pulling the weeds that surrounded the small cottage she shared with her grandfather. He had gone into town earlier in the day and would not be back until late that night, but she was used to this. He would go every day into town to listen to the news of the outside world. He never told her what was happening in the world, but on the few occasions that she would go into town with her grandfather she was able to gather what was happening in Middle Earth.
Daewen and her grandfather lived in a small cottage in a clearing of the Chetwood. This wood was about two or three leagues from the town of Bree, where much trading and traffic of people from all over Middle Earth would happen. Many would gather at the various inns to hear the news from those traveling through Bree. The Prancing Pony was usually where Daewen's grandfather would go; there he would converse with those who were visiting from other lands, but mostly he would sit and listen quietly, while keeping his opinions to himself.
* * * * *
As Daewen rested for a moment while sitting comfortably on a thick, low-hung branch of the old willow tree that stood near the cottage, her mind started to drift, and she began to think about the last time she visited Bree with her grandfather. It was late in October of last year, 3018, and after buying their usual weekly supply of food and the occasional purchase of fabric for the mending of clothes they stopped at the Prancing Pony. There were more people there than usual, and everyone was talking about the same thing.
Daewen recalled an old man who related a story about four strange hobbits who had come to the Prancing Pony about one month before. They were very mysterious and kept to themselves for the most part, and he claimed that one of them had the power to disappear completely. He said that the hobbit was singing and dancing on the table one moment, and the next moment he was gone. The old man said he vanished into thin air! Then he told of how the invisible hobbit never really left the inn; he stayed invisible during the day and came out at night to eat and steal things from those staying at the inn while they were asleep. He then proceeded to pull out various objects and watch as the people listening to him would exclaim that that was their coat, or hat, or their boot.
Daewen knew that the old man was telling a very exaggerated story; she thought that he lifted those items himself. But she somehow knew that part of his story was true. She believed that the hobbit disappeared even though she did not know how he did it. She also noticed that her grandfather listened very intently as the old man told his tale, and he tried to get more information from the old man. When that did not work, he went to the innkeeper, Barliman Butterbur, who said that all four hobbits left with a strange man, one of the rangers who wandered in the wild North. Daewen's grandfather pressed Butterbur for more information, but as the innkeeper did not know anything else, she and her grandfather left the inn and headed home.
As they rode home on their one horse Daewen began to wonder at her grandfather's interest in the strange hobbits. He did not say anything, but rode fast towards the Chetwood. Daewen decided to ask him about it when they got home. She was very curious about the strange hobbits and this ranger the innkeeper had talked about. He had made it seem a dangerous thing for these hobbits to be traveling into the wild with a ranger, who, for some reason, Daewen did not think was a dangerous person.
When Daewen and her grandfather reached the clearing in the Chetwood, he reined in the horse and told Daewen to take it to the small stable that sat next to the cottage. He hurried into the house, muttering to himself. Daewen did not know what was bothering him, but she did not think too much of it. She knew her grandfather would not say anything to her so she did not ask. Still, she thought his attitude might have something to do with what went on at the Prancing Pony.
As Daewen came from the stable to the cottage she heard her grandfather inside. It sounded as though he was frantically looking for something. She stepped inside.
"Grandfather, is something wrong?"
As she came through the door she saw her grandfather stuff a tightly wrapped bundle into a small wooden chest that she recognized as the one he kept under his bed. He stood up quickly with an irritated look on his face and stepped towards Daewen.
"Of course nothing is wrong," he said. "Must you always be so curious? That sort of thing is not right for a girl your age." He scowled and turned back towards the chest. Daewen stood there silent for a moment. Then she decided to ask her grandfather what she had been dying to know since they left Bree. "Grandfather, I know I shouldn't be so curious, but I was wondering: what is so important about that hobbit who disappeared? I have never heard of a hobbit having any sort of magic, so how did he get it? And why did he and his companions go off into the wild with a ranger?" She looked out the window off into the distance. "I wonder where they were going..." she trailed off, lost in thought. Her grandfather brought her back to attention. "Who do you think you are, child?" he sneered. "Are you the High Queen of all Middle Earth, so you must know all that happens in this world? And there is no such thing as magic; that is for infant's tales and such. I have told you too many times to curb your inquisitiveness.
"I would think you ungrateful for all I have done for you. Have you forgotten that I alone have taken care of you all of the years of your life? And your poor mother and father killed when you were just an infant. What would they think?" He looked hard at her, but she did not give in. She stared back at him with a glimmer of tears in her bright green eyes, silently defiant, until he spoke again. "Because of your inability to extinguish your curiosity, I am forbidding you to go back into Bree. You may never go with me or by yourself. If I find that you have disobeyed me, you will be very sorry." He turned and stalked into the one bedroom of the cottage, which was his. Daewen, unable to hold back her tears, turned and ran from the cottage. She came to the old willow and swung herself up to the low branch that she loved to sit in. she sat there and cried.
* * * * *
Now, as Daewen sat in that tree, she brushed a few tears from her eyes as she remembered back to that day. It had been almost a year since then, and her grandfather was very careful to see that she did not even venture past the eaves of the Chetwood. She began to wonder how her grandfather, who was her own blood, would treat her so. He never spoke a kind word, and he made her work all the time. She felt like his servant more than his granddaughter at times, for he often spoke harshly to her, and criticised her every thought and word. He never once offered to take her anywhere he went, unless he needed her to carry what they would buy in Bree, or if the journey would be more than a day, for he never left her alone overnight. He said he was afraid she would run away into the wild and not return. That was usually followed with a sharp chastisement of her behaviour, for he said she was too independent for a girl. He always treated her like a child, too. She did not know what to do. She wished that she could fly away to some other place than the Chetwood. She wished she could have gone with the hobbits and the ranger into the other places of Middle Earth. She could not remember living anywhere else other than that cottage in that clearing. She did not even really know what lay beyond the Chetwood and Bree. No one had ever told her, even if she asked. As she sat there, she heard her grandfather's horse gallop into the clearing, and his voice. He was calling her, so she jumped down from the tree and ran into the cottage.
Daewen's grandfather stopped the horse in the middle of the small yard in front of the house. He got off and called to Daewen again.
"Yes, grandfather?" Daewen came out of the cottage as if she had been there the whole time he had been gone. "What is it?"
"Have you been here the whole time I have been gone?" he said. He looked very anxious and upset. "I have heard some very startling news about the war that has been going on in the East. Did anything happen while I was gone?"
Now Daewen was completely confused. "No, nothing has happened here. I have been here the whole time. Look," she pointed to where the weeds used to be. "I finished pulling the weeds as you asked me to do."
"That is good," he replied distractedly. "Now I must take some things and return to Bree. Take this water skin, go down to the stream and fill it. I shall need it." He handed her the water skin and turned to take the horse to the stable. She stood there for a moment, still perplexed by her grandfather's behaviour, but then she gathered her thoughts and headed down a pathway to the stream which was about fifty yards from the cottage.
When she reached the stream, she stopped for a moment. She looked back in the direction from which she came, and smiled. The cottage was nowhere to be seen from the stream. For a little while she could be alone. She knelt down by the water and looked into the stream. What she saw was her own reflection: her long, thick, curly hair that was the colour of the deep red sunset was pulled back from her face into braids, with a few strands that had come undone while she worked. She pushed these back and looked at her face. She did not think she looked very much like her grandfather. Whereas he had grey hair that was balding on top, a bushy black beard, and thick eyebrows that shadowed his piercing black eyes, she had red hair, and bright green eyes that shone like emeralds. They were also piercing, but in a different way. She also noted that she was much fairer in skin than he, and she was undoubtedly taller. She wondered how such a person could be related to her; he was so different in body and spirit. He was domineering and intolerant; she was kind and always looked for the best in everything, including him. But as she looked at her reflection and thought back to that day when he had dashed all her dreams of seeing the rest of Middle Earth, she saw that there was no good in him. She also realised that she had to do something about the way he treated her.
She looked up and saw that the sun was shining low and from the East through the trees. She filled the water skin; while she was doing this she looked down at her hands. They were long and slender, and she was surprised that they were not hard and brown from the years of working in the cottage and outside. She stood up and began to walk back to the cottage. She noticed every tree and animal that passed her way, and wished that she could find a wood that she could live in, alone and undisturbed. If she had a place such as that she could do as she pleased; she could sing and dance underneath the moon until She set and the sun came to take Her place.
Daewen arrived at the cottage just before sunset. The clearing was very quiet. She stepped into the cottage and found that her grandfather was not there. She would not have bothered with noting that had he not asked her to take care of his water skin and bring it back to him. She thought maybe he was in the stable so she left the cottage and went to the stable. She carefully stepped into the stable, only to find that although the horse was there, her grandfather was not. He had left the saddle and bridle on the horse, and he had not even locked the stall. She became worried, and ran back to the cottage. There was still no sign of her grandfather anywhere. She ran to him room and peeked inside. Usually she would not even think about venturing into his room, it was his private place. She usually slept on a small bed in one of the corners of the larger main room. But now her curiosity overcame her.
She opened the door slowly, so as not to disturb her grandfather if he was inside. She tiptoed into the room and found that it was empty of everything except the bed. Her grandfather and all his possessions had disappeared! Daewen sank to the floor in despair. Could he really have abandoned her? She looked around the room and spotted something in the corner near the window. It was gleaming in the last light of the sun. She stood up and slowly walked over to it. She knelt down to pick it up and saw that it was a necklace. It was a pendant; some metal that shone like nothing else she had seen was delicately braided and set into it was the most beautiful red jewel she had ever seen. The chain upon which it hung was made of the same metal as the setting of the pendant. She held it up to look at it in the light. As the sun shone through it, it cast a red glow about the room. She stood back up and looked at it. She somehow knew that it did not belong to her grandfather, but she herself was not stealing it. She clasped it about her neck, and it fit perfectly. She suddenly felt very tired, so she decided to worry about her plight later. She left her grandfather's room and shut the door. Then she walked over to her bed in the corner, cast herself onto it and immediately fell asleep.
* * * * *
The sun was shining brightly through the westward window when Daewen awoke. She sat up feeling refreshed, and headed down to the stream to bathe. She did not think anything of her current situation, but was grateful for the fact that no one was there to tell her to get to work, or to stop thinking of what was happening in another land, or magic. She walked slowly on her way to the stream, drinking in the sunlight and watching the world come to life.
When Daewen came back to the cottage, she began to think of what she must do to take care of herself now that her grandfather was gone. Then the thought hit her; my grandfather is gone! I can do whatever I wish! She twirled around, laughing. Now she knew what she would do.
Daewen entered the cottage and looked around. She grabbed a sack and stuffed her cloak and some food into it. She also put what little money she had hidden away into a small bag and tied it to her belt. Then she went into her grandfather's room to see if he had left anything that would be of use to her. Underneath his bed she found a small dagger in a plain leather sheath; this she also tied to her belt. In the left-hand upper corner of the room she found a small book; it looked like some sort of journal. It was written in her grandfather's handwriting. Most of it was written in a language she did not know, but some of it was written in familiar letters. She decided to read it later and put it in the sack with the rest of her meager belongings.
Daewen swept the floor of the cottage and left the door unlatched. She thought that if some wandering traveler happened by they could make good use of it. She grabbed a blanket, rolled it and tied it to her sack, then turned and headed towards the stable.
When she reached to stable, she went inside and entered the horse's stall. He started a bit, for he was uncomfortable with the saddle still on his back. Daewen stroked his nose to calm him down and took off the saddle and bridle. She never liked to use them when she rode the horse, for she found that she could control the horse without them. She brushed him until he shone, then led him out of the stable. When she was outside, she jumped onto the horse's back. She looked back at the cottage and thought to herself, Goodbye. I hope I never see this place again. Then she whispered to the horse and was off towards Bree.
* * * * *
Daewen took her time on the way to Bree. She wanted to enjoy the journey and be able to pay attention to her surroundings. She rode rather steadily for about five miles, but she stopped often to look at the different flowers and trees she had never noticed the other times she had traveled to Bree with her grandfather.
It was late afternoon by the time she reached the half-way point of her journey. She had sighted the Old Road, but she decided to stop and eat before starting again. She dismounted her horse and tethered it to a nearby tree. She sat down on the soft, cool grass and pulled out of her sack some bread and an apple. As she reached for her water she noticed her grandfather's journal. She pulled that out as well and began to read while she ate.
The journal was small and very old. It was bound with faded black leather, and the pages were yellowed with age. It had a strange inscription in gold on the front in a language that Daewen did not understand. She carefully opened the book and found the same strange language written in thick, bold handwriting that looked almost angry. She turned a few pages that were filled with writing. She began to recognise the letters after the fifth page, so she started to read.
December 26, 1696~
"This new task Lord Sauron has bestowed upon me is rather strange. It seems that an elvish seer has told of an elf-child that will grow to be the bane of all my master's plans. It has been told to me that this child has descended from a mixed line of elves and dwarves. Her kin have been all but extinguished, but her father and mother still live. They must be destroyed, as well as this child. I, Túrthalion, lieutenant to Lord Sauron, have been appointed to carry out this thing, and I mean to do it well. My spies have located the child and have been sent out to retrieve her and kill her parents. But I myself must destroy her for the prophecy to be undone. For now I await them, and purpose to do nothing else until my task is complete."
January 18, 1697~
"The child has come to me at last! She is still an infant, but already she has a spirit of fire in her. She is fair to look upon, and she has curly, deep red hair; something I have never seen in that of an elf. I suppose it comes from her dwarvish descent, but it is a rather spectacular thing to see. The seer had said that this elf-child was the bearer of some great power. I think that it would be a great thing if she was to be on Sauron's side. If she does possess such powers, then she should not be destroyed but trained to serve Sauron. I have decided to relay this to my master, and I hope that he will agree with me."
February 28, 1697~
"I have been cast out of my master's presence and service. It seems that he was not pleased with my intentions for the child. Instead he sent me and the child away to the furthest regions of the Northern wild, near the regions of Angmar. I have struggled to find shelter and stay alive in this place, but the child appears to be well. I have named her Daewen, which means "maiden of the shadow". She has grown much in this time, and is still very spirited in nature. I believe that I shall stay here with her for a while, if I can find substantial food and a permanent place of shelter. The only comfort I have in my current situation is that I shall live until Lord Sauron is destroyed (though I think that shall not come to pass) for I have bound my life and soul to him forever."
April 15, 1717~
"It has been about twenty years from what I can reckon in this lonely wilderness. I regret not laying down the account of what has come to pass over these long years. I have spent all my time raising Daewen and attempting to train her in the ways of my master, but to no avail. She is the most obstinate elf I have ever dealt with. She insists on being terribly independent and curious about everything. But I am beginning to understand what the seer prophesied. Daewen seems to have an innate sense of who to trust; she is not even one hundred years old yet and already her mind perceives even the deepest thoughts of others. Unfortunately since there is no one else living near us I am the object of her mind perception. It is no easy task raising her, for she somehow sees that I am not like her, and she does not give the undue respect for Lord Sauron that I expect of her. She has already perceived him as an enemy, although I have always spoken of him as otherwise. As of this moment I do not know what action to take against this growing threat of her abilities as an elf. I shall have to go to my books to find a solution, but it will be no easy ta--"
Here was where the page ended, for the bottom half had been torn off. Daewen was astonished. She was an elf? She could not believe what she was reading. She did not feel like an elf and she could not remember any of this man's account. She did not even know where Angmar was. Perhaps this was not her grandfather's journal; perhaps there was an elf that had the same name as her. Daewen turned a few more pages and found another entry.
August 19, 1978~
"I have attained information through my black arts that Sauron's spirit has settled in Mordor in the far East, where he is slowly building his reign of power. He has lost his ring of power, but he has not been vanquished.
We are now completely isolated here in the North, for the Witch-King of Angmar has been completely defeated by the elvish forces that fortunately did not discover me and Daewen. It has been almost four thousand years now, so I have planned to move us closer to civilization. About fifty leagues from here is the small forest of the Chetwood. It is near the trading town of Bree, so I shall be able to learn of what is happening in the rest of Middle Earth while keeping Daewen away from society.
"The spell that I cast on her has worked splendidly. She believes that she is as human as I, and I have told her that she is only eighteen years old. She will believe that until the spell is undone, for it wipes out her memory every three hundred years. I do not speak to her of Sauron anymore; I have told her that I am her grandfather. Of her parents I have told her that they died when she was born; she did not require a reason as to the cause of their deaths."
Daewen turned the page only to find it blank. As she flipped through the rest of the small book she did not find anything else of importance or understanding. She realised that the journal was speaking of her, and that her "grandfather" was really the servant of some dark lord called Sauron. She tried to remember what happened before living in the Chetwood, but her memory was blank. She did not know what to do about the journal or her lost life. She looked up at the sky and realized that it was getting late. She stuffed the journal back into her sack and mounted her horse.
* * * * *
By the time Daewen reached the town gate the sun had disappeared below the horizon, but there was still some light in the sky. She rode up to the gate and knocked. From behind the other side of the gate she heard someone fumbling with the lock. The gate window opened a crack, and Daewen could barely make out a face.
"Wot is all this `ere? Travellers aft'r dark?"
Daewen looked at the old gatekeeper. He looked more scared than anything. She smiled. "Please, I am come form the North and do not have anywhere else to stay for the night; and I think it is not that dark yet."
The gatekeeper held up a lantern and peered out at her. "Well," he said, "I `ave t' keep real careful-like nowadays; wot with all this talk of strange going-ons and such. You'll `ave to pardon me way of speakin', it's wot comes with me job." He looked at her up and down. "You don't look like a dangerous one now, sorta pretty you are, fr'm wot I can make out in this light. `Ere, I'll open th' gate for you." He slowly opened the gate just enough to let Daewen through with her horse. He tipped his old cap to her. " 'Ave a nice night, lady. Do you `ave a place to stay `ere in Bree?"
"Yes, I do. Thank you very much." Daewen rode off towards the Prancing Pony and the gatekeeper went back to his place by the gate.
As Daewen rode through the town, she saw that it had changed much since the last time she had visited. It was much more quiet, even for nighttime, and those out on the streets looked suspicious of everyone else. She spotted the Prancing Pony and turned her horse in that direction.
She reached the stable of the inn and was met by a good-natured but scared-looking hobbit. He stepped up to her when she dismounted her horse.
"Are you staying here tonight, miss?"
"Yes, I am," Daewen said.
"Well, I can take your horse for you. I'll see that it gets good feed and water." He took the reins and started to lead the horse away.
"Thank you," Daewen called out after him.
She walked over to the inn. As she stepped into the inn, she was met with an amazing sight. There was barely anyone in the main room, and the few who were there were very quiet and talked amongst themselves in hushed tones. This was not at all the Prancing Pony that she remembered. She went over to where the innkeeper, Barliman Butterbur, was standing behind the counter. He saw her and immediately brightened up.
"Ah! A customer. Would you like a room for the night, miss? I have plenty of rooms on the first and second floor. You'll have to pardon the way things are around here. What with all that's happening in other parts of the world has got my inn a real hard place to be. Especially since strange men went on up to The Shire and started bossing people around," He sighed. "It has been real hard times for my business, but there seems to be nothing done about it." He looked hard at her. "Where did you say you came from, miss?
"I did not say where I came from. But I am not any sort of enemy, if you were thinking that. I would like a room and bath, if you please, and a hot meal." She pulled out her small bag of money, "How much will it be?"
Butterbur smiled. "Do not worry about that right now, miss. I will show you to a fine room we have on the second floor. Is that all right with you--the second floor, I mean? They are nicer upstairs, and no one will bother you."
"Yes, the second floor will be fine. Thank you very much."
Daewen's room was small and sparsely furnished, but the bed had plenty of warm blankets. She set her sack down and threw herself onto the bed. She lay there for a few moments and thought about the recent events. She still did not know what to think of the journal entries. It appeared that the man who had pretended to be her grandfather had stolen her from her parents and her people, the elves. She still could not believe that she was really an elf, and one with dwarvish blood as well. She wanted to know what really had happened, but she did not know anyone who would remember such things. She got up from the bed and walked over to the standing mirror. She looked at herself. She did not look like an elf. She had never actually seen one, but she had heard enough tales in Bree to know what one would look like, and she did not think that she was it. She was wearing a simple woolen dress that was a faded brown and green colour, with a leather belt that held her money and the small dagger she found in the cottage. Her hair was unkempt because of the ride through the Chetwood; she undid it from its place and ran her fingers through it. She had never heard of an elf with red hair, no matter what the journal said. From what she had heard, elves had golden or silver or jet hair. She sighed and looked down at the pendant hung around her neck. It was the only thing that looked worthy enough to be considered "elven" to her. She fingered it for a moment, thinking of her past. She wished she could remember it all, but for now she had to be content with knowing it was a mystery. She decided to take a hot bath before heading downstairs to eat.
* * * * *
As Daewen headed down the stairs she overheard the innkeeper talking with someone. This someone had a deep voice that stirred the heart of Daewen. She came to the main room and saw who the innkeeper was conversing with. There were actually five people standing at the counter and they looked very strange. There were four hobbits, all of whom were wearing grey cloaks. Two of them were almost a head taller than the others, and they had mail and small swords underneath the cloaks. They looked confident but worn, as with travel or some great task. The other two hobbits looked worn as well, especially one who looked as if he had had the weight of the world on his shoulders at one time. The innkeeper was talking to the fifth member of the small party. This was the one whom Daewen had heard speak. He was tall and commanding in manner. He also wore a grey cloak that reached the ground. A white robe peeked out beneath it, and a soft, white light seemed to be all around him. He had a large, white, pointed hat upon his head and long white hair. His beard was also white, and piercing blue eyes shone from underneath his thick, jutting eyebrows. He looked old, but strong and wise. Daewen walked over to the counter and sat down. She continued to watch the strange travellers as they were shown to a room on the first floor. As she sat there she realised that the old man was looking at her intently. She did not want to appear rude so she smiled. He smiled back and walked over to her.
"Do you mind if I sit here next to you?" he asked. He was still looking closely at her as if he knew who she was.
"I do not mind at all, sir. Pardon me, but you seem as if you know me. Is that so?"
He pointed to her necklace. "Where did you get that necklace from?"
"I found it, sir," then she hastily added, "I did not steal it. I am not that type of person."
He smiled again, and it made Daewen feel warm inside. "Do not worry, child. I accuse you of nothing. Tell me, how did you come to be here in Bree?"
"I travelled here on horseback from the Chetwood. I used to live there with my--" here she stopped. "I lived there for some time it seems."
The old man looked harder at her. "With whom did you live? It is alright; I will not do you any harm, child."
Somehow Daewen felt as if she could trust this man with all she knew. "I lived there with a man who claimed to be my grandfather. But about two days ago he left and has not returned."
"You say he claimed to be your grandfather; if he was not, then who was he? And why did he leave you so suddenly?"
Daewen thought back to the events of two days ago. Why had this man left so suddenly? She looked back at the old man. "I do not know why he left me, but I know I was glad to be rid of him. He treated me horribly; nothing like a grandfather would be, I expect. When I searched his room to see if I could find anything as to why he left, I found this:" here she pulled out the small journal she had put in her dress pocket. She handed it to the old man. "I could only read some of it, for most of it was written in another language. But I do not understand what it means."
He took the book and opened it. He read some of it, and as he did his eyes grew wide with surprise. He looked back at Daewen, and then read some more. After a few pages he stopped.
"Do you know what it means?" Daewen asked him. "I think it speaks of me, but I could not possibly be that person, could I?"
The man looked very grave now. "What is your name, child?"
He opened the book again and flipped through a few pages. He looked back at Daewen. " I must speak with you about this in private. Come, we will go into the parlour. No one will bother us there." He stood up and began to walk to the parlour. Daewen hesitated for a moment, but when he beckoned for her to follow she ran after him.
* * * * *
"You are the one spoken about in this book."
Daewen and the old man were now sitting in the dimly lit parlour of the Prancing Pony, and he had just spoken the words that Daewen feared were true.
"How do you know about me, sir? And who are you, for that matter?"
"I am Gandalf, and I have been searching for you for a very long time. For now, that is all you need know about me."
Daewen looked at Gandalf. He appeared very serious. He also seemed to know much more about Daewen than she knew. She wanted to know about her past, and why this strange man had been looking for her.
"It appears that you know more about me than I do," she said. "Tell me, why have you been looking for me? Who am I to be of such great importance? I am nothing but a lowly servant girl who ran away when her master did not return. That is nothing significant."
Gandalf produced a long pipe from the fold of his robe and lit it. His eyes looked even more piercing in the light of the small fire, and he furrowed his brow. "You are not whom you appear to be. I shall tell all that concerns you, for you are still of great importance to all that happens here in Middle Earth.
"Your real name is Morgiel Carnimírië. You are the daughter of Míriel, an elf who was the daughter of Arien, also an elf, and Orin, a dwarf. You were born in 1696 of the Second Age. When you were born, a seer foretold of your destiny to one day rid Middle Earth of evil once and for all. At this time all of Middle Earth was at war with a powerful and evil being known as Sauron. He somehow obtained this information and appointed his lieutenant to find you and destroy you and your parents. This way none of your kin; that is, none with elf and dwarf blood, would remain alive to destroy him. This lieutenant of his found you and carried you off. Your parents were killed in the battle that destroyed their land, and those who were left alive searched everywhere for you, to no avail. You had been missing for a little over one thousand years when I came to your people. Their king asked me to search for you as I travelled throughout Middle Earth. The other Elven-kingdoms were notified of you disappearance and your importance to the fate of all Middle Earth. We have, amidst other things, been searching for you for over four thousand years and through two ages. The Third Age has ended, and the Fourth begun; to have found you at such a time as this is truly a miraculous thing," he paused to blow a few smoke rings into the air. Daewen considered all that he had said.
"So how old am I really? My grand--Túrthalion told me I was eighteen years of age."
Gandalf took his pipe from his mouth. "You, my dear, are four thousand, seven hundred sixty-four years of age. Does this surprise you?"
Daewen thought about it for a moment. It was hard for her to believe all that Gandalf was telling her, but somehow it seemed to be true. She ran her fingers through her hair.
"No, somehow it just seems right. I certainly do not feel four thousand years old. But what I do not understand is this: I do not look anything like an elf. Do not elves have dark or golden hair? For mine is red. And when I look into a mirror, my appearance is that of a normal, human girl; not that of an elf-woman. And to be of noble blood; that indeed is a wonder to me. How does this tale come together?"
Gandalf smiled and set down his pipe. "Your mother's mother fell in love with and married a dwarf. I know it sounds rather strange, but it is true. Because of your dwarvish blood-line you have red hair. You are of noble blood because again, your grandmother was the daughter of an elf-lord, and your grandfather was a dwarf-lord. Now all that remains of that nobility is you, my lady."
Daewen was surprised at her apparent title of "lady". She had never been treated so. She looked at Gandalf intently. "How do I fit into this tale? You said that it was foretold that I would be the one to end all evil in Middle Earth; if that is my task, how do I go about doing it?"
"You must find Túrthalion and destroy him. He is the last of evil left here in Middle Earth. Do not worry, you will not have to do this completely alone. I have found someone who has agreed to help you on your quest, and I think you shall find the company quite pleasant as well. I shall take you to your first destination, where you will be given complete directions for what you must do. You shall also receive some well-needed training before you start your journey."
Daewen was eager to begin her task. "When shall we start? And where are we going?"
Gandalf smiled again. "You shall start off tomorrow morning. I must see to some business tomorrow and shall catch up with you in one day's time. Our destination is Rivendell, the former home of Master Elrond Half-elven; he has left Middle Earth, but there are still those left who can be of help to you," he paused to light his pipe.
Daewen stood up and walked to the window. She looked out over the dark land and thought about her task. She did not know where to find this man who had stolen her life from her, but she felt confident that Gandalf would help her somehow. And this person he talked about seemed to be experienced in this sort of thing. She wondered what sort of training she would need, and how she would start her journey. So many questions piled up in her mind, and she did not know where to start.
"How do I start my way to Rivendell, Gandalf? I have never been outside the Chetwood to the East. And what sort of training to I need? I know how to ride a horse, and I know how to cook."
Gandalf laughed. "My dear child, there is much you will learn before your task is completed. Do not worry yourself with such things at this moment. I will tell you all you need to know when the time is right. For now, when you start tomorrow take the South-gate out of Bree and head down the Great East Road, which you will follow all the way there. Be sure to stop nights and rest. There is no need for hurry yet, for I have not even located Sauron's servant yet. When I meet up with you I will tell you what to do next. Is everything clear to you?"
Daewen could think of many things that were not clear to her, but she knew they could wait. She stood up. "Yes everything is clear. I understand what I must do for now. I will see you in two days. Now I think I should get some rest. Good night, Gandalf."
Here Gandalf took Daewen's hand and bowed low. "Good night, my lady Morgiel. May you fare well on your journey."
They left the parlour, and as Daewen, or Morgiel as we now must call her, turned to head up the stairs Gandalf called to her. "Morgiel, do you have any way of protecting yourself?"
"Yes," she said. She produced the small dagger from her belt. "I know how to use this, and I run fast as well."
"Good. You never know when you may need it. Good night my lady." He turned and headed to his room.
* * * * *
The next morning, everyone was so busy with the strange guests that no one noticed Morgiel leave. Gandalf saw her off and gave her his blessing.
"Stay on the Great East Road, and be sure to stop at night. There are no dangers to be accounted for, but be careful. I shall meet you in two days. Until then, farewell."
Morgiel found her horse in the stable, ready to leave. She stroked his mane and buried her face in his neck. I thought elves were supposed to be fearless and brave, she thought. She looked up from her horse and mounted. I will not fail Gandalf. I will not fail Middle Earth. She rode towards the South-gate feeling more confident than before.
As she began her way down the Great East Road with the sun rising behind her, the sunlight was caught in her hair, and a soft red light seemed to hang around her. She breathed the fresh morning air and smiled. I am going to see the elves. I will finally be reunited with my people after almost five thousand years. She was on her way to Rivendell.
* * * * *