An Aussie in King Aragorn's Court ~Part 35 - That's Just not Cricket!


I was all right for a while
I could smile for a while
But when I saw you last night
You held my hand so tight

When you stopped to say hello
And though you wished me well
You couldn't tell

That I'd been crying over you,

Crying over you
Then you said "So long"
Left me standing all alone,

Alone and crying,

Crying, crying, crying
It's hard to understand
That the touch of your hand

Can start me crying

I thought that I was over you
But it's true, so true
I love you even more

Than I did before
But Darling, what can I do?
For you don't love me
And I'll always be

Crying over you,

Crying over you
Yes now you're gone
And from this moment on,

I'll be crying,

Crying, crying, crying
I'm crying,

Crying over you

Caught in the gentle remonstrations of a soft breeze that fluttered through Coralie's bedchamber, a few scattered leaves of parchment whisked about the floor in a moderate display of interrupted rhythm, alternating between gentle brushings and solemn silence in the early morning light. Drawn to awakening by the soft, insistent melody of parchment playing wood, Coralie draped her head along the length of her arm, and surveyed the scene of quiet mayhem, before her.

She could not remember how she had come to her bedchamber, whether she had stumbled there blindly on her own, or been carried by one of the Elves, she did not know. Coralie decided upon the latter as being the most likely outcome. Her hand wandered momentarily up to her throat, half afraid that the purple bruise which graced it, had been accidentally discovered. With great relief, Coralie found the scarf still wound about her throat, albeit rather loosely for her liking. There were only dim memories of gentle voices, and someone drawing the covers up over her supine form. She did however, remember waking through the night and writing a letter. A letter, which would probably never reach its intended recipient. She could see it plainly now, in its soft ivory envelope upon her desk, beside her stained feather quill. It was the one piece of writing that did not float along with the others on the playful breeze. Resolute and silent, it waited patiently, as a sentinel awaiting new orders.

Coralie sighed as her gazed lingered on the missive for a moment, and then shut her eyes as a tear slid down her cheek to join the others on her already damp pillow.

"What was the use?" she thought. "He will never read it, and even if he did, would it make any difference?"

In her despair, Coralie quickly reasoned that it would not and decided she would discard it along with her other frantic writings, now scattered about her chamber.

There was a soft rap at her door, and Coralie glanced toward it. Company was the last thing she felt like at the moment. She resolved to ignore the knock, in the hope that whoever it was would give up and go away. The gentle rapping came again, more insistent than before. Taking cover under the layers of misery that had enfolded her as she drew the covers up over her head, Coralie wished with all her might that whoever it was, would assume her to be asleep and go away. She sighed as she heard the door open, followed by velvet slippers padding their way across the wooden floor. The bed subsided as someone sat beside her and gently pulled the covers back.

Nólemíre looked down at her with kind eyes as she carefully brushed a stray wisp of hair from Coralie's forehead. For some strange reason, Coralie still wore the scarf about her throat, that she had worn yesterday. She felt slightly warm and damp to her touch. She wondered if Coralie were slightly feverish as she looked up at her with tear filled eyes.

That could explain her present condition, causing her grief to intensify at the Company's departure. She had not thought mortals capable of such intense feelings, thinking that they belonged to the sole province of the Elves, but this lady was a constant source of surprise to her. Even the turnabout of recent events over the last day, with the news that Coralie had suddenly accepted the man's proposal of marriage, had taken them all by surprise. She was a dark horse this one, for none had suspected her affections lay with Boromir, but rather had supposed she held someone else with fond regard.

"Lady, how are you feeling this morning?"

Coralie blinked up at the Elf through the wash of tears, unable to speak her voice catching in her throat.

"This will never do," thought Nólemíre to herself, "I must get her up and try to take her mind off this situation for the present." In the short time that Nólemíre had known Coralie, she had played the keen observer, and knew her to be someone who took delight in constant activity and physical exercise. She also knew her to be in possession of a restlessness of mind and spirit that would only serve to deepen the wounds she was presently suffering from if she were allowed to remain in this condition, and she was certain that distraction was indeed the order of the day. Though looking down at her now, she knew that too much physical activity would probably do more harm than good, but to allow her to lie abed and wallow in her misery would be almost as harmful to her spirit.

"Come, Lady. I have ordered a bath for you. You can't lie here like this all day."

"Why not?" croaked Coralie with miserable disdain.

"Because I said so, that's why," replied the Elven maiden, going to the door while Coralie lay back and drew the covers over her head once more, as some waiting elves brought in an elegantly carved wooden tub, complete with a stand alone silk curtain, and buckets of steaming water upon Nólemíre's signal. The sweet, fragrant aroma of briar rose and delicate apple soon filled the bedchamber, as Nólemíre sprinkled the rose petals and leaves into the bath, where it even penetrated the covers under which Coralie had cocooned herself.

Striding over to the bed, Nólemíre flung the covers off her and looked down at the dismal form of Coralie curled in a pathetic mass before her.

"Now Lady Coralie, are you going to get up and get in the bath of your own accord, or do I have to call those Elves back and have them throw you in on my command?"

Coralie looked up at the Elven maid who stood over her with graceful hands placed firmly on her hips. For an instant she almost smiled at the idea of Nólemíre calling those poor fellows back in order to throw her bodily into the tub, and found herself laughing in her mind at the comical scene. Just imagine the reports around Lothlórien then; that the Princess had been rough handled by a group of Elven men into a hot bath! But looking up into Nólemíre's stern features, she saw only grim determination, and Coralie recognising defeat had come in one of its manifest forms, sat up obediently.

Taking her gently, yet firmly by the hand, Nólemíre drew Coralie out of the bed to stand beside the tub. For a moment, Coralie sighed as she gazed down into the rose strewn bath water, seeing for an instant, the silver candescence of the river water from the previous day that bore the Company far away. Where were they now?

Noting the return of Coralie's melancholy, Nólemíre handed Coralie her shampoo and smiled gently at her as she drew the curtains around the bath.

Presently the soothing scent of rose petals, began to have its desired effect upon Coralie's spirits as she luxuriated in the warm water. As she washed her hair, the fresh scent of strawberries blended in perfect concord with the sweet briar rose, and its apple scented leaves, gradually washing away the misery of the past day and night.

Nólemíre briefly looked about the room as several sheets of parchment danced about aimlessly in the breeze. She could see that at some point during the night, Coralie had awoken and had written what looked to be a letter upon her desk. Her brows knit together as her eyes focused on the name of the person it was addressed to. As the broken pieces of the last day began to form more clearly in her mind, the Elven maid almost gasped aloud as she began to realise the full implications of Coralie's sadness.

She resisted the temptation to question Coralie about the letter, which now stood as a beacon to her view. Why had i titheniel accepted Boromir's proposal when it was plain to her and any other that had seen her in the company of Legolas, that it was not the man she loved, but the Elf? She and Calentaeg had guessed as much, but now she was certain that they had been right, and what deepened the mystery even more, was her own certainty that Legolas did indeed love this mortal maid in return.

Nólemíre walked over to the robe where i titheniel kept her clothes and began to sort through them, one by one. She was trying to put together some sort of outfit that Coralie would not feel too restricted in, knowing that Calentaeg would be along to collect them both shortly, as he and Haldir had been planning a surprise of sorts for i titheniel. But what to wear?

Drawn by the rustlings of Nólemíre's fruitless pursuit through her robe, Coralie peeked through a slight opening in the surrounding curtain, to watch her briefly with something almost akin to amusement. It was obvious that the Elven Maiden was a little nonplussed by her outlandish clothing. Reaching for a towel, Coralie stepped out of the tub and walked over to the heap of clothes that Nólemíre had placed on her bed.

"This almost looks like a rummage sale!" said Coralie from behind. Noting Nólemíre's puzzled expression, Coralie quickly decided what she would wear.

"Okay Nólemíre, I will put you out of your misery. I shall wear my bikini for underclothes, in case I decide to go for a swim later on, and wear my shorts and tank top over the top, in case I decide to go for a run, and over that I will wear that bias cut silk chiffon skirt with the chiffon blouse that buttons just under the bust, so I will at least look like I am wearing a dress of some sort," Coralie spoke wearily, as she pulled the items out one by one and dressed herself.

"Lady, that is a pretty scarf around your throat. You had it on yesterday. And last night Támurile would not allow us to take it off you, when we brought you here, as she said you had a sore throat. Are you feeling better yet?"

Coralie's hand stole to the scarf as Nólemíre commented. "No. Not yet. I need to keep my throat warm."

The Elven maid raised her brows at this explanation, but having no first hand experience with illness herself, decided in the end that Coralie obviously knew best.

She smiled ruefully to herself as she looked down at Coralie, now dressed ready for anything, with her outlandish clothes underneath the simple silk skirt and blouse, while combing her hair as she sat on the bed.

She could readily see Támurile's handiwork on the clothing, as well as Coralie's own inimitable style, unusual yet attractive nevertheless. Sighing to herself, she decided that she would have to take Támurile aside and see if she knew anything about the incident with Coralie and Boromir in the garden, that Artapel and the Hobbits had inadvertently stumbled upon.

Her brother, Artapel, was quite insistent that from his observations, the two had been involved in some sort of clandestine meeting, which he and the Hobbits had interrupted, and that nothing untoward had befallen i titheniel. Nólemíre knew it was her brother who had quietly told Legolas about Boromir's proposal to Coralie, and her acceptance. Artapel had reasoned that it would have been better to hear the news from him first, a fellow Elf, rather than Merry and Pippin who would most likely blurt it out at some inopportune time. He did admit that he was surprised, as were they all, by Coralie's response, but had not the inclination to become involved in the affairs of mortals, as their hearts were clearly not governed in the same manner as the Elves.

Regardless of the deep affection he held in his own heart for i titheniel, he had decided that Aragorn was an exception to this rule, as far as he was concerned. He had originally thought i titheniel to be much like him in spirit, but following the events of the other night, had decided to at least forewarn Legolas, lest he become too involved on some irrevocable level of his heart. Nólemíre wondered if Artapel had been too impetuous in telling Legolas what he had observed. What if he was wrong in some way? However, his arguments concerning the Hobbits made sense, even to her. Sighing again to herself, she found that she had finished combing Coralie's short hair. She then drew out a small golden vial, delicately engraved with Elven runes, attached to a slender chain, from her pocket. Carefully unclasping the link at the back she gently placed it around Coralie's neck.

"What is this?" asked Coralie looking down as she turned the vial over in her hand.

"It is the pure essence of briar rose, captured within that vial, Lady Coralie. The scent is soothing and is said to give you sweet dreams," she replied.

Nólemíre sighed inwardly as the clouds that had briefly been chased away, began to settle upon i titheniel's face once more. She bent down to pick up the leaves of parchment that lay scattered about the floor.

"Leave them," came Coralie's arid command. Straightening up, she could see i titheniel perched on the end of her bed, clasping her hands tightly in her lap as she looked through the window of her room to some distant point beyond her reach. Even in the bright sunlight, Nólemíre could see the shadows of sorrow play upon her features. A soft knock upon the door brought her out of her brief reverie. Calentaeg stood there as she opened it, with gentle inquiry in his eyes.

"How is she?" he asked softly.

"Much the same," replied Nólemíre quietly as she let him into the room. It had been Calentaeg who had carried Coralie back to her bedchamber the previous day, after Támurile had led them to where she lay weeping inconsolably beneath her gum tree. Even the kookaburras had long ceased their endless caterwauling as he came to her aid, watching the scene below with keen, but sad observance.

"Perhaps Haldir's present can help to chase away some of this gloom," said Calentaeg hopefully. "Alas, he has not yet returned from his watch along the Great River, after escorting the Fellowship yesterday. Hopefully he will return later today. I was rather hoping that he would be here, so as to help ease the mind and heart of i titheniel, for he is wise and also befriended her, long before us. It would help her to have as may familiar faces around about as possible, now that the Company has left."

Calentaeg cast a sad eye in Coralie's direction, where she still sat upon the edge of her bed, gazing out the window. "Look at her, Nólemíre. She looks like some sad, rare bird at the moment trapped in the most exquisite cage. I could swear that if she were able to fly, all we would have found this morning would be a few stray feathers in this room today, instead of the sad lady I now see. But I can't imagine her being so sad at Boromir's departure, Nólemíre. It doesn't 'add up', as i titheniel would say...." Calentaeg suddenly stopped as Nólemíre took hold of his arm.

"It is not for Boromir that i titheniel sorrows, Calentaeg. It is as we suspected. It is Legolas that she has given her heart to," whispered Nólemíre, soft enough for Elven ears only.

"But how did you....?" Calentaeg's question would go unanswered as Coralie, suddenly turned to the two of them as they stood by the door whispering together.

"Hello Calentaeg." He almost winced at the hollow sound of her voice as she greeted him. Glancing quickly to Nólemíre, he walked over to Coralie and knelt before her, unwinding her hands from her lap to hold them in his own.

"Good morning Princess. I see that you have bathed and dressed for the day, and if my senses do not deceive me, I can detect the delectable fragrance of sweet briar rose, with apple scented leaves and strawberries on this fine morn, and what a fine morning it is!" he said cheerily, swallowing his own shock at the sadness he saw haunting her expression. Undeterred he went on. "Now, I have taken it upon myself to come and ask you, if you would care to accompany myself and Nólemíre on a walk this morning. I can think of no finer thing, than for an ugly Elf, such as myself to be escorted by two of the loveliest maidens in Lothlórien as we take a turn about the gardens." He smiled as he saw the sudden light in Coralie's eyes, at his description of himself as ugly.

"Ugly? Who are you trying to kid Calentaeg? Pull the other leg, it plays jingle bells!" exclaimed Coralie.

Calentaeg laughed and cocked his head in response. "Does that mean you will consent to my request, Lady?" he asked laughing. "For I have no desire to pull your legs to find out if they are indeed musical instruments or not."

Shaking her head, Coralie responded to the Elf. "I shall go with you if you like, but I do not want to go for a walk through the garden. Please! I don't want to go there." Calentaeg stole a quick glance towards Nólemíre. They had both caught the silent panic that simmered behind Coralie's request. Quickly, Calentaeg responded.

"As you wish, Lady. We shall take a walk along the forest trail instead, if that is more to your liking.

Coralie sighed a little, and then searched under her bed for her shoes.

Nólemíre at first raised her brows at the running shoes that Coralie put on, but then quickly lowered them, glad to see that she was indeed going to make the effort to engage in some sort of physical activity after all. She may not look particularly elegant at the moment, but at least she might enjoy Calentaeg and Haldir's surprise, dressed as she was.

Calentaeg promptly opened the door for Coralie and Nólemíre with unfeigned elegance, quickly joining them on the stairs outside. Offering both maidens an arm each he jauntily trod down the steps, breathing deeply as he went.

"What on earth are you doing?" asked Coralie with one eyebrow raised up at the tall Elf beside her.

"Why Princess, I am breathing deeply in order to take in all the wonderful fresh oxygen that our trees produce here in fair Lothlórien!" responded Calentaeg with a grin. "It is a new morning, and I need new oxygen to fill my lungs!"

"Lord save us from an Elf with bad breath!" said Coralie shaking her head, as Calentaeg laughed at her outrageous comment.

As they strolled together along the forest trail, Calentaeg carefully detoured them towards the path that led to the sun kissed meadow. Hoping that Coralie would not question the direction they were now taking, Calentaeg continued his witty repartee, much to Nólemíre's chagrin, until suddenly a breathless Séretur ran up to them.

"You should see it!"

"See what?" asked Calentaeg with a sly grin as Séretur continued to play his part with cunning sincerity.

"I don't know what it is. Talagan's down there now with Cirbannel and some of the others!"

Calentaeg pretended to take the bait. "Where boy? What are you talking about?"

"Down in the meadow. There is something strange there. Talagan sent me to get the Princess. He thought she might know what it is!" Séretur continued with breathless excitement.

Calentaeg gave him a look which said "Well done but don't overdo it, lad!", before answering in turn.

"Perhaps Talagan is suffering from an over active imagination, as is his wont, however, I think it prudent that we follow the lad to see what all the fuss is about." said Calentaeg taking Coralie and Nólemíre by their arms again. Séretur was soon lost to their sight as he raced ahead, while the three kept a sedate pace behind.

"Shouldn't we keep up with him?" enquired Coralie a little anxiously. After the magical appearance of the gum tree, she was half afraid of what they may find in the meadow next, and worried that perhaps something as dangerous as a red bellied black snake had some how slithered its way into Lothlórien, or perhaps something as equally as venomous. Australia was known to have the most dangerous creatures on earth, and she felt concerned that indeed something deadly, may have turned up to spoil the tranquility of this fair place.

At last they rounded the bend to come in full view of the meadow. Coralie stood there speechless for a moment as she surveyed the scene before her. If she wasn't mistaken, there was a cricket pitch at one end, complete with wickets and cut grass, with many Elves (the majority being children) milling about. She could see Orthadel, Edradh, and Celebtêw amongst them as they gave her a slight wave in recognition. These three would never miss an opportunity for sport. Her mouth moved to make some form of communication to express her surprise, but before she could speak, she found herself being dragged along by both of her Elven companions, who laughed gaily at the expression on her face.

"It's a cricket pitch!" she finally exclaimed as she stood beside one of the wickets. "But how..."

"A little present from Haldir, Talagan and myself," said Calentaeg as he sketched a small bow.

Talagan came forward grinning from ear to ear, holding two beautifully carved cricket bats under his arm. One of these he presented to Calentaeg, who in turn presented it with a flourishing bow to Coralie.

"I think you will find it to be made of the finest willow that we could find, or rather that Haldir could find. This is a present to you from him, and though he has been delayed in his arrival here this morning, I am sure that he would not mind our presenting it to you in his stead."

Coralie ran her hand over the smooth form of the bat, turning it over in her hands she marveled at the workmanship and skill with which it was produced.

"This is finer that anything that the Australian Cricket Team would use, but when did he find the time to make this?" she asked.

Australian Cricket Team

"Oh, Haldir has had to spend many long hours atop the flets that overlook the Nimrodel, and he has informed me that this 'was a most pleasant way to whittle away the time', pardon the pun," grinned Calentaeg.

"And the wickets?"

"Haldir too, though the pitch is mine and Talagan's handiwork. I hope you find itsuitable." he replied.

"More than suitable. Calentaeg it's wonderful! But why did you do this?"

Calentaeg took hold of her hands and cocked his head a little to the side. Coralie was by now used to this comical expression the Elf often adopted when he spoke with her, and she couldn't help but smile up at him.

"Because Lady, we did not want you to be sad when the Company left. We have come to realise, how important a role, sport plays in your mind and heart, and even we Elves, enjoy the various games you have taught us. Now with the season turning to spring, we thought it appropriate to find a sport we knew you would enjoy, that would better suit the turning of the weather, and may I add, something a little more maidenly for you to indulge in as well."

Coralie looked around at the grinning faces that surrounded her. There were at least two dozen Elves of both sexes gathered round about. Támurile suddenly sidled up and slipped her small hand in her own.

"But how did you know what to make and how to do it?" asked Coralie still perplexed.

"The Elves all looked at one another before answering as one. "The Hobbits!" came their laughing reply.

"I might have known. They were up to all sorts of things with my Clie player these past few weeks," said Coralie with a smile as she once more turned the bat over in her hands trying to decipher the Elven lettering that Haldir had carved on the underside.

"Well I suppose we had better have a game then?"

"Yes, and it may surprise you to know, Princess, that I have instructed everybody here on the rules of the game," said Séretur folding his arms.

"Yes, the Hobbits and I found the rules stored on your Clie while we were investigating the materials we would need, and from various descriptions you have given in the past as well, I think you will find that we already possess enough knowledge to enjoy a good game."

Coralie smiled to herself. She had not the heart to inform him, that the rules she had stored on her Clie were modified for elementary school children, and that in fact they were about to play Kanga Cricket.

"I am becoming quite well versed with how quickly you Elves are able to learn new skills, almost as if you have been doing them your entire lives, and we all know how long that can be," Coralie suddenly sighed as she made this last statement. Calentaeg and Nólemíre exchanged worried glances as they noted the sad expression, which crossed Coralie's features for a moment.

"Let's have a game then, shall we?" asked Calentaeg interrupting Coralie's thoughts.

"Haldir even made a ball as well. He's been a busy little Elf now hasn't he?" added Talagan presenting the red ball before Coralie.

"I wouldn't let the March-Warden hear you talk like that, if you know what's good for you!" laughed Coralie all of a sudden.

Encouraged by her laughter, Calentaeg seized the moment and grabbed Coralie's hand and led her over to one of the wickets. Taking the other bat from Séretur, he informed him that as he obviously knew so much about the game, it was only right and fair that he assume the duties of umpire. Séretur scowled a little at first, until he realised that he would actually be in charge.

"Batter up!"


The Greatest of Them All - Don Bradman

The game progressed as the day wore on as fiercely as watching paint dry. Talagan was now bowling. He studied the crease for a while, trying to decide the best angle he should take, the radius of his arm in order to deliver a moderate yet difficult enough ball, and how many steps he would need to run in order to increase the angle of his pitch so the velocity of the ball would reach its desired momentum. Coralie stood at the crease, tapping her bat gently on the ground in preparation for Talagan's bowl. She had noted that he was quite good at it, and had developed a nice style, keeping his arm straight as he ran. The Elves actually seemed to like this game, and didn't mind Talagan taking time to ruminate before bowling at all.

"Ah! The patience of Elves!" she thought to herself. As if to support her unspoken thought, Calentaeg waited his turn patiently down the other end of the pitch. They had enjoyed a good innings so far, and their team was winning. Coralie wondered if the Elves were favouring her slightly as a result. No matter she sighed.

Just as Talagan came thundering down the pitch, a sudden bolt of lightning from out of a crystal blue sky, struck the side of one of the snowy alps, far off in the distance. Startled by the unusual sight, Coralie struck harder at the ball than she had planned and watched it sail over the trees to her right towards the river.

"That's a six!" cried Séretur in astonishment. Never had he thought that i titheniel could strike the ball so hard as she just did. All eyes turned toward the mountain that the lightning had struck, watching with awe as part of its snow capped peak broke apart to slide down its side.

"That's incredible!" cried Coralie.

"Not as incredible as that bat you just made," countered Calentaeg running up to her. "Come on! We had better get the ball. We don't have to run for wickets at the moment, thanks to you." As they made to recover the ball, a loud shout across the field brought their attention. At the far end of the meadow, Haldir stood waving.

"Yikes!" said Coralie. "It's Haldir, and I've gone and lost the ball somewhere. Look Calentaeg, go and stall him for a minute will you, while I see if I can find it before he notices something is up."

Calentaeg looked down into Coralie's face, and was pleased to find the slight twinkle of mischief lurking behind her long lashes rather than the tears that had been there earlier that day.

"All right! But take those two troublemakers, Cirbannel and Talagan with you, and put them to good use will you?" With a returning shout and a wave, he jogged off in Haldir's direction.

Coralie ran over to Támurile who was waiting her turn and handed her the cricket bat.

"I'll be right back Love!" The Elven child smiled up at her, glad at heart to see that Coralie's spirits had returned and that she was almost her former self. She watched as Coralie called the two Elves over, and then ran with them in the direction where the ball was last seen flying, scouring along the edges of the riverbank as they went. Presently the three of them saw it lying in the long grass on the other side of the river.

"Well this will never do," said Coralie placing her hands on her hips. "Now I have to run back up the river to the flying fox to get to the other side, and I'll never get to it in time before Haldir gets here." Coralie cast an eye over her shoulder to see Calentaeg and Haldir walking leisurely toward them, deep in conversation as they went.

Suddenly Talagan and Cirbannel's arms were about her hoisting her into the air between them. "No need for that Princess, when we have our own little fish right here!" laughed Cirbannel.

"Stop!" cried Coralie. "Wait! Let me take my dress off first!"

"No fear lim dithen!" cried Talagan. "We fell for that trick last time, and you went for a swim anyway!"

"Yes! That took all the fun out of it!" winked Cirbannel. "Besides, I do believe that Aragorn has forbidden you from wearing your bikini in mixed company, so we shall do as he bids, and make certain you remain fully clothed."

"No!" screamed Coralie struggling vainly in their grasp. So intent were the Elves at their sport, they paid no heed to Haldir and Calentaeg who came running and shouting toward them. With a laugh they threw Coralie far out into the middle of the river.

Coralie could see the blue sky above her as she struck upwards for the surface. As she wiped the water from her face, she could see the two Elves laughing hysterically on the riverbank with Calentaeg and Haldir running up behind with horrified expressions on their faces. Haldir was hurriedly removing his quiver and arrows as he ran. "Now they're in for it!" she thought as she noticed Calentaeg waving madly at her and the previous joyful expressions of Talagan and Cirbannel suddenly turn to dismay.

A loud rumbling from behind caused her to turn her head just as Haldir plunged head first into the water. Coralie looked with horror at the great wave of water and debris bearing down upon her. The gigantic wave picked her up like a toy as it washed down the river. Instinct drove Coralie's arms and legs as she sought to fight the boiling mass of water and foam that swept her along. Lacking the full freedom of movement she would normally have in the water, her clothing and footwear dragged her under for a moment. Spluttering and coughing she bobbed up again to the surface and found she had to dive almost immediately as a large log spun out of control through the torrent towards her.

Coralie tried with all her might to swim to the side, in an effort to get out of the maelstrom of the current, but found that the water seemed to have a life of its own, sucking her back into the centre of the tide at every opportunity. Turning to face the direction she was travelling, Coralie saw a low lying branch and stretched for it with all her might. She managed to grab hold of it and hang on for brief moment as the water battered her body from beneath. Haldir and Calentaeg were only a few metres away, swimming through the turbulent water towards her. She could hear the shouts of other Elves racing down the riverbank towards her, trying to outrun the tremendous torrent that swept her along. Coralie knew she had to hang on but the force of the current was against her. Suddenly another huge wave smashed down upon her, and she lost her grip and hurtled backwards into the water.

Tumbling over and over in the turbulence, Coralie could feel herself tiring. The force of the current was too strong as it dragged her both under and then back on top of the wave with increasing velocity. Whenever she reached the surface and gasped for breath, the wave would crash its full force down on her, forcing her to the bottom of the riverbed. Then with malefic power it would sweep her up in its violent embrace to the surface yet again.

Try as she might she could not catch her breath. Water began to seep into her lungs at every opportunity, and with every cough, more was forced into her mouth, making breathing an impossibility. Suddenly, she could see Haldir as he swam powerfully through the crest of the wave with Calentaeg beside. They called her name and both Elves reached out with desperate hope to grasp her arms as the wave carried her over once more. Coralie felt their urgent touch brush her fingertips as she reached up towards them before she felt the current drag her under once more. Something unseen tugged her backwards with incredible force as she plummeted through the torrent. Gathering what ever strength she had left, Coralie pushed up towards the surface. As her head broke the water she could see Haldir and Calentaeg, arms wheeling toward her through the flood. Crying out, they reached for her once more, and again Coralie's hopes were dashed as she felt the force of the wave, as an unseen hand, push her down beyond all hope of salvation. She continued to hear their cries grow fainter and see their desperate faces fade into the dark as she sank to the bottom for the last time.


i titheniel - Little Maiden

lim dithen - Little Fish

There is a willow grows ascaunt the brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
Therewith fantastic garlands did she make
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them.
There on the pendant boughs her crownet weeds
Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke,
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
And mermaid-like a while they bore her up;
Which time she chanted snatches of old lauds,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element. But long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

by John William Waterhouse

Sticky Wicket

Last Man Standing

What's Your Australian Nickname?

That was a maiden over

The demon bowler sent his thunderbolts whizzing past batsman and wicket-keeper for boundary byes from every ball of his opening over. The captain said,

'I think I'll rest you for a while.'

'You can't do that,' said the bowler. 'I've just bowled a maiden over.

'Women like that are a luxury I can't afford at the moment,' acidly replied the captain.


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