Chronicles of Celegal - Andrast-Chapter 3
The sun was shining above the stream as we rode into the vale where Rivendell, or Imladris was located. It cast playful glimmers that danced around in the water, which was flowing down towards the empty plains of ancient Rhudaur after coming down a glistening waterfall, filled with foam that looked as soft as a feather pillow, with a headboard of cliffs and the sheets of crystal clear water. Fish swam about in the waters below, fat ones waiting to be caught by the Elves and put on plates for an evening meal. The vale was set out this way: We came in through a small gap between the red rocks that curved up to form a high circle around the city of Imladris, or Rivendell as it was known in Westron. Imladris was its Elvish name. Canyons were cut into the rock wall in various places.
Near the northeastern curve was the aforementioned stream, gradually getting bigger from melted snows until it became the also aforementioned waterfall, which flowed down and swelled the river Bruinen, but not before the fish were harvested from it by the Elvish fishers. After the gap in the rocks, we rode along the eastern side of the stream until we crossed it about 300 yards ahead. The stream went upstream for about 2 miles before it came to the waterfall. After crossing the river, the gate was about 50 yards away, and it was a fine example of Elven architechture. Intricate designs slowly seemed to fall down the gate as you looked at it, pictures of gardens and wars and fair maidens, all intertwined together in a shade of silver-blue. Growing on them were a few ivies, but the gardeners obviously kept them well-tended to where they did not strangle the gate, but merely crowned it with a patch of green.
The gate-wardens checked us and wished us safe journey through Rivendell. Merry elves greeted us inside, reveling around a meadow that was on either side of the path as we entered the city. They were singing ancient lays of Beren and Luthien, of Gil-Galad and of Gondolin. They wre not strong and loud like the march-tunes we sometimes sang while riding, but were clear and soft, like a small stream flowing down a hill but with bits of sadness, where the stream seemed to come to a pool at which it sat still. They invited us in to the grand halls, and we obeyed willingly.
After Elrond was told of our arrival, we were led to our quarters and our horses were stabled and fed. Then we sat down to a grand feast. The food there was spectacular. The hall was warm and the walls were adorned with war-helmets and jeweled swords. There were fresh loaves which you could smother in honey, and flagons of ale to go along with it. There was lamb, fresh cheese, venison, and and quail brought down by young archers in training. We washed it down with wine made of the best grapes in the elven vineyards. The fair-haired poets played their lyres and sung of the great deeds of the elven-kings of old. We were treated well by the elves, and they kept on urging us to eat more, though we would not mind if we returned to our wondrous quarters. Since we had arrived at dusk, and since night grew quickly in the fall, we decided to wait until the following morning to start the council. I was not to attend as a consular of Rohan, I learned, only a guard of Thengel. My unit leader, Gamling, was to attend as a emissary, as were Thengel, Theoden, and Iltyran. The quarters were splendid. I was left to a room of my own, but that was fine with me.
When I walked in, I found the room to be spacious but snug. There was a blazing fire to my left, and a bed directly in front of me. To the right was a small sofa with a blanket laid over it, and a desk in the corner to my right and forward. Over the door was a sword, and a shield set over the bed. The shield was blue, with a white star emblazoned in the middle. The sword was not unlike my own, but with carvings in the very blade, and it had a darker colored handle. I climbed into bed after taking off my rider's clothes and putting on something much more comfortable that the elves had set out. Apparently they had been expecting us. The bed was soft, but I did not drown in it. My eyes closed almost as soon as my head hit the warm pillow.
The next day was busy for me. We had decided to continue with the council, as everyone invited had arrived. The Gondorians were there, we, the Rohirrim, of course, were there. A few rangers were there, and Elrond and his sons attended, for elves are wise folks, and, after all, he was the host. Other elves from Lothlorien and Mirkwood were there. Dwarves from the Iron Hills and from the Ered Luin were in attendance. I began to realize that this was more important than I first thought. We met just outside the western edge of the city, near another gap in the rocks where the vale led into fields where the elves tended thier crops. The gap was in sight, about 50 yards away. I, as mentioned before, was not an emissary, but merely a guard. The elven coordinators had evidently chosen privacy over safety, for there were rumors of wargs sneaking into the vale and they had been spotted in the fields. The council was soon underway.
Ecthelion (Steward of Gondor): I have come here to request aid and guidance in dealings in the far west of our country. As you know, the Ered Nimrais forms a crescent over the Kingdom of Gondor. The western edge comes down from the Gap of Rohan. On the western side of it are a few short hills until they slope down to the sea. The eastern side of it falls down into hills and then into my land of Gondor.
Here Elrond stirred a little.
Ecthelion: The Ered Nimrais keeps on going until it forms a little finger and a peninsula in the sea. It falls down into hills there and a coast. The coast then turns eastward towards Dol Amroth.
The Prince of Dol Amroth, Adrahil, was also there.
Adrahil: For the past few months, there have been men, wild-haired and out of their wits, coming in to Dol Amroth and screaming. They say such things as, `Help us! The Valar save us all! We will all die soon! Angdor comes to smite and demolish!' We have taken the men in, but as soon as we try to interrogate them, their eyes glaze over and they do not respond, only stare forward. Many mysteriously die a few days later. The same thing has happened in Pinnath Gelin, to a much higher extent. Pinnath Gelin is in the hills to the east of the western arm of the Ered Nimrais. The men there have gone raving mad, wandering around town, damaging shops, performing lewd acts in public, and commiting suicide in strange ways. There have been at least 3 reports of murders there.
Ecthelion: Calenar, lord of Pinnath Gelin, has requested backup from troops to avoid crime in that city and engineers to build a wall around it. However, many of my troops are in Ithilien defending the citizens there. I am at a loss of what to do.
Elrond: From whence do these men come?
Adrahil: We have studied their clothes and identified a few of them. They were poor farmers who lived to the southwest of Pinnath Gelin and to the east of Dol Amroth. Good men, though, and hard-working. At any rate, the land they lived in is called Andrast, and that is why, I assume, Ecthelion mentioned it earlier. It is that small peninsula and the land surrounding the western side of the westerly arm of the Ered Nimrais. It is very lightly populated, and we have noticed that many of the people living there have moved further inward to Gondor.
Elrond: I move that we send scouts to Andrast. They will scout the region between the River Isen and the end of the Ered Nimrais.
Iltyran: I second the motion.
Fundin (a dwarf): I third it.
Elrond: Very well. Thengel, your company of scouts is to join a company of Gondorian scouts.
I found I was to leave the next day. After the council, I strolled back to my room, taking time to let the wonderful smells sink in. They were not of hay, or horses, like in my home, but of flowers, of fruits, and of paradise. I was certain that the Elves took a little piece of Valinor with them wherever they went. It was sad, that such a people of wonder and brilliance, could be filled with such sadness. The face of the Elves (as a collective group) is like the face of a weary traveller, wearing a sad smile that somewhat veiled the grief they felt. It was sad when anyone good died, but for Elves it was even more sad, for, though men are in the process of finding themselves for a long time, Elves have found themselves and are doomed to a life among children, an eternal life where they know much more than others, and weep at how others can be so foolish at times. Somehow, though, it seemed like their duty was like a father's, to guide and to punish, and to be the first one to weep in sad times, and the first one to smile in good times. The minds of the Elves puzzled me, though. What kept them here in Middle-earth? To guide us children, in hopes of a better day in which they can leave? Why did they not head back to Valinor, to talk with the Valar and the Elves' kinsmen.
At any rate, I walked through the forest back towards my quarters, to read a little bit until the evening meal. As I was rounding an edge, I heard soft noises coming from the woods to my right. I walked silently towards the sound, over the lawn which stood between the path and the woods. I peeked into the forest to see there, before me in a small grove, two figures. They looked to be a she-elf and a man. With a little focusing, I could make out Thorongil and Arwen, Elrond's beautiful daughter. They were sitting on a chair, Thorongil holding Arwen in his arms. The scene was both lovely and sad at the same time, for Arwen was softly sobbing, and Thorongil was trying to comfort her with whispered Elvish.
She eventually ceased her crying, and said to Thorongil, " must you once again go off to war and leave me here?"
"I must help the Rohirrim. You know that. Every day I am gone I will be praying to the Valar that I may come back to see your face once again."
"You need not worry about me." she answered. "I will stay here, in anguish, waiting for you to return that I might be with you for the rest of our lives."
"That is just it, my lady. If you pursue a life with me here in Middle-Earth, you will forfeit your life that has been promised to you."
Arwen thought a little bit, then answered, " I would rather be with you for a man's lifetime than with any immortal man for the rest of eternity."
"Do not worry about me." he said softly. "The thought of seeing you again will warm me more than any medicine."
The dinner bell rang. I decided to leave these two alone, but seeing Thorongil with Arwen was interesting. Then it came to me. On the way to Edoras, Thorongil had said that he had been in Rivendell. It was clear as the nose on my face! During his time here, Thorongil had obviously gotten to know Arwen. It was still a bit strange, though. An elf princess and a Rohirrim soldier from the North? But soon, my thoughts were interrupted as I ran into someone and fell backwards. I looked up and saw an elf-maiden, also sitting on the ground, who looked rather bewildered. Apparently I had knocked her books out of her hand when I ran into her, for books lay on the lawn next to her. I instantly apologized.
"I'm so sorry, milady. What can I do to make it up to you?" I was already scooping up her books.
She shyly said, "Thank you, kind sir. I don't need anything." She took the books and slowly smiled.
"Allow me to introduce myself, madam." I said quickly. " I am Celegal, a scout of King Thengel, and I have been brought here for the council."
The girl answered, "And I am Manwathiel, and my father is the weapons instructor here. He trains all of the young soldiers. Very nice to meet you, Mister Celegal. Would you like to eat with me at the evening meal?"
I managed to sputter, "I would enjoy that more than anything, milady. "
She was beautiful, to say the least. Her flaxen, golden hair shimmered in the sunlight and contrasted with her light grey eyes. Her voice sounded as clear and sweet as a mountain stream. She walked slowly and quietly, but with an air of confidence. She mostly talked while I plodded behind her and stammering. Eventually we made it to the hall, and I was glad to have some food to clear my nerves. The food was good, but being with her made all the more sweet. She laughed and smiled as we talked. In her I did not see as much of the sadness that the other elves had. The evening grew late, however, and I grew tired.
"Milady, it has been a pleasure spending this evening. However, I am to go on the scouting party tomorrow, so I must have rest.
Her face grew sad, but she answered, "When you come back from the trip, will I see you again?" I managed to say, "I surely hope so."
I walked back to my quarters slowly, estatic but sad. That had been one of the best evenings of my life! What could make me fall for an elf maiden, though? Needless to say, I could not wait to get back from the trip. Back in the quarters I read some old tales about Beren and Thingol and many other people who lived in Beleriand, and of Elendil and Elros. Sometimes I wished I lived back in those times. Then again, sometimes I didn't. They seemed to be very sad, with the elves slaying each other as the shadow of Morgoth loomed over them. For now, I was happy being a soldier in the Rohirrim cavalry.
The next morning I woke and washed my face. The water was sweet and cool, and it seemed to bring life to my parched brow. The breakfast was honey over lembas with bacon and the juice of Elrond's best orchards. Manwathiel was not there, so my meal was lonely and quiet. The other soldiers had not gotten up yet, just my company and a company of Gondorian scouts under a man named Silduin. He was proud and strong, sometimes letting his pride get in the way of his common sense. Before the sun rose, when the vale was still dark, we left. A few who had gotten up early waved good bye to us, wishing us well and to keep safe. The elves gave us extra lembas and clothes before we left. The clothes were strangely light, but warm and manuverable. We left the city with our heads held high, looking proud and brave, but, at least for my part, I was feeling sad and hoping I would return. I had found love of a sort, and it had held me fast, begging me not to leave, but I could not disobey my King. Before us to the south lay danger and mystery, waiting to ensnare us and keep us from the ones we held dear.
Authors note: I believe this is probably the worst chapter I have done so far, I was just trying to get this whole Rivendell council thing over with. The deal with Manwathiel was not made to imitate the Beren/Luthien or Aragorn/Arwen relationships in any way, this is just the way things worked out. Plus, I was having trouble finding stuff to fill the gap. I know the council was rather lame, I'll come up with something better on the return to Imladris. Just bear with me and the story will get better. Thanks.