Daughter of the Black Star - Chapter One - Secrets of the Past

Years flew by swiftly.. as birds with the wind. Springs, summers, falls, winters.. All seasons were but one faded blur to the two women.

One languished, growing ever more wan, thin, and weak, while the other was in the flower of her youth, fresh and beautiful.

In a vale of Anórien they lived, sleeping in a cave on the hard rock, hunting for scarce food by day. Sometimes meals were missed for lack of food. When the two did eat, the elder gave most of her portion to the younger, wanting to see her grow ever more beautiful and strong.

In time unclaimed, the young one wandered the snaking, twisted paths of her home, seeking for distraction.

But the life she lived with her mother was the only one she had ever known, and she saw nothing wrong with their existence.

Always, her mother had been pale and drawn, hardly ever eating. She had never shown much affection to her daughter, so the girl grew, never expecting any display of love, nor returning any to her fading mother.

The girl never knew any other name for her mother besides Naneth, and the girl was always, without fail, called Anorien.

Anorien carried at all times a heavy, large sword that her mother Naneth had given her. It bore a single marking on the silver hilt, an engraved star. Twelve rays this star had, and all met in the center at a black, circular stone. Because of this emblem, Anorien called her weapon Morelén, Black Star.

Naneth watched her daughter grow with secret pride. Anorien was strong. She would be able to withstand and rise above the winds of a life outside their safe, concealed world. Anorien neared her three hundredth birthday. It was time she knew the truth of their existence. It was time for Naneth to unveil the secrets of the past.

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"Anorien?" Naneth began, her voice sounding startlingly loud in the eerie silence. "We must speak."

Anorien looked at Naneth in surprise. Naneth rarely ever spoke to her when they sat in the cave, after what meal they had eaten, waiting for sleep.

"Yes, Naneth? What is it?" Anorien inquired, concerned, looking up from fingering the glistening star on her sword-hilt.

"Anorien, near is the day you will be 300 years of age. It is no great landmark in the world of the Elves, yet.. It is far fast the time when I should have told you the truth, or rather, what I have not been telling you."

Anorien's face betrayed her confusion. "What do you mean, Naneth?"

Naneth heaved a great sigh. "Daughter, what I must tell you will be hard for you to hear, but it must be said. You must make your own choices, for I can no longer keep you hidden and safe here. You have never asked about your father, so now I must tell you all that you have not asked."

Naneth moved uncomfortably, her face flooded by painful memories. "His name was Nêodíl. He had been exiled from his homeland. Why, I never knew, for I knew of him only what he told me. One day, I rode too far outside the borders of Lorien, and.. Nêodíl was there. He appeared friendly, so I stopped to talk to him. I was young, naive. I did not know.. He-" Naneth cleared her throat, "he took me, against my will and.. He kept me, and would not let me go. He carried me far from the safety of my home, and I could not escape. By day, I was guarded. By night, I was his slave with even less chance to get away. But by the first month, I knew I was with child. Nêodíl was happy when I told him. I bore you, a beautiful girl to him, but he mocked me and left, saying he would bring food. He took his bow and never returned."

"Is he dead?" Anorien asked plainly, her voice strained.

Naneth shook her head. "I don't know."

Anorien frowned, holding up Morelén while tightly gripping the hilt. "This was his?" Seeing that Naneth nodded her head, Anorien dropped the heavy, steel sword, half-throwing it down as if the shining silver hilt had scorched her hand with some mysterious heat.

The sword of Nêodíl landed on the rock floor of the cave with a loud, metallic clang. Naneth winced at the noise, her delicately arched eyebrows furrowing together in a worried, concerned frown.

Anorien stood to her bare feet, looking down at the discarded weapon, its sharp, lethal lines gleaming by the dim light of the fire. For many minutes, she simply stared at it, her mind at war with itself.

Her face mirrored the determination in her heart as she wordlessly reached down and grasped the sword once more, looking at it with a new light in her eyes. "If this was his sword, then no other would I now have. For Morelén shall drink the blood of her master in vengeance, and Nêodíl the Accursed will die. I will find him, and he will die."

Naneth's watery blue eyes grew wide at this declaration. Her innocent, sweet daughter had never spoken such ill words. Ill words born by fey mood, Naneth was certain.

Managing to find her voice, Naneth warned, "Anorien, let not blood stain your hands without need. It is not for us to decide who should die. Many that live deserve death, and some that die deserve life."

But Anorien, distracted, did not see the great wisdom of her Naneth's words. Instead, she asked, "Will you go with me when I leave?"

Naneth shifted her eyes elusively. "I do not know. When that time comes, I will decide."

Anorien pursed her lips in hidden frustration, glancing at the dwindling fire. "We need more wood, if the fire is to last the night. I will return soon."

Naneth nodded her head, and Anorien sheathed Morelén in the belt that was around her waist, walking out into the darkness. Yet... she could not shake the feeling that some fell thing drew near. Some evil that would change her life forever..

Link to Prologue: http://www.theonering.com/docs/11712.html

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