Daughter of the Black Star - Prologue
Rain poured from the sky, flooding the vale of Anórien, drenching it with water from above.
Lightning flashed brightly, raggedly cleaving the sky as a vivid sword of light, burning its way through the clouded sea of darkness. Thunder loudly echoed the lightning, crashing noisily as never before.
But above all, the screeches of an Orc-party were heard.
Alas that they could flee no farther from the slaves of Sauron! For secluded in a tiny, barely visible cave lay a woman heavy with child, and a man, who stood with trepidation at the cave's opening, gazing fearfully out into the blackness.
Water dripped steadily from the rough, jagged edge of the cave, but the man cared not.
He at last turned his hard face back to the woman who watched him through glassy eyes, dull with pain that he could not ease.
He walked back to her side and knelt, placing a large, ungentle hand on her swollen abdomen, pressing it.
"It is time?" he asked, his voice devoid of all feeling or care.
The woman bit her lip and nodded, trying to be silent lest their foes hear her in her wretched labor.
The man tightened his jaw and gave a rough shake of his head, removing his hand.
The noises of the orcs grew fainter, not that it would matter, he thought contemptuously. The woman was pitiful. The female weakling. She had wept when he had taken her. She had wept bitterly and begged for his mercy and release. How then would she cry out now when delivering his child to him?
He turned his crude mind back to her as she gave a small whimper of pain, clenching her fists tightly.
"The babe will not come of its own accord. You must help it, Erièn," he half-heartedly encouraged, using his own name for her, deliberately not her own.
When he used her own name, it kindled a fire in her eyes, and seemed to resurrect the spirit and fight she, a noblewoman of Lórien, had once had. But he had stamped out the flame of her heart when he made her his, and never had it fully come back. He had made sure of that.
A tear slipped from her eye, but she did not speak. She was too lost in her humiliation.
That I should be reduced to this! she cried in her heart. A slave of this.. this man and forced to give myself to him when he commands, forced to carry his filthy child. Giving birth to it in a vace the size of a snake's hole, lying on hard rock for a bed!
As another sharp pain knifed through her, her once beautiful blue eyes filled with tears. Tears of pain, tears of despair, tears of her ultimate humiliation. But none mattered to him. He cared only for what he could receive or take.
The man scrutinized Erièn's face suspiciously. "Your mind on your work, Erièn," he growled. "I want that child."
"Please, Nêodíl, don't speak to me what way," she pleaded, knowing it would not help.
The man slapped her dirty face, causing blood to trickle from her lip. "I will speak to you how I wish, and more besides, if I want. And you will not forget it, or the punishment will be worse." His cold, unyielding eyes glared at her, convincing her, as if she had not already known, that his words were no mere threat.
She looked away, turning her face to the cave's wall, refusing to let him see the hot tears coursing down her cheeks, mingling with her blood.
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Nêodíl took the child, wiping it harshly with the hem of Erièn's ragged dress.
He spat on the rock floor in disgust. "A female child. Not a male. Nothing has this gained me! A girl is of no use to me."
Practically throwing the babe at the exhausted Erièn, he declared, "Take it. Dispose of it if you will. I claim it not as my own."
Erièn cradled the child in gentle, loving arms. "Let her be called Anorien, after the land where she was born. She will be beautiful, a great and noble woman someday."
Nêodíl snorted in disgust and contempt, shaking his head. Turning his back on Erièn as she carefully wrapped the tiny babe in a small blanket.
The child was indeed pretty, with dark brown fuzz that already curled covering her delicately shaped head, her dark eyes almost black. Anorien's ears ended in a dainty point, marking her Elven heritage and the blood that flowed through her veins.
Erièn ran her white finger along the side of the baby's velvet-soft face, feeling already a strange attachment and love for it.
Nêodíl faced Erièn one more. "You must have nourishment, or you will grow weak. Weaker than you are, if that is possible," he sneered. "Since you find birth so hard and you cannot stand, I am going to hunt. I will return soon."
Taking his bow and quiver only, he stalked out of the cave and disappeared into the black night.
Never more did Erièn see him.