Dawn in Dol Amroth Part one - One of many tales of the Lands of Dol Amroth
The moon was rising, shadowing the figure of a rider, a tall, thin and worried form upon a strong gray horse riding swiftly up the small slope of hill that turned sharply downwards towards the citadel of Dol Amroth. Long had it been since this rider had looked upon the Isle of Dol Amroth. He came at last to the home of the fair prince Imrahil to call for his help in the looming battle about to overcome Minas Tirith.
There are no words found in the common tongue to express what went on that night in the true and brave heart of the rider, a valiant man of Gondor. He was young and brave, and he longed to be a servant of his lord, and finally he was getting the chance. That very day he had been summoned to Lord Denethor's high seat and received the order that he was to carry a plea for help to the prince of Dol Amroth.
That was several hours before, and he now rode with all speed his horse and himself possessed. He arrived in Dol Amroth with the rising of the sun. The Prince was awake, standing on a balcony outside his palace.
Imrahil noticed the silhouette of the horse and rider, shadowed by the sun's first rays creeping over the hilltop the horse was galloping over, but he paid them no heed. Instead he looked above the ground, and the hills of his fair land, above the silhouette of the rider, above the shadows darkening around his world, to the sunrise.
The sun came up, a great ball of golden light spilling over the green, rolling lands of his kingdom. The rays crept up to the palace and warmed Imrahil's face as he sighed and closed his eyes, and leaned into its warmth. Such a morning as this was beautiful, and even the veiling shadow could not darken Imrahil's heart for that all too quick moment when he reached out to welcome the sun as it climbed over the slope to light his kingdom.
The rider came forward and stood at the doorway directly below the balcony. The Prince's heart came straight back from the heavens and focused on the grave face of the tanned, strong man staring up at him. In one second, all the rumors of the shadow and darkness came back to him and Imrahil was a happy lad no longer, but another leader the Dark Lord planned to destroy. He was too worried about what tidings the rider brought to bother coming down. He leaned over the balcony and called.
"Rider, what news do you bring, and from what lord? The shadow draws near and I have little time for errands,"
The man dismounted and strode back a few steps to look at where the clear voice was coming from. He gazed up to see a balcony, and a man fair in the face with golden hair streaming down his back, he was clad in pale green and his blue eyes sparkled bright enough for the rider to see, even from far away. Surely this was one of elven kindred. He wondered if he would be able to see Imrahil, who was known to be a man.
"I am an errand rider of Gondor, the lord Denethor sent me, I am to bring a message to Prince Imrahil and no other,"
"Excellent, for I am Prince Imrahil. Rider of Gondor, you come at last. If the men of Gondor seek aid, it will soon be on the way, my company shall set forth tomorrow, but tell me, what is your message?"
The man was astonished that he was indeed looking at the fair Prince Imrahil and bowed low. He stammered and finally spoke,
"It has already been answered, Lord. Aid is what we seek or you will see the tower walls crumble, and yours soon after. For if Gondor falls, the doom of Dol Amroth cannot be long postponed," He said, his fair, stern face downcast.
"Come in now and rest, my door wardens are close by, I give you leave to enter, and you will ride with us tomorrow," he replied.
"Nay, I must hasten at once back to Minas Tirith, where I am still needed,"
"Very well, but rest for a while and have a meal, and you will ride the better,"
"I must refuse, I must be off at once, but I will send the Lord Denethor your message that you will set forth tomorrow,"
"Go with the good will of Prince Imrahil. Tireless and true are the noble hearts of the men of Minas Tirith,"
The Prince called as the man mounted and rode off, back over the hill and out of sight. He stood still as he watched the strong man fly over the hills of his fair land. The gray horse and raven haired form were one with the climbing sun. The heart of the rider was pure and true, and as he went back to the city he loved, the sun's rays seemed to descend from the heavens and rest upon his shoulders.
* * * * * * *
Imrahil walked quickly back inside his home. There was no time to lose, he needed to prepare his troops to ride with the next dawn. He wondered if he had gazed upon one of the last sunrises to be seen by the free peoples of Middle Earth. The next morning there would be no time to greet the dawn, as he had done almost every morning of his young life. He always was awake to bid the sun good morning before anything else.
He was only about twenty five and young and swift and strong. All who looked upon him spoke praise of his excellent abilities and quick grin that seemed to light up his whole face. He was confident that he and his men would be able to aid Gondor, but he worried about his own kingdom. What would he find if he ever returned? More than likely it would be a heap of ashes where once his fair home stood.
Now the blue eyes were set in his face and his mouth was a thin line. He went to his great hall and found his herald, looking half asleep and not wanting to be up at the early hour of dawn.
"Go now, Erential, and tell the knights of Dol Amroth to assemble at once. Bid all men and strong lads to come forth, for war is looming in the east and it goes ill with the White City. We must now fly to their aid, and leave our own homes behind. My kinsman, Faramir and Denethor will be in grave need of our help for the Riders of Rohan have already fought a large battle and they are weary,"
"Yes Lord," the herald replied, looking more than a little surprised to hear the grave and clear tone in the usually merry prince's voice. He walked swiftly out and soon Imrahil heard the trumpets sounding and the herald shouting.
He felt a pair of cool, pale hands covering his eyes, and heard soft laughter behind him. In spite of his grim mood, a smile crept over his face as he turned swiftly around and caught the hands in his own. He looked into the blue eyes of Inralie, his beloved lady. She smiled back and pulled his hand to her cheek.
"And how does my bonny lord fair this morning?" she asked.
"My heart is on the ground, I must leave in the morning, my love," he replied, and put his other hand on her face. Her smile clouded over and she looked down.
"I am afraid so, a messenger came from Minas Tirith this morning, begging for help, they will soon be besieged."
"Go then, I know you must," she said, and turned away. He turned her back around and looked hard at her. She was lovely. Her blue dress matched her eyes and flowed over her like a rushing stream, and her belt of silver was wrought like the leaves of ivy that crawled up many of the walls of the palace. Her red hair streamed in waves down her back and the circlet of silver around her brow shimmered and gleamed in the early morning light. He gazed at her for a long while. She looked back at him and smiled.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Memorizing your face. If I die, it will be the last thing I see," he replied softly.
Her smile lingered in her eyes but faded from her lips. She stared back at him, hard and long.
"If you die, I will follow swiftly,"
"You cannot, you have a happy life to live under this sun, and in this land,"
"If the sun fades, so will I,"
"And the rest of our beautiful land as well. But I would fly to the sun and swim in its rays, though I died in the quest, to keep its light alive to warm you," his grin lit up his face and his lips met hers. They kissed long, but too soon the doors of the hall were pushed open and the tall figure of a knight walked in. It was Emedril, Imrahil's brother, come recently from the fields of the Dol Amroth, where he had been summoning the full strength of the kingdom. Imrahil and Inralie stepped back from each other as he entered.
"What news do you bring Emedril?" Imrahil asked as his brother sauntered up.
"All is well, and most of our force is called to be ready to march in the morning. How do you fair, my pretty lass?" He asked, smiling at Inralie.
"As good as can be with all my lads running off," she replied, and smiled. She gave Imrahil a last hug and walked out, leaving the brethren to speak together for awhile of what course they were to take.
She walked to her own small chamber and shoved back the curtains that covered her window that gazed West. She pushed herself far out and let the cool spring breeze play with her shining locks. She opened her eyes and looked out upon the rolling lands of Dol Amroth, bathing in the warmth of the newly risen sun. She sang a wordless song in a clear, high voice. Minas Tirith would not fall. She had faith in her Lord and in the knights of the kingdom. She smiled at the sun and it seemed that it smiled back at her as she gazed at its brightness. She laughed a clear, sighing laugh, so happy was she to be in the wind and high up. She felt like Elwing, that she could fly to Imrahil when he needed her and float high above the beautiful kingdom. She was a merry young maiden and her heart could not be pulled down. All she wished for was that every day could be as beautiful as this one.
But alas, even the high spirits of the fair people of Dol Amroth clouded over as the day progressed. Tidings of war came all day as the Knights began to assemble out side the palace. Imrahil left the ordering of the troops to his brother and herald, and instead was away most of the day, with Inralie by his side.
To be continued.......