Disgrace - Chapter 5
Arden was led back into the caves of the elves and was taken again to the dark room. The blindfold was taken off and his eyes adjusted sharply to the dark luminosity. The dark elf stood there. He stared keenly into Arden's eyes and the young elf heard a cold voice in his mind.
You are scared, aren't you?
"What if I am?" answered Arden defiantly as the shivery cold words skittered through his mind. The elf laughed harshly. He came forward slowly and passed behind Arden.
You are afraid. There is no question to that.
The elf roughly untied and threw the rope behind him. Arden turned around slowly.
" Who are you?"
The cold voice answered in his mind.
An elf. I am Khelekiâ. However, I am called Morgoth.
Khelekiâ walked slowly to the entrance, gathering shadows around him as a mantel. The question had never before been asked to him. Arden stood silent, watching as the dark elf moved about the room. He seemed thoughtful and the shadows hid his expression.
I am called Morgoth because my mother venerated him greatly in the First Ages. My people have named me thus since I was selected as their leader for I was appointed in that name. Now come I will show you the plain.
Brunwen was prepared to stop. She could see no end to her journey, but Smeagol insisted that they would be out in an hour or two. The forest was getting sparse and she suddenly noticed that the light was increasingly bright. This Gollum endured though he despised the Yellow Face.
They trudged on in the increasing light until all at once there were no trees ahead of them. Gollum cowered in a shadowy place under one of the last trees. Brunwen knelt by him and tried to make him come out into the light.
"- Will you not come? What do you fear?
- The Yellow Face... It hurts uss.
- You must come... Surely, you have walked under the `Yellow Face'.
- Yes. A long time ago but then..."
Smeagol fell silent and then got up slowly. Then recalling some past memory, he walked out into the sunlight and led the way to the woodsmen's village.
The houses were made of logs meticulously placed one on the other. Planks seemed to have been nailed to them to cover the cracks created by the construction. The roofs glinting a straw yellow were thatched and some of the better houses had stone chimneys built up at one end. The others had a simple hole in the roof to let smoke out. Some smoke was just then winding its way up into the blue sky and drew the eye up, up to the mountains. The mountains! The ominous mountains all veiled in the mist of clouds and morning, were as a silent threat hanging over the peaceful village. The village was built with a small round area at the center. In that round area, a few children played a game with sticks. They were drawing pictures. They almost all had golden hair but the sun had browned them. Not far beyond them, a young woman was weaving on a loom. It was under a small shelter and a cloth of a pure azure was on it, reflecting the beauty of the sky. Some men were there also. One was chopping wood while another was speaking to him. Yet another was further away practicing his spear throwing. A pair of horses was pulling a plow a little beyond the field and a tall woman was guiding the plow. Everywhere in the small community was extremely absorbed in some activity or other when Brunwen appeared at the far edge of the village, Gollum cowering behind her, a new fear having taken hold of his mind.
The first to see the strangers was a small girl who had become bored with drawing in the sand and looked up to see if there was anything else she might do. The youngster stopped as she stared at the tall elf standing there. She hesitated for what to a small child could seem like an eternity and then walked slowly towards the strange elfin being. Brunwen noticed the child and stood still and silent, watching her in a strange fascination. The little girl came up to her and solemnly stretched out her hand. The elf carefully put her hand out as well and they touched for a second. The child realizing that this was no apparition but a real live elf, turned and called back to the villagers.
The villagers all looked up and then the men came forward cautiously. Brunwen stood still, her hand still slightly out in front of her. She had never been near so many men at one time and never alone. The thought of "alone" pulled at her mind and the terrible word formed again in her mind. A tear moistened her eye as the word "banished" echoed fatalistically through her consciousness.
The man who had been talking to the woodchopper came forward and slowly in the Common Tongue said.
"I am Beron, son of Berenor. I am considered the chief person of this village. What is your name and the name of your companion? And also, what is your business here?
- I am Brunwen. I have come to learn to be a warrior. Might you be able to teach me?
- Teach you?"
Beron was most confused by Brunwen's demand but one of the women came up and seeing how emancipated she was, yelled to someone to get some broth. She then gently led the princess to one of the houses where she was promptly fed and put to bed. Gollum tagged along silently and was fed. He curled up at the bottom of the bed and they both were left to sleep for several long hours.