Elone: Forgotten Daughter of Rivendell - Chapter Fourteen

Hey you guys! My computer finally let me post! I will be posting this from now on. I will miss Lalaith, but I hope she will still read this! Hope your move goes well, Lalaith! And thanks, you guys, for posting!

Eloné: Forgotten Daughter of Rivendell -- Chapter Fourteen

The Elf sat alone--once more--on the balustrade of the Deeping Wall. Her legs were drawn up to her chest, her arms about her knees. The sky was darkening; the blue had darkened deeply, and was streaked through with purple and pink arrows of color. She laid her cheek upon her knee and gazed across the empty landscape.

So empty. So cold. So remote. So removed from everywhere civilized. The people are sitting in a corner, with Saruman before them and the mountains at their backs. They have nowhere else to run.

The Rohirrim milled about behind her, back and forth across the wall and beneath, in the courtyard. She heard various voices raised, shouts, hurried feet, and once, a baby's cry. And then, for a moment, everything stood still. Silence fell for one moment, freezing all the emotions and fears of the people into one solid, tangible sentiment. In that moment,
Eloné tensed, sensing the change. She froze in her position, feeling the breezes slow for a time. Behind her, a sudden sound roused her from her reverie. She turned quickly as the sound broke out again once behind her.

"Achoo!"

Eloné smiled. A small boy, hardly twelve, stood on the wall behind her. He was gazing, as she was, across the barren plain before them. His nose twitched, and again he sneezed.

"A-chooo!"

He glanced up, seeing her for the first time. His face shrank into a frightened expression, uncertain of what to do. He took a step backward, mumbling.

"`M sorry...di'nt mean to...'m goin' now..."

Lightly, she jumped down from the balustrade, landing by him. She knelt to his eye level. She smiled at his downcast face. He was young, very young. She smiled slightly, lifting his face with her finger, making him look at her. His dark eyes were bright, and stared into hers with an intensity that surprised her. He was frightened, yes, but he wasn't a coward. She smiled a little more, her face softening. He relaxed a little.

"What's your name, lad?"

"Fréa," he answered, quietly, looking down at his feet once more.

"Fréa." She rolled the name on her tongue, and nodded. "A good name."

He shrugged. "I s'pose."

His head was uncovered, but Eloné saw the chain mail upon his chest, the sword at his side. The long blade touched the ground from where it hung at his waist. He was young, and small for his age at that. She saw the weariness in his eyes.

"Fréa." She spoke again. "Look at me."

He did so, gazing unabashedly into the deep green of her eyes.

"Are you afraid? What have they told you?"

He scuffed his foot on the stone floor and shrugged, unwilling
to answer.

"What have the men been saying--to you or to each other?"

He still did not answer. His face was a stony mask. It was a grave expression, one too old for a child.

"Answer me." Her voice became hard, unintentionally. She softened it. "Listen. Listen to me. I know you are strong. I know you aren't a small child. You've seen things, heard things, that I never dreamed of at your age. I know you have courage, great courage for a boy, a young man. You've been forced to grow old before your time. By all rights, if the world was just, you should be outside your home playing games with others your age. Your biggest worry should be whether or not you are too muddy to come in the house."

Fréa smiled at this, as she continued. "You are old before your time, but you are still young, Fréa. You have been forced to be strong. You aren't allowed to act your age. I know. Do you know what is coming? What have they told you? I know the weight on your mind and young heart is greater than that of your sword and chain mail. I want to help you, lad; calm you, not criticize you. There is a storm brewing. But we shall weather this storm. It may be mighty and bend the sapling, but I promise you it will not break. Does that comfort you?"

Fréa had been standing very still, listening quietly as the Elf spoke. He sniffed now, and moved forward towards her. His face had fallen from its mask, and she saw now a young boy, in mail too big, sword too long, and burden too heavy. His hair was matted and his face dirty. He looked very small and forlorn indeed. A tiny tear escaped from his eye and marked a path through the dirt on his face.

She reached and carefully brushed it away. "Where is your mother, child?" she whispered.

He shook his head and sniffed again. "Dunno. She's not here." His voice was very small. Eloné opened her mouth to respond, but he continued talking. "I h'ain't seen her in a long time. We had to run for it from the village when the dark men came. They burnt ever'thin' and killed my pa. We was runnin', me and ma and Freédwyn. Ma got hysterical and turned around to go back for pa. I was gonna go with her, but Freédwyn grabbed my arm an' said, `Don't you dare!' She made me run for it, with her. We got to Edoras all tired and `ungry. I thought maybe ma would get there a little after we did, but we was there two weeks an' she hadn't come. Maybe she don't know where we are. Then, they made us all march here, and are makin' me fight. I h'ain't never fought before. They just give me a sword and this heavy shirt and I don' know what to do with it. I can't hold this sword and all the men are sayin' that the wizard h'ain't gonna let us live out the night. They all been sayin' we h'ain't gon' see the mornin'. They been tellin' me to look at the sun and grass, cause it'll be the last time I set my eyes on `em. That's how come I come up here. To see the sun. But it's goin' down now. Sky's already dark."

"You came up here to look at the sun one last time?" Eloné knew naught else to saw. This young boy was beyond his years in knowledge; he knew more about things he should not know. Death should be a mystery to the young, not a certainty.

Fréa nodded. "The men all said we h'ain't goin' to make it. You just said we's gon' weather the storm." he was pensive, thinking. He finally looked up into her eyes, trusting and hopeful, yet afraid as a young babe after the thunder sounds. "My lady," he began.

"Eloné," she corrected.

"Eloné," he began again, his eyes pleading and his voice soft. "What's goin' to happed to me?"

She could fight her womanly instincts no longer. Eloné reached out and gathered the child into her arms. He did not resist, but rather buried his face in her tunic, hiding his tears and his anxiety. He was shaking, trembling, in her arms. She held him close to her, stroking his head and shushing his fears. He quieted his tears as he realized he was sobbing, but remained in her embrace, soaking up her love and sympathy. he drew in courage and strength from her, but stayed long with her arms. She held the boy near, letting him calm. She began to whisper, and then to sing to him in her sweet, clear, soothing voice.

Lay down
Your sweet and weary head
The night is falling
You have come to journey's end
Sleep now
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across the distant shore

Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see
All of your fears will pass away
Safe in my arms
You're only sleeping

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
All Souls pass

Hope fades
Into the world of night
Through shadows falling
Out of memory and time
Don't say
We have come now to the end
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again
And you'll be here in my arms
Just sleeping

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home


And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
Grey ships pass
Into the West

****************

Eloné leaned against the Deeping Wall, surveying the various transactions. She watched Fréa walk through the crowd, his face no longer hard, but determined. He was no longer afraid. She saw a helmet placed on his head. It was too big for him. Not meant for him.

She turned away, saddened. The wind began to blow in earnest. Her hair was not secured, and it billowed out behind her, though it was not long. She closed her eyes, feeling the cold whip across her unprotected face. She drew a deep breath, longing for the spray of the sea. But this air was only cold, tainted with the scent of stone and soil. The song was stuck in her head now. Why do the white gulls call...on the horizon? A wave of longing swept over her as she turned to walk from the courtyard. She turned back one time, gazing at the soldiers. Nay, they were no soldiers.

She turned and walked on, whispering to the wind.

"Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountains. Like wind in the meadow. The days have gone down in the West. Behind the hills, into shadow."

She looked back and saw Fréa watching her. His helmet fell across his eyes.

How did it come to this?

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