Fala's Tale - Chapter 4 - An October's Morn
The blush of a new dawn had barely kissed the east when Nevendel bade farewell to his mother and cousin. He was dressed in dreary and formal clothing. His face betrayed the seriousness of the task he would soon embark on. "I will be back before you both sneak off to the Gray Havens." he told them with the slightest of smiles. "You will see that I am not so easily cast aside."
"And if you do not return by the day of our departure...we will wait for you my brave son." Maya said as great tears slid from her doe-like eyes.
Nevindel forced a smile and took his mother's hands into his. "No. Do not wait here for me. Give me your word that you will go when the time comes...even if I've not returned."
"I can not leave you here in this darkening earth." Maya whispered, her voice cracking with heartache.
Nevin embraced his mother tightly, and Fala thought she beheld a swift shimmer of panic posess her cousin's eyes. "You can go on without me. You must go on without me...for now. Go to the west and there I will find you sooner or later. You have my word." He looked lovingly down upon his mother, "Do I have yours?"
After a small strained silence, Mayanin nodded, "Yes, Nevindel. You have my word. I will go when the time comes."
Nevin kissed his mother on the forehead and smiled. "Then I will see you soon. So soon that you will not even have the chance to miss me." He eyes then found Fala's. She had kept silent as mother and son said their farewells, "And make certain that you two don't miss your ride."
Fala nodded and smiled as best she could.
Nevindel glared out the window. Light had crept higher into the sky and it sparked for a second in the elf's dark eyes. "I must leave now." He said in a rather cold voice. "Farewell fair ladies. I will be back all too soon." Fala saw his jaw clench as he gave a quick bow. Nevindel stood, nodded once then slipped away into the waiting arms of dawn. He did not glance back.
Maya collapsed into Fala's arms and wept for all the rest of the morning.
Fala soothed and consoled as best she could.
It was not until just before the half morning that Maya had calmed. "Go out now and feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin." she had whispered to Fala. "You have wasted too much of a beautiful day tending to my sorrow," And when Fala objected, the older elf lovingly shooed the younger towards the door.
So Fala swirled herself into the cloak that Glorfindel had returned then heartily embraced her aunt. She turned and was about to step through the door when she halted and spun back around. "Maya!" she gasped. "Where is my sword!"
"I was wondering when you would finally miss it." Maya said, her voice tinted with sadness. "It is here and safe, stowed under your bed. It was always near to you."
Fala's heart lightened. She swiftly retrieved her weapon, unsheathed it and held it high and aloft in the light that spilled through the doorway. Sunlight sparked and flared first from the diamond set into the base of the blade. She shifted the sword and a blindingly bright light danced up and over the runes that were delicately inscribed in the middle of the blade.
Mayanin stepped back and hardly halted the gasp that had attemped escape. The silhouette of the becloaked Fala brandishing the sword sent a small shiver into Maya's heart. Fala did not know it, but her stance was exactly that of her father's all those long years ago...when Maya had unknowingly bade Falohir a final farewell.
Fala lowered the sword with silent reverence and eyed it lovingly before it became resheathed. She secured the sword back to where it ever hung. And with the weapon back in it's rightful place, the younger elf felt nearly complete. Nearly whole...but there was a small nagging nothingness nestled in her heart. She closed her eyes and let herself be swallowed into the small sorrow. 'Where are you?' she wondered with weighted longing.
Maya moved to Fala and wound her into a warm embrace.
"Maya?" Fala asked, slightly startled, for her aunt had caught her quite off guard. "If you are still sorrowed...perhaps I should stay a while longer..."
"I will be fine." Maya said with stern kindness. "I just felt the need to hold you again...just for that moment. Just for memory's sake." Then before Fala could object again Mayanin escorted her niece out the door. "May your feet find pleasant paths Fala." she said quietly, then quickly added, "within Rivendell this time."
Fala smiled. "I promise to stay safe within the arms of Rivendell this day." She waved then turned towards the House of Elrond.
Maya watched Fala stroll away, and was amazed that the same young elf had been near dead but a few days before. She marvelled at how swiftly Fala had recovered. The old elf thanked all the powers that be for her beloved niece's life. ...
Not long after, Fala had found her way to where the sons of Elrond would be preparing for departure...if they had not already departed. She had walked Nevindel to that very spot innumerable times...and this time hoped the party hadn't left. She peeked through the ivy smothered archway and, to her delight, Nevindel was there. He was tending to his horse, as were the rest of the party. Fala pulled up her hood and proceded to stroll softly towards her cousin.
"Thought you would get away easily this time...did you?" she asked in as miserable a voice she could muster.
Nevindel spun suddenly, and as he did, drew out his sword and brought it down towards Fala. She, just as quickly, brandished her sword and blocked Nevin's blade.
"I should have known you would bear your hideous face here." Nevin hissed angrily as he tried to overpower his attacker.
"Hideous?" Fala nearly shrieked as she spun around and out of Nevin's reach. "If I am hideous...it is only because I am related to the mangy likes of you!" she retorted, pointing her sword at him as if it were an accusatory finger.
Laughter erupted all about the pair of warring elves. Nevin's eyes quickly glanced to the audience...and instantly his legs were swept out from under him. He was suddenly staring up into the blue of sky and gasping for breath. Golden leaves fluttered back down around the fallen Nevindel.
Laughter erupted louder.
Fala placed a foot on Nevin's heaving chest and held the point of her sword near his throat. "Never take your eyes off of the enemy." she said with an dark grin. She then burst into laughter... and as soon as she did, Fala felt Nevin's hand grip her ankle. He effortlessly ripped her foot out from under her. She threw her arms outwards to catch balance, and in doing so her sword flew from her grip. She fell, quite gracelessly, backward onto her behind.
Nevin was instantly at her side, "Never...underestimate...the enemy...my dear cousin." he said breathlessly, then laughed silently.
Fala playfully nudged Nevin and he toppled over. She removed her hood, and for a few moments the sun seemed to shine a small bit brighter, as did her heart.
"If I may...my lady?" came a manly voice.
Fala turned to her right and there stood the Ranger she had waved to the day before. He held out his hand to her and grinned. Fala accepted his hand with and smiled a sweet thankyou. She stood and brushed some leaves from her dress and adjusted her cloak. "It is nice to see that this party has aquired a member with manners...finally."
"I believe this belongs to you..." the Ranger said quietly as he bowed and surrendered back Fala's sword.
She gently took back her weapon and bowed deeply to the Ranger.
"Had I not been on my guard...your sword would have been flung straight through my heart." he said with smiling eyes.
Fala instantly felt horrified, and monsterously ashamed. She quickly slid her sword back away. "I guess we both are lucky that a Ranger is never caught off guard." Fala said quietly. "I am terribly sorry..."
"No harm done...to me at least. Nevindel...he is another story though." the Ranger said as he gestured towards the elf who was still on the ground slowly reclaiming breath.
"We were wondering if you would show up." Elrohir laughed as he mounted his horse.
"Our luck doubles when you are here to see us off." someone else added.
"And it triples when you lay a royal beating upon Nevin just before we leave." Elladan chimed in.
The small group of elves burst into a chorus of laughter again. Nevindel finally stood up and brushed himself free of leaves. He shook his head tried to look serious. "I'd like to see any of you do better." He found his sword and stormed back to his horse.
None took up the offer.
"It seems that you are as deadly as you are beautiful," the Ranger said as he scanned the group of what were supposed to be Elrond's greatest elven warriors. Not one of them was willing to take on the lady elf.
Fala did not know what to say. She was not used to such compliments and blushed.
"Indeed, your statement is true Estel." Elrohir said solomnly. "If she had been the son of Falohir we would have, long ago, chosen Fala to ride with us. With not a second thought."
Fala bit back her voice. She suddenly realized who the ranger was...
"It is time!" Elladan's voice echoed out. Almost instantly the elves leapt onto their horses and were ready to leave.
The Ranger, however, took the she elf's hand. "Thank you, Fala, for bringing Frodo to Elrond. I understand you risked much in doing so."
"I...I only did what I thought was right." she said so quietly that she was not sure if the Ranger had even heard.
"Sometimes, that's all it takes to change the world." He said with a gracious smile. He kissed her hand. "I had hoped to thank you last evening...as would have Frodo. But you were not there, so on behalf of the both of us...of all of us...thank you Lady Fala."
Before she could even ask about Frodo, Estel nodded a quick farewell then made for his steed. When he was seated with solomn regality upon his stallion, the kingly Ranger turned to face Fala. "We are eternally in your debt, my fair lady." Immediately after his words every member of the party bowed with utmost respect to Fala from atop their horses.
She was quite taken aback and could do naught but stand in stupified silence. She watched as the elves then silently filed out through the archway...none looked back but Nevin. He smiled with great pride towards his cousin, waved, then slipped from view.
"May all that is light illuminate your flight...fearless sons of Rivendell." Fala whispered after them. She pulled up her hood and strolled away. Her thoughts slowly slipped back to the Shireling.