Gilraen - The Story Continues - Chapter 9 - The Light of Earendil
The Light of Earendil
They rode all evening, and into the next morning. It was not a long ride, for the Prince of Ithilien had built his tower in the hills of Emyn Arnen, within sight of Minas Tirith. As they approached the gates Gilraen stared in wonder at the intricacy of the buildings and the tower of the Prince of Ithilien itself. Everything had been done to make it look as if it had been built of the Númenoreans of old. It was exceedingly beautiful and majestic, but it also looked threatening. The elves and Gilraen all slowed down their horses to a slow canter, and the sound of hoof beats echoed around the town. They rode up to the gates of the tower, where guards, crossing their long battle axes to prevent them from nearing the gates. "What do you want?" One of the guards asked, roughly. "I am the Queen of the Elves. My name is Gilraen, and I come here to warn the Prince of Ithilien." Gilraen replied, boldly. The guards straightened their battle axes, and one banged on the gate. Gilraen and the elves dismounted, and walked in through the slowly opening gates. There in front of them was a small courtyard, with all sorts of growing things in the middle of it. All of a sudden a small company of guards approached them. Their leader was obviously the captain of the Tower guard, as was evident from his apparel. "Strangers from distant lands, what do you wish?" He asked courteously. Gilraen stepped forward. "I and my companions are here to see the Prince of Ithilien." She said, smiling. The captain of the guard looked at her in amazement. After a moment, he began to speak. "Yes little one, you may see the prince. I must ask, however, that you leave your arms and weapons here." He said, slowly. Gilraen motioned for the elves to do so, and then began to take off her own weapons. Before she could however, Aeteran stepped forward and began to take off her weapons for her. Gilraen put her hands down so as not to interfere with what Aeteran was doing. After a moment or two there were no more weapons on her. The elves lined up behind her, and the captain of the guard motioned for them to follow him. They went up the stairs to one side of the courtyard, and walked down a hall. At the end of the hall were two wooden doors, bearing the crest of the Prince of Ithilien. The two guards standing on either side of the doors opened them, and let the captain, Gilraen, and the elves through. On going through the doors, Gilraen found herself in an immense room, with the Prince of Ithiliens banners along the wall, and an elaborately carved stone dais. On top of the dais were two thrones. In them sat the Prince and Princess of Ithilien. Next to his father's throne, stood a young man. After a moment or two Gilraen realized that this was the same young man who had tried to aid her father and stop her from leaving Minas Tirith more than a year before. Standing next to the Princess were two girls, younger than Gilraen. The captain of the guard advanced toward the dais, and bowed. "Prince, these people wish to see you on a matter most urgent." He said, respectfully. The Prince, Princess, and their children all looked at Gilraen and her companions. "Very well, stand at the back of the room. I will hear them." The Prince said, motioning with his hand for the Captain of the Guard to leave. The Captain rose to his feet, and walked past Gilraen and the elves to the back of the throne room, where he stood, arms crossed. "Well, who are my honored guests who have come on so urgent business?" The Prince asked, looking for the first time at his guests. "It is long since we have had elves here in Ithilien. Not since the War of the Ring." The Prince said, with a far-off look in his eyes. "My lord," Aeteran said, stepping forward, touching his forehead with his fingers in a sign of respect. "May I present the Queen of the Elves, who has traveled here to warn you of coming danger." He said, respectfully. Gilraen stepped forward, and all on the dais turned there gaze to her. "Prince of Ithilien, I have come here on my journey of Middle Earth to warn you of evil that is coming. Mayhap the coming enemy will look toward Mordor, which has been inhabited by evil in the times of old. That would put you and Ithilien in grave danger. Be careful, and alert your subjects, so that they may prepare for war." She said, boldly. While Gilraen spoke, it seemed in the eyes of those in the throne room that there before them stood a great Queen of the elves once more, greater than even Galadriel. Gilraen stepped back to her place, and she once more appeared as a young girl. "Why do you not show respect young one?" The Prince of Ithilien asked, smiling slightly and looking at her with the eyes of one curious. "Because, I the Queen of the Elves. Do you not remember from whose direct descent the elves had to choose their queen from?" Gilraen said, questioning the Prince with a twinkle in her eye. The heir to the Prince of Ithilien gasped. Gilraen had guessed that he would be the first to identify her, as he had seen her a year before in Minas Tirith. "You're the runaway princess!" He shouted accusingly. Gilraen calmly walked forward and up the dais until she was face to face with the young man. "I did not runaway." She said, and walked back down the dais. "Evil is coming, be prepared." Gilraen said, not bothering to turn around. She walked out of the Throne room with the elves following her closely, and walked back down to the collection of weapons that they had been previously made to take off. She held out her arms, and Aeteran began putting her weapons back on. They had just finished putting on their armor, and were a few feet away from the main gate, when the young heir came running down the steps. "Stop!" He called down, but Gilraen just ignored him, and continued walking. "Guards! Stop them!" He cried, but they had already gotten outside of the gates. The guards started walking toward them, and the Young heir had reached the end of the steps and was racing toward them, but in one swift movement Gilraen was on her horse once more, and the elves were on theirs' a moment later. The guards, seeing that Gilraen and the elves were going to escape if they didn't do something, started to run, and the young heir ran at their head. But Gilraen and the elves were already racing down the road, and within a few minutes had reached the outskirts of the town. The headed north, away from Ithilien, and toward the ruins of Osgiliath.
That night they reached the crossing over to Osgiliath, which had once had a bridge, but it had been destroyed years before in the War of the Ring. They crossed over, and dismounted as soon as they had reached the bank. "Where shall we go?" Aeteran asked, looking over at Gilraen. "Further in. I have no desire to be found by the young heir of Ithilien, for if they have been following us, then it would be wiser to camp further in, where we may be able to escape from easily if necessary." Gilraen said, looking at the ruins that loomed up all around her. They led their horses into the city, using one of the old roads. They found the remnant's of a nice old stone house, one part of which actually still had a roof. Gilraen sat down on a rock, and Aeteran began to take lembas out of one of their sacks. All of the elves sat down on the ground and stared at the sky full of stars after the lembas had been handed out. Gilraen had just began to eat her Lembas, when Lomien gasped and stood up, still looking intently up at the sky. The other elves did the same. Gilraen got off of the rock and looked at the sky and saw the brightest star in the sky that she had ever seen. The sight of it filled her heart with joy and awe. "Earendil." She whispered, the light of the star reflecting in her eyes. She stood there, just staring up into the sky for what seemed like minutes. "I galad o Earendil sisiilala mi i fanya indonnya na ilkela tece alasse yaoi eldar lelya erie anwaieva i galad o Earendil." Lomien sang softly, and Gilraen looked over at him in wonder. Lomien turned his head and his eyes met Gilraen's. It was then that Gilraen saw the depth of time in the eyes of Lomien, and she felt as if she was suddenly in the first age. Lomien turned his gaze back to the sky, and Gilraen did the same. They stood there, staring at the sky, until light began to creep back into the sky, and no longer could they see the stars. Aeteran turned and sat down, and slowly so did the others. Lomien was the last to sit, his eyes gazing at the sky until no hint of the moon or stars could be seen. At last he turned from the sky, and sat down on the ground. All of them just sat around on the ground, thinking, just thinking about the times of old. After several hours, Gilraen turned and looked at Lomien. He had a far off look in his eyes. "What was that you said last night, Lomien? I have not yet been taught the High Elvish." She asked quietly. Lomien turned and looked at her, with kindness in his eyes, but Gilraen could also see sorrow in the depths of them also. "In the common tongue, it means
'The light of Earendil shines in the sky my heart is gleaming with joy wherever elves go one thing will be true the light of Earendil.'" He replied, sadly. "Why do you let grief trouble you after such glad an hour?" Gilraen asked, concernedly. "Gilraen, I am a Noldor. I was with Fingolfin, son of Finwe, ever reluctant to go, in the march of the Noldor from Valinor. I saw my people killing our kin with my very own eyes. I saw the ships burning when Feanor and his sons left us to suffer in Araman. I crossed the Helcaraxe with my people. I have seen the Noldor slowly destroyed by Morgoth and his lies, and Beleriand fall beneath the sea. I fought beside Gil-Galad in Mordor, and was there with him when he fell. So much that was, was lost. The grief of the Noldor is heavy young one, and not until we all have gone once more to Valinor, and received the pardon of the Valar, and the end has come, before grief is no longer with us. That which brings joy, brings sorrow to us." Lomien said, looking away, sorrow in his voice and in his eyes. Gilraen looked down at the ground, and sorrow for the fall of the Noldor increased in her heart. After several more minutes Aeteran stood and began to collect the bags. "Come," He said, helping Gilraen to her feet. "We have many miles before us to cover. We need to leave, a shadow of darkness has come over my mind in the last few hours. We must leave quickly." Lomien stood up and went to get the horses. The rest of the elves stood up, and followed him. Just then an arrow came flying overhead. Gilraen turned and saw orcs running everywhere. "Run!" She cried, and mounted her horse. The elves were firing their arrows at the orcs when they heard Gilraen. They quickly turned and swung onto their horses. They raced back to the main road, and across the Anduin. I was then that Gilraen heard a howl so fierce and terrifying that she turned her head in fear to look back. There, mounted on Wargs were Orcs, wearing armor with the white hand of Saruman painted on them. Gilraen turned back to look ahead of her. They raced on and on, past Minas Tirith, and then west towards the Gap of Rohan. Finally, as the sun was setting, there horses started to slow down, and at last stopped. Gilraen could still hear the vicious howls of the wargs behind them. She dismounted and grabbed her bags from of off the horse. The elves had already taken their bags off of their horses, and stood with their arrows drawn, waiting for the first wargs to appear on the skyline. Gilraen quickly put her bags on and then took her bow off of her back, and drew an arrow taught. The wargs howls grew louder, and louder, and finally the elves could see several of them on the horizon. They fired their arrows, and quickly drew more. Within a few minutes the wargs and orcs were everywhere. Gilraen had drawn her sword and was fighting bravely when all of a sudden she heard a warg right behind her. She turned and quickly killed it, turning her back to her enemy. Gilraen didn't have time to turn around before she felt a searing pain on her right side. She turned and sliced off the orcs' head before he had time to strike another blow. She sank to the ground, beginning to feel nauseous. She sank to her knees, and then fell onto the ground, dizzy, and closed her eyes. Meanwhile the elves had been killing the orcs and wargs left and right, and soon there was no more to be seen. It was then that Lomien noticed Gilraen lying on the ground. He ran over to her, and rolled her over and she opened her eyes. Lomien breathed a sigh of relief, as the others came running up around Gilraen. Aeteran looked at Gilraen's side, and then went over to the small stream nearby. He returned with water in a small bowl, and began to wash Gilraen's side. Once that was done he took out some dried niphredil, and put them against her side. He took out some torn cloth, and wrapped it around her, holding the niphredil onto her side. Then Aeteran took off one of his water pouches and held it to Gilraen's lips. She sipped some water, and Falisur helped her stand up. They helped Gilraen walk over to the small stream, and then made her eat some Lembas. "I never knew Niphredil had healing powers before." Gilraen said, smiling weakly. "It helps to heal wounds. Now close your eyes, and get some rest. We have a long journey ahead of us, and we need you to heal before we continue on." Aeteran said, softly, and Gilraen closed her eyes, and drifted off to sleep.