Hyellnassë: The Glass Thorn - Ch4: Rising

Disclaimer: I don't own Middle Earth or any of Tolkien's creations and I'm not making any money.
Names/Pronunciations/Misc will come at the end of each chapter.
'*'signals a footnote
"text" signals dialogue
'text' signals thoughts
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Chapter 4.) Rising

***
i charge laughing
Into the hair-thin tints
of yellow dawn
- e. e. cummings
***
May 31, 210 Fourth Age, Valinor
Recap: 24 days after last chapter. Calina and Kallindo have begun to build a friendship.

Kallindo rolled over on his side, pulling the covers more snugly about him as he did so. What was that racket? His mind mulled over the dull pounding that periodically echoed through his small home for several minutes before finally reaching a very plausible conclusion.

"Calina," he muttered groggily.

Pushing back the sheets Kallindo glanced toward the wide, eastward facing window. It was still dark. What did the infernal maiden want now?

Throwing his legs over the edge of the bed, Kallindo stood and exited his bedchamber, walking through the small open room to the latticed entryway. He could already see the slender form and silver hair of the maiden in question through the loose weave of the door.

Dramatically swinging the door open, Kallindo fixed Calina with what he hoped was his most intimidating glare and spoke in a deadened monotone: "What in the name of all that is holy are you doing on my doorstep at this hour of the morning."

Calina's eyes widened in amusement just moments before a merry laugh escaped her lips. "You silly oaf... you promised to come watch the sunrise with me. Did you forget?"

Kallindo's face scrunched up slightly in befuddled consternation. "Did I?"

Still chuckling, Calina stepped into the small flet and sat down on one of the cushioned benches. "Yes, you did. It's not my fault that you stayed up all night watching the stars or listening to the sea or some other such thing."

Kallindo mumbled something incoherent and then closed the door, wiping a hand across his face to clear the sleep from his eyes. He looked quite bedraggled, or at least, in so far as it is possible for an elf to look bedraggled. His hair was tussled from sleep and his eyes looked as though at any moment they would permanently unfocused. Calina felt a twinge of sympathy for him.

"You do not have to come with me, my lord" she spoke softly, standing up, "Go back to bed."

"No," Kallindo shook his head, favoring the young she-elf with a crooked smile. "I remember now. And a promise is a promise, after all."

He opened the door once more and bowed his head to Calina. "After you, my lady."

Calina smiled affectionately at her new friend. "Aren't you forgetting something, yet again?"

Kallindo shrugged. "A great many things I am sure. But I am not inclined to give consequence to any of them this morning."

"You may regret that decision when the wind up on the bluff begins to break itself on your bare chest."

Looking down Kallindo realized that he was still without a tunic, having slept so that night. He tilted his head to the side before nodding thoughtfully. Then, without a word, he turned back toward his bedchamber and slowly went to find a shirt.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"You should have brought a cloak," Kallindo chided Calina, "The wind is bitter this morning. I wonder if rain will come."

"Nay, it is no great discomfort," Calina replied, stepping closer toward the edge of the high bluff with the wind whipping at her skirts and hair. "I enjoy the wind very much. It is such a mysterious force."

Kallindo joined his younger companion next to the cliff edge. They had reached the summit just in time, for a soft golden glow had already stretched along the horizon. Below them the sea looked dark and almost menacing. But soon it would be illuminated by the morning sunshine and set merrily with a thousand dazzling jewels.

Both elves waited in contented silence, their faces still in anticipation. The sun had begun to crest over the waves, resplendently clothed in billowing, gilded clouds, before Kallindo broke the silence.

"You are cold. You shivered."

Calina shook her head. "I was elated by the gift of this new day, that is all."

Kallindo smiled slightly. "Always so stubborn," he whispered as he slid his own cloak off of his shoulders and placed it around her own. Never would it be said that he neglected a lady in distress, even of such a mild nature.

A very small smile tugged at the corners of Calina's mouth. Several moments past before she looked up at him out of the corner of her eye and whispered into the morning air: "Thank you."

And then, quite suddenly, she was gone. Kallindo looked behind him curiously and saw the trail of his cloak disappearing around a rocky outcropping that hid the path leading down from the bluff. With an amused air about him, he began to jog after her.

Kallindo did not see Calina again until he had reached the beach some ways below the white cliffs and beheld her standing just at the waters edge, the rippling waves barely sliding across her toes before slipping gracefully back into the water. His cloak was held tightly about her but her face was uplifted with eyes closed as she let the wind dance around her, the pale gleams of the sun just beginning to warm her cheeks. The sight could not but cheer Kallindo's heart. Here was a true and merry child of the stars if ever he had seen one. She took such great joy in everything.

"Does it meet with your approval?" he questioned amiably. "The sunrise," he clarified when she gave him a puzzled look.

"Oh, very much. But do you know, my lord, I sometimes wonder if we meet with Arien's* approval. Does she wait in anticipation too see what the new circuit of the sky will bring her, is she watching us now?"

"I wouldn't imagine that she is very interested in the two of us," Kallindo replied carelessly.

"Why do you say such things?" Calina chided lightly, a merry glint in her eyes. "I have it on good authority that I am quite an amusing creature."

Kallindo chuckled, remembering the incident of three nights before. "Yes, but that is mostly when your tongue starts to wag."

Calina impishly poked her companion in the ribs. "Impudence."

Stepping away from Calina's second attempt at a poke, Kallindo straightened out to his full height with exaggerated sobriety and lifted an imperious eyebrow. "I'll take my cloak back if you continue behaving in such an unseemly manner, little Soronhíniell."

Kallindo would have maintained his obnoxiously stern demeanor if Calina had not looked up at him with such a look of startled amazement. Relaxing into his normal pose Kallindo eyed the maiden quizzically.

"What?" he finally asked, confused at her continued silence.

Calina blinked. "You... you just did something... silly."

"I suppose I did" Kallindo conceded, a small smile curving his lips.

The she-elf's face brightened as if the sun had risen for a second time. "In our entire acquaintance - which has been, admittedly, quite short - I do not believe you have ever been intentionally humorous. You are always laughing at my silliness, but never silly yourself. This is a decided improvement that I had not even begun to look for yet!"

"What - are you trying to fix me, Lady Calina?" The elf spoke with wry amusement.

"Yes," Calina replied bluntly. "I thought that was understood when we struck up our friendship. Time will catch up with you quickly enough so there is no need to go casting off your youth voluntarily. I have known elves twice as old as you who were twice as young at heart and much lighter of care."

"Perhaps it was simply their nature, and perhaps it is not mine" Kallindo countered, no longer upset with her nosiness as he might once have been, but nevertheless hopeful that he could deter her somewhat.

Calina shook her head, eyes bright with hidden laughter. "Always so stubborn," she quipped, mimicking his words spoken earlier up on the bluff. "But do not worry, my lord, at heart I have no intention of trying to fix you, for no one can fix anyone else. That was a bad turn of phrase and I should not have agreed to it. But, I do reserve the right to torment you with as much lighthearted nonsense as I see fit to devise. And, as a fair concession, you may exercise as much stern, steady, and sage influence on me as you can manage (though this morning has proved that you are not nearly as stoic as you would like to appear). Shall we make a pact on it?"

Kallindo chuckled. "You will do what you wish, pact or no. I have no illusions on that count."

Calina bowed her head to him, a mischievous smile on her face. "Now you begin to understand me, my good elf. You begin to understand."


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"Good morning, amil, atar." Calina leant down to kiss her mother on the cheek before moving to her place at the breakfast table. "As you can see, I have brought in a morning catch to break fast with us."

Kallindo nodded to the Regent and his wife before taking a seat beside the eagerly beckoning Falas. Ránendë had eaten earlier and was not with them now at the small breakfast table.

"How did you come to be snared by my daughter so early in the morning?" Soronhín teased. "That was rather careless of you."

"She caught me unawares, sermo {friend}," Kallindo replied with dry humor. "There was naught I could do to escape. She came to my home whilst it was still dark and led me away, captive."

Both Soronhín and Danneniûl shot quick glances at their youngest daughter. Danneniûl spoke first.

"Kallindo, you must forgive our young one, she is impetuous."

Calina, who had been carelessly buttering a slice of bread, stilled at the comment and felt her cheeks flushing with frustration. She was no mere child, to be spoken of thus, as if she were not in the room. And she was certainly not an errant daughter who needed to be excused or censored. Her lips formed a tense line as she finished with the butter and placed her piece of fresh-baked nut bread back on her plate, un-tasted.

"I am sure she did nothing worthy of reproof, my lady wife," Soronhín began to defend his daughter good-naturedly. Calina perked up and reached for her buttered bread. Her father continued: "And it eases my heart to know that she does not too quickly grow up or into seriousness. Besides, Kallindo has a very steady disposition, do you not, my friend? I am sure you can manage our young spirit. Tell me, did she beg you to watch the sunrise with her?"

Calina placed the bread back onto her plate, stiffly chewing the first bite she had taken. She knew her father did not mean to be unkind, but his words had done more to belittle her than her mother's had.

`I am not grown up? I cannot be serious? Kallindo is steady enough to manage me?' she thought, incredulously. `And dose father think that I plead with everyone to watch the sunrise as if I was some boisterous child of ten? I only share my morning vigil with those who I care about; otherwise, I would simply keep it all to myself.'

Kallindo watched with a discerning eye as Calina's piece of bread made its second retreat. He easily detected the slight flush on her cheeks and the self-conscious, downward tilt of her chin. It did not sit well with him.

"You may both put your minds at rest," he began to hazard a reply. "Of a truth... I was responsible for your daughter's appearance on my doorstep, Danneniûl. She did ask me to watch the sunrise with her and I had promised to meet her on the sands, but did not wake in time. I am only glad that she was steady enough to not grow impatient with me: Arien* had already begun to show herself by the time we reached the bluffs. Still, it was a noble sight and Calina's admirable enthusiasm - and lively conversation - did nothing but increase my own pleasure."

Having finished his hasty oration, Kallindo cast a glance around the table, hoping that he had successfully set Calina at ease and appeased his good friends, her parents. Falas, of course, was blissfully unaware of the goings on and was busy eating a piece of spring melon and swinging his legs back and forth under the table. Danneniûl and Soronhín both smiled amiably at his clarification and went back to sipping their tea. Kallindo's glance fell on Calina last. Her toast was still lying uneaten on her plate. He looked up toward her eyes and caught her looking at him. She had a small smile on her face and her features had eased back into a tranquil expression.

"Thank you," she mouthed silently.

Kallindo returned her smile, bowing his head slightly. Calina's smile broadened slightly before she broke eye contact with him, picking up her piece of nut bread once more and nibbling at it peacefully. Kallindo then turned to the needs of his own stomach.

As Kallindo poured himself a cup of tea from the large silver ewer on the table, Calina cast one more glance at him. She felt on odd mixture of relief, growing affection, and lingering irritation swirling around inside of her. But there was also a small spark of merry pleasure to accent the medley of emotions. He had finally called her by her given name. Doubtless he did not even realize it, but he had done it all the same. This was certainly a decided improvement.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"When do you expect to return?" Soronhín inquired as he ordered a few papers on his desk before turning to sit with Kallindo beside a seaward-facing window.

"I imagine I shall be gone for two weeks. I cannot see why I would be detained any longer."

"Falas will miss you dearly," the Regent commented, "But, as children will, I am sure he shall find other amusements for himself in short order. I admit that I do find it amazing how long he has been captivated by your stories from Endórë {Middle Earth}. I always imagined he would grow weary of it before now. It is a wonder to me."

Kallindo chuckled softly. "Is it, though? I should think it quite natural when his father never tires of pestering me for an evening tale before the fire."

Soronhín smiled. "I will not deny it. I have read most of the books I owned more times then they will support. I must increase my library soon. Perhaps I could send you with a commission since you will pass through the city."

Kallindo nodded his head in approval of the plan. He and Soronhín settled back into their chairs and for a few moments silence reigned.

"I feel as though my children are growing up far too quickly," Soronhín confided airily. "I can hardly force Ránendë to stand still for more than half-an-hour she is so aflutter with her approaching marriage. And Falas - I will have to find a regular tutor for him soon. I'm afraid he won't like that one bit."

Kallindo smiled, imagining the energetic child forced to sit at a desk for any significant amount of time, wiggling and squirming and gazing out the window all the while. Is that what Calina was like at that age? The thought was an amusing one.

"Now my youngest daughter, she seems to defy logic," Soronhín continued. "I keep telling myself that she is an adult. That she has, indeed, been away from home for several years at a time. But every time I see her she still seems so young."

Kallindo sighed. "That will be the experience of the rest of our lives, my friend. I feel it is very good that we are blessed with such lasting memories or else we would forget what it was like to be young. Calina is young. But she is not a child."

"Apparently not," Soronhín conceded, with a merry twinkle in his eyes. "As a child she would never have barged into a new acquaintance's house before the break of dawn to drag them out to see the sunrise. She was actually quite reserved as a child."

Kallindo smirked. "That I cannot imagine. But again, you must not assume that Calina is in any way a nuisance to me. I enjoy her company - it grows on me more and more."

"Well, I am glad of that. It would make me quite nervous if she started mixing with the young lads of the town too quickly. If she's taken a fancy to your company and you don't mind her, by all means, watch as many sunrises and sunsets as you like. Perhaps you can keep the suitors away for me. It will be several years before I recover from this first wedding."

Kallindo quirked an eyebrow, his lips tweaking up into a smile. "Are you implying that I am no longer eligible?"

Soronhín laughed. "Nay friend, merely reticent. If you ever put your mind to the task I am sure you could find a lovely dame from the city who is looking for a simple life. You would certainly be a rare commodity there: an unmarried Silvan elf from over the sea. Quite exotic, I'm sure."

The shadowy inference was not lost on Kallindo: 'No, you're not eligible. At least for a young maiden.' This did not trouble him too greatly, however, for he had already felt this to be true.

"Exotic?" Kallindo's voice was thick with incredulity. "A relatively lowly-born, unfashionable elf who has no desire for more than a quiet life by the sea with only occasional interruptions for the purpose of earning his keep as a seasonal laborer in the southern fields? Nay, exotic is one thing I am most certainly not."

"I have found that it is dangerous to assume anything about the opinions of the gentler sex," Soronhín mused. "My wife continues to surprise me even today. I have stopped trying to make predictions."


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Ránendë poked her head into her sister's kiln room cautiously. A heavy blanket of heat enclosed her as she stepped fully into the lamp and fire lit room. Calina stood at a table in the middle of the room preparing a mixture of sand and some white powder of which Ránendë was ignorant. Periodically Calina would reach behind her and tug a chain which operated the billows of the kiln. She was so engrossed in her work that she did not notice Ránendë's presence for well nigh on two minutes.

"Oh, are you there? I am sorry for ignoring you - you should have said something."

Ránendë stepped further into the room, coming to stand by Calina. "I did not know if what you were attempting was a delicate process. I did not want to startle you. You seemed so very intent."

Calina smiled. "I have often been told that I should smile more as I work. I always forget to when I am concentrating. Why have you come for me?"

"No particular reason. Mother has been busy all day and I did not feel like walking all the way to the town for company when you were close by."

Smiling impishly, Calina set aside her leather apron and pulled her sister back outside into the evening sunlight. "So, you are forced to mingle with the little people now that your betrothed is away?"

"He will be home tomorrow," Ránendë smiled dreamily, completely ignoring Calina's light gibe.

Calina shook her head slowly. "Will I be so smitten as you are one day?"

Ránendë bowed her head self-consciously, but where eyes still glimmered as she whispered, "One can only hope."

The soft words settled into Calina's heart and her steps slowed to a halt. "I suppose it is a wondrous thing. I am not sure that I can quite imagine it."

"And I shall not attempt to explain it." Ránendë continued on for a few steps before turning back to her sister. "You shall find it one day, and then it will be sweeter for its mystery."

The two sisters continued walking and talking, eventually wending down the hill and along the white beach toward the town. Ránendë had expressed a vague wish to visit with her prospective mother-in-law and confirm the exact time of her lover's return. However, this plan was immediately given up when, quite unexpectedly, Ehtúro himself appeared over a small rise which the maidens have been walking toward. With a soft little gasp, the elder sister picked up her skirts and ran into his arms, laughing brightly as he swung her up into the air. Calina watched with affectionate amusement as the two reunited after a separation of nine days. Then, with a sly look in her eyes she ducked into the forest before either could acknowledge her presence.

As she walked along beneath the dusky boughs, Calina was presented with two options. To her right she could hear the sounds of some small, merry gathering. To her left she could see a pale light gleaming in one of Kallindo's windows. She paused. Perhaps Kallindo would prefer her to not repeat the morning's performance. After all, the poor elf could seek out her company if he wished it. He seemed to enjoy her presence, yet wasn't it possible that he was merely too polite to shun the daughter of his good friend? What if she had grown tiresome over the past few days and he had simply been putting up with her? This thought distressed Calina quite a bit and she began to walk down the right-hand path when the thought of Kallindo's smile over the breakfast table slipped into her mind. It had almost seemed as though he were trying to stand up for her, trying to assure her that all was well. Perhaps the need had not been very great, but the gesture had been sweet indeed. And his smile had been sweeter - almost conspiratorial and affectionate. She liked his smile. Certainly it would be more pleasant to spend an evening trying to solicit more of them from him than in passing careless stories around a forest bonfire.

Without letting her mind dwell longer upon the matter, Calina turned abruptly and began retracing her steps. She had only taken a few hasty, preoccupied strides when she caught her foot on a tree root and stumbled straight into a pair of warm arms.

"Oh! I beg your pardon!" Calina exclaimed, her words muffled due to the fact that her face was pressed against the tunic of some unknown elf. Her left hand had instinctively grasped onto his sleeve, while his arms were caught around her waist. She was about to remove herself from his person when the rumble of soft, male laughter began to envelop her.

Kallindo straightened and pulled Calina up in his arms, making sure that her feet gained the path once more. His arms were still around her when Calina tilted her head back and met his gaze with wide eyes. Both elves froze for a fraction of time and merely gazed at one another.

'He has lovely eyes,' was the only truly coherent thought which Calina could form, much to her embarrassment. And Kallindo was not fairing much better. The young maiden fit quite cozily against him and, though his mind rebelled against this thought, his arms seemed more than content to continue in their current position.

Both of them were rather relieved when the odd moment ended, startled from their daze by a chorus of laughter that erupted from the gathering down the path. Calina was the last to break eye contact; Kallindo was the last to let go.

"Were you coming to see me?" Kallindo questioned in a strained voice, trying to break the silence between them.

Calina shifted her eyes to the side. "Yes... I was. I..." She never found the words to finish her explanation and so she merely looked back up at her friend and gave him a crooked smile.

"There is a gathering this evening. I was headed that way" Kallindo motioned down the path, regaining his poise enough to sound casual. At Calina's slightly puzzled expression the elf smirked wryly. "I do actually step outside of my flet on occasion, my lady. I am not a hermit."

"I know, I know," Calina blushed lightly. "I have learned that much these past weeks. I am sorry. Um..." she paused, a tentative expression creasing he eyebrows. "May I join you?"

Kallindo gazed at the maiden, still trying to sort out what had just happened. He was still considering his options when his tongue made the decision for him: "It would be a pleasure."

As soon as he said it, Kallindo realized that it truly would be. With a slight bow he held his arm out to her, casting aside his tumultuous thoughts and gracing her with an amiable smile.

Calina took his proffered arm with an inward sigh of relief, grateful for his open, easing manner. His calm smile soothed her spirit a great deal and she was able to gain control of her own anxiety with each step they took.

"Thank you," she whispered as they continued down the path. "Again."

***

1. Arien: "sun maiden" - a Maia charged with guiding the sun through its course across the sky.

Things to Know:

Q=Quenya
S=Sindarin

Calina (KAH-lin-ah): Q. "illuminated"
Kallindo (kahl-LIN-do): Q. "noble heart"
Falas (FAHL-ahss): S. "beach, shore"
Soronhín (sor-ON-heen): Q. "eagle child"
Danneniûl (dahn-NEN-ee-ool): S. "fallen embers"
Ránendë (ra-NEN-deh): Q. "moon pool"
Ehtúro (eh-TOOR-oh): "spear victor"


Endórë: Q. "Middle Earth"
amil/amme: "mother/mommy"
atar/atto: "father/daddy"

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