Hyellnassë: The Glass Thorn - Ch5: Sun and Moon

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


A/N: First of all.... I am so sorry for the delay. Life got absolutely crazy when I was about half way through writing this chapter and it's just now settled down. Second... If anyone was wondering: I will absolutely, positively, without a doubt finish this story. I have not given up on it or anything like that. There just was no time to do this chapter right since it was already giving me difficulties from the beginning and not cooperating with me. Third... I'd love to hear people's suggestions about where things could go from here. I have a couple intriguing ideas, but I'm doing this mostly to give you all a good ride, so I'd love to hear your input.


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Chapter 5.) Sun and Moon

***
Put off that mask of burning gold
- W.B. Yeats
***

June 12, 210 Fourth Age, Valinor

Recap: Thirteen days after last chapter. Kallindo and Calina have struck up a comfortable friendship. Kallindo has been abroad for two weeks and is on the way home, via the city.

"Kallindo! Welcome again. Come in, come in, before the rain washes us all away!"

Kallindo ducked thankfully out of the wet gloaming into the warm light of Alassar's house, resisting the urge to shake out his sopping hood. With care Alassar drew the drenched cloak from his guest's shoulders and delicately transported it to the kitchen, where the stone paving by the fire would be none the worse for a wetting. Kallindo followed and soon the two Elves were situated around a rough-hewn kitchen table, enjoying morning-fresh bread with butter and mulled cider.

"I expected you yesterday eve,"Alassar commented over his mug, "Are the roads grown so very bad or has something else detained you?"

"The former, I'm afraid," Kallindo replied. "I was forced to wait an extra night and even today the journey was not at all pleasant before I reached the city streets, which are thankfully a good deal better."

"Alas, this makes my news even fouler, I'm afraid."

Kallindo eyed his old friend curiously.

"If you had come yesterday we would have been able to enjoy a quiet evening between us, but it cannot be so tonight" Alassar informed him with an apologetic smile. "A great masquerade has been in the planning for weeks now, at which I am called upon to play."

"Won't the rain confound such a gathering?" Kallindo inquired, casting a baffled glance out of a small casement window toward the sodden landscape.

"Nay, that will not deter us city folk, my friend. As you have said yourself, the streets here are well made, and none live so far from the great hall that they could not make it in reasonable time. We will have our merriment, foul weather or no. I would of course give it up for your sake, were I not duty bound to fulfill my obligation. Will you come?"

Kallindo swirled the mulled cider around in his mouth for a moment before swallowing slowly. He set his mug back on the table with a resolute hand. "I shall come. It will do me good after dreary hours of travelling to be merry. I may not stay until the end, but we shall see."

"Fine, fine." Alassar stood up and slapped Kallindo's back amicably. "I doubt you came prepared for such an eventuality, however. Let us see what I can rummage up for you in my store of festal raiment."

Kallindo smiled broadly. "You will not array me in a minstrel's habit, I hope. Someone who has imbibed too much wine will no doubt accost me with a lute before the evening is out and force an ill-played tune from me."

Alassar chuckled. "Nay, do not fear. I have a few very servicable tunics and capes that can be worn without fear or shame. I think I may also have an old mask from another engagement of this sort. Will you mind being the moon?"

"I am a begger at your mercy," Kallindo stood from his chair and spread his arms open. "Dress me as you will."


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

Kallindo smiled beneath his mask as he stepped into the vast, candle-lit hall. Recently arrived guests, who still stood near the doorway, turned and examined Alassar and him, trying to determine their identities. Alassar was easy enough to guess at, since he carried his lute, wrapped in oilskin, beneath his arm. But Kallindo presented a puzzle for them and several brows creased together in thought.

`This may prove to be entertaining,' Kallindo mused.

Before that night, Kallindo had only ever joined in a handful of such masked balls, and then only among people who knew him well, where secrecy was virtually impossible. Here among the city-folk, however, he was an almost unsolvable mystery. The only significant amount of time he had ever spent there was when visiting his friend, Alassar, and even then he had not mixed much in any social gatherings larger than a handful of people. The thought of spending an evening in complete anonomity was, therefore, as new as it was intriguing. There was something almost comforting in the idea that there would be absolutely no expectations or preconceptions of him. He was merely another merry-maker, nothing more, nothing less. For one night he would not have to think about what people knew of his past, or did not know; what they knew of his present, or predicted of his future. For one night he could choose to be a blank slate, waiting for the stroke of fresh words.

Kallindo roused himself from his odd musings when a maiden robed in ocean-blue approached him and asked him prettily for a dance. The first chords of music had struck and the presiding Lord had declared that the ladies could have their choice of partner for the first set. For a fraction of a moment Kallindo stared at the delicate hand extended toward him. When was the last time he had freely danced? - Other than on the beach with Calina, of course... An involuntary smile tweaked his lips. Why not? With a slight bow Kallindo took the maiden's hand in his own and led her out onto the floor.

To Kallindo's great wonder, the evening past swiftly and without burden. He danced, feasted, and sang to his heart's content until, with pleasant weariness, he draped himself across a small couch in one of the adjoining sitting rooms and let the joyful hum of the gathering wash over him. It really had been quite a successful evening, very pleasant. However, it was growing late and Kallindo felt the strain of his journey begin to pull at him. He thought that perhaps it would be best to leave before the experience turned sour.

Setting his empty wineglass aside, Kallindo rose slowly from the couch and surveyed the small room into which he had retreated. A curtained doorway led out into the main gathering. The curtain was pulled to the side at present, allowing him a view of the brightly-lit room beyond, where couples adorned in rich costumes and elegant masks whirled across the polished floor. Outside the weather had cleared and there was no longer the steady thrum of rain on the vaulted roof, leaving the delicate strain of the harps and flutes to dance unhindered throughout the hall.

Stepping closer to the doorway, Kallindo straightened his shoulders. It had been a delightful gathering, made more so by the ability to set aside his own face for the evening. But now it was coming to an end. Within the hour he would be himself again, and within the next forty-eight he would be n his home by the sea. Life would settle back into itself.

Kallindo moved with resigned steps toward the curtained doorway but came to a halt when the light flooding in from the next room was supplanted by a soft, warm glow. Just within the curtain, as though she had materialized from the music-ladened air, was the sun herself: a maiden swathed in a silvery gown, beaded and ambroidered heavily with gold, and masked with a blazing sun. For a few moments she stood gazing at him serenely. Kallindo waited patiently and curiously as the bright eyes of his unexpected visitor perused his face.

"One would think we had dressed to match," the lady said pertly.

Kallindo glanced casually down at the muted blues and silvers of his tunic and imagined the sight he made, with a mask of the cresent moon tide over his eyes and bending down across his right cheek.

"A fitting pair, surely," he murmured, "And even more fitting now, for I depart the room even as you enter. After all, the sun and the moon cannot share the sky together."

Kallindo moved to pass around the maiden when she laughed merrily and placed a hand on his shoulder. "You are going to leave me again, are you?"

"Again?" Kallindo inquired curiously.

"Yes, my lord, again. You have a habit for trying to leave your friends before the festivities have come to an end. I only just found you, though I suspected all evening that you were here somewhere. Will you now desert me?"

At Kallindo's persitent confusion, the maiden continued: "Oh, I see . . . you do not know me. But I am not allowed to tell you who I am. That is against the rules, I'm afraid."

Kallindo observed the lady carefully. Supple, ivory arms peeked out from the folds of her sleeves and the graceful line of her neck swept up to a regal head adorned with silver hair and gold ribbons. She bore herself nobly, with an easy confidence, meeting his searching gaze with her own, expressive eyes. Without knowing her, Kallindo would mark her for a rather enchanting young maiden

"Forgive me, perhaps the wine has affected me more than I suspected to cause me to forget such a lady." Kallindo took her hand a placed a courteous kiss upon it.

The mysterious sun laughed. "So you can be charming after all. What a story I shall have to tell."

Kallindo smiled sardonically, knowing that his evening of anonimity was over. "That may also be due to the wine, milady. If we are as well acquainted as you seem to imply then you would also know that I rarely indulge in such."

"Well spoken, my friend," the lady replied, undetered by his less than warm response to her teasing. "I can only hope that you shall come to know me, as you should already, before you leave. Here, let us have a dance. You would not be so callous as to refuse a lady, and that shall give me quite an acceptable excuse to keep you here beside me until your powers of perception return."

With little alternative but to accept her proposal Kallindo abandoned his plans of retiring early and held his hand out to the maiden, leading her onto the dancing floor. The mask that the maiden wore covered all except her mouth, and he watched her lips curve up into a mischievous smile as they took up their position among the dancers. The minstrels struck up the music of a strong, intricately patterned dance, and so Kallindo and the maiden began weaving their way through the steps in silence. However, at the first opportunity his companion began to converse with him once more, though the following account of it was, at the time, broken up by the many comings together and goings apart of the dance.

"I may not tell you who I am, my lord, but perhaps a few hints could help you guess aright."

Kallindo inclined his head. "I am at your command."

"Always so accomodating," the lady smiled, "Very well. Your first clue is that you once saw my hair slate gray with water."

"I'm sure you can come up with something more clever than that," Kallindo whispered good-humoredly. "I have seen many ladies with their hair wet. I saw many today out on the roads."

"You should remember this incident, however. But never mind... let me see. Oh yes - you once lent me your cloak."

"A gallant gesture on my part, I am sure," Kallindo quipped. "I can still think of a few silver-haired possibilies though. Did you know the first maiden I ever had a fancy for had silver hair like yours? I was only nineteen at the time, but I distinctly remember lending her my cloak on a cold day."

The sun chuckled. "I didn't know that. What an adorable little suitor you must have made. I wonder that you did not not steal her heart away then and there."

Kallindo smirked. "It may have had something to do with the fact that she was twenty years older than me."

Laughing unabashedly, the maiden twirled away in the dance before returning a few moments later. "Here is my last clue. And if you cannot guess it afterward, then I am at a loss."

"If I guess aright will it mean the end of my captivity?"

The sun rolled her eyes at his dry speech, but ignored it. As the steps of the dance brought the pair close in each other's arms she tilted her head up to whisper in his ear: "This mask is made of glass, and I am its creator."

Kallindo's eyes widened perceptibly as his dancer partner was once more separated from him. A deep chuckle began working its way up from his stomach. When the maiden returned to his arms he was smiling broadly.

"Calina, you deceiver."

"How did I deceive, my lord? That is most ungenerous."

"Who gave you leave to look so elegant and refined?" he chided. "I doubt I would have guessed your identity before the night was over without your hints. But what are you doing here?"

The dance came to an end and the two friends stood together on the floor, careless of the churning mass of couples around them.

"I have come into town with amil {mother}, Ránendë, and Ehtúro's amil. There are yet a few purchases to be made for the wedding. Of course, I did not have to come, but father thought of a few more selections to look for at the bookseller's shop. I was enchanted by atar's {father's} new scheme of expanding the library and am come to see what I can find and to look for the other titles that atar gave me. Have you gone to look yet?"

Kallindo shook his head with a smile, beginning to lead Calina off of the dancing floor. Everyone in the chamber seemed to be moving toward the walls as though making way for some new diversion. "Nay, I have only arrived this evening. I meant to look for your father's books tomorrow. Shall we go together?"

Calina grinned. "My thoughts exactly."

"Halt!"

A strong voice called out across the now silent room and Kallindo paused in his steps, noticing for the first time that all eyes in the room were trained upon Calina and him. A small ripple of laughter washed across the room and the pair turned toward the commanding voice. While they had been conversing a favorite local bard had taken his place on a small dais at one end of the dancing floor and was now watching the couple with a cheeky twinkle in his eyes. Kallindo tilted his head in confusion.

"Shall we have a tale of the sun and the moon?" the bard called out to those watching. Everyone in the hall gave a hearty cheer for this idea and the bard hopped up from his seat and came down to Kallindo and Calina, sweeping them back to the center of the floor with a merry laugh.

"Those whose feet tarry are most likely to be caught," the bard gibed, to the amusement of the entire hall.

As the storyteller reached the center of the room he let go of Kallindo and swept Calina around, taking a knee and sitting her down prettily on his raised one. He wrapped his arms carelessly around her waist and smiled roguishly. "Shall you help me tell my tale, lady?"

A murmur of encouragment went up from those standing by. Calina smiled merrily and, in her own saucy way, replied, "Sir... I will."

After the cheering died away, the bard assumed a very self-satisfied look and turned once more to Calina, raising her hand to his lips and placing a soft kiss upon it. "And will your lord join the merriment?" he questioned, casting a speculative glance at Kallindo, who stood with a bemused expression on his face.

Calina laughed. Then, raising her eyebrow imperiously at the elf who currently held her captive, she replied, "He will, sir... if you would be so kind as to remove your hand from my hip."

The bard chuckled, gave her waist an impudent squeeze, and then swung her up and around and into the arms of Kallindo. Standing himself, he took a small turn around the room as he began to unfold his tale.

Before the dawning of the sun and the moon the Two Trees of Valinor, golden Laurelin and silvery Telperion brought light to Valinor. And in the light of those two trees, Tilion, a hunter of Oromë, would visit with the firstborn of Ilúvatar and join humbly in their merry making.

Kallindo bowed gallantly to the audience, attempting to join in the tale with good humor. A few children in one corner of the room calpped and laughed merrily. Kallindo threw one of the little girls a wink and she ducked her head, trying to hide her pleased smile.

Likewise, Arien, the sun maiden, servant of Vána, Oromë's wife, walked among the Eldar, dancing merrily in the streets of Tirion and watering the flowers there with the dew of Laurelin.

Calina turned merrily, her skirts billowing out as she spun around and dipped into a low curtsy.

Arien was bright and golden and gay, and all loved her. Especially the humble Tilion.

Kallindo extended his hand to Calina, and gave her a wistful look.

But of all those who loved her, Arien gave her heart to none but Tilion.

Calina smiled gently and took the profered hand, coming closer and placing a chaste kiss on Kallindo's cheek.

The two Maiar loved blissfully, and their affection was a joy to see. But in spite of their happiness, Tirion never understood how Arien could love him. Her voice was stronger, her energy was boundless, and everywhere they went her beauty dazzled and graced the eyes of all those who beheld her. Beside her, his light seemed dim. Arien, however, never doubted their love and found all her contentment in the arms of Tilion.

Kallindo knelt much as the bard had, and Calina settled comfortably into his arms. The two shared an amused, conspiratorial look with one another.

However, their peace was shattered when the darkness came. In evil malice Melkor and Ungoliant slew the Two Trees and all of Valinor was thrown into darkness.

Calina rose melodramatically from Kallindo's knee and, with a look or horror, fell back onto the floor.

Courageously, Tilion offered to carry what light was left to the Valar up into the heavens.

The bard took Kallindo's arm and led him away from Calina over to where a silvery lamp hung from a delicate post.

He was questioned again and again if he would do this thing, for all knew of his love for Arien, but he was determined to help his people. He wept because of her but thought that in his absence she would find a better match for her brightness. And so, in a vessel crafted by the Valar, he bore aloft into the sky the last fruit of Telperion.

The bard, as he had spoken, took down the lamp and handed it to Kallindo, sending him toward the dais nearby.

The moon rose for the first time and brought with it much joy and comfort. But no joy or comfort was found in the heart of Arien.

Calina sighed and looked longingly toward Kallindo.

She burst into the council of the Valar and demanded to be sent aloft with her lover. Her purpose was so steadfast that they granted her wish, forming a vessel to carry the last flower of Laurelin into the heavens. When all was in readiness, Arien took on the form of a pure flame and guided the ship of the sun up into the sky, stearing her course toward the moon.

Calina was given a naked candle and began to walk slowly toward Kallindo.

At that first rising, Arien and Tilion yearned toward one another in the sky, but Arien's flame was so bright that it scorched Tilion and he was forced to retreat.

Kallindo and Calino had almost met when a curious look came over Kallindo's face. A moment of silence reigned before he covered the light of his lamp with his hand and turned slowly away.

In their wisdom, the Valar set courses for the sun and moon so that Tilion would have time to heal away from the searing pain of Arien's light. And thus the moon waxes and wanes.

The bard drew a reluctant Calina away from Kallindo, taking the candle from her hand and twirling her once beneath his outstretched arm. Calina, despite all this, cast a quick glance back at Kallindo.

Ah, but even now, at the rising and setting of the sun, in the brilliant rays of the morning and evening, Tilion can for a brief moment meet with his beloved. And thus it shall be at the renewing of Arda that Tilion and Arien will embrace forever in one strong and gentle light.

Kallindo turned around once more and gazed at Calina, walking slowly toward her and handing the lamp carelessly back to the bard. The tale being done, the storyteller took the lamp and the candle with a quick smile and called for music.

"A dance, a dance!" he called as he departed the floor, leaving Calina and Kallindo - the sun and the moon - to take up the rhythm of a slow, ancient dance.

Applause broke out among the gathering and soon couples began to join Calina and Kallindo on the floor. Kallindo looked down at the maiden in his arms. She did not meet his eye, but gazed contemplatively at his collar. A deep quiet settled over the two of them. For well-nigh half the dance they did not speak: they merely held one another and swayed as if in a dream to the notes which wove around them.

Finally Calina looked up at him and questioned softly, "You are not the moon, I think."

Kallindo cleared his throat. "I do not understand you, lady."

"You are not the moon," she repeated. "You are not alone in your half of the sky. Isn't that why you looked at me that way? But it doesn't matter, don't you see, because you are not the moon. You can plot a different course."

A bemused air settled around Kallindo as he shook his head slowly. "Are you trying to fix me again, little Soronhíniell?"

An amused sound caught in Calina's throat. "I didn't bring it up, friend Kallindo. You are the one who gave me that look."

Kallindo smirked. "I gave you no look!"

Calina curtsied to him as the dance came to an end. "My lord, you most certainly did give me a look."

Kallindo shook his head. "Always so stubborn."

A clear bell rung through the hall then and as its swell died away hands reached up to pull away long-worn masks.

Not hesitating, Kallindo reached up and lifted his mask easily away, pinning Calina with an inquisitive gaze. "The face you expected to see?"

"The face I wanted to see."

Calina looked a little startled as the words spilled out of her mouth and she shifted her gaze back to his collar.

"Are not you going to lift your own mask, lady?" Kallindo asked gently.

"No, my lord," Calina softly replied. "The strings are precarious enough as it is, and I am afraid if I attempt to loose it without a mirror to aid me that I will lose hold of the mask in the process and shatter it upon the floor. Not a pleasent prospect. And so I shall depart from this ball unmasked."

Without dwelling on the impulse, Kallindo reached up and found the ties in Calina's hair. With the fingers of one hand under the bottom edge of her mask, he slipped the knots apart and withdrew the golden studded glass.

"You see," he smiled warmly, "You are not alone in your half of the sky either."

***

1. The story of the sun and the moon is so not mine... check out "The Legend of the Sun and Moon" by Deborah Judge on fanfiction.net

Things To Know:


Calina: "illuminated"
Kallindo: "noble heart"
Alassar: "joy stone"
Ránendë: "moon pool"


Soronhíniell: "daughter of Soronhín"
amil/amme: "mother/mommy"
atar/atto: "father/daddy"

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