Maiden of the Sea: Part 1
But the First-Born were sundered to become the Eldar and the Avari.
And the Eldar were sundered again among themselves, and into three they divided. They were now the Vanyar, the Noldor, and the Teleri.
Now of these three, the Teleri were the greatest in wisdom, power, and beauty. They rose above their kindred, loving the Sea, and choosing to dwell ever at its edge.
And they built a city, Alqualondë, the Swan Haven, and in it by the Sea they dwelt, happy and contented.
Now Isil Inwë was their lord, a very great and powerful Elf, and he had but one daughter, whom he loved better than his life.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Èríele sat alone by the shore of the Sea, watching its constant, rolling motion.
To some, she was the Princess Èríele, yet her father was not a King. To others, she was the Maiden of the Sea.
And yet to none was she merely Èríele, for she was high and and lofty among the Teleri, and she was not lacking in any beauty.
She was called the fairest maiden in Alqualondë, and indeed it was true.
She had eyes the color of the misty blue Sea, and her hair was long and lovely, reaching past her waist, the color of the Sun itself.
She was tall after the manner of Elves, and in her features there was a delicate, yet stunning beauty.
And Èríele loved the Sea better than all things, and her love for it exceeded that even of Ulmo, Lord of Waters.
She swam in the depths of the Sea, and she could sing to the music of the waves. She roamed ever at the shore, and yet..
Èríele felt the Sea calling her to more, but she could not hear and understand its voice.
Èríele sighed, tearing her eyes away from the beautiful picture the Sea painted.
"I suppose I must go and prepare for the feast," she murmured aloud, her voice airy as the wind.
Sighing again, she rose to her feet.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
The guests of Isil Inwë were gathered at their lord's table. They waited for one person. The Lady Èríele.
Lord Isil paced impatiently. She will ruin the feast with her carelessness! He beckoned to a servant, intending to have her fetch his daughter.
Just then, Èríele swept into the room, uncomfortably aware that every eye was on her.
She was dressed in a long, flowing gown of deep, Sea-blue, and her hair was loose, creating a silky, golden cloud around her. She wore on her neck a medallion of shimmery pearl, needing no other jewels.
She made her way to her place and gracefully sat in the chair prepared for her.
Lord Isil, relieved, sat by his daughter at the head of the table, and the guests took their chairs to the right and left of their lord.
Èríele surveyed the company and found to her annoyance that her father had invited Dûlan, son of his counselor.
Èríele found no pleasure in the presence of Dûlan, but rather loathed him, for he was arrogant and over-proud, deeming himself high and of great importance.
As the food was served, Isil spoke to his guests of the plan to build a great and majestic ship. One that could withstand the constand tumult of the Sea for a long length of time.
Èríele had remained silent, content to only listen, but now she spoke. "But why would such a ship be needed, father?"
Isil smiled at his daughter. "Because, my child, we wish to reach the other side of the Sea, and to do so, a stronger ship must be built."
"But why? For we are happy here in Alqualondë. Why need we concern ourselves with new lands across the Sea?"
Isil was surprised at his daughter's adamant tone.
"Yet have you not wondered what lies across the great Waters?" Isil questioned.
The guests looked on with interest, especially Dûlan, who never took his eyes of Èríele.
Èríele's eyes flashed, growing stormy. "No-" she silenced her words. "I have not. For what right have we to challenge the Sea?"
A silence descended on the room, and the meal was eaten in quiet, all reflecting on Èríele's words.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Lord Isil stood from his chair, signaling that the meal was over.
Èríele and the guests followed his example and stood up, ready for the songs and the tales that would be told.
All except one maiden went with Isil into the adjoining room.
Èríele slipped away, wishing for solitude and the Sea, and she was unnoticed by all but one person, and he followed her with quiet steps..