Quenta Eluwë - Chapter Two-Awakening
Author's Note: Eluwë is narrating his story to King Eldarion and Alcarin. It is now told in a first person perspective.
All was darkness at first as I slumbered peacefully, but then strong slender hands grasped my shoulders and shook me gently. My eyes opened slowly. The first things I saw were the bright stars overhead, then I saw the youthful face full of light with golden hair looking into my eyes. He spoke as he pointed to himself, "Imin."
Immediately after he spoke, another pair of hands grasped my hands and pulled me up. This one said, "Tata." Then another voice spoke, "Enel." I turned my head to look, and there was another one standing by me. Imin tapped my shoulder and pointed behind me. As I looked and beheld three female forms, the voice of Imin rang out gentle and fair, "Iminyë, Tatië, Enelyë." One of the three bowed then at each word.
I looked at the females. Iminyë was fair haired as was Imin. Tatië and Enelyë were dark of hair as their male partners were. Imin spoke and pointed again, "Quendi!"
There were eleven others like us lying asleep on the ground. One of them, a beautiful female lay next to where I had lain. I bent down to her and stroked her face. When her eyes opened, I spoke and pointed to myself. The word came out of the deepest depths of my fëa, "Eluwë." I then pointed to her and said, "Eluwën." I then gazed to the sky and cried, "Ele!"
Eluwën took up the cry in her high lyrical voice, "Ele!" The cry was taken up by Imin and Iminyë and all the others. At this, the other ten elves, half male and half female, began to wake.
After a few days of simply enjoying the stars and the waters beside us, Imin took us, the twelve, that he had found for his own people. We were all fair of hair so it seemed right. Soon after, we left the precise spot of Eluwën's and my awakening. I have never returned to it. Ages later, I did try to return, but to no avail.
As we walked, we came upon the sleeping forms of nine pairs of Quendi, male and female. These Tata claimed as his people when we woke them even as Imin had claimed us. A while later, we came upon yet another group of Quendi. Twelve pairs it was this time and Enel claimed them.
Now we rested, thirty pairs of Quendi, by the waters of Cuiviénen for many days of the stars. We began to create language, which would become Quenya. Some of us took it a step further and created poetry. Some others, upon seeing that, created music. One of Tata's group, it was, that made the first harp. Ai! What sound! What music! We were truly happy in those first days.
However, Imin, Tata, and Enel grew restless and wanted to see if there were any more Quendi to be found so we all set out once again. Before long, we came upon eighteen pairs of Quendi. These were already awake and gazing upon the stars. Out of respect for our eldest, Imin, Tata and Enel gave him the choice. Imin refused and so Tata as second eldest claimed them. Again, these were dark haired Quendi as Tata himself was.
For a long while, we stayed in that spot, inventing yet more new words, but Imin grew restless once again, so we moved on. As I guessed and as Imin had guessed, we came upon yet another twenty four pairs of Quendi. These were a mixture of fair and dark haired. Again, Imin passed over his choice inexplicably. It was only later that I realized that he had been waiting for a truly large group so that his people could be greater than all the others. As third eldest now, Enel chose this group as his own.
Now for a long time, perhaps months, we stayed in that area. Yet again, however, Imin desired to go search for more Quendi to claim for his people. None of us wanted to go, but all of us of Imin's people searched with him while Tata and Enel and their peoples stayed where they were. After much unsuccessful searching, we finally returned to our old encampment and had much joy reuniting with Tata and Enel and their peoples.
Now, for a long time we lived in much peace and happiness. We lived in the cool darkness of the stars and went about learning about our world, which we had named Arda, and we went about teaching things to speak. The stones could sing to us and the trees could whisper. Before long, we discovered the Shepherds of the Trees and gave the name Onodrim to them. They were ancient, to us, and we were young. Yet we were the teachers. I became close friends with their eldest, Fangorn. You would call him "Treebeard", I believe. For many a day, I taught Fangorn how to speak Quenya. He had a great love of it, and I do believe he still does.
Despite these early happy days, evil did touch us within several decades of our awakening. Only later, did I learn it was Melkor the Accursed, in later days referred to as Morgoth Bauglir, who had learned of our awakening from deep in the pits of Utumno and sent his servants to trouble us. Before long, we had fear of a Black Rider that would waylay any Quendi that strayed too far from the group.
Mostly, however, we were able to live in relative peace. It soon came to be that some of the female Quendi were with child by their partners. My own Eluwën was one of these as was Iminyë, Tatië, and Enelyë. Little were we to know that the children born of these three would be some of the greatest of Quendi in the entire history of Arda as well as their descendants. In a few more months, Ingwë was born to Iminyë. A few days after, both Finwë and Elwë were born to Tatië and Enelyë, respectively. There was great joy in our camp with the news of these births. It came to be that I, Eluwë, and the three winë came to share much love, although much of it came of sad circumstances.
For several more months, we all lived in great joy with the births of our children. Eluwën and I both knew that our child would soon be born so we were quite excited. We spent the days talking happily of our impending birth and what we should name the child.
One day, Eluwën went to go gather some garlands for Iminyë, our Queen wife of the High King Imin. A few other women went with her and I had no worry as she had assured me that she would not go too far from the encampment. However, I do not think Melkor had the same idea of how far was too far as we had.
It was the two maidens in tattered clothing, Alassë and Silmë, who came to my dwelling in tears. Even as I got a cold piercing fear in my heart, I exuded warmth to them and invited them into my house. I asked them, with a note of alarm in my voice, where my beloved Eluwën was.
Alassë broke down into tears again, so it was left to Silmë. She courageously stopped her tears and spoke to me of the capture of Eluwën by a great evil spirit of fire and shadow that some of us who had encountered had started calling Kosomet. The Sindar later knew him as Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, and High Captain of Angband.
As I heard the news, I started to lose control so I quickly dismissed Alassë and Silmë. Then I broke down. For hours, I mourned for my Eluwën and tried to contact her through fëa. It was only somewhat successful. I caught thoughts of fear and terror and pain and fire, which only worsened my anguish.
Hours later, as I lay in my bed, eyes closed and still languishing in pain, I sensed the approach of six Quendi that I knew well. Again, I felt that familiar touch of strong slender hands on my shoulders as I had when I and Eluwën first awoke. A familiar voice spoke, "Eluwë, I am deeply grieved for you, but you must come out of this. Grieve with us; grieve with your fellow Quendi."
I opened my eyes and there again, was the familiar face of Imin, our High King. His eyes were full of tears as were mine. When I saw how sad his eyes were, I immediately started sobbing again and he took me into his arms and sang to me. As he sang, I heard five other voices join. They were the voices of Iminyë, Tata, Tatië, Enel, and Enelyë, strained with great emotion.
Those were deeply trying months for me, but Imin and the other Minyar assisted me while I recovered from the grief. Only later did I learn from Ingwë in Valinor that Imin and Iminyë, his parents had been deeply concerned I would waste away and die of grief as is possible with the Quendi as you know.
Another three decades passed and I came to accept that Eluwën was gone and would probably never return. Yet I knew she was alive, or thought I did. I would have troubled dreams of flashes of torture, brutality, and snarling at an unseen foe.
Suddenly, a year of great terror came for us all...yet it ended in hope not hoped for before. I remember clearly it was the year that I began teaching Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë the finer things that all adult Quendi must know. They were still but children, however, they were growing fast and strong.
We had had peace from Melkor's creatures for a few years so some of us had taken to going hunting a little further afield than we would have done earlier. Imin, Tata, Enel, and their spouses were some of these.
One fine day of the stars, Imin and the others went out to hunt wild boar. We waited the customary two or three days a hunt could take, but that stretched into a week, then two weeks. Nightly, I had to comfort Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë as well as Elwë's younger brothers, Olwë and Elmo. Finally, I decided to set out to find them. The search party was four neri: Círdan, Elawë, Nahuwë, and I. All but Círdan were of the Minyar; he was of the Lindar.
We went out armed with naught but spears. It took us but four days to find them.
We came to a burned glade that was bare of trees and black with ashes. There we found the beheaded bodies of Imin and Iminyë, Tata and Tatië, and Enel and Enelyë. So passed the eldest of all Quendi. It was Nahuwë who first saw their heads on pikes. It was a terrible sight and is seared into my fëa until the End of Days. I had learned to speak to trees so it fell to me to go speak to the surrounding trees to find what they had seen.
I came to a tall pine and touched it fëa to fëa. It gave me its knowledge of what happened to the beautiful Quendi who had entered the forest full of light and laughter. The tree was sad and angry at the accursed creatures who had waylaid them. Two were Valaraukar, as we had come to name the spirits of fire and shadow. The rest were short swarthy powerful creatures in the shapes of dark deformed Quendi. There were about ten or fifteen of these accompanying the Valaraukar. These in later days came to be known as Urqui or Orcs in a far off Age.
After telling my companions of what I had seen, we grew greatly disturbed and took up our former elders' bodies and bore them away swiftly back to Cuiviénen.
There was much mourning and grief in Cuiviénen when we returned. Most of all from the young Ingwë, Finwë, Elwë, Olwë, and Elmo; children of the slain. After a period of time, in which we were kingless, the Minyar, Tatyar, and Lindar all chose to make me High King Eluwë. I was willing as it was necessary to have leadership, however I resolved to pass the kingship back to Ingwë when he came of age as I deemed. I also resolved to make Finwë and Elwë kings of their peoples when the time came as well.