The Cry of the Gull (Chapter 22) - Revelations
Legolas sat. His father's tone worried him, and he waited for the king to go on.
"Legolas, I am not your father," said Thranduil.
Legolas's eyes widened, everything that he had imagined his father could say could not compare with the words that had just escaped his father's lips. Thranduil turned to him, tears spilling down his face.
"Lauriëlas was not your birth-mother, either."
"Then who was?" Legolas choked out, his eyes filling with tears.
"I know not, but my story is not finished. Before I even knew you I would come here and I would sit by this stream, for it was a peaceful place where I could come to sit and think. One day as I sat, I heard a sound come from the river, and I looked up and beheld a being that was of more majesty than my eyes had ever beheld. He spoke to me, saying:
'Thranduil, Lord of the Forest, I have a great mission for you.'
'What is this foolishness?' I returned.
'I am Ulmo, the Vala. I have need of you,' said he.
'My Lord, what can I do for you?' asked I, for I did not know what significance I held in the sight of Ulmo.
'You must raise for me a child. He is of the Teleri, his parents were killed in the Kinslaying, and I have kept him until you were ready.'
'Ready? Kept him where?' I was full of questions.
'Yes, ready. As for keeping him, I have kept him in the Sea, of course. He has grown to love water, but is still too young to remember his time beneath the Sea were you to train him in the way of Yavanna's forests. She will be kind to him.' Here Ulmo stopped, and I waited for him to go on, but he didn't.
'When will you bring him?' I asked, encouraging him to tell me more.
'You'll take him, then?'
'Return here at the same time tomorrow. But do not allow the people to know from whence he came.'
'I will do it,' said I.
'Good." He turned to go, but I stopped him.
'What shall I call him?' I asked, for I had never been good at naming horses, much less a young Elf.
'He shall be called Green among his people, the Elves of the Forst. He will be a Green Leaf in the fall, and the one that clings to the branch in the wintertime. Name him a fitting name for his place among his people.' With this, he was gone, and I was left to ponder the monotonous respinsibility that I had recieved with open arms. I sat in silent thought for awhile, pondering most the name of my son-to-be. I turned Ulmo's words over in my mind.
'Green Leaf in the fall,' I thought. 'A Green Leaf.'
'Legolas,' my mind whispered faintly to me. I thought of it again, the name ringing sweet upon my ears. I said it aloud.
It was the most beautiful name I had ever heard. Indeed I envied you and wondered that I had not been named such. But it was of no matter, for I percieved that I should warn your mother."
Legolas sat in silence upon the bench. At length, when Thranduil did not speak again, he murmured to himself faint words.
"The Teleri. I am of the Teleri?" The King did not answer. Legolas stood and strode to the side of Thranduil.
"Galadriel was right," he said softly. "For I did not heed her and beware of the Sea, as she said. And it has kept its promise and called me home, for you know that the Elf who hears its music never forgets it, and it calls to his heart until he goes to it for rest."
"Perhaps this is why your Maia companion is a gull," said Thranduil. "So that he might bring you home when your quest is finished."
"Perhaps," said Legolas, and went back to the castle.
§ § §
Rayn was enchanted with her chambers. Candles glowed in their holders, lighting everything in a rosy beauty. Her bed was as luxurious as any she had ever felt, and the clothing that had been laid out for her was as soft as any silk of Valinor. She dressed herself in a long white nightgown, and walked out upon a balcony that overlooked the courtyards of Thranduil's palace. All was beautiful to her eyes, for she had not seen beauty since they had left Valinor. Suddenly her Elven senses perceived a presence behind her, and she turned around swiftly to see who it might be.
What she saw took her breath away, for there stood a tall being, adorned in grey raiment, with a hood that shrouded her face. Her face was downcast, and her stature was that of one that had been downcast. Rayn backed against the stone rail of the balcony, afraid of this majestic figure that had appeared silently in her room.
"Who are you?" she whispered.
"Surely you know," the being replied in a voice that sounded like the fall of rain upon the leaves of trees.
"I do not wish to guess. I wish only to know that you are a dream and will leave me," said the half-queen.
"Ah, but this is no dream," the creature lifted her hood and Rayn beheld the face of Nienna, whose tears fall unceasing upon the earth.
"There is no reason to be frightened," said the Vala.
"I have heard that those who look upon the face of Nienna find themselves later in great peril, why should I not be afraid?"
"Because the rest of that legend you do not remember. Do you not recall hearing also that though they did face great peril, they overcame it?"
"But not I, fair Queen of Tears," she said. "I could not, for surely you have come to tell me that the world will be plunged into utter darkness, and our mission shall fail."
"Nay, I am not here to tell you this. Come." Nienna led Rayn to the bed and sat upon it, drawing Rayn into her lap.
"But I must tell you these things," said the Vala. "You will see much in the days to come, but you must always have hope, even when those around you have despaired. You will face many dangers, but the greatest one would spout from inside you, and that is your spirit. For if you despair, even in the greatest of trials, there will be little that can save you."
"Legolas would save me, his heart is in my hand, and I am glad of it," Rayn said stubbornly.
"Through these trials, oh Princess of Elves, Legolas could not bring you through. My word should be enough to convince you."
Rayn remained silent.
"I have instruction for you. You must return to your father in Yardan and tell him of the army."
"I alone?" Rayn asked.
"Yes. Erindor has left and gone to his home, he will not be waiting for you at the shore, but a boat of great swiftness will be in his place," Nienna said.
"Where will Legolas go?"
"There are not enough boats, swan-make or other to ferry them across the Sea in time. He must cross the wide plain of Helcaraxë, Balved and Aeraew with him."
Tears began to fall down Rayn's cheeks. She let them fall, and they fell in her lap with the tears of Nienna, sparkling like Silmarils in the moonlight.
"When you have reached your father, I will give you your next instruction, and you will obey it, or all will fall."
Rayn nodded her consent.
"Shall I ever see them again? For the last crossing of Helcaraxë brought only death and misery to the Elves. And when shall I leave?"
"You must depart tomorrow. My spirit will be with you. Goodnight, Rayn."
Nienna stood and left the room, and Rayn did not follow her. She merely sat on the bed, turning the Vala's words over in her mind while sad winds blew across her tears, and dried them.