The Cry of the Gull (Chapter 23) - Rayn Departs
Rayn rose early the next morning, and went quickly to tell Legolas of her instruction.
"I do not wish to part with you," she said to him. "There is so much left to do, and I must go to bring word to my father."
"Be not afraid, for I, too, have had strange tales spoken to me," said Legolas, sitting upon his great bed.
Rayn looked at Legolas curiously.
"Rayn, Thranduil is not my father. He spoke with me last night, and, in truth, I am...I am Telerian."
"Of mine own?" she asked. Legolas nodded.
"I was raised by Ulmo, and I was adopted by Thranduil. The call of the Sea has come to me, and my time has arisen. You must go, Rayn, and I must journey over Helcaraxë."
"How did you know this was to be?" Rayn asked.
"If we were to go separate ways, where else would I go? I had suspected that Erindor would not be waiting for us, his heart was never in this journey, your instruction confirmed it. Rayn, you must leave as soon as possible."
With tears in her eyes Rayn gazed upon Legolas. A faint pinkish tint hovered around his cheek, whispering of the power that once coursed through his veins.
"When the sun has fully risen I shall depart," she said. "I shall take Rest and go down to the Seashore. There I shall build a boat and leave this land."
"And," Legolas said, arising from his bed and coming to put his arms around Rayn, "when you come to meet us I shall be there, waiting for you."
Rayn smiled a small smile, and they stood for many minutes, watching the dawn come.
§ § §
They took their breakfast in Thranduil's private quarters where Legolas and Rayn took their turns sharing the revalations of the night before. When they had finished, and the plan had been laid before the eyes of Balved, Aer, and the King, all sat in stunned silence at this remarkable turn of events. Aer most of all seemed ill-at-ease. He ruffled his feathers in agitation and spoke to the Elves.
"This is unnerving news. For us to separate...I know not what may happen. But we clearly must follow the instruction of Nienna. Be careful, fair Princess of the Sea. Ahh..." Aeraew paused and closed his eyes. The company of Elves looked at him curiously as he sat, wondering what sort of thoughts might flit through his mind. Suddenly his eyes reopened.
"Nienna's protection is upon you, Rayn. You need not fear. Depart as soon as time allows, and return to the place from whence we first landed. Indeed, Erindor will not be waiting for you, for he is a coward and stands on the brink of destruction. There will be more words of this later, on the Western side of Helcaraxë. But for now, speed aid you."
Rayn nodded and stood, her meal finished.
"I will leave now," she said.
Legolas rose to follow her.
"I will lead her to the stables," said he. Aer nodded. Balved, too, stood, but Aer restrained him.
"Sit," he said. "Let them go alone."
§ § §
Legolas threw a blanket over Rest's back, a beautiful tapestry of green and golden design. Rayn stood on the dirt that paved the walk between the rows of stalls for visiting horses. She smiled at Legolas when he led the horse out into the hall.
"Thank you," she said, making as if to mount. Legolas stopped her.
"Rayn, there is nothing to fear. I will take care of Balved and myself. You needn't worry," he said, caressing her face with his large hand.
"Speed aid you," she said quietly.
Saying nothing, Legolas kissed her forehead and lifted her onto the back of the horse.
With a last look at him, Rayn muttered a soft "noro lim" to Rest, and Legolas was left in the hall, watching her retreating back as she galloped into the trees.
When she had gone, Legolas went back up to his father's quarters, where Aer and Balved were finishing their meal. Thranduil had gone to wash his face and hands.
"We must go, and the days must fly. We are many going a great distance, and in truth this means that we have farther to go than one Elf on a fast horse."
"Agreed. Balved, you fetch sleep and get Belegaran to assemble his ranks," said Aer. Balved hurried out and Aer was left alone with Legolas.
"She is gone?" Aer asked.
"Aye," Legolas said, emptiness in his face and voice.
"Ah, dear Prince, you will see her again."
"But first we must traverse Helcaraxë, and face the great peril that we step toward every minute, toward Aman," Legolas cut in.
"You forget that the Valar are not dead, Legolas. Manwë dwelleth in the North and so doth Oromë, and he of all will watch over us, for he has not forgotten his beloved Elvenkind. Come now, we must say our farewells to your father, and depart," Aer said.
"Farewells? I was under the impression that he was to go with us," worry filled Legolas's eyes at the prospect that Thranduil might not join them.
"Nay, I have been commanded that he stay here. He is...not suited for such a journey in such great peril. When we have conqured, we will return and bring him to Valinor."
"Nay," said a voice from the door. "I will go with you."
Legolas turned to see his father leaning against the doorway.
"I demand to be taken with you, Aeraew. It is destiny."
"Nay," said a third voice. All turned their eyes to the table and saw that Ulmo sat with them at the dark-stained wooden table. None showed any surprise at the appearance of the Vala, for all had grown used to his coming and going.
"Thranduil you must stay here. This is a journey that Legolas must embark on alone. He will return for you when this has finished. Is this clear?" he said.
"It is clear, Great One. I will stay behind."