Watcher of the Stars by the Sea - Part 10

Tiriel followed Melian in the maze of caves. She looked in amazement at the beautiful tapestries on the walls, and the lamps hanging from the ceiling and walls. One tapestry caught her attention-the tapestry showed a woman walking from a ship. The woman was tall and beautiful; her appearance did not catch Tiriel's attention, but her necklace did.

"Yes, Tiriel, that is your mother. A close friend of hers who you will hopefully meet did that tapestry. She was an excellent seamstress and weaver but she also excelled with weapons and carvings. She was a wonderful woman; you look and act like her. We are going to your parents' old quarters. Everything in there belongs to you. Do not fear to ask about your mother, but do not mention Laivindur-he was not well liked. Many will recognize you and speak to you; do not fear to speak to them. Most here know that you survived, but in Nargothrond most believe you were killed. Here is your room, dinner will be ready in a few hours and you are more than welcome to wander around," said Melian as she left Tiriel's side.

Tiriel entered the cave and gasped. She saw beautiful tapestries and woodcarvings everywhere. She saw that her things had already been brought to the cave, but her eyes immediately went to a wood cabinet filled with weapons that looked brand new. She walked to the cabinet and tried to open it, but it was locked.

"I recommend that you try not to open that until you have been given the key, daughter of Cotume," said a male voice behind her. Tiriel spun around and saw a familiar looking Elf behind her.

"Are you Beleg? May I help you?"

"Yes, I am Beleg. No, there is nothing you can do for me, except let me help you. Your mother was skilled with weapons and she would want for you to master them as she did."

"Are you offering to teach me?"

"No, I am telling you that I will teach you. Before you ask, yes, Aegnor did speak to me about teaching you. However, I am not going to teach you just because she asked me to, but out of respect for your mother.

"Were you and my mother good friends?"

"Yes, we were very close; she was my younger sister."
"Cotume was your sister?! Then you are my uncle; why didn't you raise me?"

"I did not raise you for many reasons, but the most important one is that you were safe in the Havens and I knew Cirdan would take good care of you and I would see you when you were older. I gave Aegnor the Eärelen (Sea Star). Your mother also had the earrings and ring, they are on the dresser and please wear them with pride. Now that I see the Eärelen on you, I know I was not mistaken to give it to you."

"They're gorgeous!" said Tiriel as she looked at the ring and earrings," I understand your reasons and I am glad to know that I do have an uncle who cares about me enough to send his sister's necklace to a little girl he had never met before."

"You act just like your mother, Tiriel! Will you come with me to the woods so I can test your skills?"

"Test my skills?"

"Yes, test your skills with the bow and arrow; I have heard of your skill and wish to see how much I need to teach you so you can fully master them."

"Will I be able to use my mother's bow and arrow?"

"After I am satisfied with your knowledge, I will give you all her weapons, but until then you must use the weapons you brought with you."

Tiriel followed Beleg, thinking how happy she was that she had met him and that she was actually in Doriath. As they were walking to the woods, Beleg asked her about her childhood and told him everything that happened, including her conversation with Ossë, which she had never told Cirdan about.

"So you've actually spoken to Ossë; that is quite an honor. Since you have heard Queen Melian speak, do they sound alike?"

"Yes, both of their voices have a hint of an instrument I have never heard before. I think it is something from beyond the Sea."

"I'm sure it is. You mentioned that you enjoy hunting; what does your father say of your skill?"

"He and the Falathrim are amazed by my skills. I do not know why I have such skills, but some instinct guides my judgment."

"It sounds as though my sister's training has been passed on to you."

"So I see you recruited a young maiden to join our company," said an Elf who came up behind them.

"No, Finnel, she is not a recruit, she is only a student right now. This is my niece, Tiriel."

"Tiriel, daughter of Cotume! Word has spread that a maiden wearing Eärelen was here. It has been a hundred and ten years since there was a capable female who enjoys the hunt in our company. I'm presuming you're going to the training field?"
"Yes, we are. I was hoping you would control your tongue, Finnel! I do not need you to expect Tiriel to be as great an archer as her mother was. Where is Maren?"

"She is with Galadriel, waiting for the sons of Finarfin, Thingol and Celeborn to finish their discussion," said Finnel.

"Is there a problem with Galadriel? Who is Maren?" asked a curious Tiriel.

"No, there is no problem with Galadriel-she merely wants to get her brother's approval and consent to court Celeborn and most likely marry him. Maren is my wife; you will meet her later," said Finnel.

Finnel, Tiriel and Beleg walked out of the caves and into the woods. The mallorn trees, niphredil and elanor were beautiful. Tiriel gasped at the beauty of the forest and thought she had become part of a tale from the Age of the Trees. They stopped walking when they reached an open field with targets at one end. A group of Elves were standing together, speaking and looking at Tiriel.

"Yes, my comrades, the rumors are true! The daughter of Cotume has come to Doriath. You have seen her and now you may leave!" said Finnel before Beleg could say anything. The Elves quietly left.

"Tiriel, use all the arrows in the quiver and try to get most of them in the center of the target," Beleg said as he handed Tiriel a bow and arrow (she left her own in the cave).

"I will do my best." Tiriel focused, aimed and shot the twelve arrows in the quiver. While she was firing her arrows, she did not look at Beleg or Finnel through the corner of her eye. She knew she aimed at the center of the target, but she did not look at them until she emptied the quiver. She turned and looked at Beleg and Finnel, who were both staring wide-eyed at her.

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