Hello Again! Here’s Chapter 2 of Between the Shadows. Please feel free to contact me about any changes or corrections you feel are necessary!
Lindalë looked up at the grey sky and ever-nearing mountains that loomed up to her left. She had been wandering around the unlovely terrain for days after her news of her mother’s death. Once, she had encountered a search party, and hidden behind the shelter of an overgrown bush until it had passed. She did not want to return to Mirkwood, she did not want to remember the grief of losing a loved one. She cursed at her stupidity of not even looking at a map before she had so rashly run away, because she had no idea where she was. Lindalë had left Mirkwood once, and it was with her father, and mother, and their guards to visit Dale in the east. That was long ago now. She vaguely knew that the mountains to her left were the Misty Mountains, and the ribbon of water she had been following to her left was the Anduin. She had crossed it two days ago, and been heading southwards ever since. That was the extent of her geographic knowledge. Sighing deeply, Lindalë again set out in her journey that had no specific end. A thorn snagged at the end of her gown. I must look terrible, she thought glumly. Her food stores were running out, and she was sure that she was going to die in the Wilderness, alone and hungry. The sun was still low in the sky, and the weather was yet cool, even in June. Once the fog clears, Lindalë said to herself, I might be able to see what particular direction I am going in. Lindalë foresaw correctly, because as soon as the sun was high enough to dissolve the swirling threads of mist that blocked her vision, she saw that she had made significant progress southwards. A green mass of trees stood before her. Lindalë was overjoyed to find a forest. Trees had been scarce ever since she had left Mirkwood, and the sight of an entire forest filled her with happiness. Gladly she stepped into the shade of an enormous birch. She sat down, her back leaning against the tree. She closed her eyes. Perhaps I will rest for a moment, she thought, and fell asleep.
When she awoke, there was a group of people bending over her. She was startled, and the figures shrank back. When her vision cleared, she realized there were four elves around her. They were strange elves. Their garb was different from that of Mirkwood, and a light shone from them. One of them stepped forward. “Lle rangwa Eldalie?” he asked uncertainly. Lindalë nodded, still in shock that there were elves besides the ones in Mirkwood. She had heard stories, of course, of the High Elves in the south, but stories were stories, and Lindalë had not paid attention to them since she was a young Elfling. But now, the stories were real, and standing in front of her.
“Follow us.” said the leader. Lindalë nodded again, unsure of what would come next. On the way to her unknown destination, Lindalë marveled at the beauty of the forest. Compared to this wondrous place, Mirkwood was a dark, evil pit. This place was illuminated with light, and was ancient, yet beautiful, and bore no signs of decay. She was led to the very heart of the forest, to a breathtaking city of towering trees that shone pale gold in the afternoon sun. Lindalë was startled to find the sun setting. It had been morning when she reached the borders of this elf-haven. Time had passed so quickly.
They entered the green city (It was called Caras Galadhon, in the realm of Lothlorien, she found out, from the leader of the group escorting her). The houses were platforms on the trees, called flets, she discovered, and they seemed a much more wholesome place to live in then the dark, clammy caves of Mirkwood. The hovels reminded her of the dreariness of dwarves. Astonished, she passed through the well-trodden lanes behind the escort until she reached the foot of the greatest mallorn tree of all. It was beautiful and eerie, as if a hidden power lived in its great heights. A gleaming stairway wound around its trunk, and the leader of the escort (now known to Lindalë as Darion) ascended the staircase and motioned for Lindale to follow him. Lindalë glanced down at her stained hem and ragged sleeves. This was no proper apparel to greet the ruler of this wonderful place. She and Darion reached the top of the stairs and to a great oak door. He told Lindale to wait outside and he went through the door. Lindalë tried to make her windblown hair lie flat and rub some dirt off her gown, but it was to no avail. A moment later, Darion emerged, a little light from the chamber within spilling out onto the hall. He gestured her to go in, and he went back to his company downstairs.
Lindalë pushed open the heavy door and entered. The room was swathed in a soft, pearly white light. Lindalë gasped at the clear pureness of the room. It was as in the stories of the Elder Days that her father had wistfully told her at one of the autumn festivals held when she was young. Then, Lindalë was astounded to see another thing. There were two people at the head of the room, in carven chairs. They were ancient and yet young, with wisdom in their clear, elven eyes.
A voice that seemed to come inside her mind said: Welcome Lindalë, of our northern kin in Mirkwood. Lindalë gaped, for the voice was coming from the lady at the head of the room, most likely the queen of this country, though no one else heard the voice. Lindale quickly remembered her manners and curtsied. “Greetings, Oh wise ones,” She said shakily. “I come from Mirkwood, in the North, seeking refuge, if it is allowed me.” The male elf stood up. “You are welcome here, young maid,” He said. “What brings you here, to Lorien so far south?” He asked. The lady at his side stood up as well.
“She has succumbed to grief,” said the elf-queen softly, in a voice that did not reprimand her for her actions. To Lindale’s mind she said: I am Galadriel, and I sorely grieve for your lost mother. Lindale wondered how Galadriel knew so much about her, but grief threatened to overcome her and she could think of nothing else but self-pity. The elf-king introduced himself. “I am Celeborn, and this is Galadriel. Together we are the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien, the country which you have entered unbidden.” Lindalë started, for realization swept through her that she would not be accepted here. Celeborn continued “Yet, you are welcome here, because you are kin, and seldom do our northern kindred visit us anymore. Now come, tell us your story and why you have left your home to come here.” With that Lindalë plunged into her story of how her mother had died.
When she was finished, Galadriel looked at her with a pitying look in her eyes. “You have gone through much, young one, but we I fear we cannot accommodate you in Lorien, for with the joy of this city come also a great deal of memories, and I do not believe the remembrance of your mother’s death will help you to heal. Suddenly, an elf maiden Lindalë had not noticed sprang up from her chair near the two elders.
“I have a wonderful idea!” the maiden said. “Lindalë can accompany me back to Rivendell. I have been in great need of a handmaiden ever since Aurelie left for the havens.” Celeborn looked thoughtful, he considered it.
“Yes, that seems best, for Rivendell is a fit place for Lindalë to overcome her sorrow”, he mused. He turned to Lindalë. “Do you agree?” Lindalë took a deep breath. Journeying to Rivendell would mean a whole new life, and she wasn’t sure if she could get used to the change. “I certainly agree, Lord Celeborn. I will gladly go to Rivendell and serve the Lady-?” She looked expectantly at the maiden. The latter smiled.
“You may call me Celebrian” she said warmly.
Lle Rangwa Eldalie- Do you understand elvish