Author’s Note: I might be a bit longer in posting this from now on. School is busy, and I don’t seem as enthusiastic about this than at first. Also, fewer people seem to read my stories every time. The reference to seregon is from the Unfinished Tales, Narn i hin Hurin.
“Time to get up!” a voice called loudly in her ear.
Sitting bolt upright, Feawen blinked sleepily in the golden morning light. Tarolore was perching on a nearby bough, looking happy as a hobbit. Behind her, Aramel was playing with the giggling children. No, the children were playing with her. Feawen grinned to see her friend clambered over and tickled by the children.
“They spent the last night at the clearing,” said Tarolore in her ear. “Apparently, they’ve found something to amuse them.”
Looking suspiciously at him, Feawen stretched and yawned. Aramel, ever the devious mischief-maker, said loudly, “Look, children, here’s another friend for you to play with! Go say hello to her!”
Before she could turn around, she was bowled over by two laughing heaps.
It took some time before she was extricated from the tangle, and mock-glared at Aramel.
“Some way to pay me back! Leaving me to these wild young wolves!”
Aramel was laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe. “Better not tell them that! You have to put up with them for the rest of the trip, you know!”
And she got up and bolted, still laughing, as Feawen chased her all the way to the spring.
Fifteen minutes later, they were back, laughing breathlessly, wet all over. It seemed that they’d taken a morning plunge. Finding their packs all ready, they slung them over their shoulders and glanced at each other.
Tarolore shouted loudly, “Come on, youngsters! Or we’re leaving without you!”
A moment later they dashed out of the woods, Ithilwen in the lead, and Elorne chasing her, both carrying their packs.
“They’re coming with us?” Feawen asked in surprise.
“Of course. I wouldn’t leave them here to be taken by Orcs now, would I?” asked Tarolore, still cheerful, without any hint of sarcasm. Feawen decided she would have to ask him later just what made him so happy.
“Of course not. Just…” She searched in vain for the right words. They were so young, and the journey might or might not be fraught with danger. But still, to leave them here was even more dangerous. If only there was someone they could trust to take care of them. But Tarolore had said that they had no other kin, and they could not just leave them with anyone.
“Oh, don’t be such a worrier. Everything will be fine,” coaxed Aramel, cheerful too. Once more Feawen decided she would have to ask what it was that made them so happy.
Shrugging, she started walking.
It was a good morning, as they walked, sometimes singing and laughing, sometime walking silently, looking at the gold and green patterned forest floor, and listening to the birds. By noon, they had covered quite a bit of ground, and had reached the Tower Hills, the Emyn Beraid. Looking at the ruins of the tower, Feawen found herself thinking of the tales of Ereinion Gil-galad, High King of the Noldor, who fought in the War of Wrath and the Last Alliance, whose fame had come even to Valinor, and who was slain at last by Sauron, whose might he could not overcome.
Then, of course, she started thinking of the task that was laid upon her, and a faint flutter of panic came into her mind. How was she supposed to defeat the shadow in the south when Gil-galad had failed?
Fear not, whispered a small, gentle voice in the corner of her heart. It is not you who will be called on for this task, but you will play an important part. Watch and wait, Twilightsong.
Feawen took a deep breath. It was no good worrying about what was to come. Only…If not she, then who was the chosen one?
Shaking such thoughts out of her head, she turned to the others, who were discussing lunch.
“Wait. Let me get this clear.” Aramel was saying exasperatedly. “You don’t want to sit here for lunch because it’s too hot, and you don’t want to go another step because you’re too tired, and you don’t want to wait another moment because you’re too hungry. Is that right?”
Elorne nodded, grinning contrarily. “Also, I don’t want to say another word because my mouth is too empty.”
“Your mouth is what? How in Arda can your mouth be too empty? You still have your tongue, don’t you? And your teeth?”
“Neither.” Elorne shut his mouth tight for her benefit.
Aramel looked both amused and annoyed for a moment. Then, suddenly, an evil smile spread over her face.
“In that case, you can’t possibly eat anything. So shall we arrange for you to conveniently miss the meal?”
She grinned as Elorne hurriedly shook his head, and ran to join Tarolore and Ithilwen, who had found a patch of shade under what had been a parapet.
Sometimes, Aramel was like a child.
Rummaging in her pack for the food she had gotten at the Havens, she suddenly pricked her finger on something sharp, something that stuck in her finger. Looking at it, she saw that it was a thorn.
But where had the thorn come from? Rummaging around a bit more, she found the rose Yavanna had given her, all but forgotten since she left Valinor. Miraculously, it was not crushed, or even faded. In one place, a thorn had been broken off.
Drawing out the thorn from her hand, she found that the thorn was long, sharp, and silver. The blood was starkly red on it. Dripping down from the point of the thorn, drops of blood stained the green grass, which sprouted blood-red flowers where touched by it. But looking at her hand, she found that the cut had already healed, leaving no trace whatsoever.
What did it mean? What power did Yavanna’s gift have? She doubted not that it had power, for all gifts from the Valar had great power, for good or for ill.
She carefully stowed the thorn and the rose in a small pouch, along with the starsilver. Before sealing it, she noted that the rose no longer seemed to be missing anything.
“What are you thinking about?” Aramel asked in her ear. Feawen was still staring at the flowers newly-sprung from the grass. Aramel followed her gaze and blinked.
“I don’t believe this.”
“Don’t believe what?” Feawen asked curiously, as Aramel was the one staring at the flowers now.
“This is seregon, the flower that is said to grow in places where blood has been spilt. The most famous place where it bloomed was Amon Rudh, the home of Mim the petty-dwarf, where Turin Turambar and his band dwelt for a time. It is very seldom seen in Middle-earth now, and of all the places I should have expected to see it, this was the last.”
The both sat and looked at the flowers, a mark of blood, and a sign of blood to be spilt.
Cirdan’s searchers were back, having found nothing whatsoever. He was in his study once more, staring into the distance. Then suddenly his heart came to a decision. He would find her. If he could not bring his daughter back, he would go to her, so that whatever might come, he could still look upon his daughter.