“Come, we must find Mother. If she is not in the palace, then she is at The Tree, watching for Father,” Eluréd finally mumbled, shaking himself.
Elwing stood where she was, stock-still amongst the flurry of Elves. It took both of her brothers to get her moving. Each brother grasped her hand, as much to pull her along as to stay together. Elwing ran along with them, her sky-blue eyes showing the only emotion in her face : panic.
“Father is over-run. Father is dead. Father is over-run. Father is dead,” was all Elwing said, over and over again, until Elurín finally stopped her.
“Stop, Elwing. Father is the greatest warrior in Doriath. Just because the Sons of Fëanor have gotten past Father’s forces, it does not mean they killed him. Father has been in many battles before, and he has always managed to return to us. He has before, and he will again. Do you believe me?” Elurín asked, trying to convince and console himself of what he said as much as he was trying to convince and console her. She looked up at him, her eyes getting larger, until at last she dissolved into tears. The twins flung themselves at her, wrapping all three of them in fierce mutual hug, tears coming to their own eyes.
“He will return,” Elwing finally said, pulling back. She scrubbed her cheeks dry, then wiped off the tears of her brothers. She took a long, shaking breath. “We will hold to that, and find Mother.”
And as they ran to find The Tree, the first screams were heard within Doriath.
The Tree stood in the woods close to the city. Thengol King of Doriath constructed a house in its branches, to hold Luthien his daughter while her lover Beren went in search for her bride-piece, a Silmaril. Her love for Beren could not be contained in a tree, however, so she escaped one night to go to Beren’s side. Ever since the night Luthien escaped, Thengol would not go to The Tree, and forbade anyone in his kingdom to look up it, as it served as a constant reminder, a symbol of his daughter’s Choice and his own loss.
His decree lasted until his death. When Dior, the son of Beren and Luthien, became Lord of Doriath, his Lady took to scaling the branches to reach the house on the top. When Dior was away from his home, there Nimloth would look out over the forest, awaiting signs of the return of her love. And there she was this day, watching. Watching as her warriors became overwhelmed by the forces of the Sons of Fëanor. Watching as her beloved fought hand-to-hand with Celegorm, third son of Fëanor. Watching as he fell along with his foe, feeling no consolation from the despair in her heart that he who had slain her love was dead as well. Watching as the inhabitants of her city were put to the sword. Watching soldiers of the Sons of Fëanor approach her Tree.
Just as Nimloth had decided to descend to meet her fate and return to her husband in the House of Mandos, her children appeared coming up from the ladder. Overcome with relief that they were alive, Nimroth stood there for a moment, her hand to her mouth and tears in her eyes, before she knelt and held them.
“Oh, my dear children, I feared you were dead. Come, let us depart, we shall comfort one another once we are safe. For there are enemies coming, and we must flee, or else suffer the fate of many a good elf today,” Nimloth whispered, moving to the ladder.
Nimloth scaled down the rope ladder first, the nimbleness and grace that caught her husband’s eye evident as she landed on the soft grass. When she landed, however, she froze. There were five Elves all around her, and she knew not a face.
“Ah, there you have been hiding, she-elf. We have been looking for you. Give up the Silmaril! We know you have it,” demanded one Elf, who appeared to be the leader. “You have not your husband to protect you,” he added, sneering.
“I will not give you that which you have no right to take, servant of Celegorm. And as for protection, I need none!” she cried, revealing a hidden dagger in her sleeve. She lunged at the sneering Elf, and took advantage at the surprise and incredulity on his face to force the dagger into his heart.
Nimloth spun around, wrenching her dagger out of the dead Elf, ready for another to attack her. Her children from above watched in horror as one Elf kicked her elbow, causing her to loose her dagger. The Elf then took his sword and plunged it into Nimloth’s abdomen.
That was too much for Eluréd and Elurín. With a scream of rage and loss, they jumped down from the platform they were hiding on. Elurín landed on one light-haired Elf, knocking him out. Grabbing the Elf’s sword out of his unconscious hand, he stood up, whirling. As he whirled around, he ran through the Elf he did not know was running up behind him, with the sword he was clumsily waving about in his hand. Ripping the sword out of his fallen foe, Elurín then plunged the bloody sword into the chest of its senseless master. Then he looked over at his twin. He turned just in time to watch Eluréd sever the head of another Elf, the elf who had murdered their mother. The last remaining Elf looked between the two twins, who looked back at him menacingly, both battle fury and agonizing despair in their faces and eyes. With a cry, the Elf spun about and ran into the trees. Unheeding the fleeing elf, Eluréd and Elurín turned to their mother.
Nimloth was lying in a pool of her own blood. Elwing, who had come down only a heartbeat after her brothers, was kneeling with their mother’s head in her lap. Nimloth’s breathing was very shallow, and weakly beckoned to her two twins. Weeping, they went to her side.
“I want you to care for your sister. Do not weep for me; I will see your father in Mandos shortly, and one day we will meet again on the Blessed Shores, if the Valar take pity upon us and lift the Exile from the Noldor. Take…care…of…” she murmured, as her spirit fled.
Author’s Note : In Quenya, Eluréd means “Heir of Elu,” Elu being the true name of Thengol King of Doriath. Elurín means “In Remembrance of Elu.”