Disclaimer: I don’t own Middle Earth or any of Tolkien’s creations and I’m not making any money.
Names/Pronunciations/Misc will come at the end of each chapter.
`*’signals a footnote
“text” signals dialogue
‘text’ signals thoughts
Chapter 7.) Out To Sea
THE SEA is never still.
It pounds on the shore
Restless as a young heart
– Carl Sanburg
July 6, 210 Fourth Age, Valinor
Recap: It’s been about three weeks since the last chapter, when everyone returned to Fanlítsë
“No, no, it should be no trouble at all. I am actually quite excited for the opportunity; and flattered, as well, that you would trust me with such a delicate work. Thank you. Good day.”
Calina’s voice preceded her as she departed the elegantly simple home and passed down through the front garden. Cora, a petite and cheerful vendë with a long braid of flaxen hair, sat in a sunny patch of grass to the right of the path, cleaning vegetables in a bucket of water. She looked up from her work and smiled brightly at Calina, who approached and joined her on the ground.
“Has amil enlisted your services?”
“Yes, and I am very humbled by her request. Though I am sure it is mostly because I am my father’s daughter.”
Cora tsked lightly. “Nonsense. Little Falas has been trumpeting your skill as a glassmaker all over Fanlítsë.”
A doubtful sound came from Calina’s throat and she raised a delicate eyebrow. “My brother, though ever dear to my heart, is known for gross exaggeration.”
Cora chuckled but did not reply as she continued to clean freshly picked leaks in the bucket of water between her legs.
“I will do it justice, I think,” Calina mused thoughtfully as she reached for an as yet untouched basket of garden-dusty radishes. “Yes. I know I will.”
“I can sense the frenzy in your mind already. No doubt you have begun to plan your design down to the minutest details.” Cora flicked a little water at her friend. “Do not run away from me yet. Stay and talk a while.”
The pondering look departed Calina’s eye and she smiled slyly, swishing a fat radish in the bucket of water. “Very well, friend.”
Several minutes passed as the two she-elves chatted merrily beneath the warm sunshine. The two had first met the day after Calina’s return home, at the village gathering on the beach. They had not spoken a great deal then, but enough so that when they met by accident several days later in a small cove where each had planned to take a swim it was a merry meeting. They had been seeing more of each other ever since, except for the short time that Calina had spent in the city with her mother, sister, and Vaniméra. Aside from Cora, however, Calina had not developed any great friendships with the other elves of the village, though she was pleased to be acquainted with them all.
Their comfortable chat was disrupted by the sound of footsteps coming near along the cobbled village street. Cora looked up expectantly and a broad smile graced her features as she recognized the figure of her father, newly returned from an extended fishing expedition out on the sea.
“Atar, welcome home!” she called out across the distance still between them, getting up and trying to smooth out her rumpled working skirt.
The tall flaxen-haired elf, Encoranar by name, returned the greeting and quickly advanced toward the low garden gate, stepping through it and sweeping his daughter up into his arms. Cora laughed gaily as Encoranar twirled her around once and set her back on the ground. She then withdrew from her father’s embrace and chided him affectionately for getting his fishy smell all over her. In the commotion, Encoranar’s companion, who passed through the gate but a few moments later, was largely neglected, though Calina caught his eye over Cora’s fair head and smiled a greeting.
“I must go in and greet your mother now. I will leave you to your work, lovely one.”
Encoranar kissed his daughter on the cheek and then turned back to his companion. “Come, Kallindo. I am sure my lady wife will have something to refresh us before we speak of business. Shall we?” Encoranar gestured up the path to his modest home.
Kallindo nodded amicably and began to follow his host up the path. However, before he entered the house he turned back as if in after-thought.
“Calina, I believe I overheard your amil say something about having Terévlia over this afternoon to complete the final fittings for the wedding. If you are needed we can postpone until another day.”
“Oh, I had forgotten,” Calina furrowed her brow slightly and gazed off into the sky in thought. “But I believe I can extract myself from the feminine goings-on well enough before the evening meal.”
Kallindo nodded. “Then I shall see you if I see you. But if you cannot make it I will not be offended.” A crooked smile leapt to his lips and he inclined his head to both ladies before disappearing into the house.”
“My, my, but perhaps the village gossip has some truth to it.”
Calina turned back to her friend and eyed her oddly.
Cora shook her head in mock-exasperation at Calina’s puzzled look. “Don’t tell me you are unaware of the silly jabber that gets bandied about in the town. You are not that naïve.”
An unladylike snort came from Calina. “You’ve no idea. Come now, pray tell: What whispered words have slipped past me?”
Cora smiled conspiratorially and put her hands on her hips, leaning over to whisper in Calina’s ear. “My neighbor says that her daughter’s husband heard from a close friend that one of the woodland lads saw Kallindo take a moonlit stroll with a certain silver-haired maiden, whom I shall not name. She also said that it was the favorite topic of conversation at the market two days ago.”
Calina’s eyes widened slightly. “You don’t mean that they think-“
“That the `cold-hearted avar‘ is starting to warm up to a certain Regent’s daughter? Yes, of course they do. What did you expect? However, in my opinion, the truly critical piece of information for your ears is that the said Regent’s daughter is also suspected of warming up to a certain cold-hearted-“
“Enough!” Calina interrupted her friend with an incredulous laugh. “It is too preposterous!”
“Is it now?” Cora eyed her friend with a teasing look.
“Oh stop it.” Calina narrowed her eyes playfully. “I know very well you are just trying to rile me. Well it won’t work. Kallindo and I are good friends, nothing more.”
Cora shrugged but did not reply and soon the two maidens turned their attention back to washing the vegetables. Only a few moments past, however, before Cora spoke once more.
“Why are you to meet him?”
Calina cast a withering look at her friend.
“I am only curious,” Cora defended herself. “I make no unfounded assumptions. I know you and he are friends.”
“I’m sorry,” Calina smiled benignly, “But you have me on edge at the moment, is all. I was to meet Kallindo on the beach this afternoon for some target practice.”
For a brief moment an almost giddy light illuminated Calina’s features and she dissolved into youthful enthusiasm: “Kallindo is teaching me the use of the bow!”
Calina shrugged. “Why ever not? – Because it will be fun, you ninny. I have already had one lesson. I’ll admit that it wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped for (it is harder than it looks), but I am eager to improve.”
Cora set her basket of newly cleaned leaks aside and wiped her hands on her apron. “Well, my friend, if you are enjoying yourself that’s all I need to know… Of course, if you should ever warm up to a certain avar – or anyone else for that matter – you are quite free to tell me, you know.”
“I’m not trying to be nosy. It’s just, well, there’s nothing quite as delicious as a secret between friends. If you ever need a feminine ear I’ll be more than willing to provide one. Kallindo cannot help you in that arena, now can he?”
“Very well, I understand your meaning. But I must warn you: I haven’t had any delightfully silly infatuations for many a year. No one seems to strike my fancy.”
Cora shrugged. “Oh, you’ll be swept out to sea one of these days. And when you least expect it, I’d imagine.”
“It’s not funny.”
Calina tried to look stern as she clipped the words out of her mouth, but the circumstances were really too ridiculous. Soon she had given up and joined Kallindo on the sand, chuckling as he regained his composure.
“You really shouldn’t laugh at your pupils,” Calina chided, shoving Kallindo’s shoulder with her free hand. “I’m sure it stunts their progress.”
“Forgive me, lady, but really, you brought it upon yourself!” Kallindo smirked merrily and shoved Calina gently back. “I told you the scarf would be troublesome. Oh my…” He breathed a deep, cleansing breath. “I don’t think I have ever, in all my years, seen anyone perform such an intricate maneuver. Congratulations.”
Calina favored Kallindo with an exceedingly dry look. “A little help please?”
Kallindo scooted around to Calina’s other side and began to untangle the mess. Somehow – which was still a mystery to both of them – when Calina had attempted to withdraw an arrow from her quiver with professional speed, she had gotten the shaft caught on her loosely woven scarf. When trying to undo the damage she had further entangled the arrow (as well as the curled metal of a favorite ring which she wore on her right hand) in her scarf and one of her braids. This was due largely in part to the fact that she was trying to move too quickly and prevent Kallindo from noticing the first blunder and again remarking on the impracticality of wearing the scarf in the first place.
“Ooow… oh, that is my hair, good friend.”
“Indeed,” Kallindo replied with a stolid expression. His features soon melted into a grin, however, as he continued to work. “Silly little Soronhíniell. Will you listen to your teacher now?”
Calina pursed her lips sourly. “No scarf. No ring. I understand.”
“Exactly. Now – there,” Kallindo freed the arrow with great alacrity. “Perhaps we can return to the business at hand?”
“My thoughts exactly.” Calina took the offending arrow and stood, determined to sink the troublesome shaft six inches deep into the wooden target. It was a foolish hope.
Thus far Calina’s shooting was rather lacking. This shot was no different. The arrow bounced ineffectively off of the lower edge of the target.
“Ooh! Kallindo, I am a terrible archer! I don’t feel as if I know my own body any more,” she ranted. “It won’t behave. Am I not doing everything you have told me to do? What is wrong?”
“Hush,” Kallindo murmured softly, taking the bow from Calina’s slightly shaking fingers. “It is very good that you have even begun to send your arrows that distance. There is nothing to be ashamed of. I think we shall end for the day. – Now don’t give me that look. Your fingers are shaking. They are not used to this strain. You must ease into all of this.”
Calina flexed her hands a few times and winced. “They burn quite a bit.”
Kallindo smiled calmly. “Ah, but I have come prepared. Follow me.”
The maiden obliged and soon found herself sitting underneath the eaves of the forest next to Kallindo’s pack.
Calina eyed the bag curiously. “What miracle do you contain within that pouch, O Wise One?”
“Give me your hand,” Kallindo instructed, ignoring her questions.
Calina extended her right hand and smiled contentedly as Kallindo swiped a cool cream (retrieved from a bottle in his pack) along the pads of her fingers. It was very soothing. Kallindo massaged her fingers until the amber-colored cream had fully absorbed into her skin and then sat back on his heels.
“Much better,” Calina declared, bringing her hand up near her nose. “And it smells nice to. Did you make this concoction yourself?”
“Aye. You are fortunate that I remembered all of the right ingredients.”
“You are an elf of many wonders, my friend,” Calina teased.
Kallindo looked away into the woods. “It is growing late. You should return for supper.”
“Are you coming? There’s no use for you to be eating alone in your talan. You’re always welcome up at the house.”
Kallindo paused in thought. “It is not many days before your sister’s wedding. I would not want to intrude upon the family evening.”
“Oh nonsense,” Calina replied, getting up from the sand and dusting off her leggings. “Come along.”
“You did not have to limit yourself to Falas’ conversation throughout the entire meal.” Calina stepped in front of Kallindo as he was making to depart her home. She eyed him flatly.
Kallindo shrugged. “You are the one who dragged me up here. You’ll have to take me as you find me I’m afraid.” Calina was about to argue with him when he pre-empted her. “Besides, your brother can be quite insistent.”
“I’ll agree to that – though you shouldn’t encourage him. Shall I walk with you?”
Kallindo agreed and soon the two elves were walking companionably down the winding road toward the beach. A sudden gust of wind tumbled over the hill and caught at their clothing. Calina laughed as her bothersome scarf, light and airy as it was, danced to and fro in the air.
“So much for my frippery, wouldn’t you say?” She withdrew the useless article and began twisting it and untwisting it in her hands. “You should see the gown that is being made for me for the wedding. Mother has taken far too much delight, I think, in dressing up her family.”
Kallindo didn’t reply, but neither one minded the silence. It was a peaceful, drowsy evening, fit for slow walks and thoughtful songs. The pair walked closely side-by-side and took simple comfort in each other’s presence and in the feeling of the warm summer air on their skin. They progressed in this manner down the road, across the beach, and into the forest. It was only when they were within sight of Kallindo’s home that a disruption broke through their tranquility. A startled cry came from Calina and she abruptly set down in the middle of the forest path.
The maiden hissed bitterly and pointed at her foot. “A thorn… I believe.”
Kallindo quickly knelt in front of the she-elf and lifted up her right foot. There, protruding from the thin sole of her laced sandal, was a particularly nasty looking locust thorn. Kallindo looked up and eyed Calina speculatively. She grimaced and hung her head, biting her lip to keep the complaints, moans, and curses in.
“Can you get it out?” she practically pleaded.
Without further ado Kallindo scooped her up in his arms and strode purposefully toward his talan, entering it and setting her carefully down on a cushioned bench within. He quickly lit a candle and then rummaged around in another room for two clean cloths. Coming back to kneel in front of Calina, he set the light on the floor and gave her an apologetic look.
“This will hurt a bit.”
Calina’s gaze was very dry: “It already hurts. Please, get it out.”
The thorn was still attached to a piece of twig, which gave Kallindo something to grasp. Before Calina had much chance to ponder on the expectation of pain he drew the thorn out with a swift tug. Calina gasped loudly and clenched the skirt fabric of her gown tightly in both fists. Removing the sandal and casting it aside, Kallindo pressed one of the cloths firmly against the bleeding wound. A few moments past before a sort of strangled laugh lodged in Calina’s throat.
“I make quite a spectacle of myself, do I not?”
Kallindo looked up from his ministrations. Calina sat half-reclined on the bench, her skirt still clenched in one fist and her silver hair tousled about her in a careless manner. Her little mouth was set in a determined line and her eyes were fighting to be merry.
He smiled comfortingly. “Quite a lovely spectacle to my eyes.”
Calina blinked. That was not the response she had expected. She watched curiously as Kallindo used the second cloth to bandage her foot. It was an awkward dressing, but it would have to do.
“We have to get you home. Put your arm around my neck.”
Calina blinked again. “Perhaps I could walk… if you helped me.”
“Nonsense. I’ll have you home in a trice.”
Without much of an alternative, Calina slipped her right arm around Kallindo’s neck and was lifted gently up off the bench. Now that she was in a better mind to give consequence to frivolous details, she realized fully, and for the first time, what a fine specimen of an elf he was: strong, handsome, chivalrous, beautiful hair, nice eyes… Calina blinked yet again and then fixed her eyes steadfastly on her knees, hoping desperately that Kallindo hadn’t noticed anything odd about her behavior. She didn’t look at him again until he had brought her safely to her parent’s home, and then only to bid a hasty goodnight before retreating to the soothing darkness of her room.
After returning Calina to her family, Kallindo walked slowly back down to the forest. He hoped his young friend would heal quickly. There was no telling how long an injury to the foot would last. It would, of course, depend largely on whether or not the maiden would be patient enough to stay off it for a few days. She would have to if she wanted to dance at her sister’s wedding a week hence. Kallindo smiled at the thought.
While he was lost in his own musings, two pairs of youthful eyes were watching him from a nearby tree. They had seen him carry Calina home and now observed his contemplative mean. They each chuckled silently and gestured their conclusions to one another. This was certainly an interesting piece of information: one which they would no doubt find an eager, listening ear for in the town the next morning.
Several hours had passed and Calina still could not turn her mind toward sleep. One thought kept chasing another thought round and round inside her head until she felt it was a wonder she could think at all. She was confused, and at the same time confused about what could possibly have made her so confused. It was all ridiculous, frivolous, childish, nonsensical, poppycock… Calina abruptly sat up in her bed and stared out the window in shock. Suddenly, and without a moment’s notice, a startling thought and pierced her mind.
Things to Know:
Calina: Q. “illuminated”
Kallindo: Q. “noble heart”
Cora (KOR-ah): Q. “encircle”
Encoranar (en-KOR-ahn-ahr): Q. poetic, “the year to come”
lit., “that (future thing) year”
Falas: S. “beach, shore”
Vaniméra: Q. “good wish/desire”
Terévlia (ter-EYV-li-ah): Q. “fine thread”
Soronhíniell: “daughter of Soronhín”
Fánlitsë: Q. “white sand”
vende: Q. “she-elf/maiden”
amil/amme: Q. “mother/mom”
avar: a sindarin elf