Dûlan lay in his bed, his eyes closed, yet he was not asleep.
“Han mathon.. I feel it. It works no longer. I corma..”
He opened his eyes, breaking the vision, and threw off the silken blanket covering him. He walked to the window and opened it, seeing the sun was not yet fully risen.
He dressed hastily and stormed out of his room and his father’s house.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Dûlan burst into Lord Isil’s Learning Room, and seeing his father alone, he called, “Father!”
Dûlmar raised his head from the parchment he wrote upon. “Yes, my son?”
By then, Dûlan, scowling, was at his father’s side. “The spells,” he growled. “The spells of my mother. Why have they not achieved what they were set to do? In the Princess’ ring, I caught two spells. Weakness of will.. and love.”
Dûlmar looked astonished. Never did I think that he would become this when I promised his mother to teach him..
Dûlan continued, “But it has failed. This morning, I felt, as well as saw it. Why is this? Was it taught me correctly?” he asked threateningly.
“Of course, my son. Everything was taught to you directly from your mother’s instructions to me. The reason it has failed, I know not,” Dûlmar said softly, trying to calm his son rather than anger him further.
“Why has it failed? That I can tell you.”
Dûlan whirled around and saw the speaker to be Èríele, her blue eyes furious and stormy.
She crossed the room and stood before him, her face hard and terrible in her anger.
“Snake! To think that you would dare use a petty sorceress’ trick against me! To think that you would even dare believe it would work!” Èríele took the ring off her finger and held it out to Dûlan who mutely took it. “Take back your own, thrall of dogs. Force it upon another who is foolish enough to take and keep it. Give it to one who is too weak to defeat your simple Moriquendi spell. If she is stupid enough not to recognize your true nature, that is. Get out of my sight, and out of my father’s house, at once.” Èríele ordered.
Dûlan stared at her, stunned and speechless.
“Now!” Èríele snapped.
Dûlan left quickly, vanishing from the Learning Room.
Èríele turned to look at Dûlmar, who sat silently, staring back at her.
“Why? Why have you allowed your son to become this.. this traitor to the Eldar? If he wishes to be Moriquendi, then let him sail to Middle-earth across the Sea to them, for I will not stop him. But he cannot serve the Avari, and live among the Eldar. He must choose. It was ill fate that brought him into the world, surely.”
Dûlmar bowed his head at the words of the Princess. “Perhaps it was ill fate.. perhaps it was the will of the Valar. I know not. I love his mother, and it was my will to stay with her in our first home forever, as long as Middle-earth should stand, but.. It was not the wish of Ilúvatar that we should be together. Yet there was a son of our union, and she called him Dûlan, after me. When the Valar called us from Middle-Earth, I went with my people, the Teleri, but.. she was the princess of the Moriquendi. She did not come. I took our son, and she said to me, ‘Live with you, he may, but tell him of me, and of my ways.’ And I have done no more in teaching him than keeping my oath to her, regardless of how it may seem.”
Èríele nodded her head. “I know you speak the truth, but though I have no great liking for him, if you will forgive me, I am sorry that Dûlan should be thus minded.. perhaps no one is to blame but himself. Excuse me,” she said, leaving the room.
Dûlmar sat silently back in his chair.
He bowed his head and wiped away tears from his face. I miss her.. so much. If he had been raised by mother and father together, perhaps.. Perhaps he would not have come to this.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Èríele went to the Sea’s side and looked out over its beauty. The risen sun created a hazy, golden glow over the water, warming it slowly.
She looked around her and saw no one, so glancing once more at the Sea, she slipped out of her white dress, remaining in her underclothes. She walked into the water until her feet could no longer touch the bottom, and then she took a deep breath and began to swim under the Sea’s surface.
She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feel of the water all around her, alive with the spirit of Ulmo. She could not see the bottom of the Sea, and she loved the weightless feeling that the water gave her.
She swam back to the surface and breathed deeply. I wish it were possible to stay in the Sea forever, never coming back to the land..
She let herself relax and float upon the water, which bore her effortlessly.
“I love the water,” she murmured aloud.
“As do I,” a voice answered.
Èríele knew the presence around her.. She had met it before. She guessed, “Lord Ossë?”
She heard a laugh and then Ossë in visible form was beside her in the water.
She looked at him, eyes wide, and then he explained, “My spirit is always alive in the water so that I may command it, and when I choose, I can clothe myself in a form visible to the Quendi, and I have done so before your eyes just now.”
Èríele smiled, feeling slightly ashamed that she had not recalled this rumored truth about the Maiar and the Valar, that they could change forms at will.
She suddenly remembered that she was dressed only in her underclothes, and though they were modest enough, she stopped floating and began to swim again, keeping her body under the water for cover.
Ossë raised an eyebrow at her sudden movement, but said nothing of it. “So tell me, Princess of the Teleri, why are you here alone, and before the day is fully begun?”
Èríele sighed, and then told him of her morning, and all that had passed therein. “When I need peace, trust, and quiet, I always come to the Sea. It has never failed to be a friend and a comfort to me,” she finished.
“Is this Dûlan in love with you?” Ossë inquired.
Èríele shook her head. “No, I think not. If he truly loved me, rather than seeing me as some.. reward to be won, then why would he try to take me by such foul means?”
“He has not touched you, has he?” Ossë asked in a concerned voice, his eyes beginning to betray his feelings for Èríele.
“No. He would not still be alive if he had. That I would make sure of,” Èríele laughed, unaware of any change in Ossë’s demeanor.
Ossë smiled at her, captivated by the way her blue eyes, not much lighter than his, sparkled when she laughed.
“Tell me, Èríele.. Would you trust me to take you under the Sea and show you the realm of Ulmo? This is within my power, if you wished it to happen.”
Èríele gasped. “Truly? Indeed I would trust you! When.. when can we go?”
“As soon as you wish, which I would deem to be now,” Ossë said, laughing. “I will hold your hand to keep you with me and I must control where we go. Some places are forbidden for even my eyes to see. Now, let go.. let go of the sky, the air, and the sun, you do not need them.. Let go of Alqualondë and let your mind travel into the water. Deep into the water…”
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Èríele suddenly awoke and she was back.. back to being a mere Quendi, reliant on breathing the air, and she was back in the Sun’s yellow light, rather than the cool, clear blue of the Sea. She looked at Ossë, astounded at what she had seen, and what she had felt. “Did it really happen?”
Ossë had taken her deep into the Sea and showed her the places that she could have never seen alone.. The deep canyons of the Sea’s bottom, and the endless blue waters.. All the wonders she had dreamed of, she had seen.
“Yes, it did. I took you deep into the Realm of Ulmo and I showed its wonders to you. It was real,” he smiled.
“I..Thank you! I never… Never did I imagine it could be so wonderful!” Èríele said, still in awe.
She pulled her hand from Ossë’s and threw her arms around him, caring not that they were still in the water and easily in sight of the land. She embraced him tightly and laid her head on his shoulder, grateful for what he had shown her.
Ossë was surprised, but he slipped his arms around her in return and squeezed her gently. “You are welcome, Èríele,” he said softly.
Èríele did not move away from him, but remained where she was, for she felt protected and safe in the Maia’s arms, something she had not felt in an age.
Ossë was content to simply hold her, thinking to himself, “I love her, and yet I know I can never have her. I am a Maia, with work to do in Arda and Aman. She is a Quendi. It cannot be. It can never be.
He sighed deeply, his heart conflicted. The longer I stay with her, the more I will love her, yet I cannot bear to be parted from her, not for a moment.
Èríele heard the sigh and asked, “What is wrong, my lord?”
“Nothing, nothing,” Ossë replied, tightening his arms around her slender form.
Èríele raised her head from his shoulder and looked in his eyes suspiciously. “If you say so,” she said, her voice doubtful.
He smiled. “I say so, Èríele.”
She smiled back at him, becoming lost in his dark blue eyes that looked at her with such a serious, all-knowing expression.
He leaned his head forward slightly and gently kissed her lips for the second time. She closed her eyes and did not become tense as before, but he pulled away and removed his arms from around her, forcing her to swim again.
“Goodbye, Daughter of the Sea.”
And then he was gone.