Of Halvaris, Royal Guardsman to King Arvedui – …and of Sian, daughter of the Chief

by Apr 5, 2001Stories

“This tale is old, from the time long long ago when the Dreaded Witch-king of Angmar did contend with the Northern Kingdom of old. The people of Arnor were never many, and the wars and sickness had eaten away at them, til one winter, the winter of 1974 of the Third Age of Middle Earth, the Witch-king attacked the city of Fornost.

Long was the battle but King Arvedui was forced to retreat. So he and his guardsmen fought a rearguard so the people could reach safty in the west, and his sons too retreated with them. But Arvedui and his men were forced north and into the Ered Luin and the ancient dwarf caves there. With no food or winter clothing, and little provision, they nearly froze to death. So King Arvedui and his guard in their desperation sought help from an encampment of the Snowmen of Forochel, the Lossoth.

Now Sorel was the eldest son of the Chief of the Lossoth and was the leader of the camp, and he would not offer any help, food or otherwise, to King Arvedui. For they were uneasy with the foes of the Witch-king of Angmar and did not want to anger his cold breath.

As the King pleaded for help from the unrelenting Sorel, a woman, short and petite, with dark eyes as coal and long dark hair flowing out from her fur cloak, walked up to Sorel. For she was Sian his sister, second eldest of the Chief’s kin, and she was curious of the King and his men. As she looked at the King & his men, she saw one guardsmen, Halvaris, who stood at the right end of the line. She gazed into his bright blue eyes, she became frozen both in movement and in thought. And Halvaris too looked into her dark, glowing eyes and was smitten, forgetting for a time the sorrows of his family. As the tall young guardsman gazed into the beautiful dark eyes of Sian it seemed to the King and the other Guardsmen that a cloud was lifted from him. For even though he was starved and weary, and sick also with worry about the fate of his younger brother and parents. For they were in the retreat from Fornost, And he knew not what had become of them. But the sight of one appearing so beautiful to him as Sian seemed to heal him at that moment in some way.

But Sorel still would not help the King and his Guardsmen and demanded they leave their camp. Sian was shaken by her brother’s loud voice and scolded him for having no mercy or pity on the tired, hungry men. She then agreed with King Arvedui to give them some fish they had caught through holes in the ice, and to send a messenger to summon their father, the Chief.

Sorel was angered mightily by his sister’s boldness and her willingness to accept the strangers, of her usurping his leadership, and especially of her eyeing the strange man so. He struck her hard with the back of his hand with such force that she fell backwards in the snow. Halvaris quickly drew his sword, and some of the other guards near him did likewise.

But King Arvedui shouted to them,

“Men, sheath your swords, for do we treat as enemies ones who would feed us?”

As he said these words he stared coldly at Sorel, who, being terrified at the sight of the mighty blades of war, bowed in submission and moved away from the King & his men. Sian, recovering from the blow, was helped up gently by the hand of Halvaris, and long they stared into each others eyes before she turned to the King and invited them to share their food.

The messenger came to the chief and before long, the Chief and his two younger sons, Sachel, and Syon, came to see the strange men who had appeared in camp. The Chief took council with the King, and agreed to help the King ere the cold arm of Angmar receded, but would not let the King & his men stay in their main camp, partially out of fear of angering the Witch-King, and partially to appease his sons. Instead the Chief called for his people that were skilled in building snowhuts and sent extra fishermen out for more food.

Soon, the King & his men were set in an encampment of their own along the shore of the Bay of Forochel, and a fire was kindled using flint they found in the old dwarf cave, and from clothing, driftwood and animal fat given to them by the Lossoth.

Though the Chief forbade the King and his men from entering their camp, he did not forbid any of his people from mingling with the King’s men in the King’s camp. He allowed this for the Chief desired to learn knowledge from the Dúnedain, and those of his people who were of a mind like Sian’s did so freely, and learned much. In this, the Chief’s council was divided between his three sons and his one daughter. Sorel wanted to abandon the King & his men saying,

“Why do we feed these men, who have nothing we value? Surely they are the enemy of the Witch-King, and we only bring his anger down upon us by helping them.”

The other two sons agree with him, with Syon speaking angrily,

“They are trouble, already bringing colder winds from the north, for there is yet no sign of thaw or no sign of the strangers leaving….for this we will suffer”.

But Sian, who was deemed wise by her people, she spoke against her brothers,

“Though this winter is long and the winds of the north cold, we go with plenty, as fishing and trapping has been good, and has it not been spoken from the days of our forefathers that the kingdom of the south protected us much from the sickness of far off lands? We owe these people, for their existence alone has kept the wrath of the Witch-King from us, and for their sacrifice, we have given them nothing, yet they have always left us in peace.”

Then Sorel breaks in saying,

“You, Sian would not be so eager to help them if you did not love the one.”

Before Sian could reply, the Chief speaks up,

“Is this true? Sian, you keep this from me?”

“Yes father.” she whispered, “I did not want to raise the anger Sorel has for the King & his men in you, so I spoke not.”

With this, the chief holds his head in his hands and says,

“I must think, please leave me all”.

As February waned and March came, the chief would sit up on a small hill, watching his daughter and the tall stranger together in the King’s camp. Soon, the Chief himself came to the King’s camp, and at length would counsel with the King on various matters, but mainly about the love shown between Halvaris and Sian. It was during one of these meetings that Halvaris asked for Sian’s hand in marriage, though they only met a little over a fortnight before. Her heart rejoiced in this, and he was glad and unburdened.

Long they sat together that day, and the sun broke through the clouds of snow and fog. The brightness of the sun on the snow outside the King’s snowhut aroused both the King and the Chief, as the sun has not been seen by either of them since before the attack of the Witch-king. They emerged from the hut, flurries of snow were still being blown in the breeze, and wisps of fog lingered, but where Halvaris and Sian sat, the sun shone bright.

As the sunbeam widened around them a cheer started rising from the around the camp from mainly the Lossoth that were there, but soon the King’s men joined in.

“Hail Halvaris and Sian! For their love broke the grip of the Witch-King!”

And there was much joy as the sun chased away the remnents of cloud and snow. The sun’s warmth felt good and the gathered ice began to melt, and there was much happines among both peoples there. However, watching from the small hill was Sorel and his brother Syon, and they were angered at what they saw, and they went back to the main camp of the Lossoth and told lies and stirred trouble among the people who did not go to the Kings camp. For most of those who liked King Arvedui and his men were in the King’s camp on that day, and there was few to speak against the brothers.

The sun also failed to break through the fog over the camp of the Lossoth for the dark hearts of the brothers held sway. In this way the smouldering dissention among the Lossoth was kindled.

Now the King and the Chief approached Halvaris and Sian where they sat, and they stood and bowed before the King and Chief. And Halvaris asked King Arvedui and the Chief for permission to marry Sian. The Chief spoke first,

“Sian, my daughter, has appeared as a spring flower in bloom, and her eyes are alight as burning coal. All time before this has not been so. Who am I to extinguish her flame by denial of this?”

And King Arvedui also spoke,

“It is not our doom to remain here, and ere the ice breaks in the sun in the days ahead. A ship awaits afar and has come and bear us back to our kin. Will you Halvaris then wish to stay here?”

“Nay King.” replied Halvaris, “For I am sworn to you, and I will not take leave of you in time of war, lest I be struck down in battle.”

Turning to Sian, the King said to her,

“You have removed a vast burden from Halvaris, for he has suffered much for such a young age, and he now has the spirit of a young man again. But dark times lay still ahead, though I cannot see them clearly.”

For though King Arvedui had use of the Palantiri, their visions was murky and strange and could not be understood.

“Hard will be the days and unknown the dangers, for now we stand in the warmth of the sun, surely the night will see the return of the cold.”

And the marriage between Halvaris and Sian took place that hour, and they were the of much burden and weariness, and the day seemed longer, and the sun was loath to set, and its heat broke the ice on the bay.

When night fell the cold fog blew in once again from the north, and the fire on the beach almost failed, but was kindled anew by the spirits of Halvaris and Sian as they lay together, and Sian conceived.

The early morning light was gray with cloud, but the fog was gone, and a great ship was seen out on the bay. The King signaled the mariners by reflecting firelight from a shined shield, and King Arvedui and his men made ready to cross the sea ice to board. Last to leave was Halvaris, as he begged Sian to come with him, but the Chief felt a doom on the ship, and conselled the King to stay ere the season lengthens, for the Witch-king was still strong. But King Arvedui did not heed his counsel. He instead thanked him, and gave as bounty his ring, the Ring of Isuldur. Sian wanted to go with Halvaris, but her respect for her fathers vision and her heart told her she felt death. Halvaris kissed Sian long and he begged again for her to come. But out of fear of the great ship, and of her fathers prophesy she would not go, but she begged him to stay with her. He would not break his sworn duty to the King and would not. For as glad it was the day before, the sorrow of the hearts of Halvaris and Sian weighed heavily on all there.

“I will come for you ere summer comes.”

Halvaris cried to Sian as he boarded, but Sian wept and would smile no more.

With the ship loaded and all aboard save one, Sian, they made sail toward open waters. And the counsel of the chief came to fruit when a great wind came out of the north, and the ship perished with all aboard as it crashed into the ice. The Chief sensed this, and gave the Ring to Sian to keep ere the return of the Dúnedain, but in her heart Sian knew she would see Halvaris not ever again.”


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