I begged Menelya to go with me, but she wouldn’t.
“He scares me,” she said. “I never go there unless I absolutely have to.”
No kidding! Believe me, I didn’t want to go see him either! But I couldn’t refuse. No one could refuse a summons from Mandos, save Manwe, and it is told not even he had ever done so.
All I knew was the Summons had something to do with Narbeleth! She was a born trouble-maker! What ever made me think she would change once she got to Tol Eressea!
The Halls of Mandos! I approached the big front doors with dread! I had escaped the Doom of death thus far and was glad of it! I did not want my spirit to have to dwell in those Halls for centuries or Ages or perhaps even to the End Time! But it was a comfort to know at least the Doomed sould would arise from there one day…at least there was a life after death!
I opened the giant doors and stepped inside the foyer. The only thing there was one person sitting sitting to a desk; I perceived he was a Maia.
“May I help you?” he inquired politely.
I hesitated long enough to clear my throat. “I was summoned,” I told him, “I am Legolas Greenleaf.”
“Oh, yes…pass on through the door to the right and down the hallway to Chamber Ten.”
So I did. And despite being a so-called Brave Elf, at that moment, my whole body felt prickly and woozy, and I thought I might faint at any moment! Every step I took seemed to resound in my brain…doom!
I entered Chamber Ten. It was a small room with just a small table and two chairs on sides opposite each other. The room was lit by two torches on either side of the door, that did cast strange, eerie shadows on the walls.
I don’t know how long I sat there. I had a modern watch on but it stopped working when I teleported with Menelya into Valinor. That always happened. Time stopped. I fidgeted with the watch band nervously.
Finally, the Chamber door opened and Mandos entered. He was huge and had the most fearsome face I’d ever seen! He strode over to the chair opposite me and sat down. He looked straight at me, locking my eyes unto his, and I was unable to look away from him!
“I have Narbeleth in the next chamber,” he said in the deepest voice I had ever heard. “She is pleading with me to release the spirit of her brother, Baras. She says she will not leave unless I release him, but ten decades yet will it be before I release him, even with her prayers and penance in these Halls. I would have you speak with her and convince her to leave and go back to Tol Eressea. I do not want her here. I will take some drastic measures to remove her if she does not leave willingly,” he cautioned. “Plain it is to me that it is you she really seeks…not her brother.”
I could not get a word to come out of my mouth! I was struck dumb for the moment! Was I just too terrified, or did he have some ‘spell’ on me?
Then Mandos stood and headed for the door and some unseen force made me stand and follow him! I figured then, it was some Power he had me under!
He led me into the next chamber, and there Narbeleth stood alone in an empty room! She was greatly surprised to see me! Then seeing Mandos, her face contorted into anger!
“So! You bring the Prince?” she yelled out at him. “You think he can convince me to leave? He cannot! You hear me? I have sworn it! I shall stay here until my brother is released!”
I was shocked she could dare talk to Mandos that way! “Narbeleth!” I exclaimed, suddenly having my voice back! “Shamefully you speak to this Valar!”
She peered at me. “You…you cannot command me anything anymore! The Troop is no longer! You are not my boss, nor my husband! Too often you have left me by myself to go off with that Maia to one end of Arda to the other! Don’t speak to me at all! I’m sick of you! I now am here! I want my brother released!”
The she turned to Mandos infuriated. “Get him away from me!” she screamed. “I hate him!”
I could not believe the wrath she was showing towards me! She had been angry at me plenty of times before, but never like this!
Mandos turned to me. “Talk to her,” was all he said in his deep voice, and left the room!
Narbeleth just glared at me and if her eyes had been spears they would have slayed me!
Nevertheless, I slowly approached her. “What has come over you to talk in such an evil manner towards me?”
“I hate you…I do!” she cried!
“Nay, maiden, you love me,” I declared, “I know you do!”
“I spit on such love!” she retorted harshly, and spit on my shoes!
That humiliated me! “Apologize!” I demanded!
“Dance with Morgoth in Hell!” she screamed, thinking that was as bad an insult as she could think of?
And I did gasp, absolutely appalled! “Narbeleth!”
“I hate you!” she screeched, and tears rolled down her cheeks. “I hate you!”
But I knew she didn’t hate me. But she was obviously emotionally hurt and frustrated to the point of breaking! I forced myself to calm down and took a deep breath. “Let’s go home,” I urged her. “Never, never have I seen you in such a state!”
“Home? Home?” she cried, still overwrought. “We have no home!”
“We do have a home,” I tried telling her, “it’s a lovely little place by a beautiful lake and a waterfall and…”
“And how often are you there?” she demanded to know. “I am there always! But you? Hardly ever!”
“You have your Elf-friends who visit you often. I still let you frolic with them, don’t I?”
“Legolas…it is over! I will not return there unless…unless…you marry me! If you do not marry me, after all these many years…I will stay here! I swear it!”
“Then you are a fool to swear such a thing for Mandos has said Baras must stay here ten decades yet, even with your prayers. Why give up your life to a fruitless act? And why give up on me? Is it not only you that I seek when I do return to Tol Eressea? Does that not tell you something?”
“You are not faithful to me, either, you know! I may be the one you seek here, but what about when you are on Arda? You have already admitted you frolic sometimes. And probably with that Maia, too, though you keep denying it!”
“I deny it because I speak the truth! I have never once made love to Menelya!” Though I did not mention how sometimes in my mind I wondered what that might be like!
“Well, I don’t care if you did! I still want us to be married! I want your children! I want you home!”
“I love my work, Narbeleth. I will not give it up. Whoever I do marry will have to accept that!”
“It takes you away for so long! How can a marriage thus survive?”
“It could if the couple loved one another enough and worked their problem out to the satisfaction of both.”
“And do you think I love you enough?”
“But you don’t love me enough?”
“I believe I do.” I admitted.
“Then, truly, it’s because we cannot work out our problems well enough?”
“But if we could?”
I didn’t answer. I knew she was trying to sucker me into a commitment again! I knew her so well! But it was true. I had made her wait many years already!
“A lot of things must change,” I finally said. “Like going off the deep end, coming here and angering Mandos? That was insane!”
“I will apologize to him!”
“Oh, to be sure you will! You cannot escape that! And you’ll need forgiveness for all the threats and swearing to things you have said…and you owe me some apologies, too! You spit on my shoes!”
“You can’t act this way if you want to be my wife!” I admonished. “You couldn’t frolic around anymore! You’d have to be faithful to me! And what kind of mother would you be? I hate to think of it!”
Narbeleth stepped closer to me and put her hands on my arms. “I promise I’d be faithful…I will have to be a very good mother…or my husband would take them away from me…would he not?”
“I didn’t dare answer that, but studied her face and delved into her eyes as deeply as I could and did believe all she was now saying. “Then…we will work on our problems,” I told her, “and when we are both satisfied with the results…we will marry.”
“Then you will give me your name-ring as an engagement token?” she asked hopefully, and seemed surprised that I had finally said I would marry her if all went well.
I pondered. “One condition. I don’t want you running around loose anymore. I will have to find you a suitable haven on Tol Eressea to abide in while I am away…a place well supervised.”
“What!” she exclaimed indignantly! “I am not a child! I do not need chaperons!”
“Nevertheless,” I told her adamantly, “you will do it, or you will not get my name-ring!”
She thought about it for only a minute then bowed to me. She accepted the condition.
Then she asked, “Well? Do I get your ring now?”
“Not yet,” I told her. “When you are moved to the Haven, then I will place it on your finger.”
“And what Haven do you intend to stash me in?”
I had one in mind but I didn’t want to tell her which yet…I knew she would object! And I wasn’t sure they would even accept her!
“I due time,” I told her. “In due time.”