Author’s notes: The previous chapter can be found here.
As always, I am really looking forward to comments!
Disclaimer: The entire world of Eä belongs to JRRT.
It was midday and the ruins on Weathertop were just above the two horses and the Elves. Gilgaer was making Aurelin drink. It was hard to get her to swallow but somehow in her fever-induced dreams she felt the fresh water on her lips and drank. She had been laying with her back against a rock as Laswing had fetched the water-flask. Alagos, her big black stallion, had slowly walked over to her and with a tenderness that was unexpected from such a huge and bad-tempered horse, he put his soft nose against Aurelin’s cheek. Laswing watched it with sadness and came over to the two. Alagos started to walk away from him but Laswing stopped the horse by putting his hand on its neck,
“You worry about her too. She wouldn’t be alive if it was not for you. I will do all in my power to see that your bravery was not wasted.”
Once she had drunk, he climbed onto Elthoron and with Algos striding beside the silvery horse, he turned east and began to follow the Road.
So much had befallen. Dagor Bragollach had been horrible because of the unexpectedness of it but Nirnaeth Arnoediad brought tears to every eye. Lúthien had met Beren and lead him to Menegroth. Calenloth with Belegorn were there to hear Thingol set the errand to Beren and his acceptance of it. Then Lúthien had disappeared and all in Doriath had lost their mirth. During these days Belegorn had just walked with Calen through the forest, both speaking very little but getting comfort from each other’s presence. Beren’s and Lúthien’s return was a surprise, quickly followed by their deaths. A Silmaril was now in the keeping of Thingol but that didn’t help to diminish the grief of Lúthien coming back from the Halls of Mandos, mortal. Calenloth had burst into tears when she had heard that.
Calenloth’s sister had felt some time after the departure of Lúthien and Beren to Ossiriand that she needed to go there too. Nimloth couldn’t give any reasons but the urge had been strong and so she had left.
Now Calen was with Belegorn in the Land of the Seven Rivers, visiting Nimloth. Calenloth’s sister had found out why she had needed to go there – she had wedded Dior, the son of Beren and Lúthien.
Calenloth was enjoying herself in Ossiriand. She found herself wishing she could live there but knew that her life and destiny wouldn’t go down that path.
Seeing Beren and Lúthien together was unsettling. Their great love was a legend already and Calen was delighted to see them again but knowing of Lúthien’s mortality made her look at them differently and she had a hard time trying to hide her sadness. She understood why Lúthien had made her choice, Calen herself would have done everything to be with her love always but still it was a grief to think that one day the beauty of the daughter of Thingol would be gone.
Nimloth was happy with Dior. She had teased Calen and Belegorn many times when she saw them always hand in hand and together but then she had fallen in love with Dior and acted now just like her younger sister.
Time passed quickly by and Calen and Belegorn set out to Doriath, promising to come to see Nimloth soon again. When they passed through the land of the Green-Elves, rumour of a Dwarven host was told to them over and over again but the two didn’t turn back. When they got to the edges of Region, to the first lines of trees, they heard a thunder of footsteps. The woods had always been quiet and this sound felt so out of place that both Belegorn and Calenloth drew behind a tree with a large trunk.
“What is it?” Calen whispered.
“I don’t know. No Elf makes that much noise, even Men are more quiet. Dwarves maybe?”
“The same of whom the Green-Elves talked about? What are they doing here?”
Calenloth’s eyes were large with doubt and fear. She made as if to step from behind the tree but Belegorn drew her back and pushed her against the trunk, taking her into his arms protectively.
“Look! Don’t move, don’t make a sound!” he commanded in a whisper.
Calen felt his anxiousness before she saw what caused it. She gasped softly when she beheld a host of armed Dwarves marching down the road, only a foot away from where the two hid. She glanced up at Belegorn whose hold on Calen had tightened. He shot at her a gaze full of fear for her safety, puzzlement and anger, holding a command for her to keep quiet.
She turned her head to look at the passing troops, starting to tremble slightly.
When the last Dwarf had disappeared from view, Belegorn moved from behind the tree, still holding Calen.
“Something is wrong. Horribly wrong,” he spoke quietly.
“Why did the armed Dwarves get through the Mazes of Melian? What were they doing here?” Calen asked, hanging onto her love, knowing that to find out the answer would be worse than the tidings of the Nirnaeth.
“We have to hurry!” Belegorn started out to the west, towards Menegroth and hand in hand the two ran through the forest where they had met and ran so often as children, now dreading what awaited them in Menegroth.
Aurelin remembered when her father had told of what they had seen after they had returned from Ossiriand. They had not taken the most direct paths, reluctant to leave the fair country and so had not met the messenger from Menegroth or heard the tidings. It had been all a terrible surprise as they had met the first Doriath Elves and heard of everything. But worse was yet to come.