It was a bright morning when Aurelin stepped out of her bedroom. There had been a faint drizzle evidenced by the slight dampness of the stone walkways. The air was fresh and the rays of sunlight were making raindrop-covered leaves sparkle.
Aurelin finished a braid in her hair, smoothed her green-blue dress with wide flowing sleeves open at the back and started to walk towards the hall.
When she got to the table she could see that most of the chairs were empty. After greeting the few Elves who were present, she served herself to some food and took a glass of wine. She sat next to the four other occupants of the room guessing that either they came to her or she went to them. There followed questions about her stay in Mirkwood, about king Thranduil’s policies and of the life of his household and subjects. Aurelin answered these questions and told them all her observations while finishing her breakfast and drinking the cool clear wine. That was a kind of a sign for the questions to stop so Aurelin excused herself and went from the hall.
She walked through several passages to get to the garden. Birds were singing with fair voices and all around her Aurelin could smell the sweet scent of flowers and the fresh smell of leaves and pine thorns. She went to a gazebo-like sitting place above the roaring falls desiring to feel the spray of the passing water on her face.
Aurelin was not alone in the garden though, as she found out when stepping onto the sprinkled stone floor she was greeted by the same Elf who had been introduced to her on the past evening.
“I hoped that the stars would bless our meeting but instead the Sun seems to have hallowed it!” Gilgaer welcomed her. She smiled and wished him a good morning as well,
“I don’t have that kind of way with words that you seem to have, so I’ll limit my greeting to a simple good morning.”
She could see that on the bench beside which he was standing were some scrolls. Gilgaer noticed her look towards the bench and explained, “Lord Elrond wanted to give you the scrolls that you had been interested in and I offered to bring them to you.”
Aurelin stepped quickly towards the old manuscripts and took one of them gently, her eyes aglow.
“These are the accounts written of the first days of Menegroth. Elrond told me he was not sure he even had those, he promised to look for them and he did!” she exclaimed while a large smile brightened her usually sad and far-away face.
Aurelin sat down and started to look through the pages, so concentrated on reading that she entirely forgot the brown-eyed Elf standing beside her. That didn’t put him off though, he coughed and when she looked up at him, grinned,
“So interesting are those scrolls that you would forget a hansome Elf beside you (if I may say so myself)?”
“Oh, pardon me,” Aurelin stammered not knowing whether to take his words seriously or not, “it’s just that I waited so long to get those old scrolls.”
“And are old dusty pages the only thing that you are interested in?”
“Reading of those deeds gives me the feel of the First Age. Not being born until the Third has left me with a great yearning to know of all that has happened before. Besides, my mother and father were one of the Sindar and part of Thingol Greycloak’s household. My mother is the sister of Nimloth, wife of Dior, and aunt to Elwing the White. My parents told me many stories of their life in Doriath but not enough. They didn’t have the time.”
Aurelin’s eyes turned sad.
“And so you wish to know more and more about their lives,” Gilgaer uttered the thoughts of Aurelin aloud, understanding her feelings.
“Yes, I guess Elrond told you the tale of my parents and my life. You know that I lost them both before they could tell me everything about their life, so I try to search and learn it all by myself.”
“Then, have you asked others who were there and fought in the War of the Jewels?”
“I have, but only from those that I have met. There are many others who know of the deeds of that time maybe better but I haven’t met them.”
“You haven’t asked me,” told Gilgaer Aurelin who looked up at him in surprise.
“I may not know that much about your parents but I can tell you of the First Age and the Second as well.”
“You can?” Aurelin got exited, “Then please do tell me, everything that you can!”
“All right. I am one of the Sindar as were your parents but when they lived in Menegroth, then I am one of the Falathrim. I was born while the Teleri were searching for Elwë in Beleriand. My parents went with the host of the Teleri when Ulmo came to take us to Valinor but I stayed in Middle-earth with the Shipwright. I have lived in both Brithombar and Eglarest. But Morgoth’s forces came and the Havens were brought to ruin. I fought with my people when the foes broke our walls and saw the tower of Barad Nimras cast down. Many of my companions were killed but I got to a ship and was able to flee the destruction. We came to the isle of Balar and made our refuge there.”
Aurelin could see the mourning for his companions and the fair cities that fell to the Enemy in Gilgaer’s eyes but the sadness passed and he continued,
“I was one of those to keep a foothold in the Mouths of Sirion and see to the light ships hidden there. Even though I am one of the coast-dwellers I have always loved the Sea as much as the woods. Laswing they started to call me, Leafspray, because of my love of waves and the green leaves of a forest. A friend gave me the name, Liniel Nimlos, the prin… Liniel of Ossiriand. I happened to save her from death before the Sun and Moon arose and she lived in the Falas afterwards. She gave me the name. And that is how I met your parents Belegorn and Calenloth – they came with the remnant of their people and Elwing who had escaped the sack of Menegroth. I was in the Haven of Sirion not long before it’s fall.
I guess you know what happened then – Eärendil went to the West and the host of the Valar came and threw down Morgoth. During the Second and Third Age I lived in Lindon but I have been all over Middle-earth from Mirkwood to Lórien. Imladris is another place where I like to spend a lot of time. My love for the forests has kept me away from the coasts and the other way around. Elrond I know well and Imladris is like a second home to me.”
Aurelin was sad when his story ended, his voice had lulled her to a daydream where she could almost imagine and see all the things that he had talked about.
“But what about my father and mother? Did you see them during your long journeys again?” she asked, not wanting to miss anything he might know of her loved-ones.
“Not much. I heard a lot told about your parents and Belegorn was present in the Last Battle where I fought too. But we met only twice more when our journeys took us to the same place. Once Calenloth came to Mithlond when I was there and the other time was in the Halls of Thranduil. That reminds me of something, “he laughed, “I have seen you before meeting you yesterday here in fair Imladris. You were only a little Elfling when I was in Mirkwood.”
“I don’t remember ever meeting you before,” said Aurelin doubtfully.
“I guess you wouldn’t, being so little at the time. And I have to say, you didn’t have much time to notice an Elf coming from a long road. You were busy doing mischief and running around.”
Aurelin didn’t know whether to believe him or not, seeing the playful light again in his eyes.
“I may have been a little lively as a child, my mother said to me, Laswing” she told him defensively but started to laugh immediately. He joined her and they laughed for a while.
“But now I think we should find something to eat and then you could drop these scrolls that you want to read so desperately off to your room. I’d love if you joined me on a brief ride,” suggested the Elf rightly named Leafspray and Aurelin could do nothing but accede.