The Light of Elbereth
By Gloria Falton
Chapter 1-The River
He walked along the banks of the Nimrodel, lost in thought, his feet making no sound. He walked with slow steady steps, listening to the ever-changing melody of the water, as it gurgled and rushed over smooth rocks as it made its way to join other streams. That’s when he first heard it. A voice completely different that that of the water, yet somehow, this new melody seemed to complete the old one. As if they were made for each other, and they created perfect harmony. He could not make out the words, but he could tell they were in the fair Elven speech. He stopped, preparing to go back, for he had business to do in the city and he desired solitude. Yet the voice drew him to it, almost against his will. His feet moved slowly at first, though before he knew it, he was running along the bank. Still the source of the voice eluded him. It was when he ran along the winding bank he first saw her.
His first impression was that she seemed to fit perfectly in her surroundings. That long ago, she was created to fit right there, the river made a place for her, and she accepted it. Like leaves on a tree, she seemed to belong nigh the trees and the river. She sat on the edge of the water, her feet dipped in the cool clear river. Her green dress was rolled up to her knees, and the water bubbled around her toes. Her long auburn curls tumbled down her shoulders and cascaded onto her back. They seemed as bright as fire in the dark. Her pale skin glittered like morning dew, at the first rays of the sun. Her slender hands rested upon her knees, as she gazed out on the water. It seemed to him that her eyes were gray at first, but as he gazed at them, they turned blue, like the sky after a storm. Whether this was a trick of the water, he did not know.
She finished her song quietly, her voice barely above the sound of the gentle breeze, and when she finished her gentle chanting, she laughed, not in jest, but for the heart. Her laugh rang with music, so beautiful, that he could not help but laugh with her. She looked up. He expected her to be startled, but she just smiled as if she knew he was there all along. He smiled back at her, and for the first time in a long while he seemed at peace. She drew her gown back over her knees as he sat next to her. They looked at each other in a quiet understanding. There was no need for words to be spoken. She started another quiet song. He joined with her. (Though they sang in Sindarin, I have placed it here in the common tongue)
“An Elven maiden there was of old,
A shining star by day:
Her mantle white was hemmed with gold,
Her shoes of silver gray.
A star was bound upon her brows,
A light was on her hair
As sun upon the golden boughs
In Lorien the fair.
Beside the falls of Nimrodel,
By water clear and cool,
Her voice as falling silver fell
Into the shining pool.
Where now she wanders none can tell,
In sunlight or in shade;
For lost of yore was Nimrodel
And in the mountains strayed.”
It was the well known story of Nimrodel, the elf-maiden, lover of Amroth. They sang of her flight from Lorien, when the balrog arose in Khazad-dum, but on her way to Dol Amroth, she was lost in the Ered Nimrais, and separated from her love.
They chanted softly together for a long time, though as elves, it seemed but a minute in their long eternities. The day waned and turned to dusk, and the stars started to show in the sky. She rose from the riverbank, and taking one last look at him, she walked into the forest. He rose and saw her disappear into the trees. A gentle breeze floated down the bank from where she had left. He thought he caught her soft words beckoning him to follow her. He entered the forest just in time to see her gracefully leap into a tree.
Again he heard her soft laughter. He followed her trail, and climbed after her, but when he reached the small talan, or flet, as it is called in Westron, she was gone. He wondered if she was Sindarin, for no other elves built platforms in the mallorn trees that he loved so dearly. He heard laughter down on the forest floor. He descended the ladder, but when he reached the floor, no one was there. He wondered if she, and her musical laughter were just figments of his imagination, for he was tired from his long journeys. But no, he heard the laughter again. He followed the sound, running in the forest as swiftly as he could. He soon realized that the voice was leading him into Caras Galadon, the home of Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. When he arrived at the city’s gate, he once more heard the musical laughter from within the city, and up in the trees.
Long had he been traveling to the Golden Wood. Here alone in all of Middle-earth was the true beauty and timelessness of Eldamar preserved. As he entered the gates, he was bidden to see Galadriel and Lord Celeborn. He climbed upwards to the Hall of Galadriel. As he stepped into her presence, the twilight twinkled on her golden hair, like that of her mother’s, and the stars shined in her eyes. Lord Celeborn, seated beside her, addressed him.
“Long have we awaited your arrival, for you bring news of the Alliance of Elves, but you were to arrive this morning. Why were you delayed?”
“He met someone unexpected”, said Galadriel, looking deep into the eyes of the prince of Mirkwood, Legolas. Her voice was low and sweet.
“On the banks of the Nimrodel.” Her eyes twinkled as she smiled.
“Go and rest now, and when you are refreshed, we will speak of the Alliance.” Galadriel dismissed him. Legolas followed one of the hall’s attendants to his room.
He lay with his arms folded upon his chest and his eyes half closed, as elves do when they sleep, for they do not sleep as mortals, but they lay and rest their minds in waking dreams.
Note: I have taken some quotes out of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, such as that of the song of Nimrodel.
I am not claiming them as my own, and I give him full credit.
(This starts slow, but stick with it. The basis has to be laid before the action can begin, so bear with me. I know you’ll enjoy it if you can get through the first ones.)