‘…A wind by night in Northern lands
Arose, and loud it cried,
And drove the ship from elven-strands
Across the steaming tide.
When dawn came dim the land was lost,
The mountains sinking grey
Beyond the heaving waves that tossed
Their plumes of blinding spray…’
Through the grassy plains and rocky passes the two travellers whom were once handmaidens of the Lady Galadriel passed, amazed at all that they saw – yet their wonder sprung from different seeds. The Galadhrim Elf Nerellas, having never far travelled from her home in the Golden Wood, had indeed watched all she saw through their journey with childlike curiousity; yet no place had she marvelled more so than here: Dor-en-Ernil, the Land of the Prince by the sea. Her companion, although gone from this land for over five years, saw the domain of her House as like the recollection of yesterday’s memories, only now noting how time had truly stood still in Lothlórien.
‘I hear the gulls, Ivriniel!’ Nerellas cried. ‘The sea must be close – though I have never seen it before,’ she spoke in the Common Tongue, practicing, for she had only ever needed the use of the Silvan and Nandorian languages before.
‘They call to me too, Nerellas. For it is long since I have been home, though it does not seem it.’
Ivriniel smiled, but then dark thoughts returned to her, and she lowered her head with a frown, which did not go unnoticed by her companion.
‘Do you grieve still for your kin?’ she asked with sympathy.
‘The scar remains,’ Ivriniel spoke after a moment, barely above a whisper. ‘I had always imagined coming home, to see my grandfather Angelimar, and beloved Írildë, my mother. But they are gone, and many brave men with them, because of the Corsairs. Even as I return, I remember Galador, the Knight who escorted me to Lothlórien years ago, who too perished…’
Ivriniel trailed off in thought, yet to Nerellas it seemed that her grief had become too strong again.
‘You told me that your grandfather died of age, and that is a hurt that is only natural to a mortal life – and Galador rose to become a high captain, did he not? Surely he could have had no better death?’
Instead of replying, Ivriniel raised her sad, yet not cold eyes to the clear blue skies, and sang aloud:
‘Of old there was a Lord of Andustar
Named Prince Edhelion the Fair,
He sailed to Belfalas, below Morthond’s mouth,
And high he built Lond Ernil there.
There was a port from Elven hands,
Whence the Firstborn sailed to the West.
There a Prince named Amroth would oft come;
For the waves put his heart at rest.
From these two peoples great friendship grew
And from these two Lords great friendship more;
And together they marched with blades bright,
Answering Elendil and Gil-galad’s call to war.
Though shadows dark in Mordor dwelt
Their light could not be ceased,
And Edhelion and Amroth side-by-side
Slew darkness’ wicked beasts.
The land was won, the Dark Tower besieged
Yet still evil would not cease.
From the gates rode Edhelion’s fallen kin –
Black Númenoreans – in their sortie.
Their fell Lord duelled with Edhelion,
Each the other’s bane,
But it was Edhelion who stood the last,
And left his enemy slain.
Though Prince Amroth, friend most true,
Ran to fight at Edhelion’s side,
The Black Númenoreans sought him out
And surrounded like a dark tide.
But from the ashes and from the murk
Came Edhelion in his doom,
The two Lords forced their foes away,
Yet only then Edhelion saw his wound.
To Amroth he said, ‘Great friend with blade most keen,
I give thanks to your aid!
And though I pass to where I know not,
Know your debt shall be repaid!’
And so many years after the war,
When Amroth returned to the sea
And he was lost, his name was not,
Not Lond Ernil – but Dol Amroth, it shall ever be!
That is the Lay of Edhelion and Amroth, both our Lords of old. Though it is sad, it has always given me hope, and pride for my people. It reminds me of my mother, who used to sing it to me. But I should not dwell on such things! You are right, Nerellas, I should be joyful to see my city again, and all those others whom I love, like my father the Prince Adrahil, and my uncle Gîlant, and my sister and brother, Finduilas and Imrahil.’
‘I am glad,’ said Nerellas, but she had again been distracted, and after a while she said again, ‘The cry of the gulls! They draw me to the sea still. Perhaps they will keep me forever, unless the Lady’s gift works true…’
Ivriniel looked at her. ‘A gift? What was it?’
Nerellas had a sheepish expression, but knew she could no longer hide it. ‘She gave me this,’ she said, as she drew out a necklace from beneath her Elven cloak, and upon the end of it was a bright green jewel, which glittered autumnal gold when the sun caught it.
‘It was made by Enerdhil in Gondolin, who made the Elessar which the Lady Arwen now wears, so the White Lady said,’ Nerellas continued. ‘I thought it too great a gift for me, but I could not refuse. She said that it will remind me of the Golden Wood, when my heart is low. I did not want to make you jealous…’
‘Jealous!’ laughed Ivriniel. ‘No my dear Nerellas, the only gift I could want is to see my land again! But it is indeed a great gift for the Lady to give you – keep it well!’
‘Thank you, Ivriniel,’ Nerellas smiled, once again at ease. ‘But what of you? Did the White Lady give you any gift before we departed?’
Ivriniel’s face turned to deep thought again. ‘Yes, in a way. She asked me to look into her Mirror.’
‘The Mirror of Galadriel?’ Nerellas exclaimed. ‘What did you see, Ivriniel?’
‘She said it was a glimpse of the future, yet it could not have been… It was my wedding day, but it was on a mighty ship in the harbours of my city, and the groom I know to be a dead man… It was Galador.’
‘The Mirror can show strange things,’ reassured Nerellas. ‘It might not have been the future at all.’
Ivriniel nodded, yet she was in doubt again. Suddenly, upon the horizon, below the morning sun, perched upon its high promontory in the seas appeared the form of the port-city of the Princes; Dol Amroth. Ivriniel had returned home at last.
Ivriniel had not seen the gates of Dol Amroth so guarded in her entire life. Clear trumpets, standards of many colours and garlands of sweet fragrances did not meet her, but the cold impassiveness of the shut door, flanked by grieved walls and their wardens upon them, stoic and hard against the wind brought in from the sea.
‘You travellers there!’ one of the soldiers shouted down from the ramparts. ‘What is your purpose in the City of the Prince?’
‘I have wandered far from home for many years, sir, and wish to return to it,’ Ivriniel answered.
The Knight seemed to stare at her from the walls for some moments, before vanishing behind them.
‘What is wrong?’ asked Nerellas to her companion.
‘Nothing – it just seems our welcome is less warm than I expected. I deem their caution to be the work of Umbar.’
The sharp blast of a horn sounded from behind the gates, and slowly they opened, weighed down by their grandeur. From them came a small number of Knights, and at their head on a white horse was the speaker before, his splendour so great that he carried his presence like a banner before him.
‘You look like Elves from the past to my eyes,’ he said to the hooded handmaidens. ‘Yet I know better than to trust in old legends. Who are you, travellers?’
‘You are close to the truth, sir, but half-wrong still; only my companion is an Elf, and a handmaiden of the Lady of the Golden Wood. Tell me your name though, and I shall tell you if you know me.’
The man scrutinised the pair with curiousity and puzzlement. ‘I would hold your words to be false and nonsensical, if not for the clarity in your voice, which you speak with the accent of the people of this city. Very well: I am Lorindol, son of Orodreth, and Lieutenant of Dol Amroth.’
Ivriniel looked at this man’s face with detail for the first time, and saw his features to be very familiar, but still a stranger to her. ‘Galador… Lieutenant Lorindol, are you Galador’s brother?’
‘Yes, yes I am – was,’ he finally said with an expression of both understanding and shock. ‘I should have known when I first saw your garm – he spoke much of you and your travel to the Land of the Elves. Are you not Ivriniel, eldest daughter of the Prince Adrahil, finally returned to us from the mists of time?’
‘The very same, Lieutenant,’ she replied. ‘I have returned at last to heal the hurts of our city, of which I have heard much tragedy has befallen, as you should know better than others.’
‘Aye, there is much grief, my Lady,’ he said, but his mouth smoothed into a smile, ‘but with your return it shall indeed be healed! Heralds, take up the call! The Lady Ivriniel has returned!’
Lorindol led the two maidens through the streets of Dol Amroth, up to the palace of the Prince. As the call of Ivriniel’s return swept through the city, folk came from their homesteads to look upon their Lady whom had returned beyond hope, almost forgotten, when it seemed only despair touched the city in these times. Having thrown the hoods of their Elven cloaks back, the people looked in awe at Nerellas, and even more so at the face of Ivriniel, which seemed to have changed in her long absence – it seemed more touched by long years, and great sorrow, but joy also and the radiance of the auras of Lothlórien. Ivriniel smiled as they passed the folk of the city, but she had eyes only for only a few now, whom she would find at the top of the hill. And indeed, already there waiting for her at the front of the palace gates was her dear uncle Gîlant, arrayed in the full gear of his Captain’s uniform, his arms outstretched in joy at the sight of her.
‘Ivriniel! At last you have returned!’ he cried, embracing her. ‘I guess that you have much to tell us? How did you fare in the Golden Wood?’
‘Well enough, dear uncle,’ she beamed. ‘But come, we must see my father; for though I left as his daughter only, now do I return as an ambassador for the goodwill of the bond between Dol Amroth and Lothlórien.’
‘Of course my Lady, he is in the throne room as we speak,’ Gîlant said, before turning to Lorindol. ‘I will escort the Lady Ivriniel hereon, Lieutenant.’
‘Nerellas, would you mind waiting for us?’ asked Ivriniel.
‘If the Lady would have it,’ started Lorindol, ‘I could show her around the city whilst you see the Prince? I could imagine this is still a strange place for you.’
‘Yes, you are right. I shall kindly take your offer, sir,’ Nerellas replied.
And so Ivriniel once more passed into the halls of her lineage, whilst Lorindol walked and talked long, acquainting Nerellas with the place and people that her sister Mithrellas had bloomed into new life so long ago.
As they walked towards the throne chamber, Gîlant and Ivriniel spoke a little, concerning his brother and her father, the Prince Adrahil.
‘How has he coped, uncle?’ Ivriniel questioned. ‘Messages came to me about my mother…’
‘So far away, you were informed of dear Írildë’s passing?’ said Gîlant with surprise.
‘They were brought by a man who served in Gondor whilst I was away – the Elfstone, they call him in the Wood, but I know he is also called Thorongil.’
‘You have met Thorongil? That is indeed strange… We truly have much to discuss, my dear niece! But as for your father, well, after what happened, he became stricken with grief – grief, and maddening vengeance. For two years it threatened to consume him altogether, leaving your brother Imrahil to ease him, and pass his father’s commands as best he could. And then, Thorongil came – and in him was the cure. That is a tale I shall tell you later – but come now; it is time you were reunited at last.’
The great door of the throne room was thrust open before them as Gîlant finished. Politely stepping ahead of Ivriniel, he bowed his head in the ornate chamber at the seat before him, where the Prince Adrahil sat, as like a graven image of his ancestors, and at his side his son and harbinger, the noble Imrahil stood with the valour of a Captain of Westernesse and the nobility of a Noldorin Elf.
‘My lords,’ announced Gîlant, gaining their fixed attention. ‘May I present to you a gift of joy, a gift once thought lost by long years of absence…’
Ivriniel came forwards. For a moment, Adrahil stared in disbelief, as if he had strayed into a memory, or a dream. And then the haze lifted, as Imrahil, giving a cry of joy, darted across the room and embraced his elder sister, laughing with the voice of youth as he held her.
‘My – daughter…’ Adrahil sighed, his words like old parchment read after years of disuse. ‘Ivriniel! Ivriniel! Ai! Elbereth! You have come home!’
The Prince came forwards, and any who happened to be watching him in the throne chamber marvelled, for as he came towards his firstborn child the years seemed to fall from him, and happiness returned to a face that had long missed its warmth. Imrahil stepped from their embrace as Adrahil stood before them, looking again at Ivriniel in wonder before placing his hand on her taller shoulder and kissing her on the forehead. But even as he did, Ivriniel burst into tears of sadness and joy and fell into her father’s arms.
‘Father! Father, I am sorry! I am sorry I left, and I am sorry that I did not return sooner! I am sorry for all the ills of our family and our city! I am sorry – sorry for not heeding you – sorry for everything!’
The Prince placed a gentle hand under her chin, and raised her face until her glistening eyes met his sea-green gaze, and he whispered to her, ‘My darling daughter; the hope you have rekindled in my heart casts away all grievance in me – there is nothing to forgive. I am so glad that you have returned!’
For a long time the Prince, his children and his brother talked, and smiled, and even as they did such simple things, they began to feel like a whole family again. Yet, even as Ivriniel’s time away was mentioned in passing, her thoughts turned to her mistress Galadriel once again, and her newfound duty to Dol Amroth.
‘Excuse me, my Lord,’ she said to Adrahil with a changed tone, ‘but there is much of importance we must discuss in private; for I have not returned to you unchanged, but with a purpose.’
Wondering at these words, the Prince nodded thoughtfully, and Imrahil and Gîlant turned to leave, but promised to talk with Ivriniel later in the day. As the throne chamber emptied, Adrahil ascended his seat and his daughter spoke to him as the herald of Lothlórien, giving the White Lady’s words of reunited friendship and aid, and even as Adrahil contemplated and understood all that she said, he recognized that Ivriniel was now a daughter of two lands – of Dol Amroth, and of Lothlórien.
The sky was turning from grey to clear blue as Ivriniel and Nerellas’ steeds trotted beside one another, carrying their loads from the proud walls of Dol Amroth, over the verdant grass of Dor-en-Ernil to the northward flank of the towering hills that stood in the midst of Belfalas. The heights shadowed the great road that passed out of the Prince’s gates to Pelargir, for it ran through a valley serving as a gap between the hills, and in the distance the maidens could already see their destination, the slender tower nestled in the roots of the slopes on the valley’s northern side – Barad Gilmith. Told to once be the home of she whom it was named after – Gilmith, daughter of Prince Imrazôr and Mithrellas of Lórien – it served as both a warden to the Prince’s inner lands, and as a place of rest for the dead; for the tradition of Belfalas long held that the vigilant spirits of the House of Edhelion would ever watch over their land, and those buried by strongholds would ever serve in their defence.
As they had ridden, Nerellas had spoken of all Lorindol had shown her in the city, and Ivriniel had told her of what she had learnt from her long conversation with Imrahil and Gîlant the night before, of the state of Dol Amroth’s affairs, and its conflict with the Corsairs from across the southern seas. The renewed troubles of Umbar had apparently arisen but a year after her departure to the Golden Wood – five years after Prince Angelimar had defeated the Corsairs at Linhir. The vicious Fleetmasters Yagâknir and Sangakar had captured and occupied the coastal fort of Methrast on the tip of Belfalas, before marching rampantly towards Dol Amroth. Yet, at the town Endil, the Lieutenants Cemendur and Orodreth made defence, and the march was routed, with Galador slaying the brutal Yagâknir himself – yet Orodreth had fallen upon his vessel. Methrast was cleansed, and at the last struggle, Lieutenant Cemendur boarded Fleetmaster Sangakar’s fleeing ship, and each one slew the other. Thus, Orodreth’s two sons, Galador and Lorindol, took the posts of Lieutenants of Dol Amroth under Adrahil the next year, as he too succeeded his father to become Prince in 2977.
Then there was renewed joy in Dol Amroth. Umbar had once again been valorously defeated, Gîlant’s son Captain Baranir began courting Galador’s daughter Gilmith, and the wedded Denethor and Finduilas gave birth to a child – Boromir. But the injuries to the Corsairs had been greatly overexaggerated, and they were quick to return. On a dark July night in 2987, the Fleetmasters Sakalazon and Sanghayando – Sangakar’s veteran brother and young son – struck the port of Sarlond, the summer home of Adrahil and Írildë, in a Third Assault. Many innocents were viciously slain, but Adrahil desperately defended the port’s tower until the ravagers gave up the assault, even as his wife lay amongst the fallen. After assaulting the holdings on the isle of Tolfolas, Lieutenant Galador came as a counterattack, bringing the strength of the Belfalas navy; but, tragically, not even he could be saved. The Fleetmasters slipped away, returning to Umbar, and the infamous Sanghayando left Galador dead in his wake. Hope had been lost.
But then Thorongil came. Leading a secretive raid on the ports of Umbar themselves, he burnt many of the ships newly-constructed to continue the attack on the coasts, before vanishing into the night. With him went the Prince Adrahil, maddened by grief and vengeance, but it was Thorongil who taught him that his people’s needs were greater than his own. Though Dol Amroth had been joyous of his efforts, he enigmatically left, and eventually expectant dread fell on the city once again, lest the Corsairs repair what they had lost.
‘So much pain has come to your city, but much joy in victory, also!’ Nerellas remarked. ‘It is hard to forget that the long fingers of Sauron are still at work in the world when one has lived in Lórien for so long.’
‘The men of Umbar have ever hated us, even without Sauron’s demand. But Nerellas, I wished to speak to you, about Lorindol. Do you remember how I said of my vision in the Mirror of Galadriel? It made me think – perhaps it was not Galador I saw, but one of his kin, such as Lorindol. You do not think I am destined to wed him, do you?’
‘Not unless the Mirror wishes you to commit bigamy!’ laughed Nerellas. ‘Lorindol told me he was married, and he even has a child – a beautiful daughter called Gloredhôl.’
‘I know it was a strange thought,’ replied Ivriniel, smiling as she contemplated, ‘but the Lady’s vision has been troubling me recently. Yet, all will out, in time.’
Ivriniel had just finished speaking as they reached the walls of Barad Gilmith, standing in a wide round circle, enclosing a much larger space than necessary so that fair gardens could be planted within its girdle. At the gates, the guard were ready for them, as was their Captain. The reception took the horses from the maidens, and Ivriniel went to the Captain and embraced him, kissing him on the cheek.
‘Cousin Baranir, it is good to see you again!’
The son of Gîlant received her with joy. ‘As it is you, dear Ivriniel! Though I am saddened that you have had to visit Barad Gilmith under such grievous circumstances. We will be happy to show you to the resting place of your mother.’
‘Thank you, Baranir, but do not grieve – I am proud to know she rests here with the spirits of our great ancestors, and is in your gracious protection.’
‘The years have been long, but yet still your words gladden my heart, cousin! Now, follow us, and keep an eye open – others of the court have come to visit the buried today, too.’
Many tombs, mausoleums, statues and graves of exceptional craft lay in the green grass under the shade of the tower, maintained by the guard from the weathering of the open air. For the unending sleep of the Princes and their kin would not be in cold confines such as Rath Dínen, the Silent City of Minas Tirith, but in the fruitfulness of the gardens about them, where new life bloomed even as theirs lay long since passed. Images of the great stood arrayed in honour – Lord Edhelion, his carved figure the most central and prominent, stood as he would have done against the ashes in Mordor; Prince Adrahil I as he fought the Wainriders upon the Dagorlad; and most recently erected, Ivriniel’s grandfather, Prince Angelimar, his stony gaze seeming to look all the way to Umbar itself in defiance and warning. But Nerellas was fixed only on two forms – the twin monument of Prince Imrazôr the Númenorean and his legendary wife – her sister, Mithrellas. Yet her body lay not here – after she had borne a son, Galador I, First Prince of the Second Line, and a daughter, Gilmith, she left Imrazôr in the night, sailing west; leaving him in grief of her passing, doomed to wander the shores forever until his death, ever searching for his lost love. That was over nine hundred years ago – and yet still Mithrellas’ sister wandered here, in the shadow of a tower named after a mortal niece she never knew.
As she knelt by the grave of her mother, crowned with blue and white flowers, Ivriniel remembered the last words Írildë had said to her, before she and Galador set off to Lothlórien, so long ago; “Daughter dearest, I am as grieved at your leaving as I am glad of your fulfilment. But dark days are ahead, and maybe daughters and mothers shall not see each others’ faces once again, and we will need all our courage. Farewell!”
‘I will not fail you mother,’ whispered Ivriniel. ‘I will have courage, for me, and for all of Dol Amroth. Now it is to you I say, farewell!’
Nerellas put a reassuring arm over her friend’s shoulders, and they made as if to depart, until Ivriniel stopped short.
‘Galador! I meant to visit his grave whilst I was here – will you wait for me, Nerellas?’
‘Of course – I shall go to your cousin Baranir at the gate and ready our steeds,’ she agreed as Ivriniel began searching for a sign of her old companion’s tombstone.
With direction from one of the guards, she soon found what she sought. In her hand she carried a single flower, the last one left over from her offerings to Írildë and Angelimar, but she especially liked this one – it was both golden and blue and white; it had the colours of both Lórien and Dol Amroth. Yet, as she approached the grave, another was knelt over it; a man in fair garment, a slender sword sheathed at his side and his face masked by his firm hands and brown hair, flowing like the waves which soothed upon the beaches of Belfalas.
‘Pardon me, sir,’ Ivriniel asked, ‘would this be the resting place of Lieutenant Galador, son of Orodreth?’
The man looked up with a start, but calmly raised himself off the ground, and seeing the nobility evident in Ivriniel, bowed before replying, ‘Yes, it is, my Lady – pardon, I name you ‘Lady’ but I do not know of you or your lineage – it is just you seem too fair to be anything less than regal.’
The man seemed a little embarrassed by his speech, but Ivriniel smiled gladly at him nonetheless. He had a voice that felt pleasant in her ears, and a form that she seemed to half-recognize, as if a character from a vision had appeared.
‘Well sir, I am Ivriniel, daughter to the Prince Adrahil – but do not bow! I do not wish to impose myself. And whom might you be, if you do not mind me asking?’
‘My name is Orophir, my Lady; Lieutenant of the Navy under your father, with all respect. It is a pleasure to meet you at last – your coming has been like a ripple of happiness across the land of your father!’
‘My thanks, Orophir. I am sorry, but have we met before? You seem very familiar to me, as does your name.’
‘You do not know me, my Lady; at least, we have not met before. But I know a good deal about you – my father would speak of you to me and my sister Gilmith very much.’
Suddenly Ivriniel knew who he was. ‘He spoke to me of you as well – “a brave and skilled warrior, and his heart is as strong as his stroke.” For are you not the son of brave Galador?’
‘He said that of me?’ said Orophir with pride glowing on his face.
‘Yes, and I too deem your heart to be true, but I have no evidence of how strong your strokes are as yet,’ smiled Ivriniel.
‘I try not to unsheathe it, if I can help it,’ he said now with a changed tone. ‘I have seen too many good men die upon weapons like it, including my father.’
‘I was told that he boarded the ship of the fell Fleetmaster Sanghayando, but when he fell his body was saved by his son. That was a valiant act you did, Orophir. Worse could have befallen him.’
His eyes glistened, but he did not shed a tear. ‘Your words bring comfort to me, even though they speak of sorrow. Three years have now passed, but clearly I still feel the loss, and clearly I still see him fall to the Corsairs’ blades.’
‘I have come to honour that sacrifice,’ said Ivriniel. ‘Will you take this flower, and plant it in memory of him?’
‘Please – the gift should be yours. It is a beautiful flower, and a fitting gift. He would be happy to know that you returned from the journey you took together to plant it for him.’
And so Ivriniel did. As she came back up from her kneeling, offering words of respect to her old companion, she looked at fair Orophir and seemed to notice him a second time. No wonder he had seemed so familiar – this was the man whom the Mirror told her she would wed.
‘Will you walk with me to the gates, Ivriniel?’ he asked. ‘I have found gladness in your company, even here.’
‘You may indeed, and you may escort me and my friend back to Dol Amroth, if you will?’
‘Lady Ivriniel, it would be my pleasure.’
As they left the grave of Galador, the last of the grey in the sky vanished behind the White Mountains, and the radiance of the sun glistened on that place, so that the flower of Ivriniel glistened in the gardens of Barad Gilmith like a jewel, catching the light of a newly born star.