Lirulin had long felt a burning in her heart that could not be quenched by any means. She knew not how it came to burn so fiercely nor even what she truly desired. She had thought that when Maeglas came to her the fiery longing had ceased. She had thought that she’d found what her heart had desired. But she was mistaken.
It was the Sea. It was the waves. It was the sand. It was the crying of the gulls.
No one else in Mirkwood could feel the same longing that she felt. Thranduil told her so. No one could feel her pain, for no one had seen the Sea. They had not heard waves crash upon rocks. They had not been long sundered from their home. Lirulin had done all of these.
She lay on her bed and stared up at the ceiling of her chamber. She had sent Nimriel away. She wanted to be alone. Who would fault her?
“Everything makes sense,” she muttered to the emptiness of her room.
She soon drifted into an uneasy sleep. Uneasy because she had no desire to see her dream woman again, now that she knew why she was there. But sleep she did, nonetheless.
She awoke with a start. She looked out the window. It was night. The moon shone brightly through the leaves and filled her chamber with its pale brilliance.
Hers was one of the only balconies in Mirkwood. Most of the realm was beneath the earth, for Thranduil felt it was safer that way. Yet her father had consented to give her a chamber above the earth, and for that she was grateful. Had her room been below ground, her pain would have most likely increased many folds.
Now she made her way across the floor and out to the balcony. She set her elbows on the top and her chin in her hands. Looking out at the moon, she contemplated all that her father had revealed to her earlier that day.
So the pieces finally fit together, she thought with a slight mocking smirk on her face. All of it has been a lie. The Sea calls me home. Elrond was wise to consult the Lady of Light. My father was foolish. No, she thought with a sigh as she straightened up. He’s not even my uncle. He’s been lying to me ever since I came here.
Can you blame him? Another voice in her head asked. He wanted to protect you. From what? No, from the pain. If you had known what you know now when you were but an Elfling, do you not think that your life would have been made harder than it needed to be?
From what?Her other voice replied. From the truth?
No, from the pain. If you had known what you know now when you were but an Elfling, do you not think that your life would have been made harder than it needed to be?
She sighed. It was true.
She turned to see Nimriel standing in the doorway. Lirulin attempted a smile, but Nimriel waved it away. She took a spot next to Lirulin and together, they looked out at the soft light of the moon. They were silent. The only sound to be heard from the balcony was the light symphony of crickets.
After long moments of stillness, Lirulin guessed Nimriel’s reason for coming. The story spilled from her lips and into Nimriel’s ears.
She had been young when it happened, too young to remember any of it. She was only an infant when the small settlement of Teleri Elves were attacked by orc forces fleeing from Angband. The War of Wrath had utterly destroyed Melkor’s northern stronghold but it had also caused waves of evil creatures to take flight from Noldor arrows. Many of those bands had stumbled upon Elven settlements to the south and, in their vicious haste to escape the wrath of the Valar, slew every Elf they happened upon.
“It is only the beginning of a very long tale,” Lirulin stated.
“I have plenty of time,” Nimriel replied softly, not able to guess where the tale was headed.
After Beleriand’s destruction during the War of Wrath, Gil-galad founded Lindon, to the northwest of Middle-earth. While traversing that land the great Elven king discovered a little village. The homes were burnt, the horses were slain, and all about him there were decaying bodies. While surveying a hollowed out home he noticed a standard hanging from a wall. It was tattered and burned around the corners and about the emblem; but he knew from the blue field and embroidered white ship in the center that he had happened upon a Teleri settlement.
He mourned the loss of his kin, but soon he heard a small voice cry out. He searched the ruin to discover a small child, not old enough to be considered a toddler. When he found her he took her in his arms and ran to Elrond. They debated over what to do with the child, whether to keep her in Lindon or send her to Círdan in the Havens, or whether to find some other option.
Years passed. Many winters came to Lindon and Marillaramë, for that was the name given to her by Gil-galad in the Noble Tongue, grew. She came to be known as Lirulin by others, though Gil-galad insisted on retaining his “Wing of Pearl,” his Marillaramë. She was still young, not even a handful of years when Oropher, the father of Thranduil, decided to go east and establish his own realm. Gil-galad permitted this, but when Thranduil asked take Lirulin with them there was indecision.
Thranduil had grown close to the young Elfling, becoming the second father-figure (after Gil-galad himself, of course). His son, Legolas, had become a brother to Lirulin and he did not desire his son to be alone and unhappy. Gil-galad hesitated for many months, delaying Oropher’s party. In this time the Elven king took the counsel of Galadriel, Lady of the Galadhrim, she being one of the wisest of the Eldar in those days. The Lady counselled him neither way. Instead, she simply told him:
“Do you think it wise to clip the wings of a swan?
Do you think it wise to remind her of her clipped wings
While others enjoy their flight?”
“Gil-galad relented,” Lirulin murmured. “He let me go.”
Nimriel was silent.