Chapter IV: Battle in the North (Pt. IV)
“The dawn seemed to come slowly but the anticipation had risen before with the sounds of orcs marching through the forest—their monstrous feet crushing the earth beneath them. I nodded and Elranduil and Eldôr to take position. We planned to surround them and kill all that dared to march upon Mirkwood. I could hear the faint sound of the archers pulling their bowstrings from across the Forest River.
As the sun’s first light, the glamhoth broke through the trees. Arrows flew through the air as our two armies began fighting fiercely. No sooner had I put down one, another appeared in his place. For hours there was nothing but the sound of metal clashing and battle cries until silence had fallen. I stood wading in the corpses of orcs—not one elf did I see. I began to worry that I was the last to survive.
“It is done,” I heard a distant voice say. “Decidedly so, Father.”
I looked to see Elranduil and Eldôr approaching—their armor covered in orc blood.
“Do not think this is over,” Eldôr said.
“Nimlos,” I cried. “Where are you?”
I looked in every direction and saw only figures shrouded in the mists of dusk. I began to fear the worst as I fell to my knees and started pushing the dead aside in a futile search.
“Thranduil,” a voice said. “What are you doing?” It was Elranduil standing with Elmîr.
“I am looking for Nimlos,” I said frantically.
“Why would I be down there,” Nimlos asked.
I quickly turned to see him standing at my right beside Sildúr. I sighed deeply as I rose to my feet.
“I thought you had fallen,” I said.
“When that day comes, I will tell you,” Nimlos said smiling.
“How did we fare, Father,” Elmîr asked.
“Very well,” Sildúr answered. “There are wounded but none shall die.”
I sheathed my sword and wearily headed for the palace. At the end of the bridge, I saw the gates open—the last thing I remember before I fainted.
**** **** **** ****
It was night when I returned to consciousness. I was lying on my bed my chest in pain, dressed tightly around me.
“How are you feeling,” I heard Fëaluin say from across the room.
“What happened,” I asked.
“You were victorious,” he said. “As to be expected. I noticed you were missing a piece of your armor. That would explain your wound. It was not deep but you lost enough blood to faint.”
“I gave my mithril to Êlenuil,” I said slowly sitting upright. “He needed it far more than me.”
He walked to the foot of the bed and stood looking at me—his face lost in thought.
“I thought you did something of the sort,” he said. “You are just like Oropher.”
“How do you mean, Fëaluin,” I asked. “How am I like my father?”
“He gave his to you so long ago,” he said. “The difference is you survived to see another day but even Oropher would not have been surprised. You are a worthy warrior.”
“I almost died,” I said, my thoughts trapped in the past. “I could have died.”
“You did not die and you will not die, I am sure of it.”
He walked to the door and paused for a moment.
“Do you feel well enough to receive company,” he asked.
“Yes,” I answered. “Who calls for me?”
He smiled and tapped the doors. One cracked open enough for Nenduîl and Tárimë to slip inside.
“You are alive,” Tárimë said happily as she and brother ran to embrace me.
I winced in pain as Fëaluin smiled and left me with the children.
“Yes, I am, Tárimë,” I said. “But do be careful.”
“You came back as you said,” Nenduîl said, climbing on the bed with his sister. “I knew you would return.”
“You did not,” Tárimë said. “You spent the day crying like a little child. I told you he would return but you did not believe me.”
“I did not cry,” he said quietly. “That was Aranduil.”
“Was not,” she said.
“It does not matter now,” I said trying hard not to laugh. “I am here now and it is late. Time for bed.”
“Can we stay with you, Ada,” Tárimë asked sweetly. “We can look after you.”
“While you are sleeping,” I asked. “How is that possible?”
“Wake us up should you need to,” Nenduîl said in a commanding tone. “And we will ring the servants for you.”
They had made up their minds and started to nestle on either side of me. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched them fall asleep. I closed my eyes for moment thinking about all that had happened. I felt someone was in the room but I did not hear the doors. I opened my eyes and saw Êlúriel sitting on the bed next to Tárimë, smiling at me.
“Êlúriel,” I asked. “Is that you?”
“Yes, Thranduil,” she said. “It is me.”
“I am mad with fever,” I said to myself. “I am seeing things.”
“You know it is me,” she said. “You are being dramatic as always.”
“I am not dramatic,” I said. “I have never in all my life been dramatic.”
She gave me the look she always did when I would upset her. It was Êlúriel.
“Not always,” I said. “Maybe a little. You are one to talk.”
She smiled and leaned over to kiss me. When I felt her lips all the pain left me.
“Do not leave me,” I begged. “I need you.”
“I cannot stay,” she said. “I had to see you one last time for you shall not see me come this way again.”
“Why, Êlúriel,” I said, feeling tears running down my face.
“That is how it must be,” she said. “I am proud of you—as I always have been and forever will be. Do not be sad, my love. I know one day you shall forget all the moments you missed me and you will find peace and so will I.”
She leaned across me to kiss Nenduîl, and then she kissed Tárimë. Neither one stirred.
“I could never forget missing you,” I said softly. “I love you. I will always love you.”
“I will always love you, Thranduil,” she said. “You are the best part of me.”
She kissed me again and smiled.
“When our sons are together again,” she began. “Tell them I love them.”
“Yes, my love,” I said as I saw her fade away. “I will tell them.”
Then I was alone with Nenduîl and Tárimë sleeping soundly beside me. I realized the pain was gone from me—as if Êlúriel had healed me somehow. I longed for her yet knew I would never see her again. A feeling of peace came over me at that moment. I did not understand why I felt calm. I still thought of her and missed her, but the feeling was not as strong as it had been for nearly two thousand years. Perhaps the day I would forget her was upon me. That frightened me more than any battle I had left to endure.”–Excerpt from TKWR Book III: To Eryn Lasgalen by J.M.Miller 12-5-16
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