curiouswombat: (Tindómë)
I've been out for the evening - I'll post about it tomorrow or Saturday, perhaps.

But in the meantime, S2C has finished picking this through for me.

The Valinor Trail, Chapter Twenty Six
Chapter rated 13
Words; 2950
Disclaimer as Chapter One.




They rode on through the forest for three or four days, heading East towards the mountains, before it was clear that they were now climbing and the trees began to thin out.

On one occasion they heard wolves howling in the night but their fire kept the animals away. Haldir stopped to examine tracks on another day and declared that they belonged to a large bear. When the Elves began to move into these lands to live, Tindómë thought, there would still be a need for the warriors to keep their skills honed; and she was glad.

Eventually they were above the forest, climbing still, riding across moorland with only low scrub-like bushes. The higher they climbed the higher the mountains in front of them looked but looking back they could see swaths of forest, patches of meadow, the great lake they had awoken beside glinting in the distance, and a couple of smaller expanses of water. Far, far in the West, in the haze produced by distance, Haldir and Lady Ferveren said there were distant mountains. This seemed reasonable to Tindómë and so she would just take their word for it.

Although it was the middle of summer Tindómë was glad of her cloak as they rode on, into the mountains, picking their way along paths that only Haldir seemed to be confident would lead them through this range eventually. Their companion had been made dizzy by the trees they had passed through; up here she took deep breaths of cold air and laughed aloud for the sheer joy of the remembered sensation. She looked forward, she said, to feeling snow under her feet.

A good job, Tindómë thought, that her ladyship had been provided with good boots when they left Mandos!

……………………………

The lad was restless. Actually, Gimli thought, there was now more than one ‘lad’ in his everyday circle. He really should get out of the habit of calling Legolas that but he was an old dwarf and could be excused his eccentricities. Especially within the confines of his own thoughts!

The lad was restless, no matter what name you gave him. Not the aching restlessness he used to get, in the past, when the wind in the branches reminded him of the sea but, had Tindómë been here, she would have said he was ‘antsy’. He seemed to have trouble sitting down for more than five minutes whereas usually he could sit on a rock, or a branch, for so long, when the mood took him, that Gimli wondered at his bladder capacity.

The little lass didn’t seem all that worried about him, but even the distractions she could offer (of which Gimli wanted no details…) didn’t stop him pacing around and fidgeting. Not that Legolas would ever admit to fidgeting, it being a most un-elf-like pursuit, but Gimli knew fidgeting when he saw it. Perhaps, he decided, it would be a good idea to ask Master Elrond if he was worried about the lad.

No sooner had he come to that conclusion that Tharhîwon positively bounced into the Hobbit Hole; also rather un-elf-like behaviour.

“Mithrandalf!” he said.

The threesome of Haldirin, Tharhîwon, and Ithilienne had come up with this variant on Gandalf/Mithrandir’s name, and the Maia not only seemed amused by it but happily answered to it.

“Where?” Gimli asked.

“Coming up the path,” Tharhîwon answered. “I will go and make tea and find something for you both to eat.”

“Ah, you’re a good lad, and truly your father’s son,” Gimli said, with a contented sigh.

No need now to ask Master Elrond’s opinion. Gandalf would know what to do about a Wood Elf Prince who couldn’t sit still.

……………………………

“He worries about you,” Mithrandir (or possibly Mithrandalf; it was a rather contagious name…) said.

“I do not know why,” Legolas said. “It seems much more logical that I should worry about him.”

“Perhaps. But he seems content, whereas he thinks you are not. You are, he said, ‘antsy’.” Mithrandir smiled as he said that last word.

Legolas did not answer immediately. He felt he needed to get up and move around; but that would only confirm what Gimli had said.

“You need to travel,” Mithrandir said.

“It is not so long since we returned from Valimar. But you are right; I feel I need to be… somewhere. But I am not sure where, and I do not like to leave Gimli for long.”

He did not say ‘in case he dies whilst I am not here’, but Mithrandir ‘heard’ it anyway.

“I think our redoubtable dwarf is good for a few years yet, Legolas, and he is well cared for by those around him. In fact, I fancy some time here myself. I think we could cope without you for a week or two… Where do you feel you need to be?”

“Just… somewhere.”

“Concentrate. You have been too busy trying to ignore the need to focus on it properly.” This was Mithrandir’s commanding voice.

Legolas did as he was told. He allowed his eyes to gaze at nothing, let his thoughts both reach out and in… and waited.

“North… I want to go north,” he realised after some time.

“Yes.” Mithrandir said.

This was obviously the answer he had expected. Perhaps there was another group of Wood Elves further North than Legolas had previously ventured. But why in all Arda Mithrandir had not, then, just told him to travel Northwards, he did not know.

“Take Rumil,” the Maia continued. “He will be missing his wife.”

Legolas thought about that suggestion silently. Rumil would, surely, be better waiting here for Tindómë to return. If he was off travelling with Legolas she might return here and find her husband missing. Unless… Did he feel the need to travel North to meet Tindómë as she returned? Were they coming back to the coastal regions by a different route?

But why would he feel the need to go to meet her? Why not her husband? He had never felt the sense of awareness of this ‘sister of the heart’ that he had for his physical brother. Perhaps Rumil felt the need to travel northwards even more strongly but had not mentioned it.

He looked questioningly at Mithrandir who did not make that sort of suggestion, in that tone of voice, without reason.

“Legolas,” his friend said, “something calls you North. Accept from me that Rumil will see his wife sooner, not later, if he travels with you; and go.”

‘Yes!’ Legolas thought, ‘Why not?’ And he immediately felt as if a weight had been lifted from his fëa of which he had not even been fully aware.

“I will go and ask Rumil to accompany me, pack, and leave,” he said aloud. It would be good to be out of the stone houses and he looked forward to finding what must, surely, be more of his father’s people in the land to the North.

……………………………

They took time, whilst still on the moorland, to hunt for the pot. Haldir brought down a brace of grouse that lifted from the ground near the horses; his two arrows leaving his bow within a second of each other. Tindómë was drawn back, for a moment or two, to the first time she had seen his brothers do the same thing to a couple of pheasants, but they had brought down one each.

“How did you make sure you didn’t both aim at the same bird?” she remembered asking, and they had told her of being taught to fight as a pair; Orophin took ‘leaders and left’ and Rumil took ‘rearguard and right’. After over a thousand years, they said, it was second nature.

“What,” she had then asked, “did Haldir take?” And not only Orophin and Rumil, but the twins as well, had answered simultaneously “Command!”

“You are lost in thought,” said that very ellon. “Were you thinking back to that other place, or forward to when we will come here to live?”

“Neither,” Tindómë answered, and recounted her tale of that earlier journey, right up to, and including, that punch line.

Lady Ferveren laughed out loud, Haldir simply nodded and said “Of course…” and Tindómë thought, again, how unlikely she would have thought this moment even a couple of months ago.

Later that day, as all three gutted and cleaned not only grouse, but hares and a couple of rabbits they had caught between them, she thought, again, of her younger self. Teenaged Dawn might have had no problems with her sister killing demons but she would have been seriously squicked at the idea of gutting birds and animals, or even catching her own fish, which they had also done today. But that girl was only a distant memory now; much further away than the Tindómë who had ridden out of Lothlorien with the twins and the brothers.

That thought reminded her of something she wanted to ask. “Lady Ferveren,” she began, only to be interrupted.

“Tindómë, do you not think, as we have eaten together, bathed together, and slept with our bed-rolls side by side, apart from sharing this current task, that you and Haldir might feel able to omit the ‘Lady’ now? At least whilst we are not in public?”

The other elleth sounded positively plaintive as she made the request and Tindómë thought that, really, it must be odd for no-one to ever just call you by your name. Lady Galadriel’s face came to her mind. She found herself side-tracked by the thought that even Celebrían wouldn’t call Lady Galadriel by her name, as she would call her Naneth… which kind of brought her back to her original question.

“M’kay… Ferveren, then.”

She noticed Haldir simply dip his head in acknowledgement while continuing with his task.

“Ferveren,” Tindómë began again, “How old was Legolas when you… uh…”

“Died?” asked Ferveren. This was, of course, exactly what Tindómë meant.

“I mean, he’s never said. He just says ‘when I was an elfling’ if the subject ever comes up. Which it rarely does. Although I guess that he might have spoken more about it to Haldirin than to me, when Haldirin confirmed that you weren’t a houseless fëa hanging around the Stronghold.”

“He was a little past his eighth begetting day,” Ferveren said, her voice sad.

Tindómë’s thoughts flew to Haldirin at the time she was forced back into her old dimension leaving him with his father. It was Haldir, however, who spoke.

“That would be about the age that Rumil was when our parents were killed. It will be strange to you to encounter your elfling as an ellon fully grown.”

‘Ai,’ thought Tindómë, ‘let’s hope you adapt better than Rumil’s mother did!’

She thought, too, of how very little Rumil remembered of his parents; all he really knew was what others had told him. She wondered whether Legolas would even recognise his mother. Then realised that was a pretty silly idea; she’d recognised Ferveren from portraits of her, after all. But that really wasn’t how you might want your son to recognise you.

It could well, she thought, be an interesting meeting.

……………………………

They picked their way through the mountain range more easily than the two of them had on the outward journey, encountering snow a couple of times, but never having to sleep above the snow-line. It was easier, Haldir commented, to see passes from this side. Which sort of made sense, if these lands had been hidden from anyone on the other side of the mountains since time immemorial. As they rode they saw signs of big cats, as well as another bear, but of more interest were actually mountain goats and wild sheep both on the moorland and, further up, some that Tindómë recognised as a type of Bighorn and Ferveren called ‘snow sheep’.

“We should be able to domesticate both goats and sheep,” Ferveren said, “and so we would have milk, and wool for weaving. It might be possible to bring cattle through the ranges of mountains as well. But perhaps we do not need to even consider that. We should be able to use goat hide for boot leather.”

“I think there might be buffalo,” Tindómë contributed.

“Buffalo?” Ferveren had not met such an animal.

Tindómë described them along with the image she had seen, when she rode with Tulkas, of plains where buffalo might roam. If some of the elves wanted to live outside the forests, or near the fringes, they might be able to hunt the occasional buffalo for milk or hide, but better again, perhaps, to try to domesticate some to provide milk.

All in all, they decided as they rode, these lands would provide most of what they might require for a good lifestyle. The days passed pleasantly in noticing new things, and making broad plans to bring other elves here; the nights passed with easy conversation, until they were out of the great range and facing the much narrower band of land before they reached the next range.

Further north than when they had made the journey previously, this time their route took them into the forested area, north of the central plain, that they had noted last time before travelling through trees further to the south. Here there were tall spruce, firs, and cedars. All the trees hummed gently with pleasure as they passed, as if they had been waiting for elves to come, but Haldir confirmed to Tindómë, when she asked him whilst out of their companion’s earshot, that the trees here did not differentiate between Ferveren and himself or Tindómë, unlike the trees they had left on the other side of the mountains. These trees did not recognise her as ‘royalty’ in the way those others did.

“Once across this forest,” Haldir said that night, “we cross the range from which the Noldor mine metals, then we should find ourselves only days from the coast… but with the Pelori between us and our goal.”

“Ceryn Manwë! I’d almost forgotten about the Pelori,” Tindómë replied. “Does that mean we need to travel down towards Valimar and Tirion so that we can cross?”

“So we have been led to believe, from the maps. But then, as you said from the start of this venture, the maps are not a lot of help. Let us look for a means to cross the Pelori without the need to use the accepted route.”

Haldir paused for a moment and then went on, “Whilst I am sure Valimar might be a pleasant respite for us it would delay us and I am sure,” he looked towards Ferveren, “that you would wish to be reunited with Legolas as soon as possible. I am sure, too, that My Lady would welcome you to her estate. But there would doubtless, then, be a number of polite and political meetings before we could move on. Although a messenger could be sent to Alqualondë so that Legolas could come to you there…”

“I would prefer to see my son, and spend time with him, before doing so with anyone else,” Ferveren said firmly. “Although I will be pleased to become reacquainted with the Lady of the Galadhrim after that. We will need to discuss the new lands with her; and make use of her connections in Noldorin high society.”

‘Oh yes!’ Tindómë thought, ‘you are certainly not the sort of queen who simply stayed in the background looking decorative. I rather think Lord Námo knew just how useful to your son, and your people, you are going to be now we know there are lands for us!’

……………………………

Some days later Tindómë recalled that conversation – especially her expletive when Haldir had pointed out that they had still to cross the Pelori.

The intervening mountain range had been fairly easily traversed. They found a way across that went no higher than the pass they had used on their journey from the Noldorin mining town and, from a high point, the two elves had been able to see the gold and crystal city of Valimar glinting to the South, confirming where they were.

They had also seen the ruins of Finwë’s stronghold of Formenos, long abandoned, to their North, making it possible to pinpoint their position on the map that Haldir was adding to all the time. They had ridden across the land that lay between them and the back of the great Pelori ‘defensive wall’, and had seen little sign that other elves came that way very often, and had slept in a pleasant clearing beside a small stream.

Tindómë was woken not by Ferveren, who had taken the last watch, but by a loud squawk. Opening her eyes and sitting up quickly she realised that a very, very, large eagle was about six feet away from her; more or less eye-ball to eye-ball with Haldir.

And as it squawked a few more times she realised it was ‘talking’. Whether the sounds really were words, or whether it was using a form of ósanwe, she wasn’t sure. Probably the latter, she thought, as if it really did speak one of the Elven languages the chances are it would be Quenya… But, either way, it was pretty clear that it was no ordinary eagle. Whilst she had been taking the head Valar’s name (or possibly genitals) in vain, the chances were that he had been keeping an eye on them. Hopefully, Tindómë thought, not in person… for this was one of Manwë’s eagles, and it had been sent to show them a route over the Pelori.


...................

Ceryn Manwë! - Manwë's Balls!

ósanwe - conversation mind to mind, telepathy.




All comments gratefully received - including pointing out errors!
Mood:: 'tired' tired

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