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Child of the Dawn

Chapter 1: Sands of the Desert

by Amara

Disclaimer: I own nothing that is recognizable to the Lord of the Rings franchise. The languages used in this story are Quenya, Primitive Elvish, and Sindarin. These are all owned by J.R.R. Tolkien.

What ARE mine are the original characters and the Darkmen tongue

*NOTE: Some of the dialogue spoken by Sálindë I have changed or edited, especially when speaking later to another Elf. Why write in Elvish when both speak the same language? On with the story. *



Sands of the Desert


The sands of the desert were cool at night, soft and silver in the moon beams; they muffled the sounds of the horse's gait. There was a slight breeze that fanned the rider's hair and robes. The rider lifted a tired head once more to the east, and whispered:

“Look, meldenya: home. Praise the gods: home!”

They had come to a canyon, so vast that its chasm spanned twelve leagues across and sixty leagues deep. The sides were sharp and near vertical, impossible to scale by one's self, let alone with a horse, unless one knew the path. The rider leaned closer to the horse's head, and whispered softly to him in a tongue beautiful and savage.

“Soon, Hravan, soon we will greet our families once more. First the canyon path. Soon.”

The horse seemed to listen intently to the rider's low voice, roughened by exhaustion and exposure to the harsh sands. Giving over to Hravan's knowledge, the rider slumped forward in the saddle, clinging to the long, braided mane of the dark horse. The path was trying during daylight hours, and grueling with the moon's guiding rays. Sharp rocks and massive outcroppings littered the path, spiraling downward at near vertical angles almost the entire journey. More than once the horse stumbled from the familiar trail, snorting away the rising sand particles, and continuing downward.

The night was quiet; despite their descent into the canyon, there was no sign of life stirring. No sounds of insects, no scent of predators, no signs of reason as to why this traveler would choose to enter such a place. After seeming hours, the pair reached the base of the canyon, and began yet another long dark journey through its walls.

*

The hot sun beat down, merciless and pitiless of those caught unawares. None could travel through the desert without suffering the Sun's wrath.

A harsh wind had picked up earlier in the day, causing others to hide in their keeps for shelter, while she was determined to bring news of the threat back to her people. Áravelca would know what to do, who would fight the Abhorrent One once more. She rode for days and nights, stopping only for rest. She rode an Elvish horse, covered leagues each day, yet still time was fading; her people's chance was fading. Men in caravans passed her on her way to her keep. The foolish ones were they who tried to follow her.

/Stupid humans./ she thought, /Have they not heard the stories of those who would hunt one such as I?/

Over dunes and hills of sand she and her horse rode. Whenever she glanced back, there they were. /Men./ she thought furiously in her mind /I will teach them a lesson they will forever regret./ Topping ridge, she reigned in her horse just beneath the outcropping. She slipped from the saddle, her blades at the ready, and waited for the Men to catch up.

Hot sand spilled from above as the humans and their horses flew over above her. The leader pulled up when he saw their quarry was no longer in sight, speaking in a harsh tongue to his comrades. All three of them swung from their saddles to the ground, and began arguing.

With a grim smile, she cast a look to her horse, nodded her head, and strode out from beneath the ledge.

*

They jumped when they saw her standing there, so cold and grim, not at all like the easy capture their leader had convinced them they would have. Instead of a meek Elvish maiden for the taking, this demon had swords. The demon called out:

"Gea khon'vak, Moratan?" (What do you want, Darkman?)

Their leader answered with a fake smile:

"Sh'ishida vá khaiva opiri hanuj. Centisilm klo wenwir." (There is a bounty on all Elves. One hundred silvers for every catch.)

If possible, the demon's eyes began to glow silver fire as she answered in a voice cold as winter ice:

"Khonvila centipar gogor rhothi hassen." (It appears your lives aren't worth more.)

*

Raising her blades to the sun, she charged at the three Men. Crying aloud, she sliced an arc in the air as she aimed at the nearest head. Ignoring the sickening thud that accompanied her success, she flew at the next nearest human. This one was more prepared than his friend, and was at first successful in parrying her blows, but her skill soon outmatched his.

Executing a spin, she crouched to the ground and kicked out a leg, causing him to fall hard on the sand. Quickly, she cried aloud again and thrust her right sword into his heart. Pulling out her blade, she turned around to face the leader.

Sweat dripped from her brow as she fought with him under the hot sun. Blood from both warriors dripped onto the blistering sands as each wounded the other. She was quick and light around her enemy, dodging his attacks and lashing out with her own.

Finally, she slammed her left blade against his so violently they became locked together in a vicious battle of strength. He desperately tried to stop its descent, as its target was his neck. Screaming aloud, she buried her right blade into his belly, the force behind it so intense it broke through his armor.

He made a grunt, and with his grip on his sword loosening, she sliced through his neck with a powerful thrust, severing his head. Panting from both exertion and loss of blood, she stumbled back to her mount, searching for her pack. Ripping a set of clothes from the haversack, she tore strips from the shirt and tied her injuries tightly to staunch the flow of blood. Walking a bit unsteadily back out into the sun, she coldly padded through the men's clothing, searching for identification from their cities, or even lords.

Disgusted, she ripped their respective symbols from their clothes, and remounted her horse. Spitting on the ground where the bodies of the Men lay, she turned her mount to the east, and rode off.



Returning Home


All was quiet throughout the canyon as the pair continued through the darkness. The wind breathed lightly through the scattered grasses, its taste dry and warm on the rider’s lips. She breathed in the harsh air, inhaling the familiar scent of sweet grass and wild herbs. By the gods, she had been away from home for too long.

Hravan walked along the familiar path for hours, shying away from the shadows and keeping along the moonlit ground. Tossing his head tiredly, he rounded a bend, halting his weary gait, and waited for his rider to wake.

Jolted from her half-sleeping trance, his rider shook herself and raised her hand to the darkened canyon wall, waiting for the moon to strike the reflector strapped to her palm. As her hand rose, the moon light shining into the canyon was directed into a single beam passing through the shadowed wall. A rumbling began deep inside the canyon, becoming a dull roar that seemed to split the walls asunder as an opening appeared within the solid rock, large enough for her and Hravan to pass through.

Gently spurring the horse’s side, they entered the even darker gloom under the mountain. Down, down they went, deeper and farther into the darkness. Both knew these shadows: they had played in them as child and colt, had grown to maturity within the security found at the end of their road; neither had need for a light or guiding source, each knew the paths and turns of the cavern as old friends.

Each change of direction brought the pair closer to exhaustion. Wearily, the eyes of the rider closed in fatigue, unflinching even as a cold arrowhead edged its way into her neck.

*

“Those who trespass the land of the Áraquendi are fated to die a painful death if their desire be evil,” came a disembodied voice, “What is thy name, stranger?”

Eyes of silver flickered in the torchlight, their usual color dimmed in weary.

“You know all the names of our kin, Morilír, yet you recall not your sister?”

A dry, weak laugh sounded from the rider’s throat, as she held out a hand to the light he carried:

“Your eyes are weak if they deceive you now, / titta onóro /.”

“Sálindë!” cried the guard, lowering his bow and grasping her hand with one of his own, “I had not thought to look for you for three weeks more; have you urgent word for Áravelca?”

“Yes,” came the exhausted reply.

Gently, he eased his sister out of her saddle, carrying her up a darkened stair of stone, into the guard house. There, he passed into the bedchamber, laying her gently upon the light blanket.

“/ Sérë sin /, Sálindë; I will watch over Hravan, and send word to the Keep. Áravelca will know of your return.”

“Thank you, brother,” she whispered softly, turning her head into her pillow and falling into a deep slumber.

Leaving her to dream, Morilír took himself from the room, climbed down the stone ladder, and ran his hands along the sweaty horse’s flank.

Even with sweat dripping from him, the Elf had to admit that his sister’s horse was a sight to behold. Blacker than the gloom of under the mountains, the horse stood at sixteen hands, taller than most of Áravelca’s stallions. A mane and tail of sable hair, not coarse as most horses, but with fine and soft strands.

Carefully, he set about grooming the exhausted animal, currying him and brushing his face gently, taking great care with picking his diamond-hard hooves. When he was covered in stray horse hair and sweat, Morilír slapped the stallion on the rump in a friendly manner, knowing he could understand such an emotion. Placing water and sweet wild grass before him, Morilír left him to his grazing and once again climbed the stone ladder, this time to the highest point of the sentry-post.

There, at the top, was a beacon made from wood and oil, ready and set to be lit, to send messages to the Keep. Snatching a tinderbox from a convenient niche, he kindled the fire, the tendrils of smoke trailing above him into the crevices and fissures of the mountains. Within seconds, the piled kindling ignited, causing the wood to burn brightly, its brilliance shining out as a beacon among the darkness.

Miles away, the farthest outpost of the Keep lit its answering fire, and Morilír took a specially-made piece of timber from another niche; when forced to burn, it would cause the flames of the blaze to turn red, a signal that a spy had returned from their charge. Silently, he fed the wood to the flames, standing immobile as he watched the flames of / Haira Osto / turn silver in answer. It would not be long until an escort arrived to take his sister to the Keep, he reflected, but it will be enough for her strength to return to her.

*

A.N.:

Note: The language used in this chapter is a mixture of Quenya and Primitive Elvish I found online, courtesy of Ardalambion. The reasons for this language mix will become apparent later.

Hravan = meaning "Wild"

Sálindë = meaning “Firesong”

Morilír = meaning “Blacksong”

Translation:

/ Meldenya / = my friend

/ Titta onóro / = Little brother

/ Sérë sin / = Rest now

/ Haira Osto / = Far-City, name of an outpost

*Note: The tongue of the Men is my own made-up language (don't have ITS name yet)*

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Chapter name
Sands of the Desert
Created
21 Dec 2004
Last Edited
21 Dec 2004
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