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The Dark of Night

Chapter 3: Chapter 3

by ellie

Thanks to my betas: Chrissie, Nerdanel Istarnie

Disclaimer: Most of this is Tolkien's I make no money from this.

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Chapter 3
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Term:
Fëar – spirits

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The messengers made the trek to Lothlorien in a surprisingly short amount of time despite the numbers of the guard accompanying them. The journey had been quiet and blessedly uneventful with only a few brief stops to rest their mounts and refresh their water supply. Everyone relaxed during the day, but come nightfall… the tension was such that no one knew peace or rest. The trees they questioned along the way knew nothing of the “dark of night”, however, they sensed the elves’ apprehension and dutifully kept wild animals at bay to ease the nervous tension.

In spite of the trepidation he felt about traveling with the menace about, Galadin found he feared even more for his kin in Imladris. His parents, his wife and daughters, his brother’s family were all there awaiting their return. But what if Angaril was correct and he and his brother did return? Would Imladris be the same? What if there were more attacks? What if the dark decided that the Calaquendi were not enough to appease its appetite and turned to the Sindar to supplement its diet? Would his family be safe then?

The night before he left, his wife and daughters had curled up with him before the fire, each snuggled as close to him as she could get. Would he ever hold them again?

No, he would not do this to himself! Such fears were foolishness! He would keep the thought of their warmth in his heart and he would do what needed to be done to see to their safety.

Looking up, he realized that the group had finally reached the woods of Lothlorien. The other trees along the way truly had been kind to them on this journey, but would these unknown mellyrn prove to be as helpful?

He reached out with his fëa and felt the strangeness of this wood. There were elves present here, but he did not know exactly where. Their trees dearly loved and protected them, refusing to treat with him at all. These folk were not called the Galadhrim for nothing to own such loyalty from their trees.

The sun began to set, moving the guard to nervousness and greater awareness. Galadin looked around at the warriors surrounding him. Eight of them had been present the night of the attack and they had successfully alarmed the rest of the guard on this journey such that none knew peace – even in a realm guarded by others far removed from whispers of the menace – everyone was now overly nervous beneath trees.

Galadin felt a tingle down his spine. Someone or something was watching them. Glancing again at the guard, he realized they all could feel it. Silently bows were shifted and nocked with arrows while hands moved to the hilts of swords as the wood thickened about them.

Everything was utterly silent. No animals, no insects disturbed the windless forest. The watchers were directly ahead, waiting…completely hidden by the trees. Giant ancient trees which were filled with…amusement?

Galadin lowered his bow, looking around at his fellows’ relieved faces as they relaxed as well, some smiling. They sensed it, too.

Raising his right hand, silently calling for a halt, Galadin called out in Sindarin, “We know you are there. We come from Imladris, bearing important messages from Lord Elrond to be given into your king’s own hand.”

Elves garbed in forest grey dropped from the surrounding trees. Mighty bows as long as each bowman was tall were held at the ready, arrows loosely dangling from long slender fingers, waiting to be fitted to the strings if the order were given. The ellon who was obviously their leader sauntered forth and leaned casually on his bow.

Shaking his head disapprovingly, the elf clicked his tongue and said in a condescending tone, “Two messages from Lord Elrond in as many days. Something must be amiss…” The ellon regarded the group from Imladris appraisingly. “And you certainly are a nervous, heavily-armed folk, are you not? Bringing your weapons to the ready in a realm guarded by your eastern kin. Do you not trust us?” He paused, looking thoughtful for a moment, then continued. “Or perhaps you were planning to attack? Though your numbers are rather small for an invasion force.”

Galadin, remained motionless, patiently tolerating the mocking tones and the amused smiles of the Lorien elves. He could sense the irritation of his comrades in arms, but they remained silent and still as well. The elves of Lorien truly did not know of what had transpired in Imladris or they would not be treating with them so.

The elf continued, still scoffing, “Your other messenger managed to travel here from Imladris all by himself. Who are you and what do you bear that so many “anxious” armed warriors are required in a time of lasting peace?”

Galadin replied, “I am Galadin of the Imladris Guard. We come bearing grave news. The messages we bear are to be given directly into the king’s own hands, as I said before.”

“And why do you need such an escort?” the elf questioned again.

Sighing, Galadin replied, “Because the borders of Imladris are being threatened by an unknown menace and the escort was necessary to see the messages safely out of Imladris.”

The leader straightened, his eyes growing wide in his now sober face. All trace of amusement was gone from his voice when he spoke again. “Have any lives been lost? I recognize you and most if not all of the soldiers accompanying you from the Last Alliance. The members of this guard were not chosen lightly.”

“There have been no deaths that I know of, but there have been many wounded, Lord Glorfindel among them. And, yes, this guard was hand-picked to accompany my brother and me on this journey.”

The elf humbly bowed to the Imladris warriors. “Please forgive my earlier jests. I did not realize the gravity of the situation. You will be escorted to the king immediately.”

“Thank you,” Galadin replied bowing respectfully in return. “An escort would be much appreciated.”

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Leaning back in his chair, King Amroth slid his fingers through his long golden hair, trying to massage the tension from his head. By the Valar, what was he to do? What could he do? Imladris besieged by…by Ungoliant’s children? This could not be possible! And Elrond sounded so desperate and “afraid” in his letter. There had to be something Lorien could do to help. But what?

Rising, he stoked the fire, then poured himself some wine in a crystal goblet. Taking a long drink, he opened the door to his study and called for his servant.

When the ellon arrived, bowing low before his king, Amroth said, “Tell Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel that I need to speak with them in my study immediately. Then bring us some refreshments.”

The servant bowed, “Yes, my lord.”

“Thank you,” Amroth replied.

Alone once again, he returned to his desk and began an agenda for the council meeting he would call after discussing the matter with Celeborn and Galadriel.

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Less than an hour later, Celeborn and Galadriel sat side by side in comfortable chairs, holding hands and staring at their king in dismay. Amroth was not pleased by the way Galadriel had been shaking her beautiful golden head and whispering explicatives the whole time she and her husband read the documents from Imladris.

“I had hoped,” Amroth said, leaning forward and folding his hands on his desk “That after you read this, you might tell me that I was over reacting. However, I can tell by your expressions that you are just as…uncomfortable from reading this news as I find myself to be.”

Celeborn and Galadriel both nodded at him wide-eyed and very serious.

“Do you think this threat will find us here in Lothlorien?”

Sighing, Celeborn replied, “If Elrond’s guess is correct and the creatures are feeding upon the light in the fëar of the Noldor, then it does stand to reason that once Imladris runs out of healthy Noldor, this threat may indeed eventually find its way here.” He noticeably tightened his grip on his wife’s hand.

Regarding them carefully, Amroth quietly asked, “I know that your daughter and grandchildren are under threat now. Is there anything we can do from here to aid them in Imladris?”

Celeborn replied, “I do not know.” His ageless clear blue eyes took on a far away look. “I remember that Eärendil told me that he had used 10 arrows and his sword to kill Ungoliant when he found her secret caves far in the South. That was on the second to the last voyage he made before the Havens at Sirion fell. He was telling us the tales while cuddling young Elros on his lap as Elwing was clutching a sleeping little Elrond to her breast. It always upset her to hear the stories of her husband’s adventures on the sea while she waited alone with the twins for him to return. Then the voyage after the next, he did not return home again.”

Celeborn paused for a long drink from his glass, then continued. “I also remember Beren telling of his time wandering the Mountains of Terror near Doriath before he first met Luthien. He told us about fighting huge spider-like creatures. We were in awe of Beren’s courage for few had tried those mountains and none had ever returned. It is possible that these beings were relatives of Ungoliant’s as well and we just did not make the association at the time.”

They all sat in silence reminiscing, when Celeborn suddenly turned to Galadriel. “My lady, tell me again what the Valar had proposed to do to heal the Two Trees when Ungoliant stole their light?”

Galadriel seemed surprised at first and took a moment to recover for she obviously had been sharing Celeborn’s memory. She looked thoughtful for a time then replied, “Nienna had cried over the Trees washing away the poison of Ungoliant. Then Yavanna asked my Uncle Fëanor for his Silmarils. She said that because they contained the unblemished light of the Two Trees, she could break them open and return the light to the Trees. Then the Trees would be healed again and the darkness would vanish away. Fëanor refused her, but then it was discovered that his refusal mattered little anyway for Morgoth had stolen the Silmarils and disappeared from Aman.”

Amroth smiled blandly then commented, “Well, we appear to be fresh out of Silmarils with Maglor’s Silmaril in the ocean, Maedhros’ Silmaril in the earth, and Eärendil’s in the heavens…So now what do we do?”

Celeborn looked at him oddly. “We are not trying to heal holy trees here, fortunately. We are trying to slay Ungoliant’s descendants and heal broken fëar.”

Wonder filled Galadriel’s face as she regarded her king. “Oh, but Celeborn, Amroth has a point, and a very valid one at that. Oh! But how to make it work…” her voice fell to a whisper. “How to make it work…”

Amroth chuckled. “I was being sarcastic, Galadriel. I was not seriously proposing that we use Silmarils to heal what Ungoliant’s offspring have wounded.”

Galadriel placed her free hand on her mouth, slowly shaking her head. “Oh, but Amroth… I am… I am.”

Abruptly she released Celeborn’s hand and rose from her chair. One arm across her waist and the fingers of her other hand tapping her lips, she paced the room several times. Over and over she whispered, “How to make it work…How… and then…then how to transport it…How…How.”

For some minutes Amroth and Celeborn watched her walk a path six paces away, turn, six paces back, turn, six paces away, turn, six paces back. Afraid to disturb her, Amroth looked questioningly at Celeborn who responded by shrugging his shoulders and shaking his head in denial. Amroth refilled Celeborn’s glass and his own and they sat back and watched her tread the rug in front of the fire.

Suddenly she stopped, an expression of eureka lighting her face. “Of course!” she exclaimed, her fist pounding the air.

“My king, may I please be excused? I think I know now what needs to be done, and Oh! It might, it just might…Please, my lord,” she begged, “May I have your leave?”

Staring at her oddly, Amroth exchanged a brief curious glance with Celeborn who looked as confused as he felt. “Yes. You have my leave. You may go.”

“Thank you! Thank you, my lord,” she said breathlessly giving a quick courtesy and practically running from the room.

Celeborn looked at Amroth, put up his hands in defeat and shook his head. “I do not know, my lord. But she obviously knows what she is about. I seriously doubt she will desire my company any time soon. Would you like some help with the agenda for the council meeting?”

“Certainly,” Amroth replied, and they set to work.

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Chapter 3
Created
15 Oct 2006
Last Edited
15 Oct 2006
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