B2MEM 2011 March 20 - Daughters of Doriath by Kaylee Arafinwiel

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Story Notes:

Aewellond, "Bird-haven", is a name borrowed from Fiondil's works. This may not be what he has envisioned, but it inspired me...as did his visions of Reborn elves. The POV wanders a little...that's the Muse's fault. Hopefully it's still all right.


Aunt Melian suggested I make the journey, now that I have regained my strength, to the Tower of Aewellond, where the seabirds flock round, day and night. I have been warmly welcomed by the gatewardens of the settlement, though I know not how their Lord and Lady will perceive me....    

"Our Lord is absent," Falathar said, and Celebrian smiled faintly as she realised what the Elf meant. "Oh, yes...of course," she agreed. "Your Lady...she will receive me?"   Falathar and his companion, Erellont, nodded affirmation. "She is expecting you even now, beloved Lady. It has been long since she has seen aught of her kindred."   It was Erellont who had spoken, and Celebrian graced him with a shy smile. "I hope she will not expect too much of me," she murmured, and their rearguard, Aearandir, laughed merrily, casting her a reassuring look. "Nay, Lady, she will not force her expectations on others. She will be pleased to see you, and to know you."    


So it proved. It took many days for us to reach Aewellond; it was situated in and around a cavern by the seashore, near to the Tower where Elwing had dwelt betimes. It appeared that now the Lord of Aewellond and its Lady lived not in the tower itself, but in a grand house near to the structure. The edifice was built mainly of sandstone and limestone, both of which occurred naturally in the region.


When I was conducted into the grand house...I could not quite call it a mansion, but near enough...I was met first of all by an elleth who was clearly of Sindarin descent. She gave me her obeisance and greeted us in the name of Lady Elwing. "I am Saelrien," she said, "the Lady's chief attendant, and she is waiting to receive you, Lady Celebrian." That gave me pause.  


I understood that I had been expected, but as yet, I did not understand how so. As far as I knew, it had been my idea to visit my kinswoman...or had it? Narrowing my eyes suspiciously, I glanced around as though my scrutiny might reveal a hidden Maia who had turned my thoughts to such a plan, and forewarned Elwing of my coming.    


A merry laugh interrupted Celebrian's suspicious thoughts. "Well, now...are you just going to stand on my doorstep, or do you intend to come in?" Celebrian turned sharply to find the Lady of Aewellond standing in the doorway. Her dark hair flowed down her back, unadorned save for two dark plaits which had been secured round the crown of her head, pale pink rosebuds threaded through them. She wore an overgown of pink and blue silk, the colors shading into each other until Celebrian could not tell where one ended and the other began. The sleeves, tight to the wrist, were slashed and the sides of Elwing's gown were slit to the hips so her undergown of pale green was visible. The same green trimmed the hem, sleeves and collar of Elwing's overgown, and Celebrian thought all in all, the soft colors suited Elwing very well.   Blushing, Celebrian nodded and came to meet the Lady.


"I am sorry, Lady Elwing," she said softly. "I did not mean to present myself improperly." Elwing shook her head and smiled gently at Celebrian.   "Enough of that, now. I was hoping you would be able to help me, my child," Elwing murmured. "I know you seek a purpose, now you are healing, and I would give you one." Celebrian blinked; once, twice. "What do you know about my thoughts? Meaning no disrespect," she added hastily, blushing again.  


"Oh yes, you did," Elwing said wryly, eyes sparkling with mirth. "A more opinionated young hoyden of a tomboyish elleth I've not heard of...save for myself," she allowed, "much to Saelrien's eternal dismay," she added, laughing again as Saelrien threw her a long-suffering look.  


"I wish I was back in Mandos," Saelrien muttered. "Two of you? You might as well just put me back there at once." All of a sudden the temperature of the room seemed to drop, and all six of them...Elwing, Celebrian, Saelrien and the three ellyn...froze as the Lord of Mandos appeared before them.   "What is this, Daughter?" he said mildly, though all those present could hear the hint of steel in his tone, and Saelrien winced visibly. "What hast thou been told about wishing such on thyself?"


"I'm sorry, Lord...I did not mean..." Saelrien dropped her gaze.
"But thou didst, if only for a moment," Namo said gravely. "What would thy lady think if thou hadst managed to leave her?" Tears pooled in Saelrien's eyes, and she began to weep freely.


"I'm sorry, my lord...my lady..."
"Hush now, Saelrien," Elwing said, gathering her distraught companion in her arms and holding her tightly. "It is well, I promise. Thou hast not left me," she said, speaking more formally. "Thou shalt not leave me, but remain true to my service and thine oath, is it not so?" Saelrien could only nod.  


"I am sorry," Saelrien whispered, going to her knees in supplication before the Vala and her lady. "I will not treat my re-embodiment so lightly again."
"Then all is well between me and thee, Daughter," Elwing said solicitously, giving the kneeling Saelrien a kiss on the brow, liege to vassal. Saelrien, not reeling from shock as much, thought the term rather incongruous...after all, she had raised Elwing from infancy. But she did not contest the term.  


  I watched this drama play out before me, and at the last, I could not help laughing. I managed to stifle it, but not quickly enough, for Lady Elwing turned to me reprovingly. "Come here, Daughter," she said, and I blushed. Of course, she had every right to call *me* so, and I could not question it as Saelrien might. She gestured for Saelrien to rise, and the elleth stepped out of the way as I stood before Lady Elwing.   "Did you find something amusing?" Elwing asked, in the tone I vow she must have learnt from the Vala who so recently stood before us. Speaking of Hir Namo...I glanced around, and saw no sign of him. "W-where did..."


"Hir Namo's business is not mine," Lady Elwing said. "Perhaps he is off seeing to preventing the collision of galaxies elsewhere in Ea." I blinked.


Elwing waved her hand dismissively. "Never mind. I have no real idea of what it means, just something the Valar have discussed with Earendil previously." Uncertainly, I nodded.


"So," she resumed without preamble, "did you find something particularly amusing?" I squirmed.
"Well...not exactly, my lady...er..." Elwing was shaking her head at me in disapproval.
"I am not your lady, Celebrian. Try again."


"My Princess?"
Elwing looked at me in exasperation. "Elfling..."
The tone reminded me so of my own naneth that I responded without thinking. "Yes, Nana..." My eyes widened and I turned away.
"'Cousin' will do, if you like," Elwing replied, a sympathetic smile on her face as she turned me to face her. "You miss her."


"Very much," I said softly. "She was the strongest elleth I knew. A leader never to be denied." I paused. "Except maybe by Niniel."   "Niniel," Elwing muttered wryly. "I remember Aunt Galadriel. Of course I remember Niniel. She and Saelrien got on splendidly."


"But...Saelrien's a Sinda!" I sputtered. "Yes," Elwing said softly. "She is." A meaningful look passed between us, and I turned to look at Saelrien, eyes widening as I understood. "Sirion."


"Sirion," Elwing agreed, tears in her own eyes.   Niniel had once had a friend among the Sindar, then...I slowly followed my former nurse's logic, if it could be called that, piecing together the chain of events. Saelrien had died at Sirion. Perhaps Niniel had even seen it happen. And the Sindar who died at Sirion were slain because of the Silmaril. The Silmaril that rightly belonged to Feanor, though Niniel did not agree that it was right to kill to get it. She did say the Sindar were fools for not handing it over, though, and had brought it on themselves...especially...I winced, not wanting to finish that sentence even in my head.


"I know she blamed me, and no doubt my sons," Elwing said softly. I sighed and nodded. "She...um, never did think much of Elrond." I sighed. "I am sorry."   "There is no need for apologies. Let there be peace and friendship between us," Elwing replied. "And to business, if you are agreeable, Cousin."


I nodded. "There has been a little too much excitement today," I admitted ruefully. Elwing poured three goblets of wine from a decanter and the three of us sat at the table together. "I am afraid things may often be exciting, my dear," she said, laughing softly.  


"I am not particularly used to things being that exciting, unless the excitement is instigated by elflings," I said, and Elwing smiled. "Well, we certainly have plenty of those, whether they are elflings in truth or not. Many of our number are those who have been Reborn, such as Saelrien," she explained. "Most of them died at Sirion, but others died at Doriath or Gondolin. Nearly all of them claimed Aran Thingol, or Earendil's grandfather Turgon, as their lord."
I nodded cautiously. "And what do you want with me concerning these...elflings?" I asked warily.


"Be there for them," Elwing said simply. "Teach them what it is to live again. It has been long since you claimed a position of leadership."
"But I do not want..."


"You wanted a purpose, Cousin," Elwing said reprovingly. "I have given you the one ordained for you."


"I can try," I replied. Elwing smiled.
"And that is all the Valar...and Iluvatar...ever ask of us," she replied. "I will help you get settled in."


"Thank you." And with that, I followed Elwing as she brought me to the suite she'd had prepared; soon, I would meet my charges. Well, this was certainly a new adventure...   The End (or TBC, depending on the prompts)

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