Hallowed Waters by Certh

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'[T]he forest of Dorthonion rose southward into mountainous moors; and in the east of those highlands there lay a lake, Tarn Aeluin, with wild heaths about it, and all that land was pathless and untamed . . . But the waters of Tarn Aeluin were held in reverence . . . and it was said that Melian herself had hallowed that water in the days of old.'
 - The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 19

She walked the pathless land beneath the first stars of Varda, her feet treading softly upon hidden ways. The night was dark and silence reigned all about her, but she looked neither left nor right.

Then the wild shrubs fell away suddenly, and a wide lake stood before her. Like white bright gems woven in sable velvet, the stars above were mirrored in its calm surface, and the darkness was lessened.

She halted and gazed at it long, a smile softening her face. After a while she drew nearer and looked up at the alder-trees by the water, feeling a gentle breeze upon her skin. She began to sing, a song of peace and growth, but when her eyes turned to the lake, she saw its surface was stained red.

An ill feeling swept over her and her voice faltered. Then, slowly, she began her song anew, singing of virtue and endurance.

* * *

Many years passed since then, and darkness began creeping into the world. The singer sat as Queen by the side of a mighty Elf-king. Protected by her enchantments, their land prospered, and the calm lake among the untamed heaths had fallen from memory. But then her only daughter led a mortal Man before her father's seat, and looking into his eyes, Melian saw a passing flash of red and knew the waters she had once hallowed far in the North were fouled.

'[T]he hiding of Barahir was revealed, and Morgoth drew his net about it; and the Orcs coming in the still hours before dawn surprised the men of Dorthonion and slew them all, save one . . . But as [Beren] drew near the carrion-birds rose from the ground and sat in the alder-trees beside Tarn Aeluin, and croaked in mockery.'
 - The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 19

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