DarkElf and the People of Hador
I II III IV
DarkElf Inkletry: DarkElf and the People of Hador
"Who are you?" I noticed that the sword I had been carrying was now
held comfortably in my hand; the hilt was warm and correct, as if made
to fit the contours of my closed fist. The blade gleamed brightly
though there was little light, as the sun had faded into the sea and
twilight was upon us. Deliberately I lowered the weapon and then took
it by the blade again, point-down between me and the two strangers, and
spoke again, "Name yourselves."
"Do you not know me, Dínfaroth? I am Mirdan, of the House of
Finarfin. Here is Inglorion, of the House of Finrod." The other Elf who
had not yet spoken nodded, and I realized why I had found them familar.
Both were dressed in the manner of the Telari, but bore accents and
acoutriments such as were once made in Gondolin. "We are in service to
King Ereinion. He has sent us and many others to seek for you." Mirdan
eyed me over the sword I held, while Inglorion looked on with reserved
curiousity. "That is the weapon of a prince, my lady. Where did you
I heaved a sigh and let my shoulders drop. "If I must come to Ereinion
at this time, then the tale will be told before his court and not
earlier. I have no desire to linger here until the last ship sails!" My
temper soared away from me, and I gripped the sword tightly, ignoring
the burning inside my fists.
Both Elves bow low. Mirdan says "There is no need for anger, my lady.
Your safety is a great concern to Ereinion and those close to him. Your
presence is requested but not demanded. Come if you will."
Inglorion stepped close to me and held out his hand. "You need not
surrender the sword, but let us help you. You are weary. We will show
you to a place where you can rest."
"Take me to the King," I said, my voice weak even in my own ears. I
looked down at my hands and saw that they were clenched around Maglor's
blade. My blood leaked down the bright arc of steel and flew off the
tip like sweat. I blinked; the pain seemed to reach me slowly through a
haze of darkness.
"Rest first, lady," Mirdan implored. He reached up to his shoulders and
unfastened his cloak in a fluid motion. He placed the warm cloth over
my shoulders, then spoke to Inglorion. "You will be welcome in any
dwelling in Mithlond. There is an encampment nearby of the people of
Hador. I bid you wait for me there. I will take a message ahead." He
touched his heart with an open palm and bowed again. I watched him
Inglorion regarded me still with his curious stare. After a few
moments, he gestured for me to come with him. We walked the distance in
silence, but it was not uncomfortable. This Elf seemed to share my
desire for quiet, or perhaps he listened for something. I was too tired
to talk, as if my weariness had caught me up. I shifted the cloak about
me closer, leaving a rusty stain on the fine material.
It was dark by the time we reached the encampment. Fires lit within the
circle of tents flickered golden and red, and I was reminded of the
burning of Gondolin suddenly. I stopped full in my steps, the cloak
slipping from my shoulders. Inglorion said nothing. He picked up the
cloak and draped it over me again, then took my elbow gently and led me
Part Two: Bad Memories
"Water, please. And any food you might have ready."
I hear voices distantly. I am vaguely aware that I am sitting beneath a
cloth canopy. There is a blazing fire in front of me, and Mirdan's
cloak is still wrapped around my shoulders. My skin feels like ice, but
inside I am burning, burning with the memories of Gondolin. There is
singing and laughing nearby, but it comes to my ears as the shrieks of
orcs drunk with victory... the searing roar of dragons... the crush of
their weight on the Hill of Glass.... I know it is but a vision of the
past; that is why I do not myself scream. I could not weigh the hearts
of those around me by speaking of this, even if I could find the words,
but if I were but a little less in strength, I would have let sound
those cries that once I could not utter on that horrible day. Weak I
am, but not wholly without control. Why do these visions come to me
now, so long after that event and so soon after yet another terrible
battle? Beleriand drowns, but Gondolin burns yet in my heart.
There is a cool weight in my hands. Maglor's sword. Amusing how it
gleams beautifully even when stained with blood. I notice then that my
palms are deeply cut. I lay the weapon across my knees and examine the
streaks on my skin. I had not before realized how darkly blood dried,
nor how vividly pale my flesh is now.
I hear then the sound of water singing in a basin. Musically dripping,
drops of wetness fly up like sparks from an eager fire. Someone is
bathing my hands, and they are very gentle. The smell of the water is
maddening. I lift my right hand to my mouth, touching the cool liquid
to my lips.
"No, lady. Drink this." A cup is held to my lips. The draught of water sends my head spinning as if it were strong wine.
The horrors of Gondolin fade back into the flames, and the shapes and
shadows around me become clear. There are several Men near me. One of
their womenfolk is kneeling next to me, binding my cuts with clean
strips of cloth. I see now that the awning above is a wide circular
tent, with a great hole in the center to permit the smoke from the fire
to exit. Beyond the flames of that fire I now see the Elf who brought
me here, speaking with two Men.
Inglorion's hair is pale gold, like the silk of corn-ears, and it seems
almost silver in the light. He listens earnestly to the speech of the
taller of the two Men. That one is almost equal in height to the Elf,
and his bare arms are thickly muscled. His hair is yellow like straw,
long and unkept. His rainment is martial, with armour covering his
shoulders, neck, wrists, and waist. A mighty spear stands ready in his
hand, its point gleams over his head like a star.
Part Three: The Folk of the Spear
The dreaming leaves me aware and with myself, sitting by a fire in the
tent of Lórin, leader of the folk of Hador. Inglorion introduces
me when he sees the mists cleared from my eyes.
To my surprise, this tall man bows and lays his spear on the ground at
my feet. In a clear voice that says more of his strength than his
sinewy stature, he welcomes me.
"This is my home, a humble tent adequate for the needs of my people but
with your presence, Lady, it has become a palace." He touches his
fingers to his brow and bows again.
"No finer structure have I ever been within, be it king's hall or
mansion," I respond earnestly, "for not in graven stone or carved
furnishing is comfort found, but in the answering of need and the gift
Rough though they may live, the folk are no savages; rather they are
able and unpresumptuous, taking what they need from the land and
showing no greed or excess. Their children are many, and run happily
throughout the encampment, spreading their merriment with infectious
laughter. They are each of them marked by the War we have all survived,
but these badges are bourne with both humility and pride. The tents and
campfires spread out in all directions, and I see that they seek no
more permanent homes than their woven awnings.
"We have been promised a place of our own, a land of Gift that the
Herald has sung of to us," Lórin sits next to me and tells the
tale of his people. "Long ago my grandfathers followed Marach over the
mountains, and there we swore the service of our folk to Lord
Fingolfin. For many generations did we serve and though none now alive
remember those days but in dreams of glory, we will ever serve those
Powers which have freed us from the Enemy. One day of peace is worth
ten years of war.
"When we reach that place promised to us, I will build a home for my
family with a window that looks to the West, and upon every blessing we
come to know we will send thanks to Those who delivered us from beneath
Morgoth's heel. And we will have a view to the East as well, for we
shall not forget this brave and raw land which birthed us. Nor the Fair
Folk who have taught us much and allowed us to live and serve without
yolk or tax."
Inglorion's head turned then toward the entrance, and he stood in a
fluid motion. Mirdan had arrived. He bowed to Lórin, who
returned this with a grace tha belied his girth and strength. Mirdan
turned his eyes toward me, and I saw therein a glint of amusement and
"Thou art recovered, my Lady? I could have been gone a year instead of a few hours, so much are you restored."
"Such is the comfort of Lord Lórin's palace by the Sea. I have
found here all that need could beg, and kindness unlooked for. I am
well." And I am, for I rise to my feet easily, my strength returned.
"Loath though I am to depart from this restful place, I would go on and
find my own Lord, for it is over-long since our last meeting."
"I have come with news for you to hear, Dínfaroth. Let us take
our leave and go, and I will fill your ears as we walk. Let no shadow
fall on your heart," he said quickly. "Fingol Glorfindel sends tidings
I believe you will be pleased to hear."
Inglorion comes to me and offers me Maglor's sword, which he has
guarded well. My hands are wound in cloth and clumsy, but I take the
weapon from him and bow. "I will be glad to be departed of this burden,
for this sword cuts the wielder as deeply as the opponent. But first I
have other business."
To Lórin I offer a salute. "Would that I could repay your
kindess, my lord. I will remember long this night, and perhaps I will
come someday and see how your children have grown, and look out upon
the view of your House in the Land of Gift."
"I will keep a place for you there, lady. Your grace is a gift to us."
And so I parted from Lórin's folk for that time.
Part Four: DarkElf and the Halethrim
Inglorion's hand did not quite touch my elbow, but he strayed not more
than a short distance as we walked. I was steady upon my feet, but my
head turned back toward the city of canvas and the laughter of the
little ones, playing their innocent games into the night. I recalled
that once the Eldar once played so, in the night that held no fear,
before Sun or Moon drew the designs of Time upon the world. Being among
these mortals even for such a short time gave me the feeling of being
both young and ancient. I let Inglorion guide me.
Once beyond the encampment, the hills became more rugged and adorned
with thick groves of evergreen. We pressed landward away from the sea,
but found it again spilling in an azure cloud to one side of our path.
A deep bay had formed between the arms of the mountains, flooding far
inland. Fires flickered like small stars along the waters and winked up
on the heights. The land between groves and stretches of grass was pale
under the moonlight. How it must gleam when the sun touches upon it.
As we walk, Mirdan speaks to me. "I have come in haste from a meeting
with my Lord Ereinion. All efforts now are geared toward the building
of ships for the sailing. The Herald has proclaimed that the Land of
Gift is being made ready. When the time is right, Lord Cirdan will sail
his fleet to bring them to that home. It will take many seasons to
build so many ships, and many materials that will soon become short of
supply." He touched the bole of a young tree as we threaded through a
woody area. "It grieves me to think that so many trees will be cut for
"It is an irony that so much wood that might have fostered many fleets
of ships now cover the new seabed that was once Beleriand," Inglorion
says softly. "If only we could persuade Lord Ulmo to pull back those
waves for a time. I would not see this land denuded for I, like many,
would remain for a time on this shore."
We walk through a grove of trees that tangle across our path. Instinct
plucks at my mind, noting the shapes that lie in that darkness and the
soft breaths that cannot be hidden. "We are being watched, Mirdan."
"Do not be alarmed. They are Halethrim. We must cross their encampment
to come to... our goal. They will not harm or delay us." Mirdan leads
on, but I cast my eyes about, noting the gleaming of starlight on
wickedly sharp arrows, the silken sheen of moonlight caught upon a
tightly drawn bowstring. The space between my shoulderblades begins to
itch. I swallow and try to moisten my dry mouth, following Mirdan.
Inglorion notes my discomfort. "The people of Haleth have suffered much
at the hands of Morgoth; it is hard for them to set aside suspicion.
But I say to you that I know them well, having dwelt among them for a
time. They will not fire upon us but will rather protect us. Fortune
followed you into the wild, Dínfaroth, for not all these lands
are utterly free of orcs and other ill-got creatures."
We continue on without further conversation. The shadows pace us, but
my fear has passed. Now and then I glimpse them, these shy Men, dressed
in forest finery and complimenting colours. Their skin is sun-touched
dark, and their hair is black or brown. They are lithe and spare,
though not less in strength. Like the Eldar they move, at home in the
trees, and though they cannot tread as one of us, what trail is left is
cleverly disguised. I wonder where they have learned their lore, and I
feel a desire to come to know them better. What tales might they tell
by their midnight fires?