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Son of Kings, The: 1. The Lays Of Suethien
Of him the flighty Tehta sings.
This is the tale of Suethien, Luthien's twin sister, and Ereinion, the Son Of Kings.
Luthien and Suethien were not identical twins. No, for Suethien was by far the prettier. In fact, she was so beautiful that watching her and Luthien play together was like watching Varda Elentari play with Ungoliant the Spider Queen. This often made Luthien cry. Suethien, who was as kind as she was beautiful, thought that her sister's sobbing was the saddest sound anyone had ever heard: and so, pitying her sister, she hid herself away in the leafiest part of Doriath.
This is why you have not heard of her. Just in case you were wondering.
Now, Suethien's self-imposed exile was not as boring as it sounds, for she was wise and given to prophetic dreams; the visions she saw in her dreams kept her informed as to what would soon be happening in Middle-Earth, and provided her with some much-needed entertainment. Suethien dreamt of young love, and of battle, and of the great works of the Eldar. The battle dreams often bored her, for they were repetitive: indeed, there was this one recurring vision of an orc getting speared that made her suspect that they were often reruns. She preferred the romantic dreams, for she was of soft heart and fiery blood; and she also liked action-adventure, especially when it involved the valiant, hunky, and, occasionally, naked men of the Noldor.
One fateful year, Suethien had two particularly important dreams.
First, she dreamed that her sister's true love had been born. At the end of the dream, she saw a brief preview of her sister's upcoming trials. Suethien, who had, by then, developed a keen critical eye where action-adventure was concerned, thought that the plot of that particular story was rather too heavily dependent on the dog. However, she repressed this idea, for Luthien's future happiness filled her with joy -- all the more so since, now that her plainer sister was about to find a husband, Suethien herself felt that she could finally leave her leafy grove. However, before doing so, she decided to cut her hair, which had grown unfashionably long over all those years of dreaming, and weave it into a slinky dress.
She sang as she wove the dress, focusing all her power on ensuring that the dress would never get stained or wrinkled. On the night when her creation was finally finished, Suethien, exhausted by her labours, dropped off into prophetic slumber once more. This time, her dream was far more sinister: she saw battles lost, sweeping flames, and strongholds overran; and she saw also gorgeous, virile men slain, wounded, and weeping for lost brothers-in-arms. The last part distracted her a bit, like it does, but, still, when she woke from her fevered visions, she realized the horror of it all: she realized that many of the great Kings were about to die, leaving no suitable heirs.
Truly, it was a tragedy in the making, for who could unite all the leftover Elves?
Fortunately, Suethien was wise. When she looked at the dress she had been using as a pillow, she realized that this was one tragedy she could easily avert. Inspired by the example of her poor spidery sister, who would soon wrestle a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown, she stood up tall and spoke this fateful oath:
Be he Noldo or Teler, be he dark or fair, brood of Feanor or dark Sinda
Neither law nor love nor league of swords, dread nor danger, not doom itself,
Shall defend him from the beauty, wisdom, and accommodating kindness of Suethien,
(Not to mention the sex tricks she has learnt from her dreams)
Whosoever among the male Eldar is mighty and fair.
This I swear: I will give the Elven Lords an heir!
Then she altered the dress slightly, lowering it a bit *here* and raising it a bit *there*, and left the forest.
Suethien traveled far and wide, from forest to seashore, from fortress to cave. Everywhere she went, she asked to speak briefly to the ruling lord: and every lord she spoke to received a beautiful, hand-written invitation to a private party. And so great was Suethien's beauty that every one of those lords filled out his RSVP card promptly, in most cases before she had even left the room. Playful Cirdan even attempted to tuck the card into the bosom of her dress.
And thus it came to pass that, in the spring of the four hundredth forty fourth year of the First Age, a great party was held at the tower of Minas Tirith. Suethien chose that location because she liked the tower's proud, thrusting shape; and also because its lord, Orodreth, promised to provide all the dwarvish ale she wanted, as well as to handle all the post-party clean-up. It was very thoughtful of him, Suethien thought, and also rather clever, for she certainly would never have invited him had he not been the host. He was only a minor lord, after all, and she wanted the best!
It would be indelicate to speak of the events that took place at the party in any great detail. Let us therefore simply list the lords who came there. Orodreth we have already mentioned, and Suethien was glad to see him, and treated his tower kindly. His kinsman Finrod was there as well, a natural blond skilled at finding concealment in caves; and Turgon proved that he was at least as skilled at seeking out hidden valleys. Cirdan, the playful sailor, demonstrated that the Teleri have natural rhythm. Fingon and Maedhros the Tall came (and left) together. Sadly, Oropher of Greenwood came too late, and thus never came at all.
Feeling very pleased that her dress was stain- and wrinkle-proof, Suethien returned to her leafy woods where, a year later, she gave birth to a baby boy. He looked exactly as she had hoped: for he had dark hair, just like her own, and no major distinguishing marks. She took great delight in her child for about fifteen minutes, at which point his yells made her realize just how hard it is to combine family with the professional career of a prophetic dreamer. Ever wise, Suethien decided that the child would benefit from a more conventional upbringing. She looked through her RSVP slips, pondering her choices; then she remembered a recent vision she had received, of the coronation of a new High King.
A few days later, Fingon, alerted by the shout of an Eagle, stepped out onto his balcony to find a small basket and a note. Now, greedy people, when given both a present and a card, open the present first. Fingon, however, was noble rather than greedy, and so he opened the note, which read:
Dear Fingon, my 'skilled hero',
Meet your heir! I have named him Ereinion (Scion of Kings). Clever, no?
PS. I'd like to give him armour for his fiftieth birthday -- send me the measurements, would you?
Fingon picked up the basket, and went back inside to talk to his cousin Maedhros, with whom he had been holding conference. They decided that, since it was unlikely that either of them would be producing an heir anytime soon -- what with all the conferences they had to hold, and all -- they might as well foster the child. Unfortunately, Ereinion later developed a fondness for toy boats. This dredged up some painful memories for the two cousins, so they had to get rid of him; but at least they felt no guilt over sending him along to Cirdan.
The rest of the tale, you probably know. For one, I am sure you know that Ereinion was actually rather ashamed of what his name revealed, and changed it at the earliest opportunity.
The Silmarillion says Gil-Galad was the son of Fingon, but Christopher Tolkien says that his father's final choice was Orodreth, and that several other possibilities (e.g., Finrod) were considered. It's almost like no-one was willing to admit their paternity, or to deny it outright...
All feedback is cherished.
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