1. Chapter One
The waves ran down smoothly from the shore, leaving the damp sand a deep burnished gold. Alone on the deserted beach, the wandering elf kept to the water's edge, allowing the creamy froth to surge around his feet, and soft sand to ooze up through his toes.
This was Elrohir, the youngest son of Lord Elrond. At nearly a quarter of a century he was well old enough to help in the setting up of the camp, but instead he had elected to escape the mundane task of gathering firewood to explore the cove.
The travelling party had ridden far from the road before halting in the grassy hollows of the furthest dunes. And then, finally out of the shadow of forest or hills, Elrohir had scrambled to the top of the dune and seen the sea for the first time.
After seeing the expanse of blue twinkling in the light of the setting sun, there had been no stopping him. He had not slowed until he was at the waterline, smelling the salt air and stiff drying seaweed.
Although it was now September, the water was warm from the long summer, and wading barefoot through the surf was pleasant after a long day's ride. Laughing, Elrohir kicked at the retreating wave, marvelling as the water flew up in droplets - each reflecting the sun in a perfect golden orb.
It was too beautiful here, the sky went on forever in a dome of cloudless blue - fading only at the horizon as it swept down to meet the sea. Feeling as if he could walk forever, Elrohir carefully stepped around where some small creature was blowing air bubbles and continued along the shore, singing his own song to go with the soft splashing of the sea.
And then, when he paused, he thought that he could hear another voice. Barely audible above the crash of the waves so soft was the tone, and seeming to weave the notes of the sea among the despairing tones, someone was singing laments. So beautiful was the voice that it seemed to Elrohir that he had no choice but to follow it and he set off at a run across the sands.
With an effort Elrohir jumped down onto the sand from his slippery footing on the rocks. He had just clambered over a narrow out-flung stretch of boulders at the base of the cliff, which separated one cove from the next. It had been a treacherous path with the rock slippery with seaweed and slimes and the boulders dispersed randomly among rock pools, necessitating risky leaps.
Brushing off the knees of his leggings, Elrohir peered along the beach, anxious for any sign of the mystery minstrel. The beach was deserted and the song had gone quiet, but Elrohir wasted only a little time on disappointment. Sheer cliffs cut off this small cove from the mainland and the white sands were so smooth that he wondered if he was the first to ever walk this path. Forgetting the reason for his discovery, the elf ran lightly across the soft surface of the sand, delighting in the beauty of the hidden cove.
It was only as he finished exploring his find, and came to rest at the water's edge once more, that he became aware of someone's gaze on him. Shielding his eyes against the red glare of the setting sun he could make out a dark silhouette of an elf, standing watching him. Uncomfortably aware that he may have been observed for a long time, and that the shadow could see a lot more of him than he could of them, Elrohir began walking towards the elf as casually as he could manage.
The sky was getting dark now, the last beams of light that hit the cliffs an angry blood red. The waves were no longer idle either, and pushed purposely against his ankles. As he was driven further up the beach by the rising sea, Elrohir picked up his pace to an anxious trot, and then a run. Only then did the shadow turn to the cliff.
By the time he reached the stretch of boulders, the scene had descended into twilight and the watcher had vanished. Once he had successfully maintained his footing on the first boulder, the true magnitude of the task before him became apparent. What had been a difficult crossing in full light was nigh on impossible in the dark when it was impossible to tell a dark patch of slippery seaweed from its backing. In addition the waves were now crashing against the boulders with enough force to cause the mighty stones to shudder, filling the air with spray.
Moving more rapidly than was safe in his attempt to complete the crossing before the boulders were submerged, Elrohir leapt recklessly from stone to stone. Several times he slipped, and only managed to stay out of the water by skinning his hands and knees in desperate grabs at the barnacle-covered rocks. Often a wave would break against his boulder, the lurch sending him off balance, while angry white froth flew through the darkness before his salt-stung eyes.
One such assault flung him from his slippery perch, splashing into the now tumultuous water of what had been a rock pool. Disorientated and choking up salt water, Elrohir surfaced, realising in a sickening moment that it was only luck that had prevented him from being swept out to sea and dashed against the rocks. He struggled back to temporary safety, blinking back tears that could not be wholly attributed to salt, as he realised that he had lost any sense of direction or where the safe path lay.
It was then that the singing restarted, low at first, but growing in both strength and beauty until it could be heard clearly over the crash of the waves. Wiping his eyes with a wet and bleeding hand, Elrohir looked up to see a dim figure slowly picking his way over the rocks.
Getting to his feet hastily, Elrohir began following the music, copying the shadow foothold for foothold. The figure was moving quickly, too quickly for an elf without full-grown legs to keep up, and eventually Elrohir lost sight of his saviour - but the path was becoming drier and safer now, and by following the fading song he was soon standing with wobbly legs on the sands.
Sitting on the damp sand to catch his breath, Elrohir caught sight of a welcome light making it's way down the beach.
"I am here!" He called cheerfully, wiping his hands on his tunic as he ran over to greet the searching pair.
"It is dinnertime." His father greeted him with a hug. "You fell in?"
"We were just coming to look for you. That brother of yours has threatened to eat all the rabbit." Glorfindel chuckled, as ever looking annoyingly perfect with his golden hair gleaming in the firelight.
"I found a cove of my own." Elrohir said proudly, linking arms with his father as they strode up the dunes. "But the sea came in quickly and I did not know where to go. But then I followed someone across the rocks."
Elrond laughed and shook his head, leaning over to ruffle his son's hair. Elrohir was so imaginative.
"Daydreamer. Nobody else passed this way."
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.