In the Dark Wood: 1. In the Dark Wood

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1. In the Dark Wood

I have been wandering for hours now and there is no light filtering down through the treetops clustered tightly overhead. Something strange is at work here, for I cannot find the path on which I entered. A barely discernible power is entwined amongst the trees, and whatever direction I travel I am forced ever deeper into this forest. My cousin’s people say that this place, Nan Elmoth, is one to be avoided; for dark creatures roam unguarded areas of this land.

Sounds echo slowly through the trees, disturbed and distorted by the time they reach my ears. At first it was but the murmuring of a forest, but the sounds are louder now and seem to come from all about me. I wonder what fell beasts live in this forgotten wood and my hand seeks the comfort of my sword, drawing reassurance from the cool metal of its hilt.

Suddenly there is crashing in the undergrowth behind me, the sounds of a large beast. I flee, blood thundering in my ears, for this is no place to make a stand: surrounded by trees with barely room to wield my sword. Now more than ever, I curse the fates that caused me to lose my horse and weapons when they would have availed me most.

Ahead I notice small beams of light cutting through the gloom, I run towards them, realising with relief that it is a small glade. It is later than I thought, for the light of an early moon trickles through the trees. I reach the centre and spin round, my sword singing clear of its scabbard. I will not feel fear, for I am a daughter of kings. A large wolf, easily as tall as my waist, enters the clearing slowly, as if assured of its prey. Crouching, it bares its teeth and snarls. I grip the hilt harder, and as the wolf leaps at me I step to the side and bring the sword up, slicing into the beast’s throat. The wolf hits the ground and lies there, shuddering, as the life’s blood drains from its body.

The dark stain spreads and soaks into the ground as the clearing begins to spin around me. The moon’s light turns blood red, and bathes the wood in its eerie glow. Then from the swirling mass of trees, a second wolf appears. As it springs, I turn and try to bring up my sword. Time itself seems to slow. There is a crazed look in the creature’s eyes and blood drips from its fangs. Now the fear I held aside breaks free. I am looking at my death, for it shall reach me ere I can raise my sword and its teeth will close about my throat. Even as I realise this, the world resumes its frantic spinning and cries rend the air.

I sit up, hands reaching to my throat. As my fear subsides, I realise that I am in my own bed and the cries still remain. It is my son, and my husband is bending over his cradle. As I throw back the covers and step towards them, Eöl hears me and looks up. Instead of his face, the moonlight shows that of the wolf, blood dripping from its fangs. I gasp and step back, my hand reaching, out of habit, to where my sword had been before I became the lady of this house.

Then he speaks and whilst the remnants of my dream shatter I berate myself for such foolishness. “My Lady, does something trouble you?”

I hasten forwards towards the cradle in which my son is lying. Moonlight streams through the window and lights his tiny face.

“Nay, my Lord, it is nothing,” I reply, realising that his question still hangs between us. “Your son is hungry. I shall go and see to his needs, and ensure that he does not trouble you.”

With that, I bend over the cradle and lift my son up, holding him tightly against my body. In my arms he quiets and I hurry from the room, shutting the door carefully behind me. A tension I did not know I was feeling ebbs from me. I stand for a moment in the corridor, stilling my breathing, and whisper, “Lómion,” his forbidden name, as I slowly rock him and kiss his forehead.

The images from my dream are still vivid in my mind: the dark forest that encircles this house, and the blood soaking the floor of the moonlit glade. The dream was merely a remembrance of how I came to this place, although twisted almost beyond recognition. I have only small glimmers of foresight, for it is others of my family that have that gift. The clearing in the dream was the same one in which I first met Eöl, and if there was some message in it; I hope that it will be made clear in time. It is more likely that the true seeming of my dreams was twisted by my dislike of this place. Yet still a sense of unease fills me, and this place of everlasting darkness weighs heavily upon me.

I look down at the babe in my arms. He stares back at me, tears glistening in the corners of his deep grey eyes.

“Your father would never hurt you,” I whisper, “You are his son and heir.”

Although whether I say this to reassure my child or myself, I know not.

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.

Story Information

Author: Elvenesse

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 1st Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 10/29/04

Original Post: 08/27/03

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