Estel: 1. Estel

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1. Estel


“I shall continue East,” I confirmed. They stared at me.

“What? You are a vagrant wanderer, cousin,” Maedhros exclaimed. “Why East? There is naught there but wild heath and empty meadows.”

“Indeed. Yet I have not been there before. The untamed places of Middle-earth are those in which I most delight.”

Maglor shrugged. “Very well. But Caranthir has declared that south of Thalos merely lurk the Laiquendi, and you shall be fortunate if you espy them.”

“Sometimes solitude is the only companion I desire,” I offered.

“Farewell, then,” they said.

However, solitude is not what I found, wandering beyond Gelion at the waning of the year. Night was falling when I passed the river south, near Legolin, my horse’s hooves crushing the orange and yellow leaves under foot. It trotted down a hill, and I inhaled the crisp air with delight. I saw then, at the foot of the hill, a dim light, like low fires burning. I slowed the horse, thinking it might be a small band of orcs. But do orcs sing? I came nearer. At the base of the hill, within a copse of trees, I saw gathered a group of people, the manner of which I had never before seen. Fairer they were than orcs, but less beautiful than the Eldar. They were clothed in rude garments, of rough animal skin. One in the middle, by the fire, played a rustic harp. The strings, I thought, were made of animal intestine, most likely.

“Mana nostalë cuilion nar te?” [What are these creatures] I murmured.

I have found, since then, that these ‘creatures’ are more extraordinary than anything I could have imagined.

I had dwelt with the Atani several weeks, and had not ceased to be amazed by this young race; nor have I still. Their ways of life so primitive, to us, and yet so well thought out. When first I came upon them, and played the harp to them, it had reminded me of my mother, playing to soothe my brothers and sister when they were infants, and cried out in the dark. The Atani do seem like children to me, infants newborn, in wonder of the world; and yet the depth of their thought is beyond finding out. Rather like taking a fragment of pink coral, which looks simple at first glance, but has, indeed, intricate complexities that one cannot understand, and trying to comprehend it in its fullness of being. I cannot fathom them.

I first realized this when I spoke with them (in lambë, not in osanwë of guarded thought), asking their leader, Balan he was called, concerning the origins and awakening of Men.

“What knowledge do you seek, lord?” he had asked; for by that time I had assured them I was no God. “We do not know the full intricacies of our making, nor would we, assuredly, understand it if we did. As to our past …” he had paused. I was silent, looking at him as he gazed into the distance. “A darkness lies behind us, and we do not wish to return thither even in thought.” I had questioned him little further concerning this.

I spent a year with the folk of Balan. I had been with them all during the previous winter, sleeping in their ragged tents, or under the stars, much to their dismay; they could not imagine sleeping out in the winter. Why they thought it was cold outside I could not then understand.

When winter was approaching again, one of the children got shaking chills, and had to lie in bed for weakness. I thought perhaps it was a stomach sickness from putrid food.

“Nay, lord,” the child’s mother assured me. “It is the winter illness.”

“But, whence came it?” asked I, astounded. I had never before encountered disease, and could not understand its nature. This is another thing about the Atani that amazed me; that they should be plagued unexpectedly and undeservedly with illness, such as we Eldar may suffer from bad food consumption or excessive imbibition; save that their illnesses come often from no consequences of their own, and are many times fatal.

“It comes from we don’t know where, lord,” she answered. “From the cold and lack of food and shelter, most likely.”

I did not, at first, know what to do with the child. We had no healing measures for such states, though since we have developed them, never having encountered them before. But the mother had come to me weeping, entreating me to help her son. So I went to his bedside, where he lay on skins of fur, and knelt beside him. He was shivering, but at the same time perspiring from an inner burning which I now know as a fever. He coughed horribly; it sounded like grating rocks tumbling down a gorge. A rust-colored mucus issued from his mouth.

I calmed the boy, sang to him a song of robins and jays, and purple hyacinths in spring, and so he slept. I sat by his bed for four days and three nights, neither going out nor resting, with his mother often at my side, until, on the fourth day, the boy died.

Death. The death of a child who had wronged no one. Was it the conditions, the cold, as his mother had said? I did not know, and, at that point, it did not matter to me. I left the child’s mother, and went out into the woods, and wept. Never had I felt such rending sorrow; such a distinct, whelming grief that filled my core and pierced my very marrow. Is this truly the gift of the One to Men? I thought. That is when I saw Balan coming towards me through the trees. I dried my tears as he came closer.

I walked out from beneath the shadow of the firs, hesitating, for I had heard his low lamenting and was filled with sudden wonder. Could this one, whom we called Wisdom, mourn for the death of a child as we did? I did not know what to think of this.

When he had come to us that autumn night, almost a year before, filling the silence with his strange, beautiful song, we had taken him for one of the gods whom we sought. Even his repeated denials had not convinced us. But now, the child lay dead, in spite of all the lord of the Star-folk could do, and Wisdom wept like any man grieving the loss.

We looked at each other across the width of the clearing for a time. Then, coming to him, I spoke.

"She said he died in peace, lord—not fearing as so many do. She thanks you for your care."

He smiled thinly. "Little good it did for the child. I am no healer, Balan, at least not for such ills, which are unknown among my folk. I can dress wounds and stanch the flow of blood. I can bring some measure of ease to those in pain, but this—fever, this bloody cough, I have not seen before. It is like one of the Enemy's poisons."

"Can your people be poisoned, Lord?"


"Do you know remedies for such poisoning?"

"Some. There are—songs. There are herbs."

"I don't know about songs, lord, but this country is full of grasses and leafy plants and such. Maybe we should go a-gathering of them."

He smiled, then, the weariness and sadness falling from him like a ragged pelt.

"Maybe we should, my friend--for the sake of the children."

"Right. And soon, for we're close by the mountains here, and there's likely to be heavy snow afore long."

"Then let us go at once."

We returned to the camp and gathered what we needed—skins of water, dried meat and other foods that are light to carry, extra fur cloaks and deerskin leggings. We each took a basket of woven withes for the herbs.

Before we set out, I went to my lodge, where I lived with my son and his wife, to tell them where I was going. Baran looked at me, and I saw that his cheeks were flushed. I took his hand, and it was hot and dry. So, he had caught the fever too.


When he came back, I noticed his face was flushed, but I said nothing of it, til we began to walk, and I saw his hand tremble.

“What is it, my friend?” I asked.

He looked at me gratefully. “It is my son, lord. I fear he has gotten the fever, too.”

I did not know what to say; it was his only son and heir. So I encouraged him, “Let us gather as much as we can now, then.”
We walked for a moment into the woods. Balan asked, “What sorts of herbs are you looking for, lord? Perhaps I know where we can find them.”

For a moment, I could only think of their Quenya names. Then the Taliska came to me and I said, “It is not so much herbs as bark of willow. It will help to calm the fever.”

“There are many willow trees by the river. Come, I will lead you.”
We continued walking for a moment in silence. Then I said, “Balan, when I first came upon your folk I perceived that you were different from us; but I did not understand how much so.” I lifted my hands, as if still holding the ailing child. “Such loss of life I had never seen before.”

“Then you do not know sickness, lord?”

“No; none of our people does. We may be slain by violence, or through grief, but we are not assailed by disease.”

Balan looked at me strangely. “Your folk may die of grief?” he asked. I nodded. “Many a time in years past had I wished I could die of grief.” I looked hard at him and wondered if this was part of the darkness which he spoke of from whence they came. Looking up at me, he continued, “My wife … died, several years ago. It wrenched my heart such as nothing I had ever known before.” I have no wife, but I thought of the one who could have been my wife, and who stayed behind me in Valinor, and what it would be like to lose her forever; no, I could not think of it. I turned my mind away. “And to think,” Balan continued, on the verge of tears, “that I may soon lose my son …”

I put my hand gently on his shoulder. He looked up at me with tear-filled eyes. “My friend, we much remain in Hope. Do you trust the One who made us both, akin, brethren in his thought?”

He looked upon me, comforted, and with new wonder. “Yes, we are brethren. I do trust.”

“Then we must hurry, and get the medicine as soon as may be.”

“Yes, indeed,” he said, with renewed vigor. “The river is here. Let us get the bark.”

We hurried back to Balan’s tent, with the bark in hand. I gave it to Balan’s daughter-in-law, and said, “Please, take this bark, and crush it into fine powder. Then put the powder in water, to purify it, and gently boil it. After that, pour the water off and let the water in the saturated powder evaporate. Then put it into a drink, and have your husband drink it.”

She looked astonished, and a little overwhelmed. “Yes, lord,” said she, with a hurried bow; and she went into the tent.

“That part was only secondary, to stave off the fever,” I said to Balan. “Now comes the essential medicine. Do you have a pile of compost? A place where the villagers throw their uneaten food?”
He looked at me uneasily; no doubt he thought the query an insane one, but carefully hid his thoughts from me. “There is little leftover food,” he said at last, “for we eat all we can, but what we do not eat we put here.” He led me to a deep hole by a stream, where meat bones, fruit peels, and old soups had been tossed. I began to descend into it.

“My lord! What are you doing?” he exclaimed, shocked.

“There is a potent medicine which will cure this sickness, which is found in a mold,” I explained. I did not see his face, for I was looking down; but when I came up a moment later, I found him calm, and could sense the trust he had in me. I was grateful for it.


Some of my people had come to see what the Lord Wisdom was doing. Now, they looked at him and the contents of the basket which he held, with disgust. They said nothing, but needed no words. What would the great lord want with refuse? I came to look over his shoulder and saw a mass of fruit rinds and old crusts of bread, covered with a fur of mold. Wisdom looked at me and smiled.

"My lord Balan, please ask someone to bring me a clean stone bowl, a scraping knife and a pestle."

I did as he asked, and one of the women brought what was needed. Carefully, Wisdom scraped the covering of mold from some of the crusts and fruit rinds. When he had done so, he turned to me.

"I know that you have met my folk on your travels, the people we call the Laiquendi. Well, one of them told me of this medicine, which they use to heal their friends among the Kelvar—the beasts. Like you, we thought this substance was of little or no worth, a sign merely of corruption, but I myself have seen a hound cured of a discharge of the nose with it. I had forgotten it until now." His face clouded, and it took no great skill of mind to understand his thought—that if he had recollected this medicine, the child might not have died.

"You've remembered it now, Lord," I said. He nodded gravely and continued his work. With the pestle, he ground the "fur" in the bowl into fine powder. Then, setting it aside, he went upstream from the refuse pit, scrubbed his hands with sand and rinsed them in the flowing water. He then went to where we kept water for cooking in large stone jars, drew out a dipperful and poured it over the powder. He then ground the mixture again, until the bowl seemed full of snow. He set the bowl on a high stump near my lodge and turned to me.

"In the morning, it will be ready. Let us go and see how Baran fares."
When we came in, we found my son sitting on the edge of his pallet with a flushed face. His wife stood beside him, holding a cup of the fever draft.

"Must you?" she asked. He touched her hand reassuringly.

"Yes, love. The Lord Wisdom says it will ease me."

Baran took the cup and swallowed its contents with a grimace. Wisdom came and stood beside him. After a moment, he said, "Do you like to swim?"


"I know a lovely lake. Shall I sing it to you?"


Wisdom closed his eyes for a moment, as if he gathered his thoughts. Then, very softly, he sang. It was like the sigh of wind through the topmost branches of a forest, a thread of sound that wove itself in the mind, and I saw a place of fresh green grass, sprinkled with daisies and other flowers, and beyond the grass, a deep, clear lake, rippling softly in a warm breeze. Baran laughed a little hoarsely, but with delight, and I looked at him, seeing both the lakeside and the inside of the lodge at once. It was uncanny, this double seeing, but I understood that the dream, if that's what it was, was not for me, but for my son. Baran laughed again, and though he did not move, I seemed to see the sun-browned boy of many summers past diving into the clear, cool water before us. Then, just as I had seen him do in the mountain lakes, he swam and splashed joyously. Wisdom smiled, glancing at me and Baran's wife reassuringly, while Baran continued to swim. After a little while, Wisdom ceased to sing, and the lake and the greensward faded softly away. I saw that Baran's cheeks were less flushed, and I wondered if a coolness in the mind could cool the body. Wisdom was looking at him thoughtfully, and I think he was pondering the same thing.

The following morning, Wisdom took down the stone bowl from its place. It now contained a white sediment covered by a layer of water. He asked for a sieve, another bowl and a jar. When these were brought, he carefully poured the water into the jar, then strained it through the sieve into the other bowl. He did this several times, until there was no sediment in the water. He closed the jar with a twist of clean cloth and handed it to me.

"If Baran or anyone begins to cough wetly, we will give them some of this medicine."

I sniffed at the potion, which had a sharp smell. I was, to be honest, doubtful of this draft.

Other folk took sick in the next days, but we were a strong people, well-used to hardships, and at first no one required the mold-medicine. Wisdom taught any who would learn how to make it as well as the willow-drink, and he himself tended the sick, both with medicine and with calming song. Baran was soon well, and went with Wisdom, eager to learn what he would teach. Slowly, the fever fire in the camp
died to embers.

I woke in the deeps of the night, shivering and sweating, with a head that seemed too tight on my shoulders. I got up, being careful not to waken my son and his wife, and fetched down the jar of willow-medicine Wisdom had given me. By the faint glow of the banked fire, I filled a cup and drank the sour stuff, and lay down again. My heart was racing as if I had run uphill, and I knew by this that the fever was high. At dawn, I took another draft and was so much eased that I got out of bed. My son's wife urged me to rest, but there was much to do to prepare the camp for winter.

"Don't fret," I said. "If I feel ill again, I'll rest me."

I went out of the lodge, and looked up at a low-hanging sky. Wisdom had gone with my son and some of the other men to hunt, as the danger of sickness seemed past, and I set about helping build stouter lodges with sloping roofs to shed the coming snow. It was hot heavy work, and I did not heed the fever signs, thinking it was effort that made me sweat and pant.

By the time I returned to my lodge, I was shivering and coughing, and it was hard indeed to eat the evening meal, as it was painful to swallow. I drank more willow-brew and went to bed. I remained there for the next three days, but on the fourth day, I got up, unwilling to lie idle while others worked. Besides, I felt strong enough, so why rest? Wisdom and the other hunters had still not returned, as they had gone farther down into the valley to where the herds of deer sought shelter from the winter.

Again, I labored in building, but I found that I did not seem to have enough wind for the task. Each time I lifted or pushed some burden, I would begin coughing so that I must sit down. I berated myself for such weakness, but there was naught that I could do about it.
At evening, the hunters returned at last, laden with much game. The folk gathered round to help them, I among them. Wisdom came to me, smiling, then, seeing my face, his expression changed.

"Are you well, Balan, my friend?"

"Somewhat ailing, Lord, but it is passing." I would have continued, but a fit of coughing took me, and I must wipe my face with my sleeve. Wisdom gripped my arm and looked at the sleeve. Without another word, he strode toward his lodge, his face set in a grave expression.


I had not noticed he was ill. I hoped it would not be too late.

I returned from the lodge to his tent with the elixir. “Drink, Balan,” I said.
He looked anxiously at the cup I held to his face. “Perhaps I do not need it, lord. I will be better soon.”

“Not without this. You will die. You coughed up blood a moment ago. You have been ill for many days, have you not?”

He didn’t answer me.

“Drink,” I urged him again. He looked at me. “Do you doubt me?” I asked softly. I had not thought that he would doubt me now, after together we had worked for so long to heal the people.

“No, I do not doubt you, lord,” he said. “But, to drink mold – it is such a wretched thought.”

So that is what he was averse to. “It is not mold, Balan. We threw away the mold, and just used the water that was ground with it. It was the small particles within the mold that we used as the medicine.”

He paused. “But it is still mold,” he said.

I turned away. I could not understand why he felt this way. Had we not laboured together many days with this very same medicine, and healed many? None had died since the first boy.

I set the jar down on the ground, and turned away, painfully. He must make his own decisions. I did not turn back to look at him as I walked out.

But I did not leave him alone; I could not. I was worried about him. What if, because of some folly of pride, he did not take the medicine, and died, leaving the rule of his people to his young son? And leaving our friendship forever? I sat by the door all that day, and waited. I heard him coughing for some time, and then silence.

I came in quietly. He was sleeping. The jar on the ground was empty.

He had drunk it. “Thank the Valar,” I whispered.

Then I sat by him, and sang to him, a song of sleep and rest and healing; a song of the gardens of Lórien and the tree-shadowed lake of Lady Estë, where all find healing and refreshment. His breathing became steadier. After a time, his son and daughter-in-law came in and sat beside me. She began to weep quietly, and it was all the more painful to see tears on that strong, lined face. I took her hand in mine, and she looked up at me. She spoke no word, but I said softly to her mind, “Have no fear, he will be well.” She looked up at me in surprise, but calm. We sat together there, I holding her hand as I would a child's, all through the night; and Balan’s breathing became more steady, his face more relaxed, and at last, near dawn, the fever broke.

Then he fell into a deep, restful sleep. His son clung to his hand and his daughter-in-law wept silent tears on it. Then I turned away, and left them alone there.

I went into my lodgings to rest. Around noon, I got up and went to help one of the boys make arrows. He seemed surprised that I should know how to do such a thing, or should want to help him. Once he saw my interest, he became more comfortable, and allowed me to join him.

At nightfall I went again to Balan’s tent. He could not yet sit up, for he was weak, but he smiled at me, and tried to say something. I came close to him.

“What is it, my friend?” I said.

“That garden – ” he said, “where is it?”

“The gardens of the Lord Irmo and Lady Estë in Valinor.”

“Lord, may we speak tomorrow?” he said, with effort.

“Indeed. I hope you shall be up and walking soon.” I did not tell him that I wished that all the more because I would have to be leaving soon, to go back to my own people.

Within three days, he was up again. I had spoken to him little before that, because he was recovering. We went out walking together in the woods.

“Lord, I want to thank you. You saved my life,” he said.

“Nay, it was not me. It was the medicine.”

“But, if it had not been for your urging, I would have died. It is my stupid, human pride that got in my way. I could not bring myself to drink the mold. It seemed below my dignity.” He snorted in derision. “Dignity does not mean much when you are dead.”

“Do not be angry with yourself,” I said. “I understand your feeling.”

“Do you, lord?” he said, not unkindly. “But the Eldar do not suffer from illnesses.”

“No, but we suffer from other things.”

“You do? What sorts of things?” he asked, curiously.

“Some of our people also suffer from pride. Excessive pride and arrogance caused the death of my uncle, and was also one of the main forces behind our coming to Middle-earth.”

“I am sorry about your uncle,” he said, consolingly.

“It’s all right,” I said. “Another burden is the years: bearing the ever-mounting sorrows of Time. And, since I have known your people, the knowledge that one day, you and I will be parted forever.”

He looked up at me quickly, perhaps noting something in my voice.

“Must we part soon, my friend?” he asked.

It was the first time that he had called me his friend. That made it even harder for me to say, “Yes, I must leave you soon, and return to my people.”

He looked lost for a moment, and then looked away. We spoke no more until we returned to the lodge. Then he said, “Excuse me,” and went inside. He was deep in thought, but I could not tell what he was thinking.


I sat on the edge of my pallet, not even bothering to kindle the lamp, though the evening was on us.

For the first weeks of Wisdom's sojourn among us, my feelings toward him had been confused. He had awed me, in the way a mountain thunderstorm did—beautiful and terrible he seemed. But then, after the mild winter and the fair spring, I had watched him swimming in a placid stretch of the river with the children, playing and laughing with them. Later, Baran and I had labored beside him in the building of a fence around the encampment to keep out errant beasts and for a defense against fouler creatures. I had sat with him at the fireside, listening to the loveliness of his songs. And, in the past weeks, as he had reminded me, I had tended the sick with him, seeing his tenderness and care. This last I had felt myself, lying in a soft light in the beauty of that unearthly garden of rest and healing. Now, he said he was to leave us, and I knew, with seeming suddenness, that I did not wish to be parted from him.

My people are somewhat reticent and neither laugh nor weep easily. Our loves are strong, our friendships deep, but we do not speak of them readily, so it would be difficult for me to tell this one, this Wisdom, that I had found a heart-friend, a brother. Yet, it was more than that; I had found a lord, one to whom I could give unstinting fealty, knowing that my trust would be returned. As we had talked together, I had heard of the Enemy, the Shadow—the same from which my ancestors had fled, and I wished to have some part in the struggle against it. No one, not even the oldest of us, knew what had caused us to flee many lives ago, but there were whispered tales of treachery and submission which brought shame.

After a while, I went out of the darkened lodge in search of Wisdom. I found him sitting by one of the cook fires, talking amiably with an old woman, who was sifting grain in preparation for the evening meal. When he looked up and saw me, he got to his feet with a smile.

"So, my friend. How is it with you?"

"Well enough—my friend, but I need to ask you somewhat. Will you walk with me?"

He nodded and fell into step beside me. We moved through the camp, stopping from time to time to speak to this one and that one, and I was eased by the contentment upon my people's faces. They had weathered the fever storm and were ready for the winter. I saw Baran helping to hang a doorskin on one of the lodges and heard his warm laughter. He glanced at us with a smile, then went back to his work. When we had come to the door of my dwelling, I gestured for Wisdom to go in ahead of me while I took a brand from the burning brazier just outside to light the lamp. When I had done this, we sat down together on two pelt-covered stools.

I looked into the clear grey eyes and spoke. "I wish to enter thy service, Lord--Finrod." I used the formal mode he had taught me, in the language he had taught me, as our tongue is somewhat rough for such speaking. He drew a quick breath, astonished, then looked at
me intently.

"What of your own people, Balan?" he asked quietly.

"I would have committed the chieftainship to Baran next summer in any case, Lord, and he is ready for it—has been ready for it since we came to this place. His mother's death was a heavy blow, but it has strengthened him."

He regarded me, consideringly, for several moments. Then, reaching forward, he took my wrists in a light but implacable grip, a warrior's clasp. I did not look away from him, though his eyes grew intensely bright, nor did I try to prevent him, though he had taught me that I could, when his thought touched mine. Instead, I held still—and waited. Memories came—of the bitter winter of my beloved's death. I saw again the bare black branches against the sky, heard the crack of breaking ice, the despairing cry. Then I was back in the lodge, sweat cold on my face, but still I did not look away from the grey gaze, now filled with compassion. Slowly, he withdrew from my thoughts, and spoke. "Balan, I ask your pardon."

I laughed, somewhat grimly. "No, lord. You needed to know my mettle. I understand that. She was my life, but life must continue. She bore me a treasure, whom I love, and for that I rejoice. For nearly thirty years my love and I walked and worked together—and it was good. Now—now I would learn of your folk, for you are as new to us as we are to you."

He smiled at that. Then, he slid his hands down to mine and took them, folding them together, palm to palm.

"If it be your wish, Balan, I accept your service gladly, for you are a worthy man, as I have seen in this sun-round."

"I do wish it, lord."

"So be it, then. In three days' time, we will go."


I prepared my things, few though they were, and got ready to depart.
These Atani are beyond anything I can comprehend. I never would have dreamed that Balan desired to come with me – to leave his people, his son – for me to be his lord. Nay, I will never be his lord. I will be his friend. But that he felt this way I never would have guessed. These Men feel deeply and do not give their loyalty and devotion lightly. I have not felt such joy, and thankfulness for such devotion since Altariel departed Nargothrond to go to Doriath. Now I will have a brother – otornonya.*

Now that I have spent a full year with the Atani, I feel I know even less about them than I did ere I saw them first. Primarily Balan distrusted the medicine – then he desired to follow my lead for the remainder of his life.

That is something I had not thought of before – the remainder of his life. How long shall he live? Another fifty sun years? One hundred? And how shall I bear his death when it comes? That I could not think of then.

During the last three days before our departure, Balan was very busy, often closeted with his son Baran: most likely imparting his last words of wisdom on his son’s impending rulership. I did not see him much before the morning we were to leave.

He came out of the lodge, with his belongings (surprisingly sparse) packed neatly. His horse was brought next to mine. He turned to me.

“Well, Balan, my friend, are you ready to go?”

“Yes. But no longer call me Balan. My name is now Bëor, for I follow a new lordship.”

I looked at him thoughtfully. Just then a noise arrested us. We turned, and coming towards us were the people of the encampment. Some were weeping, others calling out, “Balan! Lord!” entreating him to remain. With hardly dry eyes he turned to them.

“My people!” he said, and everyone became silent. “Today I leave you and bestow the leadership upon my son, Baran.” Baran had emerged from the house and stood beside him. “I give to him my staff, and the arms of my house, which he will bear with pride and honour, and lead you with wisdom and strength. I will now bear the arms of another house.” When the weeping began again, Balan continued, “It is not because of lack of love for you that I depart. A new phase of my life has begun. I must follow a new leadership now.” He turned away, unable to continue for emotion.

Then the people called out to me, “Lord Nom! Lord Nom!”

I turned to them and they became silent. “My time here with you has been greater than I could even have imagined, traveling across Legolin at the waning of the year. I have learned more from you in one Sun Year than I could have in a full Great Year among my own people. The house of Bëor, for so it shall now be called, will ever have a hold on my heart that no other can fill. Nai sérë ar nilmë termaruva imbë nossemmar tennoio.. [Let there be peace and friendship between our peoples forever.]”

And so we departed.

Now I sit in Nargothrond: tall walls, shining crystal lamps, coloured tapestries and tiles. It is beautiful. But I cannot concentrate on the work on my desk, for I feel a longing to return to the open woods, sleeping in tents of animal skin by the streams, seeing the stars at night, with the folk of Baran. Strange that, in the shining fortress that I have built, I feel like a troglodyte.

And yet a piece of what I miss has come with me. Bëor – otornonya.


*Otornonya means ‘my brother’ in Quenya, in the sense of a sworn brother, not biological brother.

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: Nerdanel

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 1st Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 10/16/04

Original Post: 07/13/04

Go to Estel overview


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