The realm of Fingon was no more; and the sons of Fëanor wandered as leaves before the wind. Their arms were scattered, and their league broken; and they took to a wild and woodland life beneath the feet of Ered Lindon, mingling with the Green-elves of Ossiriand – Of the Fifth Battle, The Silmarillion
'Apples again, apples for breakfast, apples for lunch and now apples for dinner,' thought Caranthir as he gripped the apples tight enough to bruise. 'I have had enough of apples.'
The next moment, the apple went flying through the air towards the fire, but before it was ruined by the searing heat of the fire, it was caught by an agile Laiquendi maiden, "Lord Caranthir, I am aware that the Noldor prefer the flesh of beasts to the humble bounty of the trees," she said indignantly. "Yet for the sake of others, please do not waste." With that, she gave the apple to an elf sitting nearby, one of Caranthir's own men, who took it gratefully since food was carefully rationed.
Caranthir turned away in disgust. Only few short years ago that man would have scoffed to even speak to a Laiquendi, let alone eat an apple one of them condescended to grant him. Yet this, this was what he and his men had been reduced to. It seemed but a short time ago when he had been sitting in his own halls, in his own land, surrounding by riches, eating only the best from plates of gold. Why, the least lovely of his treasures would have been like a wonder to these Moriqeundi, and the plainest of his fare, a feast. Now, but now he ate off leaves, touched only gifts of the olvar, and killed no kelvar, for that was the way of the Laiquendi, and if he wished to dwell among them, he would have to respect their customs. Their customs, what of the Noldor? Where they not the noblest of all the elven kin, at least in Middle Earth, if not in the whole of Arda?
Abruptly Caranthir stood up and stalked out of the clearing, away from the low fire, his dispirited men, and company of the Green elves of Ossiriand. He needed to think, he needed to remind himself that as rustic and backwards as the Laiquendi were, they were now his only friends and allies. He had to remind himself to hold his anger in check before he did something truly stupid.
Footsteps behind him: low enough that not even a sharp eared doe would be frightened but loud enough to ring in his trained hunter ears, "What do you want?" he snapped.
Silence, "I said," he whirled around violently, "what do you want, Ninglorrîn?" he demanded of the entirely too brave Laiquendi maiden. "Have you not humiliated me enough for one night?"
For a moment she said nothing. She just stood and studied him with calm patience, her eyes glittering, her hair fluttering slightly in the wind, her pale skin shimmering in the moonlight. Suddenly Caranthir's throat went dry, a terrible, aching hunger rose from deep within him, and he cursed Morgoth for bringing him to this Eru forsaken place loudly in his mind. She was so beautiful, for one of a lesser kindred her knowledge was admirable and she invoked in him an insatiable hunger. It for all that she was she was still but a Laiquendi and thus the overwhelming love he felt for her would have to be ruthlessly crushed.
He turned away from her, silently cursing the weavers of her worn sea green dress for allowing it to show so much of her skin. "If you have nothing to say to me, then I bid you good night."
A hand on his shoulder. How in the name of the Valar did she move that fast? She had been at least ten strides away from him. Reluctantly he turned around, "What?"
She smiled a soft smile and raised her pink lips to his slightly quivering ones and brushed them lightly, pulling away almost immediately. Caranthir reeled from the too brief taste and the look of utter shock on his face made her burst into merry laughter, much to the indignation of the Noldo elf-lord, "What is so funny?" he demanded.
"You," she answered simply, "You hunger, yet you refuse sustenance, why would you do that?"
Caranthir did not answer, Ninglorrîn didn't expect one. She simply smiled and was gone, leaving Caranthir acutely aware of the grumbling of his stomach and the longing of his heart.
[i] Ninglor = golden water-flower, rîn = crowned lady, so Ninglorrîn means golden water-flower crowned lady.
[ii] Laiquendi = green elves
[iii] Olvar = plants, Kelvar = animals
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