Rainion

One Final Lesson

Eruviel remembers . . . .

“Get up.”

Rainion’s words sent air rushing into her lungs, and Artis used the pillar behind her to pull herself to her feet.

“Pick up your sword.”

Her eyes never leaving her brother, Artis stepped over to pick up the curved, Elven blade. “How much longer wi –” Her words were cut off when Rainion flung out his arm, sending a wave of wind out to knock his little sister off her feet. Flying back it was the pillar that once again brought her tumbling to a halt.

“Get up.”

“Stop helping,” grumbled Artis with gasp. At least she hadn’t lost her sword this time. Anticipating his attack, she spun around and hid behind the pillar as a force of wind rushed past.

“How am I helping, Moriquendë?”

She took a second to steady her breathing. “You say this is preparing me for the future,” she said as she stepped back out into the open, “and I heard Ada telling you not to go easy on me. Stop giving me air when the wind is knocked out of me.”

One corner of Rainion’s mouth curved up. “Do not lose your sword. We will not stop till you start landing on your feet every time.”

Setting her feet as he had taught her, she nodded. “Go.”

The force slammed into Artis, and the world spun as she fell backwards to roll through the dirt of the training yard. Panic shot through her as she gasped frantically for air. Sliding to a stop on her knees she forced herself to breathe, rose to her feet, and moved into a jog to attack Rainion head on.

Again he flung out his hand, and again she was thrown back. Once, twice, three times she rolled across the ground.

“You are not a sack of wheat. Get up!”

Artis got up. Her head spun, but her sword remained in hand, and with each fall she more quickly recovered. Land on your feet. Land on your feet.

Reaching a hand into the leather pouch hanging from his belt, Rainion waited for Artis to get within striking distance before throwing his hand out at her. Catching the force of the blow with her chest, Artis sailed back through the air, but this time she had prepared for it. Flipping around she reached down and caught the ground beneath her with the tip of her blade. Slowing, she landed on her feet, slid to a stop, and launched herself forward towards her brother.

“Again!”

Rainion grinned, and attacked. She had figured it out. His strikes were never the same, but no matter which way she was thrown Artis used her weight, weapon, and surroundings to land upright. Each time she got faster, and each time she got a little closer to him.

Landing sooner, Artis attacked before Rainion had a chance to recover. A swipe of her blade forced him back, and as Rain cast out his hand she took hold of his wrist. In the blink of an eye he had twisted out of her grasp and extended a dagger to her throat.

“Not quite fast enough, Moriquendë. Took you a few days –”

“And a few beatings,” chimed Artis to reminded him.

“Ah, yes, and a few beatings, but you have improved.”

Artis’s mouth slowly curved up into a grin, and she tapped the flat of her blade against his side.

A look of realization passed through the tall Elf’s grey eyes, followed by a gleam of pride. “That’s my girl.” Withdrawing his blade, Rainion took a step back. “My last day home, and my little sister beats me.”

Frowning, Artis gave him her most stubborn scowl. “We tied. You will know when I beat you.”

“I look forward to it,” Rainion said with a chuckle, reaching out to tousle her already messy bangs. “I hope Milloth is there to see it when you do. He becomes rather childish when reminded of his many losses.”

Fixing her bangs, Artis could not help but smile a little as she moved to walk with him. “I will train hard while you are away.”

Rainon did not speak for several paces. Draping an arm across her shoulders he nodded as he led them back to the main house. “Pray that I will not be gone long.”

Handing her sword off to an attendant waiting at the door of the yard, Artis glanced to Rainion’s hand that draped over her far shoulder. “I will. Naneth . . . Naneth does not want you to go.”

“Neither does Eilianniel.”

She could feel his shoulders sag. “I know,” responded Rainion quietly. “I wish none of us had to go, but when there is evil someone has to stand in it’s path.”

Pursing her lips as she frowned, Artis nodded. “I saw her packing earlier today.”

“I do not have to report in for a couple weeks. Eilianniel and I will be spending that time together.”

What could only have been jealousy twisted a little inside of her. Swallowing, she looked down to the smooth stones set into the ground beneath their walking feet. “Is it difficult? To be away from her?”

“Very difficult,” said Rainion. Looking down to the top of her head he smiled softly, and gave her a one-armed hug. “I forget sometimes how much you’ve grown. Perhaps you will finally be wed by the time I return.”

Scrunching up her nose, Artis lifted her chin to look to the path ahead. “Do not get your heart set on it. I just have a few more boring, arrogant, and passionless options to check off Ada’s list, then I will be free.”

Laughing, Rainion placed a kiss atop of her head before moving to take them up a stair that lead to the kitchens. “So long as Ada is on this side of the sea, dear Moriquendë, you will not be free of what he sees as your duty.”

Artis frowned. “Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

“No. Just promise me you will be our good Artistuion while I am gone? As much as you two clash, you can still learn a lot from him.”

Nodding, Artis stepped inside the door he held open for her. “I will do my best.”

The Sea: In Time

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Eruviel remembers . . .

“Rain? Milloth?” called little Artis as she burst out of a wall of lush ferns and onto the grey beach. They had to be close. They had to be! She’d heard them, and she wouldn’t stand to be left behind as they explored the shoreline without her.

“Rain?” she called again, scampering up an old, fallen tree, gripping at the sea-treated roots. “Millo — aah!” A chunk of rotted bark broke away as she stepped too close to the edge of the log, and the little Elven girl cried out as she fell. A foot of free-falling felt like forever, but instead of landing on the cold rocks and sand below, strong, warm arms caught her.

“Woah, there, little sister!” laughed Rainion as he spun her in a circle. “You should watch where you are stepping. I can’t always catch you.”

“I would have been all right,” chimed Artis even as she cast her arms around the Eldar’s neck for added security.

“You find her?” called a second voice from around the beached log.

“We are over here!” responded Rainion as he knelt down to set Artis on her feet. “You should be more careful, Artis. Ada would have my head if you were hurt.”

Artis leaned back, giving him an obstinate frown. “Then I won’t get hurt! You’d look funny without your head. Besides, nothing bad can happen if you and Mill are around.”

Rainion gave her a strange smile as if she’d said something amusing, and he tugged playfully at her braid as Milloth jogged around to join them.

“Hey, who was it that just accused me for being too soft on her?” the youthful Eldar declared as his grey eyes flicked over Artis for any sign of injury.

Rainion rose to his full height, and pushed his blonde hair back over his shoulder. “Soft? You spoil her!”

Milloth strode over, and mussed a hand through Artis’s hair. “Me? Who is the one who taught her the easiest ways to climb out of her window?”

“She would have done it anyways,” responded Rainion matter-of-factly. “Call it preemptive damage-control.”

Artis frowned up at Milloth as she ducked away from his hand. “You made my hair all frizzy. And I’m not spoiled.”

“No?”

“Nope!”

“How do you figure that?” asked Milloth as he stooped to allow her to clamber onto his back.

“It’s . . . not,” she offered, making a face as she scrambled to find a better excuse. “You just love me!”

Milloth hopped upright, bouncing Artis on his back. “I don’t know. I wonder how much our big brother loves you.”

Rainion lifted his head in a proud manner, his mouth quirking with a smirk. “Enough to keep you from falling on your head.”

“Enough to give me a piggyback next?!”

“If you can catch me, you — hey!”

Milloth leapt forward after Rain, chasing him out over the wet sand with little Artis clinging to his shoulders. “Get him, Milloth! Catch him!”

~~~***~~~

Cold waves rolled up the pale golden sand. She hadn’t bothered to keep track of how long she had been walking. Eruviel’s faint prints faded away with every step she took, and it was not until the warm, Gondorian spring sun reached well past noon that she turned around to venture south again.

A brisk ocean breeze combed through her long hair, and left salt kisses on her lips. The flowing in of the tide wrapped its arms around her like an old friend, and when it ebbed the waters were reluctant to let go, beckoning for her to follow.

You’re not far. The sea is not as wide as it seems.

Eruviel walked a little further, the sun’s rays warming her loose, happily tangled locks of hair. The distant cry of birds blended in with the thunderous crash of the surf. Occasionally a smoothed, shimmering fragment of pearly shell caught her eye and she stooped to collect it, depositing each little gem into a small purse that hung from a thin belt at her waist.

Rounding a bend in the shoreline the sand turned into small, smooth pebbles. The beach receded into the sea and, thanks to the low tide, the Elf navigated through the calm waters, skipping from the top of one submerged boulder to the next. A veil of cloud passed overhead, and Eruviel stopped, calf deep in the blue-green waters to look out over the expanse of glistening sea. Her thin, hiked-up skirts flapped in the air that flowed around her. Had she wings, a gush of wind would have carried her away up the towering sea cliffs.

You’re not far.

Far enough.

You don’t need to be.

I’m going back.

Come to us. You’re so close.

Not now. Not yet.

You could have stayed before.

I wasn’t ready. I’m still not.

Soon?

 . . . In time.

A Bitter Wind (part 1)

Eruviel remembers.

“Please, Master Istuion. We will not sta –”

“No,” the Eldar lord interrupted, the single, sharply spoken command echoing through the stone gatehouse. “I will not say it again. You may water your horses and rest for an hour. My sons brought you here, so they will escort you away. Them and a company of archers will see you and your men safely to the next bridge.”

The face of the tall Arthedain commander known as Jorrin hardened as he chose his words . “Will all due respect, my lord, that would be back tracking. Winter has come even earlier this year, and from reports from back home it will be even harsher than the last. We have reason to believe –”

“Sir, do you suggest that the soldiers I have will not be able to easily thwart whatever scourge the cold drives south?”

“I do not, my lord,” responded the human commander, meeting the elf’s gaze, “but my men and I only mean to pass through you lands.”

Tension flooded the space left by silence. “I will deal with whatever filth the Witch King has sent so far west. You will take your men back south. If you leave in an hour you can make the human outpost by nightfall,” spoke Istuion finally.

“Very well, Master Istuion,” Jorrin responded grimly.

Artis watched from where she sat perched in a gatehouse window as her father paced away, hands clasped behind his back and head high. A bitter wind floated over her, goosebumps pricking on her arms and sending a chill down her back. The older she got the less she understood why Istuion treated the humans with disdain. What made it worse was the silence and dismissal she got whenever she asked. She probably should have sought understanding, but Rainion had been sworn to say nothing, and Milloth knew as much as she did. Istuion’s refusal to speak of it only made her want less of that which he wished for her to pursue.

Swinging her bare feet over the ledge she jumped to drop the several yards to the ground below, landing with ease. Smoothing out her tunic and pulling her braid over her shoulder she rounded the corner to where the human commander still stood, frowning after the Eldar lord. “Mae govannen, heruamin,” she said as she offered the man a slight curtsey.

“Oh! I-I beg your pardon,” said Jorrin, startled out of his thoughts. A fond smile replaced the frown on his face as he bowed, the dozen or so men behind him following suit. “Well met, Lady Artis.”

Nodding with a kind smile to the others she motioned with a hand to the inner courtyard.  “Shall I show you to the well, sir?” she inquired in Westron, remembering that many humans did not speak her native tongue.

The commander arched a brow at her even as he gave her a faint, grateful nod. “That is not work for you, my lady. Your father will send a servant in a minute, I am sure.”

“Nonsense,” Artis said, a smile twitching at the corners of her mouth as she turned, expecting for them to follow. “It is the least I can do to show you and your men hospitality.”

The commander motioned to his men and stepped with her. “Thank you.”

Artis nodded as she led the way to the stables. “What is it that you and you men are –”

“Were.”

“Pardon me, were hunting?”

“The enemy,” Jorrin chuckled. Motioning for a younger Ranger to lead the others to the troughs the commander motioned to the side and led Artis to the vine covered wall that separated the main way into the estate from the stable courtyard. “But that is not important,” he said in a lower tone. “Your father will see these lands safe, but if I may, I suggest you do not leave for a few days.”

Artis arched a brow, clasping her hands in front of her as she studied the man. As much as she liked the humans they still at times confused her. “Why would I need to stay? I would not go out alone. Whatever dangers present themselves –”

“My lady,” said Jorrin more sternly, “I mean no disrespect, but for all your skills in the hunt you do not know battle, and I doubt that in your few hundred years you have even known fear.” Glancing back at his men he sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face.

“You worry about reporting back not having found what ever it is?” she asked, eyes narrowed.

Jorrin nodded. “The trouble in the east grows worse and we would like to keep it out of Lindon.”

Aris sighed and nodded. “Very well.” She then chuckled lightly. “I am sure that you just saved my father the trouble of convincing me.”

“I doubt he would thank me,” the man laughed. “Your brothers do say you have an unusually rebellious streak.”

“Just because I would rather be out hunting with them than learning to embroider and restore old paintings does not mean I am rebellious,” Artis retorted, pouting about as much as a proper elf could.

“For and elf, for an elf,” the commander added quickly, flashing a grin. “If you were a human I do not doubt you would be a prized child.”

“If I were a human, at my age I would no longer be a child,” she quipped with a smirk.

“You will always be a young one to us, my dear onórë” rang Milloth’s amused voice from behind her.

“Lord Milloth,” said Jorrin, bowing to the elf.

Having caught the glare Artis sent him, the elf lord walked up to stand with them. “I apologize for this, my friend,” said Milloth quietly to Jorrin as he rested a hand on Artis’s shoulder. “Both Rainion and I would have let you pass.”

The commander tucked his lips in, narrowing his eyes as he nodded. “That was Lord Istuions decision, so we will respect it. These are his lands. Even beyond the river, we are just guests in Lindon.”

Artis looked between them, wishing she fully understood the serious looks the two exchanged. She wanted to go with them. Why should she stay when they were only riding to the bridge to begin with? Turning her gaze up to Milloth she was prepared to speak when he looked down to her, a different shadow passing over the eldar’s face.

“Thank you for showing them in, Moriquendë. I will see to our guests from here. Father wishes to speak with you.”

A Little Taller

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Eruviel remembers.

 

“What am I?! What am I?!” Artis begged, bouncing on her toes as she pressed her back against the door frame atop the kitchen stairwell.

“Right now you are a grasshopper. Hold still, Artis,” Nostariel chuckled.

The young eldar’s whole body heaved with a sigh as she reluctantly complied. “Yes, mother.”

A moment passed, Artis standing more still than she probably had in the past month, before her mother hummed softly.

“What? What is it?” asked Artis with bated breath.

Nostariel leaned over, smiling mischievously at her little girl, waves of golden hair falling over to frame her face. “Ah-ah, you promised to tell me why before I tell you what.”

Artistuion scrunched up her nose and made a sour face as she looked away. “Rainpromisedme,” she muttered under her breath.

“Huh? Really, tindomiel, elf maidens should not mutter,” teased Nostariel as she stood upright and set a hand on her hip. “What did Rainion promise you?”

“He  . . . he promised me that if I was five-foot by the time he got back from Evendim he would take me shooting,” huffed Artis.

“Oh? Well you know that he arrived last night, right?”

“I KNOW,” Artis exclaimed disparagingly. “How tall am I, Nana?”

“Well . . . ,” responded Nostariel, drawing out each letter as she picked up the little eldar’s bow. “You should probably make haste then. You are five feet and one inch.”

Artis shouted with delight and dashed away, only to scramble in slowing herself and sprint back to her mother. “Thank you!” she cried, flinging her arms around her mother’s waist for a brief hug before snatching the bow from her grasp, her circlet from a nearby chair, and racing back down the corridor. “Thank you! I’ll finish my lessons tomor –” Her words faded out quickly as she vanished further into the house.

Nostariel gazed down the now-silent hall for a moment longer before picking up her skirts and heading down the stairs towards the kitchens. She could see bits of little Artis’s future, and much of it gave her hope. Glancing out a side window she could see across the yard to Istion’s study where the elf lord sat bent over his desk. Have grace with your little star, beloved.

_ _ _ _ _

Artis pattered down the long flight of steps as fast as her feet could carry her, one hand clutching her bow and skirts, the other pressed atop of her head to keep her circlet from flying off. “Rainion? Rain — ooph!” she gasped as she ran headlong into her eldest brother.

“Careful there, Moriquendë,” laughed the towering elf lord as he quickly took her by the arm to keep her from falling. “What is the hurry?”

“I didn’t want to be late! I had to tell you, I’m tall enough to shoot with you!” she said, her excitement more hushed as she looked up in reverence to the Eldar that fought under Glorfindel. If only she could be as mighty as he!

Rainion arched a dark eyebrow in amusement as he turned to walk with her down the hall towards the courtyard. “You do know I made that a condition to get you off my back?”

Artis frowned at him in disbelief. “What? You mean to tell me I could have been shooting with you years ago?!

“No. But you practiced harder as you waited to grow, did you not?”

Artis pursed her lips in a poorly faked pout as she pushed open the gate for them. “I  . . . well, I did, yes. I’ve been practicing as much as I can, but Ada has been overseeing most of my archery.” She kicked at a pebble on the path, sending the stone flying. “He never lets me do anything cool like you and Milloth get to.”

Rainion hummed as he led the way along the back of the long training yard to where a servant arranged weapons on a wooden table. “That is probably for the best. Yes, I suppose some of what Milloth and I do can be considered as ‘cool,’ but we do more that is dangerous. Father does not always approve of our ventures, but we are also old enough to take the path that calls us away from home.”

“Do you think I can take my own path?” she asked quietly, swinging her light bow to bounce from one shin to the other, her eyes gazing longingly at the other weapons.

Rainion did not respond, and when she looked up his stormy eyes were fixed on the balcony overlooking the yard. “What path would you like to take?” he asked in a hushed voice.

Quickly looking back there was no one on the balcony, but her wondering about what he’d seen was pushed aside by his question. “I want to help. I want to fight to help others,” she said softly. “Father wants me to be a lady, to be educated and live a long peaceful life married to some lord . . . but what good is my living in peace if everyone else dies in strife? Long life, and all my abilities go to waste sipping tea and writing poetry behind flowers and hedges.” When her brother remained silent she looked up at him to see him gazing down at her with a warm smile, a spark in his eyes. “What?” she asked incredulously.

“Nothing, onórë,” he chuckled. Taking up his dark-hilted elven blade he dabbed two fingers with oil from a vial and motioned for her to follow.

Leaning her bow against the table Artis took one of the smaller short swords and went after him. “Are we not shooting today?”

“You learn archery from Milloth,” said Rainion. Glancing to her he nodding in approval at her choice of weapon. “From now on you will be learning swordsmanship from me.”

Without skipping a beat Artis shot him a smirk, flipping the sword in her hand. “Just swordsmanship?”

“Patience, Moriquendë,” laughed Rainion. Painting the edge of his sword with the oil on his fingers, Rainion muttered a spell under his breath and pivoted around to face her, poised to either attack or defend. Sparks of white electricity flicked along the blade’s edge.

“Hey!” Artis exclaimed, turning to face him. “That is not fair! Can I not have some?”

Rainion held his stance but shot her a wink. “Get a little taller first, then we can talk about it.”

Artis huffed and stet her feet, preparing to attack. “And stop calling me ‘dark elf’. Father says it is an unbecoming title for any high-elf.”

“Well father has no sense of humor. Not since Gondolin. Do you still sneak out at night?”

Artis made a face, and nodded.

“Then you are Moriquendë,” he snickered. “Now, onórë, attack me before I die of old age.”

Just For Fun

A friend got me hooked on this site, and it has been too much fun! I definitely suggest checking it out.

http://www.dolldivine.com/hobbit-and-lotr-dress-up-game.php

The children of Istuion: Milloth, Eruviel, and Ranion.

The children of Istuion: Milloth, Eruviel, and Ranion.

From left to right: Daran (Ge'bar), Eruviel (business), Eruviel (casual), Adrovorn, and Cade.

From left to right: Daran (Ge’bar), Eruviel (business), Eruviel (casual), Adrovorn, and Cade.

I have another post for today, but just wanted to share the joy. Also, for the those who keep up with Eruviel and her back story, leave a comment and let me know what I should write next!