Story by The Nimrodellian Tale-Spinner
So, where to begin? I suppose the beginning will suffice for now.
I had been making the rounds throughout the Bree-lands, hitting up my favorite inns and regaling their patrons with my tales of high adventure and heroics. While telling one of my more rousing tales ‘Mericc and the Dread Worm’ in a town whose name escapes me, it could have been Archet, I was handed a letter with curious markings.
The envelope was crafted in elf fashion and sealed with a wax rendering of a flower blossom. On it was written a few words in graceful elvish which translates loosely to ‘From your number #1 fan.I shall not tell you all that was in it but “I know you’ve probably met a thousand girls in your travels, but I would really make it worth your while if you could stop by and see me. Maybe we could meet somewhere outside Celondim by the River Lune? I’ve always wanted to see the elf havens! And I’d love to see anything else you wanted to show me. *winks*” certainly intrigued me.
‘Ahhhh another adoring fan,’ I thought. ‘Wishing to bask in the glory that is the Nimrodelian Tale-Spinner.’ Vain perhaps, but what is the point of being ridiculously handsome if one cannot enjoy it? But I had many places and lands to visit and if I jumped at every maiden’s request for my presence, I’d never get any tales done. I was about to put the letter in my pack with the rest of my fan mail when another paper fell out of the envelope.
It turned out to be a charcoal etching of the fan in question, an elf maiden with long dark hair and a bright smile. ‘Maybe a trip to Ered Luin wouldn’t be so bad after all,’ I said and after finishing my tale I packed up my things and headed out.
So some days later, I rode into the elf lands and made my way towards the town of Celondim. Instantly I was mobbed by a crowd of young elf maidens who recognized me even with my hood up. Cries of ‘Aqualondo!’ and ‘He’s so dreamy’ greeted my ears. A few asked me where I had been and why I hadn’t come to see them after that night and I gave those a wide berth for I was on a mission!
Unfortunately elf maidens are fleet as deer and I found myself cornered by one by the name of Findrel, a lively girl who absolutely adored me (And who can blame her?). She pressed on me giggling and laughing and telling me how glad she was that I had finally come back to her.
She said something about a promise of mine to take her out for a walk in the country and had a look in her eyes that said she wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Elf maidens are not to be trifled with when they get their heads set on something and while I didn’t remember giving such a promise, I didn’t see any way out of it.
So, she got on my horse with me and we started to head out. This did not go over well with the other maidens who saw me giving Findrel favor and there was much consternation and pawing at me. One even tore the mantle around my shoulders, and it was a battered elf that headed towards the River Lune.
After an hour or so, we passed a forest that stretches for some miles, hugging the river. Bushes dripping with sugary blackberries and raspberries dotted the landscape for they were just coming into season and the berries of Ered Luin are not to be missed at that time if you can help it.
And speaking of hugging, Findrel had a grip on me that would squeeze a stone troll in two and I thought of ways to quietly ditch her, for I was, as I said, on a mission! But, she was close by the daggers I kept tied to the rear of my horse, and one should never anger an elf maiden by sharp objects.
Not that I have personal experience with this, no siree…just saying.
We were passing close by the eaves of the forest, for I had a desire to pick some berries, and it would give me an excuse to unglue the elf maiden from my side who was coming dangerously close to becoming a part of my permanent wardrobe if she hugged me any tighter.
While she was occupied with picking berries for me, I suddenly heard the sounds of singing coming from deeper in the forest. The voice was magical and sweet and seemed to rain down on me from all around, enticing me with words of longing and promise. I began to head towards the sound when Findrel leapt at me panicked.
She warned me of the dangers of mysterious forest singing, of seductive enchantresses who ensnared travelers who would then disappear for years, if not forever. Long would they be lost in dreams of the mind, whisked away to the Valar only knows where and to what perilous adventures, she could not even relate.
‘Uh yeah,’ I said. ‘And who wants to miss that?’
So I half walked, half dragged myself towards the voice, Findrel gripping my legs the whole time trying to restrain me. But I was on mission, remember? Surely not the mission I had originally set out for, but missions really should be more flexible if they wish to be finished, especially by wood elves with short attention spans.
So, where was I? Oh yes, as we traveled deeper into the forest, the voice was ever before us and I felt myself getting drowsy. Looking behind me, Findrel had loosened her grip and fallen asleep on the ground. As I passed into a glade bespeckled with raspberry bushes, I felt sleep overwhelm me and I laid down to rest. It had been a long day and what’s the worst that could happen falling asleep in an enchanted forest with a mysterious voice singing at you, really?
Dreams I had, beckoned by a beautiful elf maiden who enticed me with temptations of what she would do if I would but awake and search for her. But the dream was nice, and I decided to stay asleep and explore them more.
The maiden in my dreams laughed and sent visions to me, telling me that I really should depart from my rest and find her. But, I had tired myself out from the earlier elf maiden mobbing and could really use the rest.
Now the voice seemed a bit restless and said that she couldn’t just sit around all day, sending me visions, she did have another job after all. I had never remembered the voices in my head being so pushy, but I shrugged (in a dream state sort of way of course) and figured I’d just pacify the voice with cool thoughts or strong booze, whichever I could (in a dreamy way again) get my hands on first.
SMACK! I awoke suddenly to a stinging sensation on my cheek, someone had thrown a stick at me!
I rubbed my cheek and looked around at my surroundings. The glade was all around me and I looked back and saw that Findrel was still deep in slumber, apparently blatant branch assault was for cute elf tale tellers only. They should really tell you these things in school, honestly. I rubbed my eyes of their drowsiness and got up.
I wasn’t sure how long I had been out, could have been days, felt like years. The bottle of Dorwinion Red I had with me didn’t know either despite repeated inquiries.
Amongst the fallen blossoms of a tree I saw a strange sight indeed. A scarf of sea blue, both deep and bright, was lying on the ground before me. I picked it up, admiring the expert weaving and soft feel of it. I looked at my torn mantle and decided to put this new one on.
It probably should have occurred to me that strange clothes left in enchanted forests, inhabited by singing, stick throwing voices might not be safe but Mr. Dorwinion said it was ok and I always listen to Mr. Dorwinion.
‘This will match my eyes perfectly!’ I thought to myself as I put it on. Then it was over! I fell under the spell of love that was knitted into every fiber of its stitching and forgot all else but a desire to find the maker of said piece of magical clothing.
I wandered aimlessly for an unknowable amount of time. I didn’t know where I was, who I was, or where I was going. Even Mr. Bottle of Dorwinion shrugged his shoulders and left for places less mysterious and dangerous, like Frogmorton or something. The only thing I knew was a sense of eyes watching me from the shadowy spaces between the trees, near but always far enough away to escape detection. I remembered, or thought I remembered the forest being rather small, but no matter how far or long I walked, the forest continued to surround me.
Finally, one day, while continuing my new job of ‘wondering what the void was going on,’ the source of the voice revealed herself to me at last.
And you should have seen her. There was my dear Doviel, standing radiant before me, her brown hair laying around a face that was beautiful in the way that only elf maidens can be beautiful. She was wearing a revealing gown that said, ‘Shy? Me? Never met him,’ and smiled at me with lips that were just made for kissing.
‘Suilad!’ She said and meant every word of it.
‘Well, hello there!’ I replied and adjusted my scarf. I still wasn’t sure who I was, but apparently I was someone who warranted the attention of such an enchanting and evocatively dressed girl and that person seemed like a pretty awesome guy to me so, ‘Cheers!’ says I.
We wandered the land for a long time, eating the sugary berries of Ered Luin that are sweeter than the best human candy, and enjoying each others company. Occasionally we’d come across an elf maiden lying asleep on the forest floor and I would inquire about it.
But Doviel would laugh and tell me not to worry about it, whilst planting a kiss on my lips, so I didn’t worry about it though I do hope now that Findrel is ok. She was a very nice girl even if she did have the grip of gold starved dwarf for treasure.
So now we are very happy together (After I remembered who I was) and I suppose I should be angry at her for her enchantment dropping, stick throwing, magical love inducing antics but I thought, ‘Hey! If someone thinks highly enough of you to go to all that trouble and mischief, you really should give them a chance.’
And don’t you forget it!