1 March 2017
Now we come to a season of sadness after the joy of spring and ease of summer into a lingering fall. On a cold night, before the dawn, Izilba and Imeldir the elf with her own daughter – twins born in turn by each – sent out to shore to collect sea ice, for such bore sea glass fallen from distant caves, even carried from the sacred hills in the West; and they came to the new strand southern before the White Mountains, even as the sun sent forth color, and they gathered glass, and came to crystal. Imeldir’s daughter Feth held one in her hand, and said this would fight the darkness of many caves, for it had come from Avallonë, and was hardened sap of the magic trees that grew amid never-dying fields of lilies, sap easy to cut into brilliant crystal.
Even while the elves – now adding two more to gather the glass – climbed southeast aways, purposing to cut into barred caves, Izilba held her own crystal, and called to Silmariel, telling her all that had been done, and of her contentment. Her ancient mother told what she knew of the spectral forms, and of the evil fog unnatural, and preparations in the north against the shadow-ones. “The crystals speak not of swords,” Izilba answered, “and one from afar openly speaks of light-cut flame of red and white, the Narsil.” “Yes, one of the stone-crystals,” the dead-queen guessed.
She lifted the twins and called to her friends, visible in the early light as bodies of ever-light, white and yet moving through a prism of colors and endless hues, scattering beams over the ice- diamonds melting along the shoreline.
After they returned, she looked for Dyacôm, and finding Zhera’ among the maps, discussing ways southward, inquired to whose keeping he had committed the boy, for she wished to give him his own mother-gem, on his day of Peace. “Was he not with you? I’ve not seen him all the day,” and scarcely concealed panic shot through the parents. “He must’ve gone out with Eanur or another,” Zhera’ assured her, “And I will find him playing among some hidden puddle with a throng of insects,” and Izilba answered, “Let us all go, I will leave the twins to track the faster, for my heart hurts to hold him sooner.”
Though it was soon nighttime, they went out with many elves, and the air was colding to frost, it seemed. The parents headed east and north along lesser known paths, calling the child’s name, holding out torches, and seeking in crystals for any who might find him. The stars were not seen, a black canvas grew over the hills, and pressed down thereto; their hearts grew sick as the hours passed; each assuring the other their own secret fears could not be true. Through the unlight that seemed to have come hither out of their distant home upon Westernesse, a mist hid from the mind any hope of day.
They hunted for the boy, though never had he been so present before their minds, all his days and forgotten joys becoming treasures, weighty more as the boy was not found, nor any sign ^seen of Eanur, ancient stranger cast up by the Lord of Waters, and remnant of Gondolin. Before dawn they came to an opening on a trail, as between a gate of stone, and within they saw – for the unlight was cast back to reveal it – the horror of a being of black flame, ancient companion to Thû at the Tower of Wolves, a huge bat-form feeding upon a dangling, blackened body, still hot from burning, hanging as though to snare Thuringwethil. Circling about the high walls, around the form, was a stench visible under the little stars, sometimes shaping into bodies that reached forth, yet were by some bonds restrained.
Zhera’ and Izilba staggered back, and fell swooning, as there was no earth beneath them, and the darkness was all. Zhera’ vomited, while Izilba, trembling too great to even feel for Makmahôd, struggled to her knees, wailing, unfearing the torments assured by the vapors living and the being they worshipped. The sword was hot, and still heaving, Zhera’ grasped it, helped his love to her feet, and handed her the sword. While she fought the being of ancient horror, a Fire-Dread fed on elven flesh, Zhera’ cut down the mutilated corpse, dragging it away, as he called for Izilba, knowing she was no longer the gardener, but a hunter. She came, however, for the being had fled into the darkness that was lifted by the coming sun, wounded to the death, it seemed. By the light of sun they knew this body was not their own boy, but another, an elf; whose name neither could speak.
They wrapped the body in a net of leaves, and already it was dissolving, by mid-day to molder on Zhera’s back as he carried it home, unfolding to his friends a clean, rich soil only. “Yea, this was the shape of Eanur,” said Attchan, “and whither Dyacôm, we cannot say.” “But there was a struggle, or so the signs tell, and a body dragged off, then carried, and now we knew whither, though by whom? Mist and Thûn did not this deed, though of our friend they gladly partook.”
“Of your son…”
“How can you not know? Or do you not say, only? Say he is dead, if he has been found by some elves, or that he lives yonder, never to be carried nor taught by mortal parents. I am Izilba, twice- cast-off, and would know.”
“We know not, nor will guess.”
“But,” interrupted another, stepping from the shadows, “he is not among the dead, this we know,” and that chimed with her heart, too.
Even as Zhera’ felt his own heart lighter, and hope come again to his mind, afar off, whence they had fled the evil Morthû [Black Breath], a great tearing of stones, ripping and falling as though the mountains would be broken, so great was the clamor of rocks, and they heard a voice amid the din, saying, “Fear Not, ^though High Heaven has seen this deed; all ^fruit that is ripe this night of stone-rock ends.”
And stones fell that night from the sky, so the trees were barren that bend with fruit, and the hives torn asunder, while the host of Onodrinlim and their guests cowered deep in the earth; lightening was sent forth by Ancient Ones, and some among the people wondered, dark in their hearts, whether Eanur had been by his own Gondolindri, captured and given as bait for a snare to net a bat, by ancient grudge being traded, if need be. He it was who brought the man Tuor to that last realm; being commanded and forlorn, seeing in Tuor one esteemed by Ossë and raised upon honor of Ulmo, Eanur was not housed by the little remnant of that people, though finding friendship among the host of the Grey in the mountain holes.