Tolkien Fan Fiction Home Tolkien Fan FictionAll the tales of the Valar and the Elves are so knit together that one may scarce expound any one without needing to set forth the whole of their great history.
  Post A Review  Printer Friendly  Help



Disclaimer: see in the Foreword.

Author’s Notes:
Now we finally get to meet the mysterious Lady of Tol Eressëa. Please remember: I am trying to reintegrate a part of Tolkien’s earlier mythology into the more or less finished version of his universe. These very different strings of canon were never meant to co-exist, and this combination is entirely my take on the Tolkienverse.

Also, the colour of Meril’s hair is not an oversight (as a descendant of Ingwë, she should be expected to have golden hair) but a conscious choice. The reason will be obvious, once her ancestry is fully revealed.


4. Meril-i-Turinqi

Evromord opened the front door and through a dimly-lit hall he led her to an airy chamber with high ceiling and tall windows that looked out to the hillside. And amid of white-clad maidens, chosen apparently from all three kindreds of the Eldar, a fair lady sat behind a loom; but seeing her guest’s arrival she rose and stepped forth as if she had been eager to meet Celebrían for a long time.

“Welcome, daughter of the Lord of Trees and of the House of Finarfin,” she said in a voice that was deeper than Celebrían would expect; indeed, almost as deep as that of her mother’s. “Irmo has foretold your arrival in my dreams, and glad am I to offer you the pleasure of my quiet gardens and the peace of their gentle breeze. For it seems to me that you have been touched by much pain and sorrow, and it is my wish to help you in any way I may.”

For a while Celebrían said nought, for she was overwhelmed by the loveliness of that place and the beauty and strength of its Lady. Tall and strong the Lady of the Isle seemed, yet as graceful as any Elf she ever met. Meril had the deep blue eyes of the Vanyar and a slight golden hue of skin that was so unique to the First Kindred, though hers was less visible than Glorfindel’s or even Gildor’s. Her hair, smooth and glossy like heavy silk, was as black as the starless night, and she wore it unadorned, tied up in a simple knot while working. Plain and simple was her gown, too, though made of a silky stuff of dark blue; and it was girdled with a chain of gold, shaped like a chain of flag-lilies set with the pale-blue eyes of forget-me-not.

“I thank you for the kind words of welcome, o Queen of Flowers(1),” Celebrían finally said, “yet I fear that the peace of your gardens will not be enough to heal the wounds that have been inflicted upon me, both hröa and fëa alike. For though the skills of the one who has my heart in his keeping were great enough to mend my broken shell, there are hurts that not even a born healer can make undone; and I was hoping that the light of Valinor would be enough to heal the darkness that had befallen my soul. Can you be of any help, so that I may go there, soon?”

“I can,” said Meril, “and I shall do so if that is your wish. Yet it seems to me that it would be wise if you rested in the pleasance of our Isle for a while, ere you embark upon another journey, however short it may be. For living in Valinor could be demanding, too, more so for the only descendant of the Noldorin King than for someone of common birth. Are you sure that you want to take up your duties right away?”

At this Celebrían only shook her head in defeat, for Meril had addressed her most hidden fear – the very same that had made her delay her journey this long in the first place. She had no desire to take over her mother’s duties in Finarfin’s court – not now, and in all honesty, not even later. She only wanted some peace so that she could heal.

When the unspeakable happened, she refused to flee her body, for she could not bear the thought of being separated from Elrond and their children and wait in the Halls of Mandos for healing and re-making. Yet it proved impossible to remain with her family in Middle-earth as well – she felt tainted, unworthy, barely able to face them and completely unable to face any others in the long run. She had become a shadow of her own self, and she could see how much it hurt Elrond and the children to see her like this.

Therefore, departing for the West seemed the best way to spare them – all of them – further anguish. But for the same reason, she felt not at all like partaking in the life of her kindred in Valinor, either. Court life was never to her liking, not even when she had been whole and happy. In her present state it would be pure torture.

Meril looked at her with understanding, and bidding her maidens to depart she prayed Celebrían follow her to a space night to the house – and this was of cool grass but not very short. Fruit-trees grew there, and about the roots of one, an apple-tree of great girth and age, the soul was piled so that there was now a board seat around its bole, soft and grass-covered. There sat Meril, gesturing Celebrían to be seated beside her, and she said gravely:

“There are other means of healing a wounded heart, and I might be able to offer them to you – but doing so is not without consequences, thus ere you make your choices, I wish you to consider them carefully.”

“Ilverin spake of some sort of draught on our way hitherto,” Celebrían said hesitatingly; “a draught that might help find healing without the need to shed one’s hröa… unless I have mistaken his words.”

“You have not,” Meril replied in a most solemn manner, “for indeed, I was speaking of the very same thing. I was speaking of limpë(2), the drink of the Eldar both young and old. ‘Tis a drink given to us by Irmo himself, and drinking it, our hearts keep youth and our mouths grow full of song – for it was made to save us from growing weary of our lives and to return the joy and the innocence of the youth of the Quendi to our hearts. This is the only way to achieve that, unless one walks the paths of the dead and waits ‘til they are re-made.”

“Why, then, is this wondrous drink not given to the Elves in Middle-earth as well?” Celebrían asked in confusion. “No-where do our people suffer as much as in the Outer Lands – why is healing denied them?”

“I know all too well what our people have suffered and are still suffering beyond the bent Sea,” answered Meril with a deep sigh; “for I, too, have chosen the path of the Exiles once and dwelt under the Shadow for a whole Age. And I have seen war and death and losses enough for even an Elf to wither and break under its burden. But, you see, ‘tis not that simple. We cannot carry limpë over the Sea – for even if it were allowed (which it is not), it would go bad in Middle-earth, which is tainted by evil. It could only work its miracles here, on this very Island; therefore those that drink it must dwell always with us in Elvenhome until such time as they fare forth to find their lost families – or until their loved ones arrive for them and they can go on to Valinor, where they will not need limpë anymore.”

These words gave Celebrían much to think about, and for a while they remained silent, listening to the music that came from the house and mingled with the song of he many birds that nestled in the eaves of the great hedge. Finally Celebrían looked up again and spoke in sorrow:

“I know not how to choose, Lady. For though I yearn to see the lights of Valinor, I also dread the busy life in my grandsire’s court; and I miss the peace that only a life under trees can provide. Cannot you tell me what I shall do?”

“I cannot; and even if I could, I would not do so,” Meril replied. “’Tis dangerous to make decisions for other people rather than let them decide; and it has long-lasting effects that can be quite unpleasant. The Valar themselves had to learn this in the hard way – for hastily did they summon the Quendi to Aman, ere they had the time to make Middle-earth their own. Too young our people had been when they were forced to choose between the Light of the Trees and the Shadow of the Outer Lands; and they chose without fully understanding their choices. And thus the sundering of Elves that began at the waters of Cuiviénen when Oromë found them continued in the enmity between the Exiles and the Ilkorin, and it reached its peak in the three Kinslayings, causing a breach that cannot be undone any more, unless Arda is re-made, and mayhap not even then. For even though forgiveness had been asked for, and given in most cases, the deep wounds will remain ‘til the end of Arda, and who knows what might come afterwards?”

“Mayhap indeed had the Valar decided otherwise the world would be a happier place now and the Eldar a happier folk,” said Celebrían thoughtfully; “but never would they have achieved such glory, knowledge, and beauty, as they did of old, and still less would any of Melkor’s redes and deeds have benefited them. For living under the Shadow of Middle-earth, they also lived in ever-present peril, and we cannot know what evil turn their fate might have taken.”

“Now I hear Nerwen(3) speaking with your voice,” answered Meril with a smile. “Of all of Finarfin’s children she was the one who hungered for power and glory and wisdom the most. ‘Tis a pity that her stubborn pride allowed her not to return to Aman with the rest of us when the Exiled had been forgiven. She still hoped to find a kingdom to rule, after Morgoth had been defeated. Yet it was not hers to have – not when she followed Fingolfin over the Grinding Ice, nor in any later Age. A pity indeed. She would have made a great Queen.”

“She certainly reigns in my father’s realm as if she were one,” Celebrían said, surprised by the sudden bitterness in her voice. “I fear that after three Ages she’s still is not able to understand the woodland folk, even though she had no other choice than to learn to live in the trees like them.”

Meril looked at her intently, and Celebrían had the feeling that those blue eyes could lay her very soul bare and read it like an open book.

“You have but a little of her in you,” the Lady of Tol Eressëa declared, and Celebrían could not tell if she was relieved or disappointed. “You come after your father, I deem. Truth be told, we were all astonished when Nerwen chose to marry Celeborn of Doriath. ‘Tis hard to imagine two Elves more different than they are.”

“She loves Father very much,” Celebrían shrugged. “Their bond is true and strong. And they have learnt how to give in if needed – both of them. Still, sometimes I wonder if she chose wisely when she remained in Middle-earth. Had she followed Eönwë’s summons and accepted forgiveness, mayhap she would be a queen right now. Just like you.”

To her surprise Meril began to laugh in mirth at these words.

“Oh, but I was a queen already while I dwelt still in Beleriand!” she said merrily; then her smiling face grew grave again, and she solemnly added. “Besides, even though at times my people fancy calling me their Queen, I am truly not one. Nor is Elvenhome in truth my realm.”

“What is it then?” asked Celebrían, slightly bewildered.

Meril sighed deeply again and answered: “My atonement.”

But however Celebrían begged her to unravel the meaning of these strange words, she was not willing to tell her more. Not yet.

“This is not the proper time to tell old tales full of sorrow,” she said. “You need to rest, first and foremost. I shall send one of my maids to prepare a room and a bath for you, and to bring you refreshments. But in four day’s time Samírien(4) will come; and though that is a feast of Valinor, we celebrate it just as well – in Ailios’ house. There many tales will be told and many songs sung, and mayhap you shall find counsel to help making your choice.”

With that she rose from her grassy seat and walked back to the house, leaving Celebrían no other choice but to follow her.


End notes:

(1) Which is supposed to be the literal meaning of Meril’s name.

(2) Needless to say that originally the drink of the Eldar had a wholly different function than the one I gave it here… one that would not match with the later versions of mythology, so I needed to use it differently.

(3) Mother-name of Galadriel, meaning “man-maiden”.

(4) The Feast of Double Mirth in Valinor.


Post A Review

Report this chapter for abuse of site guidelines. (Opens new window)

A Mike Kellner Web Site
Tolkien Characters, Locations, & Artifacts © Tolkien Estate & Designated Licensees - All Rights Reserved
Stories & Other Content © The Respective Authors - All Rights Reserved
Software & Design © 2003 - 2018 Michael G Kellner All Rights Reserved
Hosted by:Raven Studioz