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Guardian of the Golden Wood
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Prologue - The Elfling

Please bear with me. English is not my native tongue and there may be some linguistic and stylistic mishaps.

For those interested, I publish the timeline of Guardian of the Golden Wood in my journal on this website.


A Tale of Mystery and Adventure, set in the 1300 T.A

Prologue - The Elfling

The tiny little creature curled up into a protective ball. Its hair was matted and full of knots and tangles. It smelled and was so dirty that its skin colour was almost impossible to tell. Celeborn gave a small sigh, then walked over to the cot. Slowly he went to his knees. He doubted the little thing knew it was an elfling.

When he addressed the creature, murmuring soft words in the common speech, it tried to hide itself clutching the blanket and curling up even tighter in a corner of the cot. It trembled like a leaf!

The Lord lifted the blanket and gently pushed a strand of matted tangles to look into the dirty face of the terrified elfling. A pair of grey-blue eyes stared at him in silent terror. Tears running over its cheeks, cracking the grim in places. It bit its lips, so it would not cry out or make any noise.

'Hush, young one! We mean no harm. You are safe here. Will you allow a healer to tend to you?' Celeborn's second attempt to comfort the elfling was to no avail. Its tears flooded freely and it pushed its small, dirty fist into its mouth and bit it.

The Lord of Eregion watched the tiny thing with surprise. He did not remember when in his long life, he had ever instilled such fear in any creature that was not a servant of the darkness or a spawn of the shadows of Morgoth. And suddenly he shook his head and smiled: This little one had perhaps no idea what he was, but could it be....? He repeated his words of comfort in Sindarin and suddenly the elfling relaxed. It gave a deep sigh and nodded its approval.

It was so very young that it was hard to tell if it was a male or a female. Eight, perhaps ten summers...and so small and mangy, that it reminded Celeborn of an underfed stray kitten. A messenger carrying letters from his beloved had found the elfling on his way back from the forest realm of Laurelindórean were the Lady Galadriel was visiting with his kinsmen Amdir.

At the edge of the wilderness, east of the Misty Mountains and in a forlorn place were only few were able to scratch a miserable living from a hard and stony ground, the messenger had discovered the smouldering ashes of a tiny farmstead with destroyed cattle. Amongst the ruin was the mangled body of an ancient, grey-haired human woman and, clinging to it for dear life, the exhausted elfling with a vicious cut from a blade across its left shoulder.

At the Lord's sign, a healer stepped out of the cool shadows of the room and walked over to the bed on which the hurt elfling lay.

'Now tend to him!' Celeborn commanded the slender, fair elleth. 'Be as gentle as you can and not frighten it.

Then Celeborn turned back to the elfling. 'What is your name, little one?' he inquired gently, placing his long, slender fingers under its dirty chin and brushing away its tears with a tender movement of his thumb.

'Nana called me Fair Child!' the elfling whispered. 'But Nana is gone, isn't she? I tried so hard to protect her. I failed! They were so many of them....'

'Hush!' replied Celeborn, 'You must heal now, Fair Child. Do not worry for the moment. We will talk again, when you feel better.'

He left the bedside of the elfling and returned to the Galadhrim officer who waited further away in the room by a windowsill.

'Come with me, Orophin. The letters of the Lady Galadriel can wait. First, you must tell me exactly were you found this elfling and under what circumstances.'

The messenger bowed obediently and followed the Lord of Eregion. Together they left the House of Healing and descended the stairs to a soft wooden path that led to the peaceful shores of Lake Nenuial. Only when they were convinced that the hurt elfling would no longer be able to hear their conversation, did they speak again.

'No Sylvan elves dwell so far to the East, my Lord, or so close to the slopes of the Misty Mountains,' Orophin said, thoughtfully, 'I do not think he is of Laurelindórean for it would have been known if an Elven child had gone astray.'

The Lord of Eregion shrugged. 'It does not matter. Now the little one is in my realm, it is my duty to see to his welfare. Tell me everything.'


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