Promises Kept

Posted by Amala of Imladris - May 12th, 2020

Many years passed and though he found the transition in

to being the High King easy enough, Elrond grew weary both in heart and spirit. For in all the time that passed, he found that in the times he spent alone, his mind wandered back to his dear friend Gil-Galad and his young daughter Amala. In the quiet moments in which he could not sleep, but spent staring into the fire of his own hearth he would often find himself mentally wandering through the gardens of Imladris where he ended his wandering before the memorial statue of Gil-Galad sitting upon the high chair in the council courtyard. It was then that a deep fog would start to roll in and at his side would stand his long dead friend.

“Yet again you come to my grave my friend,” Gil-Galad said kindly. “I have seen your heart and mind are troubled with thoughts of myself and Amala. Only, unlike me, she does not walk the paths of the dead. Elrond, what you were told all those years ago of my daughter’s death was a lie. She yet lingers in the halls of Lord Thranduil. Only in a place of great sorrow and grief. Her mind has a spell cast upon it from years of mistreatment and abuse and she is barely holding onto life. You must go there and bring her from her prison. Although you might not be able to go there yourself, send no more than three that you trust the most to find her and bring her back.”

“How will I know her,” Elrond asked urgently.

“In her current state, she no longer remembers her name. She goes by the name of Waif now. However, once the spell is lifted and she begins to remember, you hear an old name you have long since gone by. She will call you Star Dome once more. Only you must get her back to Imladris before the setting of the next full moon or her dreams from youth will be fulfilled. The one that has imprisoned her shall kill her and feed her remains to the spiders and send his own daughter in her stead to reign beside you until her father can come with his allies to kill you in your sleep and plunge the elven kingdoms into an age of darkness far worse than if Morgoth himself had returned,” came the grave warning.

Once he came back to his senses, Elrond entered Mithrandir’s chambers where he found his sons sitting with the old wizard drinking and speaking of news from their time spent with the Rangers of the wilds.

“Mithrandir my old friend and my dear sons, forgive the abruptness of this request, but it is a matter of life and death. I cannot tell you where I got the information from, but need the three of you to ride with all haste to the Mirkwood and the halls of Thrandruil. Mithrandir, I need you to keep Thranduil and his advisor Keristan blind to all else that moves while you Elrohir and Elladan travel deep into the archives with the help of Legolas to retrieve from the cells beneath a child not yet of age that is called simply Waif,” he said urgently. “That girl child shall be brought to Lothlorien where I will await you all to return.”

“Father,” Elrohir questioned curiously “what is the reasoning behind this odd request? It is not like you to interfere with the affairs of other kingdoms let alone those that are imprisioned by them.”

“I have reason to believe that the one you are to rescue is one that I made a promise to many years ago and was prevented from fulfilling through a act of deceipt. Now meet me in the courtyard as soon as all of you are ready for the long journey ahead,” he said turning to leave the room.

Walking in silence with his friend, Mithrandir followed Elrond back to his chambers. Once inside and door closed, he stopped his friend as he made haste with gather what he needed for the long road ahead.

“I have never seen you in such a mood of great folly. Tell me who is it you think we are rescuing my friend or I will remain behind here and let the boys do their part if they can,” Mithrandir said solemnly.

“For many nights now I have not been able to sleep Mithrandir so I have sat here in this chair gazing deeping into the fire. During these moments, I have found my mind wandering through the gardens and stopping at Gil-Galad’s statue. Only this night he came to me with a dire warning. All those years ago when I was told that all that remained of Amala were the shreds of clothing falling to the ground after the spiders devoured her, it was all a lie. Amala does not wander the halls of the dead, but is very much alive and cast into a spell of shadows and pain that have made her forget whom she is and if she is not returned by the waning of the next full moon she will be put to death and fed to the spiders. Once this happens, another will come pretending to be her with the sole intention of claiming a false birth right of succession to sit at my side. When she takes that seat, a force will enter in friendship into my halls as on a night least expected as I repose, a death blow with be struck and she shall cast Imladris and other elven halls into darkness,” he said sincerely. “Gandalf…I promised her when she sat upon my lap as a frightened child on the eve of our journey to battle that I would do all I could to bring her home should her father fall. It is a promise I mean to keep.”

After several days, Elrond arrived on the borders of Lothlorien as the others entered the borders of the Mirkwood. Only, instead of needing to follow the plans set forth for the child’s rescue, they found Legolas and Aragorn on the edges awaiting them with the nearly lifeless form of the young elvish woman being shrouded by one of Aragorn’s traveling cloaks.

“Mithrandir,” Aragorn said with a sigh. “You do not know how glad my weary eyes are to see the three of you. I received word from a messenger of Erestor of what it was you needed to do. Only things were being put into motion faster than was anticipated. I was in the archives and noticed a young woman of elf kind being beaten in a most savage way. As a result, I remained hidden and waited until Legolas distracted a human named Brasso who serves as Keristan’s punisher. He does what Keristan as an elf cannot least he calls the curse of the Valar upon his head by harming another elf. I have done what I can to help her stay alive, but she is fading. Only Lord Elrond might be able to truly save her now.”

“What of Thranduil and Keristan,” Mithrandir asked concerned.

“I have done to them what was done to Lord Elrond all those years ago and presented them with torn blood stained remnants of her clothing and told them she was killed and fed to the spiders,” Legolas said with a smirkish grin. “Now they believe that I am once more traveling the wilds with Aragorn.”

Taking the young woman from Aragorn, Elrohir mounted his horse and the three of them met with Lord Elrond at the edge of Lothlorien as Legolas and Aragorn took a path toward the wilds. Once at the base of the steps ascending to the talon of council, Elrond took Amala into his arms as he climbed up to seek the aid needed of Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn. This alone would be a struggle as neither of them wanted to accept that one day a child of unholy union could ever be deemed an heir of Gil-Galad.

Spider’s Prey

Posted by Amala of Imladris - May 12th, 2020

Slowly the days passed and began to blend one into another as Amala waited for the return of her father from the battle. As per the request of Lord Thranduil, Amala passed much of the time in solitary study under the tutilage of his chief advisor and scribe Keristan. It was during one of these study sessions when the doors to the great hall opened and a messenger in dented blood stained armor entered.

“My Lord Thranduil,” he said bowing his head respectfully “victory is ours. The dark lord Sauron has been defeated though with a heavy price. The High King of Men is dead as is our own High King Gil-Galad. Elrond prior to battle was named his successor. He now rides here to claim the child of Gil-Galad to return her to her father’s kingdom. There she is to be groomed in the scholarly arts as well as those of a warrior and diplomat that one day she might serve as co-ruler with Elrond.”

“Very well,” Thranduil said looking over at Keristan. “You know what you must do.”

Bowing before Thranduil, he ushered Amala to the steps leading to the archives and once there, shoved her into a cell where she remained a prisoner until long after the departure of Elrond.

Upon arriving in the great hall, he stood before Thranduil weary from sorrow and the strain of the battle.

“Lord Thranduil I have come for the girl child Amala,” he said sternly. “Please bring her to me immediately that I might continue upon my long journey home.”

“I am terribly sorry Elrond, but the child you speak of is no longer here,” Thranduil replied coldly. “She got into a mood and tried to avoid doing the lessons planned out for her by my advisor and head scribe Keristan. This was done by trying to force Keristan’s own daughter M’Lora to do her work for her. When M’Lora refused, Keristan saw Amala trying to break M’Lora’s hand and scolded her. As a result, she bolted out the door and got caught up in a spider’s web. By the time we found her it was too late. All that remained were the scraps of clothing that were falling to the grab from the trees above.”

Hearing this dreadful news, Elrond’s heart ached all the more as he turned slowly from Thranduil and headed to the door.

“Long will it be known that nobody is safe in your halls Thranduil for it is obvious you neither care nor stand vigilant over those that require your protection,” he said as he headed out the open doors. It was then that Amala’s life became a living hell.

Nightmare Coming True

Posted by Amala of Imladris - May 12th, 2020

Keeping her by his side during the night, Gil-Galad could not believe how much like her mother his daughter was. What was is Imali said…she thought with her heart more than head. To hear Amala’s fear of losing him above all else made his own heart ache. There was never any guarentee that would allow him to promise her that he would not fall in battle anymore than he could promise her that she would never come of age. Life did not work that way. Yet, he knew that he had to come up with something that he could promise her to ease her pain, worry and fear.

Taking a deep breath, he heard the early morning chimes ringing that signalled the fast approaching dawn. Gently, he awakened Amala and helped her get ready for the journey ahead.

“Where are we going ada,” she asked sleepily when lifted upon the back of her father’s horse Galian.

“With all our warriors being gone from Imladris during this battle, I am afraid that there is only one place that I can take you where you will be safe and that is Greenwood the Great and the halls of Lord Thranduil,” he said watching her rosey cheeks turning pale.

“You are taking me to the spider woods,” she said with tears welling up in her eyes. “Please ada…not there.”

“I am sorry my dear, but I have no choice,” he said mounting the horse behind her. “If an attack takes place here there will be nobody to protect you. Understand my daughter that you are my heir. If I fall in battle it is because it was my destiny to join your mother in the Halls of Mandos. It is then your destiny to carry on in my stead. Even if you do not choose when the time comes to be a ruler like I am, at least you can carry on in the way that best suits your life. Star Dome and Erestor will also be doing all they can to come back from this war that lies ahead. So now I ask that you do your part. Promise me you will do all you can to stay alive there and wait for us to come back for you. In doing so, we will know you are safe and will have clearer minds to concentrate on what we need to do to destroy this enemy and return if the Valar will it.”

“I promise,” she said with a sigh of resignation. “Only you better promise me that you will do all you can to come back alive. Ada, I cannot live without you too.”

“I cannot promise that I will come out of the battle alive, but I will promise that I do what I can and should I fall, all you will need to do is just think of me and I will send you the strength you need,” he said nudging Galian to start onto the path of their long journey.

It was several days until they arrived at the gates of Thranduil’s halls and when they finally arrived, her blood ran cold as they heard the rustling in the trees and the clicking noises of the creatures in the canopy above their heads. Once inside, she clung to her father for dear life until she had not recourse but to let him go.

“The hospitality of my halls are yours Amala. As for your father you need not fear. He is a tried and accomplished warrior. He will return for you when these dark days are over.” Thranduil said placing his arm around her. “Do not worry about her. I will care for her as if she were my own.”

Watching her father leave the halls, Amala silently cried out to the Valar to allow him to come back home.

Returning From Council

Posted by Amala of Imladris - May 12th, 2020

Coming into the chambers that he shared with his young daughter, Gil-Galad sighed heavily as his shoulders sagged slightly as if the burdens of the coming war physically bore a weight upon his physical being. With a heavy sigh, he walked over to a small table and poured himself a goblet of spring wine and drained it quickly. With his nerves once more steady, he came over to speak with Elrond but became troubled once more when he saw his beloved daughter asleep on Elrond’s lap instead of being in her bed.

“Please do not be cross with her,” Elrond said as Gil-Galad lifted the sleeping form of his child. “She woke from a troubling dream that had her heart and mind greatly troubled and thought I was you. I am concerned though about her dream. For I have had troubling dreams of late myself. Part of which might correspond to her own.”

“Once I get her settled in for the night I will tell you of the council and discuss with you these dreams,” he said entering Amala’s room.

Once he was sure that she would not awaken immediately, he returned to the sitting room and took a seat in the chair beside his dear friend.

“The forces of Isildur will join us in this fight so once more we will have an alliance of men and elves which will greatly aid us in defeating Sauron’s amassed army of orcs and goblins. I just pray that that will be enough,” Gil-Galad said staring into the fire. “We will meet up on the battle field outside the gates of Mordor With our people starting out on the long journey tomorrow at dawn. With that said, Erestor will be amongst those of us fighting as well so out of fear of a possible attack on Imladris while our forces are away I have decided to take Amala with us as far as the halls of Lord Thranduil until the battle is over and we return from battle. At which time we will bring her home to Imladris with us.”

“Gil-Galad,” Elrond said furrowing his brows “that was part of her dream. She saw herself in the halls of Thranduil only she referred to his as the Spider King. Amala saw herself waiting there for our return only we were brought lifelessly into his great hall on boards. My head was cloven in half and your heart had been ripped out of your chest by a foul beast and devoured. Thranduil then ordered our lifeless forms to be fed to the spiders and when she tried to stop that happening, she too was thrown out to be devoured. She awoke extremely frightened at the point when a spider descended from the trees above.”

“By the Valar,” Gil-Galad whispered in shocked disbelief. “My friend, none buy myself, Mithrandir and those from Greenwood the Great know what I am about to tell you. As the shadow started to form, a darkness began to fill the wood and turned it to a place of fear and dread. Those that remain there in the halls of Thranduil and outsiders call it now the Mirkwood and the darkness that is there as well as the source of the death of both creature and vegetation are giant spiders that Mithrandir says are the children of Ungoliant. Even Radagast will not venture there. So tell me…how could she know of this?”

“I fear that like myself she has the gift of foresight,” Elrond sighed. “Between hearing the talk being done by the warriors and her closeness with both yourself as her only parent and myself as her teacher, she has a deep set fear of losing us. When she learns that she is going to be taken to the halls of Thranduil her heart and mind will be filled with constant fear and dread.”

“Elrond, that is why you must swear to me now that should I fall, you will do what you can to get out of the battle alive or at least send Erestor back to retrieve her from the Mirkwood and get her back to Imladris. Should I fall, you will take my stead as High King. However, once she is of age, it will be Amala’s choice if she wishes to take a place as co-ruler with you or does not wish to rule at all but follow a different path,” Gil-Galad said with stern urgency.

“I promise to do what I can,” Elrond said as a loud boom of the thunder echoed in the valley and made the buildings tremble from the vibration of its echo.

“ADA,” the blood chilling cry of Amala came from her room as the dreams once more haunted her and the noise from the storm added to her terror.

Running from her room and climbing onto his lap, she clung to him as her body shook and she began to cry nearly inconsolibly.

“It’s alright my child,” he said calmly stroking her hair with his hand as he held her close. “I am here. You are safe. Tell me my daughter…what did you dream of that has you so perplexed?”

“I saw myself in the halls of the Spider King,” she said frightened. “Only this time, it was not a foul beast of war that stole your heart from you and devoured it. Ada…it was the Spider King. He is the one that did that to you. Please…ada…don’t make go there to him. I don’t want you to die.”

Fearful and heartbroken, Amala began to weep anew. Although she understood that outcomes of battle are never truly predictable nor was the amount of survivors, she feared that if even one part of her dreams were to come to pass, she might lose the only ones that meant the world to her. She had already lost her mother but in her heart she believed that without her father, she too would not be long for this world.

Childhood Dreams

Posted by Amala of Imladris - May 12th, 2020

Laying beneath the warm downy blankets, Amala began to tremble in fear as the images played out inside her mind and projected behind her closed eyelids. She was in the strange halls of the Spider King waiting upon her father and her teacher Star Dome to return from battle and take her back home. Only, instead of them returning to do that, her father and teacher were brought into the great hall of the Spider King on planks of wood bore by two elves in dented and blood stained elvish armor. Neither her beloved father nor her teacher were alive. Both had armor bent and broken by weapons not of their people. The blood upon their bent armor was a mix of the foul creatures they fought and their own. For what she saw made her fall to her knees in tears as there was a hole in her father’s chest and her teacher’s head was cloven in half. What frightened her the most were the words that she heard one of the warriors that bore her father’s lifeless form speak.

“My Lord Thranduil the fighting was unbearable. Many of our people and those of the human company that joined us fell, but the victory is ours. Only, by the time we were able to get to them, we found a foul beast at work. It tore from the High King his heart and devoured it before our eyes. If not for his lower jaw being unscathed, the Herald would have his head evenly falling to the sides and all would see what the creator put inside his head. As such, we have none to take care of the child the High King left behind so she shall forever be in your halls,” he said unmoving. “What shall we do with the remains of the High King and the Herald?”

“Take them from my sight and feed them to the spiders,” came the cold emotionless answer.

Trying to prevent them from being fed to the foul beasts that darkened the canopy of the once beautiful trees, Amala kicked, punched and tried to trip the ones that bore their bodies and was picked up by the Spider King.

“Since you do not wish the hospitality of my halls then you too shall join them,” he said throwing her out the door on top of the roughly thrown bodies of her loved ones.

Looking up, all she could see was the light being blackened out by the huge spider descending from the heights above to claim them as its next meal. As the spider got closer, she woke and sat up tembling in tears with fear.

As she looked around the familiar room, she saw that the darkness she saw was from the fire in the hearth having died out and the candles extinguished from the blowing wind outside that accompanied the storm that raged beyond the walls of her home. Yet, despite the comfort of knowing that she was safe, Amala still trembled and she yearned for the added comfort provided by her father’s strong and loving embrace. So, silently, she crept from her bed and made her way to his deep set wing backed chair and placed her trembling hand upon what she thought was his arm. Only when the figure leaned forward, it was not her father, but Star Dome her beloved teacher.

“Teacher,” she said confused “where is my father?”

“He is still in council,” his kind voice said as he furrowed his brows in concern. “He asked me to come and stay with you until he returns. However, I must ask what has you so frightened that you are not still in your bed sleeping soundly? Are you afraid of the storm?”

“No Master Star Dome,” she said with a sigh. “The storm does not frighten me. What I saw in my dreams did. It is something that I have seen for three nights now and when I spoke of it with my father he would get a grim look on his face and would tell me to dismiss it. Only, my heart does not believe it is only a dream. I just do not know why.”

“Come and sit on my lap Amala and tell me of your dream. Maybe I can help you understand it,” he said picking her up and holding her gently.

“I see myself in the halls of the Spider King as ada and yourself with the warriors have gone to battle. I am to wait there until both of you return and take me home with you. Only when the two of you return, it not alive. You both are on boards carried by two warriors. Ada’s armor is bent and bloody from the enemy and his own as is yours. Only the warrior speaking to the Spider King says that ada’s heart was torn from his chest and they saw a foul beast devour it before his eyes and your head was cut in half and that if it were not for your lower jaw remaining unharmed all could see what the creator put into your head. The soldier then said that with both of you dead, there was none to care for me so I was to remain in the Spider King’s halls and when the warrior asked what was to be done with your remains and ada’s he said to get both of you out of his sight and feed you both to the spiders. I tried to fight them from doing that only to be tossed out onto your remains as a living meal for the spider that was coming down from the trees,” she said as hot tears began to flow once more from her fear filled eyes.

“That is a grim dream child,” Star Dome said with a sigh. “Have you heard any speaking of what is going on in the outside world beyond the boundries of Imladris?”

“Some of the warriors as they pass me by have spoken of a shadow growing that may lead our people and the humans into a war against the foul beasts controled by one that dare not speak the name of, but that ada is trying to find another way besides all out war to handle the situation even though it is almost certain that war will be upon us,” Amala said shakily.

“Those rumors are correct. War is upon us Amala and the council your father is in will determine whether our people face this battle alone or if the race of men will come to our aid and fight by our side against this dark threat,” Star Dome said holding her close to him in an effort to try and comfort her.

“The warrior in my dream said many men and elves died but the victory was ours,” she said starting to calm down. “Only, what of the rest of it? Are you and ada going to die? Are we going to be fed to the spiders?”

“Amala,” he said softly “I cannot say as I have had not foreseen anything of the battle. What I can say to you this night is that there is another that has spoken a desire that should anything happen to either your father or myself that he would like to take you under his care as a guardian and teacher. That is my apprentice and dear friend Erestor. If we need to go to war, your father and I will do everything we can to come out of it alive and return for you. If the Valar decide it is our fate to travel to the Halls of Mandos there will be another that will claim you and see that you have a chance to learn, grow and have the kind of life you were meant to have. Do not let your heart and mind be troubled by the burdens of those that must bear them. There will be plenty of time to do so when you are much older.”

Kissing her tenderly upon the forehead, he began to softly hum an old elvish lullaby. As he did so, she began to relax and once more drifted off to sleep.