Mirriam sat on her bed with one of her two best friends, Keaghan, staring at the blank parchment before her. The blank page stared back at her as if it had just won a “stare out” contest. Her most newly acquired treasure, a genuine fountain pen was poised just above the page, waiting for the words to flow out of her.
“C’mon, Mirriam!” encouraged Keaghan. “You’ve never had problems writing before now! What’s going on?”
Mirriam closed her eyes and set the quill down carefully so as to not drip any of the black ink on herself or anything else. She had gotten the gift little more than a week ago for Christmas but couldn’t seem to bring herself to start writing with it. It was such a special gift and so “Elvish”; it could only be used for a very, very special story; especially since she had also purchased some really expensive vellum paper that looked like real parchment. It couldn’t be just any old story…
“Just start writing something!” whined Keaghan, becoming exasperated.
Mirriam sighed and put the glass quill onto the page and began to write: Lothlorien was aglow with golden afternoon light…
Suddenly both Mirriam and Keaghan gasped aloud; their eyes widening in wonder. Instead of black ink flowing in shaky print onto the vellum was a gorgeous script with letters of living light that blazed and glowed across the page in a foreign language that seemed somewhat familiar to Mirriam.
“Look!” shrieked Keaghan, pointing to the bedroom wall. A portion of Mirriam’s bedroom wall had completely faded away (or had become invisible) but instead of looking at her neighborhood, she was staring at the limbs of a giant Mallorn tree. Keaghan nudged her in the ribs, still gaping.
“Write some more!” she hissed. Shockwaves of nervous excitement running through her veins, Mirriam again began to scratch out whatever words came into her mind. She wasn’t sure, but she could feel magic crackling in the air.
…the flet upon which Earwen and Keaghan sat was crowded with the company of other woodland elves, their bows and quivers at the ready as orcs marched under their position, completely unaware of the doom which waited to rain down on them from above…
Mirriam and Keaghan looked up and watched in amazement as the walls of her home completed melted away into nothing-ness only to be replaced with a 360 degree view of the most amazing golden forest they had ever laid eyes on from a vantage point that was at least 100 feet above the forest floor. Mirriam tucked her long hair behind her ear to get a better look and felt something strange. She gazed at Keaghan’s face whose eyes were practically bulging out of her head in mixed wonder and terror.
Mirriam felt her ear and practically dropped the bow in her left hand. Her ear was pointy!
An elf directly to her right turned round slightly and gave her a warning look. Not a surprised look at seeing a total stranger crouching next to him but a warning look as if to say: CONCENTRATE!
The signal was given and all the elves surrounding Mirriam and Keaghan stood as one and began raining down arrows upon the unsuspecting orcs.
“Earwen!” hissed an elf behind her. “Let fly!” Without a second thought, Mirriam stood, renocked her arrow and sent it flying into the neck of a large black orc. The sudden onslaught was almost over before it began. The entire company of orcs lay dead upon the footpath below. Their attack had been so swift and deadly that not one of them had been able to shriek, sound a warning horn, or escape. Their war party had been decimated by the elf-arrows of the Galadrim.
“Well done, Earwen!” said the elf behind her, squeezing her shoulder. Mirriam turned about and her mouth fell open. Standing at least a full head taller than her was someone she had never thought to see in real life, Legolas.
“Is that who I think it is?” whispered Keaghan in her ear. Mirriam nodded, unable to tear her eyes away from the finely chiseled face and striking blue eyes of the elf-prince. Legolas smirked at her and waved a hand in front of her face so as to wake her from her trance.
“Awake, Earweeeennnn,” he murmured, leaning in closer. A lightning bolt of electricity jolted up her spine, freeing Mirriam from her trance. “Time to go! The lady Galadriel and Celeborn are waiting for our return.”
“What do we do now?” hissed Keaghan, grabbing onto Mirriam’s arm. Mirriam finally looked at her best friend. Her hair was now down below her waist but enough of it was tied back for her to see that her ears were pointy as well. Mirriam stifled a giggle.
“Just do what I do,” she whispered, shouldering her bow. To her amazement, Legolas reached back and clasped hold of her free hand and held it for the duration of the trek. With mounting excitement, she followed Legolas’ lead down the stairs from the flet to the footpath where the orcs lay dead. She plucked her arrow from the neck of her one kill, wiped the black blood off onto the grass and put it back in her quiver.
Legolas studied the helmet and iron collar for a moment then flipped the body over.
“You felled the leader, Earwen,” he commented with a congratulatory nod in her direction. “Not too bad for your first day out but my count is 13.” Mirriam found herself grinning at him, his comment familiar and humorous. It was strangely reminiscent of the rivalry between he and Gimli in the Lord of the Rings on the number of enemy combatants they each had killed in the war of the Ring. The forest was quiet now except for the cry of birds and the subtle sound of a quill still scratching on vellum which only Mirriam seemed to notice.
She and Keaghan followed the line of woodland elves as they made their way back to Caras Caladon to report to Galadriel of their success. Every chance she got, Mirriam would steal a glance at Legolas as well as her own body. She was clothed in the grey cloak and golden/brown attire of the Galadrim that blended into the colors of the forest and her legs were clad in knee-high, kid-skin leather boots. Her friend Keaghan was similarly attired with long hair, pointy ears and a bow and quiver that had gone unused. It took the better part of the day and was nightfall before they reached the gigantic Mallorn tree where the Lady Galadriel and Celeborn ruled the golden realm. Silver lanterns lit up all over the forest illuminating their way and the welcoming cry of the Galadrim reached their ears as they made the long climb up to the top flet.
Legolas and the other elves of their warband stood at attention and then bowed with respect as the Lady Galadriel appeared before them. Legolas stood forward, bowed and laid the iron collar and helmet of the orc that Earwen/Mirriam had shot at the feet of Galadriel. She regarded them for a moment then lifted her golden head with a beatific smile.
“Whose arrow felled the Captain?” she asked, looking from one glorious elven face to another.
“Earwen,” spoke up Legolas, since Mirriam found herself tongue-tied in apoplectic glee. Her arms was already black and blue from the nonstop pinching she had given herself throughout the trek to Caras Caladon, unable to believe she was inside Middle Earth in a story of her own creation. She could still hear her quill scratching on the vellum but it seemed like the sound was more inside her head than in her ears now.
Galadriel turned her liquid eyes upon Mirriam/Earwen and smiled. “Well done, Earwen, elven daughter,” she said, her voice as beautiful as a bell. She laid her hands upon Earwen’s shoulders in blessing. “You are the first daughter of the Galadrim to wield bow and arrow to successfully slay our avowed enemy. For this I have a special reward…”
Mirriam cast a quick glance over her shoulder at her best friend, whose face was a study in shock, wonder and disbelief. She turned back to face Galadriel and Celeborn who held forth a wooden box with a silver leaf upon its lid. Mirriam lifted the lid and inside found a crystal ink bottle which was filled not with ugly black ink but a brilliant light which pulsed and glittered in her upheld hand.
“Mithril ink,” Galadriel explained, turning it this way and that so it caught the light. “With this ink you will be a mighty story teller and whatever you write shall come to pass.”
Tears welled in Mirriam’s eyes and a sob caught in her throat. She was speechless and received the gift with shaking hands. She bowed again in thanks to the Lady Galadriel and Celeborn and turned to face Legolas who still stood behind her. In his eyes was great pride and something else Mirriam couldn’t quite put her finger on.
“I am so proud of you, beloved,” he said, caressing her cheek with his warm hand. The quill scratching in her head came to an abrupt halt the moment his arms went about her.
“Mirriam! Mirriam! Wake up! Are you okay?”
Mirriam turned her head to face Keaghan, completely disoriented. The room slowly stopped spinning and she looked down at the page before her. The ink was now just an ordinary black but the parchment was filled with Sindarin Elvish script that not even she could translate if she spent 50 years trying.
“Who wrote all this?” she asked Keaghan, holding it up in wonder.
“You did!” exclaimed her friend. “You just sort of went into some kind of trance and began writing as if you were possessed or something!”
Mirriam stared down at the page of strange writing again until she got to the last line which suddenly began to waver and change before her eyes until the Elvish script became English.
“…for when thou dost set nib to the page; the magic shall be renewed.”
“What does it say, Mirriam?” asked her friend, unable to read a single word. Mirriam closed her eyes and hugged her legs, her heart and lips remembering again Legolas’ kiss.
“Earwen,” Mirriam corrected her, opening her eyes and smiling at her best friend. “My name is Earwen and I am a shield-maiden of Lothlorien.”
Cypress Hideaway -- Releases in October
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