Characters/Pairing: Elunis(OC)/Elmo, Olwe, Elwe, Ingwe, Orome, other OCs
Disclaimer: Tolkien's the genius, not me.
Playing major catch-up with this one.
Her first kill was a hare, taken down swiftly by one of the arrows her father made for her, with the stone tip one of the Tatyar had invented. And it was under his supervision that Elunis gutted, skinned, and cleaned it, to present proudly to her mother, who took the meat to make their meal, while her sister took the skin to treat for clothing.
While the meat cooked, Elunis examined her hands, pondering how different the blood looked beneath the starlight (black), fresh by the fire (bright red), and drying under her fingernails (still red, but turning brown).
When she met Elmo, he was sitting by the shore, soaked to the skin, complaining loudly of some hare-brained scheme of his brothers’, which had resulted in a sprained ankle for him and the loss of a particularly large fish.
Elunis shouldered her bow and crouched beside him. She could hear laughter nearby. “You shouldn’t walk on that,” she said, eyeing Elmo’s ankle, which was already starting to swell.
“I know,” he said, glaring in the direction of the laughter. “I’ve already tried.”
She smiled as she prepared a splint, and he grinned back.
He had a startlingly beautiful smile.
She didn’t believe the rumors at first—about the Rider, about the disappearances—until Elmo returned breathless and bleeding from a cut on his arm, saying he himself had come a hairbreadth from being taken himself.
Elunis would have flung herself into his arms if she had not been so heavy with their first child. Others clustered around; Elwë’s face glimmered pale as starlight on the water as he gripped his brother’s shoulder. They wanted to know what was out there.
“I don’t know,” Elmo said, his own face ashen-grey. “But I think we should not venture out alone anymore.”
The stories grew worse and worse, more frightening and hair-raising, but still seemed distant to Elunis—always happening to someone else—until her second-born disappeared. She had been out gathering roots, but all that was found was a smear of dark blood and an upturned basket. While Elmo fell to his knees and tore at his hair, and her oldest daughter wept, Elunis stood and stared at the basket feeling nothing but strange, numbing cold, like someone had poured half-frozen water over her. She could not tell if what she felt was grief or fear.
Inside, her third baby kicked.
One had to err but a little from the hunting paths to get lost in the shadows, where horrible things lurked. Elunis was hunting with her oldest daughter and had just brought down a deer when she heard the screams. With a loud cry of her own she leapt through the underbrush, and slew the creature.
It was hideous, having shape of a Quendë but discolored and distorted, with malice glinting in its eyes.
They buried her daughter beneath a tall, twisting yew tree, and visiting Ingwë taught them the word for grave. It tasted like ashes on Elunis’s tongue.
Elunis listened to the shining stranger speak of the land across the Sea, where there were trees that gave off light, and no orcs or Dark Riders. His kin awaited them there, he said, where they and their heirs would be safe and happy, where they would never need to bury their kin.
Most of the Quendi were skeptical. But Finwë of the Tatyar rose and offered to go, to see the Trees for himself, and whether what Oromë said was true. Then Elwë volunteered, and Ingwë.
After, Elmo asked, “If it is all true, will you go?” Elunis nodded.
Elunis grimaced as she ran her fingers through her grandson’s hair, silver as starlight, listening to Olwë and Elmo argue. “He would wish us to finish the Journey!” Olwë insisted. “And we must—”
“I will not—”
“Elmo, he is dead—”
“I do not believe it!”
In the end, the Nelyar were sundered—again. Olwë led many onto the moving isle, including Elunis and Elmo’s only remaining daughter.
Elmo looked to Elunis. “You will stay?”
“I stay with you,” she said.
After all, they said the Rider—Melkor—was imprisoned. Perhaps now their children would be safe here, beneath the stars.