- penname: Kaylee Arafinwiel
- challenge: Cold (Teitho November/December 2019), Plants (tolkien-weekly)
- summary: The relationship between Galadriel and Idril grows stronger as the cousins cross the Grinding Ice together. (Written to Tolkien-weekly’s plant-related prompts, though not posted yet)
- rating PG-13 for mention of death, violence, etc.
- characters: primarily Galadriel and Idril, also an OC of mine, Gloredhel, at the end
- warnings: it’s the Helcaraxe. It’s disturbing by its very nature. However, it shouldn’t be too disturbing.
Tree“Dost thou remember the Trees, Itarillë?”
“A little.” Itarillë shivered, her head lying on Artanis’ bosom as her cousin rocked her. “They shone so beautifully. Will anything ever be beautiful again?”
“The stars are beautiful, are they not?” Artanis asked, trying to find something to cheer her cousin – if anything could be cheering in this white hell they struggled through.
“They sing to me,” Itarillë replied softly, regarding the stars in wonder. “Yet the Trees were far more glorious.”
“I am surprised thou rememberest them so well. This has been our world for so long.” Artanis kissed Itarillë’s pale brow.
Itarillë shivered. They were making their way across frozen but solid ground, the deep snows interspersed with occasional greenery now and then. She reached out to touch a winterberry shrub, its determination to thrive inspiring the two nissi.
“Mayhap the Valar have cursed us, ‘Tani, but they have not wholly forsaken us. We are like this shrub, I think.” She stroked its evergreen leaves with her fur-wrapped fingers, plucking two blood-red berries, and she ate one.
“They cursed Fëanáro,” Artanis replied. “His actions doomed many. Let these berries remind us of their blood spilled.” She ate the other, feeling pensive.
The shrubs grew more thickly under sparse, spindly trees, and though snow was still present, Itarillë and Artanis thought perhaps the long trek was finally nearing its end. Here, reddish stalks grew with scattered leaves, alternating below pale pink blooms. These had sprung up, they noted dimly, in the wake of a large fire. The ships. The flowers grew in such profusion they could be naught but weeds.
“Fireweed,” Artanis pronounced them, and none gainsaid her. “In memory of the ships’ burning.” They had made their crossing. What welcome would they have? What of Fëanáro, they wondered? Where was he?
SeaweedAs they made landfall, the Noldor gathered what supplies they could from the freezing waters that brushed the land. Fish, of course, but also plant life. The only green and growing thing they had been able to retrieve from the water. Seaweed, they had called it for its abundance, but they had learned to prepare it and cook it with meats or fish in a variety of ways on the journey. Now it was a staple of their diet.
They gathered under starlight, struggling to find their land legs, looking West. The stars began to fade under a silvered sheen.
Grass“Telperion! It is Telperion!” Cries of surprise rose from the shivering Exiles, and they scrambled to see better, climbing the grassy hillocks that rose away from the shore. “The Valar be praised,” Artanis whispered.
“Dare we praise the Valar?” Itarillë wondered meekly.
“I shall, for look, they have found again the last light of Telperion,” Artanis replied. “Perhaps it is a sign.”
“A sign of what?” Itarillë fell back against the soft grass, feeling warm for the first time as the silvery light embraced her.
“Of the Valar’s forgiveness, perhaps,” Artanis suggested. “Or defiance of the Moringotto.”
“Shhh!” Itarillë yelped.
MossMany of the Noldor still feared the name of Moringotto. Not I, Artanis thought, for see you, O Cursed One, we have made the journey and survived. Itarillë, who had been a tiny child when they began this hellish trek, was nearly grown, and Artanis had grown, too, in more ways than one.
Itarillë was picking her way across the greensward now, to kneel by a golden-haired child, hardly old enough to toddle about. “Laurelda, put that down,” she said firmly. Laurelda dropped the rock covered in moss, green and grey as her sea-colored eyes, and reached for Itarillë.