Saturday, September 1, 2012

Chapter Three, Sample #3


Balfrith gratefully climbed down from Felaranthir’s horse, stretching his legs and back once he stood upon the ground. It had been a long day of riding, and that after a hard river crossing. The ford, somewhat downstream from where they’d camped, ran fast and covered uneven stones which made the going slow on horseback. But he’d not have been able to cross at all on foot, so he was quite glad for the sudden arrival of the Elves the night before. Perhaps he would have been able to find a better fording place further downstream, but after seeing how deep the river was, and how wide, he thought maybe his journey would have come to a premature end without their help.

Since the crossing, they had continued several miles north from the river, deep into the forest of Illithëon, where the ancient trees wove their branches together into an opaque canopy overhead, and the sun rarely penetrated to the ground. There was some light, but it seemed to come from scattered individual sun beams pouring through to the floor, and gently radiating their light to surrounding areas.

Balfrith and the Elves stood now in a large glade, where more light than usual penetrated, piercing the gloom and making the place seem almost friendly.

Felaranthir called out, “We will camp here tonight. Rest well, friends, for we are almost at the end of our long journey away from home.”

The Elves began dismounting as Balfrith had done, tethering their horses to trees at the edge of the glade, and unpacking their tents and other gear for the night. Balfrith wandered over to one Elf, a man who he’d not yet met - Balfrith realized he really hadn’t met any of these Elves, for no introductions beyond Felaranthir’s own name had been given the night before, and they had ridden in almost complete silence all day. Even Felaranthir had little to say, and Balfrith was afraid to interrupt his thoughts.

He approached the Elf, determined to get at least one more name this day, and said, “Can I help? I’m Balfrith.”

“Aye, I heard your name last night. I am called Eärolan. Well met.”

Balfrith nodded in return, and stepped up to help Eärolan, as he unloaded his tent and cooking equipment from a gray mare. Balfrith noted a few others tending to their horses after unloading them, so he found a brush among Eärolan’s things, and began stroking it in long sweeps along the horse’s side. The Elf smiled in appreciation, and said, “You have my thanks for the help. If you wouldn’t mind finishing your care, I will take these and start our supper.” As he said the last, his voice rose a bit as if in question. Balfrith nodded, and the Elf departed with his cooking gear rattling and banging as various pots and pans bumped into him and each other.

A while later, after Balfrith had brushed and wiped down the horse, and then fed and watered her, he joined some others gathered about a small fire. The day had been warm enough, but now that the sun was setting (which they could only tell by the reduced light penetrating the thick forest canopy), the air seemed to grow cooler by the minute. The Elves sat or lay around the fire in various states of repose, so Balfrith sat cross-legged in an open space, just close enough to the fire to enjoy some of its warmth and light, but not become overly warm.

One of the Elves, possibly the same musician from the previous night, finished tuning a lute, and now strummed a few experimental notes and chords, before looking about the group as if waiting for a request. Though Balfrith wanted to suggest a song, he was certain anything he brought up would be unknown to the Elves, and so he remained silent.

Finally, someone called out something in their native tongue. The musician nodded, and began. Though the words were meaningless to Balfrith, they somehow seemed to conjure emotions in his heart as of a long absence, and a longing for home.

Im’ therdan ya sur cele den admér
Del marcon nei selen im’ boder nus dan
Ne missen cep ima nei sum abéll der
Hai fella nei banyad melárro.

Da gonyar nei boder shipélla felórn
Samórro da mia nei gerri anómi
Fer celeb lo anyar sum gale menóri
Bedórro nei banya melárro.

Ne sudre son felern sum ate yaméra
Telás elyáni son da goron adro
Nei gerodi belanern porro aldámri
Lofád ne ben thumel melárro.