The One Ring
Alaglîr of Mirkwood
Elf of the Tawarwaith
Cúrondol was a shipwright stern
Who loved a noble Elven-maid.
Eilianeth her name was called,
In rainbow finery arrayed.
Thranduil’s kin was she, with locks
Of auburn hue like Maedhros’ hair.
Cúrondol’s love, a searing fire,
Nigh drove the shipwright to despair.
The crescent moon shone silver when
He courted, won her, swore his troth;
The sire of Eilianeth, though,
To wed his daughter thus was loath.
Their love too strong, she stole away
To Cúrondol upon the shore,
And soon the fair Eilianeth
Was heavy with the son she bore.
The wedding followed hard upon
The news that she was now with child.
Alaglîr called she him, a boy
Within whose eyes raged visions wild.
Alaglîr am I called, “Rushing Song” in the tongue of the Grey-elves. I was born deep within the vast green silences of Taur-nu-Fuin, or Mirkwood as mortal Men name it. The forest’s deep stillness has been my home for centuries, and I cannot deny that I love it still, despite the fell presence that year by year blackens its heart.
My mother Eilianeth is kin to our King, and so I was raised in Thranduil’s echoing palace. Ever did the greenwood outside its walls call to me, though, and though my father Cúrondol sought in his stern fashion to bend my wildness to useful purpose by taking me with him on wine-trading journeys along the Forest River, he forbade me from ever leaving the confines of the Wood. I was to become a courtier like my mother’s folk, not a common laborer as he himself had been before they married.
Confined as a youth to the Mirkwood, I explored its high peaks, its deep caverns, and its dense, tangling thickets, ranging far and wide. I did not hate my schooling, though my interest was quickest kindled by old tales and poems, especially the stories of the Elves of old, of the War of Wrath that ended the First Age of Endor and of the War of the Jewels that brought the fathers of my people to such lasting grief. I longed to journey to the places of which I had read, to see those among our kindred who had lived through that which I could only read about, to hold converse with all who had not yet vanished into the West.
And there was another matter: I could feel deep within my spirit that my people were dwindling. It was not merely the further encroachment, year by year, of darksome presences upon our woodland realm, nor my kinsman Thranduil’s refusal to confront them—vex me as these did—but a deeper feeling, an autumn within my breast that told me: surely we were a diminishing people.
Perhaps our end would come at the hands of an ancient Enemy, only recently resurgent upon our borders, and even now stretching his hand across all of Rhovanion. Or perhaps we would simply pass from the grace of Middle-earth and sail to other lands forever, even the tales of our former greatness all too soon forgotten.
Many among the Tawarwaith cared not for my dark thoughts on these matters, believing that we would yet do well to seal ourselves within the fastnesses of both forest and cave. Still others, the Wayward Elves as we deem them, turned their faces toward a doom they felt could not be forestalled and were content only to savor the pleasures of feasting, hunting, and drinking yellow Mannish wine before fading forever into rustic memory, small spirits of tree and leaf.
I had journeyed far and wide within Taur-nu-Fuin, and I had caught sadness and fear as Men catch sickness. But I had also come to wonder if there might not be a third way: not the self-imposed isolation of our King and his court, not the resigned merry-making of the wayward ones, but a bold stand against darkness and long defeat.
If our ancient Enemy was rising, could we not join to face him, and in so doing once again wreak deeds great enough to quicken the minstrels’ voices? Could we be a mighty folk once more?
My heart tells me our time is passing, do as we will. But I would see this wide world before the Sea calls me, or I fade forever from mortal sight and mind. And if there is a stand to make, with Elves and with Men, then I would number myself among those who were to make it.
I grieve the thought of leaving this fair land beneath the trees, even to one day see the stars that light the Undying Lands. Middle-earth is my home; I will know it before my time is gone, and fight for it should raised sword and bow be needful.
I have received grant of my mother to depart the great wood, my home for nearly three hundred years. My path lies southward to the land of her distant kin, to Lórien of the Blossom. There will I seek council with the wise.
And thence? My heart longs to see the Westlands where once my people wrought deeds of valor and works of cunning to rival even those of Aulë. Too, I long to hear the rushing of great falls of water, to explore forests older even than those of my own home, to lose myself in all the wild places I may soon have to leave behind.
Brêglath my bow is rosined, my Elf-blade is sharp, and I carry lembas enough to sustain me over many miles. The wide world is calling, and I will answer its song.