I am Ainurél—I was born in Menegroth, but spirited away before the violence brought it down. I came of age in Arvernien, but after my sister wed, my father and I were alone. Mother would not leave her family home, in Harlindon, so we took to the road north, to find what awaited us.

When I went north with my father into Nan Tathren did not know what I would find – ruin he said. The golodhrim had poisoned the land, he said. I was sad, for all my life had I heard of the lilies and the willows in the butterflies, and that by the wildness of the land could one be healed. My father was a Luthier, and it was his explanation that we would to live here just a few months, just to gather the wood that falls in the spring storms—but I believe that it was the burden and trauma of the loss of Menegroth, our home. He wished to be healed, and feared to say it aloud.

The land lay untouched, though the Golodhrim who had escaped the massacre of Gondolin had dwelt here in their numbers for several years, and had built a very few charming cabins, intricate stonemasonry of fitted rock and no mortar as tight as a solid marble wall. This is where we lived, in solitude, learning again to breathe.

I was an adult, free to go where I wished, and I did; deep into the willows where I swore I heard the whispering of the ancient Tree-lords, into the open air where the sky was so big it scared me, and back into the woods again. Every step of that vale I knew in some years, and the solitude of the place, so calm and soothing that you felt you were the only person alive, a beautiful feeling like being embraced by Lady Yavanna herself.

The winter had turned just to spring, and I found myself deep in the forest following the faint trickle of water on stone to a grove, a hollow really, I had never seen – a spring fed the pool that was there surrounded by soft moss, but the glassy surface of the water was unobstructed and reflected a perfect image of the sky surrounded by soft, mossy grass

And then I realized I was not alone.

A figure lay in the shade on the far side of the pool, gazing into the water, still as stone. Gazing, perhaps, or dead. I shuddered and did not say anything until I could learn more. Closer I crept, close enough to better see whose peace I would break when I offered assistance.

…I was not sure. An Ellon, surely? But never had I seen any Ellon of this nature; his features sharp and proud, his oddly haphazard eye-length hair stark black. He was curled atop a tattered red blanket, and his willow-lithe frame brought to mind an old barn cat, wondering if he would feel like delicate kin and bones if I touched him?

I was about to speak, but as I meant to do so his eyes flicked to me, and caught mine for just a fraction of a moment. I was nearly unsteadied by the strength of Fae by which I had been beheld; this weakened being could not possibly be possessed of such a spirit. Perhaps he was not an Ellon. I sat, and I do not know what compelled me to do so but that he seemed so desperately, terrifyingly lonely.

Some hours I tarried there keeping the strange Ellon company, for which he seemed grateful, and as I silently bowed a farewell, his intense focus followed me a moment, then back to the pool which now reflected the stars.

Days passed, I came when I could, respecting his silence because I knew not what else to do, and sat with him while he slept or rocked softly in the grass or stared into the pool, or at me.

And one night as I was preparing up to leave, bowed his head reverently, and he spoke.

“I am…” His words were laborious, and he looked pained, as he tried to speak his name. “…Silwë.”

“My name is Ainurél.” I smiled at him, his thin form lookin

“…hantanyë lyen.” He whispered, and I understood. He was a Ñoldo; and he could not speak my language. He offered his hand, to help me to my feet. “…No Quenya. Telerin? Falmarin?

“You speak Telerin?” I asked hopefully and took his hand, as gently as I could.

“I do.” He helped me to my feet easily and I gazed up at him, but accidentally met his eyes, internally luminous pools of light and star-flecked twilight, and what spilt from my lips was not my most brilliant insight.

“You are very tall,” I said. I stood and gazed at an Ellon a head taller than I.

“I am.” He said.

We stared at each other for a moment.

“Grateful have I been for for your company. As I said, I am Silwë, but.” There was something broken about him now, just about to break further. “…in Þindarin… that is…”

“No,” I interrupted,surprising him and myself. “You are Silwë.”

“Thank you, Ainurel, that is deeply important to me.” He said. “Shall I expect your company again?”

“If you wish it.” I smiled at him again.

“I do.”

He disappeared into the twilight.