Field of Flowers
Author: Tuxedo Elf
Summary: A long time after his childhood ended, Celegorm finds himself looking back.
Notes: I promised trekqueen I’d write this about, oh, two years ago! LOL she probably doesn’t even remember, but here it is anyway! :P
He had been a hunter once. The forests of OromŽ had been his hunting ground and his prey had been the beasts that lived there. He had tracked them on foot and on horseback, sometimes alone, other times with OromŽ and then, after Huan had been gifted to him, always with the great hound. He had not always killed them, seeing little point in doing so if he had no use for the carcass. Sometimes, it was simply about the thrill of the hunt.
So much had changed since then.
In some ways, he was still a hunter, though not the kind that he had once been. These days he tracked his prey – the Silmarils and those who possessed them – with ruthless efficiency and slaughtered those who stood in his way without a second thought. All of the Hither Lands were now his hunting grounds, yet they would never compare to the smaller forests of Valinor.
Currently, his only wish was to see something that was not mud, grime or blood. The trek had lasted months now, through everything that the Hither Lands had to offer. As far as Celegorm could tell, these lands had very little to offer that was pleasant. He supposed it was part of the doom under which he and his family lived and, despite having been a willing participant, he found himself cursing the Valar.
“Leave it,” he snapped, glaring at a warrior who made to go after a rabbit that dared to cross their path. “We have enough food.” He cared nothing for the disappointed looks of his warriors as he denied them fresh meat. They had hunted enough for one day and even he tired of the relentless pursuit. He cast his gaze to the horizon, gauging their position and trying to decide in which direction to head.
In truth, he did not want to go in any particular direction. There were times when the weight of the Oath seemed to crush him, and though he had every intention of seeing it through to the end, it did not mean that he did not feel the burden of the Valar-cursed words. It sat particularly heavily on him when he was parted from his brothers, as he was now.
Eventually, he led them towards the base of a hill that lay in an easterly direction. It was sheltered from the wind and would provide an adequate camping ground for the night. “We will rest here,” he declared, “and will move on tomorrow at first light.”
The announcement was met with a murmur of approval from his followers. With efficiency born of long practice, they broke ranks and set about the task of making a safe encampment.
He watched for a while, but his warriors were efficient enough and there was no need for him to supervise. Looking up at the high rise of the hill, he walked slowly towards it. Perhaps if he climbed to the top he would find solitude for a while, away from the clamour and bustle of the camp. In that moment he found himself desperately missing Huan. The great hound had been beside him for so many years; the betrayal would likely sting for at least as long. He wished he had known when he set eyes on Lķthien that she would lead to the loss of his greatest friend. Despite his desire, he knew he would have walked away without hesitation. Of all the regrets that inevitably came from his life-choices, the greatest was driving the great beast away. He could not help but wonder if he would ever see him again, or get the chance to make amends.
Shaking his head, he forced himself out of his self-pity and set off with renewed determination towards the hill, starting to climb as soon as he reached it.
The incline was steep and more than once he was forced to use his hands to steady himself as he went up. Undeterred, however, he pressed on towards the peak.
Finally, he reached the top and looked down into the valley below. What he saw amazed him. The valley had somehow been spared from the war that was tearing the lands apart. Long, lush green grass covered the rolling lands from end to end, the blades swaying gently in the evening breeze. Between the blades, wildflowers of all colours grew, creating a stunning blaze of colour. Their sweet scent wafted up on the breeze and he took a deep breath, so glad to smell something other than the stench of war. The light from the now-setting sun bathed the valley in a warm and gentle glow, the rich colours reminding Celegorm of a similar field long ago and far away.
“Tyelcormo!” The name rang out across the green field, covered in spring flowers. In the middle of the field, a child stood, his arms outstretched as he laughed and spun around. He did not heed the call – indeed, he barely heard it, lost as he was in his own world.
“Tyelcormo!” The call came again, this time followed by the owner of the voice striding through the grass to call him. “You must come home now. It is almost suppertime and you know mother will be cross if you are late again.”
The child looked up at his older brother, the rust-coloured hair illuminated by the mingling lights. “I am not hungry, Maitimo,” he said with a smile, “for I had a very large luncheon!”
Maitimo was neither impressed nor convinced. “If you do not eat dinner – and mother will not let you snack if you skip the meal – then you will be awake all night with your stomach complaining!”
“Then I will climb out of the window and pick berries,” Tyelcormo laughed, utterly undeterred by his brother’s warnings. “You worry too much, Maitimo! You should not spend such an evening indoors, hunched over a dull book, when you could be playing in the grass!”
His brother let out a long-suffering sigh. “I know you like to be outside, little one. Yet you cannot always be out here: you are an Elf, not a wild animal. Come inside for supper now and you can play again tomorrow.”
Tyelcormo considered this suggestion for a moment, his youthful face solemn as he thought. Then he looked up at the much-taller Elf with a mischievous grin. “Only if you catch me!”
“Only if I…?” Tyelcormo just caught sight of Maitimo’s annoyed expression before he shot off across the field like a startled deer.
“TYELCORMO!” Maitimo called after him, his irritation clear in his voice at his brother’s irresponsible actions.
Running through the grass and flowers, Tyelcormo laughed in glee. He knew his brother was chasing him but right now, with the field all around him and the wind blowing through his hair, he did not care in the slightest. The world rushed by in a blur of colour and he delighted in every moment of it.
His long legs aided him in his pursuit and Maitimo soon began to catch up with his free-spirited brother. Yet the chase had lightened his own mood and almost against his will, he found he was laughing. “I am faster, little one; you will not evade me long!” Amusement resounded in his voice, the previous irritation completely gone.
“Will not!” Tyelcormo challenged, trying to run faster still. Glancing behind him to check his brother’s progress, he suddenly tripped over his own feet and went tumbling down. Maitimo gasped in horror, but his fall was cushioned by the soft grasses and he laughed as he rolled like a dog.
Relieved, Maitimo reached down and helped Tyelcormo up. When the younger Elf was on his feet, Maitimo hoisted him up to sit upon his shoulders. “Now,” he said, his voice firm but amused, “we are going home.”
Celegorm smiled at the memory, so long ago now. How different things had been then, when life had been simpler and he had not borne the weight of the Oath on his shoulders. Although he believed in the Oath and their right to the Silmarils, he sometimes craved a moment of peace and a place where he could forget everything.
Sitting down, he stared out at the green land before him. It was an almost perfect picture, an oasis of peace in the soiled lands. He breathed deeply, once more taking in the fresh air and sweet scents of the field. It was so refreshing to his senses and he could not get enough of it.
He could no longer hear the noise from the camp below; there was only the gentle breeze filling his ears and the soft chirping of the crickets that called the field home. It was utterly peaceful and he could not help but relax.
Time passed and the sun sank lower in the sky until the light dimmed, the soft moonlight taking over from the sun. Then Celegorm stood, his expression serene and thoughtful.
Then he began to walk, heading not back towards the camp, but towards the field. His pace increased as he walked, faster and faster until he was not walking at all, but running. Down the hill and into the field he ran, the breeze catching his hair, the flowers blurring all around him. His cares fell away, the oath lost importance. He was as a child again, young, innocent and full of life. He laughed as he ran, the sound strange to his ears it had been so long. He ran until he tripped over his own feet and fell into the grass. Rolling onto his back, he finally laid still.
Breathing heavily, he felt the grasses and flowers around him, seeming so tall now that he was beneath them. Now he could see the crickets whose song he had heard and he smiled at the tiny creatures as they went about their lives.
Looking up, he saw that the sky was now filled with stars, just as it had been all those years ago, when he had reluctantly allowed his brother to bring him home.
Peace and contentment overwhelmed him as he lay there and, just for a moment, he was free.