Part one: Council Chamber

Dark hair gleaming in the sunlight, Eluwen stood and looked out a window overlooing the lush forests of her home, Loidennd. She sung a song of the tale of Tuilinn, a great and beautiful maiden in her land, and her struggles in the Last Great Battle as her parents spoke of other things.

Eluwen had long tuned out their musical voices as they talked of the news of outside their land. It was an oddity to say the least to speak of it, but what was odder was the fact that they were speaking of her and sending her to stop this threat from growing further in their lands.

Eluwen looked back at them, pausing in her singing. "Where am I to go?"

Her father, a stern but gentle man, looked kindly at her. "To Jenisin, the great elven city."

Eluwen was silent, thoughtful on this. Jenisin was a sense of strength for the elven people, but she had never dared to dream to go there. She fingered her necklace, a beautiful ruby jeweled peice that was called Lindelë. "I will go. Though you have spanded many more years than I and you should be the one go, for your wisdom far surpasses mine, I will go." Then she turned and went back to her singing, picking up this time a song of Jenisin, dreaming of when she would arrive there.

Lasselanta lounged in her chair, golden hair shining, in the Mighty Hall of Mori, her mountainous home. For hours she had been listening to everyone talk about the enemy and going to seek and fight it. It was foolish to think of it when it had not yet overcome them. In frustration, she stood.

"I do not want to cower here anymore," She announced, silencing the room. "We have to go and ask for help against this enemy."

The men turned and looked at their fair princess in a mix between shock and disapproval. While the elf-maids of Mori often fought in battle, sending the heir to Mori into danger was not a thing any were willing to risk. Nor did the Morians ask other elves for help.

"I know what you think. But there is a time when we must put aside our pride and seek the help from others. That time is now before the enemy draws nearer." Lasselanta made her point, very clearly so. Her bright violet eyes shifted between the men as they stood in silence still. "If no one will speak up to go, then I will. It will go and save our people."

Disapproval sounded, but she turned from them then, hand resting on the hilt of her sword. If no one would, she would and they would see that they are in need of assistance before this war was over.

The sun sprinkled over the horizon, bringing light to dance on the stone walls of the elven city of Tuil. It was the only city that the men and dwarves and half-elven dared to enter for the Keeper of Tuil was Marewyn, kind and forgiving in their eyes.

This day she looked darkly out across the great river Mirthilian. Marewyn could almost see the darkness spreading across the lands, enveloping them. But in a weeks time she would be in Jenisin, leaving her beloved city. It pained her to do so, for without her she knew Tuil would fall.

She had no heir, no council to take her place. All she had was her trusted guard and her generals. Marewyn knew her fate though, and it was to go and meet the other Ladies of Mirthil in Jenisin, if she did not there was no question in her mind that Tuil would fall.

Turning, the wind catching her ebony hair, she walked into the Great Hall of Tuil and began scribbling down the orders for her generals to follow.

"Dark are the days that bring us to separate ourselves from those we love and need the most. Tuil will pass into darkness and fade from power at my absence. No man nor dwarf may pass into its gates, once welcomed. O! It is a dark day," Marewyn spoke to herself in sadness and left the page for all to see.

Arowyn stood, patting the neck of her great steed, Belock, her red-brown hair flowing around her. She listening impatiently to the words of her father. In her mind she spoke freely with Belock, as was her talent in Enorias, the thought she was longing to speak aloud. At last she did, at the pausing of her father.

"Father, great lord of Enorias, why send me away? Enorias is not threatened and we live in peace. Let the other realms, great and powerful, who are purier elven blood, deal with the threat of the evil spreading. Why involve us?"

"My daughter," He rested a great hand on her shoulder with a warm smile. "It is time that Enorias, who has not kept his alliance with the elven realms, keep its word and lend our help in this battle, small though it may."

Arowyn looked at him, silent, debating. Finally she nodded, then mounted Belock swiftly. "I will do as you ask of me, father."

Her father smiled, fingering the hem of her deep green gown laying on the horse's back lovingly. "Calo anor na ven, belain na le, le melon (May the sun shine on your road, the Lord with you, I love you). Ride fast!"

Arowyn smiled weakly, then focused on the road ahead. "Lelya, Belock!" Away she went, with speed to the mysterious city of Jenisin. Though she felt it unnecessary to go, she would do as her father asked and would give their help.

Aranel stood patiently, golden hair falling foward, in the council chamber of Jenisin, land of the Silver Rivers. She had been asked to call this council, to bring the strongholds of the five elven realms together. It was a task she wasn't sure she could accomplish, for each land was so vastly different and each holding something against the other.

Aranel drew a breathe when the first to arrive entered.

"May I present the Sheildmaiden of Loidennd, the Lady Eluwen."

Standing before her was a sweet, dark haired elf-maid who's eyes were silver. She bowed her head apon seeing Aranel and smiled. "It is an honor to be here, my lady Aranel."

"It is a pleasure for you to come, you are the first to arrive." Aranel relaxed visibly. She had been dearly afraid that they would refuse to come.

Eluwen smiled reassuringly to her and Aranel took more relief in it. "Others will show."

Aranel nodded, feeling slightly hopeful that indeed she would fulfill her taks. "I know you are right Lady Eluwen." She turned and looked back across Jenisin, waiting. Behind her, she could hear soft song filling the room. It was a soothing song, one that she did not understand, the elvish different.

Slowly the singing drifted off and then abruptly stopped and Aranel turned around when it was clear the song had been interuppted.

"My lady," A messenger, Gillimn, bowed. "The Keeper of Tuil, the Lady Marewyn."

Entering the room was an ebony haired, smiling elf-maid that only served to lighten Aranel. "Welcome Lady Marewyn, may I present the sheildmaiden of Loidennd, the Lady Eluwen."

Marewyn nodded her head. "An honor to be here my lady, Aranel."

'So there are three of us now,' Aranel thought and was glad for a moment until she realized what lands were not represented. The two left, Enorias and Mori were two lands that never mingled with the outside. It would prove interesting indeed to have all the lands of Mirthil together.

"Who has yet to come?" Marewyn asked, demanding her presence.

"Enorias and Mori," Eluwen replied to the other easily.

"Are you sure they will come? Enorias has yet to keep its word and Mori keeps entirely to itself. What makes you think they will?" Marewyn reasoned.

"Because my lady, Keeper of Tuil, the Enorihin keep their word in their own fashion." A new voice spoke unannounced. Gillimn looked nervous about forgetting but the new elf-maid waved him off. "I am the Lady Arowyn of Enorias."

Aranel had anticipated a meeting such as this. The Enorihin lived more like men than elves, much to the dismay of Mirthil. "Welcome Lady Arowyn."

Arowyn's gaze did not leave Marewyn, but she nodded in respect to Aranel. "It is a pleasure to come to your calling and not to another."

Aranel could feel the tension building and glanced to Eluwen for a moment. "Please, take a seat. We wait for Mori and that is all."

"Wait no more, Lady Aranel. I present to you, Princess Lasselanta of Mori."

"Do not wait any more, my lady." A golden haired elf stepped forward, looking much a fair warrior. "The Lady Lasselanta will sit and hear about this threat." The warrior princess smiled and sat down.

Aranel was the only one remaining afoot and she glanced around slowly at everyone. "An evil is spreading, you all well know. No longer can we stand alone. Our realms must unite or fall. This threat has been seen before in our past and defeated. We must do that now.

"Long ago there was a stone, a stone that was the key to all Mirthil. It was broken into six pieces. The Lindelë - the stone of music. The Mahtar - the stone of the warrior. The Ng'olwe - the stone of wisdom. The Varna - the stone of safety. The Ruvi - the stone of the horsemen. The last, the stone of Tella was owned by the Sixth. Each signified the right to rule a different land of Mirthil. They were given to each of the pure blood. But power corrupts and the Sixth convinced the Five to lend him the stones. The Sixth misused that power and the five realized they must fight back.

"In the Last Great Battle, the Five took back their stones. But one, Aronien son of Aromen slew the Sixth in a violent battle. Or so he thought. Aronien took the sixth stone, returning it to the Cavinhin.

But the Sixth had not died and went to retrieve the stone. He is ever trying to get the five stones back. Or so it is told."

The room was silent after Aranel spoke. Each looking at their respective necklaces holding a different stone. They all knew the tales of the Last Great Battle, but not of the stones.

"I thought it was just a myth. A silly legend." Lasselanta spoke first.

"Obviously it is not," Marewyn replied.

"So what are we to do about it? It is not like we took the stones. They were given to us." Arowyn pointed out.

"We must protect them." Eluwen said thoughtfully.

"If your great-grandfather had not returned the Tella stone then the Sixth wouldn't have had it now!" Marewyn looked accusingly to Arowyn.

Arowyn stood, offended by this elf. "If my great-grandfather had taken it, you would have said the opposite! He did what was right! Do not place the blame elsewhere!"

"How are we to know what is right?" Lasselanta stood now too. "Do you, Lady Arowyn, know?"

"Of course not! But it was the obvious choice at the time!" Arowyn spoke harshly.

"Let's not fight amongst ourselves!" Eluwen cried out. "We must decided the fate of Mirthil."

Aranel nodded, thankful for Eluwen's reason. If no one else would say what was needed, Aranel saw that Eluwen would. "Lady Eluwen is right. What has happened has happened. We cannot change the past anymore than we can predict the future."

"Blame? Ni ummen 'BLAME' galad taare yasse entaier! An ilya enta nna lumbule!

(Blame? I do not place blame anywhere other than where it should be! They all should have been destroyed!)" Marewyn ignored the other two to shout at Arowyn.

"I did not live then! It is not my burden!" Arowyn shouted back.

"Yes it is! It is all our burden!" Lasselanta joined in with the arguement.

"And who's to say that?" Arowyn turned to the golden haired maiden. "Who's to say that I will carry this burden!"

"Then Enorias has fallen." Marewyn said with a hint of superiority. "If you cannot carry the burden of protecting your lands then they are not yours."

Arowyn's jaw dropped and she took a step towards her, but Lasselanta stood in the way. "She does not mean what she says."

"Of course I do!" Marewyn replied.

Eluwen turned to her. "Then you are not worthy of your lands, Keeper of Tuil. We all do not carry the burdens of our lands as of yet."

Aranel stood silently as she listened to the arugement continue. More insults were tossed about, more shouts and more anger. Aranel closed her eyes, focusing deep within to find the calm within this storm. She knew it must be there somewhere. They must be united on the same front if they were to win.

She walked away from the fighting group and over to a window, looking out it as if it would give her guidence. Her father had none to give her, the great King Arana could not help her. He had told her that this fight must be fought by her and the others. She must be a guide, he'd said, to all those who wish to stomp it out. Aranel did not know if she was ready for such responsibility.

Slowly Aranel noticed the silence and that all were looking to her. She looked back at them through solemn blue eyes. "The fate of Mirthil rests in our hands. While I cannot decide for you, I will go to give my stone up to the Cavinhin cave. Only then could we know that the Sixth could not retrieve it." They remained silent, in thought about wether they would go with her or not. Aranel knew the choice would be taxing on them. "Go, rest and think. I will set out at dawn tomorrow. If you choose to follow, it is then that you should appear at the Jenisin gates near the River of Ethil."

Aranel left them then, caring not to look behind her. She decended the stairs, elegant and old and walked among the shores of the River of Jenisn. It was often the place where she walked, where the myths of a fair maiden was said to be of wisdom and beauty began. It was the place that flowed with new waters, giving life to the banks around it and to the elf-maid that walked there. She did not want to leave Jenisin, not to walk into the hands of the enemy when she could walk here. Somehow she felt that it would be her undoing. Somewhere in her mind and heart she felt it.

Arowyn watched as Aranel left them, telling them to go and think. How could she refuse to go when the Lady Aranel was going? Would she not seem weak in the eyes of her kin if she did not walk with her. Arowyn was in deep concentration when she turned on her heel and left the council chamber, lifting the hem of her green dress as she went. She stopped half way down when she heard steps behind her and turned to face the follower.

"Do not go angry." It was Lasselanta.

"Angry? You must mistake me for another." Arowyn commented. "I just need to think of what was said."

"As do us all." Lasselanta walked with her as they made their way through the silent streets of Jenisin. "It is a great decision we make."

"One I don't want to make. It is not my place, really. It is my father's to decide wether we will join and fight, wether the Enorihin will be of service." Arowyn told her. "But Lady Aranel is going..."

"Yes," Lasselanta nodded in understanding, "and that makes us all look weak if we don't. My decision is for Mori. We are a warrior nation and thrive on this sort of thing. But I am not. For a long time the Morians have attack various lands to gain more and simply to use our skills as warriors. That, in my opinion, isn't right. I am skilled, true, but I am not looking for a fight."

Arowyn looked at the other woman. She felt terrible for her, because her decision was greater than hers. She rested a hand on her shoulder and gave a small smile. "I will go with Aranel, if not for my own people, then for yours. Your cause is far greater than mine, for Enorias is peaceful."

Lasselanta nodded respectfully. "And I will go so that I can help my own people."

Arowyn nodded and walked over to the stables where several Enorihin horses were kept and took their reigns. "Then it is settled. To Cavinhin."

Marewyn watched as the rather frustrating red haired woman, Arowyn, left the chamber and soon after the warrior maiden. She watched rather indifferently. It mattered not to her what they did. Marewyn was doomed no matter her decision, so hers was obvious: follow Aranel and return to ruin. It was not a pleasant resolve, but one she felt she could not change.

Tuil was falling, she could feel it in her bones. Without her presence it would fall victim to corrupt minds who would willingly hand it over to the enemy. A small tear drifted down Marewyn's cheek. How could her people be so weak when she tried to remain strong?

Beside her, Eluwen walked up. "I am sorry for what was said."

Marewyn smiled weakly at her. "It's not that."

Eluwen looked at her. "Then what?"

"Tuil will fall into ruin and I am here, in a council that I should not have come into." Marewyn told her.

"Of course you should have. Tuil will not fall, just like I know Loidennd won't." Eluwen looked away, out a window. "Our lands have been in close alliance since I could remember. My father will not let the Gated City fall. Trust me on this one. We will go to Cavinhin, without trouble, return the stones and all will be well."

Marewyn watched her. She had so much faith in what she could not see happening. In a way, she was grateful for that, for it lifted her spirits just believing it may happen. "I hope you are right."

Eluwen nodded her head in confidence. "Of course I am." Then she smiled and laughed a little. "Just you wait and see."

Aranel remained near the river banks, breathing deep the scent of the cool water flowing into the roots of the plants around her. Calmness penatrated her soul and lifted her spirit up so that she was at least, for the moment, content. It was so peaceful and quiet, no sound coming but of the birds singing. Then came the crack of a twig and she spun around in sudden alarm, but a gentle laugh came back at her.

"Colindo!" She cried out in happy surprise. Though everything around her seemed dim, this moment felt like the brightest sunshine. Aranel ran to him and wrapped him in an embrace to which he returned.

But the mood dampened as suddenly as it brightened when he pulled away. "What is it?"

He took a deep breathe and looked into her eyes. "It hurts to tell you."

"What? What could possibly hurt more than what has happened this day?" Aranel tried to smile, but it failed miserably.

"My lady, Aranel," He looked horribly sad in her eyes.

"Yes?"

"Horribly events have come to pass." Colindo started off.

Aranel drew back, away from the comfort of his arms. "What... Events?"

"Your father, the great King of Jenisin, has sent me away." Colindo told her and continued on before she could interupt. "The threat is far greater than you are made to believe. Jenisin is in danger and your father wishes me to lead our people to the Land in the East."

"Your leaving me..." Aranel whispered. It was her greatest fear coming to pass.

"Not willingly," He stepped closer to her, but she drew away. "You must understand that I am needed to protect them."

"I had hoped you would protect us... me, on the journey we are to embark on." Aranel glanced down. She knew she was selfish for wanting him to come with her, but she still could not let it go.

"I would. You know this. I would follow you into the darkest of places," Colindo closed the gap and took her in his arms.

Oh, how it felt so wonderful. Aranel felt like she belonged there, like she fit perfectly, wrapped in his strong arms. A tear escaped her eye as he held her. Then she reluctantly broke away, looking lovingly into his eyes. "But I would rather you do my father's bidding. You will be safer there."

"But you will not," Colindo whispered.

"It is my path to choose." Aranel told him bravely.

"Then choose another man. I cannot go to safety while you go to torment." He looked at her. "I cannot leave with you so broken and my heart so heavy."

Aranel closed her eyes, keeping the tears feircly locked inside. "Ni umsenatenuva. Indonnya car. (I did not choose. My heart did.)" Then she opened them and saw that while they had talked night had settled in and gone and the new dawn was arising. "Vanne, varnana. (Go, be safe.) Let our hearts guide our way." With that, she kissed his lips softly and reluctantly left him, baring to look upon his features no more and went to the stables, tears gracing her pale cheeks.

Note: Please note that I have used various elvish dictionaries, but I have not followed any of the proper elvish grammar rules. I wanted to create it my own way, adding when I needed to. I understand that what this elvish is, is not the "correct" usage. I just thought I'd let everyone who reads this know that.