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Title: Dear Adar and Naneth…
Recipient: Levade
Request first Yule in Avernien and how two very different groups of survivors (from Doriath and Gondolin) overcame their differences and problems to celebrate. Please include Tuor, Idril, Elwing and Eärendil.
Summary: As the first Yuletide for the refugees of Gondolin draws near, Elwing of Doriath makes her observations about their little prince in a letter to her absent parents. 3893 words without header.
Rating: PG, for discussion of death, talk of love and marriage, nothing explicit
A/N: Thank you to Dawn Felagund and Susana for the betas, and again thank you to Susana for the extremely helpful nudges to my Muse and assistance when it was flagging. Thank you to the Mods for understanding about my Muse's behavior! *grin*

Dear Adar and Naneth

Dear Adar and Naneth,

Nurse says I can write to you on special days, now that I can write. It will be my gift to you. She also says she is surprised that I can write already, but it may be because of me being so different.

I do not like being different. Nurse says different does not matter, and Auntie says the same. Auntie should know; she is very different. Nurse told me, in confidence, that Auntie was very naughty once and ran away from home. Would her adar and naneth not miss her? I miss you.

Nurse also says that I am nearly old enough to know the family secret. I do not know if I want to know it. I am very little still. I should be littler. Nurse says I grow unnaturally fast. She believes it is because of the different, like I said.

There is a new elfling who has come to live where we live now. He does not live in our house. He lives with his adar, and naneth. His naneth, who he calls Ammë, that is a different word for naneth, is a cousin of Auntie. Auntie used to be good friends with her auntie, before they ran away.
Nurse and Auntie say he is different as well. In fact he is lots different. His ada is not even an elf. He is a human, but he does not mind that. His ada is very nice, and he likes sweets. Auntie gave him the recipe for your sweets...she told me they were yours...but that is not the family secret. The family secret is something I do not know yet.

The elfling's name is Eärendil. I did not say that yet. I should have. Ear-endil. That is a strange name. He told me it means 'sea-lover'. That is because his ada loves the sea and he will too. He wants to grow up and build the best boat ever.

Nurse is reading my letter and chuckling. She says I should say 'ship'. A ship is just a very big boat. Big boats are for big elves however, so it should be a ship. I suppose that is true.

Did I tell you that Nurse is rather bossy sometimes? (She has gone away now, so I can write that.) She tells me that certain things are unladylike and I am a princess so I should not do them. Such as climbing trees. Did I say that is how I met Eärendil? I didn't, I think, but it was. I was in a tree and then he came up in my tree. He's very different from me. He has golden hair, like Auntie, and grey eyes. I have dark hair, and my eyes are like yours, Nana. Nurse says that. I'm sorry I don't remember, but I was only very little.

I do not know what it is, but there is something about Eärendil. Something different. Not just the half human part, but...It just is, and it feels good. Something I need to find out. A mystery.

Elwing paused in her writing to change quills, for the one she had been given was beginning to blunt. As she reached for a new quill, her Nurse called out, "Elwing, aranel-nin, you have a visitor." Sighing, the little one picked up the old quill and scribbled,

I am sorry, Ada, Nana, but Nurse is calling. I will continue to write some other time.

The letter lay untouched for the rest of the day, and Elwing only remembered it the next morning, after breakfast. She returned to her writing desk, nibbling her lip a little. What if her parents thought she had forgotten them? She had forgotten the letter, but on the other hand, she would have so much to tell them…With her thoughts turning toward happier things, Elwing sat down at her desk and picked up a quill pen, writing as she remembered the events of the previous day.

Elwing ran to the parlour where the guests would be received, skidding to a halt just as Nurse called to her, "Mind your manners, my princess. We do not run inside. It is not ladylike." Sighing, Elwing called, "Yes, Nurse." She looked inside, and beamed. Eärendil was there! She gave the half-Elven boy a shy wave, biting her lip as she studied the Man and elleth who sat on each side of him. They must be his parents, though she had not had the chance to meet them before, just hear about them.

Eärendil grinned widely back at his new friend, revealing a gap toothed smile, where some of his adult teeth were growing in. The little Prince missed his Anatar and their other friends and family from Gondolin very much, but he liked this new home, by the sea. It was a cool, sunny day, the kind of day that just begged small children to go play outside. And his Ammë and Atto had agreed that he and Elwing might build a tree house in the large tree nearest their new house.

Tuor smiled gently at the small princess, of all the beings in the world, in some ways the most like his beloved son. "We give you greeting, my Lady Princess," the Man offered, "and would like to invite you to come play with Eärendil, this fine afternoon, and to sup with us this evening."

Idril, for her part, rose and swept a curtsey to the little girl, who returned it shyly. Idril came and took Elwing's hand, leading her into the room. "We would be most honoured if you would accept, dear Princess," she entreated, and Elwing blushed. "I give you greeting, my Lord, my Lady," Elwing said slowly, stumbling over the formal words, "and I thank you. I will accept gladly, if my Nurse will permit." Idril kissed the little girl's cheek. "She has already given her consent, dear one. And you need not worry about titles with us, for we are akin in rank. I, too, was Princess in my father's realm."
Eärendil smiled again, wanting to tell Elwing about the tree house, but knowing he must wait. His Ammë had told him her nurse might not approve, and that it would be better to ask for forgiveness than permission. So he just said, "Wait until you see our new house, Elwing! I've a surprise for you!"

Tuor grinned tolerantly at his son, as he and Idril bid farewell to Elwing's nurse, and led the children down the street to their new home. The brisk breeze smelled of the sea, and pine, and good foods cooking for the feasts at the end of the season. His smile disappeared, as he thought of how many friends and family would not see the celebration, this year. Then his wife squeezed his hand, and he had to laugh and Eärendil and Elwing, as they chased a startled seagull from his sedate walk down the cobbled streets.
Elwing giggled at the seagulls. "They're funny birds, Eärendil. Nurse says we didn't have any of them in our first home. They like the sea best, and fish." She looked at Eärendil curiously. "What were you saying about a surprise?"

Eärendil giggled a bit at the startled, aggrieved squawk the seagull made, as it flew away when they ran up to see it. "Oh! A great surprise! We've a lovely old tree behind our new house, Elwing. And Ammë and Atto say that they will help us to build a little house in it, just our size! A place where no adults can come, unless we invite them. We can start today - Atto borrowed all the tools we shall need from the carpenters and ship makers."

Elwing's eyes widened. "A real house?" she asked, turning to look at Tuor and Idril, behind them. Idril laughed softly. "A real house, dear one." She gave Elwing a gentle smile. "We'll let the ellyn sort out building it, dear, and you and I can decorate it, what do you think?" Elwing nodded happily. She'd like to help with the building, a little, but she couldn't do too much, or Nurse would scold.

Eärendil shrugged, content to do as his father had told him and simply accept the mysteries of ellith. He couldn't imagine anyone not liking sawing wood and hammering nails into wood.

But he wanted Elwing to have a good time, so he offered, “Ammë, you said you might bake sweet rolls. Maybe Elwing could help you, if she gets tired of building."

"I'd like to help with the building, even though Nurse says it's not ladylike," Elwing said. "Maybe for just a little bit." Idril gave her husband a wry smile at that. "What do you think of that, beloved?" She thought Tuor would find that rather amusing, but knew he wouldn't let either of the children get hurt.

Tuor was amused, and gave the little Princess an encouraging smile, and his wife a wink. "Perhaps we could all work on the house; it should go up quickly enough. Then we can all make sweet rolls, and you two can enjoy them in your new tree house."

"Can we? You're a grown-up," Elwing said anxiously to Idril, who laughed merrily in return. "Oh yes, of course I will join the rest of you, and then it will indeed go much more quickly." Elwing beamed up at her. "You will? Really?" Idril nodded. "Shall I tell you a secret, my dear?" Elwing nodded solemnly, and Idril swept the girl into the folds of her cloak, scooping her up. Elwing clung to Idril as the elleth whispered to her. "Really?" Elwing squealed. "But Nurse wouldn't like that at all. I thought being a grown-up meant you had to be a proper lady."

Idril's eyes twinkled. "Ah, but my Ada taught me. I didn't have a Naneth to teach me to be a proper lady, you see," Idril said, hugging the child. "Me, either," Elwing said, returning the hug.
Eärendil felt sorry for his new friend Elwing. "I'll share my Ammë and Atto with you, Elwing." He offered gallantly.

Tuor suppressed a smile at his son's noble, sharing nature, although normally he liked to be asked before he was offered to other children as a surrogate parent. But Elwing was special, like Eärendil. If Idril hadn't taken precautions, it could be their child, alone to be raised by young, grieving retainers.
"Thank you," Elwing said, snuggling into Idril's side. Idril scooped Eärendil up in her other arm and held both children. "I will share gladly, little one," Idril said softly. "I know what it is like to be without a Naneth, though I had an Aunt who loved me very much. Still, I did not see her often."

"I have an Auntie, too," Elwing said, "but I do not see her often either. Maybe I can share her when she comes," Elwing suggested. Idril gave Elwing a radiant smile and kissed her dark hair. "I believe I already know this Auntie of yours, dearest. I would be honoured to share her, when she comes to see you."
Eärendil thought an auntie sounded fine enough. "Will your auntie visit for Yule, Elwing?" He asked his friend.

"I do not know," Elwing said truthfully. Idril smiled. "Well, little ones. I think she might, but even if she does not, no doubt she will send her greetings; would you not say so, beloved?"

Tuor, who had not yet met Galadriel, thought that sounded likely enough from Idril's description of her. His father had known the Lady, and fought alongside her during the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. "I think so." He agreed, "And if not for Yule, perhaps we shall see her in the spring." As they arrived at their new home, Tuor started directing the construction of the Tree House, letting Eärendil assist in the planning and direction as much as possible, even when it required a few extra steps. Soon enough, the structure was built, complete with a roof of sail cloth. The four elves admired their creation, and retired to the kitchen for sweet rolls and cider.

Taking several sweet rolls, Eärendil urged Elwing to come with him into their newly built treehouse. "We can see the ocean from here, Elwing, isn't that fine?" He enthused.

Elwing took some cider for them both, and accepted help climbing up the ladder into the tree house. "I like to watch the ocean," Elwing said, looking out at the ocean. "It changes colors, I think. Nurse says that it changes to show whether Lord Ossë is angry or sad or happy that day, and if the mariners should sail or not."

"Atto says I may go out, with the fishing boats, next week." Eärendil mentioned, assisting Elwing to spread a blanket on the pleasant smelling boards of the tree house. "I want to be a mariner, when I am grown." Smiling at the slightly younger child, he asked, "Do you know what you want to be, Elwing?"

Elwing frowned, and shook her head slightly. "Nurse says I am a princess, and I must be a proper lady when I am grown up. I do not like that," she said. "Adar and Naneth had begun talks for me to marry one of my cousins when we were grown, for we were born mere days apart. But Nurse says it was never made really, truly real. I do not have to marry him, I suppose. He is not here anyway."

Eärendil found that confusing, but tried to be polite. His Ammë had told him that the customs of Doriath, where Elwing had been a Princess, were very different from the customs of Gondolin, where his family was from. Even so, there was something that his Ammë and Atto had told him, that seemed just as relevant to Elwing, as to them.

"My parents say that we all lost a lot, having to leave our homes. But that there is one thing about starting anew here, that can be good, if we let it be. We still have a responsibility to the elves who survived the falls of our Kingdoms, and came to this place with us. But we are more free, here, to become whoever we want to be." Eärendil offered Elwing another sweet roll, and said softly, "I think you and Ammë are the only Princesses here. You and she can probably make that mean whatever you want, I think."

Straightening, Tuor's gallant son continued, "And I'll marry you, if you like. If you were my wife, you could climb trees with me, and go sailing, and learn to use a sword, or not. Whatever you wanted." Elwing was the most interesting girl Eärendil had ever met. He didn't want her to marry some other elf. Not without considering him, at least. Not that he wanted to get married for a while yet, but his Ammë always said it was important to plan ahead.

Elwing smiled. "You really mean it, Eärendil? You'd want me to marry you?" She nibbled on her sweet roll. "Would your atto and ammë say it was all right?" She hoped so.

Eärendil nodded earnestly, "You're the best girl I've ever met, of course I want to marry you. No other elleth has ever wanted to climb trees with me, except Ammë. And Ammë and Atto like you, too, I can tell. I'll ask them just to be sure, but I think they'd like for me to marry you, when we're old enough."
Elwing nodded. "I'd like that. I wish I could ask mine, but I haven't got them, only Nurse, and Auntie, if she comes. I hope they don't mind."

Eärendil reached out and squeezed Elwing's hand. "I'm sorry that you don't. I hope they don't mind, too." He brightened. "But if we convince my Ammë and Atto, they can convince your nurse and auntie. They're very persuasive." Everyone always said so. "But we have a couple of hours until we have to go in for dinner, and we can ask then. For now, do you want to play pirates? The treehouse can be our ship, and the pirates are attacking us, but we fend them off. We have to imagine the pirates, but it will be fun anyway."
Elwing nodded. "What are pirates like?" she asked. "I've never played pirates before."

"Pirates are orcs and bad men that live on the water." Eärendil explained. "Lord Círdan warned Atto to watch out for them." Eärendil’s face hardened, "When I grow up, I'm going to find a way to stop the orcs and the bad men and all the other creatures that serve Morgoth from hurting good elves and men anymore. Not just the pirates, but all of them. I'm going to find a way to stop them all." Eärendil was quite sure this was necessary.

Morgoth's servants had brought down Gondolin, but Eärendil was going to show Morgoth that this had been a mistake. Eärendil was going to find a way to bring down Morgoth. He knew he couldn't do it himself - He thought great-grandfather Fingolfin had been an idiot for trying to do it that way. Eärendil was going to be like his parents, and build alliances. Somewhere, there had to be somebody, or a group of somebodies, who were powerful enough to stop Morgoth from attacking the good elves and men. Eärendil was going to find them, and get them to help. But that was a task for another day.

"To play pirates," he explained to Elwing, “we just pretend that they're attacking our ship, and then we get to decide whether to stand and face them, or to run away, and maybe lead them into an ambush. Then we fight the pirates." Eärendil pulled out his toy weapons. "Here, you can have whichever you like. I have a bow and arrows, and a sword and shield."

"Can I try the sword and shield, please?" Elwing asked. Idril had told her a great secret; that she had learned to fight with sword and shield from her own Ada, Eärendil's Daerada Turgon. Elwing didn't have her own Naneth to look up to, so she had decided she wanted to be just like Princess Idril. Also, her Auntie Galadriel was an accomplished fighter. Elwing was not afraid, she decided, not of pirates or anything else.

"Of course." Eärendil agreed, making a mental note to ask his Atto if they could give Elwing her own toy weapons as a Yule-tide gift, so that they could both have swords, and practice together, and fight imaginary enemies together. "Have you ever held a sword before?" He asked his friend kindly, "If not, I can show you how."

"I haven't, because Nurse says it's not right for a princess," Elwing said, sounding slightly exasperated with her caretaker. "Would you, please?" She held the sword rather clumsily, looking at Eärendil in question.

"Of course. Ammë and even...even my Anatar, they always say it’s important to know how to defend yourself, even if you don't want to be a soldier." Eärendil replied, getting up to stand beside Elwing, and gently adjust her grasp of the sword.

"You hold it like this, with your fingers here. Once you've learned the basic hold, and practiced with it, you can find one that is more comfortable for you, but you should learn this one first. The sword is heavier than normal because it has plugs of lead set into it, to make it heavier to help me be ready for a real sword when I'm older. So you need to brace your feet, like this, to better direct the weight. This is a small broadsword, so these are the motions that it is best suited for," Eärendil explained, walking Elwing through some of the basic training he'd received from his parents and his Anatar's knights and soldiers.

The children played happily for several hours, until Tuor called them in for dinner. Tuor smiled at the windswept children as they washed their hands.

Once they were seated at the table, Eärendil, who seemed to enjoy rendering his parents incoherent with shock from time to time, said, "I've decided I want to marry Elwing." Tuor looked to his wife in surprise. At the age of seven, matrimony had not been a subject which was high on his mind.

"Is that so, yonya?" Idril asked, calmly studying her son. "And what do you think of that, Elwing?" she asked.
"Please, Emya," Elwing begged, causing Idril to blink in surprise, though she recovered quickly. "Emya, Atya, please?" Elwing asked, and Idril's lips twitched in amusement. She was sure Tuor had been struck speechless by the child's form of address, and she whispered, "Well, our little one did offer to share us, after all."

Tuor nodded, still somewhat taken aback, "I think it is a fine idea, my children." He included Elwing as well in that address, "though I think you should wait you are both at least twenty, to wed. But we would be most pleased with you, Elwing, as a daughter. Perhaps, if your nurse approves, you will honor us by spending much time in our home, so that we may know the joy of having a daughter, as well as a son." Under his breath, to his wife, Tuor added, "Eärendil grows like a Man, and Elwing seems to, as well. They may well be ready to wed, by twenty years of age."

Idril nodded in return. "We should be pleased to have you, yeldenya," she added, addressing Elwing, who blushed a little. "But as your atto says, not until you are at least twenty."

Not until I am at least twenty, Ada, Nana, Elwing wrote in her next letter.

Not until I am at least twenty, will I wed the son of Tuor and Idril. But already they welcome me as a daughter. I know we are meant for each other. Nurse knows it too; she says that on the day we join together…that is the day that she will place me in charge of our secret. For now, secrets do not matter.
Lord Tuor and Lady Idril invited us over often, and we returned the favour. It has been a happy Yuletide for Eärendil and I, for we both got what we wanted. I gave Eärendil a boat. It is not a very big boat, but it is big enough to sail in the stream. He gave me one as well. Lord Tuor carved them both, though I did not know he was making one for me when I asked him to help me with one for Eärendil. He must have been most pleased at the jest.

Lady Idril gave us matching cloaks, of midnight blue spangled with silver stars, like the night sky, each one painstakingly embroidered. She said this way we would always recognize each other in the crowds. I think that is very useful; something clever that you would have maybe thought of, Nana.
And Nurse gave us cakes, the way she always does. I hope that wherever you are in the West now, you can have a happy Yule. Someday Eärendil and I will see you and we can tell you how much we love each other…and how much I love you.

Elwing, Princess of Doriath.


( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 31st, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
Straightening, Tuor's gallant son continued, "And I'll marry you, if you like. If you were my wife, you could climb trees with me, and go sailing, and learn to use a sword, or not. Whatever you wanted." Elwing was the most interesting girl Eärendil had ever met. He didn't want her to marry some other elf. Not without considering him, at least. Not that he wanted to get married for a while yet, but his Ammë always said it was important to plan ahead.

What a sweet story. I never really imagined Eärendil as a child!
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:05 am (UTC)
Hehe, that's one of my favorite bits too, Shirebound! Thanks so much. I ended up rereading "Of Elves, Men and Peredhil" several times for inspiration, actually, so Rhyselle had quite a bit to do with it!

Kaylee Arafinwiel
Dec. 31st, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
ahh, young love. but true and enduring.
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:05 am (UTC)
Thanks, glad you liked it!

Kaylee Arafinwiel
Dec. 31st, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
That is so poignant, Elwing writing to her dead parents. And lucky Earendil, with his treehouse!
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:05 am (UTC)
Lucky Earendil indeed Clodia! Thank you so much!

Kaylee Arafinwiel
Dec. 31st, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
I love the way this story is bracketed by Elwing writing to her deceased parents. And Idril is such a fascinating character here! What a role model for little Elwing to look up to. Earendil is just precious, and I thoroughly enjoyed his gallant offer to marry Elwing. What a pair they make, even at this young age!
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)
Oh goodness...Thundera Tiger!! Thank you so much for your review. I love Idril, too, and I'm glad you like the way she came out. I struggled with her, but I'm glad you like her! In the end, Fiondil was my inspiration for Idril's personality...Idril wasn't strictly present, but in...I think it was "Blades of Destiny" on Stories of Arda, Fiondil showed Turgon, Tuor and Glorfindel receiving new swords and a knife, and Tuor's plans to gift a sword to Idril, because she delighted in swordfighting. So that's where that came from. :) I think Elwing and Earendil do make quite a pair, though, don't they?

Kaylee Arafinwiel
Jan. 1st, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)
I've had a soft spot for Earendil and Elwing ever since I heard a beautiful song, "Evening Star" on the In Elven Lands CD.

I've never read a story before in which they were childhood sweethearts, but it makes perfect sense! This is just delightful!
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:19 am (UTC)
Thanks, Dreamflower! I got my inspiration from Rhyselle, as well as from my friend Susana. :) I really appreciate your review!

Kaylee Arafinwiel
Jan. 1st, 2011 11:08 pm (UTC)
This is a beautiful tale, Kaylee! Very well written and extremely touching.
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:19 am (UTC)
Aww, Cathleen!! Thanks so much!!

Kaylee Arafinwiel
Jan. 2nd, 2011 10:51 am (UTC)
A sweet betrothal! I rather like the two younglings as they've been described here. Very nice!
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:20 am (UTC)
Larner! Thank you so much, I'm glad you like it! I'm blushing...

Kaylee Arafinwiel
Jan. 2nd, 2011 12:56 pm (UTC)
If you were my wife, you could climb trees with me, and go sailing, and learn to use a sword, or not

Be still my heart! How could any girl not fall for such an offer? And I suspect Luthien would have a word or two to say to Nurse on what is appropriate behaviour for a princess of Doriath...
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:21 am (UTC)
Ah, so you're Nath...I had to check here and there to make sure. :) Thanks, Nath! I appreciate the comment...and I suspect she would have, LOL! Luthien would have more than a word or two, no doubt. As would Galadriel, I'm sure! (Galadriel's mother didn't name her "Nerwen" for nothing..."man-maiden"? Bet she could as well have said "tomboy"! Heh!)

Kaylee Arafinwiel
(no subject) - mrowe - Jan. 3rd, 2011 01:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayleelupin - Jan. 3rd, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jan. 3rd, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
This is really sweet. I love the way that Earendil teaches Elwing how to handle his sword, and the manner in which you have bracketed their story of young love between portions of her letter to her dead parents. How poignant. The tree house is excellent, the boats for Yule are quite humerous, and it is so easy to see how well they will fit together in future times. And they are already bothering the sea birds - LOL. Lovely.

- Erulisse (one L)
Jan. 3rd, 2011 03:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, hi, Erulisse! :) Thank you so much. Hehe, Susana suggested the tree house. I'm so glad she did. :) I loved doing this story!! I'm so glad that bracketing the story worked like that for everyone.

(Deleted comment)
Jan. 4th, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)
Levade! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :)

(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - kayleelupin - Jan. 5th, 2011 04:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 4th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
How gorgeous this was! I could easily imagine this happening as you wrote and with the letter interspersed within ... I very much enjoyed this!
Jan. 5th, 2011 04:52 am (UTC)
thank you!! I wish I recognized you by your lj name, but I don't :( but all the same, thank you very much :)

Kaylee Arafinwiel
(no subject) - someplacetobe - Jan. 5th, 2011 06:39 am (UTC) - Expand
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( 31 comments — Leave a comment )


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