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Narn Hathaldir ah Aerlin
(Tale of Hathaldir and Aerlin)

Note: This is a work of both poetry and fan-fiction. I made it several years ago, trying to imitate Tolkien's alliterative poems. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn't really understand the rules of this kind of poetry - I mainly thought that alliteration was enough. It *isn't*. So, (for this and other reasons) I have to present this with a bit of embarrassment, and mainly for the sake of completion.

Disclaimer: The setting belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien as does Hathaldir. The rest is mine. (not that anyone else would want them :-)


Have you not heard     of Hathaldir the young
whose courage with many     competed; though youth
he was in the body     in skill of the bow
most mortals surpassed;     and with might the spear
he used when needed     and often it was.
A Boring his father,     his mother brave and free
a Haladin daughter;     but Hathaldir grew
in the land of Ladros;     though lithe and shorter
than the people of Bor     he learned there wisdom
and pity he had     and in love would hold
the creatures of Arda.     Half-elven some called him
for mighty he was     among the sons of Men.

When evil came     in a cold night
and Dagor Bragollach     was kindled and death
the Orc-legions gave     to those unprepared
with pitiless cruelty     his parents were killed.
Thus Hathaldir learned woe     and he would be slain
but his skill saved him     and the sword of Barahir,
the father of Beren     and Bregor’s son.
And because Hathaldir     from Bor descended
and a long friendship     he once had with his father
Barahir took him as son     and Beren as brother.
When Barahir bold     with twelve brave companions
alone was left     not least among them
was Hathaldir in courage     and near Aeluin wan
from boy to manhood     he grew in mind and body.
When Doom came at last     and Death called them
the faithful Men     there Hathaldir fell
but last by his king     he was to be killed
and bid the world farewell.     Freedom he found
beyond the bounds of E     and the bars of Time.

The birds brought the news     from the bitter North
that Barahir was slain     and Bregolas' sons,
that Gildor and Ragnor,     Radhruin and Gorlim,
Dairuin and Arthad     and Urthel and Dagnir
and Hathaldir had fallen     their home defending
the filled now with foes:     Dorthonion's forest.
The minstrels would make     many dirges for them
but among the Halethrim     one mourned for Hathaldir
above all the others:     Aerlin the lonely.
No comfort she knew     and now she lay
trying to forget     folded in two
her knees embracing     and mourning Hathaldir.
Then a sleep of grief     slowly there came
enfolding her sorrow     embracing her soul
leading her mind     to hills and meadows
to days in Dorthonion     ere Death had come.

When spring was green     like children would play
there hand-holding     she and Hathaldir
and lightly laughing     on the grass would lie
or softly singing     would gaze at the stars;
Then sleep would come     and slowly take them
and love was born     before the light of morn.
All these the figure     of Aerlin the fair
saw and remembered     but sudden her smile
died and strictly     she bid to her dream:
"Vanish, oh vision,"     her voice demanded
"Nor make me further     to fall into mourning
by reminding me things     best not remembered,
both fair and vanished,     broken by violence.
Your hand I will hold     never again, Hathaldir!"
Like thunders they echoed     the words of her anger
the dream demolishing     destroying the vision...
back in the land of Brethil     bereft of joy or light
enfolded in loneliness     Aerlin was left.

The new Sun arose     now with the sound
of the rain falling     on fragnant flowers.
Refreshing and cool     it came to her body
with the tears mingling     of the mourning maid;
the weather was trying     to comfort her woe.
A calling for courage     by a kind Nature.
The rain stopped.     The rays of the Sun
to her beautiful body,     the burdened with sorrow,
came shining clear     in silent condolence.
Then slowly waking     from woeful sleep
her face she turned     to Taur-nu-Fuin
the haunt of horror     the grave of Hathaldir.
"Our hope was high     but hollow and grim
comes now the morning     to these cold meadows.
Mighty the hand of     Morgoth, Hathaldir,
that the realm of Ladros     he laid to ruins.
Yet still you remained     through years and sorrow
in hopeless efforts your     homes to hold from him.
My ways were other but     no less woe was mine."

When woe first came     the winter was cold
but colder fell yet     the awful year that followed.
A spear from foes     had slain her father,
dauntless Belegarth,     both brave and dear.
But more would follow     of mourning and woe:
Her mother fell ill     with fever of anguish
while sleepless Aerlin     stayed at her side.
As the news of war     arrived worse and worse
Emeldir would lead them     all to the South.
Her land she left     and her love behind,
the brown-haired boy,     brave Hathaldir.
Under skies of lead     they said that they loved
but faithfulness kept     by kissing farewell
(a comfort too cold     for such a cruel parting)
and embracing wept     and went to their ways;
she by her mother,     by Barahir Hathaldir.
But ere much passed     of the mournful path
the boy seemed to be     but just a distant shadow.
Then smitten by anguish     she suddenly cried
filled with foreboding     and frightened calling:
"Will I hold your hand     ever again, Hathaldir?"
And hearing then     the hopeless echoes
back on the barren hills     he broke into tears.
"I’ll see you once more     I swear it by Manw!
We’ll turn the woe to joy     and wipe away our tears!"

Through pain and hunger     and paths filled with horror
where water is poison     and madness walks with might
Emeldir then led them     to the land of Brethil
where sweeter the air     and bright still the stars.
But evil the voyage     and vain for Aerlin:
her mother had died     in the dreadful hills;
A Haladin hunter     adopted her then.
In dreaming the deeds     of daring Hathaldir
against the Orc-legions     of the evil lord
she found some comfort     and flight from sorrow
for always their minds     met ere evening fell,
until the birds said     the bright-eyed boy had died.

Westward the Sun     was slowly sinking
and staining with red     Aerlin’s white raiment.
A minute she stood     moveless as statue
both slender and fair     but shining clothed in fire.
In loneliness left     loudly she cried
radiant and tall     terrible in wrath of sorrow.
"You said and swore     you’d see me again
and wipe my tears     and turn our woe to mirth.
But never more now     will night change to morning
with the birds singing     above the sleeping children.
Your hand I won’t hold     ever again Hathaldir."
The flame of the Sun     and silence fell.

A wind from the west     came wild and free
arising in the lands     where rule the Lords that care.
It fell on the woods     with such a wrathful fury
as if the world to shatter     but softly and warm
it blew to her body     and her heart embraced.
Alone stood Aerlin     in wonder and awe
while wailing around her     was raging the wind
and breaking the world     by bending the rules.
A lightning struck     the hill that stood beside her
and sudden the wind     fell into slow whisper.
A figure stood there     fair and shining
in the soft breeze     beneath the bright starlight.
She deemed him so tall     as to tower above her
than Thingol of Doriath     she thought him more kingly,
than Noldo or Maia     more mighty and noble.
His eyes surpassed     the stars of the skies
holding the splendour     of the high heaven.
A spear he bore,     a sword and a bow,
and a grey cloak     glittering clothed him
above the white armor     and the warrior’s arms,
but barefoot he walked     while blossoming flowers
sprang as he went     wherever he stepped
softly and silent     approaching Aerlin slowly.

She suddenly fell     for awe surpassed her pride
and filled her heart     with strange and high fear.
Then direly trembling     Aerlin dared to ask:
"Who are you, my Lord?     From the lands of Aman
I deem that you come,     from the Deathless shores.
A king of the Eldar     are you but above
what the Noldorin songs     that I know have said?
A Lord of the Maiar;     or among the Mighty?"
But to her feet lightly     laughing he lifted her
softly and gently,     saying soothingly
"Just plain Hathaldir     your playmate of old."
Backwards starting     she stumbled astonished
but Hathaldir caught her     with caring hands.
"Your eyes grew dimmer     in despair’s grief."
Then lifting her face     she looked at his eyes
and saw there within     the starlight that shimmered
as thousand dewdrops     that dance ere daybreak.
But she deeper still     searching beyond
delight and laughter     and light undimmed,
she found the form     of a fair lady
-mirrored in beauty     unbearable but true-
attired like a queen     and upwards looking.

My song now falters     for mirth and for sorrow.
Too weak are my words     to weave into verses
the lore revealed     and renewed love
of that wondrous night.     Never would woe
again defeat Aerlin.     As dawn arrived
its marvellous hues     of hope and magnificence
embraced her body.     Bright and beautiful
stood she glistening     shining in glorious
joy and loveliness;     like jewels of light
fell to her feet     her flowing tears.
Thus woke Aerlin     from this world of woe
and softly a song     slowly began
whose rising power     passed o’er rivers
o’er meadows and hills,     and mountainous heights
and realms of shadows.     Sheer and renowned
to heights incredible     and the hearkening ears
of Manw Slimo     it managed to rise
in elven-words bright,     unbittered and woeless.

Of mortal minstrels     mightiest was she!
A messenger of light     modest and little
that came to countries     cold and beleaguered
and offered her services     in exchange for shelter.
The sick she healed     and the sad heartened,
tales told to children     and tended the wounded.
But her songs defeated     despair’s darkness,
her voice the fear     of forgetfulness vanquishing,
till Hathaldir she found     in the fields of hope,
beyond the bounds of E     and the bars of Time.
Renowned she is,     remembered she’ll be,
and her words I await     at the world’s ending.

Email me at: katsaris@gmail.com
Last updated: 01 Apr 2002