Sharing for Fandango’s Friday Flashback! I originally shared this story on June 28, 2018 for Throwback Thursday.
Today’s snippet of story is a fragment I wrote during the holiday break leading into 2013. I had set myself the goal of writing at least 500 words every day, which had some interesting results. In reading back through my work at that time, I can see the improvement that came from something as simple as that goal. Oh, and I think I was reading The Silmarillion at the time I wrote this piece.
The chess piece slammed into the board, sending the entire thing crashing down. Fithir leapt up, a fire burning in his eyes, such as the king and his two sons had not seen before. His hand clutched the hilt of his sword.
“I swear, on the grave of my father, that I will find that star!” He gestured wildly to the sky, whence the flaming light had fallen seconds before. “I will find that light, and bring it back, if I must die to do it! But I will prove to you I’m not a worthless son of a coward!” He stormed from the chamber, and his passing sent the torches flickering. And his uncle and the two sons sat amazed, wondering at the sudden furor of Fithir, and casting amused glances at each other.
Fithir stormed onward through the castle to his own chamber. Candles were lit there, and a goblet of wine sat near the fire on a small table, along with a tray of bread and fruit. He took them in fuming silence, gazing out the window at the darkness beyond.
Daylight marked the riding of Fithir, and he was not seen again in the lifetime of his uncle, for the king died soon after Fithir departed, and was buried next to his brother, Fithir’s father. The elder son rose to the throne, and ruled there many years.
But Fithir rode many leagues and many until he came to the end of the world. On the last day of this journey, he paused before a great wood, whose trees barred the entrance with long snaking limbs. Cold wind blew through their branches, blowing grey clouds across the sky. Fithir found himself utterly alone, with no company save the faint stirring of the trees.
“Indeed, I have found the place,” he said aloud to his horse. The stallion whinnied and blew back at him nervously. “Even you know, though you are but a beast, and the last living thing here. Perhaps not for long,” he added. Then he plunged into the wood.
But he found as he rode that its darkness was lightened before him. Grey sky filtered through the trees and faintly illuminated his path. Yet it was a very old wood, for many roots caught at the horse’s hooves and snagged at Fithir’s sides. Slowly they picked their way onward, until at last night had fallen and he had nothing to light his way.
“This might be the end, horse,” he said, “for if you cannot see your way you could very well throw me, and then where would we be?” But all at once there shone through the trees before them a silver light, bright as the moon at its fullest. Fithir urged his horse on, and beheld the source of the light. It took his breath, until he could only gaze transfixed and motionless before it.
There lay, in a glade silver white like the moon on water, a maiden, clad in a gown that glowed with its own light, or perhaps it was her own. She lay as dead, her skin white, her hands still as death at her sides. Fithir dropped from his mount and knelt.
“Oh lady,” he called, “what can I do? I can only mourn that which I never knew.” And he laid his hand on hers.
But suddenly the lady stirred. Her eyes flickered open, and it was as if a star had fallen to earth and looked on Fithir. He fell back, shielding his eyes.
“What manner of lady are you?” he stammered. “A star could not be more beautiful.”
“That is,” said the lady, and her voice was like that of a laughing brook, “what I am. Only I am no longer.” And even as she spoke the light died, and she was bereft of her glory.
But Fithir came close again and bowed to her. “A star, then, is what I seek, and what I have found.”
“I have sworn an oath to retrieve whatever fell from the sky many nights ago, to prove to my uncle I am no coward. I watched you fall, and swore I would find and return with you. You must come with me.”
The lady rose and he saw that her feet were bare under their gown. “But my father—” she whispered, and looked fearfully at the sky. “He will be terribly angry.” A shudder seized her, and it was as if she trembled at the very thought.
“Your father? What of him?” A certain nameless fear crept into the back of Fithir’s mind and he rested his hand on his sword.
“He is a skylord, and I am his daughter Eliandel. One of seven, and the youngest. But his anger is terrible, and will be so when he—” She tilted her head. “What are you, my lord? I do not even know your name.”
“Fithir, Lady Eliandel. And I do not fear him!” His drew his sword from its sheath.
“But you must,” said the lady, trembling, “for he will surely destroy you.”