by Archaic Scribe
Location: A woodland in Thargelion located north of the Dwarf-road, which separates it from Ossiriand in the far east of Beleriand and set against the mountain range of the Ered Luin.
It is the First Age of the Sun.
The chill of a menacing wind slapped Haldad ruthlessly, born from a stream generated from the Ered Luin mountain range and brought upon his household by way of the Dwarf-road. He winced as an involuntary shiver physically shook his body and the few sporadic braids in his long brown locks were caught up upon the hands of the strong breeze.
He slowly breathed in a mighty gust of air and held it a few moments before he released it with the trained perfection of a warrior born through a long bloodline of noble and fierce protectors to the Old Faith their people practiced and held to in all of life's ever-changing moments.
Haldad yearned for the council of his departed wife, or better put, he thought, the physical presence of her hand in his or her serene and calm face in any such flight of chaos or battle.
He could not help but allow a pleasant smile to cross his face for a moment as his thoughts drifted to recalling her resigned aura as she birthed and raised their twin children, Haldar and Haleth, giving up battle and something so dear to her that it almost pained him to think of the consequences of such a choice. But alas, it was her choice to make and out of respect and wisdom, he would not allow his own doubts or concerns to stand in the way even if he may be among those who would not have stretched their imagination to believe that a woman of her strength and courage would content herself in raising children.
Haldad shook the memory away, turned his large horse from field to house, and set her into a canter across fields of wildflowers, crushing them as the horse raced toward their group of homesteads.
As he slowed his horse to a trot, Haleth saw him from the corner of her eye as she sidestepped her brother's sword, lunging toward her with anxious force. Haldar followed her pointed gaze and turned in the direction of Haldad's approach, a quizzical look crossing his face, as they wondered why their father returned from his trip so early.
The twins walked slowly towards him, with an unknown fear of what news he may bring as they both set identical expressions of impassiveness across their faces. Again, in rare form, Haldad smiled affectionately at his two children, all that remained of his family on Midgard, Middle-earth.
"What grim faces set upon such lovely countenances, my children," he said lightly, in spite of the information he held.
Both twins raised their eyebrows at his teasing, Haldar crossing his arms and Haleth placing her hands on her hips, both waiting expectantly for Haldad to continue.
Haldad eyed them with a level gaze and set upon them a direct look of intensity that had them remaining frozen in place, as if they had become blocks of ice.
"A foul intruder makes its way to our homes," he started out frankly. "It comes in the form of a large raiding party of Orcs, from the pits of darkness and crossing the mountains to the east."
The twins nodded their understanding as Haldar spoke. "We must fortify our lands and meet them prepared then."
Haldad nodded and replied matter-of-factly, "We must ride quickly and muster our peoples so that we may stand allied against this black tide from the Dark Master!"
"I will send messengers to the other households," Haleth said calmly, and with a bow, departed quickly, making her way towards the stable and her horse.
"We must make haste and not linger overlong, for ours is the second front they will attack. The first has already been taken unaware, burned and pillaged without a hope of help from us and all those who once dwelled there will remain corpses until they have been avenged," Haldad added with an inference of remorse.
Haldar bowed with a heavy sorrow in his heart and strode to the barn where Haleth had gone to a few moments pervious.
He saw her standing next to her horse with her back to him, going about the business at hand with not a wasted movement. He knew his twin well and what her purpose was in preparing to first ride to the encampment of her beloved.
"There is yet more news of the orc raid, Haleth," Haldar said quietly, pausing pointedly after using her given name, a deliberate attempt at softening the news he bore.
The prolonged stillness in the room and abrupt taint of foreboding energy made Haleth grow uncomfortable as the hairs on her body began to stand upright in warning, but she intentionally disregarded her intuition and instead replied impatiently as she verbally acknowledged the anxiousness emanating from Haldar, "Aye, my brother! Have done with it! What news have you, then - and be quick - we must ride with a fleeting gait and initiate the sequence of messengers in all haste: This you know as well as I."
Haldar swallowed with great difficulty, sensing her trepidation and irritation as she needlessly reiterated what they both knew must be done, but instead he spoke, his voice not betraying the shaking emotion of turmoil in his heart. "The Household of Bryeth is destroyed."
Haleth paused for an instant, her mind racing and her heart suddenly pounding unnaturally, at a pace too fast for her reckoning, as she absentmindedly started stroking her horse's neck.
"Destroyed?" she questioned in an unsteady, low voice as her heart began to sink and then whispered, "Certainly, you must have misunderstood the message."
Haldar shook his head, dismissing her an excuse for denial and spoke softly, "No, they are utterly destroyed," her brother replied gravely.
Haleth closed her eyes against the sudden pain that raked her body, an internal wind emptied her heart in a single expelling gust. She did not turn to her brother, but quickly mounted her horse and charged heedlessly out of the barn in a swirl of emotion as her father sat upon his horse on a small hill, squinting into the sunlight as his daughter rode swiftly across the empty valley.
Haldar swung himself nimbly onto his mount and rode up beside his father, the crackling sound of brittle grass crunching softly under the horse's hooves as he approached the elder man still sitting in silence. Haldad turned to his son and raised his hands in an ancient blessing as Haldar nodded, thrusting his heels into the horse's flanks and spurring it towards Haleth's wake.
The hooves of Haldar's bay horse thundered, pounding atop the well-traveled forest path as he relentlessly chased his sister, wispy tree branches turning angry at the disturbance and so changing to wicked limbs, whipping at him ruthlessly from above the road. He could sense her pace slowing and knew it would not be long before her emotions turned and began eating away at themselves, slowing her unexpected flight as she would begin to reflect on all that consumed her at this unexpected news.
Haleth had stopped ahead of him and spoke when he was close enough to hear her, "So, we do not only have to battle Orcs, but suffer the misery the Dark Lord's will has brought down upon our folk once again because of the fair kings who war with him? Are they not even more intolerable than suffering the unwelcome of these fair folk, garbed in green, who our ancestors first encountered when making the great journey to this land? Perhaps I have never laid eyes on one of these high kings of the fair people, but I like them no less for it."
"It is as the gods will it to be, my sister, forget it not and mark what you speak aloud among these ancient trees," Haldad warned in a barely audible murmur.
"Then it is also for us to seek vengeance for our slain folk and bring the strength of Odin to smote him and his minions," she replied with rising, venomous anger.
"Peace, my sister, Haleth," Haldar said, raising his hands in surrender. "It is not I who disagree with you."
Haleth gathered her thoughts to her conscious mind and nodded to her brother, "I meant no harm to you or the gods, brother, but may you, and the gods for that matter, mark what I say now in clear voice: I will live to see these orc-raiders fall and I will cleave them as I have seen animals slaughtered for great feasts!"
Haldar nodded with favorable agreement and spoke earnestly, "We must ride swiftly, with all haste then, and rally those we may as godi wills it!"
Aye, Haleth thought, and it is you, my brother, who have a family of your own to fight for and protect and it is I who will now never know anything as close as all that.
In Norse mythology, a godi is the name for a leader who is the head of a kindred group of families. The twins refer to their father, Haldad, who is the godi, or the head of their clan.
This story is inspired primarily by the role Norse mythology has in Tolkien's works, especially that of the Silmarillion. I have taken the liberty to use this as a basis for the references in "Unfinished Tales" where we learn a bit more about the Folk of Haleth where they are said to have strange customs and languages to which they adhere. They were not only regarded as such by the Eldar, but by their own race as well, the other Edain.
I believe it will be entertaining to explore these traits along with the other strange things alluded to in the Silm and UT as the story progresses.
Characters and situations of The Silmarillion (Second Edition) by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien are the property of The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust and Christopher Reuel Tolkien.
Produced solely for the enjoyment of other fans and not for any monetary profit. Please do not sue me, as I have little money.