Disclaimer: I own nothing but the OC's and the plot, everything else belongs to Tolkien and those who currently own the rights to his work.
Story Image Credit: Cookai, deviantART
Mirkwood was once a beautiful realm. The elves who lived there still thought her beautiful, but in their hearts they could feel the darkness kept tenuously at bay. From where this darkness came, none could tell for certain. Did it come from the Necromancer in the south? From the shadowy creatures of the old world that haunted the northern borders? Or perhaps from the men who lived on the edges of the elven lands? No elf would dare believe that they, too, could bring evil to this wood. For were they not the Firstborn? Dark elves to be sure, but even their shimmering forms echoed the light of Ithil – a light brighter than any that shone on this Earth. But darkness comes from all places in this land and though the Firstborn would shake their heads at the thought – they too planted seeds of evil here.
In the northern watches of the kingdom a young elf child walked. At least, if a man had seen her walking he'd have thought her so. Her ears were delicately pointed, her long hair a deep soft sheen of brown waves, her skin glowed flawlessly and she danced and sang ancient tunes in languages few mortals cared to learn. The elves, however, did not see an elven child. When they looked upon the dancing form they saw a creature whose ears were far too rounded, whose hair was the color of mud, whose skin held countless imperfections and whose voice was offensive to their ears. Even her graceful, flowing movements were not graceful enough. From two hundred paces they could watch the figure and know that she was not one of their own.
Eruanna had just recently celebrated her seventy-third begetting day, although celebrate is far too joyous a word to describe the day's events. She visited her mother's grave with her grandparents and laid flowers atop the elegantly carved stone. It was a mournful tradition that perhaps her elders may have thought better of if they had not suffered such grief at their daughter's passing. Ithilwen and Haldor marked Eruanna's begetting day as the day their daughter died, although in truth she lasted many months longer, long enough to bring Eruanna into the world. Irimë held on to life long enough to hold her daughter in her arms but faded soon after in misery and despair. There were many in the woods who whispered that it would have been better had she faded before Eruanna was born, but none spoke such things in front of Irimë's parents.
Ithilwen and Haldor raised their young granddaughter with much love but they too were guilty of harsh words now and again when Eruanna did not do as an elven child should. The couple was most disturbed by the speed with which their child grew. She was fully mature in less than forty years, decades before an elven child reached maturity and although she was still so very young by the measure of her kin, her eyes were more aged than any elleth of equal years. She was a merging of the First and Secondborn, and so her way was often curious to those around her.
The elves of Mirkwood had long held the word peredhel as a curse reserved for Elrond. The animosity between the King and the Noldo Lord was no secret. Thranduil had long ago infected his people with disdain for the half-elf whom he'd held responsible for his father's death and the death of so many of his people. It had been long years since the days of the Last Alliance but the memory of the elves was eternal. And so Eruanna walked alone in Thranduil's realm an outcast, an echo of the Lord of Imladris, punished by the people in his stead.
If the elves of Mirkwood had merely ignored the half-elven child, perhaps this tale would end here – but it does not. Ignored she was, in truth, by most who came across her path, but not by all. We must remember now the terrible truth about the elves. Though they walk with an air of righteousness they are not immune to hate or fear. The sons of Feänor and the great Noldo himself, and Maeglin and his father Eöl proved that darkness can dwell in the heart of the Firstborn, from greed or pride or hate it can be born, and born it was in the hearts of some who came across Eruanna's path.
In her early years, Eruanna passed much time alone as there were few elflings her age and most were not permitted to play with her. The few playmates she possessed she quickly outgrew and though by count of years they were the same age, the elven children still possessed the form and disposition of youth while Eruanna no longer resembled a child. It was then that she found herself truly alone and her grandparents were forced to tell her the terrible truth of her birth. Eruanna ran into the woods that night and wept cradled in the branches of her favorite tree. It was her mortal blood that kept the sadness from dragging her down her mother's path. She was not an elf and so could not fade from her grief.
In the years that followed, Eruanna remained strong and possessed of a deep well of happiness drawn from the beauty that surrounded her, but her contentment in the darkening woods would not last.
Chapter 1 – The darkening wood
Third Age 2550
One bright and sunny day Eruanna wandered along the banks of the River Running singing to the trees that guarded its shore, oblivious to the fact that she was being watched. The Mirkwood wardens were well trained and Eruanna's senses were not sensitive enough to detect the movement of the three ellyn observing her. She released a startled cry when one of the wardens leapt out of the tree, landing in her path.
"Suilaid, lovely one," the warden smiled down at the young elleth who stood shorter than any elf maid in the realm but still taller than any mortal woman.
Eruanna was forced to catch her breath from the sudden appearance of the strange ellon. "Were you trying to scare me to death, jumping out of a tree like that?" she accused. "Did your parents teach you no manners?"
"They taught him," a voice sounded from behind her, "he just never listened." Eruanna turned slightly to see two more wardens appear from the treeline along the stream.
"Perhaps you should remind him," Eruanna addressed the second ellon angrily.
"What were you singing?" The third ellon looked at her, an odd expression on his face, "I seem to remember the tune."
"It is a child's song," she answered him but was interrupted before she could continue.
"A child's song," the first ellon laughed. "Are you not too old to be singing children's songs?"
Eruanna considered his question before answering. "I don't think so. I have only just celebrated my seventy-third year."
The expression on the ellon's face changed from one of light humor to sharp appraisal. "You are the peredhel they say lives in these parts," he studied her carefully, "that explains much."
Eruanna was confused by the shift in his demeanor and by his strange comment. "Explains what?"
The second ellon laughed. "Why your singing is so terrible." His laughter was joined by that of the first ellon.
Eruanna found her heart constricting at the sound of their laughter. She loved singing ever since she was a tiny child. She and Ithilwen would sing while they cooked and worked in the garden. Eruanna knew her voice was not as sweet as her grandmother's but she'd never before thought it offensive. She turned and ran from the sound of their laughter as the tears began flowing down her cheeks. She wished to never see the three Mirkwood guardians or hear their laughter again.