Darkness and Death by Galenfea
Disclaimer: I own all of these characters, but not the events or settings. I’m not making any money from this story, so there’s really no point suing me. Thank you!
Calmëa loved it when a new catch of fish came in. Ever since she was very young – only just old enough to toddle down to the haven with her mother – she had liked to look at the fish. She had admired the way that the light of the Trees glimmered on their scales, lighting them into rainbow colours.
Now she was older, but she still looked forwards to the return of her father, uncle and brother from their trips. She liked to sit by their usual mooring, maybe watching the gulls or talking to the other young Teleri that passed by. She rarely went out herself, though she was occasionally invited.
Currently, she and her cousin were mending a sail that her brother had accidentally torn, having been a little too quick with a boat-hook. Calmëa ran a finger along the stitches at the hem, smiling as she remembered her mother sewing this sail. She had been allowed to do a few stitches herself and had felt extremely proud. She could still find her stitches on this sail if she looked. She remembered her father laughing when he saw them, and congratulating her on her fine needlework, a twinkle in his eye.
“Cal?” Her cousin, Lelyavalin, gently poked her on the arm. “Are you dreaming of Fólima?” She laughed, and Calmëa blushed, fiddling subconsciously with the silver ring on her finger: the symbol of her betrothal to the handsome young Noldo that Lelyavalin had named.
“No, I was just remembering mother making this sail.”
“Oh, yes.” Lelyavalin laughed. “Was she angry when she found out that Silmë had torn it?”
“No, not angry, she just sighed a bit and shook her head. Silmë said that he felt worse at that reaction than if she had been angry.”
“Done!” Lelyavalin had been sewing as she talked, and consequently had finished her half of the tear. Calmëa busied herself with needle and thread, blushing again. Soon she too had finished and she rubbed her right hand, which was sore despite the leather patch that she kept in her palm to protect it from the needle as she pushed it through the tough material.
“Done,” she echoed, tilting her head back with a sigh and looking up at the stars, dimly visible above. She rotated her head a little to get rid of the crick in her neck, then looked out over the water towards the sea, looking for a familiar sail, the partner to this one. With this wind, they would make good time.
It was a few more hours to the evening mingling of the lights – her favourite time of the day. Fólima had promised that he would come and visit her tonight, during Telperion’s waxing. They would sit on the beach and listen to the music of Ulmo in the sound of the waves, as they often did.
“Cal, now I know you’re dreaming of him!”
Calmëa ducked her head. “Is it so obvious?”
“Yes.” Lelyavalin moved round to sit on the bench beside Calmëa and put an arm around her shoulders as they looked out over the water. “I can always tell.” She smiled. “I think you’re going to be very happy together.”
It was the mingling of the lights, and the family sat happily in the garden behind their house. Aquildë, Silmë and Nárhína had arrived home about an hour before, and Nárhína had gone to his own home with Lelyavalin. Silmë was whittling a small piece of wood into a perched gull: a favoured hobby. Calmëa watched, smiling, wondering of it was for someone, or just his own pleasure.
Suddenly, she became aware that the light seemed to be getting dimmer rather than brighter, as she would have expected. Silmë looked up, frowning, apparently aware of it too. The dimming was getting faster as Aquildë got up, frowning a little towards the west.
“What’s going on?” he murmured to himself.
Silmë was on his feet too, his little knife and the carving forgotten at his feet as frightening darkness fell. Calmëa grabbed her brother’s hand, biting back a scream. She had never known the light of the Trees to be darkened. Other Teleri were coming out of their houses, into gardens, crowding in the street. As total darkness fell, Calmëa could hear cries of fear and woe.
Suddenly, even the stars were blotted out as a suffocating darkness filled the sky, and even the air around them became choking.
Now Calmëa screamed, but her voice seemed somehow muffled, as though she was screaming into a thick pillow. She heard her mother start to cough.
“Come on! Inside!” cried Aquildë, somewhere in the dark. His voice seemed to come from a long way off. “Keep together!”
“Father!” called Calmëa, casting about for her mother and father. She couldn’t see her own hand, it was so dark. “Atar! Amillë!”
Silmë held her hand more tightly, putting an arm around her shoulders. “Don’t worry, Cal. Come on, this way.” He spoke lightly in her ear, trying to sound calm, but she could tell from the slight tremble in his voice how terrified he was.
There was no warning, the strength seemed simply to suddenly drain from their limbs. They collapsed, side by side on the sandy ground.
“Silmë…!” Calmëa forced out the name, and, in answer, he hugged her as tightly as he could. She knew that he too was feeling this sudden weakness. His breath came fast and laboured on her cheek.
For a moment, she sensed some loathsome thing out there in the impenetrable darkness, then even that sensation faded and she let her head loll sideways against Silmë’s brow.