Miriel's Journey by Miriel Celebel
Disclaimer: All copyrighted material belongs to the Tolkien Estate and I have not profited from the use of this material in any way. Only a few main characters are original including the title character (Miriel), Silvren (youngest daughter of Elrond, whose creation belongs to another fan fiction written by a close friend), Anfin Estiriel (Miriel’s mother), and Miriel/Legolas’ three other brothers (Celebdil, Ornendil, and Telden). Chapter one is quite short but only to serve as an introduction to the story.
Chapter One- The Miracle Child
The breeze blew gently and the birds sang sweetly. It was a beautiful day in the Greenwood, home of the Wood-elves. The Lady of the Wood was walking in the ankle deep water of the creek which ran through the Elven-King’s palace. Anfin Estiriel was the wife of King Thranduil and they were expecting their fifth child, which was in and of itself somewhat of a miracle. All of the elves across Middle-Earth had passed child bearing years. Not that they did not want children or were incapable of having them, but the world was becoming darker. Elves were only able to give life in times of light. With the shadow of the enemy beginning to cast over the world again, the elves would not multiply. Anfin placed her hand on her swollen belly and smiled as she walked. She was walking to ponder and reflect, as she often did. Today she was contemplating a difficult decision that needed to be made. Anfin had the gift of foresight and in a vision she was told this child was to be her last. After having four children, all boys and two of whom were twins, she assumed her body could not handle any more pregnancies. She consulted her midwives and healers who all agreed that they could try a new procedure that could save both mother and child but only if it was successful. If the procedure failed, Anfin would have to decide now whether the healers save her own life or the life of the child. As the wind blew through her long hair, some said the longest in the Wood, she thought of this child inside her and she smiled. The decision was an easy one to make. Any of her children would have been worth dying for and this one was no different.
Anfin broke the news to her family that night after supper. The king did not take the news so well.
“What does this new procedure entail exactly?” He asked.
“They tell me that they can cut the child from me. Then the healers can essentially sew me back together. It would be less stressful on my body than a natural birth I am told.”
“How successful is this operation?”
“Well, I also understand that I would be…” She hesitated. Her husband never took his eyes off her. “I would be one of the first.”
“One of the first?”
“More like, the first.”
“Absolutely not,” Thranduil belted.
“I have already decided, my dear. If this procedure works, our child may very well be the last child born to the Elves. I am willing to risk my own life for our people. And for our family.”
“Are you sure of this decision, my love?” Thranduil asked his wife.
“It is for the best. But it is not as set in stone as you make it sound. The healers will perform this new procedure and if all goes well the child will be healthy and I shall live to hold my baby and watch him or her grow.” Anfin had confidence in her voice.
Her oldest son was Legolas who had fair blonde hair and his mother’s gentle face looked forlorn. “Mother, surely there must be another option.”
“Legolas, I promise this decision is what is best. I have full confidence in our healers and midwives. I can say with certainty that I shall bear no more children but I do not fear that my last breath will be taken when the child enters this world.”
“But that you cannot say with the same certainty.”
“No.” She sighed. “I cannot.”
Legolas excused himself and exited in silence.
That night Anfin lay in bed with her husband who could not take his eyes off his wife.
“You are so beautiful, my love.” He placed his hand on her belly. “I look forward to the arrival of our child but I cannot bear the thought of losing you. Promise me it will not come to that.”
“I will not make a promise that I do not have the power to keep or break. But if I am not afraid, then neither should my husband, the great Elven-King, be afraid.” She leaned over and kissed him before he wrapped her in his arms and they fell asleep.
The months leading up to the delivery date went by slowly and painfully for the king and his family. The sons of Thranduil spent as much time as they could with their mother in fear of losing her after the birth. By now the whole kingdom knew of the queen’s condition and of her decision. Other lands who had befriended the Greenwood now knew as well. Many traveled to see her or sent gifts to the family.
On the delivery date, hundreds of wood-elves gathered around the Elven-King’s halls and inside the palace. Many were covering their faces in anticipation for the queen’s death.
“It is as if I am already dead.” Anfin said but not in an angry tone. Her voice was cheerfully optimistic. She was being carried into the birthing room when she peered over the railings to see the crowd. Thranduil walked behind her followed by his children.
Once in the room, the midwives began to set up the room bringing hot water and towels to the queen’s side. The lead healer entered the room and bid the queen say farewell to her family until after the child arrived.
“Celebdil, Ornendil.” She called to her twin sons. All her children had their father’s long blonde hair but the twins’ hair was especially silver and they had their father’s stern face. She reached out to them. “Do not despair. I see it in your faces but you must have hope that we will see each other again, yes?” They nodded and kissed their mother’s forehead.
As they backed away the next eldest son approached. He also had his father’s face but his somber expression never left. “Telden,” Anfin began. “I fear there is always a melancholy in your eyes. You should smile once in a while. At least have a smile for me now?”
When he looked up into his mother’s eyes, the corner of his mouth twitched upwards and Anfin knew it was the closest thing to smile she was likely to see from Telden. She accepted that and reached out to his brother as he backed away from the bed.
“Legolas,” The eldest touched his mother’s hand as he knelt beside her.
“You must be brave for your brothers. And for your father.” She touched his cheek. “You are my firstborn. You must stay strong.”
“I will. I love you.” Legolas bent to kiss his mother’s cheek.
Her children took their leave and the king also left for a brief time before returning to say his farewell. “The boys are with Elrond and his house who have traveled from Rivendell.”
Anfin smiled. “Celebrian’s daughter?”
“They are both here.”
“I have not seen the youngest since her birth.”
“She is grown. A young lady. They will all be here when this is over.”
Thranduil caressed his wife’s cheek. She took his hand in hers and smiled. “Do not fear, my love. This is not farewell. This is a new beginning, for all of us.”
He leaned over to kiss her than left the room, wondering if he would see his beautiful wife alive again.
It was several hours before Thranduil and his guests heard of his wife’s condition. It had grown dark when a young healer came from the birth room and faced the gloom in the Great Hall as Thranduil, his sons, and the House of Elrond gathered together. The Elven-King rose from his seat as soon as he saw the girl.
She smiled and delivered the good news. “King Thranduil, House of Rivendell, I am pleased to tell you that the queen is safely delivered of a beautiful healthy baby girl. She is resting now but the king may come to see her.”
The dismal atmosphere faded away as everyone exchanged smiles with one another. Thranduil hugged his eldest son who stood near him then turned to follow the healer.
When Thranduil walked into the room, he felt the elation from his wife who was lying on the bed holding their new child. The little girl was wrapped in a dark green silk blanket.
“A girl.” Thranduil said as he approached the bed. He sat down next to Anfin and his smile spread across his entire face. “This is a new sight.”
“When they told me I was not surprised at all.” She said smiling. “I think I knew all along. She’s something special, Thranduil. Our little miracle child.”
“The last of the immortal children.”
“Would you like to hold your daughter?” Anfin offered.
The Elven-King’s smile widened as he reached out to take his daughter in his arms. The queen passed her to him and he stood from the bed. As he walked in the center of the room a light shone down from above. Above the hall and beyond the trees of the Wood, a single star shone brightly and cast a ray of silver light onto the baby. The light illuminated the child’s bright blue eyes as they stared up at her father.
“You are the jewel of mine eye. Even the stars seem to mark the importance of your birth.”
“Jewel.” Anfin whispered. “Miriel shall be her name.”
“Miriel Celebel, the Jewel of the Silver Star.” Thranduil turned to look at his wife. Their eyes met and they both knew that the name was perfect.
Thranduil handed the child to one of the midwives so that Anfin could rest for a while before presenting the baby. The announcement of the princess’ birth was made to the people who shouted praise to the king and queen. Music and dance could already be heard throughout the king’s halls.
Thranduil brought his sons in to see their sister. Legolas held her first and a tear came to his eye when he looked upon her. Miriel even smiled at him, her first smile. From her first moments in life, Legolas brought joy to her face. The twins too were intrigued by her. Celebdil marveled at her bright blue eyes. Ornendil commented on the amount of hair the child already had and how dark it was; like Anfin’s. Telden, however, scorned at the child. He refused to hold her. He left the room shortly after seeing her. Anfin could not hold back the tears she fought. She was losing him. They all knew it.
Later, Elrond and his family were brought in to see Anfin and baby Miriel.
“Congratulations, my lady.” Elrond said. “Your daughter is beautiful.”
“I could not be happier for you, my friend.” Celebrian, the wife of Elrond, sat next to Anfin. She was the daughter of Celeborn and Galadriel of Lothlorien and had a fair complexion and long golden hair.
“Thank you.” Anfin replied. “I am so happy you made the journey. Thranduil tells me you brought your children.”
“They are all here.” Celebrian said as Elrond motioned for their children to come into the room. Elrond and Celebrian also had sons who were twins. They had long dark hair, like their father, and gentle faces, like their mother. Elladan and Elrohir smiled when they saw Anfin and they were followed by two beautiful young women, both of whom had the same long dark hair of their brothers.
“You remember my daughter Arwen.” Celebrian introduced her eldest daughter. “And this is Silvren.” The younger girl stepped forward and smiled.
“You have grown, child.” Anfin smiled. “The last time I saw you, your mother held you as I now hold Miriel.”
“Congratulations, my lady.” Silvren said softly. “Miriel is beautiful.”
Elrond moved toward his family. “Let us allow Anfin some rest. We shall visit you in the morning, my lady.”
As Elrond and his family left, Anfin noticed Legolas standing in the doorway. His eyes were on the youngest of Elrond’s children. She blushed and smiled at him on her way out the door.
Anfin’s lips quivered into a grin. She knew it was only matter of time before someone looked at her daughter like that as well.