Sunday, August 21, 2011

Unfinished Beginnings: Sarith of Avalon

(Another Tolkien inspired piece, this one with slightly better names. Although the elves are obviously borrowed that could be easily fixed if I could remember what the entire point of this story was going to be.)

Sarith woke up and dreaded another day. Sleep no longer brought him rest. It was only a way of passing the time of the evil night during which none might be abroad. Sometimes he wondered which he dreaded more; the darkness of the night or the darkness of his dreams. Ever since Gathorn had met him his thoughts were ever-filled with foreboding and a dread he could not shake off. Here, in Avalon, he was safe, yet he knew that sooner or later destiny would call him forth; forth to war.

He did not know who he would lead, or who he would follow. War was breeding though, there would be no mistake. War, he shuddered at the word, the thought; the evil that Gathorn was planning and had disclosed. He didn't dare breath a word of it to Mora, or Tareth or Mariessa or any of them. It was a thought too terrible to talk about. But it haunted his dreams at night and soon he would have to leave the safety of his home and take his place against the evil that was brewing in his world.


Gathorn had found him only a week ago, riding on the outskirts of the forest.

"Hi there, my lad," he cried. "Not so fast now."

Sarith had frowned down on him then; an old wizened man walking along the road.

"Who are you, stranger?" he asked.

"Stranger," he laughed. "Stranger? Do you not know that soon I am to be master of the world? Yes, I, Gathorn. You, elvin-lordling, shall soon come to know and fear me. I shall take your land and your home, but for now I will be content with your name (for I am sure it is great), your cloak (lovely, made by your dear Mora, was it?), that band of gold which encircles your fair brow (denoting your worthless birth), your horse (he will better serve me), and your sword (which is nameless, but I shall give it a better title: Anurail, meaning Dark Fire)."

"How dare you," Sarith said, not yet angry. "Do you not know who I am?"

"I am waiting for your name."

"I am Sarith, Elvin-Lord of Avalon."

"Sarith, is it? Now I know. Little does it matter. Now for your second gift, that fair cloak. White and gold are scarcely a standard for war. Come, hand it over."

Drawn by something he didn't understand Sarith gave it to him without protest.

"Now that circle of gold you wear, it will be a promise of the land that will later be mine."

Unable to resist he gave it to him.

"Now dismount. Your horse, Argon, shall be mine as well."

Sarish dismounted, but he kept his tongue. "Argon shall never be yours," he said. "He will let none ride him but me, and will be faithful, even to death. He will not willingly leave me and if you take him away he will find his way back, through fire and water if need be. So I have been pledged."

"Oh, pledged, is he? Well, I'll tame him in spite of that. Now give me your sword."

"It is a time of peace, not of war. I carry no sword."

"No?" Gathorn's face grew dark. "That is ill for you. You must learn that it is a time of war, and not of peace. You had better find your sword and clean the rust off it. I shall claim it from you another time. Now I will let you return to your hose, to try and defend it, and the lands that surround it. They depend on it, don't they? Avalon and her people are under your protection. I will have it for my own; I will have it all. You must fight me, for I will not deign to offer peace to the likes of you."

Sarith opened his mouth to speak but no words came out. Gathorn raised his staff, his eyes filled with hate. It seemed to gleam with fire as he brought it down with a force that stunned Sarith beyond sensibility.

When he awoke the dread was there. Tarith and Mariessa found him. They had been sent out by Mora when he did not come in for dinner and brought him back to the house. Argon found his way back to the stable late that night. He came to his senses in his own room with those he loved around him, but the dread would not leave. It had been with him ever since.


Sarith closed his eyes and willed his fear away. He had to be able to face this morning and every morning after this. Doom was approaching; his people needed him. Soon he had to go, and he would ride out, whenever he found the strength to overcome his fear. This fear wasn't natural, he thought bitterly as he rose and dressed.

Mora thought so too and blocked his way when he tried to leave the room.

"Where are you off to, Sarith?" she asked; when he made no answer she took his arm and steered him to the kitchen.

"Sit down," she said, "and eat. Drive this nameless darkness from your mind. Eat, and grow strong. More than that, talk. Sarith, you haven't talked since you got that blow on the head. Who did it, Sarith? It was not mere robbers, that is plain to see. Sarith! Don't sit there and let it eat away at you. Open your mind to us; let the light into your secret thoughts. If you keep your heart inm silence, despair will eat at it until there is nothing left but a great, dark emptiness ever-longing for what can't be had.

"Why do you sit and brood all day in this dark silence?" she pleaded with him. "WHy do you let this shadow hide your glory? Do not forget who you are, Sarith. Do not lose the knowledge that you are an elvin-lord of Avalon."

Sarith sighed and looked at his breakfast, still untouched.

"Don't fret, Mora," he said softly, stood, and left the house. He went to the stable and led out Argon. Today was the day, he could put it off no longer. Today he must ride and face what was coming.

Slowly he buckled on his sword. Slowly... and reluctantly. He was not nameless as Gathorn had said. Long ago it had been given a name; Elindur, a flame in darkness. He had traded the bright colors of the forest for dark gray. If he met his enemy Gathorn could not accuse him of not minding his rebuke.

Slowly he mounted Argon. He was not surprised that his horse had returned. No one could tame him; he belonged to Sarith alone. He name meant North Wind and he was a priceless treasure; fathful as the day was long and a friend even to the friendless.

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