Helyanwë pushed the blankets off her back; silently, she grabbed the wooden weapons she’d cut for herself. They were crude and lacked the proper balance but they had the right size. She didn’t dare trying to convince the smith to show how to build her own weapons. He would tell her aunt. She’d be in trouble. Worse yet, he could tell Halbarad or Aragorn.
Her bundle in hands, she tiptoed out of the room and to the back of the small house. She’d oiled the lock earlier while she was cleaning the house to ensure a silent exit. Within moments she was out and running towards the small clearing that hosted her nocturnal exercises. She’d watched the men when they fought and she was attempting to emulate their attitudes, the way they held their sword. She knew the weapon should become an extension of her arm.
“Well look who is here.”
She whipped around; a few boys had come into the clearing. One of them was Turin, whose mother had reached high when she named him. He was a few years older than her; taller and wider. And he liked taunting her; he mocked her when she learned to handle the bow, even though aunt Inzilbêth allowed it. But the sword, well it was her secret. She stood as tall as she could; she wasn’t small. But all the boys were older.
“Isn’t it the half-breed?” One of his accomplices said. That was rude. Any adult would reprove the name and punish him for using these words.
“Don’t use that word.” Turin said crossly to his friend. Back to her, he sneered. “You may be half-elf but you’ll never be a warrior little girl.”
“I will.” She retorted calmly.
“You think you can battle like men? Let see what this wooden stick can do.”
He pulled a dagger; it was tall enough to be a sword for his size. He must have stolen it from the smith.
She held her sword with her two hands when he attacked. She parried but he was faster than the branches of the tree. And his dagger had an edge that bit into her wooden weapon. He was bigger too and he used his size and strength to weaken her. When the dagger cut her own weapon in two, he laughed and pushed her down. He placed the blade of the knife against her neck and pierced the skin. She kept his eyes trained on his.
She felt blood pearl at her neck and weep from the wound he inflicted. It didn’t hurt as much as the shame of failing.
“You’ll never be a warrior. After all, doesn’t your name mean Iris, the flower?”
“That’s right, her name is flower.” One of his accomplices laughed. “Let’s call her flower.”
“No. The adults would know. We’ll call her Iris. You know what flowers are for Iris?”
She didn’t honour him with an answer; she didn’t care for his opinion. He could say whatever he wished she would be a warrior some day.
“Flowers are meant to be beautiful. Not to fight.”
“Beautiful and silent.”
The same other boy said. She didn’t remember his name. But she would remember his lean and sly face. Turin looked upset.
“No. Flowers must be protected. Don’t you understand Iris? There are too few of us left. You will be a woman, a mother. We need our women to carry the next generation of Numenoreans. What will be left of us if you go fight?”
She stood up, gazing up to him. Somehow the certainty of what she was about to say hit her.
“I will be a warrior. I will be fighting wars you won’t get near to. And you,” she turned to the sly faced boy. “Will die before you even get to fight.”
They paled at the tone. The sly faced boy ran away, along with all the others. One of them whispered ‘witch’. Turin remained. He seemed to be thinking and smiled.
“It’s true then.”
He turned and left. She gathered the broken bits of her sword.
“That was ill done child.”
She startled. Halbarad stood in the shadows of the tree.
“What?” She asked defiantly.
“You know what Helyanwë. You know you are supposed to be in bed at this time. And this is not safe at night.” She lowered her head. She knew. “Since when do you See?”
She looked up. She didn’t understand. A look of comprehension dawned on her cousin’s face.
“You didn’t know. Maybe we should send messages to Caras Galadhon. Yours is also the blood of the Noldor…” She still didn’t understand.
She never met Turin after she left the North; but she did fight in wars he never did. He survived the War of the Ring whole, protecting the North from an invasion that fortunately never came. And the sly-faced boy, whose name was Jehiel died of a pulmonary infection during her second winter in Lothlorien.
In many ways Helyanwe died before either of them: that very night in the small glade. She would never be the flower they intended her to be. She dug the name and the girl – then the woman – as deep as she could, leaving only the warrior who renamed herself Earendil: as proud as Turin’s mother in her way.
In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie writing prompt Spinning A Story