by Arien-(Valar)
October 6, 2023
Written for the 26th Anniversary of the Valar Guild

In the southeast at the foot of high mountains there is a sweet land. There are soft gentle hills, green grass and a distant shimmering silver river. There are golden and yellow flowers and here and there are strange trees. But if you look closely you can see familiar trees and bushes like hazelnut, young oaks and birches with a willow in between. A slight enchantment lies over the whole land but look at one of the strange trees with silver shimmering bark and leaves that are gold on one side and silver on the other and a platform. What purpose might they have had? I wonder and maybe so are you. Let us walk down to the banks of the river and listen to the wind amongst the trees and bushes; it almost sounds like a conversation.

'It is a beautiful land still," said the mallorn tree mournfully. "But I miss my old friends, Haldir, Rumil, and Orophin, his brothers."

The hazelnut bush that nestled in its shadow swayed gently in the breeze. "And who might they be?" it asked.

"Do you really want to know?" the mallorn tree asked.

"Sure I do," the hazelnut bush answered.

"Then let me tell you a story, a story of this land," the mallorn tree said, "if you are willing to listen."

"Yes we are!" the hazelnut and the other shrubbery around it cried.

“Go on!" the young oak tree shouted. "We have nothing to do but stand around all day anyway."

The leaves of the mallorn tree rustled. It sounded almost like a chuckle. "What else should we do since we are rooted here?" it asked, amused. "Yes, that would be nice, walking round... but yes well, alas that is not our task here. We stand guard over this land and preserve the memories. But well, we cannot change it. But you wanted to hear about Haldir and his brothers, didn't you?"

The mallorn tree paused reflectively. Then it spoke again: "You see the ladder and the platform in my branches? That ladder led to their home. They had their shelter here on this platform. A flet it was called or talan in their language. For they were Elves born far far away in the west, a home which they had lost even longer ago. The realm that those exiles established here was called Lothlórien and its king and queen were the Lord Celeborn and the Lady Galadriel. It stretched down to the great river in the east, Anduin was its name back then." It paused shortly. "Ah, must not become too evasive," the mallorn tree sighed, "else this story will never end. But it gives you the greater context and understanding. Haldir, Rumil and Orophin were scouts and guardians in their service. This little river, the Nimrodel, was the western border of the land." Tha mallorn tree's voice sounded sad as if another memory had touched its mind but didn't mention it. "Just one incident I will mention since it was so special to me and should be for the future of this whole land. Little did I know then that it would lead eventually to the abandoning of this country, the departure of friends, and the departure of a great threat for this world. I remember the evening when a strange company crossed the river--a group of eight members: two men, an elf, a dwarf and four creatures the likes of which I had not seen before. They were like small men or children almost. Later I learned they were Halflings and they all had a big errand further in the east. They were invited onto the talan and stayed the night, even the dwarf. I do not know what they spoke of in the shelter. All I know is that a bit later that night, a host of orcs passed by after crossing the river and more scouts of the Elves followed them, doubtless to their demise. I also remember another strange creature climbing in my branches. It felt...I don ‘t know, unwholesome, shall I say? Rumil climbed after it and tried to catch it, but it was too clever a climber and so it escaped. That is nearly the end of my tale. The next morning the company departed with Haldir, further on to the seat of the Lord and the Lady, of which there is not much left nowadays, alas. But doubtless some structures remain same as here, but eventually even those will vanish."

The mallorn tree ended its tale and fell silent. So did the other trees and bushes.

And they still stand there, with the wind rustling in their branches. Maybe, if you are lucky--and understand the language of the trees of course--maybe, maybe you can catch another conversation and hear another story.

Reference: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2: Chapter VI "Lothlórien"

The End