Narn I Auros

Dagor Coronlos

Circa Second Age 3150, Hrivë, Imladris

by Eonwë-(Valar)
February 7th, 2022
Revised April 8th, 2022

"Are you sure we should be out this far?" Farothel pulled his hood over his eyes like he was trying to hide from the sun.

Auros grit his teeth as he pretended he didn't see the tracks Farothel was leaving in the snow as they stalked through the woods. This was the third time he'd been asked that very question. "If Meneltir wasn't sure it was ok, he would've never led us out here. Remember what he said?"

Farothel recited it by rote. "If the sentries don't block your way, you haven't gone too far."

"Right, and have any sentries blocked our way?"


"Do you remember the sentries he pointed out to you, me, and Malril when we walked by?" Not to mention the ones who made quite evident they ignored our passing, Auros thought.


"And you heard the bird calls that went out before us?"


"Good, then if my assurances aren't enough, hopefully Meneltir's assurance and your own senses are."


Auros wanted to groan, or let out a bitter laugh, or both at once, but he fought it back. "Farothel, we could've taken the main road right out of the valley if you hadn't been so worried about getting turned around and chastised by grandfather!" Probably.

Farothel dove into Auros, knocking him to the ground as a snowball flew over them. "Watch out, Auros!" Farothel dusted the snow off himself.

"They didn't tell us we were starting," Auros growled as he did the same. Looking around, he shouted into the air, "Hey! You didn't tell us we were starting!"

Arandil's voice came down to them from some higher vantage point. "The fight doesn't start when you tell it to, Auros!"

After that stunt, Auros understood why the four of them had split up right after leaving the valley. Meneltir had told him and Farothel they'd be the decoys, and if Meneltir trusted them to draw the others' fire, Auros was going to make it happen. Scooping up some snow and packing it into a ball, he chucked it where he thought Arandil's voice came from. "Well, come on! Come get me!" A barrage of snowballs flew at him from all over. He barely dodged them. "You missed!"


Arandil and Curulin ducked down behind a snowdrift on a hill, snickering at Auros as he hopped about. It looked to them like Farothel was standing around throwing snowballs everywhere except where anyone was hiding, so they let him waste his energy.

"We should've brought Dinmir and Fingalrien." Curulin lobbed a snowball over the side.

Arandil peered over the bank just long enough to take another shot at Auros. "I tried to get Fingalrien to come along." His lips curled as he continued in a mocking tone. "But she didn't want to."

Curulin let out a heavy sigh. "That definitely sounds like her. Melëar and I have no idea why our sister thinks she's too good for all the fun stuff now. What about Dinmir?"

"Well, when I asked Dinmir if she wanted to join in a snowball fight, she started throwing snowballs at me!"

A sudden burst of laughter erupted from Curulin. "If I didn't know better I'd say she beat you at your own game. Well, did you throw any back?"

"I tried! But every time I was about to throw a snowball, she threw another one at me!"

"Well throw faster next time!"

"I did! Or, I was gonna. But then I thought..." Arandil paused. He seemed oddly uncertain. "I thought Aldawë might get mad at me."

"Because you threw a snowball at his sister?" Curulin sounded perplexed. "It's a snowball fight. He never got mad before."

Arandil looked away. "Yeah..."

"As interesting as this all is..." Meneltir's voice came from behind them. Suddenly both were hit with snowballs. "That's two down."

Meneltir's gloating was cut short when a snowball hurtling towards him forced him to dodge. Fortunately for Arandil it wasn't packed tightly, because his face was next in its trajectory. Arandil barely had time to be surprised before snow smashed into his eyes. He roared at Melëar. "Hey! Whose side are you on?!"

Melëar was too busy laughing at his cousin's plight for any attempted apology to be taken seriously, and that left him vulnerable to Meneltir's retaliation. Not only did Melëar not dodge the snowball, he backed up into a tree. A tremor ran up the trunk, dropping a healthy portion of freed snow upon his head.

Meneltir let out a guffaw and turned to Arandil. "Consider yourself avenged!"

Arandil struggled between fits of laughter to get out his agreement. "That... That might... just... do it!"

Meneltir dove out of the way as another snowball flew past him, leaving him in no position to dodge the next two that came from Maikalkar in rapid succession. "And that's you out too! Nice try sneaking up on us, but I saw you coming. Even you can't dodge everything." Maikalkar ducked down as a snowball flew over him. He quickly packed one of his own, spun around and threw it at his attacker.

Malril caught the snowball with a smirk. "Not all of us need to waste time dodging." He chucked it back at Maikalkar.

Maikalkar rolled out of the way, scooping some snow up as he jumped back to his feet. He gave the snow a quick squeeze together in his hands and threw it. Malril was already on the move making another snowball, and threw it to collide with the one coming his way. They traded fire back and forth, alternating between attack and counterattack as they dodged between the trees. Meneltir, Curulin, and Melëar almost got hit several times as they sat back waiting for the contest to play out. Having been hit in the face once already, Arandil used his cousins as a shield. The field of battle narrowed as the distance between the combatants closed.

Running out of space to evade, Malril decided to charge right at Maikalkar. His opponent, refusing to allow him to close in, launched two snowballs at once. Malril used his to intercept one and barely snatched the other out of the air without it bursting apart on him. He spun around and chucked the snowball back at Maikalkar, tensing as it sailed through the air...

Maikalkar tried to dodge, but it was too late. The snowball hit him square in the shin and he let out a defeated groan.

Malril let out a cheer. "All good up here!" he shouted to Auros and Farothel. "Aldawë's all yours!"


Aldawë's heart was racing from the running and excitement. A scowl worked its way onto his face as he finally caught his breath and had a moment to think. Farothel had locked in on him after he'd barely begun his attack and kept him from settling into a new spot. He couldn't help but wonder how the others could have folded so quickly. How could they not have targeted Farothel too? They'd completely ignored him! Aldawë had barely managed to dodge that last snowball, and when Malril yelled the all-clear to Auros and Farothel, he knew he needed a new strategy.

Aldawë kept walking. He knew these woods better than his pursuers... or so he thought. He'd barely given them the slip last time. What he needed right now was a place to hide. Aldawë spotted a tree with some branches low enough to reach. Judging the distance, he tossed a snowball up into the crook of a branch and hoisted himself up. The tree trunk was barely thick enough to hide him, and there wasn't enough room for more snowballs. Looking at the snow-cover on the branches he could safely reach, he'd decided there wasn't enough to make another without being too obvious about the missing snow. One snowball was going to have to do it for now, so he had to make that one count. That was one chance to eliminate a target, and he wasn't sure which one should go. Farothel had the better aim at a distance, but Auros could outrun him. No matter which he took out, if he stopped to make another snowball, the other would get him.

Despite what Aldawë assumed was their best efforts, Auros' and Farothel's approach echoed ahead of them. He poked his head around the tree trunk just enough to see they'd spread out. Aldawë grinned as he saw his chance of success improving. He could afford to wait as his target came closer.


Auros and Farothel once again stalked through the trees, each with a snowball in hand, ready to toss it at the slightest hint of Aldawë's presence. They'd lost sight of their target, and they knew he had a habit of picking the best hiding places. Auros glanced over at Farothel for a moment, feeling his tension too, but his focus snapped back as Aldawë landed right in front of him with the kind of smug look only Aldawë could get away with.

"Hello Auros." Aldawë smashed his snowball into Auros' chest before he could react. "I guess it's just me and Farothel now."

It happened so fast, Auros was stuck somewhere between anger, surprise, and laughter as he yelled, "Get him, Farothel!"

Farothel locked his eyes on Aldawë and let loose with his snowball. Grinning wide, Aldawë dashed off as Farothel's snowball sailed through the air... and hit Auros instead. Part of Farothel wanted to cringe. He didn't need to see Auros' mind to know what Auros was thinking. Another part was containing his laughter with every ounce of his self-control.

Farothel had no time to cringe or cackle if he was going to catch up to Aldawë before he found a new hiding place to bide his time. He scooped up some snow and made the snowball as he ran. Farothel thought about how far out they were and chased the concerns away. Meneltir had said the sentries would stop them if they went too far, and Farothel trusted him. It seemed like Meneltir was always pushing the limit because he was a few years older. Farothel cleared his mind and focused on catching up with Aldawë. He perceived Auros' thought, encouraging him, urging him on. He saw Aldawë pause near a stone outcrop. There was a large boulder near the edge, but it didn't leave much room to maneuver. Aldawë must've realized that since he dashed down the other side and rounded the corner. Farothel steeled himself as he followed, and as soon as he saw the ground close enough below, he slid feet first over the edge. It wasn't a large drop there and he gained a few seconds.

It turned out he didn't need those extra seconds: Aldawë had stopped in front of the rock face. Farothel was tossing and catching the snowball in one hand as he approached Aldawë, relishing his impending victory. Then he saw what Aldawë saw: a bare cave, apparently unexplored, seemingly untouched, almost perfectly hidden amongst the shapes of the rock face. The snowball fell from his hand, the game now forgotten for both children. The others eventually joined them, wondering why they hadn't come back, and they all viewed the discovery with wonder and excitement.

Once everyone was gathered, Aldawë was the first to enter the cave and look around, and he did not moderate his excitement. "Wow! This is great! This could be our refuge!"

"We have to explore!" said Curulin as Aldawë's excitement became contagious.

Everyone rushed in except Meneltir. He found a loose rock and drew a large circle on the floor near the entrance. "If this is going to be our refuge, we need to make a sign." Inside the circle he drew, as boldly as he could, the Valacirca. "Let all who enter this refuge in friendship of the Eldar receive the protection of the Valar." Setting the rock aside, he grinned in satisfaction of his work and said, "Now we can explore."

The cave system itself was not large, at least not what could be reached. There were a few smaller offshoots, but the main cave was the majority of the space. They already had plans to carefully expand the space, make some tunnels for escape, and find ways to ensure storage of supplies and provisions... but that would be an undertaking for another time. For now, they would enjoy their discovery. Meneltir had made sure to bring a pack with food and some supplies. They cleared a space in the cave to make a fire and sat around sharing a meal and talking about their plans. Meneltir was moving to Laurelindorinan soon and Aldawë was heading back to Lindon, and it would probably be a while before all nine of them were together again. They lost track of time along the way. It seemed a short time had passed since they entered the cave, but a sound came from the cave entrance, reminding them it had been hours. A sentry stepped in, saw Meneltir's drawing and grinned. Decidedly not seeing the group, he said aloud, "It's a good thing this cave is empty. It'll be getting dark soon and it's a long hike back to the valley." Then he was gone.

"That's our signal to go home." Meneltir doused the fire as the others gathered their belongings.

The group left nothing behind as they stepped out under the dimming sky. The last two to emerge were Aldawë and Farothel. Aldawë kept walking, but Farothel stopped after a few steps. The others turned around, waiting for Farothel, then fighting to hold back their laughter as he looked down and noticed his snowball was sitting right at his feet. Realizing no one was following him, Aldawë stopped and turned around. Farothel picked up the snowball, and a grin spread from ear to ear as he set his eyes on Aldawë. Aldawë's eyes widened and he dashed off toward the valley. Farothel darted after him, followed by everyone else yelling and cheering.