18. Wounds

S.A 1350

Orneth managed to give Demdor a note. She had decided to stay for a few days. There was no point for him to wait. Demdor looked at Orneth as he seemed to be worried about her, " I do not feel comfortable leaving you here. You are just different. You do not belong her." Orneth smiled and said, "Do not worry, I actually met an old friend. Besides I want to stay a little low, while I search for Manyamë. Do not worry about me. I would appreciate if you gave Lord Mannamo my note. I do not want them to worry either." He looked at her, "Very well. I will patrol here regularly, so if you need to be escorted back. Please do tell me. See you soon Lady Orneth." Orneth smiled and saw Demdor trotting away on his horse.

During the first day, she was provided her own tent. Outside there were guards patrolling between her tent and the others that was close to the enormously tent with red surface. . The tent had sturdy walls of thick weather resistant fabric and it was held up by tree construction which made it possible to have a locking mechanism. Inside the tent she had a table, chests, a cooking station, oven and a bed with a small nightstand. She even had some cups and plates.

She was not quite sure what the purpose was for the settlement, except that it was a place for soldiers and refugees from Beleriand. She decided not to linger with her thoughts on that matter, she had another focus and that was to find her friend. Outside she met other eldar. They were friendly enough, but because of all the new arrivals that entered and all the eldar that left each day, everyone kept them by themselves.

She wanted to see Naerchanar again as she wanted to know what truly happened to him and what happened to him after the war by Sirion. She lingered, he was quite dismissive and she did not feel welcome at all. She took her chance and walked straight to the red tent. The guard stopped her, but when she said she was Lady Orneth, he guided her into the main room with the map table again. "Wait her, Lord Naerchanar will receive you shortly." Orneth found it strange that they treated him like he was a Royal of some kind, but she concluded with that they had their own rules.

Another guard came inside the room through a wall carpet or something that looked like a large curtain, "You may enter!" Orneth walked towards the opening of the curtain and walked inside another room filled with bookshelfs. Naerchanar sat by the desk and was writing on a paper with his quill. It was deadly silent and he did not look up. Orneth blushed and for a second she did not know what to say or do. She did not recognize the warm, friendly and funny Naerchanar as she once knew. His presence made her heart beat and he was also quite striking, which made her unsettled somehow.

Orneth decided to speak, "No matter what you think of me. I am here with the best intentions. I swear my only mission is to look for our friend Manyamë." He did not respond and was still writing. Orneth continued, "You used to adore her. I know you dislike the Prince and what happened in Doriath and Sirion, but you once knew her. You know she is harmless."

Orneth paused. Naerchanar was still writing and then he said, "So why do you think she is here?" Orneth nodded and said, "I found a map in Golden Hope which was made by her son. We saw a marking on the map. This settlement." Naerchanar looked up at her gazing straight through her. Orneth started to shake. He said, "So, why did you come alone?" Orneth bowed her head, "Well. They are Noldor. I didn't know it was you that was the leader Naerchanar. I was afraid they wouldn't be accepted into the camp." He looked at her examining her from top to toe. Orneth felt uncomfortable. He said, "Well here you are. She is not here though..." Orneth looked disappointed and nodded, "I see, well I do apologize to have interrupted." He nodded and looked down again and started to write.

Orneth was about to leave the room, then by impulse asked, "What happened in the havens of Sirion? how did you managed to escape Naerchanar?" He sighted and were putting away his quill. He rose up from the chair and walked around the table towards one of the maps. He said, "I had to watch my loved ones die. I was still very young and I managed to survive. I do not remember much. I had my bow and I remembered frantic fights in blood rain. I was very angry. I saw my friends and your mother died. I remembered Feawing leaving with great numbers of eldar. remaining the rest of us to protect the havens.." He looked at Orneth, she was red and flustered. He continued, "Well. I managed to hide and I ran. I ran as fast as I could and I joined a party of soldiers heading east after the defeat. I do not remember much, but I have images in my head that I cannot get rid of. Grotesque images in my head." Orneth looked at him with tears in her eyes, "My mother. How did she die?."

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He looked at her, and said, "She was an innocent soul, she adored your father and ran towards the war-drums headless and in despair. I caught her up, but then it was too late, she died when the mob marched all over her. Well, as much as I hate the fact our families were destroyed. You managed to escape and here you are all alive in front of my eyes." Orneth looked at him and his face were somehow a little softer and he didn't look so angry anymore. "I am a little shocked..I did expected it somehow, but is hard to have it confirmed. The way she died. I hope she did not suffer.." Naerchanar looked at her, and she recognized his piercing eyes. Like he was trying to read her character. He said, "I did not know you did not know.... You have a good heart and it doesn't surprise me you would travel half of the world to find your friends and your family. I hate to share the news to you, but your mother is no longer alive. I am sorry about her fate.." Orneth looked sad and her voice were weak, "Since Manyamë probably are not in this settlement I will leave and continue my search other places."

He looked worried and serious again and he turned his head and had a look at the map again and he corrected his long white hair. Orneth could not help admiring him. He looked like a fairytale, a prominent character that she only have read in the books. He said, "Sometimes we just have to settle down with the fact that there will be someone in our life we will never see again. My advice to you Orneth is that you should stop your search. You should not invest your whole life on searching for someone who may not be on this earth anymore." Orneth nodded and his words did hurt, but he was right. She said, "You are right. We have been searching for many many years. This was our last hope. We heard she was heading to Eregion and we found a map with this settlement highlighted. It seems she is not here after all. We have no other hints." Orneth looked at him with her sorrowful eyes. She would not cry in front of him.

He came towards her, and gently grabbed her upper-arms. He softly said, "Don't be disheartened Orneth." She looked down and felt the warmth from his hands. It was quite overwhelming to her, and she could not help sobbing. "I have lost everyone I know. The only ones I have left is Mannamo's family and Manyamë which was my best friend. My whole life I have stayed with them, they have treated me well. Lady Laynarë have been nothing more than kind to me during all these years. I really wanted to give her back her daughter. I wanted to be brave. I wanted to find her.", he said, "You are brave Orneth, coming here all by yourself. You are naive though, but still brave." Orneth laughed through her tears, "I know I am." He smiled at her. Orneth remembered his friendly smile. Her heart jumped a beat and she warmly looked at him. He said, "If I find her. I tell you." He pulled away some hair from her face and said, "You are still unique. You have not really changed that much." Orneth smiled and looked up at him, "I am glad I found you though Naerchanar. I do not know what I will do from now on. I guess I will need to go back to the city of Eregion tomorrow." He smiled and let her loose from his hands. He said, "I will personally escort you back to Demdor. He is still around and lurks around the settlement. Faithful to his mission and he obviously has great concerns regards to you." He paused and turned, "Hmmm.. There is a small feast tonight by the way. We will celebrate the autumn and the successful harvesting at our farms in honour of Yavannië. I would be happy to see you around before you leave. Orneth smiled and something was changed. She remembered her friend again.. He was showing some signs of warmth again, it made her hopeful. She responded, "Why not. I will come."