THE LEGEND OF THE FOUR
by LUCIRINA TELOR VEVAN AND ARTIMIDOR FEDERKIEL


This is the story about a moment, which can change a life. It is the tale of a bard's search for love and its promises, of hope and and despair, of a long journey begun to seek out the impossible and fantastical within the confines of reality. You might read it as a tragic story, or as a proof on what the longing for love can do to a man and what he accomplished - for himself and the many people who he touched by his heart's desire. But read for yourself to decide...

 

any centuries ago when the human race had left their elven teachers only since a short while to walk their own paths, there was a poet and bard that traveled many lands and countries.

He was vain and selfish, not believing that anyone was worthy enough for his love and his songs, and one day he decided to let silence fall upon him until he would find someone that he considered worthy of loving him.

Many a year did he wander alone, people still respecting him for the songs he used to sing, but as time wore away their memory they started to forget the numerous songs that had delighted them in the past and his name was relegated to oblivion. The bard saw this and slowly he also forgot who he was, staying in silence for many, many years, more like a walking ghost than anything else. People stopped mentioning him and when he passed by they hardly noticed his presence anymore. So the time passed and the bard grew older and with the coming of age he sank deeper into the nothingness that his life had become - a life of silence.

Then one day when he was sitting on a rock trying to remember who he was, he saw a revelation, a miraculous apparition, a fairy maybe, a nymph. It was a maiden, fair as the fairest of lilies that blossom in the spring dancing over the moor and laughing joyfully.

The bard slowly lifted his head and watched the maid and her dance, his eyes rested on her calmly, though he was puzzled as well. She was small enough to be a dwarf, that was certain, and she showed the merriment of a halfling when she danced, yet the long ears and the lithe figure seemed to fit to an elf, yes, the shining beauty coming from her finely sculptured features was that of the most noble tribe of the elven race. And still she seemed somehow familiar and trusted, just like a very special human girl he had known a long, long time ago, and where he had wondered often about her name, and what had become of her. Was the fairy human? Or was she even this one girl he couldn't remember anymore where he had met her the first time?


Slowly he stood up and called out, his voice slow and cracked after the many years of disuse. "Oh tell me beautiful fairy... what is your name?" he asked in Tharian, as that was the first language to come to his mind.

The maiden stopped dancing and turned to look at him, her hair was like a golden waterfall and her eyes were shimmering blue like the summer sky. A soft smile parted her lips as she called back, speaking only one word: "Eleren".

That was all. The magical moment was broken as the silence was shattered by the thunders of an approaching storm. Quick as silver the maiden disappeared between the trees leaving the bard behind, tasting her sweet name a thousand times as he looked up at the stormy skies, still not realizing she was gone.

Imagine his despair when he saw that the little fae was no longer there, and even more he despaired when he felt inside his chest the quivering feeling of wings beating, of love finally awaking. For now that he had forgotten his fame and his vanity his eyes were finally open to the beauty of the world without thinking for a second about what it was worth.

And having thus discovered his love for life again through this fortunate encounter, the bard set out, determined, vowing to find this magical maiden again, whereever she might me.

Of course he sought her first in the nearby towns and villages, but no one there knew such a mysterious maiden with the name of Eleren. He asked in every house, every cottage, queried every passer-by and traveller but he could not find her, and not even did he get a hint on where to look. He travelled far indeed, crossed high mountain ranges arid deserts and rough waters till the people didn‘t speak his tongue anymore.

"Maybe she wasn't human at all," he mused and he decided to ask the dwarves in the nearby mines if they had seen his darling love.

And so all the mines and dwarven settlements in the massive mountain range were visited by the bard, and the same answer was repeated to him in all of them. There was no such maid in any of the dwarven cities and nobody had heard of anyone fitting to the bard's description. They even guided him in their deepest caves and most inacessible places, so that he could have a look himself, but in vain.

Now the bard decided to seek out his love among the fairest of all known races, the elves. He wandered all the paths and all the woods of the kingdom and asked every elf he met about his darling love. With his heart heavy the bard even advanced into the deepest forests to the most famous of all the elves, the Ránns and the Avá'ránns. The journey was long and perilous, yet he found the most secret hideouts of the high elves in enchanted forests and in far away icy castles no human had managed to find so far. But even this folk, the people of the sun, the moon and the stars, in which he had layed so much hope, had no answer to give him and he left with a broken heart.

At one more race the bard tried his luck: at the homes of the halflings, who enjoyed their lives in their beautiful shire, full with flowers, dance and happiness. And when he entered their wide hilly lands he suddenly felt sure that this would be the place where he'd find the one he was seeking - her comforting presence, her amused smile and her graceful dance reminded him of the songs he had sung once upon a time about Dalireen, the hobbit Child-Goddess. - But although the bard's hopes were high, not even in the hobbit shire he couldn't find any sign of his Eleren.

Returning to the human village where he first had seen the apparition he mourned the loss of the unknown dancer as if she had died. Many songs he created at this time to which his audience applauded fervously, appreciating his re-discovered talents.

But eventually the bard began to waste away, not wanting to eat nor sleep anymore, just staying alone on the moor where he had first seen his Eleren, waiting in vain for the day she would appear again.

A day became a week, a week became a month and the bard was still waiting and despairing. Until one day, sick and weak, he decided to search for her again, but this time he would leave a trail behind in case she would also be looking for him.

 

The Note of the Bard

Once more he sought the cities of the kingdom and once more he did not find trace of her, but he left behind a parchment written in the Tharian tongue for her to find. It read: "You don't know sweet love how I suffer for you, how I silently curse the moon and the stars, how I despair every night, because you are not with me."

Then the bard's tired steps led him to the dwarven mines and there once more he sought out every passage, every settlement, before he carved something on the entrance wall of the biggest city, this time in the Tergerim language.

More dead than alive he finally found his way back to the elven cities deep down in the kingdom's forests, desperately asking for her, yet not receiving an answer. Here as well he left behind a banner in blood red silk, words in Styrásh woven into the fabric with silver.

As a living ghost you might say he wandered toward the halfling shire one more time, hoping for a glimpse of an answer, yet halfway there his strength failed him an he dropped to the ground, knowing his last moments had come. He took his last rest at a tree that stood tall in front of him, the green sap glowing like emeralds in the trunk. It was not far away from his intended destination, the merry hobbit shire, and so the bard thought that his last parchment would still be well placed. So he pulled a scroll from his bag, on which he had written his longing in form of musical notes, and fixed it to the tree. Once he had finished this his spirit left his body and he died.

The next day the bard was found by a party of adventurers, consisting of an elf, a dwarf, a human and a halfling. When they saw the dead musician a smile of bliss could be seen on his lips as if in his final moment he had found what he had been seeking for, finding in death the peace that he had lacked in life.

The adventurers also discovered the scroll the bard had fixed on the tree, and each of the men suddenly realized that the lines sounded familiar - until they remembered that they had seen the bard's parchments at their hometowns, written in their native tongue. The adventureres buried the body of the bard and the halfling took his lute and played the melody of the bard's final song. It was a melancholic and sentimental song, at times asking, wailing and tragic, then again longing, blissful, glorious, strong and full of love, but always deep and emotional, a song full of life, of tears and joy, despair and hope at the same time.

Much later it is said that furthermore the notes of the song of the unknown bard were carved in a stone in the center of the hobbit shire, fulfilling the mission the bard could not complete himself. And until this very day bards from all over the lands, whatever race they may belong to, sing the famous song of this unknown man, an inspiration to everyone, never to be forgotten...
 

Story written by Lucirina Telor Vevan View Profile, revised by Artimidor Federkiel View Profile