7 The Tale of Felladros om`Kathos
Felladros, the son of Adoromeir and Anathray a daughter from Kathos; was tall and fair skinned. His voice was angelic, and hair a golden hue. He was soft spoken, gentle; but firm and unmoving in his ways. Felladros was the youngest son among four sisters: Cellabrin, Corabrin, Mellasdom and Feairdom the eldest.
Felladros lived in the southern port city of Kathos, the hometown of his mother. At the age twenty-seven, he said, “I desire much to see the larger world father and to explore Eriduah’s realms and its peoples for myself. The old tales are but rumors and memories of others and I burn to make my own among them.”
“Seems you are bound to do as you desire; forgetting the concerns of your mother. So, go in peace my son. Only return when your joys are renewed with thoughts of home and your experiences plenty and worth the sharing, as you will always have worth among us even if you do not venture far from home.” Adoromeir smiled at his son.
Then his father added, “Only in your ways be ever mindful of Eru-Illuva that his grace may enlighten your heart. Ours will be a void until you safely return unto your mother’s side.” With such blessing and farewell to his sisters and lastly his mother’s loving embrace, Finaldros left his hometown to explore the larger world.
Felladros had grown up hearing detailed stories of Mithar’s grandeur from his father, and of Lindol’s sinful nature with its many pagan temples, from his mother. But Felladros wanted to see them for himself. He would return home by that route he promised his heart, before seeing his family again. Yet he headed for Sinjar to meet the exiled Witch Kimashe for himself. He wanted to see the famed desert fountain of Uruk and the mythical talking stone faces of The Hidden Gorge, he wanted to meet the dwarves of Mount Ipstha and hear their solemn songs for himself. Finaldros desired to know why things were the way they were and understand why people fell silent when such things were mentioned in conversation. What had become of the Halflings and why did no one speak of the departed elves. Felladros was filled with questions as he left the port city of his upbringing that clear summer day.
Felladros rode Salom, one of his father’s horses. For many years Adoromeir had lived in Mithar, but as the city grew he found breeding horses beyond the city wall most appealing. On one trip to Kathos for trade, he had fallen in love with a merchant’s daughter and thereafter remained.
After a few miles up the northern road to Mithar, Felladros turned and headed northeast. To his right, the sparse trees had begun to collect as the western edge of the Kinderval Forest.
Spruce and many oaks grew on the beginning slope that became the Blue Mountain range that later birthed the triple mount of Jebul. His morning ride was uneventful beneath a clear sky. By late evening the thoughts of Felladros were squarely upon the childhood tales of Sinjar. The moon was out, and her glory full overhead. One by one the stars appeared. At nightfall, Felladros found a clearing near the southern tip of Falcon Creek which he knew cut through Sinjar. It would be his guide north for another day’s journey. He gathered stones for a ring and tender to start a camp fire.
“Well, Salom what a grand adventure we’ve begun girl.” The horse grazed without reply. After a meal of bread and salted fish, Felladros prepared a bed and slept through the night.
Awakened at daybreak he announced, “Salom, shall we meet the Witch Kimashe today, and what odd things lay before us?” An owl called and then another answered. He found it rather strange that only now did he recall there were no such sounds throughout the night. Crickets and other birds called as if sound had suddenly come to him.
Looking into the woods, Felladros felt compelled to change his plans from going to Sinjar to exploring Kinderval instead. It was an ancient forest with rumored history and myths of forgotten tales, but the young man desired such experiences of his own to tell, for ‘what is life without stories’ he thought to himself.
The trees grew more and closer together, their canopy began an entangled roof overhead and the floor bedded with a carpeting of leaves, root, and brush. The more he continued on into the peaceful woods the quieter it became until only the slightest of breezes rustled the branches overhead. Into the deafening silence of the forest Felladros slowly rode Salom forward. On and on they went amid the gathering trees as the woods grew denser. After sometime Felladros dismounted and guided his steed on foot. The beauty of it all was most enchanting to the young explorer.
Just as a butterfly winged-past before them, Salom suddenly stopped in her tracks refusing to go any further. Thinking she might have injured her leg Felladros searched to no avail the cause of her disobedience. Being unmoved he looked about for another cause and saw only a single deer far ahead deeper amid a clearing.
“Whatever is the matter with you, girl? First, you stop at a butterfly, and now a deer, as though you have never seen one before.” Felladros laughed to himself petting the horse’s neck. Upon looking back he saw now that the deer had drawn closer and a gathering with it. Seeing no better time for a hunt, Felladros slowly reached for the bow across his back. Stringing his arrow ever so slowly the hunter took sure aim. The deer turned its head sideways in a strange manner, a breath later the arrow was let loose in a startled fashion.
“Stop,” was the astonishing voice that frightened Felladros! Frozen with wide eyes the young man stood as still as his horse. Looking about he saw no one else. Salom began stepping backward pulling against the reins as the gathering of deer approached.
Again the doe spoke in the common speech, “Be not afraid.”
The young man stammered, “But – how could?”
“You are not mad, oh son of man,” the deer reassured him.
Seeing the two of them conversing, Salom was content enough to begin grazing.
“I must be mad or in a dead sleep,” Felladros refused to believe in a talking animal.
“Neither,” the deer spoke again. “I am called an Elodreen.”
Felladros was overwhelmed with fright, “Only from childhood fables was that name ever uttered, and then evoked by exhausted parents to quell their unruly children! Be gone foul beast of these wicked woods!”
The deer made an almost laughing sound, “As all children can be at times, oh frightened son of man.” She then turned back and called to the stag behind her among the following herd. He led the group away back into the direction they had come.
Feeling childish, Felladros likewise acknowledged her trust in him by saddling his bow and quiver.
“Over there, son of man shall you find a fully stocked pond of fish by which to feast upon.” At that, she began digging at the ground with her front hooves, and added, “My deepest gratitude for not slaying me and my kin.
As the Elodreen spoke, Felladros noticed for the first time that a fringed, beaded pouch hung about the deer’s lean neck. He said, “I am Felladros, son of Adoromeir of Kathos. I hail from the sea port only two days south of here. Pray, tell me whatever are Elodreens, for we call you ‘deer’s?”
“My name is Na-Ethra.” After she had dug out a wide area, she added, “I was not unlike you, Felladros for I had wandered far from home as well and sought company here in the Yellow Woods and gave into my special gift.”
“’Silent One,’ that is a perfect name indeed, and what is your gift if again I may ask,” Felladros inquired.
“About this hole, place stones and from such tender as those there build a fire for yourself, so as to keep back the night and I shall enchant a story for you like none other.” He complied and did as she said. From his pack, he took bread and ate as he waited for her to begin.
“Behold, my gift and enchantment talents!” As Felladros watched in amazement she was transformed before his very eyes. Only her body and legs remained a deer, for from is lower neck she had grown and changed into the torso of a naked woman with slender arms and an Elven face. She was still covered and a light coating of pale hair and her brows arched high with deer features. She was beautiful and stunning to behold. Long red hair covered her high breast, and her brown eyes were a radiant grey-blue. The fringed pouch remained slung across her chest and shoulder. Felladros sat down on a fallen tree trunk with words. She said, “This is an Elven-Deer, my friend.”
From her pouch, she withdrew a handful of powder and scattered it across the blaze between them, “Cast your eyes upon the flame and behold the truth of grave matters that were and some yet to be!” The flames leap high in the darkening forest as the quiet man watched in silence. The flame became a spiraling column with fireflies deep within of changing colors and embers circling about. To the sleepy eyes of Felladros there seemed to be moving images within the dancing flames and voices and whispers all around him. She and other spoke as figures came from the shadows and others stood transformed like her. They spoke of things and times and events Felladros was at a loss to recall or explain. But in his heart of hearts, he knew they were true. Suddenly the fire died down to fading embers and a plume of smoke only rose up and her voice alone he heard, “Come what may, all shall pass away and dreams alone shall stay.”
Noon-light fell on Felladros as he woke the next day. The fire was cold, and but for Salom he was all alone. Seeing the fringed pouch resting against the ring of stones told him he had not dreamt his encounter the night before. Gathering himself he ventured a little further and indeed found the pond filled with fish. After a meal at the ring of stones, Felladros decided that the yellow woods of Kinderval had gifted enough, for him. He departed the way he had first entered the forest and continued northward to Sinjar.