by Twinkledru J.

Orturmoriwen they called them: the Maidens who Conquer Darkness.

The First of her kind was, unsurprisingly, an Elf. The Powers needed a warrior who would live long and learn much in her lifetime, and so they chose a member of the Eldar, the wisest and fairest of all the races of Middle-earth. She was one of the Elven people who had followed Feanor from the Blessed Realm, the people who stood against Morgoth the Enemy.

She was beautiful in the eyes of Men, but then all of her kind were. There were whispers also of her strength, of the lissome grace with which she moved. Although her people could conceal themselves in the wood with more skill than any other race, it was said that the warrior called Orturmoriwen could conceal herself even from her own kind.

Orturmoriwen they called her kind (though there was only ever one to be found in Middle-earth): the Maidens who Conquer Darkness.

She left the Eldar often, journeying far from the Elvish city she dwelt in and living among the Edail. By Men she was nearly revered, the She-Elf warrior who could never be found. Ortumoriwen was whispered of throughout the realms, for she rode and ran like the wind, and was invisible as the wind.

To my race, the race of Man, she was Bawibin, a Numenorean word: She the Wind.

If Lote was the wind, then from the day that she saved me I was Zir 'nBawiba.


In my fifteenth year I was saved from one of the Dom-Suk, the Night- Drinkers, by a female Elf. I had lost consciousness by the time she found me, and if she had found me any later, I would not have survived. I learned about the creatures and the nature of my rescue as I recuperated in one of the healing-houses of her people, where she, apparently, had brought me.

Elven scholars told me, as I healed, of the nature of Orturmoriwen, but they would not tell me aught of the She-Elf's name or life, only of her Duty. I learned that she was a blessed warrior, that she was the legendary Bawibin of whom I had heard in my youth.

I did not want to leave, and the Elves did not force me to. I wanted to wait for Orturmoriwen, to thank her but more importantly just to meet her, for the more I learned of her the more fascinated I was. They allowed me to stay and live among them and wait for her return, but they warned me also that they did not know how long it would be -- weeks, months, perhaps years -- before she returned, for she roamed far across the land in her travels, protecting all the races.

Nonetheless I waited, and when I had lived among the Elves for three years when she returned. I could not mistake her, though for an Elf she was no extraordinary beauty. Her hair was light brown, and her eyes were a moss-flecked green, and I knew by her weapons and her warrior's carriage that she was none but Orturmoriwen.

"You have recovered," she said, and I had lived among the Elves long enough to know that she was not angry, but I could determine little else. "Why have you stayed with my people?"

"To thank you," I answered truthfully, and ducked my head from her raw gaze. "To meet you," I added, stroking her horse, who was dappled gray with a white star at his forehead. "I never saw you."

"Few Men do," she said simply. "What is your name?"

I looked up at last, and met her eyes, eyes the color of legend and myth. "Zir 'nBawiba," I told her. "For the rest of my days."

She frowned at me, and led her mount away without further words.

Yet I stayed with the Elves, and Orturmoriwen, as always, came and went however she would. Over the course of ten years, she began to speak to me more. And when she smiled at me, as she sometimes would, my heart seemed weighed down by light.

Every time she returned, without fail, I would be waiting (I would wake from dreams of her return the morning that she rode through the gates), and as she dismounted she would ask my name again, as though she had never met me before.

Every time, I would give her the same reply: "Zir 'nBawiba, for the rest of my days."

Zir 'nBawiba.

Lover of the Wind.

But she tolerated my fancy. And she and the other Elves would teach me of their arts, and though I was merely a child when compared to them in anything, I grew to be a strong warrior for one of my race.

Every time she returned, Orturmoriwen would spend more time with me. After fifteen years, I became the last person she would bid farewell to before leaving.


Twenty years to the day after she first saved me, she woke me in the dark hours of the morning. "We ride," she said simply. "Come with me."

We rode for an hour or more at a relatively slow pace, and finally the beast slowed. Orturmoriwen looked about, sensing in a way that no other being could possibly understand.

At last, seemingly assured of something, she dismounted and motioned for me to do so as well. She unsheathed what looked like a dagger in the dim light, and I made to draw my own bow, percieving an impending battle. But she shook her head and tossed me the dagger. "That," she said, "is my most treasured weapon."

I studied the dagger, and realized that it was not a dagger at all; rather, it was carved from wood.

"A stake," she explained. "As you know, if you intend to kill one of the Dom-Suk by stabbing them, wood is the only weapon you can use. That was carved from the wood of Laurelin the Golden."

And then she stepped back, and as I looked up, something leapt at me.

That morning I fought, and killed, my first Dom-Suk. I did it quickly, more quickly than most Men could have. Compared to her, of course, I was clumsy, but this could be said of nearly anything the two of us did.

I handed her back the stake, and as she took it, her fingers lingered on mine. At last she drew her hand fully back and resheathed the stake.

"The numbers of the Dom-Suk grow," she said. "There is word of a Master Dom-Suk in the East, conspiring with an upstart in those lands. I must destroy this Master. I do not know how long I will be gone from you."

"When do you mean to leave?" I asked her.

She said nothing, but looked at me, and then through the trees, where, I noticed, the dark mists of the forest grew gray. It was then that I understood her intent. "No," I whispered.

"I have nothing to fear," she said gently, reaching out to touch my cheek. "And neither have you. I shall return to you."

And then she kissed me.

"I promise," she whispered, her lips lingering against mine, "you shall not lose me, whether I am gone for twenty days or twenty years." She rested her forehead agasint mine. "I have no gift to swear on, so I swear by the destiny that binds us together, I shall meet you again."

"Whichever of your thousand names," I started, "you wish me to use, I only want for you to know -- "

"Lote," she answered, smiling at me, and I stared at her. "It is my true name," she added, raising her hand again to my cheek. "And it is the name that those who are dearest to me use. I have nothing else to give you, so that must stand as a token of my love for you. For I do love you," she said, and her eyes burned into mine, and I did not look away although I wept as I never thought I could.

"And I love you, Lote," I told her. "For all of my life."

"We are bound together, you and I," she started, and then her horse tossed his head and snorted, and she fell silent. At last, she pulled away from me.

Lote mounted her horse, drew my hand to her lips, then turned and rode hard for the East.


Ten years it was before I had some sign of Lote again, and that was when her horse raced up to me in the forest, terrified beyond reason.

(That is not entirely true; I had dreams, but they were not always of Lote and I learned to disregard them out of fear that they might be true.)

Something screamed not far off, a battle-cry that chilled my blood, and I leapt onto Lote's horse and rode like the wind for the city of the Elves, the city that had been my home for years.

Someone shot arrows at us from behind, and I heard speech in some black tongue, shrieks and laughter in a voice that sounded familiar, as though someone had taken a voice I knew well and perverted it into something horrible.

We rode, the horse and I, through the forest, until we entered the city. "Something hunts us," I gasped, and turned to shoot as casually as an Elvish archer. But something scared the horse then, and he threw me. As I fell into darkness my only aim was to place that evil voice.


When I woke, it was in my home in the Elvish dwelling-place, to the sound of Elvish voices raised in songs a thousand times more mounful than I could imagine any voices being.

The She-Elf Galadriel was standing at my window, and turned away when she finished her part in the song. She beckoned me sadly, and I came to the window, to see an enormous bonfire in the immense clearing outside my home which served as a meeting-place for the Elves.

"A funeral pyre," Galadriel said, "for a being who was never meant to die."

She pressed something into my hand then, and I thought that my breath stopped when I realized what it was.

A stake, carved from the wood of Laurelin: my beloved's most treasured weapon.

"It was an Orc-arrow that caused the horse to throw you," she told me. "From what he have learned, the Orc who chased you came from the East and was obsessed with finding you. Do you know," she continued, "how the Orcs came to be?"

"They are Elves," I said, and though I remember that the words were spoken in my voice, I cannot remember speaking them. "Elves who are taken and tortured, until -- "

I could not finish. Galadriel did not make me. Instead, she looked at the stake I held. "Another has been found," she said. "Another who shall be called Orturmoriwen, this one a woman from the race of the Numenor. There is another who will have the gifts after the newest one dies, and the gifts will pass on, from female to female, for all of the ages of Middle-earth. When each is a child, she will be taken into the wild by an Elf and raised, trained, by that Elf alone."

"Alone?" I repeated. "But -- "

"There is one, of course," Galadriel continued quietly, "who has been trained to fight by the Elves already. She is the current one, for though she is of the race of Man, she has lived among my people."

And then I heard the She-Elf's voice in my mind. 'I know of the promise that Lote intended to make to you, Zir 'nBawiba, and I know too that she spoke the truth when she said that your destinies are bound together.'

I said nothing, but made to throw the stake through my window and onto the funeral pyre. Galadriel caught my wrist. I broke her grip, and then realized what I had done.

Broken an Elvish grip.

'You will need that gift,' Galadriel whispered in my mind, 'Orturmoriwen.'

I stared at her through my tears. "Orturmoriwen?" I repeated.

Galadriel began to sing again, and did not answer.

For the rest of my days, I lived and fought alone, and though they called me Orturmoriwen, Bawibin, and a thousand other names, to myself I was always Sierikwaorturmori.

She Alone Conquers Darkness.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style