Seluren of Mithlond

Seluren’s green eyes hold the light of the stars from a time long before the sun and moon. He moves quietly, as if the world is still shrouded in soft shadow uncut by the fierce light of Arien. Tall and patient as an ancient oak, he remembers.

He remembers the Green-elves’ journey into Ossiriand, the Land of the Seven Rivers, long before the world was measured in Ages. The rains that fell upon his youthful upturned face fell also upon the great unbroken forests and the red deer. They fell also upon his twin sister, from whom he was seldom parted. He was the forest piper who made music on a reed flute. She was stealthy and silent, and preferred solitude. They hunted in the forest together, although she always outstripped him in the chase, so that his arrows often found their marks slower than her spear. In camp, she worked the hides of the beasts they felled. He wove mats and baskets of supple reeds, and carved needful things out of wood. They lived in harmony with the seasons, and the great events of the First Age almost passed them by. But not entirely.

Seluren remembers the haggard faces of the few survivors who returned from the First Battle of Beleriand, where Denethor son of Lenwë fell. The remnant of his people retreated deep into the forests. Afterwards, they were always a folk apart. When the Sun rose they took to the night, and when the first Men came passing through their woods, they hid themselves and watched keen-eyed and wary from the shadows. The sorrows and troubles of the other Elf-kindreds came to them in whispers and in rumors, until that day of dreadful thunder when the sea rushed in. They fled to the feet of the Ered Luin and watched in awe and wonder as Beleriand collapsed beneath the waves.

Seluren remembers the day Gelion died.

But by that time, he was already much changed.

On a time there came rumors from Thingol’s realm of his fair daughter gone away on the journey from which there is no returning. Yet return she did, walking along the riverbank beside a strange, fey-eyed Man, who only had one hand to hold hers, which he clasped as though it were a jewel. Thus Seluren glimpsed them walking fearlessly together on the banks of the river Adurant. After that his sister no longer held all of his heart, for the piercing glance of Lúthien had fallen upon him and planted a seed.

At Sarn Athrad, where the dwarves were retreating from Thingol's halls with their treasure won by treachery, the horns of the Green-elves rang out over the roar of the rushing waters. One of those horns was sounded by Seluren. He loved all living things, but on that day alone was he given over to hate, for he had seen Lúthien’s face after the news of her father’s death had snuffed the light from it. To this day he bears a crooked nose from a Dwarf-axe and has little love for their kind. For Men, in memory of Beren Camlost, Seluren holds an affection not shared by his kin.

Like leaves upon the forest floor, sinking slowly back into the soil, are shreds of memory.

The coming of the Sea brought with it many changes. Most of Ossiriand and all of Beleriand had been drowned. The Green-elves, what few were left, retreated north and east, but no longer did they have the forests and wild places all to themselves. The Wandering Companies of the Noldor passed through; Sindar out of Doriath settled in that green country and called it Lindon; and the Falathrim, the mariners of Círdan, took refuge on what had been Gelions upper reaches, now a vast firth between the mountains’ knees. Gulls circled and wailed where red deer had once bedded in tangled thickets. Most of the Laiquendi stopped their ears to the call of the Sea, but Seluren heard it, and his wise heart pulsed to a different rhythm than the seasons. He now felt the pull of the tides.

He came down out of the forests to pipe along the shores. That was how he fell in with Círdan’s folk, the shipwrights, who taught him the joys of weaving gold and silver wire to net the prows of ships, or capture candles in glittering lanterns. He carved swans’ heads and gulls, and dreamt no more of deer.

Seluren never forgot his people, and sometimes would wander long in the forests seeking them, but they mostly shunned their stray piper who now smellt of salt-spray. His sister spoke to him even less than when they had been together. She had not changed, and would never change, he supposed, no matter what shape the world possessed.

It would have been better so. When it seemed that all the world’s forests would be devoured by the Shadow of the East, Rovalwen came forth with a band of hunters to add their spears to the Last Alliance. Her brother was a herald and healer in Círdan’s household, and the horn of Tol Galen sounded behind the banner of white ships. The twins at last returned to the Vale of Anduin and saw the grievous hurts that had been done to the land of their birth. Only one would leave those lands alive.

Seluren remembers the Dagorlad, the Witch-king’s sword, and the legs of the great black horse that bore down on him and crushed him. He remembers the steady voice of the stranger who sat beside him and staunched his wounds with jewel and with song, telling him of Gil-estel while hopes faded and battle raged. But he does not remember how his sister fell, for he was already near death when death found her. He knows only that she lies somewhere in the Dead Marshes beneath the hissing reeds. One of the Galadhrim later brought him Rovalwen’s bracelet, the one he had carved for her out of the wood of a lightning-struck tree.

Slow was he to heal from that battle, and for seven years he carried the treasure Laebeth had inadvertently left with him, the Star of the Sea, before he was able to find her and return it to her at the Last Battle, at the moment when Gil-galad fell.

Seluren went not to war again. His return to Mithlond was nearly cut short by an ambush, for not all Sauron’s servants were swept away in the first years after the Enemy’s defeat. Sorely wounded a second time, Seluren at last reached the havens and found a peace long-missed by the sighing breakers. But the loss of his sister was not his alone to bear, for she had left two children behind, Ruiniel and Eldollen.* He did all he could to care for them, more, in fact, than his aloof sister had done while she yet lived. Although they were old enough that they would not need a parent much longer, he gave them love and shelter for as long as they had a mind to stay. To his secret delight, they stayed with him long, and he watched them grow in wisdom and years among Círdan’s people.

Seluren dwells there still, neither Green-elf nor quite one of the Falathrim, who do not travel as often as he does in the wild lands east of the Sea. He carves the prows of ships and pipes with the circling gulls. But he shows no signs of wishing to leave. Perhaps he will go back into the forest after all, when the last ship has sailed.

 

*[Ed. Note, Dec 2012: Ruiniel and Edhollen were a couple of plaza members who wanted to be part of Seluren's family; Laebeth was another plaza character.
Also: All my Seluren graphics are based on this cosplayer; I asked his permission to use him as the model for a RPG character many years ago. ]