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Apr 19, 2002
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Gaerien stood above a cliff and for the first time in her life saw the lands beyond the Ered Wethrin. They slopped away south and a network of rivers flowed over them from the mountains where she now stood. There was what must have been Sirion, and following its course she found it disapeared into a forest. There she supposed dwelt her mother's kin. Beyond the forest the river emerged again to vanish beyond her sight in the South. How much further, she wondered, would it travel on before pouring into the Sea?

The Sea was something she often tried to imagine but didn't really know where to begin. She thought of Mithrim, and tried to envision that it was so wide she would not see beyond it in either direction or past it looking ahead. Because of her childhood friendship with Tiningol, a Noldo from the people of Fingon, she knew more about the Sea than most of her people. It was also from him that she learned of the Falathrim, the sea-elves who built ships in the south. In fact, it was even from a map that he himself made that she knew now looking over the lands where her mother's kin might be found. At this moment she recalled all that he had told her that might aid in her journey. She was curious now about ships, and found herself thinking of Tiningol, who could tell her how long it takes to build one. She wished that he had not gone off to war. She wished her father had not either, then maybe her mother would still be alive.

In any case she would have to backtrack to find a passage down out of the Grey Mountains, so she wrapped herself tight as she could in her cloak, and turned back for a time. Her cloak was a good one, stolen back from the Easterlings, originally made by her people. It was bear fur outside and inside it was wool. But warm as it was, the air was bitter cold and she often risked fire.

Making her way back to a place where she could follow a ravine down along the mountain and come eventually into Beleriand. As she travelled down all that day, she was filled with a new hope having come so far. The elves in the caves where the foothills met Hithlum had begged her to stay with them and warned she could not make it alone, and even though she slipped away from them she had began to fear they were right. She was young, only twenty years, and had never been beyond Dor-lomin until recently. On the other hand she had survived torment at the hands of Easterlings, and supposed she could fight as well as any of those elves. This was her belief, whether it was wrong or right.

But now the worst must be over? she asked herself, at least the worst of bitter weather and scarce food. But danger? Nay, that would not grow less until she reached the Sea-elves. Below there would be orcs, and maybe more evil men, and she wouldn't be able to light so many fires or stand on high places to survey the lands. She knew all of this. For all she knew the world was Morgoth's, and the only hope of survival was to find the sea-elves and build a ship before they where driven from the coast.

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