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Big thanks to curiouswombat for beta-reading. *hugs*
Huh, this history was so complicated, the ten-years-old girl thought, sitting above the open book and looking at her teacher. All right, if she really had to be honest, history was interesting. Certainly much more interesting than, for example, maths. Tales about the old Ages always drew her into that magical, long-gone world. But the teacher expected her to memorize everything, and there was so much of it! So many locations, so many battles... and there were more Elves with names starting with F and more Men from Beor's house starting with B than all the horses in all the stables of Edoras combined!!!
Beor's house was not the only House of the Edain in Beleriand, said the teacher. There were two more. She heard about the House of Hador in today's lesson; finding about the third house and making notes about it was today's homework.
So she walked through the long corridors of Meduseld towards the library. Tapestries depicting events and heroes from the history of her people covered almost all of the walls. Those stories she knew well; she had been listening to them for as long as she could remember. But things that she learned now were very new to her.
Having entered the library, she inhaled the well-known scent of books. The square chamber was not very big; it seemed to her that the walls were about thirty feet long. The throne hall, in comparison, was so much bigger. But here, every inch of the space was used completely: several tables were placed next to one wall for those who wanted to read and make notes immediately, and the rest of the chamber was filled with high bookcases and shelves extending all the way to the roof, some fifteen feet high.
She explained to the librarian what she needed, and soon she got the book named "The House of Haleth". Her eyes widened. The whole house named after a woman? Suddenly she was very interested in finding out more. She looked at the book from all sides. The cover was tattered and even a little cracked in a few places, and the paper turned yellow. It had about fifty pages, mostly filled with text, with only a few pictures.
She gazed at the first one, in the very beginning. It depicted a young woman who stood upright, with her head held high. A thick braid hung over her left shoulder. The woman wore armour like those Eowyn had seen on the riders going into battles, and her right hand rested upon the sword-hilt. Her gaze was directed somewhere in the distance, a little to the side of the reader, and her eyes were pensive, the girl noticed. Somehow... shadowed. She had already seen that expression. In the eyes of her cousin, upon returning from battle. When he mourned the lost comrades.
She then started reading, and the words soon carried her into that ancient world. Battles. Orcs. Men, surrounded. Head of the clan and his son slain. But his daughter – Haleth – took the lead. Men resisting the orcs for a week. And finally, with the help of the elves, defeating them.
The girl absorbed page by page, and in front of her eyes there were not just words on the paper, but also the scenes of battles, of rivers, plains and forests of Beleriand – just as if she was there. Her spirit left the body in the library and travelled into the First Age of Arda; it followed the brave chieftain in battles, and later, in the journey to the new home of their clan, in the forest of Brethil.
Haleth. Leader. Warrior. Fearless. Proud. Unstoppable.
"Oh, there you are! We were becoming worried!"
The girl jumped hearing her nanny's voice, startled from the world she had fallen into.
"We couldn't find you anywhere, and it is high time to change for supper."
Argh, changing into the dress for supper. Boring. And very often, those dresses were very uncomfortable. But wait a moment – high time for supper? Did she not come to the library just a little while ago? She looked through the window. And discovered that the night had already fallen, while the candles around her had shrunk to the half of their initial size.
The craziest thing was – she did not accomplish her task. She did not make notes, she did not draw the family tree. She just read, without stopping. But she nodded to herself resolutely; she would do that after supper. She'd make it. Each and every word engraved into her mind.
And she did it. Having arrived in her room after supper, she immediately sat at her table, pulled out the notebook and quill, and started writing. One hour later, just in time before going to bed, she finished the detailed essay about the House of Haleth, with a special emphasize on the chieftain herself.
And when she went to bed a little later, she didn't fall asleep at once. Fully awake, eyes wide open, she thought about Haleth.
Leader. Warrior. Fearless. Proud. Unstoppable.
One day, I want to be like her.
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