Adelaide Jade Regent
On Luthien and Matsuro
The evening’s festivities were starting to wind down when Luthien asked Ameiko to accompany her on the samisen while she told a story of the elven people of Minkai. Ameiko played softly and Luthien began her tale:
“While learning of the history of this land from O-Sayumi, this tale called to me. It is the story of Luthien, an elven maiden from Minkata, and her love for a human warrior named Beren, that could not be conquered even by death.
Beren was the last survivor of a group of human warriors who resisted a great evil in the land. An emperor, known as the Dark Lord, was laying waste to the land of Minkata. After a great battle where all his companions perished, Beren fled towards his home through the elven lands. As he was resting in the forest, he saw a beautiful elf maiden dancing and singing through the trees. This was Luthien, the only daughter of the elven king. Beren fell in love with her, for she was the fairest of all elves and men. She, later, fell in love with him as well, when he, moved by her beauty and enchanting voice, gave her the nickname “Nightingale.”
When Luthien told her father of her love for the human man, he was enraged. Luthien’s father disliked Beren as he was a human and regarded him as being unworthy of his daughter. He set a seemingly impossible task on Beren that he had to achieve before he could marry Luthien. The king asked Beren to retrieve an ancestral jewel which the evil emperor had stolen from the elves.
Beren would do anything for his love and agreed to the quest. He left the elven kingdom and travelled towards the evil emperor’s seat of power. Sensing that her father had sent Beren on a quest from which he would never return, Luthien followed him.
On his journey to the enemy’s land Beren arrived at another elven stronghold. This stronghold was under the command of King Finrod. Beren’s father had also been a great warriors and had been ties of friendship with King Finrod. To honour his friend, King Finrod and ten of his finest warriors accompanied Beren on his quest. They travelled on through the land towards the Dark Lords fortress. One by one, the warriors were killed by werewolves until only Beren and Finrod remained. When the werewolf came to attack Beren and Finrod, Finrod sacrificed himself to fight the werewolf so that Beren might live.
After this fight, Luthien came across Beren, injured and mourning the loss of yet more companions. Beren was determined to complete his task and prove to the elven king that he was worthy of Luthien’s hand. Luthien used elven magic to disguise the two and thereby they were able to enter the Dark Lord’s land. They snuck through the city and arrived before the throne. There Luthien sang a magical song which made the Dark Lord fall asleep; then Beren cut the ancestral elven jewel from the Dark Lord’s crown. As he tried to cut out the others, his knife broke and a shard glanced off Dark Lord’s face, awakening him. As they attempted to leave, the gate was barred by Carcharoth, a giant werewolf. He bit off and swallowed Beren’s hand, in which Beren was holding the jewel. Carcharoth ran off madly with the jewel in his stomach.
Beren and Luthien returned the elven kingdom, to heal. They told their tale and how Beren had held the elven jewel in his hand. Luthien’s father saw the love the two held and this softened his heart. He accepted the marriage of his daughter and the mortal man, although Beren’s task had not been fulfilled.
Beren, however was an honourable man and could not leave the quest unfinished. He participated in a hunt for Carcharoth, who had gone mad after ingesting the good and pure elven jewel. In his madness he had come into the elven kingdom and caused much destruction. Beren fought Carcharoth and was dealt a mortal blow. Carcharoth however received a mortal blow in return. Before he died, Beren handed the elven jewel, which was recovered from Carcharoth’s belly, to the elven king.
Grieving for Beren, Luthien also died, and came to the halls of Pharasma. There she sang of her ill fate, for she would be reborn as part of the Brightness, and she would never again see Beren, who as a mortal Man had passed out of the world. Pharasma was moved to pity by Luthien’s song of love and loss. She restored Beren and Luthien to life. Luthien left her home and her parents and went to dwell with Beren in the human lands. There they dwelt for the rest of their lives.”
Luthien and Ameiko finished their tale. People began talking amongst themselves again, and moving off into small groups. Luthien looked around the room as if looking for someone and then moved to where Shae and Theibar were standing. She engaged in conversation, but was distracted. Shae caught her eye and shook her head, indicating to Luthien that none of them had seen Matsuro in some time. Luthien excused herself and walked towards the outside doors. She had things she needed to say before their battle tomorrow, but how was she supposed to do that when she could not find him.
Matsuro returned to the room he had been sharing with Theibar and Sandru. He had intended to speak with Luthien after her tale but once she had moved to speak to her sister and the other elf, he had left the room and walked in the gardens trying to clear his head.
He headed towards his bed palette, but was startled from his reverie by a familiar voice coming from the shadows,
“I have been trying to speak with you for days. Ever since I learned of the deal that was offered to you by the dragon, and which you refused, I have sought your companionship. You have become quite skilled at stealth.”
The elven ninja melted out of the darkness and approached him. She placed her hand on his cheek, and drew him into an embrace. His stress and worry at her reaction to his decision not to become the shogun of the armies melted away at her touch.
“Tomorrow we face the Jade Emperor and his cronies. After tonight I may never get the chance to speak with you or touch you again. I could not let that happen.” She spoke softly and calmly all the while maintaining her touch on his cheek.
Luthien continued “We have never spoken of the future, of what we will do when Ameiko is the Empress. My place is at her side as her guardian, but I don’t even know if you will stay. I don’t want to think of what will happen if we are successful tomorrow and you choose to return to Sandpoint. But this is not the time to speak of such things, we have tonight, that is all. Theibar will not return to this room tonight, and Sandru is gambling with the soldiers. Tonight is all we have for now, and I want to spend it here with you.”
She stopped speaking. Matsuro sat with his back against the wall. Luthien leant into him and he put his arms around her. They sat like that for what seemed like hours. As Matsuro drifted into sleep, he heard Luthien’s soft voice say,
“I will do my best to protect you tomorrow, but if the worst happens, I will sing to Pharasma for your soul.”