This page last updated on 2016-02-12
Coin Name : Dawning Hope Traveler
Edition Name: Luminal Retreat
Finish: Antique gold
2014 – 50 coins
The writing on the front of this coin is called tengwar and it says, “and the winter gave way to the spring”. This design was called “traveler” because it was intended to be placed in caches instead of being kept in a stationary collection. The 2014 editions had a redesigned back face.
*** Narrative ***
Kiltisti sat on the couch in the stone tower watching the first stars appear in the darkening sky. Way up high she could see Rengas shining with brilliant light and a bit lower Ampiainen was just beginning to appear. She was looking forward to spending the first part of the evening welcoming each one as the sun’s light withdrew.
”It gets dark too fast.”
She was irritated to be interupted by the child, the grubby, messy boy who did not belong and was often little more than tolerated. She wished that he would not interupt her peace, but would instead find some other place to cause his mischief. However, her face did not show her real feelings. Her eyes remained calm and her smile looked relaxed and inviting. She would never shame herself by losing her grace and poise even with this wretched foundling. Her people valued beauty and she must never be ugly even when alone with someone as ugly as this child.
”Ulf, dinner is over and now the sun is going to sleep, you should too.”
The unpleasant human child did not reason with her or use poetry to plead his case as a young Elf boy would.
”But I’m not tired”, he whined. ”I used to play after dinner for hours and now it’s always dark”.
He stuck out his lower lip and Kiltisti hated him. The little wretch thought that he could whine and pout and someone would give him a treat or allow him to stay up so he could irritate good people or break something.
She willed herself to remain calm and smile as she said, ”Night is coming, it is the way things are and now the stars will shine on us, this is a good thing and you should be happy.”
Ulf frowned in his coarse human way and complained, ”I don’t like the stars, they are too far away and their light is bad”.
Now Kiltisti really wanted this little monster to disappear. He was a human and did not understand the beauty of the world. The stars were a gift that he rejected.
Ulf was her problem. Three years ago she had been riding with a hunting party chasing down a deer when they had come across the bodies of two humans, a man and a woman. some wild animal had attacked and killed them. they also found a small human child still alive underneath the female. The boy was so young that he could say only three words, ”Mama”, ”Papa”, and ”Ulf”. After some discussion among the hunters, it was decided that Ulf was probably his name. The others in the hunting party wanted to kill him as a kindness so that he would not suffer, but Kiltisti thought that it would be fun to take him home and maybe teach him to speak some Elfish. The others told her that she was foolish and too young to take care of a human. She insisted that she wanted to take the human with her and they stopped arguing; Kiltisti could do as she pleased.
Now it was three years later and Ulf had grown to be a problem. He was cute in his strange way and sometimes he was funny, but mostly he was a nuisance. He was learning to speak Elfish well enough and he seemed to have some talents, but he did not think or act like an Elf. Now he was saying that he hated the stars. What could he possibly do to be more revolting?
Kiltisti was resolved that she would finish this conversation in a dignified manner and then send him away to bed.
”Ulf, the stars are coming out earlier each night because winter is coming and the sun is getting farther away. Each day will be shorter and each night will be longer. It is the way of nature. it is good and right.”
Ulf looked terrified and said with dread, ”I don’t want the sun to go away! I hate the darkness”. He began to cry.
Kiltisti sighed and wondered how he could be so stupid. Then again, he was human and they tended to favor the simple and obvious light of the sun.
Without asking, Ulf climbed onto her lap and she shuddered. He smelled of old food and he was dirty. She was afraid that he would ruin her clothes. She wanted very badly to push the child away and make it go to bed, but that would be undignified, so she continued.
“Ulf, the sun is leaving us now, but it will come back later. Don’t be afraid of its fading light, because as it grows dimmer, the smaller lights will shine more brightly. There are stars that you cannot see during the summer and they only come out to be seen by us in the winter. In the short days we discover and learn things that we cannot know when the days are long.”
She held the boy close to herself so that he could follow where she was pointing as she named the stars. Perhaps a story about the stars would calm him and he would at last leave her in peace. She wanted to pick one that had a good story that would engage the simple human. Without much thought she pointed to a very faint speck in the sky. Would he even be able to see it? Could Humans see as well as Elves? She pointed to the tiny spark of light and the boy grew calmer immediately. “Do you see that star?” Ulf nodded. “It is called ‘Susi’ and no one can see it in the summer, but as the sun leaves us and as the nights grow longer, it will get closer to us and we will welcome it.” The little human smiled as he took in the star’s light and Kiltisti felt that maybe she was reaching him. He asked, “What does ‘Susi’ mean?”
She answered him, “Susi is a kind of animal your people, the humans, would call it . . .” Kiltisti gasped as she realized what the humans would call that star, what ‘susi’ meant in the human language. She continued slowly due to her awe of this coincidence, “Humans would call that star ‘Ulf’. The star you are looking at is a small wild dog and the story tells us that it was given the opportunity to be brave. When the story starts, it is all alone, but later it does something heroic and is loved by everyone.” The boy sat up straight and turned to look at her. “The star has my name!” “Yes”, she responded, It is small, but it has a good story and We elves are fond of it.”
Kiltisti wanted to curse her stupidity. Why had she chosen that star? She had not meant to give the little wretch hope or encourage him. She especially did not want to make him draw closer to her people. It was cruel to him and it was more than she had meant to give to him. She felt a sharp pain stab through her heart and she winced. It was the way of Elves to feel emotions strongly and physically in their bodies and her heart felt like it was dying.
The boy looked thoughtful and began to turn in all directions to take in the myriad stars. “Do all of the stars have stories?”
“Yes”, she gasped, as the pain stabbed her heart again. Why had she let this happen?
Ulf suddenly wanted to know more and she could tell that big questions were forming behind his eyes.
A tear fell onto his cheek and he asked, “Why does the light have to go away before we can see the stars? Why does my star only come when the days are short and the world is cold?” He covered his eyes with his hands and she could tell that he was angry. “I don’t want to see the stars if it means that the sun will go away”. She knew that if she wanted to she could find a way to hate him forever. She could tell herself that he was a stupid human who could only love the sun and never understand the meaning of the stars, but her heart hurt too much. Her neck and her back were beginning to ache from the emotions that she could not run from.
Kiltisti held Ulf closer and rocked a little, which calmed the child. “Ulf, Elves love the stars because they are tiny bits of light with beautiful things to tell us, but we can only see their light when the distractions of the day or the summer have ended. Knowing the stars also teaches us about a stronger and more powerful light. Inside of all of us are tiny points of light that are very difficult to see. If you learn to know the stars as we do, then you will begin to see the other points of light in the world.
Ulf smiled shyly and asked, “Kiltisti, do you see stars inside of me?”
She was not sure that she could get the words out due to the pain in her chest. She clutched at her heart and breathed slowly until the agony ended. How should she answer? Should she lie or tell the truth? She thought about the pain and decided that maybe she should stick with the truth. Maybe the child deserved that.
“Ulf, I did not see the stars in you at first. But now that it is dark, my eyes are more keen. Yes, I do see little sparks of light in you.”
Ulf was quiet for a long time and Kiltisti thought that maybe he had fallen asleep but she became aware that his shoulders were shaking and that he was crying so that no one would be able to hear him. How often did he cry silently? What pain was he hiding from everyone? Kiltisti, was amazed at the emotional control he had for being such a young human. She had never suspected that more was going on underneath what he pretended to be. He had hidden his true self away from the cruelty that her people had shown to him.
The boy looked to her and said. “Will you be angry with me if I call you Äiti?”
As the boy said the Elfish word for ’Mama’, Kiltisti expected to feel more pain in her heart, but instead she felt a calmness. She smiled at Ulf. ”I must tell you the story of the little wolf pup that Elves call ’Susi’ and Humans call ’Ulf’. I think that you will like this story, but I will only tell it to you if you call me ’ Äiti’ from now on.