5. Yours in Remembrance
Would that you should see this letter before my return, but we can hardly spare the warriors to bring such dainties as letters back and forth. To take a step back from these harsh times seems near impossible, but I fear that if I hold my feelings too near I shall not be able to carry on any longer. And so I ask, my dearest love, that should this come to you upon my death, remember my words and give them to the people, that you may not forget your beloveds' sacrifices. For today I stand before my father's pyre.
Ai, Father! His death was brave, my love, do not forget! His crown of gold and leaves glittered bright upon his brow; his sturdy lance he lifted above his head and the silver flash called forth all our people to the fight. Though smoke and ash from the battle in this foul land had smudged his cheeks and stained his skin, truly a king he looked! Bright and bold, the death of the Enemy was in his eye and the name of Elbereth upon his lips. Where the forces of the esteemed High King hesitated and cowered, my father did not fear to turn his lances and arrows upon the foul hordes of Sauron.
And so alone we charged, a single pinnacle of light breaking amongst the Enemy, a tide of Good driving back Evil. But alas, our fight was alone and unaided, for none would come to help us. And yet the good King hacked and slashed and slaughtered; the arrows flew, the lances flashed and parried. Every death amongst our own was repaid ten times over.
But our lone drive was ill-fated today, and I can hardly bear to write the words. A foul arrow flew and pierced my father's chest; his gaze went dark, his crown slipped from his head. And from his saddle the King slumped to my arms.
Remember, love, the last words that he spoke! Remember well his whispered, dying cry! Foresight was not his gift, and yet he saw it; saw our fate and knew it like his own. "The victory is ours," he said to me. "I pass now to Mandos' Great Halls, but the Enemy will not win. He will be driven far, and his rise long delayed again!" And then his soul passed from him, and my grief began.
My father, beloved father … he passed with nearly two-thirds of our force. Forgive my penmanship, my love; my hand trembles from the grief, I cannot stop it. I will send along with this a list of the slain. But do not forget what is written here! Remember the bravery of the fallen, and the courage of the living! You cannot do the ones who passed any greater honor. We will not cease our fight until my father's final vision is fulfilled; we cannot do the ones who passed any greater honor.
I send you all my love and care. Should we not be reunited under Greenwood's sweet trees, may we see each other once again in Aman.
Until then, I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be,
* * *
Notes: This letter was heavily inspired by the play '1776', and hence Thranduil's last words to his wife are from John and Abigail Adams' letters to one another. And my favorite song in the entire play: "Is anybody there? ... Does anybody care? ... Does anybody see what I see?" was the main idea for the whole 'remember!' theme.
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