1. How (not) to say goodbye
'Please come, Elrond. I am weary and I wait for you so I might die.'
It was clearly my brother's handwriting although some of the letters were uneven as if his hand shook when he wrote them. His life had been far too short and it could not possibly be time for it to end. But I knew my brother would not tease me in this way and this letter must contain the truth.
At once I made preparations to travel to Númenor. When I told others of my plans I received pitying looks and words of comfort, neither of which helped. How could they understand what I was feeling when I did not? Others offered to ride with me but I refused. Elros had only asked for me and this was something I felt I had to do on my own. He was my brother, no-one else's, and the last remaining member of my family.
It was indeed a lonely journey by horse and boat, and a long one as I wished to be in Númenor as soon as I could. It was a relief to finally be on land once more and as I looked round I saw the Númenóreans looking back at me. To them I must have been something of an oddity since they had not seen many Elves. I ignored them, except to borrow a horse and ask directions to Elros' house.
As I rode I looked about me. The streets looked like those of Men for the most part but there were elements of Elvish architecture that spoke of Elros' touch. There was a time when we were small that we both longed to recreate the house of our parents' that we remembered so dimly. There had been too many other influences on my life to consider the idea but I saw elements of it here.
Once I reached the house I stood outside gazing up at it. It looked like any other and had I not known this was the king's I would not have believed it. I wondered which room Elros was in and it was as I thought this I remembered the words of the note: 'I wait for you so I might die'. I thought then that perhaps if I stayed away he might yet live. I was not ready for my brother to leave this life and I would do anything I could to prolong it. I was unwilling to leave so I took lodgings nearby, waiting, although for what I did not know.
It was later the same day that Elros' eldest son paid me a visit. I was at once struck by old he looked and how much he resembled my brother.
"My father calls for you," he said. "Will you not grant the last wish of an old man?"
"I cannot," I replied but in truth I was afraid. I remembered my brother being young and neither Elf nor Man, as I once was. Did he now look as old as Vardamir? Was he lying ill in bed? Did he regret his choice and wish to live? I refused all of Vardamir's pleas and he eventually left me alone once more.
At night, as I slept, I dreamt I asked the Valar to let Elros live. I begged them to grant him more time, to let him return to Middle-earth with me but they would not listen. I turned my face to the sky and pleaded with my father not to let his son die but the light of his star merely faded from my view.
I awoke in a strange bed and I realised I knew I had done everything I could to save him but it was not enough, for he did not wish to be saved. There had always been one thing my brother and I disagreed on - whether to be Elf or Man. I was convinced my choice was the correct one. Elros had thought the same - he had even longed to know of the journey after death. I knew then that Elros had no regrets and would not wait for me. I resolved at once to see my brother while I still could.
I dressed hurriedly and arrived at his house in a short time. The door was answered quickly considering it was night. I asked the servant if I could speak with Elros and I could see tears form in her eyes at my request.
"King Tar-Minyatur is dead," she informed me.
At that moment I could not breathe and I had to hold on to the banister for fear my grace would fail me and I would fall. She asked me if I wished to see him and I shook my head, unable to speak. I could not face Elros' family - I would not have been able to explain to them why I had failed my brother when he needed me most.
He had asked for my comfort and I had not given it to him. He had asked for my presence and I had not been there. He had asked me to say goodbye and I had not. I called for his forgiveness for I could not forgive myself. I knew I would regret my actions until the end of Arda.
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