1. To Arwen Undomiel
Arwen, vanimelda! Eight and thirty years it is since we were betrothed and too short have been the days. But yester-eve might have been our first meeting, so fair did you seem to me. Your face, your hands, your touch led my longing like a colt to the clover. In all that crowded hall yours were the only eyes my eyes could see, purblind and world-weary, until they took succour in your light, which flamed brighter than the fire in the great hearth.
A sorry thing was my first love for you, the innocent hope of a child that scarcely knows what he has found. But the days turned into months and years and in our precious moments I learned at your gentle hand how to give you of myself entire, to deserve your love, or so I dreamed. How we laughed and sang in those months of bliss, when we walked together among the mallorns and the golden elanor, and lived a lifetime in a single season! You bear still the ring of our forefathers that I gave to you as a pledge of our trust. But a far greater gift you bestowed upon me. It filled my heart until I thought it would burst, but for the grief that I knew it would bring to Elrond. He will willingly suffer a grievous loss so that we may be joined and I love him the more for it. As a father he has been to me. And at the last, that same grief must come even unto you, like a shard of glass between us, and already I ache with the pain of that parting.
But do you see that I still fear our meetings, fool that I am? That one day I shall come to you and you will shun me like yesterday’s fruit, left to shrivel on the vine, not worthy even to fall at your feet. See; you can always reduce me to a timid, trembling thing, who have commanded armies and slain many foes. Oh to be worthy! I fear that even now I have not earned your esteem, fairest Evenstar.
Ageless, yet vital, your gaze is filled with wisdom, yet laughs with the spirit of youth and your footsteps dance like sunlight on the new rain, until the world dances with you.
The Harvest moon is dimmed as you shine by,
Your beauty would Eärendil’s star fain keep.
And Twilight’s wingéd creatures with you fly,
That you might grace their days with hallowed sleep.
Each night that I live I shall look upon Eärendil’s star and think of you, and send my thought hither, for here my heart dwells until we meet again.
Beloved of the night, what hope have I of seeing you again? I dare not expect it. My final despair is never far behind, the dread that this may be our last parting. I can barely speak of it. But as long as I have strength to breathe, even as the Shadow fingers the very doors of Rivendell, I must banish despair. And it has always been thus. Tomorrow I must leave, to seek an end to the encroaching darkness. If I live and go not yet to my doom with a thousand thousand mothers’ sons, then will I look to the long hope of our final union.
This blade you have kissed and sealed with your blessing. Its caress has kindled in me a new hope, the last hope of my people. A cold brightness flares about it and burns my heart with a fire that will not be quenched until its work is done. May it avenge your mother’s hurts a hundred fold and earn anew its name.
I visited my mother’s grave this night. If I had but one wish, it would be to see her here today, that she might look on us and know my joy. But it grieves me that by your choice you will not see your own mother even one more time. How can I ask you to give her up, to forsake your father too, for me? I know too well the pain that brings. But is that not the burden of every union, to give up one’s former life and loves for the one love that replaces all? Aye and I have waited so long I have forgotten what it felt like not to be in love with you. That was indeed another life, long ago and I can never return there.
Farewell, Undómiel! I go now to my death or to our happiness.
*The Lay of Leithian, canto 4 (HOME vol. 3 p. 184)
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.