1. A Quiet Love
A last flare of light in the west burnished his mithril hair, set it gleaming in the advancing shadows. He stood quietly, listening, but there was no sound, no bird call or Elvish voice to enhance the beauty of the twilight. All were gone, and now she too, was gone.
It had happened but moments ago. He had been watching for her, standing half-hidden beneath the mallorns, as was his habit , wondering if it would be this day, this twilight when she would at last seek peace.
Ah, Undómiel, child of my child. Seek rest, beloved one, seek at last the comfort for your weariness.
It had been his plea ever since he and her brothers had heard that he was dead. From the day the river had brought them the news, pouring silver mourning into the cold pools of the Nimrodel, they had waited, each in his way.
Elladan haunted the borders in the direction she would come, his brother sometimes a silent ghost at his side. At other times, Elrohir threaded his own mourning through the trees along the path she would take to Caras Galadhon, offering his grief for them both in the song he gifted the twilight woods. Celeborn could hear it now, stirring the quiet as the first stars began to shimmer in the midnight depths of the sky, lifting his sister’s soul to join her beloved’s.
They knew then, had felt her passing. For a few moments, Celeborn closed his eyes and simply listened.
Undómiel, ah, light of night still echoing.
In silence now dwells your song,
Of love to he who was day for your night.
Rest now, my sister, we here will mark your going
With the love we have borne you.
Let it hold you, Undómiel, until you journey to the dawn
And in its light, are ever remembered.
They would come soon, drifting shadows of matched night, united in their grief as they were in all else. They were weary, as was he. It was time, a last, to leave their beloved Middle-earth. Celeborn knew they grieved as much for that knowledge as for she who now lay amid the sprinkled silver-gold atop Caras Galadhon.
He had feared for her in this, that her pain would be past bearing. But it had not been so. She was gone from them already, they had seen it the evening she arrived, dark-gowned and more beautiful in her quiet acceptance than he had ever seen her. With the stars of the evening in her dark hair, his grand-daughter had come to fulfil her destiny, to join her beloved, out beyond the circles of the world.
It had been by a shared understanding that he and her brothers would wait for her, to provide comfort should she need it. Celeborn smiled, wry sadness in the slight lift of his mouth. As if she needed anything or any soul now. She breathed and moved, she ate, she sang, softly, voice at one with the fading wood, and once, he saw her smile at some memory or other. She did not grieve, she merely waited. And they waited with her.
She was not aware of them, he knew. They had kept apart, watching her, loving her silently, there should she turn and see them. But she had not, she saw and heard nothing but the endless calling of peace, the song his voice sang to her, her focus, her existence, turned inward.
Still they stayed, still they waited. Her brothers muted their pain so she would not hear, and he simply watched her, grief melding with loving pride in her quiet dignity. She had so chosen and he accepted, no more and no less. Ever had it been thus between them. When she had come to him, so many times, tears for her father’s anguish in her dark eyes, he had held his arms out to her and she had wept against him. No words had been said, none needed. It was enough.
Celeborn waited, for this was his final task. She had no others to perform this for her and so for this time he set aside his own grief. For the love of his daughter, for Celebrían, he would do this. And for Elrond, who, while she yet lived, had left some part of himself still bound to Arda. So that when they asked him with their eyes, silently begging him to tell them she was at peace, he could be truthful in his words. He could whisper into silver hair the match for his own that at the end, their Undómiel had been content, that she had smiled. His own grief he would hold in his heart until he held his wife once more in his arms, to weep his pain into her golden hair in the quiet of their Valinorian bed.
Her breath had coloured the mist-drifted twilight, but he had heard it, so that the silence after it ceased was more profound than any silence he had ever known. He moved, walking across the gentle slope, kneeling, lifting her so that her hair was a wing of shadow over his arm, moving slowly into the twilight, to where she had spent the time since she had come here.
It was not an elaborate thing they did for her. A simple mound of earth, between two saplings. Celeborn smiled, not all faded, it would seem. Elrohir sang softly, voice never faltering, borne up by his brother’s voice and the touch of his twin’s hand. They knelt, placing together the sword belts she had embroidered for them for her wedding day. They would not need their swords and it comforted them to think that that which she had wrought and that they had worn in love and honour would protect her now.
Then Celeborn knelt and next to them he placed a silver flask with water from her grandmother’s mirror; next a small square of cloth, stitched with a child’s earnest inexperience and which Elrond had carried ever near his heart until he had handed it to Celeborn as he stepped on to the ship, not needing to explain why he left it; next, he placed a silver comb, delicately wrought, her mother’s. He paused and then he reached up, using his belt knife to cut a single strand of mithril hair. He placed it so that the breeze would not take it, and closed his eyes.
He breathed in deeply, quietly. For the first time, from many miles distant, he could smell the salt tang of the sea. In the silver-shadowed silence, they thought of her, their love its own immortality.
He rose; it was done. Turning, Celeborn lifted his gaze to the stars.
It was evening.
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.