Hope Eyrie: 1. Hope Eyrie

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1. Hope Eyrie

Author's Note: the title is taken from a song by the same name, by Leslie Fish. I highly recommend it. That song and this story are very closely tied.

The last line is taken from the Silmarillion, however I had to translate it back to English, so it's probably not an exact quote.



Hope Eyrie

A tale of Numenore of the West.

As told in the lost tales of the Silmarillion, as translated by J. R. R. Tolkien



I feel it in my bones; I am no longer young as I was. I feel it in every breath that grows harder and harder to draw, I feel it in every muscle that would not obey, in hands no longer skillful and feet no longer swift. I feel it in the blood no longer burning in my veins, for all its majesty and nobility it dwindles, I feel it in the beatings of my traitorous heart.

I am no longer young as I was. My eyes and ears tell me so much as I gaze over the splendor of Numenor.

I know not how long I have left. Days always seemed meaningless, here in the splendor of the kingdom we have built, here in the glory of Westernesse, the beauty of Numenor. It is spread in all its glory before me, out of my high window down to the sea, white towers, long streets laid with gems, windows open to the Western Winds, and the King's Tower. I see it all through eyes that grow dim. For the first time I see the shadows the sun over our wondrous land has no power to banish, in the dark thoughts dwelling in my mind the light of stars has no strength to dispel.

It is a beautiful, magnificent kingdom, Numenor of my fathers, Numenor of the west. What beauty in the lands our ancestors left behind can compare? They grow dark, the Middle Lands, they grow weary and old, and Numenor stands, proud, beautiful, everlasting.

Perfect.

So I thought.

But now my chest is heavy and my head is held down, and I almost seem to hear my bones creak as I walk, my hands trembling, my skin wrinkled. Old age is claiming me, so soon, so soon...

Most hours of the day and long into the night I sit in my window. I gaze outside at proud Numenor, thinking that if I look over the city of plenty, of beauty, of life, any of the three would return to my withering limbs. Every day I am met again with the truth as I lie down, too tired to look any more into the west. Numenor will not let me live forever.

But the West may.

Of late, I have often been plagued by such thoughts.

I say plagued, and not lightly. For from the West is Man banned forever, no matter how wondrous all that we have made, how close we come to the glory of the Eldar of old. No matter how hard we have labored to heal the dying lands in the east, how often we may go up to the Pillar of Heaven under the open sky. The Doom of Men breaths down our necks, constantly, its breath is freezing cold. I can feel it growing nearer, sucking the life from my old body, this old shell that I am not yet, not ever, content to leave behind.

The West is barred to us, the immortal lands, and I used to think it just.

I was young once, foolish.

But I have lived too long in Numenor of the west to believe any such notions justified.

All day I sit here by the window and look outside, look upon the city, then look upon the sea. It is beautiful, my Numenor, it and its people deserve every grace, every praise, every honor. It and its people deserve eternity.

Numenor must stand forever - its people must live forever.

But such thoughts were never of any use. In the West lie the Undying Lands, where the light we yearn for is but a trifle to the accursed Eldar. Here in Numenor in the east, the shadows grow longer.

I can feel them; I can feel them now.

I do not know how long before the shadow falls over me.

Once I believed the shadow would never come, once I was young in the most beautiful city there had ever been and there will ever be. Once the Doom of Men, as any doom at all, seemed unreal, seemed never to come. What could be denied me in Numenor?

Nothing was denied me, nothing but hope.

But today, today I see hope anew.

I see hope in the fleet of ships assembling in the white harbor of Numenor. I see the King's flag unfurled upon the high mast in the rich wind. I see there on the mast young men, watching out to the west with eager, fearless eyes.

Fearless eyes, filled with anticipation rather than longing, rather than pain.

Rather than despair.

And I see the fleet grow daily. And now I do little but look at it.

Soon it will sail, very soon. I am confident I will be here to see it sail. I will be here to call out farewells to the mariners in their bold journey. I will be there to look closely upon the golden ships as they set said to golden shores. I will be there to look upon the magnificent Ar-Pharazon ere he commands them take leave. I will be there to hear the horns blow. I will be there in the docks to feel the sea wind on my face and feel young again as Man goes out to conquer eternity.

And I will be here when they will come back, and never need fear nor despair again.

And here I shall remain, in Numenor that I love forever.

Now I sit here as clouds gather slowly in the horizon, but no clouds will halt our quest. When the sun will rise the ships will be on their way, they will sail with the first rays of dawn, signaling it, the dawn of the new age for Man. No more fear, no more death, no more Dooms.

I sit here and look with hope upon Numenor, my home, the home of the people who dared seek what is theirs by right, who dared seek break the bonds cast unjustly upon them, who dare try and be more.

I sit here in the golden sunset over Numenor as night comes, and I do not fear the night.

Darkness falls slowly, but I no longer fear it. With a smile upon my face, I rise from my chair and turn to walk to my room. My limbs are stiff, my stance is bent, no longer proud, but my forgotten pride lies there in the harbor. I can see it...

And I can hear the sound of wings.

I turn around quickly, in a move once agile, but now weak. I seek to rush to the window, but I fall to the hard floor, my body failing me at this hour, at this last desperate hour. I look down at the floor, but I do not truly see. I do not truly hear. Gasping, sobbing, I feel the weight of darkness fall upon me, the floor cold under my useless shell, a sense of shattering. I do not truly care, but I know, with the breaking thunder in the sky, with the darkness descending, with dreams breaking, crashing upon the golden shores of my home, of a sudden, I know.

Manwe's eagles come upon Numenor.



~~End~~



Save perhaps the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, not a single story in the Silmarillion is as tragic as the Fall of Numenor. It is a story of mankind reaching out for the thing it craves perhaps most of all, only to be denied it and punished by the gods for daring to try.

Some may say - the good Professor Tolkien being one of those - that the Numenoreans were justly punished, that they should never have tried to exceed the limits placed upon them by their very nature.

Our *very nature* is to try to be more than what we are.

I will not forget Numenor, nor will I ever stop trying.

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.

Story Information

Author: Joan Milligan

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: Akallabêth/Last Alliance

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 09/03/02

Original Post: 09/02/02

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