When the wind swerves inland from the sea, it storms over the bare Tower Hills and gentles only after the long sweep across the West March. Gulls will skirr on its ruffled tail, but they wheel back long before the wooded Downs swell on the horizon. At the heart of the mildly rolling country lies a garden where fine, rare scents blend through all seasons, even in mid-winter.
From the profusion of this garden, the wind gathers spores and seeds that it scatters along the hedgerows and the drowsy water-courses, so that strange blooms may startle wanderers in spring. The wind trails playful breezes through the orchard as it steals up the Hill to brush a pair of strong brown hands that are never idle. If they aren't filled with rich black earth, they mend broken tools, braid strips of bark or bend willow twigs into small baskets for the children. Sometimes, at the hour of dusk, the traveller will sit high on the slope, rolling a pebble back and forth in the cup of his hands. Or he'll shape unfinished rhymes that float downhill and catch in the rustling foliage of a single mallorn tree.
On this frosty autumn morning, the wind finds the traveller on the bench by the toolshed, carving swirled patterns into the length of a walking stick. The flash of the knife between his fingers casts dancing reflections across his still face. At the first graze of the briny scent, he tilts his head to the side. Although his straining knuckles lighten the skin, he doesn't pause in his whittling. Beneath the busy blade, curled strips of bark shear off the pale wood.
With a soft hiss through the bleached grass, the wind settles near the traveller. It carries the sound of the sea for his ears alone: The soft, mournful lap of low tide that trails winding runlets through the shallows. The angry leap and roar of returning waves, pounding against harsh, ancient cliffs. And the yearning hum as the tide turns, slow waves cradling the sides of a white ship.
With a sudden scrape, the knife skitters across the wood. The traveller closes his eyes to breathe in the wind's gift and bury the lonely hum in his chest. And perhaps in days to come, a new song will unravel from it. His eyes are stung red when they open again, but he greets the wind with a smile.
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.