Where Love Is: 9. Eight

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9. Eight

summer, 467

I have just returned from Nargothrond.

Galadriel knows everything.

It did not occur as I expected. Five years have passed since we are espoused, and certainly we have spoken of ending this foolish secrecy. Silence does not suit us; to conceal the very fabric of our lives from others is like covering a candle and trying to see by its light. But we have had other concerns, and even revealing the truth to a few would be a difficult matter. There are so many whom we doubt we could confide in, and so many whom, once confidants, have perished. Of those who remain, I thought first of my cousin, who is wise in such matters and fair in her judgments. But I have not seen her, so rarely does she leave Doriath, and thus the matter had not been broached.

This season, however, we met in Nargothrond, and within a day of my arrival she had taken me aside and asked me, very gently, if there was anything I would like to share with her. With prompting, she explained that there had been some quiet conversation among those closer to me about the change in my face and manner, and it had been concluded that I had taken a wife who did not dwell close to Barad Eithel, and that, for some reason, I had chosen to conceal the matter from others.

I will confess I laughed at this deduction, and was moreover relieved that this change in my life had not been wholly overlooked. Then, perhaps a little foolheartedly, I told her all that had passed between Maedhros and myself.

She listened, of course, in her intent, knowing way, her eyes always upon my face, and always compassionate. But the words that followed questioned what I have so long accepted as truth: could I be sure that this was not some twisting of my friendship by the Enemy? Would I be content with this secret love, never to be wholly honest with the world? Never to have children?

I came to harsh words with her then, but soon she perceived I was earnest in my feelings, and asked me to forgive her for her speech--it was only that she was bewildered by this unexpected divulgence, so unprecedented and incomprehensible to her. "But I see now - though I can scarcely tell how - that your love is a true one," she said, "and as one who has also loved, I will doubt you no longer." Then her nephew came into the room, and we did not speak of it again.

I have thought for a long time on the things she said, matters which Maedhros and I have ourselves discussed. We have known a few who have been married and chosen to live childless, but it is a rare thing, and indeed, physical love is held to be intrinsically tied to the bearing of children, so that after a time, we desire it no longer. How will this be, with me and my spouse, and (as Galadriel's objections implicitly questioned), why would Ilúvatar will it that a fruitless love such as ours be?

Maedhros, more than I, sees it as a foolish question--it is not wrong to be childless, and had we not espoused, such would we be anyway. And should we desire children, he reminds me, there may be a time when war ends and the casualties of war must be dealt with--including the raising of orphans.

Apprehending my objections, he added, "And yes, I know that all this presupposes a broken Arda--but this does not invalidate such a vocation, which could not have been had in an unblemished world. A fighter may be useless in times of peace, and a healer likewise, but this does not cast a shadow upon them, or lessen their glory when they have the opportunity to ply their trade."

An odd trade, this. And yet I know a woman, a daughter of Men, who is wife to a vassal of mine. They call her barren, for her body will not bear her children. Yet I always see her with young ones, her sister's children, she says, and there is a light in her face when she is with them. I suppose she has some sorrow--but perhaps this world was not formed that we live without some measure of sorrow. I do not know. We may speculate endlessly upon what might have been, had not the Shadow fallen upon us: but to what end? Rather let us turn to this world: one of great sorrows, but also of great joys.

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: toastedcheese

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: Multi-Age

Genre: Romance

Rating: General

Last Updated: 07/25/06

Original Post: 07/16/06

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Playlists Featuring the Story

First Age - 24 stories - Owner: oshun
My Time of the Trees and First Age favorites
Included because: Third Age reflecting on First Age - Arwen reads the story of the love of Fingon and Maedhros

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