1. Only the Beginning
Edmund Blair Leighton - Tristan and Isolde
We meet in the gardens of the Houses of Healing as often as we can, my beloved and I, even though neither of us has need of treatment now. Here it all began but a few weeks ago and both of us treasure the memories, and so we come here.
When he is with me, my heart feels light even in the face of my grief for those I lost in the war. This time, he has brought his harp with him. It is made of the dark Lebethron wood that grows here in Gondor and ornamented with silver stars, obviously well used and treasured. My beloved is a poet as well as a musician; and I wonder how the White Lady of Rohan came to love such a gentle person as Faramir of Gondor.
And so we sit in these fair gardens that overlook the White City, over which my beloved was Lord for a short time, and I watch and listen as his long fingers pluck the strings and his voice sings in a language not known to me. He plays it well. The Elvish lay is fair, though its tune is sad; and even though I do not understand the words, my heart knows their meaning. His voice is also fair and I am glad.
Then his hands still and he leans over. "I will tell you the meaning of the lay, if you will hear it." I nod and think he will translate it for me, but he does not. He sighs and is still for a moment and I fear that he might not talk again. But then he takes up his harp once more and plays a wordless tune. "I translated it myself when I was a young man, before the shadow lay so heavily upon us," he says softy, his voice accompanied by the harp's tune, and the last words are almost too low for me to hear, "and I have not a minstrel's skill, who might have succeeded better in capturing the ann-thennath, in which it was written."
He starts again; the melody is the same, but now I can understand the words. He sings to me of a forbidden love, a journey into dangers unimaginable, of death, love lost and love enduring beyond death.
When his voice finally falls silent, dusk has fallen over the White City. But neither of us has the desire to move just yet and we remain seated on the stone bench. I feel safe when he is with me, and at this moment it seems to me as if nothing in the world could ever harm me. I know that he loves me with all his heart, and so I love him as well.
I breathe in deeply and think back and see how foolish I was. But now my way is even and I see it clearly before mine eyes. My steps will be secure and again I feel how glad I am.
No queen will I be, but I desire it no longer. I am the Queen of his heart, and it is more than enough. "We will make a garden," he says. It will be in Ithilien where my beloved is now Prince. And it will be a beautiful one, many things will grow and flourish there. Who then, has need of a city of stone? I will have my horses in his beloved land. Peace, and happiness; could I wish for more?
But much healing and mending has yet to be done before our dream can come true. There is no house yet, and it will take time until we can go there. He will prepare it.
And I have other things to prepare. Tomorrow I will leave with my brother and our people to make ready a place of rest for our beloved king and uncle.
I stir then, for I need to be abed now. He removes his arms so I can stand. I feel the cool night-air and already I miss him. There will be many other nights, I tell myself.
When I turn around to face him, I see that he has stood also and now brings his face down to mine. Our lips meet in a gentle kiss and I know it has only just begun.
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.