11. Epilogue: The Sundering Sea
Epilogue: The Sundering Sea
"Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep,
He hath awaken'd from the dream of life;"
Percy Shelley, Adonais
Dach-nai, awoke from the dream of life and threw off the prison of her mortal body like a worn-out cloak. In ages past, she had been known by the lover-name of Lalaithiel, queen and consort of Thranduil Oropherion, and later as Sigrid, his Mortal concubine, but Dach-nai was her spirit name, given to her in secret by her parents and revealed only to one other at the moment of their bonding. It was her true name before The One, in whose world she walked now.
Free of the illusion of flesh, she recognized her name at last, but it came as no surprise, for had she not seen the symbol of it written above her husband's heart every day for the past thirty years and for millennia before that? And how she had treasured it, both knowing and unknowing, in the moments of their intimacy, as a living symbol of the vow he had made to her.
She turned back toward the bed and beheld a golden-haired elf cradling the empty husk of a woman and rocking in silent grief. The sight moved her to pity, but she reined herself back firmly. This had been her snare before, and she dared not give in to it.
From the west, a song wove its seductive tendrils about her mind, calling her to dark halls that promised rest, surcease and the prospect of return to life. It was through those halls she must pass, for love.
Behind her lay a golden king. Ahead of her, in the west, lay a golden prince; and in between a dark god who must be obeyed and appeased. Her trembling faer feared the call; to leave the woods that had sheltered her, the shores that had been her home. Just as, in the body of Sigrid the mortal girl, she had hesitated in fear on the banks of the Celduin, unwilling to leave the comforting safety of the trees, she felt uncertain now. Yet the whispered urging of the trees had brought her to her love again. The Call would lead her to her desire if only she were brave enough.
'Truly, life in the flesh teaches us lessons, and this one, I have learned.' The thought would have made her smile, had she any lips with which to do it. 'Have courage, Dach-nai, you have the strength to do this.'
She spared one last look back. 'Oh, Thranduil, how I have loved you! But it is my turn to care for our son now.' She turned away. His was still the unprofitable strife of the flesh, the long defeat.
Untrammeled by a body, she moved through the living rock and out into the night air. The forest lay quiet under the heat of summer as she traveled westward. From the dark mountain to the south, whence flowed the Enchanted Stream, the voices of her people called to her. She answered them joyfully but did not turn aside. They, too, must be left behind under the protection of her husband, and she knew he would do it well.
Below her, the peaks of the Hithlaeglir were beset by a summer thunderstorm, the clouds riven by bright flashes of lightning. Picking up speed, she flew over the darkened land of Eriador, now bereft of Elvenkind, and ahead of her, the bright star of Eärendil burned as a beacon to guide her way to Eternal lands as her faer set out across the sundering sea.
* * *
* * * * * * *
Author's Notes: The secret Avorren name of Thranduil's wife, Dach-nai, comes from a translation by Darth Fingon. Thank you Darth! Thanks also to my beta, Ignoble Bard.
The knowledge that Thranduil's wife was Avorren, how they met and courted, and the ultimate cause of her death may be found in greater detail in my stories, When Trees Are Bare, King Stag, and All That Is Gold.
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.