It was a day of brilliant light, cloudless and clear. The Sons of Fëanor were long gone, and Arwen had flown. Elwing and Eärendil stood at the far end of the long pier that stretched to the edge of the reef. A crowd of townsfolk waited with them, to bid Nierninwa and his crew farewell. Alpessë had limped into port a dozen nights ago, and Elwing's new guard-Captain and her people were still cheerfully recounting their adventures to all who would listen. There had been encounters not only with sea-lizards, but with the great squid-kind that hunted them. Strong though the swanships were, they were not built to long withstand the tentacles of a kraken in direct attack, and it had only been Falathin and her first mate's power that drove the beasts off before they reduced Alpessë to splinters. The size of all the creatures involved was of course still growing in the telling.
The water rippled beside the pier, and Núrána's sleek, grey bulk rose into the sunlight (8), to cheers and singing from the crowd. Like the great fishes whose shape she mimicked, the deep-runner could not long endure the air; her shining, flexible hide needed water to maintain its strength. The hatch opened, and Nierninwa leaped out onto the pier, smiling. Elwing and Eärendil embraced him, one after the other, and wished him a fair voyage, as did many of the townsfolk. He replied in kind, but the call of the Sea was already strong upon him, and he did not linger once the songs of farewell were sung. Núrána sounded her horn, three notes as deep and sweet as the horn-call of Ulmo her Lord, and returned to her element. Her wake showed for a while, heading eastward; then she found her depth and was gone.
The people dispersed, bidding the Mariner and the Lady polite farewell before going about their own business. Falathin hovered briefly, before apparently deciding that they were safe enough on their own. Elwing watched her stride back to shore, then turned back to her husband. He held out his hand, smiling, and she took it. They strolled back along the pier hand in hand, and then towards the Tower along the sandy curve of the sea-walk.
"I think that I will go with the deep-runners soon." she said. "If my people consent, Olwë and Falmariel may send some other of the Swan-kin to rule here for a space. I have a yen to explore the deeps below, as you explore the deeps above."
Her husband's eyes shone. "That would be a fine thing!"
He waved his free arm at Vingilot, swinging at anchor in the bay. The Silmaril blazed again at her prow, its light sensible even in the full blaze of the Sun.
"We will meet each other half-way, as we did of old, only you will rise from the depths and I will descend from the heights, and we will meet and exchange the tales of our wandering, at peace upon the sweet bosom of the Sea."
Elwing laughed, sudden and sweet.
"And perhaps I will find the other Silmaril, the one that was lost under the waves."
Eärendil stopped and turned to her, abruptly sober. The wind had gentled, and the only sound was the low lapping of the water against the shingle.
"And if you do, beloved, if you find it, what will you then?"
She smiled still, but her eyes were serious.
"My love, the Sea is Ulmo's realm; nothing moves or is there without His will. I would not dispute the Silmaril with Him."
They were close enough that even the soft breeze tangled their hair about them, gold and dark. They shared a long glance.
Elwing said gravely, " Two sons of Fëanor have been more than enough company for this Age. I do not wish to find Maglor also importuning me upon my doorstep some day."
Eärendil laughed, but there was still a shadow upon him. She understood and was not angry. She clasped his hands and lifted them to her breast and made him her promise eye to eye, as on the day that they had wed, long ago in another world.
"Beloved. Trust the Sea to keep what it holds. Let the Jewel shine below as its match shines above. Wherever it lies, I will let it be. "
. . . . .
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.