Tales of Life: 6. Lack: The Days are Short

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6. Lack: The Days are Short

Prompt Five: Lack
Ficlet: The Days are Short
Rating: G
March 6th, Gap of Rohan
Originally written March 2006

Two messages came to him, and both were from people he admired and loved. The first was brought by Elrohir, from Elrond: 'The days are short. If thou art in haste, remember the Paths of the Dead.' The second was brought by Halbarad, and was from his own beloved: 'The days now are short. Either our hope cometh, or all hopes end. Therefore I send thee what I have made for thee. Fare well, Elfstone!'

Both Arwen and her father he trusted, and knew that they were wise; Elrond was old, and has seen many things, and Arwen had the wisdom of her ancestors. And indeed, their messages had only confirmed his own, dark thought: the days are short. Very short, with not much time to lose. But what was he supposed to do?

The rest of Arwen's message had not given him much more insight. She had sent him something of her making, something that would be revealed to the world at a later date. Though it had not helped solve his problem, it had given him much hope. It was Elrond's message, however, that left him puzzled.

'Remember the Paths of the Dead.' He knew well what the Paths of the Dead were, but to travel upon that road was an invitation for death. But of course, this was not the first time that it was prophesized that he would go upon that path. Nay, Lady Galadriel had also seen what lies before him: 'But dark is the path appointed for thee: The Dead watch the road that leads to the Sea.' And indeed, hundreds upon hundreds of years earlier, Malbeth the Seer had prophesized the same thing: 'From the North shall he come, need shall drive him: he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead.' It seemed as if every road led to that dark path.

But nay; he would not travel that road, not until he knew that there was no other choice. He would travel upon that road only when he knew that the days were too short for all other options.

He thought about the palantír, which lay in a sack within his keeping. To decide what he must do, he had to master the Stone and see his options. He had to know what else threatened Gondor, and if indeed there were any other choices. And when he found what he needed to know, he would decide his path. Things were now unfolding very quickly.

Aye, the days were short indeed.


Elrond's and Arwen's words are from 'The Passing of the Grey Company' of The Return of the King. Malbeth the Seer's prophecy is an excerpt from the full prophecy, also found in 'The Passing of the Grey Company'. Galadriel's words are from her full message to Aragorn in 'The White Rider' in The Two Towers.


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: Ainu Laire

Status: General

Completion: Ongoing Serial

Era: Multi-Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 09/21/08

Original Post: 09/20/08

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