2. Mother of Mine
-The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,
Book Two, Chapter 1—Many Meetings
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine
I know whose love would follow me still
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine
- Rudyard Kipling, Mother o' mine
She will leave us; she will depart to Valinor, how can she bring herself to do this? Can she truly find it in her heart to leave us, my brother and I, our sister Arwen, and Adar? Mother, dear Mother, would you add to sorrow more sorrow by departing? But can I blame her, my beloved mother? No, if there is anyone who must bear the blame for this separation, it is I. I failed her. I have regretted it, everyday for this past year. Ai, dear Naneth, if I had just found you sooner, you would not have been subjected to the torture you were put through, if only I had insisted on escorting you myself, I should have known better, should have known how unsafe it was for any being to journey through the Redhorn Pass, if only, Naneth, Mother, if only…
Arwen's face is streaked with the tears that flow freely, eyes red, I put my arm around her, trying to comfort my distraught sister. My brother is seemingly stoic, but I know better, he feels the pain as acutely as I do.
“Fret not, sister, grieve not,” I whisper.
“How can I not weep, brother?” She replies, sobbing. “My dearest mother is leaving, she has suffered so much already, we all have, can the Valar not be merciful and relieve her of her misery, that she would not have to sail to away? My heart pains at this parting, I love her dearly, how can I not weep?”
To that, I do not have the answer. Arwen, sister, this is all my doing, because of my folly I had let our Mother venture into danger, this is the result of my actions, I have paid the price for my complacency. A faint noise causes us to look up, there she stands before us, the sun shining down upon her hair, crowning it in a halo of golden, the beauty and light of the stars flickering upon her brow, surrounding her. To me, my mother will always bear the very face of beauty itself; no evil can tarnish such wonder.
“I galad, ah, i galad! ” I whisper in awe, but even so, there is something different about my Mother, something different about the glow of her beauty, something subtle, something elusive, and it troubles me. “Mother…ai…” Arwen, unable to suppress her grief, flings herself into mother's arms, and mother, in turn, holds her tightly, and soothes her with words in her quiet, calming voice.
“Shh, my little Undómiel, dearest daughter, bright Evenstar,” she says, stroking Arwen's dark hair, speaking to her as if Arwen is once again the young maiden whom she cradled as a child and sang to sleep. Watching the serene face of my mother, my brother and I impulsively drop to our knees in front of her.
“Mother,” I say, my eyes on the ground. “I am sorry.”
“As am I,” echoes my brother.
“My sons, what has possessed you to apologize to me, when you have done no wrong?” comes the melodious, slightly startled voice of my Mother.
“Naneth, I have wronged you, I have hurt you, it was I had caused you grievous harm,” bursts out my brother, his fists clenched in agony, the guilt consuming us two. “It was not my brother, Naneth, it was I,” I refuse to let my brother take the blame for what was caused by us two.
“Nay, dearest, what madness is this? You two have never done anything to cause me grief!”
“But we have, we have!” I reply, the guilt consuming me.
“That day, mother, the day before you departed to Lórien.” Says my brother, his voice low. “We asked if you would have us to escort you, and you declined. In our folly, we thought that none would dare harm you, that the Redhorn Pass was but a path to the Golden Woods, we had not the wit to think of what danger might befall you.”
“And because of our complacency and laziness, you…fell into the hands of…of evil. We should have insisted that we accompany you, then it may be that none it would have come to this, maybe-“
“No, my son, speak no more,” my Mother says, bending down and placing a finger upon my lips, entreating silence from me. Her face tightens and she closes her eyes, I fear that she will weep, no, I cannot bear it if she did, I would rather bear the burden of my wrongs for all the Ages rather than beg forgiveness if the memory of what happened will bring her more pain, I will give anything to take back what I have just said. But swiftly as it came, the moment passes, and I find myself once again staring at beauty unparalleled, sweet and loving.
“'Tis not your fault, my sons, it was never your fault,” speaks my Mother, softly. “I assured you that there was no such need to escort me. If anything, I brought what happened upon myself.” My brother and I simultaneously open our mouths to protest, but stop when Mother speaks again.
“But, my beloved sons,” she continues, “what is done, is done. What has come to pass cannot be reversed; we must take no other road than the one that leads us forward. Forward, always forward, never looking back. Remember that, dearest kinsmen.”
She suddenly leans forward and embraces us both, and I cling to her, never wanting to let go. But I know what I must do. She will be strong for us, and I too, must do the same for her. As she releases us, and we stand, I force myself to smile, and gently kiss her cheek.
“Will you accompany your atar and I to the Grey Havens?” Mother addresses the three of us.
Arwen shakes her head, as do my brother and I. Watching her as her ship departs would be too much of finality, too certain a closure, and I cannot bear to see her passing, neither can my siblings. And I am sure that Atar would want to spend the last moments with her alone, before they are separated. But I cannot help but feel a pang of worry; the memory of what happened still haunts me, but Glorfindel, Elf-lord, strides up and claps a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
“I will protect your Father and Mother with my life, if it should come to that,” he says, and I nod, trusting in the wisdom, courage and strength of one so valiant.
Mother mounts her horse, her raiment white yet glimmering silver, and the wind in her hair. Atar and their escort follow suit, Glorfindel behind Naneth and Atar, Lindir in the rear. Mother smiles at us, but does not bid us farewell, and I would not have her do so, I do not want to be faced with the confirmation of her departure, I would rather her leave without saying her farewells, as if she were merely on a short journey elsewhere. Then, they are gone, all of them, in what seems to be too hasty a departure, but she must go, be it sooner or later, I think it better if she departs so suddenly, rather than linger on and prolong the sorrow. I will see her again; I know, but even so, my heart pains at this separation.
What is done, is done.
I shut my eyes and clench my fists, almost as if I would will the hurt away.
What has come to pass cannot be reversed.
I hear someone calling my name, and open my eyes to see my brother standing in front of me, with him, our horses.
“Shall we?” he cracks the faintest of smiles, and I can see the long absent glint of mischief in his eyes, and, for the first time in a long while, I can feel the faint, restless stirring in my heart.
I do not reply, but swing myself up on my steed, as does he.
“Will you ride with us, sister?” I ask Arwen.
“Nay, brothers,” is her reply. “I will retreat to the gardens to be in solace. You must thunder on, I must find my peace in isolation.”
“Then come, brother! We ride!”
We must take no other road than the one that leads us forward.
I am flying, the ground is my air, the vast, endless plains are mine to conquer, mine to rediscover. The wind is my ally, it sends me soaring, the elation of freedom and recklessness is coursing through me. I turn to glance at my brother and catch his eye, his head is thrown back, he is laughing, singing, I do not know, I hear only the music of happiness. It seems to me that the sound is as wondrous as the Music of the Ainur, the Ainur created this music of laughter, it is the most beautiful melody, the sweetest sound of the earth. The elven bards can create their tunes, but they will never rival this. I smile at my brother and let out a yell of elation, my voice blending in with the thundering of hooves.
“Nahar! Nahar! Noro lim, Nahar!” cries my brother, though not to his steed, his voice ringing, as we ride on the creatures of Oromë, and the Valier Nessa seems to be with us as we ride faster, faster, swifter still, racing onward, rushing forward.
Forward, always forward, never looking back.
Then I see her. The face of my Mother as when my Brother and I found her, contorted in pain, tears upon her cheeks, beauty transformed to anguish and sorrow, into suffering and grief. No, Mother, Ai!
I look to my brother for support, but I find that he too, bears the expression of one remembering pain, and I am filled with sorrow.
Our steeds have halted. The exhilaration is gone, the earth is but earth, lifeless and dull, the wind but a breath of passing air, and the skies are unreachable.
“Brother,” I call softly to him. “Come,”
He nods, and we turn our horses, riding slowly, wearily back to Rivendell, accepting, with a grim resignation, that we would forever be haunted by the knowledge of what torment our dearest Mother has endured.
Remember that, dearest kinsmen.
I tried Mother, I tried.
I galad, ah, i galad! —The Light, ah, the Light!
Nahar! Nahar! Noro lim, Nahar! —Nahar, Nahar! Ride fast, Nahar!
Nahar is the steed of the Valar Oromë.
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.