3. The Fading Crown
THE FADING CROWN
Galadriel takes council with her thoughts and receives Aragorn, who seeks refuge at Lórien's borders.
Lórien! Arrayed we are again in the favors of spring, your leaves long and green, your golden flowers trembling. O the elanors of May gathering on Cerin Amroth like pearls on the summer-strand. O the jeweled firmaments of Varda glittering between the waking trees. It is as if winter never was.
The praise of spring, sweeter than honey, flows freely from Elven-harps into the swift River. But no spring can rival the lost colours of Doriath, while the nightingales warbled and Tinúviel yet lived. Beyond the lees of your woods the darkness is gathering, but beneath the malinornë the Elves are singing. At your knee a thousand runnels gather in silvery pools, reflecting your splendid wreath, but on the turf of Túna the azured harebells do not fall into frost and the music does not cease.
My powers fade as the years fall through my memory like leaves. Alas! for the bright boughs of Lórien. Alas! for the niphredil, that grew once in the woods of Neldoreth. They shall pass, like stone under water, like water into the Sea. Each winter stretches longer and each spring brings no healing. Joy and sorrow have twined. My thought are turned ever West, but all the Sea is cast in shadow, and all the light is hid. Ossë wields his wrath. Who shall convey over the wild waves to the lost West my pleas of pardon? None who now remain.
Now a shadow is again walking, and in my heart I fear the worst. The Wise are ever watchful but we are dwindled, our former host reduced to companies of scouts and fencers who can but keep evil from our borders. What hope shall come to we who dwell in the forgotten East? Men have fallen into darkness and ignominy, and their kingdoms are in disarray. Brethren we were once in the Elder Days: like two rivers flowing from a fork, running parallel past, peering out of thickening mist on each other's banks, yet spending at last in separate seas; though drawn we were from that common water we shall never be gathered again.
Alas! that in the shadowy voices of the Sea I still hear the songs of old. Ilúvatar, how shall we drink the slow draught of sorrow that passes to us age after age? Shall we gather the Dúnedain from their scattered lands, and renew the ragged folk of that line with even the light of our own children?
For now, tried and weary he is come to the halls of my house, seeking refuge and comfort, knowing not what treasures may lie here. I have foreseen this in the Mirror.
In shape he is like the Kings of Númenor of old, tall and grim; the Sea-light is in his countenance. In bearing and thoughts he is indeed very like a lord of the Eldar, wise and far-seeing, though his spirit is strange and fey to me -- the fates of Men are hidden to even the Wise.
Yet as he stands before me, bowed from weariness and his long labors, he seems so very young. I see it in his heart. His heart is like the heart of the Edain in their youth, when they first crossed the mountains and were led into Dorthonion by Felagund; when they first beheld the Eldar, and were awed by the majesty of the Light, and on their faces shone their love and youth like a lamp unblemished by the dark deeds of Morgoth or the long river of woe that became the tales of their people.
May that river be stemmed, for at least a while. I see much in him: much greatness and much sorrow. He will rise or fall with this Age. But whether he rises or no, she shall cleave to him.
O Lórien, let you be the summer of his youth, though may his old age out last you.
"You have come at last, Dúnadan, to Lórien where many hearts dwell. Welcome indeed! I shall array you as one of my own people, and you shall have leave to stay in our Woods until you have found your healing."
In Lórien, the spring is calling,
The Valley of Gold, by the river a-flowing;
The birds awake, their songs are falling
On elanor blooms in winds a-blowing.
Like shinning jewels are stars ascending
On mallorn-leaves and flowers glowing;
The Evenstar bright-- her light is blending
With Sunbeams faded and Moonlight growing.
A ship did sail, from West Undying;
That bore a Stone, with green light shinning.
The bearer shall come, in springtime sighing:
Evenstar, Elessar, their lights entwining.
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.