3. The Fading Crown
THE FADING CROWN
Galadriel takes council with her thoughts and receives Aragorn, who seeks refuge at Lórien's borders.
O Lórien! Once more you are crowned in golden flowers and green leaves. What praise of you, sweeter than honey, shall flow drop by drop from Elven-harps into the Celebrant? Across the sundering seas to the West, Varda Tintallë has lighted the firmaments.
Beyond the lees of your woods the darkness is gathering, but beneath the malinornë the Elves are singing. Arrayed you are again in the favors of spring. Yet no spring can rival the lost colours of Doriath, while the nightingales warbled and Tinúviel yet lived. At your knee the sweet runnels gather in silvery pools, reflecting your splendid wreath, but on the turf of Túna the azured harebells are not slain by frost and the music does not cease.
Lórien, how the winters have grown long.
A darkness is again walking. What light shall come to we who dwell in the forgotten East? My powers fade as the years fall through my memory like leaves. Joy and sorrow have twined. My thought are ever turned to the West, but Ossë still wields his ire over the Sea, though the waves are leavened with the voices of the Teleri in Tol Eressëa, and the grey air is full of the songs of gulls. Their cries are ever at the edge of my hearing.
Nay! I will not think yet on the Sea! Not while my power yet lasts to refuse. Too often I have questioned providence, or defied the stern councils of the Valar, and too long I have tarried here. Who shall convey over the wild waves to the lost West my pleas of pardon? Alas, none who now remain.
But what strength have we? We are dwindled, our host reduced to companies of scouts and fencers who can but keep evil from our borders. No more can we rise to defy Sauron in battle-- such power no longer resides in our times, though even in our youth we could not defeat the darkness.
Alas! that in the shadowy voices of the Sea I still hear the songs of old.
Our hope must come of Men, though hard it is for the Elves to lean on their hearts. They 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, spending at last in separate seas; though drawn we were from that common water we shall never be gathered again.
O Eru Ilúvatar! Wherefore have you sundered your children? 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?
Alas, it must be so. 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: out of the wild fields of the North he shall rise, one who bears the fate of this Age.
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. Now that he is before me, 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. Dúnadan, Dúnadan! Let your heart be bare no more.
Aye, I have no choice -- it has already been made before me. Let here be the summer of his youth, though may his old age out last it.
"You have come at last, Dúnadan, to Lórien where many hearts dwell. Welcome indeed! I shall array you as one of our own people, and you shall have leave to stay in our Woods until you have found your healing."
In Lorien fair the spring is calling,
The Valley of Gold by the River a-flowing;
The birds awake, their songs are falling
On elanors gold in winds a-blowing.
In Lorien fair, the stars ascending
The tips of mallyrn and gold blooms 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 fates 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.