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The Dreamer and the Minstrel
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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1
The Dreamer and the Minstrel

The white ship left its moorings in the harbour as swiftly and smoothly as all of its many hundreds of predecessors before it. Two men watched it leave from the top of a nearby cliff-face. No words were exchanged but both knew where the ship and her numerous crew were headed. They watched as the crew ran up the ropes and unfurled the sails giving the ship a greater speed across the waves; the stern ducking and diving amid the white surf and through the spray; but still neither said a word.

One man stood leaning against a smooth white staff; watching as the ship gathered speed and its crew turned it towards the West. He was robed all in white and his hair, which fell straight to the middle of his back, was white also, as was the short beard which framed his face, that made him seem centuries old. Yet the twinkle in his eyes seemed so contrary to make him seem young once more.

The wind beat against them, yet his hair barely stirred at all. Ossë’s power was revealed against the Exiles who were now returning; issuing them with a challenge that they might not forget.

The white haired man’s companion sat on the cliff’s edge seemingly oblivious to the winds that whipped his long raven hair against his face; he was clothed all in black well worn tattered clothes caked with the salt from the sea’s spray, just as his long hair was. He was thin, too thin and looked like one who has never eaten before, though that could not be believed. A small silver harp lay across his knees, perhaps indicating that at one point in the past he had been a Harper of great songs; meanwhile his left hand pulled his cloak around him, as his right hand, covered in an old ragged bandage, lay against the harp as though to protect it from the sea’s rage. Young he looked to all, except if it was in his eyes, which projected a primeval light and depth borne to one who has seen much, lost much and gained a wisdom that few others could ever possess.

Finally the white haired man stirred from his vigil beside the other who still yet looked to the sea to perhaps find an answer to a question unvoiced. Glancing at his companion the Elder of the two, at least to the mortal eye, broke the silence.

“Why do you remain singer? Why do you remain by these far shores?”

With out even looking up the other responded.

“Because I have no other choice.” A simple answer from a man who could create lyrics, and put more to song than any other.

“There is always a choice.” Comes the curt reply, “why do you remain, almost all of thy kin have long since departed over the waves, why do you remain?”

“It is the penalty that I pay for the choices that I took.”

“We all make choices, some good, some bad, but who can tell whether a choice is for good or ill when it is considered in the great song of Arda.”

“But my choices ‘were’ ill, and they wrought much sorrow then, and after. How can this add to the beauty of the song?” Still though he refused to look up at his companion, seeming to find strength in the depths of the sea.

“Did not many great things come from your choices? For was it not in part due to your actions that brought together the three races of Ilúvatar, Ainu, Eldar, and Atani?” When the other spoke no word he continued, “Is it not because of your actions that we now have histories and songs to be proud of?”

“And history to be ashamed of!”

“Aye. But does that not just add to the diversity of the song? For in the beginning was there not tumult and uproar amidst the themes?”

Silence once again came from the minstrel, who sat, staring out across the waves attempting to perhaps see along the straight road and into the Uttermost West. Seeing this the other began again.

“They still speak of you.”

“They curse me.”

“They sing your songs.”

“They hate them.”

“He misses you.”

Abruptly he tore his eyes away from the sea to look up at his companion, “You…” he began, but his voice faltered, “You, you lie!”

Raising an eyebrow at his companion he answered, “when have I ever lied to you singer?”

Once again the singer uttered no word and turned back to the sea, but now he was lost in thoughts of the past of six brothers, and a pair of young twins…

“They ask of you, ask me where you are. For surely, they say, you have seen him in all your long travels.”

“And what do you say to them?” He replied absentmindedly, too caught up in the past to think of what he had said in the present.

“I say that I have seen him, and that he dwells by the sea.”

The singer was silent, lost in memories before he asked, a few minutes later the question that had been growing in his mind. “You plan on going west.” It was not posed as a question but as a fact that he seemed to have resigned himself to.

Nodding the elder man replied, “We shall leave within the next year.”

Looking up, it was now the singers turn to raise an eyebrow. “We?”

“Aye, we. The time of the Quendi is over and the time of the Atani is beginning. The Elder days have ended, the Middle days are ending and the younger days are waiting to begin. The Ringbearers will leave upon the ship prepared for them…”

“And the Valar have approved of this?”

“Of course, she has been pardoned as have…”

“I was not speaking of Artanis,” he interrupted, “I was speaking of the others; for were not two of these bearers mortal?”

“Aye, but was not Tuor mortal, and was he not allowed to dwell within the Blessed Realm?”

“I would not know,” came the bitter reply, “I have not been there for some time.”

“They have pardoned you…”

“Nay, they have not, ‘on the House of Fëanáro the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West unto the uttermost East, the Dispossesed shall they be forever.”

“But it is not said that the wrath of the Valar shall last forever.”

“Perhaps, but still will I remain.”

“There is naught that I can say to persuade you otherwise?”

“Nay there is not, for I would remain yet a while longer so that I may know that they have not forgotten our mistakes.”

“So then it is goodbye once again old friend? I had hoped that you would have come with us; for I am sure that thy mother longs to see one of her sons again.”

“Nay Dreamer I will not come and my mother is best not knowing of her son.”

“I do not think so Singer; and I do not think she would think so either. So I ask you, what would you have me tell her…and your wife?”

Startled once more the Singer looked up at his companion, “Tell them…” but he broke off, unable to voice the myriad of emotions that were running through his head at the thought of actually being able to have even this, albeit small link to a mother long thought of, and long missed, and to a wife long since lost. “Tell them,” he began again, “tell them that I miss them; and tell my wife that I still hold myself to our vows pledged in an age long since forgotten by most.” He broke off again, his voice thick with old emotions long buried.

“And your mother?” The Dreamer prodded gently, kneeling beside his companion, using his staff as a support.

“Tell my mother…nay, give her these.” And from the depths of his cloak he withdrew a small bundle of ancient papers, looking sadly at them he stroked them lovingly as he spoke. “I have guarded these for many years in the hope of finding my brother-son and giving these to him; but I know that that is a task now impossible to fulfill…so I ask you old friend, would you give these to her? And tell her that I pray that they shall give her some small comfort as they have given me some over the years.”

Looking quizzically at the small bundle that he was handed the old man looked at the Singer asking a silent question.

“They were written by my brothers, I know not truly what they contain for I have never looked at them myself. Though I believe that my fourth brother may have given things to his son that are not here. But if he did do so then they are lost forever; as Eregion has long since fallen.”

The white haired man nodded in understanding looking at the writings briefly before carefully putting them in the bag, which he wore. “Have you written anything of your own?” He questioned gently.

“Nay,” came the soft reply, “I wrote my own many years ago.”

Placing a hand upon the younger looking man’s arm in comfort the elder spoke to him again. “You are certain that you shall not come with us?”

“Aye old friend with the many names I am certain that I shall not come.”

“Many names?” He scoffed, “and what of you old friend? I know full well that you have many names of your own, ‘Guardian of the waves,’ many names indeed!”

A small smile was his reply.

“Now old friend I do want to say something to you…” He continued.

“And you have said naught?”

A raised eyebrow warned him to go no further, though his eyes sparkled with mirth. “Nay I have said only a little when you have allowed!”

A small chuckle came from the singer at this.

“But as I was saying,” he continued, “I wish you to swear to me that you will come…”

“I will swear naught!” Came the dark reply.

“Pardon old friend that was not well put. What I meant was I would like you to promise me that you will come at some point in the future.”

“I will say neither yea, nor will I say nay, for it all depends upon what may happen…”

“Makalaurë, please!”

“Nay, I have given you my answer be content.”

“Nay you have not, you have simply given me the riddling reply of the Elves. But still, I cannot persuade you otherwise can I old friend.”

“Nay, you have my answer.” A grasp of arms in an affectionate grip signalled to the elder of the two that it was time to leave.

As the pair got to their feet they noticed as if for the first time, that the white Elven ship had disappeared from view, to pass along the straight road that only it could take. “I bid you farewell old friend.”

“And I you Minstrel, and I you. I just hope that the day will come soon; Kanafinwë Makalaurë when you too will take the Straight Road, for you will be welcome.” He spoke, before he turned and began walking back down the slope and so away from the watching Minstrel.

After watching the other until he disappeared the Minstrel sighed;

“Goodbye Olórin, perhaps one day we shall meet again.”

Turning back to the ocean he watched the waves roll back and forth hitting the shore; the foam-spray dashed up against the cliff-face, the surf catching him in the face as the wind picked up and Ossës’s rage increased. Finally he sighed once again;

“One day...”

Before lifting up his head starting to sing a haunting melody of the sea, and of a road that he may yet take.

One day…

*******

~~~

Olórin in Quenya means something like dreamer, hence the nickname Maglor refers to him by, dreamer.

While Kanafinwë Makalaurë is the Quenya form of Maglor’s name.

Makalaurë = Maglor

Which is usually interpreted as meaning ‘forging gold’, in reference to his skill in harping. Which is why Olórin refers to him as Singer or minstrel, beside the fact that he is one of the greatest that ever lived!

Artanis=Galadriel

Fëanáro = Fëanor, of course, who else could it be!


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