She had buried the small body of the white tern below her bush of cream-colored roses, covering it with green moss and smooth pebbles she had picked up on the beach once.
Standing on her balcony, looking towards the East, she had begun to shake with the realization. Her legs suddenly weak she slid down to the smooth white stone.
Her back resting against the doorframe of intricately carved mahogany wood, she tried to breathe slowly and easily.
She stared across the endless sea. Green and blue waves glittered like silver in the morning sun. She lifted her golden, bird-like eyes and searched the Eastern horizon. But high as her tower might be, she could not see the shores of Arda from here. Indeed, she could not fly high enough in the sky during a single night to catch but a glimpse of its shores of green and grey, far away.
But he was there.
He was at the lighthouse of the Grey Havens.
Would he be human once more?
Or turned into stone?
A setting for the crystal blazing across the sea of night?
She knew she had to rest. She had to gather all her strength to fly. She would have to fly farther than she had ever flown before.
But she could not go in just yet.
Knowing that he was there, somewhere –
She could not turn her gaze from the Eastern horizon.
Tears of longing glittered in her eyes.
A brilliant morning sun hit the glowing white stones of the tower. Its white stones shimmered whiter than the snowier glaciers of the Pelóri, whiter than the few fluffy clouds of summer drifting in the skies so blue.
On the balcony of the tower, which was facing towards the East, away from Aman and across the sea, a bush with cream-colored roses was blooming, adding its sweet fragrance to the salty sea breeze. The soft warm wind drifting in from the sea lifted the silky strands of white hair from the tense face of an Elvish woman, who sat cross-legged, her back against the doorframe, looking out across the sea. Her figure was delicate, birdlike; her eyes golden, her pupils large and black, a disconcerting gaze, intense and almost feral with longing. Dark, slanting eyebrows and sharp pointy ears only added to the impression of caged wilderness, which her body held.
White bird waiting.
Had there ever been a longer day?
She had finally left the balcony and gone back into the circular room at the very top of her white tower, when the unrelenting heat of the summer sun at noon had become too hard to bear, even for her.
The windows of her tower were hung with heavy grey drapes, and the thick stone walls preserved some measure of coolness and shadow even in this hottest of summers.
She forced herself to eat well and drink a lot of cool, clear water.
She had to gather as much energy into herself as possible for the night.
She lay down on her broad bed, pulling a silken sheet across her lithe body.
She did not close her eyes, but chose to walk the strange roads of Elvish dreams with open eyes, slightly glazed, unfocused – mind and soul far, far away.
The hours of the hot afternoon dragged along.
Minutes turned into years and hours into centuries.
At least it seemed to her as if eternity had come to visit for this afternoon.
Finally, finally, the late and golden summer sun sunk behind the Pelóri.
Twilight swept across the Wastes of Araman and the Shadowy Seas.
And yet the sky remained bright and blue, and no star and only a pale moon slowly rising for another millennium of an hour or two.
Far away in the East the first star finally rose. Varda’s first blessing to Ilúvatar’s first children, Vardamir. The first hint of silver reflected on Elwing’s still eyes, and roused her instantly.
She drew a deep shuddering breath.
She rose from the bed and slid out of her simple white gown.
She walked out on the balcony naked; her only cloak her feathery white hair, drifting down to her ankles.
For a moment she stood on the balcony in the summer night.
Her golden eyes glittered with starlight, her white hair shimmered like the moon fallen to earth, her pure, pale skin glowed like mother of pearl.
She inhaled the sweet, cool air of night and sea of summer.
A night for singing.
A night for dancing.
A night for loving.
A night for flying.
She lifted her slender white arms high above her head, and in letting them fall, she launched herself from the balcony into the air.
Tumbling, falling –
spreading her wings, gliding across the waves whiter than a moon beam, rising, soaring, high and higher in the sky.
White bird must fly.
She took her bearing. Straight across the sundering seas, forever to the East.
As a bird her heart was cool and composed.
The feathers of her wings caught the currents of air drifting up from the waves.
She rose yet another league and spread her wings as far as she might.
The winds were favorable tonight, blowing from the West, gaining strength from the heat rising from the surface of the ocean.
For hours she was carried by those winds, flying league after league to the East without having to exert any strength of wing.
From Elwing’s tower to the lighthouse of the Grey Havens the sundering seas span a distance of more than 1,200 miles.
As the night slowly passed, the winds changed, the additional strength of the winds, which had been gained from air rising from the heated surface of the summer seas, diminished.
More and more she had to call on her own body’s strength to carry her on and on towards the East.
The stars changed.
The path of the full moon drew to its end.
White bird flew on and on.
A summer sea of silver stretched in endless waves below her. A starlit heaven of summer rose eternally above her. But Elwing never noticed.
Her mind was on a light she could see far to the East.
Far, far away she thought she could see a light.
Now it was gone.
Then it was there.
Now it was gone, then it was there; pulsing like a heartbeat through the endless night.
Eärendil’s light returned to earth once more.
Elwing’s love giving her heart wings.
On and on she flew, but still there was no coast.
Midnight gone, white bird flies on.
oooOoooIn the small hours of the night her wings weaken.
Now she has to concentrate on each stroke of her white wings, wheeling from air current to air current, golden eyes burning with fatigue.
The lithe, strong body of the white bird grows heavier from hour to hour.
Her breathing is no longer easy. Each breath sears her tired lungs like fire.
But there are still hours left to the summer’s night, and the sundering seas are still wide.
White bird’s will and not her wings carries her on.
As the night grows light, she can see finally see the distant shore.
But the stars already grow dim.
Not much is left of the darkness of the summer’s night.
Not much is left of her wings’ white power.
Perhaps an hour.
Will this be enough to carry white bird to shore?
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