Special thanks to my beta, Julie, for her work on such short notice.
With one last embrace, I shed the warmth of the home of my dearest friend. Heavily cloaked against the storm, I step out into the cold dark rain-swept street.
“Return again tomorrow, dear Anairë,” she calls to me from the door. I look back and see the glint of her husband’s golden hair mingling with the silver of hers over her shoulder as she leans back into his embrace. For all of their radiant gold and silver, they remind me of Laurelin and Telperion, standing there bathed in the light of the candles and lanterns illuminating their doorway.
With a wave, I turn and walk further into the ever-present darkness. It is strange to think that what was once merely the home of Arafinwë and Eärwen is now the palace of the King and Queen of the Noldor, but that is the way of it now that he is King. Such a strange King he is too, devoid of the pride of the Noldor, but filled with the strength, wisdom, and humility suitable to a noble of the Vanyar - a true servant of the Valar. It is a pity he came into his own too late to save the majority of our people from self-imposed exile in Endor – and doom.
I remember when my own house was the palace of the King and Queen for those brief years when Nolofinwë ruled while his father shared the exile of Fëanor – the favorite scion of Finwë. My husband was wise and just in his rule, trying so very hard, as he had all of his life, to do what he thought his father would have wanted. How he wished he could have pleased his father enough to gain even half of the attention, love, and pride that Finwë showered upon his eldest, most restless son. But it was never to be.
Fortunately, Fëanor is gone now, but so is Finwë, and so is my beloved Nolofinwë.
The wind blows the rain harder about me, assaulting the buildings, soaking my clothes. I quicken my pace toward my grand, lonely house: the noise of the storm harsh in my ears. I used to love the sounds of water – the gentle wash of the rain, the splash of the myriad of fountains of Tirion, the crash of the waves by the sea. But no longer.
Now, the rain is the heart-wrenching weeping of the countless tears I have shed for the loss of my husband and children and little granddaughter. The fountains are the powerful memories of my husband’s incredible strength, his passionate devoted love, and desperate struggles to rise up to the unattainable favor of Finwë – always to diminish and fall back in failure again and again. The waves of the sea are the pounding of swords on bow and bone and the laments for those so cruelly bereft of life. It is said that the waves of the sea still bring forth the bodies and possessions of the Noldorin exiles who suffered at the hands of Ossë for their blind murder of so many of the Teleri. How many mariners did my beloved children slay in their folly in the following of fell Fëanor? How many met their deaths at the points of my daughter’s arrows and my sons’ bright swords? Sometimes I wonder how I could have abandoned my precious family and returned to Tirion alone. But considering what they did to the Teleri, to their Aunt Eärwen’s own kin, how could I continue to abide with them?
With a great sigh, I step into my house, shedding my sodden cloak and the equally heavy burden of the memories that have haunted me this night. Nodding in greeting to one of the few servants left in the house, I make my way upstairs to my silent chambers.
A fire burns merrily in the hearth, filling my bedroom with a soft amber glow. Removing my clothes, I step into the warm scented water of the bath that always awaits me after my sojourns at Eärwen’s home. I sip cool wine from a crystal chalice glowing ruby-red in the candle light. The water embraces me, surrounding my weary body, soothing my troubled fëa. Here, for a little while each night, I can imagine that the light of the Trees will shine forth again, destroying this endless desolate night. I can pretend that my adoring husband with his broad shoulders, sensuous lips, and practiced hands awaits me in my bed. I can dream that my children and beautiful granddaughter will fill me with joy and laughter in the morning.
But, until those things truly do happen, I will take my nightly solace in these still waters and wait.
Laurelin and Telperion - the Two Trees who gave light to Aman before they were destroyed when Morgoth fled Aman with the silmarils.
In one of the History of Middle Earth books (can’t get to my copies right now to tell you which one), it says that Fingolfin’s wife forsook the march of the Noldor in grief over the slaying of the Teleri, largely because of her friendship with Eärwen, abandoning her husband and family to return to Tirion with Finarfin’s host.