Early 2510 Third Age
Mithlond, at last. The white ship waits at the quay, gleaming in the perverse sunshine.
I bid the solemn guards withdraw, affording the family seclusion for their final farewells — but linger discreetly.
Elrond has borne so many losses before: his mother's flight from Sirion; his father, sailing the skies; his brother's surrender to mortality; his foster father, mighty singer, suffering Silmaril-curst madness; his mentor-king's death by Sauron's fell flame.
Now, Celebrían, too, departs. The greatest Healer in Middle-earth cannot mend his wife's spirit. Can the grief-stricken husband mend his own heart?
My dear friend, how can I help you endure?
"My heart breaks to leave you all, but I cannot abide here." A plea for understanding... and reunion. "Please promise that when you make your choice, you will follow — I must know I will see you again!"
Arwen is too overcome to speak, but Elladan and Elrohir pledge to sail in due time.
I kiss each farewell, but tarry, wishing to leave some gift to recall me by. Mind numbed by joylessness, I cast about for insight... until I recollect my father's words as I left Lórien to dwell with my sober Noldorin loremaster:
"Remember to sing under the stars!"
My brother and I stand steadfastly, flanking our sister to shelter her from the bitter sea breeze, while Father escorts our frail mother aboard. As they disappear below deck, we huddle together, taking comfort in our embrace.
Silently, we stare at the hatchway — uneasy that Father, too, might choose to remain aboard and sail with Mother — until he emerges alone, his face drawn and ashen. Arwen's shoulders relax slightly.
Above her head, Elrohir's eyes meet mine, and we share a fierce vow: to stand sentinel henceforth between all those we love and the foul touch of the Dark.
I descend the rolling gangway, bleakly conscious of having forsaken my beloved aboard — despite my longing to depart Middle-earth beside her. Our devoted children sombrely await dockside; their presence strengthens my resolve.
Suddenly, a clear vision strikes me: my sons charging over surging grasslands amid the throes of battle-fury, facing endless hosts of Shadow-stained foes, Man and Orc alike. I stagger at the intensity of the image and its grievous portent.
Círdan reaches to steady me. I silently implore his ancient visage for reassurance that this foreboding is false, but his keen eyes render no solace. He nods sad affirmation.
I offer my hand to Gil-galad's herald — bereft anew, and now also burdened by dread for his sons' downfall.
Much will yet arise from this House of Lore: Elrond, laying the foundations for a new Age; Arwen, blessing it with hope and new life; Elladan and Elrohir, defending all Free Peoples from the raging currents of the Dark.
Elrond is destined to lose more family, but not his sons; they will at last take ship with me. His daughter, Lúthien's echo, will not.
I call upon Ulmo: grant them strength to weather the storm as this Age ebbs.