Three Years Later
Alone at the tiller as is my wont, I steer the last Elven ship westwards.
At Ulmo's behest, through the Ages I hallowed countless ships to steer the Straight Road.
But ne'er before have I sought this route.
One quiet command, and my trusty seamen reef the sails; our ship rises through the crystalline airs.
I never married — what need had I, with sea-lore and ship-craft to sustain me? My mariners were family enough.
The scions of Eärendil watch the seas of Ennor recede; they have kinfolk to greet in the West.
But I know not what awaits me there.
"There will be a place for you, Shipwright."
Lost in thought, I jump when Glorfindel appears at my elbow. I glower at the Noldo's presumption.
And his uncanny perception.
Unrepentant, he laughs, and launches into an Eressëan sea-shanty he taught me long ago. I grumble at the Quenya... but gradually feel my cares ebb.
Finally, I join my bass to his flowing tenor for the chorus:
O, fair winds or foul, may your vessel never stray
till you see fair Mindon's guiding beam from afar.
May Ossë conduct you, and Uinen see you home
to the lamplit quays of Avallónë!
Pacing around the deck, again peering westwards....
The stars look familiar — reassuring — though more brilliant since we traversed the Straight Way. Yet I cannot stand still to admire them.
I freeze. Galadriel's brush against my mind seems weak, tenuous... yet welcome as rain after searing drought.
I come, beloved!
Her relief, echoing my own, floods our link.
I need you, husband.
I am shocked at her frailty. Her emotions are raw; she yearns to see me, yet fears her self-control will fail.
Stay strong for me, Galadriel, just a while longer. I shall wait for you aboard, in private.