I think of music by water’s edge, of lilyponds and libraries.
There are faces of kin though not by blood and those dearer than kin, by blood or otherwise.
A figure walks away from me, fading as he half turns to look back: a man with an eyepatch and the darkened soul of a lost poet.
I see an elf maid standing above a valley alone, her hair the dark heavens descended to caress the snow of her skin, cast with a sheen of stars. Her eyes, the blue of sky and pool haunt me.
I see books in nooks, and halls of fire, hear songs of sorrow and of joy.
As I begin the descent into the cool waters of fever-sleep, the heat that once rose beneath the skin begins to drain, the quality changing. How did one flower come to confuse the other? Ninim for elanor? Nay, not confused for there was laughter in both and now I know the ninim was there long before either woke…
Now I hunt for another flower lost to frost’s chill with companions loathsome, a mockery of my kin. Kin; blood, not blood. Will we meet again on this shore?
I begin to lose myself but I will not say I am sorry. It is necessary, this submerging of self that I might give the laughter turned sorrow time.
As for ninim… I think of letters written and wonder what I left unsaid even as I walk closer to the edge…
I think of riversong and mallorn, valley and wood.
From harbours west of the land of the merry periain where kin-not-kin revel, the sharing of music binding my world to the snow that glitters with the light of stars.
To secret waterfalls of the Withywindle in a forest far removed yet kin to another.
The flow of the Bruinen, a watery gateway to a realm that became home where once there was none.
The dry beds of Eregion like tear-tracks cut through the very land after a long weeping had left all barren.
Then, to the Anduin. Where first came the lure of “water sprites” both fair and fell, leading me to my fate in greenwood darkened.
As I begin the descent into the chill waters of dream, I hear two voices, one older one younger. Only one can I claim.
Now I stalk with purpose alongside the very termites who eat at the heart of the wood, thinking of an arrow that went through, another snapped in two.
The golden dream that fell into cold nightmare as ninim shattered in the leaves has become clear. The dream never was as I knew it. I know it now for what it was: a castle of glass and the cracks had begun long, long ago…
I think of fever-dreams of forsaken maidens that never were.
I remember a healer whose hands exchanged salve for spear, kind word for bitter.
I watch the accusing face of a hunter who falls again and again from high cliffs where the hollow ruins of elven kind lie.
I see the shattered ninim, the pierced elanor and broken lynx.
I hear tales of lost princes cast forth by elven hand and rumours of hope they yet survive.
The rumour has died for this echo of that hope, for this present tale of lost youths. For what will survive after this tale is done?
As I begin the descent into the cold waters of nightmare, I try to remember this is just a game, once played with far less finesse in a ruin of Eregion where a cry of “Traitor!” rang like a prophetic bell of doom. Then as now, I do what I must that others may return from the shadow of memory and into the light though it may be I cannot follow…
Now I take the icy spear with no recognizable light in my pale eyes. In chill metal reflected I see the dream for what it was. A beautiful lie.
I think of storms. The blizzard my mother wandered into, fey of mood as fey of mind I would soon enter the world.
From the gentle rumbling of a soft rain, to the thunderclap that shakes the very mountains of mist beyond the homely valley where elves sing and ninim joins with riversong.
Finally, the memory of stinging drops lashing down from the sky like whips across skin as I knelt before the dark river near its mouth at the Anduin. The storm that had long built was unleashed in my mind, its fury breaking free of chains unknown ‘til that moment.
As I begin the descent into the frigid waters of awakening, I realize the fever comes not from heat fighting the cold, but from a chill so infinitely deep it begins to burn. It lances my head as the spear lanced another so long ago.
Now I hold that spear as it becomes one with my arm, merely an extension of self, whatever is left. At this moment, I think of my love for the river, for the boats I worked with my own hands. I remember Gwinaruon’s warning, unheeded in my anger. Now I am empty, a boat whose sails are blowing cold. The lamps for Lorien do not shine for me in this forest darkness…
No light… no light. As the spear descends towards the flesh of my prey all is icy shadow in Greenwood darkened. Now I embrace the cold though I cannot remember if it is ruse or truth. In Mirkwood my light is drowned though I reach for it still...
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