I walk the long halls of Mandos
Among the hanging tapistries
Woven so cleverly, the tiny threads
Fashioning the history of Elves and Men
They almost seem to move...
A breeze comes through the tall, narrow windows
Overlooking the Edge of the World
At the sill I linger, and looking out into the darkness
I realize I have not seen such a night before
True Night, where no star or owl can be seen
A void that stretches beyond my sight
Deeper than the Great Ocean
It wrings tears from me just to see it
Suffocating loneliness such as I have never felt
And it brings also fear, with which I am familiar
But not comfortable
A warm cloak is draped over my shivering shoulders
A figure that is tall, black-robed and silent stands beside me
I have not seen him before
"Do you enjoy looking into the Void?"
He speaks with a voice that is full of sadness and wisdom
"Lord, I do not," is my answer, and he turns his hood as if to look at me.
There is no face within, only shining light.
"I find it peaceful, but not pleasant" I say then. "Lord, who are you?"
"I am your host," comes his answer, and he raises a hand;
The void beyond the window becomes a vast sea, sparking in sunset
"It is all a matter of perception," he says softly.
"Fear and comfort, life and death.
The only thing that is constant is darkness.
The only thing that is inevitable is history."
We stand together in silence for while. "I do not understand, Lord."
"Understanding is not required. What is your desire, dark elf?"
"I could stay here for ever, and never miss the world
Drinking sunrise and dancing amid the gardens of Lórien,
Where fountains sing.
I could ride in the woods with Oromë
Or sit at Vairë's feet and learn to weave.
But I find my heart still dwells in Middle earth
I would return, and seek out my Golden Lord,
With my Lord Námo's good will."
"In Middle earth you knew sorrow.
With a hand of steel you harvested lives,
Fighting ever on the side of Good.
For that, I would allow you to depart these mansions,
But thou hast one life taken,
Blood spilled of thy own folk; it stains your hands.
For such a deed I have refused some to depart."
"I did slay one, in fulfullment of my oath
To defend with my life those children placed in my hands.
Should that choice appear before me, even were I not dying,
So I would do again, and let me be condemned if must be."
He speaks, "Only those exiled to the Void are condemned, dark elf.
You shall not keep company with those.
That one you slew was Dispossessed; I have been waiting for him.
Your freedom you have earned;
Your lives you have before you.
But this burden you must bear back into the Eastern Lands
If you choose to return there:
Take not the life of another Elf, lest the void beckon you.
When you return, I will be waiting..."
The sea stretches out before me, an unending rippling horizon
The Mansions are gone, my host and my shining folk.
I sit on the diamond dust shore and listen to the waves sigh.