Aldamir's Journey

by Frodo Baggins

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Chapter 13 -- A Tapestry of Song



  Song and joy returned to Lórien with Mithrandir. A great feast was held in his honor, with all Elves present and Mithrandir at the head of the table beside Galadriel and Celeborn. Feasts like this were now few and far between -- there had not been one in years -- but this occasion certainly called for celebration. Afterwards, Elves who wished to would go up to a place near the head of the table and sing for all gathered there. Many songs, each different, were sung; songs of joy and hope and beauty. Clear Elven voices rang out among the mallorns, weaving a tapestry of music mingled with the golden light of Lórien.

  Uruviel sang as well, and Aldamir listened in wonder. She had such a sweet voice, this Elf-maiden of his! Like the trilling notes of a hundred joyful birds it wove its way through the tapestry of song, adding a glimmering thread. She was seated on a mossy stone, a harp on her lap and a look of gladness in her eyes. Lightly her fingers danced over the strings, touching them, drawing a medley of notes, and springing away again as the tones sang out and accompanied her flowing voice. She sang a song of joy; a song of return from darkness and renewal of hope; a song of joy made deeper by the defeat of death.

  As she finished, there were tears in the eyes of many. Getting to her feet, she bowed to Galadriel and took her place beside Aldamir again. He smiled at her and kissed her cheek. “Calwa, melda nin,” he whispered.

“Hannon le,” she answered, her eyes glowing.

  Then Minuiel, also one of Galadriel’s maidens, stood up to sing, and a hush fell over the gathered Elves. She was known for her skill with song; by many she was called “mistress of song” for her beautiful melodies. As she took her place, her mithril-like hair fell over her shoulders like a stream of moonlight caught in the sea, glimmering and swaying. She needed no harp or lute; her voice was enough. Beginning with a slow, sad song of sorrow and loss, she swayed gently back and forth with the music as it swelled about her, lapping at the ears of the Elves like the waves on the sea’s shores. All was still but for the voice of Minuiel.

  Then her song changed, and swelled to a new song of happiness, of sorrow turned to gladness and loss turned to gain. Her golden voice soared up into the mallorn-tops, dancing about among the leaves and falling back down again like a rain of flowers. Song poured from her throat like a stream pouring down into a silver pool; her grey eyes shone and all present forgot all else but the song and were carried away to a land where tears were mingled with the deepest joy.

  As the last tone died away, tears glistened in the eyes of all present. Minuiel blushed slightly as she rose and bowed gracefully, returning quickly to her seat. The Elves praised her singing until she begged them to stop, half-laughing and half-serious. She seemed happy enough, but Uruviel saw something deep in her eyes, something which had come when the Fellowship came, and deepened when they left. Precisely what it was, the Elf-maiden could not tell -- though she thought she could guess -- but she knew that Minuiel was not as full of joy as the others present.



  Mithrandir left the next day, and much as the Elves would have liked him
to stay, they knew that it was time for him to go. “I have no time to linger,” he told them. “Doom is drawing near and there is much that will be decided very soon. For this I have been sent back, and I must not tarry! Time is now growing short.”

  Galadriel gave him a white cloak to go with his white robes, and fastened it with a intricate and beautiful brooch wrought of silver. Over his white robes she threw a cloak of Elven-grey, spun of the same material as the cloaks given to the Fellowship. This one she fastened with a leaf-shaped brooch, also the same as the one given to each member of the Fellowship. Then she stepped back and bowed to him. “May the grace of the Valar go with you and protect you on your journey,” she said, spreading out her hands. “May you accomplish all you have been sent back for before the darkness grows too strong!”

  Mithrandir bowed. “Thank you, Galadriel. May you keep the brightness of Lórien glowing for a long time!”

  She smiled sadly. “Would that I could. But that time will soon be over, much as we would like it to linger. Namárië, Mithrandir! But do not call this farewell forever, for I feel in my heart that we will meet again, if all does not go wrong.”

  “Namárië, Lady of Lórien! I will not call this a final farewell yet. But look to your arrows, and keep your swords sharp! Things will happen which you do not look for. Yet hope remains for those who will trust.”

  With these words, he left, and the Elves stood there silent, thinking of his words. Galadriel bowed her head. “Look to your weapons, Galadhrim,” she said when she looked up again. “For though one we loved has returned, and he will aid us greatly, I foresee that much darkness and sorrow will come to pass before all is resolved.”


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Chapter 14 -- Sírmentë


  Aldamir stood once again at his post on the edge of Lórien, but he was now stationed on the Eastern side. Here the joined courses of the Silverlode and Nimrodel flowed into the swift-rushing Anduin, creating a cross-roads of water. Above this cross-road a high point reared up from the ground; here the Elves were stationed, with a clear view of the many miles laid out before them. It had been said that one could see almost all the way to Sarn Gebir from that point, though the Elves knew better. In the Elven-tongue it was called Sírmentë, the River-point. Behind it, the land sloped back into the forest

  Lindir too was at the River-point, for Galadriel had assigned him to Haldir’s company, and it was that company that now took the eastern side. Here, where the Golden Woods came to an end, it became a wilder sort of land; mallorns still grew there in abundance, but across the river, out of Lórien, it became a wild, rocky landscape. Between the two strong rivers, the River-point rose high and majestic above the waters, a tall, steep-sided promontory. Its sides, though steep, were not impossible to scale; a strong, agile Elf with keen eyes and a good sense of balance would be able to make his way up with some difficulty.

  Behind Sírmentë, in the mallorns, the Elves had also built flets; simple ones high in the branches, hidden away among the leaves. Aldamir had hung a hammock in one leafy corner for himself; Lindir had also done so in a nook near to Aldamir’s. Here the Elf would lie and gaze up through the grey branches laden with bright, green leaves to the sky where stars twinkled at night and the sun shone in the day.

  Aldamir and Lindir, at the moment, stood on the point’s end, contemplating the wild landscape spread out below their feet. Beneath them the rapid water rushed into swirling eddies and splashed over rocks before continuing further on its course. The thunder of the water was not deafening like a great waterfall; rather, a quieter, gentler sound of rushing water. A fresh breeze blew softly through the hair of the two Elves.

  “This is fantastic,” murmured Lindir, gazing about.

  “It’s truly magnificent,” answered Aldamir. “Look, you can almost see
Mirkwood from here...no, that is Mirkwood, isn’t it?”

  Lindir followed his raised arm towards the East; there, just on the edges of the horizon, lay a long, shadowy dark green strip. “I believe it is,” said Lindir, surprised.

  “They say you can see Sarn Gebir from here, but that, I’m afraid, is an exaggeration,” said Aldamir, looking south.”

  Lindir squinted, gazing hard in the same direction. “No, you can’t really,” he said. “But I think I can almost see Fangorn – or is that just a cloud.”

  Aldamir looked to the south. “It’s too far -- I can’t tell,” he said. “But Lindir, what say you to a little archery practice? I need to test the bow I’ve just finished.”

  “Certainly!”


  The two found a dead pine which would work well for a target; halfway up its height a small round patch of lichen grew which would serve for a center.

  Aldamir strung the new bow carefully as Lindir readied his own; both had a quiver of long, slim grey arrows slung over their shoulders. Before he shot, Aldamir tested the string carefully, drawing it back and holding it near his ear, and then carefully letting it out again, holding it all the while. It would be damaging to the bow if he just let go of the string and let it spring back.

  “It’s a fine bow,” said Lindir admiringly, watching Aldamir’s moves.

  “Aye, it turned out better than I expected,” was Aldamir’s reply as he checked its length for any sign of weakness. “I believe it will serve well for a long time.”

  “Ready?” asked Lindir.

  “Yes – fire away,” answered his friend.

  Flicking an arrow to the string Lindir drew it back and let it go with one swift, fluid motion. It landed with a thwack in the patch of lichen, barely a quarter-inch from the center.

  “Close, my friend!” said Aldamir merrily, and let his arrow fly. It landed above Lindir’s; close to but not quite in the center. The bow shot well; its springing strength satisfied Aldamir.

  “Better,” said Lindir, and once more drew back and fired. This time the arrow landed squarely in the middle.

  Aldamir’s eyes twinkled. “Shall I split your arrow for you, Lindir?” he asked.

  Lindir laughed. “I’m sure you can, but if you please, don’t. We’ll be needing every single arrow when it comes to battles.”

  Aldamir inclined his head. “True. I’ll leave it whole, to sometime find its way to an orc’s black heart....provided you aim well!”

  With that he released his second arrow and it thudded into the wood right next to Lindir’s, so that the wood of the two rubbed against each other.

  “Good shot!”

  The two Elves spent much of the what remained of the day outdoing each
other in archery feats. First Aldamir would shoot several arrows into the shape of a star; then Lindir would make a crescent moon with his. Aldamir would make a tight cross; Lindir would fire his off into a circle around it, or Lindir would carefully shoot his into a slithering line like a snake; Aldamir’s response would be a perfectly made triangle.

  And so the day went, until at last the sun dropped low in the sky and set the western horizon afire with a glowing blend of bright, vivid purple, red and orange. Then Aldamir and Lindir ended their friendly contest, and betook themselves to their flet. There, laying aside their weapons, they swung into their hammocks and relaxed, drawing their cloaks close about themselves and losing themselves in the glorious, lofty beauty of a dark, star-studded night-sky in which a silver crescent swung low.

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Chapter 15 -- Shadows on the Horizon


  Aldamir came slowly back to wakefulness as dawn’s first gentle light filled the eastern sky. All that night his mind had wandered among the stars, listening to their songs and hearing their tales of old. Now they one by one bid him farewell, and faded into the ever-lightening sky, and he slid slowly out of his dreams.

  A shaft of early golden light fell across his face; he tasted its sweet beauty with his spirit and drank it in. His hammock swung gently, and the green leaves about him quivered and danced ever so quietly and lightly. Birds’ lilting songs danced through the air and fell like silver raindrops on his ears. Aldamir wished that it could always be as it had; that the darkness had never returned.

  But as an Elf, he had the wisdom to know that such a thing could never be.

  Breaking out of his reverie, he roused himself and leapt lightly out of his hammock. “Good morning, Lindir!” he called merrily.

  Lindir swung out of his hammock as well. “Good morning, Aldamir!”

  “Come,” said Aldamir. “Shall we watch the dawn from Sírmentë?”

  Lindir assented, and the two made their way to the point. They were joined there by Haldir; he too meant to watch the sun rise up from the East. In his hand he carried his quiver; he was cleaning and re-polishing it. He sat down next to Aldamir and Lindir and the three watched the magnificent panorama spread out beneath them slowly gain life and light as the sun rose.

  None spoke as the dawn gained brightness; words were useless in the face of such beauty. They watched in silence as the light crept out from the East, and as it slowly destroyed the long shadows and crept further towards Lorien. Then it burst over the horizon and the three Elves were bathed in its golden light. Quiet, gilded peace reigned.

  A soft sigh from Haldir broke the silence. “Alas that we cannot always
stay here.”

  Aldamir and Lindir were silent, not really wanting to think of such things.

  Haldir looked up from his quiver and studied the eastern sky. “Have we enough bows and arrows to withstand an attack?”

  Aldamir glanced at him quickly. “I have finished mine, and Lindir and I are working on arrows. Why? Do you fear an attack sometime soon?”

  Haldir nodded. “The Dark One’s power is growing; it will not be long now until he strikes.”

  “But he will not strike us immediately,” said Lindir. “He will strike Gondor first.”

  “And then he will attack Rohan, and later us,” replied Haldir. “He will not be satisfied until all of Middle-earth is under his black hand.”

  “But there is still hope,” pointed out Lindir. “He does not possess the One. Without it he cannot overpower us. And if it is destroyed, he is also.”

  “Yet how long can the Fellowship keep it hidden from him? I trust that Frodo will fulfill his mission, but Sauron will not wait to find the Ring before he releases his forces. We must be ready, for I fear that he will attack soon.”

  “If he attacks, how long do you think we can hold out against him?” asked Aldamir.

  “I do not know how vicious his attack will be,” answered Haldir. “But there is a strong power in the Golden Wood, and it will take a great deal of his own power to break us. I do not think he can; not for a while, anyway.”

  Lindir gazed wistfully back into the forest lying near them. “And we will have no choice but to leave this earth,” he said softly. “If he wins, we must leave or be killed; yet even if the shadow is thrown down, we cannot stay.”