NaBloPoMo 2014 Day 16: A World in Twilight


Author’s Note: This is one of my in-between stories based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I have always enjoyed the companionship between Galadriel and Gandalf, the unspoken understanding between the two of them that has always seemed so comforting.

This is also in honor of fall’s quick fading away into the cold of winter. I am very much not ready for winter yet.

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Fall was quiet, leaves of gold and amber making their silent courses to the carpet the ground. This was when he enjoyed the world, at its twilight. Gandalf’s own was approaching, this he knew. His task had been fulfilled.

Four years to the day when he had delivered the hobbits to Imladris from Minas Tirith. Four years since the little ones had fought for home and hearth. Four years since he had passed through his own fiery gauntlet. It might not seem like a long time to some, especially to he who had seen the ages of this world pass by like wisps of cloud. But it was enough.

Twilight was falling for him. And also for others.

Frodo was beginning to fade; he could feel it. It was like a breath of cold seeping into his heart. Gandalf would soon leave on that last ship from Middle-earth, and he knew that Frodo must leave with him.

‘It is time,’ the old Maia murmured as he walked beneath the fading trees of Lothlorien.

~

If spring is Lothlorien’s glory, then autumn is its phoenix burning.

‘Gandalf, you wished to speak with me?’ A bright figure paused at the doorway to the wizard’s chambers. Galadriel, Lady of Light.

‘Lady Galadriel, please.’ Gandalf held a hand out to her.

The Elf Queen smiled and took his arm in full confidence. ‘What is it, old friend? You know my time for granting requests grows short.’

‘As it does for all of us, my Lady. But this boon I must ask.’ Gandalf turned as they reached the moonlit terrace. ‘Frodo is failing. Failing and fading quickly.’

Galadriel’s bright eyes seemed to cloud a bit. ‘His wound is a danger to him; it feeds on the darkness the Ring left in his soul, the broken pieces of himself.’

Gandalf sighed, suddenly feeling very old. ‘He is so young to have borne so much.’

Galadriel placed a hand on his arm again, Nenya, the ring of Adamant, shimmering in the pale moonlight upon her finger. ‘We were all young once, Gandalf.’ A gentle smile graced her lips. ‘But you had a request.’

The Maia regarded her softly. ‘You already know of it, my Lady.’

Galadriel gave a quiet nod. ‘Frodo is not merely a Peleninath. He is also a Ring-Bearer, as is Bilbo. Therefore, I would think it fitting that they should join us; they have earned their rest.’

A smile, one she had known of old, crinkled around Gandalf’s ancient eyes.

‘Our twilight has come, Gandalf. Soon we will journey beyond the White Towers and into the West. The power of our Rings has ended and the time has come for the dominion of Men; may Aragorn and his line rule well.’ The Lady of Light then turned to Gandalf, echoing his words, ‘May they be blest.’

Gandalf, too, smiled. ‘A part of you will always live on in Middle-earth, my Lady. It lives on now in your granddaughter Arwen and will flourish in her children. The light of Lothlorien will never fully be gone as long as one descendent of her line lives.’

Galadriel gave a quiet smile at his words. She did love her granddaughter Arwen Undomiel wholly and completely and part of her heart was saddened at her remaining behind, having given up her Elvish radiance and immortality. But Galadriel also knew the powerful bonds of love.

Galadriel looked out over the gold-and-reddening Wood. ‘Yes, our twilight has come.’

Stories within Stories: Arwen’s Search


Author’s Note: This is from a collection of stories that I wrote years ago, based on and to fill in some of the gaps in Tolkien’s masterpiece The Lord of the Rings.

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Arwen’s Search

Lord Elrond Half-elven seemed disturbed and worried; his daughter Arwen Evenstar perceived his mood and came to his side.

“Father, what ails you? Is all well?” she questioned him quietly.

Elrond shook his head gravely. “Nay, daughter. Something bodes ill in the forests beyond Bruinen. Aragorn should have arrived with the hobbits by now. I fear the Black Riders have waylaid him somehow.”

Arwen sensed the urgency of the situation. Her heart feared for Aragorn’s safety and for those whom he protected. “I will go and search for them, Father.”

“No. I have already sent Glorfindel upon Asfaloth; he will find them speedily. We must make ready in case someone of their party is wounded.” With these words, Lord Elrond left the room but Arwen remained, struggling with her heart and her desire to obey her father. Finally, her heart won out.

Going to her chamber, she clothed herself in gray, drawing a dark hood over her fair head. Taking up her sword, she slipped out to the stables and, mounting the horse Delathena, rode out of Rivendell and into the forests of Middle-earth.

~

For two days, she searched and searched tirelessly, catching sight of five Ringwraiths upon their black steeds. But there was no sign of Aragorn and his Halfling companions. Soon, heartsick, she turned towards Rivendell again.

“I hope Glorfindel found them,” was her heart’s prayer.

No sooner had she crested the hill beyond the river Bruinen than the thunder of hooves reached her sharp ears. Suddenly, Asfaloth burst from the trees and galloped across the river, a smallish figure upon his back! He paused on the opposite shore and Arwen’s spirit cringed as the terrible voices of the Nine cried out to Asfaloth’s rider.

“Come back with us, Frodo! Come back with us to Mordor!” they shrieked.

Arwen then realized that Asfaloth’s rider was a Halfling! In fact, he was the very Halfling that she had been seeking.

She saw the brave little creature draw his sword, warding the Wraiths back fiercely and desperately.

“Go back!” he cried. “Go back to the Land of Mordor, and follow me no more!”[1] But his strength waned. He was injured! Seeing his weakness, the Riders began to advance upon him!

Suddenly, words flowed from Arwen’s lips, stirring the air with Rivendell’s power.

Nîn o Chithaeglir

lasto beth daer.

Rimmo nîn Bruinen

dan in Ulaer.

Suddenly, the currents of Bruinen began to swell as a wall of water rushed over the Black Riders, sweeping them away! Arwen watched them for a moment but then quickly dismounted Delathena and ran to Frodo, who had finally succumbed to his weakness and fallen from Asfaloth’s saddle!

She cradled the hobbit in her arms, seeing that he was slipping from this world. Gathering him up, she mounted Asfaloth this time, for he was the swifter horse, and raced to her father’s house.

Noro lim, Asfaloth!”

The Elvish horses ran rapidly and soon arrived at Elrond’s house in the valley where Arwen sprang from the saddle and rushed into the bright hall with Frodo.

“Father! Father!”

Lord Elrond appeared with none other than Gandalf the Grey at his side. Elrond took the hobbit and they retreated to the east wing to care for him.

Arwen watched them disappear down the hall and then turned at the nearby voice of her brother Elorhir. “You may have saved the Halfling’s life, sister. You may have saved us all.”

She glanced at him with a worried look in her bright eyes. “I only hope so, my brother. I only hope so.” With that, she pulled the dark hood from her head and moved towards her chambers.

 

Two days later, Arwen heard that Frodo was awake and progressing well. This relieved her heart’s ache of fear for the brave hobbit. She gathered bouquets of elanor for his room every morning whilst he remained abed and even paid him a visit or two herself, when he was well enough to receive visitors. It seemed to brighten both their spirits, for he enjoyed her company very much and his regaining health pleased her.

One eve, all gathered for a merry supper. Arwen sat beside Frodo with Sam ever vigilant at his other hand and Gandalf across from them, Aragorn—known to his Halfling friends as Strider—at his side. Throughout supper, there was much lively chatter, songs, and stories. Frodo spoke quite a bit with Lady Arwen, Sam, and Gandalf but, after a while, the Lady dropped from conversation with the hobbits and wizard and exchanged a few words with Aragorn. Frodo’s alertness was fast returning and he noticed certain looks and manners with which Arwen and Aragorn regarded each other, even a secretive smile gracing either of their commanded countenances for a fleeting moment.

Leaning towards Sam, he whispered, “Are Strider and the Lady Arwen in love?”

Sam snuck a peek around his friend. “Aye, Mr. Frodo, I believe they are. Though they don’t fully act it in public.”

Frodo just smiled and enjoyed the peace of the moment, for—though unbidden and undesired—the next day was to bring a most tumultuous year into his life. A year that would change the world as they all knew it.

[1] The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, page 241.