Author's Note: PG rating is for mild inferences to adult relationships and slight angst.
Many thanks to my beta-reader, Linneria!
My lord, take a look around you. Winter finally retreats, the frost has relinquished its icy grip. Do you not see this? Banish all vestiges of the dark, cold ghosts from your heart, for there is always hope. Can you not see the ground around you waking from its slumber, determined to beat away all traces of the darkness that once covered it?
Look, the buds are starting to form, a sign of the renewal of things. This cycle will always be, the rise and fall of times, good and bad. These boughs have watched over much turmoil, just as our race is cursed to do, watching as those that remain dear to us depart this earth, helpless to do anything. Is not immortality a curse to those who manage to maintain it, for are we not doomed to walk this land forever? Have we not all eternity to watch the everlasting circle, new powers rising, old ones gradually fading into the ashes of time?
It was I who picked up the pieces, carefully removing the shards of glass that pricked at your heart, threatening to bleed you to death, threatening to make you give in. It was I who watched as you ascended the vacant throne, so empty and hollow, just like your soul. It was I who tried to make you smile, knowing that the light was lost from your eyes. Scarred forever, you were, from that horrendous last stand against the darkness. We all lost something in that great battle, homes, loved ones, dreams.
Remember, my lord, that new hope rises, always, like a phoenix being reborn from the ashes, the renewal of dreams, the blossoming of spring buds. Homes can be rebuilt, fears conquered, just like the green leaf that never fails to make its presence felt at the end of winter. Does it not signal a fresh start, a new dream?
Let go of your pride, my lord, although it is a part of you, and it was you that I fell for. His death was not of the doing of anyone, and he died fighting for something he believed in. Through his death, and the death of countless other warriors, Middle-Earth was preserved for future generations to come. Her fatal beauty, her countless flaws, all one and the same, irrevocably altered since.
We lay under the stars, and I saw, with appreciative eyes, the first green leaf of spring, ever so small, ever so timid, but so full of promise. I point it out to you, and feel your emotions rise out of the abyss for the first time, finally struck again by the beauty of the world around you, the resilience of all living creatures, the determination, once more.
A not-unfamiliar feeling rises in me, as we catch our breath, enjoying the frosty breeze of winter at its nigh on our faces. A nervous venture, a gradual reaching out into the world around, its exquisiteness, its attraction. Every heartbeat of mine now doubled, every passion now increased.
It has been late in coming, this sowing of a new hope, almost eight centuries past, but it is a faith planted, nevertheless. Our people have virtually lost their ability to dream, so tainted are we by the darkness that has swept again over us, our gift of not being able to forget now becoming our curse. Such miracles are alas too few and far between now, and I fear the time will soon come when they will cease altogether.
The tingling you feel at your fingertips as you touch my skin, does it not speak volumes of what is to come? The promise it whispers of, the final beating away of the darkness from the depths of your heart. Take heed in the lesson it wishes to give, for it will not speak of it again, not until it is too late for regret.
You look up at me, deep into my eyes, your green ones so haunting and beautiful. They dilate with a sudden understanding, and realisation. Joy, something that has been so alien to you, seems to fill every fibre of your body. I nod in unspoken and unnecessary response to your query, for you already know. I smile, seeing your elation for the first time since the war, your sudden desire to hope again clear in that simple look. You caress my face, telling me how blessed by the Valar we are, something we do not need to speak of, for it is clear that this gift is more than we could ever have dared hope for.
The hope in me grows with each day, and I feel it throbbing, thriving. Perhaps it is the circumstances that surround its conception, but the innocence radiating from within my being feels so precious, so fresh. It calls out to me with every step I take, a reminder of what it is like to see the world through the eyes of the first-born. Yes, for that is what we are, the first-born, created by Eru Iluvatar to walk this earth forever, yet seeing it through those same eyes so many years ago. Experience, that dreaded enemy of innocence, forever altering the nature of our kindred. Sadly, I know the purity within me is fleeting, and can never be maintained, no matter how hard I try to fight against its corruption.
A year is but a blink of an eye in the time of our people. Yet, I have never felt as much joy or learnt as much, with your child growing from strength to strength within me. His soul is restless, for he yearns to be out here in this world, learning of the beauty that will always be around him. He can feel the life throbbing around him, but alas, it is still out of his reach as he waits, impatiently. He has yet to realise that with knowledge comes pain, and it is for this that I wish to protect him, for he is too delicate, too precious to us, undeserving of anything but love and laughter.
Winter descends upon us as it is meant to do, and I notice the change that has come over you. Even the frostiest wind seems incapable of driving the warmth from your heart now, as we breathlessly await the birth of our child at the end of another cold, harsh winter. Smiles, laughter, all these formerly so distant, are now our constant companions. Just as the rebirth of the earth, we too will be reborn.
This time, it is you who spots the first green leaf, cradling it gently in your arms, completely speechless, your breath taken away by its beauty. I reach forward, mustering up all remaining strength, thrusting my arms forward, and you place the soft bundle within them. It is now my turn to be reduced to tears as I behold the shock of curly blonde hair, those cerulean eyes full of joy and simplicity, the delicate nose, the flushed cheeks, his perfectly formed ears, an art form in itself.
Our Greenleaf gurgles in delight, never once letting out a cry of fear, so confident is he in our ability to protect him. A small smile lights up his features, causing those peaceful cerulean eyes to reflect the world as it should be, ever so serene, ever so full of promise. He twists his head, eyes alert, as our firstborn enters the room, chirping as he is picked up by his older brother, who too has been hurt as you have been. I see a reconciliation in the proud eyes of your heir, and although he has been long ago taken away from my side for duty calls, he is at peace, for I now have his little brother, a late gift from the Valar, to beat away the lonely days.
Tonight, I shall sleep peacefully, with the breath of our new babe on my chest, and your protective arm cast around the both of us. I shall feel the renewal of dreams, in the warm and tiny newborn that slumbers tranquilly, a perfect form, his brow unfurrowed, his hands unclenched.
It comes as a wonder to me that one so tiny can exert such considerable an effect upon our lives, yet be so oblivious to it all. He feels no pain, feels no hurt, and instead beholds the world with awe, teaching us about the way it should be without trying to.
My little Leaf will grow away from this protective sanctuary that we have now cast over him, but he will always be the light of our eyes, the renewal of a dying flame. It is our duty to ensure that no harm should ever come to one as beautiful as he is, for he is undoubtedly special, arriving in the winter years of our people. Can you not feel the tingling of the air around him, the sudden surge in feeling with his presence? He is destined to achieve great things, for it came to me in a dream tonight, whether for the better or worse. He will be put through great trials and tribulations, and the thought of it torments my heart, for he is still so young, so innocent. The weight of our people's burden will be upon his slight shoulders, and he will answer them, giving them what they seek.
Whenever you feel your spirit growing weak, my lord, do not fail to forget that we have been blessed with this gift, and he is here as an answer all your doubts and fears.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.