Guardian, The: 1. The Guardian

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1. The Guardian

A/N: Fic featuring Arwen and a mysterious Elf, one you may know if you've read the Silmarillion. I'm not very productive at the mo, but when this character wakes me up at 3am and demands a story, I usually comply. Very much inspired by Le Chat Noir's "The Last Chapter". Major thanks to her for acquainting me with a truly interesting Elf. Also, big shiny thanks to Mouse for kindly beta-reading.

I have made up the attempts at Haradric and Forochelin language, so if you can find a right translation (I looked and failed) then do tell me. (

The Guardian (Name may change when I think of something that sounds more profound and less like a highbrow English newspaper)


They said he was there from the beginning.

Before the broken hills were worn down into beaches by the relentless ebb and flow of the tide. Before the new rivers cut their courses in the changed land. Before the memories of men could reach.

He walked the new shores of the changed world, clad in black, as if to avoid being seen on a dark night. In his hand, they said, he held a harp, the like of which had not been seen since the Elder Days that were forgotten. And sometimes, when the sea rose up in storm, so too would his voice, a sound of the ancient world that would echo across the cliffs and lonely shores.

As time passed, the Elves that yet remained on Middle-Earth grew weary of the mortal lands, desiring the promised eternal bliss and beauty of Valinor. But as their ships sped into the West, they stood beneath white sails and looked back at their long home with sorrow and regret. Sometimes, they saw with their keen eyesight a tiny black shape against the white foam, and sometimes, they heard his voice rise with the wind, singing a melody never heard by mortal ear before. Many of the Elves who saw him knew him not, but stayed a while to listen, feeling strangely calmed and comforted by the sound of his voice. They named him Tirno among themselves, "The watcher," for as they saw it, he always stood on the shores to watch them speed safely into the west. Those among the Elves who knew, or guessed at his identity remained silent, and stood and watched their homes sink into the mists of the horizon.

As the Elves left Middle-Earth, villages of men grew up on the shores of the sea. Some swore that they had seen a dark figure, wandering the beaches as the tides rose up in anger, or on the clifftops late at night, singing and harping in the moonlight. Yet as it seemed to them, the sea was kind to those who had seen him, or heard his voice. At the spring high tides, the villagers made praise to Uinen, to thank her for protecting them from the wrath of Ossë. In the feasting, thanks were given also to the Guardian of the Waves, for protecting their fishing boats near the shore and allowed their village to prosper.

Unbeknownst to them, the Guardian of the Waves looked on, and smiled.

The years fled the mortal lands faster than wind. Streams became rivers, cut deep valleys in the landscape, then dried up and ran no more. Mountains rose from the deeps of the Earth, then fell, to be raised up again. Villages, towns, cities grew, and were lost.

The Guardian merely watched as kingdoms rose and fell.

He wandered far across the world, always walking beside the sea, sometimes singing of things unknown to those who saw him. On the frozen coasts of the far North, the Snow-men of Forochel saw him and named him "Râvarkan" in their own tongue, "He who searches". In the heat of the South, where the desert met the ocean, the Haradrim walked, and they too saw him. They named him "îngin-ma-ráhwn", the protector of ships. He knew the coasts of the world, and he walked, barefoot in the foam, as the years went by.

There came a time of winter, when the wind blew hard and chill from the North. Few now lived by the shores. The Elves were gone, and their songs and laughter silenced from the mortal lands forever, save one. The beaches lay cold and deserted beneath a lowering dark winter sky. The sea roared, its high pillars of foam crashing against the cliffs. The Guardian closed his eyes, and let the wind whistle through his dark hair.

Come to me. Come to me. The sea commanded.

Not yet, it is not yet time, was his reply.

A few rocks broke away from a cliff and slipped into the sea. New beaches will be formed, and old ones lost. That is the way of mortal lands, everything grows old and eventually dies. I will remain the same.

They wait for you. Why do you not come?

I will. Just not yet.

His ears became aware of a sound that was not the wind or the sea, and simultaneously he looked up. And there was another.

He approached her cautiously. It had been long years since the Guardian of the Waves had allowed himself to be seen by another. However, this lone figure meant no threat to him. He sensed her kindness, her good heart, and her sorrow, deeper than the deepest depths of the sea. But she turned then, and he saw her eyes, young as a fair willow tree lost to the years long ago, grey as the twilight under the stars, and sparkling with the memory of many happenings. As he drew closer, he saw the hand of age had touched her. Her dark hair was frosted with grey, her face, although elven-fair, was lined with time and sorrow and joy. Around her shoulders she wore a black cloak alike to his own, and tears glistened on her cheeks, mixed with the salt water of the sea.

"What do you look for on the tide?" he asked.

"It is beyond my sight." She said. "A mist lies on the bay of Eldamar, and there is no ship left to take me there."

"What is your name?" He asked.

The woman looked up. "I am but an old woman with no place to go. But once I was Arwen Undómiel, the Queen of Gondor and the Evenstar of her people." She smiled bitterly. "And I know who you are. I have heard of the Guardian of the Waves. When I was a child, my father would sing to me of you, how you wander the shores and still the tides."

As she spoke, Arien and her vessel of fire slipped below the horizon. The sky began to darken into twilight.

"The Evening is over," she said. "The night comes now."

As they watched the sunset, the Guardian became aware of a glimmer rising in the West. Shutting his eyes, he turned away. The rising of Gil-Estel was a time of memory for him. A time of memory long-forgotten by others, and pain only he knew of those that lived. Beneath the twilit folds of his cloak, his left hand clenched tightly.

But when he looked up, he saw the woman's face was lifted up to the dying sun, the gentle light of the star shining down on her face. Gil-Estel, the star of high hope. The Evenstar of her people.

"The night may be coming." He said after a time. "But hope still shines in the West."

At this, Arwen's eyes brightened. "Can you not help me?" she asked. "Are you not of the Maiar, or of the lesser Valar? Surely you can take me there? Surely you can."

"I am but an Elf," he said. "I have no power to bring back those that are dead, or bring ships back from the West. I too have been left behind."

Her dark head drooped in disappointment. "There is no hope for me, then. I will never see the bright city of the Calacirya that my father told me of. It is a bitter world that he leaves to me, bitter and hard and without hope."

"There is always hope," said the Guardian with a new light in his eyes. From beneath his cloak he took a harp and began to test the strings. Arwen watched in fascination as each string rang out a clear, sweet note. The sea fell quiet, and the birds stopped calling from the clifftops.

Only when all was quiet did the Guardian of the Seas begin to play.

His melody was strange, and it seemed to Arwen that the sea and the wind joined in with his song. His voice was deep as the ocean yet clear as a stream. He sang of times past, of the woe and sorrow of the Elves, the red blood of many a battle fought in vain. He sang of the fading time, the white sails on the sea of another ship leaving into the West. He sang of the cold foam of the many shores around the world, and of his kin, names remembered only by lore-masters, Elves who waited still in Mandos. But as he sang he wove in a theme of hope, of change, of renewing. He sang that Arda Marred would be made again, that the Elves and Men and all those that were free and good would walk together again, in the world which Ilúvatar had intended for them.

The sun was long gone beneath the horizon, and the sky was fully dark before he finished. Arwen was sitting on a rock, her face raised in wonder, her cheeks wet with tears. He bowed his head a short time when his song finally ceased. The sea began to wash the shore again, as if waking from a dream. Far above, a sea bird called, and another answered.

"Rise, Evenstar." He said, offering her his arm. "Go to a place where you can find rest. Fear not, for when Arda Marred is made Arda Healed, you will walk with him again."

"And you?"

For the first time in many long years, the Guardian smiled.

"I will be there, with my family again, and all will be made right. This is what the Valar teach. Now, you must go."

Arwen found no words to say. It seemed that no words were needed. But it seemed the weakness of age left her body, and she walked tall and proud as a great queen of old. The Guardian stood by and watched until she vanished into the mists of the morning.

"Namárië."* He said, as the first glimmers of day began to shine on the Western Sea.

* "Namárië" - "Farewell", but you knew that.

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.

Story Information

Author: Staggering Wood Elf

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 4th Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 01/10/03

Original Post: 09/07/02

Go to Guardian, The overview


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