1. Lament for Two
Lament for Two
I have heard your voice often, fair Morwen, crying and wailing in my dreams. You are mourning, calling out for me to share in your lamentations. So full of pain and regret. The distances are far between us, and yet - your call comes from Brethil, I deem. What drove you hence? You went not to Gondolin, as I had asked, but to Doriath- from there, who knows where your path took you?
I am following that whisper of grief. It is a dark road, and strenuous for my aged frame. Morgoth's torture did not affect my mind alone. They avoid me, those passing by. They fear my appearance, the harsh expression that cannot be erased from my face. But you will not shy away from me, Eledhwen. I sense that you have also faced severe trials, and are no longer the beautiful woman that the people of Dor-lómin name Steelsheen. My doom was placed over my entire house.
I had wished that Túrin and our daughter could have escaped this curse. Wished, but never believed. The Dark Lord is strong, and his powers of evil are greater than the ties of kinship. I know what my heart will not admit- their fates had been twisted by events out of our control. Perhaps you are even-
No. I dare not think such things. Some hope must linger in this troubled land.
It is afternoon now. I have crossed the Teiglin, and all about I see destruction - devastation. Something passed through here, and traces yet remain. A large beast; the blackened ground suggests a dragon. Glaurung. My love, you must have been surprised at the Enemy's foul deeds. I am not. Morgoth's words were no gentle benediction, but spoken with the intent of ruining my line. I have seen with his eyes and heard with his ears. It will all end in despair.
And ahead - on the brink of a deep and narrow gorge - is a high mound. Its grass is fresh, and sweet. I have seen many graves like this. Rising tall and prominent near the cliff's edge is a stone, grey and somber.
I do not look at it, for I know what is carven there in Elvish runes. Turambar and Nienor are dead. They are gone, the hapless victims of others' wrongdoings.
But a cloaked form kneels before the marker. An old woman, clothed in tattered garb. Seated in the shadow, she lifts her face towards mine and throws back her hood. Her hair is ashen and falls in loose tendrils, her skin dirty and creased. Her eyes - though crazed and frightened like a wild creature, they gleam as brightly as the night sky. In their pale silvery depths shine the beauty of Morwen Eledhwen.
"You have come at last. I have waited too long."
I shake my head, remembering the strong woman you had once been. "It was a dark road. I have come as I could."
You lower your gaze, and choke something back. A sob? I observe you distantly, almost coldly. "But you are too late. They are lost."
"I know it. But you are not."
You smile faintly, a bittersweet upwards movement of your trembling lips. "Almost. I am spent. I shall go with the sun. Now little time is left: if you know, tell me! How did she find him?"
I have no answer. You want the truth, but that is something I cannot give you. I dare not add to your anguish. You were once the loveliest of mortal women; where is your elegance? Has misfortune stolen your grace and pride?
I sit beside you, and take your calloused hand in mine. I can feel the rough blisters on your palm, rubbing against my own hardened skin. You were not meant for this pain. You should have lived in comfort, the Lady of a prosperous realm. I dreaded leaving you behind, as the men left to join with Fingon's forces, for I intuited our doom. Was there any escape?
The sun begins to sink below the horizon, and your scarred fingers grip mine firmly. Your end is drawing nigh, and my tongue longs to utter soothing words to relieve this hurt. But nothing comes. I cannot speak, and in a way I think you understand. Neither of us may talk in this moment; it is the curse.
You open your mouth slowly, but no words immerge. The silence seems unshakable. I squeeze your hand gently, and feel you barely return my gesture - your strength is failing. Already, you are chilled and pale. Then gradually, with the sun's retreat, your grasp slackens until your fingers lie lifeless against my own.
Your face is illuminated in the moon's rising radiance, an ivory oval frozen like a statue. It appears softened, as though death has smoothed away your cares and returned the glory of your youth. The brittleness is gone, replaced by a peace - a serenity - I will never find.
"She was not conquered," I murmur, unable to move from my position. Or perhaps I do not want to.
During those years atop Thangorodim, my thoughts of my family sustained me and allowed me to rebel. Túrin, and Nienor, and you - even little Lalaith, stolen away like a lily chilled by an early frost. My children took their own lives, but I still had you.
Now, I am truly alone. My love, my wife, my hope is dead. Everyone has plotted against me, planning my doom. Thingol, Melian, Morgoth - they are all the same. They all seek the same treasure. They want the Silmarils, yes, but beyond that they desire power and control. They use others for their own means - but not you. Darkness and sorrow never fully dominated you.
It is quiet, but for the rushing waters of the river and the raging bitterness of my thoughts. The wind blows forcefully against my face, sending sharp, chilled rain to awaken me from this stupor. They have betrayed my family. The elves, the orcs - what does race matter? They stole my love, and my joy. I will make them pay for their treachery.
I will bury you here, Morwen. They shall call this the Stone of the Hapless, for it marks the tombs of the abused. Then I will find peace in vengeance. Retribution will calm my thoughts; revenge will help conquer this unquenchable anger that possesses me.
Utúlie'n lóm. The night has come.
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.