37. The 25th of March 3019
16th of March
I woke at dawn. During the last six months I have grown accustomed to rising early. I was awake at six o'clock sharp. But there was nowhere to go and nothing to do.
At seven o'clock I made my way down to the kitchen.
I had breakfast with Míriël and her sons. Nice breakfast. But I had no appetite. I wonder why?
After the breakfast we went to the Castle's gardens. With so few men and women left, the lady and her sons had to work alongside the servants to keep the castle in order and everyone fed and clothed.
Nobility does not work in real life as it does in the movies. Actually, it's pretty hard work.
Have you ever tried to keep a castle, one five year old and one ten year old boy, assorted dogs, cats, chickens and horses clean and the gardens in order and ready for the summer?
You are welcome to try.
It was another dark and cold day. The sun seemed to have fled the war and the Enemy's evil darkness. The atmosphere was subdued. Everyone was frightened; everyone missed husbands, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, sons, nephews. Old men, old women, cripples, women and children – that was all that was left of the inhabitants of Dol Amroth, town or castle.
I welcomed the work in the gardens.
It was hard work, it made my wrists hurt again and it was pretty boring, but I refused to stop and rest because the work helped to keep dark thoughts at bay.
I would have liked to take Mithril out for a ride, but Míriël would not allow it. She was right of course. Therefore I spent the afternoon in the study with Míriël and her sons.
Míriël worked on the ledgers, Númendil had to study a book about the history of Gondor, and Mel was learning how to write the runes that were most commonly used in Gondor. I was settled on a window seat with my old clothes heaped at my feet and a sewing basket sitting next to me. Most of my clothes sported tears, holes or at least fraying sleeves.
I don't only hate sewing; I am bloody atrocious at it.
Every now and again Míriël would come over to me, have a look at what I was doing, make a small hissing sound and then she would show me patiently how to do things correctly.
Did I mention that I hate sewing?
I could see that Míriël was wondering what the hell I had been doing in my life up until now, knowing nothing about gardening and cooking and sewing. But she did not ask any questions, and I tried to do what she showed me with needle and thread. It might have worked better if I did not have two left hands and only thumbs.
In the end I did get some work done, but all in all you could not really call my efforts a success in the art of sewing.
Well, it's true, at the end of the afternoon I had mended some tears in my jeans and shirts. But my fingers were pierced and bleeding and my nerves were more frayed than any of my clothes. I had also discovered what the worst thing about sewing is.
It's not slipping threads.
It's not piercing your own fingers.
The worst thing about sewing is that you can think of other things while you do it.
You can think a lot while you try to produce so incredibly neat, small stitches that no one will notice that this particular piece of clothing was ever touched by needle and thread.
(Not that I ever achieved that goal.)
But I did get to imagine at least three horrible ways of dying on the battle fields for each of my friends currently in Minas Tirith, or worse yet, in Mordor.
Had we been on earth, a few centuries before 2004, I could have stayed in a chapel all day, praying for the souls and lives of my friends. No chapel in Middle-earth.
Finally a thought that had nothing to do with…
…here we go again.
But it's true. Although people in Middle-earth are no heathens because most of them believe in the One and the Valar, there is no church. Prayers and blessings and such are up to the head of each household. There is no church and there are no monasteries. The keeping of lore has always been up to the wizards and the elves. Perhaps that's why, I mused. The elves had after all, or at least many of them, been to Aman; they had seen the Valar. They did not have to believe. They knew. And through the association with the elves, men had not developed this "my religion is right and yours is wrong" issue that we have on earth.
The dwarves, it seems, have always known that Aulë has created them and it is to him that they pray; about their afterlife they don't talk to others, but I think that Aulë will take care of them. I have no idea what the hobbits believe in, apart from at least six good meals a day. I should have asked Bilbo. But in Rivendell other things had been on my mind.
How I wished I had other things on my mind right now!
17th of March
No sun. Only grey twilight. More sewing. More thinking.
I felt like screaming and hitting something.
I did not.
Maybe I get a halo and a nice set of wings?
In the afternoon we played games with the kids. Númendil won three games of cards in a row. He must have a photographic memory. He knows where every card is. And there are many cards in that particular game. Mel had a temper tantrum when we stopped playing.
I was relieved.
18th of March
Do I need to say that there is no sun today?
After Míriël watched me running around in circles in the library for two hours, she gave me a small leather-bound diary. She told me to write down an account of my journey.
At least now I have something to do.
I started with the day I left my room in Erlangen.
I did not even hear the bell ringing for dinner. Mel had to run and fetch me.
19th of March
Writing all day. Writing helps. I cannot think about the present and the future when I try to write down what happened in the past. Writing is almost like a therapy.
I try to go day by day. Then I got confused about the dates and asked Míriël about the calendar of Gondor.
I should not have done that.
There are at least five different calendars in use in Middle-earth at the moment. Míriël knows all of them, even this perverse thing the elves call a calendar. She does not even have to think to convert dates.
But at the end I came to the more or less comforting conclusion that it's still only the nineteenth of March today.
This waiting is killing me.
Wrong thought. Wrong thought.
They will survive. They have to!
20th of March
I spent another day writing down my adventures. I am turning into a regular Bilbo. Perhaps, when all this is over, I can copy my story down and take it to the hobbit. I bet he'd like that.
In the afternoon I reached the part of my story that involves Boromir.
I am afraid the writing is almost unreadable in parts.
21st day of March
I did not feel up to writing today. Writing about Amon Hen yesterday triggered some nasty nightmares. My head is achy and I feel slightly dazed, as if I did not sleep at all, which is not true. I did sleep. Maybe an hour or two.
I wandered aimlessly through the castle and the town during the afternoon, always trailed by my faithful shadow, the guard Anmir. I am never left completely alone.
I ended up in the stables, mucking out the stalls.
That was the best idea I had in days.
In the evening I was sweaty and dirty and exhausted.
They have a real bath in the castle. When I went to bed that night I was pink from a hot bath and so tired that I slept like a log.
22nd of March
A castle at the water's edge is good for privies. You can have nice toilets on every floor.
You put them in the outer walls towards the sea, with a strategically placed opening.
The downside is that you have to clean those privies regularly because there is no such thing as regular indoor plumbing. There is a rainwater cistern that feeds the faucet in the kitchen, and there is a well just outside the kitchen, but there is no real plumbing.
We cleaned the toilets today. Yes, even the lady.
I won't go into details.
But I had no time or thought for war and death.
That's something, isn't it?
23rd of March
I spent another day in the stables. I think Mithril missed me. I spent hours brushing her and cleaning her and stroking her and talking to her. When I have to return her to Éowyn, I am going to miss her like hell.
Who would have thought that I could become so attached to a horse?
I always thought that I was rather a cat-person.
But Mithril is special. Not only because she is a Meara. Mithril is an exceptionally friendly and understanding horse. She is my friend.
I will miss her so much when she is back in Rohan.
24th of March
Tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day. Or tomorrow should be THE day.
I woke way before dawn, all shivery and nervous.
I cannot stay seated for a second today.
There has been no message from the east, no news, no information, nothing.
All we can do is watch the eastern sky.
The eastern sky is the same as it always has been during the last days. Dark. Very dark. No sun today either. Only grey twilight.
Once again I was running in circles in the library when Míriël had finally enough of my restlessness.
She sent me outside to play a game with the boys.
That game involved throwing a leather ball back and forth between us.
I was too nervous for that either.
After I had dropped the ball for the tenth time, I told the boys that they should play without me and went into the gardens. From the gardens of Dol Amroth you have a beautiful view of the peninsula of Dol Amroth and the coast and the sea to the southeast.
I must have been standing at the wall staring out to the sea for two hours before I realized that I was mumbling the Lord's Prayer in an unhinged, hurried whisper under my breath.
I clenched my teeth and my fists and stopped whispering.
But I remained standing at the walls surrounding the gardens and stared into the east until nightfall.
Tomorrow. My brain whispered. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.
I felt sick with fear.
I did not sleep that night.
I sat on the window seat in my room, huddled in my warm downy covers and stared out across the dark seas of night to the west. The night was so dark that it was almost impossible to even see the waves. Only far, far away, at the western horizon there was a small ribbon of light, turning a small strip of sky into the normal inky blue of a spring sky at night with a few silver pinpoints of stars barely visible.
I sat there and waited for the hours to go by.
The agony of waiting and my mounting fear made place for a feeling of complete numbness. My mind was utterly blank.
I wasn't afraid anymore.
I wasn't hoping anymore.
I wasn't even praying anymore.
I just sat there and waited, waited for the hours to go by, for the night to go by.
Waiting for the 25th of March 3019.
25th of March
I missed the dawn.
Dawn merely meant that the utter darkness of the night was once again replaced by a grey twilight of looming eastern shadows.
I did not go down to eat breakfast but remained where I was.
I sat on the cushioned window seat. I stared at the western sky, but my thoughts were in the east. I sat with my knees drawn up against my body, my arms around my legs, my fingers intertwined. The knuckles of my fingers stood out whitely against my skin, I was gripping so hard at my hands.
My breath was shivery and trembling. It was hard to hold on and not hyperventilate, so tense were my nerves. My pulse was racing.
Today. Today. Today.
The word echoed in my mind in tune to the frantic beat of my heart.
But during a long, grey morning nothing happened.
Nothing at all.
It was in the middle of the afternoon when it happened.
For an eerie moment I had the feeling that my heart stopped beating.
That the world stopped turning.
That the time stood still.
That God in heaven held His breath.
Then a noise like thunder rose from the east and from deep, deep down, from deep below my feet a rumbling noise swept up. Suddenly the ground beneath my feet was shivering as if in a wave of agony, rising and falling in a huge painful heave. I was thrown off the window seat and to the ground. For a moment I lay where I had fallen, my breath knocked out of my lungs. Then I stumbled to my feet and back to the window. In the sky there was an explosion of blackness and fire coming from the east, spreading with the speed of light. For a second I thought that it was over, that the darkness would engulf us once and for all, but then I realized that even as the blackness spread across the sky it was growing thinner. Thinner!
The darkness was melting like the cool mist of a spring morning in the rising sun. I knelt on the window seat and stared at the sky, at the swiftly vanishing darkness and felt how, at the same time as the light of the sun and the sky returned to Middle-earth, the rumbling tremors of the earthquake ceased deep down in the bones of the earth, far beneath my feet. As suddenly as the convulsions had begun, they were gone. The earth was quiet once more.
I don't know how long I sat there, watching the darkness of Sauron fade from the world once and for all. I felt as if I was watching a divine dawn. A dawn that lasted days. But in fact it was not a long time at all. Perhaps an hour. Then it was over. The sky was a pale blue colour and the sun was shining again. The thunder and the earthquake had passed. Everything was quiet. Down below I could hear the waves of the ocean. Somewhere in the gardens behind the castle I could hear a blackbird singing its springtime song. As if nothing had happened at all. As if there had been no days and days of gloom and twilight and no sun. As if there had been no shadow and no earthquake.
It was over.
Sauron was gone.
I slumped down in the window seat and exhaled deeply.
The tension of many months left me and I cried tears of relief.
And then I laughed, and laughed, and laughed until I cried again.
Finally, finally I grew quiet, and calm.
I looked back out of the window and at the sea.
The sea was calm, with many small, barely white crested waves. The sea was blue, a deep, beautiful Prussian blue. The sky above the sea was a gentle, pale blue, the colour of forget-me-nots. And the western horizon was hidden in soft, white mists.
It was really over.
Then, when everything was quiet again, and the sun shining brightly, the door burst open and Míriël came running into my room, Mel and Númendil clutching her hands.
Her face was so pale that it was as white as a cloud in a summer's sky and her eyes were darker than the night and wide with shock.
She halted in the middle of the room.
She looked at me for a moment in silence.
When she spoke, her voice was only a whisper.
"Is it over?" she asked.
I looked at her and I guess I was just as pale and that my eyes were just as wide and shocked.
When I opened my mouth to answer her, my heart skipped a beat and my stomach fluttered.
My voice sounded strange to my ears, choked and shaky, still caught somewhere between tears and laughter.
"Yes," I cried, my voice breaking, "yes, yes, yes! It's over! It's over!"
And then I was in her arms and she was in my arms and Mel and Númendil were there, too, and the four of us were embracing each other and kissing each other and laughing and crying all at the same time.
It was over.
It was really, truly over.
I have talked to many people who were not in the battle, about how they experienced the end.
In fact, I have collected a book of stories how people experienced that final hour, the death of the darkness and the rebirth of Middle-earth.
Even so many years later when I ask someone to tell me about this hour on the 25th of March 3019, they can do that without hesitation; no matter how old and frail, they remember that hour. Years, and years and years later, everyone still knows exactly where he or she was during that hour and what they were doing during that final hour of the war, when the earth trembled and the darkness exploded in the sky.
They tell their stories with hushed voices and tears in their eyes, but they smile as they speak. They smile as they relate their memory of that final hour between darkness and light.
And I know that I do the same, when my children and grandchildren ask me about that day.
I whisper, I cry and I smile.
This is the END of the first book of
"Lothíriel - The Tenth Walker! Novel".
If you want to read more, Lothíriel's story continues in the next chapter, as her story turns from adventure story into love story...
Please feel free to leave a comment!
Anything at all: If you noticed a typo, if you don't like a characterization or description, if you thought a line especially funny, if there was anything you particularly enjoyed …
I am really interested in what my readers think about my writing.
You can either leave a public comment, send me a private message or mail me privately: juno_magic at magic dot ms
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this story.
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.