66. Sneaky Elves
Did I say wizards are sneaky? Well, they are nothing compared to Elvish ladies who used to be immortal.
Arwen did not hurry from my room to find out if she was pregnant, or to curl up in bed with Aragorn getting pregnant. No, she ran to find Gandalf and ask him to play postman for me.
It was before breakfast, right after dawn. I am not at my best without some coffee or at the very least some tírithel inside of me that early in the morning. Especially if I have barely slept during the night.
I stared at Gandalf. "What did you just say?" I asked incredulously.
The wizard smiled at me. "If you have a letter that I should take with me on the journey, I promise that it will reach its destination."
"You promise..." I trailed off, gaping at the old man.
The wizard's eyes sparkled with mirth. "I will see to it that the letter goes where you want it to go. Of course I cannot promise when it will arrive, but it will arrive one day. That much I can assure you of."
I blinked at him, still absolutely nonplussed by this unexpected offer.
Gandalf's smile turned into a broad grin. "We want to leave right after lunch, so I suggest you make for the library at once."
I nodded, feeling more than just a little dazed. When I turned, the wizard caught my arm. "Oh, and, Lothíriel, it was a good idea you had yesterday evening-sending letters to Aman. Quite unprecedented, of course. But it will make them happy, both of them. This only goes to show that there are many reasons why you are here."
He winked at me and entered the Golden Hall for some leisurely, hobbity breakfast. After all, they were not in a hurry on their journey back without the nuisance of black riders on their trail or similar annoyances.
For a moment I remained standing where I was, staring after the wizard. Then realization struck. I felt my knees go weak for a moment.
I could write that letter.
I would write that letter.
I had to write that goddamn letter!
I gasped and ran for the library.
Where I spent hours writing the most difficult letter I have ever written in my life.
This is what I finally gave to Gandalf, together with a small book bound in leather.
"Edoras, Rohan, August 14th, 3019
Liebe Mama, dear Mother, lieber Papa, dear Father,
This is how it came about that I had to sit down and write this letter. The most difficult letter I have ever written in my life!
I write to both of you, although I know, Mama, that you will get that letter first-you always do-and I will leave it up to you to decide if you show this letter to Papa at all, or only tell him that I am alive and well. I think he won't take well to being told that I have ended up in an entirely different world and that I will be marrying a king. But if you think you can convince him of the truth without him trying to get the postman convicted for murder, go ahead.
The little book that comes with this letter contains an account of everything that has happened to me up until now. So I don't need to explain everything that happened in this letter; you will simply have to read it for yourself. I know my handwriting is terrible, but you should try writing with a quill and this ghastly home-made ink some time.
If you want to, you can post my story on the internet with my other scribblings. It is quite safe. No one will believe this anyway. And after all, Tolkien did the same thing. He wrote down a good deal of our bloody history and published it. Yes, it is now my history, too.
But don't try to turn my story into a real book. I know how this would make you happy, Mama, but with those pesky publishing laws it's really impossible. Don't try to win this case, it's not worth it. Papa will tell you the same thing.
This is simply my way of saying goodbye to you. And I would really like to say goodbye to my fan fiction friends, too. They will think this is the most hyper way of getting out of fan fiction for some real life reasons, like a husband and a job.
And in a way that's even true. I will be married next year, and you can imagine any number of grandchildren with blond or brown hair and beautiful dark eyes. I guess I will also have a job, helping Éomer with the governing of Rohan. I think it would be nice to collect all those customs and laws that are handed down from one generation to the next and to codify them. You see, contrary to what you always thought, my days as a law student have not been a complete waste of time.
What else is there to say?
The seed you planted when you named me Lothíriel has flowered in the most unexpected but happy way. Yes, happy. Even though the way to get here was long and difficult, I don't regret one single step. I am where I belong. I am in love. I have found the best friends imaginable. I am happy and busy. My life is full as it never was on Earth. There was no real reason for me to live on Earth. Here I have many reasons to live the life I have chosen, and although some of the reasons are difficult, I would not have it any other way.
Take care, and take care of Papa. I know that you will cry when you have read this letter, and probably again when you read my journal. I guess that I will cry when I hand this package to Gandalf. But for the future, if you think about me, now and then, I want you to do so with a smile upon your lips. Both of you. I have always loved you, Mama, and always will.
Tell Papa that I will always love him. Papa, if she has managed to get you to read this for yourself, I love you. Forever. Don't miss me too much.
God, the Valar, and Eru all bless you.
With all my love,
P.S.: I had to tell Éomer about this letter. He wanted to know what I was doing in the library that was so important that I couldn't eat breakfast. He asks me to send his warmest regards. Certain rash words on his part that you stumble upon in the journal were due to the heat of the argument and bad experiences with an evil character who betrayed his king and his country and killed his cousin. He never meant them the way he said them. I have forgiven him and you should, too. He is a really wonderful man, and I love him more than anything else in the world. He regrets it deeply that he could not ask your permission to marry me. He loves me very much, and he will take care of me as long as I live.
Lots of love, from
(signature) Lothíriel, Princess of Dol Amroth, future Queen of Rohan and
(unintelligible signature) Éomer, son of Eomund, King of Rohan
P.P.S.: There might be a chance for you to send a letter back to me. Gandalf now and again pays custom to the factory outlet of Vauen, the pipe manufacturer in Nuremberg. He likes the pipes they make. He actually owns the "Gandalf pipe" from the movies! Anyway, if you give the letter to the man in the shop and tell him to pass it on to an old man with white hair and a white beard, a blue pointed hat, a silver scarf and probably white robes, it just might be possible that I get the letter. It's worth a try.
Goodbye and yours forever, Lothy."
I sealed the letter with red wax and stamped it with the royal seal of Rohan, which has the head of a horse and some very impressive runes on it. Then I put the letter and the book in a small wooden box. Gimli nailed the lid on the box. I wrapped the box in parchment, secured with tightly knotted string and sealed that again. I carefully wrote down the address.
Herrn und Frau Elbenstern
Am Laufer Schlagturm 15
When I was finished, my heart was beating like a drum and my hands were shaking.
I almost ran as I carried the box to Gandalf in the Golden Hall.
He raised his bushy eyebrows and gave me an amused look. "Well, that was quick. And quite a nice letter. Especially the last part is positively ingenious. I only hope that the boy at the shop will remember me when I stop by at Vauen's some time in the future."
"Then you will go there again?" I asked, clenching my fists and speaking a little prayer under my breath.
Gandalf chuckled. "As the noble arts of Aman do not yet include either the production of tobacco or pipes, I rather think I will return to that shop. I have grown rather fond of that pipe I bought just before I met you."
He gave me another of his famous conspiratorial winks.
In a more serious vein he continued, "But only once. Crossing the void is not without danger; as you should know from your own experience. And there has been more than enough contact between this world and Arda as it is. We don't want to leave traces in the void pointing the way to either of the two worlds. That would go ill indeed. So it is one letter to take there, and perhaps, some day, another to take back. Are you willing to accept these conditions?"
"Of course I am," I exclaimed. "I never thought that it might be possible to get even one letter there, not really, not even after I suggested that Arwen could send some letters to Aman. You have no idea how much I wanted to say goodbye to my parents properly. They must have been thinking that I was murdered."
Gandalf inclined his head. He did not say anything to oppose my assumption. So it was true. My parents had indeed believed that I had been killed. I bit down on my lip, overwhelmed by guilt.
"Don't feel guilty," the wizard said, his usually gruff voice very soft. "There was no other way for you to leave. And now you can bid them goodbye properly, even if only by the means of a letter."
I swallowed down my tears and managed a feeble smile. "Thank you," I said. "I am really glad that I got the chance to say goodbye at all."
At last it was time to say goodbye-or farewell.
We accompanied our friends to the gates of Edoras. The weather had stayed hot and bright. Travelling would be a lark in these peaceful summer days.
Suddenly I remembered something. It would be a lark and peaceful until the Hobbits returned to the Shire. On the other hand... the scouring of the Shire would be child's play compared to the war of the rings. I decided to keep silent about this last one of my memories.
I sighed deeply as I realized that this day of many partings also meant that I was parting with the last of my fading memories of books I had read long ago, in another life, in another world. From now onwards, there was nothing I could know. There was nothing I should know. I was free. There was only my life ahead of me, and I would have to fill every page of my new journal by myself.
Arwen embraced her brothers fiercely. But they would be back in Minas Tirith for Éowyn's wedding, so they would see each other again in a few months' time. She also got to embrace Galadriel and Celeborn. Haldir bowed to her deeply.
Although she wept when she hugged and kissed her father, I could see that she was not in despair as she had been last night. Maybe even planning her letters and her pictures. I hoped the Valar would not get mad at me for establishing this unprecedented postal service between Arda and Aman.
She kissed the Hobbits, which made Merry and Pippin giggle like girls and Sam blush hotly. To Frodo she said, "Remember my gift." He nodded slowly, his blue eyes veiled.
She embraced and kissed Gandalf, too, who blushed even more ferociously than the Hobbits.
Aragorn embraced Elrond and the twins. And Gandalf. I think that's another thing that I really prefer about Middle-earth as opposed to Earth. When you are really, truly friends here, you show it. No matter if you are a man and a king to boot. You embrace friends who you will never see again. And I mean, really embrace, not just this back thumping thing guys do back on Earth, nor like lovers. But the way friends are meant to embrace.
But he bowed to the Hobbits, who blushed horribly at this high honour.
And so it went on, with everyone making more or less a fool of himself or herself.
I bowed to Elrond. That went fine. I got hugged by the twins.
I attempted a curtsy for Galadriel, fell over my feet and into her arms. She laughed out loud and gave me a kiss. Gimli later accused me of doing that on purpose. I told him that he was only mad that he had not thought of doing something like that himself. He blushed and grumbled some horrible dwarfish curses under his breath. Oh, well, perhaps he would get his chance at a kiss from Galadriel when he sailed to Aman with Legolas one day.
I embraced and kissed the Hobbits. "Have a safe journey," I told them. "Come and visit us sometime!"
But to Frodo I whispered, "I hope you find your peace." He nodded. I think he knew even then that he would not be able to stay.
Gandalf embraced me tightly, tickling my face with his long white beard. "I will deliver your letter. Be happy, my dear."
"I will," I whispered into his beard and was not able to keep back my tears another minute.
I hate farewells. Especially the forever kind.
Finally everyone had made his goodbyes but Éomer and Merry.
Merry had acted as Éomer's squire ever since Cormallen. Although it is wrong, of course, because Merry is an adult, I think that Éomer saw in him something of the sons he might one day have. He did not want Merry to leave, even though he knew that Merry could not possibly stay in a country where almost everyone thought him no more than a lad of thirteen.
Together with Éowyn he finally walked over to Merry and they said, "Farewell now, Meriadoc of the Shire and Holdwine of the Mark! Ride to good fortune, and ride back soon to our welcome!"
Then Éomer knelt down before the Hobbit, suddenly, awkwardly smaller than his small squire. "Kings of old would have laden you with gifts that a wain could not bear for your deeds upon the fields of Mundburg; and yet you will take naught, you say, but the arms that were given to you. This I suffer, for indeed I have no gift that is worthy to give you, hero, brother in arms and most honoured of all squires of Rohan. But my sister begs you to receive this small thing, as a memorial of Dernhelm and of the horns of the Mark at the coming of the morning."
And Éowyn knelt down next to Éomer and gave Merry an ancient horn, a small, silver horn, beautifully carved with the pictures of horsemen riding up from the tip of the horn to the mouthpiece, and fitted with a green baldric. The mouthpiece and the tip of the horn were lined with runes of ancient spells and blessings, honouring the bravery of long forgotten heroes.
"This is an heirloom of our house," Éowyn said, and there were tears in her eyes. "It was made by the Dwarves and came from the hoard of Scatha the Worm. Eorl the Young brought it from the North. He that blows it at need shall set fear in the hearts of his enemies and joy in the hearts of his friends, and they shall hear him and come to him." The shadow of a memory of another horn that had been blown in vain passed away quickly in the sunshine.
Merry accepted the horn. There was no way to refuse this noble gift, pressed on him by the kneeling king of Rohan and the princess of Ithilien. They embraced, and Merry kissed Éowyn's hand for goodbye.
He would come back and visit as soon as his affairs in the Shire would be in order. He would certainly be in time for the wedding come May. I was looking forward to it.
Éomer and Éowyn rose back to their feet. Servants moved forward with golden goblets of mead as stirrup-cups on silver trays. The cups were lifted in a last toast of goodbye and godspeed.
At last there was nothing more to be said, every word of blessing and farewell had been spoken. The company mounted their horses and ponies and rode away to the bridge across Snowbourn River.
Éomer and I remained at the gates of Edoras long after the others had turned back to the palace. Éomer held me close to him, without a word. I knew he was sad to see them go, and he knew that I was sad, too. We knew each other's heart without a word.
And somehow the many partings of the day did not pain me as much as I had feared they would. That's life. People come and people go.
But some stay.
And sometimes they stay forever.
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.