33. Chapter 33: Interlude
The sun was just starting to rise over the waters of ANZAC Cove, and one who was there 89 years ago stood on the shore. Yes, me, Maglor, Kinslayer, once called the Mighty Singer, and at my side is a mortal woman who means more to me than my life.
Strangely, if I'd not met her grandfather in this very place, it's likely he wouldn't have survived the Great War and thus Bronwyn would never have been born. I tighten my hold on her hand, and she steps nearer me, knowing this sunrise brings terrible memories. Memories nearly as bad as those of the Kinslayings and of my brother's deaths.
Does she know how comforting I find her sweet presence? I think so.
The sun is a red globe that seems to sit on the sea, just like that fatal morning. I step forward, and Bronwyn lets me go alone to lay a wreath of flowers at the water's edge. I back away, watching it drift off with thousands of others and find my place by my lady's side, only this time she slips an arm around me in a gentle hug which I gratefully return.
Lost in memories of that time, strangely so near in time, yet so far, I scarcely hear the voice of the mortal priest conducting the Dawn Service. Almost I could hear the rattle of the Turkish machine-guns, the screams of the wounded and dying mortals. Curiously on that day when so many died before they even reached the beach, I'd felt no fear. Not like in previous battles. All through the many battles of the first age, I'd been terrified. Not for myself, but for my brothers, my cousins, my friends and loyal followers. I was damned and cursed from the moment of the first Kinslaying and I knew that my life was worthless. But my kin, yes, I feared for them.
So I'd jumped off the small landing craft with the others in it, and only two of us made it ashore. Me, the one time ministrel, and a sheep farmer from New South Wales. Together we'd somehow made it up the rugged beach to a form of shelter, and together throughout the disaster of Gallipoli we'd stayed, and on to the Palestine and the now famous Charge of Beersheba. Each of us owed the other his life many times over by the time peace was declared, and this mortal and I had become close, far closer than I believed a mortal and an elf could get. Now he was gone, and his grand daughter stood by me on this chilly morning.
Suddenly, the priest's words break my thoughts: Though they are no more,
We will remember them.
Ah, how wrong he was! With that strange humour that sometimes strikes me, almost I said, 'no, you're wrong. I was here, I was with them, the brave young men of your country. I am elf, and deathless I wander your lands and have seen many strange and wonderous things. Ask me what you will,' but prudence and the knowledge Bronwyn would panic if I revealed myself stay my tongue.
Then with a suddeness than almost shocks me the service is over, and everyone around is intoning the traditional words 'Lest we Forget.'
Continuing to stand where the waves (clean today, not red and foaming) run up the beach is useless. So, I take Bronwyn's hand and we walk together up to the huge graveyards filled with crosses. After a long search I find most of the ones I am looking for, and lay flowers on them, and stand silently remembering my deceased mortal friends, feeling both sadder and yet more relieved than I'd thought possible at being here, the first time I've returned to Gallipoli since 1915.
Masses of people were walking across the old battlefields and Bronwyn and I join them. As we walk I point out places and told her stories, most of which she'd heard from her grandfather, but I could tell she was able to connect more to what we had truly endured. Finally, the day is nearly over, and Bronwyn and I stand on the top of the ridge called Lone Pine and watch the sun sink over ground filled with the bones of brave men.
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.