22. Queen Mother
F. A. 50
The Thain of the Shire rode into the Gray Havens, accompanied by his son Faramir. The trip had an official purpose - to discuss the trade in woven cotton that had, to the wonderment of many Hobbits, considerably enriched their land. But Pippin also wanted to see the Havens once more, and remember. And for his son to see them, and understand a bit of family history.
One of the reasons Cirdan had survived though all the ages of Arda was a vigilant effort to maintain good relations with all of his neighbors, save those who served the Shadow directly. Thus, though the Falathrim had suffered many defeats, they had never been wiped out. So, the Lord of the Havens made his small visitors most welcome.
While strolling about the quays, Pippin noticed a silver-haired elleth he remembered from his last visit here, more than half a life ago. She had been one of those Elves most upset by the departure of Elrond, Galadriel and so many others. The elleth now stood at the end of a pier, facing the waters but seemingly lost in thought. He approached her.
"My Lady," the now-silver-haired Took greeted the Elf in Sindarin, "may I have the honor of greeting you?" Time had improved Pippin's manners.
The elleth snapped out of her reverie. "Well met, Peregrin son of Paladin. It is long, by the accounting of your people, since our last meeting. I am honored that you remember me."
"Well, I noticed that you were one of the few Elves who were as upset as we Hobbits were," Pippin remarked, now in Westron. "It struck me. Though we did not get a chance to talk then, I would say now I hope you did not grieve too long. Merry and I did not fully recover until we had families of our own." And Sam, part of Sam died that day, family or no.
One corner of the beautiful face turned up. "Ah, so you remember me only for my tears?"
Pippin did not know what to say, but the elleth rescued him before he could answer.
"I was most grieved that day. Mostly for Elrond. I had known him since his youth, and was sad to see him go, but even sadder to see the cares which weighed on him. A lesser Elf would have faded. I hope he has found peace."
"You knew Elrond in his youth?" Pippin was not shocked - the same could be said for Cirdan and Erestor - but since the Elves who could say that were not exactly numerous, his interest was piqued.
"Yes, he was a friend to my son, and mighty in his service. Long ago, in Mithlond."
Pippin gasped, but could not think of a polite way to put a further question.
The elleth again rescued him. "I am Meril, wife of Findekano Nolofinwion. My son was Ereinion Gil-galad."
Pippin was stunned into silence.
"It is strange meeting a woman you presume to be dead or at least long since departed, is it not?"
Again, a polite reply eluded him. The elleth, of course, looked to be in the bloom of youth, as a Hobbit-lass of thirty would, at the peak of beauty. Though Pippin had come to some understanding of Elven immortality, the lack of differences between generations always threw him off, no matter how many Elves he met.
He did, however manage to bow deeply. "Life is full of surprises, Lady!"
Meril smiled as she passed Pippin by, heading towards her home. "Indeed, and let us be glad that it is!"