24. Thralls to Unseen Poppies
The reunion in Tirion was more than Galadriel had dared to hope for. Celebrian was well and whole. Fingolfin and many of his House had been reembodied, and Galadriel found her father was glad to be rid of the Kingship he had never sought.
All brimmed with joy at her return. Many had been born long after the Exile, and Galadriel found her tales of both Ennor and the Time of the Trees in great demand.
It was awkward to again be a subordinate after so many years as a ruler, but suffering some minor insults to her pride was hardly a burden after three Ages of fighting the Enemy!
And all of her brothers were back! Finrod, with Amarië and their children by his side, was happier than ever. Aegnor fairly sparkled whenever his newly returned son and grandson were about. Orodreth and Angrod were as she remembered, ever in petty quarrels, yet inseparable. Finarfin and Eärwen's eyes particularly shone at the sight of their family whole again after so many years of agony.
Innumerable cousins also renewed acquaintainces.. Soon enough she had laughed and sung with her mother's side of the family, of both branches, from Olwë and Elu on down. Death indeed sat lightly on the likes of the Greymantle, and Beleg Cuthalion who was again his Marchwarden, though the latter longed for his proper home in Ennor.
Even some she had not expected to see came to greet her - the Ambarussa, and most surprisingly, Caranthir. The latter had explained in typical fashion: "Mandos made a mistake." He had maintained a grim facade for several minutes before laughing and embracing her, "Ah, cousin, it is good to see you! I am wed now. Morifinwë is a father, can you believe it?"
It seemed that this was a place of healing indeed.
But not all came to Tirion. Amroth was nowhere to be found, nor was he in Namo's Halls, but since she had long suspected that her son had chosen to remain Houseless, this grief was not a shock.
More disconcerting was the absence of Indis and her relatives. Finally, she asked Finarfin. "Atar, where is Daernaneth?"
Finarfin frowned. "At Taniquetil, with the rest of the Vanyar."
"They will not come?"
"Are they much occupied?" The Vanyar had been known for their love of family, and must be in the midst of something crucial if they did not trouble to visit.
At that Finarfin laughed bitterly. "Occupied? Nay. They do nothing except 'glory in the light of the Valar'. That is all they have done since we returned from the War of Wrath."
"Is Ingwë still High King?"
"Supposedly." In truth Ingwë had been effectively unkinged when he declined to sail to that war, and the Vanyar had followed Manwë directly ever since, but this was not openly spoken of in Tirion, even among princes.
"But he has not given either myself or Fingolfin any direction or even taken council with us since Eru dealt with the Numenoreans."
"So they do naught?" Galadriel was astonished. For these fairest of the Elves to do ... nothing ... was - what? Unimaginable!
"They still sing and dance, and tend their fields, but they are not as you remember. In fact, daughter, I do not advise that you go to see them. My last visits were most upsetting. It is as if they are losing control over their own feär."
"They are fading then? Here?" The Lady shuddered at the thought. Her father had not seen many Elves fade, and perhaps had misinterpreted something - otherwise his words made no sense. Or perhaps the Vanyar no longer had need of hroär, and were fading in the other manner long foretold. But that was not supposed to happen yet! Was the time of the Elves ending even in the Blessed Realm?
Finarfin embraced his youngest child. "Nay, I know what fading is. Nor is it the other - Dagor Dagorath is not upon us. But this is ill enough! Their hroär are as fair as ever, but the feär are ... slipping away! I doubt my Naneth would even recognize you without prompting. Have you ever seen one who was grievously wounded, and though healed in body, became thrall to the poppy-medicine? We had a few among our people after the War. But the Vanyar are nearly all like that now, though there is no poppy there that eyes can see. That special spirit they once had, which so enchanted us, is utterly gone. Please, do not go to Taniquetil!"
"There is nothing we can do for them then?"
Finarfin shook his head sadly, unable to answer further.
His own elder brother, the King, had sensed grief of near kin and come from the next room to see what troubled them. Fingolfin voiced his brother's unspoken thought.
"We can only endeavor to avoid suffering the same fate ourselves. Use the gifts Eru has granted us. Delight in our crafts. Simply do things... as they did not."
Author's Notes: In my 'universe', Inglor, father of Gildor Inglorion, is the son of Aegnor and Andreth (who chose differently). I prefer the version of JRRT's legendarium where Amroth is the son of Galadriel and Celeborn.
'Death sat lightly', one of the prettiest phases applied to a reembodied Elf, comes (I believe) from Marnie's 'Seeds of Old Trees'.
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