|About Us News Resources Login Become a member Help Search|
Disclaimer: The characters and places belong to Professor Tolkien.
Beta reader: Cairistiona
A/N: This should be the last chapter, but I had to devide it in two parts for its length. I will post the second part within a week.
10. The news of a finch
Tap. Tap, tap.
Slowly Eönwë opened his eyes. Bright rays of the sun fell through the window. It was almost noon, but which day, he could not tell.
Tap tap tap.
The Ainur rarely slept, and his mind was slow to catch up with events, still a little disoriented from the unusual rest. He looked around, searching for the source of the sound.
A finch sat at the windowsill, looking at him with impatient beady eyes. The little bird seemed content that it finally got his attention. It ruffled its feathers first, and when it was sure that Eönwë was fully awake, it chirped, "Elwing sends for you," and flew away.
The realization struck Eönwë. Eärendil was awake! He opened the window and leaped into the air, the golden hair flying in the wind. Before he began to fall, arms turned to wings, stroking the wind in a graceful curve. How long did he sleep, he wondered. Eärendil was awake! He flew like a golden arrow, flew to the white tower.
There, dancing on the waves like an impatient horse ready to run, a white ship waited for the Mariner. Eönwë almost didn't believe his eyes. It was Vingilot! He made a sharp turn in the air and touched the ship lightly with his wing. The hawk's cry was joyous as he soared in the sky again. Vingilot! It was really Vingilot! Did Eärendil know? Surely he felt it... but... he was not here. In one foolish hope Eönwë thought that when the ship has been repaired, everything is going to be just like before, and he would find Eärendil on Vingilot's deck, ready to sail. It was not so, however...
Eönwë circled around the tower a few times, and then landed before the door. He knocked, but nobody answered. He waited for a while, and then he entered with an unpleasant feeling. The feeling grew as he climbed the stairs. Soon he heard voices. Or... just Elwing's voice...
"She is dead. The darkness is no more, my love... you are home," she repeated over and over.
Eönwë jumped the last steps, but stopped before the door and hesitated for a moment. Then he knocked lightly and opened it without waiting for a reply.
The picture he found was one he feared, and yet expected. Eärendil was curled on the bed, shivering. Elwing was near him, repeating the soothing words. She did not touch him, although her hand was just a few inches from his shoulder, hesitating, but not daring to cross the line. She noticed Eönwë and turned her gaze to him. She had been weeping, the Maia realized.
Quietly he came nearer. He knew now that, unlike the repairing of the ship, there had been no miracle here. Eärendil was still blind. He thought they never left the dark cobweb, that Elwing's touch was just an illusion of his tortured mind. Eönwë felt a lump in his throat when Elwing looked at him pleadingly. He nodded, wishing he could give her some assurance that he would indeed help. He stepped closer, but did not touch his friend.
"Eärendil," he called quietly. "It's me, Eönwë..."
But the Mariner did not react to his calling, did not perceive him, although Eönwë put all his authority into his voice.
The Maia sighed and knelt at the side of the bed. "Oh, my friend..." he whispered and reached his hand to Eärendil, but stopped just before touching him.
"It's dark, I know," he continued quietly. "But it's not the Unlight, trust me, please. You showed us the way on Vingilot, and together, we defeated the darkness. You pierced her with your light, don't you remember? Trust me, Gil-Estel. I am your friend. Remember the light..." his voice broke.
But Eärendil turned his head slightly. "Eönwë?" he whispered, and reached out with his hand, weakly.
"Yes, my friend," Eönwë immediately took his hand, and squeezed it encouragingly.
Eärendil sobbed. "It's dark... Why is it so dark?"
Eönwë gulped, and looked at Elwing.
She averted her face. "You... you are blind, my love," she whispered brokenly.
Eärendil turned his head, following her voice. "Blind?" he asked weakly, as if to assure himself, but fearing the answer in the same time. Elwing however, was not able to repeat it.
"Ungoliant is dead," Eönwë said quietly. "But her poison..."
Eärendil shivered. "Blind... In darkness..."
Eönwë embraced him. "The darkness is gone. You brought light to it."
"But... I cannot see it." Eärendil tried to turn away from him, but Eönwë held him firmly.
"We don't know if the damage is permanent. There is still hope."
"Hope..." Eärendil echoed faintly.
"Yes, hope," Eönwë smiled through the tears. "Did you not bear it every night?"
"I did. But now..."
"You will again," Eönwë said firmly. "For Middle-earth. For your sons. And... for yourself."
Eärendil sobbed, and then wept in Eönwë's arms for the light he had lost, frightened by the image of eternal darkness more than by any foe. Eönwë held him, and rocked him gently until he fell asleep in exhaustion.
Elwing remained at her husband's side, and stroked his hair. When she saw he was asleep, she sighed shakily. "If he fears anything at all, it's the darkness," she whispered. "But now he cannot see light..."
Eönwë nodded gravely, remembering the first thing he perceived after he woke. There was light from the window... Manwë left the curtains open, and maybe there was a reason. Eönwë imagined waking and finding himself in darkness again. Maybe he would have panicked just like Eärendil had, to find himself in eternal darkness... He shivered, and held Eärendil closer.
A few hours passed before Eärendil wakened again, and not once did Eönwë leave his side.
"You are home... I'm with you, and Elwing is here too," he spoke gently as soon as he felt the Mariner waking. Despite that, he felt the tension in Eärendil's body, the short seizure of panic when he opened his eyes and saw nothing. But Eönwë's voice and the words he spoke helped him realize the truth. Not relief, but weary acceptance loosened the knots of panic.
"Home... and blind," he whispered. Not bitterly, only as if reminding himself. It was quiet for some time, as neither Eönwë nor Elwing had an answer for that.
Eärendil closed his eyes, as there was no difference to keeping them opened. He tried to sit up, but was still too weak from his wounds and the poison. Eönwë helped him, but Eärendil paid no attention to him. He turned his head, as if listening to something.
"Vingilot," he whispered disbelievingly, and his face brightened. "She was broken... destroyed in my dream. It was a bad dream..."
Eönwë smiled. "She was, but is repaired now, and awaits you."
"But..." Eärendil averted his face. "But I can't..." he did not finish the thought. "Is she really repaired?" he asked instead, already knowing the answer as clearly as he could hear the song of the ship.
"She is," Eönwë affirmed. Elwing had tears in her eyes. She had not left Eärendil's side, and she could not hear the song, so the news was a ray of light in the darkness for her. But even more was it a light to Eärendil. Determination appeared on his face.
In that moment Eönwë knew that the poison had not broken Eärendil. He recognized his friend, who refused to give up no matter what happened, who sometimes needed a friend to remind him not to take more on his shoulders than he could bear. And Eönwë was prepared to do just that.
"You will sail again," he said firmly. "But first you need to rest and get your strength back."
"...and eat," Elwing added, already on the way to the kitchen.
Eärendil turned his head once more in the direction where Vingilot's song came from, but then he nodded with a resigned sigh, and sank back to the pillows.
"Elros, I am afraid..."
The king of Númenor turned to his wife, and took her cold hand into his. "Don't listen to the people, my love. I worry for my father, but it is not a bad omen for us. Something has simply delayed him..."
"It has been weeks," the queen sighed. "And the people will see it as a bad omen if our child is born without the blessing of the Star of Hope," she protectively put her hand on her bulging belly.
Elros sighed, and looked at the sky. "Where are you, father?" he whispered.
|<< Back||Next >>|
|Home Search Chapter List|