Journal Entry 2: Of Songs and Barrows



I have had to flee Bree. Shortly after I attended market day a man - I know not whom- spoke to me in Sindarin. Though I affected not to understand, it is clear to me know that some aspect of my manner or speech has betrayed my Noldor blood, despite my mannish clothing and cloak I wear tight about me. I left word with the hostler, Butterbur, that should any answer my note requesting a guide to Barrow-downs they might find me in the sheltered dell a scant few miles west of Bree.

It was there I camped, as close to the evil malevolence of the Barrow Downs as my spirit could bare. And yet, despite their shadow settling upon my soul, I could not find my way through the hills to that place unaided. For patient days and nights I rested under the stars, awaiting word of a guide, until, at last, I had determined to depart on the morrow for Imladris and return to see the Downs at a later date.

Yet the morning dawned wet and storm-ridden. It was all I could do to light a fire and keep it aflame. The wood sputtered and smoked in the damp air. To cheer myself, thinking myself alone, I sang wordlessly and strummed upon my Harp. Louder, perhaps, than was wise. For a masked wanderer came upon my camp and spoke to me in the language of our people.

Like myself, it seems, Coruhuron of Lorien has been wandering in the lands of men, thickly clad and with face hidden to disguise his nature. The errand which brought him for a time to Bree is a terrible one, and I shall write no more of it here for I respect the nobility of his aims too greatly to breech his confidence. In time, I explained to him my purpose in seeking the lands of the restless dead. To sing to them and, in such a way, bring comfort to their endless torment.

For in their eternal torture and grief for all they have lost, I confess I feel a certain kinship for the restless dead in their unhallowed graves. Lamenting that I would be lost should I venture forth into the Barrow Downs alone, Corhuron valiantly led and protected me on the journey. Our entry to the Down was delayed however, by the requirement that we carry the corpse of a dead man from the boundaries of the Downs and set him beneath a cairn elsewhere, that his slumber in death be not disturbed. Thus it was late when we came to the Downs, with night falling already amidst a ghastly mist.

We ventured onto the downs, the light of Elbereth barely visible through the gloom, and upon a cairn I began to play. Through the gloom of night the dead gathered, their numbers small at first, then growing. Though several made ready as though to approach, others it seemed stood ready to intervene. As the long gloom of night wore on, the dead began drifting away in ones and two's until perhaps only a dozen remained. At that moment, my voice faltered, long had I been singing, and the dead approached with what seemed hostile intent.

Valient Coruhuron then, came to my aid, shattering old bones with elf-sharp arrows and sharpened steel while I fled, he ever behind me, sparing me from harm. Beyond the bounds of the Downs we rested and, when my voice returned, we spoke of our sorrows and regrets. Coruhuron it would seem, is ready now to return to the world following his grief. It seems I am the first elleth of cultured refinement with whom he has spoken in many years. He counseled that I should leave my sorrow behind as nothing more than a memory, but understood that I cannot. There is a bond between us, I think. One of shared sorrow and a desire to withdraw from the world. Mine a new wound, raw and aching. His centuries old and close to closure.

We shall meet again in Imladris, I pray. For it is to there that my journey shall take me next. Though I feel a yearning to visit the ruins of the Forsaken Lands upon the way and sing a lament, a paen, for the unquiet dead of those places upon the way. Yet even so I have learned my lesson: never again shall I strive to sing for so many, nor for so long that I become trapped and imperiled in my folly.