Unto the End

She walks along the edge of the dock, the old wood creaking beneath her feet. She trusts, however, that it would not give way and leave her crashing into the water below. Dawn had just broken over the shores of Lindon, casting a soft pink hue over the land. Mýlher was used to rising early, with the sun. It was these times that her kin from eastern lands would also rise to board their ships - to sail to Valinor. She stands by to assist, to offer farewells, as always. Most of her efforts are met with smiles, and tears - sometimes words of wisdom or compassion. 

 A soft sigh escapes her lips as she weaves through the small host of her kin gathered by the ship. Although Mýlher has grown used to it, to see them leave always saddens her. Once she says her farewells, she goes up to one of the highest peaks by the river to watch where it flows out into the ocean, and beyond. She knows it is coming soon for this company - as the sun rises higher in the sky, those who are loading the ship work more fervently. The vessel creaks and rocks in the water as wine and rations are set aside, or as an elf is carefully helped aboard, hands clasped tightly as they step over the threshold. The sloshing of the water in the swells is a backdrop to the scene of parting, a bittersweet taste of what was to come for those who still lingered. 

 She feels cool stone underfoot as she steps off of the dock. Her gaze, which was cast downward to the dirtied hem of her dress, raises as she steps into the courtyard. She finds herself face to face with a familiar elf, one borne with silver hair, and a disbelieving laugh passes her lips. 

 “Erecher!” Mýlher exclaims, throwing her arms around the other. “What are you doing here? Are… are you sailing?”

 “No, mellon,” promises Erecher in a gentle voice. “I came to see away a fellow of mine, and he has already boarded. I also bear news for you from the East.”

At this, Mýlher raises an eyebrow. “What news is this that you bring, then? Do not spare me anything.”

Erecher takes her by the arm and gently guides her aside from the others so they may speak in private. “I traveled from Lorien to Imladris to visit this fellow of mine before we left together,” she begins, “and while I was there, I was witness to a most peculiar sight.”

 Given is a brief pause to make sure that Mýlher is listening - and she is, intently, her eyes wide - so Erecher continues. 

“I was speaking to others whom I had not seen in many a long months, and as we conversed outside the walls of the Last Homely House, a hír of the Ñoldo blood rode upon us. This is not so peculiar in itself, knowing of the hospitality of Lord Elrond, but I would not believe what I saw of him had I not been there and witnessed it with my own eyes. For this hír bore high the standard of Gil-galad, yes, that of the High King himself, and upon his spear was the head of an orc in a most gruesome display. I tried to speak with him about it, for it was an upsetting sight to some of us there, but he barely spared me a glance as he went inside... to speak with the Lord Elrond, I imagine.” As Erecher finishes her tale, she looks expectantly to Mylher. 

 Mylher, averserly, meets the tale with furrowed brows. To tempt the implication would be to invite unwarranted hope - hope that has wasted away on the shores of the Grey Havens for far too long, hope that has wanted for an answer about the fate of a dear friend and has been left wanting. Finally, she speaks. 

 “There is only one elf who would behave so brazenly under the name of the High King,” she exhales. “Excuse me, Erecher, I must go!” And with that, she pulls away from her friend, who does not seem surprised at the turn of events - rather, fond, even as she turned that expression to the nearby ship where another one dear to her was departing. 

 Mýlher gently hoists her skirts in her hands as she runs. She feels the cool stone of the courtyard beneath her feet give way to smooth, almost slick, stairways as she ran between towers and alleys to get to her own home. 

If Cardanith truly is alive, then why did he not say a word to me all this time? Could Erecher have been mistaken…? No! I will not rest until I have seen, until I have known for myself!

And when she arrives, at her home, throwing the doors open to spill the light of dawn into the darkened tower, her gaze falls first on an old trunk that had been tucked away long ago. She knows what lies inside - a sword, a set of armor, and an oath she swore to him long ago. 

 Unto the end.