Beginning of the Fourth Age, Ithilien
remember that time you told me of your journey to Ithilien with Elendil's entourage? Well, you'll be glad to know that this land is still like you described it. Mostly. I say mostly because aside from all the time that passed since your visit this place was sadly not immune to the ravages of the enemy. Between Haradrim raids, orcs defiling the streams and other kinds of seeping darkness some parts of land were corrupted and it will take time to restore them to baeauty... but that's why the elves of
Mirkwood Eryn Lasgalen are here as well as our little group at the behest of Lord Cirdan. I am fine and well, and I only quarreled twice with a couple rangers who thought they knew better than me how to raid an underground orc camp. Can you believe that? The gall. So stop worrying, I know you do even if you do not say it. We shall make our way back to Lindon once Hir Legolas and his silvans finalize their settlement here.
See you soon (maybe),
she balanced the quill on the bridge of her nose, re-reading the letter. She saw no need to write things in detail in her letter, she would recount her tales firsthand once back home; despite Middle-Earth finding its deserved post-war afterglow, some conflicts weren't quenched yet. That's why she joined the party Lord Cirdan had assembled to transport supplies and materials for Prince Legolas via ship from Mithlond to Ithilien. To help out, to do something worthwhile. That and she was also curious to see the place for herself after hearing so much about it. It did not fail her expactation: right now she and her Lindon group were hosted in Henneth Annun, the ranger's main outpost from which they had a mesmerizing view of sunset and the waterfall plunging into one of the purest, most crystal clear pools Earcalie ever saw. It was almost as pretty as those in Lindon or Evendim. Almost. The rangers were extremely protective of it and she understood why: with the threath of orcs (and worse) defiling everything they touched it was a miracle this pool stayed so pristine. She rose from her seat and pocketed the letter. In truth she had no need to send it for she and her company were scheduled to board Cirdan's vessels soon and return home but... one never knows when there might be delays.
"Hello" said an elleth entering her field of vision. It was Inweth, one of the silvan elves.
"Hm? Oh, good morning"
"Do you have any patrols to do today?" Earcalie shook her head. "Want to have breakfast together? I got fresh bread and berry jam from the storage room"
"Fine by me". The two stepped into the sunlight and climbed onto a small rock formation near the entrance of the ranger's hideout, Inweth spread a blanket on one of the flat boulders, with sparse grass and tiny flowers sprouting from the cracks. her picnic basket contained several fluffy slices of bread and three jars of raspberry, blueberry and elderberry jams. For a while, the two ellyth sat in amicable silence enjoying the food, and the view. From their vantage point they could see most of north Ithilien with the yellow line of Culumalda trees in the fields of Cormallen all the way to Cair andros and beyond that the horizon where Minas Tirith stood, hidden by layers of air and clouds.
"How is the settlement coming along?" Earcalie asked. "Fast and steady" replied Inweth "We have already started restoring some areas that were most damaged... the tree-lined path that goes into south Ithilien, those poor trees were all scorched... we are healing the soil and hope to replant it with new seedlings both native and that we brought from our wood. You'll see, it shall become the prettiest archway with trellises of purple flowers, lilacs and wisteria and marigolds, all kinds of roses, and plenty of berry bushes where butterflies wil fly and bees will produce sweet honey" she gesticulated a lot as she spoke, something that Earcalie found hilarious, stuffing a piece of bread in her mouth to avoid laughing. "... and Prince Legolas said he will devise gardens even more beautiful for Lord Faramir's future residence in Emyn Arnen. You will come see it once it is done yes?"
"Hm..." that single sentence dampened her good mood. She swallowed the bread and let a few moments pass before answering. "Depends on how long they'll take to grow"
"Because" she sighed "I was never meant to permanently stay here first, I promised my last remaining family member we'd sail West together second and third, everyone else is also waiting for me on the other side. I don't know how long I'll remain east of the sea yet". Inweth stared at her for a while, with a pout forming on her face. "Yes... the famous sea longing, is it really so irresistible? Does it really bound you to leave forever? I don't understand how can you just... take up and leave. I could never think of abandoning Eryn Lasgalen, or now beautiful Ithilien or my friends. There is still need of us here, to fill the world with good and flowers and colors, song and dance"
Earcalie wondered how she and this elleth became friends in the first place as Inweth was her complete opposite. She loved frilly dresses and elaborate hairstyles, weaving, making flower wreaths, gardening and cooking, playing music, singing to trees. A daughter of the forest trough and trough. She was also always polite. Earcalie liked horse riding, travelling clothes, armour and fighting, standing of ship's prows and she couldn't give a damn about hairstyles having her hair always pulled up in the same ponytail... and she was brash. On some topics though, they agreed. "If it was just for me, I'd stay. Middle Earth is all I ever knew. But as I said... I have folks waiting for me, and on the other side. I miss them, too. However!" she tossed a berry in the air, catching it swiftly. "That's why I am here. I want to do my part and leave with no regrets"
"Well... maybe I can come see you then?"
She shook her head "Better not. You never saw the sea, nor heard the seagulls cry. That is what causes the longing most of all, and I won't let you become all sad and mope like the old elves in Lindon. Your place is here with your beloved flowers".
That made the other elleth smile, at least. "We are not so slow! I am sure the project will be finished well before then and I shall come fetch you personally"
"Tsk, not if you keep dilly-dallying and skip among the fields, you won't". They both laughed, the comfortable silence falling again as they finished their breakfast. "Well then, let us stop dilly-dallying. Some of us wanted to venture to Aelin Veren and cleanse the waterway. you are welcome to join us"
"Of course. I am not letting the rangers take all the credit for doing guard duty around here"
Inweth giggled and the two made their way back in the cave. Earcalie pushed any thoughts of sailing in the back of her head. She disliked talking about it, besides she had better things to do than obsess over the future in that moment, it was a lovely day, and duty awaited. What will the future entail? Who knows, I'll think about it when the time comes.
Inweth: feminine in sindarin