Belfalas Memories: Edhellond

Ah, Edhellond…

This grove of memorials overlooks Dol Amroth city, commanding a breathtaking view of Cobas Haven’s shining white coast. Beyond, even unto the limits of my sight, stretch the rolling green hills of Anfalas; the ramparts of the Ered Nimrais are a silver flash upon the horizon. A vista to behold from this great height, yet I turn ever to the stately ships foraying upon the blue waves, and my gaze follows their wakes to the glistening white haven nestled at the estuary where Morthond and Ringló meet Belegaer. As Mithlond in the north Edhellond is in the south, a haven for exiles from the drowned lands. I sailed to its ports often in the Second Age, but seldom stepped forth from its walls into the wild lands beyond. Now it stands as a bastion of fading Elvendom amidst the realm of Men.

Ah, Edhellond… haven of the Quendi…

I look upon you with love, O Edhellond. Established in days of the First Age ere the fall of Beleriand, you stand as a living memory of the realm of my youth. Eglarest and Brithombar, jewels of the Falas, are no more – but you remained, and you have endured the long-years. Always, I feel the lingering spirit of the Elder days when I am within your walls. Ah, should Beleriand rise again from the deeps! But such hope is vain, and not until the end of Ages shall these sundered realms rise again.

Ah, Edhellond… you are ancient beyond the lifespans of Men…

Shall it withstand the march of time? Day by day the Mariner-Elves depart, sailing their caravels to Mithlond ere embarking on that final journey westward. Day by day the Secondborn grow in strength in that fair city, until Edhellond shall be but in name. Will the sons of Men still hear lovely music played upon its street-corners and minarets, or discern laughter amidst the cobbled plazas? Perhaps they shall, for some will tarry unwilling to leave the shore of their births. But I do not think so.

Should I stand upon this hilltop in a long-year’s time, I shall only see a city of marble and damask shining in the sun, beautiful even as it fades; filled only with echoes of song, for naught shall be played there again; a tender memory of past days – but only a memory.

Ah, Edhellond… shall you lie abandoned in eternal slumber, never to wake again, when the last fairy ship departs?

(written 01 May, 2005.)

Belfalas Memories: Dol Amroth

Ah, Belfalas…

Again I sit upon the tall hill of Amroth, the citadel beyond; the city below, spread out before me like an intricate map. A gentle wind blows off the cape, ruffling my unbound hair around my shoulders, while gulls and swallows soar and wheel, crying and calling to each other in that timeless speech of intrepidity. The city of Prince Imrahil rests in the afternoon sun; the smells and sounds of life waft toward me on the breeze as the denizens go about their daily lives, little troubled by the war that afflicts the rest of Gondor.

Thus they go about their lives unconcernedly, as their forefathers did when I wandered here in more peaceful years, decades ago. Nay, nothing has changed in the Dol Amroth city. White ship and silver swan still stream and flutter in the wind, a symbol of the upright reign of Man in this beautiful fief.

Ah, Belfalas… you have changed little…

This quiet grove is removed from the path and traffic that lead to Dol Amroth’s keep. The watchmen of the keep recognize me, so I am free to wander at will without disturbance. This is my favourite haunt in Gondor, filled with rest, serenity and forgetful memories. Forgetful memories of the old era when chivalrous knights and goodly ladies walked amongst us. Now lesser Men set their faces against each other: they war and quarrel as the the world is filled with turmoil and flames. Shall those high days slip entirely away?

Perhaps they already have gone from this land, and only remain embodied in the solemn gravestones and memorials of those who passed away. I walk about the site, reading the names on the memorial tablets. Wasach. Hevron. Kashmirny. Radaster. Janya. Noble Knights of Dol Amroth, and two Elven ladies. Janya… I remember her, the care-worn but serene Imíretano of the Gwaith-i-Mírdain. I seldom saw her when I first arrived at the Hall, and before I could make her acquaintance she sailed into the West, seeking deliverance from the burdens of Middle-earth. Namárië, Heri Janya Pathor: may your spirit find rest in Aman.

Ah, Belfalas… you endure through the Ages…

I sit in this quiet grove with greenery and staid memorials around me, while the melodious creel of birds mingles with the sounds of life in the city below, and, beyond, the ceaseless rush of water as the waves beach themselves upon Cobas Haven. It is a place of restful memories, where one can meditate upon the days of his or her past, and draw wisdom from them. Aye, when cares and sorrow weigh upon me, I shall seek this quiet grove where I can wander through the trees, even as my thoughts drift through the corridors of time.

And when I reach the last of my days, when I finally weary of Middle-earth and my heart turn westward, I know I shall return to this shoreland of Gondor and walk in the lapping sea on the ivory sands, to finally reach the irenic rest of this little grove on the Hill of Amroth. How strange it should be that in the realm of Men I should find this haven of tranquility! –Nay, not that. When the kingdom of Men crumbles, this land will still remain, unto the end of the Ages.

Ah, Belfalas… how I love thee…

(written 25 April, 2005.)

Two poems

A Eärendil, elenion ancalima!
Shining mariner gazing from heaven afar.
How fair art thou, radiant star so bright:
Of gold and silver, everlasting hallowed light.

Belegaer, Belegaer, how have the years passed!
Thou art constant and forever unchanging.
Could I return to thy shore at long last,
I, restless and anxious, ever ranging?

Grey ship, grey ship! Return to me,
Canst thou still feel the waters foaming?
Come! let us together sail the ocean sea
And recall the bright days of restless roaming.

The Returning.

Seventieth of Rhîw, Dusk.

The ocean is eternal. It is immortal, as the Elves are – but unlike the Elves, it knows nothing of the past, the future, or the ways and travails and cares of the children of Ilúvatar. The Sun and Moon rise from the waters, set in the same, and it is simply a rhythmic breathing of the heavens, as much as the swell and ebb of waves beneath my single-sailed sloop mark the slow heartbeat of the deep ocean.

The Outer Seas know nothing of the seasons and reckonings of Middle-earth; it has no care for this edifice of mortality. It has been before them – aye, even the Sun and Moon – and will be after the end of all kingdoms. And I, who has also been ere Sun- and Moon-rise, forgot mortality and the mortal ways I once lived in, and reckoned my life by the ancient pulse of the waves.

Thus coming in from the Outer Seas did I set foot upon the shores of Endor, and I knew not the span of time that passed since I left them. Several fleeting months, or a long-year? but the folk that received me in the lower coast of Harlindon did, so I learnt that I came to them on the winter solstice of the year 30–, and thus had been away three years. Longer and shorter both, than I’d expected.

Now I am in Mithlond, in the old home that Aurion and I built upon the cliffs, gazing at the sun setting over Mithlond harbour.

The words are now coming somewhat easier. Ere I came home, I hadn’t spoken or written for … a long time. Not intelligibly, for sure.

It is strange that I have returned out of that blissful endless eternity to this mortal land; that I have turned my face away from the promise of Avallónë to the sorrows of Endor. My heart, do you not still yearn for peace and rest; for reunion never to be sundered again? Yes, and yes, I yearn.

But I sit at the balcony in this home Aurion and I built, and look at the streets and docks of Mithlond; and the great sweep of the gulf beyond – still snowbound yet beginning to stir with the Stirring; and the myriad birds that wheel in the cloud-laced sky, a furnace burning with Anor’s dying flame… my heart, do you still love this land that gave you birth and grew together with you across the Ages?

My heart says Yes. Thus I remain.

(written 20 Apr 2008.)

…as I regarded the beetle, steadfastly trundling along the ground,

it suddenly paused in stride and looked towards me. ‘Art thou so dull, child?’ it said reproachfully. ‘Thou seest not, though the answer lie before thy very eyes. Verily: the beasts roam to and fro upon the earth, without concern or care for tomorrow. Do the seasons not fail to arrive at their appointed times? Watch the scarab! he is serene, for he is wise. Consider his ways, and thou shalt find wisdom, to which all the philosophies of Man are as folly.’ And it took its leave, industriously rolling its ball of dung.

I sat by the spring of Tavorus. I saw the sun in the expanse of sky reflected in the mirror-like water, and the roaming clouds of her entourage, and mine eyes beheld them as if for the first time. Indeed, the rains and the droughts come and go; they care not. Our Lord (may he live forever!) reclines in the darkness of the earth, as the lives of men pass like vapours exhaled from his nostrils; he cares not. What is Man, that his life and vainglory are of consequence? Kings squabble and war for dominance and treasure, and the Sun sneers in unforgiving heat. For when the blood of mortals seeps into the ground only she remains upon her zenithal throne, a queen indifferent to the lives of worms. She cares not.

…Thus I considered the scarab, and found wisdom in his ways.

– Musings;
19th Dareen of the Dragon’s Year,
forty-third cycle.

(written c. 2003)

I had a strange dream.

In my dream I was standing on a green hill, overlooking a shining city. Men and women walked on wide avenues, majestic ships sailed into gleaming harbour. This city was glorious, its people proud and wise.

In the distance I saw a mountain, and upon the mountain was a white tower. This mountain reared majestically over the city, a lofty sentinel, benevolently watching over the riot of countless lives and livelihoods at its feet. From that exalted tower the scent of incense and sacrifices wafted on the wind.

As I looked, a darkness fell over this city, terrible clouds gathered overhead, and all the world was shrouded in blackness. The earth rolled and heaved beneath my feet, I heard a great noise that seemed most frightful and ruinous in my ears – then the world was consumed in a maelstrom that words cannot describe, and in the blink of an eye the city was no more.

But the tower remained: it grew in height, terrible and black, until it whelmed the mountain and became a mighty bastion, seething with unspeakable evil, fearsome and terrifying to behold. And then fire erupted from the pinnacle of that tower with great force and became an awesome eye swathed in flames, yet utterly devoid of light.

As I fell prostrate, unable to bear the diabolic gaze, a voice boomed in my head: ‘Behold! this was the city of cities, the heart of all creation; you were once kings, supreme rulers over the entire world. How you have fallen from your puissant throne! Shall you be content to dwell in your squalor and destitution, diluting your lordly blood with the taint of inferior men?

‘Wretch! Hear the words of the one who has seen the glories of your forefathers and still recalls them beyond the failing memories of mortals. Arise, you who wallow in the dust! Arise, for your time is nigh! A new empire is rising, the exiles are gathering at the tower. Come, join them, and ascend to your new dominion over the realms of Man.’

Thus spake the awesome voice. Thus I awoke, and have been unable to sleep since.

– Sardov, a student of Asturasartes.
(written c. 2003)

I have never left the ocean,

for the land is passive and sedentary. Is there not the saying ‘as old as the hills’? The earth changes not, and one wearies swiftly of this monotony. Nay, life on the static realm is not for me.

I have never left the ocean. See the waves, ever shifting and ruffling. Today they are calm, but they shall boil and foam tomorrow, and rise towering in mighty rollers. ‘Tis Change, dark child. One feels it beneath one’s feet, beneath the slender planks of the ship’s frail hull; one sees it day after day, in these sullen waters and cruel deeps.

I have never left the ocean, even though she is a ruthless mistress; for she embodies change. And she is everlasting. Can one resist her heavy hand? Shall Akallabêth rise again from the abyss? Can you fight the tides of time? Dark child from distant lands, heed me: cling no more to the vestiges of the past, for they shall be swept away like flotsam in the surf. Change is eternal, as the ocean sea.

– Azrapûh the Old, Black Númenórean and boatswain of the Ulbâzathêl.(written c. 2003)

Be watchful, my son and daughters.

Listen to the South Wind, for it speaketh of the future’s tidings long ere their advent. Stoop ye to the ground, feel the earth tremble beneath the tread of many feet. Verily, is that not the sound of doom issuing from the Black Land? Our seasons of peace are waning.

Raise thy eyes, behold the horizon! a brooding Sun rises from the East. Veils of smoke hide the blood that stains her cheeks and lips as rouge; her eyes scour the land for the lover who will come to her crimson chambers at the fall of night, and bring her the fresh blood of his victims. His name is War. Girt thy loins for battle, my children: the sun shineth with no more kindness upon these days of strife.

– The vision of Uadrii Adrezarach as told to his three children.
(written c. 2003)

Alfirin’s Lament

Nae, nae! nín melethron
Gwannant amin aearon.
Ne Bar-in-Edhil ar idh e dorthol,
Ar erin ennorath ú-reviol.

I walk on marble parapets at night
Beneath the silver of the Sheen,
While the firmanent is kindled with starlight:
Blazing diamonds in sable velveteen.

I walk on ramparts encircling high
Above the city in slumber drowned.
Beyond, nocturnal breezes sigh
And bring to ear a murmuring sound:

A restless refrain of halcyon days
When there was no cause to war or weep;
While ‘neath this endless tempo of the waves
Sings forth the chorus of the deep.

Myriad voices in a symphony raised,
An echo of divine ancientry
That sings anon adoration and praise:
A whisper of the timeless Ainulindalë.

Thus the rollers cast themselves a-land,
Foaming white like prancing steeds,
Leaving jewels upon the pearly sand,
Glistening amidst driftwood and water-weeds.

So they linger upon the dwindling tide:
Gems from the deep, an offering.
The star-fire in the heavens wide
Their glory on earth lies mirroring —

But for a moment; then they wane
Like stars before a hastening dawn.
In radiant yet ephemeral flame,
They flicker once and then are gone.

I look upon the littoral strewn
With fading crystals shining therein,
As memories of blissful years I had known
That once waxed bright are now diminishing.

Ah, a veil falls upon my thought,
And all into melancholy gloom recede,
While restless visions in despair fraught
With silent fingers steal my serenity.

Do I hear a clarion cry
Uttered from the immortal sea?
Shall these tears spring from my eye
As this voice calls unto me?

Once more, I hear him speak my name,
Beckoning with sweet embrace;
And whisper of peace beyond ruin and flame,
Of joyous reunion, face to face.

Shall I heed his yearning plea;
Forsake endless sojourn for endless rest?
Shall I sail the immortal sea,
At last, at last, to the blessed West?

Alas! Alas! my beloved has
Departed this Hither Shore.
He now finds rest in Elvenesse
And wanders abroad no more.


(written c. 2003)