'Often the Dying Ask for a Map', by B.H. Fairchild
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...
(T2T MUD fanfiction; written 25 April, 2005.)
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.
(T2T MUD fanfiction; written 20 Apr 2008.)