Summary: A vignette. An elf leaving Middle-earth reminisces.
Story Notes: General. Rating: G.
Disclaimer: This is Tolkien's sandbox in which I play.
Thank you to my beta Larien Elengasse.
He walked. Treading the same path that he and his friend had travelled so often before, the ground soft under his feet from the carpet of fallen leaves, the woods silent and still, mirroring that which was in his heart. There was the old oak, whose thick gnarled branches reached low to the ground, one bough making a natural seat. It was a favoured place where they used to sit and eat, talking of the day and of their dreams for the future. He stopped to run his hands over the worn, smooth bark. Others sat there now, in that place where they spent so much of their youth. He wondered if they too befriended the creatures that made their homes within the branches of their old friend and smiled when its leafy head greeted the morning sun.
He walked. Over rough, stone steps that someone ages past had carved in the side of the steep hill. Down to the meadow where they used to ride, racing each other from end to end, not really caring which of them won, loving the feel of the wind in their hair as they gave in to the thrill of the chase. The dying rays of the sun painted the field a crimson hue, reminding him of that which he sought to forget. He stood for a while in that spot, feeling the tears well, squeezing his eyes closed to keep them from falling. He would not give in to his sorrow, not now, not here.
He walked. Tall grasses brushed against his leggings as he crossed the field, seeds of future growth clinging to the fabric as he had clung to his friend in what seemed now eons ago. The muscles in his stomach clenched as a feeling of deep despair threatened to overwhelm. He fought to keep from crying out, willing his legs to move on. He walked alone, not wishing any to share what once had been theirs. He was leaving; the sea had called and he could not resist its voice. The memories he had gathered would be all that would sustain him on the long voyage. He would hold them in a special place deep within, to re-live over and over in the bright land that held a promise of everlasting peace and rest.
He walked. And he came at last to the final place, a secluded glade that bordered the banks of a small stream. Here, willows bent their branches as if in homage to the beauty of their surroundings. The grass was cropped short, a lush carpet under his feet, the same as it had been when as children they lay upon their backs and tried to count the stars. He knelt beside a mound of worn grey stones, running his hands over their surface as the tears he had held back earlier fell. When they were spent, he took one of the smaller stones and placed it in his pocket. Then he left, never to set eyes upon any of these places again.
He stood. Against the taffrail, he was a solitary figure. A gust of wind blew his hair back from his face, its breath salt-tinged, sweet with the smell of the sea, that tumultuous siren that sang the song that called him from his home. He gazed longingly at the rocky shore until it faded from his view, merging with the purple line of the horizon. Mournful, he closed tearful eyes to the cries of the sea birds circling.
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