He sat on a balcony, gazing down at the gardens. A soft breeze still blew,
making the russet leaves flutter ; last remnant of his recently gone power.
The dying sun spread pools of gold across the grass.
Rags of songs came from below ; praising the Ringbearer and his faithful
companions. Songs of war and sorrow, songs of victory for the coming Age.
He heard the sound of footsteps, coming nearer, then ending.
"Why, the lord of Imladris sits alone, while a feast is being held in his
House, and all are joyful ?"
The Istari came standing by his side.
"You seem wistful, my friend."
Silence flitted between them, ere Elrond spoke, whispering.
"Why should I be wistful indeed ? Middle-Earth has been saved, for a short
while at least...The One Ring has been destroyed, thanks to Frodo. And yet
this new age does not bring me much joy."
Gandalf remained silent. Memories flew across Elrond's mind ; the end of
one age, the breaking of the three peaks, dark and haughty, haunted by
tormented screams ; and three partings - from beloved foster-parents, and
from his own reflection, a brother who was more him than he himself was ;
the end of another age, the breaking of a dark tower ; and the death of a
King, and friend. The end of a third age, the final destruction of a dark
"What then, Gandalf ? dying ages never brought me joy. What of this one ? I
already know that there will be partings, but they no longer trouble me.
They sadden me, but I know my son and daughter will be happy, and worthy of
pride. But what of this land, this people, when they are gone, and we are
Elrond had begun in a whisper, and finished with an anguished cry. Still
Gandalf said nothing. Silence. The half-elf spoke again, more quietly.
"Sauron's Ring has been destroyed. But Morgoth's ? what will they do, these
Men, my own kin, with this ring that has been left to them ? I fear for
them, I fear for this Earth, Gandalf. Sauron's ring was enough of a problem
already, but we simply cannot destroy this one..."
A smile suddenly curved the Maia's lips, and he put his hand on Elrond's
"It would be sad indeed, to destroy it. There is evil in it, there is evil
in all things, and this we cannot deny. But there is good also. Morgoth has
not yet won. Do not despair, my friend, and remember : [No theme may be
played that hath not its uttermost source in Him, nor can any alter the
music in His despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but His
instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath
The Istari's gaze left Elrond's face, and wandered ; upon the peaks of the
Misty Mountains, harsh and unwavering, and yet beautiful, crowned with the
whiteness of snow and haze ; upon the gardens of Imladris, that a dying
autumn had made coppery and russet, lovely in its sadness ; where elves
still walked and sung ; upon Eriador wild and fair ; looking for the Shire,
where innocence remained ; for Eryn Lasgalen, made green again, and not
dark ; for Arnor, coming forth again from its ashes ; for Gondor, proud
kingdom between the Mountains and the Sea...
"Hope remains, Elrond. There may be winter and mountains, dangerous and
fell ; and yet ice and snow delight our eyes ; there may be summer and
desert, barren and hurtful, but the beauty of the endless dunes of Harad
atones for them. There has been evil, yes, there is and there always will
be, in the hearts of the Children of Ilúvatar. But there is valour also,
and pity, and understanding, and goodness."
Gandalf fell silent. Elrond said nothing, but from the corner of his eye,
the Grey Pilgrim could see, in the golden light of evening, the smile that
bent his lip, and the sparkle in his grey eyes.
"Do not fear. This is Arda Sahta, and no one can escape the shadow of
Morgoth. We are tainted, everyone of us, hroä and fëa, but earth also, and
water, and air. No one and nothing can escape it. We are marred. But you
have defeated Evil already, and they will defeat it, again."
Silence. Then whisper.
"Hope, Elrond. We will see Arda Healed."
("Melkor 'incarnated' himself (as Morgoth) permanently. He did this so as
to control the hroa, the 'flesh' or physical matter, of Arda. He attempted
to identify himself with it. A vaster, and more perilous, procedure, though
of similar sort to the operations of Sauron with the Rings. Thus, outside
the Blessed Realm, all 'matter' was likely to have a 'Melkor ingredient',
and those who had bodies, nourished by the hroa of Arda, had as it were a
tendency, small or great, towards Melkor : they were none of them wholly
free of him in their incarnate form, and their bodies had an effect upon
[...] The whole of 'Middle-Earth' was Morgoth's Ring, ..."
Morgoth's Ring, HoME X, J.R.R Tolkien)
[sentence directly taken from the Silmarillion, Ainulindalë : " And thou,
Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost
source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that
attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things
more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined."]
Arda Sahta : Arda Marred