-Note- I came across this last night while I was looking for empty pages in my notebook. I finished it, tweaked it a bit, changed the title, and here it is. And I'm still not-so-sure about it. Don't know why. jitters
-Disclaimer- All characters and places (and everything else I can't think of at the moment) belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and New Line Cinema.
Apologies for any mistakes- I assure you, they are my own. I am also very, very sorry for any formatting problems.
They had come into heavy fog the day before. It carried with it the salty, chill sea air and wrapped them in a gray, secretive mist. It was scarcely possible to see the road, but four keen pairs of eyes and four spotless memories served them well. Each had followed this road before, and Elves rarely forget.
On either side were tall stone buildings, and whether their lifelessness was because of the thick cloud or not, they could not tell; but they pulled their earthen-shaded cloaks tighter about themselves and kept on, silent, by foot. No horses would be needed on their final journey, so none were taken, not even Lord Glorfindel's loyal Asfaloth. Indeed, they had brought with them little, hunting for meals instead.
They spoke less, also, as they neared the coast, and their ears strained for a sound they had for so long heard in dream. Each, it seemed, was wrapped in memory- almost tangible, with the swirling mist- and words were, temporarily, unwieldy.
Glorfindel, who had been to Aman not once, but twice, had no strong wish to return. He felt, more than a desire to go West, an anticipation to meet again those who had taken ship before. Erestor had gone with Elrond long ago, and Lindir had departed seven springs back with a large company of Elves from Imladris. Since then, the rush of departures had slowed to a trickle, until he, Elladan, Elrohir, and Celeborn were nearly alone in Rivendell. It was time, he knew, to follow.
Elladan and Elrohir's thoughts were mingling softly, though no sign of interaction was evident in their solemn countenances. The last time they had been to the Havens was to accompany their mother to her ship, an Age ago. They had lost her, as they had lost her sister. But now, all that mattered was that they would see Celebrían again, safe and whole.
They turned, toward the sea, leaving the old main road. The new path was thinner, only wide enough for a single horse, but well kept. Círdan had left the weeds to claim the others, but he had preserved his own front walk.
They followed the path to the door of a thatched cottage; the shipwright had long since left his larger home. Celeborn knocked once, and the plain wooden door swung open. They left the timelessness of the mist and stepped inside, to light and warmth and rest.
After a meal of freshly caught fish, he had excused himself. He spent a short time resting in his room; the shipwright had given up his tiny room to Celeborn and Glorfindel, and slept now in the main room with Elladan and Elrohir. Glorfindel had ceded the lone, narrow cot.
After several failed attempts at sleep, he thought better. It was, after all, his last night here. Home. And he could always sleep in Valinor.
So it was that Lord Celeborn of Doriath, Lothloríen, and Greenwood, not wanting to draw attention to himself, climbed from his window and into the living night.
He hadn't seen the Havens for many yení, but he followed old memory and the sound of waves until he felt the damp, cool sand under his unshod feet. Starlight glinted on rolling water, close to the windswept dunes and slender sea grass. Full tide. His gaze was drawn then to the horizon, where the Western Sea reached up to embrace the heavens. Perhaps it was the nervous anticipation, perhaps it was the lingering sadness, but he had not seen stars so bright for years uncounted.
He stood there, letting the rippling waves crawl about his toes, gazing at the stars as if he had just woken from the first, blind darkness and saw them now for the first time. He let old memories wash over him as the tide began to ebb away. The towering trees of Menegroth, the mallyrn of Lothloríen, the gnarled maples and spruces of Greenwood. The singing of many voices in bright joy. And then, because he trusted the water and its master, looked upon Arda, his home.
The scraggly pines and oaks swayed gently in the sea breeze while the wet sand about his feet began to dry. But for him, time no longer mattered.
Círdan did not speak as he came to Celeborn's side, nor did one acknowledge the other. But the similarity of their desires to remain, though all else had passed, was lost on neither.
Together they watched in silence the sun rise over the small dunes, the starlight fade, felt the tide drop to its lowest.
And when he, Glorfindel, Elladan, and Elrohir took ship, Celeborn did not look back.
The "first, blind darkness" Celeborn thinks of is a somewhat subtle mentioning of the awakening of the Elves at the waters of Cuiviénen, where they saw stars for the first time.
For anyone who has read "A Friday" and wanted more: Please see the note in my bio regarding the story. I won't put it here, lest it get in the way of other readers. Thank you!