Elrond, his life, and his family are most decidedly not my property. Neither is the song Earendil Was a Mariner, composed by Bilbo Baggins and translated and owned by J.R.R. Tolkien. This piece is dedicated my mother.
The dream had come again. It had been centuries since Lord Elrond had seen this vision, yet it was the same as it ever was. When he woke, all he heard was the gentle sighing of the wind and the quiet tap that came with every wave that pushed the ship towards the Havens. Despite all his efforts, the Halfelven could not bring back the cry he had heard as he slept: the cry of a white gull.
Beneath the moon and under star
He wandered far from northern strands
Bewildered in enchanted ways
Beyond the days of mortal lands
Something led Elrond up, out of his cabin, onto the deck of the Last Ship. All he saw was the calm gray sea, and the glowing stars above, partially shrouded in cloud. The star that had shone before him was no longer there, nor was the flash of white the passed him in his dream.
At last he came to Night of Naught
And passed, and never sight he saw
Of shining shore, nor light he sought
Every time these images returned to him, it had been on a night of sorrow or fear. The first was when he was but a child, after he and his brother had been abandoned. That day he and Elros had been too young to understand why their parents must leave them, and why they were surrounded by strange warriors they had never seen before. He had cried himself to sleep, but as he slipped into the night a strain of music from an unknown source had soothed him, and he dreamt of the star and the seagull.
The winds of wrath came driving him
And blindly in the foam he fled
From west to east and errandless
Unheralded he homeward sped
Later, years and decades later, the dream had returned upon the death of his sole remaining kin. Though since Elros' decision to take the path of Men, Elrond had been aware of his brother's coming death, it was still painful. Once again, during the night, he saw a bright star glittering above him, brighter than all others. And the gull that flew towards him, that he knew its name, yet could not speak it...
And over Middle-Earth he passed
And heard at last the weeping sore
Of women and of Elven-maids
In Elder days, in years of yore
During the battles of the Last Alliance against Sauron, it returned nearly every night. Some in the camp whispered that their Lord had something following him in times of strife. They saw a strange light shine down upon him when they were in darkness, or when he was lost a bird would fly overhead, guiding him and his company to safety.
From a World's End he turned away
And yearned again, to find afar
His home through shadows journeying
And burning as an island star
For an Age after that, Elrond's life had taken a better turn. As Lord of Imladris, husband of Celebrian, and father of three beautiful children, he was at peace. All this joy had pushed away the shadows, and there was no need for help or comfort when all was well. He nearly forgot this haunting dream, until once again sorrow returned to his life. When his wife departed for the Havens and left him, the white bird again flew into his sleep.
Then flying Elwing came to him
And flame was in the darkness lit
More bright than light of diamond
The fire on her carcanet
Now he finally understood who was it that followed him in the nights of his grieving. Tonight was one of one a calm sadness, with the separation from his daughter; Arwen whom he would never meet again, as far as he could see. But now this dream gave him the wish that another lady whom he loved would be returned to him. Celebrian, he knew, waited for him on the other shore. What if, possibly, another might?
He saw the mountain silent rise
Where twilight lies upon the knees
Of Valinor, and Eldamar
Beheld afar beyond the seas
At that moment, the mists above Elrond parted. The star of Earendil revealed itself, it's white fire beaming down upon the son of Earendil himself. It was brighter than it ever appeared in Arda, rivaling the moons rays themselves. Hope, fervent, undying hope, that his father could see him, and knew him, and loved him, rose in Peredhrel's heart. Please, he thought, may the other sign come to pass, and I will believe. With a child's blind faith he scanned the sky. For many moments, there was nothing.
The Silmaril she bound on him
And crowned him with the living light
And dauntless then with burning brow
He turned his prow, and in the night
From otherworld beyond the sea
There strong and free a storm arose
A wind of power in Tarmenel
By paths that seldom mortal goes
A sweet, caressing wind blew towards the ship. Following it, Elrond glimpsed what he had longed for all his waking life. A white gull flew, across the moon, towards the most beloved of stars. It called into the sky, a high keening sound. With the understanding ears of an Elf, he could understand that it was meant for him. It was a summons, a promise, a follow me command.
A wanderer escaped from night
To haven white he came at last
To Elvenhome, the green and fair
Where keen the air, where pale as glass
Beneath the Hill of Ilmarin
A-glimmer in the valley sheer
The lamplit towers of Tirion
Are mirrored in the Shadowmere
"Naneth, Adar," whispered the dark-haired Elf, holding onto the edge of the ship, "I am coming. Thank you." Then he left, returning to his bed for another blessed dream.