Author's note:

Dedicated to Jas, the dearest hobbit of all – my dear friend and faithful reviewer. Thank you for everything. :wub:


The spring began yesterday. The slopes of Emyn Arnen are green.

But I'm sure that the grass has never before been so brightly green, the flowers so vividly colourful, the wind so mild, the air filled with such a nice scent, the sky so blue.

A year ago, the Dark Lord was defeated. We are free, at last. Free of fear, darkness, horror and death. A smile has never before been so merry, sunrays so warm, touch of rain so soft.

The night comes. Like gems, the stars shine on a dark sky. A small village square is decorated with ribbons, while torches and lamps of all colours light the village. The musicians play their instruments, joyful melodies fill the night. Smiling people dance, walk about, talk, with bright smiles on their faces.

Tonight, we celebrate life. Little Silmarien was born yesterday. The first baby born in our village in this new age, in this world free of evil. I smile every time I think of her. My little niece. She is so tiny, so beautiful, so perfect. May you have all the happiness of this world, little one.

It took long months for the wounds of our people to heal. For a long time, the sorrow was too strong, the scars too deep. But slowly we renew our world. And tonight, for the first time in this new age, the joy truly conquers all, the new life begins.

I walk about, breathe the fresh evening air. Children's laughter echoes around me. Children are running around the tables with loud cries, racing and hiding. Now and then some of the adults admonish them, but the children just smile to that and go on with their running and game – because tonight is time to celebrate, tonight is time for joy, a new life begins. I watch them and my soul is in their game with them. With my heart full of happiness I walk on. A little boy runs and stumbles upon the table where Lord Faramir and Lady Eowyn sit. He falls but in the next moment he is safe, in the hands of Lord Faramir, who lifts him up and comforts him. Lady Eowyn leans to the little boy and carefully wipes away the blood from his knee. Tears in the child's eyes disappear, as if gone by magic, while admiration and wonder take their place. The pain is forgotten in a second. The boy's mother approaches and asks for forgiveness because of the accident, but Lord Faramir smiles at her. While the boy is going away with his mother, he keeps looking over his shoulder, towards Faramir, shy and amazed. His face, although still wet with tears, is so proud. Of all his friends, who can say that he sat in Lord Faramir's lap?

Lord Faramir stands up then and raises his glass. All the voices slowly fall silent, all the eyes are turned to him. His face is happy, but I can also see a shade of sadness in his eyes. "Tonight, we celebrate a birth, a beginning of a new life. But none of us will ever forget those who are not here, all those known and unknown heroes who made this night possible by giving their lives. In this new world that we build together, their souls are woven, too. They live in us and while there is strength in us left for the last breath, they will not die. Tonight, we celebrate a birth, and they are here in us, in our hearts." I listen to him with mixed emotions, pain mixed with happiness; a memory of my father who laid down his life in Osgiliath is intertwined with the joy for little Silmarien. And now, suddenly, I understand what I haven't understood so far: Lord Faramir is right. My father lives in us, I will see him every day in Silmarien. And in my children, one day.

So many people dance, both young and old. Close to me, I see a little girl who could be ten years old. She has a beautiful blue dress, her curly blond hair is tied in a long tail. The girl dances with her father, with her head lifted high. On his face I see pride and love. I capture her glance and smile to her, and in the smile she returns I can feel pure joy radiating out of her.

I then look towards a girl and young man. They dance, her head is laid on his shoulder, and his arms hold her close in embrace. Her eyes are closed, the face tranquil. And I know that they have forgotten the world around them, while their hearts speak with voices only they can hear.

A little farther away, I see another couple, sitting and talking. Their hair was turned into silver long ago, while wrinkles on their faces speak of their long years. Many days, both sad and happy, are behind them now. But they eyes are still so full of life; their hands, one in another, and the looks in their eyes speak of everlasting love. I smile and my eyes fill with tears.

Tonight, we celebrate life. Tonight, we celebrate love! I watch around and absorb all the emotions, colours and sounds. I love you all, sings my heart.

My gaze falls on Haldor, who stands near. My childhood companion. The boy I had once played with is now tall and strong. His dark hair falls on his shoulders, and his blue eyes look as if they have captured a piece of summer sky. Last month he celebrated his twentieth birthday. I watch him, feeling my cheeks blush, while my heart starts to beat quicker. The feelings I once had for my best friend are now changed. I wonder, does he know that I love him?

Slowly he turns around, notices my presence and walks towards me. To me, a smile on his face outshines the light of the torches. I watch him, lost in his eyes. Eyes that smile and reflect love. Or am I dreaming?

He gently takes my hand. His hand is warm, and his touch makes me shiver.

"May I ask for this dance, my dear lady?" he asks me with a smile. And while he holds me in his arms, while his hand caresses my hair and his lips whisper gentle words, I realize I'm not dreaming; my heart has found happiness.