I heard her play from across a world. There is the voice of my daughter. I came to her, in the pass, freezing and shivering amidst the snow and drowning in her own grief. Her song continued. There is the heart of my Ardhor, my love forever lost to me. There is my sorrow, my soul since his passing. Foolish child, my Maerad, our fated one called Elednor, did I not warn her to guard her heart?
Mortals die like the reeds, like the ones that compose the pipes that I gave her. The heart may love. If I know nothing else of this life after all my ages, I know that. The heart may love a king, may love a Bard, may love a poet, but in the end their fates are one; to be sent beyond the Gates by time, the elements, the Dark.
My Ardhor was great and noble. The Bards, silly creatures, sing of the glory of the city called Afinil; and it truly was quite beautiful, but more beautiful even than Afinil was the love of my Ardhor. In the south, they worship my kind alongside the Light. Their worship, sincere and ardent though it be, pales in comparison to that in the eyes of my love as I held our first child. I loved him, a mortal man, with all of me. Until the moment of his death, I'd known with the blind certainty of one both desperate and in love that he would be unlike all others, that he would find a way to live for me. He'd told me that he would love me for all of his life and to my heart "I will love you" sounded like "I will stay with you" and if my life was his, who can say that he did not mean forever?
In the end he could not live for me any more than I could die for him and for a thousand years I guarded his people by day, as their queen, and sent my love for him to the stars by night, to warm him in the deathless glades.
There in the Gwalhain Pass, my daughter nearly joined him. I asked her if it was her desire to die, and though she chose life, so much was her grief that it seems such a near thing. I nearly told her.
The ones that she now grieves still live, and I shall come to him, to the Bard Cadvan in due time, that they may be reunited, but there are journeys in life that one must take alone. It is not for us, the Elidhu, to reclaim the stolen song, only to offer aide as we may. To tell her that they lived would have swayed her own choice to live and to accept her fate. To have them travel as planned would have prevented her from claiming the authority of her role.
My daughter has much growing to do, and much to learn still before her time is done. I think that she will not be the last of my daughters to be made to learn more quickly than I might like, but she is not the first. I will send her along to her father's kin, where she will regain strength and be nourished, though not by her brother by the presence of those like him. From there, the path she takes will be her own until once more she finds herself in need of me.
I admit that I think, sometimes, that I should stay with her, as Cadvan did. She and I are kin and kindred spirits. The blood of my truest love runs in her, and likewise some measure of my power. She is as close to my kind as any Bard has come, and the conflicting nature of her twin birthrights has already caused her some measure of regret and fear. Like her, I have found my abilities unmanageable. They have chained me to this life. They have affected her nature enough that she killed without thought. Even so, we have found ways to use them to serve ourselves and those in our charge, the people of my Ardhor's kingdom, the Bards that she has traveled with. We have both been wounded by love, and she is learning, even now to respect its power.
We are wild and contained. We are fierce and benevolent. We forge on, if only because no other option remains, and still we find it in us to see the joy in this life.
I would that I could stay with her, but I've other duties that will prevent it. For now, it is all that I can do to go about my work, and to listen always for the music that I heard as if from across the world. When she plays, it is the voice of my daughter, it is heart of my Ardhor, my soul, and soon, it will ring out in joy as it joins with that of her brother to rejoin the two halves of the Split Song and deliver it back to my kind once and for all.
Hey guys! Thanks to anyone who reviewed any of my other stories, and thanks for reading this one. Ardina is interesting to me, so different from either of the other Elidhu that we've encountered. She, for all her otherworldliness seems the most human when focusing on Ardhor, or Maerad, and I guess this was sort of focusing on her with that more human quality in mind, as a woman who loved and grieves but still has a sort of authority about her.
I'm labeling this as complete, but I may add another one-shot under this later likely dealing with her perceptions at the end of The Riddle.
I've got a brilliant friend who will let me borrow her copy of The Singing, so I'll finally get to read it in few weeks when I see her again.
Next up, maybe something on Arkan, or I may back up and hit silvia. It'll be a while though, I have another fic to work on and school to get ready for.