All the Dark Places of the World
It had been raining the night her father left the woods and the drops of water from the sky had struck the wide leaves like music. Lothlorien was eternal, deathless, its trees were at once older than time and younger than the rain drops that struck the lawn in front of them. All at once she was there again but now it was in the pre-dawn hours before Cerin Amroth.
The trees were smaller than she remembered, they had seemed to tower over her in her youth. It all seemed to be happening too fast, the journey should have been extended, made to stretch over a thousand more decades. She was afraid.
Her thoughts fell back to that night.
Her father and her uncle had spoken for a while. Quietly, which meant they were discussing her. After they were done her father had put his hands familiarly on her arms. She remembered it had made her uneasy, he wasn’t very affectionate, he rarely touched. But here he was touching her and he had smiled at her then and kissed her forehead.
“Be brave,” he had said. “The world is still very big, and there are many bright things in it for you.”
The travelers carried on and away from Cerin Amroth and toward the river. Toward Halgruith’s old flet.
She had written a letter for Aranhil which she had left at the house. She did not know why, she wanted them to go West. But she did not want Aranhil to hate this place that had been home. And it was home still, until she ceased drawing breath.
My Dearest Son,
The world is a very big place and there are still so many bright things in it for you. Rivers run along below unclouded skies, and clear pools of water stand, in the east are forests so great that to see them would steal your breath my son, and in the north there are lights in the sky. There are marvelous lights there. Among these lights, these things, graces of Arda are free peoples, Men bold and clever and fierce, Elves of your father’s folk who roam the wilds, Dwarves hidden away in great halls beneath the ground. These are the things I have ever wished to show you, the small villages along winding roads, the snows and ice which drive us indoors to fairer climes and warm fires.
But there are shadows as well. Our freedom permits us to travel the paths of our choosing, north and south, west and east. Of all folk there are some who choose to find their roads to shadowed places. And someday you might have to fight them too. When you grow older I hope you will understand why I have had to leave you behind so young. I did not wish to.
There are many good things in Arda and many reasons to be happy. I am sure you will find them. And safety. And all the love I could never give you. And I hope it will be enough for you.