A Song on the Wind, Epilogue


For a long I sat there, staring unseeing at Beleg's body, tears running down my face, lost in a thousand memories of our times together. My injuries provided a constant backdrop of potential distraction, but I shoved the sensations to one side. I tenderly slid shut his brilliant blue eyes that now stared up glassily at the sky, almost reminiscent of eleven sleep. I would never see those eyes roll in sarcasm, laugh, or cry again. They would only ever reflect the lifelessness of his now abandoned hröa.

This was not supposed to happen, my friend. You were never meant to go before me.

With a choked sob, I clutched Beleg's body to my own, my composure finally cracking. I gently pressed our foreheads together, as we had done so many times in life. I couldn't bear the thought of him not being there to listen to my troubles, to guard my back during battle, and to be the only person who had accepted me for who I was. The idea of him being truly gone was so incredibly painful that for the first time I truly understood the mourning of the Eldar - grief for an immortal life ended far too soon.

I felt a soft touch on my shoulder. A thin, scarred elf had knelt next to me, tears running down his own face. "Who are you?" I asked softly. It was terrible manners not to greet him first, but at the moment, etiquette was the farthest thing from my mind.

"I am Gwindor Guilionion, of Nargothrond," he replied. There was a slight pause, and then he explained how Beleg had found him in the woods. "I only knew him for less than a day, but I admired him nonetheless." His eyes met mine. "I'm sorry, truly. It must be so much worse for you."

I nodded slightly, too overwhelmed to speak. Softly, I began a lament that the elves often sang when one of their number died:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am the thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you waken in the morning's hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of gentle birds in circling flight.

I am the soft star that shines at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry –

I am not there, I did not die...

It was fitting for my friend, who so loved nature. The word "dead" simply could never, should never describe him. Beleg was a part of the woods, and they a part of him.

Once again, my thoughts turned to the paradox of suffering that I had considered only several hours and an eternity ago, when the worst thing that could have happened was my death. Now, I finally had the answer that had eluded me then.

Pain makes us stronger, or it crushes us. One of the two will happen, but either way, one can never emerge from a period of suffering unchanged. My friend's death would forever scar me, and that was an indisputable fact. I would never truly recover from the loss of my best friend I considered more dear than a brother. But Beleg had given his life for my own, and the worst thing I could do would be to so callously throw away his priceless gift to me.

I would live… for both of us.

For a moment, the song seemed come back, faintly, in Beleg's voice, on the gentle wind that stirred the tops of the trees, as if my friend had lingered to sing with me.

But perhaps it was only an echo.



So that's the end of the story. I hope I did a passable job in capturing the emotions, because this little segment possibly gave me more problems than all the rest of the story combined. Doing so much research to try and make a story as close to canon as possible is a truly daunting task, but I think that trying to accurately describe the death of a close friend by your own hand is far worse.

The song/poem sang by Túrin is actually an old Irish poem written by Mary Elizabeth Frye in 1932. It's such a poignant piece of poetry and so fitting to this story's mood that I couldn't help but stick it in.

I don't know when next I'll post a story, if ever, so until then, I wish you all the best, and may your roads be straight and the wind at your backs.

Take care, Eryniel Alassë :)