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Widow's Walk

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Her husband pulls out the shard of sun-stone, notching more lines in the railings of the ship, murmurs into the breeze soft words of heading and degrees into the wind, and wishes for charts of currents. He prays for winds, directions, fish for their hooks, and the provisions of fruit to last. He prays for the Valar, that their faithful ship shall finally reach them, this ship of which Elwing has learned each plank and tar-slick rope by memory of touch. Eärendil hopes to meet the Valar.

Elwing is only interested in one.

The Judge holds all of her family - with the lone exception of her husband beside her- in his Halls. Elwing’s memory can clearly recall each length of this ship, the sound of Vingilot’s sails snapping, the rush of foam as its prow slices through the waves. She can barely recall the sound of her mother’s voice, or her father’s face, or the feeling of her sons. In Mandos’s Halls are her father Dior and mother Nimloth. Her older brothers will be there, no longer lost, no longer forcibly and cruelly separated from family. In the Halls of the Judge Eluréd sits next to Elurin, holding her sons in their arms. Elwing prays her sons have found their uncles with whom they shared the same sweet smiles and now unfortunately the same cruel fate. Her brothers will bring smiles back to the faces of Elros and Elrond, hold them tight to banish any night terrors. Her grandfather Galathil will be there, and his parents who died before the Moon rose, and their kin. Together they shall buoy the spirits of their descendants, share the stories and laughter that they could not in life. King Thingol will be there, her great-grandfather Elu who held her as an infant and declared even as an infant she was as beautiful as Melian and would grow to be as wise and strong. Melian’s grief she has inherited, perhaps, and Elwing thinks her great-grandmother is the only other Power she hopes to meet, someone of her blood who understands the sorrow and fear and anger of which only the reunions that the Halls provide can heal. Only her grandfather’s brother is not in Mandos. And her father’s parents, though they saw it. Most of her husband’s family are in the Halls as well, the side that is not mortal. Of Eärendil's parents, they know not, and Elwing wonders if they will be found with the vast majority of her family, or if they have journeyed far beyond the stars like Grandmother Lúthien and Grandfather Beren to wherever holds the mortal dead.

Her husband sails for hope, to save the still living. Elwing supports him, holds his hands as they search the horizon, grips his shoulders as he perches from the mast to gauge the position of the stars, and listens to his prayers. But her hope is for the Halls of Mandos that hold her dead, the one place overwhelming with love, her one hope to see her children’s faces again, and her parents and people.