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Of Entwives and Sundering Seas
"Hoom. Rootleaves-in-water tall-reaches-forestgreen, Hoo, hm, come now. Yellowsitting-sunhigh-wakefulness growing." Fangorn, as he was called - or rather, as others called him - was not in a terrible hurry. He had not been in a terrible hurry since his sapling days, and after one rather startling episode had resolved to cease haste altogether. He had been quite successful in that endeavor. Ten ent-strides today, or ten thousand, it mattered not to him. He had lived many days, and would live many more, but today was warm spring in a world becoming ever colder, and he had no desire other than to soak in the moment.
Certainly there was much to consider of outside affairs - of sunken lands and scurrying things, of Great Wars, of fires and shadow, of Entwives. But all would wait; the world was never so hasty as it appeared, and so the treeherder sang as he walked.
Willow-meads of walkingspring,
The song was long, especially in Old Entish, and when he paused to breathe again, laughter filled the air in place of his song.
"Fangorn! Well met!" cried a voice as its speaker moved lightly across a branch of the tree a little ahead of Fangorn's path. The elf stood nearly half of Fangorn's fourteen feet and was clothed simply in gray. He carried no weapon but a bow, and brought no finery save his companion, a lady who matched him grace for grace.
"What! Hoo, hm, rumhrum! Now here is a fine pair far from home! Silverlord-knight Child-saver-teacher-tree-friend He-who-himself-names-Celeborn. And Ladygold Valarlit-beholder-of-the-trees Wandering-queen She-who-is-named-Galadriel. Long names perhaps to you, but names should grow with the years. Hm. And long have the years been since last we met, though not long enough that I would forget such grace!"
Celeborn bowed low. "Indeed, Eldest, long and strange years."
Fangorn stopped his feet and paused to relish the cool mud that covered his toes. He breathed, and thought, and fell for a time to sleep and dreams. But the elves had known him of old, and were seated together on a tree branch level with his eyes when he opened them again. "Ho! The world is not quite as we left it, hrum!" He answered at last. He may have been speaking of the years, or of the change in scenery, or both. "Hoom. It never is. Tell me, fair ones, what is the path of your feet?"
Galadriel answered with a voice as soft as morning dew and merry as a swift stream: "Whither they take us, dear friend. We are wearied of cities for a time, and seek only one another and the wonders of Arda."
"And Days of Happiness, I perceive." Celeborn smiled broadly, and Galadriel gazed into his eyes with dear fondness. "Little wonder," Fangorn continued. "The years are lighter than they have been. Ah! Fair begetters of beautiful children! For all the world will be filled with echoes of your lineage." At the last, the elves looked at him with surprised bemusement. "Hoo! Hm. Do not question, saplings. The earth knows it."
Celeborn shook his head. "Then I believe you, strange though it seems. But tell me, Eldest. We have seen Finglas, and Fladrif, and younger Ents. But neither Entmaids nor Entwives. Where is Fimbrethil? Where are the jewels of your life?"
Fangorn sighed like a mighty wind through high boughs. "'Tis a long story done poorly in short telling. But little we know of their fates. The Ents give their love to the wild woods, as well you know. But the Entwives give their love to other things: to peace, and order, and to making order. Hoom. They have gone, and we know not where. We have looked, but they are not. Or, they are not here. I fear the world will be winter, the songs gone, and light ended before we meet again."
His words passed into a regretful silence. When he woke again the night was deep, and he wondered why he had stopped striding; when he stopped, he always seemed to fall asleep. And though he preferred to be unhasty, there was a difference between unhasty and unmoving. Unmoving Ents started to go treelike, and that was not altogether for the best. He shook his limbs and hrrrummed snatches of song to himself. "Mudtoed long-standing-stopped in starlight," he murmured. "Hm. Well. My-waiting-entstrides-fit feet-under. Oh! Hm. It seems I am being hasty," he exclaimed, remembering at last. "The elves are still here!"
And they were. With immortal patience they had waited to ask a question that Fangorn could now discern in their eyes.
"Do not look upon me with such astonishment, children!" he cried. "You wonder how we can be parted, the Ents and the Entwives. I answer your question, with a question. What will you do, Celeborn-of-the-wild, when Galadriel seeks the peace and order of Valinor again?"
"He will come with me," Galadriel answered.
Celeborn looked up to the stars, then closed his eyes and said: "She is certain I will come. A moment ago I was certain she would stay."
"Little is certain but the changing of the world," Fangorn whispered. "And love, though it is not what young lovers think it to be. Well I loved Fimbrethil; I did not ask her to stay. Well she loved me; she did not ask me to go. Such is ancient love. Hm. Well. But peace! Perhaps your dooms are not mine, and your treasure remain with you to the end."
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