Far From Kingdoms

`I am alone in the plains
And in the night
With trees curled up from the cold
And holding tight, elbow to body, one to the other.'
- Senghor

She sleeps in a foreign bed tonight, yet her body is as close to mine as the Anduin to its own riverbanks. I ask in her ear: Where are you? But she cannot hear me. The winds of her distant, dream-founded homeland sweep away my voice and leave in their wake only the faint sighs of far-flung horizons. What memory can hold as tightly as this? What magic lies in those hard, wind-beaten plains that keeps her so entranced?

The hills beyond our window glow fresh in the moonlight. I can smell them, like a slow song filled with sour pine needles, kissed with the flowery aroma of sun-baked hillsides cooling under the night sky. This is a good place, this land of the moon. But it is not her home.

She confesses to me when we are alone: I find home where I find love. I am, she says, the home she has found, as she presses her pale hands to my chest with a sisterly reassurance, smiling behind those cloudless eyes. I want to believe her, but the heart that pounds in my breast drums a fierce warning.

She will not be besieged. This I know best of all.

Here is an improbable love! Too fair and fast is she; too supple of spirit am I. What fool of a man could hope to fence such a wild deer in his garden? Each day she walks these halls with sallow hands and shadows under her eyes. Closeted, I think she looks. Her heart hangs like iron within her, weighing her down with every step she takes along these cold, dark floors.

In a dream I have she burns like wheat in the sun. I wake up and find her beside me, eyes wide with terror from my crying out, and I know: she must be set free!

She is awake now, and turns to face me. The dream of her homeland is fading; it's glimmer dries in her eyes like pools of rainwater drying on fallen sarsen stones. Let the saliva in my mouth well up, I tell myself. When the kiss comes, it is with abandon, for we have not seen each other in hours, and her journey has been great.

Tomorrow, I decide, we will take the well-missed road to Rohan.

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