The Shadow-Minstrel - Daeron

A/N: I own nothing. Sadly. Some phrases are intentionally like those of Tolkien regarding Luthien's hair, etc.

The Shadow-Minstrel

The stars...the stars are always there. I have wandered for many Ages beneath them, and yet they are unchanged; they shine forever, uncaring and undimmed and everlasting.

I saw the first rising of the Moon. There had always been shadow, before that, and its silver light was almost frightening; it told of a change, for ill or better.

The day...ah, the days before the Sun. Or perhaps it was just one long gentle night. But then I...no. Let me tell this tale from its start.

Luthien. I loved her from the beginning. When she was born the elanor came out in homage. I watched in awe as Melian held her child, presented her to her people, and to the earth and the forest and the heavens above.

The first time I saw her dance, I knew that all I would ever want was to make music for her.

And so I did; I poured my soul into it. Every song made for her dance was a piece of me. And I loved it, loved her, pulling the deepest, strongest feelings of my heart out into the music of my pipes.

And she would dance, her feet barely rustling the grass, or the flowers that grew whenever she was near, her hair following like shadow in the twilight. She would dance, and I would see all the sorrow and the joy of my music, of the souls of all the Eldar in her movement. She would dance, and I thought my heart would break with watching her.

I do not think she ever knew I loved her.

No...she knew, but not the full. I was a friend to her, old and dear, a companion who would always be there if she needed me. As I would be; I lived for the times when she would appear and seize my hand, pull me off to some new grove that she had found where she felt a song must be played; a waterfall whose song would be another thread in the tapestry of music.

Ai, how I loved those days.

Betrayer, they call me. I betrayed her and her love, first once and then again. But it was only what any sane Elf would do...nay, it was wrong, I do not deny it. Wrong in part. Because I did not want her light to be extinguished. I wanted it to shine forever, and I did not understand that its glory would be brighter and its ending a flash of joy. I did not understand that if she denied the love she bore her life would become shadows, and all music would leave her...

So do not judge me so harshly; lore has done that well enough. I am the one who tried to sunder the greatest love of legend. But oh, sea and stars, I would rather have died than harm her.

I left the forest; I wandered far, not seeking the end of a journey. I made my way over mountains, through meadows, through rivers. I sought her, but I did not; what would be the use? What aid could I give; what words were there to say?

I knew when she died. My heart felt as though half of it was gone, for she had always held it, unknown and unwanted though it was. I loved her.

And so still I sing, in the shadows, beside dark waters. I sing of her, whom we have lost, the fairest of the Eldar; and still the stars shine down.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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