Gilwen’s mind raced. If I can get permission to take that letter up to Rivendell, she thought, I’ll at last have a chance to see the world. No more being stuck here, mourning poor old Fëalalaith and ironing the Lady’s dresses. I wonder if Arwen remembers me? We used to be such friends… but then she stopped writing to me.
She stopped dead in her tracks in front of Galadriel’s bower door. Summoning her courage, she knocked and stepped inside.
“I thought I would be seeing you.” The Lady turned from her tapestry to face the girl.
“My lady, this morning I heard you say that you needed a messenger to go to Imladris, and I thought, well, maybe I might go?”
” I do indeed need a messenger, Gilwen. But I had not thought you would want to go. Why do you seek the outside world? There is only sorrow there.”
“I know, but here too there is sorrow, my lady, and I can feel my time approaching. I must see the realms of Arda before I leave it, and this is the perfect occasion.”
” The road will be long and hard, and you are still a girl by our standards.”
” I have been a girl for too long. Besides, I know how to fight.”
“If you are set on it then I can hardly restrain you. But you must know this: both joy and immense sorrow will come to you in this. I have seen it.”
“I am set on it, my lady.”
“In that case here is the letter. May the Stars shine upon your face.”
Gilwen, knowing the proper answer, said: “May the light of Aman shine upon you as it always has.”
Next morning, before the sun was up, a grey shape could be seen, flitting between the trees. On her way north, Gilwen stopped beside a small mound covered in white flowers.This is it, she thought, I’m off at last. So I just came to say good-bye. Don’t worry, Fëa, I’ll avenge you. You shouldn’t have died. Not you. A tear rolled down her cheek. You were the best brother anyone ever had. One day, I promise I’ll come, to the halls of Mandos. But I hope I come there while still alive, she added fervently.
A month later, she sat, peaceful and content, in her room in Rivendell. She had succesfully crossed the mountains and delivered the letter. Lost in her thoughts, she jumped a foot in the air as the door opened.
“Sorry! Did I give you a fright?” Arwen came into the room.
“A fright! You nearly gave me a heart attack!”
“Well you did say you wanted to borrow one of my dresses for this evening, so I’ve managed to find one that might fit you. It wasn’t easy, let me tell you.”
“Well, you are a good three inches taller than I am, and it’s not my fault I’m not built like a tree.”
“I am not built like a tree, Gilwen. It’s your colouring, really. Why you couldn’t settle for either black or golden hair I don’t know.”
“I was born like that,OK? I didn’t ask to look like a…a…”
“Copper-haired midget with freckles?”
“I suppose so. But honestly you could try to make it sound nice, at least.”
“Get a move on, we’re going to be late for the feast, and you know how Father blows his top if I’m not there to ‘receive people graciously’.”
“Who is it this time? aked Gilwen, struggling into the gown. Lord Boring and his host of inimitable Cures for insomnia? or possibly King Shorty from the Realm of Impossibly Long (and boring) Songs About Gold?”
“You’ll regret it if you’re too rude. No, today it’s ‘his Highness Prince Legolas, heir apparent to the throne of Mirkwood’. He comes from time to time.”
“Don’t tell me. I bet he’s incredibly pompous and can’t stop rabbiting on about the marvellous hunting dogs they breed.”
“He’s not quite that bad. You haven’t even met him yet.”
So arguing, the two elves made their way to the hall.