Night had fallen by the time Elrond reached the house of Melian and Elwe, in the Gardens of Lorien. It was a simple house, having been built only for two people, and because of the abundance of plants and trees in the garden surrounding the house, it seemed as though it too had grown up from the soil.
Upon the roof of the house, and in the trees about, a multitude of birds were singing despite it being evening. As Elrond walked along the winding path, that led to the lamp-lit front door, he beheld Melian as she sat upon a bench. The golden light of a lamp illumined her face, and nightingales sat on the back of the bench, singing to her. Melian was sat listening, with her hands neatly folded in her lap, although she had noticed Elrond. As he drew closer, the birdsong lessened and Melian rose to greet him.
“Good evening, son of Earendil, you are most welcome,” she said.
“Good evening to you Lady,” Elrond replied, bowing slightly.
Melian laughed at the formality. She sat down upon the bench again, and patted a spot next to her. “Come and sit, tell me, what brings you here?”
“I came to speak to you about Arwen,” he said, sitting down next to her.
“You miss her no doubt, as Elwe and I miss Luthien.”
“That is so. Although I loved Aragorn, and I bore him no grudge, still I cannot help but wish my daughter was here.”
Melian smiled at Elrond, all the birds had fallen silent, and many had sought their nests; it was a clear evening and the stars shone brilliantly.
“I know what it is you feel,” she said gently, “sometimes I wish Luthien was here. I miss her, and yet Beren was a noble man, and a wonderful partner for Luthien. She was full of life, and a love for life; I truly believe that without Beren she wouldn’t have gained what she did.”
“And what was that?” Elrond asked. “Without Beren, Luthien wouldn’t have needed to have left Doriath.”
Melian shook her head. “In Beren, Luthien found what she had long been looking for. She found an equal, a person with different yet complimentary abilities to her own. The quest for the Silmaril, although epic, isn’t the achievement I was talking about. When I think of Luthien the memory that comforts me most, is of Beren and Luthien in their home after their return. Although I knew Luthien had chosen mortality I had never seen her look so beautiful, or so content.”
Elrond smiled. “I know what you mean. I saw the same joy in Arwen when she was with Aragorn, and I am glad she found that. However I can’t help but feel I’ve lost Arwen, and I grieve that I shall never see her again.”
Melian arose, and offered her hand to him. “Let us go inside, the night air is cool, and it will get colder.”
Elrond accepted her hand, and they entered the house by the front door, that was near to where they had been sat. Once inside Melian led him to a room that was paved with stone, and covered with rugs and carpets. A cheerful fire blazed merrily in the hearth, and nearby there were carved wooden chairs, upholstered with thick cushions, that were deep enough for a person to sink into. Small stools stood next to each chair.
“This is our `Hall of Fire’, not as grand as the one at Rivendell, or so I’ve been told,” Melian said.
Elrond laughed. “Rivendell was home to many people, and yet its `Hall of Fire’ served no better purpose than this room; or ever looked more welcoming.”
“Sit please,” Melian said, gesturing to Elrond, and when he had sat she spoke again. “What is it you seek from me?”
“What happens to Men when they die? Are Arwen, and Elros, and Luthien, lost to us forever?”
“I do not know. Why should you ask me?”
“Because you spoke to Luthien, and Beren, when they returned from Mandos,” Elrond answered.
“I did speak to them, but not of that which you would know,” Melian said. “In what way do you think I can help you?”
“I do not know,” Elrond said, shaking his head slowly. He sat for a moment looking into the fire, as if seeking the answer there.
“Earlier, you spoke about losing Arwen,” Melian said. “Do you not feel that you lost Aragorn too?”
“It’s different,” Elrond said. “Aragorn was born mortal, I always knew he would die. Arwen was born of Elf-kind, she need not have died.”
“You say that so confidently, and yet only Mandos knows our fate. I believe Luthien, and Elwe, were destined to die.”
Elrond looked at Melian with shock, he had not expected her to say such a thing.
“I do not believe that our fate is a path that we cannot leave,” Melian said. “Arwen could have rejected Aragorn, yet she chose not to. I believe, but I do not know, that Luthien, and Arwen, had a purpose. We do not yet know that purpose, but there must be one. For what reason did Eru create Melkor?”
“That is a troubling question,” Elrond said. “Melkor chose to become Morgoth, he rejected and denied Eru. It is blasphemy to claim Eru created evil.”
“But evil exists, and has existed since before the creation of the world,” Melian answered. “Without the hatred of Morgoth, how could we ever have seen the valiant deeds of the Noldor, and the Sindar, indeed, of Men? Without Morgoth who would know the names of Hurin, and his son, Turin?”
“If I understand you,” Elrond said, “you say we have a purpose. We live our lives either in accord with this purpose, or in discord. What then was the purpose of Melkor/Morgoth? Was he in discord, or accord, with the purpose that Eru determined for him?”
“I do not know,” Melian said, and she bowed her head briefly. “However, consider this, for each discord that Melkor wrought in the Great Music, Eru anticipated it; and countered it. If this seems to imply that Eru expected Melkor’s rebellion, mayhap this is true. I cannot comprehend the mind of Eru, but I feel assured that there is purpose to all our lives, we cannot think, and reason, and question without there being meaning to why we do this? Eru created us for a reason.”
“What then was the reason for Arwen?” Elrond asked. “Am I right in thinking that by your argument, you are saying Arwen’s life was not in vain?”
“Yes,” Melian answered. “Arwen, and Luthien, became mortal for a reason. They are the links from Elves, to Men. I do not know what that reason was, I can only guess, but I believe that they who have lived two lives: an elvish life, and then a human life, will use that knowledge to tie the two kindreds together; they will teach Men about Elves, and Elves about Men.”
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.