Haldir rustled Kates hair as she pulled the green cloak around her tighter. She brought the cup to her face once again and sipped the warm tea Haldir had made her. She watched the crackling fire then looked up at Haldir. His eyes sparked at her as he smiled. He felt her curly hair and decided she had never looked more beautiful.
“Thank you Haldir,” Kate said to him and placed her head once again on his lap.
“I could not have let you die so easily,” he grinned placing a thumb upon her head and stroking it affectionately.
“I do not die easily.”
“I noticed. Where did you learn to fight like that?”
“What do you mean?”
“You so easily broke that guard’s bones. How did you do that?”
“I do not know Haldir,” she replied. “It is like everything else. I just did it. Just like I could read books in Lorien and speak a little of your elvish. It was just like how I could brush my hair and wash my face. I just did it.”
He raised his eyes to the stars.
“Varda must have released the floodgates of the stars. Look.”
Kate looked up into the sky. There were so many stars out that she could not even see the constellations. Some stars were so close together that they even touched each other. Kate listened to the sounds of the waves of the ocean and saw a shooting star crash behind the sea. This was a perfect night. She was glad Haldir had taken her down onto the beach to rest. The sand was soft and tickled her feet. The waves crashing upon the shore left a peaceful sound in her ears. She sighed contentedly.
“Will we return to Lorien?” she asked Haldir.
“I do not think so.”
“Why not? Isn’t that where you belong?”
“Of course it is, but we must do something first.”
“I do not know. Galadriel told me we would be confronted.”
A voice rang out from the darkness. “And that you shall, Haldir of Lorien!”
The voice was beautiful and melodic like the sound of a whispering wind. Haldir stood up suddenly but Kate remained on her knees. A woman appeared in front of them. She was clothed in pure white and carried a lantern in her hand. Her hair was silver like the light of the stars. She smiled in a friendly manner toward the couple.
“Varda,” Haldir knew who she was.
“Correct Haldir. I have come to confront you as you say.”
“Where are we to go?” Haldir asked.
“All in good time,” she said sweetly.
Varda approached Kate and looked long on the girl. She slowly raised Kate to her feet. “My child. You do not fully know of whom you are, and you know nothing of your past.”
“That is true,” answered Kate truthfully.
Varda smiled. “You have a choice, Katelyn. You may either remain here in Middle Earth never to know of who you rightly are or you may search for answers.”
“I want to know who I am.”
“Then you must go. You must leave depart over the sea to the lands of men. You must be cautious though and do not trust anyone who is not to be trusted. And you must be strong if you truly wish to know who you are.”
“Do you know who I am?”
“I am one of the Valar. I am a messenger sent from Eru and yes I do know who you are.”
“Cant you just tell me?” Kate asked.
Varda smiled and touched Kate’s chin sweetly bending down to look into her eyes. “That would be taking the easy way out, Kate. You must learn for yourself. Sail across to our world’s end and cross the gate into your own. You shall discover that you will change as you come into your own world. Not greatly though. Your ears shall diminish though my child. I am sorry.”
Varda turned to Haldir. “And Haldir of Lorien, do you wish to return to your homeland. Or shall you take Kate’s path?”
“Amin khiluva Kate a’ gurtha ar’ thar.” I will follow Kate to death and beyond.
“I hope your words are spoken with sincerity Haldir. For you may find that choice hard to make.”
Haldir finally understood her words. He looked at Kate and though he saw an elf before him, he knew she was mortal and someday she would die. This did not change the way he felt about her though. It made him love her even more.
“Remember my words Kate, Haldir:
Walk through the fire
But do not despair
Pass through shadow and flame
And even then shall you fair
May a shining star light your way
May the darkness not overpower you
May the star forever your path stay
May your journey ever be new
Beyond the reaches of this world
There lies more than a memory
Seek not the shadow but the light
Only then will you truly see.”
“What does that mean, Varda?” Kate asked.
“This is what you must discover for yourself. Look to the Sea,” she pointed.
Kate and Haldir turned. There Kate saw the fairest ship of white sails and ebony. It moved with grace and ease through the waves. The ship met its land upon the sand beside them. It was the fairest ship she had ever seen, and it was enchanting.
“And before you leave, take these as well.”
Varda raised her hand and there appeared a necklace within the air. It shined with a silver light that nearly blinded Kate. Upon it was fixed a crystal ball filled with a blue liquid. Surrounding the crystal were two silver swans their heads making the sign of a near perfect heart. The necklace found its way to Kate’s neck resting on her chest beside the one given to her from Haldir.
“Use it within your time of need. And to you Haldir I give you this.”
She withdrew from her cloak a satchel of leather. Inside there lay small golden flowers, which seemed to glow with a secret radiance.
“Take them and use them to heal not hurt. Remember my words. Naamarie. May the grace of the Valar protect you.”
As they climbed onto the white ship, Varda sang a sweet song that seemed to Kate so familiar.
“May it be an evening star shines down upon you. May it be when darkness falls your heart shall be true. You walk a lonely road oh how far you are from home….”
Kate and Haldir floated away with the ship into the vast Sea of the world.