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The Gull's Cry
Legolas Greenleaf long under tree
In joy thou hast lived. Beware of the Sea!
If thou hearest the cry of the gull on the shore,
Thy heart shall then rest in the forest no more.
Minas Tirith, main city of Gondor. The city that Boromir swore to protect with his life. Alas he is not able to behold it again. We were to come here together, after the ring was destroyed. He spoke so fondly of his White City. Now the city has been ravaged, the mighty walls that protect it burned, the confidence of its people brought low by the tenacity of the Enemy. We arrived at the precise moment to prevent the enemy from causing any more destruction, yet the fight is far from over. The shock and bewilderment that the Enemy has suffered at the knowledge that Aragorn, the heir of Isildur, has finally returned to assume the throne of Gondor, has weakened his assurance for now, but it will not last long.
Yet at this time we must bid thanks for being able to succeed thus far and rest so that we may be able to fight as strongly as we can against the fierce onslaught that surely awaits us. Gimli and I are presently at the garden of the Houses of Healing with Pippin who, Aragorn tells me, swore loyalty to the late Steward and wears the colors of the guard and Merry. Poor Merry almost died in the defense of the King of the Mark, and against no meaner foe than the Captain of the Nazgul. Yet here he sits with us, not full well, but recuperating better than could have been expected of a man. These hobbits do not cease impressing me, they are so different from the carefree beings that I met at Rivendell. We have all suffered so much these past days. I knew that the road that lay ahead would be arduous and unsure, but I never expected what has occurred.
I sit quietly, not paying much heed to the avid their conversation, for my thoughts are elsewhere. I gaze out at the war- torn landscape and what is left of the might of Gondor. Though I was not able to see it in its splendor I experienced it through Boromir's eyes. With his fond words he painted vivid depictions of the wonders of his beautiful city; the White Tower of Ecthelion, the banners fluttering with the breeze, silver trumpets welcoming weary wanderers back home. He spoke of the long years spent fighting the forces of Mordor, the end of their toil nowhere in sight, and his hopes of seeing Gondor restored to its former glory. It would have broken his heart to see what has become of it. Although we have won the latest battle, it does not appear to be so. Other's which we have yet to face, and will surely not be long delayed, we expect to be worse still.
As I look across the Anduin I see a group of white birds flying up the river.
"Look!" I cry. "Gulls! They are flying far inland. A wonder they are to me and a trouble to my heart. Never in all my life had I met them, until we came to Pelargir, and there I heard them crying in the air as we rode to the battle of the ships. Then I stood still, forgetting war in Middle-earth; for their wailing cries spoke to me of the Sea. The Sea! Alas! I have not yet beheld it. But deep in the hearts of all my kindred lies the sea-longing, which it is perilous to stir. Alas! for the gulls. No peace shall I have again under beech or under elm."
The others hasten to assure me that I must not go to the Havens too soon, that folk here still have need of me. I say nothing, but I know in my heart that I cannot deny the call of the gulls. Their lilting cry haunts my thoughts, they speak to me not only of the sea, something else, some ephemeral message is hidden in their beseeching song, yet I cannot grasp their meaning. Shaking my head, I sigh softly and I turn my attention to the words that are being spoken.
The One Ring was destroyed at the exact moment when we most needed it. The once powerful forces of Mordor have fled and scattered and Gondor is finally free from fear. Frodo and Sam are with us again and we have spent many an hour telling them of our adventures and in turn they tell us of their own. We all still remain here in Minas Tirith for Aragorn does not wish us leave yet, he wants to maintain the fellowship united for a while. But one of us, the one dearest to my heart, is not here. His name is not spoken but there is no need, he is still ever present in my mind.
I sit on the walls and look out towards the south and the sea. The sea. My desire to sail upon it far from Middle Earth grows with each passing day, with each undulating cry I hear from the gulls. I see them fly off, their great white wings beating in the air, headed towards their home in the sea. I long to follow them, I think only there will I be able to find the peace that I seek and the part of me that is bereft. Yet I cannot do so yet, I do not want to abandon my friends. When I return to my home in Mirkwood, I will ask my father for leave to bring some of our people to settle in the fair land of Ithilien. Gimli shall also bring folk from his home to rebuild the city and restore its splendor. I will remain with Aragorn for as long as his reign, and his life, lasts, which to me will be but a while, although his lifetime is longer than that of other men. Alas for the Gift of Men. The Doom of Men sounds more appropriate to me.
A gull calls in the distance, seeming to agree with me.
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