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Grey Ship's Cargo, by Himring

Author: Himring
Title: Grey Ship's Cargo
Rating: PG
Theme: Nostalgia
Elements: Memories
Author's Notes: The first element of the word nostalgia is a Greek word meaning "homecoming, return home" (the second element refers to pain). That is not what the word means in English, obviously, but my drabble takes off from this idea.
Summary: A company of Elves leaves Middle-earth on a ship from the Grey Havens at the End of the Third Age. (The Ring-bearers are not mentioned; nevertheless it could be the same ship.)
Word Count: 150 (a drabble and a half, according to MS Word)

For some it is the sweet waters of Cuivienen to which there is no returning; for some it is that white city on a green hill, Tirion on Tuna. For some it is Gondolin, cupped in its encircling mountains, for some the thousand caves of Menegroth; but all that lies under the wave.
For some it is Mithlond in its days of glory, for some Hollin, built high before its fall, for some Imladris, sheltered in its cleft, for some the Golden Wood, before the gold faded.
Home is where the heart was. Home is where the heart will be.

The Grey Ship is so laden with memories it is almost ready to sink. Even those who are going home are not going home, although it is the long home of the Elves they are going to. They lean into the wind. They listen to the waves and sail on.

A/N: I was also thinking of the Tolkien Weekly challenge prompts "Noldor" and "Sindar", and so evidently there are both kinds of Elves on this ship and perhaps others as well. Some of these Elves are very old: Cuivienen is the place where the Elves first lived, right at the beginning of their history (and that first sentence is based on one in a speech by Feanor in the Silmarillion).


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 30th, 2015 08:18 pm (UTC)
That's beautiful, Himring! I cried...

Kaylee Arafinwiel
Dec. 2nd, 2015 05:49 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Sorry I made you cry!
Although, as the Professor says, not all tears are an evil...
Nov. 30th, 2015 08:58 pm (UTC)
This is absolutely beautiful.
Dec. 2nd, 2015 05:49 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you found it so!
Nov. 30th, 2015 09:05 pm (UTC)
I really like this! Your language is very evocative here -- I admire the way you can build a strong image in only a few words. I especially like "the Golden Wood, before the gold faded" and the way you play with the contradictions of a homecoming-that-isn't.

You may know this already, but the ancient Greek word nostos that you refer to is the one used in the Odyssey of Odysseus's desire to return home, so it seems especially appropriate here.
Dec. 2nd, 2015 06:02 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!

I was vaguely remembering "nostoi" as applied to the various homecomings of the Greek heroes after the Fall of Troy, including Odysseus, and somehow that sort of fed into the idea that the elves on the ship hail from all these different places. I just checked and it's actually a title of a lost epic, isn't it?

Also, the homecoming that isn't has been particularly on my mind, because Keiliss wrote a story about it, featuring Elrond and Erestor, which she has been revising and re-posting recently.
Nov. 30th, 2015 09:11 pm (UTC)
I wonder if it will ever be home to them, especially those who were born in Middle-earth. Loved this piece!
Dec. 2nd, 2015 06:05 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!
I think they will need quite some time to settle in, but eventually surely they will. But I don't think they'll lose the nostalgia for those other places.
Nov. 30th, 2015 10:37 pm (UTC)
I think this sums up exactly how so many of them felt - and

The Grey Ship is so laden with memories it is almost ready to sink.

is a perfect line.
Dec. 2nd, 2015 09:03 am (UTC)
Thank you!
I'm happy you like that line!
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 2nd, 2015 09:05 am (UTC)
Thank you!
I'm glad to hear that feeling of weight came through!
Nov. 30th, 2015 11:20 pm (UTC)
What a brilliant take on this challenge. It works so well- lovely!
Dec. 2nd, 2015 09:06 am (UTC)
Thank you!
I'm glad you think it fits the challenge well!
Dec. 1st, 2015 05:08 am (UTC)
"The Grey Ship is so laden with memories it is almost ready to sink."

I can imagine so. Nearly every Elf would have many millennia of memories. Most of them had spent far more of their lives (or all their lives) in Ennor rather than Valinor.

Reminds me of these lines from a favorite song:

"A ship there is and she sails the sea
She's loaded deep as deep can be..."
Dec. 2nd, 2015 09:11 am (UTC)
Thank you!
I wasn't thinking of that song, but it certainly fits!
I seem to remember you made it a B2MeM prompt in March?
Dec. 1st, 2015 08:18 am (UTC)
The emotions can prove a heavy burden at times, and these are so well caught in the memories of what cannot be returned to!
Dec. 3rd, 2015 05:11 am (UTC)
Memories can indeed prove a heavy burden to any of us, and these elves have lived long lives and lost much.
Thank you, Larner!
Dec. 1st, 2015 03:59 pm (UTC)
It's so true, of ships then and now, that each person looks upon their life up to that point with different highs and lows. This was a lovely look upon those things that might have made up the waves of their lives in Middle Earth as they traveled the Sundering Sea. Lovely.

- Erulisse (one L)
Dec. 3rd, 2015 05:14 am (UTC)
Thank you, Erulisse!
Yes, the sea of their life has seen both calm and storm.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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