The Path Home by Erulisse

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My fingers fall silent as Isil captivates me. I nod at my audience. 

Look over there, westward. Do you see that silvered ball moving slowly to sink beneath the restless waters? Have you ever remarked upon its gleam reflecting in the eyes of your beloved, while you grip each other passionately in the late hours of the darkness? Perhaps its light inspires you to produce art or poetry. Maybe it illuminates the paths of good or evil that you will walk tonight. What are you thinking as you look outward across the channel at the moon? 

Hmmm, what do I think? You ask me. A stifled laugh escapes me while I pull my vision back to you, away from the softly whispered promise that remains yet unfulfilled. I bend over my instrument and resume my strumming. 

You allow anger to color your query, questioning who I am to put on such airs. 

Who am I? I am nobody, merely an entertainer for your night's revels. I have played for the people of this city for many years now. 

If I told you the about the thoughts and memories that this setting moon brings to me, you would think I was inventing a fable. My memories are of darkest night and the iron tang of spilled blood. My life is not a book featuring pristine pages and perfect penmanship. No. My life is a stack of torn, singed and bloodstained pages and my thoughts on this silvered orb are far different from any of yours. 

I sit on the ground, my back against the sea wall, and allow my guitar to speak for me while acknowledging those who kindly drop money into my open guitar case. My corner is sheltered from most of the city lights, although every year they shine brighter, pushing the stars away from their harsh illumination. I fear the stars will continue their flight away from Arda and the artificial lights of Endórë. 

I feel that my time spent living with the unnatural rhythms of artificial light is now ending. No more will I have to bear witness to the occlusion of Varda's glorious legacy, that white belt of sparkling points that she painted across the night skies long before men walked Arda's surface. Now the towns and cities have become the hunting grounds for those who live for the night's blood and those activities that should take place in shadows and darkness. If orcs still roam Middle Earth, they must feel welcome underneath these cold and lifeless lights. 

I do not know why I originally came to this ocean side city. I have wandered for Ages and have banished dreams of returning home from my active thoughts. I have lived here for almost fifteen turns of Anar and this city has been good to me. Many have welcomed me and few attempted to harm me. The inhabitants of the city are generally kind. 

I arrived in the early spring when the temperatures were becoming more clement. I wandered the streets and corners for a few weeks, marking the boundaries and territories of the various gangs, homeless, prostitutes and beggars. I have had too many enemies in my long life and felt no need to add to their numbers by setting myself up on someone else's corner. I watched carefully, finally deciding to claim this somewhat sheltered corner of the sea wall where I could set up my guitar case and play for the money that would pay for my few needs. 

I began playing my music for anyone who would listen and have been content. I set up in the late mornings to catch the lunch crowd wandering along the shore while they take a break from their office jobs. The food trucks are nearby and the sea wall beckons to those escaping their cubicles. They purchase their food and a beverage, and walk to sit on the benches. They eat their lunches while listening to the restless waves and the cries of the gulls diving and fighting above. Often they stop and listen to my music. On rainy days or during the colder days of the winter fewer people come outside for their meals. Then I shelter and play indoors instead. 

I am welcome to play in two interior locations, a coffee shop during the mornings and early afternoons, and a tavern where I can set up for the evening and night hours. Sometimes I play for weddings and bar mitzvahs. These jobs pay well, but part of the money goes to rent appropriate clothing and a room with a bath so that my appearance will not embarrass my employers. I enjoy these opportunities to hold an audience spellbound again, and I get a good meal or two from each event as well as money in my pocket. 

It is late and the moon has almost set. It is time. 

I put my guitar into its case and pull it across my back. A small cloth bundle behind me holds my few possessions, such as they are. 

The reef rocks are beginning to take on the appearance of stepping-stones while the light of Isil is coalescing into a silvered pathway in the far distance. It looks like a short jump from the last of the watered islands of the channel. The Valar have kept their promise to me, now I must gather the courage to accept their one and only offer of forgiveness. 

Jumping down from the wall, I walk toward the first of the many stepping-stones. The path will be solid for my feet and the West awaits me. I begin my walk and do not turn around. Nothing remains behind for me. I am focusing on my future - a life that I will spend with my loved ones. I long to once more feel my mother's embrace. Increasing my pace, I hasten toward the light. 

Look, you, and see. The road across the Sundering Sea is woven from moonlight for elven feet. 




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