It had been an eventful night. The banquet that Tharanduil and the elves had set for Meneldor and Idril was fabulous. And the songs went to their hearts. Meneldor lifted up his beak in song as well, singing of the Eagles of Manwë and their tasks over the ages.
The elves, Tharanduil in the lead, had left early in the morning for Esgaroth and the funeral of Dirk.
The Eagle, who was faster than them, took his time, and finally Idril mounted. "Let us be off. We don't want to be late." said Meneldor.
He lifted off, flying due southeast, the Lonely Mountain, Erebor, growing in their sight. The flight was beautiful, but uneventful. Meneldor circled once around the Mountain, then turned south. Esgaroth loomed in sight below, and Meneldor circled lazily down. They would land before the Golden Dragon where all would be ready.
Finally touching down, Idril dismounted. Brondgast was down there to meet them, as well as Erinhue. "Greetings, Lady Idril, long time no see." said Brondgast.
Idril nodded. "Your grandfather Beorn sends his regrets, but he won't be here. You are to represent the Beornings. Some others may come."
"As is expected." said Brondgast. He and Meneldor looked at each other. The prospective initiates would have their time after the funeral, and Dirk laid to rest.
They were ready. The coffin emerged and Meneldor approached, the last to see him before he died. A tear dripped down his golden beak, and he laid a wing upon the coffin.
And a song burst from his beak, a song first in the Ancient Tongue, then in Common Speech, and the pathos was the same in both.
O Dirk, Mellon, my Friend in all but feather,
Mithril Knight, Mentor, Companion, Brother,
None but I knew your anguish.
None, but one who never before knew darkness,
Who knew not sorrow until our meeting,
Yet, the burden I bore for love,
The love of a great heart, trammeled by darkness.
Alone among the Eagles do I know the pain.
Thorondor, Gwaihir, Landroval, Gwaeryn,
My ancient brethren bow their heads in wonder.
And to what end does this follow?
A wound, infecting a noble heart,
A grim destiny befalls one born to greatness,
Yet a deadly legacy of evil.
The Nazgul-Lord, forever accursed,
Minion of Sauron, minion of Melkor,
Infected one whose greatness they cannot comprehend.
And yet, he bore the dark destiny well,
And died performing a deed of awe,
A star entered the darkness
And consumed it from within,
So the darkness defeated itself,
For it could not forever conquer,
But was consumed by light.
For the light cannot be shadowed by darkness.
Such was the decree of Mandos
That through darkness he come to light.
Open, o hallowed halls to receive this one,
And many are there who would welcome him.
Beren and Luthien among the throng,
And so he meets his honor
In rest and peace
Until the final day,
The Dagor Dagorath
Where we shall go forth together in the final battle.
The vanguard of the Valar!
He folded his wings and stepped back from the coffin, his head bowed. He would fly solemnly above the procession when it began. The hoofbeats of the Elven contingent were heard in the distance, coming from Greenwood the Great. Brondgast transformed into bear form to honor the fallen, and took his place.
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