Meanwhile, Meneldor slept, his head under his wing, beside the White Tree. A Great Eagle and the descendant of Telperion seemed fitting, as it seemed the Elder Days had awakened in the Citadel.
He was awakened by Arwen calling to him. Elessar was at her side. "Meneldor, what is wrong?" He awakened, and looked questioningly at the Queen. "You seemed to be weeping." Elessar said "Such sorrow is not fitting when you are about to enter into such an honor that few men do."
Meneldor looked at the Tree. The Moon had risen, and was shedding its light upon it. The Tree was not Telperion, it shed no light itself, but the Moon's light awakened a distant memory in the Tree, and it reflected the light of the Moon.
"Did you ever see Telperion in its glory?" said Elessar.
"Only in my dreams." said Meneldor. "When I and my brethren were called to the Mount by Manwë, the Trees were already dark, so I missed that glory. As for what my sorrow was about, it is hard to relate here."
"That's another reason we woke you, Lord Meneldor." said Elessar. "Will you bear us to the top of Mindolluin? There we can talk."
"With a good will, Sire." said Meneldor. "Carrying two is more difficult than bearing one small hobbit, Ringbearer Samwise, but I can bear it there and back. Please mount and I will take you there." he saw both were wearing cloaks, which was good, for it was a tall mountain that Minas Anor was built upon.
They mounted and Meneldor backed away from the Tree and spread his great wings. He took off an circled higher and higher, going round the White Tower, then upwards to the summit of Mindolluin, where he had been when he was still searching.
Finally, he alit atop the mountain,and Aragorn and Arwen dismounted. They stood in silence for a while, looking over the city. Meneldor, however, was looking westward, straining his eyes to see what couldn't be seen with mortal eyes.
"What do you see, Lord Meneldor?" said Arwen.
"It is what I am trying to see." said the Eagle. "Though I go to be initated into the Mithril Knights, it seems my fate ever to be torn in two. I have been upon another mount, the mount of Meneltarma." he looked towards Elessar, who was the last of the Numenoreans. "Upon that holy mount, I received counsel from the Three Witnesses of Manwë. But it is still another mount that always calls me, the mount of Taniquetil, where Thorondor and my kin ever dwell. In a way, I live in two places at once. I have found my purpose here among the Mithril Knights, but I am of Aman as well, and the call often tugs at me so hard, it hurts.
I was tempted, my lord, sorely tempted before the battle with the dragon. I almost forsook my quest, fleeing mortal peril to the West, which is my true home. Turning back was a wrench to my heart, going to despair and darkness, setting aside my hope.
When I was here last, and the City saw me as I wandered, I was looking for any reason to stay, and not go on to rejoin my brethren, where I would stay until the last great battle, the Dagor Dagorath, where evil will finally be vanquished. I heard later the Elves sang a song of my journey and my sorrow.
"Sing it for us,if you will." said Arwen.
Meneldor closed his eyes and sang softly:
The Last Eagle, the Lone One,
He searches far in many lands,
For the path the Valar set him.
But what does he seek? He knows not,
Yet his cry is heard in the land.
The last of Thorondor's brood,
Servants of Manwë,
His heart is empty,
Sorrow follows him.
Memories of the Onodrim
And their long search
And their long sorrow
Are revived in the Eagle's search.
Elbereth, Kindler of the Stars,
Guide him in his search.
Show him the hidden path
Though long be his travels.
He seeks renown,
A name of his own,
Though many are his deeds to date.
But something he lacks,
And so he flies,
Never resting, no place to call home.
The dooms of Mandos drive him from behind,
The call of Manwë draws him from ahead,
And so he calls, so he flies,
For a purpose, ere he follows his kin
To the Utter West.
Such is the fate of the Lone Eagle.
"And I found my purpose, among the Mithril Knights, and so found my true name, Sorontel, Last-Eagle, so the Elves named me, so is my name among my brethren in the holy eyrie of Taniquetil. The eyries here do not welcome me any more. So you see the conflict within me. To stay or to go, and I am torn.
Arwen looked on the Eagle lovingly. "I have made my choice, forsaking the West for my love, the choice of Luthien. But yours is another choice.
"I understand, too, Lord Meneldor." said Elessar. "Although you will be under oath to me as a Mithril Knight, I will not hold you. Stay as long as you will, and if the call becomes too fierce for you to resist, then come to me, and you will be dismissed with my blessing. Such a dispensation I grant you for the love we bear you, and for the deeds you have already done, making yourself worthy to join our ranks."
"It will be long, if ever." said Meneldor, bowing to Elessar. "I have much to do here, many more deeds, so Manwë and Varda told me when I appeared to them unclad, before the time of the funeral of Dirk the Daring. I will not forsake you until that fateful day."
"Unlike me, it will be your fate, as you say, to live in two places at once, and be torn between them." said Arwen. "May you find your way, and find peace within yourself."
"Such is my wish as well." said Elessar. "Thank you for sharing yourself with us. Never have we had others like you. But it is the time for the age of Men, and so at the end, the Elves and Eagles must depart, to wean us from our dependence on the past, except in memory."
"And so Beren and Luthien, incarnate again, shine forth in their glory, for a short time. May you be blessed as well." said Meneldor.
The two got back on Meneldor's back, and he sailed from Mindolluin's heights to the Citadel, where the Tree was waiting.
"I bid you both a good night. I now rest before the rest of my journey." said Meneldor.
"Good night." said Elessar. Arwen kissed him on the beak. "A blessed night under the stars of Varda." They left for their home and bed, and Meneldor took one last look at the scion of Telperion, before he faded into sleep once again, soaring in the dreams of a Great Eagle.
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