Disclaimer: Tolkien built the sandbox, I only play with the bucket and shovel that he left for me. No money, profit or non, is made from the publication of this story.
Olwë was sitting high on an escarpment overlooking the ocean and the island where his people were gathering for their trip to the West. Ulmo, the Vala of the waters, had arranged for the island to be brought as transport and today was the final day before they would leave these shores forever.
He remembered when Elwë had returned from the West, excited and eager to share the wonders he had seen with his people. His speeches were stirring and his belief that all of them should go to this land of light and of safety was contagious. Some of the elves decided to remain by the shores of their lake, but the majority gathered together on the shores of Cuiviénen and began the Great Journey under the guidance of the Shining One. Initially, the three Chosen walked just behind their Vala guide. Watching his brother lead with the others, Olwë was so proud of him that his heart almost burst.
Over time, the large group separated into three, one following each of the Chosen. Soon Elwë’s people found themselves alone. After almost twenty-five years on the Great Journey, disaster struck.
Olwë awoke early, as was his habit. He moved through the encampment. The Captain of the Guard approached and informed him that Elwë was missing. The best hunters and trackers among them were sent to find any sign of him, but found nothing. The people settled in for a longer stay while they continued to seek any news or clue of their leader's whereabouts. They refused to travel onwards without him.
News was brought to them. The peoples of Ingwë and Finwë had left the shores of their homeland and headed into the West. Now they were truly alone. But still they sought Elwë, and Olwë refused to give up hope that his brother would be found. Finally, after almost twenty more years of fruitless searching, representatives from the people came to him and asked Olwë to take over for his brother, leading them onwards towards the West.
Olwë was torn between his love for his brother and his love for his people. Indeed, during the intervening twenty years, his brother’s people had become his own in all but name. With a heavy heart he acquiesced and, breaking camp, they continued their journey to the coast where they saw a great island awaiting them in the bay. Shining spirits of the water told Olwë that the island would act as a vessel for them to be transported to Valinor.
And so, on this final day of boarding, Olwë sat on the highest point overlooking the restless waters and tried, one more time, to put to rest his feelings of betrayal. He was leaving his brother behind him, perhaps never to see him again, and it was breaking his heart. Yet he had an obligation to those who had accepted him as their leader and he could not abrogate his responsibilities towards them. Tears of frustration and sorrow ran down his face.
Finally, as the sun was setting and the conch shell horns were blowing to alert the laggards to pass to the island or be left behind, he rose from his place. Turning his back to the east and the life he had before, he crossed to the island and faced towards the west.
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A/N - These are Valarian years (one Valarian year = 9.582 sun years). 1105 the Elves begin the Great Journey. 1130 Elwë meets Melian (a passage of 239.55 sun years). Olwë and the Teleri don't leave Middle Earth until 1150 (another 191.65 sun years). Elwë returns to the Sindar two years later (19.16 sun years).
Chapter End Notes:
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