On the tenth night of the voyage to Valinor, Elrond did not go below deck. He stood with his arms folded upon the ship’s railings, watching the water rise, glistening, and slide away beneath the ship. He let his arm dangle over the side, then made the effort to stretch; as though to humor him, a wave leapt to lick his extended fingers, making him retract them with a gasp of surprise and cold.
Unlike a journey upon the road, there were no landmarks on the sea, only endless water, a bolt of cobalt silk unfurled between the Eastern and Western shores. The ship slipped across it, the momentum of wind and destiny carrying it to the unknown West.
Overhead, rolling, ponderous clouds drooped toward the sea, sending out spools of twisting fog that married that which rose from the face of the sea. Elond’s breath came in clouds that quickly became indistinguishable from the stuff of the sky and the steam rising from the water.
Until, like curtains parting, the haze split due west, revealing a single, piercingly bright light overhead.
My father, Elrond thought, his hands clenching the railing. The first to leave.
Now, he leads me home.