Interviews With a Woodelf

The Video Camera Part 3

Before we get into this part of the interview, I managed to squeeze another answer out of Alger the other day, that fits into this part of his life.

I was sniffling through the end the Fellowship of the Ring on the couch, trying to not get the pages wet, when David came out of the kitchen (In Elven society, men do the cooking, something that I took advantage of) and asked me what I was crying about. I blubbered something along the lines of "Boromir's dead!" and he nodded.

"His story is a well known tragedy in Gondor. His valor and strength is remembered still; he is a national hero, like your George Washington."

"Why did he have to die to redeem himself?" I whined.

David shook his head. "He didn't. He died to save to Hobbits. He never had to redeem himself because he never disgraced himself."

"I thought that trying to take the One Ring was the disgrace."

"No. The One Ring took over Boromir. Recall; he had spent months resisting its power, and his weakness was his most virtuous trait: love for his country. That is the way the Ring works: it takes your desires and uses them to seduce and ultimately, control you."

And there you have it everyone. Boromir is a hero, not a thief. Now, if only I had asked him what Tom Bombadil is!

"The Fourth Age," Alger tilts his head back and squints, as though he's dredging up details from long put away memories. "Tar-Elessar, Tar-Eldarion, Tar-Eldacal, Tar-Calascon, Tar-Nárescon, Tar-Nandarion, Tar-Nenalasson, Tar-Nessanér, Tar-Lassimo, Tar-Maltasar, Tar-Tasarion, Tar-Altorno, Tar-Aldanion, and finally, Tar-Alcarrímo. The Kings of Men, through to the beginning of the Fifth Age that I can recall. What do you want to know, in particular?"

Grimvoice grunts. "The high points. The important stuff. What was Tar-Eldarion like?"

"I never met him in person, so I could not tell you."

Silence echoes for a few seconds, letting the microphones pick up every little move that Alger makes. "You know what I mean," says Grimvoice.

"All I know of him is his reputation. We called him, 'Tar-Eldarion the Diplomat.' He was wise and noble, not a warrior like his father. Tar-Elessar rid the world of orcs by blood in battle, but his son built alliances. Most importantly, he established trade routs that stretched as far as Balandor. It is said that he started what became the greatest prosperity men had seen since Númenor. He ruled for hundreds of years, his reign extended by his Elven blood.

"Of the others, I can tell you very little. The numbers of the Elves in Ennor were fast dwindling. King Thranduil's son, Legolas, left for the west, and many followed him there. After Legolas left, our connection to the world of men weakened, and we closed our society even more. Men weren't certain that we existed at all, though they knew of the Elves in Balandor, for they traded often with the Noldor. I know very little of the kings of Gondor after Tar-Eldarion, because I did not lay eyes on a single mortal for several thousand years.

"In the end of the Fourth Age of Middle-earth, a group of men wandered deep into the forest. We avoided them, but more and more came, cutting down the trees and building new homes. King Thranduil sent a group of Elves to meet them and ask them to leave. What I've heard of the encounter is rumor and myth, but the men were very surprised that anyone was in the forest at all, and refused to leave. The men told the Elven ambassadors that they were refugees of the reign of Tar-Alcarrímo.

"This king was a man unfit to be king, they told us. They had been banished to our forest; or 'Naluyân,' as they called it. The prisons had filled up, so Tar-Alcarrímo had ordered people who weren't to be executed sent to inhospitable and desolate regions of Ennor.

"Soon after, Tar-Alcarrímo was murdered by his own advisors, marking the end of the Fourth Age, and the banished people were allowed to return. Many of them stayed, however, and fugitives often fled to our forest.

"The people of Gondor were farmers and knew no other way to make a living for themselves. We Elves lived from the bounty of the forest alone. When the exiled Gondorians tried to build new lives for themselves in our forest, they unintentionally destroyed ours. Some Elves simply retreated deeper into the forest, myself among them. Some left Middle-earth for Balandor. Some joined Gondorian society. For those of us who had decided to stay, life grew steadily more difficult. It wasn't long before we began to starve.

"Finally King Thranduil had had enough. He called the few hundred of us left and gave a speech. He asked us to join him in immigrating to Balandor. He told us that he had met with the council of Gondor (After Tar-Alcarrímo's disastrous reign, all power had been taken away from the king, and a council of elders made the decisions.) and had, for the price of a fleet of ships, sold Greenwood to Gondor. Many of us were furious. I didn't really have any strong feelings either way, but I recalled that my mother had been exiled from Balandor. At first, I planned to stay by my parents' tree and eventually join Gondorian society. But then, I was approached by the leader of the Elves against King Thranduil's decision. They needed a smith for what they had in mind.

"At first I scoffed at the idea. Going to the Waters of the Awakening to find and join the Evair (Avari)? I doubted that the Evair were still alive, much less still Elves. But the idea sounded good. It was a wild place, far from Gondor and its choking masses. If we didn't find the Evair, at least we would find quiet solitude. I was too easily persuaded.

"The night after our decision, we all had the same dream. It wasn't a prophecy, but Irmo's plea for us to return to Aman. I know this dream too well, for it haunts me almost every night since that fateful decision. And when I despair, I almost go mad with regret.

"In the dream, I first feel warm, damp sand beneath my feet, and a soft breeze pushing at my back. I smell Belegaer and recognize it, even though I have never smelt that ocean's air before. I open my eyes. I'm standing on a white sand beach, looking into a forest. A shadow catches my eye in the trees; it is two figures running to meet me. The first is my mother. She laughs, her red cloth flashing through the trees. My father follows close behind, singing a hymn:

'I falathrim aind fain

Iallar anand angwen

Mistiel uin aerlin vain

Nyss 'wîn aderthannen

Darthar min ndôr Belain.

Pelinc din govaded?'

'The long white shores

Call to us all along

Having strayed from the fair song of the Ainur

Our reunited families

Wait in the land of the powers.

Have we the strength to meet them again?'

I yearn to embrace them, but instead I turn away. I expect to see Belegaer, but the beach vanishes and I'm standing before my parents' tree. It's on fire, and I cannot move to save it. Then I awake, choking on smoke."

Alger hides his eyes with the palms of his hands. "If only I had heeded their warning!"

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