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ArWen the Eternally Surprised
Author: Ria Time: 2007/11/22
Arwen encounters a strange monk and gains a little extra time.
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Radagast Departs
Submitter: Ria Date: 2007/8/25 Views: 174
Summary: Radagast gets some help returning to Valinor. A crossover with Earthsea.

Rated: G
Keywords: Radagast Ged

A/N: Earthsea belongs to LeGuin, as Middle Earth belongs to Tolkien; as for me, I only leased the bridge between them.

Aiwendil lingered long on the far side of the Sundering Seas. Before the Ringbearers departed, Olorin came to visit him. He looked deeply worn in his white robes, but also more as he had looked long ago in Aman. Olorin urged him, “Brother, our long task is over at last. Come home with me, so that we can report what we have seen and done to the Lords of the West,” but Radagast did not want to leave before he saw the southern verges of Eryn Lasgalen cleansed of Sauron’s taint.

One by one, other tasks came up, each vital to the birds and the beasts that he’d cared for so long. One age passed, and then another. The land was entirely changed when Radagast finally turned his steps towards the Havens to depart. New rivers cut through what must have been the green hills of the Shire, and neither the Barrow Downs nor the Tower Hills remained. He passed no hobbits in the fields or byways, and had only a few hints of their existence in the riddling gossip of the crows. They seemed to have vanished as thoroughly as the Entwives. No elves met him on his way either, though once he could have easily spotted their routes by the tiny blossoms of elanor that sprang up where the Firstborn passed by.

Riding in a farmer’s cart, he shared bread and cheese with the man and tried to remember exactly when he had last seen an elf. The trouble was, he hadn’t known then, whenever it might have been, that it was the last time. They had faded from sight so gradually, yet many must remain. No elves of the light, in all likelihood, but their wilder, warier kinsmen, the same ones that had hidden from the Valar’s first messengers, dwelled still in the deepest fastnesses of the wilderness.

He was not surprised to find the Havens deserted, when he reached the coast, and even the old lines of walls and roads vanished. The country folk he’d spoken with had told him repeatedly to look for a port to the south. He’d stayed with a farmer family two nights ago. After much head-shaking, they’d agreed that he might find someone with a fishing boat on the coast, “but no one goes on the water, sir. It storms too bad round these parts.”

Nevertheless, Radagast had walked the last miles to the coast, and climbed down to where grey waves broke themselves on the slick rocks of the beach. There he smoked the last of his pipeweed (proof, he felt, that somewhere the hobbits flourished) and thought. Somehow, he’d always believed that a way back to Valinor would offer itself, but now nothing presented itself. Yet if any way remained to take the straight road beyond the circles of the world, it must be there, where the last of the elves had sailed. He searched the surrounding crags and shingles, but found nothing. After a week, even the seagulls ran out of rude comments and ignored him.

As he huddled near his fire one cold dawn, he heard a screech, followed by alarmed squawks from the gulls. He searched the sky for the hunter even as he sought to match its cry in his memory. Not a kestrel, or a goshawk – he found its silhouette at last, only inches larger than the wheeling gulls: a sparrow hawk, almost as far from its native forests as he was from home. The hawk wheeled out over the water, using the characteristic two wing flaps followed by a short glide – a flying style suited to maneuvering through woodlands. The seagulls chased it only as far as the surf, but the hawk continued out past the breakers, then folded its wings and dropped.

Radagast peered through the shreds of mist that curled over the water. No sparrowhawk ever hatched could swim. A shaft of sun pierced the mist and he saw a bobbing speck out on the water. As he strained his eyes and the mist cleared, Radagast spied a small boat, little more than a dinghy with a sail. He waved and yelled. The sailor made no signal in return, but he tacked towards the shore. Every turn of the little boat let Radagast see it more clearly under the brightening light. The grey and craft must have weathered many storms to be so grey and battered, yet the sailor had rigged it with a neatly patched sail and new lines. A pair of painted eyes had been recently brightened on the bow, just above the waterline.

The sailor himself looked of a piece with his craft. He wore his thick grey hair in a braid over his shoulder and held a plain wooden staff in gnarled hands. His brown robe, like his boat, had been patched several times but kept scrupulously clean. The dark face, scored with an old scar across one cheekbone, framed eyes dark with wisdom and wildness.

When the stranger came close enough, Radagast caught the line he threw and helped pull the boat in to shore. The man waded in, using his staff for support.

“You are a wizard,” Radagast greeted him, tapping his own staff.

“I am,” the man agreed. “I go by Sparrowhawk.”

“I am called Radagast,” he answered. “Some also call me ‘the friend of birds,’ so I judge our meeting is no accident. I have been waiting here for a ship from and to the farthest shore, where I dwelled once and desire to return.” The stranger’s brows rose at that, but after a long moment he nodded thoughtfully.

“I judge the same, friend . . . Aiwendil,” he said, “and my trusty Lookfar has carried me to and from the farthest West. If we are to go to that land together, where things are known only by their true names, you shall have mine. I am Ged.”

With no more discussion, Aiwendil helped Ged to push the boat out into the surf. The weight of years and much travel slowed them as they climbed in, but as the coast of Arda blurred behind them, Ged sang up a wind that sent Lookfar leaping through the waves. Aiwendil joined in, and singing, the two wizards sailed into the West.

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