“All of it is gone,” Celeborn said, staring out over the waves.
Oropher moved forward to stand next to him. “All of it? Amon Obel, Nan-tathren, even Menegroth itself? Surely the Valar kept some of it above the waves.”
Celeborn laughed, “Come now, surely you’ve realized that the Valar’s only care is for the Noldor? It took one of them to get the Valar to come and save us from Morgoth - if we can consider it saving, when they’ve destroyed our lands far beyond what even the Sons of Fëanor ever managed to do.”
“You are married to one of the Noldor, you do remember?” Normally, Oropher would have been far crueler about this. It irked him that Celeborn had ever married that woman, given how she had seemed to want to set herself up as a second Melian.
“Does that not merely mean that I’m in a better place to see what the Valar have really done? You are right, of course, parts of Beleriand did survive according to Cirdan’s expeidition. Tol Morwen...Tol Fuin...and Himring. You do realize what they all have in common, do you not?” Celeborn said, still staring outwards at the waves.
“None of them hold anything that you or I would have any interest in venturing to see?” Oropher said, joining Celeborn in staring. “We knew this day would come, when we left Doriath so long ago. That we had given up any chance of ever visiting our homelands again, for the Noldor had overrun them.”
“At least then we still knew they survived. Now Elu’s body is sunk beneath the waves,” Celeborn paused. “And my brother is forever lost to me, and Nimloth strewn every way as the waves disrupt her rest.”
Oropher shuddered at this, before speaking. “They are dead.”
“They deserved better! Why should Morwen’s body rest in peace, and the Noldor that were buried around Himring, while our family rots at the bottom of the ocean?” Celeborn snapped.
“The Kinslayers-” Oropher began, causing Celeborn to laugh.
“Should we thank the Valar for that? I don’t. I cannot rest peacefully thinking of that either. You remember Elwing’s children, of course. Maedhros and Maglor took them in. Now Elrond sits and waits each day, and he won’t say a word. I know what he’s thinking about, of course. After the battle, Maedhros and Maglor ran off - Maedhros apparently killed himself. Maglor though…some of Cirdan’s sailors reported seeing an elf wandering the shores right after he disappeared. What if he was out there when the waters rose?”
Oropher was silent. Personally, he didn’t care for any of the Noldor. But Elrond was - however distantly - their kin. And kin had to hope for the best for each other in times like this.
They were silent for some time, before Celeborn finally spoke again. “You need to get back to your people. Give your son my best wishes, of course.”
“You could always come visit us,” Oropher suggested. “You are still family, regardless of your wife.”
Celeborn looked wistful for a moment, before shaking his head. “No - no. If any of us are to survive, you must go on your own way. The Noldor are still doomed, and I am too close to them to risk it. Keep Thranduil and my sister away from all this, and you must stay away too. Promise me, Oropher.”
Oropher nodded slowly, “I will.” He reached up and placed a hand on Celeborn’s shoulder. “If one of us meets our doom ere the two of us meet again, know that my issues have always been with your wife and not you.”
With that, he dropped his hand and turned to walk away. When he had walked some distance, he looked back. Celeborn still stood there, staring out at the sea, as though he could somehow make out the sunken ruins of Menegroth if he just looked hard enough.
Oropher felt a shiver run up his spine at the thought that Celeborn seemed doomed to forever linger after the dead.