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Tales from Tol Eressëa  by shirebound

Song lyrics below by J.R.R. Tolkien


The first gems that Fëanor made were white and colourless, but being set under starlight they would blaze with blue and silver fires brigher than Helluin; and other crystals he made also, wherein things far away could be seen small but clear, as with the eyes of the eagles of Manwë. ‘Of Fëanor’, The Silmarillion

“It is an heirloom of the House of Finwë,” Elrond said. The tiny gems woven throughout the intricate carvings glittered and flashed.

“Is this gold?” Frodo asked in awe, running a gentle hand across the surface of the tube, which was about six inches long. “Why are they giving me one of their heirlooms? I haven’t met anyone named Finwë.”

“No, you have not.” Elrond leaned back against the tree beneath which he and Frodo sat, nearby the hobbits’ home on the cliff overlooking the Sea. “He perished long ago. This was made by Fëanor, his son... my great-great-great uncle, more or less.”

“More or less?” Frodo asked, his eyes sparkling with interest. Elrond couldn’t help smiling; he had no doubt that Frodo would someday insist on knowing every detail of his unusual ancestry.

“It’s all right,” Frodo grinned. “You don’t have to go into it this minute.” He thought about what Elrond had said. “Fëanor means ‘spirit of the sun’.”

“That is how his name translates in the Common Tongue,” Elrond agreed. “However, he was born in the Day before days, before the golden fruit of Laurelin was set in the sky. The true meaning of his name is ‘spirit of fire’.”

“He’s the one who made the Silmarils.”


Frodo looked up, but Vingilot was not yet visible in the sky. He began to inspect the tube more closely. “This must be incredibly old.”

“Indeed, Fëanor lived a very, very long time ago.” Elrond sighed. “He created much beauty, but was the cause of much tragedy, as well.”

“Is that why I haven’t heard much about... oh!” Frodo gasped, as what had appeared to be a seamless tube suddenly twisted at the end. “Have I broken it?”

“No,” Elrond assured him. He covered Frodo’s small hands with his own and showed him how the device was constructed – the main cylinder held two smaller ones, each of which could be pulled out smoothly, one from the other, until the total length was nearly two feet. With a gentle push, he collapsed the sections once again.

“This is called a viewing crystal.”

“There’s a crystal inside?” Frodo looked through the tube, but saw only a blurred bit of light through what seemed to be glass.

“There are several,” Elrond said. “Fëanor’s mastery of the earth gems was unsurpassed. His creations have never been duplicated by anyone else.” He pointed out to Sea. “Do you see that ship? The one with the three swans on its sail?”

Frodo stared at the dark speck. “I will trust your word that it is a ship, but I cannot even see a sail, let alone what might be on it.”

“Look through it – no, from this end. Grasp it with one hand, and slowly change its length.”

Frodo held the device to one eye, and did as Elrond had instructed. After a moment, he gasped, pulling and twisting the cylinders to adjust them. The blurred light slowly sharpened into a brilliantly clear image of dancing, sparkling waves. Astonished, he located the ship.

“There are four Elves aboard!” Frodo cried out in excitement.

“Yes.” Elrond remained silent as Frodo grew absorbed in different sights on the Sea, and over the land as well. As the Sun began to set behind them and it grew more difficult to see, Frodo lowered the tube, his face alight with wonder.

“You may thank Gandalf for this gift, the next time you see him,” Elrond said. The sudden look in Frodo’s eyes took him by surprise. “What concerns you?”

“Is he still... Gandalf?” Frodo asked hesitantly, giving voice to a fear he had harbored for many weeks. “I’ve been wondering if he would take a different form here, or if we should call him something else, or not bother him too much.”

“Frodo,” Elrond said gently, “Gandalf is very fond of you and Bilbo, and always will be. For you, he will always be Gandalf, and would be greatly distressed if you treated him differently than the dear friend he has always been. I assure you that he will visit often, and continue to be exasperated and delighted by his beloved hobbits.”

Frodo smiled with relief.

“He hoped this gift would please you and Bilbo, and persuaded Fëanor’s family to part with it for a time.”

“We’ll take good care of it,” Frodo promised. He gazed thoughtfully at the Moon, round and full above them. “I’ve always wondered why it looks as it does, with those dark patches.” Frodo raised the tube again, and Elrond saw the hobbit’s mouth form an “O” of amazement.

“Tilion, who guides the Moon on its course, once was assailed by the forces of Melkor; however, Tilion emerged victorious,” Elrond said. “In the battle the Moon was scarred, and bears the wounds you see to this day.”

“We have songs about the Moon, but I never dreamed...” Frodo’s voice trailed off, and after awhile, he shifted his focus towards a thick patch of stars. “Do you suppose, when Vingilot rises...”

“You will see it as never before.”

“What a wonderful gift,” Frodo whispered. The tube was growing heavy, and he set it in his lap.

“Use it to view whatever you wish, but do not gaze at the Sun,” Elrond said. “Be sure to warn Bilbo about that.”

“I will,” Frodo said. His mind was racing with possibilities. “Will this work under water?”

“I have no idea!” Elrond laughed. “You will have to let me know.” He looked east suddenly, to a brilliant star low on the horizon.

“Here,” Frodo said, handing him the tube. “Perhaps you’ll see him even better with this.”

Will I? Startled, Elrond took a deep breath before peering through the device himself, and Frodo saw a slow, joyous smile light his face.

“You may borrow it anytime you like,” Frodo said softly.

“Thank you,” Elrond murmured. After a few minutes, he, too, focused the crystals of Fëanor on the face of the Moon – the hallowed vessel bearing the last flower of Telperion -- and marveled at details he had never before seen. As he watched, he grew aware of a soft humming, then a sweet voice singing.

“There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill...”

Far, far above, Tilion caught the notes of a sprightly tune, conveyed with innocence and a childlike joy. Into the West had come at last something young, a new song blending seamlessly with the ancient Music. It was unexpected, but not unwelcome. And he stayed his course for a moment, delighting in the sound.


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