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Tales from Vairë's Loom  by Fiondil

Instruments of Love

Summary: A crate of mysterious instruments given to Elros by Eönwë will prove important to the new king’s future, though not in the way he thinks. A Valentine’s Day inspired story.

****

"Ethiro!"

But the warning came to late and before Elros knew it, he had crashed into someone and sent both their crates and themselves to the ground, scattering books in one direction and precious (and breakable!) instruments in another. Landing on his tailbone didn’t help matters and he let out an oath as pain shot up his spine, making him see stars that had nothing to do with those shining down on him.

"Why weren’t you looking where you were going, you orc-brained oaf!"

That was the other person and Elros, once his vision cleared, saw an elleth — no, he corrected himself, a young woman of the Edain — scrambling about on her knees attempting to collect the scattered books. She was not looking at him. He turned his head to see where his own crate had gone, fearing that the instruments that Lord Eönwë had gifted him, instruments of measuring that would help him found his capital city, were broken beyond repair. The crate in which they had been in had been large and awkward and he’d been unable to see around it, plus it was dark. He should have had others helping him but he did not want this particular crate out of his sight for too long.

"Why didn’t you?" he snarled as he crawled over to where he could see one of the instruments, hoping against hope it was undamaged. He picked it up gingerly, not even sure what it was for, only knowing that the Herald of the Elder King had given it to him along with the other instruments as a final parting gift.

"They will help you in building your new life," the Maia had said as he handed the wooden crate over to him. "Guard them carefully," he had added. "They are, for now, more precious than mithril."

They were more precious than anything as far as Elros was concerned if only because Lord Eönwë had given them to him. For that very reason alone, they were a treasure beyond price. He tried to ascertain in the light of flickering torches what the instrument was and what it might be used for and if it was damaged in any way, but he could not tell.

"Well, don’t just sit there," spat the young woman. "Help me with these books and scrolls. They’re very precious."

"To Angband with your books and with you!" Elros yelled, cradling the precious piece of metal and wood as he stood to see if he could find the rest of Lord Eönwë’s gift. "Books! Bah! What’s so precious about them? If these instruments are damaged beyond repair...." And that stopped him cold. What if they were? What would he do? How would he be able to build without these instruments? Lord Eönwë would not have given them to him on a whim. They were important, more important than books that apparently suffered little damage in their tumble.

Elros turned towards the woman — no, girl — for now that he was actually looking at her he could see that she was quite young even by Mortal standards, barely out of childhood, though her figure was definitely womanly. His eyesight was superior to those of most Mortals with his elvish blood and even in the near total darkness he could see that she was really quite beautiful... or she would be if she weren’t crying, her face getting all puffy with tears.

He suddenly felt ashamed of himself for his outburst. The child didn’t deserve it. "I’m sorry," he muttered. "I didn’t mean it. It’s just...."

"Elros! Your Majesty! Are you all right?"

Elros looked up to see Brandir, his close friend and councillor, come running, a torch in his hand, the man’s expression one of alarm. Others were also running towards them. He noticed with amusement the look of dismay on the girl’s face as she realized who he was.

"I’m fine, Brandir," he said, "but I don’t know about these instruments." He held out the one in his hands. "I hope they weren’t too damaged. Lord Eönwë gave them to me. He said they would be important in helping us build."

"Don’t worry, Elros," Brandir said. "I’ll see to these." He thrust his torch into the hands of another man whom Elros did not know and gingerly took the instrument out of the king’s hands, giving orders as he did so. "Bring more torches and find the other instruments. Do not attempt to pick them up but mark where they are and call me. You two, check the crate and bring it along."

"Wh-what about my books?" the young girl asked hesitantly, clutching one of them to her as a mother would hold a babe to protect it.

"Your books can keep, girl," Brandir said, not unkindly. "The king’s instruments are more...."

"I’ll help you," Elros interjected, seeing the look on the child’s face. He realized with a start that for her the books were as precious as the instruments were for him and he hated to see her looking so bereft and lost. "It was my fault anyway," he admitted. "I should have gotten others to carry the crate."

"Why didn’t you?" the girl demanded as she swiped angrily at the tears on her cheeks and then looked abashed at her brashness. "Sorry... your Majesty," she muttered, keeping her eyes on the ground before her.

"What is your name?" Elros asked.

"Emeldir, Sire, daughter of Belegund of the House of Bëor."

"Ah, then I suppose that makes us distant cousins," Elros said with a smile.

Emeldir looked up, giving him a puzzled look.

"Never mind," he said. He looked around and spied one of his other friends. "Mitheryn, bring that torch over and help us find the books."

Mitheryn came readily enough and when she saw the girl she introduced herself. "Hello, I’m Mitheryn.".

"Emeldir," the girl said shyly.

"I see you’ve met the king," Mitheryn said with a wicked grin for Elros.

"Rather, our crates met," Elros replied with a chuckle. "Come. We still have much to unload." He bent down to retrieve a couple of scrolls and a small leather-bound book and the two women followed suit with Emeldir righting the crate and repacking the books.

"I don’t know why we couldn’t have waited until the morning to do this, Elros," Mitheryn said with some amusement.

Elros blushed and was glad it was dark so no one could see. "I guess I was so excited about finally coming here, I just couldn’t wait."

He glanced skyward and saw Eärendil’s star shining above them, giving into a small smile. He barely remembered his adar, just an impression of strong arms holding him, the smell of sea salt all around and a booming laugh, but nothing else. Seeing his adar’s star shining ever before them as they had sailed across the Sundering Sea towards their new home had kept them all, even Elros, from despairing that they were lost in the midst of Lord Ulmo’s realm. It had been a comfort to him personally to know that even though he would never see his adar again, Eärendil would continue watching over him, him and his people for all time.

"Elros."

The peredhel blinked a few times, bringing his gaze to bear upon Mitheryn, another good friend and councillor, realizing somewhat sheepishly that she had been calling his name for some time.

"Sorry," he muttered. "You were saying?"

Mitheryn gave him a sympathetic smile. "We’ve found all of Emeldir’s books."

"Oh, yes... ah... here." He thrust the two books he was still holding towards Emeldir who took them carefully with a smile and placed them inside the crate. "Here, I’ll carry that," he said, stooping to lift the crate, which was even heavier than the one he’d been carrying earlier. His peredhel heritage allowed him to lift it easily though. "This is quite heavy," he said with an admiring look at Emeldir. "How did you manage?"

Now the girl was looking rueful. "Not very well," she replied. "That’s why we... er... crashed into one another. I was struggling to get a grip and I stumbled over something at the same time. It was my fault more than yours that we ran into one another."

"Hmph," was all the response Elros was willing to give at that moment. Perhaps they had both been at fault, refusing to ask for aid in carrying their respective loads. "Where were you taking this?" he asked.

"Over there," she pointed towards a tent in the midst of their camp and the three set off towards it. It was not a large tent, and normally it would sleep two people, but when Emeldir pulled back the flap to let him in, Elros saw that there was only one cot. Nearly the rest of the space was taken up with crates similar to the one he was carrying. He gave the girl a surprised look.

"These are all books?" he asked as he carefully placed the crate on top of another of similar size.

Emeldir nodded. "Mostly," she answered. "There’s one crate that has my personal belongings." She suddenly blushed and Elros gave her a knowing smile.

"Where did you find all these books?" Mitheryn asked. "Surely during the war there was no time for reading?"

Both Elros and Emeldir gave Mitheryn disbelieving looks, but when they saw the gleam of amusement in her eyes they both chuckled. "No, there was no time during the war," Emeldir said, "but there was plenty of time afterwards. My adar loved books. They were his passion and he passed that passion on to me. As soon as we knew we were coming here he began collecting as many books and scrolls as he could find that he thought would be of use to us in our new life. Most of these are actually copies made of books belonging to King Gil-galad or Lord Círdan."

Elros eyed the young woman speculatively. "Your adar...." but he did not finish his thought for he could see Emeldir fighting tears. "I’m sorry," he said softly, guessing that Belegund had not survived to take ship with his daughter.

"He was wounded during the war," Emeldir began explaining, not really looking at them. "He met my naneth in the refugee camps where she was helping the healers. They fell in love and married just as the war was ending. It took him a long time to recover from his injuries and he never truly recovered. His health remained poor. Two winters ago... you remember how harsh it was that year?" The other two nodded soberly. "Well, Ada caught a chill that went to his lungs. He... he died."

The baldness of the statement sent shivers down Elros’ spine. He knew about death, had seen many comrades from the war die, knew, at least intellectually, that he too would someday die and pass beyond the Circles of Arda, having made the Choice, but it was still something that he did not fully grasp for himself, though he suspected that in time he would. "I am sorry," he repeated, not knowing what else to say.

"And your naneth? Did she....?" Mitheryn started to ask, looking sympathetic.

"Oh no!" Emeldir responded with a bright smile. "She is very much alive. About three months before we sailed, though, she remarried. She and Ragnor have the tent next to mine."

Elros could not sense any resentment from the woman at the mention of her naneth’s new husband and was glad of that. "You are an only child, then?" he asked.

Emeldir shook her head. "I have two younger brothers, Ecthelion and Eärnur. I suppose they’re around here somewhere. I haven’t seen them since we landed." She gave them a shrug as if to say that the doings of her brothers were of no concern of hers.

"What do you intend to do with all these books?" Elros asked.

"Why, build a library, of course," Emeldir retorted in a tone that suggested that he had just said something incredibly stupid. Then she realized to whom she was speaking and blushed. "Forgive me, Sire. I meant no disrespect."

Elros waved away her apology, more amused than anything. "Do not concern yourself, my lady," he said formally. "No offense was taken. It was a rather stupid question, wasn’t it?" He grinned at her and she grinned back.

"Elros," Mitheryn said then, "we really need to go. There is still much...."

"Yes, there is," Elros said. He gave Emeldir a bow. "Perhaps we may meet again in a few days and you can show me your books. I am interested in knowing what your adar deemed important."

"I would like that," Emeldir said shyly, giving him a curtsey.

Elros nodded and then he and Mitheryn left. "Let’s find Brandir," he said to her as they walked back towards the ships. "I need to find out the condition of those instruments."

****

They found Brandir with Haladan, both men carefully examining the instruments set out on a hastily constructed trestle in front of Elros’ pavilion. The men looked up as Elros and Mitheryn approached. Brandir spoke before Elros could ask his question.

"The instruments all appear to be fine, Elros," he said, hiding a smile at his king’s sigh of relief, "but we’ve been trying to figure out what they are and how they are to be used, and neither of us have a clue."

Elros frowned as he glanced over the instruments. In the torchlight the instruments — he counted ten — were vague in shape, ranging in size from a hand’s length to a couple of feet. "We’ll wait until morning and take a look," he said. "You found nothing else in the crate, nothing to indicate what these instruments were or how they should be used?"

The two men shook their heads. "Nothing," Haladan answered. "What did Lord Eönwë tell you about them?"

"Only that they would be needed to help us build our cities," Elros replied, sighing. "Surely there must be someone among us who has knowledge of building and the use of these instruments."

The others all nodded. "Well, nothing that we can do about tonight," Mitheryn said in a reasonable tone. "Tomorrow you should have your heralds go through the camp asking for those who are builders and engineers. They will likely know what these instruments are."

Elros nodded. "Repack them," he ordered the two men, "and bring them inside my pavilion. We’ll sort it all out tomorrow. I had better go see how the rest of the unloading is doing." With that he gave them a short bow and left.

****

The next morning, their first in their new home, Elros was up before dawn to greet the day and to survey their camp. The ships had sailed into a deep narrow harbor that lay between the east and southeast peninsular promontories that helped make the island’s star-shape. Elros, now that it was daylight, could see that it was a good place and thought that this would most likely be their main harbor. He needed to start organizing survey teams to begin mapping the island in greater detail than the map that Lord Eönwë had given him, which showed only the barest details of mountains and rivers and such. It would be years, he knew, before there was a settled city, his capital, but they needed to start now in ascertaining the best place to build. He had a suspicion that the instruments given to him would prove important in that determination.

He spied Brandir, Haladan, Mitheryn and a few others making their way towards his tent and he waved at them. "Fair morning!" he called in gladness and it was indeed a fair morning as Anor rose majestically out of the ocean, bathing them all with streamers of red and gold. Elros was almost certain he heard a glad song of welcome as the sun rose, greeting them all, but then dismissed it as his imagination and concentrated on his friends approaching. They gave him their own greetings.

"So, what is on today’s agenda, your Majesty?" Brandir asked.

Elros gave him an amused look. "You never call me ‘your Majesty’ unless you want something from me, Brandir."

The man laughed as did the others. "Too true, Elros," Brandir admitted. "Actually, we were wondering about those instruments. You said you wanted to see if anyone knew what they were for."

Elros nodded. "Indeed I do. I already instructed my heralds to go through the camp asking for anyone with building and engineering knowledge to come to me. Let us set up the instruments so they can be properly examined."

They followed Elros back into his tent and Brandir and Haladan carefully lifted the crate and brought it out and began unpacking the instruments, laying them on the trestle that had been put up the night before. In the clear light of day, Elros examined the instruments more carefully. They were both beautiful and functional and Elros thought that perhaps they were of Elvish design yet there was something about them that made him think that perhaps not.

"Is that Dwarvish?" Mitheryn asked as they examined the instruments. "It doesn’t look quite Elvish."

Elros nodded. "I was wondering the same. Ah... here comes somebody."

They looked up to see a couple of men approach. They bowed to Elros who nodded in acknowledgment. "You are builders and engineers?" he asked.

"Annrod of the House of Hador, your Majesty," one of the men replied, "and this is my brother, Faerod. We are Masters of the Guild of Engineers."

"Perhaps you could look at these instruments and tell me what they are for."

The two men came over to the table and began examining the instruments. Elros noticed their looks of surprise and delight as they carefully handled the various items. Yet, the longer they examined them the more puzzled they looked. Finally, Annrod, who seemed to be the elder of the two, looked up. "I must confess, Sire, that I am at a loss to say just what these instruments are for." Faerod nodded in agreement.

"But Lord Eönwë assured his Majesty that these instruments would be important in building our cities," Brandir protested. "Surely as engineers and builders you use similar instruments."

The two men nodded. "Indeed, we do," Faerod answered, "but these instruments are not anything we have ever seen before. They do not even resemble the types of measuring tools that we engineers use and we got our knowledge from the Elves who taught us all that we know about constructing cities. My brother and I helped in the building of Lindon, you see."

Now they were all looking puzzled and Elros felt a stab of fear. If they did not learn the use of these instruments, how could they hope to build? And yet, Faerod had just told him that they already had the instruments needed for that. Then for what purpose were these instruments crafted?

"Is there anything you can tell me about these?" he asked quietly.

The brothers consulted with one another in quiet tones before Annrod answered. "The only thing we can say for sure, your Majesty, is that these instruments were crafted neither by Men nor Elves or even Dwarves."

Elros raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"

Annrod nodded. "Oh, there are similarities of design of course, yet, I assure you that none of the races of Middle-earth constructed these instruments."

Haladan gave Elros a shrewd look. "You said Lord Eönwë gave you these," he stated and Elros nodded. "Do you think that these were crafted by... by Maiar?"

Now everyone gave a gasp of surprise. "Yet, why would the Maiar need such instruments?" Mitheryn asked.

Elros shook his head. "I do not know. I only know what Lord Eönwë told me, that these instruments would be needed to help us build and that they were more precious even than mithril." He sighed, then turned to the two engineers. "Thank you for your time, gentlemen. I will be calling upon you and your guild in the near future. We need to start mapping this island."

"We are at your Majesty’s command," Annrod said as the two brothers bowed and departed.

"What should we do with these, then?" Brandir asked, gesturing towards the instruments.

"Put them back in the crate for now," Elros said. "I have other duties to which I must attend before I can think about these again."

****

It was, in fact, nearly a month before Elros had the time or the energy to think about anything beyond ensuring that the building of a more permanent city was well underway — a city they had decided would be called Rómenna — sending out survey parties to map the island and its coasts, and overseeing the administrative aspects of any government, even one that was conducted at the trestle that sat outside his pavilion. He had, in fact, completely forgotten about the crate of instruments until one morning he happened to spy Emeldir making her way across the camp, a book clutched to her breast. The memory of their meeting rose in his mind and he had a sudden thought.

"Lady Emeldir," he called as he veered from his original course to intercept her. "Fair morning to you."

Emeldir stopped and dropped a curtsey. "Fair morning to you, Sire," she replied. "I trust those instruments of yours suffered no hurt."

"Ah, you remember!" Elros laughed. "Actually, it is about them that I wish to speak. My engineers tell me they have no idea what the instruments are for."

Emeldir gave him a surprised look. "How odd."

"Yes," Elros nodded. "Very odd. They also tell me that none of the races of Middle-earth crafted them."

Now Emeldir’s jaw dropped. "But... but that’s... I mean... then who....?"

"My reaction as well," Elros said with a glint of humor in his eyes. "I have to confess that I have not actually given them much thought of late, for I have been too busy overseeing everything, but when I saw you, I had a sudden thought that perhaps an answer might be found in one of your adar’s books. You said he collected books he thought might be of use to us."

"That is true," Emeldir said. "But, Sire, do you truly think that there is an answer to be found in books written by the Elves when you just said that the instruments were not crafted by them?"

Elros shook his head. "I said that they were not crafted by any race in Middle-earth, but what about Valinor?"

Emeldir’s eyes widened. "But the Valar and the Maiar would have no need...."

"There are the Eldar of Aman, though," Elros interjected.

"The Noldor are known for being loremasters and craftsmen," Emeldir said with a nod, her brows furrowed in thought. "I know that some of the books Ada collected or had copied came from the libraries of the Noldor. Perhaps...."

"Exactly," Elros exclaimed.

"Then I will search for an answer, lord," the young woman said, then paused, looking somewhat embarrassed. "There are many books and scrolls," she added. "It will take time."

"I will help," Elros replied and smiled at Emeldir’s look of disbelief. "I do know how to read," he added and laughed at the girl’s look of embarrassment. "Why don’t you come and I will show you the instruments. You’ll need to know what they look like in order to recognize any mention of them in the books."

She nodded and together they returned to Elros’ pavilion where he opened the crate and took out the instruments. Emeldir handled them with care and studied them closely. "They are very beautiful, more beautiful than anything I’ve ever seen before."

Elros nodded. "Yes, they are. I just wish I knew what I was supposed to do with them."

"If you will trust me with these, Sire," Emeldir said, "it would be helpful to have them taken to my tent so I can compare them with any descriptions I might come across."

"That sounds reasonable," he replied. "I will have these brought to your tent and then when my duties allow, I will come and help you in your search."

"That would be fine," Emeldir said and in a few moments the instruments were repacked and taken to her tent. Elros assured her that he would come in the evenings after the nightmeal to help her and she agreed.

****

They had little luck in the days and weeks of their search. Elros was amazed at the number of books and scrolls that had been collected and said as much.

"Ada spent every coin he had in finding these, or having copies made," Emeldir told him. "As I said, books were his passion and he firmly believed that we would need these to help us with our new life."

Elros nodded and picked up one of the smaller volumes, opening it to find that it was a collection of nursery tales, ones that he remembered his foster-father, Maglor, telling him and his brother. He smiled at the memory and unconsciously settled himself on a camp stool to read them, quite forgetting the real purpose of his visit.

"Did you find anything?" Emeldir asked after a few moments of silence and Elros started, looking chagrined.

"Sorry, I got caught up with reading these tales which I remember from when I was a child," he said.

Emeldir gave a light laugh. "I know. I find myself getting caught up in what I am reading and forgetting what my real purpose is. What tales are those?"

Elros gave her the book and she scanned the pages. "How odd. I don’t recall ever hearing these tales."

"They are stories of the Noldor," Elros explained, "brought with them from across the Sea. My foster-father told them to me and my brother when we were small. They were particular favorites of ours and Maglor could spin a tale as only a master bard can do."

Emeldir gave him a strange look and then handed the book back to him. "So, which one is your favorite?" she asked and Elros raised an eyebrow in surprise, but he readily flipped through the pages until he found a particular story and began reading it aloud. "When Ithil had yet to rise and Anor had yet to shine, there was an elleth who was as fair as any Maia...."

When he finished reading the tale, Emeldir rifled through some of the other books until she found one bound in red leather. "Here is one of my favorite stories from when I was little," she said with a shy smile and, opening the volume, she began to read aloud. "Once upon a time there was a young man who had no family...."

****

Elros wasn’t sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, he began to have feelings for Emeldir as they spent the evenings searching through her collection of books looking for some answer to the puzzle of the instruments. Most of the time they actually spent sharing their favorite stories or discovering new ones together. They talked of books and the future. Elros began to appreciate the foresight of Emeldir’s adar in the types of books that he had collected and was thankful for it. There was a wealth of information that they would need in the coming days, months and years as they slowly began to build their civilization.

But more than that, he appreciated Emeldir’s quick wit and fiery passion. She spoke of building a library and schools, of creating a guild of scribes who would keep the flame of knowledge alive for all their people. He found himself growing excited as well and they spent more and more time talking about the future of their people and the hopes and dreams they both had and less and less time fretting over the mysterious instruments and their purpose.

He also found that he was looking forward to his evenings with Emeldir and had ceased to worry that they were no closer to finding an answer to their problem than before. It was enough now to just sit and enjoy her company surrounded by her books. And when duties prevented him from spending such time with her, he fretted and fumed and could not keep his mind on the business at hand. His friends noticed and smiled knowingly among themselves and, without his knowledge, endeavored to see to it that their king had the time free to be with Emeldir.

And so the weeks passed and every book was searched for any clue but they found nothing. When the last crate had been opened and the last book read, the two sat together staring at one another morosely. "This makes no sense," Emeldir said in exasperation. "Why would Lord Eönwë give you these instruments if they are of no use to us?"

"I do not know," Elros replied. "They were to be used to build our cities and...."

"Are those his exact words?" Emeldir asked with a frown. "We were to use them to build our cities?"

Elros furrowed his brow, trying to recall the Maia’s exact words and shook his head, looking rueful. "No. His exact words were that they would help in building a new life. I am afraid that I jumped to the conclusion that he meant they would help in building our cities and such."

"A reasonable assumption," Emeldir said with a nod. "I am sorry, your Majesty, that my adar’s books were of no help."

"But they were," Elros exclaimed, "or, at least, you were." Emeldir gave him a puzzled look and Elros suddenly felt shy and uncertain. "I have enjoyed our time together, Emeldir. The burdens of kingship often weigh heavily upon my shoulders, but for a few hours when I was with you I could cease to be king and just be Elros and for that I will always be grateful. I... I think I... love you, Emeldir," he whispered at the end.

For the longest time there was only silence between them. Elros wondered if he had somehow offended the maiden and despaired that she would send him away empty-handed. Then, she gave him a tremulous smile. "And I think that I love you... Elros."

It was the first time she had ever said his name, even though he had insisted that she could use it when they were private. But no, she had always addressed him with titles of respect. "But you only think," he couldn’t help saying.

"As you do," she retorted.

Elros nodded, smiling broadly. "Then perhaps we should explore these feelings more deeply to see if we can change thinking to knowing."

"I would like that," Emeldir said with a shy smile, but then she sighed, looking distraught. "What about these instruments, though? They apparently serve no purpose that any of us can determine. Why did Lord Eönwë give them to you then?"

Elros shook his head. "I do not know, but it really no longer matters," he said. "We may never know their true purpose, but one thing I do know about them."

"What is that?" Emeldir enquired.

"They were... er... instrumental in bringing us together."

Emeldir’s eyes widened at Elros’ wicked leer and then she started laughing and groaning at the same time and Elros joined her.

****

"Did it work?" Eönwë asked Lord Manwë, giving him an anxious look. The two were strolling through one of the gardens surrounding the Elder King’s mansion in Valmar.

The Elder King nodded and smiled. "Oh, yes, it worked very well," he answered. "They announced their betrothal this morning before all the people and there was much rejoicing."

The Maia sighed in relief, then grinned. "I confess, I did not think it would work, not at first."

"I can appreciate that," Manwë said. "Yet, we felt it necessary to... er... nudge these two together. The rest was up to them."

"Having them look for an answer to a puzzle that had no answer seemed to do the trick," Eönwë said with a laugh.

"Indeed," Manwë averred. "They will never know that those instruments were created out of thin air and have no actual use. Aulë enjoyed making them."

"Indeed I did," Aulë said with a laugh as he joined them in fana. "Elros thought the instruments would help them build their cities, never realizing that what you told him was the truth, that they would help build a new life for him, and only indirectly for the rest of his people."

Manwë nodded. "Yes. There sole purpose was to help bring those two Children together in the hope that they would fall in love."

"And if they did not?" Eönwë asked.

Manwë shrugged and rewarded his faithful Maia with a smug smile. "We had other ideas in case this one didn’t work."

Eönwë gave the two Valar a surprised look, for Aulë was nodding in agreement with Manwë’s words. "I see," he replied carefully, realizing that his masters were even more devious than he had given them credit for. He would not make that mistake again. "So... what do you think they’ll do with those instruments?"

"Ulmo told me that Uinen overheard Elros saying something about displaying them in public and holding a contest to see who could come up with the best idea for names and purposes for the instruments," Manwë replied. "It will be amusing to see what the Children come up with."

Eönwë laughed. Amusing indeed. He had had his doubts when Lord Manwë had told him his plans but now he knew better. Elros would never know that the life those instruments were truly meant to build was his own, that they were meant solely to bring him and Emeldir together who might never have met. And now the line of kings was secured with their betrothal and for that Eönwë was glad. He had grown quite fond of the Second Children when he had lived among them, teaching them what they needed to know. He looked forward to seeing how they continued to build their civilization, knowing that in some small way, he, too, had been instrumental in giving them a good start on their new life.

"So, what do you plan to give as a wedding gift, lord?" the Maia asked innocently.

Manwë gave his Herald a startled look and then started laughing along with Aulë as the three continued strolling through the gardens coming up with one outrageous gift after another.

****

Words are Sindarin unless otherwise noted.

Ethiro!: ‘Watch out!’

Elleth: Female Elf.

Edain: Plural of Adan: Mortal, Man.

Adar: Father. The hypocoristic form is ada.

Naneth: Mother. The hypocoristic form is nana.

Fana: (Quenya) The ‘veils’ or ‘raiment’ with which the Valar and Maiar clothe themselves.

Note: The name of Elros’ wife is non-canonical. The original Emeldir was the wife of Barahir and mother of Beren and was herself descended from Bëor the Old. Elros’ wife is mentioned in my Vairë’s Loom story ‘Tenn’ Ambar Metta’.





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