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Written for the LOTR Community Jewels of Light challenge. For Tari for her birthday, with best wishes.
Questions on the Smiths
Estel sat near his foster father in the main library of Imladris, reading from a book entitled The Great Smiths of the Noldor.
“Was there really someone like Fëanor?”
“Yes, there was.”
“Did you know him?”
“No, I did not. He was killed by the Black Enemy soon after he set foot upon the soil of Middle Earth, back shortly before the first rising of the Moon and the Sun. That was many ennin before my birth.”
“Did he truly make jewels that gave light without the need of flame?”
“Oh, yes—that he did indeed. The jewel that gives light in my study was made by Celebrimbor, who learned how to do so from Fëanor himself.”
“Did you know him?”
Elrond’s voice became solemn. “Yes, my son, I knew Celebrimbor, there before Sauron slew him and laid waste to his land. Celebrimbor had thought of Annatar, as Sauron was styling himself at the time, as a friend and teacher. Never did he expect such betrayal.”
The boy examined the illustration before him that showed Fëanor within his forge, laboring over some great jewel. “It’s too bad that he forgot how to love his wife when he made the Silmarils,” he said. “I am glad that my father never forgot how he loved my mother. Or, at least that is what she tells me.”
The Master of Rivendell laid a gentle hand on the boy’s shoulder, squeezing it in comfort. “There is no question that your father continued to love your mother all through their marriage, although it was nowhere as long as had been the marriage of Fëanor to Nerdanel. I doubt not that he continues to love her now, even though they are parted by his death.”
The boy shrugged slightly. After a moment he asked, “How could Celebrimbor trust Sauron, even if he was in disguise?”
“I’m not certain, ion nín. When Annatar came to us, neither Círdan nor I could find it within us to treat with him, for there was something to him neither of us could bear to be near. I have come to wonder if it was the fact that Celebrimbor, having been among the Noldor of Aman, might have known Sauron before he betrayed the Valar, back when he served within Aulë’s forge and was known as Aulendil. When Annatar came to Ost-in-edhil to offer his services to the Elves there, Celebrimbor might then have responded unwittingly to the sense of familiarity he had already with him, and thought that this must be one he could trust. But he definitely wished to find glory of his own to match that so long given to his grandfather, and the idea that he could create rings of power excited his imagination to the point he ignored the warnings he received regarding the possible motives of this ‘Lord of Gifts’.”
Estel thought on this as he traced a fingertip over the jewel pictured being wrought by Fëanor. At last he turned the page, and read the inscription. “Enerdhil of Gondolin was one of the greatest of the Noldor smiths to come to Ennor, although few of his creations remain within the Mortal Lands. He rejoiced to create gems of healing and renewal, inspired by some jewels that were brought from Aman that came from forges other than that of Fëanor. His greatest achievement was the green jewel known as the Elessar, the Stone of Renewal, which was set within a silver brooch shaped in the likeness of one of Manwë’s Great Eagles. It shines with a clear, healing light when its power is wielded, and those bathed in that light know joy and easing, and relief from the pain of all wounds. It has been foretold that it will come in its proper time into the hands of a great King who will take his name from it, and with it he will bring a renewal of peace and glory to the land given into his care, a land long bereft of its full dignity.”
The illustration given was of a far different Elven smith, one who worked with fine tools to set a great green gem within a setting shaped as described in the text. The expression of the smith was as intent as had been that of Fëanor, but it was at the same time more serene, with the trace of a smile of pleasurable surprise to it. After examining the picture for a time he looked up into his adar’s face. “Did you know Enerdhil, Ada?”
“No, for I never went to Gondolin, which fell long ere I was born; and he did not survive the assault on Turgon’s land by Morgoth’s creatures. Celebrimbor told me of him, however, for they were friends and often worked together, most likely before Enerdhil entered the hidden realm. In fact, I believe Celebrimbor was the one who crafted the eagle brooch in which the Elessar stone was set. How beautiful it is! The feathering is most delicately done, and it is indeed as if one holds one of the Great Eagles in miniature within one’s hand!”
“Then you have seen the Elessar stone?”
“That I have. Enerdhil gave the brooch to the Lady Idril, who in turn gave it to her son Eärendil, who was my father. He wore it when he sailed West to beg the aid of the Valar for the protection of all who lived here within the Mortal Lands against the depredations of Morgoth and his armies. I believe that as he bade farewell to those who sailed back to the Undying Lands after the War of Wrath was over, Celebrimbor found it pressed into his hand, but he never knew who it was that saw it given into his possession. He gave it to the Lady Galadriel, whom it was said he loved but who had married another and could not return his devotion in like kind. Long she wore it ere she gave it in turn to her daughter on the day she was married to the one she chose as her husband.”
“Did you know the Lady Galadriel? Or her daughter?”
Estel wondered at the expression on his adar’s face, the mixture of intense joy and equally intense pain. He realized that if he wished, Elrond could say a good deal about both ladies. After a moment he turned his attention back to the book and the picture of the smith setting the great green gem into the eagle brooch. At last he said, “If I had a choice between one of the Silmarils and the Elessar stone, I think I’d prefer the latter. After all, no one ever fought over it as they did the Silmarils. And I’d prefer seeing lands healed to having to fight wars for them.”
This time he was unaware of the expression in the peredhel’s eyes as Elrond looked on him.
It is said that one day the stone will come to you, and that you will be called after it. For so many ennin it has been in my daughter’s keeping now. How it is that Arwen might be convinced to give it into your hands I cannot foresee, but my heart forewarns me that I shall have mixed feelings to see it upon your breast as it lay upon that of my father. Oh, son of my heart, I beg of you not to rob me of my treasure! But, if it is to be, I pray that you will be worthy of it, and of her.
Ignorant of the turmoil in his adar’s heart, Estel turned another page in his book.
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