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Written for the LOTR Community "Stars at Night" challenge (somewhat late). For the Master's birthday, for Lindelea for her birthday, and for the joy I know in a small dog registered as "Larner's Man-in-the-Moon" and known familiarly as Tilion.
In Grief at the Loss of Telperion
Galadriel softly approached the small figure seated upon a half-buried log on one side of the camp. Frodo was seated facing east, his eyes fixed on the top of the peaks where a growing glow indicated that the moon would soon surmount the heights of the Misty Mountains.
“You await the rising of the moon?” she asked in low tones.
“Yes. It is just past the full, and there are no clouds tonight to hide it,” he said. “It was one thing we did not see when we visited your land last winter. I did not find that odd while we were there in Lórien, but we wondered at it once we were headed south upon the river.”
“I see. May I join you?” At his nod and an indication where she might find it comfortable to sit, she stepped over the log and gracefully dropped down beside him. Quietly they watched together as the first of the moon’s rim appeared from behind the mountains. At last she spoke.
“When I was at last considered old enough to travel about Aman unescorted, I often went to marvel at the Two Trees, fascinated by the manner in which they gave light to our world and at the quality of the light given. We younglings were not the only ones to haunt the mound upon which they grew—many of the Maiar also came there when their responsibilities allowed to dance in the Light and the Breath, or so they told us when we asked. Sometimes they came in fána, but often they were discernible only the quality of their own Lights of Being, which added to the delight we felt as we watched the mingling of the lights from Telperion and Laurelin with the Lights of the Maiar added to them.
“Tilion I knew well enough. He was often a companion to our Lady Varda, and all knew that his heart was given to Arien, a Maia whose brightness was often seen dancing about the Two Trees. She accepted Tilion’s adoration, but could not return it in kind. She told me once that she knew she had a purpose to serve Arda, but that it had not yet been revealed. Tilion said much the same: that he knew that he and she would share a purpose of some sort, but that because of it they would not be able to be mated properly with one another. They would both dance about the Two Trees at much the same time, clad not in fána but in Light—his a soft silver that reflected the light of Telperion, hers bright and shining gold that was one with the light of Laurelin. They did not usually dance quite together, but their steps would bring them together in much the same pattern as the mingling of the lights of the Trees, and at such times the mingling of their Lights was oh, so beautiful. I often watched them with feelings of envy, wishing I could know such intimacy as they were able to share and yet retain my own individuality as they did.”
She gave a small, sad smile. When she resumed her tale, her voice was soft. “At the time that the Trees were slain, no one was on watch about the Mound of the Trees, for all even of the Maiar attended upon the Valar then—all save for Melkor, Ungoliant, and my grandfather, who had remained in Fëanáro’s house. And you already know what was done to the Trees and my grandfather.”
“Yes, I have read of it, and have heard the tale in Elrond’s Hall of Fire.”
She sighed. “And there you would have heard the tale told properly.” She was quiet for a time, and drew up her knees, embracing them with her shapely arms as she watched the moon rise higher into the night sky. Her voice was even lower when she resumed her tale. “We sensed the discord that entered the Song as the Trees were attacked, but it took us time to reach the mound and look upon their demise. None could believe it! Arien and Tilion had arrived there long before us, and they knelt by the Trees, seeking to heal them, seeking to share with them their own Lights of Being. But it was all for naught, for there was no chance for recovery. There was much terror and grief as the sources of the light that had ever surrounded us died, but also wonder, for now we could see for the first time outside the Cleft of the Calacirya and west of Lord Olwë’s lands the light of the stars overhead! And, seeing them, I felt a stirring within my heart as I first conceived the thought of following those stars elsewhere, seeking whatever adventures into which they might lead me.
“Fëanáro returned to his house of exile and found our King dead, and beyond reason was his grief and his fury at the Valar, who had failed not only to protect his home and father, but also the three Silmarils. The Valar had entreated him to give them the Jewels of Light that with them they might have restored the Two Trees, but he had refused to even consider the idea. Now he learned that the Great Enemy had stolen them and had borne them eastward, back to the Mortal Lands, and he purposed to follow him to retrieve them and be avenged upon Melkor, whom he renamed Morgoth, the Black Enemy. When he returned to Tirion he pronounced his great oath, and all but commanded us to take it with him. And most of us who were of the Noldor agreed to follow him out of Aman, even if we disapproved of his oath and refused to swear to bring back the Silmarils from Morgoth’s lair. Certainly I did not purpose to do such a thing—I only felt, as did my beloved brother Finderáto, that my destiny was not in the Undying Lands but here, here in Endore.
“We were given time to gather what goods we would bring with us, and I found I had enough time to again return to the Mound of Ezellohar to look one last time upon the remains of the Trees. I first found Tilion, embracing the trunk of what had been Telperion, still weeping his grief.
“ ‘And you, granddaughter to Finwë, are you to follow the traitor Fëanáro out of this land?’ he demanded of me.
“I answered him, ‘Yes, that I intend to do. Would you seek to sway me from my purpose?’
He shook his head gravely, answering, ‘No, it is not our place to seek to sway anyone from the path that person chooses to follow. But know this—a single flower of Telperion has been preserved, and it is the hope of the Valar that with it the whole of Arda might once again be lighted for at least a regular period of time. I will be charged with seeing to it that its light is evenly spread over the whole of the lands of Aman and Endorë. And I say this to you—that if you go, wherever you might settle, I shall refuse to shine that light over whatever place you might claim as your own.’
“Arien knelt by the trunk of Laurelin. Apparently her tears were all spent, for she mourned in such a depth of silence that I could barely sustain its weight. She bespoke me. I heard his threats, my child. But you should know that a fruit of Laurelin also was preserved, and when a vessel has been crafted fit to bear it through the heavens, I shall take it along the pathway laid out for it to follow so that it might also give light not only to Aman but to the Mortal Lands as well. We shall be too high for Melkor to reach us to destroy such light as we bear, Tilion and I, and he shall not be able to fully darken us again. But I do not grudge you your choice to follow the prompting of your heart, and my Light shall enlighten you no matter where you might dwell. Go with my blessing upon you. With that she kissed my brow, reminding me, We have always loved you and the Light of your Being, Tilion and I. After all, does it not mingle both Gold and Silver even as the Lights of the Trees mingled, as is reflected in your hair? Rejoice that although he is now angered by your choice, caught as he is in the chasm of his grief, he will one day forgive you and will rejoice to shine his light upon you once more.
“So it has been. When I leave my own land I rejoice to sit under the light of Tilion once more, but ever does Lady Arien hearten me when she shines upon Middle Earth. But still I know great delight in seeing the light of the stars shining down upon me, knowing that Lady Varda, Elbereth Gilthoniel, has never sought to punish me for my choice to leave the presence of the Valar.”
At last she turned to face Frodo. “And now, Ringbearer, because of your ability to endure and your steadfastness, I shall at last be able to return to stand before the Valar and the Maiar once more. Thank you for this.”
She reached out and drew him against her side, running her hand slowly through his hair, and allowing it to briefly rest over the scar left by the Morgul knife.
The pain of the wound was eased for some time after that, returning only after the Lady, Lord Celeborn, and their retinue turned eastward to cross over the Redhorn Pass back into their own land for what time remained to them there.
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