‘Welcome to the Grey Havens,’ Círdan said. He made a gracious bow as his visitors reached the end of the gangplank and stepped onto the pier. He turned to Linquendil with a wide smile. ‘Linwë, to look upon you after so great a time… and still it seems as though we had not been parted at all. How is your father? There are many tales extolling the incredible beauty of the Swan Havens of Alqualondë. I would imagine Olwë lives in unbearable misery there.’
Linquendil let out a good-natured laugh as he took Círdan’s extended hand in a firm grip. ‘Time has not affected your humor, Nowë; you are as dryly amusing as you were in our youth. My father is happy in Valinor, although there are times when he still longs for the great forests of Middle-earth. He would be happier if I left Eressëa to join him, but I prefer the silver beaches of Avallónë to the golden sands of Alqualondë’
Círdan pointed toward the white ship behind them. ‘I see you have also chosen the life of a mariner instead of following your father in his craft.’ He raised an eyebrow at Linquendil and said, ‘I fail to see why; being a shipwright is a highly respected profession.’
‘I will give you the same reply I give my father...’ Linquendil bowed his head slightly, ‘those who seek fulfillment build ships and those who seek adventure sail them.’ Círdan’s laugh mingled with Linquendil’s, but after a moment their laughter slowed and Linquendil looked at Círdan with a wistful smile. ‘I have missed your company, my friend. I wish I could stay longer.’
Círdan’s sigh was heavy as he nodded slowly. ‘I return both sentiments, Linwë,’ he said, ‘yet I understand. A long journey home still awaits you.’ He turned to Ilmarë, who had been standing silently at Linquendil’s side, watching the two of them with interest. ‘And this must be our mysterious visitor. It is a pleasure to meet you, my lady.’
Círdan held his hand out to her and she took it with a smile. ‘Thank you, Lord Círdan; it is kind of you to make an uninvited and unexpected guest so welcome.’
Ilmarë bowed her head politely and closed her eyes, but snapped them open again when she felt something soft brush across her knuckles. Círdan had bent his head far enough to press a kiss against her hand, and the feel of his lips and his warm breath on her skin sent a shudder down her back that was oddly pleasing. When he straightened back up, she frowned and studied his lips closely, trying to discern what it was about them that could cause such a reaction. His mouth curled into a smile and she looked up to find Círdan watching her with amusement.
‘Where will she be staying, Nowë? My men and I will take her things, if you will lead the way.’ He pointed toward the large trunks the mariners were lowering to the pier, but Círdan released Ilmarë’s hand and shook his head.
‘You do not have to trouble yourself with that, some of my men will be arriving soon…’ The sound of footsteps against the wooden pier interrupted him. ‘Oh…here they are now.’ Círdan pointed at the small group of Elves walking down the pier toward them. ‘I had planned for her to stay with me. You and your men could still accompany us. I would be happy to show you my home.’
‘As much as that would please me, it is not possible,’ Linquendil replied and sighed in disappointment. ‘We cannot stay; I am expected to leave immediately. There are many who will be waiting impatiently for my return to Aman and bring them word that all went well. We will stop in Vinyalondë for supplies before we…’ Ilmarë’s hand grabbed his forearm tightly and jerked on his arm; he stopped speaking to look at her.
‘You are not staying, Linquendil?’ She had known Linquendil would not stay long, but that he would be leaving immediately was a complete shock; he had said nothing of it. Now the thought of his departure brought her close to tears. ‘You cannot leave so soon. Please, do not leave me here alone like this.’ Her voice broke and she began to cry. Linquendil pulled her into his arms and gently guided her head to his chest with one hand.
‘Shhh…there is no need for tears; I am not leaving you alone. Nowë…Círdan will help you now. He is my kin and I would not have brought you to him if I did not trust him, no matter what I was told.’ He rubbed his hand along her back and said, ‘I must leave; to deliver you safely to Harlond was my only task and now I have done so. I am not allowed to stay.’
Linquendil closed his eyes as he rested his cheek against the top of Ilmarë’s head. This was why he had mentioned nothing of his immediate departure to her; he had known that in her state of mind it would only upset and frighten her. He listened to her cry and felt his eyes sting, but he was all too aware that his tears would only serve to upset her more. Once again, he felt uneasy about this task and questioned whether or not he should put her back onto the ship and return her home. He wavered for a few minutes, but decided against it. Her crying had almost stopped, and he took a deep breath then gently pushed her away from his chest. Putting his hand under Ilmarë’s chin, he lifted her face to look at him.
‘If I were to go against what I had been told and remain here another day or even another week, it would make the parting no easier. It is better to do this quickly. Trust Círdan, and trust in yourself.’ Linquendil pressed a kiss to her forehead and said, ‘There is nothing more I can say to you that has not already been said. Remember the things we spoke of on the journey here. When your work in these lands is finished and you are called back, I will return and my ship will carry you home; you have my word.’
‘Thank you, Linquendil,’ Ilmarë said and touched a hand to his cheek before wiping the tears from her face. ‘I am sorry; you have done so much for me already, it is unfair to ask anything else of you. I understand why you must leave, and do not worry for me. I will be fine; Círdan is here to help me.’ She swallowed her fear and smiled for Linquendil’s sake. ‘I will hold you to your promise, and I pray it will not be long until you return.’
Her smile did not ease his discomfort at leaving her; but nonetheless, Linquendil looked over her shoulder and nodded. Círdan stepped forward to place his arm around Ilmarë’s shoulders, and moved her away from Linquendil.
‘Please take good care of her, Nowë.’ Linquendil said and then his face darkened with anger. ‘I know you trust this Elven king, yet I do not. He may not carry the fouled blood of those who would slay their own kin, but he is still Noldor. I have no love or trust for any of them. It is the way of the Noldor to never be satisfied, always wanting more than is given to them. Do not let them use her for their own selfish gain.’
‘He is your kin, Linwë; does that mean nothing to you?’
‘He is descended from my sister four generations removed,’ Linquendil answered with more anger than before, ‘that does not mean I claim him as my kin. He calls himself a Noldor and so Noldor he is. It matters not what blood an Elf carries, what matters is where his loyalties lie. You are well aware that your father and mine have always felt this way, as does Elwë. As do I.’
Ilmarë stared at Linquendil, stunned by the fury in his voice. He had shown anger when telling her the story of the house of Finwë, but she had never seen him enraged like this. To add to her disbelief, Círdan was understanding of it and seemed saddened for Linquendil’s sake.
‘It is true; there are many Noldor still left in these lands who are untrustworthy, yet their king is not one of them. Regardless of his allegiance to the Noldor, he is Sindarin and Telerin as well. He is a most unselfish person, Linwë. If you knew him, you would trust him as I do. Yet I know you have good reason for your doubts. Rest assured that I will see to her well-being,’ Círdan replied and held his hand out once more. ‘Farewell, Linwë, until we meet again, my friend. May the winds blow fair upon your sails and Eru keep you safe.’
Linquendil nodded in silence as he gripped Círdan’s hand tightly before releasing it; he did not trust himself to speak, but not because of his anger. Ilmarë was trying unsuccessfully to conceal her fear as she stood in the circle of Círdan’s arm, and his own doubts and worries began to intrude upon his thoughts once more. Before they could take hold, he quickly turned away without another word and walked in long, hurried strides up the gangplank.
When he passed the waiting Elves at the top he waved his hand, signaling them to raise the gangplank back on board. Ilmarë could hear Linquendil’s shouted commands to ready the sails and cast off the gaskets. Círdan’s men on the pier untied the ropes and bow began to turn away. When the ship was a short distance from the pier the sails were unfurled and they filled with the cool evening winds.
Ilmarë stood on the pier with Círdan and they watched the white ship move westward with increasing speed, through the gulf waters and back toward the sea. Her heart sank to know her only connection with home was now severed. Not even Círdan’s presence eased her loneliness. The Elves began to pick up her trunks and Círdan looked down at Ilmarë.
He knew watching the ship depart would only prolong her sadness and it was better if they left the pier. Círdan was also curious to find out more about his mysterious visitor. He had received a brief message from Linquendil saying that his ship would be arriving at Harlond soon with a visitor of some importance - someone sent to him by the Valar, who requested his assistance once again. Judging from the faint sound of Linquendil's voice in his head, Círdan had surmised that they was still a good distance away. It was well after sunset before he left for the piers and Círdan did not have to wait long before the white ship came into view. To see Linquendil at the rails had overjoyed him - they had not seen one another since the parting of the Teleri in the Years of the Trees. To see the woman standing with him had been unexpected. Even as Círdan studied her from the pier, he knew there was something different about her, something he could not quite place yet.
Círdan leaned toward Ilmarë and spoke softly. ‘I know this is difficult for you, but you are not alone. I will do all that I can to help you. Now come, we should leave; I will take you to my home.’
Ilmarë let out a heavy sigh, reluctantly pulled her gaze from the water, and allowed Círdan to turn her toward the road. They followed the Elves carrying the trunks and left the piers as they made their way up the road leading away from the havens.
Not far from the piers the road split and one side made a gradual curve back to the left and rose steadily up a small hill, toward the main part of the city. Círdan did not lead Ilmarë in that direction; instead they followed the road as it turned to the right, back toward the water.
He walked slowly, allowing their companions to move farther ahead of them. Ilmarë broke the silence to ask a question.
‘Why does Linquendil hate the Noldor?’
‘He did not tell you?’
Ilmarë hesitated before she answered. ‘Perhaps I knew at one time, but I do not remember now. On the journey here he told me of Fëanor’s deeds and the results of them, but he would not tell me why it angered him so.’
‘That he would not care to speak of it is understandable. I would not say he hates the Noldor, but he is still unable to forgive them or forget what was done,’ Círdan said and even if Ilmarë had not heard it in his voice, the sadness on his face was unmistakable. ‘Linwë…Linquendil,’ he corrected himself, ‘was with his father at Alqualondë when Fëanor and his people attacked. One of the stolen ships belonged to him, but that is not the reason for his anger.’
‘Fëanor returned to take the ships, and Linquendil fought against him at Olwë’s side. But even the two of them combined were no match for Fëanor.’ Círdan’s eyes closed and his lips pulled together in a straight line as he exhaled heavily through his nose.
He opened his eyes to look at the road ahead and said, ‘When his father was wounded and fell, Linquendil threw himself down to take the finishing blow Fëanor intended for Olwë. He was slain protecting his father. His spirit passed to Mandos, but it was only for a short time. Although Linquendil’s body was restored, he cannot yet find it within himself to forgive. Not so much the wrong done to him, but what was done to his father and his people. There are many among the Lindai who hold ill feelings toward the Noldor, and they cannot be blamed. They have just cause.’
Ilmarë stared down at the road as they walked, reflecting upon what she had been told. It is no wonder he holds such anger for them. And many Noldor have now returned to Aman…how many among the Lindai must face their own murderers? And what of the others who were slain by their own kind? What great mercy it must take to offer forgiveness for such a wrong. I cannot imagine…
Then it was Círdan’s voice that broke the silence of their walk.
‘What exactly do you mean when you say ‘perhaps you knew at one time’? You speak as though the knowledge had been lost,’ Círdan said after thinking back on her words. Then he added, ‘I do not wish to be forward… but would you be so kind as to first tell me your name?’
Ilmarë was embarrassed by her unwitting lack of manners. ‘I am sorry, Círdan; I thought Linquendil had told you.’
‘No… he sent his message from a distance, and so the details of it were not clear. I know that you have come from Valinor and were sent to me for help, but I was not told who you are or the reasons why.’
They had just come over a rise in the road and the water of the gulf was once again in view. Ilmarë’s eyes searched for the white ship but finding no sign of it, and still thinking of her friend’s pain and loss. She was distracted as she replied, ‘I have more than one name: Lúriel, Erinti, Telvissë… yet most know me as Ilmarë.’
Círdan felt a jolt of surprise and dropped his arm from her shoulders as he stopped to study her closely. ‘I beg your pardon, but did you say Ilmarë? I have heard tell of a Maia by that name, the handmaid of Varda and sister to Eönwë. Are you that being?’
She stopped walking, too, and her eyebrows drew together in a frown as she looked at him. Sister?
A fleeting thought came to her; a frustratingly vague memory of a comforting male presence who smiled as he called her name; his voice was soft but a current of strength and power echoed through it. Then the memory was gone as suddenly as it came, leaving only the marked sense of loneliness in its wake. When she did not disagree, Círdan was at a loss for words, which was not a thing that happened often. He shook his head slowly for a few moments before he spoke again.
‘Forgive me, Ilmarë, I do not mean to be ill mannered but I am trying to understand this. That the Valar would send one of your kind as a messenger does not surprise me; I have spoken to Ossë myself on different occasions. But it does come as a shock that they would send you in this…’ his hand gestured toward her, ‘the body of a mortal woman and not one of the forms your kind creates for themselves. What reason could they possibly have to do this?’
Ilmarë’s thoughts were still on the revelation Círdan had given her. ‘This Eönwë you speak of, he is my brother?’ She felt guilty at asking and waved her hand at him. ‘Wait, no…do not tell me such things. The memories of my life in Aman have been concealed from me and most of my powers have been taken; it is the wish of the Valar.’
She drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to overcome her disappointment. Finally, she said, ‘Yes… I am the servant of Elentári, or Varda, as you call her; and I am of the Maiar.’ She nodded toward the road ahead and asked, ‘Is your home much further? If it is close by, I would prefer to wait until we reach it to tell you the rest, for I am growing tired. It has been difficult for me to grow accustomed to the feel of this body, especially the weaknesses and requirements that accompany it. ’
‘No, it is not much further; just over the next rise. This discussion can wait.’ Círdan surprised her again by laughing and shaking his head. ‘I have lived many years and seen many things, yet I am still amazed by the reasoning of the Valar…or the lack thereof.’
‘You should not speak of the Valar in that manner; they are wise and their wishes should be respected,’ Ilmarë said, yet her admonishment lacked sincerity for she herself had doubts about the wisdom of this decision.
Círdan regarded her in silence, and for a brief moment his tall frame bent slightly, as if a great weight had settled upon it and a dark cloud of remembrance and regret shadowed him. Then it vanished and his handsome face was once again smiling and cheerful. The departure was so swift that Ilmarë questioned whether she had even truly seen it or if it had been only her imagination.
‘Even the wise may err, Ilmarë,’ Círdan said. ‘Come, we will be on our way. You are tired and should rest.’ He put his arm around her shoulders again and they began walking, but at a faster pace than before. Without taking his eyes from the road in front of them, he said, ‘You must keep in mind that you are no longer in the Blessed Realm. Just as the lands here in Middle-earth are different so, too, are the ways by which we live. There are many who question the will of the Valar, and that is not so wrong a thing. Only Eru himself is beyond question.’
Ilmarë considered Círdan’s words, but before she could respond they topped the rise and he pointed toward the water. The road ended in front of a large white house. Light spilled out from the open front door and the Elves who had brought her trunks were already at the house and taking them inside. The house was only one story but spread out over a large area close to the shoreline.
The others had finished their task of delivering the trunks and were leaving the house when Círdan and Ilmarë reached the front door. They both thanked the Elves and said goodnight, and Círdan turned to her.
‘Welcome to my humble home, Ilmarë,’ he said and politely held his hand out toward the door. ‘It will be your home as well for a time, and I hope you will treat it as such.’
‘Thank you, Círdan.’
Ilmarë entered the house with Círdan close behind and he led her through the many rooms, telling her of the different areas as he showed her the house. She had not known what to expect of the dwellings in Middle-earth, but she soon found that Círdan’s home was anything but humble. It was quite beautiful, all the rooms bright and airy.
Smooth, white stone walls were in every room, the same stone as the exterior. The floors were made of stone, as well; pale grey with a polished shine to it. In some of the rooms sets of large glass-paned doors had been left open to allow the evening air. The long, blue curtains covering them had been pushed partly aside and they made slow, lazy waves in the breezes drifting from the sea.
Círdan led her to the largest room at the back of the house and pushed aside one of the curtains. Ilmarë looked out at the grassy yard that stretched out behind the house and then fell away to meet the sands of the seashore. She breathed deeply to take in the scent of the water and smiled to hear the sound of the waves.
‘Whether it is the gentle splash of breaking waves or the crashing force of a storm, I find a sense of peace in the sound of the water,’ Círdan said as he leaned against the doorway and watched the waves roll up to the shore. ‘It is always soothing to me.’
He suddenly remembered that Ilmarë was weary. ‘I am sorry for keeping you, Ilmarë; you must be ready to sleep by now. I will show you to your room.’
‘Oh, I am tired, but I do not think I could sleep just yet. If you would be kind enough to show me a comfortable place to sit and rest, we can finish our earlier discussion.’
‘I would like that, if you are not too weary. Follow me, and I will find you a comfortable spot. Have you eaten? ’
Ilmarë followed Círdan as he left the doorway and walked across the room. She had not eaten that evening, and Linquendil informed her it was common for nervousness to cause a loss of appetite. Her appetite had still not returned and the thought of eating made her stomach tighten painfully as it had done her first night on the ship.
‘Thank you, Círdan, but I am not hungry. No, a chair and something to drink are all I require at the moment.’
‘I should be able to see to that easily enough,’ Círdan said as they reached the end of a hallway and he pushed open the door in front of them. ‘To be quite honest, you are very fortunate in that you are not hungry. The household help I employ do not live with me; they have homes of their own. I would have been forced to prepare the food myself.’ He winked at her and smiled. ‘I assure you it would not have been palatable. I am no cook.’
They entered a room decorated in shades of green and blue with a large fireplace on the far end, and sets of open doors on either side of it. There was a small couch of deep blue and when Ilmarë sat down on it she let out a pleased sigh. The cushions were extremely soft compared to the furniture of the ship and it eased her tired body to sit in comfort. Círdan walked to the open doors and pulled them shut.
‘The days are still warm, but the chill of autumn comes with the night air.’ He walked to a tall wooden cabinet and removed two glasses. ‘What would you prefer to drink, Ilmarë?’
‘It does not matter, Círdan,’ she replied as she sunk her body gratefully into the cushions of the couch, ‘whatever you are having will suit me.’
He chose some wine from the cabinet and brought the bottle and the glasses with him, placing them on the table in front of the couch as he sat down next to Ilmarë. She watched him open the wine and pour it.
‘I will come directly to the point, for I wish to finish the story before I retire for the evening,’ Ilmarë said as she took the glass Círdan handed her, ‘I was sent here to gather information for the Valar concerning the state of affairs here in Middle-earth; and also to offer guidance or help if I am able. But direct interference is not allowed; I am merely to serve as counselor if need be.’
She sighed and shook her head sadly. ‘No more than half a millennia had passed after Morgoth’s defeat before the Valar sensed the Shadow had returned to these lands. When this became apparent they chose to bide time and watch; but the darkness has only increased and grown stronger. The Valar now feel a crossroads is near; a time when events shall come to pass that will decide if great good or an even greater evil will come again to Middle-earth.’
She had not realized how dry her mouth was until she paused to take a long drink of her wine. After her second drink she felt odd, and looked down at her body, where a tingling warmth was slowly spreading out through her stomach and limbs.
I assume I drank wine during my time in Aman for the taste of it is familiar to me, but this odd sensation is not. Perhaps my weariness is stronger this evening because I have not eaten today.
Círdan’s voice pulled her away from her musings.
‘Yes, I know of this Shadow. An uneasiness settles on me from time to time although it is not any one thing I can put my finger on,’ Círdan said. ‘The Noldorin King, Gil-galad, has been greatly worried for hundreds of years now. More than six hundred years ago he sent a letter to Tar-Meneldur of Númenor requesting their aid. Gil-galad has sensed an evil, a servant of Morgoth stirring once again; and if we should be forced to defend ourselves we do not wish to stand alone against it.’
‘It is not a servant of Morgoth, but Morgoth himself who stirs; or, in truth, the power he put into Arda itself when he marked it with his taint.’ Ilmarë made a wide, sweeping gesture with her hand as she spoke. ‘That is the Shadow the Valar speak of and the lands of this world will never be free of it. It may sleep for a time, but it will always return, until the end of days. Now that the Shadow has fully awakened, their greatest concern is that it will reach out to Morgoth’s servants for they will be the ones most likely to respond to its call. There were powerful beings in service to him. It is the hope of the Valar that I may gain knowledge of which ones remain, for that is something unknown to them.’
Círdan nodded and was silent as he slowly sipped his wine. The Valar’s desire to assess the situation made sense to him, but he still could not see the sense in how they had chosen to go about it.
‘That the Valar would wish to know how things fare in Middle-earth is understandable, yet why send you back in this form with no memory and the strength of your kind taken from you?’ He frowned as he held his hand out toward her. ‘Could you not create a form that would allow you to pass unnoticed here? It would be easier for you to gather this knowledge for them had you been allowed to keep your powers.’
She sat her empty wine glass on the table and thought about his question as Círdan filled her glass again. She had mentioned her doubts only to Linquendil, and likely would not have mentioned them to Círdan; but she felt oddly relaxed and calm, almost to the point of losing concentration on her thoughts. Ilmarë spoke freely, telling Círdan of the doubts that plagued her.
‘In all honesty, I question this decision…I have questioned it since the second day of the journey, after I had fully come to my senses.’ She looked down at the glass Círdan had returned to her, staring into the dark red wine as she sorted through her thoughts. ‘I remember the Havens at Alqualondë and Varda speaking to me of what I was to do. The Valar took an oath amongst themselves that they would never again interfere with the lands or people of Middle-earth. They realized their mistake in taking the Elves from the lands the Creator had intended for them and they did not wish to repeat the error. That is why they took my memory and my powers; so I would not be tempted to use them to change events or to interfere. I am here merely as an observer and an advisor, more than that is forbidden. Varda explained the reasons for sending me, what I have just told you, and that I must do this alone.’
Ilmarë pointed behind her toward the doors and said, ‘Then the queen lit a star for me, a beacon. When its light is dimmed, I may leave these lands and return home.’
‘But why this body?’ Círdan asked again. ‘Will it age and die as mortals do?’
‘This body was meant to serve as a disguise, masking who and what I truly am, for my task must be done in secret lest the servants of Melkor discover my presence. I may tell no one, other than the few whom I choose to help me.’ Ilmarë waved her hand toward her face. ‘Perhaps the fact that I appear Númenorean is meant to serve as another facet of that disguise, and it will be assumed I have come from Númenor instead of Valinor. But I am not certain of that. I was told that this body will age very slowly, although not to the point of old age or loss of reason. It can be slain, but it would take injuries of a serious nature to do so.’
‘Do you not think it will be noticed if you live a lifetime greater than that of normal mortals, or even Númenoreans?’
‘I do not think I will be here long enough for that to be noticed,’ Ilmarë said, but then shrugged her shoulders, ‘although again, I am uncertain. There are so many things I do not know that it frightens me.’
She looked at Círdan with worry and leaned closer toward him. She felt an unreasonable fear that the Valar would hear her, although she knew full well they could not. Or at least she did not think they could. ‘When I awoke on the ship in this body, I was terrified. I had no idea who or where I was. Over the next several days what memory I had left slowly returned, but Linquendil and his crew had to teach me many things. I have become more used to this body but there is still much I do not know about it.’
She took a deep breath and said in almost a whisper, ‘Linquendil believes the Valar made a mistake. I am the first they have sent in this fashion and the Valar know nothing about mortals or their bodies, or how to use them to house a spirit of greater power. Linquendil fears they took more from me than was intended; that I was meant to have more knowledge and powers than this. Although he also believes that the Valar took my greater powers because they feared the possibility of my being turned by the Shadow, as Morgoth turned so many of my Order in the past. And if indeed I was corrupted, it would not matter as much because my powers are all but gone.’
‘I do not know how to go about this task,’ Ilmarë said and looked down again. ‘I do not know where to go from here…there is more that I do not know than what I do know. I do not even know why it is they chose to send me to you. I was only told that I was to come to Harlond, but I was not told why.’
There was a note of helplessness and defeat in her voice and Círdan only had to look at Ilmarë to know she felt lost and confused. He reached for the hand that lay in her lap and took it into his own.
‘I believe I can answer that question, Ilmarë,’ Círdan said and waited for her to look up at him before he continued. ‘Did Linquendil tell you of when he lived here in the mortal lands, when he was known as Linwë?’ Ilmarë nodded, and he said, ‘He and I were of the same people, the Teleri. My people knew me as Nowë and Linquendil and his father were my kin. Thingol was my kin as well; and when he became lost, my father, my brother and I remained along with many other Elves to search for him. We were gone for much longer than we intended, but still did not find him. My father and brother would not leave these lands without Thingol, but they knew I did not wish to remain; I wanted to see the lands of Aman. And so my father gave me his blessings to return and go with the others. A group of Elves accompanied me back to the shores, but we found we had returned too late.’
Círdan looked toward the far wall as the memory unfolded in his mind; remembering standing on the beach, his eyes searching the night until he saw the distant lights on the island the Teleri rode upon as Ossë pulled them.
‘I declared that I would build a ship myself and sail it across the waters to reach the island and join my people. But no sooner had I spoken the words aloud than I heard a voice in my head warning me not to undertake those plans for I had not the strength or the skill. Then the voice told me that if I chose to remain in these lands I would acquire strength and skill, and my skills would be of great importance one day. I agreed to remain and I still remain.’ He looked back at Ilmarë and smiled.
‘Later it was revealed to me the voice I heard was that of Ulmo and it was the wish of the Valar that I stay. I completed the task they wished of me when I taught a young mariner named Eärendil the craft of shipbuilding and he used that ship to sail to Valinor. Yet when the task I had been shown in my vision was completed, I was asked again to remain for I was needed here; and again I agreed. There are times when I doubt the wisdom of that decision, but I believe in the end it will prove to be the right one.’
Círdan’s tale imparted a sense of relief to Ilmarë and now she returned his smile. ‘So I was sent here because you have already proven yourself to be trustworthy to those in Valinor?’ Círdan bowed his head with an air of exaggerated modesty and Ilmarë laughed, feeling her worries lighten. She quieted and a pleased look spread across her face. ‘Then you and I have a common bond for we are both emissaries of the Valar?’
‘That we are, Ilmarë,’ Círdan replied and he touched the side of his wine glass to hers, making a light ringing sound, ‘that we are.’
***The Gray Havens: Twin cities on the northern and southern shores of the Gulf of Lhún, near to where the River Lhún entered the gulf. The country of Lindon was split into two parts by the gulf, the northern area of Forlindon and the southern area of Harlindon. Within these two areas were three smaller areas, Forlond which was in Forlindon and close to the sea, Harlond in the south, and Mithlond in Forlindon near the mouth of the river. I don’t know if these are the names of the cities at the piers of the Gray Havens, but for the sake of clarity I am referring to the northern city as Mithlond and the southern city as Harlond. I’m going by the map in the Atlas of Middle Earth.
***Círdan’s history: In Peoples of Middle Earth, Last Writings, there is a small section on Círdan. All the information on Círdan’s past came from that, including the name Nowë, which is mentioned in the footnotes. The part about Linquendil is invented, of course, as is the part about Cirdan’s father and brother. It never mentions exactly how he’s related to Olwë and Elwë, but I wanted to give the poor guy a few close family members.
***Eönwë and Ilmarë: That she was Eonwe’s sister is only mentioned when Professor Tolkien was playing around with the idea of the Valar having children. (BoLT 1 and Morgoth’s Ring) I’ve got plans for that later in the story when she starts to regain her memories of Valinor.
*** Lindai: Telerin – ‘Singers’. The name the Teleri use for themselves.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.