3. In the Corner
'Well, my dear fellow,' said Bilbo, 'now you've heard the news, can't you spare me a moment? I want your help in something urgent. Elrond says this song of mine is to be finished before the end of the evening, and I am stuck. Let's go off into a corner and polish it up!'
Strider smiled. 'Come then!' he said. 'Let me hear it!'
"Let me hear your song, my friend!" Aragorn took a spill from the brazier warming the corner of the porch for his pipe.
Bilbo, leaning against the bench, began,
"Eärendil was a mariner
that tarried in...I beg your pardon, my dear fellow! Did you speak?"
Aragorn coughed and removed the pipe from his mouth. "Just a bit of smoke. Pray, continue!" Bilbo straightened and began again.
".... his shining lamp afar,
the Flammifer of Westernesse."
When he reached the end he looked anxiously at his friend. "Well, there it is. I am not perfectly certain about the lines,
"As bird then Elwing came to him,
and flame was in her carcenet,
more bright than light of diamond
was fire that on her heart was set."
"Not many would dare in this house to make a song for Eärendil," said Aragorn. "Perhaps you should leave that for others whose memories are closer to that time. Also, some may look askance at you and your verses."
"I am old", said Bilbo. "The old may be eccentric; we need not care what others think of us. Moreover, I have not many years left to wait for that song from another. In a way, I am older than Elrond."
Aragorn looked up at that and laughed. "My foster-father has seen kingdoms rise and fall; he has seen ages come and go. What do you mean, 'older than Elrond'?"
"He may have thousands of years in his dish, but he is not old, as I am old. You are not yet old, but you will be; even then, when your end is near, he will still have uncounted yeni before him."
Aragorn shook his head. "You may do as you will." He laughed again. "Perhaps it is well that you make this song for Eärendil's son. He might even enjoy it.
"But let us return to the lines that concern you." He repeated Bilbo's troublesome phrase. "How would this sound?
"There flying Elwing came to him,
and flame was in the darkness lit;
more bright than light of diamond
the fire upon her carcanet."
"That is much better," said Bilbo, delighted. "With your permission, I will use it just that way."
"There is one more thing," said Aragorn, "if you insist on this undertaking. He bore, my forefather and Elrond's, the healing stone, the Elfstone. Green it was, with the Sun's radiance captured in it. It left this world and returned, beyond all hope. You will remind us of its departure; let us hope that the fulfillment of its return will soon be seen."
After sitting in thought for some minutes, Bilbo said, "If you do not object to your green stone being called "emerald", I will change this bit,
"His sword was hewn of adamant,
And valiant the might of it;
His helm a shining emerald,
And terrible the might of it.
"to something like this,
"his sword of steel was valiant,
of adamant his helmet tall,
an eagle-plume upon his crest,
upon his breast an emerald.
"Will that do, do you think?"
"That will do well, my dear Hobbit! Though with your song you tread where others dare not, perhaps in these troublesome times, a song of the bright deeds of yore will be welcome." Aragorn knocked his pipe against the brazier. "Come, let us return to the Hall."
Bilbo's preliminary verses are from HOME VII, The Treason of Isengard, the italics at the top from FOTR, "Many Meetings".
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.