8. It comes when called
T. A. 3019, Minas Tirith
Frodo woke in a cold sweat, yet again. Well he knew that sleep would not return for some hours, so he lit a candle and opened the door of his chamber. Seeing the perian, an elderly Guard of the Citadel bowed deeply and greeted him.
"I cannot leave my post, Master Baggins, but an Elf of Imladris passed this way not five minutes ago. He will not sleep this night, I deem, for he has passed me by four times. If you wish it, and if he comes through again, I can tell him you are awake and desire speech."
Still too gripped by the visions which had robbed him of rest to make a properly polite reply, the Hobbit merely said "Thank you, Forlas. Please do." and closed his door. Alone again in his room, he opened the shutters and the window. Perhaps the chill air would clear his mind.
Not ten minutes later, he felt rather than heard his door open. Turning around, he saw Erestor in the hall. The Elf looked upon him with pity.
"Sleep comes hard to those who have seen too much darkness, does it not, Frodo? The last time I was in this city was a time of plague, terrible to behold. Even Elrond could do nothing for its victims save to ease their passing." It was not generally remembered in Gondor that Elrond had come to its aid - or tried to - so long ago, but none of the Elves who had gone with him would ever forget the sights, the wailing of the dying, or the stench.
But that was long ago, and such burdensome memories were not to be passed to others - no more would he tell the Hobbit, he thought, than would Frodo tell him of all he had seen in the Black Land.
"I will return in a moment, with something to calm your nerves, if you wish," the Elf offered.
"Thank you, Erestor, but there is no need. The only thing that drives the nightmares away is Galadriel's gift."
Frodo sat down on the bed and retrieved the phial from within his cloak. It cast a faint light about the room, even though the Moon shone through the window. "Even in Shelob's lair, it had power. I had only to name Elbereth. Remarkable!"
But the counsellor, staring transfixed, had heard none of the last words. Finally he whispered "It is but a pale shadow, but still," before falling into silence.
Frodo, uneasy, replied "What troubles you?"
"I had not thought to see that light in Ennor again, other than as a star."
Frodo, not knowing how to reply, said nothing.
"Do you not know what this is?"
"Of course. The light of Earendil. Though I don't know how it stays within the glass, and only shines when called upon."
"Celebrimbor made that which you hold. He would be greatly pleased to hear that it aided the one who brought about the Enemy's downfall."
Frodo, astonished, blinked.
"It is, as I said, but a pale shadow of the Silmarilli, which were in turn only a reminder of the two Trees. Yet it was just powerful enough to be exactly what you required, and no more. Had the full light been captured, you would not have escaped Sauron's notice. But I wonder... could you give it to me for a moment?"
Frodo handed it over, wondering whether the Elf meant to kiss the phial or dash it to the floor - his expression was unsettling.
Erestor shut the door, and closed the shutters. He held the phial aloft and began a soft incantation:
"Eru Ilúvatar! Oiyámórenna
mé-quetamartya íre queluvá tyardalma.
Ainorontessë tirtassë lasta
ar lma-vandá enyalaz, Varda Manwë!"
Before he was halfway through, the room was lit as bright as day. By the end, Frodo had to close his eyes for fear of being blinded. He finally opened them when he heard the Elf reopen the shutters, and saw the phial was being offered back.
"Take care, it is quite hot." And it was.
Erestor smiled sadly. "The light comes when called, indeed. But take care how you call it, Frodo. You do not know how great a gift the Lady gave you. With the destruction of the One and the fading of the Three - yes, they are already fading - there are few objects of greater power left in these lands."
Frodo began to realize exactly what he held. "I have no heir, Erestor, and it seems unlikely now I ever shall. I can leave this to you, if you wish."
A shake of the head. "No, it would bring me no comfort. Indeed, it would bring me terrible dreams, just as it drives yours away." Of my chosen-brother. And of things worse than plague. "I do not wish to see it again." He made his excuses and turned to depart.
But Frodo interjected: "Whom does it rightfully belong to, then?"
The Elf paused, looked back over his shoulder, and glanced at the Hobbit in a manner seemingly meant to communicate something, but said only "Eru. Good even, Frodo of the Shire."
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.