6. The Fifth Cloak
Another pale golden dawn lay on Caras Galadhon. Lindhris came to the bower before any of the others. She stood still in the circle of cushions and regarded the half-finished garments that lay spread out on the floor. Her thoughts dwelt on the previous evening and on the words she had spoken with the one who would wear her cloak. She sighed.
"You are early," said Aerwing from the doorway. She came into the room and laid a hand on Lindhris' shoulder.
"Are you thinking of the blessing for your cloak?"
Lindhris bowed her head in silence.
"We will think about it together, my friend," said Aerwing.
By and by, the other maidens came into the bower and picked up their needles. Lindhris sat quietly, not inclined to talk or sing. The others left her in peace until after the midday meal, when Gathgael spoke up: "Oh, this is hard on you, Lindhris, after all those years that you have held your head high and kept you heart untouched. What ill fortune, to be caught out like this!"
"Don't tease her," said Aerwing. "It could have happened to any of us, even to you, Gathgael. You are unkind to mock her thus. Let us help her to choose a wish for her cloak."
"What is there to wish for?" said Salabeth. "He brings so much to the quest already. Courage, wisdom..."
"Steady heart and steady hand."
They all looked at Lindhris, who cast down her eyes.
"If it were permissible," she began, "I would give him a blessing not for the quest, but for himself. He is troubled by that which saddens so many of our kind. Sameness, indifference. Countless years he has spent in the woodland realm, with no challenge to his powers and no deeds to his name. That is why he is glad to be on this quest, strange as it may seem. Should he have to return to his same old life, he would be grieved. I would wish for him to find something new to set his heart on."
"You desire for him to change?" asked Belegwen. "That is a dangerous wish."
Lindhris was silent.
"Dangerous is may be," said Faenchiriel, "but I believe Lindhris is right. He has gone too far now to return unchanged. If the quest succeeds, he must come out of it with a new horizon to seek, or else he will grow restless and discontented."
"Let her make this wish then, though it may turn out different from what she thinks," said Aerwing.
"That is true for all our blessings," replied Faenchiriel. "No amount of wisdom can foretell what has not yet come to pass."
Lindhris looked from one to another, and found consent in every pair of eyes. So she lifted her cloak and bestowed her blessing on it, and if there were more wishes in her heart than on her lips, none of the others blamed her.