2. Chapter 2
Years later, the seabirds brought word that the Lord and Lady of the Seas planned to visit the Falas. Cirdan summoned all the people of the Falas to Mount Taras, where Lady Uinen had
first shared with him knowledge of the Teleri of Alqualonde. The mariners of the Falas had swelled in number since Cirdan's return, and many ships had been built since that time. These
swanships transported the people of Brithombar, Eglarest, and the Falas to Mount Taras, while others traveled the fair lands of Beleriand by foot or on mount. And every day was a great
feast, for the Falathrim did not know the exact date that the Lord and Lady of the Seas would arrive and thought to draw them from the waters with their merriment and laughter.
Colorful lanterns of stained glass greeted Osse and Uinen upon their arrival to Mount Taras. Many of these were made to echo the crested waves of the Seas. Candlelight lit the red,
yellow, blue, and white plumage of the birds from within the lanterns. Also, there were lamps with stained glass patterns of flowers of all different colors and illuminated leaves of different
hues of green or some of the fall foliage of reds, oranges, and yellows. Even the stained glass lanterns of simple squares of bright color and design were lovely to behold. The most artful
of the new artisans of stained glass had even fashioned animals upon their lanterns for their friends. Yet this was but a sampling of the stained glass that now decorated the houses of
Brithombar and Eglarest.
In the air, joining the seabirds, were kites of all sizes that were sewn from cloth lighter than that used for sails. Some were simple diamonds that floated upon the winds and displayed the
emblem of Cirdan or other family crests. Others were fast-flying triangles that cut through the air like ospreys diving for fish. These fighter kites raced each other or circled marvelously in
challenge to other kites, and some were tied in a line of colors to fly one behind another. Several were boxes, similar to the lanterns of stained glass, and flew not too far from the ground
because of the weight of the candle within.
Most impressive were the multi-part kites that formed giant animals and required the strength of many men to keep them from tearing from their strings. There was a phoenix with
marvelous tail plumage that put the peacock to shame. Then there was a kite of many horses, and they seemed to run in the sky like the wild horses upon the waves. There was a butterfly
that loomed larger than even the eagles of Manwe. And there were fishes that swam through the sky with scales of blue and green and silver. Several of these fishes matched even the
size of Uin and the whales (in that, Osse took perverse enjoyment), but they were sea creatures of the sky, barely tamed by the strings that kept them from soaring past the clouds.
And among these kites was a banner that hung between two steady kites tied to firmly grounded stakes that read in the runes of Daeron: "Welcome Lord Osse and Lady Uinen." The
runes were painted in ink dipped with silver glitter so that the letters caught the starlight and shined out across the Sea.
"The Children of the Falas have outdone themselves," Osse said in surprise to Uinen. "Never did I imagine such colors and splendor upon the beaches of the starlit Seas. And these are
not even the Havens of the Falas at Brithombar and Eglarest!"
Uinen smiled and took Osse's hand. "Indeed, they have made the coast of Mount Taras more beautiful than I had ever imagined possible. But I think there is more that they wish to show
us." And Uinen was glad, for in the stained glass lamps and kites, she knew that Cirdan had, indeed, taken her words to heart.
Lord Osse and Lady Uinen rode upon great waves toward the Falathrim. The Falathrim quickly became aware of them and great music was taken up all along the shore. Horns and
trumpets made from shells sounded in harmony with flutes and pipes of reed and the delicate strings of lyres and harps. It was the first time that they'd heard an orchestra, and the
sounds of so many instruments playing the same song simultaneously was amazing. Most lovely of all were the voices of the Children of Iluvatar choiring in praise to the Sea and its
Lord and Lady. Unheard by even the singers was the sadness of Arda Marred but also the joy of Arda Healed.
Osse's eyes glowed as he turned again to his wife. "This is beyond my greatest expectations. We were not wrong in keeping these Children in Middle-earth."
Uinen only laughed and leapt before the great wave upon which they rode. She sprinted before it and quickly outdistanced the wave with her light feet. Osse cried out after her but she
heeded him not. She felt like a young maiden rather than an ancient being from before the forming of the world. She heard Osse leave the tidal wave and chase after her, and it only made
her laugh in glee. Her robes of foam did not hinder her movements. She raised her arms in the air as she ran, and on either side before her, jets of water formed arches, and as she ran
under them, she felt sprinkles catching in her green tresses.
Uinen glanced behind her. Osse was still some distance back. She sang with the Falathrim and dared to make a quick pirouette. Still, Osse could not close the distance between them.
She spun again and began to skip backwards. Taunted beyond endurance, Osse called upon a great storm from the ocean, and a tidal wave more fell and fast than the gentle one they had
previously ridden now formed behind Osse and drew him up. Uinen squealed, turned, and ran towards the shore beneath the watery arches that now shook and fell back into the Sea
even as she passed under them. Osse's wave proved quicker. He grabbed Uinen about the waist as a skilled horseman would upon a mount. She laughed and struggled to break away; in
so doing, she pulled Osse from his stormy wave. If they were on land, Osse would've landed atop her as if on a grassy dell, but the foam did not hold their weight, and they sank
underneath its surface. The wave washed over where they'd been. Underwater, Osse kissed Uinen, and she merrily melted to his seduction.
The water here was not so deep. When they reached the coral bottom, Uinen used the seafloor to break from Osse and spring back up to the water's surface. On the shore, the Falathrim
beheld the Lady of the Seas break through the water like a dolphin upon its tailfin. She rose and kept rising, for the hurricane that Cirdan had before seen now followed her and held her
like a pedestal. Crystalline drops of water fell from her lovely jade green hair. Her skin was milky yet sheer like the sheen of a pearl and lit only by the color of her coral pink lips, which
curved in a brilliant smile that reflected in her sea-grey eyes. Her foamy robes had been lost in the unexpected romance with Osse, and she was now instead clothed in dark aquamarine
waters that shaped itself into a sleeveless, knee-length summer dress like those of the maidens of the Falas as the excess water fell away. All the Elves cheered at her appearance,
whistling and clapping with excitement at the display of love between their Lord and Lady.
After a moment, Osse rose behind her upon a great wave that arched like a bridge until it touched Uinen's pedestal. He was dressed as he had been before, in robes of dark grey mist. He
stepped beside his wife and offered her his arm. She took it. A great arch of water spilt forth from the pedestal like a bridge to the shores. Together, in manner more dignified and
customary for the Ainur, the Lord and Lady of the Seas walked down the bridge to the awaiting people of the Falas. The Falathrim fell silent once they set foot on the beaches of
Cirdan the Shipwright awaited them at the base of the watery bridge. He was dressed in light grey robes that resembled Osse's in style. A small lock of hair braided with white pearls
trailed down the right side of his silver hair. Otherwise, he wore no jewelry, not even a circlet to indicate that he was the Lord of the Falas.
Cirdan prostrated himself before them and said, "Welcome, Lord Osse and Lady Uinen, to the Festival of the Healing of Arda." He took Osse's hand in his left hand and Uinen's in his
right and kissed them.
"Rise, Lord of the Falas," Osse commanded. Cirdan rose.
"We thank you for this warm welcome," Uinen said.
"Now enough of these pleasantries, Cirdan," Osse said. I have known you for a long time, and we do not need these formalities even before so many of our people." Osse glanced about,
and though there were many admiring faces of the Falathrim around him, Uinen knew that was not what he sought. "Something smells good."
A thin smile crossed Cirdan's lips. "Yes, my Lord." He bowed. "Many new dishes have been invented for your coming, and it will take days before all has been sampled." A servant
brought forth a tray with three chilled wine glasses. The drink, called Eglarest surf, was blue with white froth at the top and garnished with a slice of a pineapple and a cherry. Osse,
Uinen, and Cirdan each took a glass. Cirdan then said, "Cheers, to the wise teachings of the Lord and the Lady of the Seas and to the healing of Arda that we have strove to accomplish
on their behalf."
"Cheers!" cried all the people of the Falas. Many had glasses in their hands, and these they brought together, the youths with their juices and the adults with their drinks, both alcoholic
Osse and Uinen brought their glasses together with that of Cirdan's and then sampled the odd blue drink. It was like miruvor but flavored with pineapple, coconut, and a mix of alcohols
with which they would soon become better acquainted. Osse was especially enchanted with the drink. Miruvor was good but was not varied or decorated like the cocktails of the
Falathrim, which would become famous in time.
Great white chairs, cushioned with down pillows, were brought forth and placed at the water's edge, for Cirdan knew that the Lord and Lady of the Seas would prefer not to venture far
from the waters. A stand of stained glass with the images of waves and foam was then placed before them, and a pane of glass was set atop the stand. Cirdan stood beside his Lord and
Lady and introduced to them the various foods that were set on their table. (5)
Their sampling of the new cuisine of the Falathrim began with papaya and watermelon topped with caviar served in a small glass bowl decorated with a ship circling its outer surface.
Uinen observed that the Falathrim had learned to use the sands around them, but Osse paid more attention to the food, which was excellent in its simplicity. As they dined, the orchestra
began to play a new song, and Daeron, the talented young minstrel from Eglarest, began to sing of the Waters of Awakening. The next dish was raw giant mushrooms and proscuitto
salad with figs. Daeron began a slightly faster song, one with greater range that summoned images of the coming of Orome. Next was abalone that had been baked in a salt oven and was
served with liver butter sauce, and that was enhanced by the sustained high notes of the War of the Powers that shook the shores of Cuivienen. Oyster marinated with diced papaya and
mango and then served layered with scallops and thinly sliced turnip followed. The song calmed, and Orome returned again to the Elves to persuade them to join the Valar in the Blessed
Realm. Strawberry tiramisu was apparently the mark of the Great Journey undertaken by the Eldar, and truth be told, Uinen liked this dish best. Served with it was a sweetened bitter drink,
perhaps a mark of the bitterness of the Eldar at the leaving of their native home.
"Many of these dishes are indeed fine, yet they are but new recipes for foods already known to me," Osse said. "This, however, is completely new to me. It is strong and bitter yet
flavorful even by itself. I feel my blood pumping quicker. What is it?"
"As I have said, my Lord, it is coffee," Cirdan said. "One of the chefs of Brithombar discovered that the seed of the coffee cherry could be roasted to such rich aroma and flavor. The
drink is enhanced by cream and sugar."
"Excellent. This is the best of the inventions of the Falathrim."
Cirdan laughed. "Lord Osse, there are still many new foods for you to try. Lady Uinen promised that you and her would stay yet longer if you found our healing of Arda suitable."
"And we will hold to that promise," Uinen said with a smile. "Gladly do we stay to see more of the changed culture of the Falas."
"Thank you, my Lady." Cirdan bowed low. "Rest now from your repasts and enjoy instead the dance of the Falathrim."
Daeron had long completed his singing and exited. Now, the orchestra struck up a new tone, and the choir joined in the merry song. Many young lads and ladies skipped forth with
flowing sashes and ribbons in hand, and they began to dance together for the pleasure of the esteemed guests. During an intermission in their performance, Cirdan introduced them to a
new snack: chocolate. The taste was rich and sweet, and several of the balls of chocolate were filled with softer centers of the same rich flavor or with finely chopped almonds or hazelnut.
If there was any taste for love, this was it.
Uinen leaned over to Osse and said, "You may have liked the bitter and aromatic coffees, but this chocolate I choose as my own favorite. It is liken to the first taste of love upon a lady's
Osse had not been as taken by the chocolate truffles, but he was quick to take a hint. He took up one of the delicacies and held it out for his lady.
"If you like these flavors, my Lady, I will be sure that the recipes are brought even to the Blessed Realm, where no chocolate now exists," Osse said.
"I would like that," Uinen said. She ate the chocolate slowly from his hand, mingling the unmatchable flavor of the chosen truffle with the saltiness of Osse's thumb and finger.
Osse managed to hold his composure at least until the end of the dance, after which he said to Cirdan, "The entertainment of the Elves of the Falas is pleasing, but my Lady and I would
like to return to the waters of the Sea before coming forth once more to learn more of the great healing that your people have done."
Cirdan bowed. "Of course, Lord Osse. When you return, we will have your next meal ready."
Perhaps because he had keenly observed Osse and Uinen, Cirdan proposed that they first have one last drink in celebration: Midnight Madness. The v-shaped cocktail glasses were
decorated with swirls of liquid chocolate. The cocktail itself was a mix of coffee-flavored alcohol and some other bubbly liquid. Whipped cream drizzled with more liquid chocolate graced
the top like foam, and a bright red cherry was speared at the side. After that drink, Osse was certainly in high spirits. He thanked the hospitality of the Lord of the Falas once more. Then
he picked Uinen up in his arms. She squealed and kicked her legs in protest, but after a quick kiss from Osse, she settled and contented herself with wrapping her arms around his neck. In
this way did the Lord and the Lady of the Seas return to the ocean, where they made love under the waters by the shores of Middle-earth.
Lord Osse and Lady Uinen stayed with the Falathrim for many long days, and sometimes, they even joined the Elves in their dance. The wide range of cuisine and many crafts were
presented to them. One night, under the influence of perhaps too many cocktails, Lord Osse went so far as to propose that Lord Ulmo should be invited to the next such great feast.
Cirdan certainly agreed to such a thing, for he wished very much for peace between the Lord of the Waters and the Lord of the Seas. Cirdan also perceived that such words were a sign
that the esteemed guests had need to return to their task of the governance of the greater and lesser seas. He announced as much to the Elves of the Falas, and so wistful songs mingled
with the merriment on the last day of the Feast of the Healing of Arda.
Lady Uinen was especially radiant on this night. She wore one of the white silk dresses that had been gifted to her, and the styling of that particular seamstress of Southern Falas was
such that the neck of the dress hung fairly low. Her delicate wrists and ankles were decorated with silver-linked pearls. Her jade tresses were unbound and loose, as usual, but several
locks had been pulled forward so that they tumbled onto her shoulders like spilling waterfalls. She turned her sea-grey eyes to Cirdan, and his heartbeat quickened.
"Cirdan, I would like to speak alone with you before the end," Lady Uinen said. "Lord Osse seems to be amusing himself without us." Osse was dancing with many men and maidens in
the shallow waters washing up upon the beaches, and a ring of spectators clapped in beat to the merry-making. Cirdan shook his head. Osse had come to enjoy too well the cocktails of
the Falathrim, and it seemed he'd had too much to drink again. "Let us take a stroll by the misty waters." Uinen held out a soft, milky hand. Cirdan took it and kissed it.
"As you wish, my Lady," he said. She rose gracefully and led Cirdan from the heart of the festivities. They walked side-by-side, hand-in-hand, along the beaches of the starlit Seas.
"You are much healed, Lord of the Falas," Lady Uinen said after they had walked so far that the music of the Falathrim was but a whisper in the gentle winds. "You have also done well in
teaching that gift of healing to others. My Lord and I are very pleased."
"Thank you, my Lady," Cirdan said.
"Your voice is sorrowful," Uinen observed. "The Feast will soon end, but do not regret it. Your people will have many years to flourish, and when we return again, the kites of the Falas
will fly even higher."
"I know this to be true, but I will miss the close company of you and your husband," Cirdan said.
"We will be with you in the Seas."
"Even without the Light of the Blessed Realm, there is joy to be found in these lands." Uinen stopped and turned to Cirdan. She slid her hands about his waist, drew him close, and
searched his starry eyes. Before, she'd taken a shorter form. This time, she was tall and fair, yet he found that his feelings for her were the same regardless of her form. He put his arms
around her and rested his hands lightly above her hips. "It is not unusual for the Falathrim to kiss at times of parting," said Uinen, perhaps reading the thoughts in his mind.
"It is not," Cirdan agreed, "but if I were to kiss you, it would not be a kiss of parting."
"I do not reject your love," she said softly.
"No, but nor do you return it, not in the same manner." Cirdan drew away but did not break their embrace. "You said before that you could not understand my lamentations."
"I did. Will you speak more of your heart now?" Uinen said. She moved close to Cirdan such that her body pressed up against his, and she rested her head on his shoulder. He found
that he did not have the strength to draw away from her again.
"Since I first beheld you in the Sea of Rhun, I have loved you." Cirdan leaned his head against her soft tresses. "I knew that you were of a high and mighty race, and so I thought nothing
of my unfulfilled feelings." She moved to protest, but Cirdan hushed her and brought her head back to rest against his neck. Her breath was warm there, and she waited to hear what he
had to say. "Not unfulfilled, you would say, and that is true. I have found joy in the building of great ships and sailing across your waters. But when I learned that Elwe had wedded with
Melian, I was jealous, for I saw that the union of an Elf and a Maia was indeed possible, yet it was not to be my fate. It is for that reason that I became despondent and was as you found
me years ago by the shores of Mount Taras. Why he, my kinsman, yet not me? But you came to me, and with your aid, I was able to accept my fate apart from you."
Cirdan knew these were not empty words. He had ceased to envy Thingol's fate, and he had come to simply cherish the short time during which he and Uinen had dwelt together. To say aloud
such things helped lift the last of the shadows from his heart. He thought that Uinen would be happy for him, to know that he was so healed, but instead, her arms tightened about him,
and after a moment, he felt warm tears fall onto his neck.
"It is cruel of Iluvatar to have created Children so lovely," she said softly.
"My Lady?" Cirdan held her, but still her tears did not abate. She did not speak, and so Cirdan kissed her tresses and rocked her to and fro as she had done when he had cried upon her.
Many stars crossed the sky before Uinen calmed, and Cirdan was relieved to see that only a night had passed.
"Osse and I are bound to each other until the end of Arda, but we were not at its beginning, and if I had known you then, I might have chosen differently," Uinen said. The tears had
made her eyes luminous, and the reflection of the stars in those eyes was more precious than even the Light of Aman. "Yet the Elves are bound to Arda and will not move beyond it, and
so there will be no second chance."
"You love Osse," Cirdan said. His traced his fingertips down her tear-stained cheek. "I have seen it."
"I do," Uinen said, but her grey eyes were fixed upon him and said more than her words.
Cirdan's fingers slid back to caress her ear, which was pointed like an Elf's. Then he took her soft, wavy tresses in his hand and drew her face to his. Cirdan kissed her, and even the Sea
seemed quiet in comparison to the beating of their hearts. Reluctantly, Cirdan drew away from her lips.
"Beyond Arda, the memory of the Lord of the Falas shall remain ever clear and unstained in your heart," Cirdan said.
"And within Arda, there is yet healing to be found," Uinen said. They stared into each other's eyes.
"This is not the final farewell." Cirdan ran his fingers through her lovely hair.
"No, it is not. My Lord and I will come again to the Falas," Uinen said.
Cirdan drew his hand from her hair and took her hand in his. He kissed its milky skin, all the while keeping his eyes fixed on hers. Then he twined his fingers with hers, and they walked
along the shores together, she back to her husband and he back to his people.
(5) Foods are primarily taken from Iron Chef battles: http://www.ironchef.com/ironbytheme.shtml.