Eärendil and the Ring of Doom

- Lothithil

(Prose for the DarkElf)

To Taniquetil we were summoned. The Herald of Manwë was in appearance a glorious vision, brilliant with holy light and noble of countenance. To us, his words came gently, as he bid Eärendil and Elwing to accompany him. When I stepped to Eärendil's other side, the Maia's eyes touched me; he said nothing, neither in invitaion or forbiddance, as I followed them.

To the feet of the mighty mountian he led us, and there thronged all the folk of Aman. In the bright Ring stood figures magnificent to look upon; the Valar were there gathered.

As pillars of light some of them appeared, more bright than the Sun upon the eyes; some gleamed in colours and shapes that seemed to change and shift, so that the eye knew not was it saw, except that there was a great intellegence and power present; and others appeared in forms not unlike ourselves, those Valar who clad themselves after the manner of Elves and Men, and these Valar were beautiful to look upon and yet daunting.

Into the midst of this Ring Eärendil entered, neither bold nor humbled, and Elwing was close at his side. I, too, went into the Ring, but in awe or by some other power my feet were stilled, so that I stood unmoving at the edge of the circle.

Eonwë spoke, and I could hear the words coming through him and knew that it was Manwë who truely spoke; Sulimo's will was heard by mortals only through this instrument, for his voice was too great for the ears of mortals to bear.

"Eärendil, you have come before the Valar by your own will, knowing the Doom placed upon the Dispossessed would fence Valinor against you. Yet you have come, and through the shadowed seas and enchantments you have won. Yet still the Doom hangs upon thee, for no Mortal Man may step living upon the undying lands; equally the Noldor, who went wilfully into exile may not return hither. Thou art of both Kindreds and because of this, thou has come hither on this errand.

"Yet in the matter the power of Doom is given to him that is the King of Arda, Manwë Sulimo. The peril that thou ventured for love of the Two Kindreds shall not fall upon thee, nor shall it fall upon Elwing thy wife, who entered into peril for love of thee; but thou shall not walk again ever among Elves or Men in the Outer Lands. This is the decree of Manwè concerning you: each of you, and each of thy sons, shall be given leave to choose freely to which kindred thy fates shall be joined, and under which kindred thou shall be judged."

In my throat did my breath catch, and stilled was my heart and tongue, so that I could not say or cry out my grief at this decree. It was as if I had been turned to marble. Lost to the Outer Lands would be the bright light of Eärendil! Would his sons never see his face nor anymore know the music of his voice? To my knees I sank, a dark shadow withering in the light of the Valar's majesty.

Eärendil turned to Elwing, and I saw his face in the light, more beautiful that ever I had seen him; but he said to his wife, "Choose thou, for now I am weary of the world."

Elwing said, "I choose to be judged among the Firstborn, for the sake of Lúthien who is forever lost to her people, that some part of her may remain and her tale be never forgotten."

And Eärendil said, "Then I choose also to be so judged, though my heart is rather with the kindred of Men; for even in the weariness of my soul I could not forsake you, my beloved Elwing. Yet I am sad, for I deem that my journeys are not over, nor shall they be, unto the Ending of the World."

"It is as you foresee, Eärendil the Blessed. Hallowed shall your ship Vingilot be,
and fair and marvelous shall she be made, the lantern upon your mast to never fade.
Upon her you shall sail, not on the Seas that you have known,
but upon the oceans of heaven, you shall guide her alone.
And alone you shall voyage upon the starless void and glowing firmament,
above the Outer Lands and Aman, from the morning and sunset
to beyond the confines of the world and back again,
Until the Worlds Ending that will come, but cannot be seen."

The stone that was my heart did crumble then, hearing the words of the Herald, and I was torn; to seek return to the eastern lands I had vowed, for there dwelled my Lord and beloved, and he awaited me, not knowing if I would return thither in this age or the next; or to stay here, where my heart had bound me, at the side of the one for whom I had pledged my life.

"You shall not sail alone, Eärendil!" I cried, shattering the silence of the Ring of Doom. "If it is that the Valar are just of heart, they shall not banish thee to exile in the darkness. Let me go with you, Lord of Light, and share the watches as the World dreams beneath us!"

Eonwë turned to me, but it was not his voice that answered, but the Lord Ulmo, master of waters. "It is not for you to gainsay the decree of Manwë, who is King of the West. Eärendil shall not be forever alone, for his wife shall greet him at his each returning, a fair sea-bird to meet him in flight as he draws near to Arda. You have other business, dark elf, which you seem to have in your passion forgotten. Let the Herald speak, and know that all love Eärendil as you do, though few have given so much as you for his sake."

I am silenced, but my tears are not stayed, and still shimmering with the dust of diamonds and with the light of the Silmaril on his brow, dear Eärendil raises me in his arms and embraces me, and in my ears he whispers his thanks and his love. My heart is molten, flowing from my eyes in a blinding torrent. A kiss I give him and a kiss I receive, but I cannot watch him go; I bow to the earth in the darkened Ring after they have all departed, wishing that the Void come to me then and swallow my soul.