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Sent Unto Men
This is told in all reverence. The characters are not mine, and I hope the Author of the Tale will be pleased. The quotation is found in The Notion Club papers in volume 9 of The Histories of Middle-earth.
"Hail Earendel, brightest of angels, above the
When he entered the hall, the Queen rose and paced toward him. Halting, he would have made obeisance, but, with a smile, she shook her head.
"No, dear friend. There is no need."
He looked up into the deep shining of her face. "How may I serve, Lady?"
"As a guide—once again. You must alter the course of your voyaging, so as to draw as near to Middle-earth as you can."
"Is it the End, then?"
She laughed, a heart-lifting sound which brought a smile to his lips. "No! It is the Beginning. Come."
She led him through the farther doors onto a terrace paved with marble. The King stood at its edge, looking out and down. The Queen went to his side, beckoning her companion to follow. Below, the cloud tops were white in the sun. Above, the sky was so dark blue that tiny stars were visible. Hearing their approach, the King turned and smiled. "So then, Mariner, has she told you?"
"Only that I must take a different course, sire."
"Let me show you." With that, he lifted one hand, cupped, and an image of the earth hung suspended before him. With a finger, he traced a line across the blue and white surface, saying, "Here is how you must fare for the next few nights. Once you are seen, turn westward as though returning home, but pause when we, or others of our Kindred tell you."
"Indeed yes." His eyes flashed with delight. "Friends we have long missed will be with us for a short while."
"Sire, I am told I am to be a guide. Who am I leading and to what?"
"There are those who will know what your coming means, Mariner, and they will follow you. As for your goal—it is Hope, it is Healing, for the son of Finarfin saw truly."
As he understood the King's meaning, the Mariner cried aloud, tears slipping down his cheeks without shame. He looked at the two who had watched and waited for so long, and he saw the same awe which filled him in their clear eyes. He said, "You did not know!"
They both laughed, and as in the hall, the Mariner felt his féa respond in gladness.
"Always He surprises us," said the King, "revealing new avenues to the fulfillment of the Design."
"Will they know Him, do you think?"
"Some will," said the Queen gently, "but most will not, for he will be one of them. Now you must go, with our blessings."
The King and Queen touched the Mariner softly with their power, strengthening the cloak of protection which they had woven for him long ago to guard him from the airless regions. When that was done, he bowed deeply to each of them, and departed to see to his craft.
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