The Cry of the Gull (Chapter 9) - The White Jewel
DISCLAIMER: I do not propose to own any of of J. R. R. Tolkiens characters, nor any places or names that before appeared in his books. Other characters and places, however, are mine, and are copyright © of Me-Elf.
The White Jewel
"What was that?" Rayn asked, staring wide-eyed at Legolas, she was wary of him, afraid as though he might turn into a wraith and attack her.
"You can't tell anyone," Legolas pleaded.
"I won't I just want to know what it was," she said.
He got up and walked toward her, he reached out for her hand, but she pulled away.
"It only happens when I touch the stone in the hilts of my knives," he said. "it is a strange magic, Rayn, don't tell anyone, not even Balved, please?"
Rayn stared into his deep blue eyes, seeing fear and yet a sense of exctiement in them, as though in this secret that was hers to choose to keep or not, there was a wonderful feeling of mystery and reckless secrecy. She smiled at him and let her hand be caught by his.
"I will keep your secret, but you must keep mine," she said.
"Yours?" Legolas said, puzzled.
Rayn took a step backward and drew her sword, letting the hilt slide deeply into her palm. A jewel that glowed blue on the underside of the guard rested against her hand. For a moment nothing happened, then deep blue began to work it's way slowly up her arm, it engulfed her entire body in a matter of minutes, and exploded in her eyes, penetrating. To Legolas it felt as though she were probing his heart, examining his thoughts and feelings about everything. She stood for a moment, and a look of what could be barely discerned as fear, maybe pain.
The sword clattered to the floor. Rayn stumbled forward into his arms.
"I, I saw you," she said, a look of horror on her face.
"I was dead?" Legolas asked. She nodded.
"I have seen the same thing," Legolas said, taking her in his arms.
"Maybe we shouldn't go to Middle-earth," Rayn said.
"We would be forsaking our people, I couldn't do that," Legolas said. "Where did you get the jewel?"
"The sword was given to me by my father when I turned my first Millenium, I discovered the power of the jewel that night, since then it's been my secret, until now," she replied.
"Should we tell Balved?" Legolas asked. "Aeraew already knows." He gestured toward the bird, who was staring wildly at the two elves.
"Tell me what?" Balved walked into the room. "What's that there for?" he indicated the sword on the floor. He picked it up and examined the white jewel at the end of the hilt. He touched it genly. His fingers glimmered a hint of gold. He pulled his hand back, much the way Legolas had when he discovered his own secret.
"Touch it again," Rayn said.
Balved laid his fingers on the gem, and gold shot up his arm. He looked to Rayn for assurence, alarm in his face. She nodded for him to keep his hold. The gold color spread throughout his body, engulfing him in it, and his eyes shone as Rayn's had. The sword fell again to the floor and only Balved remained, a look of the same fear Rayn had shown plastered on his face.
"I saw something," he said.
"What was it?" Legolas asked, fearing the same that he and Rayn had seen.
"It was an elf, but he was as big as a mountain, or so he seemed to me. He was arrayed all in gold and white. I saw him to be a king, and of great rank somewhere. He looked straight at me, and, though his eyes seemed to connect with mine he seemed to see beyond, he reminded me of, of the air, and the wind, and, myself," he looked quizzically at Rayn.
"What is this, Half-Queen?"
"Each of us does this when we touch a jewel, or stone of some sort. We glow and see visions, and gain great strength. What happens beyond that we do not know. We have not waited long enough to find out.
They stood there in silence for a moment, pondering why they were so powerful, and how they came to be that way. At length, Rayn bent to pick up her sword. She gasped as she did.
"What is it?" Legolas asked. She held her hand up to him and resting in her palm was Balved's jewel. She handed it to Legolas to examine.
"It must have come out when I dropped it, I am sorry, Rayn," Balved said.
"No, don't be," Rayn replied, hefting her sword her hand. "It is better to my arm than it was before; but I find it strange, things that would just as soon last forever are breaking as we pass into the waters of Middle-earth, you come from a strange land, Legolas,"
"A land overrun with the doom of men, death, fear, sickness; all things that pass there fail sometime." He turned to Balved, who had been listening quietly. "I can carve this into a pendant, Balved, so you can always have it with you, if you like," Legolas said, holding the small triangle in the little light that was left.
"Can you make it a-" he looked around for inspiration. His gaze rested on Aer, who had resumed his sleep. "A gull, like you are seeing it flying from the top?"
"I can try, but I must have a knife,"
Rayn sheathed her sword; pushing back her cloak she handed him a dagger.
"Can you do it with this?" she asked. Legolas took the knife and made a small cleft in the jewel.
"Yes, this will carve nicely. When I am finished, Balved, do not wear it under your armor, against your body; if it touches you anywhere, your secret will no longer exist," Legolas warned. Balved nodded.
"Here, take Aeraew and go to bed, I should have it done by morning," Legolas said. Rayn was lighting candles.
"I think I'll stay here for awhile, the breeze comes in well on this side of the ship," Rayn said. Balved strode to the couch and scooped up the baby bird.
"I will be back in the morn, Legolas," he said, and left.
Rayn sat in a cushioned chair and watched intently as Legolas made rend after rend in the stone.
"Where did you learn to do that?" she asked him.
"My father taught me, many years ago," he replied. "I can do stone, wood, gems, among other things," he said, chipping away at the stone. He paused for a moment. "I look forward to seeing him again." Rayn smiled, happy that he was happy. She sighed softly, and went into a dream.
Legolas worked for hours on Balved's pendant; the candles went out and Rayn's firey green eyes stared at nothing in their slumber. Dawn was just beginning to break when he was satsified with his work. Rayn stirred, and her eyes focused on the jewel.
"It's done? Let me see," Legolas tossed the carving to her, and she scrutinized it, admiring the smoothness that Legolas had achieved with just a dagger. It was hard for her to believe that it was not an actual bird that she was looking at.
"Balved will be pleased," she said, and tossed it back to the prince.
"It was softer to carve than most gems, what kind is it?" Legolas asked, surveying his work.
"I have never known," Rayn said. "I never asked, only accepted, I only knew that I loved my sword and that it was the best gift I have ever recieved."
Balved walked into the room, Aeraew on his shoulder.
"Is it done?" he asked.
"It is, and there is a hole in the tail for you to hang it on a chain," Legolas pointed out.
"Thank you, Master!" Balved cried, admiring with joy the little gull. "See it, it seems to glow!"
Legolas drew the jewel back as Balved reached to touch it.
"Ah, you forget already, this is your power, Balved, do not touch it, but here," he wrapped the bird in a bit of cloth that lay on the couch and handed the bundle to Balved.
"Find a chain and bring the two back here. I will string it for you,"
"Thank you again! I will return soon," Balved said, leaving Aer in his haste and leaving the room.
"It taketh not much to make him happy," Rayn said.
"He is young, and has not lived long to realize how many great things there are, rather than those small ones. He is rather like men in that manner," Legolas said.
"Profound, old one, profound," Rayn said teasingly.
"You have no idea," Legolas said.
The day went by without event. For no one noticed the chain around the young squire's neck that had appeared overnight. Great jubilation began as the cry of "Land! Land!" was taken up by the elves that stood on the thin rails of the ships, ever watchful.
They docked that afternoon, a day ahead of their expectations. Legolas disembarked quickly, eager for the feel of the shores of Middle-Earth yet again under his feet. He smiled wide, looking about his world, the land of his home. He ran down the shore, overcome with joy and gladness, for he was closer to seeing his father than at any time during the long journey from Alqualondë.
Aer took off and flew after him, crying his own glad cry, and behind him Rayn found herself running, but for her with joy at being on land again. Balved stayed behind, for he knew his presence would not be quite as welcome with his master as Rayn's was. "Besides," he thought, "there is work to do."
Legolas ran far over the dunes and sand of Middle-earth. He stopped a good way from the ships. What could be called small crags worked their way up the setting of the sky behind him, adorned with bushes and stunted trees. Legolas percieved a rumble in the water, but thought little of it, for he felt a greater power, as though a great evil had sprung a trap on his home, in the land around him. Rayn strode up the beach where he stood, Aer on her shoulder, breathing hardly at all for her run. She twisted her face into a puzzled, slightly worried expression.
"Do you feel that?" she asked Legolas.
Aer took off and flew over the water, as though searching for something that he could not find. Legolas turned his wandering attention to the water and he, too, could discern the other power that seemed to be growing therein. Aer circled low, and beneath him it seemed as though the waters gathered together, and rose up of themselves. Suddenly a great hand, blue-green in hue shot out of the water and enclosed around the bird. Aeraew made no objection as the cage rose higher. A great head, elvish in it's own right, appeared above the waves, water slid down his features, across his eyes, which held the same blue tint that was in all of him. He was clad in silver as well as that same color, all down his body. He looked intently at Legolas, and in him Legolas saw a great storm, as well as the gentlest rains that ever fell in all of Eä, he saw rivers and streams, falls and still pools, he stumbled back in fear, and Rayn clung to him, as bewildered as the prince himself. The thing stopped his rise, and he stared gently down at the two elves. Long, blue-white hair hung straight and wet down his back. He made no move, save opening the hand that held Aeraew. The bird flew to the shoulder of the being, seeming not to fear it for all it's power. Legolas could only stare at the glory that he beheld. The thing gave a half-smile, assuring, and yet with the stirring of great wrath under the smile. He spoke.