Grey shadows detached themselves from the darker shades of the night, and passed soundlessly over the sparse grass. But the Elf-lord did not stir. He was still, as if carven of the very stone throne he sat upon, cloak moving softly in the breeze that fretted the hollies.
Two others there were that stepped out from under the trees.
Celebrimbor turned to face them.
"Aiya heru." Lady Galadriel’s voice seemed to shine through the night like a moonbeam. Gil-galad softly intoned the elven greeting.
Celebrimbor lowered his hood and fixed them with his smouldering eyes. Ereinion Gil-galad was too young to remember, but Galadriel was struck by Celebrimbor’s resemblance to Feanor. The same raven-black hair, pale lean face and the burning spirit within blazing through feverish eyes.
She asked softly, "What have you done to yourself, my lord?"
Celebrimbor looked at his skeletal veined hands and smiled sadly. "Something that must be done, Alatariel. Do not trouble yourself over this king of Eregion. Truly, I’m more suprised than grateful that you have answered my summons."
Gil-galad took the other’s hand: he had never seen such frailty in elven hands before."We would come whenever you call, dearest kinsman. Your ways parted from ours’ when you dealt with Lord Annatar despite our warnings. But that does not annul out ties of blood and long alliance."
Celebrimbor stode towards his inner sanctum, past carven statuary and tall trees of holly. "I must give unto you some things. In my elven sight I feel in my very blood that they hold the fate of this Age and this World. In this diminished age, I shall gift you with this great legacy of power."
The chamber he led them to was carven out of the living rock of the mountains, the pillars rising like fluted dreams solidified. The starlight glittered in a thousand crystals. In the centre of the room there was a plain unadorned stone altar, rising out of the stone of the floor.
At the far end of the room there stood one swathed in black, silver hair glittering. Lord Cirdan bowed his head.
The lord of Eregion seemed to grow taller in the shadowy confines, and his eyes shone like that of a Valar. Both Cirdan and Galadriel exchanged lightning-quick glances: the parallel with Feanor from so many ages past seemed to float up like some sick sea-creature from black depths. Cloak billowing around him, the grandson of Feanor cast upon the altar three Rings.
"Behold the Three Rings of Power! This, Nenya, I give unto you, fair Alatariel. May your power flow like the silver streams. This, Vilya, is for you, noble High King. Your glory may rise like the untrammeled airs. And this is Narya, for the fire of wisdom, Lord Cirdan."
Gil-galad reached out his hand, but Cirdan’s voice was sharp and brittle as ice. "No, my King!"
He turned with blazing eyes upon Celebrimbor, who leaned like a spent ghost against a wall. "What are these . . . these Rings of Power? How have you devised them? And to what end may they be used. Since when have we depended upon devices to manifest our power? No my lord Celebrimbor, I for one will urge all to renounce these fell objects."
Galadriel’s face was stern."Celebrimbor, take them for yourself if you wish-"
Suddenly he leaped up, face bright as a naked blade. "Do you see a Fourth Ring? I made these a long time ago, intending it for the lords of our race. Not – never – for my own. These are the first of the Great Rings. I have made others with . . . with help from . . . with other’s help. My mind is not always working aright these days. I have poured too much of my spirit into these Rings; but behold them: the power and the beauty, the beauty of the power! Instead of fading, the Elder Kindred can heal the hurts of this ravaged Hither Land. You would deny a kinsman this little joy?"
And behold, the once-grave lord bent his stately head, going down on his knees. Tears welled from his eyes, as he grasped Cirdan and Gil-galad’s hands in a convulsive grip. "I have toiled day and night so that you may have joy. Oh, the folly!"
He touched his trembling lips to Galadriel’s ivory hand. All of a sudden, the Lady’s sterness melted away and she enveloped her long-estranged kinsman to her. Celebrimbor embraced her tenderly, and whispered,"Forgive my shamelessness. These last few days with Annatar have almost overthrown my mind. He helped me make the new Rings, but these Three are my very own."
The lord stood up, carven as an image of the Elven lords of the First Age,. face blazing with power. He bent his will upon those around him, and they bowed to his wishes.
So they put on the Three Rings under the starlit sky, and a great wind blew out of the West that seem to blow their minds along to some great paradise.
And Sauron knew that he had perfectly managed to control Celebrimbor’s beleaguered mind to his benefit.