That evening Eadil found him on the edge of the Rohirrim camp. “Where have you been?” he demanded, a little joking. She gave him a taste of that cool Elven gaze of hers.
“Visiting. Some old aquaintances from Rivendell are here.” She beckoned him. “Come on–there’s something no one who visits the Dale should leave without seeing.”
“Do we have time for this?” he threw at her. It had been a long day.
She tossed a glare over her shoulder. “Men,” she muttered. Eodred wondered if she meant the gender or the Race. Perhaps both? “No sense. We’re not going in until tomorrow, the Rohirrim have been riding all day for many days. Come on.” And she tugged him between the rows of tents and down the road a ways.
“What is it?” he asked, a little irritated, but also curious. What was in the Dimrill Dale? They passed Gondorian watchmen in the black and silver a little farther on, but Eadil didn’t stop.
They wended through some trees and crested a ridge, and a long pool came into view below. “What of it?” Eodred said, his irritation rising that she had dragged him here for nothing. It seemed a normal enough spot to him.
“Look,” she commanded him, drawing him to the edge of the pool. He stared down, expecting to see his reflection, and the darkening sky above him, and the tops of the trees. Darkness stared back at him, and he would of jerked away if Eadil didn’t have a hold on his arm.
He looked again, and this time saw the shimmering stars glancing back at him. Without looking up he knew there were no stars in the sky, but he glanced up anyway, and then back again. The stars winked at him… “like gems upon a silver thread / above the shadow of his head.” The rhyme came back to him. It was part of something much larger, he knew, but he could not remember what. He reached out a hand towards the stars, touching the undisturbed surface of the water. There was a shock of cold like the Riven Isen in Fangorn, but it ran through him, not around him. Cold, he said to himself, and then listen. No, that wasn’t right, he hadn’t thought that. There was laughter, not the darkness of the Demon, but laughter of another kind.
“I see you have found the Crown of Durin,” said a voice behind him, a man’s voice, full and strong and free, and filled with some sadness or power untold. Eodred turned, and looked his first upon Aragorn II, King of Gondor.
He was a tall man, and his voice matched him well, for somewhere in his strong and rugged features lurked the countenance of the Kings of Old, and of the tales; his eyes were grey, and free; there was a wisdom behind his gaze and his thought, and a wrath; but there was merriment also, and ever and anon it shone through his eyes like a shaft of light through the forest, brightly kindled.
Eodred remembered little of the King’s face besides those eyes, for as he saw them the world waved as if seen through the heat rising off a candle flame, and suddenly it vanished and returned, changed somehow…
He wandered through the trees, content. Rivendell’s woods had always held a certain peace in them despite troubled rumors of the outside world. That brook, there, had run its corse for a century; a millenia and more of Elves had rested upon that rock, worn smooth now. He wondered as he wandered, and he dreamed.
Suddenly he caught the sound of music far off, winding through the trees, fair and faint and free. He walked toward it, the shadows of the branches wavering in and out of his face. The stars cast a bright light. At last the music grew louder, and his step quickened; and there in a clearing amidst the trees he saw her, more beautiful it seemed than mortal beauty, more lovely than immortal promises. “Tinuviel!” he called to her, walking into the clearing. He was Estel, the hope of men, but she was by far more lovely. “Tinuviel!” she turned.
Eodred stared openmouthed at the man before him, blinking. What was that? If a memory, then not his own. If a dream, then one too strange to believe. He looked up at the man with his grey eyes, and his vision blurred.
He was dimly aware of falling.