Dûlan saw the tall Elf-lord take Èríele by the hand and walk with her farther away from Alqualondë.
Even with his sharp hearing, he heard only a part of what was said when they met. The Princess and the Elf-lord were too far away for him to hear what was being said now.
He turned away, seething with jealousy, and swore under his breath.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
“And that is why, my lord. I was angry and lonely and I prayed to the only one I knew would hear and understand me. Was that wrong?”
Ossë put his arm around Èríele’s shoulders comfortingly.
“No, no. It was not wrong. You are Quendi, Ilúvatar’s child. He would wish you to turn to no other when you are troubled. He will always listen and answer you.”
Èríele nodded, enjoying the warmth of Ossë’s arm that shielded her from the chill winds of the Sea.
Ossë continued, “He has sent me to aid and comfort you as I may, for He will not always answer the prayers of his children in words. At times He may send other Elves, or Maiar, as I am, to answer you, even as he has sent me.”
“I see,” Èríele murmured softly. “I thank you, my lord, for coming.”
Ossë smiled, his blue eyes sparkling with their inner fire. “Truly, Princess of the Teleri, I believe I should thank Ilúvatar for sending me.”
Èríele smiled, blushing faintly.
“My lord, may I ask you a question?”
“Anything, my lady, that I have the wisdom to answer.” Ossë replied.
“What is it like to have power over the Sea?”
Ossë bowed his head in thought. “It is.. I think I have not the words to describe it, Èríele. It is like no other thing existing, I believe. It is a majestic, boundless feeling to exercise even a little power over the Water, and never have I, in all my years of living, felt another thing like unto it. And I have not much power. I am but a servant to Ulmo.”
Èríele looked out over the deep blue waves and sighed. “I have always dreamed of the Sea, and what it would be like to.. to control it. For it is wild and untamed by any save Ulmo, Lord of Waters. I suppose the Sea will never submit to any but those who have power over it by Ilúvatar’s wish.”
She looked down at the ring Dûlan had given her and slipped it off her finger, hiding it in her pocket.
“Let us sit for a while, my lady, for I deem you are weary of walking,” Ossë suggested.
They sat down together on the white sand, quiet for a few moments.
Èríele looked up at Elentari’s stars shining down on them from the sky, performing in their great dance.
“They are beautiful, are they not?” Ossë asked her, noticing her gaze at the stars.
“Indeed they are. Yet the Sea is more beautiful than any of them to me,” Èríele said, her voice hushed.
“True words you speak. The Sea is more beautiful than Elentari’s lights, but you, Èríele of the Teleri, outshine them all in my eyes,” Ossë finished in a whisper.
Èríele turned her face to the Maia and saw that the expression on his handsome face was almost pained.
“My lord? I.. Thank you,” Èríele finally managed, confused by his words and his face.
What did he mean? Èríele wondered to herself.
Ossë leaned forward and kissed her gently on the lips.
Èríele was stunned and simply sat still, stiff-backed.
Ossë pulled away and spoke, his deep voice bringing her back to life. “My lady? I am sorry. I should not have..”
“No,” she interrupted. “Apologize for nothing, my lord. Apologize for nothing..”
Ossë stood up quickly and offered her his hand. “My lady, we should go. Much time has passed.”
Èríele took his hand, standing gracefully. “It seems but a few moments since I even left my father’s house.”
Ossë smiled, “Ah, but hours have passed. Your father will worry, will he not?”
“No, he will not worry about me. He thinks only of the ship that will withstand the Sea anymore. At times it seems that he has forgotten me for the building of his great ship.” Èríele said.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Èríele lay down on her bed, and closed her eyes, smiling when she remembered the face of Ossë..
She brought a finger to her lips and touched them softly where he had kissed her.
She fell asleep smiling and knew nothing until the morning, her sleep untroubled, yet she dreamed..
Waves crashed against the rocky shore of an island. The Sea was disturbed, it was angry. There was a ship.. A lovely ship, large and majestic to the eyes of Elves and Men, and yet.. in the midst of the Sea, it was small and weak. It was impossible to believe that it could resist the fury of the waves for long.
The mariners cried out in fear. They cried out for protection and rescue from the water’s wrath. They called a name, over and over. They called it as if it would save them from their fear and danger and calm the Sea.
Then, as the last voice cried, the Sea was calmed. The waves became still and no longer tossed the ship about angrily.
The mariners gave their thanks to the name they called in their fear…