Disclaimer: All characters herein are the property of J.R.R. Tolkien, his estate and heirs, and of New Line Cinema. Not mine, no money, etc.
Wings Over Arda
Elves held a deep regard for all living things. Everything had a place in Arda, as Ilúvatar himself had willed when the world was new, and the Elves respected his wisdom above their own.
The ones they held in the highest reverence were the birds of the air, in particular the giant Eagles, who had been their allies in conflicts of ages past. Of all the creatures that flew, the Eagles with their great wings, feathers glowing gold and copper in the sun, were the most breathtaking.
Therefore, when one of the Firstborn of Ilúvatar was born with wings sprouting from his shoulders – as had happened more than once in their history – it was an event that presaged much celebration as well as no small amount of fear. O, Joy, that one of their own could know the way of the Eagles, could touch a cloud and know the way of the land from the air!
On the lowest point of his dive, Legolas scooped up another handful of fruit. A couple of powerful strokes from his wings and he was aloft again, sighting down at his tutor, cowering beneath the overhanging limbs of a tree, his robes already stained from previous missiles. He hovered for a moment, then circled around for another pass. This, he thought gleefully, the wind stinging against his face as he gained speed, is much more fun than learning archery!
The gem glowed in the moonlight, as intensely as if lit from within. Aragorn tore his gaze away from it, glittering silver-bright against Arwen’s breast, and instead looked into her eyes.
“I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone,” she whispered. Her smile was as bright as the Evenstar as she touched his hand and folded it inward and held it between her own.
He opened his hand, and found Arwen’s pendant there, not so shining now against his worn palm as it had been around her dainty neck. “You cannot give me this!” he said, his voice low and urgent.
Before she could reply, however, he trembled from head to toe, and a sound of tearing fabric rent the air. In an instant, two great silvery wings arced over his shoulders, the feathers glinting as the Evenstar. Torn bits of cloth fluttered to litter the ground.
The look Aragorn gave her was not a pleasant one. “You know I can’t touch anything that’s got wings,” he said, his teeth gritted in anger. “This always happens. And I liked this tunic.”
“Sorry,” Arwen said almost carelessly, staring at his wings with an avid eye. “I forgot.”
If they had to crop up once in every generation, Frodo thought, at least the Valar had had the sense to give the wings to Sam.
He wouldn’t have minded having them himself, of course. Being able to fly would have been a thrill greater than any of Gandalf’s fireworks. But still, it was probably for the best that Sam had them. They were a solid sensible brown, small but sturdy, rather like Sam himself. And if he ever used them beyond arching them over his head to give himself a bit of shade while working in the garden, as he was doing now, Frodo had never seen it.
Frodo turned away from the kitchen window. As he often did when he caught sight of Sam’s wings, he spared a moment to think what might have happened had Merry or Pippin gotten them instead, and shuddered at the mayhem that filled his mind.
No, he thought again, it’s best all around that they went to Sam.
“Nine companions,” Elrond said, his tone musing as he surveyed the group assembled before him. A Wizard, an Elf, a Dwarf, two Men and four Halflings; a strange crew indeed. “So be it! You shall be the Fellowship of the Ring!”
“Great!” said one of the Halflings. “Where are we going?”
Elrond stared at him for a moment, his usual stern expression morphed to one of shock. “You were eavesdropping, were you not?” he asked. “Did you hear nothing of what was said?”
The Halfling squirmed and said nothing.
“Quite likely,” Frodo said teasingly, “he was consumed with thoughts of luncheon instead.” With a grin, he nudged Sam. Sam chuckled briefly before growing serious once more.
“When ought we leave, Master Elrond?” Frodo asked, then turned to the old Wizard. “Gandalf?”
“I believe it will be some time yet, Frodo Baggins,” Legolas said, and managed a sidelong look at the Dwarf. “It seems that there is an axe that is in dire need of repair… or replacement.”
Gimli bristled. “Are ye castin’ aspersions on my craftsmanship, Elf?” Without waiting for an answer, he turned his glare on Elrond. “If you’ve anything like a decent forge, I’ll be wantin’ to use it.”
“I’m sure you will, Master Dwarf,” Legolas interjected smoothly. “After all, it could only lead to improvement in your work, if Dwarf forges make such brittle weapons. Perhaps you’d like the Elven smiths to work on it for you instead?”
“That’s enough!” Gimli roared, and drew a second axe from his belt. “I’ll do my own smithing, Elf, even unto the bellows-work!” As he shouted, a pair of wings sprouted from his shoulders, nearly as tall as he was himself. They caught every eye there at the Council.
The wings were ragged things, though, the grey and black striped feathers missing in areas, while several of the long flight feathers appeared… singed.
“What?” Gimli asked, glowering fiercely, realizing he was the focus of every gaze. “They’re a great help in fanning the forge.”
July 21, 2009
© randi (K. Shepard), 2009