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Tales of Thanksgiving: A Drabble Collection: 6. Hands and Voices
For Tuxedo Elf, I have written a quibble-exactly five hundred words-about Rúmil. Rúmil was the creator of the Sarati, the original Elven alphabet that inspired Fëanor's Tengwar.
Anyone familiar with my personal storyverse knows that I have a rather dark explanation for how Rúmil came to develop the Sarati. This quibble, however, suggests that writing may have been a gift Rúmil discovered long before he invented and used the Sarati in my darker version of the tale.
This quibble makes several assumptions.
For one, it assumes that at least Ingwë and Rúmil were among the Elves awakened at Cuiviénen. I know that the former is an issue of some contention, but I have always preferred that the four Eldarin kings be among the Unbegotten for various reasons.
Secondly, I am not well versed in the Sarati. I have used the version compiled by Ryszard Derdzinski in developing the idea of this quibble. The illustration of the first word that Rúmil spells with his fledgling alphabet will probably make better sense of this story.
Lastly, I have personally never liked the version of the tale of Cuiviénen that has each Elf awaking beside his or her spouse. I do use it here for Rúmil. I do not assume the same of the Eldarin kings (as this makes it impossible for them to be among the Elves awakened at Cuiviénen.)
Hands and Voices
We were given hands and voices by The One so that, with them, we could create beauty. Or so we were told by Ingwë, who sat at the head of the fire and told us these things.
Hands and voices: each of us given two of the first and one of the second for making beauty. One I'd been given, great and exquisite, but the other two I seemed to lack. I had hands, of course, but what came of them was not beautiful. Others crushed berries and dabbed patterns upon surfaces of rock. Or they squeezed clay dug up from the riverbanks into shapes like Quendi and gave both as gifts.
Ingwë told us that The One had built us of the sand beside the lake, upon which we'd awoken. That is why our eyes sparkled in the starlight and why our skin was soft and supple, not coarse like the pelts of the beasts that prowled just outside the circle of our firelight. That is also why we were strong, he said, for one could not crush sand in his teeth, and the cleverer among us had even begun to rub it on rocks to shape them in new ways.
I was not skilled enough for that.
So I never had gifts to give. I could lift my voice in song, but the gift was ephemeral, gone and forgotten by my next breath, whereas the rocks and clay were cradled in hands and loved even as the shifting stars blew across the sky overhead.
This grieved me.
It grieved me for there was one whom I sought to give a gift, only she was not built of sand like me, but made of water itself, able to take a single point of starlight, spread it thin, and throw it back one-thousandfold. I never dared say it aloud, but I believed that the water, then, was more beautiful than the heavens and all of the stars. And she was more beautiful beside, taking a single point of happiness and making joy one-thousandfold.
I adored her. And I had no gift to give.
Many songs I composed, but the wind tore them apart. Lying upon by back beside the lake, I thought of her. My songs of her. Just as the sound of water made me think of shimmering waves or the wind in the trees made me see a ripple of starlight upon leaves, so the thought of her song made me think of her. Made me think of the moment I'd awakened-life breathed into sand-and saw her with her back against a tree and the sickle-stars bright in the sky overhead.
My first thought had been: I love her.
Even my clumsy hands could take a shard of flint and chip away that shape into the face of a softer stone: the sickle-stars bright above the tree, the place where love had begun. And so I named it, my gift for her: love.
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