Unfinished plots, still a happy reader
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Stardust - Book I: 1. Prolog
The solitary figure standing on the silver shore was a familiar one to the inhabitants of the Undying Lands. He could oft be glimpsed once the moon rose, watching the stars as he sang under the moonlight. This evening, however, he did not move with light steps over the sand singing into the night but stood absolutely still and silent, staring stolidly over the softly rolling waves toward the East. His demeanor was so altered that those who shared the beach remarked on it between themselves with quiet voices, careful not to disturb him as they moved past. As the moon finally set and only faint starlight illuminated the shore, one finally gathered the courage to approach.
"Father." Her hushed voice was hesitant. "Does something trouble you?"
"What could trouble me?" he responded lightly. He turned his face toward her. For a moment she thought she saw an unnatural sheen under his lids, but realized it was just the glitter of starlight reflecting in his clear, distant eyes.
"You seem unlike your usual self."
He smiled at her gently. "I was just taking a few moments to remember." He gazed at his daughter steadily. "She has passed."
She understood immediately of whom he spoke although, with no living memory to trouble her own thoughts, she could not easily share what she took to be her father's grief. Yet there was nothing of grief about his manner, just a somberness she was not used to seeing in him. "I am sorry," she finally offered. "I know she was dear to you."
The humor that played about his mouth spread to the rest of his face, and his eyes lost their distant expression. "Yes, or else you would not be here, daughter." He regarded her steadfastly. "You are very like her." Lifting one hand, he touched a finger to the side of her face. "Tell me; do you ever wonder about Middle-earth? Have you any call to return there?"
"All I could ever want is here," she said, simply.
His bright smile flashed. "I am relieved. Many of the Half-Elven chose to stay in Middle-earth. Even now I sometimes surprise a longing on the face of Lord Elrond. He feels the pull there, I think, even as I felt the pull here the first time I saw the gulls. The spell of Middle-earth can draw in even the strongest of us. Galadrial yet awaits the arrival of Celeborn. She meets every boat expecting it to carry him. I do not think he will come."
"Father--you never speak of her."
He was silent for so long she thought he would still not speak. Finally he replied in an even and steady tone. "The story is hers, not mine, daughter."
"I'll ask Godfather Dwarf." She kept her voice light, but her father heard the sincerity in the mock-threat.
"Gimli knows very little of it, although I have no doubt he could still spin you a merry tale." He smiled at her once more, and still she saw nothing in his face that could be termed grief. He turned to look over the sea, as if he could stare down the Straight Path and gaze on the distant shores of Middle-earth itself. "You are no longer a child, even by the standards of Elves. Very well. I warn you, there is much I do not understand about your mother. She was mortal, and although I have had many close friendships with mortals, they are different and I can not always discern why they do what they do. But I will try to tell it as she would have told it."
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