4. The Third Cloak
When the light returned, the elf-maidens continued with their task. The morning was bright and crisp and they worked with good cheer. Ere long their thoughts turned to the blessing of the third cloak.
"It seems fitting," said Gathgael, "that you should be the one to make this cloak, Parvelui."
"I cannot imagine what you mean," replied Parvelui with pretended scorn. "Youth is not a vice. Besides, they all seem like children to me."
"Your eyes are clouded then."
"I was jesting, Belegwen. I am not blind to the merits of the halflings. They are a worthy people. But Gathgael spoke well. A lady of greater dignity might look with disdain on the exuberance of a youthful spirit. To me, though, it does not seem quite so close to folly. A cheerful nature will make up for lack of prudence at times."
Salabeth shook her head. "That is all very well, Parvelui. But he is still called to the same quest as the others, and a youthful spirit may well be broken by the terrors that lie ahead."
"True, a cheerful nature may not be of much use," said Aerwing, "but loyalty and steady friendship will help. They have brought him this far, in spite of his fear."
With a slender hand, Faenchiriel smoothed out the fabric of her cloak. Her brow was furrowed.
"I do not know how much further he can go, Aerwing. He doubts himself. He doubts whether he did right in coming. As the journey draws closer to the darkness, he begins to understand that he may burden his friends rather than aid them. This is the greatest fear I saw in him. And he is right to fear. I agree with Salabeth that the quest might break him."
"But it shall not!" exclaimed Parvelui. "It would surely break his spirit if he deserted his friends or was sent back. He has chosen to go and go he must! If you think the challenge is too great then I will make this wish for him, that he will grow and gain the strength to face it."
"He has been foolish before. He may do foolish things again."
"Then may they turn out for the best, however foolish they are! I value your judgement, Salabeth, but even the councils of the wisest can lead to disaster. I do not - "
She stopped when she felt her sister's hand on her arm. Looking around, she saw grave faces turned towards her.
"It is not for us to decide anyway," said Maedhvel gently. "I will not doubt the wisdom of Mithrandir and Lord Elrond, who have seen it fit to let him go on the quest. But I will say that you have chosen a good blessing for him. As the shadow grows, so let him grow able to meet it."
The other maidens bowed their heads in agreement. Parvelui's features softened. She took a long breath and slowly stroked the fabric of her cloak.
"So be it," she said.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.