The Nature of Starlight

                The clouds were moving swiftly over the sky. So swiftly that he could barely glimpse the moon and the stars behind them. It is just as well that I cannot see the stars, or else they would give me solace. I do not want solace now.

                He flexed his hand. They were aching gloriously, for he had just finished forging a new sword. Not black, as his old one was, but silver. Not the dull silver of metal but the silver of the starlight.  He will come soon. He has heard my voice, has heard it for the last time. He will come soon to take the sword that I crafted for him.

                The clouds parted, and a sliver of moonlight darted through. He allowed the cold light to bathe his skin, yet he took no joy in it. To the smith, the sun and the moon were nothing compared to the radiance of the stars. Moving out of the moonlight, he sat patiently in his dark forest, and he knew not how much time had passed. Here, time had no dominion.  

                After a few hours had passed, perhaps more or perhaps less, he finally heard the anticipated hoof beats. He has come. He has come because I have called. He waited for the forester to come closer as his blood thrilled in anticipation.

                The forester emerged into the small glade, the cold moonlight bathing him. His silver hair gleamed brightly, although to the smith watching him, the moon paled next to his radiance.

                The forester looked to the man sitting in the glade, and then dismounting, he slowly walked toward the motionless figure. "You called," he finally whispered.

                The smith rose. "And you came," he finished.

                Both of them sat under the eaves of one of the great oaks. The forester looked to the smith, and he carefully drank in the sleek black hair and obsidian eyes. The forester's silver eyes shifted to the work-hardened hands resting on the smith's lap. They were calloused from years of work.

                "I have come," the forester said again. "I have come because you have called."

                "I am glad. Very glad." The smith turned his head slightly, and his black eyes locked with silver ones. "So very glad." He took the forester's hand in his and led him to his workshop. "I have made a gift for you."

                The forester followed hesitantly. "What gift have you made for me?"

                "One that is worthy of you." Withdrawing the sword from its simple sheath, he handed it to his forester, who in turn grasped it with amazement. "It is like previous swords that I have made, and yet this one is lighter. This sword I made with love, yet the others I made with hate."

                "You cannot give me this," the forester said with panic.

                The smith closed his rough hands over the smoother hands of the forester, still covering the hilt. "I have given it to you, but it is for you to accept." The forester gazed into the smith's eyes, and suddenly memories assaulted both of them.

                A spring, it was so hot that day, so hot. Clothes came off, and then silver and black came together.

                The smith moved away from the rider, his hands burning from where he had touched the forester. "Please take it, or else I shall find no peace."

                "I will accept your gift, for that is all I will ever be able to have from you. I will bear this blade in battle, and your love will protect me. The blood that will mar its surfaces will remind me of the blood spilled over the seas, from where the sun and the moon came from." A pause, and then, "It did not have to be this way!" cried the forester passionately. Within moments, the smooth hands were on the smith's shoulders. "Gladly I would have joined you here. But you did not permit it."

                "Your light is so very bright, so bright that it would have eventually blinded me. I need the darkness." Still the smith did not turn, although his voice was not as steady.

                "You are beautiful, so beautiful, my forester." He kissed his forester again. Mischief appeared in the beloved silver eyes, and suddenly the smith found himself immersed in the water, the water cooling his burning skin. Smooth hands were running over his chest and back, and soon they were sliding up and down his body.

                "Perhaps I too should have been a smith, for it appears that I can shape as well," laughed the forester.  Whatever else the forester would have said was lost in passion.

                The forester tightened his grip on the strong shoulders. "Things are changing now."

                The smith nodded. "They began changing when the sun and moon appeared." Finally he turned to face his forester, and the sorrow in the obsidian eyes surprised him. "I curse the sun and moon for coming. They diminished the starlight."

                "I too did not want them to come. But they are here, and we must learn to live with them." The forester spoke firmly, yet the smith also heard the undertones of sadness.

                The rider and the smith were lying on the grass. The black hair mingled with the silver, but the pale skin had no boundaries. Above them, the twinkling stars bathed them in warm light. "Look," pointed the forester. "They are smiling at us."

                "The sun has taken you from me, and the moon has taken me from you." The forester nodded in understanding. "The sun and the moon came from over the sea, and now neither of us can have pure starlight again."

                The forester kissed the smith softly. "The stars still remain in the sky."

                The smith quickly removed the forester's clothing and then his own. "The stars are a thing of the past."

                "Then let the past begin tomorrow," whispered the forester.

                They playfully nipped each other, each seeking kisses from the other. The forester bit the smith on the shoulder. "That hurts," gasped the smith. "Love hurts," replied the forester. Both of them fell to the forest floor.

                And when finally they both cried out in release, they collapsed upon each other. The smith tenderly reached down and wiped away the remaining fluid that lingered on both of them. Bringing his hand up to the forester, he said, "Look. This is of the stars." The white fluid did indeed gleam like the starlight. "Any time you find pleasure, you will still have this starlight with you. Just as I too will have it."

                Many more moments passed as they both lay there quietly.

                "What will you do now?" asked the forester finally.

                "I must seek the moon, for she is nearby. And you must return to your sun." The smith kissed his forester again. "After today, I shall never see you again."

                "Will you forget me, once you hold the moon in your hands?" asked the forester.

                "Will you forget me, once you hold the sun in your hands?" asked the smith in return. 

                The forester nodded, for he knew that it had to be so. "I have long dreaded this moment. In my dreams, I had hoped that it would have been otherwise."

                The smith smiled, his farewell written in his eyes. "As long as you remember, as long your heart still beats with passion, how can that dream die?" 

                They parted ways soon after that, and never again did they lay eyes upon each other. The smith died soon after, for the lack of undiluted starlight drove him to madness and death. Yet the forester lived on and bore that blade into battle many times, through the ages of the elves. And though he grew to love the sun, still he remembered the starlight of ages past.

Author Notes:

- This story is for Elwing. Happy Birthday!

- If you can't guess the characters in this story, I refuse to say it.

- Before the Noldor came to Middle Earth, the Moriquendi (and Thingol) lived under the starlight. Day and night were the same to them. So it seems to me that the Moriquendi would actually hold starlight more beloved than sunlight and moonlight.

- Is this canon? Who knows?

- Were the two characters in here really like this? Probably not. But since this is a birthday fic, I decided to skip the violence and anger that generally accompanies "the smith."