Author's Note: I decided that Tuor and Idril could not have reached Aman until after Eärendil, since he is held in judgment because his mother is of the Noldor and forbidden to return to Aman. This would be a moot point if they had already allowed Idril to return.

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Tolkien. Translations of Elvish (Sindarin, unless otherwise noted) and additional notes are at the end of the story.

Less Bliss Have Many Had [1]

E-gliro 'lîr lín a
Ed-linno nern a 'laer lín
Nathro od elei lín i lelthaid luithennin thain
In men degir 'wedhi vi hûn a ind


Sing out your songs and
Ring out your stories and rhymes
Weave from your dreams those mystical
Dances that lead us to bind in heart and mind [2]

They wandered without direction or purpose, needing no diversions save one another and the Sea. After they had passed some years in this way, Gil-Estel arose, their son, the hope Huor had promised with his last words. Tuor looked with wonder on the star and followed its nightly journey into the West, and so Eärrámë came unbroken through the Shadowy Seas. Their feet still tingling with the rhythm of the sea, Idril and Tuor set foot on a barren shore. Before them rose great white cliffs, blushing with the first rays of Anor.

Yet the wilds of Aman found them not alone. Taking the form of a tinkling waterfall, Ulmo sang a song of greeting, bidding them to follow and fear not. They climbed the cliff to the source of the waterfall, a brook that burbled as its droplets danced on the rocks in gladness at their own sound.

Thus they came to Máhanaxar, to hear their doom. They found the inner hall empty, save a single, indomitable presence. "Itarillë Taltelemna!" The voice of Námo seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere. [3]

"Airë?" She lowered her head in respect, speaking the title her father had taught her to use, so long ago. [4]

"You have heard me speak but once before. You heard then the Doom upon the Noldor your people. What say you to this?"

"Shall one yet a child turn her feet from the path taken by her elders? Shall she bear always their guilt, though in her house all have held the Powers in awe? For the flight of her people has ever been a grief to her, and the evils done at Alqualondë a sorrow. This nís pleads for the mercy of the Valar, Airë." [5]

"Indeed by your own blameless conduct, even the heart of Ilúvatar is moved. Yet Valinor would remained fenced against you, were it not for the labors of your son on behalf of your people." The voice softened slightly. "Ainur and elves alike shall rejoice at your return.

"To your husband I will speak in confidence."

~-~-~-~-~

By his own hands, the Lord of smiths and stoneworkers had shaped an edifice to house his peers in all their deliberations. Of the stone from whence he would later craft the moon (so that the elves called it ithilharn), Aulë raised shimmering walls to encircle the chamber. Yavanna lent her arts to the gardens beyond the stonework, and Ulmo watered them with brook and sparkling pools. [6]

In the cool arcade, under arches of marble obscured by wisteria and wild rose, Rúmil often held lessons, and here had young Turucáno first heard the musical laughter of the Vanyarin maid he would grow to love. Now the sole heir of that laughter walked here, thinking of her own love, he who had shared but a fraction of her lifetime. Idril was still young among her kindred; Tuor would hardly have come of age were he born an elf. Yet he had not been born so, and weariness pressed upon him, greying his blond locks, aging his fair face. [7]

Idril felt the weight of history in this hallowed place; she heard her father's tread on the brick paving, his feet as heavy as his heart with the poison Melkor had spread among his kin. She saw the Spirit of Fire, sweeping defiant across the arcade and into exile at Formenos, and sensed the unease of her grandfather, at his brother's proud heart and troublesome revelations.

Here had the fortunes of her life been made. Fell as those fortunes had often seemed, in her husband and son she found no regret, though her love for them would end in sorrow. Strange would her kindred think this. Fear of such undying sorrow had withheld her father's cousin from the bond for which he yearned. Yet neri, Idril had learned, were more fragile than nissi. Even the most valiant warrior among them hid a silent fear: that he should find himself alone. Perhaps, by her womb, that primeval connection to life, the nís was never alone, for she felt kinship to all living beings. She remained a sister, a daughter, a mother, though distance and death might sunder the hroar. A nér could break such ties, never understanding that in his loneliness he needed not a wife, but the mother or son he had forsaken. [8]

And so she had given her heart to this mortal without reserve, and he had loved her in kind. Her heart swelled with feeling as she thought of the face she knew better than her own: blue eyes clear, without guile; lips curved in a smile yet boyish and unaffected. His broad shoulders had borne tasks unlooked for with abiding fortitude; his heart had ever been open to her. Though their bed still knew the passions of the newly bound, their love had deepened and matured with the years.

To men the Blessed Realm was forever closed. Yet Idril kept hope that her husband's service to the Valar would win an exemption. Surely, her son would not have guided them hither if his father was to be turned away. Her mind touched that of her son, immortal now yet forever beyond her reach. Still, she felt an indissoluble connection to him, forged when they had shared the same being. Eärendil's heart reached out to his mother, offering reassurance against her fears.

~-~-~-~-~

The late afternoon light angled through embrasures in the walls, setting Idril's golden locks ablaze, her bare feet hardly touching the steps as she took her leave. Not even the ghostly presence of the Vala of Doom could win Tuor's attention from Idril's porcelain beauty. Yet more than loveliness had his wife; great wisdom and courage, and a kind heart she bore. All this he had in the elf he had taken to his heart and his bed; all he had to offer was his mortality.

"Son of Huor." The air, heavy and oppressive, took form. Before him stood something of an elf, clad in black woolen robes, so plain as to be severe. A rope of silver sufficed as a belt and the sole adornment. The hood was thrown back, revealing a face of gravity, yet unhardened, and a smile seemed to tug at his lips, disarming the mortal before him. "We have long expected you in Valinor."

The man frowned with incomprehension. "We did not set out for these shores, Airë."

"Fate carried you hither, though these lands be closed to mortals. The Song of Ilúvatar, the lyric foretelling all fates, made this so."

Tuor recalled the many times he had heard such music: in the waters, in the voice of his beloved, in the songs of his adoptive people. He had yearned for it during the years of his solitary wanderings, finding it in his own voice and harp until at last he heard an answer from the waters. The sweet music had led him into the service of Ulmo and to a never-ending dance of love.

"Few among mortals hear the Song. It is both a gift and a burden to you. A gift," Námo explained, "for it has ever moved your heart in accordance with the wishes of Ilúvatar. Yet a burden also, for by your faith, you have followed the Song to your doom."

Tuor felt a prickling of fear strange to him. He forgot his weariness, the ingem of his advanced age. With but a single regret, he had been ready to face the death-sleep. Yet now the gift of men seemed to have deserted him, and his regret - that death should part him forever from his beloved - grew to an ache more painful than all the hurts of living. [9]

Images passed before his eyes: he saw her as she had first appeared to him, without shoe or raiment, save a simple dress of white, her warm smile a more precious adornment than all the jewels of Aulë. He saw the tender contentment of mother and child as Eärendil fed at her breast. He saw her in their flight from Gondolin, her kind words and encouragement a light of hope to her people. He saw her cheeks alive with passion as she wound her fingers in his hair, pulling him into her warmth.

He could not leave her.

He could not walk alone into that uncertain twilight of mortal death, he could not endure the cry of two fëar not meant to be sundered. He cringed at the discord such a sundering must bring to the Song.

Námo had patience, for he had passed many yéni as confessor to the fëar of his House, and knew that only from introspection could truth arise. Seeing Tuor's distress, he broke his silence. "You begin to understand your doom, I think.

"To men Ilúvatar gave a special freedom: they are not bound to his Song as are the elves," the Vala revealed. "Men may choose their part in the Song, and so compose its melody, at once a delight and a lament to the Ainur. From Elvenkind comes its harmony, constant and true to Ilúvatar." [10]

"Yet surely elves have some choice - surely Ilúvatar did not make such evil as that wrought by Maeglin?" [11]

"Indeed, they do. Were choice taken entirely from the elves, my Halls would not now hold so many fëar," the keeper of Mandos said grimly. "Yet, all efforts to turn aside from fate return again to the Ainulindalë. What men call experience, the elves know as regret, and those who stray name wisdom the child of sorrow."

"But Lúthien - what of her fate?" Tuor questioned. "For she has passed out of this world and the Song."

Sadness flickered in the unplumbed depths of the Vala's eyes. "She is a loss to the Ainur as to the elves. Yet thus was the design of Ilúvatar." Námo ceased to speak for a moment, studying Tuor, as if taking his measure. His voice took on a new gravity. "The elves shall give way to men; this doom the Noldor brought upon their race, yet Ilúvatar willed that it be so. Still, he would not have all beauty pass from Endor as the elves faded, and so twice the blood of the elves has mingled with that of man. To the Firstborn he also gave thought, and from man will the elves inherit faith, the courage to endure.

"That is your gift to the elves, son of Huor. Elvenkind will find strength in your line, and the Song shall be enriched by your voice. It is Ilúvatar's will, therefore, that you be not sundered from the Firstborn, but joined to them in fate."

~-~-~-~-~

In the twilight of the gardens he found Idril, her face aglow with delight in the wonders of the Blessed Realm. She breathed the heady aroma of Yavanna's flowers as they opened to the night airs; she turned her ear to the sweet chorus of crickets in their mating dance. His hand closed over hers, warm, squeezing gently, an acknowledgement of this moment of perfect bliss, of hearts so in tune one could not beat out of rhythm with the other.

"Sometimes hope and destiny are made one," Tuor said softly.

"It is a wonder," she breathed. "A joy unlooked for." She touched her husband's careworn face. No fairer vessel could Ilúvatar have found for the birthright of the Elder race; no voice of men or elves could have so sweetened the harmony of the Song.

She felt a stirring; life renewed would beget life anew this night, bringing light and laughter to Tirion. Their hands and mouths explored one another as if for the first time, and they felt no hurry, for days unnumbered awaited them.

Among the reed beds and marsh flowers, the brook burbled with gladness as Ulmo slipped discreetly away.



[1]'Less Bliss Have Many Had'
The title comes from The Book of Lost Tales 2, 'The Fall of Gondolin'.

[2]'Sing out your songs…'
Lyrics by Bill Whelan, Riverdance, 'Home and the Heartland'. Linguistic notes on Sindarin translation appear at the end of these notes.

[3]Itarillë Taltelemna
Idril Celebrindal (Q). There are several versions of both her names in Quenya (two in the same document). Taltelemna comes from the Etymologies, but I used a later version of Idril. 'The Shibboleth of Fëanor' offers both Itarillë and Itarildë. Since the name was not a literal translation, it seems to me that Itarillë would be more likely to yield Sindarin Idril.

[4]Airë
lit. 'sanctity' (Q). This is the proper title to use when one is addressing a Vala or one of the more important Maiar. (ref. The Peoples of Middle-Earth, 'The Shibboleth of Fëanor' p 363, pub. Houghton Mifflin)

[5]nís, nissi
female elf, elves (Q)

[6]ithilharn
moonstone. From ithil, 'moon' + sarn (lenited as harn), 'stone'. For those not familiar with gemstones, moonstone is a particularly beautiful blue-white opalescent gem, and is used in majik to encourage love, understanding and sympathy.

[7]Turucáno
Turgon (Q)

[8]nér, neri
male elves (Q)

[9]ingem
old, lit. 'year-sickness'

[10]'To men Ilúvatar gave a special freedom'
(ref. The Silmarillion, 'Of the Beginning of Days', pp 35-6, pub. Ballantine/Del Rey)

[11]'Yet surely elves have some choice'
It seems to me that not everything can be predetermined for the elves - if so, then they become something like Aulë's dwarves, before Ilúvatar gave them life - unthinking inanimates. They cannot evade the destiny written into the Music of the Ainur, but I imagine they can delay it, taking wrong turns and suffering for their folly, returning to the Song only through death and rehousing.


E-gliro 'lîr lín a
E-gliro, stop mutation of ed gliro, 'sing, trill out' (imperative tense of glir-); 'lîr, soft mutation of glîr, 'songs'

Ed-linno nern a 'laer lín
Ed-linno, stop mutation of ed linno, 'sing, chant out' (imperative tense of linna-); nern, 'tales'; 'laer, soft mutation of glaer, 'lays'

Nathro od elei lín i lelthaid luithennin thain
Nathro, 'weave' (imperative tense of nathra-, a hypothetical verb formed by dropping go from attested gonathra-, enmesh - nathron, 'weaver' is attested); i…thain, nasal mutation of in…tain, lit. 'those the'; lelthaid, dances (pl gerund of leltha-, a hypothetical verb formed from Q lilta-, 'to dance'); luithennin, 'enchanted' (pl past participle of luitha-)

In men degir 'wedhi vi hûn a ind
In, 'who'; men, 'us'; degir, soft mutation (verb following its subject) of tegir, 'lead' (3rd pers pl aorist tense of tog-); 'wedhi, soft mutation (infinitive following another verb) of gwedhi, 'to bind' (infinitive of gwedh-); vi, 'in' (should be mi ? - new from VT 44, apparently requires no mutation) hûn, 'heart' (physical heart); ind, 'inner thought, mind'