Ysbridau Tan.

The night has become clear once more. There is no moon. Not even the latter day guardian of the insane can help Makalaure now. There is just me. Me under the starlight, and I am glad for in this silver glow I look almost believable. So I head out, back toward the little interrupted line of street lights where the farms are.

But this is not dairy country. I cannot do as my kind of old has done, when in desperation they turned to stealing from these lowly farmsteads to meet their needs. Sometime long ago, when they too first became unbelievable, at least by the light of day. It is probably for the best. I have lead a rather sheltered life in some respects and I must confess I have no idea how to milk a cow. So burglary it is then, and it suits me, for though I am ancient, I am still a very modern elf.

The latch on the back door is rotten wood not metal, so it requires more brute force than spells of Valinor to yield open. When I enter, the back kitchen is in disarray. The tiles are almost up off the floor in places, and various modern appliances, in no particular order are gathered along the sides, ramshackle, with no obvious signs as to which are still clinging to usefulness, and which are beyond repair. I can see one, however, under the work-surface, who's flat yellowed front I recognise as that of a refrigerator.

I bend down, open it, and remove a large plastic container of semi- skimmed milk. The warnings about coronary heart disease must have spread even to these remote parts. As I look up, I realise I am not alone.

He must be around fifty in mortal years, the man who stares back at me. He is holding a shotgun and staring, although he says nothing. He just stands there with the weary dignity of the rightful, no words necessary. I am very impressed that any mortal could sneak up on me so. I suppose he has the advantage of familiar ground.

"I need milk, for my brother who is sick," I say.

In this light, in this land, I am more than believable.

He nods.

"Ysbridau Tan," he says, slowly and without emotion.

I nod. For that was our ancient name here. Spirits of fire.

I cannot steal from this man who has so little. I may have been able to in the past, but I cannot now. Am I not now, finally, without dispute, High King of the Exiles? For am I not the eldest of the two that remain? They say royalty is as royalty does, at least round these parts.

"Here," I say. "Take this, we have need of your help and I would give something in return."

I put the milk down on the work-top, and reach my hand to the back of my neck. The chain comes undone at my touch, and I hold the jewel of Feanor, forged in Aman, out towards him.

It is worth more than his farm. It is worth more than all the ragged farms in this wind blasted remnant of a mountain kingdom. It may well be worth more than this whole anachronism of a country. He blinks.

"Take it. Bring my brother what he needs." I smile. "We are in the trailer at the bottom of your field. That can serve as rent as well."

With that, I take the bottle of milk and leave him to his thoughts. He may have quite a lot of them tonight, even though he speaks very little. It is not every day one finds out one has fairies at the bottom of the garden.

When I return, I shake Makalaure awake. I sit behind him holding him up and pull the blankets around us. I repeat the words he used, so long ago. He drinks and he smiles. Then he pus his head on my chest and is asleep again. He must be able to hear my heart beat. The first sound he ever heard. I can believe now he too will find his way back to life. I hold him, and watch the stars, until dawn makes them fade into the lightening sky.

I wonder if living in a trailer and drinking milk out of meloware cups is what the wise meant by us remaining elves fading. After all, where is the line drawn? When an elf acts like a pointy eared mortal, have they not lost something of their very essence?

Then I have no more thoughts. The next thing I know, it is full daylight, and my brother is kicking me.

"Maedhros, there is someone at the door!"

I disentangle myself from filit and open the door. The farmer is there, and he has already made good on his side of the bargain. He holds out a large box of groceries. They are early risers, these men of the land. I try my best to look immortal and thank him. I invite him inside, but he says no. He cannot resist a little curiosity though, I see him take a furtive peek in the doorway. He registers there is another such as myself in here. It was a very swift move for someone who looks so stolid. Then he leaves us alone.

"What have you done, Russandol? "

Curiosity from my brother too. that can only be a good sign.

"Sold the last of our inheritance, little brother." I laugh.

He pulls a face. Although he looks pleased enough as I start unpacking my order. A lot more milk, a leg of lamb, presumably some relation to the many fluffy creatures whose incessant baaing I can hear even now, potatoes, plenty of fruit, biscuits - please show some restraint this time Makalaure, bread, butter, cheese and tinned soup. Not bad at all.

And, at the bottom of the box, glinting red in the sunlight, the Elena.

"You exchanged the Elena for the milk you gave me."



"Because I love you, you foolish elf."

It is true. Whoever else I have loved, I always loved him, brightest and best of all.

"Oh. And he, he gave it back?"

"Yes filit."


"Because he is wise. Wise enough to know not to get mixed up with the likes of us."


I smile.

"We have come through bliss to woe. The other now we will try: through sorrow to find joy."


"They were father's words as we left Tirion. Do you know I really think that was all he wanted in the end, joy. Because I never think he knew happiness, not truly. "

"And us? Do you ever think we can find joy?"

"I do not know. But I do think we ought to try. For his sake."


Ysbridau Tan (The a in Tan should have a circumflex accent. It is a long a sound) is old term for fire fairies. Literally translated it means spirits of fire.

Feanarioni is Le Chat Noir's very impressive term for the family Feanor.

Maedhros quotes the Silmarillion, "Of the Flight of the Noldor." (Page 91 in my edition)

Yes, I am playing rather fast and loose with the "Laws and Customs of the Eldar" with regards to Elven fading. I realise even had Maedhros not jumped on that fateful night, correct canon would probably have it that both he and his brothers physical forms would have faded by now.

Well, 1) Both Maedhros and Maglor's fea are so damaged in this fic that I find it hard to believe they would have the power to burn out their bodies. (Maedhros says somewhere he thinks his body is stronger than his mind) In a way, their damage has saved them.

2) I disagree with the Professor on this point (yes I know they are his elves, but I do) The Silmfics section has doubled in size here at ff.net even in the three months I have been here, and most fics seem to be elf centric. And that is only one example of the power that elvenkind still holds.

Personally, I think elves will be around, and in their bodies, for just as long as us aftercomers need them to do so, which is probably until the end of Arda.