Have you ever dared look into the eyes of Elrond Peredhel? Three Ages of this world has he seen, and now a fourth, but at birth he could not have dreamed of more than one-- nor have desired it.

He was born long ago in the twilight of Elder Days, when MelkorÕs fell servants and his pitiless tyranny held Beleriand suppliant. Nor less of a menace were the Sons of F'anor, so bent on reclaiming the Jewels of Light made by their fatherÕs hands that they would stain their own with the blood of kindred to reclaim them. Gondolin had fallen. Doriath had fallen. Nargothrond had fallen. In the destruction of all three, betrayal had played a part, although at least it was not the Sons of F'anor who had told the Enemy the secret ways into the Hidden City of the Rock, craving the kingÕs daughter Idril as prize. No, they had only tried to rape Lœthien the Fair. They had only convinced the folk of Nargothrond to forsake their own king, good Finrod Felagund. They had only come swooping like vultures upon tottering Doriath, where LœthienÕs son ruled with a Silmaril over his heart, won by his parentsÕ sufferings. They had only slain him and hundreds of their own kind, and condemned his two sons to perish in the wilderness.

Yet Elwing his daughter had escaped to the Mouths of Sirion with some of the survivors, where also the fugitives of Gondolin had gathered under Tuor and Idril. Under the healing power of IdrilÕs Elessar, many hurts were healed. Under the holy light of ElwingÕs Silmaril, many hearts were healed. In the mingling of the embers of three great kingdoms, hope was rekindled. EŠrendil the son of Idril wedded Elwing the daughter of Dior, and to them were born twin stars, Elrond and Elros, deemed mortal although only time would tell.

They had not much time.

Tuor and Idril saw them born but soon departed for the Utter West, and EŠrendil followed. The boys grew up to the sound of breakers hurled against the shore, the horns of Ulmo and the crying of gulls which reminded the Exiles among them of the place to which they could not return, and the Sindar among them of the place they had refused to seek. What tide would wash them from the land, or what menace would drive them into the sea?

Their own kind.

The Sons of F'anor bided their time, but when EŠrendil was gone and his sons yet boys, they came against the havens. Terrible was the third Kinslaying, as terrible as the others had been, and yet worse, for Morgoth now held almost all Beleriand under his hand. By this act of madness his victory was assured. Blood stained the waters. Into them leapt Elwing, a flash of white fire upon the darkened waves, and that was the last glimpse in the Hither Lands that anyone ever had of the granddaughter of Lœthien the Fair.

That also was the last time she was seen by her sons, who had already lost their father to the call of the Sea. Elrond and Elros were taken captive and carried away from the coast where they had been born. By some accounts, they were still babes in arms, but that at least I do not believe-- how could infants, even those of the Firstborn, have faced the choices they were soon to make when these bloody events had run their course? Still children, at any rate, they were carried into the wild like DiorÕs sons before them and abandoned. By mere luck they had a happier fate. Or did they? At my taleÕs end, you must judge for yourselves.