"I wish for flowers that do not die."

He does not understand, and he looks at her inquiringly - though, truth to tell, if 'twere not inquiring, he would but find some other way to look at her, for such are his feelings.

"Even these die," she says, stroking one with the tip of a forefinger. "Even these - even here. They last long, but they wilt and fall."

"Then what would you have?" he asks. "In Arda Unmarred perhaps they would not, but Arda Marred this is, and all things must come to an end, be it wholly foreign to our natures."

She shrugs, and she looks again at the bloom. Its white petals are already beginning to droop.

"If I had the skill to make such as this, but more lasting," she mutters, "But alas, I have not! Shapes of my own thought I can fashion, but the delicacy, the perfection - see! I cannot match it."

He is silent now, lost in thought, and they do not speak again.

But later, after the light of the Trees has mingled thrice, on entering her father's forge she finds there flowers wrought of a silvery metal, light and strong and brilliant all at once, and the blossoms themselves graceful, clean-lined and realistic.

'To the most wise Lady Nerdanel, who wished for flowers that did not die.'

And when she sees him again, they are in her hands. She says no words, because none are needed, but then and there a decision is made.

In after years they grew apart, and his passions and spirit drove him to fell deeds - but even in the darkest of hours, even when she knew that he had left her forever, even after she heard of his death - the flowers that did not die sat on a stone ledge in her room, and she gazed at them often, though it was not known whether in regret of her folly, or in sweet memory of a love that was all too brief and yet beautiful.