The Shell of Life

Disclaimer: I do not own any of Professor Tolkien's great characters. I am making no money. Actually, this was supposed to be an English assignment but it was too long. AND I can't use Professor Tolkien's characters. Oopsies. :o)

The Assignment: Just so you know, I was supposed to use a simile, a metaphor, and personification. Oh, and the biggest part, it had to be about/describing a seashell that she gave us. That's the reason for the very odd title and pretty much story.

Summary: Eluréd and Elurín find a symbol of hope and something magnificent happens. What Professor Tolkien never told us.

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Elurín walked as if in a dream, purposely not straying far from where he and his brother had awoken nearly two hours ago. The last thing the elfling remembered was the attack on Doriath by the Sons of Fëanor and the slaying of his parents. Then some of the minions of the enemy had found the children's hiding place. The back of their skulls had promptly met the hilt of the grown elves' swords and the boys were sent into oblivion, only to regain consciousness in the middle of the frozen, unforgiving woods.

Whilst shuffling through a pile of oak leaves, a presence made Elurín pause. There was a voice calling on the wind, nay not a voice, for no words were spoken, but an essence screamed to be discovered. He shifted the leaves under his soft elven boot and came upon an unusual discovery. It was a shell, pearly white with chocolate bands swirling gently like a tornado in a white sea. The color spoke to him, told him of a better life, the one he used to live with Ammë and Ada at the palace in Doriath.

"Eluréd!" he immediately screamed, small feet pattering through the trees to find his elder brother. The raven-haired prince turned swiftly on his heel, concern etched into every feature of his fair face. The younger child held something clutched in his hand and Eluréd wanted to know what it was.

"What have you there, muindor-nín?" he asked his little brother in their native tongue.

Elurín smiled. The sweet sound of the words cleansed his sensitive ears of all other frightening noises that surrounded the ghastly woods and echoes of the sounds of battle, the screams of the elves, the cold voices of their captors. "I found something," Elurín declared happily, handing the smooth shell to his brother.

Eluréd looked at the object curiously. "Then you have found water," he stated, though his strong voice was edged with anxiety and made the declaration more of a question, dreading a negative answer.

Elurín averted his eyes. "Nay, I have yet to find a source of any life-giving materials," the hundred-year-old said ashamedly. Eluréd looked upon his brother with compassion and laid a comforting hand upon the young one's shoulder.

Suddenly, the cloak of night seemed to fall upon them, as if a great eagle had shielded the sun from sharing her glorious rays. "This shell," Eluréd whispered wisely, not daring to speak louder, "is a light in the growing storm. It is a lone Silmaril sitting upon Melkor's dark lands!" Elurín looked at him quizzically, but Eluréd shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. What had made him say such things he knew not, but they were true. He pondered this until Elurín's small voice brought him out of his reverie.

"El, look!" he squeaked and his eyes glittered in wonder. The shell had begun to glow a gentle shade of white-blue, blending with the natural glow of the two young half-elves. It warmed in the palm of Eluréd's hand and he shivered with excitement. A tickling sensation in his stomach told him that something was about to happen.

A white light flashed and the shell glowed ever brighter, its rays reaching out to touch the burst of light. The most beautiful woman with raven hair and laughing blue eyes appeared in front of them, her dazzling smile fit to rival even the beauty of the sunset upon the Sea. Her teeth sparkled like thirty-six pearls grazing in a meadow of red. Her face was fair and her skin milky white.

"My children," she said as she gazed sadly upon them. Before either of them could answer, the shell glided off of Dior's heir's palm and hovered in the air by the fair lady's ear. She nodded and her laughing eyes grew grave, the night closed in about them, and the darkness swallowed all other objects that had previously been quite visible.

She gently caressed the spine of the shell and it flew back, first over Eluréd and then over Elurín. Each time it floated above their heads, it sprinkled a cool mist that contrasted sharply with the chestnut hair. "I am the lady Lúthien," the woman proclaimed in a voice that rang melodically and the children gasped. The fair lady Lúthien had come to rescue them, the beautiful elven maiden that had wed the mortal man Beren and recovered a Silmaril from the crown of Melkor for her love.

"I am your grandmother," she said delicately. "My two beautiful boys, I should have known that Dior would have such pure heirs! You will come with me and shall live in peace with the Valar forever more."

"Wait a moment," Elurín commanded curiously. "Ammë and Ada were killed. You are to take us back to Doriath?" Eluréd spared a moment of pity for his baby brother, for he knew that the second child of Dior had no idea what their grandmother was proposing.

Lúthien Tinúviel laughed again, which she seemed to do quite easily. "Life is a spring flower," she said wisely. "It is a series of stages that eventually lead to a beautiful flower fairer than all the land. Yet when spring ends, the petals shrivel and fall off; they end, and so must you, my beloved grandson, even though you are immortal." Elurín's eyes widened and he let out a small gasp, followed by a series of dry sobs. To his young mind, the thought of dying had never seemed welcoming and he had never truly perceived it as a threat because of his gift of immortality.

Tinúviel's heart went out to the sobbing child. "Fear not, for flowers rise again from the dead, new buds form and they live another spring! You, my love, shall live in the fair Havens and be at peace with your parents." She then knelt and plucked a golden flower from the ground that had not previously been there. Handing it to the elfling, she walked in between the two. Lúthien took Elurín's left hand in her right and Eluréd's slim right hand in her left, grasping them firmly.

A wind picked up and Lúthien gave a beautiful cry as she leapt into the air, the boy's following her example, and soon they were flying over the mountains and lands where they had dwelt for over a century. They flew across the Sea, where the sun came down upon them and spoke. "Welcome home, my children." The boys beamed, for they knew that it had been Ilúvatar speaking through the sun. Their hearts filled with joy. Perhaps this new life would be better after all.

When the boys landed, they immediately heard a tearful voice joyfully shout their names. "Eluréd! Elurín!" the voice called. They turned to see their mother and father quickly coming to embrace them. Lúthien stayed floating in the air, for it was not yet the time when mortals and immortals would dwell together in Eru's presence. Dior stopped in front of his mother's fair apparition and his eyes filled with tears as he clutched his eldest child. "Thank you, Mother," he whispered gratefully. Lúthien placed a kiss upon each family member's forehead before flying back to where she had come from, her task complete.

Yet three days later when a mortal man took his two sons hunting in the woods on Middle-Earth, they would come across a surprise. For there in the grass lay two elven children, their bodies chilled with early death but smiles upon their faces, and Eluréd's right hand clutching his younger brother's left hand. Between them, tucked safely in the folds of love and happiness, dwelled the shell, now as cold and pale as its new owners.