Eight Elven Cloaks
Middle-earth belongs to Tolkien.
Even her step was a caress. Elanor and niphredil bowed on their slender stalks and received her footfall like a blessing. Behind her, the blades of grass unfurled again, touched, but not maimed. Her passage was silent, yet a memory of half-forgotten songs seemed to float through the air. Surrounded by a gentle shimmer of golden light, Galadriel walked under the mellyrn of Caras Galadhon until she reached the base of one of the greater trees. She made her way up the winding stair to a large flet that held a fair and lofty bower. With a faint rustle of her white garments, she entered.
Inside, a group of maidens sat on silken cushions bent over fine needlework. They lifted their heads as their lady appeared. Galadriel looked at each in turn. Aerwing, the eldest, rose to greet her. Beside her the sisters Maedhvel and Parvelui moved their slender fingers in a work of delicate embroidery. Salabeth with the ebony hair put the scissors aside. Belegwen, Gathgael and fair Faenchiriel regarded their lady with silent attention. Lindhris, who had been singing when Galadriel arrived, halted her song.
"I have a task for you, my fair friends. Eight travellers have come to Lothlorien on a quest that will decide the fate of all Middle-earth. What power we have to aid them, we shall give.
For many long hours we sat by the loom together, weaving a cloth fine and yet strong, such as no other people in all of Middle-earth can accomplish. Your hands are as nimble with needle and thread as they are with the shuttle. Make cloaks for the travellers after the fashion of our own people. One for an elf, one for a dwarf, two for men with the stature of great warriors. The other four will be worn by halflings, barely the size of an elfling of fifteen years. These eight cloaks you must finish before seven nights have passed. Today you shall meet those who will wear them. You are wise. You have eyes that see much and ears that can hear words both spoken and unspoken. Use the time well, that the cloaks may fit their minds as well as their bodies."
The elf maidens bowed their heads.
"The cloaks shall be made as you command, Lady Galadriel," said Aerwing.
When the stars faded and pale sunlight trickled down to the forest floor, the eight elf maidens returned to their bower and set to work. With smooth, silent movements they spread out the cloth, marked out the shapes and cut the fabric with their shiny scissors. When they sat down in a circle, each with her portion of the light grey cloth, Aerwing said:
"We are honoured to be thus chosen. These cloaks will be our part in the great story of this Age. Let us put into them all that is in our power to bestow."
"They will be beautiful, yet hard-wearing," said Gathgael.
"They will be light and yet warm," said Lindhris.
"They will hide them from unfriendly eyes," said Maedhvel.
"All this they will," agreed Aerwing, "but there is yet more that we can give. Into each cloak let us sew a blessing to grace the fate of him who will wear it."
The others bowed their heads in agreement.
"Let us think of a blessing for the cloak I am making," Salabeth began...