Then said Eriol: 'Sad was the unchaining of Melko, methinks, even did it seem merciful and just — but how came the Gods to do this thing?'
Then Meril continuing said:
'Upon a time thereafter was the third period of Melko's prisonment beneath the halls of Mandos come nearly to its ending. Manwe sat upon the top of the mountain and gazed with his piercing eyes into the shades beyond Valinor, and hawks flew to him and from him bearing many great tidings, but Varda was singing a song and looking upon the plain of Valinor. Silpion was at that time glimmering and the roofs of Valmar below were black and silver beneath its rays; and Varda was joyous, but on a sudden Manwe spake, saying: "Behold, there is a gleam of gold beneath the pine-trees, and the deepest gloaming of the world is full of a patter of feet. The Eldar have come, O Taniquetil!" Then Varda arose swiftly and stretched her arms out North and South, and unbraided her long hair, and lifted up the Song of the Valar, and Ilwe was filled with the loveliness of her voice.
Then did she descend to Valmar and to the abode of Aule; and he was making vessels of silver for Lorien. A bason filled with the radiance of Telimpe was by his side, and this he used cunningly in his craft, but now Varda stood before him and said: "The Eldar have come!" and Aule flung down his hammer saying: "Then Iluvatar hath sent them at last," and the hammer striking some ingots of silver upon the floor did of its magic smite silver sparks to life, that flashed from his windows out into the heavens. Varda seeing this took of that radiance in the bason and mingled it with molten silver to make it more stable, and fared upon her wings of speed, and set stars about the firmament in very great profusion, so that the skies grew marvellously fair and their glory was doubled; and those stars that she then fashioned have a power of slumbers, for the silver of their bodies came of the treasury of Lorien and their radiance had lain in Telimpe long time in his garden.
Some have said that the Seven Stars were set at that time by Varda to commemorate the coming of the Eldar, and that Morwinyon who blazes above the world's edge in the west was dropped by her as she fared in great haste back to Valinor. Now this is indeed the true beginning of Morwinyon and his beauty, yet the Seven Stars were not set by Varda, being indeed the sparks from Aule's forge whose brightness in the ancient heavens urged Varda to make their rivals; yet this did she never achieve.
But now even as Varda is engaged in this great work, behold, Orome pricks over the plain, and drawing rein he shouts aloud so that all the ears in Valmar may hear him: "Tulielto! Tulieito! They have come — they have come!" Then he stands midway between the Two Trees and winds his horn, and the gates of Valmar are opened, and the Vali troop into the plain, for they guess that tidings of wonder have come into the world. Then spake Orome: "Behold the woods of the Great Lands, even in Palisor the midmost region where the pinewoods murmur unceasingly, are full of a strange noise. There did I wander, and lo! 'twas as if folk arose betimes beneath the latest stars. There was a stir among the distant trees and words were spoken suddenly, and feet went to and fro. Then did I say what is this deed that Palurien my mother has wrought in secret, and I sought her out and questioned her, and she answered: 'This is no work of mine, but the hand of one far greater did this. Iluvatar hath awakened his children at the last — ride home to Valinor and tell the Gods that the Eldar have come indeed!' "
Then shouted all the people of Valinor: "I-Eldar tulier — the Eldar have come" — and it was not until that hour that the Gods knew that their joy had contained a flaw, or that they had waited in hunger for its completion, but now they knew that the world had been an empty place beset with loneliness having no children for her own.
Now once more is council set and Manwe sitteth before the Gods there amid the Two Trees — and those had now borne light for four ages. Every one of the Vali fare thither, even Ulmo Vailimo in great haste from the Outer Seas, and his face is eager and glad.
On that day Manwe released Melko from Angaino before the full time of his doom, but the manacles and the fetters of tilkal were not unloosed, and he bore them yet upon wrist and ankle. Great joy blindeth even the forewisdom of the Gods. Last of all came Palurien Yavanna hasting from Palisor, and the Valar debated concerning the Eldar; but Melko sat at the feet of Tulkas and feigned a glad and humble cheer. At length it is the word of the Gods that some of the newcomer Eldar be bidden to Valinor, there to speak to Manwe and his people, telling of their coming into the world and of the desires that it awakened in them.
Then does Nornore, whose feet flash invisibly for the greatness of their speed, hurtle from Valinor bearing the embassy of Manwe, and he goes unstaying over both land and sea to Palisor. There he finds a place deep in a vale surrounded by pine-clad slopes; its floor is a pool of wide water and its roof the twilight set with Varda's stars. There had Orome heard the awaking of the Eldar, and all songs name that place Koivie-neni or the Waters of Awakening.
Now all the slopes of that valley and the bare margin of the lake, even the rugged fringes of the hills beyond, be filled with a concourse of folk who gaze in wonder at the stars, and some sing already with voices that are very beautiful. But Nornore stood upon a hill and was amazed for the beauty of that folk, and because he was a Vala they seemed to him marvellously small and delicate and their faces wistful and tender. Then did he speak in the great voice of the Valar and all those shining faces turned towards his voice.
"Behold O Eldalie, desired are ye for all the age of twilight, and sought for throughout the ages of peace, and I come even from Manwe Sulimo Lord of the Gods who abides upon Taniquetil in peace and wisdom to you who are the Children of Iluvatar, and these are the words he put into my mouth to speak: Let now some few of you come back with me — for am I not Nornore herald of the Valar — and enter Valinor and speak with him, that he may learn of your coming and of all your desires."
Great was the stir and wonder now about the waters of Koivie, and its end was that three of the Eldar came forward daring to go with Nornore, and these he bore now back to Valinor, and their names as the Elves of Kôr have handed them on were Isil Inwe, and Finwe Noleme who was Turondo's father, and Tinwe Linto father of Tinuviel — but the Noldoli call them Inwithiel, Golfinweg, and Tinwelint. Afterward they became very great among the Eldar, and the Teleri were those who followed Isil, but his kindred and descendants are that royal folk the Inwir of whose blood I am. Noleme was lord of the Noldoli, and of his son Turondo (or Turgon as they called him) are great tales told, but Tinwe abode not long with his people, and yet 'tis said lives still lord of the scattered Elves of Hisilome, dancing in its twilight places with Wendelin his spouse, a sprite come long long ago from the quiet gardens of Lorien; yet greatest of all the Elves did Isil Inwe become, and folk reverence his mighty name to this day.
Behold now brought by Nornore the three Elves stood before the Gods, and it was at that time the changing of the lights, and Silpion was waning but Laurelin was awakening to his greatest glory, even as Silmo emptied the urn of silver about the roots of the other Tree. Then those Elves were utterly dazed and astonied by the splendour of the light, whose eyes knew only the dusk and had yet seen no brighter things than Varda's stars, but the beauty and majestic strength of the Gods in conclave filled them with awe, and the roofs of Valmar blazing afar upon the plain made them tremble, and they bowed in reverence — but Manwe said to them: "Rise, O Children of Iluvatar, for very glad are the Gods of your coming! Tell us how ye came; how found ye the world; what seemeth it to you who are its first offspring, or with what desires doth it fill you."
But Noleme answering said: "Lo! Most mighty one, whence indeed come we! For meseems I awoke but now from a sleep eternally profound, whose vast dreams already are forgotten." And Tinwe said thereto that his heart told him that he was new-come from illimitable regions, yet he might not recollect by what dark and strange paths he had been brought; and last spake Inwe, who had been gazing upon Laurelin while the others spake, and he said: "Knowing neither whence I come nor by what ways nor yet whither I go, the world that we are in is but one great wonderment to me, and methinks I love it wholly, yet it fills me altogether with a desire for light."
Then Manwe saw that Iluvatar had wiped from the minds of the Eldar all knowledge of the manner of their coming, and that the Gods might not discover it; and he was filled with deep astonishment; but Yavanna who hearkened also caught her breath for the stab of the words of Inwe, saying that he desired light. Then she looked upon Laurelin and her heart thought of the fruitful orchards in Valmar, and she whispered to Tuivana who sat beside her, gazing upon the tender grace of those Eldar; then those twain said to Manwe: "Lo! the Earth and its shadows are no place for creatures so fair, whom only the heart and mind of Iluvatar have conceived. Fair are the pine-forests and the thickets, but they be full of unelfin spirits and Mandos' children walk abroad and vassals of Melko lurk in strange places — and we ourselves would not be without the sight of this sweet folk. Their distant laughter has filtered to our ears from Palisor, and we would have it echo always about us in our halls and pleasaunces in Valmar. Let the Eldar dwell among us, and the well of our joy be filled from new springs that may not dry up."
Then arose a clamour among the Gods and the most spake for Palurien and Vana, whereas Makar said that Valinor was builded for the Valar — "and already is it a rose-garden of fair ladies rather than an abode of men. Wherefore do ye desire to fill it with the children of the world?" In this Measse backed him, and Mandos and Fui were cold to the Eldar as to all else; yet was Varda vehement in support of Yavanna and Tuivana, and indeed her love for the Eldar has ever been the greatest of all the folk of Valinor; and Aule and Lorien, Orome and Nessa and Ulmo most mightily proclaimed their desire for the bidding of the Eldar to dwell among the Gods. Wherefore, albeit Osse spake cautiously against it — belike out of that ever-smouldering jealousy and rebellion he felt against Ulmo — it was the voice of the council that the Eldar should be bidden, and the Gods awaited but the judgement of Manwe. Behold even Melko seeing where was the majority insinuated his guileful voice into the pleading, and has nonetheless since those days maligned the Valar, saying they did but summon the Eldar as to a prison out of covetice and jealousy of their beauty. Thus often did he lie to the Noldoli afterwards when he would stir their restlessness, adding beside all truth that he alone had withstood the general voice and spoken for the freedom of the Elves.
Maybe indeed had the Gods decided otherwise the world had been a fairer place now and the Eldar a happier folk, but never would they have achieved such glory, knowledge, and beauty as they did of old, and still less would any of Melko's redes have benefited them.
Now having hearkened to all that was said Manwe gave judgement and was glad, for indeed his heart leaned of itself to the leading of the Eldar from the dusky world to the light of Valinor. Turning to the three Eldar he said: "Go ye back now to your kindreds and Nornore shall bring you swiftly there, even to Koivie-neni in Palisor. Behold, this is the word of Manwe Sulimo, and the voice of the Valar's desire, that the people of the Eldalie, the Children of Iluvatar, fare to Valinor, and there dwell in the splendour of Laurelin and the radiance of Silpion and know the happiness of the Gods. An abode of surpassing beauty shall they possess, and the Gods will aid them in its building."
Thereto answered Inwe: "Fain are we indeed of thy bidding, and who of the Eldalie that have already longed for the beauty of the stars will stay or rest till his eyes have feasted on the blessed light of Valinor!" Thereafter Nornore guided those Elves back to the bare margins of Koivie-neni, and standing upon a boulder Inwe spake the embassy to all those hosts of the Eldalie that Iluvatar waked first upon the Earth, and all such as heard his words were filled with desire to see the faces of the Gods.
When Nornore returning told the Valar that the Elves were indeed coming and that Iluvatar had set already a great multitude upon the Earth, the Gods made mighty preparation. Behold Aule gathers his tools and stuffs and Yavanna and Tuivana wander about the plain even to the foothills of the mountains and the bare coasts of the Shadowy Seas, seeking them a home and an abiding-place; but Orome goeth straightway out of Valinor into the forests whose every darkling glade he knew and every dim path had traversed, for he purposed to guide the troops of the Eldar from Palisor over all the wide lands west till they came to the confines of the Great Sea.
To those dark shores fared Ulmo, and strange was the roaring of the unlit sea in those most ancient days upon that rocky coast that bore still the scars of the tumultuous wrath of Melko. Falman-Osse was little pleased to see Ulmo in the Great Seas, for Ulmo had taken that island whereon Osse himself had drawn the Gods to Arvalin, saving them from the rising waters when Ringil and Helkar thawed beneath their blazing lamps. That was many ages past in the days when the Gods were new-come strangers in the world, and during all that time the island had floated darkly in the Shadowy Seas, desolate save when Osse climbed its beaches on his journeys in the deeps; but now Ulmo had come upon his secret island and harnessed thereto a host of the greatest fish, and amidmost was Uin the mightiest and most ancient of whales; and he bid these put forth their strength, and they drew the island mightily to the very shores of the Great Lands, even to the coast of Hisilome northward of the Iron Mountains whither all the deepest shades withdrew when the Sun first arose.
Now Ulmo stands there and there comes a glint in the woods that marched even down to the sea-foam in those quiet days, and behold! he hears the footsteps of the Teleri crackle in the forest, and Inwe is at their head beside the stirrup of Orome. Grievous had been their march, and dark and difficult the way through Hisilome the land of shade, despite the skill and power of Orome. Indeed long after the joy of Valinor had washed its memory faint the Elves sang still sadly of it, and told tales of many of their folk whom they said and say were lost in those old forests and ever wandered there in sorrow. Still were they there long after when Men were shut in Hisilome by Melko, and still do they dance there when Men have wandered far over the lighter places of the Earth. Hisilome did Men name Aryador, and the Lost Elves did they call the Shadow Folk, and feared them.
Nonetheless the most of the great companies of the Teleri came now to the beaches and climbed therefrom upon the island that Ulmo had brought. Ulmo counselled them that they wait not for the other kindreds, and though at first they will not yield, weeping at the thought, at last are they persuaded, and straightway are drawn with utmost speed beyond the Shadowy Seas and the wide bay of Arvalin to the strands of Valinor. There does the distant beauty of the trees shining down the opening in the hills enchant their hearts, and yet do they stand gazing back across the waters they have passed, for they know not where those other kindreds of their folk may be, and not even the loveliness of Valinor do they desire without them.
Then leaving them silent and wondering on the shore Ulmo draws back that great island-car to the rocks of Hisilome, and behold, warmed by the distant gleam of Laurelin that lit upon its western edge as it lay in the Bay of Faery, new and more tender trees begin to grow upon it, and the green of herbage is seen upon its slopes.
Now Osse raises his head above the waves in wrath, deeming himself slighted that his aid was not sought in the ferrying of the Elves, but his own island taken unasked. Fast does he follow in Ulmo's wake and yet is left far behind, for Ulmo set the might of the Valar in Uin and the whales. Upon the cliffs there stand already the Noldoli in anguish, thinking themselves deserted in the gloom, and Noleme Finwe who had led them thither hard upon the rear of the Teleri went among them enheartening them. Full of travail their journey too had been, for the world is wide and nigh half across it had they come from most distant Palisor, and in those days neither sun shone nor moon gleamed, and pathways were there none be it of Elves or of Men. Orome too was far ahead riding before the Teleri upon the march and was now gone back into the lands. There the Solosimpi were astray in the forests stretching deep behind, and his horn wound faintly in the ears of those upon the shore, from whence that Vala sought them up and down the dark vales of Hisilome.
Therefore now coming Ulmo thinks to draw the Noldoli swiftly to the strand of Valinor, returning once again for those others when Orome shall have led them to the coast. This does he, and Falman beholds that second ferrying from afar and spumes in rage, but great is the joy of the Teleri and Noldoli upon that shore where the lights are those of late summer afternoons for the distant glow of Lindelokse. There may I leave them for a while and tell of the strange happenings that befell the Solosimpi by reason of Osse's wrath, and of the first dwelling upon Tol Eressëa.
Fear falls upon them in that old darkness, and beguiled by the fair music of the fay Wendelin, as other tales set forth more fully elsewhere, their leader Tinwe Linto was lost, and long they sought him, but it was in vain, and he came never again among them. When therefore they heard the horn of Orome ringing in the forest great was their joy, and gathering to its sound soon are they led to the cliffs, and hear the murmur of the sunless sea. Long time they waited there, for Osse cast storms and shadows about the return of Ulmo, so that he drove by devious ways, and his great fish faltered in their going; yet at the last do they too climb upon that island and are drawn towards Valinor; and one Ellu they chose in place of Tinwe, and he has ever since been named the Lord of the Solosimpi.
Behold now less than half the distance have they traversed, and the Twilit Isles float still far aloof, when Osse and Onen waylay them in the western waters of the Great Sea ere yet the mists of the Shadowy Seas are reached. Then Osse seizes that island in his great hand, and all the great strength of Uin may scarcely drag it onward, for at swimming and in deeds of bodily strength in the water none of the Valar, not even Ulmo's self, is Osse's match, and indeed Ulmo was not at hand, for he was far ahead piloting the great craft in the glooms that Osse had gathered, leading it onward with the music of his conches. Now ere he can return Osse with Onen's aid had brought the isle to a stand, and was anchoring it even to the sea-bottom with giant ropes of those leather-weeds and polyps that in those dark days had grown already in slow centuries to unimagined girth about the pillars of his deepsea house. Thereto as Ulmo urges the whales to put forth all their strength and himself aids with all his godlike power, Osse piles rocks and boulders of huge mass that Melko's ancient wrath had strewn about the seafloor, and builds these as a column beneath the island.
Vainly doth Ulmo trumpet and Uin with the flukes of his unmeasured tail lash the seas to wrath, for thither Osse now brings every kind of deep sea creature that buildeth itself a house and dwelling of stony shell; and these he planted about the base of the island: corals there were of every kind and barnacles and sponges like stone. Nonetheless for a very great while did that struggle endure,until at length Ulmo returned to Valmar in wrath and dismay. There did he warn the other Valar that the Solosimpi may not yet be brought thither, for that the isle has grown fast in the most lonely waters of the world.
There stands that island yet — indeed thou knowest it, for it is called "the Lonely Isle" — and no land may be seen for many leagues' sail from its cliffs, for the Twilit Isles upon the bosom of the Shadowy Seas are deep in the dim West, and the Magic Isles lie backward in the East.
Now therefore do the Gods bid the Elves build a dwelling, and Aule aided them in that, but Ulmo fares back to the Lonely Island, and lo! it stands now upon a pillar of rock upon the seas' floor, and Osse fares about it in a foam of business anchoring all the scattered islands of his domain fast to the ocean-bed. Hence came the first dwelling of the Solosimpi on the Lonely Island, and the deeper sundering of that folk from the others both in speech and customs; for know that all these great deeds of the past that make but a small tale now were not lightly achieved and in a moment of time, but rather would very many men have grown and died betwixt the binding of the Islands and the making of the Ships.
Twice now had that isle of their dwelling caught the gleam of the glorious Trees of Valinor, and so was it already fairer and more fertile and more full of sweet plants and grasses than the other places of all the world beside where great light had not been seen; indeed the Solosimpi say that birches grew there already, and many reeds, and turf there was upon the western slopes. There too were many caverns, and there was a stretching shoreland of white sand about the feet of black and purple cliffs, and here was the dwelling even in those deepest days of the Solosimpi.
There Ulmo sate upon a headland and spake to them words of comfort and of the deepest wisdom; and all sea-lore he told them, and they hearkened; and music he taught them, and they made slender pipes of shells. By reason of that labour of Osse there are no strands so strewn with marvellous shells as were the white beaches and the sheltered coves of Tol Eressëa, and the Solosimpi dwelt much in caves, and adorned them with those sea-treasures, and the sound of their wistful piping might be heard for many a long day come faintly down the winds.
Then Falman-Osse's heart melted towards them and he would have released them, save for the new joy and pride he had that their beauty dwelt thus amidmost of his realm, so that their pipes gave perpetual pleasure to his ear, and Uinen and the Oarni and all the spirits of the waves were enamoured of them.
So danced the Solosimpi upon the waves' brink, and the love of the sea and rocky coasts entered in their hearts, even though they gazed in longing towards the happy shores whither long ago the Teleri and Noldoli had been borne. Now these after a season took hope and their sorrow grew less bitter, learning how their kindred dwelt in no unkindly land, and Ulmo had them under his care and guardianship. Wherefore they heeded now the Gods' desire and turned to the building of their home; and Aule taught them very much lore and skill, and Manwe also. Now Manwe loved more the Teleri, and from him and from Omar did they learn deeper of the craft of song and poesy than all the Elves beside; but the Noldoli were beloved most by Aule, and they learned much of his science, till their hearts became unquiet for the lust of more knowing, but they grew to great wisdom and to great subtlety of skill.
Behold there is a low place in that ring of mountains that guards Valinor, and there the shining of the Trees steals through from the plain beyond and gilds the dark waters of the bay of Arvalin, but a great beach of finest sand, golden in the blaze of Laurelin, white in the light of Silpion, runs inland there, where in the trouble of the ancient seas a shadowy arm of water had groped in toward Valinor, but now there is only a slender water fringed with white. At the head of this long creek there stands a lonely hill which gazes at the loftier mountains. Now all the walls of that inlet of the seas are luxuriant with a marvellous vigour of fair trees, but the hill is covered only with a deep turf, and harebells grow atop of it ringing softly in the gentle breath of Sulimo.
Here was the place that those fair Elves bethought them to dwell, and the Gods named that hill Kôr by reason of its roundness and its smoothness. Thither did Aule bring all the dust of magic metals that his great works had made and gathered, and he piled it about the foot of that hill, and most of this dust was of gold, and a sand of gold stretched away from the feet of Kôr out into the distance where the Two Trees blossomed. Upon the hill-top the Elves built fair abodes of shining white — of marbles and stones quarried from the Mountains of Valinor that glistened wondrously, silver and gold and a substance of great hardness and white lucency that they contrived of shells melted in the dew of Silpion, and white streets there were bordered with dark trees that wound with graceful turns or climbed with flights of delicate stairs up from the plain of Valinor to topmost Kôr; and all those shining houses clomb each shoulder higher than the others till the house of Inwe was reached that was the uppermost, and had a slender silver tower shooting skyward like a needle, and a white lamp of piercing ray was set therein that shone upon the shadows of the bay, but every window of the city on the hill of Kôr looked out toward the sea. Fountains there were of great beauty and frailty and roofs and pinnacles of bright glass and amber that was made by Palurien and Ulmo, and trees stood thick on the white walls and terraces, and their golden fruit shone richly.
Now at the building of Kôr the Gods gave to Inwe and to Noleme a shoot each of either of those glorious trees, and they grew to very small and slender elfin trees, but blossomed both eternally without abating, and those of the courts of Inwe were the fairest, and about them the Teleri sang songs of happiness, but others singing also fared up and down the marble flights and the wistful voices of the Noldoli were heard about the courts and chambers; but yet the Solosimpi dwelt far off amid the sea and made windy music on their pipes of shell.
Now is Osse very fain of those Solosimpi, the shoreland pipers, and if Ulmo be not nigh he sits upon a reef at sea and many of the Oarni are by him, and hearkens to their voice and watches their flitting dances on this shore, but to Valmar he dare not fare again for the power of Ulmo in the councils of the Valar and the wrath of that mighty one at the anchoring of the islands.
Indeed war had been but held off by the Gods, who desired peace and would not suffer Ulmo to gather the folk of the Valar and assail Osse and rend the islands from their new roots. Therefore does Osse sometimes ride the foams out into the bay of Arvalin and gaze upon the glory of the hills, and he longs for the light and happiness upon the plain, but most for the song of birds and the swift movement of their wings into the clean air, grown weary of his silver and dark fish silent and strange amid the deep waters.
But on a day some birds came flying high from the gardens of Yavanna, and some were white and some black and some both black and white; and being dazed among the shadows they had not where to settle, and Osse coaxed them, and they settled about his mighty shoulders, and he taught them to swim and gave them great strength of wing, for of such strength of shoulder he had more than any other being and was the greatest of swimmers; and he poured fishy oils upon their feathers that they might bear the waters, and he fed them on small fish.
Then did he turn away to his own seas, and they swam about him or fared above him on low wing crying and piping; and he showed them dwellings on the Twilit Isles and even about the cliffs of Tol Eressëa, and the manner of diving and of spearing fish they learned there, and their voices became harsh for the rugged places of their life far from the soft regions of Valinor or wailing for the music of the Solosimpi and sighing of the sea. And now have all that great folk of gulls and seamews and petrels come into their kingdom; and puffins are there, and eider-duck, and cormorants, and gannets, and rock-doves, and the cliffs are full of a chattering and a smell of fish, and great conclaves are held upon their ledges, or among spits and reefs among the waters. But the proudest of all these birds were the swans, and these Osse let dwell in Tol Eressëa, flying along its coasts or paddling inland up its streams; and he set them there as a gift and joy to the Solosimpi. But when Ulmo heard of these new deeds he was ill-pleased for the havoc wrought amid the fishes wherewith he had filled the waters with the aid of Palurien.
Now do the Solosimpi take great joy of their birds, new creatures to them, and of swans, and behold upon the lakes of Tol Eressëa already they fare on rafts of fallen timber, and some harness thereto swans and speed across the waters; but the more hardy dare out upon the sea and the gulls draw them, and when Ulmo saw that he was very glad. For lo! the Teleri and Noldoli complain much to Manwe of the separation of the Solosimpi, and the Gods desire them to be drawn to Valinor; but Ulmo cannot yet think of any device save by help of Osse and the Oarni, and will not be humbled to this.
But now does he fare home in haste to Aule, and those twain got them speedily to Tol Eressëa, and Orome was with them, and there is the first hewing of trees that was done in the world outside Valinor. Now does Aule of the sawn wood of pine and oak make great vessels like to the bodies of swans, and these he covers with the bark of silver birches, and with gathered feathers of the oily plumage of Osse's birds, and they are nailed and sturdily riveted and fastened with silver, and he carves prows for them like the upheld necks of swans, but they are hollow and have no feet; and by cords of great strength and slimness are gulls and petrels harnessed to them, for they were tame to the hands of the Solosimpi, because their hearts were so turned by Osse.
Now are the beaches upon the western shores of Tol Eressëa, even at Falasse Numea (Western Surf), thronged with that people of the Elves, and drawn up there is a very great host indeed of those swanships, and the cry of the gulls above them is unceasing. But the Solosimpi arise in great numbers and climb into the hollow bodies of these new things of Aule's skill, and more of their kin fare ever to the shores, marching to the sound of innumerable pipes and flutes.
Now all are embarked and the gulls fare mightily into the twilit sky, but Aule and Orome are in the foremost galley and the mightiest, and seven hundred gulls are harnessed thereto and it gleams with silver and white feathers, and has a beak of gold and eyes of jet and amber. But Ulmo fares at the mar in his fishy car and trumpets loudly for the discomfiture of Osse and the rescue of the Shoreland Elves.
But Osse seeing how these birds have been to his undoing is very downcast, yet for the presence of those three Gods and indeed for his love of the Solosimpi that had grown by now very great he molested not their white fleet, and they came thus over the grey leagues of the ocean, through the dim sounds, and the mists of the Shadowy Seas, even to the first dark waters of the bay of Arvalin.
Know then that the Lonely Island is upon the confines of the Great Sea. Now that Great Sea or the Western Water is beyond the westernmost limits of the Great Lands, and in it are many lands and islands ere beyond their anchorage you reach the Magic Isles, and beyond these still lies Tol Eressëa. But beyond Tol Eressëa is the misty wall and those great sea glooms beneath which lie the Shadowy Seas, and thereon float the Twilit Isles whither only pierced at clearest times the faintest twinkle of the far gleam of Silpion. But in the westernmost of these stood the Tower of Pearl built in after days and much sung in song; but the Twilit Isles are held the first of the Outer Lands, which are these and Arvalin and Valinor, and Tol Eressëa is held neither of the Outer Lands or of the Great Lands where Men after roamed. But the farthest shore of those Shadowy Seas is Arvalin or Erumani to the far south, but more northerly do they lap the very coasts of Eldamar, and here are they broader to one faring west.
Beyond Arvalin tower those huge Mountains of Valinor which are in a great ring bending slowly west, but the Shadowy Seas make a vast bay to the north of Arvalin running right up to the black feet of the mountains, so that here they border upon the waters and not upon the lands, and there at the bay's innermost stands Taniquetil, glorious to behold, loftiest of all mountains clad in purest snow, looking across Arvalin half south and half north across that mighty Bay of Faery, and so beyond the Shadowy Seas themselves, even so that all the sails upon the sunlit waters of the Great Sea in after days (when the Gods had made that lamp) and all the throngs about the western havens of the Lands of Men could be seen from its summit; and yet is that distance counted only in unimagined leagues.
But now comes that strange fleet nigh these regions and eager eyes look out. There stand Taniquetil and he is purple and dark of one side with gloom of Arvalin and of the Shadowy Seas, and lit in glory of the other by reason of the light of the Trees of Valinor. Now where the seas lapped those shores of old their waves long ere their breaking were suddenly lit by Laurelin were it day or by Silpion were it night, and the shadows of the world ceased almost abruptly and the waves laughed. But an opening in the mountains on those shores let through a glimpse of Valinor, and there stood the hill of Kôr, and the white sand runs up the creek to meet it, but its feet are in green water, and behind the sand of gold fares away farther than eye can guess, and indeed beyond Valinor who has heard or seen anything save Ulmo, yet of a certainty here spread the dark waters of the Outer Seas: tideless are they and very cool, and so thin that no boat can float upon their bosom, and few fish swim beneath their depths.
But now upon the hill of Kôr is a running and a joyous concourse, and all the people of the Teleri and Noldoli fare out of the gates and wait to welcome the coming of the fleet upon the shore. And now those ships leave the shadows and now are caught in the bright gleam about the inner bay, and now are they beached high and the Solosimpi dance and pipe, and mingle with the singing of the Teleri and the Noldoli's faint music.
Far behind lay Tol Eressëa in silence and its woods and shores were still, for nearly all that host of sea-birds had flown after the Eldar and wailed now about the shores of Eldamar. But Osse dwelt in despondency and his silver halls in Valmar abode long empty, for he came no nearer to them for a great while than the shadow's edge, whither came the wailing of his sea-birds far away.
Now the Solosimpi abode not much in Kôr but had strange dwellings among the shoreland rocks, and Ulmo came and sat among them as aforetime in Tol Eressëa, and that was his time of greatest mirth and gentleness, and all his lore and love of music he poured out to them, and they drank it eagerly. Musics did they make and weave catching threads of sound whispered by waters in caverns or by wave-tops brushed by gentle winds; and these they twined with the wail of gulls and the echoes of their own sweet voices in the places of their home. But the Teleri and Inwir gathered harvest of poesy and song, and were oftenest among the Gods, dancing in the skiey halls of Manwe for the joy of Varda of the Stars, or filling the streets and courts of Valmar with the strange loveliness of their pomps and revelry; for Orome and for Nessa they danced upon green swards, and the glades of Valinor knew them as they flitted among the gold-lit trees, and Palurien was very merry for the sight of them. Often were the Noldoli with them and made much music for the multitude of their harps and viols was very sweet, and Salmar loved them; but their greatest delight was in the courts of Aule, or in their own dear homes in Kôr, fashioning many beautiful things and weaving many stories. With paintings and broidered hangings and carvings of great delicacy they filled all their city, and even did Valmar grow more fair beneath their skilful hands.
Now is to tell how the Solosimpi fared often about the near seas in their swanships, or drawn by the birds, or paddling themselves with great oars that they had made to the likeness of the webs of swan or duck; and they dredged the sea-beds and won wealth of the slim shells of those magic waters and uncounted store of pearls of a most pure and starry lustre: and these were both their glory and delight and the envy of the other Eldar who longed for them to shine in the adornment of the city of Kôr.
But those of the Noldoli whom Aule had most deeply taught laboured in secret unceasingly, and of Aule they had wealth of metals and of stones and marbles, and of the leave of the Valar much store too was granted to them of the radiance of Kulullin and of Telimpe held in hidden bowls. Starlight they had of Varda and strands of the bluest ilwe Manwe gave them; water of the most limpid pools in that creek of Kôr, and crystal drops from all the sparkling founts in the courts of Valmar. Dews did they gather in the woods of Orome, and flower-petals of all hues and honeys in Yavanna's gardens, and they chased the beams of Laurelin and Silpion amongst the leaves.
But when all this wealth of fair and radiant things was gathered, they got of the Solosimpi many shells white and pink, and purest foam, and lastly some few pearls. These pearls were their model, and the lore of Aule and the magic of the Valar were their tools, and all the most lovely things of the substance of the Earth the matters of their craft — and therefrom did the Noldoli with great labour invent and fashion the first gems. Crystals did they make of the waters of the springs shot with the lights of Silpion; amber and chrysoprase and topaz glowed beneath their hands, and garnets and rubies they wrought, making their glassy substance as Aule had taught them but dyeing them with the juices of roses and red flowers, and to each they gave a heart of fire. Emeralds some made of the water of the creek of Kôr and glints among the grassy glades of Valinor, and sapphires did they fashion in great profusion, tingeing them with the airs of Manwe; amethysts there were and moonstones, beryls and onyx, agates of blended marbles and many lesser stones, and their hearts were very glad, nor were they content with a few, but made them jewels in immeasurable number till all the fair substances were well nigh exhausted and the great piles of those gems might not be concealed but blazed in the light like beds of brilliant flowers. Then took they those pearls that had and some of wellnigh all their jewels and made a new gem of a milky pallor shot with gleams like echoes of all other stones, and this they thought very fair, and they were opals; but still some laboured on, and of starlight and the purest water-drops, of the dew of Silpion, and the thinnest air, they made diamonds, and challenged any to make fairer.
Then arose Fëanor of the Noldoli and fared to the Solosimpi and begged a great pearl, and he got moreover an urn full of the most luminous phosphor-light gathered of foam in dark places, and with these he came home, and he took all the other gems and did gather their glint by the light of white lamps and silver candles, and he took the sheen of pearls and the faint half-colours of opals, and he bathed them in phosphorescence and the radiant dew of Silpion, and but a single tiny drop of the light of Laurelin did he let fall therein, and giving all those magic lights a body to dwell in of such perfect glass as he alone could make nor even Aule compass, so great was the slender dexterity of the fingers of Fëanor, he made a jewel — and it shone of its own radiance in the uttermost dark; and he set it therein and sat a very long while and gazed at its beauty. Then he made two more,and had no more stuffs: and he fetched the others to behold his handiwork, and they were utterly amazed, and those jewels he called Silmarilli, or as we say the name in the speech of the Noldoli today Silubrilthin. Wherefore though the Solosimpi held ever that none of the gems of the Noldoli, not even that majestic shimmer of diamonds, overpassed their tender pearls, yet have all held who ever saw them that the Silmarils of Fëanor were the most beautiful jewels that ever shone or glowed.
Now Kôr is lit with this wealth of gems and sparkles most marvellously, and all the kindred of the Eldalie are made rich in their loveliness by the generosity of the Noldoli, and the Gods' desire of their beauty is sated to the full. Sapphires in great wonder were given to Manwe and his raiment was crusted with them, and Orome had a belt of emeralds, but Yavanna loved all the gems, and Aule's delight was in diamonds and amethysts. Melko alone was given none of them, for that he had not expiated his many crimes, and he lusted after them exceedingly, yet said nought, feigning to hold them of lesser worth than metals.
But now all the kindred of the Eldalie has found its greatest bliss, and the majesty and glory of the Gods and their home is augmented to the greatest splendour that the world has seen, and the Trees shone on Valinor, and Valinor gave back their light in a thousand scintillations of splintered colours; but the Great Lands were still and dark and very lonesome, and Osse sat without the precincts and saw the moongleam of Silpion twinkle on the pebbles of diamonds and of crystals which the Gnomes cast in prodigality about the margin of the seas, and the glassy fragments splintered in their labouring glittered about the seaward face of Kôr; but the pools amid the dark rocks were filled with jewels, and the Solosimpi whose robes were sewn with pearls danced about them, and that was the fairest of all shores, and the music of the waters about those silver strands was beyond all sounds enchanting.
These were the rocks of Eldamar, and I saw them long ago, for Inwe was my grandsire's sire"; and even he was the eldest of the Elves and had lived yet in majesty had he not perished in that march into the world, but Ingil his son went long ago back to Valinor and is with Manwe. And I am also akin to the shoreland dancers, and these things that I tell you I know they are true; and the magic and the wonder of the Bay of Faery is such that none who have seen it as it was then can speak without a catch of the breath and a sinking of the voice.'
Then Meril the Queen ceased her long tale, but Eriol said nought, gazing at the long radiance of the westering sun gleaming through the apple boles, and dreaming of Faery.
At length said Meril: 'Fare now home, for the afternoon has waned, and the telling of the tale has set a weight of desire in my heart and in thine. But be in patience and bide yet ere ye seek fellowship with that sad kindred of the Island Elves.' But Eriol said: 'Even now I know not and it passes my heart to guess how all that loveliness came to fading, or the Elves might be prevailed to depart from Eldamar.' But Meril said: 'Nay, I have lengthened the tale too much for love of those days, and many great things lie between the making of the gems and the coming back to Tol Eressëa: but these things many know as well as I, and Lindo or Rumil of Mar Vanwa Tyalieva would tell them more skilfully than I.'
Then did she and Eriol fare back to the house of flowers, and Eriol took his leave ere the western face of Ingil's tower was yet grown grey with dusk.