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Three Mariners

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They sat in the boat, shaken, clutching its sides, for Eonwe had plucked them from the deck of Vingilot like ripe plums out of a tree, without answering any questions, and set them into a boat as a boy might set his toys on a craft made of folded paper, launching it onto a pond. And now the three experienced mariners were become mere luggage as wind and current drove the boat irresistibly eastward, away from the shore of Valinor.

At last Erellont spoke--she was the oldest of the three and had been with Earendil in all his voyages:

Far have I followed Earendil over the deep, as he sailed his ship through the Shadowy Seas where the waves sigh over rocks shrouded in mist. The storms of Osse and the sea's tumult harried us from north to south and back again. We set foot upon untrodden isles, where the sun burns hot as a glede; we barely escaped the crushing embrace of pack ice. And stranger sights still have we seen together, survived much danger and horrors unguessed. He bid us stay himself, awaiting the outcome, but it comes hard now that I can follow him no farther.

Falathar responded: What shall we report to those who await--if any remain to await our tidings? Who was alive after the fall of Sirion? May not Morgoth have swept in to kill who was left on land? Perhaps, even now, the last of elves and men eke out their lives on ships and rafts... And we have no news of any outcome to give them, for the Maia answered no questions! Can we not turn this boat around, demand to be given a message?

Erellont answered: We are adrift on this current, no more able to navigate than logs.

 

Hush, said Aerandir, look. He was kneeling in the stern of the boat, gazing back toward the shore. The others looked up, as he bade, and, stunned, breathless, saw high in the west, rising slowly above their heads, the ship they had sailed in for so long. But she was utterly transformed so that they barely recognized the Vingilot they had known, those white timbers that had once been hewn from the familiar woods of Nimbrethil.

Aiya Vingilot, said Aerandir reverently.

Aiya Earendil, sighed Erellont.

Aiya Gil-estel, elenion ancalima, cried Falathar. Now indeed we have a message to bear.