Chapter Twenty-Seven

53 6 21

Estela stood staring up at the Lord of all Dark Lords, riveted to the spot by fear. Manwë's light had almost disappeared altogether, and the darkness grew still darker and heavier until she could not see Legolas at her side, and still Morgoth's shape was darker. She could see him casting his dark gaze about, looking, searching—searching for her. Panic choked her. He would find her. The darkness was to him as the light to mortals—the darker it grew, the more clearly he could see—and he would find her!

She frantically searched for Legolas, but could neither see him nor feel him when she reached out for his reassuring hand. Had he deserted her? She tried to run, but everything seemed to move like the world of a dream. Terror filled her, and the darkness continued to smother her. She needed Legolas! She needed light!

Light!

She thought of her vial, and in an instant, the truth dawned on her. She suddenly understood what she had to do. She did not know how it would end, and she knew it might end in her death, but an inexplicable and overwhelming peace came over her.

The world moved in slow motion—no, it seemed not even to exist—as she withdrew the vial and raised it up. She took a deep breath, and as the first of the Words came upon her tongue, a blinding explosion of light flashed forth from it. She felt the eyes of every living thing turn toward her—or, rather, the light. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Legolas just on his knees, clutching his wounded shoulder and hanging his head in defeat. He lifted his eyes in awe, and she suddenly realized that she was above him, as though she had grown in stature. Elves, Men, Dwarves, and those of other free races flocked toward her—or the light—and dark creatures shrank back shrieking as though they were burned. She felt the eyes of the Dark Lord fixed upon her, and the anger and pure hatred emanating from him. She had a fleeting thought that that in these was concealed a tiny shred of fear, but this thought ("What absurdity," she told herself) quickly passed.

She felt what she could only describe as an incredible power coming from Morgoth trying to crush her, trying to swallow her up and devour her, and for a moment she faltered. Who was she to challenge the Lord of all Dark Lords, greater than Feastald, greater than Oromë, greater than Manwë himself? What did she have with which to stand before his might? And then the answer came to her, clear as a summer's day, sweeter than the wine of the Elves, and more bitter than the wormwood tea her grandmother had given her once. She was no one. She had never had anything that made her somehow special. Her light was from Feastald, from Legolas, from Runniendal, from her mother, from the free peoples of all races that flocked to it at that very moment, from Ilúvatar Himself, and it was not hers. Why had she been chosen? It was a part of the glorious mystery known only to the Father of All Himself.

And it was then, in the knowledge of her weakness, that she knew her true strength, and yet it was not hers. She felt it from the Men, Elves, Dwarves, Maia, and all other creatures gathered around her. She felt it from the Valar, lost to her sight in the darkness though they were. She felt it from Eru, the One. And it was then, also, that she understood the Words.

"Nâ beleg Eru Ilúvatar, i cêri nad siniath! Ho ôrtha edain or i'Ainur! Ilya claur nâ hon! Daer ned polod nâ ho, i ânna galad, i ânna harthad, i ânna sidh, i ânna gel, i ânna polod, i ânna tur!" which reads roughly in the Common Tongue, "Great is the One, the Father of all, who does a new thing! He glorifies Men above the angels! All glory is his! Great in power is he, who gives light, who gives hope, who gives peace, who gives joy, who gives strength, who gives victory!" As she spoke, she ceased to be aware of anyone else, of the darkness, of Morgoth, and even of herself, but only of the light and of Eru. He was holding her, pouring power into her—or so it was in her fancy.

"Great is the One, the Father of all, who does a new thing! He glorifies Men above the angels! All glory is his! Great in power is he, who gives light." Her voice was no longer her own, and was joined by thousands upon thousands of others.

"Who gives hope." Feastald's last words to her rang in her mind, and she suddenly understood everything he had ever told her.

"Who gives peace." Visions came into her mind of her happy time in Loteluin, and even further back as a small child with her mother.

"Who gives joy." She thought of her friend Runniendal and others.

"Who gives power." Suddenly she felt a strong hand on her arm, holding it up, and Giving to her. Without turning she knew who it was, and it added to her peace and joy still more, if it were possible.

"Who gives victory!" There was a flash of light greater than ever before that seemed to fill the earth and consume it. Estela vaguely perceived that a man rose up and plunged a black sword through Morgoth, and he fell with a deafening roar. The light of the vial faded almost to nothing in her limp hand. She struggled to hang onto the last thread of consciousness in her possession. Many extraordinary things were taking place, she knew, but none of them seemed to matter, and she soon knew no more.

Return of the EldarWhere stories live. Discover now