Summer had ended. A cool, damp breeze, blowing from the east, brought with it a strange scent of decay.

Returning home from Doro Lanthron one evening, Legolas was startled by a dark, birdlike shape that skittered across the road, just a few yards ahead.

He immediately dismounted and—bow in hand—followed it into the bracken.

Where did it go? he wondered.

The elf turned full-circle, scanning the Forest, the trail, and the Forest again, then—spotting it flitting between the trees—he set off in pursuit once more.

He caught up with it in a small clearing, far from the road, and—when it turned to face him—he was surprised to see that it was, in fact, a man: smallish, dressed in black, and bent beneath a huge pack which, together with his short, spindly legs, had given him his raven-like appearance.

Legolas nodded a cautious greeting.

The man swung the pack off his back and, with a few deft movements, opened it, unfolding its front and sides to display his wares.

A pedlar.

The man spread his hands, inviting Legolas to take a look.

But there was something disturbing about him—quite apart from his unprepossessing appearance, and the absence of the customary pedlar’s dog, something...

Legolas had no sense of him. He could hear no sound of him, feel no warmth of his fëa. Were it not for the fact that I can see him, he thought, I would never know that he existed.

Then the pedlar beckoned again and, despite himself, Legolas glanced at the ingenious stall, his eyes passing quickly over the shelves crammed with crystal bottles (no doubt holding perfumed oils), glass flasks (filled with potent liquors), carved wooden boxes inlaid with mother of pearl, gilded lockets, tall horn goblets capped with silver, birds’ skulls decked with ribbons, and...

A shell.

A beautiful, iridescent shell; long, and smooth, and spiralling in tighter and tighter curves...

Legolas stretched out a hand; the pedlar smiled, and gestured, encouraging him to pick it up.

Legolas’ fingers brushed the cold, hard nacre, and closed around it. He lifted the shell to his ear, and listened.

The sea!

He could hear the sea!

He closed his eyes, and listened harder—listened to the great tidal wave that was rushing towards him.




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A shard of silver.

part 2

fëa … spirit (plural fëar)
hröa … body (plural hröar)

According to Tolkien, both Elves and Men are composed of spirit (fëa) and body (hröa), though the relationships between the two are different.

In Elves, the hröa does not die unless the fëa leaves it (for example, because the elf is grievously injured and/or has lost the will to live).

In Men, when the hröa dies of injury, sickness or age, the fëa has no choice but to leave it.