Character: Estel and Cirdan
Source: Pre-Ring War
Disclaimer: Tolkien’s ‘Earth and Tolkien’s Sundering Sea... Kortirion’s drabbles.
There’d been a question on Estel’s lips, long unspoken, but finally he asked what he couldn’t ask his foster-family...
“Tell me... what is it like to live forever?”
Cirdan smiled, the sad, fatherly half-smile at the inevitable question between the Firstborn and the Second.
“Not forever... but...”
Cirdan stooped to pick some shy flowers.
“Inhale deeply... again... again... Now, what is there?”
Estel was baffled, the exquisite fragrance had vanished, yet he still held the violets.
“Now, turn, smell and describe the scents.”
Sea-breezes ruffled Estel’s hair,
“Damp... salt. Flinty sand... pungent... I can’t define... It is itself.”
Cirdan stood. He drew a deep breath, inhaling the odours of dune, rock, and endless ocean; beside him, Estel unconsciously did the same. He put an ancient still-youthful hand to the young man’s shoulder.
“Master Elrond emphasised our similarities, perhaps? Now, you should learn the differences. To us – you are as violets... intoxicating, but fleeting, no sooner grasped, admired than gone... but we hold you in memory, perfect though the fragrance is lost.
While we... are as oceans: ancient, abiding, beautiful under moon and sun, but capable of stormy destruction should our wrath be tried... we endure...
That is all...”