Galadriel's Riddle by Kathryn Ramage

Once they were past the last of the downs, the land grew flatter and bleaker, and the frosty bite in the air grew more sharp. The Blue Mountains rose before them, closer with every mile, but their journey would not take them as far as that. The Elven company now rode openly on the road. Though their horses were far swifter than the one pulling Gandalf's cart, Galadriel, Celeborn, and Elrond frequently kept pace with it and were always in sight. When they were not taking turns keeping Bilbo company, Frodo and the other young hobbits rode alongside the Elves.

"The first Elessar was a healer's stone," Galadriel told her final tale as Frodo rode beside her on his pony. "Idril of Gondolin first wielded it, then her son Earendil. Though he was not the great healer his mother was, whenever he made his home on the shores of Middle-Earth, Earendil used the power of Elessar to ease the sorrow of those who sought haven from the fall of Gondolin and the sack of Doriath together in Sirion. It was in Sirion that Earendil first beheld Elwing, the daughter of Dior, loved her and wed her. Elwing bore Earendil two sons."

"Elros and Elrond..." murmured Frodo, as he gazed at the back of the half-Elven lord who rode several yards ahead of them. "Of course." He should have guessed that right away. But Earendil's day was so many thousands of years ago, it was easy for a short-lived hobbit to forget that one of the famous mariner's sons still remained in Middle-Earth, if only for a few days more. "That's who Earendil gave the Elessar to!"

"Even in his youth, Elrond showed skill as a healer, recalling the great talents of his grandmother Idril," Galadriel continued as if she hadn't heard Frodo's words. "So it was when Earendil sailed at last to seek Idril in the West, he chose Elrond to keep Elessar, knowing his son would use its powers wisely and well until such a time as it would be returned to him.

"Elrond did use the Elessar well, and his skill increased. But there was one he could not heal--his brother, Elros, who had chosen to live the life of a mortal Man rather than share the fate of Elven-kind. Elros grew old and died, and did not pass into the West, but founded a line of great kings. At his brother's death, Elrond mourned, for he knew they would not meet again, but he had chosen another path. He made his own realm in the river-cleft afterwards named Imladris, and used the Elessar to protect it, until the gem's power faded and the ring Vilya came into his keeping through the death of Gil-Galad. Then there came another whom Elrond's skill could not heal, his wife, Celebrian." A look of sadness crossed Galadriel's face at the memory of her daughter. "The power of the Elessar could only relieve her pain, but could not heal her wounds, and so when Celebrian departed for the Undying Lands to seek her peace, Elrond at last set the Elessar aside. But Celebrian, we will see again, and soon."

"But Lord Elrond still has it, doesn't he?" Frodo asked eagerly, unable to keep silent another second. "He bears the Elessar back to his father and grandmother in the West." He wondered why, if that were so, Elrond hadn't told Bilbo when the hobbit first began researching the subject for his poem--but Frodo knew well that Elves could sometimes be very cryptic and keep secrets for unfathomable reasons of their own.

Galadriel answered, 'No."

Frodo's face fell. "Then who has it?" No, Galadriel wouldn't answer that. He must ask a different question to find the truth. "Is it still in Rivendell--in Imladris?" he asked.


Frodo saw immediately that that was a foolish question; Galadriel had said only last night that someone on this current journey was carrying it... Oh. At that moment, he saw the solution to the riddle. "When he set the Elessar aside, did Elrond give it to his daughter Arwen, my Lady?"


Frodo had one last question, but he'd used up his three for today and knew he would receive no answer if he asked another. He could, however, wait until they reached the Havens.
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