Story by Doviel
When first she glanced, she saw nothing. ‘It is folly,’ she thought, ‘a game only the Noldor can play.’ She had journeyed many times to the Havens. She resided in Falathlorn with her husband, which was not far from the Harbor of Celondim. She had, at times, followed the Elven-paths of pilgrims in the spring and autumn seasons, but never considered ascending the tower of Elostirion herself. Yet, spring had come again, and she thought, as the shadow grew from the east, she would see if she could descry a vision of hope from the West.
But, surely, such things were not for a wood-elf to see. ‘How could I will myself to see a land I do not know?’ she thought wistfully. And she turned to look away, smiling at her own willful foolishness, when she saw a mist of white appear in the clear sphere, a glimpse just from the corner of her eye, and she looked back into the flawless crystal.
She calmed herself and thought again, ‘I wish to see the West.’ She knew naught else to ask for. And her mind drifted, ‘I would not know this place if I saw it . . . how would I know if . . .’ suddenly the mist cleared.
An isle in the sea, a tall tower of shining white, green hills, trees of incomparable beauty, a great harbor, sand like pearl and water of blue-green luminescence, clear and perfect. She gazed down upon it as if she were a sea-bird. She caught her breath at its loveliness.
‘Tol Eressëa,’ she whispered, for she knew the name in the high-elven tongue.
A guardian in the room spoke to his visitor, ‘you have a vision of the isle?’
‘Ai, it is so . . .’ she sighed and could speak no more because the vision flowed through her and the images moved quickly. Suddenly, she was swept along the coast, like a falling leaf on a breeze, and she saw the glitter of gems in tide-pools and Teleri sea-elves, tall and lovely. She heard their song and she wept for the beauty of their voices.
‘My people,’ she thought, ‘my people, too . . . for are we not . . . kin . . .’ the vision moved then, swiftly, she was being guided by a will that was not her own. She gazed upon a twilight sky, though in the Hither Lands it was nigh day, and the evening light of aduial appeared, then, within a moment, the sky blossomed with stars.
A brightness filled the crystal, unlike any light she had ever known. In her songs of power, often she had seen quick, blinding light come forth to smite her foes like a sudden beacon before her, but this was different. The light was warm, welcoming, but it was too much for her to behold. Beyond it she could see nothing . . .
Yet, she sensed a beauty in her mind’s eye more wondrous than any she could imagine. The image passed like the blush of dawn, and she swooned in the tower at the foot of the pedestal where the Palantír of Elostirion resided.
She did not know how long she remained on the cool, marble floor, yet with her first conscious breath, she said, ‘Elbereth, Gilthoniel!’ The names of Varda sang on her lips as she wakened to the world again.
The Elven guardians and a fellow pilgrim helped Doviel to her feet. Her face was radiant, but her whole body trembled. ‘I asked for nothing and I saw everything . . .’ she whispered breathlessly.
‘Varda, Star-kindler, you saw her?’ The noble pilgrim of Imladris asked amazed. ‘I saw light fill the hall from the room below. I hurried up the stairs to see only brightness in the orb; the guards were shielding their eyes, and then you swooned.’
Doviel blushed, ‘Ai, yes, I remember that much as well.’
‘You are well-blessed to have received such a vision, wood-elf. Will you, too, be journeying into the West now?’ A somber, dark-haired guardian asked. He was used to the murmured, excited whispers of pilgrims who think they may have seen something. This had been different, and he was somewhat amazed by it as well, though he did not show it.
The palantir was not overtly fickle to the Elven folk. Many longed for the West, wished to glimpse Varda, or sought kin there. It showed true visions to the devout and the strong-willed, but usually only the high-elven folk and learnéd Sindar could see beyond the veiling mists of the Straight Road. Silvan folk rarely meddled with such things.
Doviel shook her head in reply, though she felt a longing within her that she had never known before. ‘Not yet, I think . . . there is, as of yet, still much to do, and these lands are my home . . .’ she added meekly, ‘too.’
She rested in the Havens for some days after that and shared the details of her vision with other wandering Elves. As she returned to her home, she thought of the Golden Wood in the east and longed for it. The Lady would know what sights she had seen, but weighty concerns rested upon her fair brow when last she left Lórien. Surely, she need not bother her with such things.
She wondered if she ought not to have looked. Her husband may be cross with her for seeking beyond her fate, as it were. Though he would probably forgive her curiosity, what is seen cannot be unseen and what has been heard cannot be unheard. The song of the sea-elves still drifted through her mind and she hoped her own music would be the richer for it though it left her with a peculiar longing. She was not sick with sea-longing as some Sindar become, but she was sad for the Elven folk.
‘We are so few now,’ she mused, ‘and more go West each yenya. The Men will reign and we will keep to our woods until we, too, at last, drift into the West,’ she sighed and felt morose. Her horse ambled slowly and she did not try to hurry its pace. She watched the clouds drifting above her and the leaves of the trees waving in the gentle zephyrs. ‘A warm, western wind,’ she observed. Petals drifted down from fruit trees as she passed beneath them. ‘Ai, a comforting wind from the West; there is home and forest for us there, too,’ and she smiled at that.
She did not let her visions disturb her any longer. Though sometimes they made her sad, if she dwelled upon them overlong, there is a kind of beauty in such sadness. She sought for hope and she saw a home. It was enough. It was more than she asked for.