There on the soft grey sand of a Lindon beach was Ainurél—young and vital and beautiful, singing and laughing and picking up stones to put in a basket she carried, already a trove of flowers and drift-wood and other treasures. She had braided into her silvery hair pink and red wild roses, and turned to look back down the beach, and her soft, ivory hued skirts blew playfully in the gentle breeze. Something in the tide pool caught her eye.

Meleth nîn,” she beckoned, waving. “Come see, I found a crab…”

And where she looked sat a grim and quiet figure in the shade, leaning heavily on a walking stick, wearing a full cloak despite the spring sun shimmering on the waves. He stood unsteadily, and made his way to Ainurél. She reached out to take her companion’s arm, and he looked down at her. His face was too thin, painfully thin, and he seemed ethereal, wounded—less an elf than an ancient and powerful being whose injuries were so grave that he had been rendered mortal.

Beneath his hood, his hair was shorn around his cheeks, black as night, and braided into it were some tiny beads. Though his body language spoke of hardship and suffering, he smiled, adoringly, at the elleth. She patiently led him to the tide pool just beyond the water line, and pointed out a big, green crab.

what is this one called?” He pointed at the crab with the end of his walking stick. His voice was melodic, quiet, his unadulterated Ñoldorin accent shocking and his Sindarin very rudimentary. “…Þindarin, not Quenya.”

“It is a crab, Silwë.” She laughed merrily and he slowly knelt by the pool to look at it.

“So it is.” Silwë looked up at her again. “Anon allen.”