“What are you looking at, Elf?”
Legolas looked over his shoulder at the Dwarf, but this time the all-too-familiar irritation didn’t rise within him. Something had changed, there between the fruitless climb up into the pass of Caradhras and the horror of the loss of Mithrandir during the crossing of the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, that had managed--at last--to change his perception of Gloin’s son. Instead of making a calculated flippant response as he’d been accustomed to do, he turned his attention back to the original subject of his study and nodded to indicate Gimli should look that way also.
“Frodo, eh?” Gimli said in low tones as he stepped forward to stand by the wood-Elf’s side. Legolas was surprised to hear a tone of sadness in the Dwarf’s voice, and turned to examine his face. There was a surprisingly gentle look in those dark eyes. “He’s being carved upon, as if under the hands of a far greater craftsman than I’ll ever be,” the Dwarf continued. “The great gem of his being is being polished, its facets carefully angled to catch the slightest light.”
“You see him as a jewel?” asked the Elf, his interest fully caught.
“And how else should such as I be able to perceive him?” Gimli answered simply. “I was caught by the glimpse of great Light at the core of his being that first night in Master Elrond’s home as he sat by my father, listening avidly to the discourse, that smile of delight countered by the memory of pain he was barely noting as he rubbed at his shoulder.” For a moment he continued his own examination of the small figure who sat alone before the pavilion given to their use here in Lothlorien before turning his attention back to the visage of his companion. “And you--when you look on him--how do you see him?”
“As a vessel increasingly filled with the Light of stars,” admitted Legolas. “It is interesting that both of us appear to see the same thing in him.”
The Dwarf nodded thoughtfully. “If only it weren’t that the blades of pain were what primarily shape him,” he said with great regret. He followed Frodo’s own gaze to where Aragorn and Boromir relaxed near to one another, talking. He gave a meaningful gesture at the former. “Now, that one, too, is a great jewel in the shaping. But where each blow of Frodo’s shaping cuts so close to the heart it risks shattering the whole jewel, not so with Aragorn there. He not only gives himself willingly to the blade of the Shaper, but even at times directs what dross needs next to be removed or how to better angle the diamond chisel. And, as the shaping has been going on far longer it is easier to see how the final jewel will look. It is as if the faceting has been going on for so long that he eagerly anticipates and bends himself to the next cutting, turning himself to best accept it, while the shaping of Frodo at this point is necessarily concentrated to allow him to be completed far sooner.”
Sam came back into the glade where the pavilion had been pitched for their use in the company of an elleth of great beauty. Both carried baskets of fruit and bread, and behind them came other Elves, both male and female, with platters of meats and basins of broth and trays of graceful vessels intended to serve the meal to come. Frodo straightened with interest. “At least he continues the Hobbit interest in food,” Legolas commented. “I fear that as the final cuts are made that will change. Aragorn is being shaped to endure here for a time, but not so the Perian.”
“Alas, that is so,” agreed the Dwarf. “As for that one--” he indicated the sturdy figure of Samwise Gamgee, “--he will be a jewel to endure. Not starlight in that one, though--he’s a gem of sunlight, and Mahal rejoices to see how each new facet makes that plain.” He was smiling now as he looked at the small gardener. “He doesn’t even realize he’s being shaped, not as Frodo and Aragorn do. And he will lie between the other two gems and take even greater flame from the starlight they reflect as he opens to the light of the Sun herself.”
The singing began again, high above them in the flets of the residents of Caras Galadhon, and all looked up. Merry and Pippin, who’d been napping, came out of the pavilion, absently fixing their shirtstuds as they lifted their faces in appreciation of the beauty of the music. But the expressions on the faces of Frodo and Sam were slightly different. “Frodo understands the words, doesn’t he?” Gimli breathed in low tones.
“As we’ve lingered here his appreciation of the language has grown greater and greater,” agreed Legolas. “And now Sam also understands more day by day. Neither admits how much he understands of what is said and sung around us; but I suspect that before all is done both will be even more fluent in the Great Music than I.”
Again the Dwarf nodded his understanding. “True jewels in the making,” he agreed.
They went still for a time, watching as Merry and Pippin sat down on either side of Frodo and the older Hobbit automatically put his arms about them, drawing them closer to him, their own faces beginning to catch the echo of his own Light, even as Boromir’s own expression to a lesser extent matched the shining of the face of his companion. Elf and Dwarf unconsciously moved together as well, each comforted by the presence of the other.
As they approached the talan on which their own great house had been built the Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn paused, looking down at their guests on the great lawn below them. “Their Lights are being polished,” Celeborn noted in low tones to his wife. “Each is being readied even now for his final purpose, though it lead through the shadow of death.”
“Yea, and it has been ever so,” Galadriel sighed, then touched her husband’s arm and indicated the place from which Elf and Dwarf had been observing the rest. “And look there--have you ever seen two Lights of such disparate origin yet so perfectly matched?”
Lord and Lady shared a look of delight and awe at the revelation, then watched as Aragorn and Sam came to join Frodo and the younger Hobbits.
“Constellations of Light,” murmured Galadriel.
Her lord husband nodded. “Light for the world of Arda to find itself by, perhaps.”