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Young Fanro Makes A Stone
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Young Fanro Makes A Stone

Author's notes on the Elessar:

Canon: Bend it; twist it; tie it in a knot. When the person who introduced me to the existence of Tolkien fanfiction asks for a specific birthday story, I cannot refuse. And, gandalfs_apprentice had the grace and courtesy to make a request that she knew could be bent and twisted to bridge the gap between my favorite canon (the First Age and its greatest characters) and her own (Third Age and Aragorn) when she asked for a story about the Elessar gem. I started re-reading the relevant canon as soon as the request was made, but, oh, my, there are so many versions. So, I have decided to ignore them all, except one of the least likely: Fanor made it and gave it to Maedhros before he died and Maedhros gave it to Fingon. That, of course, creates the problem of obviating the gift from Maedhros to Fingon of the dragon-helm of Azghl, which I rather like for the other canon elements that follow upon that version.

How did it get to Gandalfs_apprentices's Aragorn? Well, Maedhros gave it to Fingon and Fingon gave it to Gil-galad, who then must have given it to Elros or Elrond and somehow Elros took it to Nmenor and then it came back to Middle-earth and was passed down to Aragorn--whoops, wait a minute, through Galadriel? OK. Stuck right before that for the moment. Good enough? Probably not.

Next year for her birthday, I will do a textual analysis (just kidding, although I have been talked into worse). I do recall that in at least some incarnations, the Elessar is said to hold the light of the Sun (but since Feanor in my canon created it before the Sun, I didn't worry about that). I have also read, and I am getting them all confused again, that one could look into it and see visions of some sort, and, further, it was also purported to have had healing powers. But in my little ficlet--the stone is just a stone (or should I say a fabricated imitation of a gemstone--in other words an "Elfstone"--the Eldar equivalent of man-made, synthetic, fake).


Walking to Aul's workshop in the last light of Telperion, Fanro blinked sleep-clouded eyes to look up to the leaves of a young tree, emerald green and sparkling with dew. His exhaustion from lack of sleep and the unrewarding manual work of the previous day fled. Annoying how Aul's chosen punishment for his apprentice's refusal to follow directions, remember every silly rule, or any manifestation of arrogance or careless use of an insolent tongue invariably involved boring physical labor. Ha! Fanro thought. It just gives me time to think of other things without being distracted by irritating work that requires attention to detail.

I will capture that green and its shimmer in a stone, he mused further, Aul's scolding and his own sore muscles forgotten.

Aul did not appear that morning, nor in the afternoon either. Fanro tried and failed several times, but the memory of that sparkling emerald, captured forever--of his epiphany at the light of Telperion upon that living leaf--did not fade. He had finally decided upon the proper feed materials from which to craft his treasure. Absolute certainty of his method notwithstanding, he failed time and time again. The containers available to him in the apprentice's workshop simply did not suit the project. He needed something that would withstand the highest heat and could be sealed absolutely airtight. He needed a method of rapid cooling.

In the late afternoon, not for the first time that day, Fanro's frustrated gaze shifted to the door of Aul's own workroom, left temptingly ajar.

The Mingling of the Lights had passed by the time Aul wandered into the workshop.

"Fanro, my son, forgive me. I had forgotten all about you."

A flush of affectionate warmth heated Fanro's cheeks. He bowed and touched his forehead in the manner that Aul, despite the master's innate lack of care for the details of protocol and empty formality, had taught him was appropriate for a young Elda to use when greeting a Vala. Aul smiled, no doubt surprised at the lad's choice of this moment to remember to exercise the required courtesy. He knows that I want something, Fanro thought.

"Master, if you would graciously grant me just a moment of your time . . ." Fanro held something, wrapped in a soft flannel cloth, in his right hand.

Aul threw his head back and laughed aloud, his handsome face and form fitting him as though they were intrinsic to him and not a mere illusion of corporeality. He extended his hand toward Fanro.

"Let me see what mischief you have been up to in my absence." Aul carefully unwrapped the stone and gestured for Fanro to follow.

"Have a seat," the gruff Vala said, rounding his worktable to take a chair himself and pick up one of several loupes scattered about there. He fit the piece over his eye and moved the stone, shifting it in his fingers and turning it to gain a bit more light.

"A fine emerald, nay, a perfect emerald, beautifully faceted, but we both know you mastered the skill of cutting and polishing stone some time ago. What did you want to tell me or ask me about it?"

Fanro grinned. "I made it."

"You did?" Aul's fatherly smile was as warm as the glow of Laurelin at its apex. Fanro's blush deepened. Steady, now, don't let yourself care overly much for a Vala; you are naught but a petty piece in their games.

Aul picked up a finer loupe and then another and still another again. "Aha! Take a look for yourself." He handed the loupe and the stone across the table to Fanro. "You can see it. It is but a copy--too perfect to be true. It could have fooled me if you had not told me. Fine work."

"Thank you, master."

"I have no doubt you are bursting to tell me how it was done."

"Yes, sir. It was very simple, actually. I placed the feed materials into a half-filled, tightly sealed container of water. When it is heated, under pressure, to extremely high temperatures, the original stone dissolves and, at the point of cooling it quickly, crystal growth is induced. Once I found the right container and the materials for cooling at the required rate . . . "

Aul howled with laughter. "You incorrigible scoundrel, do I never dare leave a door unlocked? Or perhaps I should make you copies of the keys to the entire place?"

"Sir, if you gave me the keys, I assure you I would never . . ."

"Stop." Aul clutched his arms tightly around his middle, laughing until his flawless face turned bright red. "You are hurting me. You will force me to abandon this imperfect but convenient form."

"Sorry, sir."

"I would like you to consider that to copy such a thing so acceptably requires great skill. But I think, I know, that you are destined for far more. You are capable of great works of creation. Meanwhile, keep this stone in memory of your first step along that path."

"Thank you, Master." Fanro wrapped the stone up and pushed it into the pocket of his work trousers. "About those keys . . ."

"I am proud of you, boy, but forget about the keys."


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