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2
Ships that Pass

Ithilien, in the Fourth Age

That whole summer, Elves have been passing through. Each night, in the week before Midsummer, Léof waits for moon-rise, slips from the house, and out into the blue-black calm of the warm starry night. Beyond the side gate there is an old tree, an old friend. Léof climbs its welcoming branches, sits for an hour or two, and watches.

Returning to the house, stealing through the kitchens on his way back up to bed, he meets his father. Father puts a finger to his lips. Hush. Reflected in his eyes, Léof can still see starlight. They swap smiles. Our secret.

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