West of the Moon, East of the Sun by Armariel

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Story Notes:

1. What the Star-glass Saw

"The Sea looks very happy today," Amaryllis remarked to her Granddad after breakfast, as he smoked his pipe.  She was scrooched up beside him in the long chair on the terrace.  She was too big any more to sit on his lap, but she still liked to snuggle up with him whenever she could.  Not but what she didn't have plenty of competition.  Still, she did have the advantage of living just over the bridge that crossed the stream where the waterfalls flowed and the rainbow lingered above until sundown,  and so she could usually beat the others to him if she got out early enough. 

"The waves are dancing and clapping their hands," she said importantly.

"Aye, that they are, and I know why," said the silver-haired hobbit, smiling and wrapping an arm tightly about the elfling.  Her hair was blue-black and full of soft waving mystery like her mum's, her eyes violet and starry like her grandmum's, her features fine and sharp and fair like her dad's, but her spirit was all her own.

Why was I named for a dead person? she had demanded to know when informed that she'd been named for her great-aunt, her Granddad's sister, who had died when she was a tiny babe.  They had told her that after she'd demanded to know why she'd been named for a boat—her best friend Silivren's parents having a boat bearing the same name.   You should feel honored, her parents both told her, and so did Silivren's parents, and also Silivren's brother Little Iorhael, who wasn't so little now, but was still called that around here so as not to confuse him with Granddad.   And they showed her the pretty stone bearing the name of the great-aunt.  Amaryllis knelt down beside it and stared at it, trying to feel honored.  She tried sitting on it, but that only made her bottom cold, so she danced around it, humming her favorite song, which was about a dolphin who saved a prince, then ran and jumped over it again and again.  When that didn't work, she picked some flowers and made a garland, and wrapped it about herself, and knelt down again, but still could not understand why she should feel honored to be named for a dead baby, and finally she just laid the garland gently over the stone and went home with her head down and her hands clasped behind her back.  How could a baby be a great-aunt anyway?  Now if she had been a hero, like Granddad...

"There's a good reason why it glitters and dances today, my Bud," he was saying as she laid her head on his shoulder and took his hand in both of hers.  "And that's because someone special is coming to the Island."

"Truly?" She lifted her head and looked him full in the face.  "How do you know this, Granddad?"

"The star-glass told me," he said nodding.  "And it never lies."

"Ahhh!  Don't tell me who's coming," she said, and for some reason she shut her eyes tight.  "Let me guess.  He's coming by ship, right?"

"Well, it's a bit far to swim, I should think," her Granddad said with a naughty twinkle in his still bright blue eyes.  "And I somehow doubt he'll be arriving by wave-board.  And he hasn't the power to spirit himself here, much as he'd like, I'm sure.  So tell me, who's coming?"

Amaryllis giggled.  She knew perfectly well who was coming and that he was arriving by ship, of course.  She just liked to pull her Granddad's leg when she could.  "Is it…can it be…oh, pooh.  The others are here!"

Not that she wasn't always glad to see her cousins and play with them, but today they were spoiling The Moment.  And she'd wanted to be alone with Granddad when she spoke The Name.  It wouldn't be the same if she spoke it now.

They were approaching the cottage now, two boys and four girls.  Summershine held the two littlest ones by the hands, smiling gaily as she hastened them along—she was always smiling and sunshiny, just like her name, and she laughed and swooped up the smallest one in a circle then balanced him on her hip, and his sister broke away and began to run ahead of her mummy, her tiny bare feet scarcely making a print on the sand.  Well, but Amaryllis had one comfort:  she knew ahead of all the others Who was coming!  And she couldn't wait one more moment to tell them, and so she sprang up from the chair and dashed out to meet them, nearly knocking poor Granddad out the other side in her haste. 

He chuckled to watch her go, feeding the ashes of his pipe to the midsummer breeze.  Anemone was coming out the door just then, and she looked at him with a huge smile--well, huge for a woman of about three feet and eight inches high--for he was outshining the sun, himself, in his radiance, which no amount of age could steal from him.  Whether it was at the sight of the great-grandchildren or at the thought of Who was coming, she could not have said for certain. 

Somewhere a ship
rides waves of mystery
a vast cradle rocking
her sails blithely swelling
in warping wind and soaring sun,
marbled moon and staggered stars
her hull girt with greatness,
her prow blessed and bright...........



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