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Undómiel

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They would remember her as the Evenstar. They would paint her beauty as a soft, fragile thing – a delicate whisper to be caught in glass and cherished, needing the tranquillity of darkness and the silence of the night before it would unfurl and gently shine.

How little they knew her. How little they knew of the stars.

Galadriel had taught her to weave. As a child she studied the art of the loom, the warp and the weft, the picking and shedding and battening. Much later she learned to stitch Power into cloth, just as Galadriel had learned from Melian in Doriath, before the fall of the kingdoms of old.

From her grandmother, Arwen also learned Dwarvish lore, and the properties of certain metals. When trade delegations came to Imladris out of the Ered Mithrin, they found in their host's daughter a curious listener, a respectful student, and an intelligent judge of their wares.

Gemcraft she learned from her mother. In Eregion Celebrían had been taught by the greatest artisans of Middle-earth. She knew how to find a stone's soul, how to hear its story, how to carve in belief and intent as one cut. Later, Arwen honed her craft with the Brotherhood's remnants, the last of the Gwaith who had fled to the Valley when Ost-in-Edhil was lost. They told her tales of their great lord Celebrimbor – the cousin her mother had treasured and called by his old name, Tyelpe, and whom Arwen would now never know.

Her father Elrond taught her to heal, and to hope. Sometimes, quietly, he would speak of the kinslayers who raised him, of Maglor the Singer and Maedhros the Tall, the doomed, beautiful brothers who broke open the world in their quest for revenge. (And in the sorrow and darkness that followed her mother's departure, when the winter nights snarled and her brothers rode after Orcs in the fells, Arwen thought she could half-understand.) Elrond passed on their lessons – music, linguistics, mathematics, how one thing relates to another, the theory of the Deep Arts. Through careful practice she learned to reach for the Song and draw it near, and to sift through it, seeking, understanding, binding.

Glorfindel taught her swordplay; with Erestor she sharpened her mind. She wove it all in: everything she knew, each skill she had learned, all the Power she could harness and spare – she who bore Melian's blood, and in whom the wild magic of the Ainur bloomed more brightly and dangerously than in any of her kin. She sang, too, as she worked, murmuring lore-rhymes of old.

“Tall ships and tall kings
Three times three,
What brought they from the foundered land
Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones
And one white tree...”

Even the numbers held power, for those who understood. As she wrought the crown of mithril and gold, the Evenstar smiled, and the seven white stars flared bright in reply.

He knew it all, the mortal King who loved her; he knew all that she was, and honoured her for it. He knew it was no token she sent him. His heart kindled as he touched it; when he kissed it, her power sparked through him; as he prepared for battle its cloth folds rustled, whispering an ancient promise.

Aurë entuluva.

When they entered the Harlond and the standard broke, so hope unfurled in the souls of Men, and it burned like the Flame at the heart of the world.

She would forever be known as the Evenstar – and yet what is starlight, but fire?