Un rÊve elfique
Note: When I received the following
text, it was in french. I translated it myself.
«You are now safe» told me the captain Le Troadec, dressed in
his perfect military suit.
I was just regaining consciousness in a small cabin painted in grey
on a ship of the Marine Nationale, which was just slightly moving
despite the wrath of the ocean.
Yes, I was safe. But so sad, that I should have preferred by far
to be dead!
All this came from a strange encounter which happened several months
Child I had read «The Lord of the Rings», and it must be said that
this beautiful novel never ceased to move and marvel me. The world
of Tolkien was really convincing, but in more curiously familiar.
Especially I was feeling strongly attracted by the world of the Elves,
a world of beauty and poetry, which awoke in my heart a curious nostalgia,
as from a lost paradise. Already, child, I was dreaming of being an
Elf of the Lothlorien, and of going on one of Cirdan's ships toward
the enchanted islands of the West. Time passing by had not altered
this feeling, quite on the contrary teenage added the sensual warmth
or a love story to the moving nostalgia of a child memory. This had
not prevented me to live my life and to start studies in computer
science at the faculty of Rennes, but I was often lost in my elvish
dreams. I was hardly feeling in touch with my mates, fanatic of bloody
video games or of horrible fashioned music. In my heart I was naming
them «the Orcs».
On the release of the movie «The fellowship of the Ring» this strange
sympathy gained a new momentum. I read again The Lord of the Rings
and Bilbo the Hobbit, and for the first time I studied the long historical
appendix of the great novel. I was fascinated as if discovering a
world at the same time unknown and curiously familiar. Understanding
that there were other books, I searched «The Lost Tales» and «The
Silmarilion» that I had to order specially in a library.
Perhaps from the hope to know more, I quickly felt frustrated that
there would be no more literature on this universe in the same time
incredibly vast, magical and nevertheless so realistic. Especially
I wished to know the following, from the Fourth Age to nowadays, as
the Middle Earth was none other than our Europe, not so long ago.
I was often visiting the coast of my loved Brittany where I was
born, as in Camaret, where the black rocks of the Tas de Pois, shiny
with rain, were challenging the angry assaults of the ocean. Just
further, the standing stones of Lagatjar seemed remnants of some mysterious
past. In a fold of rocks out of sight of the town of Men, the world
of the Silmarilion was suddenly becoming very real, and its magic
awoke. So appeared the cliffs of Beleriand to the eyes of Tuor, and
even the sound of the foghorns resounded like the Horns of Ulmo to
Rocks, spindrift and ocean as only witnesses, I was feeling like
one of the characters of Tolkien, like Eärendil the Mariner, or better,
like an Elf. Yes. This is right, an Elf. Why not. Anyway I had something
elvish in my appearance: big, slim, fair, and only little beard. Often
girls with the same age were looking at me, and the mirror was sending
me the image of a regular oval face, with fine features and eyes of
a nice bluish grey. I would have enjoyed wearing long hairs, but this
would surely have attracted the mockery of my school mates. I was
succeeding in all my undertakings, I obtained my baccalauréat with
a mention bien, and I had very good marks in computer science. The
lessons seemed easy and often I felt no need to revise. However computer
programming seemed to me a cold and abstract world, and I preferred
by far manual activities. So I engaged into a club of pottery, I painted,
and I did archery. I astonished my club partners with the spontaneous
precision of my shoot, and when I was bending my bow toward the target,
I needed only little imagination to feel like Legolas on his flet
in the Lorien forest.
Internet was the natural witness of this Tolkien fashion. It was
a blossoming of chat sites.
Going on Internet with the PC that my parents offered me for my
studies, I quickly found myself following the long discussion threads
where people gave themselves elvish names, or were announcing that
Sauron was coming back and that he would put an end to all this.
Hopelessly the messages were seldom very poetical. I even quickly
felt these games somewhat ridiculous, opening the last message of
the 253rd Galadriel, who was even not able to conjugate a verb at
the first person of the singular. There was here nothing really epic,
only the universe of the fanatics of video games who were investing
a new theme, while even not suspecting its marvellous profundity.
I was about to abandon when I noticed some more substantial messages,
all signed Tuima. I had to search this name in online elvish dictionaries.
Tuima, in the ancient elvish language of the Quendi of Valinor, it
was a bud. This could not be invented.
Tuima was asking questions. It was as if she was testing our knowledge
of the elvish language. I got interested in the game. Fascinated by
Tolkien world, I already had some knowledge, and I was even able to
make some sentences in elvish language. But she was always better
than me with her knowledge. In more, she was writing long and structured
messages, without orthography mistakes, and without encumbering her
text with all these trite «Internet style» abbreviations, u, 4, lol,
and other smileys. This was putting her frankly above the usual lot
of message posters. Sometimes she replied in Quenya to some too much
familiar peoples, and this was the best method to end any discussion.
Replying was the only mean to know more. And replying in the style.
So I signed my messages Faana Maiwë, the White Seagull. My side Breton
of the Armor, fond of ocean and freedom.
It was enough to be noticed. And, quickly, from a simple comment
of the movie, we went to more philosophical and poetical discussions.
Creating such a link was precisely what she expected. But we soon
had to switch to private emails, rather than to feed our thoughts
to all these prosaic nosey bystanders, with often had trouble intentions.
Then Tuima asked to meet me. She was living not far from me, in the
region of Morlaix, when I rather was from Quimper.
Happily my parents had a good opinion about this encounter with
somebody able to express herself neatly in a written message. As they
just bough a new car, they gave me the old to visit Tuima. But they
also warned me that encounters on Internet were often very deceiving!
So, one morning, I was somewhat wondering while travelling through
my loved Brittany.
At the given place, I easily found the address, but suddenly a curious
shyness invaded me: I no longer dared to approach less than ten
metres of Tuima's house! If was an unexpected feeling, surprisingly
strong, which left me paralyzed, my heart beating. Happily, Tuima,
who was waiting for me, went out herself, and this released the situation.
Really delighted, I discovered a young lady with pleasant features,
somewhat small, very slim, with a simple and regular face and blue
eyes of Breton and a cute little nose somewhat mischievous. She was
wearing long blonde hairs falling down to her waist. She was clothed
simply with a long white robe with some small needle-point laces of
the Morlaix region.
Discreetly, I noted that her look, and especially her eyes, were
very elvish. But above all, seeing her, I immediately thought «her
Two hands soon met. I never expected such a strong and pleasant
emotion! Our two hearts beating, we walked half an hour in that way,
along a small street which led in the countryside. We seldom spoke,
rather exchanging smiles and looks. But we never went further in our
love gestures. A kind of modesty. As do engaged Elves, who prefer
to patiently wait for the marriage.
Rapidly we used to meet one weekend on two, in more poetical places
than the streets of the town. Why a weekend on two? She refused to
reply to this question, which was visibly disturbing her.
Interested as we were by our Brittany, we never missed to visit
the more charming little places, or the more powerful. One of our
first visits was to the Roc'h Trevesel, which overlooks the fearsome
marshes of the Yeun Elez, in former times the cursed land of the Ankou.
Today it is occupied by the nuclear plant of Brennilis, as if the
modern world intended to perpetuate the sinister reputation of this
Going here and there at will with the car my parents gave me, we
visited in turn all the rocks of Armor, from Landunvez to Perros Guirrec,
passing by Portsall, Brignogan, Roscoff, Trebeurden. All those who
love Brittany will tell you that it is never so moving than with scotch
mist weather, when grey rocks merge in ghostly silhouettes hazy in
the distance. True Brittany houses are of grey-ochre stones, covered
with clear slates strewn of yellow lichens. The dwellers often put
flowers to the windows. Nothing in common with these cold black and
white patterns that today housing estates too often display.
Also we spoke of Tolkien, of poetry, of Elves. She had a true voice,
simple and pure. Her song was resounding in sunken lanes as if she
was the very spirit of the places.
Unavoidably, we did the journey to Broceliande, to the Barenton
fountain. The legend tells that those who have nothing to do here
cannot find it; however we went right on it, after what seemed only
some minutes of walk.
«It is possible that Merlin and the fairies would have been descendants
of the Elf kindred, and this would explain how they could have such
powers, she told.
-Come on, how is this possible, descendants of Elves?
-Sure, from the Kings. The descendants of Aragorn had elvish blood,
and before them the inhabitants of Dol Amroth, the Prince Imrahil's
subjects. Some Elves also remained in Greenwood, whose that Bilbo
encountered. Some had too much relation with the men of Esgaroth,
they never went to the Grey Havens.»
May be from dream, maybe from game, we often played to compare Middle
Earth with the today world, and we were speaking of these stories
as of real facts.
At the epoch of Frodo, the constellations already had their today
aspect. This makes no more than some thousand years. Tolkien asserts,
in his prologue to «The Fellowship of the Ring», that Arda, the Middle
Earth, was Europe, in ancient times, before the upheavals which gave
it its today aspect. When? After the scholars, the War of the Ring
would have happened in 4000 BC, starting the Fourth Age. And we would
be entered in the Seventh Age in 1945. It was enough to admit that
the world had be modified since the end of the War of the Ring, probably
at the end of the Fourth Age. This was not astonishing, if we think
that, at the end of the Second Age, at the time of the downfall of
Numenor (The Western Realm, from where came Isildur and Anarion),
Illuvatar, the unique God, had bent the oceans. Before bending, the
world of Middle Earth was a flat word, encircled with basalt walls,
and surrounded by an infinite vacuum; but since this moment it became
the round Earth that we know. Only the Elves, when they leave Middle
Earth from the Grey Havens, could continue to follow the «Straight
Way», or «Straight Road », in place of following the curvature of
the ocean. So they could join their paradise, Tol Eressëa, the enchanted
island, and then Valinor, the land of the Gods, definitively taken
away from the evil of this world. Frodo, Gandalf and the elvish lords
left Middle Earth from the Gray Havens, shortly after the War of
the Ring. Samwise Gamgee, after the death of his wife Rose, was taken
on one of the last ships wrought in the Havens, in 62 of the Fourth
Age. As one of the Ring Bearers, he was probably the last non-Elf
to enjoy this privilege. Cirdan himself would not stay much longer,
to bring some belated Elves. At the death of Aragorn and Arwen Undomiel,
in 121 of the Fourth Age, Imladris and the Lorien were deserted, all
their inhabitants having left Middle Earth, with most of the Sylvan
Elves of the Greenwood.
Reflecting, I however remarked: «But it is only a book, it is impossible
that the world was so much transformed without any archaeological
Certainly I should have not said that. Tuima did not replied, but
she pursed her lips and refused to speak to me all the remaining of
How pity. Next time I shall be more tactful not to break her dreams
with such words.
Tuima, despite her frail appearance, was not really what we call
a «gentle young lady». She happened to discuss passionately on Internet,
and to sharply put in their place those who sent her stupid messages.
I think she may have readily insulted them in elvish language, if
there was any kind of coarseness in this nice tongue.
When I was pessimistic she was visibly angry. I realized that she
was speaking about the world of Tolkien as being the reality.
It was definitively not a game for her, and those who sullied her
elvish poetry drove her upset much
than any others. To circumvent the apparent contradiction between Tolkien's
account and the visible reality, she explained very seriously that
the upheavals which took place at the end of the Fourth Age had cancelled
most of the traces of the former Ages. So was the will of Illuvatar,
for some mysterious reason.
On the first occasion Tuima introduced me to her father, one of
these fair and honest men of whom Brittany had the secret. He quickly
asked me to name him Jean, quite simply, as if we were old friends.
Jean seemed to suffer of some sorrow. I understood, despite his discretion,
that his family was torn by a demand for divorce. He was taking his
daughter only one weekend on two, and for this reason I could visit
her only when she was with her father. Yes Tuima was only seventeen
and a half, and she was still bound by this sort of obligations.
The poet Tuima was very far of computer programming. She always
lived in countryside, between Armor and Argoat, and even her father
had a boat, a small seven metres wooden ship anchored at Perros
Guirrec, that Tuima had naturally nicknamed the Vingilot.
Holding the helm of the Vingilot, the frail Tuima had the strength
of a captain, and it was up to me to manage with all these «strings»,
not at ease on the dancing deck. But I was very quickly accustomed.
With two or three trips around Sept Iles, sheets and halyards, tacks
and wind had no secrets for me. Jean was with us for the first trips,
and he patiently explained me the basis of the sea craft, as a true
passionate man. As for Tuima, she looked satisfied with my beginning
as a sailor, and she even seemed to forgive me my scepticism about
One day Jean let us go alone. This time the wind had become so strong
that we had to nearby completely reef the main sail, keeping only
a small jib. The wind was howling in the sails and we were listing
so much that foam was getting above the planking. Hugging the wind
as much as possible, we were having much fun with speed.
Unexpectedly Tuima asked me to hold fast the helm, and, arranging
herself in the small space between the mast and the cabin, she took
a large silvery flute, and started a strange nostalgic melody.
Suddenly fascinated by this sublime music which seemed to play with
the violence of the elements, I left pass some time, with my eyes
clutched on my companion, lost in a dream of elvish sailors, hugging
the wind to clip the waves still faster.
And the still increasing wind was bringing us fast off shore. Suddenly
I realized that the Ploumanac'h cliff was now only an indistinct line
in the far, and that a squall was about to cut any visibility. «Hoo,
it is getting worse and worse. We should better get back to the harbor.
-No, to get back, when we just begin to have fun? White Seagull,
you deceive me» she replied laughing. And she quite simply took back
her flute to her lips, giving me no other command, just staring at
me with her large blue eyes. Clearly I had to manage myself. Suddenly
the rain enveloped us, and visibility was nearby zero. A naughty swell
was rising, and, without instruments, to get back was becoming uncertain.
But, as I was in a way the captain by delegation, I took the decision
to get back, and uttered a shy «ready to tack». Smiling, Tuima left
her flute to do the maneuver. But just after she resumed her music
and the detailed examination of my face. For some seconds, the frail
ship danced like a cork, the wind on the beam, and I was feeling the
helm forcing in my hands. Then we took back wind astern the road
to Perros Guirrec. But the rain was moving faster than us, removing
any visibility. And without any beacon, we were completely lost. However
the rain dripping from her coat did not prevented Tuima to still play
a gentle and melancholic music, still staring at me. As she was just
in front of the helm, backing the cabin, I could not avoid looking
at her. It was in the same time intimidating and very pleasant.
Dashing in front of us, a dark silhouette hemmed with foam emerged
from the fog. «The Gwen Braz», I said, and Tuima looked back to see
the group of rocks with its short lighthouse. It was a very well known
seamark, and we now had just to keep the good heading. Soon we heard
the swell roaring against the rocks of Ploumanac'h, to starboard.
To get home would be only a routine.
From this moment Tuima's look changed. Before I was feeling her
somewhat provocative, something like «show me what you are able».
Now she was plenty admiration, approbation, love. I suddenly felt
a great pride, to such feel her love. What a pleasant emotion! It
would never left me, and it was enough that she looked at me to feel
again her love!
On time we could join our anchorage. Now we just had to have a night
in the cabin, each one in one of the two bunks.
Untangling my hair ruffled with the wind, I looked at my companion.
«Right, you are right, it is much more fun when there is wind!
-There was no reason to be afraid. The Vingilot has seen far worse.
It was just a gale.
-However it looks awful, the first time. And it was, how could I
say? Beautiful, and moving. Your music awakened echoes in me, I do
not know how to say... It was really looking like the wars in Beleriand,
sailing toward the West in the mad hope to arrive in the lands of
the Gods to find some help! And, you see, to return to this dull world,
mechanic, prosaic, it feels like a deception... I really desire to go
further, to leave for Valinor!
-I believe you are really an Elf», she said with a tender smile,
before switching the light off.
As every time she spoke like that, I did not understood this literally:
We were playing to the Elves, to the world of Tolkien. But I had the
very clear sensation that she spoke seriously...
Then I understood: only an Elf, who always succeeds in what he does,
could thus get just on the Gwen Braz lighthouse, even without any
It was the end of the school year, and I had to follow a vocational
session of two months in a company in Nantes. So I could no longer
visit Tuima for all this time. But we exchanged several emails a day.
She was often speaking of her passion about the elvish world. We
even exchanged whole sentences in Quenya. I somewhat criticized her,
but rather than keeping silent, she preferred to reply to my doubts.
The most delicate matter was that, if our world had be the Middle
Earth only six thousand years ago, so why would we find geological
traces and fossils back from millions years, in an universe where
stars tell ages of several billion years?
Her reply was really simple, and always the same. As indicated in
the stories of the Silmarilion, the world had already changed several
times even before the epoch of Frodo. So, at the end of the Second
Age, at the time of the downfall of Numenor and the bending of the
oceans, the world had changed in an incredible way, as from flat it
became a sphere like a planet. However people living at that
time noticed nothing, and the new landscapes appeared with their rocks,
their greenery, and even with ancient trees. A sudden upheaval, geological,
would have created a chaos, breaking mountains and forests, creating
a landscape of ruin and bleakness where nothing would have grown for
centuries. But quite on the contrary, the transforming action gave
achieved landscapes, without upheaval, where the inhabitants continued
to live their life without suspecting the vastness of the transformations.
However oceans and continents had changed form.
This is perfectly possible if, as explained in the Song of the Ainus,
(Ainulindalë), the world is only an image in the mind of Illuvatar,
the Unique God creator. So when He wants, he can transform this image
and immediately give it a new coherent and achieved shape, without
passing through a phase of destruction and chaos.
So, probably at the end of the Fourth Age, He decided, for some
reason, to insert the little Middle Earth in a much vaster universe,
the one we know today. During the Third Age, that of the War of the
Ring, the Middle Earth was already round, but alone in the universe,
with the Sun, Moon and stars revolving around. Now the Earth of the
new Illuvatar dream is still round, but it revolves around the Sun
in an universe populated with billions of stars and planets.
For some strange reason, Illuvatar's pleasure was to create our
today world with a different past, as we found ruins and fossils more
ancient than the Fourth Age, and even much more ancient that the creation
of the world explained in the Song of the Ainus (The Silmarilion).
But no really identifiable trace was found of the Middle Earth where
Elrond and Galadriel lived.
For, as foreseen by the prophecies, Earth is now the exclusive lot
of the Men. Elves have no more place here, unless in the dreams and
I must tell that I could not find anything to say against such a
reasoning, when we begin to consider that our world is a dream in
the mind of Illuvatar, the almighty God, who created Arda the Middle
earth, the races of the Elves and of Men, and even the powerful Valars.
So he can modify everything at will, up to display the appearance
of a different past.
But the world of Middle Earth was a world of magic, inhabited by
beings with outstanding spiritual powers, when our today world is
a prosaic world formed of atoms and particles, with no magic and no
Tuima replied that all this complex physics was probably created
at the end of the Fourth Age, and that it quite simply did not existed
in the time of Frodo. So at this epoch it existed metals like the
mithril, that it is impossible to find now. Probably if a mithril
lode had passed the transition toward our today world, it would remain
only platinum or tungsten, the only metals resilient enough to make
a shirt of mail as Bilbo's one.
As to magic, Tuima explained that Illuvatar had simply granted some
parts of His own power to some of His creatures. So magicians like
Gandalf shared also the capacity to change the world a little, as
an image in their own mind. The Elves also received their part of
this power, and they found natural to manufacture these lamps that
we see in the movie, on the flet at Caras Caladhron, which shine
indefinitely without fire or energy. But this power was only in limited
quantity, so that it was exhausted with time, as was exhausted the
antic light of the Lamps, and then that of the Trees of Valinor. Today
quite few remained, and only persons with enough elvish blood could
practice magic, or certain humans who inherited of the teachings of
the Blue Magicians, or those who had perpetuated the sorcery that
Sauron had taught to the Black Numenoreans.
There were no more true Elves on Earth since long ago, since the
Great Depart in the years which had followed the War of the Ring.
But certain human races, especially the Celts, were descending from
the sons of Aragorn and Arwen, and from here from Luthien and her
mother Melian, their far Maïar ancestor. But a so diluted heredity
did not allow them do be even little different of the other human
races. Yet it still happens, rarely, that this heredity shows up in
a noticeable way in some privileged Humans. Oh, it is certainly discreet,
and these modern Half-Elves, or better «Stealth Elves», just have
ordinary human bodies, mortal, and without no more magic than the
others. At best some share a typically elvish slim silhouette. Or they
remain young longer, at least those who do not die of boredom or sadness
in this world not made for them. On the other hand their mind often
enjoys peculiar powers of intuition or premonition, or a very strong
poetical sensitivity. At a pinch some even enjoy some magic powers,
as it was the case of the Merlin Enchanter. Tuima claimed to be herself
one of these «Elvish Buds» taking birth on the Human race, and it
is for this reason that she chooses that name.
Magic could still exist in certain forests and certain peculiar
places, although much weaker than in the time of the Withywindle or
Fangorn. But it is still enough so that sensitive beings notice peculiar
ambient, in certain precise points of forests and mountains, sometimes
nice, sometimes dark, sometimes harsh or queer. But in Europe, nowadays,
very few places remained wild and pure. Certain peculiarly propitious
places were used as Gaelic temples, on which cathedrals were built
afterward. But most were destroyed by deforestation in Middle Age,
and, today, the last survivors are victims of noise, tourism, pollution,
Tuima began to allude to her friends in England but without
giving their names. So, she said, it would exist in this country a
kind of secret fraternity of Half-Elves, in charge to find and help
all the Half-Elves. Certainly they were not numerous, never more than
some dozen per century, but they were faithfully transmitting some
knowledge and a secret commitment.
And to these Half-Elves, as to Elrond in former times, they were
given the choice: to become full Elves, or to remain Humans. With this
difference that, in this world now empty of magic, they had to really
leave the Earth to enjoy the elvish immortality. Otherwise they remained
only elvish minds in mortal human bodies, with really few chances
to encounter love or only to be happy in this gray and discordant
All this was beautiful and good, but there was however the fact
that Tolkien himself had always presented his texts as stories, as
novels. Brilliant, certainly, but invented from the first to the last
Definitely not, she replied. In facts Tolkien had access to a genuine
copy of the Red Book of the March. This book is none other than the
one begun by Bilbo Baggins, where he tells with many digressions his
journey to the Lonely Mountain. It is this report that Tolkien published
under the title of «Bilbo the Hobbit». But Bilbo also had plenty of
time, during his long stay at Imladris, to translate the elvish lays
of Beren and Luthien, the Silmarilion or the Ainulindalë. The book
was then continued by Frodo, who describes the War of the Ring, in
a neat and concise style. When he departed in the Grey Havens, the
year after his come back in the Shire, he offered the book to his
faithful servant Sam Gamgee. Sam, Peregrin, Meriadoc and Gimli the
Dwarf then added their own testimony, and to this we owe today this
magnificent story with several intertwined threads «The Lord of the
Rings». They could also freely explore the most ancient archives in
Minas Tirith and bring back all these information on the History of
Arda, the Middle Earth. The latest elements added to the Red Book
were by Findegil, in the year 172 of the Fourth Age, say about -3820
BC, and sixty years after the death of Aragorn and Arwen. We just
guess that the Realm of Aragorn found back its past splendour. But
the Red book does not go further; it tells absolutely nothing on the
Fourth Age itself, and of the ultimate transformations which gave
the world its today aspect, probably in -3000 BC. Of course since all
this time the Red Book was translated several times, in Latin and
then in English of the 18th Century.
So the Fraternity had contacted Tolkien, giving him free access
to the Red Book, to publish the story, but to the strict condition
of presenting it as a novel. Illuvatar did not wanted that any visible
trace remained of the ancient Middle Earth, but for some reason the
memory had been preserved, under the form of a copy of the Red book,
in a small group of initiates which keep it since all this time. Certainly
this fraternity kept records of more recent events, from the Aragorn
reign, the end of the Fourth Age and the definitive transformation
of the world, until our present time. A fourth, see a fifth volume
to «The Lord of the Rings»? I thought. If this has to be written one
day, it would require a writer still more fabulous than Tolkien...
Tolkien was chosen because he may have had himself some elvish blood.
It is clear that he was able to feel the ambient of places, and especially
of forests. This allowed him to render with such mastery the soul
of the trees, and their curious manifestations, still to be felt in
some places today. In his youth, and even in the trenches of World
War One, Tolkien already wrote some short novels of good quality,
and he had read them in some poetry circles frequented by the Half-Elves
of the Fraternity. Thus he caught the attention of the Red Book keepers.
But these short novels are often contradictory, as they do not make
the proper sharing between imagination and real inspiration. With
other youth poems, they were recently gathered like they are by his
son Christopher in «The Lost Tales». But real elements were suggested
to Tolkien as soon as 1918, to allow him to write the first tales
of the Silmarilion, the History of the Middle Earth from its Creation
until the end of the First Age. Starting from 1936, he had a direct
access to the Red Book, for the redaction of Bilbo the Hobbit and
of The Lord of the Rings. But soon after its publication in 1955,
this source was removed to him, and seemingly neither his wife Edith
nor his son Christopher never had access to it, even when the later
undertook the delicate compilation of the Silmarilion.
The purpose of those who keep the Red book was probably just to
catch the attention of the general public about the world of the Elves,
but not so far as to bring the focus on real persons. Under the cover
of romantic fiction, they could send their message, while in the open
they would have attracted too much hostility. As a matter of facts
it may not be easy to be an Elf in this modern world of concrete,
metal and noise, which hurts the heart of the Elves. Without accounting
the danger of persecution by all these people who refuse what they
judge «abnormal». So most of the Half-Elves only wish to depart, delaying
their move only if they can prepare the passage for the next.
Tuima referred several times to her friends in England and Ireland,
and she even spoke to introduce them to me. She let understand that
this group was nothing else than the continuation of that of Cirdan
the Shipwright, of whom it perpetuated the work since all this time.
It was even known by the English government, under the cover of a
society for poetry and study of ancient languages, that Tolkien may
have encountered in his youth. Tuima even spoke of a lineage of poet
Lords, heirs since ages of a discreet little castle and of the passion
of boats. Really an ideal cover!
All this was very logical, but there was absolutely no evidence.
I must confess that I was not really convinced by this story of secret
brotherhood of descendants of Elves, which may have contacted Tolkien
to feed him with the plot of his novels and all the incredible historical
details they contain. But why not, there are so many groups of bizarre
people to invent crazy stories, especially in England.
One day, unexpectedly, Tuima's messages changed completely. She
simply stopped to reply my questions. She sent texts of poetry, of
good form I must tell, and very elvish, in French, others in Breton,
and at last others in Quenya or Sindarin. I enjoyed this reading and
found myself declaiming in the rhythm. As on myself, I was rather
and artist of painting, and my secret desire was to sculpt. My dream
was to built a kind of Imladris in some still preserved place of Brittany,
with sculptures and décors like in the movie, where we could live
happy, Tuima and me, and why not other Friends of the Elves. I started
to speak to her about this, but she simply ignored this suggestion.
She asked me elvish words I could not find in no dictionary. So
she asked me to invent them. Sacrilege, I thought first, I would unavoidably
not miss to betray the pure inspiration from which emanated the beautiful
language of Imladris or of Valinor. Then, as she insisted, I changed
my mind, and sent some «new» elvish words of my invention. She utterly
replied that my translations were exact, that I well recollected our
language!!! This time she was going somewhat too far.
The last message I received was short, like anxious. It contained
only this instruction: «You must choose immediately, to be a Full
Elf, or to remain an Human. But at our epoch it is not so easy to
select things. It is not instantaneous as if the time of Arwen Undomiel.
If you choose to be an Elf, you will have to patiently eliminate all
what comes of the Human, this heaviness, this prosaicism, these uncertainties.
The Straight Way is still open, and it is still possible to follow
it, as did in ancient times the last True Elves to sail from the Grey
Havens, as still do he rare Half-Elves to take birth nowadays. The
Grey Havens still exist, they just changed shape. The lands of Forlindon
and Harlindon, where once walked Cirdan the Shipwright, are still
parts of our today Brittany and Ireland. The places where just mixed,
like shuffled cards.»
I replied her that this time she was going a little bit too far,
but my email went back with the mention «no mail box with this name».
The telephone had just a recorded message, and my letters remained
unanswered. Something serious had happened, probably in relation with
the divorce. Tuima had several times recommended me not to visit her
in her mother's home, and above all not to speak to her about our
I had anyway to wait until the end of my vocational course, but
I was boiling with impatience. I managed with my employer to gain
a day and a half. This saved the stake, otherwise I would never have
seen Tuima again.
I had the strong intuition that it was better not to come directly
to her home. I found her in the harbour of Perros Guirrec, in front
of the Vingilot. But immediately I noticed that something was wrong.
A man in black suit was on the deck of the boat, speaking with a group
of sport men in gaudy suits and black goggles like on the TV.
With a discreet sign of her finger, Tuima ordered me not to speak.
The men went back on the quay looking satisfied, closing back the
small gangway with a padlock, after removing a small sign board «for
sale». Tuima brought me in a pancake restaurant near the harbour,
where there were not many people at this time. She looked drawn and
she had shadows under her eyes, as after a great ordeal. She explained
me what had happened.
It was really terrible. Terrible, and above all incredible.
The divorce asked by Tuima's mother was judged three weeks sooner.
A sexist lawyer woman had grossly despised the father. The later
had committed the mistake to show his indignation for the gratuitous
insults and incredible slander he received straight in his face. So
all the fault was immediately laid on him. Worse, as Tuima was not
yet eighteen, she was forbidden to visit her father, and an «educator»
even allowed himself to examine all her private life, bothering her
friends, reading her mails. Her mother even gave him her computer
with all our elvish emails! I was flabbergasted with such an inquisitiveness,
feeling myself like raped, dragged naked and publicly humiliated on
some modern cyber-pillory.
To avenge her, the mother hat put the Vingilot for sale. This very
simple boat came from the father, but it had become Tuima's soul.
Normally it would have gone to her. So, mocked the mother, she was
«managing» her daughter's asset! The deal was quickly made, and the
new owners, the sport men littered with advertising they had seen
a moment ago, would come take possession of the boat as soon as the
next day in the morning.
So my fiancée was losing everything, her father, her mother who
betrayed her, and the Vingilot, to which, I understood only at this
moment, she was much attached. The tears dropping from her beautiful
blue eyes ended to deeply move me. But how to believe a so incredible
story? Tuima showed me a copy of the «judgement» to convince me:
«Whereas the serious risk presented for Miss X (Tuima) by her visits to the father who entices her to go at the sea despite any prudence
... Whereas Miss X spent her days on Internet to exchange messages with
a so-called fiancé Sir Y (my name!) who keep her out of the realities
... we decide to left Miss X under the exclusive care of the mother
... The mother will have to manage alone the asset of Miss X, especially
the boat «Z» (the official name of the Vingilot). Followed another
letter announcing the sale of the Vingilot, effective as soon as the
next morning. Tuima even received a summons to psychology examinations
in some days, and since two weeks she received obnoxious visits of
an «educator» who was reproaching her «fleeing the society» in the
world of the Elves!
I was boiling with indignation and shame. How, in France, democratic
country and mother land of the Human Rights, could such iniquities
be still possible? I did not believe my own eyes. What a frightening
contrast, between our world of poetry, flowers and songs, and these
abject people whom insults and lies could break a family in full impunity!
«It is the Mordor» she replied. I stared at her, somewhat surprised.
«Sauron is dead, she continued. He no longer has a physical body
and no magical powers, but his spirit still exists, and he still has
the power to influence weak minds, through loathsome emotions like
jealousy or eagerness. So even in this world which claims to be democratic
and rational, he still manages to have quantities of adepts who sow
fear and chaos.»
I suddenly got the desire to beat all these people who, from the
height of their rostrums, were purposelessly terrorizing my so young
friend, and who were casting obloquy on their noble function with
their methods from before 1789. But she guessed my trouble.
«This is useless. Hate produces only hate.» She said. Then: «Do
you made your choice to become a true Elf and reject all what is too
heavy in you?» She did not allowed me to reply, just giving me an
appraising look. Then she suddenly went up. «Come». We were so much
astounded and indignant that we forgot to pay the bill of the pancake
restaurant (I however corrected this later!).
She took me toward the Vingilot. It was easy to pass over the little
metallic gate which forbade its access. It would have been perfect
if we had not been seen from the harbor master's office.
The boat was still here, but the beautiful elvish dreams were spoiled
with traces of shoes on the deck. These blokes were not sailors, it
was immediately visible. In the cabin, it was still worse; all the
personal belongings were in disorder, thrown in a corner, without
Tuima began to cast off the moorings.
«But what are you doing? I asked.
-You do not understand? The tide is lowering, the harbour's gate will be
closed in half an hour, and it will be impossible to get out before
tomorrow. And tomorrow «they» will come to take the boat, and I shall
have to wait all my life to realize my dream.
-But what for? You shall have to come back anyway.
-But you understand nothing, or what? She was going on her nerves.
We shall never come back! We go to Valinor. It is now or never.
-Hee? But it is impossible to...»
She turned toward me with violence.
«You are an Elf too, yes or no? If we are Elves so the Straight
Way is still open. Others followed it only three years ago. Still
others stay in England to help the next departure. Unless you prefer
to stay in this world of Orcs in suit and tie.
-But, it is only a novel, and...
There was nothing more to say, unless to get off board on the quay.
I however preferred to stay aboard the Vingilot. Because I had to
protect her, because, being of age, I was responsible of her in front
of the law... and many other bad reasons. But the true reason was
that I loved her, and that, in front of the incredible injustice she
was a victim, arose in me the mad hope that she was true and thus
she could definitively escape to her tormentors. Sport men in Punchinello
suits... I began to raise the main sail.
Our desperate flight first seemed to go marvelously. It was high
time, as the sea was lowering fast, and we even had to somewhat scrape
the sand at the bottom. Happily the ebb was dragging us swiftly, despite
the low wind.
The night came, and I took the helm. It was a nice night, with a
very good visibility, and the numerous lighthouses of the Coast of
Pink Granite were friendly telling us the road. Other green and red
lights indicated the ships to avoid, as in a kind of game.
The wind became stronger during the night, and we went with a good
speed. We crossed through the Ouessant Rail at dawn, under a low and
grey sky, with some streaks of rain already eating the visibility.
A small boat navigating carelessly in this zone takes a great risk,
so it was better to slip through the traffic rather than to cut frankly
across it. We however had to tack between a tanker and a big container
ship. It was strange to think that the path leading to the delicate
paradise of Valinor could open in the very middle of this world of
metal and diesel fumes.
Tuima wanted to hear at the radio, for the weather. Not nice, a
storm warning just ahead. Suddenly I pricked up my ears, flabbergasted:
they were speaking of us! «Incredible running away to the sea», described
the speaker. No mistake, he was giving the «true» name of our boat.
But these people would never let us go? I had now only one desire:
to flee, flee, as far as possible. But where?
Tuima seemed to know where to go. She gave me a new heading.
We reefed the sails to tackle the bad weather to come. As in our
trip at Sept Iles, we were clipping the waves, hugging as much a possible
a wind which went stronger and stronger. Quickly rain and sea foam
reduced the visibility to nearby nothing. The ocean was friendly to
My companion seemed confident again. She leaned toward me, and,
without warning, offered me her first kiss! «I am happy that you are
with me» she said, taking my hands in hers. I was stunned, in an instant
of scorching emotion. Moved to tears, I would have followed her anywhere.
After such a love gesture, I felt incredibly self-confident, I was
truly an Elf sailing toward Valinor!
Our happiness was intense, but of a short duration. We were now
far beyond Ouessant for a long time, the increasing swell was dangerously
shaking our small boat, and there was still no Straight Way. The roar
of the wind in the shrouds was getting terrifying, and we had to reef
the sails to the minimum. In my inner heart, I began to prepare my
defence: I went with her to protect her, otherwise she would have
gone alone, etc.
The radio announced a new turn.
«The boat of the fugitives is followed by radar since the beginning,
thanks to the early alert from the harbor master's office of Perros
Guirrec. The fugitives are within reach from a fast intervention frigate
of the Marine Nationale. Only the bad weather delayed the sending
of an helicopter.»
Tuima looked like stunned, as if she had received a blow. Against
a fast frigate, we had no chance. They would quickly catch over us,
and the elvish dream would be terminated in the sordid of unending
procedures, unfounded accusations and slander. And I shall probably
never see again my beloved.
Suddenly she went up, letting me alone at the helm. It was now difficult
to keep our heading, and even to advance, as the boat was now yawing
on larger and larger waves, threatening to take the helm out of my
hands. The situation was getting really dangerous, and the frail wooden
hull was now creaking in a frightening way.
Tuima went out of the cabin. I had just the time to see a black
object passing overboard. Splash, no more radio.
«Eeeh but what are you doing?»
She did not replied. She took a halyard, and a silvery form collapsed
on the deck. The radar reflector, which allowed the army boat to track
us. One second later it followed the radio on the bottom of the ocean.
«We are in the right place, but it is all this scrap of electronic
gear which prevents the Straight Way to operate» she screamed to cover
the howl of the wind in the shrouds.
«But you are mad or what? We are running to the wreckage and you
throw away all the rescue items! We must allow the army to find us,
otherwise we shall be lost both of us!» But she did not replied, disappearing
again in the cabin.
She went out again with a yellow thing. Aghast, I realized it was
the Argos beacon, our only chance of being found in case of a wreck.
This time I hurried to try to avoid something irreparable. Too late,
the precious beacon was too overboard.
At that moment, the ship swerved, and I was myself projected above
Shock, frothing, cold. In this milky half-darkness, I could even not
know where the up and the down were. Happily my life jacket brought
myself in the right position, the head above the water.
I was staggered.
The Vingilot was out of the water, and it was now floating five
or six metres in the air, its keel perfectly visible. It was surrounded
with a kind of aura of golden light, as if the sun was about to pierce
through the clouds.
The Straight Way was working!
I caught a glimpse of Tuima: she was making signs to me and screaming
something. She attempted to throw me a halyard, but it was too late,
and the ship, higher and higher, was swallowed by the fog.
And I was now immensely alone, mad with grief and frustration: I
had missed the greatest opportunity of my life! In place of being
happy with Tuima in her paradise of flowers and poems, I had condemned
myself to stay deserted in this egoistic and prosaic world!
I remember having seen the Argos beacon floating at about ten metres.
I may have swim toward it and activated it. After everything is dark,
and I remember only to have awakened in the sick bay in the frigate
of the Marine Nationale.
And I was sad as only an Elf can be.
No trace of the Vingilot was never found, and Tuima was officially
declared lost to the sea. And of course an insane suspicion fell on
me. Tuima's mother, having no more her daughter to hate, transferred
all her wickedness on me. She carried complaint, and I had to bear
questionings and depositions, where I was requested to supply the
address of the «English sect». Happily I had a simple defense, but
very efficient: I knew nothing of Tuima's family situation. I went
with her as a team member, as we used to do. The stories of Elves
were only a game. Anyway I remained traumatized by the wreckage, I
myself just escaped from death, and I remembered nothing.
Of course Tuima's mother had scattered or destroyed all her personal
belongings. Useless to ask her anything, only my remembering remained.
Especially I had no mean to find again the addresses of her English
friends! Jean, Tuima's father, on the contrary, was ready to help,
but he had no information either. He had cruelly suffered of his wife's betrayal,
and I understood I was his only comfort. For him, it was clear that
I was his son-in-law, and the best memory of his daughter. This simple
and straight mariner is now an excellent friend and a good support.
Anyway he was the only one to cry for the disappearance of Tuima.
And also of the Vingilot, which had been his life for more than twenty
years. I did not dared to tell him the truth, but he may have some
understanding of it, as he never showed astonishment when I spoke
to see Tuima again one day.
As I was now convinced of this, it was not just literacy: All what
my companion had said was perfectly true, and, in the year 2002, year
57 of the Seventh Age, it was still possible for certain persons with
enough elvish blood to follow the Straight Way and join the elvish
paradise of Valinor. If he does not grasp at an Argos beacon...
But I had no clues about any other person in this case. I just had
to test the other 253 Galadriels to check if in the heap there would
not be a genuine one. Worse, with the police inquiry going on, I could
even not use Internet from my PC, I had to do searches from cybercafés
in Brest or Lorient, hiding myself as if I was doing something dishonest.
However, under the pretext of a project to bring flowers on the
place of the disappearance, I went to ask to the captain Le Troadec
the latest coordinates indicated by the Argos beacon. He kindly gave
me this information, that he recorded on his log book. He even invited
me on his frigate, happy to help me that way. Of course I never indicated
my true motive to the army man. But now I knew from where started
the Straight Way.
As I had took my decision.
One day me also I shall have a boat. And I would go on the Straight
way in my turn.
Faana Maiwë, 2002.