Silmarillion Writers' Guild Five Bells by Dawn Felagund


The bell tolled, and for a moment, all of Tirion held its breath. Then life resumed.

The towerkeeper's son felt for the floor with his toes and eased down. He paused, as his father had instructed, and waited for the sound to subside before he would leap to let it toll again. It would happen that his father was away in Alqualondë, but the King's messenger wouldn't hear of waiting, so with a pounding heart, the boy had set to do the task himself.

Behind him, his little sister squatted upon a broad windowsill and ate bread with jam and watched the light from the Mindon scrape a thin silver crescent on the sideward bell before it swung downward again and resumed its normal coppery hue in the shadows of the tower. "What does it mean?" she asked.

"I don't know," said the boy, trying to keep the breathlessness from his voice. He wiped the sweat from his hands on the back of his trousers.

"The last time it rang--"

"Was when the Prince was born, yeah."

Below the tower, the boy could hear the faint sound of cartwheels resuming their motion, merchants crying their wares once more, everyone having paused to hear the bell, wondering what it meant. Five chimes, the message had said: in Telperion's fifth hour, the herald would shout his news from the steps of the palace, and his words would tumble down the side of the mountain, carried upon the tongues of those who would climb to hear him, and into the ears of all of Tirion by morning.

"Maybe there is to be another prince," said the girl in the implacable, hopeful voice of a child.

But, for many months now, there had been no word of the Queen.

"Maybe," answered her brother with the distracted voice of one now grown beyond hearing the nonsense of a child. He swallowed a deep breath of air, crouched, and leaped. He felt his hands close on the rope and let his weight turn the bell on its side, sending its somber voice over the city.

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