You stand before a great door. It is a dark wood, unidentifiable to your eye, and plain but for the large silver knocker. You reach – the knocker is above your head – to knock, but when your fingers touch the door, it swings open noiselessly.
You step inside, and upon seeing the room, you gasp. It is a library seemingly without end: you cannot see the opposite wall, and the ceiling dissolves into a fine mist that obscures the upper bookshelves. High windows let light pour in, though the numerous paintings and tapestries are shielded from the light by the shelves. You step to the painting nearest you and read the plaque below the painting.
Glorfindel of Gondolin and the Balrog
Galdor of the Havens
Indeed, a highly realistic painting of a blond warrior wreathed in the flames of a mighty beast is the subject of the work. You reach out and ghost your fingertips a hair’s width from the canvas, for the figures are so lifelike that you must make sure that they are not indeed alive.
You look to the next artwork, a collage, but before you can examine it, you hear a small cough. It comes from one of the small sitting areas around one of the windows, which you had not noticed before. A girl of Mannish origin and an Elf sit at one of the small tables.
The girl is in her teens, with unruly hair and sparkling eyes. Her clothes are baggy and comfortable-looking, and she has a Sharpie pen stuck in the elastic of her ponytail, and she uses another to scribble in a tattered, well-used notebook.
The Elf in Noldorin, and he is smiling as he speaks. The cloth of his robes, the sleeves of which extend well past his hands, rustles as he shifts in his seat.
It was the girl who coughed, and as she scribbles, she beckons you over to them. You go, spurred on by the Elf’s easy smile and the girl’s open gaze.
When you reach them, the girl takes your right hand in hers and shakes it gently. “Welcome,” she says, smiling now also, “to the library of Tirion. I knew that you would find your way.”
You open your mouth to ask how she knew that, how a Man is in Tirion, and many other such questions, but she interrupts. “I know many things. I am, after all, the author.”
You blink, unsure how to respond. The title of a book behind the girl’s head catches your eye, and you pull it from the shelf. Lumenyári Quendion, Volume One, it is titled. You open the book, and the girl again smiles.
“I wrote that,” says she, a hint of pride in her voice. “Here, I can tell the tales better. Let me.”
You sit on a nearby chair and listen to her tales. With words she weaves the tapestry of days long past, of the House of Finwë the High King, of the Dawn and the Noontide of the Elves, of their Twilight, and of their Midnight’s Sins. Her tales entrance you, and you forget that you are sitting in a library; you see yourself in the gardens of Irmo, the House of Elrond, the woods of Doriath. All the while her companion sits silent and still, while the girl uses her voice to create a world.
She smiles as she finishes her tale and gestures to the shelves around you. “Go,” she says, “and read anything that you like. All are welcome to the library and its contents, and I do not wish to hinder your visit.”
And read you do, of Arda and Valinor, of Mirkwood and Rivendell, of Galadriel and Fëanor, and many others.
Go forth, visitor, and read!