1. Prologue- The Book
Disclaimer: I own only Ondonér.
A/N: This was written in response to ‘The Temptation Of Sauron’ Nuzgul, put up for adoption by erendis_numenorean.
Prologue – The Book
On a shelf deep in the stacks of the great Library of Valinor sits a dusty book. Few ever read it, and even less understand its full import, but every thousand years, as per their instructions, the Librarians dust it off and pass it onto one scholar whom they believe may understand. The leather-bound volume is called ‘The Fallen Ones’ and the only outward sign of the author is a small set of initials in the bottom right corner: ‘NÓ’.
It has been a thousand years since the book was taken from the shelf by the historians to be given to a scholar and now – following the departure of the elves after the War of the Ring – there are many to choose from. But one stands out above all the others – a lore master from Middle Earth – learned, respected and – above all – inquisitive.
The time has come for the book to be read once more, perhaps for the last time.
Elrond wandered the Library, searching for something new to read. He could not help but see the irony – he was in the largest, most extensive Library he had ever seen; yet he could find nothing that caught his attention sufficiently for him to read it. He felt a restless yearning for something that he could not quite put his finger on.
A weary sigh escaped his lips as he turned the corner and saw the worried face of Ondonér, the senior Librarian, peering anxiously round. The Elf spotted Elrond before he could back away and headed towards him with a slight, nervous smile. Elrond repressed another sigh and fixed a smile on his own face – Ondonér was perfectly pleasant, but there was something about him that made everyone avoid the jumpy Elf. He was so nervous all the time that anyone who spoke to him for too long found themselves flinching in sympathy.
“Um – Master Elrond! I – er – am so glad that I – um – found you!” Ondonér bore down on him, his edgy twitches and mutterings already making Elrond uncomfortable. “I – um – that is to say we would – uh – like to offer you – um – this!” He held out a book bound in green leather, its carefully preserved pages nevertheless yellowed with age. Embossed gold script at the top proclaimed it to be ‘The Fallen Ones’, but showed no author.
Confused, Elrond asked, “I am sorry, I do not understand. Why?”
“Ah. Every thousand years we – um – pass this onto a – humph – lore master to – uh – read. Just as we promised her that we would. And this – um – year, we have chosen you.”
“Oh,” he accepted the book to cover his still-existing confusion. Feeling the ancient leather beneath his fingers – still warm from Ondonér’s nervous grasp – Elrond could not deny that this was what he had wanted: a new topic to study, something new to read. His fingers suddenly itched to start the book, to devour the words on the aged pages and absorb their gift of wisdom. “Thank you Ondonér. I shall begin it immediately.”
A secret smile lit Ondonér’s face as he saw the gleam of promised knowledge in Elrond’s eyes. “One moment, Master Elrond!” he called as the half-Elf began to walk away with the book. When Elrond turned back, Ondonér had closed his eyes and spoke as though quoting from memory, “The line between good and evil is not as wide as you might think and it is easy to cross in error. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we most want to be, we are.”
“I…do not understand, Ondonér.” Ondonér’s strange smile did not change on hearing Elrond’s admission.
“You will, Master Elrond. You will. But as you read that book, keep those words fresh in your mind, for they may help you understand a little better.” Nodding to the half-Elf, Ondonér left, leaving the bewildered Elrond to stare after him in puzzlement.
After a moment, Elrond shook himself from his reverie, turned and walked the opposite way, to go towards his rooms and begin reading. The secrets hidden within the antique pages intrigued him and he could not wait to find out what Ondonér had meant.
Unseen eyes watched him leave; a row of dust-covered shelve protecting the watcher from prying eyes. A moment’s consideration and the noiseless spectator swept away, leaving no trace of their presence.
A/N: Most of the quote (‘The line between good and evil is not as wide as you might think and it is easy to cross in error. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we most want to be, we are’) is my own, but the last line comes from a longer quote by R. L. Stevenson: ‘In each of us, two natures are at war -- the good and the evil. All our lives, the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose -- what we want most to be, we are.’ All very true.
Also, although the idea of how to write this was my own, it is in response to – and because of – erendis_numenoreans Nuzgul, ‘The Temptation Of Sauron, without that little creature sinking its fangs into me, it wouldn’t have been written.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.