2. Of Nénvendë
Elrond sighed happily as he found the fire burning in his rooms – winter, though not harsh in Valinor, was coming on swiftly – and he poured himself a glass of the fine red wine that was left on the central table before settling into the comfortable chair by the fire, which he fondly thought of as his ‘reading’ chair. He took a sip of the rich wine, savouring the fruity flavour as it slid down his throat, and the faint taste that lingered after it was swallowed. Another taste, and he turned to the book.
Studying the cover more carefully that he had in the Library, he noticed two small letters – ‘N’ and ‘Ó’ – in the bottom right-hand corner, in the same embossed gold style as the title. Running an elegant finger over the title, Elrond wondered at the name: ‘The Fallen Ones’. An odd shiver travelled through him as he stared at it, and a sense of foreboding gripped him with icy fingers. After a moment, he dismissed it as being a ridiculous impulse. Although Ondonér had, on reflection, given him no reason to read this book, he would welcome the challenge of a new text.
Brushing the cover lightly once more and feeling the age of the book beneath his fingers, he reverentially opened the book and smoothed out the first page. The writing was neat and graceful, easy to read. He settled into his seat and lost himself in the world of the book…
Chapter One – Of Nénvendë
I must admit that I was most surprised when the lady requested I commit this to paper and to what is – I feel – immortal memory, where it has no cause in being. But she insisted and I could not argue after the trouble that I have already caused…
However, I digress. If you are reading this you no doubt wish to know who I – and the lady – are and what ‘it’ is that I must write of. The first thing that I must tell is that I am Nénvendë Ósírë, a Maia in the service of Ulmo. I am sister to Ossë, who delights in the storm and the rage of the water, but we are little alike. Where my brother is the storm, I am the calm; where he is the thunder and lightning, I am the cloud that casts but a shadow on the water before it is gone. Yet despite our differences, we were close, my brother and I.
The lady I spoke of is Varda, spouse of Manwë and Queen of the Valar. As I am a servant of Ulmo, she is not – strictly speaking – my lady, yet I obey her words for she is wise beyond my understanding and knows much.
Eru Illúvatar created me and – when I was permitted – travelled to Arda. I fell instantly in love with the seas and in water I found my home. Like my lord Ulmo, I spent very little of my time with the other Maiar and the Valar in Valimar – the seas which had captured my heart demanded no less and refused to take no for an answer – not that I tried to deny it!
But of course, we could not remain always in the water. There were times, even in the beginning, when it was necessary to confer with the others. In such times either myself or my brother with our Lord, switching each time to spend as little time as possible out of the waters.
I was not fond of the times when I was out of water, of course, but I endured them with greater ease than my brother, whose wild nature and untamed urges often placed him into troubles way. My more placid nature allowed me to tolerate my time and my more lasting attention span was better for keeping my mind away from the waters and on the task at hand.
It was during such visits that I came to know the Lady Varda, and many of my friends among the Maiar. There was always much rivalry between us, but it was always in fun and never more serious than a small wager – such as betting our help for a day.
One of those days was the first meeting – our first meeting. A fateful day and a consequential meeting indeed. Although many other events have become hazy in my mind, I recall our first meeting with perfect clarity. I had travelled with my Lord Ulmo, as he needed to confer with Manwë. As usual, whenever I was not needed I would sit on the beaches of the endless shore, watching the sea, but restraining myself in case I should be needed.
A solitary being I tended to avoid any large crowds, and sat by myself, enjoying my own company. On one such day, I was unaware of anyone approaching until a shadow fell across me. I did not know the one who stood before me, except as one of Aulë’s Maiar. But as he stood there I realised that I did not mind his presence, as I usually objected to being disturbed. We studied each other carefully and I shall record precisely what I saw;
Silvery hair framed a gentle face. Blushing red cheeks – tanned by long hours spent at the forge – dimpled as a smile crossed the lips. A pale white scar marred the perfect beauty of that face, making it more approachable, and the shy grin completed the look. Eyes the colours of well-worked iron were compassionate and a spark of good humour lurked in their depths.
I could not help but return a smile of my own. Patting the sand beside me, I motioned for him to sit. He settled and offered me another of those shy smiles.
“I am Tanima, an apprentice to Aulë.”
“Nénvendë Osírë,” I offered in return, “sister to Ossë, in service to Lord Ulmo.”
We sat in silence for a while, but it was comfortable, not strained as it is with others who like to chatter incessantly. I watched the waters with a fond smile, but the tranquil presence beside me seem to cool my longing – at least a little. He followed the direction of my gaze and, after a few moments contemplation, asked
“Do you miss the waters?” When I nodded he proceeded with, “Is that why you came to Arda?”
“No, not originally,” I replied, surprising him. “At first I only wished to…explore…go somewhere, do something – anything! So I came with my brother, who already belonged to the storm. But as soon as I set foot in Arda, the sea’s captured my heart and soul. And I never looked back.”
“I understand that feeling, I think,” replied he. “I feel the same way about the things I create. Knowing that I created them with my own hands…that I have a part on this world that is solely mine.” We exchanged a smile of mutual understanding, and I nodded my wholehearted agreement.
“It was sometimes difficult to think that perhaps we would have no effect – that all we were to do was set out in the will of Eru. But that feeling when I saw the water…the welcoming arms of the waves…made it all worthwhile,” I blushed as I spoke, believing he would think me odd, as my brother sometimes did when I waxed lyrical. Yet I saw neither sarcastic amusement nor scorn in his face, only genuine understanding. The knowledge that we both felt the same about our respective aspects of Arda made conversation easier and we talked for many long hours.
I noticed not how much time passed, but neither of us had any special hurry – both our Lord’s were in meeting with the other, and we had little else to do until they returned. Strange though it was, no topic seemed out-of-bounds and we spoke as though we had been friends for years. I found myself more comfortable in Tanima’s company that any other before – excepting my brother and my Lord.
We finally took a few moments rest from speech and, in the absence of conversation, I fell to studying him again. He seemed, to me, less volatile than many of Aulë’s other followers, the fiery passion in him balanced by a gentle calm. It was not until many years later that I would learn how wrong I was. So gravely wrong.
But is that not the way of such things?
At first we see only what we wish to see – the good in people. It is only when we get to know them in greater depth that we learn the things that we do not like. But –
“Husband mine – are you coming to bed tonight?” Elrond blinked, shocked out of the book that had drawn him so effectively. Looking up he saw an amused Celebrian leaning against the doorframe, one eyebrow raised.
“Wha-oh! Celebrian, of course! I am sorry my love. I was…”
“Reading, I know. You forget; I have experience of you and your books,” her scolding tone was lessened by the smile on her face.
Elrond smiled back at his wife – marvelling once more at how much improved she seemed – and said, “I promise you dearest, I will be in very soon – just one more moment. I have but a single sentence to read.”
She nodded, and then turned away. Elrond picked up the book again, found his place, and finished it.
But I am getting ahead of myself once more. Such words are for later.
Carefully he placed a bookmark between the pages, drained the last of his wine, then followed his wife to their bedroom.
Note: Ok a few things – I won’t be writing throughout November because I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org) and I won’t have a lot of other time, but I will have an update ASAP after that…
Tanima means ‘Silver-smith’ from the Quenya: ‘Tano – craftsman/smith and Silma – Silver’. Nénvendë means water maiden (Nén is water, vendë is maiden.) And Ósírë means ‘Of the River’.
Tell me if you don't like the way I have put the 'book-chapter' and suggest what you would prefer, and I'll change it!
And finally, hope you’re liking this!
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.