1. Prologue: The Changing World
She who was once called the Evenstar had said this often during her lifetime. She said it as a testimony to the rapids her own existence had become, particularly after her choice of a mortal life. Those who knew her in the flesh remembered her fondly for she was difficult to forget, especially in the minds of the immortals. Nurtured in loving memory, the words remained when the images of her faded away as time tumbled forward as it inevitably did. She, like the rest of the world they knew, which disappeared into the horizon of the sea they had crossed in a time so distant, had become that most intangible of things, myth.
Still even myths are mortal though they take far longer to die. Thus it came to pass that the realm called Middle earth vanished forever into the mists, forgotten in every aspect save a faint trace of sensation whenever one happened along the places it once had been. The world took on a different shape in the hands of its inheritors, the race that came from Hildorien who survived the changes despite their memories being too short to perpetuate the history of what had been. They were flames that burnt bright but brief. Their cities rose and fell. They conquered and were conquered. Their seed spread to all corners of the globe and though they knew something amiss, for they felt trace of magic retained in memory that brought sparkle to their eyes when they tried to remember, they never could find it.
The golden age of man came and went without any one remembering it. The great kings of past were forgotten like their kingdoms, disintegrated into a world of bitter struggle, devoid of wonder and magic. The men who followed in the aftermath were of an entirely different breed from those that emerged from Hildorien. They were ambitious and driven to master their domain in every manner possible. If there was land, they conquered it. If there were beasts, they tamed them and if there was any enemy, they destroyed it with a precision that would have frightened even the foulest of orcs.
Ironically, man's finest moments in history were often accompanied by his bloodiest.
They still craved the beauty of that earlier age when as race they had been young and innocent though they held no tangible memories of it. In their hearts, they felt its absence and often wondered when the starlight had vanished from their lives. They sought to recreate it in their endeavours, either in reaching for impossible goals or replacing the awe and wonder of those earlier times with myths of their own, though these were often badly constructed and led to more destruction then any real good. Finally, they came to think that there was no such thing as magic and wonder, that it had been a fanciful illusion and abandoned their search for it altogether.
If there was any innocence left to the race of men, it was burned away forever the moment wonder was given up for reason.
In the wake of its destruction, the world and the men who lived in it continued their existence in a juggernaut of change, not always for the better. An insatiable need arose to conquer all frontiers and when those were exhausted, the snake began feeding upon itself, slowly reaching implosion. It was only a matter of time before someone chose to take advantage of this chaos and turn the cycle of change into the spiral of Armageddon. Ironically, it was the search for the very thing that they had been missing in themselves that allowed the this catastrophe to find its root in the new world.
It should have answered all their questions and filled the void inside of them. Instead, it would destroy them.
Behind the veil that separates one world from another, the immortals lived in a strange sort of stasis. They enjoyed beauty, tranquillity and peace in a realm that was remained unchanged over the course of thousands of years. For most part they were content, though some took too leaving their enchanted world on occasion, curiosity of the outside world compelling them to see what had become of Middle earth in their absence. Most returned rather quickly, while some did not return at all and the stories brought back were often conducive to discouraging those who might feel the urge to journey abroad from doing so. The immortals came to the firm conclusion that the world had been spoiled by the race of men and it was best to wash their hands of it.
There came a time when all journeys past the enchanted isles halted all together for the immortals had received their fill of the world beyond them and had no wish to dwell on times that were long past in a present that had nothing to redeem itself. They devoted themselves to the finer things of life and became more removed from its harsher realities then ever before. The dark times of the early ages melted away into distant memory and after awhile, it was almost difficult to remember that they had once battled such creatures as Melkor, his servant Sauron and their demons. While the Valar became even more unapproachable with the passing ages, the First Born who shared Valinor with them were a little more grounded.
They remembered fondly the world behind and mourned the changes it had suffered since their departure. They thought kindly of men, knowing that it was unfair to judge a race whose lives were so finite when they had the luxury of all the time there was. Mortals were not evil, they were simply young and the nature of their existence ensured they would never live long enough to gain wisdom like the immortal elves. Even when the Eldar had existed in Middle earth, they had come to accept the mortals as children that needed guidance. Being sequestered away in Valinor for almost a hundred thousand years did not change that perception among them.
Perhaps it was because they were so removed from danger and evil, that they were taken completely by surprised when they felt tremors of chaos so fierce that not even the barrier protecting Valinor from the rest of the world could keep it out. It was like the sun slipping behind the clouds for an instance, taking with the heat and leaving a brief interlude of cold. The chill was felt by every one, even the Valar and though they could not discern what had caused, they knew something was emerging, something dark and terrible was beginning to take root in the outside world.
Following the incident, there was much rumbling of discourse emanating from Ilmarin, the mansions of the Valar Lord Manwe, at the peak of Mount Taniquetil. The Eldar held their breaths in anticipation as the Valar debated what to do. While the cause of the tremor was not made clear to them, its urgency could not be denied by the reaction of the Valar in how to deal with it. For the first time in so many ages, the Valar had been shaken out of their complacency to act, though the Eldar could not fathom what could force them to do so.
Finally, a decision was made and like so long ago, Manwe chose his servant to go forth from the Timeless Halls into the world beyond Valinor, to deal with the danger that would undoubtedly consume both worlds if ignored. He set this task to Olorin, a Maia who had distinguished himself greatly in the eyes of all during the Second and Third Age when he had been instrumental in the downfall of Melkor's dark servant, Sauron. He was also one of the two surviving 'walkers' in the Fellowship of the Ring, the other being the Sindar elf, Legolas Greenleaf. Olorin who returned to the Timeless Halls and dwelled in the company of Nienna the Compassionate after his labours in Middle earth was done, accepted the duty before him without question and prepared for his departure across the Enchanted Sea.
Legolas offered to accompany Olorin on his great mission but the Maia declined citing that the world beyond did not have much use for elves and may not receive Legolas well. Fearing that his presence would complicate an already difficult quest, Olorin set out across the sea alone.
He did not return.
For a while, the Valar could sense their agent in the other world, could feel his mind and thoughts as he conducted himself on their behalf. However, it was not long before that connection was severed and from then on, Olorin became as great a mystery to those at Valinor as the evil that had inspired his journey. They thought he might be dead but if that were so, his soul would have returned to Mandos.
Wherever Olorin had disappeared, he remained lost for the next four hundred years.
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.