1. Redemption by Love
I was forced to go for the most conservative Catholic super Tolkien-proper attitude to sex ever. It'll haunt me forever and I'm really sorry.
Endless thanks to Nemis for both the beta-reading and title!
The dark was upon the great, shining spirit as a storm cloud, like a shroud of dank breath, tangible, terrible, fiery, heavy. Nothing at all like the pure ocean's depth, nothing at all like the cool, soothing wind and the sparkle of light upon water and the bite of salt. Round it lay, choking all that stood under its assault, and the voice came from it booming and echoing as it emerged, banging on the walls of the world. Before it the small naked spirit felt insignificant, lost to the darkness, lost in the storm.
It sought to engulf him, sought to choke from him the life and hope, and he had to let it. All his courage he gathered into speaking to it, all the wildness of his soul, all his petty strength. He shouted to it the words, torn from him by the swirling dark cloud, finding comfort in them and strength for another instant more.
"Would you let me love her?"
A roar came from the cloud, echoing in the spaceless, timeless void, the void of outside the world, beyond the borders of Ea, beyond the dome of the stars. The cloud of rage and death and hatred filled it all, out and beyond his sight and that of those greater than him. Lightning seemed to crackle within it, blazing light, dire winds. It swept at his formless essence as the strike of a mortal weapon, it buried him under it, and it laughed.
"Have you come to me for the freedom to love, little Maia?"
Formless, bodiless, still he shivered before the words, but let not his terror show. Before the greatest of creation he was standing, all save the One himself, and he would not bow down. In the cloud, the cloud that encompassed all that was, all that is, all that will be, lay the promise of freedom indeed, a different freedom than all was promised him.
"For the freedom to love as I please, lord Melkor, world-master!"
At once the cloud was upon him, terrible and great. If he had worn bodily form. for a moment, he savored what new feelings he might have found, what new freedom. But he stayed his mind and he steeled himself, knowing that the struggle was useless, knowing his every thought lay open before the cloud, before the dark. Every strange emotion and forbidden desire, and he made no effort to hide them. Indeed, who else would understand? Who else would see and approve?
He waited while the cloud devoured him. Letting it plunge through his spirit was like being cut apart slowly, limb by limb, in bodily form. What secrets did he reveal other than the one that had darkened his very existence, he did not know, and tried not to guess. What horrors he had unleashed upon the world in letting that invasion take place he could not even imagine.
And the cloud moved closer to the part of him that he shut out, the memory of bodily form, the memory of pleasure and pain. Then it laughed once more, and it dived in, and it felt all he felt and knew all he knew. Now the feeling coursed through him again, painful, dark, tainted.
His disembodied spirit cried out in memory of the staining of the body, but the void remained cold and unknowing. He was lost within the cloud, and he dared not even feel the fear.
Then Melkor's storming form closed upon him like an embrace.
"'Tis freedom you desire then, Osse of the Maiar," he whispered to him in the darkness. "Would you serve me?"
He closed tighter upon Osse's powerless form, banishing the cold and emptiness of the void somehow. The tormented Maia wished for bodily eyes and bodily tears, and then he bowed his head.
"In all things, my lord," he said, "save the matters of the heart."
Melkor laughed, and the echo rang all over the void.
The world was not yet fully formed, and already there were storms.
For days upon days, weeks upon weeks that could not be counted, the sea rose upon the earth to devour it. The kindly, benign wind soothing Arda's wounds was made cold terror and dire strike and bashed the waves under its unending blows. Swirling winds drew pillars of water up into the heavens, and lightning struck down to the surface, lovely blue turned frozen black. The air was so cold it seemed to become ice.
And the waves rose like hungry beasts, like great birds of prey to bite and gnaw at the shores, tearing bits of land into their bottomless bellies. Shells and sea-creatures were thrown to the sand, sea-birds cast in the unforgiving wind. The tops of the highest of trees stood brave before the onslaught, but swiftly gave in small forests and low hills. When the waves eased, the rain began to come down, endless, cold. Then hail and snow, puncturing the land's tortured flesh. Thunder rolled from the west, and the flashes of lighting were no light.
The sea went to war on the earth, and Osse commanded his armies, shielding his eyes against the terrible lightning and weeping for horror and ecstasy into the rain.
"Come to me!" He screamed with all the power of his bodily form into the rage of the storming sky, words the likes of which were never heard before in all of Ea. "Come to me, Uinen the lady of the waves! Come to me, fairest and sweetest of the Ainur!"
Far in the blessed west dwelt the Valar and Maiar, and the storms could not touch them. There on golden beaches sat Uinen the lady of the waves in bodily form, and she heard Osse's cries.
Thus she bent close to the rippling water near the shore, and her blue and green hair touched them gently, and slowly she melted into them, becoming as one with the seas. Closer her soft lips came to the water, to sent a quiet message in reply to dire fury, but she was struck frozen and fearful with the might of a greater spirit, coming upon her as a shadow.
"Do not heed him, ocean-daughter."
Up rose Uinen's deep, dark eyes. "He calls for me, Lady."
"He is with the Dark One now."
A hush fell upon the ocean-daughter, and shortly her bodily form oozed and trembled, water calling to water. Wind came from the east, bearing upon it cold rage, fiery yearning.
"Would you go to him, pure Uinen?"
She was not pure, but she had not the heart nor courage to say it.
"I would not," she whispered in her bodily voice, tender as the sound of running water. "Forgive me, my Lady."
Warmth touched her as the greater presence departed, but powerless warmth that did not comfort. For who could forgive her at all?
Water calling to water, the memory of sweet lips reaching for water; a snatched, distant image upon the rising wind.
Osse cursed his bodily form, which heated and raged and longed, and yearned for her madly, feeling in the water and wind her taste and smell and touch.
Long was he now past shock, past denial and embarrassment, long past all thoughts of his spirit-form, the beautiful pureness of the world without the burdens of flesh. The whole of him was naught but need, the impossible, terrible need, for which he would destroy the world entire.
So he called upon all his fury and despair and frustration and poured it upon the land, and the wind took away his voice as he screamed her name till he could no longer speak. Down he called rain and snow and thunder and lightning, and cursed the forces of the world, which took something as strange and marvelous as light of stars and turned it into a storm to devour him and existence both.
And not once did he stop thinking of the freedom he was promised, and thinking that if Melkor could understand what he had found he felt, surely his claim to the world was just.
Uinen's bodily form called for attention, exhaustion, cold and hunger claiming their toll. She did not know how long she did not move from the water. In the distance she could see the clouds and hear Osse's voice, screaming, begging.
His bodily voice, which she remembered so very well.
One moment she almost let slip her guard, sinking into joyful, terrifying memories, but quickly shook her head, blue and green hair waving, and resumed the frozen front, her only defense.
A bodily voice - so rare in the realm of the Valar that it made her jump, and fearfully she turned to look with her eyes upon its source. There before her stood Aule the Vala, in bodily form. An expression not strange to her, a fond smile, played upon the smith's face, and he settled by her upon the shore and hesitantly touched the water.
"That is your name, is it not?" he asked, and she nodded but slightly. "The name he cries."
Sadly, Uinen smiled. "I had not thought any but me heard, Lord."
"All do," he said with honesty. "Yet none understands."
She gave silence and reply, and Aule spoke more once. "Why does he call you, ocean-daughter?"
Uinen's fingers, odd, lovely things, played in the shallow water. Never before had any of the Valar come to her in bodily form. In the distance, Osse's voice was breaking in despair.
"I." she choked a moment. "I cannot tell, my Lord."
Aule nodded slowly, and in a careless matter he added. "A shame, for it may be that we would be forced to take action against him if this continues."
Cold wind engulfed Uinen and she leaped to her feet, crying out in alarm. Take action! Why, that was saying that they may have to imprison him, banish him, maybe. Spirit and bodily form both!
"No, Lord, please do not!" she cried, feeling the ocean invading her eyes. "We did not know."
"Did not know what, Uinen?" the Vala's eyes retained something of his spirit form in them, something that shone forth now from his flesh, face and voice. She sunk to the ground before him, covering her eyes and thrusting hands into her hair.
"We were here on this shore." she wept, "in bodily form, us two. There are feelings in bodily form, my Lord, and needs that we did not know. and Osse said that there is joy to be found, in bodily form, in. bodily love."
Aule's radiant eyes grew wide. "Did he force you, ocean-daughter."
One moment, Uinen found herself wondering how easy it would be to say that he did.
"No," she said at last, "no, he did not. I loved him willingly. I love him still, my Lord," she bowed her head. "Bodily."
Time passed, how much he did not know, and Osse could rage no longer between the sea and clouds. Powerless and tried beyond measure, at last he stayed his storms, and fell to the water, the comforting water. The bodily form he wore for long felt heavy and wasting, he longed for the freedom of the sea, the freedom of the spirit.
But that was not the freedom that he sought.
So by sheer force of will he held together his flesh and lay upon the sand, his eyes, gray as the clouds, scanning the sky. Still dark they were, and rain was still pouring down. The rain made it harder to retain the body he wore. Every drop seemed to steal something of him or melt into him, luring him back into his water, his proper state of existence.
He cursed propriety and lay still, basking in the constant, dim pain pulsing through his muscles, for long hours, till his world went dark.
And when he woke, he was not alone on the seashore.
Her skin was soft and her breath was sweet and quiet. Her flesh radiated warmth. The face she wore was perfect, the green blue hair long and smooth, the lips full, lush, alive. Her body was more perfect still. It curved sleekly under the barest of sea-shaded garments. She slept by his side, innocent, unmoving, flawless.
Osse did not know whether she enjoyed tormenting him so. His own body was reacting wildly to hers, and he hated and loved it with a passion that brought the clouds back to the sky.
"Uinen," he whispered, and ran a hand through her hair, over her back, down her long legs.
She shuddered under his touch and shifted, and carefully he drew away, terrified of waking her, but her eyes fluttered open nonetheless. She gazed upon him and tears gathered in them like rain.
"I love you, Osse, and I cannot stop," she wept into the sand.
"Then do not," he kept stroking her, softly, ever so softly. She felt the answer of her body to his touch, so strange, so beautiful. "The master I now serve cares not how we love, ocean-daughter. Come bring with me the greatest storm this world has ever seen!"
"That I cannot do either, my Osse, my brave love." Uinen whispered in reply. Slowly, her hand found his. A simple touch - how could it be greater than the world? "Such danger is in this passion. how right were the Valar to condemn it!"
"Nothing right can condemn this." the scent of her skin, the texture, the warmth, he had never witnessed anything so marvelous, more marvelous than the entire of creation with all its endless glory. A simple touch.
"No," she said, "nothing right can."
She took his hand and slowly they rose to their feet. For a moment, they merely stood upon the shore, paying no mind to the sea and sky. Then they both reached for each other, lips claiming lips, fearful, inexperienced hands working down shivering bodies. Bodily love - a simple touch, no more, and from there the storm would conquer the world entire.
The storm grew and intensified, roared and shrieked, but it could not hold back the two lovers nor make them let go. Rain came and lightning and cold wind and bitter hale, but the world stood helpless, before bodily love, as if, they dared imagine, as if it was true love after all.
Long they stood locked in the embrace, while the wind howled, and the rain poured, and the sky raged.
Round in the Ring of Doom gathered the forces of the world, and discussed love.
Long they discussed it soundlessly, in spirit-form and thought, while upon Arda the storm raged on, defiant of their outrage. Long they discussed laws and destiny, and flesh and blood, right and wrong and love.
And thought it could not and did not touch them, the storm raged. And in every drop of rain, every flake of snow, every gust of wind there was passion, and memory of passion, and wild, forbidden delight in passion.
There was the warmth of intimacy, and the flame of desire, and the tenderness of sharing, and gnawing need. Love was there that the world did not know, and love the gods themselves never imagined.
And ignorant of it all, the Valar discussed love, pondered, feared and condemned love. For who was to know in truth what ruin love could bring upon Arda? No knowledge they needed of it other than the terrible and beautiful destruction of the storm, other than the despair in distant voices. Nothing else they knew of it than that it swept one of their number away into darkness, and that the darkness must be stopped, be the cost what it must.
All of that they knew, and spoke forth, and agreed upon to be dooms for the world entire.
Then as they were prepared to abandon their council and put to practice those new laws on which they have decided, the rain broke the circle and Osse and Uinen appeared therein.
Long they stood before the Valar, bound yet within their bodily forms. The wind swept at their flowing hair, fiery red mingling with green-blue. Lightning reflected in their bright eyes, and their hands were held together. The rain washed down the painfully tender surface of their flesh, bare of any garments.
Pathetically small and vulnerable, naked, motionless and silent, they stood there, and neither of them bowed their heads.
And ere long, a voice rang out and drowned the thunder.
"Thou dare appear so before the might of the Valar?"
Uinen's hand, soft and warm, pressed Osse's gently. He raised his head, throwing back his long hair, bodily eyes staring up at the spirit- nothingness.
"Let the Valar deal us just punishment if pride in those forms of ours be a crime!"
Anger rose like the heat of fire from the gathered Ring, swelling anger threatening to pour forth upon the two. But up rose the Voice of the Sky and silenced it.
"Once wrong thou have done in thy union, ocean-daughter and stormbringer, and twice wrong if that be the manner of thy love."
To this, Uinen replied, and the crashing of the waves was in her gentle bodily voice.
"Does our love come of the One, or of the Enemy?"
More rage rose in the Ring, a new storm, darker, stronger storm, striking against not the land but the very world.
"All love of the One is come."
No answer did the two Maiar give at first, not for long as the storm rose and subsided, unwilling to erupt, unable to be calmed. Two paths were open ahead of them, and down one was fire and rage and storm to no end - and now Osse found that he no longer feared nor hated that way.
Yet there was another, Uinen's way, the way of his beloved.
Thus he looked at her with questioning eyes, silent as a calm lake. And she smiled at him, and her gentle fingers stroked his skin, and she spoke in a faint voice none but he could hear.
"Yes," she whispered.
He felt his heart swell for joy within him as the rising tide, and raising his head once more he cried for Ring and storm to hear: "then upon Eru Iluvatar we call to bless our union, while Arda endures!"
The thunder broke, and in the thunder was an answer.
Then in the halls of the Valar beyond the mortal lands were wed Osse stormbringer and Uinen ocean-daughter, first of all those who dwell in Arda. There the Ainur have gathered round to bless them with joy and left Melkor to rage at the flight of his servant in the cold lands beyond. There Osse swore his allegiance anew to Ulmo the Lord of the Seas, and his rage was forgiven him, and Uinen was forgiven for her seeking him out. There they have received as a gift upon their union the untamed winds giving rise glory of storms, as a testament and memory to passion, destructive and beautiful.
It is said that their union lasts to this day, through the many ages, a love of the flesh as immortal as the spirit. Not forgotten was their transgression, first among the dwellers in Arda to know bodily love, and some say it was not welcome either. Yet love is love, and all love of the One is come - and who among great and small both may say ought else?
~~ End ~~
A couple notes on the characters and pairing:
First, concerning love and marriage among the Ainur: it should be noted that the Valarin couples we know, such as Manwe and Varda, are not really married. Rather they were created together, as a couple. If I understood my Sil. correctly, the first couple that is actually married are Osse and Uinen. I may be mistaken about this, though.
Of all the Ainur, it always seemed most likely to me that if anyone would discover, ehm, the joys of the flesh, it would be impulsive, emotional Osse. That part of the story I completely made up. However, it does state in the Valaquenta that Osse served Melkor for a time and was brought back to the side of 'right' by Uinen. I just came up with a different reason for it all.
Finally, on appearances - sorry, can't help but imagine Osse as a redhead. Uinen's hair is canonically green.
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.