Back to Middle-earth 2009 fics: 15. Day 15: Stroke of Genius (Rúmil)

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15. Day 15: Stroke of Genius (Rúmil)

Rúmil traced the last stroke of the last set and, carefully, placed the brush upon the table. For a while he remained, almost transfixed, contemplating his work in the silver light.

His heart raced within him; he recognized the emotion: excitement.

A scholar has but little opportunity to distance himself from his work in such a way, rather, to look at it. Is this what a craftsman feels when he holds a jewel in his hands? His thoughts raced back to his beloved Ainulindale. How much work had he put into composing it, line after painful, wonderful line of repetition until he had committed the whole poem to his memory. And he was the only one in all of Tirion who could tell it, which was not bad in itself; except, the creative work begged to be shared and he could not be in more than one place at a time.

The signs stared back at him, dark, beautiful.

"Tengwa. Tengwar," Rúmil said, testily. "For they are lines. Lines, used to represent sounds, to represent words to repre— Oh. By the Light and all that is— what, what have I just wrought?"

He let the possibilities—infinite possibilities—run wild in his head. The transmission of knowledge would undergo a radical improvement; the exchanges that would take place from a scholarly mind with another removed by distance and even time! The children they would have could read what he thought of today. Even craftsmen could commit their knowledge to paper with the help of his symbols. Craftsmen, musicians, loremasters. And what of administrators? His mind was filled with lists and accounts, with codes and laws, with records and histories, with written thoughts and communications between lovers and families… Unity of understanding, certainly, and unity in the midst of separation.

The marvelous beauty of it made him giddy, and he had to steady himself against the table, coming face to face with his signs once more, focusing on their strange attraction.

And, as in Ainulindale, from the unity rose discord.

He ran his hands through his hair, suddenly perturbed by a thought that had never entered his mind during all the hours he had spent working on his invention. Nay. He knew now that it must have been a seed, even then, for he had told no one of his project—not even Aialasse. What he was feeling now was different than the craftsman's pride. It was…

It is… Is this akin to what a woman feels when a newly-born infant is placed in her arms? He had heard about it, many times: the overwhelming urge to protect the new life; the absolute wonder about the babe's infinite potential; the longing—nay, fear, even then, that told of the child's capacity to shape his own destiny, that knew that, one day, the child would be his own master for whatever he chose to do with the life he had received. For he knew that once he shared his signs with another, he would be unable to exercise any control on how they would be used.

He stared back at his letters. Within himself he recognized the strings of two competing emotions now, pulling him in different ways: the desire to shelter them, to protect them from any misuse, and the desire to call everyone who would come to wonder and dream of the possibilities their creation had opened to them.

Potential. Infinite potential.

With a last, amazed glance, he closed the door and went in search of Aialasse.

"The invention of writing and of a convenient system of records on paper has had the greatest influence on uplifting the human race than any other intellectual achievement in the career of man..." (The Conquest of Civilization, James H. Breasted)

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.

Story Information

Author: Starlight

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: Multi-Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 06/24/09

Original Post: 03/13/09

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