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The Vault of the Dead
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And When Have You Become the Voice of Discord?

I apologize for the abundant use of Valarin names in this chapter. They are partially borrowed from the Ardalambion website, partially created for my other stories by Finch and erunyauve – consequently, they should be correct, as those two ladies are very scholarly people. You will find a list with the necessary explanations on the end of this chapter.

Makar and Meássë are counted among the Valar in the “Lost Tales”. They were war-like deities, later ejected from the entire concept. Fangli, Fankil and Fúkil were three different names for a not closely described servant of Melkor, who, too, got deleted completely.

Also, it is said somewhere in canon that after the arrival of the Elves to Valinor, the Valar took over their language (= Quenya), because they found it more beautiful than their own.


Part 08 – And When Have You Become the Voice of Discord?

The building where Morwêndî took Gandalf was like all the others, at least from the outside: half awesome masonry, half natural cave. When they entered, however, it turned out to be one of the most awesome dwellings the wizard had ever seen, on either side of the Sea. It consisted of a large central cave, like a huge cistern with a high, arched ceiling, and from the middle of it a spring rose from the rock wall, blubbering along a shallow bed in the middle and vanishing under the opposite wall, some ten foot below the main entrance.

Arched doorways led out from the rock chamber on all sides save the one looking to the courtyard. Perchance they led to other houses, or to further rooms deep within the rock. A soft, silver light filled the entire hall, like a glimmering veil of rain. It seemed to come from a beautifully wrought crystal lamp that was placed on a low pedestal above the spring. There was no oil or visible flame within that lamp, no apparent source of the radiance that filled it, spilled over and flooded the cave.

And there was music in that large chamber, beyond the merry blubbering of the water: faint echoes that reminded Gandalf – Olórin – of his youth, half-buried now by millennia spent in a permanent incarnation and with ceaseless labour. He could recognize stray harmonies of the First Music of Creation; lesser ones, yet still powerful enough. The ones who dwelt here had once been among the mightiest of the Valar, young though they might have been; and even now, separated from the Circle for three full Ages or more, they could doubtlessly perform great tasks when they united their strength.

“Not even a shard of what we used to be capable of,” said a clear, ringing voice, “for the bodies taken from the marred flesh of Aþâraphelûn limit us greatly; but still enough to keep this enclave safe.”

‘Twas the voice of a woman, full of power of authority despite of its gentleness. And she did not speak in the dialect of the Dark Elves; not even in Quenya that had been the language of the Blessed Realm ever since the arrival of the first Elves, but in a language that sounded like the ringing of swords. She spoke Valarin, the tongue that Olórin had not heard since the Spring of Arda.

She stepped forth from one of the shadowed doorways: a tall and slender woman, clad in silver and green like a young willow-tree, her thick hair earth-brown and her starlit eyes dark blue like the night sky. The form she was wearing now seemed unfamiliar, and yet Olórin recognized her at once.

“Akairis,” he said with a bow, for once she had been the trusted companion of Pathânezel, the Lady of the Pastures, whom the Elves called Yavanna, and thus she deserved respect, even in her exile.

“Olórin,” she replied with a queenly nod of her head. “’Tis good to see one of our own kind once again. It has been a long time.”

“Too long,” agreed Olórin. “Not that we would have known about your fate… or your whereabouts. It seems as if you had been lost… forgotten even.”

“’Tis more than just that,” she replied. “When we raised our voices against he abandonment of Aþâraphelûn, the Mâchanumâz cast us out for our belligerence. We were offered two choices: to accept their decision or to leave our home in Phelûn Amanaišal. We chose to leave; and our names, not the ones you know but our true names, have been deleted.”

“You mean wiped from memory?” asked Olórin.

“Nay,” she said. “truly deleted. Removed from the Music. In a sense, we do not even exist anymore. Not for our brethren in the West, that is.”

Olórin shook his head. “I cannot imagine Mânawenûz doing that,” he said. “You have not turned against us, have done naught to harm any-one, unlike Dušamanûðaz or Rušuranaškad or any of the others who had turned evil had done. Why should he punish you like that?”

“’Twas not entirely his doing,” she admitted. “We removed ourselves from the Circle; broke our connection to the others. He only made it final when it became clear that we wound not go back.”

“And yet he removed your names but not theirs?” said Olórin with a frown. “It seems a little… unjust, if I think about it.”

“He could not remove their names, for they were the enemy,” said another voice, a male one this time, and a silver-haired, green-eyed figure, clad in a flowing turquoise robe, came forth to join them. “You can only hope to gain power over your enemy if you know his true name. We were not the enemy; merely the voice of discord that disturbed their Music… or, at least, tried to lead it in a direction the Mâchanumâz did not want to go.”

This one Olórin did remember: Salmar, or Lirillo, or Noldorin as he was also called, had been the companion of Ullubôz, sharing the power of the Lord of Waters, long after his rebellious siblings had left.

“And when, exactly, did you become the voice of discord?” asked the Maia, eager to find out what had truly happened all those Ages earlier.

“For Akairis and myself, it happened early on,” answered a third voice; this, too, was a male one, yet more lyrical and beautiful than any other voice Olórin had ever heard, including that of Lindir, the minstrel of Rivendell, and that was saying a lot. “Ere the Firstborn awakened at the waters of Koivê-néni, we warned that abandoning Aþâraphelûn would be a mistake and that the dwellers of these lands would need our protection against Dušamanûðaz’ evil. But the others were too concerned with their own safety to listen; the destruction of the Lamps had shaken them badly. Only Arômêz and Pathânezel would care to cross the Sea from time to time and look after the lands under the blanket of darkness; and from your own kind Ibrîniðil the fair. Although we did win Ullubôz for our case later.”

He, too, came out of the shadows and sat down with them on the wide stone bench. He wore the form resembling that of an Elf, but with hair pale gold, almost white, like the moonlight. His eyes were wide and dark, his clothes shimmering like mother-of-pearl, and he seemed to softly glow from within. He reminded Olórin a little of the lady Este, she who lay in slumber in daytime and sent out her dreams to all children of Ilúvatar during nighttime as omens and warnings.

And all of a sudden, Olórin understood where the dreams that had set off Boromir on a long and arduous journey to seek out Imladris had come from.

“You are right,” said Ómar, also known as Amillo in the oldest of tales. “I was the one who sent the dreams to the children of Mithrellas, for I feared that without forewarning, Gondor would have fallen. Even so, our plans have gone awry, and the outcome was not exactly what we have hoped for.”

“What do you mean?” asked Olórin. “You did not want the Kingdom to be reunited and the King to return?”

“Oh, we did not oppose that,” replied Ómar with a shrug, “but we would have preferred the King to set up his seat in the North, where he belongs, and leave the South well alone in the time-proved care of the Stewards. Had Boromir allowed his brother to on the quest as it was supposed to happen, all would have gone according to our plans, and perchance Gondor would have suffered less grievous losses.”

“But Men are stubborn creatures,” said Olórin in understanding.

“Or Fate is,” said Ómar gravely. “’Twould be mistaken to blame one Man for that which has happened, for he only acted out of love for his brother and his lands, and can we blame any action that was borne out of selfless love, even if the outcome is not what it could have been otherwise?”

“Besides,” added Akairis, “who can tell whether this is what was meant to happen or not? Ilúvatar’s plans are hidden from us all; not even Mânawenûz understands them as well as he would like us to believe.”

“Perchance not,” allowed Olórin, albeit shocked a little by her attitude towards the Blessed One. “But what do you intend to do now that Rušuranaškad has been ultimately defeated? Are you going back to the West and ask the Mâchanumâz for forgiveness?”

“Why should we do such thing?” asked Ómar, with a cold glint in his dark eyes. “We have done nothing wrong. On the contrary: we have righted the wrongs they had committed when they abandoned Aþâraphelûn to the mercy of Dušamanûðaz. They could think of nothing better than tear the Quendi away from their roots and turn their backs on those who did not want to leave. We have protected the Moriquendi as well as we could all this time. We are not going to abandon them now.”

“What we are doing here is what our kind was always supposed to do,” added Salmar, the peculiar echoes of falling waters and flowing waters softening his voice. “To teach and protect the children of Ilúvatar ‘til they have grown enough to stand on their own feet.”

“Mayhap so,” said Olórin thoughtfully, “but is your very presence not holding back their growth? Is it not time to let them go?”

“Is dragging the Quendi to the West – or encouraging them to flee there – not stunting their potential?” retorted Akairis, her eyes flaming with anger. “This was meant to be their home; here were they meant to dwell and grow. And that is the very chance we have offered to the Moriquendi – a chance they gladly accepted.”

“We have not pressed them to do things our way, Olórin,” said Salmar softly. “We gave them no particular gifts. The corn for lembas had been a gift of Pathânezel, brought here during the Dark Years. Ibrîniðil took it to Doriath when she became its Queen. From there it came to Lothlórien and the Greenwood. And Akairis took it here. As for the spring,” he gestured towards the clear, cold water bubbling away at this feet, “it has been there since this part of the world had taken shape. All I did was to free it from the rock… or rather, I showed the Elven masons where to open its way.”

“And all I brought them were the songs,” said Ómar.

“What about the Light?” asked Olórin, glancing at the lamp.

Salmar shook his head. “That is not our doing. Or do you believe that the Elven smiths who chose to stay true to the land of their birth are less skilled than their cousins in the West? They are of the same stock Fëanáro came from; they have the same gift. A lamp like this was once placed on top of the highest tower in Kortirion, the First City of Elves, where Elmö was King, ere the Valarauki destroyed it. Mayhap Achûlêz could tell you how the crystal catches the starlight and keeps it trapped within – I certainly cannot.”

“The Moriquendi are very well able to make their own choices and to fend for themselves,” said Akairis. “We only help them to hide their abode from spying eyes.”

“Yea, but without the veil you draw over their existence, they would be forced to leave their hiding place and face the world as it is,” pointed out Olórin.

“You mean any other way than fighting cave trolls and Wargs and having the occasional trade with other Elves and even some Men?” asked Ómar, raising an ironic eyebrow. “They do go out all the time, you know, even though the ones they met have no inkling who they truly are. They just do not want strangers in their city – which is their rightful choice to make.”

“And what difference does it make to shut themselves away with their Dead, instead of sailing to the West?” asked Olórin. “So or so, they are isolated from the rest of the world.”

“The difference is that the Moriquendi can leave if they feel trapped within these cliffs,” replied Salmar. “They have other, smaller settlements outside of Ramandur; or they can go to Edhellond or to Mirkwood, if they want. I have never heard of any-one to return from the West, though.”

“Save from Glorfindel,” added Akairis, “but he does not count. He has been changed so much that he is closer to your kind than to his own by now.”

“How can you know that?” demanded Olórin. “No-one of you has ever meet him!”

“Nor was there ever need for a meeting in person, as long as we can look at events far away in the past or going on in distant lands,” said Akairis with a shrug. It seemed that she was the feistiest one of the three, with the most anger bottled up inside of her.

The phrasing of that statement made Olórin understand the hint. “You have got a palantír,” he whispered.

Salmar nodded. “One of those lost with Avedui’s ship, I deem,” he said. “’Twas washed ashore at the Cape of Andrast, near Ras Morthil, years later. The Moriquendi have a small fortress within the rocky hills. They found it and brought it to Ramandur, where it is kept in Barathî’s Tower. Ngolwinder the Sage has become quite apt at using it.”

“Using for what?” snapped Olórin. “’Tis not so as if your wards would come out of the hiding and take part in the struggles of Middle-earth.”

“At least not often and not at large,” answered Ómar unperturbed. “But they keep track of everything that goes on; for even though Rušuranaškad has fallen, there still might be great perils abroad, and as long as we have no hard proof of the fates of Makar and Meássë, no-one can be perfectly safe.”

“Tis thought that Makar and Meássë have turned into Valarauki,” said Olórin. “Some even said that Kosomot, their lord, had, in fact, been Makar himself.”

“And some say that Meássë was, in fact, Ungoliant, though we know that to be false,” Salmar nodded. “And there had been the three, Fangli, Fankil and Fúkil, who had once served the Marred One, and whose fate, too, remains unclear. The Moriquendi have been tracking them, and other evils of the same kind, for three Ages – first with the help of the Dead and lately with the help of the palantír, but to no avail. For all they can track is the spreading of evil deeds… the pattern, yet not the patterner.”

“Which is still enough for them to keep out of harm’s way,” added Ómar, “and that is all they want. They are not a numerous people, and they do not wish to fight the wars of others.”

“Thus, regret as we might it, we do not truly have any answers for you, Olórin,” said Akairis. “We do what we see to be our duty towards the children of Ilúvatar, for that is what we have been made for. Just as you have done yours. We are aware of your labours and great deeds, and we grieve with you over the loss of Phanaišata. A shame it is, for someone so great to fall so deeply. You, on the other hand, have done more than any-one of your kind and deserve to rest.”

“You will have to return to the West, soon,” Salmar laid a curiously light hand upon his chest. “This fana you are wearing… it will not last much longer. You would not wish to be on mortal shores when it breaks apart. The consequences could be… devastating for those you have sworn to guide and protect.”

“What about your fana?” asked Olórin. “Would it hold as long as you need it?”

“I do not have one; nor have the others,” replied Salmar. “When we came here, we have bonded with the flesh of Aþâraphelûn and became true incarnates, as vulnerable to the living flesh as Elves are. Thus we shall stay ‘til Time comes to full circle and the world is re-made. After that – we do not know.”

“Do you know aught about my lost brethren, the Blue Istari?” asked Olórin. “We have lost them from sight, very much like we have lost you.”

“They have gone to the East as they had been told,” said Ómar, “and as far as we can tell, they are still alive. Alatariel has gone to Rhûn, and she worked tirelessly on forging peace between the battling Easterling chieftains, in the hope that united they could tear them away from Mordor. We have lost rack on Pallando somewhere in Far-Harad. But we would know if he had perished; he was one of Mânadhušthâz and Fui’s people, while I used to be a companion of Šebethšathâz… I would have felt the connection break.”

That surprised Olórin. “Even here?”

Ómar nodded. “Even here. Dreams and visions travel great distances on the wings of music, and I was made for music… I was made of music.”

“Valinor is certainly a less joyous place without you,” said Olórin.

“Perhaps; but this place needs me more,” Ómar rose. “We should go down to the parvis. The singing has already begun, and tonight all hearts will be united in joy: the Dead and the living, Elves and Men, and even us, the children of the Music in exile.”

His brother and sister rose, too, following him as he took Olórin by the hand and led him out into the courtyard. And in that night, the Stone Flower of Ramandur was filled with songs no mortal Man had ever heard… and even Elves other than the Moriquendi only once or twice in an Age. If they were very lucky.



Valarin names (and explanations) in order of appearance:

Aþâraphelûn = "appointed dwelling" = Arda (Valarin)
Pathânezel = tentative attempt to give Yavanna a Valarin name. Supposed meaning: “Leaf-green”
Phelûn Amanaišal = Literal meaning: “dwelling unmarred”. Dwelling of the Valar.
Mâchanumâz = the Aratari, the greatest of the Valar
Mânawenûz = Manwë (Valarin name)
Dušamanûðaz = a name for Melkor in Valarin. Supposed meaning: “the Marred One”
Rušuranaškad = supposed meaning: “Ring of Fire” – yes, it is Sauron, though I have serious doubts that the name was created correctly, as this is one of the very few names made up by me.
Ullubôz = Ulmo (Valarin)
Arômêz = the Vala Oromë (Valarin)
Ibrîniðil = Silver-flower in Valarin – an original name I chose for Melian. Not a genuine Tolkien invention.
Achûlêz = Aulë (Valarin. According to the Ardalambion the “ch” in this particular name corresponds to the German ach-Laut and was by Tolkien spelt by a special letter similar to the number 3. I decided against using it, simply because it would look a little too weird, even for my taste.
Phanaišata = Supposed meaning: “White Hair” – yeah, Saruman, indeed. (well, “bright hair”, to be correct.)
Šebethšathâz = Irmo. Literal meaning: Air-cloudy (borrowed from Olofántur, Dream-cloud, one of the names of Lórien).
Mânadhušthâz = Námo. Doom-cloudy (in the Etymologies, Námo and Irmo are paired with the names 'Death-cloud' – Nurufántur and 'Dream-cloud' – Olofántur).


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