For Tracey Clayborn for her birthday, and for Dreamflower for the inspiration. Beta by RiverOtter.
“Atto, you have allowed me the Ents as my children, even as you have breathed life into my beloved’s Dwarves....”
Yes, my most greatly loved daughter?
“I have been finding my imagination caught by the thought of still another race to live, there within Middle Earth, a small, shy creature who would live mostly hidden, almost as the field mouse lives hidden in the grasslands or the lizard in the sands of deserts.”
Tell me how you see this new creature.
“Small, far smaller than Men or Elves; smaller even than Dwarves. One who cares for the tilled earth even as Elves are drawn to the wild lands and driven to bring healing where our fallen brother and his folk have left scars. Looking like Men, but one whose overwhelming appetite is for food rather than for glory or love. One who, like the Dwarves, feels at one with the earth itself to the point of living within it when possible, but who has not the hardness of stone within him. One who cares strongly for family, and will do all within his strength to nurture those given into his care. One who can draw tenderness from others, bringing out the best in those who care for him.”
A worthy challenge, and quite a contrast to your Ents, child.
“Thank you, Atto. I fear you have me blushing.”
Have you discussed this possible new race with any other?
“Not with any of my brethren or sisters, although I must admit that the idea came to me while I was speaking with Olórin. For all that he is of Manwë’s people I find he at times can inspire me to even greater creativity.”
Warmly: Ah, yes--I did gift him with such a great abundance of empathy and creativity, as well as filling him with perhaps more of the Secret Flame that I did many of the other Maiar. And it was in speaking with him that your imagination conceived of this new race of Children?
“Oh, yes, Atto.”
I will think on it, daughter. Yes, I do believe that I find this idea for a new creature to be among my Children pleasing. However, if I choose to bring it forth, I shall do so at a time that perhaps may appear capricious. But the gifts of your imagining ever delight me, Yavanna.
“Oh, thank you, Atto!”
Why have you not spoken of this with your brothers or sisters?
“I am sorry, Atto. I--well, I suppose that I feel somewhat guilty, as if I would appear greedy to the others. Manwë has the Eagles as his special children and delights that his winds lift them up to rejoice in the airs above Arda, while Varda particularly delights in the Elves who reflect the beauty of her stars. Certainly Oromë and Ulmo are fascinated with Men and the idea that they share the mortality of the rest of the creatures of this world, yet can appreciate our natures. And my Aulë is most pleased with his Dwarves. As you have given me my Ents, how could I imagine still another race as my children? After all, we did not sing them into the theme of Ëa as we did the others.”
She felt His delighted laughter. Do not be so very certain of that, sweet Yavanna, my most fecund of children! Did I not give to each of you the ability to sing forth My song, but making it Yours? There can be nothing that did not come to you of my own imagining, you will find. And this imagining of yours pleases me greatly, as does your desire not to appear greedy, but still to share the seeds that you have conceived of within the rich world of your thought. Will you trust me with these seeds, to see them planted within the proper place, in the proper soil for their beginnings, and then to see them moved when the time is right to even richer soil?
She felt a thrill run through her at His words, at the thought he spoke to her in her own language and images. She bowed low. “Nasië, Atto.”
And she felt His attention shift to the world that she and the other has worked so long and carefully to prepare, and knew He Breathed upon it, planting the seeds she had just given into His hands....
Atto: The familiar, intimate form of the Quenya atar, which is the word for father.
Nasië: "Let it be so; amen."