31. Valinor: "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain." Friedrich Schiller
Varda stood on the eastern balcony, watching the doings of those within the Mortal Lands who had just won the victory against Sauron.
Manwë entered, attended by several others of the Valar, his face shining with relief. “So it is that those of the Last Alliance have cast down Aulendil at last!” he exulted. “Now they, too, shall be able to know peace as we do now here in Aman.” He turned to Aulë and Irmo. “You have advised them of what to do with that foul crafting of his, have you not?”
Aulë crossed his arms, giving a single nod of his great head, while Irmo answered, “Yea, and so I have. I sent a dream to many, and they know, as our brother here has instructed me, that It must be returned to the Fire at the center of Arda from whence It came in order to undo Its making. This will release the portion of Aulendil’s spirit and will It holds in a manner that he cannot retrieve that power for himself, and only thus can all be assured that he cannot rise again. I know that at least the peredhel Elrond, Ereinion Gil-galad’s herald, appreciates that this must be done, although he was not the only one to whom I sent this dream. But I am certain that he will so counsel the other remaining commanders.”
Varda’s expression was one of concern as she turned toward the others. “And you sent this dream to Isildur son of Elendil as well?”
“Indeed, so I did.”
“He does not heed it.”
The rest turned toward the Mortal Lands, looking within the cavern where Sauron had forged his abomination of a Ring. Aulë’s face grew stiff with suppressed fury. “He has sought to reproduce my own forge!” he growled. “Does he think to supplant me in the minds of those who live within Endorë as the great Maker?”
“Apparently he does, my beloved,” said Yavanna, laying her hand upon his shoulder, her own visage filled with compassion for her consort.
“Listen!” counseled Nessa, and the rest grew silent.
Estë’s face was intent. “Lo, It speaks within Isildur’s mind!” she whispered.
Nienna said nothing, although tears of regret flowed freely from her shadowed eyes.
Tulkas did not laugh, and his usually joyful face was unnaturally stern. “This is not good.”
And they could hear Isildur’s declaration. “Nay, I will not see any hurt come to this, the one creation by the Deceiver that is nevertheless fair and pure. I shall take and hold it as weregild for my father and brother….”
Vána looked to the rest. “How can he do such a thing? It is for good reason that our fallen brother’s lieutenant received that title!”
Manwë looked to meet Námo’s eyes. “What say you, brother?”
The Lord of Mandos watched from afar as Isildur turned from the fire and walked out of the Sammath Naur, leaving behind an astounded Elrond. He sighed. “If the Ring is not destroyed now, today, then it shall be an age before the proper time may come again for It to face the Fire. Much evil will come of Isildur’s choice, but in the end even more wonder shall we know as Ilúvatar brings about Its final destruction.”
Aulë moved alongside the Doomsman. “Fëanor at least captured Light within his creations. My former apprentice instead has filled his with a will to evil and corruption. Too well, it appears, did he learn from our brother.”
Vairë sighed as she moved to her spouse’s other side. “It shall bring him all too soon into your halls, my dearest one.”
From his own realm Ulmo addressed them all: If It should come my way, I shall do my best to dampen and contain Its evil.
“As shall I!” vowed Aulë.
“Then there is nothing else at this time we can do,” Manwë pronounced with finality, “save to wait, and watch.”
All grieved at the shortsightedness of Isildur, whose wisdom this time appeared to have failed him.