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10
Unfriendly Persuasion

My birthday mathom to all. Inspired by a story I read in this year's B2MEM offerings.


~~~

Unfriendly Persuasion


“After all, we have seen the face of Atto, while they have not.” Mairon’s argument seemed reasonable, or so Curumo found it.

Olórin, who stood nearby in the form of a silver haired Elf, his arms folded across his chest, humphed. “The fact that we have seen the face of the One while the Children have not does not of necessity give us authority over them,” he said, countering his brother’s argument. “They are our brethren as well, even if their gifts and dooms lie otherwise from ours.”

Curumo considered Olórin with disfavor. Although sworn to the retinue of Manwë Súlimo, Olórin had been granted considerable freedom by his Lord, and had studied under most of the other Valar, all save Melkor, whose company he avoided. Curumo considered him prone to being sanctimonious and unnecessarily suspicious, and so it seemed in this instance. Still, Curumo thought, he is open to reason. Perhaps I can explain it to him.

He began, “It is true that we should not consider ourselves the lords and masters of the Eruhini, my friend. However, there is no question that we are both far older and more understanding of Ilúvatar’s thought than any of the Eldar. Does not it behoove us, this being true, to warn them of those dangers that we are aware of that they are not, and to offer guidance as to safer and more productive actions or choices when it is clear that they are approaching questionable situations? If it is obvious that one of the Children will seriously endanger himself or one of his brethren should he be allowed to proceed unchecked, would we not be remiss, perhaps even at fault, if we were to fail to intervene and as a result one or more should suffer hurt?

“Nay, Olórin, I cannot fault Mairon’s logic, although I must admit that he perhaps overemphasized our responsibility to offer guidance to the Children in order to make his point. But as we have been assured by our Atar that each of them is precious to Him, we must be aware that in order to properly serve we must at times be willing to exercise authority over them to protect them that they not destroy themselves due to their lesser experience and wisdom.”

Olórin did not appear to be fully convinced. “But if we seek to guide all of their actions, how are they to learn to take responsibility for themselves?”

Curumo sighed, shaking his head. “And who said that we were to guide all of their actions, Brother? But if I were to fail to step forward and as a result one of the Children should be lost I do not believe that I could forgive myself for my lack of diligence.”

At that moment Lord Aulë emerged from his forge and approached the three of them. Ah, but here you are. Mairon, my beloved friend, had you forgotten my promise to teach you how to create the tokens of power that you had asked about? Do come now, for I have the forge prepared and all needed materials gathered. I fear that if we do not begin the lesson almost immediately that Mahtan will succumb to his curiosity and begin experimenting with the materials, leaving us insufficient for our purposes. He is proving already to have an affinity for the metals and elements of our craft, and ever he seeks to add to his knowledge by exploring what he can do with whatever materials he finds available to him. Ah, but I look forward to teaching the Children, for they demonstrate such boundless curiosity and imagination! And Olórin, would you be willing to speak with young Finwë regarding the manner in which air is used to increase the heat of a fire that it might melt metal and other elements? As a servant of the Elder King and the Lord of Breath and Winds, I believe you can better explain how this happens than could I. Curumo, if you would consider the engine you have designed to bring water from below the surface of the ground up to a spigot so that it can be used by the Children, I believe that Ingwë would appreciate your tutelage, for some of his people have built their habitations far from open or running water and will need to produce such engines for their own use if they are not to suffer thirst.

Olórin was already bowing and hurrying to come to Finwë’s side. Mairon also bowed to their Lord. “We will come directly, my Lord and friend. If you will give me but a moment in which to finish a thought with my brother Curumo here….”

The Smith of the Valar smiled and returned within the forge that he might watch over the actions of the Elf he’d taken recently as his first true apprentice from among the Eldar but recently come to dwell in Aman. Mairon watched him go, and then returned his attention to Curumo. “Ah, but my brother, how well you understand and are able to share your wisdom and reasoning with others. You are right—we are indeed as elder brothers and sisters to the Eruhini, and if we are unwilling to intervene when it is necessary to turn them away from danger I fear we shall see many of them destroy themselves needlessly. I hope that when I next go to commune with Melkor you will consider coming with me, for he could teach you to use such skills to guide others even more convincingly. How could he help but honor your innate wisdom and ability to explain and persuade? Do say that you will accompany me!”

Curumo’s aura flared with pleasure at such praise, although he was not yet certain he would truly dare to approach the Dark Vala’s presence. Still, it was satisfying to know that he had managed to so impress Mairon with his ability to explain matters to those of lesser intellect. And if perhaps Melkor could assist him to hone his ability to elicit understanding and compliance from others, surely he could better serve both their Masters and the Children, making Arda a better--and safer--setting for the Children’s development.

It merited consideration, he decided as he thought himself to where Ingwë awaited him.

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