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Aldudénië by Celeritas

Author: Celeritas
Title: Aldudénië
Rating: G
Theme: Light and Shadow
Olórin among the Eldar
Author's Notes:  Done entirely at the last minute; consequently, I wouldn't be surprised if there were any canon errors.
Summary:  Olórin finds himself at a loss after the Darkening of Valinor
Word Count:  950, sans canon quotes


But of Olórin [the Quenta] does not speak; for though he loved the Elves, he walked among them unseen, or in form as one of them, and they did not know whence came the fair visions or the promptings of wisdom that he put into their hearts.


The Valaquenta




Ruin.  His kind needed not rest, but he had never felt so weary in all his life, and all his thoughts jumbled together as he tried to grasp the tumult of the past days—weeks? hours?—so that this one word alone stood out and resounded in his mind.  They were utterly ruined.


Oromë himself had returned last, driven back from his pursuit of the one who was his brother, blinded by the Unlight of the Gloomweaver so that he could go no further.  Melkor was fled.


The Noldor were leaving now, returning to mourn in fair dark Tirion, and no one had the heart to stop them, for they had lost the most of all: the light of the Trees, the works of their hands, and their King.  They had perceived the same thing that he, that they all had: change, slow, grinding, inexorable change was in the air, and no one knew how he was to be a part of it.


So it was that even as the Noldor departed, he found himself drawn towards the Máhanaxar, where surely now the Valar must sit in council and deliberate what to do.  Unclothed he drifted thither, and found indeed that Manwë and Varda were already upon their thrones, and many Maiar and many Eruhíni were standing outside the Circle, lending what little support they could in their grief.


Drifting away, he found once more the dreadful scar of the Darkening—the Ezellohar, on which lay the broken hröar of the Trees.  And there he found the one he sought, the one who alone could give him guidance in these darkened times; and though her tears had long ago washed away the defilements of Ungoliant, still she wept.


She saw him, though she did not turn her head, and reached out to him in thought.


Ah, she said, my fair Olórin, what brings you here in these troubled times?


Making his way so that he faced her, he abased himself before her.


My lady, he said, I would weep with you a while, for my heart is heavy and I need to gather my thoughts.  I have lost all hope, and I know not what to do.


Would that we could weep together, you and I, she said.  But the time for tears and for reflection grows short; I am summoned to the Council of my kindred and I will not disappoint them.


My lady, what should I do?  Is there aught I may do to help you?


Nay, she said, or rather, not in that way that you think.  She drew herself to her full height, and for a moment he glimpsed the depth of that power within her which she normally masked.  But if you would ask for my advice, I would say this: take all the time that you need at the Mound, to mourn for what once was and what could have been.  Then, go among those who are grieving and unburden their hearts.


I do not understand, my lady.  How may I unburden their hearts when there is no hope?


She stared at him right in the eye, and her look was so unfathomable that he felt as weak and foolish as one of the Eldar in the face of her wisdom.  No hope there may be, but despair is a canker that eats at the heart of these people who have known no sorrow.  It must not be allowed to take root in them, lest the treachery of Melkor ruin more than the land.


And he did not think he understood, even now, but he knew now what to do and he bowed before her.  And when she left he sat alone upon the mound and wept.


At last, when his heart was filled with some semblance of peace, he went out to where the Vanyar were weeping.  He did not know how long the Valar had been in council, but the loss of the Light had wearied many and though no one had left the circle, some minds wandered even now in dark dreams.


Tentatively he approached one, though she could not see him.  Her eyes were staring into the distance, focused on nothing.  Briefly he reached out to her with his mind, and saw that she dreamed of shadow, swallowing the world around her and drowning even Taniquetil itself in a black fog.  He backed away.  For how was he to offer consolation to her when he feared the very same things she did?  If he were to comfort her in her mind with images of light, would he not be merely offering her a lie?


Nay, the answer came at once, but a truth beyond the lie.  For though beauty may never be again, yet beauty was there once, and it deserved to be honoured, not shunned because it was no more.


Suddenly that look in the Lady Nienna’s eye became somewhat clearer.


Again he reached out to the Vanya, and worked into her dream images of those Trees that were, and of the beauty of Valinor before its darkening.  By the time he left her to move on to another, her dreams were filled with myriad mingling lights, and though tears stole down her cheeks they were not ones of despair.


When she awoke, she felt strangely refreshed, and departed from the group to sit apart.  And taking her festival harp upon her knee, which should have been used to sing the praises of Yavanna, she began to form in her mind a lament, some suitable way to turn all that had happened into song; and so cleanse the last traces of darkness from inside her, from inside them all.




Of the deeds of that day much is told in the Aldudénië, that Elemmírë of the Vanyar made and is known to all the Eldar.  Yet no song or tale could contain all the grief and terror that then befell.


Of the Darkening of Valinor, The Silmarillion


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
a truth beyond the lie. For though beauty may never be again, yet beauty was there once, and it deserved to be honoured, not shunned

How wonderful. This is a very beautiful and thoughtful piece.
Feb. 24th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
Thank you! I tried to approach this whole tale from the rather bleaker perspective that shows up in Tolkien in which, so often in Middle-earth or even in blissful Valinor as in this case, characters have no hope. And rather than give each other that humanist, often sappy "There is always hope" that we get in movieverse or in this modern age that is so severed from death, those characters who have the capacity to pull the others through come up things like, "Then we must do without hope" or, "The sooner rid of it, and the sooner to rest."

With the timeless, ever-remembering elves, it wasn't very hard to turn those impulses into, "yes, but things were once better."
Feb. 24th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
Oh, my dear! This is beautiful. Such a "young" Olorin/Mithrandir/Gandalf--he's only just begun to experience sorrow himself, and yet his compassion is still the most important part of him, and he wants to help, to comfort.

Nay, the answer came at once, but a truth beyond the lie. For though beauty may never be again, yet beauty was there once, and it deserved to be honoured, not shunned because it was no more.</a>

What wonderful insight!
Feb. 24th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
My all time favorite young Olorin in fan fiction is from The Philosopher at Large's Leithian script, where he manages to chill for a while in the Halls of Mandos and learns swordplay from dead elves. (!) I probably owe her to an extent for just planting the idea in my head that Gandalf could ever have gone through a stage of innocence. I'm also beholden to Mary Jean Holmes' work on Gandalf/Olorin (she never posted on any archives, which means she has a distinctly different vision from everyone else) in helping to characterize his West-like personality, though she went 4th-Age rather than 1st. Her stuff is worth checking out just for a bit of something different; the site is www.mj-holmes.com.

I think that Olorin chose to enter Arda because he felt a deep love for all the children of Iluvatar from the brief visions he had seen. He could never be truly happy in this early stage unless he were of service to someone.
Feb. 24th, 2009 02:19 am (UTC)
Indications that Olorin served several, if not all of the unfallen Valar at one time or another. To give honor to that which was lost; to look about at the beauty of the stars that were again visible; to touch a single heart with peace to the point she was able to do the same for others through the lament she formed--it is so like him!

Lovely, Celeritas.
Feb. 24th, 2009 03:01 am (UTC)
Well, the Valaquenta gives us Lorien (where he dwelt) and Nienna, who seems to have been at least some sort of mentor figure for him, if he was not actually bound up in her service.

But UT says he's Manwe's, if I remember correctly (I can't recall if it said he was in Manwe's service, or just that Manwe had hand-picked him for the role).

I drew on the Lorien and Nienna examples, since this was a Silm prompt: the influencing of the dreams (cf. also the olor- or "dream" element in his name) and seeking out Nienna for a source of wisdom in these times. I imagine that he did not move onto Manwe until he felt he had learned all he needed from these two: it may explain the differences of the two texts since the Valaquenta would have to predate any speculation in Middle-earth on where exactly the Istari came from.
Feb. 24th, 2009 11:40 am (UTC)
I liked the imagery in this!
Feb. 24th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :-)
Feb. 24th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
i agree that you approached this more bleaky than tolkien was like to, but it gives us that feeling of innocence facing loss and the first loss is so very traumatic in this case that the "cure" is going to be that much subtler. it's like within a family if a child experiences some 'small deaths' (pets, not close family friends, minor acquaintances) and then has a beloved grandparent die, it is easier to get to the point of they have gone to a better place. but is the very first death experience they have is a beloved parent or grandparent they are too tyed up in the denial and hurt to begin a discussion of where they have gone and what they have left to remind us of them.

and it this case even the caregivers have never experienced this kind of loss so they are all (pardon me) groping in the dark!

wonderfull little night light you have lit.
Feb. 24th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
But see, I don't think I did approach this any more bleakly than Tolkien does! The reason those moments of hope in LotR work so well is because they're so few and far between (Frodo doesn't have ANY hope from the Crossroads onwards, and even that last precious hope is not for his quest but for the ultimate prevailing of good despite evil's short victory). LotR is a very, very bleak work, and the Silm is even worse because it doesn't have hobbits. *grin*

That first loss is always painful, and I think even though the Lamps had already been destroyed the Valar would never have thought the Trees would be hit like this. They must have been as affected as the Elves, for many of whom this would be the first loss period.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 24th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
Indeed, especially with such wondrous beauty as must have been present in the Two Trees.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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