1. The Statute of the Music of Love
The Statute of the Music of Love
Maglor came home to Formenos with tears streaming down his eyes. His brothers would not have known that he'd finally returned if the servants hadn't been watching him closely. Maedhros was taller than his brother, and so he had some difficulties reaching him under the western stairwell. Maglor paid no attention to his brother. He sat in the dark with his head buried in his hands and hummed an empty tune of longing. At that, Maedhros grew afraid, for Maglor was emotional and often fell prey to the sorrowful themes of Arda Marred. At such times, he wearied of life and longed for release from the labor of living. But the sharp moments of despair would eventually pass, and his brothers could do little but encourage him to endure until the passing of that shadow upon his heart.
Maedhros put an arm about his brother's shoulders. "Cano, where have you been?"
"I have been in love."
Feanor was banished from Tirion, but he was not restricted from going to Valmar. He rode to the very doorsteps of the white and blue marble halls of Manwe. The Manir and the Suruli, the sylphs of the airs and of the winds, stopped Feanor and would not suffer him to enter the house of Manwe, for they feared that he purposed to do evil in vengeance for his exile from Tirion. His eyes seemed to pierce their very minds with his gaze.
"Enough, Spirit of Fire. You need not make yourself heard in such a way," said the herald of Manwe. "If you have business with the King of Arda, speak now, and I will relay your message."
"My business is with Manwe Sulimo, not with you," Feanor said.
"Nevertheless, you will declare your business to me or not at all," said Eonwe. "You are not to be trusted, servant of Melkor, and I will not allow you in the presence of my lord." Feanor's eyes flashed like lightning, and he seemed about to draw his sword.
"Stop, before the peace in Valinor is broken once more," said Olorin in a sharp tone. He stepped forward from amidst the Manir. "Eonwe, you need not speak to the Prince of the Noldor in that manner."
Before Olorin could chide Feanor as well, Feanor dropped to one knee. "I beg mercy for my son."
"Though they joined you in exile, your sons are not themselves banished from Tirion," said Eonwe.
Feanor ignored him and continued to speak to Olorin. "You have learned pity from Nienna, and I ask you now to take pity on Macalaure. He is fading fast. I cannot speak of this matter before others, for it is not simply a matter of the Eldar. I beg you to speak to Manwe on my behalf so that he may grant me audience."
"Fading you say?" Olorin's brow furrowed. "That should not be, not here in Valinor."
"And yet it is happening," Feanor said. "I know the signs." Olorin did not stay to question further. Feanor's tone made it clear that the situation was, indeed, grave. Eonwe distrustfully guarded Feanor but did not say anything. Soon, Feanor was admitted to the presence of Manwe and Varda.
Feanor skipped all formalities and prostrated himself before the thrones of Manwe and Varda. "My second son, Canafinwe Macalaure, is in love, and I beg that you sanction his union or he will pass on as my mother did."
"If the one he loves is unwilling, then there is nothing that we can do," Varda said gently. "It is not our place to interfere in these matters of the Eldar."
"These circumstances are unique," said Feanor. "The one he loves does return his love, but that is not enough. Macalaure loves the Ainu Omar-Amillo.
The Lord of the Seas led the ships of the Falmari back to Alqualonde lest they be lured into the whirlpool by the voice of Amillo. Osse warned Olwe not to allow any ships to leave the harbor and told him to stop his people by force if necessary. The young mariners would be particularly susceptible to Amillo's calls. Then Osse went to the heart of the whirlpool, where Salmar-Noldorin was with his twin brother.
"What is the news, Salmar?" Osse asked.
"Amillo has fallen in love with an Elda," Salmar said. His harp and lyre were left untended, and the music of his voice was unsteady. "I questioned him further. I thought, surely he speaks of the love that we all feel for the Firstborn Children of Iluvatar. That is not so. He wishes to associate with this Elda in the manner of spouses."
"As spouses?" Osse repeated incredulously. It was not possible. The Maiar and the Eldar did not come together in such a manner, for the Maiar were spirits from beyond Arda whereas the existence of the Eldar was tied to Arda.
Salmar nodded. "He met the second son of Feanor again after the breach in the peace of Valinor. Macalaure had changed. From that time hence, he has learned the music of Arda Marred. They sang together, and the music that they together crafted was unlike any that had been heard before. From that, they fell in love, or so says Amillo."
"That's ridiculous. He loves the music, not the Elda." But then Osse paused, for he remembered despairing on the shores of Beleriand when he'd felt slighted by Ulmo. He recalled the soft song of comfort from the Child of Iluvatar that resonated with the third theme of the Music of Arda. It was deep and wide and beautiful, but slow and blended with an immeasurable sorrow, from which its beauty chiefly came. Osse had never given much thought to his relationship with Falmandil, but now he began to wonder if it mimicked the relationship between spouses. Yet it could not, could it? They were both men, and he was wedded to Uinen. "Besides, they're both men. The union of spouses occurs between a man and a woman."
"I do not seek a relationship in order to procreate." Amillo's voice was not one of unmatched beauty. It was rough, perhaps from sobbing, and seemed incomplete. He raised his head for the first time since Osse had come. "I wish only to associate with this Elda. These forms that we have chosen are but raiment for our spirits. I would be willing to change to a female form for Macalaure. I would do anything to be with him."
Osse looked at Amillo in wonder, for he had never given or sacrificed anything for Falmandil. "Do you truly love this Elda so much?" Amillo nodded. Osse opened his mouth to speak but words of protest would not come out. At last, Osse said, "I will do what I can to aid your cause then."
Thorondor, the great eagle of Manwe, came to the whirlpool as herald since Eonwe could not traverse the waters. "Amillo, you have been summoned to appear before the Valar in the Ring of Doom."
"What of Macalaure?" Amillo asked.
"He has also been summoned," said Thorondor.
"Very well. I will come."
Manwe spoke to the Valar, saying: "The right nature for an Elda is to wed another of his kind and to beget children. Yet here we have a situation most strange, one that can perhaps only arise from Arda Marred. Omar-Amillo, Lord of Music, wishes to wed with Canafinwe Macalaure, second son of Curufinwe Feanaro. Shall the Valar grant them this grace?"
"A Maia wed with an Elda? That is unheard of!" cried Tulkas.
"Not entirely," said Feanor, for he had come to debate on behalf of his son. "I have heard that my father's friend, Elwe Thindikollo, wedded Melian the Maia, servant of Yavanna."
"That fate was appointed to them before the beginning of Time," said Nessa.
"How do you know that this was not also fated to be so?" challenged Feanor.
"If it were to be, I think that your son would have been born as a daughter, or that Amillo would have long ago chosen a female form rather than a male one," said Yavanna. "If they wished to associate in the manner that you and Aule associate, we would have no quarrel. But they claim that they wish to be wed."
"That is so, Lady Yavanna," Maglor said softly. "It is not enough for our love to simply be."
"Before the world was created, the Ainur sang their musics. Yet when all was finished, Iluvatar said, 'Ea!' Thus we were able to behold our musics. It was not enough that the music had been made. Iluvatar chose to shape our musics in the world of Arda," Amillo said. "Love unfulfilled is like the music of the Ainur before Iluvatar breathed life into the world. Is it not more beautiful than we could ever have imagined? It is as the snowflakes and rain unpredicted by the music of Ulmo, Lord of Waters. And the Children of Iluvatar are not of our musics, but if love such as this should flourish between one of us and one of them, then is that not also the design of the Father of All?"
"You claim that this is the design of Iluvatar, yet I instead perceive that this is the works of the Shadow that first marred Arda," said Yavanna. "Macalaure is not at fault, but his very nature has been corrupted by Melkor, and so he has sought other than what was intended for him: an Elven wife. If we allow this union, are we not perpetuating this marring?"
"How can it be evil and marred if it comes of love?" thundered Osse.
"Love is itself pure and untouched by evil, that is true," said Ulmo, "but the union of two beings in love is not necessarily free from evil. I do not question the goodness of their love, for I believe that it is real and not imagined from illusion or lust. I do, however, question the wisdom of allowing them to come together as if they were man and wife. Why is this necessary for their love to be complete?"
"So says one who is unattached," said Aule. "I mean no disrespect to the Lord of Waters, but he has not yet known the joys of marriage. Did the youngest of us, Tulkas and Nessa, not come together in joy and find yet greater love through their physical union? And did it not allow them to more deeply explore the Music of Arda, of which they had but a part? Through such unions, we may explore aspects of the Music outside of ourselves, and that is surely the greatest pleasure of marriage."
"And who better to want such a thing than the Lord of Music?" added Salmar. "My brother has ever sang beneath Telperion and Laurelin, yet not until now have I realized that his songs were lacking. I may be content in the deep waters or by the side of Lord Ulmo, but if Amillo finds greater joy in the company of an Elda, then I see not why it should be withheld from him."
"Yet their marriage can never bring children into this world. It seems to me a thing unnatural," said Este the Gentle.
"I would gladly take the guise of a woman if it would allow me to be with Macalaure," said Amillo.
"That seems to me even more unnatural," Orome said with a twitch of his dark eyebrow. "If we allow you to do such a thing, then I believe that, as Yavanna has said, we would be further perpetuating the marring."
"Then allow their union as they are," Feanor said. "It will do no harm to either of them, save that their marriage would be a barren one. You say that their love may be a mark of the marring of the world, yet perhaps their music together can aid in the healing of Arda. Before the Shadow of Melkor touched the Noldor, these two were innocent and untouched by love of this manner. They have sung together before to the glory of the Two Trees. Yet, it was not until after the Marrer's actions were revealed in the eruption of violence in Aman that these two came to love each other as man and wife. It seems to me that their music has found new depth and beauty, and perhaps in their union, they may find healing for the Marred Music that flows in all things in Arda."
"We may pity their plight, yet if this union comes to pass, I perceive that still further grief will come of it," said Nienna. "Iluvatar appointed the Elves to live undying in Arda, yet Amillo came from beyond Arda. In time, they will be parting, and that parting may be a greater sorrow than the sorrow that will come of our forbidding their union."
"The tale may be sorrowful in the end, but does that mean it should not be?" said Vaire. "I am the weaver of the stories of Arda, and, though we have brought the Eldar here to Aman to dwell in peace and safety, already I have had to weave one story of woe. Is that not so, son of Finwe?"
"Yay, it is so," said Feanor.
"And yet, it was in the nature of Finwe to desire children and thus to wish to wed another. Amillo's nature calls out to him to unite with this Elda, and Macalaure's nature also begs him be with Amillo. It seems to me one of consensual love, and such love should not be denied. Indeed, it is all the more pertinent if Macalaure should die from grief at not being with his love and if Amillo should choose to depart Arda before his time because of our unwillingness to allow the full fruition of their love," said Vaire.
There was a long silence, but at length Manwe spoke again. "I was appointed by Iluvatar to be the High King of Arda, yet it was not given to me to rule the wills of others. Indeed, that is the very desire of Melkor that has corrupted him to evil. Therefore I cannot command either Amillo or Macalaure to withhold their love for each other.
"I was also commanded to rule all that dwells in Arda, and while Amillo the Ainu dwells in incarnate form in Valinor, he must also be subjected to my laws. But there is yet no law that forbids the marriage of two men. It was not necessary, for such a love had never arisen. I do not choose to now create such a law for the express purpose of preventing the union of two who are so deeply in love. If Varda had chosen a male form, would I have not associated with her because of her physical being? I think not, for our love goes beyond that of the body, and I perceive that this is also true for the Lord of Music and for Macalaure the great singer.
"But this matter I now commit to Namo the Judge. Let him speak last!"
Then Namo Mandos spoke, saying, "All that I have heard I have considered. It is our part to rule Arda and to counsel the Children of Iluvatar or to command them in things committed to our authority. But our authority does not extend to matters of the heart, even moreso for one of our own, for is Amillo not of the Ainur also? Yay. And though I may seem cold and unrelenting in my judgments, even my heart has been moved by love, for I am fortunate enough to be espoused to Vaire the Weaver.
"In this matter, I cannot judge, and so I will accept the decision of Manwe. But to this will I add: it may be that Amillo and Macalaure will find the end bitter, but that will not lessen the love that they will have shared together. In their place, I think I would also choose to love rather than not, for one moment with Vaire is worth more than an eternity without her. When the Light of Valinor has dimmed, Amillo will sing for the Two Trees, and, when that Light arises once more, then shall Macalaure share in that song. Though they may be separated by the Sea, and though they will, in the end, be separated beyond the very confines of Arda, the winds will blend their music even as the Light of the Two Trees now blend in silver and gold, then the griefs that shall come ye shall weigh in the balance, and they shall not seem too heavy compared with the Music that is their love."
"So be it!" said Manwe.
Therefore the Statute of the Music of Love, as it came to be known, was proclaimed, and the wedding of Amillo and Macalaure was a joyous occasion celebrated throughout Valinor. And even the banishment of Feanor from Tirion did not mar their marriage, for their union took place on the very slopes of Taniquetil, and Manwe himself placed the hand of Macalaure into the hand of Amillo and blessed their love in the name of Iluvatar.
Note: What? Tolkien said that Maglor was wedded (XI. 318). He never said that Maglor married a woman. So there! Omar-Amillo comes from the Book of Lost Tales I and was originally a Vala. In this fic, I made Amillo a Maia like his brother Salmar, who didn't get cut from the later tales.
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