The shores of Alqualondë had not changed since last she saw them, hundreds of years before from the deck of a departing ship. But then the lands had been swiftly disappearing from her view; now they swiftly approached and Ilmarë’s hand clutched Melian’s nervously as the ship drew alongside the pier.
“Nothing ever changes in Valinor,” Ilmarë said softly, more to herself than to Melian.
After greeting Olwë, and then saying their goodbyes to both him and Linquendil, Ilmarë and Melian set out on a path heading west, away from the havens and away from the Bay of Eldamar, toward the Gardens of Lórien, their home for many years. Their feet traveled swiftly over those enchanted lands and soon they left the base of the Pelori Mountains and reached the break in them known as the Pass of Light. Ilmarë paused and looked out over the range of mountains surrounding Valinor, but her eyes were drawn to one mountain climbing higher than the others, its peak hidden in the clouds.
One of Ilmarë’s hands stole into her hair as she stared. She separated a lock from the unbound mass and twirled the strand around one slender finger.
“Are you frightened about returning, Ilmarë?” Melian asked and pulled the hair from around Ilmarë’s finger, holding her hand tightly instead.
Ilmarë continued to look at the high mountain in the distance. She intended to say no, but she could not. “Yes…it frightens me to think of facing them again…of facing him,” she nodded her head toward the mountain. “He will not have forgiven me…”
“You cannot know that, Ilmarë, not until you speak to him. You said you would return to Valinor when Manwë had been allowed enough time to forgive you.”
“That I did, Melian, and so I had resigned myself to knowing I would never return to Valinor.”
The statement merely acknowledged fact, without self-pity. Melian looked at the mountain and said musingly, “I wonder, Ilmarë…is it his forgiveness you find so difficult to attain, or your forgiveness of him?”
Ilmarë turned away and resumed their walk. Melian followed, still holding Ilmarë’s hand. They passed the woods of Oromë to the east and soon an isolated cluster of mountains appeared. The golden roofs of Aulë’s mansions gleamed in the sunlight from a high plateau amidst the mountain peaks. Both Melian and Ilmarë knew their destination lay just ahead.
Ilmarë sensed their arrival at the Gardens of Lórien long before she saw the tall silver gates set amidst the thick outer wall of evergreen trees. They walked toward the gates and a wide smile spread across Ilmarë’s face when it became apparent no one waited to greet them. She had worried their arrival would be known to those Ilmarë sought to avoid. A moment later her smile became as dim as the shadowy interior of the garden as her worries proved true. Just beyond the gates a spirit moved toward them at a determined pace. Ilmarë stood immobile, watching the misty figure glide down the garden path. When it passed through the wrought silver gates Melian stepped protectively in front of Ilmarë.
“Leave her be, Yavanna. Neither of us wish to hear anything you may have to say.” Ilmarë leaned close to Melian and made a shushing sound in her ear. She did not want to see her friend bring the wrath of the Valie down upon herself as well.
Lights danced within the spirit but two small lights hovered close together toward the top of it and they glowed with a deep green light. The green orbs remained where they were as the other lights swirled rapidly, the cloud of the spirit pulling in upon itself to coalesce into the form of an exceedingly tall woman with exceedingly long brown hair and exceedingly angry green eyes. Her voice sounded out as a lilting chorus, somewhere between a whisper and a song…but the beauty of it did nothing to hide the trembling rage.
“You are no longer in Doriath, Queen Melian,” Yavanna said, using Melian’s title with a sarcastic inflection, ill suited to the soothing tones of her voice. “You rule nothing here in Valinor. Once again you are a servant.”
Melian’s gaze did not falter as she returned Yavanna’s glare. “Perhaps…but I am not your servant.”
“And whose servant are you now? Do you still serve Estë and Vána…or do you serve the Dark Lord as your friend does?”
Tears of rage and pain burned Ilmarë’s eyes at Yavanna’s barb; it hurt no less to hear it now than it had any of the many times the Valie spat it at her. Yet Ilmarë remained silent, knowing nothing she said would ease Yavanna’s anger toward her. Melian made to speak, to defend Ilmarë, but Yavanna’s response bit first.
“Save your tears for Nienna, Ilmarë – I am not swayed by them. How convenient that you arrive on the heels of rumors of war. Do you come to gather information for your lover? Will you make all in Valinor suffer again as you did when you betrayed us…when you helped to destroy my creations…my trees…”
The despair in Yavanna's voice swelled pity within Ilmarë and her tears spilled over. She knew all too well the consuming nature of pain, and once again Ilmarë chose to bear the brunt of Yavanna’s anger if it eased the pain. Melian sensed her friend’s weakening and shook her head as she frowned at Ilmarë. But Ilmarë paid her no mind.
“Yavanna…” she began, yet Yavanna’s pain had grown too strong and she would not listen.
“Do not speak to me…do not poison the air of Aman with your deceitful words. I have come here only to order you to leave these lands. You have no place here. Return to the island, or better yet, find passage to the Mortal Lands. Seek out your lover and take the fiend to husband at last…”
The wind rose swept along Ilmarë’s back as it drowned out Yavanna’s indignant tirade. A golden light danced around her, growing stronger until it began to take shape of a tall man, golden and beautiful, his stance proud and his gaze stern. The wind clung to his body and formed a sleeveless robe of shimmering white trailing the ground. His strong, bare arms wrapped protectively around Ilmarë and the wind made his golden hair dance around her. Yavanna waited silently as the man fixed his sky blue eyes upon her.
“Have you spoken to Manwë concerning the plans of marriage you make for my sister? Perhaps he is aware you take it upon yourself to banish her from the lands Manwë rules…not you.” Eönwë smiled, but the warning he sent was clear. “Should you have matters to discuss with Ilmarë I would suggest you first discuss those matters with your King and Queen …or with myself…or even your own husband. Tell me, Yavanna, is Aulë aware of the greeting you give Ilmarë and Melian?”
The mention of her husband did not please Yavanna. Though she did not speak it, her glaring green eyes did. “Take care not to overstep your bounds, Eönwë. You do not speak for Manwë.”
“On the contrary, Yavanna - as his herald, I do speak for Manwë. Whom do you think sent me here? It would be best if you left. I made a brief visit to your home on my way here and Aulë is now quite anxious for your return.” Eönwë gestured toward the gates of Lórien. “Unless you would care to join us in the gardens? The repose of Lórien might improve your state of mind.”
Yavanna studied each one of them in turn with her angry eyes, but her baleful gaze rested longest on Ilmarë, who squirmed beneath the weight of it. Yavanna made a dismissive sound and encompassed them all with a disdainful stare.
“I will take my leave of you three…abominations.” The boundaries of her form collapsed and fell back into spirit. It took to the air where it sped in the direction of the mountain mansions. Ilmarë’s shoulders sagged in relief and Eönwë put an arm around Melian as well, keeping both women close as he escorted them into the gardens.
“I will go to Irmo and Estë’s dwelling,” Melian said once they entered the gardens. “The sun is not much longer for the sky; they should be rising soon. I will wait for the two of you there. I am happy to see you again, Eönwë.”
She leaned up to kiss his cheek and he accepted it with a smile. “Thank you, Melian. We will not be long.”
Melian walked away and Ilmarë and Eönwë continued straight ahead, past fountains and garden rooms until they reached the vast fields of poppies. A bench sat in the center of one field, surrounded by red flowers, slowly waving as they spilled their heady fragrance. Eönwë seated Ilmarë next to him and she rested her head gratefully against her brother’s broad shoulder.
“Pay no attention to Yavanna. I know it is difficult, Ilmarë, but you must. I will not have her chase you away again when you have only just returned. She will vent her anger on you for as long as you allow it.”
Ilmarë sighed sadly and repeated her earlier words. “Nothing in Valinor ever changes.”
“That is not true, Ilmarë, and you well know it. More things change here than you are aware of.”
She lifted her head from his shoulder. “Did Manwë truly send you?”
Eönwë refused to meet her eyes, but at last said, “No, he did not. But you must understand, there are many dire thoughts occupying his mind at the moment.”
“Such as war?”
Her question surprised Eönwë. “How do you know of the talk of war?”
“Yavanna told me…she said it was why I had returned. To spy.”
Eönwë shook his head; to comment on Yavanna’s selfish accusations would be wasted breath. “There is one who seeks his way to Valinor as we speak, the mariner who was foretold: Eärendil. The Council believes he comes to ask our help to battle Morgoth.”
“What will be done, Eönwë?”
“War…war will be done. There is no other way. Morgoth must be defeated; we all know this now.”
“And what of…him? Will there be pardons offered?”
Eönwë knew whose name Ilmarë would not speak. His face became a mask of disgust and anger. “There will be pardons offered to those who surrender…but there will be none offered to him. I will see to it. He will be captured and his form executed, then his spirit will be thrown into the Void with his master.”
Ilmarë’s mind raced, but she hid all thoughts from Eönwë except her despair. “How long will it be before this war begins?”
“None know. We must wait to see if the mariner reaches us. All will be decided then.”
Ilmarë stood suddenly, unable to hide her choking fear. Eönwë had known this would cause her pain, but he felt it was for the best. Then his sister could live a full existence again without the memory of betrayal to haunt it.
“Eönwë, find Melian, please. Wait there with her until I return.” He opened his mouth to protest and she backed away, saying, “Please…I just need time to be alone, to think. I will not be long.”
Eönwë sighed and gave a reluctant nod of agreement. When he did, Ilmarë turned away and did not look back, her thoughts focused only on leaving Lórien and reaching Taniquetil quickly. She crossed the lands of Valinor as quickly as her form would allow, but even that hastily undertaken journey seemed far too long for Ilmarë in her panic.
She reached the base of Taniquetil and her panic eased some, yet she did not slow until she was far up the mountain, to the point where the clouds grew thick and obscured the upper peak from view.
Ilmarë took a path leading off into the mist… a path leading to a stone structure. A building came into view, of tall columns placed close together and a steepled roof over it. An enormous nest covered the floor, one made of soft grasses and fragrant flowers, and in the center of the nest rested a giant eagle. The bird saw her coming. He rose and walked out to meet Ilmarë, stretching his graceful copper wings as he did and giving a very gentlemanly nod when she reached his side.
“Erinti, it is good to see you again. I did not know you had returned to Valinor.”
Ilmarë bowed to the eagle in return and said, “I have not been here long, and I am overjoyed to see you again, mighty Sorontur. May I say you are as impressive as ever.”
The eagle cocked its head to the side and if one knew where to look in his golden eyes, one could see the humor dancing there.
“What is it you come to ask of me? You are much like Varda; she, too, lavishes praise upon me before asking a favor,” Sorontur said in a knowing voice.
Ilmarë smiled at having been caught, but her apprehension returned along with the pressing urgency to act quickly.
“Manwë sends you out into Arda to be his eyes and his ears, does he not?” When Sorontur did not respond, Ilmarë said, “Please, do not be coy with me, Sorontur… there is no time. I know you watch not only Valinor, but the lands beyond as well. Many were the times I saw your graceful form circling the skies near my home on Eressëa, and I knew Manwë had sent you to look in on me.”
Sorontur shook his feathers with a rustling sound. When they lay flat against his body once more the eagle drew himself up to full height, which was an imposing height, indeed.
“The tasks I perform for Manwë are between myself and him alone, Erinti; you have always known that.”
“I know, Sorontur, and I do not fault your loyalty to him. I have come to ask that you perform a task for me that must remain between you and I alone. I know without doubt I can trust you…if you will agree to the task.”
“I will listen…” Sorontur said, eyeing Ilmarë closely.
“Manwë has sent you to Middle-earth at times, as well. In light of what is happening now, mostly likely he has sent you very recently to gather news for him.” Sorontur did not disagree and Ilmarë said, “Most likely you have been sent to watch the dark servants there and judge the threat they pose. Have you seen him, Sorontur? Please tell me…do you know where he resides in those lands?”
Like Eönwë, Sorontur knew whose name it was Ilmarë refused to speak. “I have not seen him, yet I know where it is he stays. For what reason do you ask me of such things?”
“I want you to take me to him.”
Sorontur’s feathers ruffled in surprise and shock, rustling loudly as he shook his body. He stamped his feet and bobbed his head at Ilmarë before he spoke indignantly. “I will do no such thing. How dare you even ask it? Do you wish for those in Valinor to believe the outlandish insults Yavanna hurls at you?”
“Hear me out before you decide...” Ilmarë said, holding her hands out to him. “I have just come from Eönwë, who told me of the tidings of war. You must take me to Middle-earth and let me speak with him, for if he is captured there will be no hope of pardon. Yet Melian says there has been no word of him for many years now. He has been in Morgoth’s service long enough to discover all the fair promises made to him were false. He was proud and he was selfish, yes…but he was not evil. I do not believe he was then, nor is he now. Eönwë and Manwë will unfairly deny him the chance of pardon because of me. I believe that, given the chance, he will repent and return to Valinor. He cannot be happy in those lands... if he is given a way back he will take it.”
“You are wrong to say Eönwë and Manwë’s denial of pardon would be unfair, Erinti,” Sorontur said, the look in his eye now stern. “You have no idea the evils he has done at the command of his new master. How can you think of showing any kindness to him after what he has done to you…after what you have suffered on his behalf?”
Ilmarë had to take a few deep breaths before she could force out the words that shamed her beyond measure. “I love him still…I love what he once was and what I believe he still is. And so it shall always be, until I know without doubt the being I loved no longer exists in him. You knew him, Sorontur - he was once your friend and dear to you. Would you not wish to see him returned to us as he was? That is why I come to you with this and why you are the only one I can trust. Even had I the time to fashion a new form to take me to Middle-earth, there is not time to search its wide expanses in hopes of finding him.”
She sensed the great bird’s doubt as he considered her words and she added, “I only wish to talk to him for a short time, to offer him a chance to prove he is worthy of a pardon – nothing more. Then you and I will return with all haste to Valinor. There will be no consequences for your kindness should I be found out. I will say I acted alone and all blame and punishment will fall on me.”
The eagle settled his body on the ground as he looked away into the distance, debating his answer. It seemed forever to Ilmarë before he reached the conclusion. Her heart broke with disappointment to see Sorontur lower his eyes to the ground and shake his head slowly.
“I am sorry, but I cannot agree with what you say. It is a kind notion on your part, but unacceptable nonetheless.”
The eagle had been her only hope of reaching Middle-earth in time. But before Ilmarë lowered her head, the movement of a large wing spreading out across the ground caught her eye.
“If we are found out, I will bear my own burden of punishment and blame, Erinti.” She looked at him in disbelief and a spark of humor returned to the golden eyes. “You spoke true – he was dear to me at one time. If there is a chance to have my friend returned to me as he once was, then I will do what I can to offer it to him. Even if that were not the case, you have always been my friend and I would do what I could to help you.”
Ilmarë climbed nimbly up the wing so considerately provided for her. She seated herself on the eagle’s shoulders, wrapping her arms around his neck and rubbing her face against the smooth feathers.
“Thank you, Sorontur…thank you, my true friend. You will not regret your kindness.”
The eagle spread his wings in preparation for flight and gave a moment’s pause. “My only hope is that you do not come to regret yours.”
And with that he rose, the powerful wings gathering the air beneath them. Sorontur climbed higher before he stretched his wings out, making a fluid arch against the sky, turning them around and flying toward the east, away from Valinor. The rush of the wind blew Ilmarë’s hair out behind her head into a rippling line and the sound of the beating wings filled her ears…the beating wings…the beating…
The beating on her bedroom door… Ilmarë sat up straight in bed and looked around wildly, unsure of where she was for a moment. My bedroom…my room in Círdan’s home.
She shook her head, trying to focus, and corrected that thought. No, my room in Ereinion’s home, in my bed, next to…
Elrond. Ilmarë reached for the space next to her, finding nothing but a pillow and rumpled blankets. She ran her hand over the indentation left by his body in the feather mattress and smiled wistfully, the memory of Elrond lying next to her driving away the strange dream. Another knock on the door made her jump and she got out of bed, tying her robe shut as she walked to answer it. Ilmarë could not believe she had mistaken the light rapping for the beating of giant wings. Melian’s dreams are very disconcerting.
Ilmarë opened the door to find Ereinion’s handsome face waiting on the opposite side.
“Good morning, Ilmarë. Did you sleep well?” he said with a bright smile.
Ilmarë smiled herself, thinking of Elrond next to her as she fell asleep. “Yes, I did. I slept very well…for the most part,” she added, recalling the dream. She remembered the sword in the chest and grabbed Ereinion’s hand pulling him into the room. “Ereinion, come inside…there is something I wish to show you.”
His smile widened and Ereinion pushed the door shut as he was pulled inside. “I beg your pardon, Ilmarë. I am unsure what Círdan told you of me, yet I am not usually so easily enticed into women’s bedrooms. Although yours is a flattering proposal, I must say…”
Ilmarë gave him a dour look and Ereinion laughed. His laughter tapered off when he saw the dried blood on the floor and the leaves and grass scattered across the damp rug.
“What happened here?” he demanded, frowning.
Ilmarë opened the chest and showed him the contents. He inspected them while Ilmarë went to the bedside table and retrieved the letter. She handed it to Ereinion, and he unfolded it and began to read.
“I was told to look in the chest when I arrived in Lindon, but my memory of it did not fully return until last night. I cut myself on the sword and Melian’s necklace healed it,” Ilmarë said, watching Ereinion as he looked over the letter. “When I held the sword a violent wind blew into the room and when I put it down, the wind went away.”
Ereinion nodded absently as his eyes traveled over the paper. When he finished, he folded the letter again, knelt next to the trunk and picked up each item, inspecting each one closely before replacing it. The sword he studied for several minutes, much longer than anything else. Taking Ilmarë’s hand, Ereinion looked the ring over then he lifted the chain from her neck and examined the stone closely. At last, he looked at Ilmarë.
“If Oromë is not his true name, what is?” Ereinion asked.
Ilmarë shrugged her shoulders. “I do not know,” she admitted, “it is not among my memories. I hoped you might know.”
“I am afraid I do not, but I will see if I am able to find out,” Ereinion said and lowered the necklace. “A sword that calls the wind...fitting for a sword belonging to the herald of Manwë. What will you do with all this? It is not safe to leave these things lying about.”
“No, it is not,” Ilmarë agreed. “Would you keep them for me? I do not know what else to do with them.”
Ereinion closed the lid of the trunk and latched it shut. “I will have the servants take this upstairs to my rooms and I will keep them safe for you, Ilmarë, until you need them.” She nodded in thanks. “Do you plan to tell anyone else about this?”
“I will tell Círdan, of course, and Elrond knows.”
Ereinion head jerked up in surprise. “Elrond? When did you show them to him?”
Ilmarë sighed, still disappointed, and said, “Last night. I hoped it would give him some indication as to what I truly was. I was unsuccessful and I will not try again. If Elrond will know, he must find out for himself.”
“Well, Ilmarë, Elrond has seen many unusual things in his lifetime. It is not surprising he would be unaffected. But I believe he will sort it out soon enough. While Elrond is not familiar with the presence of a Maia, he does carry Maia blood.”
A look of realization spread across Ilmarë’s face. Elrond carried some small part of Melian’s spirit. “Yes…I had forgotten about that. Do you think that will somehow help him sense what I am, as you sensed it?”
“I believe it could, yes…in fact, I believe it already has. Elrond seems very familiar and comfortable with you. Perhaps he already senses what you are…he has just mistaken it for something else…”
Ereinion’s voice trailed off as the trunk drew his attention, and he stared at it. Ilmarë pondered his words and the possibility of Elrond feeling the call of one Maiar spirit to another instead of true attraction…or love. While possible, Ilmarë chose not to consider it for the moment and she concerned herself with Ereinion’s distracted mood instead.
“Ereinion…what is it?” Her soft voice gained his attention, but he continued to gaze at the trunk.
“That sword…” he said absently, “calls to mind my dream last night. There was a stone building high on a mountain, and in the building lived an eagle called…”
“...Sorontur,” Ilmarë finished for him. To hear her speak the name gained Ereinion’s full attention. “What else did you see, Ereinion?”
“Like all the other dreams, some details are clear and others are vague impressions. I did see another set of mountains with large houses built on top, and…I am unsure how to explain it. There was just an overall feeling of sorrow and loneliness. How did you know the eagle’s name? I heard him say the name Erinti.”
“I am Erinti. It is a name I was known by when I was still young, if a Maia may be considered as ever having been young. Erinti means a time when flowers grow and bloom…when life begins anew. I believe it is referred to as Spring in your language. Although I would not have known the eagle’s name had I not seen the same dream myself last night. What you saw was quite real, Ereinion. You read the letter…you know Melian sends my memories now in the form of dreams. Somehow you are affected by the dreams she sends me, but I do not understand why.” Though she was thankful his dreams lacked the clarity of hers.
Ereinion thought this over in silence and said, “Then the dreams I had of Eressëa…?”
Ilmarë blushed and nodded. “I am afraid I was not completely truthful with you about that. I lived on Eressëa and the house you saw was the home I shared with Eönwë. Melian lived there for a time, but when Thingol returned from Mandos they built their own home, not far away on the island. I am sorry I tried to deceive you, Ereinion.”
He laughed and said, “I understand why you felt you had to, Ilmarë, and do not feel too all together bad – you did a very poor job of it. I already suspected you were being less than honest.” Ereinion frowned. “As much as I dislike giving such a recommendation, you need to learn how to go about being successfully untruthful.”
“I am not certain what you mean by that, Ereinion.”
He thought for a moment, and then said, “My friend I spoke of from Númenor, he was a mariner, and mariners enjoy card games to keep them occupied on long ship journeys. Do you know what I speak of?” Ilmarë nodded, for she had seen Linquendil and Círdan’s mariners playing with cards, although had never joined them. “When I first started playing with them I lost a good deal financially until I learned to keep my face from betraying what I thought. Your face announces everything going on in your mind, Ilmarë, and considering the nature of your task, it is a trait you would do best to be rid of. Every time I hit close to the mark with my words, I saw it in your face. You must learn to keep your features from betraying you, particularly about things you do not wish for others to know.”
“I understand, Ereinion, and I will learn to do this. Although I fear I must rely on you to help me.”
“I will help you…with the condition that you never practice your skills on me.” He smiled as he said this, but Ilmarë could see he meant it. “Never feel you need to mislead me, Ilmarë. You may always tell me the truth concerning anything.”
“I will,” she agreed. “If I am learning to be more discrete, then perhaps I should use a different name. Círdan suggested it to me before. If you and Elrond recognized the name of Ilmarë, then others will as well.”
“I think you may safely leave your name as it is, for now. I knew it because of childhood tales from my father, but even among the Noldor there are few in these lands who would recognize your name. Elrond knows it only from the few tales I have given him to record in his books. Even if there were Elves who knew the name, they also know it truly is common among Mortals to name their children for characters in tales or histories. I do believe even Mortals draw the line at using the Valar’s names…yet I have heard the names of Maiar used before. I do not see it as a problem for the time being. I rather like the name Ilmarë…although Erinti is lovely as well.”
Ereinion sighed and backed toward the door. “And now, as much as I would like to stay in your exclusive company, we must go downstairs. Haleth sent me up to bring you to breakfast and it would bode ill for both of us if we kept her waiting.”
He reached the door and opened it, adding, “I will wait for you in the sitting room again while you make yourself ready. I give you fair warning – I expect the same short wait with the same beautiful results as yesterday, Lady Ilmarë.”
He bowed his head formally ad she laughed at his blatant sport of her then gave a small curtsy. “I will endeavor to do my best, Your Highness.”
Ereinion returned her laugh as he shut the door behind him. Excited at the thought of seeing Elrond again, Ilmarë hurried to the washroom to clean up and get ready for the day ahead.
Taniquetil: The highest mountain in Aman, on which Manwë and Varda live.
Alqualondë: The swan havens of the Teleri Elves in Valinor.
Bay of Eldamar: The bay on the eastern coast of Valinor – Alqualondë is at the uppermost point of it, and Eressëa sits just off this bay. It’s also known as Elvenhome.
Pass of Light: Also called Calacirya. The Valar opened it up so the light of the Trees could reach Eressëa and Eldamar. The hill of Túna sat along the Pass of Light so the Elves could still see the stars from one side, where the light of the Trees was shadowed.
Pelori Mountains: The range of mountains that surrounded Valinor, raised by the Valar to keep Morgoth from sneaking up on them again.
Nienna: Another of the Valar. It says she is ‘Lady of pity and mourning, sister of Mandos and Lórien’. She was a much darker character in BoLT, her halls that sat near the Walls of the World were the equivalent to Men as what the Halls of Mandos was to Elves. But this was before Tolkien decided to have Men’s souls go beyond the circles of the world. She was spooky – ‘Therein before her black chair burnt a brazier with a single flickering coal, and the roof was of bats’ wings, and the pillars that upheld it and the walls about were made of basalt. Thither came the sons of Men to hear their doom…’
Aulë’s Mansions: The homes of the Valar are described in the Book of Lost Tales 1, but sadly, for some reason, they did not make it into the Silmarillion. This is what it says about Aulë’s mansions: ‘Separate from these and bordering upon the open Vale was a great court, and this was Aulë’s house, and it was filled with magic webs woven of the light of Laurelin and the sheen of Silpion and the glint of stars, but others there were made of threads of gold and silver and iron and bronze beaten to the thinness of a spider’s filament, and all were wove with beauty to stories of the musics of the Ainur…. In this court were some of all the trees that after grew upon the earth, and a pool of blue water lay among them. There fruits fell throughout the day, thudding richly to the earth upon the grass of its margin, and were gathered by Palurien’s (Yavanna’s) maids for her feasting and her lord’s.’
I love the descriptions from BoLT and wish they could have been kept in the Silm. I’ll add the descriptions of the other Valar’s homes as they come into the story. Speaking of which:
The Woods of Oromë: ‘Now Oromë had a vast domain and it was beloved by him… Behold, the groves of trees they planted upon the plain of Valinor, and even upon the foothills have no compare on Earth. Beasts reveled there, deer among the trees, and herds of kine among its spaces and wide grass-lands; bison there were and horses roaming unharnessed but these strayed never into the gardens of the gods, yet were they in peace and had no fear, for beasts of prey dwelt not among them, nor did Oromë fare to hunting in Valinor.’
Yavanna: The Vala known as the “Giver of Fruits’; and Aulë’s wife. One of the forms she appeared in was that of a tall woman dressed in green.
Eönwë: The herald of Manwë, who was mentioned with Ilmarë in the Silm as being among the mightiest of the Maiar. He led the Valar in their attack on Morgoth in the War of Wrath, and came to speak with Maglor and Maedhros about the Silmarils, as well as offered the choice to Elrond and Elros. As I said before, in BoLT and Morgoth’s Ring, he and Ilmarë were brother and sister and the children of Manwë and Varda. How I’m using that will come out later in the story, but I’ve given hints of it so far.
Sorontur: This was an early version of Thorondor, King of the Eagles, again from BoLT. I just liked the name Sorontur better. The eagles were servants of Manwë and he did use them to gather information and bring back to him on Taniquetil. In Morgoth’s Ring, Myths Transformed, Professor Tolkien toys with the idea that Huan the Hound and Thorondor and the other eagles and animals of that sort were actually Maiar who had taken those forms. So that’s the idea I’m going with here.
Erinti: One of the earlier names of Ilmarë. It doesn’t give a real meaning for it in the BoLT index of names – it just says that on the name-list Erinti is also called Kalainis and that word means May. So what she tells Ereinion is just my take on the meaning of the name.
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