4. Chapter Four
Disclaimer: The characters are Tolkien´s.
The first thing he could hear was the enthralling song calling to his senses again, its sweet waves embracing his fëa and rocking him into consciousness. Then, he opened his eyes, and the first thing he saw revealed to his dim sight was the white- skinned, dark- haired gorgeous spirit of perfection and beauty who had always walked his dreams. Higher and holier than any of the Eldar, ancient beyond measure, the long sought object of his desire was standing in front of him.
"It is you." Elwë said simply. Full of joy, he moved forward to embrace her, but he found he could not, for the ethereal substance she was made of slipped away from his arms.
"You cannot touch me, Child of Ilúvatar." a voice rang in his ears, with a clear accent of surprise for the hurt in the Elf´s eyes. "Tell me, are you still under her lure?"
A nameless dread filled Elwë´s heart when he heard those words, and he curled back into his previous position. Frozen, he stood in place as terrible memories of cold limbs trapping his heated body and a perilous red glare robbing him of his will power swayed him.
"What...what happened to me?"
His desperate cry brought the spirit to his side again, motherly, caring.
"Oh, do not fret, Child of Ilúvatar! You are whole, for I saved you in time."
"Saved?" Elwë shivered at the gentle brushing of such a powerful energy against his sensible skin. " Saved from what? Who was she?"
At those words, an unfathomable sadness wrapped then his fëa, and, startled, he realised that it was she who produced it. It struck him that she was feeling pain, and a loss not different of that he had felt before in the creature of the red eyes, only that less raw and despairing.
"There was a time when she and I were sisters in the mind of the Almighty Maker of the World." she began. "She was a bright and mighty Maia, renowned among the Ainur in Valinor, and we loved to roam freely in the forests and plains of Middle- Earth when the world was young. But, alas! she was seduced, corrupted by the One who is not to be named among the Powers of Arda, so we were sundered for ever ,and, since that day, I have danced with no one by my side."
"A corrupted Maia! But then..." Elwë, in awe, had lowered his voice to a faint whisper, "what did she want of me?"
The beautiful presence hesitated for a while.
"I heard she had been left alone in turn, and that she wandered through the darkest places of the world in grief and despair. Perhaps..it is not known for certain...
"Perhaps she needed you, in some twisted way."
"She did?" Elwë had been quick to perceive the note of longing in her voice, and jumped again, full of fire. "And you? You said you feel alone too, and you have come. Could it not be that you needed me?"
It was long, and the Elf felt it was not that of a great being offended by the proud pretence of a lesser, but a turmoil full of doubts and curiosity. There was a glimmer of hope inside her, as if she saw a light, and a heavy stormy cloud of loneliness and fear, harder to dispel.
"She could be kissed, why cannot you?" he insisted, pressing his advantage. "I want to kiss you."
But the spirit shook her head, sadly.
"That cannot be. She could be kissed because she is chained to an incarnate form, and doomed to feel its needs. We can have shapes, but only the Ainur who have fallen to evil are chained to incarnate forms for their existence."
"But then, if you are sad, who can comfort you?" he objected. He could feel his heart throbbing now and, as he looked into her eyes of mist and cloud, it seemed to him that he saw those feelings mirrored in them. "You are lonely because you do not know what is the joy of a hröa pressed against another."
"But that is comforting for you and your kind! The nature of the Maiar is to live free of hröar forever."
Her doubts were increasing. Her longing, too.
"Give me a chance. Only one chance, and I will teach you the only thing that you Maiar ignore."
Those bold words earned him a mildly disapproving stare.
"Do you think yourself so wise, Child of Ilúvatar? Can your pride be so great? You were born an instant ago, long after the horrible wars that stirred us and changed the shape of the world, and you pretend you have a way to heal me that I do not know?"
"Please." Elwë fell to his knees. "Only a short while, and ,if you are displeased, you can leave me and your hröa behind. But I too need you so much! I was searching for you when she found me, and I ventured inside this dark forest just because I heard your voice. Nay, do not leave! Fair creature, if you go without even trying I will stay here and wither away, and my people will never meet me again!"
A shriek muffled the sound of his last words, long and painful. When Elwë tried to look, a glowing light blinded his eyes, and he was forced to close them, to protect himself falling to the ground.
And then, silence once more.
"You are gone." he whispered, as tears began to fall down his cheeks. "I do not blame you, that was what I deserved."
"You deserve to die?"
At the sound of that voice, the sweetest Elwë had ever imagined but still very like to his own, his heart and his hröa jumped up instantly.
She was there!
And she was a spirit no longer.
"I am here. Teach me your wisdom, and perhaps I will teach you mine." she said, stretching with an uncomfortable feeling her newly- acquired limbs of the most perfect white hue. Elwë ran to her, and began to touch her silky dark hair, her beautiful face, and her arms, marvelling at the softness of her skin, kissing it as he laughed and wept at the same time.
"Melian." he said. "Beloved."
And so they laid in the ground, embracing each other and joining their hröar, and flowers blossomed all over the place that was witness of their bliss.
* * * * * * * *
Elmo was beginning to lose all his hopes. He had remained in Middle- Earth instead of leaving with his brother for the Blessed Realm, he had convinced many of their people to do the same, and for what? Elwë was nowhere to be found. As time passed away, all his companions began deserting him to build settlements near to the Falas, where the people of Cirdan dwelt, until only his wife, his son and a handful of followers were left to search with him, and even they grumbled sometimes, tired already of defying Fate.
It was inevitable. Much as his heart suffered still at the idea, it was time to retire and leave the fruitless search that had proved so vain. And so, one day, he bade his people to wait for him, and walked alone into the forest where he last saw Elwë.
"Farewell, my brother!" he said in his mind as he walked through the bushes, sure that the bond they shared could somehow make his older sibling hear it. "Forgive me for not finding you. Forgive me for despairing, for giving up so soon, but I have to go. At least I promise that we will stay here forever, in the place where our parents awoke to see the stars for the first time and wherever you are, know that I...."
His thoughts ended abruptly when he saw a silver light coming from behind the dark foliage of the trees. Astonished, he began to run towards it without even thinking, feeling the beating of his heart increased to a mad pace.
It was him! His long lost brother, bathed in a radiant light and holding the hand of a being fair beyond measure! Pressed by a great fear, shaking uncontrollably, Elmo walked towards them and fell to his knees, stammering.
"E...Elwë...I...the search to...to find you...you.."
But his brother came to his side, and took his head in his hands to kiss it. He was the same Elwë he had known, yet he was not, for there was a new wisdom in his eyes that had not been there before.
"It is me, Elmo. Do not worry.
"I am back now."
(to be continued in an epilogue.)
So what? AU? I believe not.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.