1. Anar Rising
There was only shadow, day or night. Anar and Isil were words yet unimagined in Doriath, where shadow covered all, and the trees masked the starlight. Yet in the heart of Luthien darkness held no terror, and she swirled and twined with a joyful heart, her light feet brushing the dry needles beneath her, her face turned fearlessly upwards into the endless dark. The night held only wonder for the daughter of Melian and Elu Thingol.
Purest black was the forest, and unseen was the dance of Luthien in it. But she did not dance for love of the forest, but for love of the sweet notes that flew from the golden flute of Doriath's greatest musician and danced about her ears with alacrity. And as Daeron sat in his tree and let the music flow, he could not see the princess who danced below him, but in his mind's eye he could imagine her. With a dip, a twirl, a flow of her soft gown and a flick of dusky hair, Luthien let herself express joy in the way she knew best in the blackness of a night where only stars shone.
For years uncounted she had done this, and the passage of time was not marked by her; it was if she had been dancing since the stars were kindled.
But this time, as she swayed to the lilting melody, there was suddenly a change, as if a wind had blown through the trees. Her feet were stilled, and she stood, waiting for she knew not what. Her heart ceased its beating, and she stood as a monument in her surprise. Change did not come in Doriath.
But it did. Slowly, imperceptibly, but steadily. Her eyes, elven keen, did not see it, but it came. For a moment there was only a sense of change, and then with a gasp her heart began to beat again, for she knew what it was. Light. Light. Light like none she had seen before. Creeping in with soft tendrils, the faintest hints of light were coming through the trees, and the blackness began to fade into grey.
Daeron stepped from the trees, his flute forgotten, but breaking the thick silence with soft words: "What is this feeling in my heart? And this light; have the stars begun to give more of their beauty to us, their children?"
"I know not," answered Luthien, her voice airy and unsure, and her eyes watched the light grow. "It is not the light of torches, not fiery and rich, but brighter and clearer. What can it be?"
And as they stood together, the light picked up speed, hastening to its fullness, but never so much as to blind the eyes with sudden glow. Fascinated, but with a heart trembling with excitement, Luthien took a step forward, and reached out her hand. It was so bright now that she could see it, and she twisted it before her eyes. A thread of laughter slipped past her lips, and she pirouetted, a flutter of limbs and garments celebrating this wondrous new light.
"There is strangeness to this," she said, "but it is not the work of evil. Perhaps the Valar have remembered the forgotten ones, and have given us a gift."
"Perhaps," whispered Daeron, entranced.
"There is a beauty like to that of the stars," answered the daughter of twilight. "I shall bathe in it." And with a whispery movement, she began once again to dance.
Daeron breathed out, and raised his flute to lips once again, his mind letting go of everything but the music. And the light grew, grew beyond the light of fires, for it was everywhere, showering the trees with shades more subtle than those cast by flame. And it was a marvel.
Without a thought, Luthien danced, her unexplainable joy in this marvelous gift trickling from her heart and mind to the tips of her fingers and the very soles of her feet, and they moved in glorious answer. And then, she felt the presence of another, a gentle presence that she knew too well.
Melian stepped forth from the shadows, and her daughter turned to look at her, a smile on her lips. But Thingol's queen was not serene today, and her deep eyes danced with a life rarely seen, her face lit from within as well as from without. It was as if she had suddenly been refreshed, revived, as few things ever did to the ever-constant Maia. Luthien did not know what to make of it, but her own heart leapt eagerly in response.
Melian's voice was trembling as she spoke, reaching out her hand to her daughter: "My dear one, you must come."
And Luthien, wondering but trusting, put her hand in her mother's, and they began to pass swiftly under the trees. Melian spoke no word, projected no thought, but her presence was filled with excitement and wonder so profound that it moved one to laugh and cry all at once. What could be the meaning of this?
The light seeped down through the branches so that everything beneath was in varied tints of grey, and Luthien marveled as she walked at how much was left unseen by the starlight. Could the world have always been so detailed? And she wondered at her mother's excitement, wondered where she was being led. Could there be even more wonder to be found on this strange day?
They moved swiftly, and Luthien caught only snatches of the murmurings of the forest around her. Trees rustled, blissful in this bath of energizing light; birds warbled songs to wake their Elven friends so that all might see this newness; squirrels chattered and muttered to each other wonderingly. The whole world was alive all at once.
And then, with a final step, Melian and Luthien left the trees' canopy and were standing in an open grassy glade. Once more, Luthien's heart was stopped, and she stood breathless in sudden splendor. The light that she had bathed in had come through the blanket of the treetops, and she had seen it but diluted. But now, standing in deep grass under the limitless sky alone, she was drowned in golden light, brighter than she had ever known before, fresh and clean, giving color where there had been none before. For now the trees were black no longer, but were detailed in majestic shades for which she had no name. The grass here, which she had found silvery grey in the light of the stars, was vividly new before her, and she knelt to take it all in.
With the gasp of breath returning, Luthien looked upwards and saw the most beautiful color in the sky, and she wept with wondering joy, crying: "What is this gift? What is this miracle?"
Melian laughed and spread her arms, spinning under this new light. "It is Anar," she said, her laughter bubbling after, like a new rivulet among the stones. "It is a miracle of the heavens."
"Anar," whispered Luthien, as she rose to her feet again. The joy was fountaining from her heart again, and she danced under the sun for the first time, her laughter mingling with her mother's, her happy tears flung from her cheeks as she spun and twirled.
Melian stepped forward and took her daughter's hands, and they spun together, looking up to the bright sky and laughing still, until wonder overcame them and they sat in the grass.
"What does it mean?" asked Luthien softly.
"A new world is here," answered Melian. "I know not what has happened, but the Valar have given a gift to the Children, and the world is changed."
"Such beauty I could not imagine," answered Luthien, resting her head on Melian's shoulder. "And yet, though my heart overflows, I feel that I have not changed with the world. I yet belong to the silver stars and the twilight, and desire them. Will they return?"
"I believe they will," answered Melian. "For you think only as do all the Children. We have lived beneath the glittering stars, and we shall always love them. And though children will be born among us who know not of the days of stars alone, yet they shall always yearn for the stars and the night. Nay, this gift shall not be for always, and there will be times now of light and dark, if I read these signs correctly. It is a gift that shall confound the evil in the North, which loves the dark alone, and found that the starlight did not halt his progress."
"The starlight was enough for us," said Luthien contentedly. "And yet Anar is beautiful."
"It is," said Melian with a little laugh. "It is. We shall not come to regret its appearance."
And they sat in the green grass together, mother and daughter, as Anar rose in glory above them for the first time. The days of the stars were over, but they would never be forgotten, and would live in the hearts of the Quendi for all their days.
Author's Notes: Yes, I do know that the Moon rose first over Middle-earth. My reasoning for this story is that the Silmarillion says that only the Elves of the Outer Lands saw it, and I imagine that in a forest like Doriath, especially in Menegroth, none would notice the Moon. But the Sun is a much different story