1. A Tale of Manwe and Varda
“Microsoft Word is the tool of Satan.” she muttered, pushing dark hair off of her face. She banged a few keys. Naturally, Murphy’s law required that everything that could go wrong, would. And it had. She rested her head on her hands. It was all an elaborate conspiracy, she knew it. Punishment sent by some arbitrary power. She sighed. “I guess it serves me right for trying to use spell check with this story, instead of reviewing thermochemistry,” she muttered.
The roommate, who up till now had dismissed the constant typing and strange mutterings from the opposite corner of the room as part of her friend’s normal study behavior, looked up. “Why the sigh?” she asked, slightly dismayed by such an outward show of emotion from her normally reserved roommate. “And did I hear you say something about Satan and chem.?”
“Actually, the comment was about Satan and Microsoft Word. Though Satan and chem. is also pretty accurate. “
“Good deal,” the roommate said, wisely deciding not inquire further “Anyway, I have to go to class. See ya in a bit. Have fun with that chem.!’ The door slammed behind her, leaving the dark haired girl alone with her computer. Silently, she turned and returned to battle with the machine…
Meanwhile, in a land far away, so far away that the girl with the computer had not even tried to rationalize it’s existence, snow white peaks rose over a hallowed land. Many names did these peaks have, but the most common one, and the one which the girl would be familiar with, was Taniquentil. And there, upon this high white peak, sat the mansion of two great spirits known as the Valar. And within this brilliant mansion, two lovers met in secret…
“Elbert,” the one called Manwë said, still breathless from a long, deep kiss, his voice as fair as a painting made with all the colors of the wind. “It is not that I do not love thee. Yet Ilúvatar hath been most strict in his rules. We cannot be as one, not whist thy spirit is so enshrined.” Manwë held the Vala in his arms close to him.
“But why, Manwë?” the silvery Vala asked, his voice muffled in Manwë’s broad chest. “Why? Art thou not called Súlimo, the Lord of the Breath of Arda? Surely Ilúvatar would…”
Crack! Thunder echoed through the hall. Manwë sighed. Though he revered Ilúvatar as his father, the entire all-knowing, all-seeing thing did get very trying. After all, how was one to engage in reckless passion when your father not only knew of the affair, but knew of every intimate detail and thought associated with it? Gently, Manwë set the still sobbing Elbert away from him and picked up the scroll that had appeared next to them. Elbert stopped crying, his attention drawn by the piece of parchment. Manwë opened the parchment and groaned. He had some idea of what to expect. Every time he considered Elbert’s wishes, this appeared.
“What is it?” Elbert asked, his fair face alight with curiosity. Silently, Manwë handed him the scroll. “Laws and Customs of the Eldar,’” Elbert read aloud. He skimmed the essay. “What does this have to do with aught we have discussed?”
”It is Ilúvatar’s idea of a warning for me. He prefers such subtle means of warning me about thee.” Manwë sighed. Ilúvatar would have to try and be subtle about such things. Manwë almost wished that his Lord would forbid his relationship outright. Yet, the One seemed content to merely allude to his wishes, forcing Manwë to seek the deeper meaning. He must have been an English teacher in a past life, Manwë decided. He blinked. Where had that thought come from? Surely, it was not of this world.
“What warning?” Elbert asked, bringing Manwë back to the matter at hand.
“Whilst I am Lord of Arda, I am bound by the rules of my subjects.” he said, sighing. “And this essay forbids such a relationship as I would wish to have with thee for the Eldar.”
“But, you are not of the Eldar,” Elbert argued. “And even the Eldar seem to disregard this particular law.”
“Aye,“ Manwë said. “Yet I am bound by it.” Manwë watched the tears trickle from Elbert’s starry eyes. Something had to be done. He would see to it…
In the lands of Middle earth, a Elf sang to the starry heavens above him. “A Elbereth Gilthoniel!” He waited, watching the stars expectantly. Nothing happened. He sighed. Something was terribly wrong. He was the greatest minstrel in Middle-Earth, surely the stars should do something! Perhaps his voice had not yet pleased the maker of the stars. Picking up a harp, he continued to sing.
The girl leaned back in her chair. Perhaps I don’t need to correct this now, she thought. After all, this is pretty funny, in this weird sort of way. I mean, it’s almost slash! Wouldn’t the Silmficcers be proud? The lines on the screen wavered. She watched, horrified. What was the computer doing now? She leaned closer, nose nearly touching the screen. A moment later, it exploded.
“Ow!” The girl said, brushing herself off. “What the hell just happened?” She looked around. “What is this place?” she shivered, pulling her sweatshirt closer to her. “Good grief, have you people heard of a heater? It must be like 40 degrees in here!”
Manwë looked at the girl doubtfully. Something was not quite right. He had heard that such girls, when they appeared in his realm, had…powers. Great powers, such as beauty beyond that of Lúthien, with eyes more beautiful and piercing than Elbert’s. Or great strength of arms, or an affinity for music or healing. Perhaps, Manwë decided, she was merely shielding him from the full extent of her talents.
“You are upon the peak of Taniquentil, in the house of Mawnë Súlimo,“ he announced with a flourish, watching her face.
“What?” she exclaimed, pushing her hair back. “I have no idea what this place is! Wait…maybe I do.” Realization dawned on her face. “Wow, this is a sweet dream. Too bad I won’t remember it. I never seem to remember my dreams.”
Manwë decided to ignore this comment. “Well, my Lady,” he said, bowing. “I trust you already know what to do.”
“Excuse me?” she asked politely. “Beg pardon, Lord Manwë, but I have no idea what you are talking about. And I’m sure my alarm is going to go off any minute now. Or, I hope it does….I have class in an hour.”
Manwë looked at her, his heart sinking. She was telling the truth. She had no idea what was going on. His shoulders sagged. Ilúvatar was laughing at him, he knew it. Naturally, when he tried to summon one of these….authors….he would get the wrong sort.
Silently, he picked a small miniature up. Oh Elbert, he thought sadly, tracing his beloved’s face. A small tear trickled down his face. He knew that he belong with Elbert. The Vala completed him, in a way no one else ever had. Or would. Tears gathered in Manwë’s eyes. It wasn’t right. Every other Vala had found happiness. Well, everyone except for Melkor, but Melkor had brought it on himself.
“What’s wrong?” A soft voice interrupted Manwë’s thoughts. He turned. The girl was looking at him, worry written all over her face. “Is there anything I can do?” She noticed the miniature. “Who is that?”
“No, there is naught you can do for me,” Manwë said sadly. “The image is that of Elbert. He is the most fair among the Valar, and he rules with me here on Taniquentil. He is the maker of the stars, and the light of Ilúvatar remains in his face.“ Manwë paused. The girl was watching him, a thoughtful expression on her face.
“That is not all, is it?” she asked softly.
“Aye,” Manwë said. “For I love him, and yet our love is forbidden by Ilúvatar. And yet I know that he is the other half of my being.”
“Wait,” the girl said holding her hand up for silence. “Who did you say you are?”
“I am Manwë Súlimo,” he replied.
“And you say you love Elbert? But…” The girl bit her lip and began pacing about the wide hall. Manwë watched her, waiting. Her reaction surprised him. “Damn Microsoft!” she muttered. She turned to him, “My Lord, you must send me back. Just for a few moments. And call Var…er, I mean Elbert, in here. Please.”
“As you wish,” Manwë waved his hands. Hope blossomed in his heart. Perhaps there was more to her than it appeared.
The lone Elf looked at the forest above him. He was exhausted. All night he had sang, haunting ballads of his love for a fair maiden, songs of the delight he found in the trees of his realm, songs of reverence for the skies and their maker. And yet, there had been no reply, no brightening of the heavens or whispers in the wind. He leaned back against a tree, deep in thought. Surely, there was a solution to this.
The girl stared at her computer, head spinning. “That has to be the strangest dream ever,” she muttered. She considered telling someone about it, but decided against it. People thought she was too much of a Tolkien fanatic already. If she told people she had dreamed of Middle-Earth, they would send her to counseling. She opened her textbook and stared at the equation in front of her. It was a simple one, she knew that. And yet, she seemed unable to concentrate. Manwë’s voice kept running through her mind. She set her book aside and went back to her computer. Chemistry could wait. She had other things to do…
“Why did thee summon me here, Manwë?” Elbert asked, running his fingers through Manwë’s hair. Manwë looked at the Vala in his arms, and hoped that the girl had a solution.
“You will see,” Manwë promised. He lowered his voice. “I have found a way for us to be together.”
“Do you speak truly?” Elbert asked, hope alight in his eyes. “What of Ilúvatar?”
“I believe that Ilúvatar knows.” Manwë said. Elbert shifted within Manwë’s arms. Suddenly, the silvery Vala was out of Manwë’s embrace and in the air. Manwë watched, transfixed, as silver light blazed forth from the Vala’s eyes. Slowly, the Vala’s hair lengthened, his body changing. Finally, it was done. Manwë stepped back. A queen stood before him, her face filled with wondrous light.
“Elbert,” Manwë breathed. “Is it truly thee?”
“Indeed,” the Valië replied, stepping forward. Manwë raised his eyebrows. Somehow, Elbert’s voice sounded strange coming from his now feminine form. He snapped his fingers.
The girl appeared, clutching a roll of parchment. “My Lord! ‘Tis done!” Manwë stared doubtfully at the girl before him Her voice was the same, he decided, as were her hair and eyes. But she had changed. Her face was now lovely beyond the description on Men. She was now clothed in a tunic of green silk that complimented her darker skin. A thin crystal sword hung on a belt at her waist, next to an intricately crafted flute. A black velvet cloak was thrown over her shoulders and fastened around her neck with a golden clasp. She stepped forward, and Manwë marveled at the grace of her moments.
“It is good to see you again, my Lady,” he said. “I did not recognize you at first.”
“Aye,” the girl replied, laughing. “I decided that as I was sure to return, I should embrace the stereotype. Thus, I decided to amend the manner of my speech and outfit. Whist I was gone, I have also gained the voice of a Valië, the fighting skills of several armies of the Noldor, and an Elven name. Now I am Lailonniel, known as Lómelindiel among the great houses of the Noldor.”
“Very nice, my Lady,” Manwë said faintly, horror growing in his chest. What had he created? Visions flashed through his mind, of the chaos this girl could create. Maybe he could send her to Melkor…
“My Lord,” the girl asked. “I know you did not merely call me back to waste time in idle chatter. What is it you wish me to do?”
“My lady,” Manwë turned. Elbert had approached them. “I believe Lord Súlimo feels that such a masculine voice does not suit my new form.”
“Ah, Right.” The girl said. “My greatest apologies.” She opened the roll of parchment she held in her hand. Instantly, a quill appeared before her, Manwë sighed. Of course, she would have to be part Maia as well. Her eyes scanned the paper. Deftly, she crossed out the word Elbert and replaced it with another. “That should be all, my Lord, my Lady,” the girl said respectfully.
“Thank you,” Elbert said. Manwë listened. His - Her, he amended – voice filled the chamber with the music of starlight. “What, pray tell, am I called now?” Elbert arched a perfect eyebrow. “For ‘Elbert’ hardly seems suitable for the queen of the Valier.”
“You are called Varda, my Lady,” the girl said. “Many other names have the Eldar given you. Elbereth, you are called, and Gilthoniel. And a host of other things.”
As if to prove her point, a fair voice came to their ears, a haunting melody which echoed in the wind. ‘A Elbereth Gilthoniel!’
Varda listened, enraptured. “His voice is lovely!”
Smiling, Manwë embraced her and stepped away. He looked at the girl before him. “I suppose you want to stay,” he asked, resigned. Hopefully, she would be one of those people that wanted to save Melkor.
“Aye, I would,” the girl said. She began to sing softly, her voice evoking images which swirled around her. Manwë caught glimpses of Daeron of Doriath embracing her, of Melkor cowering as she led assaults on his stronghold, of Gwindor and Finduilas, blissfully living in Nargothrond. She reached for the quill. Manwë watched aghast, his mind spinning with thoughts of the havoc she would wreak on Arda.
Scratch! The quill touched the paper. Instantly, the girl lifted off the ground. A cloud if dark ink rose around her. Manwë focused his thoughts on Ilúvatar, hoping. He closed his eyes. At long last, he opened them. The girl sat before him. Her fine clothes were gone, replaced by the same outfit that she had worn when he had first met her. The unearthly beauty and grace had fled from her face. Her fine weapon and small flute had disappeared as well. Manwë looked at her questioningly. “I couldn’t do it,” she said quietly. “I mean, I haven’t even read the history of Middle Earth books. And I have no idea how to say anything in Quenya, or Sindarin, and I have no fighting skills to speak of. And the Silmficcers would probably take turns roasting me over a open fire. Or something equally clichéd and painful.”
“I understand,” Manwë said, relieved. “You have my eternal gratitude. Yet it is time you retuned home.”
“Wait!” Varda cried. “I have one more request. You have described Manwë’s voice as being as ‘fair as a painting made with all the colors of the wind.’“ Distaste flitted across Varda’s face. “Surely, you are capable of something better.”
“I said what?” the girl said, shocked. “My god, I did write that! Can I blame the caffeine for that? Please?”
“Aye, we will excuse it this time,” Varda said. “We trust it shall not happen again. Go with our grace, daughter.” Manwë snapped his fingers and the girl disappeared. The hall echoed with the last notes of a beautiful ballad, carried on the wind from Middle-Earth. Varda clapped and let out a joyous laugh, her face alight with the pale shimmer of starlight. Thunder rolled through the hall, and Manwë too smiled. He knew Ilúvatar was pleased.
The girl stared at her computer screen. Her roommate walked in. “Hey! Get any work done?”
“Yeah,” the girl said. “I did, sort of.’
Above the lands of Middle –Earth, the stars blazed and the wind echoed with the sound of heavenly laughter. The lone Elf smiled, and was content.
This fic was inspired by recent events at the Silmfics Yahoo group. If they choose to accept the dedication, this fic is dedicated to them =)
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.