Somewhere soon after the beginning, there were two.
People invented a saying about the Ambarussa. "As alike in mood," they would say, "as face." They said this about them all the time, but no one really knew how they had come to be the way they were. Some did think they ought to have been one. This, the twins could not countenance. One had to eat and sleep and dress and play; one had to learn and make and do and think so that two could be the twins' love, all strength and light and – that word Káno taught them – glory. One defended them against Darkness, and two kept faith. Two was enough to love Father as he deserved.
It was all so simple and so beautiful, and the twins could not imagine why everyone was not everytwo.
"Why is there no one like us?" they wondered sometimes, but no one had an answer. "Can't anyone tell us?" they implored.
Curvo, thinking about it, said that Lord Manwë would be able to tell, and then only perhaps. Father did not know or divulge the reason, after all.
"Where can we meet him?" they asked Curvo, who did not know, and Morno who also did not know, and Turco who would not tell, and Káno who did not listen, and Nelyo, who promised to take them to see him someday, "but not today."
"Then when?" they asked.
"When you are a little older," he answered, and would not be satisfied that they were old enough for two.
They learned giving from Father, because Father gave. Not food or clothes or songs or games. Father gave them himself. And so he gave them themselves. When they were with him, they were Father, and he was them, and it was difficult to tell who began where.
This was easy. There were too many beginnings before them for their own to be strictly proper. After all, before their beginning there were six others, the beginning in which there was Curvo, and before him Morno, and the obviously big beginning in which there was Turco, and the one with Káno and the beginning-beginning with Nelyo. That wasn't even counting the beginnings with Father and Mother. The twins, when much smaller, had lumped them together under one beginning, but in the days since Mother left it occurred to them with more and more clarity that perhaps Mother's beginning and Father's had been two separate things.
It always seemed to the twins that they had missed out on a lot, on everything their elder brothers could do, and all the things Father already had. But what no one else had, was two.
One day, out in the field where the twins were allowed to play alone, came a tall, dark-haired elf, although he did not feel like an elf. He might have impressed and frightened one Ambarussa, but two were merely wary and curious. He seemed friendly enough, and spoke in a voice more beautiful than Káno's.
"I know the secret of two," he claimed to them, as if declaring a great secret, and intrigued the twins. "You do?" they asked. "Are you Manwë?"
The stranger looked at them very oddly and said no, he was not.
"Then how do you know?" the twins demanded, and the stranger smiled.
"Because," he said, "I was one of two once."
The twins were very surprised and a little disappointed. Before they could pursue the matter, however, the stranger disappeared, leaving a burned footprint in the grass, and Father was coming for them over the hill.
So the years passed, and the twins grew tall and strong and wise – enough, Father told them, not for two, but for an army. The twins never thought so. Two was enough for Father, and it was better to be two than an army.
Then the Trees died, and with them, Father's light disappeared. It seemed that the two had broken, parted ways, and left behind worse than one. There was nothing.
Around them, everyone seemed to flock to him like he was fire itself, but the twins saw the unlight pour into a place where Father had once been. They grew afraid because they did not know if two, or an army of two, would be enough for this Father.
It was not.
The Twins followed him, as everyone else did. But they also looked behind one last time, expecting as always, to be the last, to have completed the chain.
Instead, they saw a tall, dark-haired elf, who did not feel like an elf. But they knew him by now, they had seen him many times; he was Manwë-King, lord of all Valinor.
And the twins had known before even Father had, that Manwë had been one of two once.
So there was laughter in the ashes, gulping, gnawing laughter when the ships blazed with Father's desperation, burning up everything, everything he had for him to have more. The giving had stopped forever; two died in that Night of Nights. Two were burned out of love and strength, left consumed in the fire that had begun it.
Then there was only one, left calm with weariness, forever watchful in the dead of night, to see out the coming years.
But near the beginning – almost very near indeed – there had been two.
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.