1. Chapter 1
Osse sat on a rock by the shores of Middle Earth. Water and foam flowed over his body, but the water seemed cold and unfamiliar. Ulmo had come forth from the deep and motionless waters to the Great Seas. His very presence tainted the surf of the ocean. The roaring of the unlit sea upon the rocky coast that still bore the scars of the tumultuous wrath of Melkor was fearsome and terrible to behold. The Teleri had fled from the water's edge, but they would return when Ulmo called to them on his horn of conches, and like the Vanyar and the Noldor before them, they would depart from Middle Earth on Osse's island.
Osse had protected the island and drawn some of each type of beasts and plants of the world to Valinor and saved them from the rising waters when the Two Lamps had been overturned and the waters of the seas swollen to great tumults. Thereafter, the island had floated in the shadowy seas, desolate save when Osse climbed its beaches on his journeys. But now Ulmo had come upon his secret island and harnessed to it Uin, the mightiest whale, and a great host of other whales, all strong and loyal to Ulmo's cause. The might of the Valar had been set in Uin and the whales, and they had drawn the island from Middle Earth to Valinor to deliver the Vanyar and the Noldor to the Blessed Realms. Osse brooded darkly over this slight, for not only had his secret island been taken, but also, Ulmo had come forth to the Great Seas and acted without consulting Osse, whom had the governance of the Greater and Lesser Seas since Ulmo's departure to the Outermost Seas. It seemed to Osse that Ulmo, in his might, was purposefully disrespecting the authority that he himself had given to his vassal.
Despite the violent waves of his temper tantrum, Osse slowly became aware of a soft, plaintive voice singing to the dark, fearsome waters. The music was not as powerful as that of the Ainur, but its beauty was that of an other, of the Children of Iluvatar, which Eru had set apart from the Ainur. The song was one of fear and intimidation for the powerful stirrings of the ocean, but also, there were words of admiration and longing and love amidst the terror for the Sea. The waters were not the calm, clear pools of Cuivienen under unclouded skies of starlight. The Sea moved as Cuivienen had during the Great Battle of the Powers, when water had stirred with the awesome power of the Valar and the earthquakes. But still, like a child drawn to an angry parent, the music spoke of desire to see the wrathful waves and uncontrolled seas.
Osse left his rock and came as a great tidal wave to the coastal shore, where the Child of Iluvatar sang the Music of the Quendi. The child did not run from the rising waters, though fear touched his soft song. He invited the great wave to take him into the sea and drown him in its angry waters. He desired to be one with the Sea, but moreover, he desired to be a victim of the ocean's displeasure so that the waters could feel some satisfaction in its destructive force. But Ossed did not drown this sacrificial child. He stood before him in a form great and terrible. The child sang of his love for the Lord of the Seas. His body shivered from the cold waters raining down about him from the body of the mighty Maia, and his drenched silver hair hung about his face in wet tendrils. Still, he sang his praise to Osse and wished for the raging sea to take him.
"Why do you seek your own death, Child of Iluvatar?" boomed Osse like the crashing of waves against the shores. "How dare you throw away the gift of life given to you by Iluvatar?"
"I do not cast my life aside wantonly, o Great Lord of the Seas," said the child with all due reverence. "I seek only to console you in what small way I can."
Osse's might rose in the form of waves crashing ashore and struck the child with great force and sound. The child was pushed to his hands and knees by Osse's wrath, but he did not flee or beg for mercy. He waited for the Lord of the Seas to crush him in the next wave and drag him out to the dark and violent waters of the ocean.
Osse's voice was now like a hurricane. "What makes you think that the Lord of the Seas, mightiest of the Maiar, needs consolation?"
"I do not know." The Child of Iluvatar began to cry. The sobs tore at his body as he trembled with fear of the Maia's majesty and from chill of the cold waters that rained down heavily on him from Osse's body like a storm at sea. His salty tears joined the waters of Osse's downpour and flowed back into the ocean. Those tears brought with them the thoughts of the child, and Osse felt his confusion, his terror at the wrath of the Sea, and above all, his desire to placate the Lord of the Seas in any way possible. The Child heard but did not fully understand the sorrow of the waters.
The child's blind love for the Sea despite its rage calmed Osse to some measure. The storm subsided, and Osse took a form similar to the child's stature. The waters of the sea swelled to such great heights that the coastal shore was flooded where the child stood. Osse stepped onto that watery path in his smaller form and came before the child. The child had been forced to his hands and knees by Osse's wrath, but now that the storm had passed, he still did not rise and instead prostrated himself in the shallow water that now covered the shore.
"Do you know who I am, Child?" Osse asked. His voice was still very great, for he was a Maia, but it was no longer the fearsome howl of the angry sea.
"You are the Lord of the Greater and Lesser Seas," he said. "In my tongue, you are Falman-Osse, vassal of Ulmo, Lord of the Waters and of Vai, the Outer Oceans."
"And do you know why I rage so?"
"How can a mere child understand his elders? I only know that your heart is heavy, and I wish to alleviate your sorrow."
"Ulmo has taken my secret island and used it to transport the first and second hosts of the Eldar across the Great Sea to Valinor. This displeases me greatly," Osse said.
"Then perhaps I can understand a small part of your grief, for I am also saddened by the sundering of our people." The child was soaked and cold, but he fought back the shivers in order to maintain his poise of reverence. The simple white robes clung to his clammy skin, and strands of his wet, silver hair stuck to his face and neck.
Osse shook his head. "You cannot understand my wrath and jealousy, for you are still pure of heart in this marred world. I mourn the movement of my island more than the loss of the Quendi from these lands."
The child bent his head down and kissed the surface of Osse's watery floor. "Though I cannot understand your mind, o Mighty Lord of the Seas, I wish to console your angry heart. Please drown me or crush me under your great waves if that will ease your displeasure."
Osse put a hand to the child's cheek and slid it along his damp, smooth skin. His fingers came to rest under the child's chin, and he raised the child's face to meet his stormy eyes. "No, child of Iluvatar, I will not kill you, but I will teach you how to console me."
"Thank you, my Lord!" His eyes shone like stars, and Osse knew his dedication to be true.
"The Quendi delight in naming all things of this world. By what name do they call you, Child of Iluvatar?" Osse motioned for him to rise. The child stood reluctantly, for he did not see himself as worthy of standing level with the mighty Maia. Osse was surprised by the child's height, for he was tall for his kind and so he was only half a head shorter than the form Osse had chosen.
"I am already blessed to be conversing with one of the Great Powers of Arda and have no name that can be worthy before the Lord of the Seas. I am but a humble admirer of the Sea and your servant if you will have me. Call me child of Iluvatar, as you have been doing, and I will gladly answer to that name."
"Nay, my Child, your humility is becoming, but you deserve my respect," Osse said. He pushed the silver hair back from where it stuck to the child's skin and ran his hand down its length. The child's hair felt like foam on the surf, but he was more delicate than even a reflection of the stars on the water's surface. "You say that you have no name that is worthy of my use. Very well then. I shall name you. Henceforth, you shall be Falmandil."
The child mouthed the name, and tears of joy slipped down his cheeks. "You do me too much honor, my Lord!"
"You shall repay me for that honor," Osse said. "Do you still hold true to your word, that you would placate my heart?"
"I do, mighty Lord of the Seas."
Osse swelled the waters about them and touched the child's starlit hair. "Then submit to my will, Falmandil, Child of Iluvatar."
Years later, Osse came to the shores of Middle Earth where the Children of Iluvatar dwelt and found them not. Osse's heard became cold. He felt again the presence of Ulmo in the waters of the Sea. Then the coldness turned to a great and fiery wrath. He had spent many long years pondering what he might do if Ulmo again used his island to ferry the last of the Eldar to Valinor. Osse cried out in his mighty voice, and storms and shadows rose about the oceans. Ulmo's great fish faltered as the clamor of the storms obscured the calls of the horns of Ulmo. Quickly, Osse called Uinen and the Falmarini to his aid.
The island had not traversed the entire distance to Valinor. Osse put forth all his might and seized the island in his great hand so that all the great strength of Uin and the whales could scarcely drag it onward. Ulmo was not at hand to aid his whales, for he was far ahead and knew not that the island had ceased to follow him. His absence was for the better. In deeds of bodily strength in water, Osse was mightier than even Ulmo, and the direct clashing of the two Lords of the Seas might have drowned all of Middle Earth.
As Osse held the island in his great hand, Uinen called forth the giant ropes of leathery seaweeds and polyps that had grown for centuries in the dark to unimaginable sizes. These anchored the island to the sea bottom. The whales fought on, and Ulmo trumpeted on his conches and lent the whales his strength. Before the island could tear away from the seaweed, Osse piled rocks and bounders of huge mass that Melkor's ancient wrath had strewn about the sea floor and built a huge column beneath the island. Uin lashed his great tail such that the waters of the seas were churned up like the flooding waters after the overthrow of the Two Lamps. Osse then brought forth every kind of deep sea creature that dwelt in stony shell and planted them about the base of the island. Thus the waters around the island were filled with corals of every kind and barnacles and sponges like stone. At last, Ulmo became aware of Osse's treachery and put forth his power in the very waters and strove with Osse. For a while, it seemed that the very island would be rent apart, but Ulmo ceased his claim on the island and returned to Valmar in wrath and dismay. The island remained stranded in the middle of the sea with no land visible all around it, and it was called Tol Eressea, the Lonely Isle.
When the battle between the Lords of the Seas ended, the Teleri came forth from their cliff dwellings to the shores of Tol Eressea and saw that they were yet far away from the glorious Trees of Valinor. They played wistful songs on their slender pipes, for they knew now that they would not be reunited with their kin, the Noldor and the Vanyar, for many long years. But joy entered their music when they saw the marvelous shells on the white beaches that were the result of Osse's labors. Hearing their songs, both bitter and sweet, Osse's heart was lifted, for he knew that he had not been mistaken in withholding the Teleri from Valinor. Their music and very presence made the Sea more beautiful then ever before.
"Listen well to their songs," said Uinen, Lady of the Seas. "The Teleri have become more beautiful in their sadness, for their music and happiness now possess new depth."
"My heart had long melted toward them."
"Then hold fast to that memory," Uinen counseled. She kissed Osse, and warm tears were now running down her face like great waterfalls. "The Valar desired to bring the Teleri to Valinor, and you have defied their will. Ulmo is wroth at your defiance, and it will be many years even by the reckoning of the Ainur before you may return to Valmar."
Osse took Uinen in his arms and stroked her long tresses. "We will not be separated. We will meet on the shores of Middle Earth or the reef of this island when Ulmo is not about."
"Yes." Uinen brought Osse's lips to hers, and they kissed to the music of the shoreland pipers. "But not now," she said at last. "Ulmo, Lord of the Waters, has been to see the Valar and now returns to speak with the Teleri." She pushed him to the east. "Go now, lest he and you meet and his wrath be kindled anew."
Osse did as she asked and swam out to sea but turned back to look at the Lady of the Seas. "You will come to me?"
"I will. But I must first speak on your behalf in the Ring of Doom, and it may be some time before I come to the western shores of Middle Earth." Moved by his wife's plight, Osse started to go to her, perhaps to kiss her one last time, but Uinen turned quickly from him, with tears still in her eyes, and swam back towards Valmar. Osse's heart became heavy and even the distant songs of the Teleri did not console him. Alone, Osse went to exile in the seas of Middle Earth.
Cirdan wandered the empty shores of Middle Earth and hummed to himself. Olwe and the larger host of the Teleri had departed while he had been away in search of Elwe, and now, Cirdan and the Elves who followed him were the Eglain, the Forsaken People. I would have followed that light, Cirdan thought, alone if none would come with me, but instead, I will abide here until my work is fulfilled. But as he awaited the fulfillment of his work, his heart remained unfulfilled. He yearned for the Light of the Trees of Valinor, and he desired the company of the Sea.
As if summoned by his humming, Cirdan came across Osse, Lord of the Seas, upon his accustomed rock in the sea. He stared out toward the west, and the waters around him churned not with wrath but with lament. The Lord's face was beautiful but sorrowful, and he seemed mkore like an Elda than a Maia. Cirdan's heart rejoiced, for Lord Osse had not been seen by the shores of Middle Earth for many years, and Cirdan had thought himself abandoned in all ways. Even as he felt his heart uplifted, Cirdan felt guilty, for his Lord was obviously not pleased to be at the shores of Middle Earth.
Cirdan began to sing, softly at first and then more loudly. His body moved with the music, and he danced for the Sea even though the Lord of the Seas looked elsewhere. He sang wistfully for the Teleri who had gone to the Blessed Realm and for the Lord and Lady of the Seas, who had not visited the Eglain since the Teleri's departure. There was no blame in his voice, only sorrow and yearning. And he sang of his surprise at the return of the Lord of the Seas and his desire to console his Lord, whose thoughts were elsewhere and heavy with grief. Cirdan's dance took him ever closer to the waters until he was almost knee deep in the ocean. At last, Lord Osse turned his awesome gaze to the Eglan. Cirdan almost stopped his song and dance, for the lamentation of those stormy gray eyes was very great, beyond anything that could be felt by an Elf. But Cirdan found the strength to continue. He sang and danced slowly in the waters until he came to Lord Osse's throne of stone. The water was now too high for Cirdan to bow and kneel before his Lord, but he bowed his head with reverence and ceased his song.
"Mighty Lord of the Greater and Lesser Seas, it is a blessing and honor to see you again," Cirdan said.
"Falmandil, Child of Iluvatar." Osse's great hand scooped Cirdan up from the waters and deposited him at the end of the large rock. Cirdan knelt there, and Osse's form changed to that of the Eldar. The silver scales disappeared and was replaced by pearly white skin. His head was still crowned with green seaweed, but now he had hair like the white foam of a crested wave. White pearls decorated his neck, and pink pearls graced his wrists. As always, his eyes held the brightness of Aman, but the light was clouded by sorrow and touched by surprise. "How came you here to the shores of Middle Earth?"
Cirdan took his Lord's hand and kissed it. "I never departed on the Ferry Island, Lord Osse. My people and I were searching for Elwe Singollo east of the River Narog and even as far as the mighty River Sirion, but our search was in vain. Too late we heard the sounding of the Ulumuri, the great horns of Ulmo. I purposed to follow for the ship that I had been building was almost ready, but Lord Ulmo bade me to abide here, for my ship is not yet strong enough to cross the Great Sea and he has work of utmost importance for me here. Thus I have continued to dwell in the Falas, the shores of Middle Earth."
Anger as quick as lightning across the open waters sparked in Osse's eyes. "So the Lord of the Waters has taken my secret island and the Falmari, my Sea-Elves, and now he intends to take you as well?" The Sea swelled and roared with the winds of a monsoon. The tsunamis crashed upon the stone throne with such rage that Cirdan knew he would've been crushed under its breaking if not for the protection of Osse.
"Nay, my Lord!" Cirdan quickly kissed Osse's hand and rose to his feet. Though his body trembled with the shaking of the rock and fear of Osse's wrath filled his heart, Cirdan pressed himself to the Lord of the Seas and kissed him. His lips rolled over Osse's like foam upon the water's surface, and he sucked on Osse's lips until at last the maia graced his mouth with his warm tongue and salty saliva. Cirdan had learned to console the storms of Osse over the many long years, but he still feared the Lord's capricious moods and violent passion. Cirdan knew that Osse delighted in his quailing, for it showed Cirdan's respect for one mightier than himself, and so he did not hide the shivers that traversed his spine in the midst of desire. The waters of the ocean splashed upon them on the rock by the shore, and Cirdan's body was soaked with the cold water. Osse moved his lips along Cirdan's wet neck. His great hands peeled the clinging raiment from Cirdan's skin.
"Nay, my Lord," Cirdan repeated again, his words caught in between heavy breaths. "Lord Ulmo, Vala of the Waters of Arda, has not taken me. He has merely stranded me on the shores of Middle Earth for his purposes and your pleasure." The waves of the Sea broke upon Cirdan's body. The water was cold and pressure too great. Cirdan was thrown up against Osse's from. Osse's hands slid against his slippery skin and worked their pleasure upon his bare back. Osse's mouth sucked at the base of Cirdan's neck, ravishing his skin like the tides upon the sandy beaches. "I am Falmandil, Follower of Lord Falman-Osse, and I would lessen your wrath as I ever havei f you would but allow me such a honor." Osse's fingers gripped Cirdan's long silver hair and pulled his head back. Cirdan closed his eyes as the maia's lips encircled his neck and his tongue traced its way up to his mouth.
"Then submit to my will, Child of Iluvatar, and I will allow you to console me." Osse's voice was threatening and the greatness of his anger boomed in the depths of his voice. As always, he warned cirdan fo what was to come and let the Elda choose his fate. But Cirdan's mind was resolved, and his desire to ease the suffering of the Lord of the Seas could not be withheld.
"I obey, my Lord." Cirdan's body shook with the acceptance of such a great task.
Osse was not gentle. The sorrow and lamentation that Cirdan had first perceived when he saw Osse upon his stone throne had been replaced by rage and jealousy. Many times, Cirdan thought he would drown in Osse's kisses. The water of the ocean rose to engulf the rock, and Cirdan had to fight his instinct to flee from the encroaching dark waters. The waters did little to ease the pain as Osse breached him like the breaking of a waterfall at the end of its descent. Cirdan's cries were lost in the howling storm of the Sea. But the storm passed, and the waters calmed, and as his body lay spent beneath that of Osse's, Cirdan beheld the stars above in the dark skies and sighed, content that his sacrifice had been accepted by the Great Lord of the Seas.
Tol Eressea had caught the gleam of the glorious Trees of Valinor, and so it was fairer and more fertile with sweet plants and grasses than other places of the world where the Light had not been seen. The Teleri dwelt in the caverns in the black and purple cliffs and danced on the shoreland of white sand. They adored the many shells that Osse had piled at the island's feet to stay its journey, and Ulmo came among them, and he spoke to them words of wisdom and taught them to fashion pipes from shells rather than willows.
Many years after the island had been rooted, when Ulmo was not among the Teleri, Osse came to the shores of Tol Eressea. The Valar desired peace and would not allow Ulmo to rend the island from its new roots, so the island remained apart from Valinor. Osse gazed at their beauty amidst the water and listened to their piping and singing. He watched their flitting dance upon the waves' brink, and the love of the sea and rocky coasts entered their hearts. By those shores, Osse and Uinen met again from time to time, and Osse was made glad.
But to Valmar, Osse dared not return for the power of Ulmo and his wrath at the anchoring of the island. From time to time, Osse rode the foams out to the shores of Valinor and gazed upon the glory on the hills. He longed for the Light and happiness upon the plain. He missed his great house of pearl with floors of sea water and roofs of foam, where before he would dwell when he drew weary of the noise of the waves upon his seas. Most of all, he yearned for the sweet song of the birds and the swift movement of their wings into the clear air, for Osse had grown weary of dark fishes, silent and strange, amid the deep waters.
One such time when Osse gazed wistfully toward Valinor, he saw some birds flying high from the gardens of Yavanna. They passed the mountains of Valinor and became dazed during their search for trees to perch by the shadows in the farther reaches of Valinor. Osse coaxed them, and they settled about his mighty shoulders. He taught them to swim and poured fishy oils upon their feathers so that they could endure the waters. Then he gave them great strength of wings to soar across great expanses of the Sea. Osse returned to his own seas, and the seabirds, crying and piping, swam about him or fared above him on low wing. He showed them the dwellings on the cliffs of Tol Eressea, and there they remained as gifts for the Teleri. He fed them shellfish and taught them to dive and spear fish. He led some seabirds still farther from Valinor, to the very shores of Middle Earth, and these wailing and trumpeting birds he gifted to the Eglain of Cirdan. When Ulmo heard of these new deeds, he was displeased with the havoc wrought amid the fishes by the seabirds of Osse.
The Teleri of Tol Eressea did not build ships like the Eglain of the Falas in Middle Earth, for Cirdan had long been the foremost Master Shipwright of his people and was the most inventive and skillful. Most of the other shipwrights who had studied under Cirdan had also missed the summons of Ulmo and thus did not depart with Olwe. As a result, Olwe's people knew little of the craft of rafts and ships. But now the Teleri took new delight in journeying across the waters, and some fashioned rafts of fallen timber as they'd seen Cirdan's shipwrights do of old and harnessed these to swans to speed across the lakes. In time, they became bolder and some dared to venture out to the Sea. Osse took joy in this, for he'd long desired the beautiful Teleri upon his island to venture out to his waters as the people of Cirdan did. Osse came to the Teleri and taught them the art of shipbuilding that had been ever developing and evolving on the shores of Middle Earth. For this reason, the white ships of the Teleri and the swanships of the Falathrim were virtually identical in appearance and make, though those wrought by Cirdan himself were always the best of the ships on either side of the Sea.
As with before, Ulmo struck when Osse was away. Osse returned to Tol Eressea from the Falas of Beleriand to find that the people of Olwe were gone. Osse searched the seas and found Ulmo trumpeting loudly and leading the Teleri in their swanships drawn by the very strong-winged swans that Osse had gifted to the Teleri and by many other seabirds besides. Osse saw how these birds had been his undoing, and he became downcast. But he could not molest the white fleet for he loved the Teleri.
The Teleri established their home at the Bay of Eldamar, and they called it Alqualonde, the Swan-Haven. Ulmo was with them, and so Osse could not go to his beloved Teleri. Without the seabirds, Ulmo could not have transported the Teleri to Valinor without asking for the help of Osse and the Oarni, and so Ulmo's anger at Osse had only become stronger with time. Uinen also aided the Teleri in their labors, and she could not come to Osse at Tol Eressea or the Falas. Tol Eressea was silent, and its woods and shores were still. All the seabirds had flown after the Eldar and wailed now about the shores of Eldamar. Osse's silver halls in Valmar remained empty for still longer. As long as Ulmo was about and did not return to the Deep Waters, Osse came no nearer to his palace of pearls than the shadow's edge, where he could hear the wailing of his seabirds from far away. He returned to the Lonely Isle and dwelt in despondency. From there, he could see the gleam of Telperion's twinkle in the pebbles of diamonds and crystals that the Noldor had cast on the shores of Eldamar in greeting for the Teleri. The music of the Teleri drifted on slow waters to Osse, and the singing and piping were sweet and enchanting to him beyond all sounds of the waves. At times, he could even see the glimmer of the pearls sewn into the robes of the Teleri as they danced on the beaches of Valinor.
Many years passed and still Ulmo was about the Bay of Eldamar, and Uinen could not and would not leave her work. At last, Osse let out a great sigh and left the Lonely Isle. He went to the shores of Middle Earth, where he knew at least one would be eagerly awaiting his return.
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.