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[personal profile] ost_in_edhil
A venerated Lizard's comment in response to a bit in How the East Was Won prompted this brain worm that demanded to be exorcised. I don't know what exactly I'm going to do with this (and it is not complete if that is not apparent), and I am being cryptic as to whom the narrator might be recounting the short tale and when he might be recounting it. The events he describes take place before the Valar enter Arda, that is, our Solar System according to JRRT in HoMe X.

Be forewarned that it's pretty far out on the edge of my alternate universe/history in which neither the Valar nor the Maiar are divine/angelic beings although with their unusual characteristics and immense powers, they appear to be so to the Children of Iluvátar. Also to be considered is that the Ainulindalë is a creation myth and thus highly subject to interpretation. Please see Chosen and Ulmo's Wife for other stories deriving from this era of the Pandë!verse.

Many thanks to my pals on the Lizard Council for comments, critique and encouragement.

As a backdrop, here is the excerpt from How the East Was Won that prompted Lizardly curiosity:

Nothing was more important to him than control. In a remote time and place, he had been safe and loved, but that security had been shattered into fragments. He had witnessed the horrific deaths of those he had loved and who had loved him in turn, but he had survived because of an innate talent, one that the Valar had noticed, they who had been indirectly responsible for breaking his life into shards. The Guardians had taken him – young, confused and reeling from his loss – into their fosterage and made him into what he was. But the vision of that split second when the order of his world disintegrated had never left him. Nightmares of the horrible scene haunted him, and even since then, he struggled to gain control over his life and the world around him. He glanced at the pile of cushions again -- none of them out of place -- and imagined a life of servitude in Aman where every moment of his existence would under the exacting control and surveillance of others. He could not bear the thought.




~~~~~~


I thought they were beautiful at first, the lights that came over the mountains. I had been chasing my little sister across the grass when I saw the first one, brilliant white but tinged with green like the jewels my father cut. Then another and another followed -- red, purple, yellow, blue -- all gleaming at the edge of the sky like a rainbow. The lights flowed like bright water over and down the slopes, lights of many colors that rushed toward our valley, but where water might darken earth and stone, these lights set the land ablaze. They sang with harmonies that both grated and soared and made my bones vibrate.

I stared, frozen in place and mesmerized by the lights that incinerated fields, groves and villages. Black smoke already furled high into the sky from the upper reaches of the vale. My sister’s hand slipped into mine, but still I watched the lights. I was only pulled out of my fascination when Mother screamed at us from her gardens where she toiled:

“Run!” she cried. “Hide!”

The lights streaked toward our home, impossibly fast, leaving white fire in their wake. Father burst from his workshop; he, too, screamed at us to run. He tore across the rows of the garden, trampling Mother’s carefully tended plants, his black hair streaming behind him as he ran to Mother. He had just grasped her arm, pulling her along with him when a stream of light broke off from the fiery rainbow-river and poured over them, consuming my parents with silver and gold flames.

My sister and I watched our parents die before our eyes, charred into horrible writhing shapes while their bodies tried to Change in their last moments. Then I moved. I yanked my sister’s hand and ran into our house. My eyes swept through the rooms. Hide, Mother had said. But where and how? My thoughts raced in panic, but something snapped inside me so that all became ordered and still.

“Breathe deep,” I said. “Remember how we practiced the Changing with Papa? Now think of a rock. That is all you should think about. A rock that nothing can hurt. Can you do that?”

She nodded yes, closed her eyes, and squeezed my hand.

~*~


I do not know how long we remained hidden. I perceived them rather than saw them. I felt their light, blazing and terrible, when they came into our house.

I did not know which ones they were. Father had told me of the enemies who had come from Outside, those who wished to destroy our homeland, but that there were other Outsiders -- the Guardians -- who defended us. Father said that a great war between the Outsiders raged, and that it had spilled onto our homeland, coming close enough that Father said that we could no longer go to the river to fish because of the attacks. I was disappointed because I loved the times I went fishing with my father, just the two of us, when he talked to me about everything: about when he was a boy, about the substances of our world, about the workings of life around us, about our people and about the stars. He said that I was a big boy now, and old enough to understand why we could no longer go to the river.

That was around the time that he made my sister and me practice Changing more often, much more often than children of our age usually did. It hurt us to practice so much, but he explained that Changing, a gift to our people in the most ancient of days, would protect us if we were ever in danger so we must learn this. When we cried from the pain, he said that we must remember that Changing might save our lives one day. My father and mother were both very good at Changing, becoming all sorts of creatures and things, some marvelous, some frightening, but they had years of practice. It had not saved them.

These Outsiders who now glided through our home could be either friend or foe. So I remained still, silent, cold, and so did my sister. The lights moved about, searching for something. I heard their strange ringing sounds that blended into a beautiful song. I felt his light, the brightest of all. A song of bells and running water filled the room where we hid. Then I heard footsteps and a soft deep voice that spoke my language.

“I see you, boy. Come out now. No one will hurt you.”

Still I did not Change and neither did my sister. But it was becoming harder to hold on to my form because I had to hold fast to my sister’s, too.

“You are safe,” he said. “We will protect you.”

I could hold our forms no longer, and I collapsed back to my true self: save for a few things, I looked much like a child of Middle-earth. I had a boy’s thin body that was all legs and arms and a head covered with a thick shock of hair, dark like my father’s. Then I saw the Guardian who reached out to me: a tall being who had the familiar shape of my people with his sharp-boned brows, golden eyes slit by long black pupils, and high-set round ears, but he was greater, brighter, and of almost unbearable beauty. I took his extended hand, and he led us away from the ruins of what had been our life.

These Guardians, our protectors who had let the enemies slip through the defenses to burn up our world, found other children. They gathered us together, these other orphans who had survived like my sister and I had: by Changing.

My sister broke our silence before I did. She spoke to the other children and to the Guardians. She wanted someone to trust. But I did not speak for a very long time. Everything around me was chaos: wailing children, burnt fields and forests, poisoned waters. I smelled the stench of charred flesh everywhere. Time and time again in my dreams, I saw my parents’ bodies burning up like greasy wood. Not talking was the only thing I could control.

The beautiful one who had found us was their leader, and he was kind to us. He told us his name, but I did not understand it with its many colored sounds. He said it meant, “He who arises in might” and that we would learn how to speak his language in time. He told me that I was most excellent at Changing. He called me most admirable for saving my sister, and he expressed sorrow at the death of my parents. He said that he and his companions would take my sister and me and the other children to a place far away on the Outside where we would be safe and where he and his kind would teach us.

Finally I spoke to him, but I never told him my name.

~*~


They took us to the sea before they tore us away from everything we knew and everything we were. There a camp of many tents had been set up on the shores for all the orphans that the Guardians had gathered. We saw no mothers and fathers, no aunts and uncles, no grandparents, but only the Guardians who had taken the forms of men and women of our kind.

“Why is the sea so sad and brown?” my sister asked when we stood together at the surf’s edge. I had seen the ocean before but she had not. “Mama said it is the color of dark wine. You said so, too.”

I told her that I did not know why the sea looked so sad. I did not know why we could not see the sun in the daytime nor the moons and the stars at night. Instead, the sky was always grey, just darker or lighter depending on whether it was day or night.

Other children lived in the same tent that we did. One tall boy was brash and bright. He acted like he was our leader, ordering us around and acting braver than he really was, but he stank of fear and sorrow. Another boy smelled of curiosity. He pounded shells between rocks to break them and pulled out the writhing slime that lived within. A tiny child whose odor was that of damp earth and green things tried to stop him, tears running down his face when he grabbed the other’s arms. The older boy slapped the smaller one, knocking him onto his back. But a boy whose scent was that of kindness and pity helped the little one up, drying his tears.

My sister cried every night, and I rocked her in my arms, singing the lullaby of the wine-dark sea and the stars in a violet sky our mother so often sang to us. The boy with the scent of kindness and pity sat by me when my sister could not stop weeping. He rested his thin arm over my shoulders and held her hand. He sang the lullaby, too. Then another child joined the song and another and another until all of us sang while our world died.

To be continued.

Date: 2010-05-02 03:01 pm (UTC)
ext_93291: (Default)
From: [identity profile] spiced-wine.livejournal.com
OH!! O_O

Wow! This is amazing, Pandë! Now this is 'transformative work' at its finest!

Be forewarned that it's pretty far out on the edge of my alternate universe/history

No problem! :D Love it.

Date: 2010-05-02 11:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Thanks so much, Spice! Yes, when I was giving thought to the origins of the Valar and Maiar and decided that there was potential for them to be something other than divine origin (there are implications to this effect in JRRT's Notion Club Papers), the DM asked, "Well, then? What were we?" So I went from there. :^)

Date: 2010-05-02 10:35 pm (UTC)
ext_403546: (Dark in the Void)
From: [identity profile] nelyo-russandol.livejournal.com
Had forgotten the beautiful words. These are my favourite:

The lights flowed like bright water over and down the slopes, lights of many colors that rushed toward our valley, but where water might darken earth and stone, these lights set the land ablaze. They sang with harmonies that both grated and soared and made my bones vibrate.

Is this a typo? ... in the most of ancient days...

The Changing, Mélamírë, the bird... Of course. I love jigsaws, and reading this is like finding a piece that I've been long searching for.

Poor destroyed world, poor "most admirable" boy... I just love this story as much as when I first read it. A wonderful beginning.





Date: 2010-05-02 11:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Thank you so much and thank you specifically for the grooming o' nits previously! And look, you found another one -- now fixed. :^)

I don't think the DM is going to allow me to let this one fall by the wayside. Well, not that any will. It's just a matter of time.

Thanks again!

ETA: The Changing, Mélamírë, the bird... Of course

Yes! In the Pandë!verse, the ability of the Fays to change shape has a biological and evolutionary basis (albeit mysterious). The Valar will ratchet up their inherent capability, however.
Edited Date: 2010-05-02 11:53 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-05-02 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-roisin.livejournal.com
Oooooo!!! Now this caught my attention for sure. Will have Hubby print off and read to me later. Comments forthcoming!

Date: 2010-05-02 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
It's still very much a WIP and represents a challenge in taking the "scientifictitious" and writing it in more "poetic" language, but the DM has a keen interest in this part of the story arc. Hope you like it!

Date: 2010-05-03 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ithilwen.livejournal.com
This is off to a very interesting start!

Date: 2010-05-03 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Thanks, Ithilwen! It's pretty far out there, but believe it or not, it takes a tad of inspiration from JRRT's more science-fiction-like visions.

Date: 2010-05-03 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
Now this is stunning. Not, of course, that all of your work isn't, but I really enjoy these excursions into the outermost reaches of the Pandë!verse because they highlight the tremendous scope of your imagination and, as [livejournal.com profile] spiced_wine notes, the benefits of transformative work. I cannot tell you how much insight this piece provides into the DM. It is a brilliant backstory and adds incredible nuance to his actions in Arda. I had wondered, and I'm thrilled to see, whether the lullaby he sings Melamire and Samaril is one from his home world. Damn, that's a kick in the gut, in the best sense. I also liked the pragmatism of the Valar's actions, noting his ability to transform himself and, I'm sure, the technical abilities and interest he may have acquired from his parents. I'm also thrilled at the scene in which he sits with his sister, whose story I do want to hear, and with the others who will become the Maiar. I've been guessing who might be who in that scene, and I love the image of the boy whose scent was kindness holding the young DM and his sister. I love that the DM does not reveal his name; names do have power.

I was also struck by the opening image, and, since Steel and I are trying to persuade you to watch Galactica, I wanted to tell you that this passage

I thought they were beautiful at first, the lights that came over the mountains. I had been chasing my little sister across the grass when I saw the first one, brilliant white but tinged with green like the jewels my father cut. Then another and another followed -- red, purple, yellow, blue -- all gleaming at the edge of the sky like a rainbow. The lights flowed like bright water over and down the slopes, lights of many colors that rushed toward our valley, but where water might darken earth and stone, these lights set the land ablaze. They sang with harmonies that both grated and soared and made my bones vibrate.

I stared, frozen in place and mesmerized by the lights that set fields, groves and villages aflame.



reminded me of these two sequences from the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. The first is the opening sequence and the second is from a short tv movie called Razor related to the series. Both manage to depict terrible acts of violence in a stunningly cinematic way. It is very disturbing as it is intended to be. The quality on the videos aren't great and different music was imposed on the second, but it's enough for you to see. It's not the world you envision, of course, but the terrible beauty of violence seems too apparent there.
Edited Date: 2010-05-03 04:02 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-05-03 05:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Thanks so very much, Lilith! This is quite an extrapolation from JRRT's works but it does have its roots (OK, thin tendrils) from some of his more odd writings in The History of Middle-earth.

The Valar in my 'verse, in particular the Valar in this story, mean well, but they blunder in their good intentions at times. And they are generally pragmatic. The hints of emerging human intelligence on a far, far place excites them tremendously but also throws them for a loop, so the beings that become the Maiar are in a sense meant to be a bridge between the Valar and the indigenous peoples of the far off world.

Oh, yes, you'll hear more about his sister. She is an OC, but care to hazard a guess as to the identities of the other children?

You know, I watched the original BSG faithfully. I really need to check out the remake and those clips certainly make it compelling.

the terrible beauty of violence seems too apparent there.

Like the detonation of the atomic bomb.

Date: 2010-05-04 02:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
Like the detonation of the atomic bomb.


Yes, I remember thinking of Oppenheimer the first time I saw the Galactica credits and I believe he was also in the showrunners' thoughts when they imagined that sequence. I am also certain he was in your thoughts in that description of the lights.

Here is a poem I saw on dreamwidth a few days ago; I subscribe to their poetry community, and I think it is appropriate to quote here:

[This poem, in Japanese and English, is on the wall just inside the entrance to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The author and translator are unidentified.]


僕の目の前を赤トンボがすいすいとんでいって、前の塀の上にとまった。
僕は立ち上がり、ボウシを手にもっと、
赤トンボを取ろうとして手をのばしたとたん。。。。。。。。。。


A dragonfly flitted in front of me and stopped on a fence.
I stood up, took my cap in my hands,
and was about to catch the dragonfly when...


Also, on the good intentions of the Valar, I remember when I was teaching a seminar in comparative colonial expansion that my students seldom found the European explorers' claim to colonize in order to civilize and to convert the indigenous peoples. It was very difficult to explain to them that worldly gain and spiritual purpose were not necessarily exclusive and that a certain ethnocentric viewpoint did not also contradict (but rather upheld) their goals.

Are you familiar with the Florentine Codex? If not, remind me to tell you the story of it sometime. I think you'll find it interesting.

Date: 2010-05-03 06:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
Oh, I remember seeing this on the LC - fantastic!

Date: 2010-05-04 01:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Thanks! Yes, I blurted it out there first!

Date: 2010-05-03 06:44 pm (UTC)
independence1776: A yellow-and-silver eight-pointed star surrounded by blue (Fractal star)
From: [personal profile] independence1776
Oh, wow. I'm going to try to be coherant, but my brain is having a "let's think almost purely in images that aren't able to be easily translated into words" day. So, squee.

I love the images of the lights coming over the mountain. As Lilith said, gorgeous and deadly.

The DM choosing to be mute makes a *lot* of sense to me. And him having a sister?! SQUEE! That's definitely something I'm looking forward to seeing more of.

I love the scene in the tent at the end.

As for the other children: "brash and bright" is Saruman, I think. "Damp earth" is Radagast. "Kindness" is Gandalf. I have no idea who "curiosity" is.

I enjoyed this very, very much.

Date: 2010-05-04 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
You'll see more of his sister but that's all I'm saying for now. She's not a canonical character.

Very good on the guesses. You nailed two of them. "Brash and bright" = Eönwë; "Curiosity" = Curumo a.k.a. Saruman.

Thanks so much, Indy!

Date: 2010-05-04 02:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
Yes, I did guess correctly! Sorry, it doesn't often happen.

Date: 2010-05-11 02:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whitewave16.livejournal.com
So very awesome! I loved the family angle so much, but the *sister* had me intrigued. The little detail about the "fishing" was delightful.
;-) The *Changing* process just reminded me of my other favorite character in your 'verse. Was the Guardian with the "Golden-eyes" Aule?

Date: 2010-05-14 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Hey, Wavey! Long time, no see!

Thanks so much! The sister will continue to make appearances, and I'm glad you caught the detail of fishing. That's a long, deep memory for the narrator of this piece, which, I am guessing, that he has almost forgotten during the waning part of the Third Age.

The Guardian with the golden eyes is closely related to Aulë but take a far darker path. "He who arises with might" is a big clue there.

Thanks so much for reading!

Date: 2010-05-17 01:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whitewave16.livejournal.com
Ah yes...I know who he is now. ;-)

I've been a bit busy with my dressmaking class--it's been fun! I've had to relearn some hand-stitching and pattern making and I can't wait for the time when we actually start sewing (maybe about a week from now.)

Date: 2010-06-04 05:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rakshathedemon.livejournal.com
Ooh! Ooh! I'd wondered where this had gone. I know I'd seen it somewhere, but then I couldn't find it again. Now I want MORE!

Neat introduction to Young Sauron/Mairon, and young Maiar Olorin, Radagast, Eonwe and Curumo; not to mention Melkor. But who knew that Sauron had a sister?! What happened to her?

It's rather portentous that Melkor is the one to first call Sauron "Most Admirable" (Mairon), isn't it?! That's a nice touch.

Beautifully written, too.

Date: 2010-06-04 12:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Thanks so much, Raksha! Yes, I decided to tuck it away here. On Sauron's sister -- she's not a "known" Maia, but she does play an important role in the Pandë!verse. I can't say any more about her at the present.

I certainly intend to continue this, and your encouragement helps in a big way! Thanks again.

As usual, I have spotted nits to fix on reading this again. I perpetually self-edit.

Date: 2010-08-14 12:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] engarian.livejournal.com
I don't even recall which link ended up bringing me here, but your visions are so evocative. You've got the beginnings to a fantastic tale here - a fleshing out of the raw beginnings of Arda and the universe, the formation of personalities of those who will provide the backbone of canon and non-canon for long ages to come. I can't wait for more in this....

- Erulisse (one L)

Date: 2010-08-21 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Thank you so much, She-of-One-El, and my apologies for the late reply; this relocation/new job business has me scrambled this way and that. My appreciation for your kind words is no less, however!

Heh. Given what I have in mind for the Pandë!verse and its scope, I hope I live to be an old lady with decent mental acuity and good (geriatric) health! Light Over The Mountain fits into my interpretation of the Ainulindalë as creation myth and a more "humanized" take on the Maiar.

Thanks again!
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