Thus we see, as ever it has been so, that in reward is danger greater than any punishment, for given the land free, without tribute or tax, men upon Westernesse in time fell of their own accord into greedy, miserly manners, desiring only the petty pleasure of dominance of lesser men, mocking as they imagined, the Gods in their own servitude; having confused the gift for a bond. How to repay, and to gain outright the lands Undying? This question drove all the wise men and dim-seers, What do the Gods desire, that they have not, nor may of themselves make? And nothing was agreed upon by the wise and their kings, some professing one thing, others another. In the waning years of Joseph upon Eressëa, it was known among the Eldar upon that island – for stones they had also, for seeing far away, and the past, also – and often they spoke with Amandil this way, and later, less often to Elendil, in Forlindon, upon the wastes of the north. In these years report came to Asenath, and to her beloved, that Pharazon had taken hostage the mighty Thû, greatest in deceit, and by his wiles the king and his houses had become as besotted, believing themselves true heirs of all lands west.
Earendel they held a hostage of the Gods, cozened into silence, promised kingship and overlord of all men, should he prove faithful in this charge. Thus in their confusion, folly compounded woe, and alien ways unnatural to all living came in many guises upon the Holy Land of Gift, Azoyan. The sickness would spread therefrom, thence to all the mortal lands, and in these portendings, the Eldar looked into the sayings and lore of Rumil, to moon-lore, and foretelling of its consumption by flame, breathed of an evil breath (Thû); and in the passing of the moon, the sky would upon Elvenhome fall, yet in this was the blessing of Eru, unfolded over many ages subsequent.
In the coming of a man to their lands, they behold a sign also, but of their guesses, nothing was told to Asenath or Joseph or their house. Lands were in many places sinking under the waves, often in a night, falling from on high precipices into the abyss of water; and his coming directed their hearts to gaze downward, and to fear the decline of their realm; but none guessed what did befall, with the arrival of the tall black sails.
Rumor also was heard among the Elendilli, that among the elves strayed an old man, and he was welcomed, and come to haleness and vigor of manhood again; perhaps in these sayings, some wind blew upon Amandil, and set his eye westward, to seek pardon for men most blessed, noble and high-born; but he never arrived.
Joseph contrived himself a plan to thwart the coming wars, and battles portended; he would recover in the Halls of Sorrow, Taurin; among the glooms set about they who hang themselves, or otherwise have dangled their own lives, in play or design of forethought, over the gaping mouth of Death, and fallen therein. Bereft of will, these spirits are drawn without deviation into a corner of Mandos’ lair, there to abide until some suitable course can be undertaken; for never did any of the Valar conceive the dying brought about by will of the dying one, and no place did they prepare, being unready for Man’s mortality bent back inward; in gloom they spend out their sorrows, unto a gaining of will, perhaps to seek out kin and friends bereft of their light, and brought to misery by acts incomprehensible; so, Joseph would recover Taurin, and come renewed to Westernesse, there to teach all men of the unbounded grace of the Valar, their good wisdom, patience unending, and desire for the eternal joy of all Eruhin.
With him, as one healed, he would bear the girl, and she make amends, and show the folly of cheating death is no less than the sickness of taking it for oneself; a restoration of brotherhood of Man, he fancied, would spill forth, and draw out enmity, to sprout amity of kin, Mortals all.
Need we say, his time and life near Eressëa has prejudiced his memory of man, and given hope where now, among Eldar and Valar, little remained, for the future Coming Age of Man.
Thus the man in cheery mood sailed back eastward, being guided by knowing sea-birds, and gusted thither upon a safe, strong gale. To Mordor he steered, then being built upon the remnant and ruin of Doriath, hills of waste-slag Thû has caused to be thrown up upon the eastern border, and lava after rivers of ash he poured from Gorgoroth, fencing in his domain, and keeping out the men of Westernesse, whom he hated and feared. Unknown to his servants, and maybe to this Maia, Thingol maintained his light halls, deep underneath, there taking in refugees of Hell, and straying souls that otherwise had little hope to pass into Lothien and to rest for awhile among Eldar. Neither was Joseph to know, at this time, for the lands and all maps disagreed, for change and discord came often in those days, land against the sea, ice shelves over the shores, and bridges arose and fell in a fortnight, for tumult had come upon nature, and the seas forgot their bounds.
So the Man Restored concealed himself in a cloak, as one necromancer, seeking out lore of Undying; gaining passage therein [Mordor], during the absence of the mighty folk of Westernesse, and of their enemies, Nazgul. He discovered a stairway, down into a fissure and there treaded his mortal feet, for many days into the heat rising, the encompassing dark, until opening before as a realm, a city of shades; he carried with him a light housed by a gem, offering protection to the bearer and daunting enemies of Eru.
Through horrors, seas as riotous tumults driven by sadness, fantasies taken form along shadows tangible, and much else beyond depiction here, he arrived in those halls where souls sing a lamentation of Sorrow Unending, having found one thing beyond their taking, or dispossessing, durable beyond hope of wearing away, renewed in that vain ambition. Here he found indeed the spirit of Taurin, and told her a way out, and his plan to bear her to the house of her fathers, again to look upon Westernesse, and be amazed. She declined, and refusing to come, settled herself as a stone, weeping salt water in the Lower Places, now embodied forth in rock, never to leave (it seems).
Now a great rushing, and rain, sounds of the bones of Arda breaking and ground into bread, rushed over this place, and brought again into ruin and ash, molten slag, these halls where dwell in misery and discontent, the dead that of sickness were not healed in the presentness of flesh, its hope-ever-renewed. Channels and corridors opened anew, and having no sight or vision of return along the escalating stairway, Joseph drove himself on, realizing at last his folly, and the vanity that trapped him deep, away from the daughters and far from Asenath. He too had forgotten that all men die; and in dying, return not among the living, to live once again. His gloom grew apace, and rested upon his back, until he fell upon his face, and would have perished; yet a sudden cold rushing breeze lifted away his dark gloomy web, and aroused his mind, to stagger up and stand, if only to behold the harbingers of Eru.
For dragged as by many thronged shadow-serpents, chains interlocked, unceasingly vigilant to keep their prey, were his own daughters; their faces sliding past, stern, and unweeping. Another grumble and groan, as the earth itself splitting rock by rock, unseamed, in agony shrieking, called out; and the sound of Eldarinwa music strolled up from the dark corridors, rising to blow past and over him, rushing upon this he saw many faces and forms, freed from judgment without mercy, and these spirits praised Eru.
Rather than let their song and growing lightness scatter overall the plains of Gorgoroth, and undo the foundations of Hell further north, the flood was released, and it poured forth out at Kiliath, and elsewhere, too, giving new songs and visions of wonder to many clans surrounding. Joseph ran against the rushing golden joy, and for what would seem to your reckoning a lifetime, he sought out his daughters, enchained; finding them unhurt, unyielding, and much feared in the depths, he embraced them, and gave to each a portion of his light, poured out of the gem that housed its oil. Thus as stars each one grew, and thus were they driven forth, to rise out the holes of the Earth, and find a resting place among the light-realm beyond the stars; for never again would they step upon the earth, and feel the cries of the unjustly persecuted, and cruelly slain; nor bear any longer might they the soiling of Arda, having seen much that passed forth out of those depths, wrought under the vengeance of Gothmog, to stain all the lands, and make them unfriendly.
Thus after his greatest joy, in darkest place, beset by devils and gloom enformed, and beyond destruction by any weapon of god or elf, amid the circling storm and pooling up of Death before Hell, his joy was greatest, recalling his arrival to Asenath’s home, and their days of bliss thereon; yet he now knew the greatest sorrow of any mortal, having achieved bliss beyond measure or comprehending, his separation was complete, total, and all his life now seemed a false dream, and this gloom his only existence, his air and soil concocting.
No light bore he any longer, and quickly his mind eroded, though not unclean; what remained was by darkness and evil, incorrupt. He was dead, for the most part; and yet the strength and vitality of this man, anchored to love of Asenath, and without doubting his daughters’ arising in glory out of darkness, being long restored to health in the food and drink of Eressëa, he was not dead indeed, wholly severed spirit from flesh. Monsters he grappled and slayed; and evil shades he cast aside, until in weariness beyond all mortal experience, he fell listless into a rushing torrent being poured out in a vacant hall, silent save the drip and trickle of pure water; when in time he gained the power, he sang of Asenath, and the bliss of their garden upon the clean seas, and of his daughters, bright stars overwatching til the coming of Eru, and of his son, then a babe but in time, a man alone among the Exiles. In the Song of Joseph much was told that has been said here, and many more praises and good pictures, too are found; perhaps someday the song will be sung aright, by voices amid a light befitting his sorrow, and resonant joy; the gladness of his life, and its pain without redress upon Arda Marred. Maybe its full performance must wait until the day the marring is amended, and healing without forgetting has spread out upon the lands.
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