THE TALE OF IZILBA
8 March 2017
There was Eru, that men call Jesus, and elves, Iluvatar. And nothing was that was not made by Him, and all that is, is by Him made. There were spirits also, some greater and others less great in the manifestation of knowledge of Eru. Spirits, Eru made not; neither might He create them, yet they too are in his image, more so or less so.
Spirits are changeful by their own will or by the action of That-Is, and they may bring forth out of their own being, nature that was not at first by Eru designed; though delight He may in the manifestation of Truth through what is brought into Ea.
These truths and their unfolding you too manifest in the writing and telling of tales, and such is the lore concerning Izilba and her lover Zhera’, of whom much has now been told, and yet more remains. Things there are that cannot be told, either by you in this tale, or indeed by any one living; and in the writing of the tale of Izilba, you have committed to paper an ancient thing, the unfolding of which will undo all that remains of the flowering of Melko.
Ripe is the world, and great is my anger toward those who deal unfairly with their brothers, taking without need, often not even by the spurring lust of greed. Great is our sorrow at the suffering endured, and we will not that of our house and its kindred mankind, any should labor to bring to pass the pollination of the fields of Melko, and in this you have had small part indeed.
Yet others there are, near to your heart, of whom such cannot be said. And others also nearby that are held great in the esteem of our people. Know this now: in the telling of this tale much is and will be done that cannot be undone, and you will know sorrow and joy, even as we know.
These words were given to Izilba, even as we say them unto thee this day. In a canoe, as it were, paddling her way to Eressëa, without hope of arrival, knowing not the direction to point her sea-craft, Ulmo Lord of Waters came to her in the day, warning of a breaking of the world of men and of Elda, telling Izilba what things she might do to prepare, and to emerge from the onslaught in the favor of Eru, manifesting his light upon the realm of Arda.
Return now whence you came, daughter beloved, for before you what you seek shall not as it is, for long be upon this world, either unmade or lifted up, away from the Earth, for a long while leaving man to ponder his reign and its height’s fullness of folly.
And Izilba humbled herself and repented of hopeless sorrow, and returned to the Northland coasts, there to abide, if should be, for her love of Ulmo Lord of Waters, who promised he would come as a man upon the lands southward, and eastward, and do there the will of Eru his beloved. Changed she was upon return to the land, though she did not find her husband-betrothed, nor her children, as yet. Long she wandered, as in a wasteland, cold and drear, of no sound of man, with few birds overhead. A silence rules this place, where she tarried upon the coast, or ventured for days at a time inland.
And though in former days, she may have yearned for battle or to learn of bees the growth and cultivation of flowers, now she was content, secure in the understanding of her fate, and of them she hoped to find.
Yet many near unto her, in that region called Hinterland (Hithlum), though unseen, and by her unheard that suffered, for a sickness had taken hold of the men, increased daily. To their old worship of the fruits of body and the soil, they now added this: the humiliation of young girls, preyed upon in dark halls of stone; and the piercing of their flesh by thorn, knife and stone. Of the blood wrought thereby, these men tasted, and scattered it one upon another, hoping in perversion of lore to make among their folk one that was great above all, to save them from depredation and a depraved land.
On a night of falling stars, while Izilba watched from an outcropping of sea-carven rock, men came to her sea wain, and finding none there to defend, raided it, and broke it. By day they would return and search for the wain’s pilot. This Izilba saw too, and she made preparations to mislead their tracking of her trail, seeing them from afar, and laughing to herself. The more now she desired Zhera’s presence, and the thought of the twins pierced, as it were, her heart. Of the whereabouts of Dyacôm, she knew little indeed, though he was not dead, himself, he was among the shades of dead men.
Thus it was Izilba came to search out the dark places along the northern reach of the White Mountains, while even on the other side her beloved sailed near ^to the coast, risking not his own life, but rather living so as to tend to the twins. Spirits out of darkness, some that had gnawed away time for an age, trailed her, as she went eastward. When after days of seeking for a path through the walls of stone, she came to a way hidden and the spirits that followed her would not venture near, nor stand beyond its gate. Here is the entrance to the Paths of the Dead, Daughter Divine, one said to her, “and none who enter have yet returned.”
Lingering hither, Izilba pondered her visions of Dyacôm among the Dead shades of men, and she sought for other paths that might take her southward along the range. Many dead ends she discovered, or roundabouts returning amid the frost and fog of the Northplains. At times in the night she peered far off and saw rude houses of an unhappy people, fearful of the dark, and yet unable, it seemed, to keep from its worship.
On the day following she spied in the west a huddle of women, surrounded by men dressed as wolves, burned and cut, bleeding from beatings, and yet willingly walking to an end in the mountains. To them Izilba came, even as the sun strayed down in the far west, dressed in elven grey, burnished by the sea’s crystal salt. Izilba was admitted to the tent of the chieftain-master Arclû. To satisfy her demands to know whether this was a slave gathering, or something else, Arclû (himself bedazzled by her array) sent for a guide to take her among the women penned as sheep.