Despair black and bleakest ever set upon Arda cast down as rain, in all places, wheresoever remained any little light, to dance and twinkle suffocating their movements, breath of hope to raise again in another as the sun again, all failed now: no elves upon western isles remained, nor gods Vala divine, nor their children mischievous, haughty, delightsome nonetheless; upon the whole earth’s landscape, now darkness seeming everlasting settled, as before; shiftless, impenetrable, absorbent of sound, cries, lamentation, muffled, all; as light, smothered; air too appeared now to flee against the Dark’s reign regained, as before Ungoliant sucked away the joy of Valinor, and ran her hoofy spikes ascraping over many lands, fumy thereafter; Yet even now as Zheradin pulled skiffs upon the shore, and barges wheeled to bear a hopeful clan’s burdens light into new coves, elsewhere – though between all was fire, dire dread, abandonment, imprisonment, flame encircled, in a stone fortress for safekeeping deep under the earth’s surface – elsewhere upon a little island atoll, huddled Ki-Abroam and Asenath, he watching the years suddenly grow out from her broken heart, unsettled now though he comforted her weariness, and balm rubbed he anointing her joints, in honor and singing awhile, to her, of songs she engraved, of her own composition; soon she was to fade utterly, and her composition to return whence came it, Arda’s soils, clean and hallowing its falling place; so he took her in his arms, soft, gently laying her amid the scavenged scrolls of her make and collection; and others too, he presented, for it delighted her to add more thus, as though a library amid the tides may survive, and scatter silver pale light over the rolling wave’s crests; but it was not so, nor would be; and here alone preserved upon Arda now was lore long forgotten all else, or never revealed, nor by others discovered, secrets and hopeful sightings, foretelling better days, and brighter.
So in her months of solitude, grief beyond bearing, she set out in word of voice all her lore-writings, some of Valinor, much of Eldar, and Atani Numenorion, and Ki-Abroam’s own musings and learning, she gave back; thus he engraved all her words, in books numbering five; First, of Creation and those players, and the trials and choosing, setting forth all that was, and hoping for, yet was not, nor ever would be; Second, the strife of Melko-hosts, and the children of God, before the Days of Eru’s Bringing His Own, to gladden their realms; Third, he set together all the lore of Elves, and their arising in the Eastern lands, wandering, and landing at various settled abodes, in the Isles of the Seas, among the Holy of Aman’s Hosts, and elsewhere embarked; Fourth, of Man, and their depositing, wheresoever found, and how inclined, to good or evil works; their earliest lore, gathered of roots, herbs (herb-lore, hah!) creatures great and small, whose tellings amused them, and at times, revealed a little put to use by Man, good or ill abounding; Finally, her own accounting of Days, and of Zimulof Kloshtuz, Joseph of Dreams; their love unending, and knowing if come even to a void, would remain, whole; prophecies foretold by many she recorded in her long years, and some already fulfilled, to ruin and blessing: Rumil’s teachings, few also preserved she, alone upon Arda written down, where so many spirits in his lore abounded, confused or reckoning rightly; in whole, after months told by her aging daily, he hefted himself a Bronze Book, of his making;
—Almost, she laughed, A coffin for all knowledge.
—Not so, but a barge, to sail it wheresoever the winds release, and take thy voice’s words, oh loving wife. And she died, after a little laugh, and crumbled in flesh, blown to dust in a brief wind; then as if stretching from a long slumber, and now exercised to act in some eagerly anticipated work, Asenath’s spirit arose from kneeling, and laughed, mirthful, happy to throw off some chain finally, and breathing a morning air, sea blown;
—Nimloth returned, the Healed Guest, healing, foot-man Abraham; now, what you there, carefully holded? So unlike any before her, in spirit she embarked to journey eastward, seeking new land where may be planted, a garden for resting souls, where to heal from mortal trials, and suffering, come to redress, and forgetting of pain’s sting, though not it;
—Where so sail, ye, Queen White? Beauteous beyond words, she went to the shore’s edge, and lifted herself into the airs’ blowing, to sense there the right way, whence came warm winds fragrant, and light bearing;
Now, Abraham thought, as though answering her husband Joseph,
I see as you saw: in seeing one
Of Ainur descended to spirit house, revealed
As a body true in Eru’s bearing, that far off day
Is before us, and yet more solemn the waiting,
Should others see as I do, and have, who shall reign –
That interval of absence, Varda to Queen Nimloth,
So he gathered as footman all her trappings mortally resonant still, though unheeded in calling; and putting to boat-skiff all that remained there gathered, flotsam and Valinor’s tide-washings, and Numenor’s few baubles residual, there resting after the whole island entire was swallowed by sea, and sunk deep into Earth’s crust; he led her upon – royal return against Pharazon’s Host, embalmed in a tomb deep thereunder – a little skiff, Queen bearing, footman steering and rowing, singing again her songs, and alongside swam Machir-fish tail, happy in his leaving those waters, for deeper, colder, more wild; and those three off amid turbulence, of a world awakening, as from slumber, sick, and neither healed, nor feverous; and unsure whether remaining, bereft of Eldar and Valar delightful every day, singing, plowing, and raising on Arda’s skin so many high and noble works, craft and growing, whether blessed or cursed, to have known their blessing, and no longer to abide, and the waiting in return of peace and joy, how long, who knows?
To none pleading, Arda turned inward, upon herself for a time neglecting all the other turnings, turmoil, turbulence, and tides crashing, as bounds no longer remained, for those left here, as though the Music of Ainur fell silent, and no governance gave she.
Now these tales (a bridgework, as it were) conclude happier than they began, though yet longer in the finishing: to linger in tale or song when joy brought forth, a pleasure we take.
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