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The Wars of the Valar  by Fiondil

1: Riding the Fireball

Námo stood on the dead moonlet circling the gas giant and waited. He had timed it just right and had gauged the distance to a nicety. It would take twenty-three minutes and fourteen seconds for the front of the supernova’s plasma pulse to reach him, though he could well see the star exploding even from this distance.

It was glorious and Námo exalted in the fiery death of one of Varda’s creations even as he mourned the destruction that would follow. The wavefront was advancing, already tearing apart the three smaller worlds that circled the star inside the gas giant’s orbit. The second planet had held the possibility of life within its waters and Yavanna had had some hope of success. Melkor, however, had managed (again) to interfere with the internal dynamics of yet another star, causing the supernova that now consumed the inner worlds and would eventually destroy the gas giant and its myriad satellites, including the one on which Námo stood.

It was almost time. Two more minutes. He readied himself and with a fierce cry leapt from the moonlet, launching himself upon the plasma pulse as it arrived. He rode the wave, allowing himself to be swept across space. Finally, as the wave reached the outer reaches of the star’s cometary cloud, he tired of the sport and stepped from the pulse, watching as it made its way inexorably through the dark between the stars. He sighed and turned away only to come face-to-face with Melkor.

His brother Ayanuz was beautiful, bathed in a corona of light that nearly rivaled the nearby supernova. Námo forced himself not to step back. Melkor smiled at him knowingly. "Did you enjoy your ride, Little One?" Melkor asked condescendingly.

Námo hated it when Melkor called him that, though in all fairness, he was younger than Melkor in their Atar’s Thought, but still...

He nodded, but did not deign to speak. Melkor smirked. "Little One, why do you insist on following my brother Manwë when in your heart you know you should follow me instead?"

Námo shook his head, feeling suddenly very young and vulnerable. Melkor had tried to entice him away from the others before, but never so blatantly as now. He felt the seductive lure of destruction he had witnessed and clung desperately to the memory of his Atar’s love. Melkor reached out and caressed him gently. A dark thrill coursed through him and he shivered involuntarily.

"You know you belong to me, Little One," Melkor whispered. "In your heart you know this. Why do you resist the inevitable?"

Námo shook his head. "No," he said, but even to himself he did not sound convincing.

Melkor smiled and stepped back. "We’ll see, Little One. We’ll see. In the meantime, perhaps you would like me to destroy one of Varda’s other playthings for you to ride on. Would you like that?"

Námo did the only thing he could think of then — he fled, and Melkor’s stinging laughter followed.

****

Manwë found Námo hiding inside a blue-white star, huddled miserably about the core. He gazed fondly at the younger Ayanuz and wondered how best to deal with his insecurities.

"I didn’t give in," Námo said suddenly, letting Manwë know he was aware of his elder’s presence. "I wanted to so badly, but I didn’t... I didn’t...."

Manwë encompassed the younger Ayanuz. "I know you did not, best beloved," he said soothingly. "I’m very proud of you, you know... as is Atar."

"He said I belonged to him... that I shouldn’t resist..."

"Hush now, best beloved," Manwë said, gently calming him. The caress was like a ripple of light that grew ever stronger, banishing all feelings of a darker nature. Námo felt... loved. He sighed, almost purring with contentment under Manwë’s ministrations. Manwë smiled.

"Feeling better?"

"Yes, thank you."

"Good. Now, Námo, I want you to listen to me very carefully." Manwë paused for a moment until he knew he had Námo’s complete attention. "Neither Atar nor I have any doubts as to your loyalties. My brother is suffering from delusions of grandeur and little comprehends others’ decisions to be obedient to Ilúvatar. Do not listen to Melkor’s words, my son. They are lies."

"He is right about one thing though," Námo said dejectedly. "I do enjoy the thrill of riding the plasma pulses. I know I shouldn’t, but..."

Manwë gave his younger brother a kiss. "I am glad that at least one of us besides Melkor finds delight and can see something positive in such destruction." He laughed slyly. "Perhaps next time Melkor causes a supernova I just might join you."

Námo snickered at that. "Don’t let Varda hear you say that."

Manwë merely smiled. "Speaking of which... let us go cheer up my beloved and poor Yavanna."

Námo nodded, looking suddenly grimmer or perhaps just more decisive. "Yes, let us go. There is something Varda needs to know, something all the Ayanumuz need to know."

Manwë gave Námo a quizzical look but Námo shook his head. "Melkor doesn’t know it, but this time he’s miscalculated," was all he would say.

"Then let us go," Manwë said and with the speed of thought they departed from the fiery furnace that was a blue-white star and went in search of their brethren.

****

The others were congregated around a ringed world circling a yellow dwarf star. Ulmo and Aulë were idly jumping off the rings into the upper atmosphere of the planet, riding the air currents. Oromë and Nessa were racing each other around the rings while Irmo, Estë and Vairë were tossing ice shards at one another, the smallest about a third of the size of the moonlet Námo had been standing on earlier. Nienna and Vána were busy trying to console a weeping Yavanna. Varda, Námo saw, was in fine fighting mode, fuming and swearing.

"That’s the third one! The third one in this part of Eä alone!" She saw Manwë and Námo approach and turned her ire on the younger Ayanuz. "And you! You turn it into a sport. I’m surprised you don’t blow up your own stars instead of waiting for Melkor to do it for you."

Námo faltered in the face of Varda’s wrath, suddenly unsure of himself, but Manwë held him close as he gently reproved his spouse. "Peace, my beloved. Do not vent your anger on one who has done you no ill. Námo has something to tell you."

Varda fumed for a few more seconds then nodded, giving Námo a scowl. "Well, what is it?"

Námo, however, ignored her for a moment and went to Yavanna. "Do not weep, sister," he said to her consolingly. "Great good will come from this and Melkor will rue the day he destroyed that particular star."

"What do you mean, my son?" Manwë asked.

Námo rewarded Manwë with a brief smile. "Only that Melkor has provided us with the raw materials for the construction of Atháraphelun."

That caught everyone’s attention. Yavanna stopped weeping and gave Námo a hopeful look. Aulë and Ulmo, as their chief scientists and engineers, gave Námo considering glances. "You know this for sure, Little Brother?" Ulmo rumbled.

"Námo sees further into Eä’s history than all of us," Manwë reminded them. "It is why he is so valuable to us. If he says that out of the death throes of this one star, Atháraphelun will arise, then I will not dispute him."

Námo felt suddenly shy before Manwë’s praise. His younger brother, Irmo, gave him a wink and smiled.

"Yet I sense that now is not yet the time for the building of the Children’s habitation," Varda said.

Námo nodded. "You are correct, Varda. Now is not yet the time. There is still much we must do ere that day comes and... and Melkor is not to know of this."

Some of the Ayanumuz looked doubtful but Manwë nodded. "The Máyar will not be told," he said, speaking in a tone they all recognized and obeyed without question. "There are some among them whom I fear may be in sympathy with Melkor. I would fain not have them be privy to this information at this time."

They all nodded solemnly. Then Aulë smiled at Námo and grabbed him, pulling him towards the edge of the rings with Ulmo right beside him. "Come, Little Brother, and join us." With that, he and Ulmo laughed and before he knew it, Námo was leaping off the rings and plunging into the upper reaches of the gas giant’s noxious atmosphere, sailing along the air currents with his older brothers.

****

Ayanuz: (Valarin) Ainu. The plural would be Ayanumuz.

Atháraphelun: (Valarin) Arda, our solar system, in which our world is the scene of the central drama in the history of Eä. Actually spelled Aţáraphelun, but I have decided to modify the orthography so it is easier for people to read and pronounce.

Máya: Older Quenya form of Maia, most likely adapted and adopted from Valarin but we have no attested Valarin form. The plural would be Máyar.





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