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The Wars of the Valar  by Fiondil

4: Hunting Through the Cosmos

Námo and Oromë went to the spot where the supernova had occurred, finding nothing but rubble orbiting a neutron star. Oromë looked about, checking for any signs of an aura, the signature of the Ayanumuz and Máyar by which each was identified by others.

"Where did you see him?" he asked Námo.

Námo showed him the exact spatial coordinates and they were instantly there. There was no trace of any aura, neither Námo’s nor Melkor’s. Not that he expected to find it. The supernova blast would have masked all aurae.

"Tell me exactly what happened," Oromë commanded and Námo complied, leaving no detail out. At the end of the recital, Oromë looked about, thinking.

"He didn’t just come upon you by accident, then," he finally said. "He was waiting for you, here at this point. How did he know you would leave the wave here and not sooner or later?"

Námo shivered then. "You... he knew where I would be?"

Oromë gave his younger brother a sympathetic look. "So it would seem... or..." he paused to think things through. "This is not the first plasma wave you’ve ridden." It was not a question, but Námo found himself feeling embarrassed by the note of disapproval. Oromë gave his fellow Ayanuz a wry grin. "It’s not that I disapprove, Little Brother," he said, "it’s that I am getting tired of listening to Varda rant and rave every time Melkor destroys one of her creations and you taking pleasure out of it doesn’t help her mood one bit."

"I don’t take pleasure out of it," Námo protested. "Every system that’s been destroyed, I have mourned, especially this last which had held a promise of incarnate life on an order different from ours. I was actually looking forward to seeing how it would develop." He sighed, looking less sure of himself. "But, I admit... I... sorry, I just like to ride the waves, is all," he ended dejectedly.

Oromë gathered him into an embrace and for a microsecond their aurae merged, brightening in fraternal love. "Fear not, Little Brother," Oromë assured him. "I am not condemning you. I admit you seem to have odd tastes in entertainment, but not any odder I suppose than Aulë garnering bits of star cores for his collection. Still haven’t figured out what he wants with all those heavy elements."

This last was said somewhat wryly and Námo gave a small chuckle of amusement. Aulë did tend to be somewhat overly enthusiastic every time he found a new element, trying out different names for them. Námo gave up trying to keep them all straight ages ago, though his personal favorite was ‘vardium’ because it was very radioactive and in a solid state was a silvery-white color. Varda, needless to say, had not been amused, but the name had stuck and she had to put up with it.

Námo thought about what Oromë might be saying and his expression turned grim. "You think someone is spying on me...us."

"Do you ride the waves the same every time?" Oromë asked.

Námo nodded. "Mostly. Once the wave passes the cometary cloud that seems to be standard for all systems, I tend to lose interest. I usually get off the wave at that point."

"And someone may have noticed that and let Melkor know."

"Who?"

Oromë shook his head. "No way of knowing at this point. Manwë has his suspicions, I know, but he does not speak of them to any for fear of alerting them. I think he wants to set a trap of some kind to expose those who are sympathizers of Melkor but too cowardly to openly declare themselves. Instead they act as sneaks, giving Melkor information."

Námo sighed, feeling suddenly weak. "He was waiting for me then. He knew where I would be."

"Or perhaps he set off this supernova for the explicit reason of luring you here for your little... chat."

Námo suddenly became angry, angry at Melkor for manipulating him, angry at himself for allowing the manipulation. His aura went from its normal violet to something darker and Oromë took a step back. "Easy, brother," he said. "Now is not the time."

Námo gathered himself together and slowly the anger ebbed and his aura brightened, though not to its normal electromagnetic frequency. "Sorry. I don’t know why he keeps hounding me while he leaves the rest of you alone."

"Are you so sure of that, Little Brother?" Oromë asked quietly and Námo startled at that. Oromë nodded. "We have all been tempted, even Manwë, and more than once. You are not as unique as you think you are."

He let that sink in for a moment before continuing. "Let us see if we can pick up his trail. Give me the spatiotemporal coordinates for the explosion. I want to see just when Melkor arrived at this point."

Námo opened himself up further to Oromë, giving him the exact coordinates. He felt when a part of Oromë’s essence fled down the space-time continuum but chose not to follow. It was a matter of seconds before Oromë returned to himself.

"Well, what did you discover?" Námo asked impatiently when Oromë merely started humming to himself.

"The trail," was all he said. "Come, let us hunt down our errant brother’s lair." He gave Námo a set of coordinates and they were gone, leaving the neutron star to shine in the darkness.

****

They came to a galaxy that was more elliptical than spiral in shape, settling themselves on a small planet with four largish satellites somewhere in the outer edge of one end of the ellipse where stars were few. It was a lovely, wild planet of shallow seas that were ripped by tidal waves from the four moons. Two of them were in the sky where they settled on a small continent. The star around which it orbited was a yellow dwarf. The sky was a murky blue, the seas shades of green and indigo. There was no large life on this planet, not even in the seas, just small mosses clinging tenaciously to the rocks and algae swimming eternally along the ocean currents. It was doubtful that any other higher life form could ever survive the enormous tidal shifts which wracked this planet. Still, Námo admired the will to survive even from an insensate plant and wished it well.

Oromë glanced around incuriously at the scenery, more intent on picking out Melkor’s aura, a faint greyish aura far in the ultra-violet frequency. He grimaced. He well remembered how brightly Melkor’s aura had shone in the Timeless Halls, before the Song. It had been a brilliant violet. He realized that Námo’s own aura was nearly identical in wavelength to Melkor’s but where Melkor’s aura had been tinged with crimson, Námo’s was a pure violet, soothing to the mind.

Since coming into Eä, Melkor’s aura had dimmed out of the visual spectrum into the ultra-violet, making it hard to ‘see’ sometimes. Oromë, however, was quite comfortable working in the ultra-violet range and had no trouble tracking their Fallen Brother’s aura, faint though it was.

"He stopped here," Oromë said.

"Why?" Námo asked, sounding confused. "There’s nothing here that would interest him, is there? We’re not even close to where Atháraphelun will be created. I would think he would hide somewhere closer."

"I don’t think he planned to hide here," Oromë answered. "I think he is trying to muddy the trail a bit."

"Ah," Námo said, suddenly understanding. "Sorry. I’m pretty stupid about these things."

Oromë smiled warmly at his fellow Ayanuz. "Not stupid, just young, and being able to find things seems to be one of my many talents. I like hunting down clues. I don’t know why." He shrugged, as if to dismiss his own feelings.

"I’m sure Atar had his reasons for giving you such a gift. We can all be thankful for it, even if we don’t understand the reason for it."

Oromë nodded. "Come, let us go. I’ve picked up the trail once again." He sent the next set of coordinates to Námo who exhibited surprise when he realized where they were going. "He went there?"

"Apparently," Oromë said. "Shall we go?"

Námo nodded and once again the planet was left to itself, the tiny mosses covering the landscape unaware that they had been hosts, however briefly, to their very creators.

****

They came to another irregular galaxy that lay quite close to the galaxy that would one day be the home of the Eruhíni. There was nothing particularly special about it except it was one of Varda’s star nurseries, as she called them. She had several of them scattered throughout Eä, where she grew new stars and tended to them, along with her Máyar assistants, until they were ready to be released to give Eä light. This particular one was the closest such nursery to the Children’s galaxy and usually heavily guarded.

Námo and Oromë looked around and saw that the nursery was not guarded at all. They gave each other grim looks. Námo wondered where the guards were and how they had been lured away. Oromë sent him a whisper of thought that was barely perceptible to him warning him to be as silent as possible as they entered the nursery itself.

Námo nodded his understanding and together they slipped through the gas clouds that hid the nursery. Everywhere there were young stars, mostly blue-white, but a few that were cooler. Námo let Oromë take the lead. Silently, they wandered from star to star in what Námo thought was a random pattern. Oromë, however, seemed to know just where he was heading.

They came into the very heart of the nursery and Námo had only a split second to see what was happening before Oromë grabbed him and they hid behind one of the nearby stars. Námo sent a whisper to Oromë.

"What’s he doing?"

Oromë shrugged, his expression dark and wrathful. "I do not know, but it cannot be good."

"Varda will have a fit when she finds out."

"We must stop him..."

"Remember what Manwë said, we were not to confront him."

"But he’s doing something to the stars here. We can’t just let him get away with it. And where are all the guards?"

Now Námo shrugged, for there was no answer to that question. He felt torn. Manwë had given them explicit instructions and Námo knew enough about their Elder Brother to know that ignoring explicit instructions only led to uncomfortable consequences. Manwë was the soul of loving patience and kindness to the very least of them, but he expected to be obeyed nonetheless. Yet, he had to agree with Oromë that Melkor had to be stopped. He was up to no good, that much was clear, though what he was actually doing, neither had a clue.

"H-how do we stop him?" he finally asked, but Oromë was saved from answering when someone else spoke, the voice dark and melodious and alluring.

"When you have finished discussing how you will stop me, why don’t you come out from behind that star and join me?"

The two Ayanumuz froze and Melkor laughed softly, though the sound of it sent shards of ice through Námo’s fëa. He looked up to see Melkor standing above them, appearing smug and superior. Námo felt dizzy and suddenly wished he were far away. Oromë looked as if he were wishing the same thing. Melkor gestured.

"Come, Little Ones, and see what games we can play together."

For all that the words sounded light and amusing there was an undercurrent of power that neither of the younger Ayanumuz could fully resist. Before either of them realized what was happening they found themselves standing before Melkor. The First in the Thought of Ilúvatar smiled at them both but his attention was fixed mostly on Námo, who shivered with anticipated delight that bordered on horror. Melkor reached out and caressed him, seducing him, and Námo was powerless to resist. He found himself whimpering in spite of himself as Melkor drew him further into his embrace. The ecstasy he was feeling was darkly intoxicating.

"Hush, Little One," Melkor whispered as he continued caressing Námo, "all is well. Did I not tell you that you belonged to me? Does not my touch delight and excite you? You know you want me. Let me just love you...."

In his attempt to take Námo Melkor had completely forgotten Oromë, indeed had dismissed the other Ayanuz from his mind as unimportant. His goal was Námo. That proved to be a mistake. Suddenly, just when Námo feared he could no longer resist Melkor’s seduction, Oromë attacked Melkor, sending a spike of energy into him that caused the Fallen One to scream in agony. In the momentary confusion that ensued, Námo felt Oromë grab him.

"Run!" he screamed and Námo allowed his older brother to drag him along. In a single thought they were away, and in the next instant they were hiding in the core of a red giant. Námo found himself shaking with fear and disgust, while Oromë held him through the spasms, sending soothing thoughts and caressing him. The caresses were so different from Melkor’s, soothing and healing where Melkor’s had been just the opposite. It took long moments before Námo could even think straight and he clung to Oromë as if to a lifeline.

"We cannot stay here, Little Brother," Oromë said at one point. "We need to find Manwë."

Námo nodded his understanding. He felt shamed at his weakness both in resisting Melkor’s seduction and now. He felt Oromë shake him. "Now, Námo! We must go now." Oromë gave him a set of coordinates. Námo accepted them, not caring where they went, too lost in misery to do more than allow Oromë to take him where he wished to go.

They ended up back in their home galaxy, the largest spiral overlooking the Children’s galaxy. They were back at the ringed planet where Námo had revealed the location of Atháraphelun to the others. Oromë continued to hold Námo, who was still in shock, feeling nauseous.

"We have to find Manwë," Oromë said again, but Námo suddenly felt himself panicking at the thought of facing the Eldest, shamed by his failure, and began to close himself off, resisting Oromë’s attempt to give him another set of coordinates.

"No... No.... NO!!" he screamed and would have fled except Oromë grabbed him and held on to him even as he continued flailing. He was unaware of Oromë calling for help. Suddenly Manwë was there, and surprisingly, Vairë. Oromë flashed an explanation to Manwë even as Námo continued to scream his rage and shame. Manwë said nothing, merely taking Námo into his embrace, caressing him. He did not try to communicate with the younger Ayanuz, merely held him until the tantrum passed. Námo finally calmed to the point where he felt himself floating in a dark ocean of uncaring, barely aware that he was being held. Manwë allowed him to stay that way for a little while then began softly calling to him.

"Look at me, Námo," he said and in spite of the fact that Námo was still closed off from the others, he somehow heard Manwë’s command. He tried to resist but it was impossible. There was a sense of Another behind Manwë’s words, and Námo knew that Atar was speaking through the Eldest.

Slowly, reluctantly, Námo opened himself again and stared at Manwë, waiting for the condemnation he knew he deserved. It didn’t come. Instead, Manwë held him even tighter and the sense of love that emanated from his being shone like a beacon that eclipsed the stars and Námo felt himself being enveloped by a wave of ecstasy that washed over him, cleansing him, consoling him, calming him, so different from the dark ecstasy with which Melkor tried to snare him. He sighed in relief and allowed himself to sink further into Manwë’s embrace, opening himself even further. A tendril of thought whispered to him.

*Thou'rt my best beloved, with whom I am well pleased.*

The thought was not Manwë’s but Atar’s and Námo felt himself weeping, not in shame, but in joy at the love and acceptance he felt at that moment. Manwë rocked him gently, crooning softly, giving Námo time to release the last of the darkness that had threatened to take him.

"Feeling better, my son?" Manwë asked.

Námo nodded. "I’m sorry, Atar, I’m sorry...if Oromë hadn’t... I would have... I would have..."

"Hush now. All is well, my son," Manwë said. "Atar knows. He forgives you, as do I." He embraced Námo again, letting their Atar’s love flow through him and into the gaping wounds of the younger Ayanuz’s fëa where Melkor’s touch had corrupted it, filling the wounds with pure Light. Soon Námo stirred, feeling strengthened, suddenly aware of Vairë’s presence and becoming embarrassed again, though for a different reason. Vairë merely gave him a look of concern.

"Are you well, Námo?" she asked.

"I am well, Vairë," he muttered, attempting to disengage himself from Manwë’s embrace. The Eldest let him go with an amused look.

"Well, frankly, you don’t look well," Vairë countered with a sigh of exasperation. "You look... well... you just don’t look well." she ended lamely.

Námo almost grinned at her tone and Oromë actually chuckled. Manwë gave them all an amused look. "I cannot linger. There is trouble and I must attend to it. Oromë, come with me. Vairë, stay with Námo and see to his comfort."

Námo began to protest. "No, I am well, truly. I will come, too."

Manwë shook his head. "I think it best if you stayed here, my son."

"No, please, don’t leave me here alone," Námo pleaded. The thought that he could be left behind where Melkor might find him made him feel sick.

"Well, hardly alone," Vairë huffed. "Do I look like moondust to you?"

Námo ignored her, keeping his attention on Manwë. For a moment Manwë did not speak, merely gazing intently at Námo, as if gauging his resolve. Námo forced himself not to look away but to endure the examination. Finally, Manwë nodded. "It is well. Come, all of you. In this, everyone will be needed."

He gave them the coordinates and then they were gone.

****

Eruhíni: Children of Eru.

Note on Aulë’s vardium: This is actually Plutonium (239Pu) with a half-life of 20,000 years. Its standard state is solid at 298 K and it’s silvery-white in color.

Note on the galaxy where Námo and Oromë confront Melkor: This is Barnard’s Galaxy (NGC6822), an irregular galaxy, which lies 1.6 million light years from our own galaxy in the constellation of Sagittarius, making it a close neighbor. There is a large region of the galaxy where stars are formed and is often referred to as a "Giant Star Factory".

At this point in time, the Ayanumuz and Máyar make their ‘home’ in the Andromeda galaxy.





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