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6: Interlude On a Nameless Planet
Varda arrived at the stellar nursery with most of her people as well as a contingent of Manwë’s warriors. Manveru and Erunáro, chief of Eonwë’s lieutenants, accompanied her, setting up perimeter guards. There was no sign of Melkor.
Varda called to Ilmarë and Sáyandilmë, her leading assistants, both well versed in stellar dynamics. "Check all the stars," she ordered. "Melkor was up to something. I want to know what."
The two Máyar bowed and set off to discover what they could. The search was long and seemingly thorough, but while they were all looking for obvious tampering with stellar physics, it never occurred to them to think that Melkor had far different plans than to disturb the life cycle of these stars. Thus, the Máyar did not think to look too closely at the wavelengths further along the X-ray band. If they had, they might have noticed that twelve of the younger stars exhibited anomalies.
Or, they might not have....
Námo found that Vairë had brought them somewhere in their own galaxy. They were on a small planet orbiting a yellow dwarf, somewhere in the second spiral. They were on the night side and the galaxy spread above them like a mantle of diamonds. Looking around, Námo saw that they were on the shore of a large body of water, though it was not a sea, for it was too still. A lake then, he decided, its further shore lost in the moonless night. All around them was silence.
"This is where I like to come when I want to think," Vairë confided. "Isn’t it beautiful?"
Námo agreed. This particular planet had three small moons, Vairë explained in a quick burst of ósanwë-latya, though none were presently visible on this side of the planet. It was a world of shallow seas and two large land masses. Only small animal life existed — several species of swimming creatures and a few that flew. The lands were covered with grasses and small flowers, but nothing else. The seas were slowly drying up and some day in the far distant future there would be little or no water left and the world would become a desert. It was not something he mourned, for it was part of the natural order of things. He took pleasure in the richness of the world now and when it eventually became a barren world of blowing sandstorms, he would rejoice in the unique beauty of a dead world with equal pleasure.
"What do you think about?" Námo asked curiously after he had absorbed the information she had sent him about the planet.
Vairë shrugged. "Lots of things." She started dancing, following the whims of a breeze that had sprung up, rustling the tall grass.
"Such as?" he asked with a faint tone of amusement. Námo watched her, mesmerized. She was graceful, perhaps not as graceful as Vána, or Melyanna, one of his brother Irmo’s chief Máyar, but she was beautiful nonetheless. Námo wanted to join her in the dance, but sudden shyness claimed him and he contented himself with simply watching.
"I think about Atar and wonder if he misses us and I think about the Children to come and wonder if they’ll like us."
Námo forced himself not to laugh, knowing Vairë was completely serious. "Do you think about anything less... weighty?" he finally asked.
Vairë smiled as she continued dancing, stepping out over the star-mirrored waters. "Oh, I also think about us," she said with a slight giggle.
"Us!" Námo exclaimed. "You mean the Ayanumuz?"
"No, silly. I mean us!" Vaire laughed, then she gestured invitingly. "Come join me."
Námo did, much to his surprise, and embracing her in his thought, he swung her around, much to her delight. She squealed and, slipping out of his grasp, skipped further across the lake with Námo following until they were near the center where the waters were deep.
"Let’s incarnate," Vairë said unexpectedly and before Námo could utter a word otherwise, she did just that, her naked hröa immediately splashing into the water, sinking out of sight.
"Vairë!" Námo yelled in surprise and without conscious thought wove himself a hröa and found himself dropping into the cold waters. The shock of it brought him to his senses and he came to the surface. "Vairë!" he called again.
"Over here," he heard her shout and looking about saw her some distance away, swimming slowly towards the shore. He went after her, quickly catching up to her and in a fit of revenge for scaring him he swam underneath and pulled her under. She shrieked in feigned surprise and they wrestled for a time, laughing all the while. Eventually they grew tired of the game and began to swim lazily towards the shore, reveling in the feel of the cool liquid against their skin.
The Ayanumuz did not often incarnate at this time, preferring to wait until the Children appeared to clothe themselves in flesh. Yet, occasionally, just for the joy of it, they would incarnate, finding the physical sensations to be overwhelming at times. It was almost addictive, this sensory overload, so Manwë had cautioned them to take care and not to overindulge.
The two Ayanumuz swam slowly toward the shore, coming out and lying side by side in the grass, their hröar barely touching. For a space of time they lay there, drinking in the beauties of the night, enjoying the warm breeze drying their skin. Above them the sky was brilliant with stars and, as if in honor of their creators, a meteor shower commenced, giving them a delightful show.
"Hmmm," Vairë sighed. "This is nice."
"Yes, it is," Námo agreed. "Thank you for bringing me here."
"You’re welcome, my lord," she said with a sly smile.
Námo rose to an elbow to look at her. She was as beautiful in hröa as she was in fëa, though the beauty was of a different order. Her skin was alabaster, her hair dark and flowing. He was surprised to see that her eyes were violet but decided he liked them.
"I’m not your lord," he whispered. Impulsively, he bent down and kissed her gently on the lips.
"Would you like to be?" she asked with a satisfied sigh when he broke contact.
Námo shook his head, lying back down. "You don’t want to be with me, Vairë. I’m not..."
Now it was her turn to raise herself on an elbow, placing a finger to his lips. "Hush," she admonished him. "Do not say it. You’re not weak and you’re not Melkor. You’re you. You have strengths in you you barely understand, but I do. I see them in you and I love you for them." She bent down, her hair covering them as she kissed him and this time, Námo wrapped his arms around her and pulled her on top of him, allowing the kiss to deepen. For the longest time they lay there, enjoying the touch of their hröar, and then slowly, by mutual consent, they dissolved their physical forms until they were once again only fëar.
Vairë stepped away from Námo with a laugh. "That was fun," she exclaimed. "We’ll have to do that again some time."
Námo joined her in laughter. "Let’s not tell Manwë, though. You know what a stickler he is for propriety."
"Well, if we were officially espoused..."
Námo shook his head, his humor vanishing. "Let’s not talk about that right now."
Vairë sighed, giving him a quick embrace. "We’ll talk when you’re ready, beloved," she whispered to him, her very being full of understanding and compassion. "I can wait."
Now Námo felt guilty and tried to apologize, but Vairë stayed him. "It is well, Námo, truly it is. I’ve been chasing you since before the Ainulindalë, though you didn’t seem to notice."
"I noticed," Námo protested, then looked chagrined at Vairë’s laugh. "I-I just... I mean..."
"Hush now, my love," Vairë said with a smile. "You do not have to apologize to me, ever. When you are ready, I’ll be here."
Námo nodded. "Thank you," he said fervently, wishing he could do what she wanted, but knowing that it wasn’t the right time for either of them. He looked about him, taking pleasure in the scenery. This part of the world was slowly turning towards the terminator and soon dawn would greet them. "So what do you call this place?"
Vairë smiled. "Ambaronya."
Námo gave her an amused glance. "As good a name as any." Privately, though, he was beginning to think of it as Ambar-Vaireva. Perhaps one day, he mused, it might even be renamed Ambaremma. That thought pleased him, though he did not share it with her, feeling suddenly shy again. He silently cursed himself for being so... so whatever he was. With a sigh he wondered if Manwë had ever felt this stupid with Varda.
Ósanwë-latya: Thought-opening; direct, telepathic thought-transfer.
Ambaronya: My World.
Ambar-Vaireva: Vairë’s World.
Ambaremma: Our World.
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