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The Wars of the Valar  by Fiondil

9: Rescue Run

Author's Note: While I have generally used quotation marks for dialogue even when it is likely that the Ayanumuz and Máyar are speaking via ósanwë, in this chapter I use quotation marks to indicate the speech of those characters who are incarnate, while asterisks are used to indicate the speech of those characters who are "unclothed" when there are incarnated beings and disincarnated beings together. This differentiation will continue as warranted in subsequent chapters.

Some of the scenes in this and in subsequent chapters are very dark and may prove disturbing to some readers. This is your only warning!

***

They did not start out immediately, much to Námo’s annoyance. Irmo refused to leave before he was satisfied that Vána, as well as the injured Máyar were out of danger. Thus, it was some time before they left, for there was also some discussion as to whether the two brothers should even go.

"You don’t have to do this," Ulmo told Námo and Irmo. "Vairë being taken rather than Varda or Yavanna or even Vána...." The older Ayanuz looked troubled. "Melkor wants you, Little Brother," he said bluntly to Námo. "That much is obvious. I don’t know why he is targeting you at this time, but I am full of foreboding."

Námo was shaken by Ulmo’s words, but he schooled himself to appear calm. "I know, brother. I do not know why he wants me, but I cannot stand idly by and allow him to do to Vairë or Therindë what he almost did to me."

"Manwë..."

"Manwë isn’t here," Námo interrupted Ulmo, speaking more brusquely than he had intended but refusing to back down. "I will not wait for him."

"Yet, he left you in charge with Varda," Aulë said, entering the conversation. "Will you desert your post?"

Námo looked at Aulë and then at Varda in dismay. "Will you forbid me?"

Varda gestured a denial, but it was Aulë who spoke. "We can neither forbid nor condone your plan, Námo. That is not in our purview. Manwë, however...."

The future Talca Marwa paused, looking uncomfortable. Námo’s aura darkened slightly at the thought of what the Eldest would say to him when he returned. What Ulmo and Aulë both said was true: he was deserting his responsibilities as Manwë’s lieutenant. Yet, could he honestly allow others to endanger themselves because Melkor was targeting him?

"At least take some of your Máyar with you," Ulmo suggested.

Námo was ready to protest, but Nienna intervened. "I think that would be wise, my brothers," she said, giving Námo and Irmo a stern look. Irmo nodded agreement, but Námo was still doubtful. Who would he choose to accompany them and would any of his People truly wish to join them in the hunt for Vairë and Therindë?

Just then Námo’s chief Máya, Maranwë, approached, along with Ingil, one of Irmo’s Máyar, and Ilinsor, one of Vairë’s Máyar. They all looked distraught. Maranwë bowed to the Ayanumuz, his demeanor one of nervousness, which was telling, for the Máya was known for his imperturbability.

"If it pleases you, my lord," he said then stopped, not sure if he should continue.

"What is it, Maranwë?" Námo asked gently.

The Máya glanced at his fellow Máyar before addressing his lord. "If it pleases you, my lord, we would like to join you and Lord Irmo in rescuing Lady Vairë and Therindë."

Námo looked upon the three Máyar in amazement. "Are you sure, my children? This will be extremely dangerous."

All three Máyar indicated assent. "We wish to help," Maranwë said simply.

Nienna’s aura brightened. "I think it’s an excellent idea, Námo," she said in a no-nonsense tone. "Maranwë, Ingil and Ilinsor will be a great help to you, I’m sure."

Námo glanced at Irmo who frowned and addressed Ilinsor. "You were injured in the attack, Ilinsor. I do not think you should come with us."

The Máya gave Irmo a stricken look. "Please, lord, I... I need to regain my honor."

Námo gave him a puzzled look. "Regain your honor? Why do you think you needs must do so?"

The Máya looked chagrined. "I... I failed my mistress, lord. I should have stopped Acairis, but her... her treachery was so.... I froze and now my lady is... is...."

Námo instinctively went to the distraught Máya and embraced him, holding him through his anguish, sending soothing thoughts until Ilinsor was calmer. Then, he spoke, his tone gentle and noncondemnatory. "You have no need to feel shame, Ilinsor. The attack and Acairis’ betrayal would have frozen any of us into indecision. Do not feel that you must do this to prove something to us or even to yourself. Join us because you wish to rescue your lady and Therindë and for no other reason."

"Yes, lord," Ilinsor said faintly, stepping back from Námo’s embrace, appearing more embarrassed at his breakdown than anything else. Maranwë and Ingil gathered their fellow Máya into their mutual embrace, giving him their support and love.

Irmo still looked doubtful, but finally shrugged. "If you wish to join us, Ilinsor, you may do so, but only if you promise to obey Lord Námo and me explicitly. You are not of our People and so we cannot command you to the same degree as your Lady can, but we need to know that you will follow our will in all things."

Ilinsor nodded. "I will, my lord. It was already decided among us, I mean those of us who have sworn fealty to Lady Vairë, that we would pledge our fealty to Lord Námo until such time as Lady Vairë is rescued. Th-that is, if you are willing to accept our oaths, lord." He gave Námo an uncertain, even fearful, look.

Námo was stunned and unable to speak for a moment. Then, he gathered himself and his aura brightened, indicating acceptance of Ilinsor's offer. "I will have thy fealty on behalf of thy fellow Máyar until such time as thy Lady is restored to thee," he said formally.

The aurae of all three Máyar brightened at Námo’s words and Ilinsor gave his obeisance to Námo and knelt before him. Just as he was about to offer his pledge, Eönwë appeared.

"I will act as witness, lord," he said with a bow to Námo, "so that all may know that this oath is freely offered and freely accepted for a term of time."

Námo gave his assent. "Thank you, Eönwë. I am sure Lord Manwë will appreciate that we observed all proprieties, for this is an unusual situation." Then he turned to Ilinsor. "I will hear thine oath, my child."

As Ilinsor began to speak, all the other Máyar belonging to Vairë appeared, also kneeling before the Ayanuz whom many already saw as their lord for their lady’s sake.

"I, Ilinsor of the Máyar, on behalf of myself and all those who have pledged themselves to Lady Vairë, do give oath that we will be obedient in all things to my Lord Námo until such time as my Lord releaseth us or our Lady redeemeth us. May Ilúvatar bear witness that we offer our services to my Lord of our own free will and with joy."

The other Máyar kneeling before Námo echoed the final part of Ilinsor’s oath.

Námo then spoke. "I, Námo of the Ayanumuz, do accept your oaths. As a father I shall be unto you, my children, and welcome you into my household until such time as I release you or your Lady redeemeth you. May Ilúvatar bear witness that I do full gladly accept your oaths and welcome you."

He then reached down and raised Ilinsor, giving him a kiss of liegelord to vassal, then, moving through the crowd of Máyar, he raised each one and gave them the same kiss, calling each by name. When he was finished, he turned to Nienna.

"Will you watch over them for me, sister?"

Nienna smiled. "Yes, brother. Estë and I will watch over your Máyar and Vairë’s. Now, go, bring our sister and faithful Therindë home."

Námo gave Varda a glance. She nodded. "You’re wasting time, Námo. Go. Go with the good wishes and prayers of us all. Nai le tulyuv’ ar varyuv’ Atar."

Námo then turned to Ilinsor. "Take us to where the attack occurred."

Ilinsor bowed and, sending the would-be rescuers the necessary coordinates, he, Ingil, Maranwë and the two Ayanumuz were gone, leaving all the others behind to hope and pray that all would go well with the rescue attempt.

****

The world was ringed, unusual for a non-gaseous planet, but exquisitely beautiful. The rings were visible even in the daytime, like a ghostly necklace scintillating in shades of blue and green in the pale rose sky, for the sun was just slipping below the horizon and the air was still warm. Námo glanced about. They were standing in the middle of a gently rolling meadow, verdant and fecund with wild grasses and small delicate flowers in every hue, though red and yellow seemed to predominate. A range of low hills surrounded the meadow on three sides but on the fourth they saw a lake, its waters burnishing in shades of emerald and amethyst as the sun sank behind it. A flutter of air caused Námo to turn in time to see a cloud of color rise and saw that there was a host of creatures with delicately painted wings. He gazed upon them with wonder and noticed Ilinsor smiling.

"Lady Yavanna calls them nermir," his newest Máya vassal said, "though Lady Vána tends to call them vanessi."

Entranced, Námo unconsciously became corporeal, though none of the others incarnated. He walked slowly towards the cloud of wings, stepping silently, barely bending the grass beneath his feet. As he approached the nermir he put out a hand as if to touch them though he stopped the motion before it was completed. Yet, it was just enough for the fluttering cloud to break apart. He sighed dispiritedly, regretting his action, and started to turn away, when all of a sudden he gasped in shock, standing perfectly still. Instead of dispersing into the slight evening breeze, the nermir regrouped around him, a halo of vermilion and saffron, ebony and plum. They floated above and about him and one even landed lightly on an outstretched hand. It was smaller than most of the creatures, with pale grey wings shading towards indigo with a splotch of yellow on each of the back wings. Its antennae were delicate and feathery and the feel of the creature on his hand sent a frisson of joy through Námo’s fëa.

"Námo."

The sound of Irmo calling his name shocked him out of his reverie and he looked up as the nermir all scattered. Irmo had incarnated, looking both amused and annoyed.

"Did you forget why we are here? You may come back and admire the... scenery some other time."

Námo felt his face redden, a sensation that was new to him, though he recognized it for what it was. "Sorry," he muttered and without another word disincarnated. He ignored Maranwë’s faint smile and Ilinsor’s surprised expression. Ingil merely nodded.

"I think they’re beautiful, too, lord," Irmo’s Máya said seriously, "and I look forward to coming back here to study them more closely when there is time."

Námo gave the Máya a grateful look. "Perhaps we can study them together," he said and Ingil bowed in acknowledgment.

Irmo turned to Ilinsor. "This is where the attack occurred?"

Ilinsor nodded and pointed towards the range of hills opposite from where the sun was setting. "Just there. Melkor’s people came from behind the hills and..."

"Wait," Námo demanded. "What do you mean, they came from behind the hills? Did they not simply emerge into the surrounding space?"

The Máya shook his head. "Nay, lord, they came upon us from the hills. We had all incarnated, you see."

"Why?" Irmo asked, clearly puzzled. Incarnating would have been unnecessary simply to observe the lifeforms on the planet.

Ilinsor shrugged. "Someone suggested it and we all sort of agreed."

Námo felt a glimmering of dark understanding at Ilinsor’s words. "Who suggested it, Ilinsor? Who suggested you all incarnate?"

Ilinsor stared at his new lord for a moment and then his usually calm green aura darkened towards indigo and he started shaking. "Ac-acairis..." he whispered.

Námo nodded though everyone else froze in surprise, including Irmo.

"And somehow she managed to alert Melkor," Námo said musingly. "I wonder if she had already arranged to betray Vairë and was just waiting for the right opportunity."

Ilinsor’s aura was tinged with crimson as he allowed himself to become angry. "She betrayed us," he exclaimed. "She has sullied our oaths to the Lady, oaths we spoke before Atar’s Throne. Now none will trust us, not even our Lady." This last was said with a note of despair.

Námo shook his head and gathered the distraught Máya into his embrace. "Listen to me very carefully, best beloved," he said, borrowing one of their Atar’s favorite terms of endearment for them. "Acairis has indeed betrayed her oaths, but only hers. Your lady will still welcome you and your brethren. Indeed, she will depend on you even more than before. And remember this," he stepped back to look at the Máya directly. "I have accepted your oaths. If I did not already trust you and your brethren I would not have done so."

Ilinsor still looked chagrined but he nodded. "Thank you, lord," he said softly.

"So the question remains," Irmo then said, "where did they go afterwards?"

"Did they disincarnate once they had their... prize?" Maranwë asked, grimacing on the last word.

Ilinsor shook his head. "I know not. I was fighting..." he paused and a spasm of psychic pain coursed through him, alerting Irmo, who took hold of him.

"What is it, child?" he asked with compassionate concern.

Ilinsor continued shaking, his thoughts a jumble of darkness and despair. "M-my brother," he finally whispered. "I was fighting my brother in... in Atar’s Thought."

They all looked upon the grieving Máya with compassion. Námo remembered Urushebeth. He had been one of the first of the Máyar to follow Melkor’s lead in the Song and had never wavered from his allegiance. It saddened the Ayanuz to see this worthy Máya standing before him looking so bereft and wondered if sometimes Manwë felt similarly with regards to his own brother in their Atar’s Thought. If Manwë ever grieved for Melkor, he did not show his grief to the others, unless it were to Varda alone.

"I am sorry, child," Námo said softly. "We all wish that Melkor had not rebelled against Atar and led so many of our brethren into folly, but it was their choice. There is naught any of us can do now."

Ilinsor nodded, gathering himself together. "Forgive me, lord," he said. "I did not mean to..."

"There is nothing to forgive, Ilinsor," Námo said gently. "Now, let us try to recreate the scene. I can sense several aurae here, many of them dark."

Irmo nodded. "As can I," he said. "Can you detect Vairë’s aura?"

Námo went still and opened himself up to what he had begun to think of as his Gift of Summoning, though he wasn’t sure why he called it that. So far he had used the gift more for seeking than for summoning. Whatever.... he sent his thoughts ranging back to the temporal coordinates of the attack and saw Acairis’ betrayal, the look of dark glee on her face as two of Melkor’s more fiery servants took hold of his beloved and her faithful Máya, Therindë. The suddenness of the attack and Acairis’ betrayal had prevented either Ayanuz or Máya from disincarnating and perhaps escape.

The attackers had indeed come over the low hills, yelling, and surprisingly, they retreated over the same hills rather than going incorporeal. That intrigued Námo. Returning to the present moment, he thought himself to the crest of one of the hills. He looked down upon a broad steppe that stretched into the far distance where mountains rose precipitously in granitic splendour. By now darkness had blanketed the land. Above him the rings glittered in pearlescent splendour, like so many emeralds and sapphires with the occasional diamond, casting an eerie, shimmering light across the heavens, giving them just enough light by which to see.

"Where did they go?" Irmo asked as he joined his brother. The Máyar congregated nearby, accepting that the two Ayanumuz would lead them now.

"They never left the planet," Námo said with certainty, staring hard across the plains towards the mountains. He pointed towards the looming bulk of darkness under the star-strewn sky. "They went towards those mountains."

"You are certain, brother?" Irmo asked.

Námo nodded.

"Then let us go and see what we will find there," the future Lord of Dreams and Desires said, motioning for the Máyar to join them.

They sent their thoughts ahead and shortly thereafter they were within the mountains. Námo brought them to a small dell nestled between two crags, using his gift to guide him. Melkor’s minions had brought Vairë and Therindë here. He could almost taste his beloved’s aura and the fear that lingered in the psychic aether. In spite of the fact that it was full night and only the stars and the rings gave any light, Námo had no trouble seeing the landscape. He pointed towards the wall of the mountain.

"There. That cave."

The others nodded, having seen what Námo had seen and now they moved cautiously, shutting themselves down psychically as much as possible, keeping only the thinnest thread of thought open between them. The cave proved to be a tunnel that wended its way into the heart of the mountain. Námo took the lead with the three Máyar following and Irmo taking up the rear position. The tunnel wound its way deeper into the mountain, a faint phosphorescent glow from the mosses growing on the rock walls giving them all the light they needed.

Drifting silently along, Námo followed the trace of Vairë that he sensed, the feelings of fear and anger mingling in the air. He could not understand why she had not been able to flee with Therindë. It should have been impossible for any of the Máyar to hold an Ayanuz against her will. Unless being incarnated they had been able to overwhelm her and somehow keep her in an incarnate state. Unclothed, Vairë would have been more than a match for any of the Máyar. None could have taken her... none, that is, except Melkor. Námo shivered involuntarily at that thought and hoped that his beloved and Therindë were unharmed, physically and psychically.

They passed through several caverns filled with stalactites and stalagmites and somewhere they heard an underground river. At one point Námo stopped them and sent a tendril of thought to his brother.

*I do not like this, Irmo,* he opined. *Where are Melkor’s guards? Why have we not been challenged yet?*

*A trap?* Irmo suggested. *We already know or at least suspect that Vairë was taken to lure you here.*

Námo grimaced to himself and nodded. *Vairë and Therindë are in the next cavern over.* He expanded his mind to encompass the Máyar as well. *Be careful.* he admonished them all. *This is a trap, but I mean to spring it without taking the bait.*

So saying, he continued on, approaching the entrance to the next cavern cautiously, keeping himself shut down completely on all electromagnetic frequencies, his aura going almost completely into the ultra-violet in an attempt to hide his presence. There was a faint light in the cavern and from it he could see both Vairë and Therindë. He felt himself going cold with anger. Both were still incarnate and had been bound with iron shackles to giant stalagmites. Vairë appeared unharmed otherwise. Indeed, she was busy trying to slip one of her hands through the cuff of the shackle holding it in place. Therindë, however, was obviously unconscious, the bruises and cuts on her fair hröa testimonies of her attempt to protect her mistress.

Námo stepped into the cavern, letting his aura shine forth.

*Vairë!* he thought to her and she turned in surprise.

"Námo! What are you doing here? It’s a trap. You must flee."

*Not until you and Therindë are free,* he said as he moved towards her. Irmo and their Máyar attendants entered the cavern. Irmo went directly to Therindë to check her condition, while the three Máyar took up guard positions around them.

Vairë, instead of looking grateful, was fuming. "You idiot! Don’t you realize what danger you are in?" Her tone was very scathing. "It’s you Melkor wants and you just waltz right in here. Do you really think he’s going to let you go now that he has you where he wants you?"

Námo stared at her in dismay, suddenly feeling foolish. Of course Melkor wanted him, but that wasn’t the point, was it? *I would think you would be happy to be rescued,* he said haughtily, now feeling angry himself, *but if you’d rather stay here and rot...*

Vairë gave him a disbelieving look but before she could utter a retort, Irmo interrupted. *These shackles are specially made,* he thought to them, pointing to one of the cuffs holding Therindë in place. *I do not understand how, but they are preventing them from unclothing themselves.*

Vairë answered him. "Melkor boasted that he has learned a secret of metallurgy that allows him to bind us in our hröa, though we must be corporeal before he can do so. That’s why... she convinced us all to incarnate." She spoke in disgust. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind who she was.

Námo nodded and with a single thought allowed himself to be clothed. "Then, we’ll have to find a way to release you," he said even as the others clothed themselves as well.

Vairë just stared at him. "Are you insane? That’s what Melkor wants! Leave now while you still may."

Námo shook his head, his expression grim. "No, beloved. I will not leave you and Therindë in his hands. Now stop complaining and help me figure out how to release you."

"That might be a little difficult," came a silky, sultry voice full of dark amusement, "as I have the only key."

Námo and the others turned to see Acairis coming towards them from the back of the cavern. She was incarnate, her hröa perfect, though Námo was surprised to see that she had chosen to clothe herself in flesh that was darker in shade than was usual for them, for both the Ayanumuz and Máyar tended to clothe themselves in flesh in imitation of the fair forms of the Firstborn to be. It was more olive in shade and, looking deeper, he saw how her usual emerald green aura had moved closer to the yellow frequency, and now looked a bit muddy. He suspected that her darker skin tone was perhaps an unconscious reflection of that inner change.

Her hair was a strikingly shiny black and fell about her like a mantle, reaching almost to her knees. Her expression was one of manic glee as she held up a single object. It was made of the same dark metal as the shackles and had an odd pattern of wedges at one end. Obviously, it was meant to be pushed into the locks holding the shackles together.

Námo gave the Máya a cool look. "Acairis."

"Námo," she answered with a disrespectful smirk. "How nice of you to drop by. My lord Melkor was beginning to despair that you would ever show up, but I had more faith in your... stupidity."

Námo forced himself not to react, either to Acairis’ barb or Vairë’s look of disgust. He didn’t want to guess if her expression was aimed at him or at her former Máya servant.

"Indeed," was all he said.

The Ayanuz’s cool manner seemed to throw the Máya off a bit but Acairis recovered herself quickly enough and her smirk deepened. "Yes. Now, be a good little Ayanuz and stand away from Vairë."

"Or what?" Námo asked, his tone darkening, taking a step towards Acairis, who took a hesitant step back.

"Do not threaten me, my lord!" the Máya demanded, making of the Ayanuz’s title a sneer. "Do you think I’m alone?"

"No, Acairis, I don’t," Námo said with a mirthless smile. "I’m not that stupid."

Just then, Therindë gave a slight moan and the sound, so unexpected, startled them and Acairis’ attention wavered. Before the Máya could react, Námo disincarnated, suddenly enveloping Acairis with his presence. Even though she was in hröa, the Ayanuz was able to hold her by the very power of his will, not only hold her physically, but also mentally, so that she could not call out for help.

*Now, brother,* Námo said and Irmo came to them and calmly plucked the key from the Máya’s frozen fingers, ignoring the look of hatred on her fair face. Without taking his eyes off Acairis, he threw the key to Ingil.

"Free them and get them out of here," Irmo ordered.

Ingil complied and soon he and the other Máyar had Vairë and Therindë free. Vairë shook off Ilinsor’s attempt to help her from her shackles once they were unlocked and with a vicious snarl approached Acairis who was still frozen in Námo’s embrace. With great deliberateness she slapped the Máya hard across her mouth.

No one moved. Even Námo was shocked by the action of his beloved, but he recovered more quickly than the others. *Get out of here Vairë and take Therindë with you. NOW.*

The force of his command was such that she complied, unclothing without protest and disappearing with the other four Máyar, for Therindë had regained consciousness enough to disincarnate.

That left Námo and Irmo with Acairis. Still unclothed, Námo spoke to Irmo. *Leave now, brother. I will be right behind you.*

"Námo..."

*No, Irmo,* Námo exerted some of his will towards his younger brother. *Leave now. I will be...*

But he never finished his thought for suddenly the air was full of Máyar, most of them spirits of dark fire. Námo was shocked enough to go corporeal without realizing he had done so. Immediately, his hold on Acairis was gone and he found himself surrounded by more Máyar than he could handle in his incarnate state and for some inexplicable reason he could not unclothe himself.

"Irmo, run!" he screamed, even as he was being overwhelmed by the Máyar. "RUN!"

Irmo had unclothed himself when the attack came, so he was not trapped as Námo had been. He was tempted to stay and help his brother but knew it was futile. With a sob he fled, but not before taking one of the shackles with him. Aulë would be interested in learning of its properties.

Námo continued to struggle against his assailants. Even clothed he was stronger and held more innate power than all of them together. He almost managed to throw them off... and then Melkor was there.

The First in Ilúvatar’s Thought went corporeal and picked up one of the discarded shackles. "Hold him tightly, my loves," he purred.

Acairis, still incarnate herself, grinned and threw herself on top of Námo and pinned him physically even as Melkor’s other Máyar servants continued to hold him psychically. Námo watched in despair as Melkor approached him, holding the shackle up for him to see.

"Did I not tell you that you belonged to me, Little One?" he whispered seductively as he knelt before Námo and wrapped one of the cuffs around his left wrist. Then the Dark Ayanuz bent over and gave Námo a kiss that sent a thrill of horror through the Ayanuz’s hröa.

Melkor straightened and smiled at the expression on Námo’s face, then with negligent ease he stood up, jerking Námo to his feet and dragging him to the same stalagmite to which Vairë had been bound, deftly binding Námo to it. Then he caressed Námo’s cheek with a single finger.

"Yes, Little One," he said. "You belong to me now."

"Never," Námo said between clenched teeth.

Melkor laughed and it was not pleasant to hear. "We’ll see, my love, we’ll see. I will leave you now to Acairis’ gentle mercies."

With that Melkor and the other Máyar in his train disappeared, leaving Námo alone with Acairis, who smirked at him, then, she leaned over and gently ran her tongue across his chest, sending ripples of dark pleasure through him. He gave an involuntary gasp as she reached up and pulled hard on his hair even as she continued her ministrations. Námo felt tears of pain gather in his eyes even as the physical sensations of pleasure coursed through him. Finally she stopped and stepped back, a satisfied look on her face.

"There now," she said with clinical lightness. "That wasn’t so bad, was it?" She leaned her hröa against his and, nuzzling his neck, murmured, "In time I think you will come to welcome my... advances and then you will forget all about that... that bitch."

"Never," Námo whispered, a sense of loathing stealing over him, yet he could not say if his feelings were directed more at her or at himself, so confused were the sensations which he was experiencing.

Acairis merely laughed, raking long fingernails across his chest, causing him to gasp again, though whether in pleasure or in pain he could not have said.

"We’ll see, my lord. We’ll see," the Máya whispered seductively and then she was gone, leaving Námo alone and bound.

****

Talca Marwa: (Quenya): Smith of the World, a title of Aulë.

Nai le tulyuv’ ar varyuv’ Atar: (Quenya) "May Atar guide and protect you".

Urushebeth: (Valarin) "Fire-Air" [uruš "fire" + šebeth "air"]. 

Note on Nermir and Vanessi: These are names for the butterfly. In other real-world languages the butterfly is often described by words denoting "soul", as in ancient Greek psyche, since butterflies are symbolic of souls, whether living, dying or dead. However, I have decided to borrow the plural forms of Tolkien’s words for "field-fay" and the noun "beauty", respectively. The latter word is reminiscent of one of the Russian words for butterfly, vanessa, which comes from the Greek Phanessa. Vanessa is the name of a genus of butterfly which includes the Red Admiral and the Painted Lady.

Note on Time: In previous chapters, I mention that the stars of the Milky Way shift 10 degrees (chapter 7) and 30 degrees (chapter 8). Taking the orbital period of our own solar system around the galactic center as the baseline (225 million years = 1 Cosmic Year), a 10-degree shift would be equal to 6,250,000 years, while a 30-degree shift would equal 18,750,000 years (225,000,000 divided by 360º = 625,000 years). For beings who are immortal, it is likely that at this point in their existence they measure time in Cosmic Years. So for the Ayanumuz, a 30-degree shift in the orbit of the stars would be equivalent to a "month" in our terms. To give a further perspective of Time, our solar system has orbited the galactic center twenty times since its creation.





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