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The Wars of the Valar  by Fiondil

26: Atháraphelun Rising

WARNING: Certain material in this chapter are emotionally intense and may prove disturbing to some readers. Please keep in mind that what is being described here is not physcial rape or the consent of Námo to it. Instead, what is being described is an attempt by Melkor to dominate Námo psychologically and spiritually with the intent of suborning his free will. If Námo appears to be acquiescing, it is only as a ploy to keep Melkor 'busy' until help (in the form of Manwë and the other Ayanumuz) arrives.


Námo turned his attention to what was happening around him. Everywhere he looked Dark Máyar were emerging, surrounding them, and there, glowing darkly against the incandescent gases of interstellar space, was Melkor. Flanking him were Acairis and Rushirithir. The latter was still looking a bit worse for wear with gaping rents in his aura, but Námo suspected that Melkor had restored some of the Máya’s energy, enabling him to attend his Master.

Námo heard Vairë hiss at the sight of her former Chief Máya, but whether in anger or distress, he couldn’t tell. He gathered her into his embrace and gave a command to his People to bring their defensive ring closer. He wanted Melkor and his Máyar to have to come to them.

*Now would be a good time for Manwë to show up,* Vairë said to him on a private frequency, a frequency that seemed to be forging itself between them and Námo idly wondered if this was the beginning of the bond that the other Ayanumuz who were already espoused mentioned existed between them and their partners.

*But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?* Námo couldn’t help sending back to her and had the pleasure of ‘hearing’ her snort in dark amusement.

*So what do we do?* she asked. *With Melkor here we’re definitely outnumbered.*

*Outnumbered, perhaps,* Námo allowed, *but not outclassed.*

Vairë’s aura indicated puzzlement at his words and Námo resisted the urge to laugh. *Do you recognize where we are?* he asked.

She looked about her, checking the spatiotemporal coordinates and practically gasped. *This... this is....*

*Watch out,* Námo warned. *Melkor is making his move.*

Indeed, he was. Their Fallen Brother became even more incandescent with anger and hate as he hurled electromagnetic bolts towards the two Ayanumuz, practically screaming in rage. Almost without thinking, Námo and Vairë formed a sphere of protection around themselves and their Máyar against which the energy bolts flickered harmlessly.

"You’ll have to do better than that, Melkor," Námo taunted, trying to sound brave but deep inside himself his fëa quailed, remembering what Melkor had done to him. He felt Vairë lend him her strength and gave her a brief kiss. He needed to keep Melkor’s attention on him and nowhere else for just a little longer....

Melkor raged all the more and sent a command for his Máyar to attack. Soon hundreds of bolts of energy flared across the intervening space, intent on destroying the shield that the two Ayanumuz had constructed. Námo was confident that between the two of them, he and Vairë would be able to hold off the attack and his own People were helping to strengthen the protective barrier. However, while the shield kept electromagnetic energy out, it could not prevent actual matter from breaching it and Melkor began hurling large chunks of rocks taken from nearby asteroid fields at them. The two Ayanumuz were hard pressed to maintain their shield and push the asteroids away and Námo ended up delegating that task to half his People while the other half helped maintain the shield, for that was where the greater danger lay. The rocks themselves could not harm them, but they were proving a distraction, one that they did not need.

"You think you’ve beaten me, Little One?" Melkor snarled at Námo. "You think your little ploy will stop me? I will have Atháraphelun... and you."

"You will never have me, Melkor," Námo shouted back, "nor will you have Atháraphelun, not completely. Atar will not permit it."

"Atar, Atar," Melkor taunted with a sneer. "Atar already permits it, Little One, for am I not here? Would he really allow me purchase in Eä if he did not wish me to rule it?"

"If it served a greater purpose, he would," Vairë replied. "Your problem, Melkor, is that you think Atar won’t or can’t act against you, when in fact, he is merely waiting for you to return to him."

"You’re the greatest of us all, Melkor," Námo added. "Even Manwë admits it. You could do much good if you...."

But Melkor wasn’t listening. Instead he hurled a series of electromagnetic bolts at them, hoping to weaken the shield with his onslaught. Námo and Vairë were becoming hard-pressed to maintain the integrity of the force screen around them and the Máyar. A second’s inattention nearly spelled doom for them, for one of the bolts slipped through the barrier, stunning Tindomerel. Maranwë was nearby and was able to help her, lending some of his own strength to ease her pain.

As small as the breach was, it was enough to threaten the entire structure of the field and it would be only a matter of time before the whole thing collapsed. Námo never considered fleeing, even if they had had the power to do so. The dark weight of Melkor’s malice on top of the hatred of the Dark Máyar was just enough to keep them all in place.

Slowly, the breach to the shield began to widen and Melkor started crowing, urging his Máyar to greater effort. Námo was calculating how much time they might have left and looking around for options to their plight, realizing that there really weren’t any. Either they fled or they stood their ground and given where they were in the universe, fleeing was no option at all.

He sent a silent command to Maranwë ordering him and the others to fall back slowly so that the Máyar were collapsing into an ever tighter and tighter ring around the two Ayanumuz while Námo and Vairë brought the shield closer to them as well in an attempt to heal the breach. Melkor, however, had other ideas.

Suddenly, half of the Dark Máyar concentrated their entire arsenal on the small opening in the shield, so that Námo and Vairë were hard-pressed to keep their equilibrium and maintain a steady force pulse. All the while, the other half of Melkor’s troops were hurling interstellar matter at them, trying to distract them, break their concentration. Finally, they succeeded. It was just a momentary distraction, barely a millisecond’s worth in which Námo was forced to deal with a rather large chunk of cometary matter that his Máyar failed to throw off-course, but it was enough. Without warning Melkor was at the breach and the force of his own power was widening it to the point where the entire shield collapsed, exposing Námo, Vairë and the Máyar to their foes.

Námo ordered his People back so that he and Vairë were facing Melkor. The Máyar were reluctant to retreat but Námo was adamant and brooked no argument. In spite of his brave front, he could feel every part of him scream in terror at the thought of having to face Melkor again so soon. Only the feel of Vairë’s love and support gave him the strength not to visibly cringe when their Fallen Brother advanced.

For a long moment the three Ayanumuz faced each other in silence. Melkor was still flanked by Acairis and Rushirithir. Acairis eyed her former mistress with obvious disdain while Rushirithir gave them both a hateful glare. Melkor actually smiled as he reached out to caress Námo.

"Well, Little One," he crooned. "Here we are again. I was rather disappointed in our last meeting."

"That’s too bad, Melkor," Námo said. "I was rather pleased by its outcome myself."

The Fallen One snarled and pulled Námo towards him. Vairë tried to intervene but Acairis chose that moment to attack her. The assault was just vicious enough to surprise the Ayanuz so she did not try to defend herself immediately. Námo was in no position to help for Melkor had him firmly in his grip and was intent on forcing him into submission. Rushirithir looked on with dark glee, waiting for his master to finish with Námo so he could have a turn with him.

"I promised Rushirithir that I would leave you to him once I had my own way with you, Little One," Melkor purred obscenely, his aura darkening even further as he tried to force Námo to submit to him. Námo steeled himself as best he could, refusing to allow Melkor’s taint to touch his most inner self which he silently gave over to Atar for safe-keeping. If necessary, he would pretend to bow to Melkor if only to buy time. He wasn’t sure what was keeping Manwë and the others unless they too were busy fending off an attack. He just hoped he could resist long enough.

Even as these thoughts coursed through his mind he could feel his willpower crumbling as a wave of dark ecstasy swept through him, the painful pleasure of it causing him to cling helplessly to Melkor while his Fallen Brother laughed with black delight. Vairë, in the meantime, was having her own troubles with Acairis and Námo’s Máyar were too busy defending themselves against their dark counterparts to be of any help. Námo could feel himself succumbing to Melkor’s desires even as he resisted.

*Manwë, where are you?* he whispered deep inside himself. *Atar, help me!* he added almost as an afterthought and felt a flow of energy from somewhere deep inside and he felt the dark flames of Melkor’s lusts ebb from his fëa. Yet, he knew that it was only a matter of time before Melkor overpowered him.

"There’s no point in resisting me, Námo," Melkor purred as he continued caressing the younger Ayanuz. "You know you want this as much as I do. Why fight me?" He sent another deeper wave of ecstasy through his captive, reveling in the sound of Námo’s moans. "Come, join me," he whispered seductively, "and together we can...."

But what more he might have said Námo never knew for suddenly the entire universe resounded with Song. From nowhere and everywhere it came, and with it Manwë, Varda and the other Ayanumuz along with all their Máyar. The Song never faltered, but grew stronger as the others emerged into the surrounding space. Melkor drew back from his assault on Námo, unsure at first what was happening. Without hesitating, Námo pulled himself away from Melkor’s embrace and before the Fallen One could react, he hurled an electromagnetic bolt into his would-be rapist and then turned and did the same to Rushirithir. Vairë managed to subdue Acairis almost at the same time when the Máya became distracted by the sound of Melkor’s scream of pain.

Confusion reigned amongst Melkor’s dark brood, allowing Námo, Vairë and Námo’s People to leave Melkor and join their fellow Ayanumuz. All this while the Song never ceased and now Námo and Vairë also joined in and its sound was resplendent. The fabric of space shifted about them and, first, a black hole appeared nearly on top of Melkor and his Máyar, though the diameter of the event horizon was so small that they were all able to avoid it with some shifting about.

Then, as the Song continued, Aulë took a solo part, singing a specific set of equations in an aria of exquisite beauty, and a planet emerged from nowhere, taking up orbit before the black hole. It was small as planets went and its rotational period was such that it kept one side facing inward. Even as Aulë’s aria ended Irmo and Estë took it up, making it a duet, and a second planet appeared, but this one was several light minutes further out, past the orbit reserved for Atháraphelun. It was larger than the first planet and appeared to be a desert world of oxidized sand. Námo and Vairë came next, singing their own duet, and the next planet to emerge after that was much larger and quite beautiful with oceans and land. It also had a ring system and three satellites. After that Manwë, Varda and Yavanna took up the aria and two more planets emerged almost simultaneously. They were gas giants, the first and largest was banded with various colored gases and there appeared to be a huge storm in its upper atmosphere. The second was only slightly smaller and was ringed. As Manwë, Varda and Yavanna’s arias faded, Ulmo, Nienna and Oromë began singing their own complicated set of equations and three more planets finally emerged one after the other. The first two were almost twins, both slightly smaller gas giants in shades of blue and green. The last planet to emerge was actually a triple system of three dwarf planets orbiting a common barrycenter.

There was a slight pause in the Song and then all the Ayanumuz sang a paean of joy and slowly another planet emerged, taking its place between the first and second planet. It was larger than the three other inner planets yet, unlike them, it was still barely formed, being more molten rock than anything. Námo looked upon Atháraphelun with wonder and realized that Manwë had decided to wait until the planet was firmly established in its fated place in Eä before attempting to shape it into the Vision they had all seen while in the Timeless Halls.

Seeing Atháraphelun and the rest of the stellar system emerge within their midst shocked Melkor and his minions at first but then Námo heard Melkor scream in a fury that knew no bounds and the force of it sent waves of discord throughout that section of Eä. Several nearby stars went nova from the tidal forces Melkor’s rage had generated and great chunks of interstellar matter rained down upon the newly emerged worlds circling the black hole that would one day be replaced by Atháraphelun’s primary. Some of the larger rocks and stellar matter were captured by the various planets and found themselves becoming satellites. The gas giants in particular caught many such. Even the desert world captured two irregularly shaped asteroids. In spite of the waves of discord and chaos that threatened the newly formed star system, the Song did not cease until each planet was firmly established in its orbit. Then, it crescendoed into a final chord of founding as the equations setting all the planets into motion were established.

Silence reigned then and even Melkor and his minions went still, gazing about them in awe. Námo felt a wave of pure delight sweep through him as his fellow Ayanumuz gathered around him and Vairë, lending them their love and support.

Námo glanced at Manwë, giving him a sour grin. "It took you long enough. I was this close to letting Melkor have his way."

"I am sorry, Námo," Manwë said, taking the younger Ayanuz into his embrace and the feeling of it was as a cleansing balm to Námo’s fëa and he sighed in relief as the last dark taint of Melkor’s touch faded away. "We were attacked by some of Melkor’s People and that delayed us. We came as quickly as we could." Then he pulled away to give Námo his own glare. "And you took your sweet time changing the Variables so we could come and establish Atháraphelun."

Námo grinned. "We ran into a little trouble ourselves," he said unapologetically.

"How sweet."

The two looked to see Melkor, a safe distance away sneering at them. Námo’s aura went dark with dismay but Manwë’s aura never changed, remaining a steady blue. His voice, however, was colder than space itself. "Get thee gone, Melkor," he said. "Do not seek to interfere with us."

"Oh, I’ll go, dear brother," Melkor said, "but don’t get too complacent. You think you’ve won, but you haven’t. Atháraphelun will be mine... eventually." Then he laughed, the echo of it igniting waves of chaos all about as he and his minions flashed out of existence.

Manwë sighed. "Well, the first battle has gone to us, but it will not end here."

Námo indicated his agreement with that. "He will not give up until he has what he wants."

Manwë gave him a shrewd look. "Would you have submitted to him?"

"Only in seeming," Námo replied. "Atar held my true self in his hands."

Manwë nodded. "That is well." Then he turned to Vairë, giving her a warm embrace. "And you, daughter? How do you fare?"

"Well enough now that she is no longer here," she answered him, her tone laced with contempt, still refusing to name her former Máya.

Námo just couldn’t resist whispering to her across their private frequency: *Acairis, Acairis, Acairis.* She responded by throwing a mild bolt of energy his way, easily fended off with a negligent thought and then he was wrapping himself around her. *You were splendid. I think I’ll have to marry you.*

*You think?* she retorted with a smile and then they were kissing, forgetting that they had an audience until quiet laughter distracted them and they turned to see everyone looking on with indulgent smiles.

"If you’re finished," Manwë said with a knowing look, "perhaps we can take a look at our latest creations. Nienna and Ulmo are already comparing their two planets to see which one is better."

Námo and Vairë laughed at that, and without releasing their hold on one another, the two of them joined the others in taking a closer look at the various planets, each of the Ayanuz taking turns showing off their work while the Máyar stationed themselves around the perimeter of the system, guarding against any further attacks by Melkor.

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