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Waiting for Elwë
Summary: Ingwë and Finwë wait impatiently for Elwë’s arrival in Aman, unaware of the events unfolding in Beleriand. Inspired by the Middle-earth Express prompt #1, ‘Lost’.
"Has there been any news?" Ingwë asked Finwë.
They were overseeing the construction of their city, which they were calling Tirion on Túna. It was slow going, for none of the Quendi had any experience in constructing buildings. At Cuiviénen they had built rude huts from fallen tree limbs or had sheltered in the caves dotting a nearby hillside, but they had not really built anything with any permanence. It was seeing the city of the Powers that had inspired the two kings to create a city for their own people. The Valar had kindly raised the great hill on which the city would be built, there in the midst of the Calacirya, and Lord Aulë and his People were even now instructing the Quendi on how to build with stone.
Finwë shook his head. "Nothing," he said somewhat morosely. "There has been no news. I even went through the cleft and stood upon the shores hoping to speak to Lord Ulmo or even Lord Ossë, but neither appeared. I have sent entreaties to both Lord Ulmo and the Elder King to have our sundered kin come to us, but so far...."
Ingwë sighed. "I wish we could have all come to Aman together," he said. "Would that the Nelyai had not tarried so."
"They were the largest of our clans," Finwë pointed out. "Elwë had to have his brother, Olwë, lead a part of them and then Lenwë refused to cross the mountains with many of the Nelyai."
Ingwë nodded. "True. Perhaps we should have lingered longer on the Thither Shores," he opined. "Perhaps we should have waited."
"Lord Ulmo was most impatient to see us hence," Finwë replied with a snort. "He couldn’t get us here fast enough, to my mind."
Ingwë smiled. "So I thought as well." He shrugged. "Well, hopefully, Elwë will come soon. I truly miss him."
"As do I," Finwë said, now looking sad, his gaze moving down the green sward of the Calacirya, his thoughts upon the dark waves of the Sea, wondering what was keeping their dear friend.
Several Minglings of the Trees later, the two kings were huddled together with a couple of Lord Aulë’s Maiar — Auros, who was Aulë’s Chief Maia, and Curumo. They were explaining to the Quendi the science of constructing arches which the Quendi had decided would be the main feature of their homes, allowing for easier access to the gardens that would surround them.
"You can see that such a construction is a bit more complex than square lintels," Curumo was saying, pointing to the model which the Maiar had constructed as a teaching tool, just as another Maia made his presence known.
"Forgive the intrusion," Eönwë said with a bow as the other Maiar and the Quendi looked up. "I have a message from Lord Manwë to Ingwë and Finwë."
"What message, lord?" Ingwë asked in surprise.
Eönwë smiled warmly. "News has come from Lord Ulmo that he is bringing the Nelyai to Aman."
Both Quendi stood up in delight, smiles wreathing their fair faces. "Elwë is coming at last!" Finwë shouted.
"When will they arrive?" Ingwë enquired.
"Not for some time," Eönwë said. "I will inform you when they are nigh. Lord Manwë wished for you to know now so you could prepare a warm welcome for them."
"Oh, yes," Finwë said, his eyes shining, "We should plan something wonderful for them. It’s been such a long time."
"Won’t Elwë be surprised when he sees our city," Ingwë exclaimed and the two Quendi hugged each other in delight at the thought.
Neither of them, in their happiness, noticed the sad look Eönwë gave them before fading from view. Auros and Curumo exchanged grave looks before turning to the ellyn. "Why don’t we finish our lesson?" Auros said, speaking gently and the two kings nodded, though their conversation often wandered from the subject of arches to whether there should be plans to expand the city to include the new wave of arrivals. The two Maiar made vague comments of the ‘wait and see’ variety, and the ellyn had to be content with that.
The city of Tirion was nearly completed with only the Mindon Eldaliéva still to be built, when Eönwë came to Ingwë and Finwë to inform them that their kin were at last coming. "The island has been sighted," he told them, "and will be arriving soon."
"Then we should go to the shore and welcome them," Ingwë said with a smile and together he and Finwë gathered their people and led them down the Calacirya to await the coming of the last of the Quendi.
"We ought to change their name to Teleri," Finwë quipped as they made their way to the shore. "They have taken their time getting here, after all."
Ingwë laughed. "Elwë won’t be amused, but I think it’s an apt name for these laggards."
Thus, the two kings waited on the starlit shore of Eldamar with their people, impatiently looking out to Sea, and then—
"Look!" someone yelled. "I see the island! They are here!"
There were glad cries all around and excited voices recalling old friends and wondering what they would think of the city that had been built. There had been some talk lately among the Minyai of leaving Tirion and moving closer to Taniquetil. Ingwë, especially, much desired to sit at Lord Manwë’s feet and learn all that he could from the Elder King.
"This will make room for our sundered kin when they come," Ingwë had said to Finwë when the subject of the Minyai leaving Tirion was broached.
Finwë had not been happy about the idea, and there was naught that he could do to persuade Ingwë not to leave. "We just finished building our city together," he had protested, "and now you wish to leave it?"
Ingwë had looked sorrowful. "I know, but there is something within me that desires this. I cannot explain it any better than that. But come. Let us not dwell on it. I do not intend to leave immediately. We will have to build our own city first and that will take time."
So, the matter was dropped. Now, however, with the island in sight, many were wondering where the new arrivals would be housed, for in the end, Tirion, as initially planned, was not expanded to allow for the new arrivals. Still, it was a minor point of contention between the two clans and the joy of knowing that their kin were finally come overrode any doubts.
Then, something unexpected happened. The island ceased to move and now sat in the midst of the bay, too far away for any to swim to it.
"What does this mean?" Finwë exclaimed in consternation. "Why has the island stopped?"
Ingwë just shook his head. Many cried out in surprise and dismay when they saw that the island was no longer moving. "How will we be able to greet our kin?" was the question on everyone’s lips. "How do we reach them?"
Almost at once there was a disturbance in the waters and Lord Ulmo rose out of the depths. The Quendi gave him their obeisance and Ingwë spoke to him. "Lord, why has the island stopped? How do we greet our long sundered kin?"
Ulmo looked upon the Quendi gravely. "I stopped the island on the pleas of those that now dwell there," he answered.
Both Ingwë and Finwë gave the Bala looks of surprise. "But why would they not want to come all the way to shore?" Finwë asked, his tone one of confusion.
"Long did your sundered kin dwell upon the Thither Shores and learned much of the ways of the Sea," Ulmo replied. "They have fallen in love with the starlight on the waves and desire not to come to Aman as yet. My fellow Bali are not pleased with me at the moment," he added with a hint of humor in his sea-green eyes, "but I felt it wiser to let those on the island have a say as to where they would live."
Both kings sighed in dismay. "Do they not wish to greet us, then?" Ingwë asked in dejection. "We have spent much time preparing for their welcome. Does Elwë not wish to see us anymore?"
Ulmo’s expression was compassionate. "I will do this much for you," he said. "I will cause the waters of the bay to recede so you may cross to the island if you so wish and visit with your kin. I doubt me that any there will wish to cross to the mainland, so it will be best if you go to them."
"For how long will you hold back the sea, lord?" Finwë asked.
"For as long as you need, child," the Lord of Waters said gently. "Take all the time you wish to visit, but when you are ready to return to your own homes, I will call back the waters."
"Will we be able to visit them again?" Ingwë asked hopefully.
Ulmo, however, shook his head. "This one time I will grant you this gift. The Elder King will not allow me to do so again. Yet, despair not. I think, in time, the Light of the Trees will draw your kin to these shores. When they so desire it, then a way will be found to bring them here. Until then, though, you will have to content yourselves with this one visit."
Ingwë and Finwë nodded. "We thank you for this gift, lord," Ingwë said with a bow and Finwë joined him in his thanks.
Then Ulmo lifted his mighty conches and blew on them, the sound of the horns wild and free. At once, three Maiar joined him and the kings recognized Ulmo’s Chief Maia, Salmar, as well as Ossë and his spouse, Uinen. Together the three Maiar strode into the water, motioning with their hands as they made their way across the bay with Salmar moving to the left of the island while Ossë and Uinen went around to the right. Even as they went, the Quendi could see the waters receding until there was naught by wet sand between them and the island.
"Walk carefully, my children," Ulmo said, "for the sands can be treacherous, but you should be able to reach the island safely enough."
Ingwë and Finwë bowed to Ulmo again and then signaled their people to follow them across the sands. Even as they did so, they noticed several Quendi on the island making their way down the headland where many had gathered so as to meet them on the beach below.
"Do you see Elwë?" Finwë asked Ingwë, desperately scanning the beach as they came nearer the island.
"No," Ingwë answered, then pointed, "but look, there is Olwë."
Almost as soon as he spoke they could see the ellon racing down to the beach and heading for them. Ingwë and Finwë ran as well and the three met some distance from the shore of the island and their greetings were joyous.
"But where is Elwë?" Finwë demanded, looking towards the island for his beloved friend. "Why has he not come to greet us?"
"And why do you not wish to come unto Aman?" Ingwë asked almost at the same time.
Olwë’s demeanor became sad and his expression haunted. Ingwë and Finwë looked upon him with dismay and confusion.
"Where is Elwë, Olwë?" Ingwë asked quietly.
"I do not know," Olwë answered in a whisper, unable to look the other two ellyn in the eyes. "He wandered away from us and never returned. Long did we hunt for him, but he is lost to us, for we never found him."
Ingwë and Finwë stared at the ellon in horror. "How can this be?" Finwë asked.
"And what of Elmo and Olwen?" Ingwë enquired, speaking of Olwë and Elwë’s younger brother and sister.
"They would not leave," Olwë replied, tears glittering in his eyes. "They would not give up the search. I wanted to stay as well, but...."
"You were needed here," Ingwë said compassionately.
Olwë nodded. "Lord Ulmo came to us and commanded that we come. Those who were willing chose me as their leader."
"And there is none who know what has happened to Elwë?" Finwë asked.
"None," Olwë answered with a deep sigh. "When I asked Lord Ulmo, he would only say that my brother lived, but other than that...." He gave them a despondent shrug and the two kings took turns hugging him.
"Well, you are here," Ingwë said at the last. "We have waited a long time for your coming. Will you not lead your people to Aman while the waters are held back?"
Olwë shook his head. "No, not at this time," he said. "My... my people do not wish to leave the island as yet, nor do they wish to forsake the stars for the Light of the Trees."
"Lord Ulmo said that in time you will desire to leave," Finwë said.
"Perhaps," Olwë conceded, "but that time is not now."
"Then let us use the time given to us and rejoice in your coming," Ingwë declared. "See, our people approach and we would make merry with you and yours."
Olwë gave them a wistful smile. "I just wish Elwë could be here."
"Perhaps someday he will be," Ingwë said. "Someday, the Bali willing, we will all be together again."
"You know," Finwë commented slyly as the three made their way onto the shore, "this island looks a bit lonely sitting all by itself in the middle of the bay."
Olwë gave him a wry smile. "Perhaps we should name it Tol Eressëa, then. All along the way many of us pondered on a name for the island but none of us could agree on one, but now...."
"Tol Eressëa it is, then," Ingwë said with a light laugh.
Then they reached the beach and there was much rejoicing among them all as old friends greeted one another and long sundered kin were reunited at last. Unseen by them, Ulmo and his people stood by, keeping the waters at bay, watching the Children celebrating their reunion and they were glad.
Quendi: Plural of Quendë: The original name the Elves gave themselves. Eldar is a name given to them by Oromë.
Nelyai: ‘The Third Ones’, the original name of the Third Clan which would later be known as the Teleri, a name that means 'those at the end of the line, the hindmost'. In this early period of elvish history, the other two clans are Minyai ‘The First Ones’ (Vanyar) and Tatyai ‘The Second Ones’ (Noldor).
Ellyn: Plural of ellon: Male Elf.
Bala (pl. Bali): Vala (pl. Vali/Valar). According to the Etymologies [see The Lost Road, HoME V], in the early period of the Elves’ language, this is the form that the name for the Powers took.
1. This story is slightly AU. While the description of Tol Eressëa being anchored in the Bay of Eldamar and the reason for it is from the Silmarillion, the parting of the waters to allow Ingwë, Finwë and their people to visit those on the island is my invention. In the Silmarillion it is intimated that only after the Teleri left Tol Eressëa nearly a century later to found Alqualondë did Finwë and the Noldor meet up with them. I find this to be highly unlikely, given how anxious Finwë and the Noldor were to meet up again with their friends (Ingwë is never mentioned in this regard, but given his own history with Elwë, it stands to reason that he, too, would want to see his friend again). Some way would have been found for the Elves to meet one another even if ships were not yet available and the receding of the waters so they could cross over to the island would be a logical means of doing so.
2. According to Tolkien’s Timeline of the Silmarillion, approximately 172 solar years pass between the time the Vanyar and the Noldor begin building Tirion and the Teleri under Olwë arrive.
3. Elmo was the brother of Elwë and Olwë in earlier versions of the Silmarillion. His fate is unknown but it is assumed he died fighting against Melkor’s people. Olwen is my OC, first mentioned in Elf, Interrupted: Book One: Glorfindel Redux, chapter 138, 'The Reborn Archer's Tale'.
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