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Tales from Vairë's Loom  by Fiondil

The Ban of the Valar

Summary: The Valar meet to discuss how to prevent the Númenóreans from seeking the Undying Lands. Written for the 2009 SWG ‘Akallebeth-in-August Project'.


“The Atani have reached the Star Island,” Ulmo told the assembled Valar as they met in conference in the main throne room of Ilmarin. “Already they are eagerly building their first settlement on the eastern shore and have named it Rómenna. Elros has sent many to explore the island as thoroughly as possible, either overland or by ship, mapping the coastline. I understand that he has decided to build his capital further inland close to the mountain they have named Meneltarma.”

The other Valar smiled in approval. “They will be busy for many years then, settling in,” Manwë said with a nod. “Yet, a time will come when they will be secure enough in their new home to begin looking outward and we should address this matter now rather than later.”

“What matter exactly are we talking about?” Nessa asked.

“The matter of their mortality,” Námo answered gravely. He gave Manwë a steady look. “You know that I was uneasy with the fact that you chose to raise Númenor so close to Valinor. I think in the long run it will prove an ill choice, though I cannot see it.”

“Your foresight tells you nothing?” Manwë asked, his eyes dark with concern.

Námo shook his head. “No, it does not. Yet, I am uneasy.”

“I considered your feelings before I made the decision,” Manwë said, “but in the end, I decided that your unease was too vague to act upon.”

Námo nodded. “I realize that, and blame you not for your decision. It has been made and we will have to live with it and whatever may follow. I pray that my unease is unfounded and all will be well with the Númenóreans.”

“Yet, what can we do to safeguard them and us?” Oromë asked. “I, too, wondered that we brought forth the island so close to our own lands. There is a danger, I deem, that those whose sight is keen will be able to see the spires of Avallónë and its harbor were they to stand upon the crest of the Meneltarma and desire to come there.”

“And what prevents them from doing so, since they are possessed of ships capable of sailing to Tol Eressëa?” Yavanna asked.

“That is what we must discuss,” Manwë answered. “Nothing physical prevents them from doing so, and as we have already given our permission for those of Tol Eressëa to sail to Númenor if they so desire, it would not be possible for us to erect a barrier, for it would prevent the Elves from sailing east as surely as it would prevent the Atani from sailing west.”

“How, then, do we allow the one but not the other?” Varda stated.

“We could take away their ships,” Tulkas said with a sly smile and laughed at the looks of disbelief on some of his brethren’s faces.

Námo gave him an understanding smile. “That might work in the short run, but eventually they will build other ships. Must Ulmo and his People constantly sink the ships whenever they are built?”

“Well, maybe after the third or fourth such sinking the poor dears might get the message,” Vairë commented with a smile of her own, “or they might see it as a challenge and keep on building their ships until they either run out of wood or we run out of patience.”

There were several amused snickers at that and Eönwë, standing between the thrones of his lord and lady, laughed. “I would put my money on the Atani myself. They are a stubborn lot, even more so than the Eldar.”

“Well, sinking ships, however fun it might be for some people, is out of the question,” Manwë said, stealing a glance at Ulmo, who was seated on his left, while the Lord of Waters merely snorted in good-natured amusement. “We need a better solution. I do not wish for these Children to seek the Undying Lands, desiring to overpass the limits set to their own bliss which Atar has granted them, becoming enamored of the immortality that is ours and the Eldar’s by virtue of our inherent natures.”

They were silent for a time, each with their own thoughts. Finally, Námo gave Manwë a considering look. “Perhaps we should simply tell them that they may not sail so far west that the coasts of Númenor cannot be seen, but allow them to sail as they please in any other direction.”

“Yet, would they hold to such?” Aulë asked. “I can see young Eärendilion agreeing to this but what of the others? Will they willingly submit themselves to our Ban?”

“They are honorable and trustworthy, my lord,” Eönwë said. “I dwelt among them long enough to know that they hold the Valar in great reverence and if such a decree comes to them from you, they will obey it. Elros will see that it is enforced, he and his descendants.”

“Well, short of having one of my steadier Maiar stand forever sentinel between here and Númenor, shooing back any ship that strays, there doesn’t seem to be any other option,” Ulmo said.

“Do we all agree, then?” Manwë asked. “We will inform the Númenóreans of our Ban, allowing them to sail whither they will east, north and south, but to the west they may go only so far as they can see the coasts of their island.” He cast his gaze at each of the others, as one-by-one they each gave him a single nod.

“So be it then,” Manwë intoned. “Eönwë will convey our message unto them, for they know him as my Herald, and will respect him and his words.” He turned to the Maia. “Go to Elros and ask him to call forth an assembly of his people that you may speak the words of our Ban before all.”

Eönwë bowed low to his lord and faded from their sight. Manwë sighed as he turned back to the others. “Let us hope that our Ban will be enough and that the Children will heed us in this.”

“Násië,” Námo whispered, more to himself than to the others, his eyes dark with a foreboding to which he could put no name. They all heard him, however, and their own expressions were equally solemn.


Násië: (Quenya) ‘Amen, so be it’.

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