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Raguel, an Ayanuz of the First Choir, sat beside Atar on the lip of a pool in the watermeads of the Timeless Halls, watching the events unfold in the Little Kingdom, as his friend, Tulkas, had called it. He couldn’t help smiling at the thought of his dear friend as he witnessed, first the debacle at the All-Aman Council in Valmar when his brother Námo brought the Mortal in the spirit to confront the Eldar there, and then the consultation in the Elda Vorondur’s office and the same Mortal’s subsequent psychic meltdown. Raguel stole a glance at Atar sitting serenely beside him, idly swishing the waters of the pool with the fingers of his right hand, for they had both incarnated at Atar’s suggestion when the Ayanuz had been summoned before the Throne.
Atar looked up and quirked an eyebrow at him. Raguel glanced back down into the pool in time to see the Elda called Amroth slug the poor Mortal into unconsciousness and then gently pick him up as if he were a babe in arms and take him out of the room. The golden-haired balrog-slayer — and Raguel could not help smiling at the sight of him — came in just then demanding to know what had happened as everyone trooped upstairs where they placed the Mortal in a bed, then stood around it waiting for him to awake with Vorondur softly explaining to Glorfindel what had transpired.
As Raguel continued watching, he wondered what Atar meant for him to do. Was he to visit chastisement upon his brother Ayanuz and bring Námo to account? The thought saddened him, for in all this time, Atar had never sent him to chastise the Valar or their servants, richly though they might have deserved it for their mismanagement of the affairs of Arda. To do so now when the End of Days was so near…?
He shook his head, as if to clear it of dark thoughts as he watched the Mortal waken and listened to the conversation that followed, noting the despair in the poor child’s voice, seeing his spirit dim. He itched to go to him and comfort him and vaguely noticed the knowing smile on Atar’s face, but his entire attention was on the scene before him.
…“Five months of hard work ruined,” he heard Vorondur mutter as the four Firstborn exited the room to let the Mortal sleep.
“Lord Námo has much to answer for.” That was Glorfindel.
“Násië!” the reborn haryon of the Noldóran exclaimed and Raguel could almost see that fervent prayer wing its way to the Timeless Halls.
Glorfindel cast them a wicked look which Raguel recognized all too well. “Too bad there’s no one to give Námo a little chat. I wouldn’t mind seeing him squirm for a change.”
“From your lips to Eru’s ears, my friend,” Vorondur said with a chuckle and the others started laughing. Raguel was hard-pressed not to laugh himself. Ah, incarnates! Whatever would they do without them and their irreverence?
Atar swished his fingers more forcefully, sending ripples, and the images broke and faded, leaving just a pool of clear water where fish swam and waterlilies floated. For a time that was timeless, the two sat — Atar in supreme serenity, Raguel pensive and trying not to fidget too much. He was unused to being incarnate and found it annoying. He couldn’t imagine being this way all the time as his brothers and sisters who resided in Arda apparently were.
Atar suddenly stood and Raguel followed. “Let us walk,” Atar said softly and Raguel fell into step as the two wended their way through the watermeads. Other Ayanumuz were there, though not all were incarnate, but all stopped what they were doing long enough to give Atar their obeisance. Atar smiled graciously at them all but eventually the two came to a part of the gardens where they were alone save for birds singing in the trees and small animals scampering about.
“Tell me thy thoughts, Little One,” Atar said quietly.
Atar’s endearment surprised him. Not because he had never been called that before, and indeed, reveled in the feeling of warmth and love the endearment engendered within him, but normally, when being summoned for a mission, he was usually addressed simply by his name. He always knew when things were really bad, though, when Atar called him by his title.
“Thou gavest my brother Námo permission to bring the Mortal to Valinor in the spirit?”
Atar nodded but did not otherwise speak.
“And what happened there, was that also by Thy will?”
Atar smiled. “Everything is by My will, Child, but if thou meanest, did I give Námo permission to have the Máyar attack young Artemus, then, the answer is no.”
Raguel pondered that for a moment while Atar continued to wait patiently, allowing him the time to think things through for himself. Not for the first time Raguel sourly wondered why Atar even bothered, since He knew everything anyway, but when Atar smiled and took him in his arms and kissed him in loving benediction, his spirit soared and he decided it didn’t matter.
Atar released him and Raguel came back to himself. “Dost thou wish for me to summon the Kadoshim Chayyoth against Námo then?” he asked hesitantly.
“A bit extreme, wouldst thou not say?” Atar countered mildly.
“He was in the wrong,” Raguel pointed out.
Atar nodded. “But he was not disobedient to My will. He acted as he thought best, though I agree that he could have handled the situation better. Young Artemus is… fragile and what was done to him was… unfortunate.”
Raguel raised an eyebrow. “Unfortunate? Yes, I suppose one could call it that, poor child. He is on the brink of despair.”
“On the brink, but he hath not yet fallen off,” Atar pointed out.
“So thou hast summoned me for the Mortal?”
“For them both,” Atar corrected. “Námo doth need a talking to, but I will not do it. That will be thy task. At the same time, I need thee to help Artemus. He hath been sorely mistreated by thy brother and Manwë hath not seen fit to chastise him for it.”
“Doth he or any of the others even know what happened?”
For an answer, Atar led him to another pool, bending down to swish his fingers in the limpid waters and an image of Manwë’s audience chamber in his mansion in Valmar appeared. Raguel bent down to view it better and chuckled at what he saw transpiring. His brother Manwë looked… flustered and — what was that phrase Glorfindel liked to use? — Ah, yes, royally pissed. Raguel glanced up at Atar who was also chuckling.
“Thy brother is about to have kittens, as the Mortals would say.”
Raguel started laughing and Atar joined him. After a moment though he sobered and gave Atar a more pensive look. “Thou wishest for me to call Námo to account as well as succor the Mortal?”
“Manwë would reprimand Námo, but he feeleth that to do so would damage morale among his fellow Ayanumuz and especially among the Máyar. They are all losing hope, Raguel, even thy brethren. They have been battling against the despair of the Firstborn among them for longer than any of them anticipated having to do so, struggling to bring hope, to bring estel, as the Eldar would say, and failing. Those Eldar still residing in Arda are their secret weapon against the insidious malignancy of despair that hath crept across Valinor. At least that is their hope.”
Raguel looked down at the pool still showing the scene in the audience chamber and pondered Atar’s words. Then, almost as an afterthought, Atar said, “They have even forgotten the Yána Elenion, the Chapel of Stars, that I had Manwë construct just for times like these. None of them have visited it for some time. They need their hope restored, Raguel, and I wish for thee to help them find it.”
Raguel nodded in a distracted manner, his gaze still on the scene being played out in the pool, though his thoughts were elsewhere. He was startled by the soft touch of Atar’s hand brushing his hair and gave his Creator an enquiring look. “Tell me thy concerns, Child,” Atar said gently.
“Glorfindel,” Raguel said without thinking. “Thou dost not seem unduly upset by the fact that he appeareth to be fading. Should I not be chastising Irmo for what he hath done to the Elda?”
“Glorfindel’s fading is not Irmo’s fault and the dreams he hath sent the Child were, as thou knowest, suborned, but I tell thee truly, the situation with that impossible ellon is… under control, as the Mortals would say.” Atar flashed Raguel a sly grin and Raguel responded with his own smile. “Glorfindel is fine for the moment and he is even now working his way to finding the answers he seeks. My main concern is Artemus. He will someday have an encounter that can quite literally change the course of Arda’s history for good or ill and his present mental and emotional states may affect the outcome. Námo’s little stunt hath set the Child back. It will be thy task to help Vorondur bring harmony unto Artemus’ soul.”
“He hath left behind the name Artemus,” Raguel could not help pointing out.
Atar shook his head. “Nay, he only thinketh so. Artemus he will always be whatsoever name he chooseth for himself.”
“What encounter?” Raguel asked suddenly.
“Ah, well, we will just have to wait and see, won’t we?”
Raguel resisted a sigh, knowing full well that if Atar chose not to enlighten him there was nothing he could do about it but muddle through as best he could. He hated going into an assignment without all the facts. How could he do what he needed to do if he were half-blind?
“Raguel,” Atar said gently, brushing a loving hand through the Ayanuz’s hair. “If I withhold information it is only for thine own good. It doth thee no good to have all the answers. Thou must needs find them for thyself or thou shalt never advance in wisdom. All that is required of thee to know at this time is that Artemus is in need of thy special gifts, so that he may experience peace within himself once again.”
“Yes, Atar,” Raguel said meekly.
Atar started walking again and Raguel hastened to catch up. “Now, thou wilt enter Arda at the following spatial-temporal coordinates,” his Creator said and even as they were walking, Atar raised a hand and began writing symbols in the air. Raguel memorized them instantly. “Keep in mind that when thou dost enter linear Time, the events which thou didst see transpire in Vorondur’s office will not have taken place yet. That will be a week hence from these temporal coordinates. Thou must take care to keep this knowledge to thyself until that day.”
“Should I not be able to use the knowledge to bring Námo to task?”
“Yes, but at the proper time. When thou dost arrive in Arda thou wilt do so not as the Prince of the Chayyoth but as My envoy to coordinate battle plans for the coming War. Only when what happens with Artemus transpireth may thou actest as my Sword and bring Námo to account for his actions, but heed Me, Child. Námo has not transgressed My laws, he is not Aulendil or even Melkor. Thou shalt correct him gently but correct him thou shalt.”
“Publically, or in private?”
“I will allow thee to decide that. His chastisement is not for woe but for weal. Remind them of the Yána Elenion. Remind them that I am there to bring them healing and hope. They just need to seek Me out.”
Raguel nodded and Atar took him into His embrace and kissed him in benediction. “Go now, My best beloved. Bring them all what they most need: My love.”
Atar stepped back and Raguel bowed. Then, with a single thought he was gone, winging himself through the portal that would take him from the Timeless Halls into Eä. For a time that was timeless, Atar stood there smiling at the space where his beloved Child had been, then sighing for effect He turned to the next item on His to-do list, silently calling for one of the Ayanuz of the Second Choir to attend Him as He continued walking through the gardens.
Mittatyalië Mardi Lúmelórassen: (Quenya) ‘Interlude in the Timeless Halls’. Mittatyalië, literally means, ‘interplay’, which is the original meaning of interlude.
Ayanuz (pl. Ayanumuz): Valarin: Ainu, i.e. a Holy One (pl. Ainur), in general terms, what we would call an angel regardless of the Choir to which any one of them belongs. This is the original term for those whom we know as the Valar and Maiar.
Máyar: (Quenya) An older form of Maiar. There is no attested Valarin form for the name of this angelic choir.
1. Raguel, in Judeo-Christian lore, is the archangel of justice, fairness, harmony and vengeance. He appears in the Book of Enoch and in the Gospel of Bartholomew, among other non-canonical writings of the Jews and early Christians. The name means ‘Friend of God’. In Quenya, the name would be rendered Erundil. His colors are traditionally pale blue or white.
2. Kadoshim Chayyoth: (Hebrew) ‘Holy, heavenly beasts’(Holy Hayyoth in English), a class of Merkabah angels equated or ranked with the Kerubim (Cherubim), second only to the Seraphim in the choir of angels. They are Heaven’s warriors and, when summoned, are sent to purge those who transgress against God’s laws. They traditionally guard the entrance to Eden with flaming swords. Chayyiel is their ruling prince along with Raguel.
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