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Sundry Apocrypha by Huinare

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Author's Chapter Notes:

Upon his waking at Cuiviénen, Morcondil meets the love of his life. Imin is not amused.

Written for B2MeM 2015, responding to a prompt by Himring for bears. Thanks are owed to Zopyrus (please see endnotes).

 




“This, it is sung, is how things happened at Cuiviénen. First, the men of the Quendi awoke, before their women, and they–”

“But why did all the men awaken first, ingolmo?”

“Because the tales say so, child.”

“But why do the tales say so?”

“Well, I–I suppose the men of the Quendi were lighter sleepers, because they needs must be ready to manfully defend their families from peril at a moment’s notice. Now shut up.”

“Yes, ingolmo.”

“As I was saying. The men of the Quendi awoke, before their women, and they saw the innumerable stars above them, and thus was their love given first to the great and wondrous things of Arda. Yet the women of the Quendi woke later, and, seeing first their husbands, loved them first and foremost.”

Ingolmo?”

What.”

“What if a woman saw the stars first, or a man saw a woman first, or a woman saw a woman first, or–”

“Pshaw! None of that ever happened…”


* * *

Morcondil yawned widely and stretched his limbs one by one. It felt different, like the first time he had ever woken up, possibly because it was the first time he had ever woken up. A new world poured in upon his consciousness–the feel of needle-strewn earth beneath him, the fresh scent of those needles and of something rather rank, the soothing noise of crickets and wind in boughs and water lapping and the heavy breath of something very large directly above his face.

Becoming aware that he had eyes, Morcondil opened these. At once he beheld another being, one so lovely and intriguing that he wept quietly in wonderment. Apparently he also had words, for those tumbled awkwardly but with uttermost sincerity from his throat:

“Before all others, my affection and devotion are yours. Only let me remain by your side!”

The bear made a growling, groaning sound, and Morcondil reveled in the warm and pungent blast of its breath, the gleam of its sharp teeth inches away from his face in the starlight. The object of his affections raised one massive paw to swat at him. Morcondil had no experience of danger, but some instinct informed him that it existed, given the long claws and the bear’s superior strength. Yet this was no matter, for he had only just woken up and had not had time to get attached to anything other than this magnificent creature; if it wished to put him back to sleep, forever, that was well. He tilted his head back in joyful resignation, but then he noticed a large sliver of glassy stone embedded in the pad of the bear’s paw.

“Oh no, you’re hurt!” fretted Morcondil. “Here, let me.”

The bear snarled and huffed as he reached up, yet it must have sensed his benign intent, for it held still, growling halfheartedly. The first deed of Morcondil’s hands was to remove the sliver and toss it aside.

“There you go,” the Elf said, satisfied to have been of service to his beloved. “Shall we pick up where we left off?”

Instead of raising its paw again, the bear nuzzled his face.


* * *

Imin was troubled.

Things had begun well enough, with him waking up and delighting in the stars. And then delighting in the sight of the slumbering Iminyë. And then waking her up because he’d been growing terribly bored with only himself to talk to. Iminyë, to Imin’s great vindication, delighted first in himself; for she had seen him before she saw anything else.

Equipped with his understanding of the proper way of things between Quendi men and women, Imin explored the vicinity of Cuiviénen, whilst his wife busied herself with finding food and tending the fire. For a time, all was good and right with the world.

Then, Imin found that some things had gone amiss. Some of the Quendi women did not see their men first, but instead saw stars or trees or other women. One woke while her hand was thrown over her face and loved foremost herself, and to that end was caught using that hand in an occupation which had scandalized Imin thoroughly.

As with the women, some of the Quendi men had beheld first the entirely wrong things–women, or other men! Imin was not sure which of those outcomes was worse.

On one particularly memorable occasion, he had just stumbled into yet another aberration. “Oh no,” he sighed. “A strapping young man like you ought not to be comporting himself in this fashion.”

“I am called Morcondil,” said the strapping young man, glancing up from his impassioned embrace, “and would you excuse us? We’re trying to have a moment here.”

“What is the world coming to, so near its beginning and all?” lamented Imin to the sky. “Listen here, Morcondil, why do you not leave off this unnatural man-loving behavior and find a wife?”

Morcondil was near to losing his patience, among other things. “This is no man, but a bear. Now would you mind?”

Imin, who had assumed the other partner was an exceptionally brawny and hirsute man, stammered, “Good gracious. Well, um, is it a lady bear?”

“For heaven’s sake, I do not know nor care! My love is all that matters. What concern is it of yours?”

“Well, you see, a female bear would be less objectionable than a male bear, but I have not yet decided whether a female bear would be less objectionable than a male Elf, but probably.”

“Get out!”

Imin backed away, flustered and grumbling. He made his way home to Iminyë in a daze.

“What is the matter, my love?” she asked, feeding him blackberries as he reclined wearily on a bed of moss.

“Always stay close to home and hearth, my dear,” Imin shuddered. “The wide world is full of things which lie outside our own understanding and experience, and therefore must be ill and false. As we gather to ourselves friends and neighbors, we must be sure to select only those who live as we do, in order to preserve all which is good and correct.”


* * *

“So I suppose you are a lady bear after all,” said Morcondil as he helped to deliver his second child. This one had a human shape. The first one had emerged in the shape of a bear, but as Morcondil glanced fondly back to where his daughter nestled in the paws of her mother, he saw that the elder twin now appeared human. Looking again at his son in his own arms, he found that the younger twin now appeared as a bear.

“Look, darling, they can change. How wonderful!” Morcondil murmured in quiet wonder. The bear huffed as though in agreement.


* * *

“What about the Beornings, ingolmo?”

“What about them, child?”

“Were they around at Cuiviénen also?”

“Pfft. Why would they be, any more than were Dwarves or Men?”

“But the Beornings aren’t Dwarves or Men.”

“You would have it that they are Elves? I suppose you also think trees fly.”

“I didn’t say that, ingolmo. But why do the tales say nothing of the Beornings? Are they not important also?”

“If it comes not into our tales, why would it be important? Are we not, after all, fairest and wisest among Eru’s children?”




Chapter End Notes:

The plotbunny for this emerged from an exchange I had with Zopyrus in the comments section of her fab story “Exit Pursued By A Bear” on the B2MeM LJ community. The part about someone falling for a bear was mine (I apparently can't go a single B2MeM without insisting upon beastiality); the part about the Beornings was hers.




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