Paths of Good Intentions
Melian first heard about the coming of the Quendi when she was shopping in the marketplace near Tirion. The whispers from among her friends barely reached her ears, so concentrated in exploring and admiring the flowers on display was she - her own handiwork - but she loved to see how they had been arranged in bunches and different groupings by some of the other Maiar who enjoyed helping her. She loved to admire the different colorations and design of the flowers and took great pleasure in the encouraging comments she received about her work. But it was not enough. For a long time she had felt a yearning within her to achieve something more - some nameless goal that she could not yet identify.
She stopped wandering among the flowery displays when she overheard two of her friends discussing the arrival of the 'new beings' in Arda. Her interest piqued, she approached them, bursting with curiosity.
"Please excuse me for interrupting you, but I overheard your fascinating conversation just now," she beamed at them. "And I felt I must know more about these new people! Who are these Quendi as you call them?"
The women were delighted to tell Melian all they knew about the new arrivals in Middle-earth.
"We have heard from Yavanna that the awakening should soon be taking place." They spoke rapidly with excitement and Melian's cheeks flushed with pleasure and the desire to find out everything she could. Full of wonder at the discovery of a new race of people Melian felt an urge to go to Arda to meet them, learn all she could about them and if possible, assist them in any way they might need her.
She made arrangements with the people of her household to do with it as they desired. She had no attachments, no husband or lover to keep her there any longer. The work that she loved was beginning to bore her but only slightly. The desire to go to Arda burned within her and she wished to leave as soon as possible.
When she reached the shores of Cuivenen she marvelled at the differences between Aman and this place - where Aman was bright with the golden light of Laurelin in the daytime and the silvery Telperion at night, Arda was dark at all times, lit only by stars, though they were myriad and twinkled brightly in the always-night sky.
Where Aman boasted gorgeous landscapes of perfect and tranquil symmetry, Arda had been marred by Melkor enough that its symmetry had been destroyed. The result was disturbing when seen for the first time, so different was it from Aman, but it was emotionally stirring and held its own strangely satisfying beauty. As Melian looked around she could see opportunity to make improvements that would aid the people she had yet to meet. She set to work filling the woods and fields with flowers and the songs of many birds.
Aman was filled with the mingling of delicate fragrances from many varieties of flowering trees and plants that Melian had created, the songs of birds as well as the tinkling music of rivers and streams. Melkor had damaged so much of Arda with fire that the lands held the stench of burning long after he was gone. Melian strove to mend this by allowing her fragrant blooms to cover the slopes of the mountainous volcanoes, filling the air with their powerful scent.
When she first saw the Quendi she was delighted by their beauty. Tall, slender and pale as alabaster, they wandered naked under the stars beside their beloved waters, marveling at every new thing they discovered.
But some of them were already busy working. They had split into various groups led by three of their strongest representatives - Elwe, Finwe and Ingwe. Some of the Quendi had been harrassed by Melkor and were terrified of all the Valar because of him, but some felt that they wanted to gather together to fight their enemy even though they feared him and the other Valar. When Orome arrived he made them feel safer. Finwe and Ingwe and their people decided to follow Orome to Valinor although other elves did not wish to go away from Arda. These people stayed behind to build their lives in the various regions of Middle-earth.
Elwe had desired to see the light of the trees in Valinor but before he was able to gather his people together and prepare for the journey he chanced to wander one day into the woods of Nan Elmoth and there he encountered Melian busy at her work.
"What troubles you my dear?" Melian stroked Elwe's silvery-grey hair away from his forehead. "I do not like to see these lines of concern on your face." She traced the lines with the soft tips of her fingers.
They lay together on the grass beneath the trees. She had doffed her filmy gown in order to lie naked with her lover, to explore his fine body with her loving touches. Above them were sumptuous tapestries woven by her of flowers and vines of wondrous beauty and the enchantment she created kept them in its glow, unaware of anything else in the world.
"I want to know all about you. I marvel at your beauty," she whispered to him. She craved to find out all she could about this beautiful man.
Elwe propped himself on one elbow and gazed at her. "I promised my people we would travel to Aman to see the light of the trees," he sighed. "But here I linger and while I would not be parted from you anymore than I would wish to be parted from life, I feel guilty for not keeping my promise to those who believed that I would lead them to a safe place where they would no longer fear a terrible tyrant or endure attacks from his creatures."
"What would you suggest we do, my love?" Melian moved away from him and picked up her gown. She quickly dressed, sat down on a nearby log and smoothed her dress around her.
Staring at this marvelous woman, marveling at her grace and beauty, Elwe was profoundly moved. He knew in that moment he would never leave this place despite his promises to his people, despite the danger that he imagined lay ahead of him.
"So," he said after a long silence. "I have decided that I will stay here with you. I will not return to my people. As much as this fact fills me with sorrow, it is fortunate that I have a brother, Olwe, who is loved as much by my followers as am I and I can see that he will lead them to safety in my stead. Come, let us go and explore of this forest and these lands."
"My dear Elwe, are you sure you are happy with your decision?"
He gazed upon her beauty and clasped her face in his hands. "Oh yes," he murmured. "Very happy."
Hand in hand they went together into the deeper woods.
In Olwe's camp many elves sat in small groups murmuring among themselves. Their soft voices blended with the babbling of a nearby brook and the screeching cries of night fowl.
One of the group leaders, a tall, striking elf named Lenwe approached Olwe, who stood with his back against a tree, his shoulders slumped forward. His face was lined with worry and had taken on a grey tinge that almost matched the colour of his hair.
"My followers are worried about your brother," Lenwe told him. "Some of them want to go out and look for him while the rest wish to continue on our journey west. I don't know what we should do. I'm sorry...I know you are worried about Elwe too."
Elwe looked up at him, his grey eyes brimming with tears. "I know not what has happened to Elwe," he replied, "He wanted nothing more but to see the trees of light. I am worried that I have lost him but I feel that he is safe. I think I would feel something if he had met with danger." He held a hand to his heart.
"What do you think we should do?" Lenwe asked.
"You tell me that our people are of two minds," Olwe said after a brief silence. "One group wishes to follow Orome to Aman and the other wishes to go south to look for Elwe - which group would you prefer to lead? I feel we two should split up so that we can each fulfill the desires all of our people, even though it means further separation."
Lenwe smiled for the first time in many days. Relief revealed a beautiful, unlined face beaming with happiness and resolve.
"I would prefer to lead the group that wishes to look for Elwe," he said quickly. "Although he is your brother, but if you wish to lead that group then I will gladly step aside for you."
"Oh no," Olwe replied. He beamed brightly and took Lenwe's hand. "We are in perfect agreement. I know my brother was adamant in his wish to see the trees of Valinor. If he cannot fulfill this wish then I will do it in his stead. I dearly wish to go to Aman. I am glad that we will both be happy with our choices." He squeezed Lenwe's hand tightly in a gesture of friendship.
"I shall be sorry that we must be parted," he said with a sigh. "And I wish you well and those who follow you a safe journey. It seems that it is the destiny of our people to split apart and spread ourselves all over these lands."
Lenwe bowed his fair head. "Thank you, my lord Olwe," he said reverently. "May you have a safe journey as well, and I hope you find what you are looking for."
Olwe embraced his friend. "You as well, Lenwe. I hope that your search will be successful and that you and your people will find safety and happiness wherever you may go. If you discover what has happened to my brother, give him my love and best regards, for I fear we shall not meet again. But you and he may yet do so."
About the Author
This author has been writing Tolkien fanfiction since 2005 but has been a fan of the books of JRR Tolkien and the films of Peter Jackson since long before that time. Other interests are too numerous to list but include reading historical fiction and watching European mystery series such as 'Nordic Noir' and British crime dramas. Another favourite series is George R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and the related television series Game of Thrones. But the author has never written in that fandom.
Pen or username: just_jenni or jenni4765 on AO3
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