Oromë's woods were very peaceful;
that was the first impression to assail the Doomsman.
There was a soft thrum of life pulsing through the surroundings,
invigorating the soul like a drink revitalized a thirsty body.
Slowly the great Vala walked through
the lush forest. He had snuck
into his brother's realm under the rather embarrassing surge of power his
wife had let loose. Námo was
rather surprised that Oromë had not taken her to task, but then Oromë
did things differently than his kin.
Curiosity was an odd thing, Námo
reflected. Never before would
he have spent so long in another's realm without making himself known, but
he had been curious about his wife's intentions, curious about where she
would go and what she would do.
He tracked her easily enough, though
he considered that this was probably intentional.
Or more likely, Vairë simply did not care what he did or what he
should know. But he had
dampened his power nonetheless, hiding from her.
So he could not know what she would have done or said if she had
known he was listening. She had hardly the power to sense him when he cloaked
himself. Nor did Oromë for
that matter. Doubtless only
Manwë and Varda (when she was paying attention) could spot him when he
wished to remain hidden.
Námo had watched her speak to the
half-elf. Elladan had looked
adorably confused, though her words seemed plain enough to him.
He had been surprised that she would be so candid.
Vairë certainly seemed quite confident in her prophecy.
And she seemed quite determined to see it carried out.
The Doomsman wondered what he should think of that.
After she had left so suddenly, Námo
was a little alarmed when Elladan then went directly back to Oromë's
lodge. Though he had never
felt it before, a slight twinge of what might have been embarrassment
assailed him. What would his
brother think of this odd prophecy his wife was so set upon?
What would he think that his wife was the one who brought it
But the rational part of his soul soon
asserted itself. Doubtless if
Elladan were to say anything at all to anyone it would be to his father.
Námo had already noted the close bond between father and sons.
Such bonds between kin were always heartwarming, especially after
the debacle with Finwë and his sons.
Námo's belief that Elladan would not
approach Oromë seemed confirmed when he did not feel the slightest twinge
of power emanating from his brother.
It seemed likely that Elladan would now turn in for the night and
there was no need for the Doomsman to remain, but Námo felt oddly
reluctant to leave. Instead
he began to meander down some half-forgotten forest path leading deeper
into the woods.
Time had no meaning for him, but he
knew it was awhile before it occurred to him that he really should make
his presence known. With just
the slightest tap on Oromë's soul, he gently identified himself.
Oromë responded with a polite pulse of acknowledgement but
otherwise did nothing.
Námo startled, sure that Oromë
should at least come to see what he was up to. Of course Námo had not called for his attention, but still
it was quite rude to wander in someone else's domain without permission,
and usually to obtain such consent any respectable Vala would ask why the
intruder was there. Very
The Doomsman was so intrigued that he
found his path winding back to Oromë's home. Perhaps the Hunter could help him. Oromë seemed to have a better understanding of elves then
any of the other Valar.
But it was Elladan, not Oromë that
greeted him when he returned to the low lodge. The half-elf was walking peacefully in his father's herb
garden, lost in thought. Námo
stopped near the edge of the woods, simply taking a moment to gaze on the
A sudden inconvenient snap of a tree
branch falling to the forest floor caused Elladan's head to snap around
and look straight in Námo's direction.
The half-elf froze for a moment, before slowly turning around.
It was clear he intended to approach the Doomsman.
A fluttery, foreign feeling danced in Námo's stomach.
Was this what it was like to be nervous?
If it was he didn't care for it at all.
Elladan almost jumped out of his skin
at the sudden pop of splitting wood.
Spinning around, he was unprepared for what greeted him.
The same face that had haunted his dreams for centuries.
Námo, the Doomsman of the Valar,
stood perfectly still just a few feet away, his attention focused on the
half-elf. Elladan was far too
startled to think, moving on impulse instead.
If he had followed his head, he would have worried about his recent
meeting with Vairë or the impossibility of such a mighty, untouchable
Vala having any interest in him. But
he didn't think these things. The
only thing in his head was that he wanted to see Námo again, he wanted to
talk to him, find out more about him.
With this in mind Elladan slowly
approached the imposing Vala. Námo
made no move to avoid him, his depthless eyes remaining eerily steadfast
on Elladan's face.
"Um, hello," the half-elf
said hesitantly when he was a few feet away. The Valar nodded in response.
"Greetings," Námo said, his
voice so deep it was more felt than heard. Elladan was perversely glad that he spoke aloud.
He had never understood how his father could stand to have an
entire conversation with his husband without physically speaking.
It always felt so lonely to Elladan.
Not to mention he felt a little soft in the head when hearing
voices no one else could.
"So, um, are you here to see
Tauron?" Elladan asked, hoping it was not so but unable to think of
any other reason. Námo gave
a gesture that could have been a shrug.
"I was passing near here and
thought it best to make myself known to my kinsman," the other
responded solemnly, not particularly helping the conversation along.
"Oh," Elladan said.
The moment's lull brought back his uncertainties with full force.
Taking a deep breath, he thought it best to plunge into his biggest
insecurity. "So, I met
your wife today."
Námo regarded him thoughtfully.
"Yes, I heard her presence here," he said without emotion.
"Oh you did?
Um, then do you know what she wanted?" Elladan asked, finding
that he had inherited some of his father's curiosity.
He couldn't just let the matter alone like Oromë had suggested.
But really, when a Vala took the time to personally tell you
something, it just begged to be of some importance.
The dark Vala remained quite still for
a very long time. Oddly such
a long silence seemed right for him and it did not bother Elladan much.
"Vairë feels I need some anchor to this world," Námo
said at length, far after the half-elf had given up on being answered and
given himself over to simply being moonstruck at the Vala's beautiful
"Huh? What?" Elladan asked,
snapped out of his reverie.
"Vairë feels I need some anchor
to this world," Námo patiently repeated.
"And that was what she was trying
to tell me?" the half-elf asked incredulously, not able to take that
meaning away from the conversation he remembered.
But Námo nodded seriously.
She believes that you would be a good anchor.
She believes that you are destined for it."
So what does that mean exactly?
What does an anchor do?" Elladan asked, hoping whatever it was
it would mean spending more time with the mysterious Vala standing before
Námo cocked his head to the side in
response. "That is an
interesting question. Vairë
believes it to be one thing, to which I am dubious.
But I have never felt her so determined, so sure of herself before,
and I find I cannot discount her design offhand.
I have reflected on it, and I believe her to be correct that I am
in need of an anchor, but I disagree on the nature that it should take.
Thus perhaps you are the anchor I need and perhaps not."
Elladan's brows drew closer together
as the Vala spoke until he wore a thoroughly confused expression upon his
handsome face. "Oookay.
I have no idea what you just said," he said honestly, hoping
underneath that enigmatic exterior was a Vala more like Oromë, in touch
with the younger races.
The corner of Námo's mouth twitched
slightly in what might have been amusement or annoyance.
Like most things about the Vala, Elladan couldn't tell.
"It does not matter much.
If you are meant to be my anchor, then you will be.
If not, then you will not be.
If Vairë's vision is true, then it will come to pass.
If not, then there is no need to consider it," Námo said
wisely. But Elladan was a
little thrown by that last part. You
would have to know whether the vision were true before you knew if it
should be considered, but you could only know that after you had
considered it, right? And
weren't they considering it right now?
So did that mean it would come to pass?
Elladan's head hurt and he didn't even know what Vairë's vision
was. He was beginning to
think Oromë was right. Best
not to think about it.
"Well, um, if you're not doing
anything at the moment, would you like to take a walk by the river with
me. Father says the
wildflowers are in full bloom and he'd like a few to test their healing
properties. But Tauron says
he doesn't know their properties very well.
Perhaps you might," Elladan said in a rush, trying to lessen
the obviousness of his intentions. He
got the distinct feeling he had failed miserably.
"I fear I do not have much time
to spare," Námo said slowly, obviously trying to be tactful.
"I had only wished to give my regard to my brother before
returning to my halls."
"But surely there is sometime
when you could spare the time," Elladan persisted.
He was already looking the fool.
It hardly mattered if he made it worse, and he wanted this.
Námo looked undecided.
"I do not know. . ." he began, but drifted off seeing the
pleading look in the half-elf's eyes.
"Please," Elladan said,
trying to look pathetic. It
was a well-tested strategy of his that worked beautifully on his father.
"I'm sure the dead can spare you for a few hours.
It's only this once." That
being only once to pick flowers by the river.
He'd find another excuse after that.
Námo hesitated for another long
moment before quietly exhaling. "Very
well," he conceded. "I
shall meet you tomorrow at daybreak."
He was beginning to understand what Oromë meant when he talked
about determined half-elves always getting their way.
Elladan smiled brilliantly.
"Great. I shall
meet you by the river bend."
The Doomsman nodded gravely.
"As you like. Now
I must really be on my way," he said a moment before disappearing
from view. Elladan was
actually not that startled. A
joyful bubble had formed in his heart and he was sure he was floating a
mile off the ground.
"I did not know you were fond
of matchmaking games," Námo thought quietly, appearing in the
dimly lit kitchen. Oromë was
still sitting at the table, occasionally eating a slice of cheese.
He barely looked up at the arrival of his kinsman.
"Mmm, did you like that?
I fear Elrond has been a bad influence on me," the Hunter
said, gesturing for Námo to join him at the table.
It seemed like such an odd thing to do, to invite a Vala who had no
need of food or drink, who's time was never his own, to sit and partake in
a meal. It was such a novel
idea that Námo found himself sitting before he could think about it.
"I should imagine you could
think of something better than a falling tree branch," Námo
said, looking speculatively at a slab of yellow cheese.
"Why?" Oromë asked,
looking amused. But then Oromë
almost always looked happy, something the other Valar always noted about
him. "If I have
learned anything from my beloved, it is that the simplest solutions are
often the best. Why go to all
the trouble for something more elaborate?
It worked, did it not? You
and Elladan spoke."
Námo thoughtfully bit into the
cheese, tasting the substance for the first time. "Then you are aware of Vairë's . . . vision?"
he asked. His hesitation did
not go unnoticed by his companion.
"Elladan told me what she said
to him. I take it you do not
"Do you?" Námo asked
curiously, setting the cheese aside. It tasted far too . . . unusual.
Looking at it, the twinkle in Oromë's eye sparkled a little
"I see no reason not to.
Do you ask this because you do not?
Námo did not answer right away,
concentrating on the wine bottle sitting unused between them.
"Does it not seem . . . strange that Vairë should do this.
We are married. Why
then should she wish to see me with another . . . unless she is unhappy?
Unless I have failed in some way."
Oromë tilted his head to the side, his expression turning serious. Perhaps if Námo were to talk to any other Valar, they might think it strange or even frightening to feel the chord of confusion in the Doomsman. But it seemed perfectly natural to Oromë, who knew what it was to fall in love.
"Do you say this because there
is some particular offense you feel guilty of?
Perhaps a longing in your soul you do not feel you have repressed
sufficiently?" Oromë asked, quite certain of the answer.
Námo's eyes narrowed, looking
suspiciously at his kinsman. "Do
you sense such in me? Am I so
The Hunter sighed.
"I sense nothing like that in you.
Certainly you know that none can read your heart save if you wish
"Then why do you suggest it?"
Oromë remained silent for a long moment, debating whether to reveal or not. "Because I have seen Elladan struggle with the same thing," he said on a heavy sigh, a deep sorrow in his eyes.
Námo stilled at the words. His mind opened in the obvious refutation 'what had Elladan to do with him?' But he quickly closed it again. The denial was unworthy of them both.
Both were silent for a very long time. Oromë reached for the wine bottle and poured for them both, but Námo's remained untouched.
"Then you do believe
"What she says does not
surprise me. I have seen it
from Elladan's side, though I thought it in vain.
For his sake I am glad that it might not be so," Oromë
said seriously. Námo took
the news stoically, and the Hunter could not guess his thoughts.
"Then you believe I should
abandon Vairë for another even though there has before now been nothing
between the half-elf and myself?"
"I do not think you are
abandoning her. Destiny is a
tricky thing. It holds more
firmly for we that see farther, but it is the younger races who are more
at ease with it. Too often it
seems that we have no destiny, that we are merely shepherds of the One's
plan and that He has no plan for us either.
But as my own case illustrates, that is hardly the case.
We are as much His children as the younger races and He loves us
equally. He would not leave
you to stagnate. Besides,
Vairë seems to understand. It
was she who saw it first."
"Why do you suppose that is?
Why should she have seen this?" Námo said in that tone
that suggested he already knew. Oromë
now wondered if he knew half of what he seemed to.
"Obviously because she is the
one best suited to see it come to fruition.
The only obstacle to a union between yourself and Elladan would be
"We are Vala and Half-elf.
Is that not an obstacle in itself?"
Oromë scowled at the other Vala.
"Surely you jest. Do
you then think that I should not be with my husband?" he
"No, of course not.
But you and he were destined for each other from the moment of your
formation. This is different.
I have been with Vairë for Ages.
If I were meant to be with another, then He would have told me then
as He did you."
"You seem to ask a lot of the
Creator," Oromë said mildly, though such a comment to another
Vala could not but sting.
"What do you mean by that?"
Námo snapped. The Hunter
canted an eyebrow.
"Only that you expect
something from Him. Why does
He have to do something the same way twice?
How do you know it was better for you to know this destiny back
then? It seems to me the whole point of this new destiny is to introduce
you to mystery. If you were
expecting it then that seems to defeat the purpose, hmm?" Oromë
Sitting back Námo folded his arms
over his chest, a thoughtful expression on his face.
Oromë took the opportunity of silence to put the remnants of food
"Perhaps you are right,"
Námo said at length, unfolding his long arms.
"But I find I am unsure of what to do now."
Oromë returned to sit opposite his
kinsman. Boldly he placed a
supportive hand on Námo's arm. Surprisingly
the Vala who ruled over the cold Halls of Mandos was quite warm.
"Now you know how the younger
races feel every day of their lives," he said gently,
understanding that some part of His plan was to give Námo greater empathy
with his sister peoples.
"How do they stand it?"
"Pretty well actually,"
Oromë said. Seeing Námo's
dubious look, he smirked. "There
are enjoyable parts to it."
"Like what?" Námo
asked warily. Oromë laughed
"I will leave such joys for
you to discover," he said magnanimously.
Though it was impossible to tell, Oromë thought that Námo might
have rolled his eyes.
"Thank you so much,"
the Doomsman said, his voice completely devoid of all emotion so that Oromë
could not tell if he was serious or joking.
He didn't know which idea was more shocking.
Seeming to understand that he had
unsettled his kinsman, Námo stood up to leave. But before he could, the door opened unexpectedly and Elrond
entered, book still in hand and his focus completely on it.
Thankfully Oromë could see he was on the last page, which was
doubtless why he risked walking around with it.
But just to be sure, the Hunter
quickly stood up to make sure his husband didn't run into anything while
his attention was diverted. Námo
watched them silently from the shadows.
"Elrond," Oromë said,
trying to get his husband's attention.
"Hmm?" Elrond responded, not
looking up. A patiently
amused expression settled onto Oromë's face.
He pulled a chair out and maneuvered his husband into it, feeling
he would be out of trouble there. Honestly,
put a new book in either Elrond or Erestor's hands and that was the end of
interaction with them until they had consumed every word at least three
times. Oromë had spent a
considerable amount of time commiserating with Elrohir when they had first
moved to Valinor. But
fortunately both had found a rather effective way of grabbing their
Which was, of course, to actually grab
Oromë put this strategy into work
now, gently taking Elrond's chin into his large hand and turning his head
in his direction. Then he
kissed him breathless. But,
being well trained as he was, the large Vala had waited until Elrond had
set his book on the counter so it would come to no harm.
Námo was quite forgotten by the time
they drew apart. Elrond was a
lovely shade of pink, and Oromë was ready to dive back in when Elrond
glanced up and saw the Doomsman.
"Um, hello," he said shyly,
his delicate pink turning a becoming shade of red.
Námo remained absolutely still, his mysterious aura on full blast.
"Greetings," he said
"This is my kinsman, Námo,"
Oromë said, when Elrond looked to him.
"Oh," the half-elf said,
tilting his head slightly in a show of respect. "It's a pleasure to meet you. We weren't really properly introduced the last time I saw
you. And I've wished to thank
you for coming to my sons' rescue."
"It was my pleasure," the
Doomsman said graciously. Oromë
knew it was too, not merely because he had met Elladan (Oromë was fairly
sure that was actually a detraction for the havoc it was causing his
kinsman), but rather because Námo hated his job. He hated to see the suffering wrought by their fallen
brother. Oromë knew it must
have been a delight for him to actually prevent suffering and death.
Elrond smiled one of his sweetest
smiles that always made Oromë melt.
"I'm glad," he said, before glancing at his husband.
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
He was looking adorably embarrassed again.
"No, we have just concluded our business. You needn't feel as if you were imposing, certainly not in your own home," Námo said, slowly moving toward the door. It was hardly the normal way for him to go, but for Elrond's sake, he thought it polite not to simply disappear. Oromë knew that Námo held his husband in high esteem. That would make it much easier for him to be a son-in-law.
The thought struck Oromë as quite
funny and he shared it easily with his kinsman, including the flash of
mirth in his soul. Perhaps
that good feeling placated the other Vala, for he merely lifted a delicate
"I'll be right back,
dearest," Oromë said, quickly moving to follow the dark Vala out.
Námo waited just outside the kitchen looking at Oromë curiously
as it was obvious he felt their business was concluded.
"Námo, about what we were
discussing . . . it is obvious to me that you have doubts and it is true
that whatever Vairë sees or I wish, neither of us has the skill to know
His mind as you do. If you
truly want answers, if you are ready to face them, then I counsel you to
meditate on this. I know the
One would not leave you guideless in this area," the Hunter said.
Námo regarded him with a closed
counsel is wise. I shall do
as you ask."
Just don't forget your date with Elladan," Oromë said
with a smirk, watching the dark Vala disappear before his eyes.