Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dawn of the Fourth Age - "Aule in Mandos"

When asked by the RP leaders in Second Life's "Dawn of the Fourth Age" RP why Aulë didn't appear in Alqulaondë more often, the obvious answer is that Aulë bases out of distant Valimar. When asked to provide an RP regarding what he'd been doing, I wrote something they liked well enough to post to their blogspot site with no changes at all (a rarity, I'm told). Disappointingly for me, they chose to have others continue the the story arc without my input. Good luck to them.


This letter is carried by a maia in the form of a badger:

"To the High King of Arda, Manwë Sulímo
A letter from Aulë Talka Marda
Written in the Halls of Mandos, the ancient secret cells of Melko,
On this Spring Equinox of the year eleven of the fourth Age of the Sun and Moon

My dearest Lord High King, Aratar and Brother in the will of Eru Ilúvatar:

It is with regret that I find myself detained interminably in the duty of enlarging the Halls of the Dead in anticipation of the armies of the dead that would arrive here at the passing of the Third Age. Although I am weary of this work, I sending this letter at my first opportunity to explain my prolonged absence and request your further forbearance in the completion of my duties.

My duty is ever to oversee, if not construct personally, the major works and domains of the Vala in the World and the immortal souls that dwell there, and this project no less than others has occupied my thought and energies these many long months. A great deal of the needed space has already been hollowed and finished, nearly enough to accommodate all anticipated need for the next few centuries.

Now the trap of Melko, who dwelt for three long ages here in the Halls of Mandos, has sprung on me. He, while here, was not idle: he left what I can only describe as arcane and obscene graffiti on the dark walls and stones deeps around the perimeter of the caverns of the dead, hidden through four long ages until I and my people discovered the beginnings of them while enlarging the Halls. Some of these diagrams and paragraphs, scrawled in Black Speech, in Valarin, in Quenya and Sindarin and Common tongue, and even, frighteningly, in Khuzdul, describe horrible procedures and rituals for making natural beasts into fell creatures, for subverting fair plant-life into poisonous abominations, for devising destructive energies both physical and magical and emotional torments to break the sane mind. Some appear to be insane and demonic raving. Some are taunts written to me by name. Some are potent wards and spells that catch and bend the mind and body and spirit of those who happen on them.

These dark magics Melko left here are most dangerous and strong. On unexpectedly finding and opening these secret cells and the magics therein, six Maiar were quite badly damaged by the energies unleashed on the opening of the wards: those I sent with escort to the Lake of Estë to rest and recover. Three were rendered insane: those I sent with an escort to the Gardens of Lorien to find peace and calm. I dismissed almost all of the Maiar who aid me in this excavation and stone work in the Halls. The remainder I sent to complete the small remaining work of finishing the new Halls extension, then resume their duties in Valinor. There is some secrecy among us about this discovery, but a secret known to more than three is no secret, therefore I asked no oath of them for silence, only their wisdom in sharing what they know.

After hiding the entries to Melko's cell in Mandos, so that none of the wandering ghosts or spirits nearby will happen here, I and only two of the most magically adept Maia in my service are slowly and carefully dispelling the runes and enchantments we find, and wiping away the danger in the walls of the old cells of Melko in Mandos. The magics sometimes surprise me in the strength and subtlety, but I take grim satisfaction in seeing them dissected and dismantled one by one. We are carefully recording what Melko wrote and devised, for whatever else he is, he is clever and subtle. This prolongs the time it will take us to cleanse them all before we vacate this place for it is too fraught with peril until this work is done, thus I am effectively trapped and cannot anticipate the end of it since Melko spent many long idle years creating this ghastly and abominable testament.

Further, I must confess to you now, my Lord, that your brother Melko anticipated that I would be among those who found these writings, and his writings to me personally do pierce my heart. In example, there is one long quarto laying at my feet the troubles of the Noldor: He writes that my dealings with the Noldor was detrimental to them, that my attitude of teaching the most willing while neglecting the unwilling cultivated elitism among them, that my favoritism of some among them harbored alienation among them, that my teaching metallurgy directly brought about the Banishment of Fëanor and therefore the Kinslaying of the Teleri Elves of Alqualondë, that my renouncing my love for them separated them from the Vala who would aid them in Middle Earth, that they would be better and truer Children of Iluvatar had I not meddled in their affairs, that I did a fine job of molding them to be haughty and dangerous, nearly as well as he might have himself. These are clever deceit and false causation in sooth, but also in sooth these echo some of the fears in my own heart. Even now how can I face the Noldor who have returned to Aman when I forswore my friendship and patronage to them in ages past? I would not treat them with enmity, but my heart is broken still, and I cannot face those I once called "Aulendil". I am uneager to walk under the sun or moon or stars of Aman yet for my heart is too heavy for now.

Now I know that I am missed and loved in Aman and I miss these dear ones also. Yavanna or any of the Valar or Maiar would rush to aid me and even dwarves and elves also at even a hint of my request and need but I would not wish this. You know that this news will dismay many into pointless turmoil and rash actions, thus I must invoke your circumspection regarding it, if you will. I fear that even this outcome, of either isolating myself from my loved ones or placing them in peril, is one that Melko devised as an energy draining and time-consuming, delayed and poignant revenge on me for his own chains. It is only a matter of some finite time, though, before this, my fated work, is done and well done.

In the meanwhile, I pray and request that you will advise me as you will. The maia bearing this letter knows the way to me, and can return safely to me on your order. I further pray that you will find some way to relay something of my situation without alarming those we love, and to convey my best wishes and hopes for a speedy return to those who care for me.

I remain ever yours, in the building of Arda,
Aulë Talka Marda

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