A/N: this fic was written in memory of Fiondil who passed away on January 28, 2015. I have greatly enjoyed his stories over the years and it is his Námo that I have chosen portray in this fic in his honor, as my own take on the Lord of Mandos is a bit different.
Estel was standing in a large hall built of dark stone. The floor was of black marble with veins of white and silver. In the center of the room was a dais and on it was a throne that was made out of what appeared to be black glass. As Estel waked closer to it he noticed that the glass had bands of purple, blue and green in it. He jumped in surprise as suddenly there was someone sitting in throne that had been quite empty. Peering at the stranger, Estel thought he must be an Elf for he was very tall and his black hair was braided.
"What do you do here, Child?" the Elf asked in Sindarin. His voice was deep like the beat of a drum.
"I…I don't know," Estel said in the same language. "Sir." He added, because he felt he ought to.
He looked around but saw no one else. "I was in bed," he explained. "I have been sick. Ada says I have Scarlet Fever. But then I was here. Maybe this is a dream?"
"What is your name, Child?" the Elf questioned, frowning.
"My name is Estel. What is yours?" Estel asked, trying to be polite.
"I am called Námo," the Elf said, watching him closely with grey eyes.
"That is Quenya…. Námo… I think that it means, judge?" he guessed.
"Indeed it does, Child."
"That is a silly name," Estel said. "Who would name someone Judge?'
"Who would name someone Hope?" Námo countered, smiling slightly.
Estel flushed. "I'm sorry. I was not being rude on purpose."
"I know you were not, Child. Come here," he beckoned.
Estel hesitated, then went to the base of the dais. He saw that the black tunic the strange Elf was wearing had sliver and purple butterflies embroidered on it. To his surprise, Estel was picked up and placed on Námo's lap. Estel was too big for such things now as he was going on eight years old. But he supposed that he was considered quite small by the Elf who was so very tall that Estel's head was below his neck. He cautiously leaned back into Námo's chest and craned his neck to see if he could make out where the room's light was coming from as he could see no candles or lamps.
"Do you know where you are, Child?" Námo asked.
"Not really," he admitted. "Should I?"
"Nay, Child. I would be surprised if you did." he replied gently. "You are in my Halls. You may have heard of them before. They are called Mandos,"
Estel shivered and Námo's wrapped warm arms around him.
"But I can't be in Mandos!" he protested.
"Why not, Child?"
"Because that would mean that you are the Lord of Mandos," he said.
"I am also called that, Child."
"But you can't be! You are too nice. Glorfindel tells me stories about the dread Lord of Mandos and he said that he is really frightening," Estel said earnestly.
"I shall have to have a talk with Glorfindel when I next see him," Námo said wryly. "About the kinds of stories he tells to children."
"Glorfindel tells the best stories. You won't be angry with him?" Estel hoped he had not gotten his friend in trouble.
"Nay, Child. I am not angry. You need not fear for your friend," Námo sounded amused.
"See, you aren't very scary." Estel observed.
"I am quite pleased to hear you say that, Child." Námo said, laughing. "But there are many whom would disagree with you."
Estel thought for a moment.
"If you are the Lord of Mandos, then you are not an Elf?"
"Indeed, Child. I am not an Elf."
"Oh," he said, looking at the sleeve of Námo's tunic. "Why do you have butterflies on your tunic?" Estel asked.
"Because I like them. Do you not enjoy them also?" Námo asked.
"Yes… but butterflies are not scary." Estel said. "As the Lord of Mandos, you should have chosen something scarier."
"I see," Námo said, much amused. "What should I have chosen instead, Child?"
"Bats," Estel said firmly. "I do not like bats. Or maybe spiders. Spiders are scary. My Brother's told me that in Mirkwood they have spiders bigger than I am!" he shuddered at the thought.
"That would be frightening," Námo agreed with a small smile.
Estel was quiet for a time.
"Lord Námo?" he asked tentatively.
"If I am here, does that mean I am dead?"
"Not as such, Child." Námo sighed. "It is difficult to explain,"
"That's what Ada says when he thinks I won't understand something," Estel grumbled.
"Then I will endeavor to explain it to you, Child." Námo said. "You are very ill and your Adar is doing his best to save you. He is of the line of Lúthien and is using powers to aide you that he does not fully understand. This has caused your sprit to flee here while your Adar is keeping your body alive."
"Ada is using magic?"
"You might call it that, yes." Námo said thoughtfully.
"Then I will be able to go back home?"
"Yes, Child. If your Adar succeeds, you shall return home."
"And if he doesn't?" Estel asked, worried.
"Let us not consider such a thing until it happens, Child." Námo said softly. "For now we will wait for your Adar."
"I didn't know Ada could do magic," Estel said. "But what are we going to do while we wait?"
"I could tell you a story. You enjoy stories, do you not?"
"Yes! I want to hear a story,"
Námo began to tell a story and Estel listened, expression rapt. Not long after, an Elf appeared in the center of the hall. He wore a white robe and his haggard face was framed by dark hair bound in braids.
"Ada!" Estel shouted happily, squirming in Námo's lap, seeking to run to his Father.
"Be still, Child." Námo said, holding him firm.
Elrond paled as he saw the Doomsman of the Valar holding Estel.
"My Lord," he said, bowing low before the throne.
"Well met, Child." Námo said. "I had hoped you would find your way here,"
He stood, caring Estel easily in his arms, and walked over to the Peredhel, whom stiffened. Námo handed Estel to Elrond whom took him into his arms, holding him tightly.
"Ada! Lord Námo was telling me a story about a lady named Lúthien who came here like me and sang him a song,"
"I see," Elrond said faintly, staring at the Lord of Mandos.
Námo reached out and stroked Estel's hair gently and the boy's eyes drooped until they closed, the child falling asleep.
"Be at peace, I have not harmed your son." he said gently, noticing the stricken look on Elrond face. "Yet I thought it best that he does not remember our meeting. It will be as if this was a dream he vaguely remembers."
"Thank you, my Lord." the Peredhel said quietly. "For keeping him safe. And for returning him to me."
"It was my pleasure. He is a charming child. Yet he has a destiny that he cannot fulfill it if he remains here."
"Thank you," Elrond repeated, clutching Estel to him.
"You cannot keep him forever, Child." Námo said softly.
"I know," Elrond sighed. "Yet I will cherish what little time we have together."
"You have healed his body?" Námo asked.
Elrond nodded. "Enough that his spirit might return to it,"
"I would warn you against attempting such a thing again, Child. It may not go as well," Námo advised.
"I understand. I hope to never have the need to once more employ such methods."
"Then it is time for you to return to your proper sphere, Child." Námo said.
"Yes, my Lord." Elrond bowed awkwardly, still holding Estel.
"Yet I would be grateful if you reminded Gorfindel not to frighten children with tales about me," Námo smiled wryly.
Elrond's eyes went wide in surprise, then he laughed. "I will do so, my Lord. Yet I fear it will not do much good. Gorfindel is incorrigible."
"Indeed," Námo agreed, sounding amused. "Farewell, Child."
"Farewell, my Lord." Elrond replied.
And the hall was suddenly empty once more.
Black glass (English): this is rainbow obsidian. The colors are caused by inclusions of magnetite nanoparticles.
Ada (Sindarin): 'Daddy'.
Adar (Sindarin): 'Father'.
Peredhel (Sindarin): 'Half-Elf'.