Disclaimer:Not mine; Tolkien's. I intend no infringement of copyright and am making no money from this.
Summary:What happens when you get all the Valar in one room? Chaos, rampaging elves, marital disputes and Manwë hiding under the table, that's what.
Manwë was in a very bad mood. Varda had dragged him out of bed to come to this wretched meeting, when he had fully intended to hide underneath the covers until it was over.
"I do not see why we should have to do this," he whispered to his impassive spouse.
"Because we do." Varda shrugged her impossibly beautiful shoulders. "You know what He will get like if we do not. Now get on with it."
"Ahem." The Lord of the Breath of Arda rose to his feet. "Before I call this meeting to order, is everyone here?"
The Valar returned blank stares.
"Very well. As no one is going to be cooperative, when I point to you, can you call out your names."
Just when they had got to Oromë, who was yawning expansively as he had been hunting and had not slept, there was a commotion outside and Námo entered, clutching a tea towel to his arm. He plonked himself down in the chair next to Manwë, managing to drip blood all over the order of business.
"Fëanor bit me again," he grunted in explanation. "The little bastard does not know when it is prudent to keep his teeth to himself."
"Have you thought of gagging him?" Ulmo asked, still fuming at having been made to attend. He had never liked Fëanor after the unfortunate incident at Aqualondë, and would be quite happy if he was trussed like a yule roast and suspended from the rafters of the Halls by his fingernails.
"I did. He chewed through it. I should have left him to it, but he was trying to take a chunk out of Elwë, and we would never have heard the end of it from Melian once she found out."
"I do not know," Irmo put in. "The last time I saw her, she was threatening to take an axe to him herself about the whole business with the Silmaril."
"Really? But then she always was a flighty one. I remember when, in the Timeless Halls, she tried to introduce something she called 'jazz' into the Music."
"Oh yes. And do you remember what Ilúvatar had to say about that one…"
"Are we going to hold this meeting, or are we going to gossip like a bunch of Teleri after a particularly good haul of mackerel?" Manwe demanded. As Estë looked as if she was about to voice a preference for the latter, he cannoned on. "I now call this meeting to order. The first business is to discuss the minutes of the previous meeting."
"There is a problem with that," Yavanna exclaimed waspishly, "as Vána made them sprout daisies and they are now completely illegible."
"Me?" The Valie's face was innocent, unless one looked into her eyes, in which case a definite spark of mischief was perceptible. "Why would I do such a thing as that?"
"Perhaps because the minutes pointed out that I am the Queen of the Earth, not you?"
There was an audible clunk as Manwë's mighty head hit the table.
"Shall we just move onto the next business, which is the repairs needed to the Ring of Doom," he muttered round a mouthful of paper. "I believe that Varda has something to say about this."
"Yes." The Lady of the Stars stood up, gently smoothing down the skirts of her flowing dress. "There is so much mildew in the privies that it looks as if it were a garden. No wonder that no one wishes to go there."
"Cannot the Elves do something about it?"
"Since when have they ever been any use at anything?" Námo snorted, prodding at his wound cautiously. "It is all 'La la la … look at the stars … la la la … woe is us because we have a damnable obsession with sparkly things."
"Oh be quiet! They are not at all like that." Ulmo joined the fray. "Anyway, I believe that it is mostly Aulë's Maiar who are obsessed with jewels … I cannot imagine where they got it from."
"Why does everyone blame it on me?" Aulë scowled. "It was two … two out of literally hundreds, and everyone treats it like it is some congenital defect in them."
"Oh shush, Ni." Irmo elbowed his sister, who had begun to weep uncontrollably as the oblique reference to the Silmarilli brought on a flashback to the demise of the Two Trees. "Look, if it makes it all better, I shall deal with the mildew."
"Fine." Manwë tried not to think of the last time Irmo had attempted repair work: all the Elves who had used that particular public building complained of ear-splitting headaches accompanied by visions. On the upside, none of them had had large chunks of masonry land on their heads, although many of them would have preferred it. "Now we move on to the reports. Námo?"
"Apart from rampaging fear, you mean? Well, I have had to stop Melian from sneaking in through the back door twice this week. For some reason, the silly chit still will not believe that disembodied spirits do not need food parcels. Maedhros still will not leave, although I have told him that he can, and I really need the space after the latest war with Sauron. Oh, and there are a couple of humans who refuse to pass beyond the world."
"Who are they?" Vairë enquired, doodling a design for her latest tapestry in the margin of a piece of paper. "You were going to tell me, but you got a bit … ah … distracted…"
Námo blushed a deep scarlet.
"One is the Peredhil's daughter and the other is her husband."
"Well, get rid of them, or who knows what new torture Him Upstairs will inflict upon us," Tulkas yawned, stretching his brawny limbs and accidentally kicking Nienna in the process. She burst into tears again.
"You may say that," Námo replied testily, "but it is not that easy…"
"It is your job." Manwe cut him off. "Yavanna?"
"Nothing much to say, really. More trees, more flowers. Spring, summer, autumn, and winter: the usual."
"Nessa, stop dancing in the corner and come and give us your report."
"There is a new trend for eating venison at every meal in Gondor," she sighed, her eyes growing moist. Nienna patted her on the shoulder, glad – in so far as she could be – to have a companion in misery. "I like deer and now they are eating them all the time. It is just not fair."
Oromë laughed. "Oops, I think that was one of my ideas. Sorry."
As the Vala was blathering on about new developments in the delivery of visionary dreams, the door suddenly burst open. Elrond Peredhil stood among the shattered remnants, glowering as only he could. Manwë crawled out from under the table, where he had retired in boredom and despair, and passed the time poking Irmo's feet in the hope that he would be quiet, and conducting a detailed study of Varda's legs.
"What are you doing here, elfling?" He drew himself upright, trying to look majestic but failing dismally.
"I would like my daughter back," Elrond explained in curt tones.
"You know that is impossible," Varda soothed him. "Dear child, she has gone beyond the circles of Arda, as do all Men."
"But I know otherwise. Estë told me that Arwen and Aragorn reside yet in the Halls of Awaiting, refusing to leave this world."
"You told him?" Irmo glared at his spouse.
"I was only doing what I always do: healing hurts." Estë looked nonchalant.
"Wait a minute!" Vairë was incandescent with rage. "You told your brother before me? And then he told his wife, and she told the peredhel?"
"I would have told you." Mandos tried to pacify her. "But we became otherwise engaged."
"Well, you need have no fear of such engagements in the foreseeable future." Vairë shuffled her chair round to join the huddle which already contained Nessa and Nienna.
"I am waiting," Elrond reminded them.
"You see it is not possible. The fates of Men and Elves are sunder … what are you doing, Aulë?"
"Who made this table?"
"Well, it is bloody useless. Another yén at the most and all you will have is a pile of dust. You should have asked me. I could have made a much better one for you: sleek mithril, encrusted with diamonds and sapphires, very tasteful."
"Oh just leave the damn table." Manwe snapped. "We could sit on the floor with a couple of packing crates from the move from Almaren for all I care. Now, Elrond Peredhil, while your children remain in the Halls for the moment, they will soon depart."
"Because that is the way of things."
"Because." The Lord of the Breath of Arda was flummoxed. "It just is, alright?"
"But you changed it for Tuor. I saw him with my own eyes. Why cannot the same be true for all?"
Manwë shuddered. Idril had the most vivid imagination and had promised unspeakable torments if her husband died. Thus, it was relief that he saw a new head peer round the battered lintel, crowned with hair as silvery pale as Ithil.
"Daughter of Galadriel!" he hailed her. "Have you come to retrieve your husband?"
"Nay. I rather thought that I might tell you something which I learnt from Idril Celebrindal." She leant in close to that divine ear and whispered softly. Manwë blanched and gripped the table tightly in imagined pain.
"Very well. They shall be returned to you. Mandos, please take our … charming visitors and release the Evenstar and Elessar to new bodies. Please?"
He fought to regain his composure as the couple followed the Doomsman from the room. Really, some of the things these females could think up…
"Well, Nienna, can you give us your report?"
"Why should I?" she returned sullenly, wiping tears from her eyes, and Varda nodded in agreement.
Manwë sighed. It was going to be a very, very long day.