Masha and Mo asked for a story in which Gandalf grieves for the loss of Anomen just as Legolas later grieves when Gandalf falls into the chasm of Moria. Masha, Mo, here is Part 1 of that story.
All you folks who were trying to figure out what 18th century novel I referred to in "The Tale Goes Ever On": Hey, I never said the fire in that novel was in the library! I was assuming that you'd focus on a completely different aspect of the episode rather than the location of the fire. I thought that the little detail of someone using his 'equipment' to put out a fire would kind of catch your attention! Apparently, all my readers were too virtuous to think about such a 'novel' use of that portion of a man's anatomy, hence everyone racking their brains to remember a fire that is specifically in a library! OK, here's the answer. In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, while Gulliver is in the land of the Lilliputians, the roof of a building catches on fire, and Gulliver 'hoses' it down, thereby saving the structure. Now, Jonathan Swift was an Anglican priest and the dean of a cathedral, so I figure, if he can get away with writing a story like that, well, then so can I!
I'd like to thank the following reviewers of "The Tale Goes Ever On" right here. Since that story is supposed to be a one-shot, there might not be an additional chapter where I can acknowledge people's contributions. So, thanks to the following: Andi-Black, Doyle, Dragonfly, Farflung, Grumpy, Joee, Karri, Kelly Kragen, Mo, and Terreis
Beta Reader for this story: Dragonfly, who caught a great number of errors and inconsistencies. Hannon le, mellon-nîn!
One final note: The italicized sections in today's story, where Gandalf is trying to put Anomen to sleep, are directly quoted from the Appendix to LOTR.
The Grief of Gandalf: Part 1
"Anomen!" scolded Elrond. "Cease this badgering, for such behavior is unseemly. Mithrandir has said 'no' repeatedly. And stop looking at us with that wide-eyed, innocent expression of yours. You may wheedle pastries from the Cook in that fashion, but I am an elf lord and Mithrandir is a wizard, and neither of us will be swayed by such tactics. Now be off with you before you are late for your archery lesson. Woe unto you if you are, for then Lord Glorfindel shall be displeased. And I wouldn't try that expression on him, neither!"
Anomen knew from bitter experience that what Elrond said was true. Even his most winning expression would be wasted on the balrog-slayer. He hastened to the training fields to join Elladan and Elrohir, who had already taken several practice shots.
"You are lucky that Glorfindel is at the other end of the field," said Elladan as Anomen ran up. "Remember yesterday he said that if you were late one more time he would make you glue fletching on a thousand arrows."
Anomen shuddered. He did not greatly mind being set to polishing armor, but he did hate the smell of the glue used to bind feathers to shafts. Glorfindel had discovered his aversion to the task and was forever making use of the knowledge. Anomen hastily nocked three arrows and shot them simultaneously. Elrohir scowled at him. He had been bested at archery several times when Anomen had performed his trick of shooting off more than one arrow at once. Anomen paid him no mind, however, instead shooting off two more sets of three. By the time Glorfindel arrived at their end of the field, Anomen's target was peppered with shafts. The balrog-slayer nodded approvingly.
"Ah, you've been hard at work, Anomen. I am glad to see that you are not trying to rest on your laurels. It is true that you are naturally talented at archery, but that does not mean that it is not necessary to practice. Talent must be coupled with discipline, else too often the gift goes to waste."
"Perhaps," said Elrohir spitefully, "as Anomen is so talented, some day he will show me how to shoot two or three arrows simultaneously, as he has just done three times in a row."
"Anomen," growled Glorfindel. "What have I told you about not completing your exercises? If I tell you I want you to draw and aim thirty times, that means thirty times. It does not mean three arrows times ten!"
"Yes, Lord Glorfindel," said Anomen meekly.
"Go and fetch your arrows and start over again. When you have finished, report to the armory. I have a batch of arrows that need to be fletched."
"Yes, my Lord."
Glorfindel turned and strode away. Elrohir grinned, but his twin was indignant.
"Elrohir," exclaimed Elladan. "That was a rotten thing to do!"
Elrohir adopted a righteous pose.
"Why, Elladan! How can you say such a thing? You heard what Glorfindel said about the need for discipline. You wouldn't want Anomen to grow up to be less of an archer than he is capable of becoming?"
"Elrohir," retorted Elladan, "I hardly think skipping a few shots will have any effect in the long run, say, over the course of a thousand years."
"But," replied Elrohir smugly, "we wouldn't want him to make a habit of it, would we?"
Anomen was ignoring this conversation, instead concentrating on firing off his arrows as rapidly as he could without sacrificing accuracy. For Anomen, that was very rapidly indeed, and by the time Elladan and Elrohir had completed their archery exercises, so too had Anomen. He said nothing to either twin, but instead marched off in the direction of the Armory. Elladan ran after him.
"Anomen, I'll help you with the fletching."
"Lord Glorfindel will be angry."
"Glorfindel said that he had a batch of arrows that needed fletching. He didn't say that you were the only one who could work on them."
Elrohir fumed as he watched his brother and foster-brother stroll off chatting amiably. He turned and ran for the Hall, making straight for his father's chamber. Reaching it, he could hardly wait to be told to enter after he had pounded upon the door. He burst in so abruptly that he banged the door against the wall. Elrond raised both eyebrows, as did Gandalf himself, and Glorfindel, who had just joined the others, turned to stare at the elfling.
"Lord Glorfindel," said Elrohir in a rush, "I am so sorry to report that not only has Anomen disobeyed you, but so has Elladan!" He turned to his father. "Ada, I think Anomen is a bad influence on Elladan. I think you ought to send him away!"
"You want me to send away Elladan?" said Elrond calmly.
"No! no! no! I want you to send away Anomen!"
"Because he is a bad influence on Elladan?"
"Then I shall of course have to send you away as well. Where were you thinking of going? Any place in particular, or do you simply wish to be shown the gate?"
Elrohir gaped at his father for a minute and then blushed, the color traveling to the very tips of his ears. He looked down at the floor.
"Where are Anomen and Elladan at the moment?" asked Elrond.
"They are in the Armory fletching arrows," mumbled Elrohir.
"You should join them," said Glorfindel. "'Twill enable them to finish the task more quickly, don't you think?"
"Yes, Lord Glorfindel," muttered Elrohir, bowing and backing away toward the door, his eyes still downcast.
When he was gone, Elrond shook his head.
"I do believe that in the main Elrohir is fond of Anomen. I think if anything were to happen to him, he would be genuinely grieved. But sometimes he can be jealous because he believes that the recognition and affection once shared only between him and his twin must now be shared with Anomen as well. He does not understand that these things are boundless, so that the love and esteem lavished on one does not reduce that which may be lavished on another."
"Perhaps," mused Gandalf, "I should after all entertain Anomen's request to take him with me. Mayhap it would do Elrohir some good to spend some time without feeling that he must compete with Anomen for the love of his father and his twin."
"But it may be," warned Glorfindel, "that he will resent Anomen all the more when he returns."
"I do not think so," said Elrond thoughtfully. "Within a day after Anomen's departure, Elrohir will be restlessly roaming the Hall and lamenting his foster-brother's absence. In some ways, Anomen is more his kindred spirit than Elladan is, for they both have lively and inquisitive—not to mention mischievous!—dispositions. Elladan is the most staid and cautious of the three."
"So it is agreed, then? Anomen will accompany me on my journey to Isengard. It is only a short distance, after all, when compared to that which I cover on some of my travels."
"Yes," said Elrond. "It is agreed. Anomen will get his wish, and Elrohir will discover how much he has come to depend upon him."
When Elrohir learned that Anomen was leaving with Gandalf, he pretended not to care, but in fact he was badly shaken. Had his complaints against Anomen led his father to decide that he ought to send Anomen away after all? Was that why his friend was about to depart? And would he ever return? Gandalf said he would bring him back, but what if Anomen told the wizard that Elrohir had been so mean that he didn't want to come back? Elrohir knew that Anomen had stayed briefly at Isengard during his journey from Greenwood to Imladris and that Saruman had wanted Anomen to remain with him. When Anomen had insisted on continuing his journey, the Istar had told him that he would always be welcome at Orthanc. What if Anomen now were to take Saruman up on his offer? Would Elrohir ever see him again?
Adding to Elrohir's misery was the fact that Elladan shared the same fears that he did—and blamed Elrohir. Both elflings would have felt much better if they had known that Anomen had no intention of leaving for good. He loved Elrohir and Elladan and Arwen and Elrond—and, yes, Glorfindel and Erestor as well. But he also loved Gandalf and never felt as if the wizard stayed long enough for them to spend sufficient time together. Gandalf would arrive, remain a few days, determine that 'his' elfling was doing well, and then would depart once more on one of his journeys. It would be months before he would reappear, and he had warned Anomen that the time might come when years would pass between his visits to Imladris. Just as Gandalf felt that Anomen was 'his' elfling, so, too, Anomen believed Gandalf to be 'his' wizard. Given that, the elfling thought that the present state of affairs was simply unacceptable. He was convinced, however, that if only he could accompany Gandalf on his travels from time to time, then all would be well. But the thought that he would not return to Rivendell had never entered his mind.
Several days later an ecstatic elfling sat before Gandalf as they rode away from the Last Homely House west of the mountains. They were of course making for Isengard. Normally, Anomen would not be happy at the thought of journeying to that place, for he had taken an instinctive dislike to Saruman when he had first encountered that wizard. However, this time he felt no apprehension, for was he not with Gandalf, his very own wizard? The Grey Wanderer was proof against all perils.
Anomen could be very, very quiet, a skill that he had often used to good effect, for no elfling could slip in and out of a room with as much stealth as he. On this trip, however, from the very outset he was so excited that he gabbled on and on without giving the appearance of stopping for breath. Day after day, from the moment he arose to the moment he fell asleep, he peppered the wizard with questions. Gandalf sometimes found himself quite dizzy as he tried to answer all Anomen's questions. As they drew near Isengard, Anomen was chattering unabated.
"Mithrandir, why do birds have different plumage?"
"What do you mean?"
"Why can't all birds have the same color feathers? Why do some have brown feathers, some yellow, some red, and some blue?"
"I suppose the plumage helps the birds tell each other apart."
"But why should that matter?"
"They have to mate, Anomen."
"But why can't a bird with red feathers mate with one that has blue feathers?"
"Because much more is involved than feathers. Birds differ in many features, not just in their plumage. Have you noticed how short and thick is the beak of the redpoll, whilst the bill of the hummingbird is long and slender. Have you ever wondered why that is, Anomen?"
Anomen allowed as how he hadn't.
"Well, think on it now, Anomen. You have seen the redpoll feed, have you not?"
"Oh, yes, it feeds upon seeds."
"Does it eat each seed whole?"
"No, generally it breaks open the husk of the seed, just as we crack the shell of a nut to get at the meat inside."
"Do you think the redpoll could manage to do so if it sported the long slender bill of a hummingbird?"
"Of course not."
"So the redpoll is suited to eating seeds, and the hummingbird—"
"—is suited to sipping nectar!"
The elfling giggled but then grew serious.
"I suppose," he mused, "that if a redpoll mated with a hummingbird, their nestling would end up with half a thick beak, half a thin one, and then he could neither crack seeds nor sip nectar."
"That's the general idea, Anomen, although you may be a bit off on the specifics. In fact, such a mating would be unlikely to result in any offspring at all. Such unions are rarely fertile. But even should the mismatched pair succeed in bringing forth offspring, those young are unlikely to be able to breed any offspring of their own. Fortunately, such pairings are uncommon. Birds have different plumages and different songs, and they keep to different parts of the terrain—some preferring to nest in the brush, others in the marshes, others in trees of one species or another. Birds are rarely confused as to whom they can tryst with."
Anomen fell silent after this explanation, and Gandalf congratulated himself on having finally put to rest all the elfling's questions. Apparently, however, Anomen was simply preparing a new set.
"Mithrandir," he said suddenly. "Are Men and Elves different sorts of birds?"
"Every wizard should have an elfling in his care," he muttered to himself, "to teach him the meaning of the word!"
Aloud he said, "How do you mean?"
"Well, Elves and Men don't have different plumage, but they don't look quite the same."
"True, but just barely. Elves tend, on average, to be taller and thinner than humans; however, there are quite a few humans who are just as tall and thin as any Elf. The only certain difference is in the ears."
"I was wondering, then, whether an Elf could espouse a human."
"You have not been paying attention to the genealogy of your foster-family if you ask such a question. Why do you suppose Elrond is called 'Peredhil', half-elven?"
"Oh, yes, of course. So Elves and humans may mate?"
"Certainly. It is not all that common, but there have been several instances over the millennia."
"But why may Elves and humans mate if different birds may not?"
"Certain superficial physical differences do not turn two creatures into different species. In my journeys amongst Men, I have seen many breeds of dogs who differ radically in appearance, much more than any one Elf differs from any Man, yet these dogs can breed—indeed, they assuredly will unless they are prevented! An Elf and a human have at least as much in common as a hound does with a spaniel! True, their customs differ so much that they rarely espouse one another, but they could if they were so inclined."
"Does that mean," said Anomen slowly, "that Elves are also akin to Orcs? Erestor says that there be half-goblins compounded of Men and Orcs. If Orcs can breed with Men, and Men can breed with Elves, then could Elves breed with Orcs? Is there no more difference then between an Elf and an Orc than the difference between a hound and a spaniel?"
"There is a very great difference between an Elf and an Orc. Those half-goblins have been brought about by unnatural meddling! I do not doubt but that the hand of the Dark Lord is behind the matings that have produced such creatures, for Goblins and Men abhor one another, and the half-goblins that result from their intercourse are not fertile. Half-goblin does not breed with half-goblin, so the next generation of half-goblins must be produced by breeding anew Men and Orcs."
Anomen was much relieved. He was not much troubled at the thought that he might be akin to Men like the Rangers who from time to time visited Rivendell, but he did not want to believe that he had anything in common with an Orc!
Anomen fell silent for so long that this time Gandalf was certain that the elfling's curiosity had at last been satisfied. Suddenly, however, Anomen launched an entirely new round of inquiry.
"Mithrandir," he said, "Erestor said something puzzling about the geography of ardhon."
"Goodness!" thought Gandalf to himself. "This elfling is curious about everything from astronomy to zoology and all that is in between! It is lucky I am a wizard, else I do not know what I should do with the lad."
Aloud he growled, "Is there no end to your questions!?"
"No," replied Anomen with an endearing frankness. "I have quite a few more besides this one. Erestor says that it can be demonstrated that the ardhon is as round as an apple, but I do not understand his reasons for believing so. Can you explain?"
"Nothing simpler!" declared Gandalf confidently, relieved that the question was not more complicated. "There are several ways of telling that the earth is round. First of all, if you travel far enough south, you will no longer see the Forodêl, the Star of the North, around which the heavens seem to revolve. In fact, you will not see any familiar stars at all if you go far enough south. You will encounter an entirely different set of elenath, and in their midst a fixed star around which these new constellations will seem to revolve. Now, as you made that journey from north to south, you will have noticed the following interesting phenomenon. Choose a star. Each night, at the same time, measure its degree of inclination above the surface of the earth. The further south you travel, the lower the degree. A star may be observed at a position of fifty degrees above the horizon. Travel further south, it will be observed at forty degrees. Travel yet further south, and the star will sink to thirty degrees. Travel far enough south, and the star will at last sink so low in the sky as to be invisible—and the southern stars will begin to appear in its place. If you were traveling over the surface of a globe, these observations would be perfectly understandable. I have never tried it myself, but it is reasonable to assume that if a man were able to take passage on a ship whose captain meant to search out the world, he might go thereby all about the world."
"All about the gardh," gasped Anomen. "And he would return again to his starting point?"
"Yes, indeed," said Gandalf. "In fact, I have heard tell that upon a time such a journey was accomplished. A worthy man departed from Minas Tirith out of a desire to explore the world. He set out in one direction and never wavered from his path. So long and so far he traveled by sea and land that at last he came to a place where he heard Men speak his own language. At first he could not believe that he had come again to his own country, and he turned back to retrace his steps. 'Twould have cost him much painful labor had he persevered in his intention! Fortunately, a fellow who knew him haled him and greeted him fair, and then he realized that he was home and had in truth traveled all the way around the globe of the ardhon."
Gandalf thought he had done an admirable job of explaining matters. Anomen, however, considered but then shook his head, unconvinced.
"But if the ardhon is round, why then does its surface look flat when one is on a plain?"
Gandalf groaned to himself but gamely tried again.
"Anomen, the earth is so immense that its curving is imperceptible under most circumstances. But if you ever journey to the shores of the ocean, you will observe something that will convince you of its roundness. If you stand on a shore watching a boat sail away from the coast, you will see a singular sight. After the ship has sailed a very great distance, you will see the sail, but not the hull. Let the ship said a little further, and the lowest edge of the sail will disappear. Little by little the sail will vanish until you see only the very topmost bit. Then that, too, will disappear. If one were simple minded, one might think that the boat had fallen of the edge of the earth! Yet, it is known that, the journey over, the boat will return to port. At first all you will see is that topmost bit that was the last portion of the boat to vanish. Then you will see a larger portion of the sail. Little by little, more and more of the sail will reappear, and at last you will be able to see the hull. This phenomenon would occur only if the earth were round like a ball."
Anomen pondered this idea for awhile.
"Mithrandir," he said at last, his forehead wrinkled in token of the intensity of his thoughts, "are we standing upside down or right side up?"
"How do you mean?"
"We-ell, one point on a ball has an opposite point on the other side, isn't that so?"
"So if one person were standing at one point, and another person standing at the opposite point, wouldn't one of them have to be standing upside down?"
"I am not sure that 'upside down' has any meaning in such a situation. Wherever you be, you are right side up at that point. The only 'down' would be the direction between your feet and the point at the very center of the ball. If that weren't true, one of the individuals would fall off the earth into the heavens!"
"That's another thing, Mithrandir. Why doesn't one fall off? If I held a pebble to the underside of a ball, the minute I let go of it, it would fall into the dirt."
"Some force seems to hold people and animals and objects upon the earth. Haven't you noticed that things will naturally stay put on the earth unless they are disturbed or you exert some force to move them away from the earth? A rock will naturally roll downward, but I have never yet seen a rock roll uphill—without the intercession of a wizard, that is. I did once arrange an uphill avalanche one night when I was being excessively troubled by Trolls who were flinging boulders upon my head. In the normal course of events, however, that sort of thing does not happen. As soon as an object is securely settled upon the earth, it stays put."
"Mithrandir, if the gardh is round, then why—"
"Goodness!" exclaimed Gandalf. "Will you never be satisfied!?"
Perplexed, Anomen twisted about to stare at the wizard.
"No, I won't," he said innocently. "Was I supposed to be?"
"Of course not," said the wizard, chastened. "But you cannot expect to have all your questions answered all at once. I think you would weary a Vala himself with all these queries, and I am only a Maia. You don't suppose you'd like to take a nap, do you?"
"A nap!" exclaimed Anomen indignantly. "I am no laes!"
"Thank heavens for that! Nappies are the last things I want to worry about at the moment."
"Mithrandir! It has been decades since I wore nappies!"
"Praise the Valar! Would you like me to sing you a lullaby?"
"No? Would you like me to tell you a story then—a grown-up story?"
"Yes, if it is a grown-up story."
"It will indeed be a grown-up story," Gandalf slyly assured him. He commenced. "These are the names of the Kings and Queens of Númenor," the wizard declaimed. "Elros-Tar-Minyatur, Vardamir, Tar-Amandil, Tar-Elendil, Tar-Meneldur, Tar-Aldarion, Tar-Ancalimë (the first Ruling Queen), Tar-Anárion, Tar-Súrion, Tar-Telperiën (the second Queen), Tar-Minastir, Tar-Ciryatan, Tar-Atanamir the Great, Tar-Ancalimon, Tar-Telemmaitë, Tar-Vanimeldë (the third Queen), Tar-Alcarin, Tar-Calmacil."
Anomen's eyes had begun to glaze over. He blinked and shook his head. Gandalf smiled to himself.
"After Calmacil," continued the wizard, "the Kings took the sceptre in the names of the Númenorean (or Adûnaic) tongue: Ar-Adûnakhôr, Ar-Zimrathôn, Ar-Sakalthôr, Ar-Gimilzôr, Ar-Inziladûn. Inziladûn repented of the ways of the Kings and changed his name to Tar-Palantir 'The Far-sighted'. His daughter should have been the fourth Queen, Tar-Míriel, but the King's nephew usurped the sceptre and became Ar-Pharazôn the Golden, last King of the Númenoreans."
"Tired?" said Gandalf. "Would you now like me to sing you a lullaby?"
"Ah, so you still think you are old enough for this grown-up story. Very well."
At that, Anomen couldn't very well declare that he found the tale boring, and a smug Gandalf, confident that he was nearing success, once again launched into his stultifying recitation.
"In the days of Tar-Elendil," the wizard droned, "the first ships of the Númenoreans came back to Middle-earth. His elder child was a daughter, Silmariën. Her son was Valandil, first of the Lords of the Andúnië in the west of the land, renowned for their friendship with the Eldar. From him were descended Amandil, the last lord, and his son Elendil the Tall."
Gandalf felt Anomen sway, and he gripped him about the waist. With a sigh, the elfling settled back against the wizard, his head lolling from side to side until it finally came to rest against the wizard's arm.
"Hah, that's done for him," gloated the wizard. "That recitation will probably leave him unconscious for hours."
Gandalf was right. Head bobbing a little, Anomen was asleep when he and the wizard rode through the Ring of Isengard and approached the Tower of Orthanc. Saruman had received word of their coming and awaited them at the foot of the stairs that led into the Tower. Gandalf carefully slid off his horse with a still-sleeping Anomen in his arms. Most would have found the sight touching—the gruff, grizzled wizard cradling the youngling with all the gentleness of a maiden—but Saruman was not inclined to be tender-hearted. Indeed, he found the scene before him to be an irritating one.
"Sooo, Mithrandir," Saruman mused to himself, "you have taken on an apprentice, have you—and the very elfling who would not accept my offer of hospitality. Strange that the elfling should enter into the service of a lesser wizard when he would not enter into mine!"
Saruman was of course offended that Anomen had (he thought) accepted Gandalf's invitation after rejecting that of the White Wizard. Moreover, Saruman was not about to let himself be outdone by Gandalf on any level whatsoever. Of course, he did not truly grasp the sense in which the 'lesser' wizard had surpassed him. Saruman could think only in terms of possessing. People, buildings, objects: it was all one to him—things that he could possess. Gandalf seemed to have acquired a disciple, so Saruman must have one likewise—preferably the one Gandalf already 'owned'. He did not understand that Gandalf 'possessed' only Anomen's affection and respect—nothing less, nothing more.
Gandalf and Anomen stayed for several days at Isengard, and Saruman played the genial host. He was, however, always on the lookout for some means of prying Anomen away from Gandalf. At last that moment came as Gandalf discussed his plans for his next journey.
"After I have returned Anomen here to Imladris," the wizard said one night at dinner, "I will journey on to Lothlórien. I would speak with Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel."
Saruman professed concern. "But, Gandalf, my friend, Imladris is miles out of the way if you mean to make for Lothlórien in the end."
"True," agreed Gandalf, "but I promised Elrond that I would bring Anomen back before proceeding onward. The latest reports from the scouts do not favor Anomen's accompanying me on to Lórien, for it seems that there has been an increase in the number of goblins lurking about on the paths leading to that land. I would not want to expose a young one to danger unnecessarily."
"Ah, but instead of traveling all the way back to Imladris, why not leave Anomen here with me? I assure you that if you did, he would be well guarded."
Gandalf was delighted at this stroke of kindness on the part of Saruman.
"How very thoughtful of you, Saruman," he exclaimed. "But you are sure that you wouldn't mind?"
"Do not speak nonsense, Mithrandir. Of course I would not mind. I am sure that Anomen will pose no great problems—nothing that I couldn't manage, at any rate."
Anomen sat unable to speak. Gandalf had expressed such joy at Saruman's offer that the elfling knew it would be inconceivable for him to protest.
"Well, Anomen," said Gandalf jovially. "Are you forgetting your manners? What do you say to Lord Saruman?"
"Thank you, Lord Saruman," said Anomen dutifully, keeping his voice and face as neutral as possible.
"Say nothing of it, my lad," replied Saruman with hearty but forced cheerfulness. "I am sure that I shall enjoy keeping you here."
Gandalf thought nothing of either Saruman's awkward manner or Anomen's diffident one. Saruman was always a little stiff, and as for Anomen, Gandalf already knew that the elfling wished to accompany him all the way to Lothlórien. If Anomen did not seem pleased, it must be only because he was not to get his wish. Ai! Even a wizard can be obtuse upon occasion.