Bearing the News

Middle-earth belongs to Tolkien.

They come. Two and two they come, from the East, from the West. Two and two, the night on their shoulders, the morning in their eyes, they seek the place.

One wears the song of autumn. The rich hues of chestnut skins echo in his robe, the deer's glossy coat, the dying leaf. In his locks hides the smell of rain soaking into fertile soil and his breath rises and falls like the contours of the hills.

One wears the snow off the mountain tops, the glitter of ice, a burning cold, yet he carries also the white-hot essence of flame, heat beyond heat. His gaze cuts diamonds, his grasp bends steel.

One wears the horizon, the palest blue forever out of reach. His presence is fleeting, his gait a forgotten dream, his feet don't touch the ground. Gossamer is like ship's rope beside his insubstantial voice.

One wears the deep shimmer of the deepest lakes, a blue that mirrors all other blues. His garments shine like the Kingfisher' feather, his movements wave and flow. Ocean spray cools his brow.

This is the place. Furthest from all coastlines, it is the core of the land. It rolls on calmly, clad in grass, hemmed by woods, untouched by any feet other than these. They arrive, two and two, from the West, from the East, and extend their staffs until the tips touch and weld the future to the past.

We have come.

"I speak to the earth," says Brown.

"I speak to the fire," says White.

"I speak to the air," says Gossamer Blue .

"I speak to the water," says Kingfisher Blue.

And we listen to all.

"We are missing the twilight," says Gossamer Blue, "and the sky clad in rain, the cygnet's down, the pebbles on the shore."

"We are missing the Grey of in-between things," says Kingfisher Blue. "Where is Olorin?"

White casts back his hood. "I am he."

"So Curumo...?"

"I wear his colours now."

"And he?"

"Forfeited them."

"His fate?"

"He fell."

"What felled him?"

Greed? As if it wasn't enough to reside in the sleek splendour of Orthanc. As if the awe of elves and mortals did not satiate his hunger. Like ants beneath his feet he wanted to see them scurry.

Hybris? As if there were not Powers beyond his own; Powers who have in safe keeping the Gift to make Life. He wanted to make his own, a desperate race to do his bidding. How great a sin was that, to unleash unto the world creatures with no hope of joy?

Folly? As if a vengeance so petty could ever have sufficed for one so proud. As if one measly mortal could replace those he had lost, his peers, two and two. Would that he'd turned his back before it came to this.

"He felled himself."

Blue and Blue, they bow their heads. One colour was not enough for him, and so he lost all colours in the end and faded from the world.

"Not ours to judge."

"Nor to excuse."

And so silence descends, spreads across the rolling plains and ebbs away through the woods. Then:

"We felt...the Other pass. Was this your deed?"

"The deed of many."

"And now...?"

"There will always be darkness somewhere."

"And always a dawn."

And so we continue.

The future melts into the past. They lift their staffs. Two and two, they walk away, to the West, to the East, leaving the core of the land behind. Slowly, like the final breath before sleep, the greyness of in-between things settles on the grass.