Written for the LJ comm Tolkien Weekly challenge "Astronomy."


Legend and Truth

I.

Utter darkness: I wait, hoping (praying) for light, but the gloom devours me as I tremble—

I wake sweating and shaking. It is a terrible thing to find your world has become a living nightmare, for I am in utter darkness: blind, and quivering with fear that I will suffocate in this shadow.

Atar told tales of "stars", when I was a child: during the Great Journey, when Varda's sky-hung jewels lit the path of the Quendi. I was horrified at the thought of so little light.

I always believed the stars were legends; now I wish they were real.

II.

We all carry torches, picking our way through Tirion's winding streets, flinching whenever anything moves ahead in the darkness. Upon reaching the King's court, we breathe easier: it is still dark, but under wide open spaces instead of oppressive alleyways.

"Nerdanel, what are those?" Indissë asks fearfully, pointing skyward.

My breath catches. "Stars," I murmur. "Light."

"What are stars?" Calaito whispers.

I recount a tale told by the Firstborn: Lady Varda flung a handful of jewels out into the depths of Eä, in order to bring light to the newborn world. "A gift," I finish softly. "They are a gift."