Anessil was also tired. She had spent much of the early morning training
several elf-lords the grammar of Swan-speech and brushing up a young
elf maid on her Aerish, the honorific form used by Eagles when addressing the
Istari and other royals.
She had even received a very special gift: a feather from one of the Eagle
lords, new-molting. It was almost as long as her torso with arms extended.
It shimmered in the sunlight, and as she allowed it to skim across the air,
it gave off an almost musical hum.
It was in the midst of that activity that Parm had found her.
"That is certainly quite the feather you have, there, m'lady."
"Ah! Master Parm. The manuscripts must either be finished, or you are
as weary of the sudden press of responsibilities upon you as I am, and
in need of a respite."
"Yes. I do need a walk, and yes, the manuscripts, are, at last, nearing
"Your new fixative was a success then?"
"You have heard?"
"No, Master Parm, I smelt it. It has a ... distinctive ... pungency."
Small could not restrain a chuckle. "Yes, it has...that...to be sure."
"Master Parm, may I ask you about a certain matter that has been ...
in my dreams?"
"I am no Dream-Counselor, m'lady, but you may ask."
"Why do I continue to see you in a cave of many mirrors?"
Parm felt his pallor change. His stomach roiled and he rubbed his hands
as one my try to wringe out a wet rag.
"I have ventured too far already, forgive me."
"No, no, no, m'lady...it is more memory than pain. It is from a place some
distance from here, where I was about ready to be trapped forever in my
"Who would do such a thing?"
Parm grew even more silent.
Suddenly he looked up, sighed, and looked steadily into the eyes of the
most beautiful woman he had ever known... beyond his own first beloved...
"My son," he replied, plainly.
Anessil's hand flew to her mouth in honest dismay and shock.
"The Valar protect us!"
"I believe they did...through my friends, there."
"How could your son...."
"...Arahn..." assisted Parm,
"...yes, Arahn... how could he have caused such a thing?"
"You were at the trial, were you not?"
"I grieve to say i was."
"Then, m'lady Annesil, it was the bitter fruit of Arahn's secretive research."
"Did he know what it would actually do to you?"
"Yes, he did. In fact, he counted on it to keep me from ever returning home
sane enough, or strong enough, to stop him. For only he knew that I had
sealed up and hidden those documents he had uncovered. I had learned
of the scope of the powers hidden there, but was forbidden to destroy, for
it was the legacy of the Numenoreans, as as you know, we here, at Imladris,
especially in the Scriptorium, are blood-bound to destroy no document that
is part of the history of Arda. Not one. No matter how pernicious and evil
it may be: even shadows must remain, or the light has no attraction."
That was the most Parm had spoken to anyone on anything for nearly a
year or more. The sudden flood of information seemed to cascade from him
as something more cathartic than vengeful.
"I am so sorry, Annesil. You heard more than I ought to have said."
"What drove Arahn to hurt you so?" The audacity of the question was as bold
as the lancet of a surgeon. The infection in Parm's soul was needing to be
"Parm, please...you can speak now. There are none here to judge nor evict you."
"Arahn loved me so much, that his desire to have me as his ever-near father,
drove him to hate anything that keep me from him. If he could not have me,
then neither could anyone else. He would not share his love for me to others.
We had seen it from time to time when his sisters would interrupt us when we
were in deep conversation. He did not crave affection so much, as mental
intimacy, the fellowship of souls. He loved my poetry. He saved every little note
and jotting I made. He treasured them. That was my undoing. I thought...to
my great humiliation ... that he was keeping them as a kind of game. So, I
made a cipher game for him, to encourage his linguistic skills.
"First there was the Shire Cipher. You know that one. change every vowel in
the word to the one next to in line in the alphabet. Then the Middlemarsh
Maze, which was my favorite...I'll show it to you later...until, in some
moment of pride at my own linguistic skill, I drew him in to learn the ancient
texts of the Lost Lands.
"It was then that the toy became the tool and the tool became the weapon.
Arahn learned, but not from me, mind, about ancient texts kept here and in
other repositories. His love for me was slowly transferred to his love for what
he could learn from me. In my arrogance, I thought I could guide him into
paths of scholarship that would give Imladris a fresh dimension of learning:
the dark arts mastered by a pure soul. How wrong I was.
"One day, one terrible day, Arahn discovered manuscript that I had not even
known existed. It was written in such a way that his training in ciphers had
alerted him to a deeper level in the text. Hours and hours, days and days
he pored over it, we learned later in court, and from its depths, it was revealed
that a passageway existed that would make the pilgrim into apprentice and
apprentice into master. Unknown to any of us, a means to leave here, in
Imladris, and appear in the ancient reliquaries of Lond Daer, where my
prison was being prepared.
"Arahn discovered, as you recall, the "Ardarian: the Chronicles of Arda"...
the pseudo-title for the darkest book of power. It was a book from the Second
Age, from the lost island of Numenor itself.It had been penned by,
then stolen and hidden from, Melkor, himself. "
At the sound of that name, the sky become momentarily dark, and a few
heads looked up as though thunder had echoed in their souls. Even
Annesil paled slightly.
"Yes. It was true, as we learned all too late."
"Then Arahn learned the Summoning words, didn't he?"
"Before 'The Words of Ward and Warning' and 'The Mind Prison' Commands.?"
"Yes. Then, when he had believed he had me where his powers would ensnare
me, my friends intervened, both to his rage and downfall. He uttered the
fateful Summoning Words and...and..."
At this Parm felt tearfully silent.
"My dear Parm."
"...and he was lost to us...forever...or so we thought."
"He seemed cogent at the trial."
"Yes, he did. But not until he performed one last act of loving vengeance.
Remember, he loved me deeply, please remember that. After the verdict had
been pronounced, he completed the last phrase of the Summoning Command,
thinking that with this in his possession, with ultimate power, he could cleanse
our memories of him, and he would escape...to...wherever he had planned."
"I remember that dreadful night."
"As do we all, m'lady....as do we all."
A deeper, more resonant voice broke in.
It was the head of the White Council...
"Annesil. Parm has given you enough for today. Return to your students, please."
Annesil bowed, left hurriedly, but not without one swift, meaningful glance back.
The White Council leader looked long and deeply into Parm's eyes.
"The Valar have spoken. You are to be purged of all their graces within you, so
that you might age and die as other mortals, and pass into the Undying Lands
to live with them as their love had originally intended.
"Your span of life shall be 50 years...no more, no less...unless you wish to
shorten it at your own hand and to your own enduring peril."
"As for your word-craft, what you have learned shall remain with you for the
present, but like all mortals, you, too, shall fade in memory and skills.
"Not all is to be sorrow and loss, however. At the end of your fiftieth year,
a great sleep shall come upon you, even as twilight gives way to evening,
and you shall pass from this world into theirs as gently as a bird glides from
sea to shore. It is their last gift to you, but I not the only gift. There are, I believe
more that are to be given you, but when and how and of what nature they are
that will be revealed to you."
"As for your work here, Master Parm, it is finished. There are people, however
in the Shire, who greatly desire, and yearn for your presence among them.
The request comes from an old friend of yours, Willum, I believe. He has
become a great man in the Shire, and a friend of the King and mine as well.
He would like you to take up the post of Inn-Host, at the Silver Trout Inn.
"What do you say to that?"
Parm was numb at the news, but felt a tremendous lightening of his spirit as well.
How good to be among the hobbit folk, whose simple, carefree lives, had been
the delight of Istari and Gondorian royalty alike.
"Sir," Parm responded, "I accept my fate, my legacy, and my new posting."
"You may leave after Yule..."he smiled, "We love gifts, too, you know."
Last edited by prmiller
on Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Remembering Harry Lehotsky...a valued colleague and friend. Without him, I would have never finished my Master's degree.
(See Wikipedia article)