From that day forth Annatar spent most of his time in the smithies of Ost-in-Edhil, and was always in a hurry. So much that he had acquired a horse so that he could substitute an hour’s walk to the city with a fifteen-minute ride. Ollorien wondered at this and often pestered him with questions, but Annatar was always secretive, and eluded the answers skillfully. His skill was so great, that after some time Ollorien had stopped asking. Their life together was blissful as ever, but though Ollorien refused to admit it to herself, a shadow had fallen on them, and strange doubts filled her mind.
And so, one evening when Annatar had arrived to Ellenbar uncommonly late, she strode out and `cornered’ him while he was tending the horse.
“I was worried about you. Where were you?”
“At the smithies, as I have told you time and time again.”
“You are secretive, as always. But I do not know how much longer I will be able to stand your secrecy. What is it that you do at the smithies Annatar?! Always you elude this conversation, and I do not ask. But now, I will endure it no longer! Answer me!” by this time Ollorien was yelling.
“If I were to tell you, I would break the code of secrecy that I and all the smiths have sworn. Our work is tiresome, but it is for a good cause. I swear to you! I cannot answer your question.”
“Then, I must make you choose. It is me and the code that you will have to choose between.” Her voice sank to a whisper.
“Do not do this! Do not make me choose between my honor and my love! I shall say only this to you, at the risk of breaking the code: our work concerns all the Elves east of the Sea closely. It concerns all the races! It concerns you! Things of great power and beauty we are making Ollorien! Ask no more of me, for you shall break my heart in two!” he answered, and then swiftly turning, walked to Ellenbar and stood in front of its steps.
Ollorien, seeing how her inquisitiveness had affected Annatar, felt bad. She walked to him, and put her slender white hand on his shoulder.
“Rings…. rings, do not ask more of me.” He spoke in a whisper, mistaking her concern with inquisitiveness.
And so, Annatar broke his vow, and unwontonly marred the work of the Elven smiths. Had he not done this, maybe things would have gone otherwise, and the Eldar regained some of their former majesty and lingered in Middle-earth, at least for a while longer. But what was done was done. And what became later of the Rings of Power is told elsewhere.
This tale is concerned with what became of Ollorien and Annatar.
After that night the shadow that had fallen on their love deepened. Ollorien thought that it would not be so, but it was. She stopped asking questions, and Annatar started coming home earlier. Things seemed to look up, but there was always a strain between the two, and in their talk together they always eluded the topic of work. Indeed, Annatar asked Ollorien about how her labor was going, for she still made fountains and sculptures in those days, but after she answered him, the conversation seemed to die.
Yet, after some time had elapsed, things got back to normal, or at least as normal as they could be. Annatar and Ollorien regained some of their former happiness, and Ollorien no longer cared for his work.
Some hundred years had passed since Annatar left Ollorien sleeping and went to the smithies, and a day dawned when Ollorien woke up, and found him fast asleep beside her in bed. She wondered much at this, but she did not wake him up, for he had been working exceedingly hard every day for the last few months.
So, she crept out of bed, and dressing, went out into the garden. There she waited eagerly for him to wake up.
About an hour passed when Annatar appeared in the doorway of their room and looked into the garden. He looked as one born again, and all the lines of care and anguish that marred his beautiful face in the past years seemed to melt away in the sunlight. He smiled when he saw Ollorien.
“Good morning my Lord Annatar!” she spoke in jest. ” ‘Tis a fair morning indeed that finds you so refreshed!”
“Good morning Lady Ollorien! A fair morning it is indeed, and the sight of you under the light of the sun makes it even fairer!”
And they walked to each other and kissed under the eaves of a oak tree that grew in the garden.
“You have not gone to the smithies today, I take it that your work is done…”
“Yes, it is done. But I shall have to go to the city nonetheless, for there is to be a council there. Many wise and important persons of all the races will be present. Ere the council is over I cannot tell you what my work was…”
“And I do not ask, for I am glad that it is done, and I will have you here to myself!” she laughed.
Annatar, hearing this fell in love with her all over again, for her beauty and her wisdom seemed to shine all the brighter when she laughed.
And so they ate and spent some time together, but about noon, Annatar took leave of Ollorien and went to Ost-in-Edhil.
At their parting he said to Ollorien: “I do not know how long I shall be detained. But pray, do not trouble yourself needlesly. This council will most likely decide the fate of Arda, so it will take time. Farewell now my beloved, I hope to return to you soon.”
A few days had passed since his departure, and Ollorien sat alone in Ellenbar and pondered on what Annatar was doing. The council must’ve indeed been important if it took the Wise so long to come to a decision. So, after pondering on it for some time, she decided to go to Ost-in-Edhil and wait for Annatar in the city.
She was getting ready to depart, when she heard a horse approaching. She ran out to meet the horseman thinking that it was Annatar, but it wasn’t so.
The horseman rode up to the steps of Ellenbar and dismounted. To Ollorien’s surprise it was Celebrimbor. At first she thought that something had happened to Annatar, but her doubts dispersed when she saw that Celebrimbor was smiling.
He walked up to her, and bowed.
“Elen sila lumenn’ omentielvo, arwen Ollorien!” he spoke in a kingly manner.
“Mae govannen Celebrimbor!” she answered, puzzled. “What brings you to Ellenbar, Annatar is not here. He is in the city, or did you not meet with him?”
“I have met with him, and many others. But our council is over, and now I am here to see you. I need to speak with you.”
“Pray come in, then, we shall speak inside.”
With that, Ollorien led Celebrimbor into the building, and they sat at the small table in the hall.
“I have come to thank you once more for the beautiful fountain that you made…”
“You have thanked me many times already, my heart tells me that that is not the reason for your visit.” She interrupted.
“Alas! For you are right. Keen are your eyes Ollorien, just as your mother’s. I have come on a different errand. I am here to say farewell. I am leaving for the Undying lands. My toil in Middle-Earth is over, and I shall set sail into the West where the desire of my heart awaits me.” He spoke eagerly. “Has Annatar told you aught of our work?”
Ollorien, remembering the awful night when she cornered her beloved, stammered, but mastering herself answered: “Just that it is something that greatly concerns us all, and that it is a work of beauty and power.”
“Then I shall say no more, but he will tell you when he returns.” Said Celebrimbor, and smiled. “What I have come to tell you is that he loves you dearly, but that is no news to you. The tidings are that he whishes to wed you. I have come to bring those tidings and give you all my blessings.”
Olloren’s heart soared. She looked at Celebrimbor, and remembering her infatuation with him, laughed merrily.
“It seems that there is still hope of happiness for Elves east of the Sea! It is a sweet turn of fate that brings you of all to tell me these tidings!” she spoke with a smile on her face and joy in her heart.
“How is it so, pray tell me lady, for I wish to share your joy. One final good memory of Middle-Earth, to take with me to Valinor.”
At this, Ollorien blushed, and faltered a little. She felt embarrassed to tell Celebrimbor about her love for him, but then, feeling the joy in her heart, she laughed and told him her tale.
“And so you see, Lord, it is a great joy to me that you should bring these happy tidings!” she spoke when she had finished her story. “And pray, take the memory of my happiness and our friendship with you to Elvenhome, to my parents. They will be glad.”
Unnoticed by the two, Annatar walked up the steps of Ellenbar and stood in the doorway, listening. By now the shadows had already deepened, and night’s long fingers were stretching over Middle-Earth.
“And know just this: Once I have loved you with all my heart, and still I do. But for different reasons. You are a great Lord, and wise, and forever in my heart I will carry you.” She spoke looking into Celebrimbor’s eyes.
“And I you, for I love you all the more after what you have told me sweet Lady….” but Celebrimbor’s words were cut short.
“So! I turn my back for a moment and `the great lord’, so powerful, so wise, stabs my back!” cried Annatar, leaping into the hall. “You have leached on my knowledge and my power Celebrimbor, and I have let you. But now I find you leaching on my love! Alas for I have been a fool! A bitter jest this is!” his old malice had awoken in Annatar, and it burned brightly.
“Was I not a Lord high enough for your likes?! You have betrayed my heart, and my love!” he screamed turning to Ollorien.
“Plague upon all the Elves! There is treason in their cold hearts! Lord I called you, friend I called you, your counsel I asked in need!” he cried as he turned back to Celebrimbor. “Lies, all lies! And after what I have told you….” wrath burned hot in Annatar’s heart, so hot that it had clouded his reason. Like a cornered animal he gazed at the two Elves with madness in his eyes.
Celebrimbor understood what had happened, and tried to explain to Annatar that it was a misunderstanding, but to no avail. He started to speak, but again, his words were cut short by Annatar’s anger.
“Silence!” screamed Annatar, and voice failed Celebrimbor. For, Annatar was of the Ainur, and his power was great. And now he revealed it for the first time and the terror of his anger froze the blood.
“Silence! Insolent fool! More lies you wish to whisper in my ear! I have given you my knowledge and my trust and you betray me like this! Curse you! Curse your cold heart!”
Now Ollorien tried to speak, but as Celebrimbor’s her words were cut short.
“Do not speak, my love… Your words will only deepen the wound in my heart. Bitter treason…” his voice sank, but again he cried: ” You shall remember the wrath of Annatar, Lord of Gifts!” and with that he turned on his heal, and ran out of Ellenbar.
Ollorien and Celebrimbor both sprang after him, but he had already mounted his horse. Ollorien cried his name aloud, and fell to her knees, but he heeded her not, nor did he hear her, for the hoofsbeats of his steed thundered in Annatar’s ears. Celebrimbor mounted his own horse and pursued him, but Annatar’s beast was swifter, for the wrath of its master was upon him. And Annatar revealed his power again, and his steed ran as swiftly as a bird flies, and he was soon out of sight.
To Mordor Annatar drove his horse. To the land that he had beheld upon his wanderings, to the only mountain in Middle-Earth whose heart burned as hot as his wrath. And as he passed all fled from his anger, he stopped briefly at the smithies, and then rode on. And a wasteland he left behind, and on the trail that his horse made on their way to Mordor no grass ever grew again. And as he rode, Annatar’s malice and evil grew in his mind again, and engulfed all, but a small corner in which, faint, yet bright still dwelled his love for Ollorien. As he passed he beckoned all things of darkness and evil to come with him to the accursed land.
When he had arrived to the feet of Orodruin, he leapt of his horse and took the path to Sammath Naur as it was named in later days.
He stood above the Cracks of Doom and from underneath his cloak he took a small parcel. He unwrapped it and lo! there was a small gold nugget, which he had taken from the smithies of Ost-in-Edhil. Then Annatar, the Ainur put forth all his ancient power and malice, and out of the nugget he wrought a small golden ring. And into it he put all his powers, and on it he put spells for the ruin and doom of the Elves and of all the other races. And once more, he remembered the accursed tongue that he had made for his thralls in the days of Darkness:
” Ash nazg durbantuluk – One ring to rule them all!” He spoke, “Ash nazg gimbatul – One ring to find them!” he cried, “Ash nazg thrakatuluk – One ring to bring them all” he yelled, “Agh burzum-ishi krimpatul – and in the darkness bind them!” he screamed.
And so, unknown to all but himself, away from all other eyes, Annatar forged the One Ring, most powerful of all the rings, and he became the Lord of the Rings.
And after his work was done, he rested, but with the might of the One ring he wrought the foundations of Barad-Dur, and his thralls gathered in great numbers, and once again he became evil, but now he was the Dark Lord, not a servant of a greater power. And he put on his ring, but the Elves were aware of him, and took off their rings and hid them, and his purpose to destroy them with the ring wasn’t fulfilled. So, he mustered all his strength of arms and prepared a war against them.
Meanwhile, in Eregion, there was much trouble and unease. Celebrimbor had decided not to depart yet, for he was troubled about Ollorien, and he felt that she needed a friend in her time of need. But this mattered not to Ollorien, for she withdrew to Ellenbar and mourned her lost love. She reached for Annatar with her mind, but there was a darkness about him which her thought couldn’t penetrate. She knew that he wasn’t dead, but still she mourned him as one deceased.
Time passed, and her thought reached further, but the darkness just seemed to thicken.
And Ollorien despaired. The door of Ellenbar was locked, and none could enter though many, including Celebrimbor, tried. Soon the Elves of the city started thinking that she had died of grief, and stopped coming.
Foul messengers came to Ost-in-Edhil and asked for the rings that their master had wrought or helped forge, but their requests were turned down and they were driven out of the city.
And then there came the hour in which Annatar unleashed his forces upon Eregion.
Orcs, Wargs and strange men from far away were his army, and they pillaged and burned all in their way. In a fierce onslaught they stormed through Eregion, but strangely, none had come to Ellenbar. Yet, Ollorien knew about the war, for she had seen it in her mind, and she heard from afar, from the city the cries of battle. And still she sat, motionless in Ellenbar, and none came to hinder her thought.
But, there came a day when Ollorien heard hoof beats and harsh voices around Ellenbar. She knew that Anatar had come. Slowly she rose out of her chair, and walked to the storage chamber. Through the window she saw horsemen trampling her fair garden. With a heavy heart, she opened a wooden chest and took out a great sword. Of mithril it was wrought, in its hilt were set gems, and on the blade were runes of power. Ollorien had made it in the days of her youth, before she ever knew that she was going to need it.
She took the sword, strode to the door of Ellenbar and opened it. Slowly she walked out and down the steps. In the yard in front of Ellenbar were many horsemen, their black horses drinking from her fountains and trampling the flowers. The men were speaking in harsh voices, but strangely, they did not break or hew anything.
Ollorien stood at the base of the steps and brandished her sword “Who dares tread the gardens of Ellenbar unbidden?” she asked in a loud, deep voice, and all the men fell silent and gazed at her. Yet, seeing Ollorien, a slender elf-maiden holding a sword almost as big as herself, they laughed at her and went about their business not heeding her.
But then, through the gate in the hedge rode a company of tall men, their gear different than that of the men in the garden. As different as they were themselves different from the other soldiers. Tall men they were and fair, but their faces were grim, and a light of anger was in their eyes. There were nine of them, and each wore a ring that shone brightly in the sunlight, and they held spears stained with blood. To her horror Ollorien saw that one of them was carrying a dead body, shot through with orc-arrows, and set upon a pole, as a banner. It was the body of the Lord Celebrimbor.
Behind the tall men came another horseman, and at his coming all others fell silent. Tall he was, taller than the others, riding a great black horse. Under the hoofs of his horse, as out of its nostrils sparks of fire came. The rider himself was clad in black and had a tall helm of jet-black iron with a dark red crest on his head.
The nine riders halted, and their Lord passed between them and rode straight to Ollorien. Such was the horror that she felt at his coming, that Ollorien thought that she was going to faint. A darkness came with the rider, but not darkness of sight, but of mind. A blind horror fell upon all in his presence, and all his soldiers shrank away, all save his Nine riders. But Ollorien mastered herself and did not flee, but stood proud and grim at the steps of Ellenbar, holding her sword aloft.
The rider halted in front of her, and took off his helm. On his hand he wore a simple ring of gold. Even before he unmasked himself, she knew who he was. It was Annatar. But he was different, hideous to the eye he looked. His face had remained unchanged, but a fell light that was in his eyes marred its former beauty.
“We meet again my love.” He spoke in a voice which was somewhere between a mocking whisper and a command.
“I am not your love! The man whose face you carry, the man whom I loved, who had loved me, has passed away!” she replied sternly.
“Oh, but he has not. I return to you, Ollorien my dearest. A great Lord am I now, the greatest, indeed worthy of your love and your name.” As he spoke a shadow of a smile, a horrible smile of a madman, crossed his face. “And I forgive your treason, for behold, I have punished the one that played with your love and your heart.” He said and pointed to the dead body of Celebrimbor, pierced with arrows, hanging limp and lifeless from the pole on which it was set.
“There was nothing to forgive… now be gone! Foul spirit, your mouth is not worthy of words such as `love’! Take your thralls and leave me to mourn my loss in peace!”
“Nay, Ollorien, I am not dead! Far I journeyed to seek my vengeance, and now I have it. But I have come to ask you something…”
At his words one of the nine riders leapt of his horse and walked up to Ollorien. He bowed and held out his hand in which there was a small box made of silver and gold. Ollorien took the box, and leaving her sword on the steps, opened it. Inside it there was a small ring made of red gold, with a green stone – an emerald – set in it.
“That is Cemya, the ring of Earth. The only ring fit to be set upon the hand of the Maiden that makes the stones sing! The only gift worthy of Ollorien! I have toiled hard to make it for you. Now for my question… I love you Ollorien, be my queen, I shall give you all that your heart desires and we shall rule this Middle-Earth together, forever! Will you be mine now that I am Lord?”
Ollorien took the ring and set in on her hand, letting the box fall to the ground with a clang. As she looked at it, so beautiful, so perfect, a light came into Annatar’s eyes. For a moment Ollorien’s will wavered. But then she felt a coldness in her heart, and she knew, once more, that this was not Annatar whom she adored, but a demon of Morgoth, and she hated him all the more for her memories of their life together.
Then, with a look of madness in her eyes she laughed grimly: “I would have been yours were you the least of servants to the least of lords! I loved you Annatar! A bitter jest you said, a bitter jest it is indeed! You speak of love! You love me, yet you slaughter my kin and my people ruthlessly! Now you wish me to be your queen! A lord you are indeed, but not the wise, kind lord that I loved, you are a lord of witless thralls who follow you for fear and not love! I will not be the queen of slaves! Annatar… Sauron I name you anew! Gorthaur! Lord of Werewolves! And I curse you and all your deeds `till the end of time!”
At this a shadow of doubt passed over Sauron’s face, and his will faltered.
“You are frightened my love! I shall not heed your words, now.” He waved his hand and the soldiers, all save for the nine riders, mounted their horses and swiftly rode out of the garden of Ellenbar.
“Now that the men are gone, will you not consider my proposal?” he asked again.
“Have your nine riders died on their mounts, or does the Dark Lord fear to be left alone with his love?” she asked in a mocking voice, glancing toward the riders.
With another wave of his hand Sauron dismissed his riders. They moved as one, and rode out of the gate. But they didn’t go far, but waited just outside the hedge, Ollorien still saw the body of Celebrimbor, bloody and lifeless, hanging over the fence. Seeing this her will faltered a little, she felt sick and desperate, but she mastered herself.
Sauron dismounted, strode up to her and knelt taking her hand in his. She felt the chill of his touch numb her arm, and darken her mind, so she shrank away.
Still kneeling, Sauron asked again: “Will you not be my queen? My love, my fair Ollorien, maiden of Dreams?” and he looked deep into her eyes and smiled.
Tears welled up in Ollorien’s eyes seeing this smile, for it resembled Annatar so much, Annatar who was gone. But her will was set, stern as adamant. And she looked back at him.
Laughing again, she spoke in a loud voice: “No, Lord Sauron! I shall not be your Queen of Slaves, not now, not ever!” she sprang back and picked up her sword, and Sauron leapt to his feet. His Nine riders stirred.
“Nay Lord, I shall not strike you! But I shall not be yours! And I curse you again, you and your ring!” and then, with madness in her eyes she aimed her sword, and with a precise blow Ollorien smote her own chest. The sword burst asunder as it ripped through her flesh. Her body weavered, and then lifeless fell on the stairs of Ellenbar.
Sauron ran to her with a cry, and held her in his arms as she died. The part of his mind where love yet dwelled prevailed for a moment and he was Annatar again.
“What have I done?! Cruel fate! That I should kill the only thing that I love! Alas! Alas for Annatar!” he cried as he kissed her hand.
For the last time Ollorien opened her eyes, and felt the warmth of his touch. With much effort she spoke: “My spirit flies now to the Halls of Mandos, and with it flies the spirit of our babe which is in my womb. Annatar I shall love forever, yet Sauron I curse!” and with that she closed her eyes and looked no more upon Middle-Earth that she loved.
Suddenly, a green light escaped the ring on her finger, and it welled around Ollorien’s body. Slowly it turned to stone and then, with a soft seigh, it crumbled into dust. And then a mighty tremor came from the Earth and the vast hall of Ellenbar shook, and its pillars gave way, and the mighty roof collapsed. And all the sculptures and fountains that were in the garden broke as if they were smote by some invisible hammer, and all turned to dust. And even Mellinnen trembled, the figures of Elves and Dwarves crumbled and the Star of Feanor, which stood magically above them, collapsed into ruin – the final sign of the doom of the Noldor in Middle-Earth. The last to withstand the fall of its creator was the marble with the carved faces, horrid and in agony again, but it too broke, and turned to dust.
The ground shook and rocks boomed as they burst into a thousand pieces, mourning the loss of Ollorien. All the soldiers of Sauron wailed in dismay and fear, their horses running wildly, casting off and trampeling their riders. For a few brief moments, reality seemed to colapse, and from the Earth came a cry of pain and sorrow, like the scream of a thousand dying children, and all that heard it, Elves and Men cast their weapons aside and fell to the ground covering their ears.
Still, Annatar knelt, motionless, with his eyes closed, not heeding the destruction.
When he finally opened his eyes, he saw that in his hand, where Ollorien’s hand used to be, he held just the ring that he had given her. But as he looked at Cemya, it also turned to stone, and then to dust.
And so passed Ollorien the fair, Maiden of Dreams that made even the stones sing. And with her passed Cemya, the ring of Earth, for so great was the sorrow of Ollorien that it broke even the Great Ring on her hand, and its power went with her to Valinor.
The place where once Ellenbar stood became a green mound, Haudh-en-Ollore, the mound of dreams, and in later days all wonderers in the wild, who happened to sleep on it dreamed of the Blessed Realm. But on it there was also a barren spot on which nothing grew, the spot where Sauron stood, mourning his lost love. Those who happened to roll to that spot in their sleep dreamed of madness, anger and hate, and woke up with a scream.
It is said that the sorrow of Annatar was so great that even Niena couldn’t have born it. So he turned it into anger and hate, and aimed it at the Elves. For on the day that Ollorien and their child died, the last bit of good that was in Sauron the Maia, died as well.
But memory lived on, and later in the days of his power, atop Meneltarma in the Land of the Star, Sauron built a temple in mockery and hate of Eru Iluvatar. But also in memory of Ollorien, though he would not admit it to himself. The temple greatly resembled Ellenbar, save for its horrid purpose.
As for Ollorien, her spirit dwells with her slain kindred in the gray Halls of Mandos, awaiting the Last Battle. And forever will she curse the name of Annatar, and yet, forever will she love him. And they say that after the Final End, when Arda is no more, all evil will be erased from the thought of Iluvatar. And then, because of the plea of Ollorien, Sauron will be pardoned, and cured of his evil once and for all. And they shall be born again, and their spirits will meet, and they shall sing in the choirs of the Children of Iluvatar and dwell together in bliss in the Timeless Halls for all eternity.
Author’s note: I am not J.R.R. Tolkien, nor do I wish to be. I have borrowed his characters, but also added my own. The plot itself is purely of my design. The events described in this tale, as well as the question of lordship over Eregion may collide with the account given in “The Unfinished Tales”, but as I said, I am not Professor Tolkien nor do I wish to be. It is up to you, the reader, to like or dislike the story.
Sincerely yours, Galadriel_bluestar
P.S. You’d better like it, because after an hour of messing with the stupid spell check thingie that replaces Iluvatar with elevator, Bauglir with ballgirl and Barad-Dur with Bird-dog, I’m in no mood for bad reviews!