Impendix II: The Isles of Light and the Keepers

I had intended to put up a new Impendix every week; but I have been otherwise occupied. Quite suddenly, without much premeditation, the Beloved Other and I have found a new flat that is larger and more congenial to us than the place where I have been living these last seven years. Nearly all of my books and papers are packed in boxes now, some in the new place, some waiting for the movers’ van. Today is the first day that I have had much leisure to give to the promised project, and accordingly I spent some time jotting these notes from memory.


In Färinor, as mentioned previously, apart from starlight, the only important source of light was in the Isles of Light in the midst of the central ocean. It was there that the Maker installed his bright children, the Díoni (the word actually means ‘bright children’ or ‘bright scions’ in the Fair Tongue), to tend his creation, to keep the Light, and to complete the world to its finest details – as the architect of a cathedral will employ carvers of stone and workers in stained glass.

The habitations of the Díoni were scattered widely among the Isles, but they settled most thickly on the islands nearest to Alenna, the midmost, where grew Ynd Urenn, the Tree of the World. It was said that the roots of Ynd Urenn grew all through the deep places of the earth, keeping the lands in their hold, protecting the rock that sustained them. It was also said, though more doubtfully, that the Tree sent unseen tendrils into the upper airs, where they touched the dome of the sky and mingled their life with the light of the turning stars. The especial task of tending Ynd Urenn was given to one of the Díoni, Lysana, who was called the White Queen. None of the Díoni made any lasting dwelling upon Alenna, but the house of the Queen was on the isle nearest to its shores, and she came there more often than any of her people.

Besides Ynd Urenn, Alenna held the springs of the liquid Light, which burst forth from the rock to be gathered in pools and sport in fountains. That was the playing-ground of the Díoni, and their gathering-place at times of high festival. At such times they took forms like living fire, for neither flesh nor metal nor unenchanted wood could endure the brilliance of the Light. At other times they appeared in the guise of birds or beasts, or strange creatures of their own imagining, or foreshadowings of men and women, the Children of Dân who were yet to come.

For the nature of the Díoni is not to be bound to their bodies as our own souls are; they wear their bodies like raiment, or inhabit them like houses, and can depart from them at need. But no Díon can live in another’s house, for each spirit is of its own kind, and each body answers only to the one who made it. In later times, when they took human form more often, they bore children as the race of men do; but the bodies of these children were inhabited by fresh spirits sent from the Maker, who had the same power of change and departure as their parents.

A little distance from Alenna were islands of tropic heat, richly forested, abounding in birds and beasts, some of which were never to be found in the Outer Lands or in the later worlds. Further out the Isles were warm but temperate, with rain and clear sky in due season; and it was in these lands that the ones most concerned with the outer world generally chose to dwell.

Northwards in this rough circle of islands lay Ión Tela, where there was a fiery fissure in the earth. The fire of Ión Tela was not so bright as the light of Alenna, but it burned hotter, and none of the elements of Färinor could endure that fire without being melted and transformed. Over that fissure Telkon, the master craftsman of the Díoni, built his forge. He took delight in the stuff of the world, metal and soil and living rock, and went often into the Outer Lands to build places of wonder and beauty. Above all he loved to shape the shores into wide and welcoming harbours, for his brother was Cómar, lord of the waters, and though they could seldom journey together, they could meet in the havens where the land embraced the sea.

The Díoni were many and various, and there were names among them that afterwards earned great fame in the early days of Mirenna; but some of the mightiest never departed from Färinor, and were known to the later worlds only as names of remote legend. Among these was Bringúr, father of giants, who most often took the form of a warrior, colossal of stature. His flesh was like living stone, his blood was lava, his hide was armoured with plates of dark metal; his hands could crumble the strongest rocks into dust, and their claws could rend iron like thin paper. He, too, journeyed often into the Outer Lands, keeping watch on the frozen wastes that marched with the Ramparts of Night. For there was not only a Maker of worlds, but a Destroyer as well; and while the Destroyer could not enter the circle of Färinor, or reach into the living lands with the tentacles of his corruption, there were those that served him from fear, or from promises of power. It was against these that Bringúr stood his vigil; and when his vigil was broken, the walls of the world did not long remain standing.

The third Impendix concerns the coming of Man to Färinor, and the tragedy of Dân and Eia.

Comments

  1. Wendy S. Delmater says:

    I’m enjoying this! Glad the move is going well.

  2. Hurrah for better housing!

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