It didn’t happen often, that Namo, Doomsman of the Valar and Lord of the Halls of Waiting, didn’t know what to do with a situation… but the situation he was faced with now was exactly one like that. The audience hall of Mandos was empty, safe for Námo himself and one other.
“Brother. You asked for my presence.”
Irmo was standing in front of his brother’s throne, looking slightly worried. Námo sighed deeply.
“Yes. I… I find myself faced with a dilemma, brother.”
A comfortable chair appeared out of thin air for the Vala of Dreams, who took a seat and looked expectantly at his older brother. Námo sighed again.
“I have been busy, lately. You know of the War of the Ring.”
“Of course. Ugly business, that… Cause for many nightmares.”
“My Maiar are capable enough to handle the casualties of war… but one arrival worries me deeply.”
Irmo already knew whom his brother was speaking of.
“Sauron... His fëa wasn’t destroyed together with that stupid Ring of his, was it?”
“Of course not. Damaged severely, yes… but not destroyed. He arrived in my halls, a shade of himself.”
The younger Vala raised an eyebrow.
“And he’s already causing trouble again?”
“No… He’s damaged in such a way that I doubt he even remembers what has all happened, at the moment. It conflicts me; there is no redemption for his actions, and justice requires the most severe punishment… And yet…” Námo looked at his brother with deep-lying, troubled eyes. “I cannot bring myself to speak the sentence that will make him join his master in the Void. Not while he is like this, ignorant of what he has done to deserve such a fate.”
“Surely Melkor will remind him of his actions, don’t you think?”
Námo shook his head.
“No, brother. I can’t bring myself to do it. He is like a child in mind now, holding an… an innocence that almost disgusts me, knowing what he has done and caused.” He bitterly smirked. “I do not foresee his fate. Eru keeps the veils of his future firmly shut to me…”
Irmo knew his brother well. Námo Mandos had an incredibly strong sense of right and wrong, that usually distinguished without error the redeemable from the doomed, the innocent from the guilty. If his brother doubted what to do with a case, it must be a very unclear and grey case indeed…
“He is as a child, you say? Then perhaps I know a way to relieve you of your burden, brother… When he remembers all, he can be judged and punished, no?”
“That would be right indeed.”
Irmo smiled mysteriously, a plan brewing in his mind.
“Then maybe you simply need to postpone his trial for a while. If there’s anything we have, it’s time, is it not?”
“Sauron’s fëa is fell and dark. Damaged and brokenly innocent as he is now, he still doesn’t deserve any healing.”
“Children grow up when given enough time. I intend to do nothing, except for giving him said time…”
Námo solemnly nodded. He only had a vague idea of what his brother wanted to do… but Irmo was his natural counterpart, and he trusted him. In situations where his own black-and-white judgement failed, Irmo’s grey-scale solutions tended to do the job quite nicely.
“So, with that out of the way, brother… How is life in the Halls?”
“As usual there isn’t much cheerful about it, so don’t give me that grin. Wars have been fought, and my Maiar have been very busy… Yet most of the trials were easy, and I had some time to devote to my personal projects. I even made some progress.”
“Progress, you say? Have you gotten the Fëanorians to show even a hint of regret?”
“As a matter of fact… yes. A few of them have even shown far more than just a hint… “
For a moment Námo’s face cleared up at the memory, then he scowled again.
“If not for that wretched father of them, I might even be able to schedule their case for an appeal… But they are loyal like dogs, even the most repentant ones. It is nothing if not frustrating!”
Irmo couldn’t help but grin again. The Fëanorians thought themselves to be doomed forever; if Námo had gotten some of those stubborn Noldor to show true repentance, despite them believing that there was no redemption possible for them… that certainly counted for something. Just like the Song of Creation wasn’t a set of etched-in-stone-rules, his brother’s dooms weren’t as definite as most people believed them to be. It took a lot to make him schedule an appeal trial, but it wasn’t unheard of…
“Fëanor… he’s a tough case, isn’t he?”
Námo sadly shook his head.
“Hopeless, that one.”
“Give him to me, along with Sauron.” Irmo’s grin widened. “I know exactly what to do with them…”
This story was born out of the strange twists and turns that my mind makes at night. It's an experiment, and I'm not entirely sure where I'll go with this or whether I actually like it. Feedback would be greatly appreciated...
Námo has a dilemma, Irmo has a solution...
Chapter end notes:
This is a fairly important chapter... It's the prologue, yes... but you should also keep in mind that it is Irmo who the fëar are given to; otherwise you will be really dumbstruck later on, I think.