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Story Notes:
This is a seperate piece, response to a challege by Wind Rider to prompt number 1 and 47. It is tied into my on-going story Ancient Wounds, but is not an excerpt ...at least for the moment (1/13/11). The two characters are part of my aforementioned story, however.

Wind rider challenges 1 & 47

Fire: The Nature of Evil

VanimŽ turned towards her sister, VaniŽ, the hint of sadness upon her fine features. They had taken shelter underneath the ledge of a rock, huddling around the small fire they managed to get alight. The sisters were not learned in the ways of surviving in the wilderness, and now they were beginning to doubt their self ordained banishment from their sire’s house. It was not as if they were new to being banished, having earned a probable permanent exile from their home, Valinor, by the Valar no less. But this most recent expulsion stung in ways they did not imagine. Had they known of these perils beforehand, VanimŽ judged that she and her sister would have reluctantly continued to suffer in silence. They were noble ladies, princesses in their own rights, not roughened and seasoned for the dangers in the wilds of the young Middle-earth. Though now, each Caranthiriel (daughter of Caranthir) appeared more roguish than regal, their faces smudged, dresses torn, hair unruly.

“The nature of evil, you ask?” VanimŽ repeated her sister’s question carefully.

The older sister gazed upon her younger sibling with softness in her gray eyes, pitying her. So much had they gone through, suffering through the Kin-slaying in AlqualondŽ and crossing over the miserable icy pass of HelecaraxŽ, watching Fingolfin as he realized the betrayal that occurred, yet being powerless to change anything. Since that fateful day in the blessed city of the Teleri, VaniŽ was not the same, choosing to become introspective. Her wont was to be quiet and thoughtful, reflecting on things said and actions taken, but now her demeanor was beyond that. Each day VanimŽ saw her sister retreating further and further into herself, and it pained and frightened the older Noldo.

“Indeed, for of late I have begun to wonder if there was something that could have been done to prevent all this, if there was some small semblance of a sign we had overlooked.” VaniŽ said.

A sudden crackling from the fire startled them both.

“It is like fire,” VanimŽ began, curbing her erratic breathing while her heart pounded on rapidly.

She then rose to retrieve two blankets from the saddlebags, throwing one carefully over the orange flames to her sister. She then placed herself at her sister’s side, laying her younger sister’s head in her lap. VaniŽ raised an eyebrow, sighing from exhaustion. VanimŽ would always begin an explanation cryptically, much to the irritation of her sister. She began to comb through VaniŽ’s dark hair with her hands, feeling a slight pang of jealously as she felt the silken strands beneath her fingertips, so unlike the crisper nature of her own hair. In all ways VanimŽ seemed to have attracted the rawer rougher qualities of their sire, while VaniŽ was the opposite, soft and sweet as their mother.

“Fire is not a mechanism of darkness, rather it lights our surroundings, bringing us warmth and hope. See how we huddle around it now, feeding off its radiation? We do not dare to creep to the edges, for who knows what lurks there beyond its borders. So here we stay, in supposed safety.”

VaniŽ felt a sudden chill pass through her as VanimŽ spoke those words.

“When does fire become evil, then?” VaniŽ asked.

“When its purpose becomes for greed, and domination…”

The younger Elf maiden shuddered, trying to imagine a cruel face in the dancing flames of their small fire, but none appeared.

“Then Light can also be twisted?” VaniŽ breathed.

VanimŽ gripped her sister’s shoulder tightly, unsure of how to phrase her response. Of late VaniŽ was showing more signs of delicacy, and at times even the simplest tasks proved to be a challenge for her. VanimŽ found herself becoming sterner, pushing her sister along, and sometimes even resorting to physical or verbal means. VaniŽ would burst into tears at unexpected times, which worried her sister even more. What could be said that would not seem too heavy for her sister to process, or too painful? VanimŽ knew what VaniŽ referred to, and were it not for the promise they had made each other to speak nothing except for the truth VanimŽ would not have answered.

“Light itself is pure, that will never change. But what our family did, that is evil. It begins innocently, all evil does, with an idea and desire for good deeds. Then the desire turns to coveting and possession, then domination. Once the coveting begins, that is the true nature of evil revealed. It is like the fire, at first one is content to absorb its warmth and bask in the protection it offers. Then once the realization is made that it can be used for more personal gains, the fire becomes a source of evil. Instead of keeping away dangerous animals, a rival’s home is destroyed. The purpose of nŠr (fire) is then tarnished, corrupted. That is when it becomes evil, when anything becomes evil. And once the fire is awoken, there is nothing that can stop it.”

Chapter End Notes:
Anything recognizable belongs to Tolkien; the website Council of Elrond referenced for Quenyan use. Again, my apologies for the wide spacing. My laptop seems to have a mind of its own on this matter.
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