The Departure

Whether he was Vanya adventurer or novelty-seeking Maia, no one knew. Annatar’s past remained a mystery, his unsettling presence in Eregion punctuated by sudden journeys to destinations unknown. Again he approached Celebrimbor on silent feet, scarlet-clad, every motion imbued with the grace and promise of an Eastern concubine.

“I must leave you for a time, my friend. Other – concerns – require my presence.” Low, thrilling, a voice that implied illicit lusts in the most prosaic of observations.

Each time this happened, the smith knew a sharp tightness in his gut. Previously when faced with the impending absence of the Giver of Gifts, Annatar of the sharp wit and towering intellect, of twilight eyes, sinful mouth and sleek, sinuous form, Celebrimbor’s fear had been that he might not come back.

That had been before whispered consultations concerning hidden knowledge. That had been before veiled hints at power beyond comprehension, of rewards for exploring gifts unlooked for. That had been before the suspicion of close watch by those he had once trusted without question. That had been before the ring craft.

Now his fear was not how long Annatar would be gone, but rather that he would indeed keep his word and return.