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The Dark Fire Will Avail You

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This was different, so different from the awkward camaraderie of warriors’ comforts, that which was desperate and needed in the dark of the night before battle and rarely spoken of among survivors - though still done then, the surge of relief, sorrow, and rage still unspent causing hunger in the blood that could only be assuaged by the frenzied clasp of another living body. And for Iaun it required the savage touch of a fearless lover not afraid to test his endurance and courage.

This was a slow and savoured thing that grew between them and entwined them together, revisited again and again, wide-eyed and open in the bright clear light of the new Sun and Moon. As the eyes of the people of Doriath had adjusted to the changes in the heavens and the new lights upon meadow and forest when they went out into the world, the lamps in the City of the Thousand Caves had also been turned higher and attuned to the waxing and waning of the skies, as the people wished it.

So it was often in the white-golden clarity of light that mimicked Arien’s that Iaun and Sérelókë could see each other as they danced entangled, naked in the plush-soft beds of the wealthy city of Menegroth. Iaun had still believed he could not hold his companion’s attention for long, yet there seemed no diminishment in the rapt gaze of Sérelókë’s keen, fey eyes, and no fading at all in the force of his desire. Elves were not especially lusty folk, and yet the heat in Iaun’s blood when Sérelókë came close to him still pulsed fiercely, driving him to touch, to taste, to ask for more with his eyes, and melt up into his caresses, and ever yearn for his command.

When Arien arose and filled the world with fiery radiance, all things became exposed and Iaun thought it must make everyone’s sight rather like to Sérelókë’s, in which little can be hidden for long. Golden was the awe and delight upon his face at first, though Iaun found the new light painful to look upon, and her way of sharpening the shadows too harsh, til he adjusted, and he was wont to remain in the caves until Tilion took his gentler path.

The lassitude Iaun had feared did not set in at once - Iaun wandered the halls of craftsmen and was greeted by them with great welcome; with joy he admired and began to learn the arts of smithcraft and weapon-making. To Iaun’s delight, Sérelókë gave some of his patronage to designers of clever devices and slightly adapted weapons, made especially for use in private company.

For Sérelókë’s part, Melian had spoken true, and she gifted her kinsman with an exquisite viol. Iaun often woke to its strains in their chambers when most of the townspeople were abed, and Iaun generally minded it not, but for when its cries reflected distressed thoughts of its owner, who seemed to suffer in a web of his own making where Iaun could not reach him.

Yet Iaun’s long life in the forest still laid its claim upon him, and he often left the sanctity of Menegroth’s gates during the quiet, subtle-scented hours of Tilion’s ride, when the night flowers gave forth their sultry airs, and the fresh breath of the heavens wafted through the leaves. Free he felt with no stone around him or above him, and if he sometimes felt shamed to idle in safety while others still suffered and died far away, lessened was his guilt when Sérelókë was with him, for Iaun then felt great joy of purpose.

Morgoth Bauglir was not quite the only Vala who still laid his touch to those lands, for in those days Oromë himself still took to the hunt in the vast forests, and though the Elves feared him they also took joy in the singing winds of his passing, when his great horn Valaróma echoed through the trees and sounded off the hillsides. Certhasath returned to them then, and Sérelókë turned to Iaun with savage joy for the game afoot, the dance of hunter and hunted .