In the beginning
Disclaimer: BtVS and all associated characters belong to Joss Whedon. The Silmarillion,the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and all associated characters belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.
A/N: I usually try not to use author’s notes to explain a lot of stuff, but I wanted to give a little background synopsis of the Silmarillion, since I don’t think people are as familiar with the First Age of Middle Earth as they are the Third Age. So here goes...
Morgoth was a powerful Ainur. He was also Sauron's mentor, and from him all the evil in Middle Earth stemmed (sound familiar?). He corrupted many and destroyed even more until he was defeated, at which point he was banished into the Void. Before that happened, he stole the Silmarils, sacred jewels that were made of pure, unmarred light. Against all odds, Beren and Lúthien were able to retrieve one, and this love story is frequently mentioned in the LotR trilogy, especially since Lúthien gave up her immortality to be with Beren. Melian is Lúthien’s mother and one of the Maiar.
Big, BIG thanks to jedibuttercup, who betaed this chapter for me! You are the BEST!+++
When Melian first happened upon it, she knew not what it was, her eyes refusing to recognize what was before her. That did not last long, however, for she knew the necklace all too well.
It was Nauglamír, a treasure considered long lost to the sea. It was a piece so exquisitely wrought that it had been prized above all else save the Silmarils themselves. It was the necklace that had adorned her beloved daughter’s neck until Lúthien passed into shadow, a loss that still grieved Melian. It was the reason for which her husband had been slain, felled by those he counted as friend.
The necklace was a curse, bringing nothing but sorrow and pain, which haunted her still.
Melian was half-tempted to leave it there on the shores of Valinor, or perhaps hurl it back into the Outer Sea, from whence it had no doubt come. Indeed, she had the offending piece in her hand, her arm drawn back, when a brief flash of light caught her eye.
Frowning, she lowered her arm so that she could look closely at the necklace.
She expected to find the setting empty, for the Silmaril that once lay there – the very one that Lúthien and Beren had retrieved from Morgoth’s clutches – had long been separated from Nauglamír, saved from the watery depths by Ulmo when the necklace had been cast into the sea. Indeed, for many years now that particular Silmaril had graced sky as the Star of Eärendil.
She was quite surprised, then, to spy something lodged within the setting, something small and... radiant
Melian gasped, her eyes immediately looking upward to the sky, though it was still midday. It did not matter. She knew the Star of Eärendil well; well enough to know that it did not look as though it were missing a piece. She could not deny the proof that lay in her hands, however.
Unable to throw such a precious thing into the sea, Melian kept the Silmaril shard and Nauglamír as well, though she told no one of her find.
For days, she knew not what to do. Indeed, a full fortnight came and went before the answer came to her by way of ill tidings.
Morgoth, the scourge of Middle Earth, who had been banished behind the Door of Night into the Void, was stirring. And it seemed that the Void was a void no more.
A glimpse into the scrying bowl revealed the existence of another realm, one fraught with evil, where demons and other foul beings roamed the earth and from whom Morgoth gained strength – perhaps enough to break down the Door.
A deep unease settled over Valinor. It was said that Morgoth would break down the Door at the time of Dagor Dagorath. Surely the prophesied End could not have arrived, for great evil still lingered on Middle Earth. The One Ring, though lost, still existed, as did the shadow of Sauron, Morgoth’s lieutenant.
Such portents were dangerous indeed.
Yet all was not lost, for the scrying bowl also showed a race of Men who fought against the tide of evil, and it was to them the Valar would send envoys, as they had already done for Middle Earth, to ensure that Morgoth’s power did not grow too great.
Several Maiar pledged themselves to this quest without hesitation, and, to the surprise of all, Melian was among them.
She herself was taken aback at her willingness to go; though feelings like hope and happiness had abandoned her long ago, she was able to gain the smallest amount of peace among the trees of Valinor, and there was no promise of return once they passed beyond the Door.
There must have been a reason Nauglamír had been sent to her at such a moment, however. How it would aid her, she knew not, only that it, too, must have a role to play, and that was enough.
Together, she and the others prepared for their last journey, and within three days' time, they were ready.
So Melian passed from Valinor into the Void that was no more.
The manner in which she and the others picked up the mantle of Guardians to the Slayer… now that had not been foreseen.
Soon after their arrival, they saw how weak the race of Men truly was. They saw the way the Shadow Men forced the essence of a demon into a young girl so that she alone could fight their battle.
This girl should have been an abomination; the Guardians quickly realized, however, that although this burden was not one of her own choosing, she bore it well. Indeed, she was her world’s best chance of defeating Morgoth, and it was on her shoulders alone that the fate of that world fell.
Melian and her fellow Guardians immediately set to work, moving in secrecy lest Morgoth – or 'The First', as he called himself here in this realm – learn of their presence. To their despair, they discovered that magic worked differently in their new world, and they found themselves to be greatly diminished.
Nevertheless, together they were able to forge the Scythe, a mighty weapon for the Slayer, imbued with both the essence of the Slayer herself and of the Guardians.
No sooner had they finished their work, though, than they were discovered; not by Morgoth, but by the Old Ones.
One by one, her companions fell until only she was left.
Her only comfort was that, before their passing, they had managed to bestow the Scythe upon the Slayer, who avenged their deaths when she used the weapon to slay last of the Old Ones.
With that defeat, Morgoth's power waned, and so Melian went into hiding; and with her, she took the Scythe. It was with a great heaviness of heart that she did so, but she had no other choice. It was not safe to leave it in the hands of the Slayer, for the girl was steadily falling under the sway of both the Shadow Men and the demon within.
Nor did Melian trust it in the hands of the Shadow Men themselves, for she had seen the darkness within their hearts as they forced the demon into the Slayer. Such were men who could be easily corrupted by Morgoth and his promises of power, and she dared not trust a weapon such as the Scythe in their hands. It was for she, and she alone to wield.
So Melian hid the Scythe, only to be revealed again when Morgoth’s threat was greatest.
Because many years might pass before that moment arrived, however, Melian bestowed another gift on the Slayer line, so as not to leave them completely bereft, sharing her gift of foresight.
Then she retreated, watching and waiting for the time when the Slayer would need her most.
Years passed, and then centuries, and with them an endless line of Slayers. Their lives were so fleeting, Melian knew not a single one by name, only by their deeds. But indeed, theirs were feats of greatness, as they continually managed to thwart the attempts of Morgoth to gather his strength. To be sure, some faced this threat more valiantly than others, but all gave their life for it.
Then it happened. The Slayer came to the place the race of Men eventually called Sunnydale, where Melian herself lay hidden as it was the place where the last Old One was slain, and Morgoth soon followed.
From that moment, Melian began watching the Slayer more closely. It came as quite the shock when she saw how like Luthien this girl was in spirit. For the girl loved with all her heart; something that would bring about her greatest triumphs and spell her doom.
It was then that Melian knew what she must do, and before long, Nauglamír was remade, the delicately wrought piece refashioned into a simpler, sturdier chain, one that would not cause friend to fell friend. At the end hung an amulet, with the shard of the Simaril kept safely within, dormant and hidden.
Whether this drew the attention of Morgoth, she knew not; she only felt as his power began to swell, straining under the fetters that kept him at bay, and it made her uneasy.
One day, however, that power was gone... as was the girl.
For the first time, Melian wished she had known the Slayer’s name.
Before she could give in to sorrow, however, there was a great disruption, and suddenly the girl returned, and with her came Morgoth, more powerful than ever, with an army that could overrun the earth.
Worse still, he had somehow learned of the Scythe and its location. How he had discovered this, she knew not. And indeed, it was unimportant. What mattered most was that he be stopped.
It was time for both the amulet and the Scythe to be revealed, though she knew it very well could mean her own end. Whether her spirit would be able to fly back through the Door to the Hall of Mandos, Melian knew not. But she hoped.
She hoped that before her fate came to pass, whatever it may be, she could meet the Slayer, the one so like Lúthien. She hoped that the girl would have the strength and courage to wield the Scythe and the amulet as they were meant, unfettered by the dark influences surrounding her line. She hoped that once again, Morgoth would underestimate the race of Men to his peril; a girl, no less, this Slayer.
Yes, she hoped
A/N: So I hope Tolkien enthusiasts don't mind the liberties I took for this amulet origin story here. But considering Galadriel’s phial of light (the one she gave Frodo) just held a reflection of the Star of Eärendil and still shone so brightly, I thought an actual shard of the Silmaril would be blinding -- maybe even strong enough to incinerate an army of Turok-han. ;)