Mairon opened his mouth to reply, but faltered. He stopped walking, standing still under the shadow of a tree, watching Langon with a blank expression. Realization had hit him like a bucket of ice water dumped over his head.
It wasn’t that he did not know. It was that he was afraid to. He was afraid to know that he was, for sure, no longer like the other ainur. Mairon was already pitifully weak for a maia, being unable to carry his own music for very long. Even fire that had once responded to him so easily would burn him if he was not careful.
But if he were to know for sure, if he learned he was something mortal…
He shivered involuntarily, fingers clenching the edges of his sleeves and beginning to fuss with the seams. He’d already had enough doubts over what he was.
The herald gave Mairon a long look, seeing his restlessness and his shivering. He walked over, and rested gentle hands upon the smith’s shoulders. “You need not, if you’d prefer to avoid it,” Langon said quietly. “But if you want to, you will have my help.”
He had seen Melkor bound to form, and many others in Angband over time. It had been one of his greatest fears, to himself lose the fluidity of form that was his nature as a Maia. And here was Mairon, who might indeed have lost it… or might simply have been weakened so that it would take the power of another, like Langon, to help him transform.