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Author's note: Title is "borrowed" from a Blind Guardian song. I feel it somehow suits to this story.
Big thanks to Dawn Felagund for beta reading; she made this translation much better. *big hug*
He was looking at the elleth kneeling next to his throne. What could she possibly say to him? What was she hoping for? He had nothing to give her. There was nothing he was allowed to give her. He felt sorry for her loss, but sorrow was a part of Arda Marred. He could not help her. No one could change the Children's fate.
And then she started to sing.
At first he listened to her words, this song of a lost love. She wove the story of happiness and loss, of love and anguish, of fulfillment and sacrifice. He listened about her sorrow and broken heart, and much more: about the suffering of all Ilúvatar's children. And then the song swelled; it danced between them and enveloped him, pouring through the chamber and the entire palace. Her voice pushed back the stone walls around them and opened new vistas for him. And he did not perceive the moment in which it happened – but the melody, the lyrics and the voice ceased to be separate parts of the song and merged into one. And he found himself inside the song.
No longer was he in Mandos. Her words became images; he was sailing above a forest, knowing he was looking at Doriath, though he had never seen it before. As he was drinking in the glow of the most beautiful forest, the verses transformed the image; it faded away, and twilight covered the treetops with an opaque veil. The breath of fall burnt Arda with frost; life vanished. The deathly scream pierced his heart and the pain of loss clenched his chest. And her song made his sadness even deeper. The notes, velvety and sharp, starry and close, enveloped him in darkness. She evoked the cold and loneliness, the dark with no solace or hope. He was empty. With nothing but eternal dawnless night in front of him.
In front of him? Or in front of her? Enchanted by notes burdened with sadness, he no longer knew. Hers was the greatest sadness ever, and now he saw with her eyes; the bleeding heart was his. Her pain was his. And then he realized: his days would be long and lonely, forever.
Her singing filled his court, but he could no longer hear it. He could feel it.He could see it. It pressed into every corner of his consciousness. He got to know sorrow as he had never known it before; he sailed through an unfamiliar world, imbued by a symphony of pain, blind. He was no longer himself. He was a brother who had lost a sister; a sob escaped his lips. He became a wife who had lost her husband; there was no foothold in the void, he was falling down the abyss. And the notes kept flowing, allowing no pause. New, stronger pain kept closing in on the old one, the wounds kept getting deeper. He became a mother who had lost her child; a thousand knives were thrust into his heart, he was struggling to draw breath. How does one continue to live after having lost oneself?
How did she live without her love?
Then the wistful sound took him up. He became a leaf carried by the wind, while a wounded bird mourned for the summer. He saw a tree, withered and dead, and then realized that all the forests were grey. The sky would never be blue again. The melody grew heavier, the darkness thickened. A lonely star closed its eyes, never to open them again. Icy rains brought in the silence, and the notes' sharp drops wounded his soul. His heart cried for the colours that had vanished from the world. Never to return again.
Her voice trembled and broke for a moment. But the song did not cease; the hush became an echo of anguish, the silence caressed him with its own voice. Its whisper created a storm. Sensations rushed towards him; the waves reached the sky, the winds started singing of death. Arda fell asleep. A lone flower died.
Have there ever been any flowers? Will there ever be again?
The words started to flow again; there was no end to the dark paths. He was surrounded by the blackness of a starless night. All sorrows were his. He could not find himself. The voice quivered, wounding him. He kept trying to come back to reality, but the song captured him, the pain kept growing until it filled all his world. And then he realized that the darkness was real, and the world he knew no longer existed. Deep twilight heralded the eternal night. Her. His. He no longer knew where she ended and he began.
The song's scream erased the world and he was left all alone. With the sounds inundating his entire being, tearing down one wall after another, he found himself stripped bare in front of the darkness. He watched the stars die and reached out with a soundlesss scream; but there was no salvation, the light died out. Her words were dancing around him, drawing nearer and moving away, burning and ravaging him. He merged with them, forever bound by sadness. All was lost. In time out of time, in the void outside his world, there was nothing but pain. Her future broke his heart. Loneliness will be complete. And eternal.
For all times, the verses summoned the night and erased the day. Everywhere. For everyone, for all eternity. The darkness swallowed the world. Everything turned into nothingness, everything disappeared. The universe was emptiness, filled only with tears and the song of a dying soul.
He could not say when the song had stopped. Long after it had died out, the echo of the deepest sorrow trembled in gloom. Reality restored itself slowly; his palace gradually emerged out of the darkness, and the sounds from the external world eventually reached his being. But the colors had lost some of their brightness, and the light was left dimmed.
And he knew what he would do. Changed forever, stricken to his very core by the greatest sorrow, this time – only this one time in all the ages of the world – he would help a wounded heart. For that heart's pain was greater that the world itself.
End note: No matter how hard I tried, I am sure that Luthien's song was much sadder and evoked even stronger emotions than those I tried to describe. But I hope my attempt is not all that bad.
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