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Songs of the Sea

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“He’s back again,” she frowns, as she always does. Ulmo sighs.

“Just leave it be, dear; we have done more than enough for the Children of late. Manwë is not best pleased with our way of dealing with Melkor’s lingering taint.” Ulmo feels weary; even his strength is not endless, and the War stole much he once held. Truthfully he does not understand her mingled vexation and fascination any better than Ossë’s utter disdain.

“Eternal Darkness, or eternal lamentations - what’s the difference?” Ossë replies, tugging playfully on some of her trailing hair.

Uinen’s teeth are bared, sharp as knives, as she hisses in warning. She’s gone in the next minute, the only evidence of her presence one of the crabs that like to hide in her green locks. It gives them both a baleful look, as only a crab can. Ossë winces, though he tries to hide it.

Ulmo sighs.

“You should not goad her so,” he rebukes, but it’s soft, because he does not truly think Ossë’s feelings unmerited. Neither he nor either of them have forgotten the wailing of the Teleri, or the blood that stained Sirion red.

 

 

Uinen watches; the small pouch is further down, farther out, than usual. Remaining unseen by the eyes that barely care to glance away from their prize is simple, no more work than the wave of a hand. She could kill him - it would be easy - but her hand never lifts, no matter the roil of anger she still feels, does not crush the air from those lungs, press down on him with all the weight of the water that surrounds him.

It’s the look of his face that stills her fury. Dark hair blows in the small currents, tangling and curling about a pale face, scarred fingers reaching for dark, water-stained leather.

So much emotion; so much pain. Mingling in familiar features like rivers running into the sea.

Revulsion and longing, grief and desire... They’re all there, anger, too, and a yearning so deep she compares it to one of her favourite chasms where no light ever reaches the bottom.

Sometimes, she looks at the pouch - she even opened it once, trying to understand what made him keep going. Sometimes, she’s spiteful, reminded of wailing mothers, hiding the pouch behind rocks or beneath plants.

She always puts it back; he can go only so long before whatever it is that makes him need it makes him dive into her waters, ungainly like all the Children; lacking fins or smooth scales, and not so good a swimmer as her favourites by far, but doggedly determined to find, to reach, to hold.

When he clutches his prize, fighting his way back to the surface and the air that beckons him ever closer, Uinen watches, wondering at the loathing twisting into peace and back with each kick of bare feet.

Each time she wonders if he will give up, will choose to end this… torment.

She watches, her eyes no more than the foam of a wave, as he collapses on the beach, the sea lapping at his uncovered feet. He cut one on a sharp shell, the waves washing down red, staining the sand. It goes unnoticed; one more among the scars he already has, and far less painful than the one which is coming.

Almost on cue, the scream rends the air, sorrow and pain made sound.

The weeping is worse, somehow; he would be easier to hate if he was less pitiful, if her ears did not ring with the laments and prayers his mother, standing on the edge far above where she pounds her waves against the cliffs of Aman, hurls into the wind.

Uinen watches, pity not enough to move her to offer compassion – sometimes she wonders if she should offer him words, but Manwë’s doom was quite clear, and pity is not enough – bitterness of lives lost having tainted it long before it was ever born in her heart.

The light glimmers from atop a rock, and he does not see her as he gathers foodstuffs; he likes mussels, though he is not so good at finding them. Uinen births a new colony on rocks he may one day discover and tells herself it is not pity that moves her hands, not compassion that leaves tiny bounties of the Sea where this lost soul might find them.

She stays, staring in silence; the music is everchanging, though the theme remains sorrowful.

 

 

In the morning, the finely worked leather pouch drops down through the waves to land in a nest of her hair, almost immediately wrapped in long green strands of tangling seaweed.

 

 

It will be sitting on the clear sandy bottom the next time he gives in to the song, hears the call of the voice that the waves cannot silence.

It is his voice.