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Upon my closed eyelids sequins of light shatter as a breeze strokes the silver water of Lórellin. I lift my chin; the fingers of the zephyr touch me too, gentle and cool. Trees on Estë's isle whisper as they sway, though the fragile mists amongst them do not disperse. This I know, without looking. Some things, by their nature, abide … such as my kin and I, who were, even before the world. I open my lids. In the east, a thin veil of rain falls. Anar, the sun, catches it and paints it with prismatic hues. One moment, then it is gone. Some things are born to be ephemeral. When first I saw you, I also saw this fate: to sit alone amidst the flowers of Lórien, spilling tears into its shining lake.

I bought grief willingly, as do all who choose to love. It takes no seer to predict that one inevitably follows from the other. Anar brings warmth, but in its wake, comes the night. Light and darkness, neither can be shunned. Though it was in the starlit years we met, I deem it the long day I basked beneath the glow of your passion. Now we are sundered, and I can look upon your face no more, until the death of all these lesser days. So I close my eyes and embrace the bitter night within.

The death of all days, World's End: it is then, my beloved, we two may be rejoined. Yet even that cannot heal sorrow, for we have both lost what we treasured most: the fairest of all flesh of any union on earth; fled from this world; hidden beneath a mystery so viscid, even the sight of the Valar cannot penetrate its depth. Will I mourn her for eternity, her brave heart and fierce love that proved stronger than our own?

Aye, Elwë, think on that, in Namo's soundless halls. Recall the glitter of Nauglamír and the greed that took you from my grasp. In the end, I was not enough. Nor it seems was Lúthien, nor Doriath. Kingdom, queen, and the most glorious child of Ilúvatar, abandoned for desire of a handful of dwarven stones and the curséd Silmaril. Beren spoke true: for little price do elven kings sell those they love. Aye, Elwë, even unto yourself. I saw the shadow of that when I first beheld you - such needless death - yet my adoration never quailed.

Someone approaches: the Vala I call cousin, though she is mightier than I. Her insubstantial steps bend not a single blade of grass, for she is not bound to solid flesh as I who wore it for uncounted years … and used it for such capricious purpose. My spirit cannot be unclothed again, for part of it is gone, diluting in the veins of elves and men.

A hand touches my arm, softer than breath. "Melian, you sit so long in silence. You have deprived your kin of the enchantment of your singing for centuries. Will you withhold it still?"

I watch as she kneels beside me, the verdant folds of her gown blending with the rich green lawn. Her eyes bathe me with warmth, sunlight through willow leaves. Long strands of golden hair lift beneath the caress of the breeze, and all the faces of the flowers turn to her in reverence.

But I can bloom no more, not since the day that Elwë ventured within the Curse of Mandos and wrought our daughter's doom. "Yavanna, if I sang, it would be lamentation, a dirge, grey and cold as ashes. My muteness is from mercy."

"Then you offer pity without empathy. We were enraptured by your songs; you who were ever amongst the wisest. What you know now, and what you feel, are the most resonant melodies of Eru, yet you deny their expression to those who yearn to listen." Her plea is like the sound of rain. "Ah, Melian, surely it is not regret?"

"Regret? Do we regret this world because it will end?" As I spoke, I felt Yavanna smile. We played with such questions.

"I almost envy you, Melian, though none of us could have done as you did. From you came Lúthien Tinúviel and, though I perceive it only dimly, a better chance for the world. You may not choose to sing, but you have danced within the music and changed its course."

"Aye. I have known the bliss of motherhood, and the bitterness of losing my child to a fate I cannot fathom. The joy, I can never recapture. Yet longing for it will remain with me until the end of all time."

A watery sheen blurs my vision, till the droplet slides coldly down my cheek.

Yavanna sighs. "We know of loss, and regret for what cannot be regained. But of mortal grief, we have little understanding."

I try to explain, but what passes for words are too few and too frail. They fall and fracture like brittle stones. Instead, I finally allow emotions to sweep across the lyre of my voice. Softly to begin with, an anthem to Elwë rises into the air in tremulous tones. The breeze hearkens, and holds its breath. A dark velvet cloak of sound unfurls from my throat, telling of the love that enveloped elven lord and Ainur, binding us together, blinding us to all else. Petals open and insects pause, devouring the honeyed ether which carries my song. It swells into a ringing psalm then slowly hushes to a lullaby. Lórellin lies like glass as Estë's mists steal across the surface towards me. I sing rapture and laughter, crimson canticle and soaring silver threads strung with diamonds. The other Valar have arrived, even Manwë, hand in hand with Varda. A note chimes, high and bright as a star, then eclipses with the first of my requiems. Black and thunderous, a storm, a biting hurricane, a blizzard of ice: the very sky yields to my crescendo.

I hoard inside the unheard music of centuries. It pours out, as startling as a dragon's song, as hauntingly familiar as Lúthien's lament, reprised and harmonised but asking nothing. And almost nothing is my final requiem. Softer than snowflakes, more fragile than a moth's wing, my voice seeks for my child. Hopeless and aching, a single strand of gossamer, it drifts towards the Walls of Night. There it falters and fails. Silence reclaims me and I fall, eyes shut tight against the enchantment I have woven, the sorrow I have shared.



'Trust me.'

His simple thought is a shimmering symphony, a choir of futures I have never dreamt. Aye, Lord. Indeed. There will be other songs worth singing.