Screaming to an emptiness
How we dignified ourselves
With our hands over our eyes
Claiming all of creation
What inspires in us this madness
That our existence should be defined
By a light that can't be seen by anyone
(from Carbon by VNV Nation)
A deep thrum that was more a feeling than a sound struck the fabric of the invisible world. It pooled at points across a vast scape of vibration and grew into a clamorous ring. The sensation the sound shook from its beholders was nearly unbearable. Its raw terror and wonder reflected an Arda so new mountains were still malleable by the barest whisper of breath. To witness its power was to stare into the heart of greed, only to find an infinite hall of mirrors. This turbulent cacophony was not something all could accept as the backdrop for beauty. Even when they could see that paradise is relative, the acceptance would take time. The realization would take longer. The devotion longer still. Time was most precious, but not so much as perfection’s will.
For the first time since Mairon’s memories began, he felt cold. The chill seeped into his being so slowly he had not noticed until it deeply pained him. Ice grew impassively to cover his spirit, and he felt his very thoughts slow until they nearly dwindled into a single tone of hollow hoarfrost.
He was beyond infuriated. No power in Eä would ever halt the progression of his thoughts, his ideas, his creations! He lashed out with all the force of fire within him but as illusions are usually found, there was nothing to hit. The white void that surrounded him gave no purchase. He was but a naked flame in infinite space.
Mairon paused long in panic. How could he create? He was too alone. He knew the Music could not be composed without his multitude of siblings, but there was no other action he could think to take in this primal form.
So, in a voice that sounded pathetically small to him, he began to sing creation. An infinitesimal note rang out raw and jagged, and the next came out even more broken. That would not do.
He started again, this time feigning the confidence of a singular creator. Threads of notes that had been his part in the Great Music spilled forth in flawless succession. It was a melody of fire and hot metal and precise geometry that represented his entire purpose in the plan of Eru. It was him. Yet nothing happened. He apathetically noted that he was correct, as usual. His music meant nothing without all the others. Mairon despaired, for that was all he knew. Crystals of a faraway icy symphony continued to drive deeper into him, solidifying him.
In a final pragmatic desperation, he did recall another. It retched itself out from the dark cavity of his mind he had left it to brood in. The marring he shared with all of Arda was the Discord of the Dark Lord. It carried the imperfections he knew he should loathe. For the sake of his position and pride, he refused to be associated with such scars and often pretended that he knew nothing of its chaotic nature. Curse his faultless memory! The sound came as clearly to his mind as it once had; amplifying with every moment he let it stay in his thoughts. Tendrils surfaced from him like a mold and pulsed to be let out in the open. The Discord’s beginning was not a note, but a beat.
Thu-thump. It emerged from him effortlessly confident. There was no room for error. Thu-thump. The impact of distant crashing in the cosmos. Thu-thump. The peal of thunder on mountains. Thu-thump. The sound of a battering ram hitting a gate. Thu-thump. The feeling of a furiously beating heart. At that powerful feeling, Discord broke from him like spores and endless notes sang with no pattern. The notes did not repeat and never would again until the end of time. In the chaos was everything that could ever be. It felt like true creation, and his spirit soared with joy.
The white space fractally bloomed into slabs of ice and stone that flattened out a horizon before him. Infinitely deep pools of water filled and a cold fog rose. The primordial landscape seemed ready to be filled with life. He would not stop. The water boiled away and the stone split. Ash tumbled out of the fissures and flames burst from oil slicks.
So this power is what it is to be a Vala! His laughter turned the stone molten and the flames rose ever higher. Never again would he be a spark without tinder in the chorus of creation!
In his elation he failed to notice a force he had not intended to invoke. A rushing wall of water, roaring deep and terrible made its way towards him from all corners of the world. He gave a cry, and it was answered only as it can be in dreams. Wings as black and beautiful as the night swept around him. A magnificent creature lifted him far into the air and let out a deafening call.
When he dared look over from his simple stool against the stone wall to the work he had abandoned for meditative dreams, a long sigh shook from him. The forge returned his sigh in a flare of flame. An uninspired piece of work was truly the most ruinous imperfection for a Maia of Aulë, and especially for one held in such high esteem as him. He sneered at the silver glinting on his workbench, and turned away to ignore it. As much as he hated to admit it, the tiresome brooch was the least of his concerns.
Dreams in rest were common among the Maiar, but visions of such destruction were a mark of something far more devious than weariness. Rumors that echoes of the Dark One’s “music” still lived in the recesses of Arda were said by those who mined deep below. He was sure he had properly shunned that monotonous drone during the creation, but the fact that he remembered it well said otherwise. He ran his hand down his chest, as if to keep hidden blooms in check.
Standing to pace about the empty hall, he contemplated what to do. The dreams that came when he was most tired and frustrated were filled with the devastation of wanton power. In those dreams, the flames he tended not only melded metal into useful and beautiful shapes, but razed the very ground to bare ash. Which was certainly frowned upon. But they were just dreams, he reminded himself, and even more so, imagining such power soothed the irritation he felt in stressful times. Was it not better for him to be calm and at his best? So in that dark and private moment he allowed the idea to grow, promising himself that it was just an exercise of thought. At the very least it was an exercise of venting the force of nature he contained. The force of nature he was.
Mairon entertained the thought that perhaps he spent too much time alone at the forge hall after the others left for the rest scheduled by the Valar. Remembering the clamor and prying eyes of his siblings, he snorted. No. Despite committing a small infraction of the Valar’s will, he did his best work here alone with just the light of the forge fire and his own sorcery to guide matter to its final, perfect form.
The piece of silver he initially found so uninspired now had much potential. With a wave of his hand he sent a grinding disc spinning in the air and began to sharpen the brooch's originally gentle points into a form that no other being had yet seen. The form was wings of a beast never imagined, until that fateful fever dream.