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The Most Beautiful
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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1
The Most Beautiful

In one world Melian lives with Elu, curling her slender body against his in the mornings, reveling in the touch of flesh-on-flesh. It is in this world that she bears her beautiful daughter (who by all rights should not exist), feels the delicate brush of LĂșthien's hands on her face, and knows that this is a glory the world has never seen.

Her other world is quite different from the first. It is as a light shimmering within all things, a slight vibration that only she can feel through her spirit-woven fingers, something that cries out for the addition of her voice... Always it calls to her, the exhilarating infinity of the Song, and she yearns to abandon her body and fly into the heart of it: her garden would be there with its quiet loveliness, and she could bring a forest into existence with the simple rise and fall of her voice.

It would be nothing like Doriath, where she must patiently coax the earth into harmony, where her husband's people are sometimes foolish and arrogant, where there is always war raging with their enemies and tension brewing with their allies. There would be nothing of the stink that such conflicts bring, the blood and death and hatred that seems so fundamentally wrong to her mind that she wonders why she stays. It was so simple when she wandered Arda as a spirit, caring for nothing more than to whisper life into a young shrub, or nestle at the heart of a tree and spread herself through its sap; now that she has cares beyond her own simple pleasures, life is both easier and more difficult.

She sometimes wishes she could lose herself in the Song again, be taken up by that swirl of light and music that enfolds her with a whispered, Welcome home, My child...

Then, of course, there are the things that make her stay.

When they are sitting beneath the stars on great feast-days, and some joke is told, Elu laughs uproariously; he is fierce in his loves, hatreds, and enjoyments, and nothing is not worth making a fuss over. He is a powerful chorus alone yet his laughter is surprisingly sweet and joyous; she first heard it long ago, when the world slowed and they touched for the first time. You are real, he said wonderingly, passing his fingers over her cheek... Her whole spirit followed the path of his hand, brushing her lips and chin, and she replied, I am. Elu smiled, she trembled, and the forest echoed with his glad laughter.

When LĂșthien begins to speak, it is nothing short of a miracle. She holds her small daughter in the air, delighted that this little being created of love has learned language, has grasped the fact that "Naneth" is Melian herself and "Adar" is Elu. My most precious child, she murmurs, hearing her own song floating through LĂșthien's words, beneath skin and within beating heart.

The Green-elves come from Ossiriand twice per year, bearing knives of flint and jugs of a rough, heady brew composed of fermented fruit. Their leader offers the drink to her and Elu with the solemnity of a prince, and smirks when they splutter at the taste. He calls his folk over and they begin a bubbling tune with instruments of wood, plant and stone, dancing wildly beneath the sky.

She knows that she would find none of these things in the Great Music; Elu's laughter, LĂșthien's words, the raw joy of the Green-elves... They would be lost beneath rebellions and fated loves and a thousand deaths, and yet to her they are the most cherished, the most beautiful strains.

And so she goes into her garden, just outside the unfinished gates of their new kingdom, and sings another flower into existence.

~~~

Notes: It all belongs to the Professor.

Thanks to my friends for the initial feedback, and especially Achipiquonque for the wonderful comments that helped make this story better!

Allie
March 3, 2007


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