THE VOICE OF ARDA
Many elves were famous singers. Even Arda itself was created by singing. So I came up with an idea of what it would be like if they had a singing competition.
I've already published that story some time ago, but I deleted it because I had some second thoughts about it. I would like to thank Sauron Gorthaur for editing this story and for encouraging me to post it again. She herself is an amazing writer, so I'm really grateful for her help. :)
The Annual Singing Competition, better known as The Voice of Arda, was finally here. The Valar as the judges were sitting in the front row, excited about singing as only Ainur can be. The elves, especially the Vanyar, weren't much less excited through.
Only Tulkas was snoring. Manwë gave him a dark look, but he didn't wake up. The King of Arda wagged his head. Tulkas was the only Vala who didn't care much about music. But that was somehow logical, since he was the Vala of War.
And then the show began. Varda, Yavanna, Vána, and Aulë's Maiar and elves were working hard to make the scenery and everything else. But it was worth it. Everything was awesome.
The lights focused on a presenter – a Maia with burning hair and a stunning outfit.
"ARE YOU READY FOR TODAY'S SHOW?"
A crowd of spectators screamed. Manwë caught his wife's happy look. Even Nienna wasn't weeping so hard. Námo was less gloomy than usual. He had a soft spot for music. Ulmo was also there, at least dressed to Manwë's relief.
"Welcome to tonight's 3147th The Voice Aman show! You will hear a lot of famous and good musicians. But only one will win! So LET US KNOW WHO YOU LIKE AND VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE!"
Fëanor has recently invented a thing called a telephone. It had become very popular.
"As the first competitor I'm glad to present MELIAN AND THE NIGHTINGALES! You rock, Melian!"
Melian the Maia blushed. The crowd greeted her with loud applause.
She conducted an orchestra of cute nightingales. The song was light, yet beautiful and full of joy, like the beginning of a new day. The crowd loudly applauded at the end of it.
"She's good," said both Estë and Lorien, proud of their Maia.
"Yes, she is," said Manwë with a smile.
"I wonder if I could teach my dolphins to sing," Ulmo said thoughtfully.
Yavanna gave him a strange look.
"Next one is Maglor, the second son of Fëanor! Applaud for him!"
Most of the crowd applauded, through the Teleri didn't. They'd never really forgotten the burning of their ships.
Maglor played and sang beautifully. He had an amazing voice. He sang of sadness, of pain, of losing the ones you care about, of war. But his song changed. Slightly, but surely a seed of hope had grown into a golden flower, magnificent and invincible in its beauty.
When he ended, there was silence. Pure silence. Then the crowd applauded as never before. Even the Teleri forgot to hold a grudge.
Manwë saw his wife wiping tears from her eyes. Everyone was touched, as was he. No words were needed. Still, he was deeply grateful that he wasn't sitting next to Nienna.
The next one was Daeron. He was good, but not as good as Maglor. Maglor smiled victoriously.
Then on the stage appeared a golden-haired elf and a balrog. Yes, a balrog.
Manwë was confused. That wasn't in the plan. Listeners started speaking over themselves.
Tulkas woke up.
"What's going on?"
The King of the Valar took matters into his own hands and in his full majesty screamed down to the Chief of the House of the Golden Flower.
"WHAT FOR ERU'S SAKE ARE YOU DOING?!"
"I'm going to fight a balrog," the elven lord replied with a stubborn expression on his face.
Oh Creator, help me.
"NOW? HERE? WHY?"
"YES! Why do we always compete in singing? Why not fighting?"
"BECAUSE THIS IS THE VOICE AMAN, NOT ARDA'S GOT TALENT!"
"REALLY, WHY THERE ISN'T A FIGHTING COMPETITION?" The Champion of the Valar joined the argument.
Not you too, Tulkas. Manwë was getting desperate.
"LET HIM FIGHT A BALROG IF HE WANTS!"
The Lord of the West touched his head and then answered.
"FINE THEN! But I don't take responsibility for this!"
"THAT'S NOT FAIR! WHY CAN'T I FIGHT A BALROG?!" Fëanor screamed. Maedhros facepalmed.
"BECAUSE THAT'S NOT A REAL BALROG, BUT PROBABLY ONE OF MY MAIAR CHANGED INTO A BALROG AND I DON'T WANT YOU TO CHOP HIM INTO PIECES!" Aulë made clear.
Nerdanel succeeded in calming down her husband or at least prevented him from throwing something or burning something or killing something.
"LET THE FIGHT BEGIN!"
And the fight began. The Balrog was a breath-taking fire creature, a mighty servant of Morgoth. He tried to kill Glorfindel, who skillfully eluded being hit by its fire whip. He drew out his sword, which was shining in the light of the fire. The High Lord had a determined expression on his face and sparks in his eyes.
Olórin remembered that he had fought a balrog once. Fëanor remembered that he fought a balrog and turned into ash. Fingon remembered that he was killed by Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs.
They looked at each other and ran on the stage with revenge in their minds. Fëanor, who always had a sword or two with him, gave one to Olórin and one to Fingon.
Glorfindel was surprised when he discovered that Fëanor, Olórin, and Fingon had joined the fun. He nodded to them. They coordinated and attacked the ancient creature of evil. Aulë felt pity for his poor Maia.
The balrog was soon defeated. Four swords were pointed at him.
The crowd applauded and screamed. Tulkas was standing on his feet, screaming. Glorfindel, his cousin Fingon, his half-uncle Fëanor and the Maia Olórin, who in Middle-earth was also known as Gandalf, bowed and left the stage.
The balrog, or more correctly Lord Aulë's Maia, turned himself into his normal self. The Smith made sure he wasn't injured. To his relief, he wasn't.
The next two were Sauron and Finrod Felagund. The inhabitants of Arda started murmuring. It took a little while for everyone to calm down.
"Don't fear. Sauron, previously known as Mairon, promised not to harm anyone during the competition. Enjoy the epic singing battle!"
"This time, I'll defeat you," muttered Finrod as the battle began.
"I don't doubt that you will … try," said Sauron with a smirk.
And the singing began.
As soon they began, everyone could feel the electricity in the air. The fairest of all elven princes and Melkor's former lieutenant clashed into one another, using their voices like swords. They sang of hope and destruction, and visions arose and fell, trapped in the dance and song of death. Manwë could feel a shiver that went up and down his spine. Maybe Aulë and Varda were right and this was a little bit too dangerous.
Sauron was coldly concentrated. He had won before and he was sure to win again this time. Then he saw a flesh of light. What was that? He struck the elf's attack and looked closely. He couldn't believe his eyes. It was Lúthien, the most beautiful of all the Children of Iluvatar. His jaw dropped.
At that very moment, Finrod defeated him. When the power of his song hit him, he fell to his knees. The electricity suddenly disappeared. And there was silence.
Finrod slowly came to him.
"So I defeated you after all," he said calmly.
Sauron ignored him.
"I … I was distracted," Sauron explained in a low voice. He still couldn't believe what had just happened. "I didn't know she would come."
"She?" asked Finrod quietly, with curiosity in his voice.
"Lúthien. She and her dog were the only ones who succeeded in defeating me."
"Well, then I have to thank her," he said with a nice smile.
They left the stage together. Waiting for her performance, there was Lúthien indeed.
"And, to the top off this evening, I PRESENT TO YOU LÚTHIEN TINÚVIEL! Only for today's show!"
The crowd went crazy. Elves carried her to the stage. Námo was standing up, clapping as hard as he could. His sister remembered Lúthien's tragic love story and was crying as hard as she could. Manwë was worried. He told Ulmo to transfer excess tears to the ocean. The Lord of Water gladly did that.
Lúthien was really something special. She was like a glowing star in the darkness of this world. Maedhros suspected that she was wearing a Silmaril, but he had no intention of tellingthis to his father. He didn't want to ruin this night. Celegorm next to him was crying in anger and pain at the same time. Curufin tried to calm him down, but with no success. Caranthir remembered that he was killed in the Second Kinslaying by her kin. He was in bad mood. As always. Fëanor was thinking whether he should have asked Lúthien for her hair instead of Galadriel.
Speaking of Galadriel, she was in corner, furious and sending dark looks that could kill anybody in the range of 10 meters. She was eaten up with jealousy. Somehow, her husband found that amusing.
And then Lúthien began to sing. Think of your favourite song or the best song ever created. Did you? Okay, now multiply its awesomeness a thousand times. What you get is what they heard that night in Aman.
She was singing and dancing like an angel. She made you believe that you could do impossible things, change your destiny even if you thought it was too late, that you could fly worriless and bound to this world no more. That all you had to do was just forget the past troubles and follow the light of her voice into a better, brighter future.
Manwë found himself crying. Always stoic Námo was crying. But he wasn't alone. More than half of the elves, Valar, and Maiar were crying and wiping away their tears of relief. Even Aulë had a tear or two in his eyes.
"It's really magical, Brother, isn't it?" said someone behind Manwë's back.
Manwë needed a moment to realize what had just happened. HIS BROTHER?! WHAT FOR ILUVATAR'S SAKE WAS MELKOR DOING HERE?! HAD HE ESCAPED FROM THE VOID?! THAT WAS IMPOSIBLE! Or at least it should be!
Manwë panicked but quickly calmed down. Melkor, or Morgoth if you prefer, watched his brother's reaction with amusement.
"Glad to see you, too," he said with a grin.
"What. Are. You. Doing. Here?!" said Manwe slowly with mixed feelings.
"I miss you guys. Oh no. I think I prefer ruining your party even more." He grinned even wider.
"Melkor, try to be serious," Manwë said to him in a threatening voice. He was Melkor's brother for a reason. Everyone else would do what he said as soon as possible, but Morgoth didn't seem to be intimidated.
"Good old Manwë. Well, if you must know, Lúthien invited me."
"WHAT?!" said Manwë very un-Valarishly.
"You heard right. She felt sorry for stealing the Silmaril so treacherously, and I love her singing, so she invited me to her concert as an apology."
"And how did you get out of the Void? How come nobody noticed that you are here?"
"She convinced Námo to let me go. He's crazy about her singing, so he permitted my release from the Void for some time in the case that I promise to do no harm to anybody," said Melkor with triumphant smile. He enjoyed teasing his little brother very much. Too much, in Manwë's opinion.
He was astonished, but he was also confused and felt a little betrayed. How could this happen?
I need to talk to Námo. NOW.
Some minutes later, when Manwë finished "The Talk About Your Responsibilities" with a now sheepish Námo, he saw that Melkor was gone, probably back to the Void. Manwë somehow felt sorry for him, even knowing what sort of terrible things he had done. He was his brother and he secretly had never given up on him.
Suddenly strange and loud sounds cut the silence. Everyone turned in confusion. The Lord of the Breath of Arda was breathless. He saw his brother on the stage with something that looked like a strange harp. Surprise, surprise, strange sounds were coming from there.
Manwë facepalmed. His brother and his sense for music. He wondered what his brother would come up with this time, and he was about to find out soon.
Sauron joined his master and they began. Elves and Maiar were confused, and the other Valar were looking at each other with questioning glances.
The song they played was loud, and it included screaming as well as singing and loud bass sounds. Sauron enjoyed himself. Most of the miserable listeners covered their ears. Manwë began to laugh and Varda became concerned about her husband's mental health.
"DO YOU LIKE MY NEW MUSIC? I CALL IT METAAAL!" screamed Morgoth in Manwë and Varda's direction.
"YES, I KNOW. ISN'T IT MARVELOUS?"
Then one of the elves screamed.
"GIVE ME BACK MY GUITAR, YOU JAIL-CROW OF MANDOS!"
Manwë didn't need to look back to recognize the elf. It was the greatest Noldo who ever lived, and also the one proven to be the maddest - Fëanor. This strange instrument was probably one of his new inventions. The King of Arda began to laugh even harder.
Manwë and Námo watched as Melkor entered the Void again. With Lórien and Estë's help, they somehow managed to finish the competition and calm down the terror-stricken, enraged, and deafened elves, Maiar, and other Valar. And the winner - Lúthien won the competition without a doubt.
"Why can't I keep the guitar?" Morgoth asked miserably.
"You know that I asked Fëanor for it and … he was … um, hmm … pretty clear about what he thinks about it," replied Manwë.
Manwë and Mandos agreed that Melkor could keep the electric guitar because the Door of Night was soundproof and they had asked Fëanor for it, but he didn't want to hear about it. In fact, he threw his hammer at Námo. Námo went crazy. He wanted to send Fëanor to his Halls again quickly and painfully, and Manwë needed to call Tulkas to solve the problem. The Vala of War had to promise not to tell Varda about it.
Námo saw a figure approaching them. Who was crazy enough to come to the Door of Night? When he came closer, Námo recognized him. It was Maglor, the second son of Fëanor. What on Arda was he doing here?
Maglor came to them. He was holding something.
"Why are you here?" asked Manwë with curiosity, but also strictness.
"I came to give you this." He showed them five different electric guitars. Melkor's eyes started to glow.
"Did Fëanor change his mind?" asked Námo doubtfully.
Maglor looked at them sheepishly. "Not really. I stole them, because I couldn't bear that horrible sound."
"What about your father? Will he miss them?"
"He probably will, but I will think of something. Maybe he won't notice if he works on a new project."
Námo and Manwë smiled.
"No, thank you. That sound is terrible! Caranthir loved it and I couldn't sleep for nights!"
Manwë could imagine that.
"Then that is settled," Mandos said with not as much amusement.
Melkor entered the Void with a loving expression fixed on his new guitars, which he took with him.
The two Valar and the Fëanorion happily returned to Valinor.
A/N: I would love, love, love to know what you think about it, so please review! Thanks a lot :)