24 August 2010 @ 07:03 am
Title: Atop Bald Mountain
Fandom: The Silmarillion
Characters: Finarfin
Words: ~2,670
Warnings: None.
Rating: PG-13
Summary: A letter speaking of the doom that awaits this universe, goes on for thousands of years without ever reaching its recipient. One day it is picked up by some humans, and its perilous message is finally revealed to the world.
Disclaimer: Belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien.
Prompt: [livejournal.com profile] tamingthemuse : splice (week 7 submission) and setting in space (August monthly challenge)
Also: [livejournal.com profile] mission_insane : 01. Song: A Night on Bald Mountain (Mussorgsky) {inspired by songs table}
Author Notes: I have always wanted to merge Tolkien's world with other mythologies. I decided to start with my own mythos. :)


On June 24, 2010, a glass bottle was found floating near the North American shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Inside the bottle was a message written in a strange language. After analyzing it, the fisherman showed the written note to his nephews and nieces, one of whom had identified the note as being written in the languages presented in Professor JRR Tolkien's novels. A scholar was next forwarded the note, and the following are her translation to the best of her ability:


Dearest Fingolfin,

This letter I write may never reach you, so far apart we are separated by the Sea. I know not when we may next see one another, or if the chance will ever arise for us.

You will undoubtly want to know why I remained in Aman when I had originally promised to join your people. You understand I was reluctant from the beginning, but as we are family it felt only appropriate to follow our half-brother Fëanor. Please understand that I did not turn back out of disloyalty to the family. I hold everyone dear to me, even with the strife we've shared with our half-brother in the past. It was not from cowardice either, though my actions may have appeared to you as such.

The reason why I ran was because of a prophecy revealed to me long ago that spoke of doom that will swallow the entire universe. The dire warnings of this prophecy had begun to unfold in Middle-earth the moment we sought revenge on Morgoth. This will require me to give a full account, for I am sure you wish to know. And so the remainder of my letter shall be an account of how I came by this terrible prophecy.

My tale begins on a hilltop where I sat one evening. I had come there to seek rest for my mind when suddenly before me appeared a being who took the shape of a female. Her chin was very pointy as were the ears but immediately I could sense she was no elf for I have never seen eyes as sharp as hers, blood red in color like lava. Her thick eyelashes were unnaturally long and black in color, and she wore a long robes dark as the night.

I wondered if she was one of the Valar and I asked her thus. She laughed and told me she belonged to another kin. She gave me the name of her race, but I have no inkling of how to translate the word into our language, for her own tongue was of a sort I have never heard before. Her personal name also gave me trouble, but the closest I can manage is Gratharana.

I asked her why she had come to me. She did not answer but she beckoned me to come with her, and for a strange reason I stood up and followed. Perhaps this may seem like a dream to you, dear brother, for only in dreams does one foolishly follow another without first knowing their intentions. But I assure you this is as real as the quill which I'm holding right now as I write to you.

She took me far from the world we knew in Aman, to the farthest West. There I spotted a large mountain; coiled around it were steep stairs of hard rock. Without another word she kept walking, and like a naïve lamb I continued to follow. Up we went for what seemed like the entire night, up, up higher than any mountain I've ever climbed. And the mountain seemed to stretch forever: the higher we climbed, the more stairs there was yet to cover.

At last when I felt my legs about to give away we reached the summit. I finally looked down and my heart turned to ice, for I was no longer in Aman. I was looking down upon our world, if you believe me. The very mountain was barren of all life, and the longer I stayed the sicker I felt. Around me was what looked to be the night sky but blacker than anything I have ever seen. I could see the stars closer, more beautiful and terrible than how we see them on our land.

More beautiful and terrible also was Gratharana. She had transformed during our ascent. Like a pale green plant her skin became, her hair like glowing green stars that shot out from the back of her head. Her fingernails lengthened, and her veins were visible over her skin like the roots of trees. When she turned around, I almost stumbled back down the mountain, because the moment I peered into her eyes I saw all the evils of this universe. I turned back to the stars and saw the death that loomed on each of them.

"Why have you brought me here upon this dreadful mountain?” I asked her. “What evil is this that looms around us like a veil of disease?”

“We are atop Bald Mountain,” she replied. “Here you will witness the future of this universe!” And she stretched out her arms, her fingers spread out, and before me an image formed, as though a window had been revealed to me. First were was nothing but a black void, darker than the heavens around us, and then Gratharana began to move her fingers in a rhythmic motion as if strumming an invisible harp.

A strange song spun around us, and as she continued playing I saw the first sparks of life of this universe, and it was beautiful though it also brought me sadness for reasons I find difficult to explain. But for that moment I was content to watch the beginnings of the stars and the planet in which we live, to see the trees spurt from the grounds and the mountains rise, to see the splendor of Middle-earth in its youth.

Also I saw the damage that Morgoth brought into our world, but I felt no hatred for him and his deeds for his acts had helped shape this planet into the beauty we know it today. No trees would have come had Morgoth not had a hand to play in creating our world. I thought this peculiar and I told Gratharana thus. She did not respond, but her fingers flexed over the image. I could hear a new song, a strange medley that was at first like mist, but soon turned into a snake that crushed me with its constriction.

Suddenly she gave a hard laugh that shook the heavens. I was momentarily distracted, startled by this laughter that sent chills to my very core. I turned back to the image to find it in an entirely different state that brought me grief.

“What evil is this?” I asked her. She remained silent but her arms continued to sway, picking up speed that brought the images before us spinning maddeningly.

The destruction of our world had begun. There was blood everywhere. The trees were collapsed on the ground, bringing about gruesome ends to many living beings that were trapped beneath them. The leafless branches were driven through windows of destroyed homes. The longer I watched the less of the sun I could see. An endless fog had covered the world, entrapping it in a dome of catastrophe.

"Is this the cruel fate of our kin?" I asked her next.

Still she did not respond. The song picked up a tempo that was painful for me to hear, but Gratharana did not stop when I pleaded her. More scenes were revealed to me, each new one more perilous than the previous. Endless wars led the trail of our shared history with the other races. There was murder happening at every second in our world, a trail of blood to haunt every family, every race that has ever drawn breath from this planet.

All that was once fair had fallen to the pits of darkness as every living being had forgotten everything on this planet. Soon they could no longer see the other but themselves and their own needs. It was not out of selfishness or greed, but out of desperation, for life had become unbearably harsh and merciless. Diseases and poison smoke choked every corner of the world.

“A single drop of blood is all this world needs to fall!” Still Gratharana laughed and still the world continued to crumple under my eyes. I fell to my knees and begged her again to stop this madness, and again she ignored me.

Behind her stood many women clad in shadows. They watched me with mocking eyes but never speaking to me. And when they turned their gaze to Gratharana there was only affection, in their own dark, sinister way. They called out to her and danced, the swaying of their hips drawing me astray from the events unfolding in the window. Their cries mingled with the movements of her arms, for she was the leader in their orchestra of destruction.

Of all these ladies beside her, there was one whom she loved most. Morlexa was her name, and when Gratharana finally spoke, it was a gentle calling for the lady to stand beside her. She had a child’s face and all of time were held in her eyes, like two ghostly clocks with spinning hands that spun in opposite directions.

Gratharana held this creature by the chin, raising the child’s head high for all to see, and spoke, "And all of elves and men shall find time as their enemy, for it will pass too fast when they wish it to steady, and it will halt when it they wish it to quicken!" And I saw the hands of the clocks inside Morlexa’s eyes spin, and she turned to me with a ghastly grin. The image before us changed still.

Time was spinning in our future. The once green world had turned to metal from the inventions of Man. Several races, including our kin by this time, had long left Middle-earth, but our activities still had their effects - ever was the vengeance great among the Men of the future! Like our own hasty foolish kin they slay one another for pitiful gains. Treasures from the soil had more worth than the child suckling on its mother’s breast. The meaning of forgiveness was lost among all.

No one could do what they once enjoyed. Art itself had taken a noir form, reflecting the agony each soul felt in the cold, bitter world that Middle-earth had become. There was never a moment of rest even for small children tucking into their beds, for even their fairy tales spoke of helplessness and bitter endings. Always was the thought of survival plaguing peoples' minds. Though their strange civilization had advanced in ways I could never depict with words, ever great were their struggles.

“A single drop of blood, and all of life will detest Middle-earth!” was what Gratharana next said, giving that horrible laugh once more.

I watched helplessly as dimensions were spliced together, worlds colliding into other worlds. Beings of different planets laid eyes on one another and immediately declared wars on their new enemies. And always the hatred grew for our own world, for we alone brought this upon us all. On this went forever, when not even brothers could embrace without one of them getting stabbed by the other.

“Why must we suffer this ill?” I asked of her. “Where is my kin in all this time?”

Again I received no reply. She was now holding the universe in her hands, and as she closed her fists all of the universe folded into itself. Stars and planets crashed into one another, releasing great sparks of light and fire in their massive explosions.

“Ilúvatar will never allow this to pass!” I cried out, ready to fight this terrible fiend.

And this was when she finally paid me attention. Her eyes, cold like death and hot like flames, turned towards me in a piercing gaze. Her face was unreadable, and then a horrible grin curled about her green face, a grin so wide that I could see every pointy tooth behind the black lips. “This shall be my gift to the world,” she said. “This is my role to play under Ilúvatar’s rule!”

The words struck horror in my heart. What was to happen to our kin, our entire universe, if even the one who made us had planned us to suffer such grievous end? I did not wish to believe her. I made myself believe that she was a demon, a follower of Meklor who had entrapped me just to frighten me. So I moved to fight her, but before I could take a step closer she sent me falling down Bald Mountain.

Till now I am uncertain how I had managed to survive the fall. I recall waking up at the bottom of the mountain with barely a scratch on me. After I got myself back on my feet I looked up the mountain and could almost make out the void that would lead me back to what lies beyond this planet. But then the image disappeared and I questioned myself if I had only imagined everything. I had been too far from fair land and my body had begun to ache for beauty, so I left the terrible empty mountain back for my home, foolishly telling myself that everything had been a dream. But please understand that if you or anyone had known what the future holds, you too would wish that everything you saw was only an illusion.

For years I thought little of what was revealed to me atop Bald Mountain. But the day when Mandos brought his curse upon our people, it brought back in my memory everything that Gratharana had shown me. I continued to lead my people, but once I saw the kin-slaying, of elves killing other elves, I saw the very destruction of the world as Gratharana had shown to me. That was when I decided to head back at once, to abort this distasteful mission that we, my dear brother, initially had been reluctant to partake in.

We were so foolish in our haste to engage in this war that need never be fought. Also foolish was the decision of ever stepping foot into Middle-earth. Its fair beauty must never have been trampled by our coming. Look at the kin-slaying that had taken place! Many more will follow, I warn you. There won't be a single race that will live to find happiness in this world.

This concludes my tale to you. There is not a single word I have written that you may believe, but I do expect this to be the case. Till now I question the reality of what I had experienced, but this could be no nightmare that even a most imaginative child could have dreamt. I cannot deny what I saw at Alqualondë; we have sealed our doom by slitting the throat of our own kin. Gratharana’s prophecy will be realized. It grieves me that I am to be separate from my children and from you, but this was all part of her curse, and I was a fool to never warn our people earlier.

Though I have returned back to Aman, even here I fear we are not safe from Gratharana’s curse, for all this universe will collapse into itself once the harmony in the universe has been broken. And it has come to pass, for we have sought to fight an enemy that was necessary for the balance of life on Middle-earth. By seeking to overthrow the wicked we’ve tipped the balance of good and evil in the universe.

I hope my letter can reach you somehow. Perhaps, if there is hope for this world to remain fair, that we can warn the future of the dreadful fate Gratharana had sealed for us.


With my greatest love,
Finarfin
 
 
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