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Out of Darkness, Song


Music

Summary: Aragorn listens to the sounds in the darkness. Some can bring pain and despair, some can bring hope…

Rating: T

Disclaimer: I do not own the character and places mentioned (or just foreshadowed) in this story

With thanks to my beta!





Tap tap tap tap...

Rain upon the window. Oh, how he wishes it were rain upon the window. For one moment, one beautiful, desperate moment he almost believes it. It is so dark… it could very well be a starless night in Rivendell, and rain is falling upon the windows from thick and heavy clouds. But he is inside, where there is nothing to fear…

Tap tap tap tap

No, it’s not rain. No rain, no window, no clouds. Only darkness and cold stone. The hammers of slaves. A symphony of pain, with the whips of their drivers providing the rhythm.

Clash, crash! Crush, smash!
Hammer and tongs! Knocker and gongs!
Pound, pound, far underground!
Ho, ho! my lad!

Hammers and whips, the steady song of exhausted bodies and aching muscles. Hunger and pain in the darkness. The darkness is the worst. The idea of never seeing the sunlight again, of dying somewhere in the endless dark tunnels and being forgotten forever.

Swish, smack! Whip crack!
Batter and beat! Yammer and bleat!
Work, work! Nor dare to shirk,
While Goblins quaff, and Goblins laugh,
Round and round far underground
Below, my lad!

Below… Below where the sun does not shine, where the rain does not fall, where the memories fade. There he is, lying upon the cold stone while the hammers of slaves sound in their regular rhythm.

Tap tap tap

A distant sound returned by many echoes, filling the dark corridors. How did he get into this darkness? It is so hard to remember, so hard to grasp those elusive memories. There is pain – in past, in present. The day came, he realizes. The day he feared for months. The day when he could not lift the hammer any more. Those who fell and could not stand up again were taken away to never return. Now he knows what happened to them.

Whips and fire. Cruel voices, cruel songs.

Swish, smack! Whip crack!
Batter and beat! Yammer and bleat!

A nightmare of pain, pictures of fire-lit silhouettes of goblins with whips dancing dizzily before his eyes. Now he can feel the wounds, the blood seeping from them. Every slight movement of air makes them blaze anew with unbearable pain. It is so hard to concentrate. Fever, he thinks in a short moment of clarity before the thought got muddled again. He has to remember. For some reason it is important to remember.

Tap tap tap tap

The hammers still sound in the distance, without rest. But before that, there was another sound – the clash of swords. Sounds of a battle...

Tap tap tap – rain is falling on the rocks, a cold autumn downpour. A little cave, a shelter from the weather. But during the night, the earth opens. Goblins are everywhere. He fights. Steel clashing against steel. He cannot win this battle, though – they are too many.

When the steel clanks next, it is the sound of the shackles upon his ankles and wrists, clattering as they lead him down, down to never see the sunlight again.

Round and round far underground
Below, my lad!

Lying in darkness. Alone. No, pain is not the worst. It is the silence.

The tapping stops. He cannot see, cannot hear anything – it is as if he never existed. As if nothing ever existed. No world, just the Void – empty, dark, quiet, and he is a lost spirit, wandering aimlessly in nothingness.

He remembers the sounds of battle again - his memories trying desperately to fill in the emptiness. The song of swords. The violent cadences of sharp blades. Any sound is better than the silence. But there is no sound. There is only one thing.

Silence.

No battle, no swords. There is no metal for swords. No rocks to provide the ore. No land. No sound. Nothing to fight for. Nothing to live for.

Silence as deep as a tomb.

Then…

The silences were sudden shivered
to silver fragments. Faint there quivered
a voice in song that walls of rock,
enchanted hill, and bar and lock,
and powers of darkness pierced with light.

A song in nothingness. A ray of light in darkness. Echoing in the emptiness, and lo! there is a world! There are cold stones and sharp metal, and the tones of the song wind around them, and give them meaning and shape. For there is a world above the dark caves, a world where sunlight shines and where flowers blossom in the spring. There is sky, and stars shining in the night. Like the Music of Ainur, the song creates that world again in his mind, makes him remember the green meadows and trees dancing in the wind. Makes him remember his name…

“Aragorn…” he whispers it into the darkness.

Then his heart flies up, into the free world with hope, and he sings in answer.

Then in his dreams it seemed he sang,
and loud and fierce his chanting rang,
old songs of battle in the North,
of breathless deeds, of marching forth
to dare uncounted odds and break
great powers, and towers, and strong walls shake.

But as he sings, he is falling into darkness again. Not the cold emptiness, the nothingness of the Void. A simple darkness, absence of light that has no power over his spirit any more. Weaker and weaker he hears the replying song, and when he can hear the reassuring voices of his brothers, and feel their gentle hands, he has no strength to remain in the newly created world.

-oOo-

Tap tap tap tap…

Rain upon the window. Oh, how he wishes it were rain upon the window. For one moment, one beautiful, desperate moment he almost believes it. It is so dark… it could very well be a starless night in Rivendell, and rain is falling upon the windows from thick and heavy clouds, but he is inside where there is nothing to fear…

Tap tap tap tap

No, it’s not rain… is it? He knows he has been through this already. It’s futile to cling to the illusion. It’s not rain.

Tap tap tap

Is it? It is so dark. Which is true? A dream? A nightmare? There are two worlds existing together, and he is afraid to shatter one in case that the one that remains is darkness without light.

But then, somewhere from the distance, a song sounds:

Sing all ye joyful, now sing all together!
The wind's in the tree-top, the wind's in the heather;
The stars are in blossom, the moon is in flower,
And bright are the windows of Night in her tower.

He smiles slightly to himself. The Silvans… They would sing the song about bright stars even when it’s raining…

Then recognition dawns at him.

Rivendell! It’s really Rivendell! His heart fills with joy. Now convinced that there won’t be just darkness, he opens his eyes.

It is night, and rain lashes the windows, but it is not that dark – a fire burns in the heart, and the light paints warm glow and deep shadows upon Elrond’s face.

“Welcome home…” the Elven lord smiles.


A/N: Songs used in this story are quoted from the Hobbit and the Lays of Beleriand

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