The Song of the Flame of Udun - (One of the Fallen speaks)

Musing from the Balrog.

From my beginning have I loved the red Fire dancing, coals of ruby and blood; I hear the flames singing with sibilant enticing voices. On a time Melkor took the form of a Sun and he burned marvelously, great flowers of flame blazed in glory on his golden face, his sky black not blue and pale. His music rang forth, filling our ears with joy; he rose and shaped his being into a towering cone of terrible beauty, spewing the flowing lava that poured in rivers of rippling scarlet. We waded into the streams and sang in wonder and bliss, in harmony with his voice. I do not know how it was that we heard then only his music, that the other song did not please us as it had when we awakened. Thus did he lure me, thus did he lure all of us, the Valaraukar, drawn to the splendour that was Melkor, but that was ages past, ages past.

I do not measure time in days here, for there are no days. Time passes nonetheless. Outside the stars wheel in the blackness, and the wind moans. Somewhere the sea falls on the shore, one long foaming wave upon another, and the sand sighs and shifts. Once I walked there, under the white stars, once I let the seawater curl around my feet. The wind poured around my shape as the water did, and my whole being yearned to it, the beautiful darkness, and the Moonpath leading to the stars.

A creature of Darkness I am, flame of Udun. Yet the same songs that shaped the Stars shaped the places where I dwell, the same dreams that shaped the Outside hardened here as the rock hardens in the cool Sea. Ah, water I do not drink, but the molten rock that pours forth sunhot and sweet, I dip my hands down and watch as it flows, lovelier than colourless water. I swallow it thirstily; it burns through me, renewing my being. Here is no Sun shining, but the fires of the engine of Arda; no steams, but fumes that shimmer flaming. It is my essence, the Fire. I consume it, it does not consume me.

Valaraukar we were named, the Balrogs, and I am the last of my kind. Gothmog fell, they all fell, scorched by the cold fire of the other Maiar and the brighteyed Eldar in the days when we went to War......... Demon of Terror, Scourge of Fire am I. All fear me! I walk in shadow and flame, and they whimper in dread! A whip of flame I bear, and once I sang as I swept through the underworld, my whip cracked and shook the earth, shuddering the dirt they walk on. Did we not once move about the skies together, walking the Starpaths? They began to long always for their yellow Sun, and the green things that grow under their blue heaven. My beloved darkness cowed them, they shivered away and sought the light and left me alone. I sought the deeps, down, down where the immense heat softens rock into molten streams, hissing like snakes of fire, writhing through the stygian blackness.

The Naugrim came with their hammers; they caused groves of stone trees to enforest their glittering halls, carven trunks gleaming in the light of crystal lamps. They gathered gemstones and sat pouring them from hand to hand, or into golden baskets, hoarding their wealth. Their bearded Kings followed one upon the other, fat and slow, weighted with Diamonds and Mithril. They came down even to my own places seeking Truesilver. Here they touched their hammers to the rockfaces, where the impenetrable stone exploded into atoms when they struck it, burying the greedy dwarves and waking me from my long sleep. They came tap tapping, little hard hammers rapping the rocks, lamps ablaze; searching along in wombs of light, foolish and unafraid.

Here, there are now other things. Work of my brother Sauron no doubt, he has ever delighted in debasing whatever comes to his hands. An apt pupil of Melkor, he who sank in foulness. I no longer wish to claim kinship with Sauron, maimed and mutilated as he is. Taken up with Rings, throwing his strength away, his potency spent in seeking dominion over the insects that crawl before him. I cannot read his thoughts; he is estranged from me as from all else. His creatures fly from me, and I do not care, I do not want to take speech with them! How could they speak with me? What words could they make; what news could they have for me? Have I not dwelt here from the beginning, Dark as the Outside is Light? They flee, chittering like hardshelled beetles, scattering in terror of my coming. Sauron thinks now to be lord; he would take all into his hands and squeeze out the forces of Life and feed upon them, his cruel mouth sucking the very juices of creation dry.

It was to have been ours! So sang Melkor, he of the glorious brazen trumpets, sounding the song of conquest... Now I hear only the cacophony of their ugly voices, their shrieking and howling...... Their fear and hatred wash over me in waves, cooling my fires, smothering me! Where is there for me to go? Where can I find the soft darkness and the bedrock that is my bed?

Mountains press down, they weigh very heavy, the rock resists, and so the fires begin. He is coming, he who would lift the mountains. He, robed in white and bearing the fire of Anor, he will open my secret chambers to the Yellow Sun, and I will shrivel and blacken and be gone, smoke writhing into the blue of their Sky. Such life as I have is Precious to me! It is he who comes here! Do I go up into that world? Do I desire anything that they possess? I desire only to be left as I am, alone, alone, alone......

There are roads winding through those fields of stars, I remember. Once I thought to seek those roads and touch the Starfires with my own hands, string the Stargems about my neck. Stand with arms outspread measuring Nebulae, wear Novae as a crown and hear the music of the spheres...........they say.... I have heard,.....once so long ago.... that the world will be changed and the Song will begin again. All choices will be remade........

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