11. Chapter Nine: The Great Music (cont)
The side of Legolas' face was turning a deep shade of purple, a stark contrast against such pale skin. Elladan feared he had sustained an injury to his skull, which would require more sophisticated healing than neither he nor Elrohir was capable of. Despite living as long as they both had, neither Elladan nor Elrohir had developed Elrond's superior healing skills during their years at Valinor. The healing arts were unnecessary in a place where death only came during old age and it had been close to a hundred thousand years since anyone had died in Valinor.
Fortunately, Legolas was made of studier stuff than most elves and Elladan let out a soft sigh of relief when he saw the Prince of Mirkwood's eyes fluttering open. This sign of consciousness was followed by a loud groan of pain. A completely understandable reaction since Melkor had flung him aside as if he was nothing. The air was filled with Melkor's screams of outrage and anger. The cracks of lightening tearing across the grey sky in spidery tendrils of blue brought with it equally deafening bursts of thunder.
Upon regaining consciousness, Legolas' mind was filled with the din he could hear around him and it hastened his mind quickly to a more alert state. His last memories rushed back to him in a flood.
"Where is Aaron?" Legolas demanded. "What is happening?"
"I do not know," Elladan shook his head. "I think that Aaron's plan to send Mithrandir to Mandos might have succeeded."
Suddenly, Melkor's voice was silenced by voices.
His screams dissolved into nothingness and with it went the roar of thunder and the lashing winds. The world seemed to drain of every sound except the voice. Soon there was more than one voice, many in fact, all blending together despite their differences, each inspiring their own emotive response at the hearing. The elves felt it seep into their bones and take possession of the soul living within their hearts. The voices distinguishable at first in their individuality soon merged into a symphony of sound, the likes of which the world had never heard before or would ever hear again. Their harmony could not be described in words because not even modern musicians with their vast knowledge of musical appreciation had ever heard anything resembling it.
It was new and yet very, very old.
The elves knew what it was. It was ingrained into their history as well as into the fabric of their creation. The same being that had made the voices had given them life and though they could not compare in their songs to the grandeur of what they were hearing now, they recognised the beauty of what they were listening. None of them spoke because they could bear to interrupt the strange, powerful voices that were sweeping from the sky above them. The elves had heard the voices before but never like this, unrestrained, beautiful and with specific purpose.
The voices became the Great Music.
In a time ancient beyond the elves' earliest days in the world, the Great Music had gone into the Void and it was not void. The music created with each voice giving life to its own purpose until the harmony of voices became the creation of all. The Great Music had never been sung again with such power because of its ability to shape so much. In Valinor, the elves heard the singing but it was slight and it gave to their existence but they had never heard it like this. It spread beyond the walls of the Monolith. It swept across the city like a great wind. People paused in the streets, captured by music, frozen in place as the beauty made everything hard disappear.
There was no one who did not stop to listen, no one who did not feel tears in their eyes as their heart were lifted to a place beyond the flesh, to see things that were greater than their mundane existence. For a brief instant, the more enlightened felt the harmony with all things that elves had known since their emergence from the Mere of Cuineven. Starlight sparkled in their eyes for just a glimmer of the moment. Tears came, smiles stretched across faces that were jaded and worn from too much ugliness. Hope came alive with the Great Music and there was none who heard that was not unchanged by it even if a little. Later on, it could be argued that it was a mere aberration but there would not be one person who did not secretly long to hear it again.
The elves were similarly effected as they heard the Great Music of the Ainur in all its glory. Aaron was right; bringing to an end Mithrandir's life had been the only way to end the threat of Melkor. He had sent Mithrandir to Mandos and in doing so, allowed the Maia to bring news of Melkor's existence in the world to the Valar who acted accordingly. They were here, formless and unseen but their presence was undeniable in their song and their song had only one purpose now. It was to bring an end to their wayward sibling.
The Great Music became louder until it filled the ears of everyone present with its power. It radiated like a force unseen and shuddered through their bones. They could hear nothing else. However, a voice spoke quietly in Legolas' head, a voice that speared through the music and was one he recognised. It was Mithrandir and his words were clear.
You must leave now.
Through the fog of his unconscious state, Aaron Stone heard music.
It was the most beautiful music he had ever heard, making the great symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven sound like noise in comparison. In the dark place he was struggling to escape, its power was enough to pierce through the shadows with such brilliance that Aaron could not completely look at it for fear of blindness. Yet when it chased away the darkness, when all he could hear was this music that he would dream of until the day he died, he also heard something else, something with as much power though it was made only for him.
"Please Aaron, don't do to this me! You can't leave me now!"
He could hear Eve! He walked through the light and heard her voice becoming louder and louder. The desperation in it made him hasten his pace. He did not even notice when he started running. He wanted to answer her but his throat hurt and making words was hard. His lungs felt heavy for some reason as if he could not breathe well. However, the closer he neared Eve's voice, the easier it became to draw breath. Aaron forced himself to answer her. He had to. He could not bear the anguish he was hearing in her voice.
He opened his eyes and saw her kneeling before him, his word having been drowned by the music that was all around them. He thought it had been only in his mind but it was everywhere, like the air. Aaron found himself cradled in Eve's arms and when he moved, she let go of him and he saw that there were tears of joy on her face. She embraced him hard, planting soft kisses over his face as she expressed her relief with more emotion than he was accustomed from her. When their lips met, it was the sweetest kiss he had ever had in his life because the Great Music seemed to make everything more beautiful than he could possibly imagine.
The tender moment was broken when he felt Legolas' arm on his shoulder. Both Aaron and Eve looked up at the elf who appeared almost as worn and exhausted as they did but with a note of urgency in his eyes. Legolas glanced briefly as Melkor, who was standing at the room, screaming insanely even though nothing of it could be heard against the power of the Great Music. The malignant creature was no longer screaming in fury and defiance but rather in pain. Aaron surmised that whatever he had set in motion by killing Moses had well and truly taken effect. The shuddering the music was having upon the walls and the structure told him that it was a good idea to leave the Monolith now.
Shakily, Aaron allowed Legolas and Eve to help him to his feet as they started to find a way out of the beleaguered building. Elladan was already doing the same with Elrohir. They made their way across the debris-covered floor when they noticed Sandra Collin's unconscious form on the floor, where Eve had left her. Eve looked at Aaron in question at whether or not they should take her with them. Aaron thought of Stuart who had died so needlessly because of this woman and made his decision.
Let her face judgement with her master.
Aaron turned away without saying a word and resumed forward. Neither Legolas nor Eve questioned the decision because they knew the depths of Sandra's devotion to her master and a fanatic might attempt to resurrect her master like those poor misguided fools of 400 years ago. If the powers that be wanted her to live, Aaron was certain that they would find a way to see it happen. For the moment, he only cared about getting Eve and his friends out of here.
With the structural integrity of the building failing, it was not wise to take the elevators and so the journey to the ground was long and arduous with Elrohir having the worst of it because of his injury. Aaron had recovered well enough to support himself as they hurried down the stairwell. The tremors to the building were becoming more violent with each floor they descended and Aaron supposed that if there was any consolation to be had in what was about to happen to the Monolith, was the fact that the disturbance would have seen the building evacuated.
Not all of Malcolm's employees were aware that their master was a dark lord from beyond. Most of them were probably just innocent workers, going about their day-to-day lives without any notion that Malcolm was a dark lord whose ambitions had been to create a second hell on earth. The Great Music had not abated as it chased them all they way to the lobby of the building. When Aaron emerged, the charred remains of the room where he and the elves had first begun their mission of rescue confronted him. Both the explosion from the T Bird and the C4 had turned all the walls and floors black with ash. Marble was split, concrete was fractured, steel columns looked dangerously compromised. There was not one window of the glass façade remaining and what furniture there had been were now piles of ashes and cinders.
They emerged through the front of the building and saw that people were gathered in the street, standing still where they were on the sidewalks, in the shop fronts and even cars had come a halt as they heard the Great Music and was mesmerized by it. Some were weeping with joy at its harmony, some were smiling happily and others merely listened with deep appreciation. Aaron tried not to be moved by the united expressions of hope on everyone's faces as he, Eve, Legolas, Elladan and Elrohir left the Monolith behind, aware that judgement was about to be passed on Melkor and his Iron Fortress.
What the elves had been unable to perceive but Melkor could, was that he could not only hear the voices but also see them. He could see them all. Manwe, Ulmo Aule and the others who had been his brethren when he was counted among their number and when they were all children of Illuvutar. They had emerged for the first since the War of the Wrath. In anguish, he knew he was lost. He had tried to keep the Maia alive in order to prevent this very thing from happening. As long as they were ignorant of him, he could be assured of survival but now it was over.
They had come for him.
When the song reached its climax. Melkor's form if anyone had been present to see it, erupted outward like a rolling cloud of black smoke following a violent explosion. His final scream was drowned in the Great Music as his spirit was dissolved into nothingness forever.
From a distance, Aaron and the others watched as the Malcolm Building exploded almost as dramatically as the destruction of the towers. Glass flew in all directions as the dark structure began its disintegration, starting from the remains of the top floor and working its way down to the ground. People seemed to regain their senses at that point, all too familiar with what was coming after the tragedy of 9/11. They scattered quickly beyond the reach of the blast radius, moving as fast as they could to a minimum safe distance as the Monolith continued in its destruction. Aaron, Eve and the elves became lost in the crowds hurrying away from the building.
There was a tremendous roar as the building's destruction ripped through the air and Aaron was reminded absurdly of the fabled destruction of the Empire State Building in Independence Day. The destruction was spectacular as well heart stopping. Despite the danger, almost everyone was compelled to look. The Monolith disappeared before their very eyes, replaced by fire and smoke that billowed into the sky. The clouds above where the building once stood parted, allowing the smoke to rise into the sky. The thunder and lightening had ceased and the sky despite the fire and receding clouds was clear and peaceful again
The Great Music was no more.
Those who had heard and remembered it appeared somewhat sedate in their reactions considering the destruction they had just witnessed. New Yorkers were resilient people and if September 11th had taught them anything, it was how to endure in the face of catastrophe. However, for once, they were given something precious to make that burden a little easier to bear.
"Where they...?" Eve asked softly, looking at Elladan for an answer.
Elladan knew who she meant by 'they'. "They are the Valar but when they sang like this, they were called the Ainur."
"It was so beautiful," Eve, replied, moisture in her eyes. "I could feel everything when I heard them sing."
"As we do," Elrohir nodded. "In Valinor, we hear them sing often but not like this, never like this."
Eve could see that her brothers from her former life were just as deeply affected by this as she. She felt a wave of affection for both of them and knew that it did not matter that she did not remember being Undomiel. Malcolm in his efforts to save himself the bother of translation had opened her mind to their language and for that much she was grateful to the dark lord whom she had no doubt was destroyed along with his building. Eve hugged them both warmly and felt for the first time in too long, that perhaps she was not alone as she thought. She still had family.
Aaron was staring at the burning debris of the Monolith in deep thought. This nightmare was finally over but Moses was not here. Aaron had to kill Moses to save him and a part of the doctor could not be comforted by that thought, even with the destruction of John Malcolm.
"Aaron," Legolas placed a hand on his shoulder, taking note of the sadness on Aaron's face. "Are you well?"
"Moses...Gandalf should be here," Aaron replied softly, his gaze still fixed on the destroyed building.
"He should be," Legolas nodded in agreement. "But this errand had to be undertaken by the Valar themselves, they could not send him to accomplish it in their stead."
"I killed him," Aaron met Legolas' gaze. "I know I did it to save him but I still ended his life."
"Aaron, do you know how I knew that we had to leave?" Legolas posed the question to him.
Aaron blinked, "well I thought you figured the whole thing was going to blow because you know these Valar."
"No," Legolas shook his head. "I was as captured by the music as you. I only knew to leave because I heard Gandalf's voice in my head. It told me that we had to leave immediately."
"You heard..." Aaron started to speak.
"You were right," Legolas cut him off. "Gandalf is not human. He is what we call Maia. They are spirits who aid the Valar; they have no flesh, as we know it. They exist in whatever form is convenient for them at the time. Moses was only a body and you killed a body, you did not kill Gandalf himself. At this minute, I know that he is Valinor because his task here was done. He was sent to find the darkness and he has done that. All you did by killing the body was send him on his way much faster."
"So he is really alive?" Aaron declared, being able to see that Legolas was not lying to him in order to assuage his own guilt. "Back in Valinor?"
"Yes," Legolas nodded. "No doubt when we return, he will be full of stories."
Aaron started to smile, "I'm glad. You can take him my bill."
Legolas rolled his eyes, "I will never understand the humour of men."
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.