Before the Great Music: An Account Before the Ainulindale by Atanatar Alcarin

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Author's Chapter Notes:

In this story, Melkor is depicted in his early beginnings, and his desires and motivations are explored. Space and time are immaterial here, for the story is set beyond the confines of Ea, long before the Count of Time began






Melkor looked forth from the boundaries of the Timeless Halls to the utter darkness beyond it, out into the eternal night that surrounds their blessed abode. The Void, it is called. An endless expanse of nothingness, bereft of all meaning and existence. He strained his thoughts to it, hoping to perceive, perhaps, the glint of things unknown to his brethren.

It was both a beautiful and frightening sight. It was a place none of the Ainur had seen before, let alone entered. For in their joy and contentment they had paid no heed to it. All save him. And whereas before he knew only Light, now he also perceived something that is not of it: Darkness. And the Darkness fascinated him as much as he desired the radiant power of the Light.

And he remembered the words Eru had spoken to him: “Infinite are these Halls, for the Abyss is depthless, and the Firmament is beyond the reach of our thoughts. Yet infinite as well is the Void about us. For it has no Being yet, and it is empty still. Empty, yes, but not without purpose.”

And Melkor pondered these words. He wondered as to how something can be so empty yet be given purpose. And he remembered the Flame Imperishable. Could it be that it is in the Void? Eru has not revealed where it ultimately resides, and he thought, perhaps, that it is has been taken into the deepest recesses of the Void, hidden beyond the reach of the Ainur. These thoughts now troubled him, for his desire to create Being out of Nothing had grown exceedingly great. And it troubled him that Eru had not revealed to them the true nature of the Flame Imperishable, nor had taken interest in the glaring emptiness of the Void.

But now, as he was deep in thought, Melkor suddenly heard the thoughts of the other Ainur who had gathered near him. He felt disdained by them, as he regarded the reach of their understanding as less than of his. It was then that Melkor recognized the thought of Manwe his brother. Manwe was his brethren in the mind of Eru, but Melkor came first before all the others.

Yet it seemed to him that Eru held Manwe dearer to his heart than himself, and he deeply resented this. Melkor knew, even from the beginning, that among all his kindred, he alone had been given by Eru the greatest measure of power and knowledge, and that he alone had a part in all the powers and gifts of his brethren. But despite this, it appeared that Eru took this little into account, preferring instead to take delight in instructing Manwe and Ulmo in the art Music. And so discontent was kindled in him. But he kept this hidden, lest this become manifest to his peers.

But now Melkor saw Manwe approach him. Unspeaking, he gazed back into the Void. He sensed Manwe manifest beside him. And they both looked into the Void. The seemingly white mists that marked the edge of the Timeless Halls slowly faded into a deep shade of gray, until it blended into the unforgiving blackness beyond. The mists before them moved about, constantly shifting and turning as if they were driven by some invisible hand. But the darkness of the void remained immutable.

They stood there for a long while, silent, deep in thought.

“Beautiful, is it not?” Melkor finally broke the silence.

Manwe did not speak for a while, and then said, “Perhaps, but it is empty there, and dark.”

Then Melkor replied. “And that is why it is beautiful. For it is empty and dark.”

Then Manwe looked at him, perplexed by his brother’s strange assumptions. “These halls that Eru made for us is the greatest expression of beauty, for here we see the wonder of his thoughts, being made manifest with substance. How can such an emptiness be as beautiful as what we have here?”

Melkor spoke again, and this time, there was pride in his voice, and he sounded as if he were expounding on knowledge only he himself knew. “Emptiness does not define the opposite of everything that we lovest here. The Void is merely empty, and nothing else. Yet its emptiness can be filled to overflowing, and become as yet an abode of beauty and glory such as what we have here. Nay, perhaps even greater.”

Then Manwe said to him, “Eru creates everything with purpose, no matter how dumb and unusable it may seem. But some things are better left to his wisdom than to our own, for we do not know anything beyond what he has revealed to us.”

Melkor looked at his brother. He sensed Manwe’s trepidation of his perception of things, and Melkor spoke again. “Did not Eru create these Halls for us? If so, then he as well must have created this darkness about us. Eru, you say, has purpose in everything? If so, then it is only right that we explore and understand this darkness about us. Here we dwell in contentment of the Light, and yet pay no heed to the Darkness beyond. If we are to attain true understanding, we should learn about this Void, and change it, if that may be, so as to better suit our desires and purposes.”

Manwe dwelt on this for a while, and said, “It may be true, but we cannot define the intentions of Eru based solely on our assumptions of his designs. For before our beginning, we know nothing.”

“True enough, but some things can still be discovered without the aid of Eru.”

Then Melkor sensed the thoughts of Ulmo and Aule. He looked to the others who were gathered at a great distance, and he sensed their thoughts as they beckoned Manwe to join them. He looked back at his brother.

“They must be calling to you again, Manwe. Have you thought now of new things with which to further the beauty of this place?” He asked him, ever so sweetly. Yet underneath his voice could be gleaned the slightest tinge of scorn, for even now Melkor had already begun to harbor envy and disdain towards the other Ainur, most of all to Manwe. But Manwe perceived this not.

Manwe looked at him in the eye and said: “Melkor, I know not what your heart desires in seeking to understand this Darkness. But whatever it may be, Melkor, it is best that we stay under the guidance of Eru, for he has no purpose other than the good of all things.”

“So you say,” Melkor retorted darkly.

Then Manwe left him as he joined the presence of the other Ainur. Once again they continued to make music in their minds, for the Ainur, even from their beginning, were wont to express their deepest thoughts and desires into Song.

Melkor gazed at them for a while, and he smiled. “Great are they among our kindred,” he thought to himself. “But they will soon learn that I am still Melkor.”

And he returned his thoughts once more into the nothingness that spread before him. So near it seemed to his vision, yet knew full well that from where he stood up to the threshold of the Timeless Halls lies a near immeasurable stretch of space, incalculable beyond thought. But that did not daunt him, for space and time do not matter to the Ainur. They are beyond those things. He is beyond those things.

And as he gazed into the consummate darkness before him, he smiled once more. But what his thoughts were at that moment, only he could tell.





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