Written for Tolkien Femslash February Drabbletag, for the-wavesinger's prompt: Arien/Ungoliant,“The vanquished gods to me appear, and one to me are shame and fame.”
Title from Catullus 5:
Soles occidere et redire possunt;
nobis, cum semel occidit brevis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
Suns can set and return;
for us, when once our brief light has set,
we must sleep one eternal night.
Arien did not ever think the Valar could be vanquished, that they could be cast down from their thrones. But now she sees their light flare and disappear one by one, and Morgoth’s heavy tread resounds throughout the heavens.
Arien does not fear him. His blandishments and his violence alike are nothing to her. But she will not bow to his rule, to flicker fitfully as a trapped light in a cage. If she is to end, it will be as she has lived: in brightness, in glory.
Tilion grips his bow and swears he will fight to the last, though his voice trembles. He wishes still to do deeds worthy of song. Arien does not care what will be said of her, if anyone is left to say it. She cares not for her fame, or what they call her honor. She will decide her own fate, she herself; and she knows what she will do. For Morgoth is not alone. There is one with him who comes onward cloaked in darkness that swallows all light into itself.
Arien remembers Ungoliant as she was before the count of years, fearsome in blazing light as she is now fearsome in darkness. She remembers Nan Dungortheb, the dark webs that not even her light could pierce. She remembers the whispers drifting up to her: Come to me, brightest light. Come to me and let me swallow you. She remembers Ungoliant’s song, softly seductive and terrible in its beauty. It would have tempted her, if she could be tempted to forsake her charge.
Arien rests her hand on the prow of her ship a final time. It has served her well. Then, carefully, she lifts the last fruit of Laurelin from its cradle and holds it in her arms. She descends.
Those mortals who are left look up aghast, as they see the Sun fall.
Arien falls, faster and faster, her fire blazing around her. She will take Ungoliant’s darkness to herself at last, and Ungoliant will take in all her light until she burns with it. She will not lose herself to a slow fading, but be quenched in a single instant, whole and entire. And there will be that one moment of meeting, ecstatic and glorious.