A/N: Thanks to my wonderful reviewers for pointing out my embarrassing mistake. I apologize to everyone, especially Cirdan.
The waters pounded against the lone rock, slicking its jagged surface treacherously. The sky overhead was dark and foreboding, pregnant with the threat of rain. A sole figure braved the tumultuous sea, kneeling calmly upon the island, a tiny speck of whiteness amid the blackness.
She did not know whether it day or night. She knew no name for herself, or where she came from. Her eyes were closed; the sights frightened her.
Would he come?
The noises were comforting, as harsh and dominating as they were. Long dark hair was curled around her thin frame like a living thing.
Slowly, as though they had a will of their own, her arms rose and opened; her head fell back, until it seemed she meant to embrace the sky, the world. Lightning flashed and thunder rolled simultaneously.
The woman began to sing. It was a haunting melody, as beautiful and deceiving as the ocean that was on every side. Her voice wove the tale of a thousand years, rising and falling with the creations and destructions. She put her soul into the song, the prayer. She scaled the octaves, producing sounds both higher and lower than the great musician Daeron.
Did he hear?
It was at the very climax of her symphony, the pinnacle of all that was feared and embraced, that the surface of the ocean became as flat and still as a pane of glass. Beneath this boundary, the waves still raged and churned, searching for freedom. The black clouds overhead parted as though cleaved with a knife. Inky black sky and twinkling stars shone gently down, unmoved by the fury of the storm and the emotion of the music.
A great shape, like that of an Elf in form but far greater and more incredible in appearance than any that had ever lived. His hair was a wild harmony of blue and green and gray, with ocean plants and shells twined among the untamed lengths. His face was beyond description, pleasing to the eye and yet so intense that one unworthy could be blinded by the sight. Reflected in his eyes was all the fickleness of the seas.
It was Ulmo, Lord of the Water.
He was here!
"Child of Illúvatar, your summons was too enticing to resist. Why have you called me, the second greatest of the Lords of the Valar?" He questioned, and his voice was like whistle of a whale, the screech of a gull and the crashing of the waves.
"Oh, King of the Seas, I beg of you to answer my plea. I was gifted with a voice equal to the Ainur. Under the influence of my song, the beautiful creatures of your realm are drawn to me. And yet I am lonely. Look at me! The dolphins and turtles and fish leave me when I cannot follow them!" Ulmo looked upon her. Her legs were twisted and broken, useless for mobility.
"Your realm is my home, and my heart aches for the freedom to swim and glide among the waters without the fear of drowning. I beg of you to help me!"
Would he help?
Reaching out with a watery hand, Ulmo gently settled her on his palm and brought her closer. "Nay, young creature, you are beautiful! You have an unusual purity of soul. I feel your pain. The depths of the ocean are indeed enticing. For many years, I have heard your faithful prayers; and I shall answer them."
His eyes fell half shut, and brightened until only the pupils of his eyes were discernable. Lifting his hand, he gently breathed upon her. She felt the mist of his breath embrace her, and for a moment her skin felt tight and her hair prickled. Her ears heard no sound and her eyes saw nothing. There was a moment of fear…And then the cool caress of salty water brought her back to herself. She breathed in, and the air felt fresh, and in her heart she rejoiced. Her legs were no longer grotesquely twisted and busted. Her lower half was now that of a fish, smooth and scaled. Experimentally she moved the fin, and felt a rush of giddiness when there was no pain.
Her hands touched her neck; gills gently flapped against her fingertips. She laughed with joy, and the sound resonated across the calm waters. Gulls flapped into the air.
He had answered her prayers.
"My lord, you have made my fondest wish a reality. Can I now swim beside the sharks when they beckon? And play with the porpoises, instead of dream of it?" breathed the woman, reverently kissing the hand that supported her.
"Yes, little one. You are like them now. One of my creatures." Ulmo decreed, and his voice made the ripple run over the glassy ocean surface.
"What am I called, now? I do not have a name," asked the woman. The Ainu lowered her into the water, and she was amazed when she did not sink.
"You shall be called Siren. Nen-Edhel. Water Elf." His words were quiet and powerful. The woman now named Siren felt as though she had been blessed. "Be well, child."
With that farewell, Ulmo's solid form liquefied and collapsed, showing sparkling droplets on and around her. Joyous, she dove beneath the surface and swam. A pod of dolphins whistled and clicked, racing and playing with her as though she one of their own. Finally, she was well and truly a child of Ulmo.