A/N: This is dedicated to my SNAOL sister, amazing artist and writer, all-around incredibly awesome person, and True Friend Mytsie, whose birthday I callously neglected. Worship her, for she is Uber-Spiffy.

Disclaimer: The awesome Lord of Waters is of course not mine. Neither is anything you recognize. All belongs to Tolkien and his heirs.

Sound and Silence

By Thalia Weaver

The sea is never truly silent, even when the wind dies to a murmur and drifts so languorously over the wide expanses of water that it seems not to be blowing. To those who listen, always can be heard the sounds of mournful tides throwing themselves against sheer cliffs of rock, only to fall back in retreat- but ever they return to hurl themselves again, in vain but valiant, though no men have ever sung of their bravery. The ocean is filled with the salt of tears.

Ulmo listens, always; the cries, the booms and cracks of dark water and ancient shore- they flow in his veins. The mournful calls of the seabirds as they skim the water's surface, at once separate and yet merged with the salty sea that is their home; the splash of spray as it froths and foams, fuming in vain against the barriers that keep it locked within itself; the gurgle of forgotten streams in hidden valleys beyond the recall of man- these are the beating of Ulmo's heart; his is the voice of the waters in all Arda.

Ever Ulmo has been kind to those who live and breathe the air of Arda, they that drink his waters and sail his ocean; in the dark years, he saw the weary ones that struggled to live, and nourished them so that they would not die. In silence he gave aid; and so even during the blackest times Arda was not dead.

And yet- and yet-

Ulmo listens ever, in the grottoes and the briny pools that teem with life; in the tumbling of waterfalls over dark rocks- he listens; and his voice cries out ever, in all the streams and tides of the world-

But who listens to him? Who listens to the voice of the one who hears all? Not Men; their minds closed long before the Elfsong left the world they had corrupted. And Elves- long ago the Teleri sang to him, and he loved them for their voices- but their dancing eyes grew sad, and they drifted to Tol Eressea, the Isle of the Lost; ever they sail upon his waters and lift their voices to the seas in bittersweet sadness, crying out to the dark figure in the shadowed depths who listens forever.

And yet to them he does not speak; his voice sings in rivers and hums in streams, but to those who do not listen he does not speak at all.

To say that Ulmo is silent is to deny the pulsing of lifeblood in the veins; and yet it is said.

But the sea is never silent.