-Note- AU, very AU. Let's pretend that Maglor can speak Greek.

-Disclaimer- Maglor belongs to Tolkien. Orpheus belongs to the ages. The Dawn epithet belongs to Homer, and you may remember it from one of his epics. :)

Old Song

Dawn, with her rosy fingers, has come and gone, and already the heat of the day is beginning to grow. Golden light sparkles off the curving azure horizon; in the distance, islands sine like green gems.

The stranger's gait is slow, ponderous. His sandal-clad feet make nary a print in the wet sand, and he enjoys the feel of water surging up past his ankles, then back down. The tide is going out, schools of miniscule fish dart through the shallows just ahead of his feet. He watches them with interest, humming under his breath. His hands are in his pockets.

The slender beach is bordered on one side by forest. It is from this he hears, above the usual forest chatter, the snapping of brush.

No one but a Man can make such loud sounds as they pass, unless it be some ungainly Múmak-creature from the south. The stranger stops, pulls his tall frame straight, and gazes steadily into the wood.

True enough, it is a Man who appears moments later, tall, dark-haired, and with a complexion that places his home south of the land he wanders in. He can see that the Man had once been extremely handsome, and he carries himself with habitual pride. It is not so unusual of the gods of this land to become involved in the affairs of Men, the stranger knows. Perhaps it was so with this wanderer's conception?

"Greetings, traveler," he says to the Man, sweeping into bow.

The Man does the same. "Greetings to you."

"What be you name, wanderer?" asks the stranger.

The Man thinks. His eyes are troubled, as if he searches for some memory.

"I am called Orpheus."

"It is an honor to meet you, Orpheus."

"And yours?" asks the Man.

"I have no name," says the stranger. Orpheus does not seem to mind. His wide, brown eyes wander to other's hair.

"Red?" His soft voice is curious."I have seen red hair only in slaves from the north. Are you-"

"No, I am no slave to Men." He says it quickly, a bit too harsh for the doe-eyed Man before him.

The man nods. "No trouble meant, stranger."

They walk together. The stranger, out of the corner of his eye, sees that thereis a traveling lyre slung over the Man's back, shrouded in dirty white fabric.

"Do you play?" the stranger asks.

"Play…?" Orpheus tugs at the strap. "No."

"You once did."

"A long time ago. I do not wish to remember."

The stranger says nothing. If he knows Orpheus' tale (for it is a popular one in the places he sings), he gives no sign of it.

"I can play, a little."

Orpheus stops, then, gazing at the stranger with a kind of hunger.

"Will you…?"

"No. My hands are ill-suited for such work now. I sing only." He says it abruptly. Seeing the shock in the Man's eyes, he takes his hands from his pockets. They are red, raw, and blistering, a pain that never ceases.

Orpheus takes them in with surprise, backing away like a frightened animal.

"It is a long story," says the stranger, putting them back in his pockets. "One I do not care to recount."

The stranger leads Orpheus from the water. They move under the forest's eaves, sitting on the cool ground. He opens a pouch at his side, hands the Man a slice of dried fruit. Orpheus is gaunt, now, his cheeks hollow, his eyes haunted. His hair has grayed prematurely at his temples. He takes the fruit gladly, eating it at once.

"I can sing, if you like," says the stranger. He eats nothing.

Orpheus says nothing, but looks at him again, with desperate, unbalanced eyes.

"What would please you to hear?"

"Anything."

Maglor sits back, staring into the cornflower sky. He pulls from the air the words he sings, setting them to a familiar tune, something he had rhymed to as a child. He is never one to forget songs, even the most ancient.

"Over sea, she waits, she waits,

My lady fair,

She waits for me.

Into waves of blue I cast her,

In a time long forgot.

Years have gone,

And tides have flowed,

From unyielding seas she calls to me.

The old song still stays true.

Love, she sang, burning bright,

You'll come back, come back for me,

For me whom you desire.

And I wander, searching beside the shore,

But I am to wander forever more."

He can think of no more words. He turns to the Man.Orpheus' haunted eyes are bright, his mouth open. The song finished, Maglor stands.

"Keep you well," he says, "should our paths never meet."

He leaves the silent Man and returns to the beach. The tide ebbs still. He sees a small fishing boat in the distance, a miniscule fisherman casting his nets.

He is still, looking across the water. He turns so that the sea is beside him, and he begins to walk once more.

-fin-

Thanks for reading!

On Orpheus: Greek mythology. Son of a Muse, he is noted for his divine musical talent. After the loss of his wife, Eurydice (sometimes Agriope) and the failure of his subsequent to bring her back from the Underworld, he spent his life wandering alone in northern Greece. He never sang after his love's death, and was killed by marauders. Source: Edith Hamilton's Mythology. There are, of course, many versions to this myth.