Theme of the LJ challenge: Believe it or not
Beta: Larner *hugs*
Author's notes: In history, comets were often considered the heralds of wars, famine and death, so I use that motive in this story. Of course, in our world, the nature of comets is today well known; in the story, I give them supernatural origin.
In reality, comets rarely appear reddish, but this is only a story anyway; and if they are something supernatural, why wouldn't they be red? :)
The word comet is derived from the greek word kometes, which means "a star with hair".
"When the world is old and the Powers grow weary, then Morgoth shall come back through the Door out of the Timeless Night; (...) Then shall the last battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor." (HoME, vol. IV, p. 165)
It is never cold in Valinor.
But as she stands in front of the halls in which she and Manwë dwell on Taniquetil and watches the night, Varda Elentari feels the chill. Her heart quivers restlessly, and ice cold shivers run along her spine. But the Queen of the Stars can't determine what frightens her, and that makes her even more uneasy.
Tilion is not in the sky: the night is black. The stars twinkle, but tonight Varda cannot find comfort in them. The air is still. All is quiet. Suddenly she realizes – it is too quiet. The song of the stars, that only she can hear, has died out this night. And it is as if she feels even colder, and her growing fear makes her feel shuddery.
Frightened, Varda looks around. The stars are veiled. Arda, a faraway blue gem, so tiny in the vastness of Ëa, so distant that only the Valar can see it, tonight is hidden from her eyes. Darkness is thick and it feels as if it's spreading; as if it crawls slowly towards her, threatening from all sides, coming closer and closer.
There is no wind, but Varda trembles. As she tries to understand, she hears familiar footsteps behind her back. Manwë, her beloved, her support and strength, stands next to her. But his embrace does not bring warmth and calm this time. And unrest is imprinted on his face too.
There is some evil at work, she hears his worried thought in her mind. Trying to discover what is going on, they close their eyes and open their spirits. They try to hearken to the far immensity of Ëa; they strive to hear the whisper from the distances, to sense the breath of the wind, to comprehend the voice of the heavens. But all Varda can feel is emptiness and silence.
And then, the pain. Piercing, sharp, deep pain.
Gasping for breath, she opens her eyes and, shivering, stares in the sky in horror. Icy dread fills her heart. Amidst the stars, in dark skies, there lies an elongated, misty shape. On one side it is utterly bright and brilliant, then gradually becomes more and more translucent, until it completely fades out and merges with the sky. It almost looks like a star with long, unbraided hair, Varda remarks absent-mindedly. But the beauty of the scene is an illusion. This hair is not golden like that of the Vanyar, nor black like that of the Noldor, nor silver like that of the Teleri. This is not hair at all, nor is this shimmery veil a net of tiny, brilliant gems. This is not a creation of the Queen of the Stars. The heavens are stained with crimson; this star is wounded, bleeding... just like her heart.
Many eyes, both in Valinor and on Arda, lift toward the sky. This looks like an arrow, some notice, pointed towards Valinor like a sinister threat. Awe soon turns into fear. It is as if they realize that the dying star heralds evil.
This is my brother's doing. He is back. The time for the Last Battle is come, declares Manwë silently, with a serious mien, and hugs her closer. His kiss gives strength to her wounded heart, but she knows that the pain will not fade until the very end, until the Second Music begins.
She raises her head high and looks into his eyes. In them she sees love – for her, for all the children of Eru, as well as resolution. The moment of doom is come. He gives her his hand and she takes it in hers. And together, holding hands, the Queen of the Stars and the High King of Arda set forth towards destiny.