The stones trembled.
Thuringwethil placed her hand on the cold floor and swept her fingers through the dust until she determined the direction of the disturbance, then she pressed her ear against the rock. Disembodied pain surged like a pulse through Tol-in-Gaurhoth, weary but deathless, for although Sauron had gone, his impressions remained. Now Thuringwethil listened, just as she had the day she first heard the new Voice -- but the Voice was clear and bold and unashamed, and even the dark laughter of Sauron had no power over it.
"Thuringwethil," he had said to her, "soon you will bear to my lord in Angband a most pleasing message: The daughter of Melian is my prisoner."
But Thuringwethil tarried, for the Voice made the walls shake. Then Sauron went out to the bridge to assert his claim and take his captive; yet he never returned. Thuringwethil, trapped in hopeless servitude, hid in a dark corner and waited until her new master called for her. The Voice, she expected, would soon challenge Morgoth himself.
The footsteps came closer, but the stones did not groan as they had when Sauron passed. She strained towards the Voice, dreading to hear it yet unhappy in the silence. When the noise was nearly upon her, she lifted her head and gazed up at the daughter of Melian.
The elf-maid glowed even in the darkness, like moonlight on shimmering water, and Thuringwethil drew back as she hissed, "Speak not to me! I can guess your intent. Wave your hand only, and I shall report to Angband that you will not be availed!"
"I am told..." the elf began, but Thuringwethil cried out and covered her ears. The Voice! It was not painful but lovely, and it enveloped her like a cloud of stardust. Thuringwethil heard a song in it -- not the symphony which made the isle quake but rather a soft and ancient tune, like the first breath of Iluvatar's music. It played a memory of a time before she scraped to Sauron or harkened to Morgoth, and the beauty hurt her.
"I shall speak," the Voice said, "and you will listen."
"Pity, pity," Thuringwethil begged as she crawled on the floor. The stones were murmuring, for all who heard the Voice longed to hear it again, but Thuringwethil did not want to give in. She wanted to scream for blissful, ignorant silence.
"I am told," the Voice said, "that when you deliver messages, you fly in the figure of a bat."
"Your raiment allows for this? Or do you have a special cloak?"
"No cloak," Thuringwethil snapped. "It is my shape."
The daughter of Melian considered this. Her presence grated against the down-trodden Maia's senses -- her Voice, her radiance, her perfume of flowers and earth and life, and even her silken dress felt heavenly. Her dress! Thuringwethil stared at the blue fabric in her hand, not realising until it was too late that she had been powerless to resist touching the gown. She fearfully looked up and whispered, "Pity, pity."
"I must go to the throne of Morgoth," the Voice said grimly. "I need you to disguise me."
Thuringwethil scowled. "I am not a maker of costumes."
"I shall be disguised as you."
"Me?" She stared at the blue silk in her hand and thought the request was madness. Such a maiden, more beautiful than anything under the stars, would surely never suffer to wear coarse bat-fell.
"Will you deny me, Thuringwethil?"
The Voice said her name! Her whole body shuddered in terrible pleasure, for the Voice rendered the syllables in an Elvish accent so much like music that the poor creature cried, "Say it again! My name! Say it!"
The Voice hesitated but finally relented. "Thuringwethil."
A black shadow rose from the floor, spreading her wings, and the soft glow of the maiden's skin reflected on the iron talons of Thuringwethil's deadly shape. She desired to swallow the Voice and hold it close to her, to keep it even as it killed her. To this end she used her own body as a disguise. She moved behind Melian's daughter and placed her claws on the shoulders of the blue gown. Very slowly, she slid her palms down the maiden's arms, towards her hands, and as she did so she felt the heartbeat, the breath, the life in the elf's body. She sensed no fragility, only determination mixed with a curious sadness and another incomprehensible emotion: Love. For love, the maiden endured Thuringwethil's awful touch.
Their hands met and clasped. The foul creature embraced the fair one, and the elf's shape was altered -- her hands were now tipped with barbs; her arms unfolded into wings; a darkness surrounded her at all sides. Thuringwethil inhaled the smell of the maiden's soft hair, desiring to consume her beauty in that last moment before the transformation was complete. But the Voice! She must hear the Voice again!
"Say my name," she whispered into the maiden's ear, "and all that I am is yours." She dragged her lips across the blushing cheek, wanting to be ready at the source of the Voice.
The sound was caught between two mouths, and the pain of the joy was such that the sad creature offered herself fully and ceased to be separate. She quit her garb, which now hung over the maiden like a ghastly second skin, and the rest evaporated into the deep shadows.
Alone again, the Voice was silent. In her new apparel, she flew through the halls in great haste to seek out Huan, the wolfhound, who would take her to Beren her beloved. The stones whispered again as she fled, but nobody else listened: Thus, the world never learned that the destruction of Thuringwethil was achieved with only a word and a kiss by Luthien Tinuviel.
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Story notes: This is my only fic. I never even knew I had it in me until I read Vulgarweed's Luthien/Thuringwethil challenge. I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter end notes: Nought's had, all's spent
Where our desire is got without content;
'Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.