The Endless Song

Once, I was alone.
I felt neither sorrow nor joy at this. The presence or absence of others meant nothing to me. The universe moved in silence, and I drifted in its flow.
Then came the song.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/107666/the-endless-song

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1. In times past...

The Endless Song

Author: psychicscubadiver
Editor: Silentcarto
Beta-reader: Coandco

Disclaimer: Hasbro owns My Little Pony and all related characters. I do not.

 

I am eternal.

I have lived for countless eons, and I will live for countless more.

In all my time, though, I had never heard anything more beautiful than the song.

It was gentle yet powerful, beautiful and intoxicating. My first true memories are of the song being sung to me. It was such a short time ago that it sounds foolish, but it is true. I have knowledge of my time before the song, but those memories are flat and listless things. I did nothing then, and I felt nothing. The universe carried on in all of its unknowing splendor, and I never noticed.

Not until the first strains of melody began did I take notice of the quiet voices. Their early attempts were weak and imperfect, but even that sparked my interest. They constantly tried new tunes, or modifications on old ones, but none held my attention for long. Even though their music wasn’t noteworthy, their determination was impressive. I don’t know how many times they met with failure, but it had to number in the thousands. Yet, still they tried. As time passed, the voices faded and disappeared, but new ones always replaced the old. Soon, I stopped trying to tell the individuals apart. They were my choir, and they sang to me. That was all I needed to know.

I still remember the moment they found it. They stopped singing for an unusually long time, but when they began again, everything changed. Modest interest became transfixion. As I listened, a new sensation swept over me, new, wonderful, and terrifying. For uncounted ages I had been master of my own fate, but within that amazing, sublime melody I was so much less, and yet so much more. I was not mighty or proud, I was part of something, a vital piece in the working of a vast and beautiful pattern. I have seen others of my kind who are larger or brighter, but this was the first time I had ever felt dwarfed. I almost refused its call out of fear, but the song guided me, showing me my place in this beautiful cycle. I held an important role, perhaps even the most important role. It was only after I heard the choir, and moved as they asked, that I truly knew myself.

Whether the music had created something within me or merely awoken something that had been present all along doesn’t matter. I changed, and for the first time in all my existence, I was aware enough realize it. The boundless sky became more than just points of lights; it became a tapestry of incredible beauty. Everything I had ever seen was new to me. I discovered color and thought and emotion. For a short time, all I did was give names to things. Most importantly, I gave myself a name. I called myself “Sol”.

Through all of my self-exploration and growth, the song remained. The choir that sang to me was ever-changing, but the song itself never varied. It was my constant companion, the only thing that mattered to me. Then came a time when the song stopped.

There was no warning, only the sudden silence and a sensation of loss. As the stillness of the void crept back in, my thoughts slowed and my emotions grew heavy. I had lived for ages without noticing the passage of time, but now, every moment without music seemed to last forever.

At first I was angry, though the emotion felt dull through the haze of my slowed thoughts. How dare they give me such a gift only to snatch it away again? I was very selfish in my infancy, and I never considered that something could have happened to the choir. As time continued to pass, my anger faded, and I grew tired. I slipped out of the pattern I had followed for so long and moved erratically. Sometimes it felt as though some force moved me about on mad whims, but I dismissed it as a symptom of my failing mind, afraid to admit that anything could master me. At times, I wondered what effect my wandering had on my choir, but soon I was too far gone to care. Though I lived as strong as ever, in many ways I was dying.

Then she began to sing.

Alone, she gave voice to the most perfect song in existence.

She should have failed. The choir had taken dozens, perhaps hundreds, to fully capture every nuance and detail. Somehow she matched and even transcended them. The raw emotion and beauty of her singing transformed the song from something vast and unreachable to a personal plea. It was not a nameless group, but her who needed this of me. The sensation shook me out of my lethargy, and I listened in rapt attention. She sensed my attention and became hopeful, her voice growing stronger. I should have listened to her. I should have moved back into the pattern, but I stayed my uneven course. Like a spoiled child hurt by an imagined slight, I refused her.

My rejection hit her like a physical blow. In that moment she almost lost the song, but the new singer was stronger than that. She recovered and continued, unceasing in her efforts. I stubbornly refused her direction, but I could not help but listen to her. For seven days and nights she serenaded me without rest. The time meant nothing to me, but it wore on her. On the eighth day her voice finally cracked and broke. All was silent once more.

Please.

Her plea was faint and forlorn, yet still I heard it.

I can’t… She paused to gather what little power she had left. I can’t fail here. They need me. They need you.

I hesitated, uncertain.

I know he hurt you. He hurt everypony, but he’s gone.

The silence between us was a fragile, hopeful thing.

I’m here for you now.

Then she began to sing again. It was jagged and uneven, each note brought forth at a terrible cost. She could not continue this, eventually her voice would break for good. I had heard it happen occasionally to members of my choir. Yet her determination was unshakable. I was certain that she would not quit until either I accepted her, or she broke. I didn’t understand, I couldn’t understand the strength that drove her.

I didn’t have to. It was enough to know that she was here for me. To know that even if my choir was gone, she would sing for me. Finding my way back into the pattern was easy, as though it had been waiting for me all this time. I felt the song cut off, lost in her sobs of joy as I moved into my proper place.

Thank you, she whispered. That simple sentiment was entirely insufficient to express the gratitude I felt from her.

………

She could not sing to me at all times, like my choir had. This annoyed me at first, but I grew used to it. Over time I found that the moments of silence made the song all the sweeter when she sang. She spoke to me seldom in her younger years, put off when I didn’t respond. As she grew older, though, she shared more and more with me, unconcerned by my silence. I learned about her sister and their land. I learned about their subjects and history. But most of all, I learned about her. Her hopes and fears, her joys and sorrows, her strengths and flaws. Already, she had outlived any other voice I had heard, and still she was young. I was happy.

Then, in one measure of stillness, a new song began. I listened in curiosity at first, but soon I could not turn my attention away. It was a song of whispers and deception. The melody twisted and changed, circling my mind, ensnaring my senses. Slowly, I fell under its spell, hypnotized by its sweet lies. I lost sight of my path, and for the first time in my life, I stopped. While the rest of the universe danced around me, I stood still.

By the time I realized something was wrong, it was too late. I was trapped in my own mind, unable to break free. I raged against the aria imprisoning me, but it only gained strength from my anger, shrouding me in shadows.

She sensed my pain and confusion, and leapt into furious action. I don’t know how long it took. Time had no meaning within the music that entrapped me. Eventually, the dark song ended in a screech of rage and the foul presence left me. I burst into brilliant light, moving back into my place without even the song to aid me. Once restored, I listened for her. I knew she had dispatched the creature attempting to enslave me.

She was crying and in pain. A greater pain than I had ever felt from her. Not even the death of her first student had hurt her this much.

At first I stood silently, uncertain what to do. Then I spoke for the first time in all the centuries I had known her.

I’m here for you now.

Her sobs stopped in a shocked silence. Then she began to cry again. Her pain was still there, her sorrow still drove her to tears, but beneath it there was a spark, a tiny flame that had reignited within her.

Thank you.

I accepted her gratitude in silence, but I felt warmth within me that had nothing to do with actual heat.

………

Good morning, Sol, she told me. She usually chuckled after that. I don’t know what a ‘morning’ is or why that phrase is humorous, but she assures me that it’s quite funny. This time, though, she just sounded sad.

Are you well? I asked. It was centuries since I first spoke, but I still only talked when necessary. The less words I used, the better.

I’m worried, she replied. My sister will return this night.

I didn’t need words to express my anger at that thought. I wanted to burn the enchantress to cinders, scorch her shadows from existence and reduce every piece of magic she had ever wrought to ashes. But such actions would hurt my beautiful singer. I didn’t even need to ask to know what she felt. With careful deliberation, I controlled my anger.

Thank you, she said, her relief almost tangible. I don’t – I don’t want to hurt her this time, and I think I’ve found a way. My student is a special pony – well, they are all special, but I think that she has a potential to do great things.She chuckled to herself. I believe that she can do the impossible.

If not?

Her good mood vanished, but she replied without anger. Then I will need your help. If Twilight cannot heal her, then you and I must do what I have dreaded all along. We must kill my mad sister.

Silence fell between us, tense with emotion. Hope and despair fought within her, but if her fears came true, I knew she would do what she had promised. Even if it hurt her, she had always kept her word.

Twilight? I asked, trying to turn away from the things that made her sad.

A small measure of happiness returned. My student. There is a reason I’m trusting my sister’s recovery to her. I believe she has a special destiny. If I am right, then one day she will be the pony to sing your song.

At first I could not understand her statement. Why would anyone other than her sing the song? My thoughts are not swift, but I was able to discover the implication behind those words quickly enough. She would not be able to sing my song forever. One day, just like all the other voices, she would disappear.

One day she would die.

I knew that the voices faded with time, but I had begun to take her presence for granted. Already, she had been with me for a hundred times longer than any of the others. I wanted her to be there forever.

Don’t go. I said, not knowing what to tell her. The only thing I had was the truth. You can’t leave. I need you.

You need me? she asked, both amused and embarrassed. Oh, Sol. I wish things were that simple. I have no intention of leaving you anytime soon. No, it will be a long time even by my standards before I go, but one day I will. There isn’t any choice to it, just a fact of life.

Why? I barely dared to ask.

I don’t know, she replied, her tone gentle and kind. But I can promise you this. When I am gone, Twilight will sing to you. When she too grows old, she will teach her student. That pony will teach another, then she another and so on until the end of time. All I can promise you is that you will never be alone. No matter how long you live, you will have a companion.

A low hum echoed through the Æther as she began.

I don’t understand how she could make the most beautiful song in the cosmos even greater, but somehow she did. As the first strains of music burst from her I was awestruck. The pattern emerged around me and I moved into place, wishing that I could do more for her.

It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair that that she would die.

In time, she finished, yet her presence lingered. She had one last thing to say before leaving to care for her subjects.

One day I may be gone, but keep this in mind.

The silence between us was a fragile, hopeful thing.

I’m here for you now.

   
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