At the Edge

by Feb 16, 2004Stories

My temper was always cooler than my brothers’, less prone to passion, less prone to anger. I do not fall to it in myself, nor do I bow to it in others, save one time, before the sun rose. That day, I took my father’s oath, and my destiny was forever shaped.

The oath became like a second heart within us, beating and driving us to whatever fell foolery it would take to fulfill it. Its first evil was to drive us to kill the Foam-singers at Alaquondë. I have never felt so dirty as I did when the first red splash of Elven blood landed onto my sword hand. I was more than willing to forgive Fingon for cutting it off, if only for that reason. I’m also a natural left-hander, but that is beside the point. Nothing Angband could offer could make me hate myself more than when I first tasted to consequences of my father’s wrath. I regretted taking the oath from that moment on, though I could not take it back. Yet I could not have stood up to Fëanor after he lost his Silmarils. Not even the Valar could stop him once his jewels were gone. I could, however, stand aside when he consigned those kin that followed us to death on the Grinding Ice. His fell fury seemed to infect everyone at Losgar, even Maglor, who should have had more sense. It would have been so easy to comply on that day, as I had at Alaquondë, but I looked at the oath beating in me and decided that abandoning our friends was not in fulfillment of a vow only Iluvatar himself could withdraw.

That second heart drove us to Doriath and Sirion. I was not willing, but I had to go. The promise had been made. And yes, I rebuked Celegorm and Curufin harshly for their behavior in Nargothrond. They cost us allies, and, in turn, perhaps a Silmaril as well. The oath stirred them, but they did not have to give into it so thoroughly as to send a kinsman to his early grave and then kidnap a daughter of a Maiar.

The oath had become so much a part of me that I did not realize it when it was gone, lifted by our evil deeds. Like my lost hand, I could still feel it, even though it wasn’t there. That’s why I did not heed the summons to Valinor. Maglor knew. I should have listened, but I felt that second heart beat in me still, and I was afraid to bring bloodshed back to Aman. So I talked him into trying to seize them again. Desperation, I know, and I knew that even if we took them, the armies of the Valar would not let us hold them for long. I rather hoped they’d kill us, and we could go back to Mandos, dead as our brothers in the name of the oath.

More fool me. I hold my Silmaril now, burning in my hand, its wrath tearing up my one good arm. The oath is dead and gone, and I am too fell and wicked to hold this thing my father made, an age ago, before the Sun and Moon. I don’t know where Maglor is for I ran off screaming. I can feel the wrath of the Powers in this thing, the Powers that gave me grace that I refused. The grace of release from an oath I hated, release from my second heart that had turned into a phantom. I cannot hold it. I cannot live with it. I am a broken elf in a broken world, I am burning with my father’s flame.

There are chasms rent in the ground, still spitting fire and smoking from where the land itself was torn. I see one now. It would be so easy, to give this Silmaril to the earth, and then no one can have it. I will drop it from my hand. I will drop myself as well, so I can die with it. We are burning, the Silmaril, me, the oath, all burning together. The Silmaril the earth may keep, and I will go where I am sent to go, be it the Everlasting Darkness or to the Halls of Mandos on the Western Shore.

Twice in my life have I given myself up to wrath. Once when I took the Oath of Fëanor, and again when I ended it.

A/N: This has been done before, but I couldn’t resist. Comments are always appreciated.

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