Darkening – Maedhros, at the edge

by Aug 13, 2004Stories

I stand at the edge.

Why did I do it? That runs through my mind. Why did I persuade Maglor into following my plan?

Because I believed. I believed, and I was wrong.

The Light burns our hands now, the hands that have thrice shed the blood of our kin. They are stained, by the blood and grime of our vengance-driven war.

But most of all, immeasurably, by the lives we have taken.

Though I am unable to close my eyes I see them, the silver-haired Teleri, refugees of Gondolin and Doriath, the people of Turgon, whom I counted as my friend.

Who trusted me. He, his brother, all our kin. They trusted me, and I have betrayed them again and again.

Their faces mix with others, orcs, men, my brothers. My mother and father.

Amme, I want to call. Amme, you saw what was coming. You loved Atar. Why didn’t he–why didn’t any of us listen to you?

There is no answer. Why should there be? I did not even speak aloud.

What answer would come, if it did? The voice of Fingon? Atar?

Or the cries, desperate, of those who have fallen.

A cold wind hits my back, but I barely feel it. All that is left to me is the chasm before my feet and the pain in my left hand. And the memories.

I see the light of the Trees, long since darkened. I see the glory of the Valar, the splendor of Tirion.

I see my mother’s face as my brothers and I went with my father to exile. I see the night, the utter blackness minimally broken by the red, harsh and flickering light of torches. I can hear my father’s voice.

Here once was light, but darkness levels all……Shall we mourn here deedless forever, a shadow-folk, mist-haunting, dropping vain tears into the thankless sea?……Come away! Let the cowards keep the city!*

Ata, I think. Ata, if only you knew. A shadow-folk, cowards? Is not this infinitely worse, to be counted among the brave by the slaying of kin? But the tears, yes. They are vain, the sea of them thankless.

I remember the march now, and the battle – no, it was not a battle, it was a kinslaying at Alqualonde. The face of that one maiden who stared after the ships, her face tear-streaked and bloody, standing at the shores.

The crossing. Asking my father if Fingon would come next. And standing aside but hindering nothing as the ships were burned.

The battles run together, Aglareb, Nirnaeth, small victories, leager, scattering and defeat. My brothers falling, one by one, but not when I could fault their killers. For we are the kinslayers, and those who fight against us are in the right

My heart is sick, and I wish that I could weep and wash away the stains, of blood and time and guilt. But the chasm is before me, and now there is no turning back.

I look into the darkness of the fissue. Far, far below there is a hint of fire, the heat beneath the surface of the earth.

Knowing the truth, unable to longer bear the pain I hurl the thing that started out as Light into that crack. For a moment, as it falls, it illuminates the darkness.

Ironic. They brought about the greater night.

And I aided it.

There is no turning back.


*The Silmarillion, Chapter IX.

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