A/N: Well, first off, and this goes for the whole story: I do not own Middle Earth. It belongs to Tolkien – please don’t sue me. Also, thanks to my lovely beta-reader/encourager people, as well as my reviewers. If you have opinions/questions/comments/concerns/threats, please let me know by leaving a COMMENT!
I climbed up the hill, trying to distract myself. The ground was steep, but I continued up even after my breath began to become painful.
I ducked beneath tree branches, and climbed over roots. The breeze was strong, whipping my hair into my face. I pushed it away, impatient.
A few moments later I reached the top of the hill. It looked over the Sea, the side cut away by waves until it formed a cliff. It was solitary place, good for thought and far away from Alqualonde. I came here to think, to reason out, to try to cool my temper. The last was often the most difficult; but that day I was not angry. I was not sure how I felt.
The Valar were sending a host against Morgoth. That in itself was not troubling – I would have been glad to hear of the defeat of the Darkener, he who destroyed the Trees. But they were going at the plea of the Noldor.
I sat down with my back against a large, hard rock, and rested my head on my fists. The Noldor – the Kinslayers – had been fighting long against Morgoth, but I could not feel that it was really just to triumph over evil. It was that curst, reckless, Valar-****ed oath. The oath that brought them to the Swanhaven.
I drew in a deep breath. The rage I felt at that was old, and I had learned to almost always control it. The other matters were more pressing. The Valar would need ships, yes. But would I – would any of the Mariners – consent to sail them? There were few of us, even these long years later, and I was sure that even fewer would sail. If they did, though…
Some time later I sighed, still not having come to any conclusions. I wished to aid the cause against Morgoth, yes, but at the side if the Noldor? Undecided, I got up and began the long treck home.
“Earlinde, where were you?” My little brother – not little anymore, really, but I could not stop thinking of him that way – asked.
“Thinking,” I said.
“So you heard about the decision of the Valar?”
I sighed. Elion was full grown now, and perceptive. I had to stop regarding him as an Elfling. “Yes, I did.”
“What do you think, since that is is what you were doing?”
“I can’t decide.”
“I believe we ought to aid them,” Elion said softly.
“Why?” I asked.
“Their cause is right, and Morgoth, even if he does not threaten us yet, here, should not be left to plan a way to invade again. He will try to darken what light there is now.”
“Their cause is not right,” I said. “It cannot be. Perhaps once it was, but now?”
“But they fight against Morgoth, Earlinde. He is the enemy of all of us.”
“But in what ways do they do it, and why?” I snapped. “They fight for selfish reasons, for those gems of Feanor’s. Do you really think they battle just to protect everyone else? That will be the day.”
“But – “
” How can it be a just fight when they slay their kin to do it? You did not see the Havens, Elion.“
“But there are other Elves in the Outer Realms. Those who are our kin, who never raised a blade against one of their Kindred. They, too, are fighting against the Enemy.”
I drew a deep breath. I have, as I said, a quick temper. Some times quick to go, but at other times long and abiding. This was a short burst, the kind my brother had learned to ignore. “Perhaps. I just don’t know yet. You will be sailing, though, in any case?”
He nodded. “I will.”
“Have to told Amme yet?”
He sighed. “No. I have not had a chance.”
“Good luck.” I turned and went to my room, closing the door. Elion had a point, a very good one, but was it enough?
The air that evening was rather strained.
Elion had told Amme of his intention, and she had taken it as well as could be expected. Her husband, our father, had, after all, been killed as he defended his ship. Elion was nervous, she determinedly calm. I tried to keep from pacing.
Elion went to bed early. I was too restless to follow his example.
It was growing late when she turned to me. “Have you decided yet, Earlinde?”
“No,” I nearly growled. “I have not. I would be glad to help against Morgoth, but I do not know if I can bring myself to do so at the side of those wretched traitors.”
She sighed, her eyes tired. “You still hate them, don’t you, child?”
I stopped in mid-stride of my pacing – I had given up the battle against it some time before. “Yes. Do you not?”
“I grew tired of it,” she answered. “Hate wears your soul out, and none of it would bring back your father. I stopped long ago. There was no point to it.”
I sat down, burying my face in my hands. “I just don’t know, Amme. How can I even try to forgive them? They didn’t just kill Ata, but so many others as well. They took our ships, they spilt our blood, they broke each and every bond of kin – and friendship. How could I forget that?”
“Not forget, only forgive,” Amme said. “Or maybe to just let go. But if or how to do it only you can find out. And only if you want to.”
“I don’t think I do, Amme,” I said quietly. “Good night.”
I did not sleep well. I had a dream, a quiet and seemingly comfortable one, but it was not a thing I wished to remember. But at least, finally, when I woke in the middle of the night, I had come to a decision.
I would go. Perhaps I would never forgive the Kinslayers, but I could stand to aid the cause that they had started. Morgoth must fall.
In the morning, I went with Elion to join the roll for the ship Lomevaiwa, one we both knew well. Other kindred might think it odd for a she-Elf to be a mariner, but our folk have a fierce love for the Sea, and understand that it cannot be denied. It calls, you see, on the edges of our dreams and waking consciousness, a gentle song of surf and tides. Other Elves who feel it not so strongly deny the call, but we, the Teleri, always answer. The ocean is our blood, our home and the horizon.
There were as few as I expected who would man the ships. There would only be a few of us to each vessel, and we would have to teach the Noldor and Vanyar how to sail. We could take the hard work, but instructing the land-dwellers in seacraft might prove just as difficult.
There was a strong breeze on the day when we set sail. The Lomevaiwa carried myself, Elion, four other Teleri, and several groups of Elves who went to fight, a mix of Vanyar and the Noldor who had returned at the Doom of Mandos with Arafinwe, or those who had never left the Blessed Realm.
To the last I felt no – well, little, really – enmity; I could not forget their relation to the Kinslayers.
Amme bade us farewell, quietly, on the shore. She gave both Elion and myself her blessing. I was glad to have it.
We carryed onboard the last supplies. I took my load to the hold, and then returned to the jetty. I saw that a dark-haired elf was helping my brother – who looked wary, but needed the aid – with a stack of weaponry.
I joined them, taking a share to carry, and then the Elf looked up.
I stared at him for a moment, as he was doing to me, and dug the nails of my free hand into my palm. He was the very last creature in Arda that I wanted to see.
You should have realized this would happen, taking a group of Noldos, an inner voice told me. You should have known that he would not go all the way, afterwards….
I ignored that, and keeping my temper in check – I would not lash out, I would not – I snatched up my stack of javelins and stalked away, rigid with anger and not looking back.
Elion caught up with me in the hold as I slammed down the weapons. “What is it?” he asked.
“Nothing. Nothing whatsoever.”
“Don’t lie. You know that Elf, don’t you?”
“Does it matter?” I bit out.
“Perhaps. Who is he?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I am curious.”
Curse his perceptiveness, curse it, I thought, and spat out “Sinyetaime Ehtelion.”
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