A cool wind blew across the land, causing the fire Maglor was gazing at to dance fitfully. Elves were gathered around similar fires, trying vainly to forget the darkness around them. Until now Maglor, and many of the Noldor, had never fully realized how blessed the Light from the Two Trees was. But they were gone now, only surviving in the Jewels his father had made.
Maglor was awakened from his musings when Celegorm made an angry noise and tossed some parchment into the fire. On it was the message Morgoth had sent the brothers regarding Maedhros, Celegorm having been the last to read it.
There was silence between the brothers, each coping with their thoughts and feelings. When his elder brothers said nothing, Amras spoke up. “What are we to do? Our brother is in the hands of our enemy, with no chance of escaping unless we contrive it.”
Celegorm answered immediately. “We cannot leave him, so we will rescue him.”
Caranthir and Curufin began to agree, but Maglor checked them. “Nay, we cannot,” he said slowly. The words hurt him, but they were true.
Celegorm turned, his face angry. “What do you mean we cannot? He is our brother! I will not abandon him to torture and death!” He looked at each of his brothers. “And we all know that is what awaits him if we do nothing.”
Maglor stood up. “Then what do you suggest we do, Celegorm?” Even his calm manner began to disappear as the weight of what he was forced to do bore down upon him. “Should we storm Morgoth’s fortress, giving no heed to the lives of those who will perish? Do you not care for their lives, too?” Maglor shook his head. “We cannot ask them to risk death for one person, even if that person is Maedhros.” He looked at Celegorm intently, willing him to understand. “Celegorm, we do not even know if Maedhros is alive.”
“But he may yet be!” Celegorm stressed, refusing to believe their oldest brother was gone, even though he understood what Maglor was saying.
Caranthir moved next to Celegorm. “I do not wish to lose a brother without even attempting to rescue him.” He then spoke softer, sadness clear in every word. “We have already lost Atar*.” Each brothers’ eyes turned downwards at the mention of their father.
“I, too, believe we should try to save Maedhros.” Curufin was speaking now. “But what of Amrod and Amras?” He looked to the silent twins. “What do you think should be done?”
Inhaling deeply, Amrod chose his words carefully. “We all care about Maedhros and none of us wish for his death, but we must do what is best for our people, and that means not rescuing him.”
After his elder twin, Amras spoke. “I agree with Amrod. There is only one person, though, who can make that decision.” He turned his gaze to Maglor. “You are now the eldest brother here, Maglor, and the kingship has fallen to you.”
Maglor was silent as his brothers looked at him, his eyes once more watching the flames. He had known this was coming, that he would have to decide his brother’s fate, but he still hesitated. If they attempted to save Maedhros, they would all be slain or taken captive, of that Maglor was certain. But how could he abandon his brother? In his youth, Maglor has always looked up to Maedhros, as a brother, teacher, and friend. Yet now, when Maedhros needed him, Maglor would not be able to help. His decision was made, and he hated it.
“We will not rescue him,” Maglor said, looking at his remaining brothers carefully. “It cannot be risked, not matter how much we wish it.”
Anger was clearly evident in the faces of Celegorm, Caranthir, and Curufin, but there was also understanding. They knew Maglor was close to their eldest brother and how hard it must have been for him to make that decision.
After a moment of silence, however, Celegorm turned from the fire and walked in to the surrounding darkness. Caranthir and Curufin soon followed, leaving Maglor and the twins alone.
Sitting down heavily on a log, Maglor buried his face in his hands. “What have I done? Leaving Maedhros to death, what kind of brother am I?”
“You have done what you must,” Amras said. His voice was quiet and held checked emotions.
Maglor glanced up at his words and noticed how truly upset Amrod and Amras were about Maedhros. Of course, he knew they took it as hard as their older brothers; it was just that they were always quiet and suppressed their emotions well. If one did not know them, they would think the twins were oblivious to any feelings.
“Maedhros would understand,” Amrod said next, trying to comfort himself and his brothers. “He would not wish for us to throw away our lives for his sake.” He stood as these last words were spoken and left the fire with Amras.
Running their words in his mind, Maglor sighed and turned his gaze to the stars, but they only served to remind him of Valinor and all that had happened after the Darkening*. The Oath, the Kinslaying, all rushed through his head. And the Doom placed on them by the Valar shone most clearly. Tears unnumbered ye shall shed. Those were the words that had been spoken.
“And they have already begun,” Maglor murmured. “These…are just the beginning.” He bowed his head, shutting his eyes as the surrounding darkness threatened to engulf him. Against his will, tears began to slide down Maglor’s face. Tears for his father, for the friends he betrayed, but most of all, for Maedhros.
*Atar means father in Quenya
*The Darkening refers to when the Two Trees were destroyed