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As the environment is entirely Noldorin, all names are in their Quenya forms. The list of the characters below. Those only mentioned appear in brackets.
Endórë - Middle-earth
I do not own the characters of this story, except Aldanwë. This has been merely a creative exercise from which I gain no profit.
I hate this place. I hate Endórë. I hate it deeply, fervently, with all my heart, as is my wont with all feelings. We are miserable here. True, we had been miserable before, when we were robbed of the Light, when despair and battle-fury took over in Alqualondë, when we heard the dire words of the Prophecy. Maybe even before all that, even while the Gold Tree and the Silver Tree still blossomed, but disquiet and treacherous whispers were already creeping through the white streets of our city. We were decidedly miserable later, in the storm, when half of the ships foundered in Uinen's wrath, and we others, we listened in horror to the roaring of waves and screams of the dying, helpless, unable to do anything, unable to save them. And, despite our spiteful pride and defiance, we were miserable afterwards, when the ships burned at Losgar, reek of smoke in the air, red glare on our faces. We, the family, we were closest to the shore, and we saw clearly how the white timbers caught flames, how the white silken sails flared up and withered, how beauty unequalled was turned to char and ashes. I excused the tears in my eyes with smoke, at least in front of my father and grandfather.
But Nelyafinwë, my father's eldest brother, he understood. Defying Fëanáro he alone had stood aside when torches were kindled and put to use, and his gaze had not been turned to the burning ships but over the water, towards the other shore, towards those who now were abandoned to their death or mercy of the Valar. But he had seen the tears in my eyes, and he had known that smoke had nothing to do with them. When we made ready to march on, he came to me and laid his hand on my shoulder.
"I regret you had to see this, brother-son," he quietly said. "I regret you had to take part in this."
And I knew then that he was not speaking merely of the ships. I raised his eyes towards him, unashamed of my grief.
"How shall we live now, uncle?" I whispered. "After all this? How? What shall we do?"
He looked at me long, then raised his hand and brushed away tears from my face.
"We shall go on, brother-son," he replied with a faint smile. "We shall go on."
But that smile did not linger, nor did it reach his eyes; they remained sad, so sad.
Still, on we went, and our misery deepened. After the first victory over Moringotto's creatures we pressed on, in high hope to regain our treasures, and grandfather hastened ahead with but a few others, without waiting for the reinforcements. From afar we heard the clamour of battle, but when we came it was already too late; demons of shadow and flame fled before us, but grandfather was beyond any aid or healing. Yet he lived still, and when on the high pass of Ered Wethrin the Oath was once more set firm at his bidding, it seemed to me that the misery had now settled to stay forever, even as we gazed, terrified, how Fëanáro's body was consumed by the fire of his spirit, and ashes were scattered in the bitter wind.
Then came the next blow, when Nelyafinwë agreed to treat with Moringotto. His brothers attempted to dissuade him, but he would not heed them. When his company departed, I too came to him and for the last time pleaded to reconsider his decision and not to go, but he only shook his head.
"Understand, brother-son, if there is even the smallest chance to regain our jewels, then I must take it, for so we have sworn," he said ere leaving, and I followed them with my gaze as they disappeared in the shadows, and my heart was heavy and full of dark foreboding.
They returned not. Instead, the embassy of the Enemy came to our fortified camp with news of dread and demands of our departure. Calm and cold Makalaurë listened to Moringotto's servants, calm and cold were his words as he refused all their claims, but pale was his face, and white were the knuckles of his clenched hand that held a strand of russet hair, given by the enemies as a proof that his brother was held captive.
Even as the embassy had left, strife arose among my uncles, as most of them accused Makalaurë of abandoning and betraying their brother. He listened to their reproaches in silence, but when he at last raised his head, white-hot fury glinted in his eyes. I had never yet seen him, the most gentle of my uncles, so angered.
"Is indeed anyone of you a fool enough to believe that Moringotto will release Nelyafinwë, were we to accept his terms?" he hissed. "And how can we forsake what we have sworn? Think on that, my brothers, think twice! Would you call the Everlasting Darkness upon yourselves and upon all our people? Varda and Manwë we named as witness, and Eru Ilúvatar himself; think you that an oath like this can be abandoned?"
He raged yet for a good while, and they stood quiet before him casting fearful glances at each other, for they too had not seen him in this mood and had not expected such an outburst. At length Makalaurë fell silent, but when he spoke again, his voice was cool and composed, yet steel rang therein.
"I am the eldest of our house here now, and you shall obey me, my brothers. There has been enough strife among the Noldor already. Our people shall not be divided further!" With these words he turned his back on them.
Without another word of objection they left the tent, but I remained standing by the entrance, for I wished to speak to him, to say that I thought his decision right, as grievous as it was. When I first heard his reply to Moringotto's emissaries, I was as indignant as my father, for, indeed, even though I love all my uncles, Nelyafinwë has ever been most dear to me. But as he spoke, I realized that in truth Makalaurë's decision was the only possible one, and I looked at him now with new respect. The choice he had made must have broken his heart, for he loved his elder brother dearly. And my guess was confirmed, when suddenly he bowed his head, his shoulders slumped, and he steadied himself against the table with one hand, the other still holding the lock of his brother's hair.
"Uncle?" I spoke quietly, hesitantly, and he slowly turned, and it seemed that the anguish in his eyes will break my heart as well. "Uncle, I merely… I merely want to say that I think you are right."
"Right?" His voice, usually so fair-sounding that it could put a spell on anyone, was now harsh and broken; he was choking on unshed tears. "There are no right decisions here anymore, Tyelperinquar, merely a string of disastrous choices. May it be so that I chose the least possible evil today! I truly do not believe that there is any hope in saving our brother. If he is even still alive. In truth…" his voice now sank to a fierce whisper, "I hope, for his own sake, that he is not!" And then I fled from the despair in his voice and in his eyes. Time passed, and our misery dragged on, and even the first sunrise did little to lighten our hearts, for with the Sun came the sound of the trumpets and of many voices singing, and it was followed by our shame, as those whom we had abandoned and betrayed now stood before us. Anger there was on many faces, for their losses had been grievous during the long march over the bitter plains of Ice, but the words that were spoken were cold and few. Resentment burned fiercely like coals beneath the ashes in the hearts of the people that Nolofinwë now led, and Makalaurë ordered that we move our camp to avoid strife. We withdrew to the southern shore of the lake. The days dragged on, and our misery deepened further.
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