Vain Songs, The: 26. Nirnaeth Arnoediad: XXII

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26. Nirnaeth Arnoediad: XXII

I This now, the tale of that. I was there, I suffered. I was an elf. First was the long dark; cold, whispering, grim. The voices of leaders spoke like it. They were excellent killers, heroes all. And I killed orcs, a hero among many. I began to take a secret pride in that chill, because we did not feel it. Noldor, now we were ice beneath our milky skin. Ice, and cold, cold courage. We waited. We waited and then, the King whispered an echo in the hills, giving up night to the dawn, to beauty. Sun, shine, heat. It was a sunny day when he knew he was to die. His dreams were haunted by the dead, so they said. We knew that if there was a war, he would, in valour, take and ride the weapon of death, come victory, or come ruin. It was ruin. He knew he would die, and in the end, that we would not win. He was stripped. Writhing, fire whipped into his veins, his hair, a dark, cool river parched, bleached in horror, armour jagged, twisted back back back into his own charred flesh. Balrog work. It was a bad way to go, even said that Death the stranger never comes in dignity. They say his eyes were open. It was the fairest day on which we heard the last breath in those hills, of Fingon crying hope, hope, day is come. The hillside looked like diamonds fallen ten thousands, that day. They were proud like us, brothers, kin, slayers of orcs. I was there when Turgon came to war and brought the last dawn with him. II There was ash where once was bone and flesh, and milky poison - the last of his gasps. There his body crackled and dissolved, like the old, old, parchment of a vain song. I swung my body in pain, singing songs of wrath, wringing blood into the naked earth as it spat and hissed. I sang until I shuddered and fell. Maedhros rose, and he sang not. He was silent, but his hand held death, greedy, gasping for things no heart out of darkness could fathom yet. I was there when he, betrayed and blind, calm and white-lipped in his fury, wrenched the day into his grasp, even as death grew mountains around him and filled the low grounds of the world. There was fury, but not simply fury. No, there had been quiet yearning in that dawn, And something else, a kind of love for the ones who stood facing North, with each other, a love for all who looked like us, smelled like us, and talked in our tongues, and lived in our world. Some held hands and smiled for courage. Two men behind me, Armour-loud, turned into the other each, and kissed, lingering sweetly. One was very young. We tried not to listen by winding our fingers tighter. They were in love. I like to think their bodies did not wrench apart in the wave that took us, over and over, until we sank, and all that floated was a drunken hill of our limbs. They even took our hair; silver, golden, mostly black. They made them whips and trinkets. I was there, three days later, when we began to need the smell of blood. We had a daze, no food, no sleep, no breeze, the musk of war ran down the rotten streams, rolling with dust blacking, wetting, slicking. And elves forgot what elves once were, now killing to breathe the scent of blood, like starving children. I was there when rumour circled the air like buzzards, settling finally on our heads. I saw him, wounded, bent at last, his ear deep to the ruddy soil, to catch a heartbeat as it ebbed into the earth, a heart beat or a name in the wind, a last smell in the field, of cinnamon and sunsoaked cotton, wisping away from that hideous pyre, a sight before the lines of this world blurred into the next, perhaps only to see him walking, only passing by, even not looking at him, just walking, onwards, one last one last time. I was there when Maedhros lowered his face into the pulpy ground, to see, to smell, to hear in vain. I heard his last prayer, and heard the name he called, but I heard none call him back. I was there when the High Kings died and went to hell. I was there. I was an elf.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Ëarmírë

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 1st Age

Genre: Poetry

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 07/14/04

Original Post: 08/02/03

Go to Vain Songs, The overview


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