1. King of Shadows
She asks, my love, my betrayer, why I did what I did; why I made the demand that doomed us all, daughter, people, realm. She did not know what I felt, in that moment when I looked upon the Man, and upon our daughter, and upon them together. She could not have known, being what she is: ancient world-maker whose heart and thought must be forever beyond my understanding, though not beyond my love.
Among the Undying, only Melkor and his creatures ever knew fear.
But when the Great Jewel was mine, bloodstained and stainless, ah! The memory of the Elves is long and sometimes we forget, and think it perfect. Yet when I looked upon that Light, I knew that my remembrance through all those Ages under Stars and Sun had been only a shadow of Its true glory. Even her face, my love, most beloved, most beautiful, even her light faded, before that Light. How could I have turned again from the living fire to its mere mirror? How could I have returned to shadows, even shadows so fair as the Sun and the Moon and she?
And yet, and yet. We the Dead sit in shadows of thought and memory. We speak seldom, even to those whom we most loved and hated in our lives. We think, we remember.
And I wonder, was it only my weakness that broke us? What Song would have been sung, if I had not asked for a Silmaril? If having It I had given It to those who made their claim bloody-handed? Fëanor's sons wait out their doom in silence, but to Maedhros I spoke, king to king uncrowned, and kingly he answered. They too would have held the Jewel fast, the Light that their father saved, until the black tide from the North drowned us all. Late or soon Morgoth would have had us, whether the Silmaril shone in his crown, or in the deeps of Menegroth or upon Himring's cold height.And no armies would have come out of the West without the Silmaril, no help for doomed Beleriand. Only for the Silmaril did the Valar let my descendant and her spouse pass the walls of their will. Only for the Silmaril did they remit their doom upon those who went living into the West. Only for the Silmaril did they stir themselves against their fallen brother. Doriath died and our child was lost forever (ah Lúthien! tears unnumbered I have shed for you!) only for the Silmaril. Only so that the Light that was stolen could return to the West. And so I too will ask: by Whose prompting was it, truly, that I desired the Silmaril of Beren? Was Beleriand and all who dwelt there always so little in the eyes of the gods, compared to the Silmaril?Melian my Queen and beloved, I love you now and always, until the Great End of all loves. But the ways of the gods are not our ways, and their care is for all the world and not only for we small Children dwelling within it. The Song is Marred beyond mending, but yet binds us all, Ainu and Elda alike. And so betrayal is woven into the foundations of the world. I do not hate you, my love, my goddess, and I do not forgive.
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