13. Interlude II: Shadows
Interlude week. Sorry.
Interlude II: Shadows
Year 3083 – 51st year of the reign of Ar-Sakalthôr
Sometimes, in my dreams, I see her face. Her features are sharply chiseled and haughty, like those of a gull perched on the sea-battered cliffs of Andúnië, and she looks at me with disdain.
She was beautiful, they say, with huge and stirring eyes. Her face was soft and her smile kind, but never for me. Never in my dreams.
Maybe I have imagined it.
The first face I can remember in waking life, out of an early blur of severe ladies with silver on their hair, is that of a man with black eyes. For years he watched me, loved me, turned me into what I am now –an imperfect mirror of perfection, never worthy enough; a shadow of his powerful reign.
Was he ever a shadow of him, too? Did he ever learn his secrets and carry his every bidding, in a distant day before I was old enough to understand? And if he did, how did he break away and shatter the silver prison of hopes into a thousand of brilliant and cutting shards? What did he do to fill the black eyes with fear and loathing, to deny their love until it turned into hatred?
He is the conspirer, the traitor who befriends Western enemies with gull features behind the King´s back. The apostate who smiles in soft disdain as he kneels at the feet of the gods of Númenor, while he surrenders his soul to the foul spirits of the Western shores. The sharp glance that tears apart the minds of men, the temerity that climbs to high places in the dark hours of the night. He is miles ahead of me, keeper of precious secrets, and will not even turn back and look at those whose respect he does not need.
And this is why I hate him.
Tonight, I will throw a last party before my departure. I will sing and dance, and share my wine with my friends until I am drunk, and later I will share the bed of a lady whose features I will not be able to remember afterwards.
At dawn, I will not be at the courtyard of the Tree with my escort at the appointed time, and his disdain will maybe turn briefly to annoyance for the delay before he turns his back to me and rides to the front with his friend. They will exchange accomplice glances, marvelling at my stupidity and my extravagance, and still, if they cared to ask, I would tell them that one day we all will be taken by our doom, and then I will be remembered as nothing but a shadow.
But beware of shadows, Inziladûn. Beware of shadows.
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.