3. Maedhros contemplates strength
I tower above them all in what they think is superiority and power, absolute command of armies and strategies. They believe me to be a leader equal to Morgoth's generals, one that surpasses even his cousin and uncle in strength due to having survived the tortures of Angband. They think I have an intimate understanding of the enemy and how he works.
What I have is an intimate understanding of how little it takes for me to break. My own limits and weaknesses, and my strength in turn.
I hail from strength. A line of supreme authority that never paused to consider whether or not its actions were the right ones, and I have tried my best to become my own, separate from that legacy.
It's impossible. When my men look at me, they see the spearhead fronting our offensive (and defensive, sometimes) and gain their courage. When the enemy sees me, they notice only another in a long line of worthy adversaries, though perhaps one a little brighter and taller than those who came before. When my allies see bright red hair and glittering armor, they are heartened against the black foes we fight, but simultaneously they feel their stomachs drop and they taste hate and terror on their tongues, wishing only to cover my body in crimson.
My strength is not meant to lead absolutely. My strength is meant to support true power. If I lead, I would twist and crumble and follow only the insanity that has lead my father and brothers. And though I try my best to stay my own, I know that one day I will succumb, and it is best for all if at that time I am not that spearhead.
Absolute power is my uncle's to claim. Nolofinwe has not been and cannot be corrupted. If he falls, it will be with the strength and pride that I do not and cannot possess. He does not know how little it would take to break, and this makes him stronger. He possesses the confidence that power takes in hand to become perfect authority, and only knowing this will I offer it to him.
I love my family too much to betray them. My strength lies in loyalty and my power in my blood, and neither are beneficial to winning this war. Even Nolofinwe, with all his intelligence and authority, is of my family and will not be able to win. He, however, will go down a martyr. I foresee myself going down a selfish brute, loyal to no one because those I am loyal to will all be gone.
I will be the last of the Feanorians, and I will hate myself, my blood, and my power with all that I have.
I only hope that the rest of my blood will have found peace and an escape long before the darkness comes to claim me.
I know where I fall on the scale of power – where I should live, where I will die, and why I am feared.
That is true strength.
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