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For Dawn Felagund, in thanks for her tireless work on B2MEM.
Maglor watched the Perian standing at the aft rail of the retreating ship with a growing sense of outrage. What right have you, a mere mortal, to bear the Light of a Silmaril?
Did he see a note of defiance in those weary, wounded eyes? Certainly he was surprised when he sensed a response offered via osanwë. And why do I not have the right to carry what was gifted to me by your own cousin? Did not Lúthien the Fair and Beren One-hand between them win the Silmaril from Morgoth’s own crown and carry it away? Was it not given by them to Elú Thingol as the bride-price for his daughter, and through him did it not descend to the keeping of Elwing, who in turn surrendered it to her husband to aid him in his quest? Does its Light not blaze in the heavens as the highest symbol of holy Hope?
But the Silmaril was the creation of my atar.
Perhaps that was true of the Silmaril itself, but not the Light that it bears. Lo, your father’s creation blazes there, in the heavens, where it has dwelt for two ages of the Sun. I bear not the gem itself, but merely a reflection of the Light that fills it.
But you are flawed….
No more so than are you.
He whose hand was long ago burned by the Silmaril he’d taken into his own keeping but had cast away into the depths of the Sea looked upon the one whose finger had been bitten from his hand, in emulation of the sacrifice of Beren of his hand to Carcaroth, but by one who’d desired the symbol of not Light but instead the destructive Darkness that had bounded it, and bowed his head.
After a moment of mutual grief, the other sought to comfort him. Only one Silmaril remains where it might be seen, there in the heavens, above and beyond the reach of us both. I bear but the Light caught in its reflection in water. Had I known you would lay claim to it, perhaps I might have surrendered it to you. But now I can only hold it up to restore hope to those I love past bearing whom I’ve been forced to leave behind. Let them imagine that it shows that my strength endures, that I will survive and perhaps return in time to full health, spirit and body. But this I have been assured—that I am as much a Child of Ilúvatar as are you, and I, too, can reach for healing. For a moment the communication paused, and he found himself straining to resume eye contact with this strange Ring-bearer. Then one last burst of communion: I’ve heard the waves calling me for most of the past year and a half, and now at last, perhaps too late, even, I’ve answered them. Follow after! For I sense that they have been calling for you to return home, too. Follow after as you can. Let go of the Oath and follow after. They await you, those who love you.
The darkness fell more deeply as the last remnant of Arien’s chariot passed below the horizon, and within that growing darkness he saw the Light of the Silmaril twice, once above him, and once reflected in the waters gathered into the Firth of Lhûn, marking the passage of another grey ship from Mithlond that had weighed anchor and now sought out the waters of its new home far to the West, there where he still believed he could not come, bound as he was to an oath that apparently could not now be fulfilled, as no Silmaril or reflection of it remained within the Mortal Lands to recover.
Standing on the high place on which he’d stood to watch the sailing of the Ring-bearers, Maglor sang, and wept.
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