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Written for the LOTR Community "Summertime Blues" fixed-length ficlet challenge. 372 words. Beta by Fiondil.
The Only Choice
“We cannot go home again? We must leave our children, friends, and people all to their own fates?”
Even so, child. But think: Sirion is no more. The Fëanorians have destroyed it. Is this not why Elwing is here with thee rather than there—dead?
“But our children----”
They at least are safe. Neither Macalaurë nor Maitimo will suffer any more violence or grief to befall them.
“It was not so with Elwing’s brothers.”
That was not due to the will of either. Indeed, Maitimo sought diligently for them. He gave over searching for them only when it was indeed too late to save them.
“You know this?”
Yea, we know this.
“And, then, what will become of us?”
The choice lies before you: to bind yourselves to either the fate of the Eldar or the Edain.
“So you have told us.”
Thy choice, Eärendil?
“I must choose for both? She wishes to live as an Elf, and I a Man.”
And thou wouldst sunder the two of you?
“But why can we not return?”
Because neither can survive there. As child of Melyanna and using the power of the Silmaril, in the desperation to save all who yet survived, Elwing took flight as a seabird and so found thee. In doing so, most of what was mortal in her was burned away. She gave the holy jewel into thy keeping, and in using it to find the way to Aman, thou, too, wast shorn of most of thy mortality.
“Then, there is no true choice, is there?”
“Then what is to become of us?”
We would honor thee. Thou hast borne the Silmaril faithfully, seeking not thine own glory but for the needs of all. Indeed, thou hast borne the hope of all upon thy breast along with the jewel. We would have thee continue to be the Herald of holy Estel.
They robed him in azure and transfigured his ship. A diadem they wrought for him and bound it to his brow, and he was lifted upon Manwë’s winds to sail the Seas of Night, ever the one to kindle hope anew within the hearts of those who dwell here, here in Middle Earth.
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