1. The Burning
Authors note and warning:
I would humbly ask people who are extremely religious (Christian) not to read this story as they may be offended. That was not my intent, and I will say that the point of view used in this story is Maglor’s and not my own, so my own may differ in places. The story has been written with a purely historical viewpoint in mind and is based in the early years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. Maglor hasn’t been fair in parts and I have attempted to show this by the fact that he is biased quite often against Christianity, but I bid you that if you do read this that you understand no offence was intended against the Christian religion but, acts like this (or similar) did occur. I will put notes up later in the form of an extra chapter which should help to explain certain things about the story.
And so I watch them, I watch them commit another of these barbaric murders in the name of their God. They say that they are witches in league with the evil spirits; but nay they are not, they are just people, people, who believe in older ways, truer ways, better ways. Ways that take them closer to the Valar, closer to the truth. I remember their old ways before this religion shunned them. I remember how they believed in the Straight road and the Light Elves. I remember when they believed in the Valar and the Maia, I remember…
They did not remember the Ainur as the Powers of Arda as I did, and, as they too once did, but rather as Gods and Goddesses, and the Straight road they called rather the Rainbow bridge, which you had to pass along to reach their home, the Upperworld where the Light Elves and the Gods dwelt in peace and harmony. And it was to this place that they believed that they would go when they died as all mortals do, in time. But though I do not believe that to be true, their beliefs were closer to the truth than they are now. For now, now these older, truer beliefs are shunned and a newer religion has taken its place. A religion that would kill you for disagreeing with it; kill you for practicing the older ways, and kill you for not reading or listening to the ‘Holy’ scriptures in the same way as one another.
The old Queen did so, she believed in an older form of this new religion, and, she had been shunned by her father when he did wish to marry another woman, for no other reason than to beget a son. Could he not be pleased by what he had? A healthy daughter, born out of the love of two people. But nay, he could not, for he was king, and he wished for an heir. His wife had borne numerous children, and indeed, on many an occasion did she birth a son; but, none of those children did survive past childhood, none, except a daughter, Mary. And so, he married again and disowned this elder child; but still, no heir was forthcoming, for another daughter was born unto him, and now, this child is Queen. And so, because of this daughter’s birth he had his second wife murdered, through accusation of treason and the use of a sword. He did marry a third time after, and, this wife did grant him his longed for heir, but at a price. Within a small space of time this wife lay dead, of a sickness of birthing. I wonder if perhaps she felt the same tiredness as my grandmother, the Lady Míriel, whom many did in after time call Fíriel, she who sighs, or in later speech, she who dies. I wonder if any parallel lies between their sons…
I hear the girl upon the stake chanting a prayer to her gods, my Valar; though mine I should think not to say, for I deserted them, and ignored them, and so was cursed by them. The fire grows around her, the flames licking, building, seeking to devour…
Father was named truly Fëanáro, for his fëa burned brighter than any I have ever known; brighter than any other in our family, almost as bright as golden Laurelin. The king married again after the death of his third wife, three times further; the fourth he divorced, the fifth he had killed like the second, while the sixth and last outlived and married again.
Her prayers to the Valar have stopped now, and been replaced by screams of pain and torment, such as I did hear when Balrogs and the great dragon Glaurung, did descend upon us in the gap, and during the Nirnaeth in that confusing battle. Fire destroyed Dorthonion and its people; and it is fire that does now extinguish this life.
After the King died his so became the new monarch, he tried to change things and perhaps he would have done so but, like his mother, he died, and so truly are the Second-born called the Sickly and Fírimar, for sickness did assail him, and he died yet a child, in an adults place. He wished not for either of his elder half-sisters to sit upon the throne after him and so his cousin did he place as heir. But his elder sister desired power for herself and so went with an army to take what should have been hers by right when her half-brother died; and she killed this cousin who did usurp her place but a year later. Yet, for all this Queen’s bravado, and the peoples initial love for her, she began to undo both her fathers and brothers work, and punish all those who did disagree with her in religion, or who had slighted her; and she did punish them in the same way that this poor woman is being punished, for believing against the majority, and the fashion of the time.
The fire burns hotter and people move back, away from the flames that dance in the evening light, it has been almost an hour since the pyre was first lit and only now does it begin to truly lick at her white ragged dress. Why they are dressed in that way, I know not, perhaps it is to show them ready to repent? I truly know not.
The old Queen is dead now, and her half-sister has come to the throne. The people say that she has long fiery red hair, and so a temper to match. And perhaps there is something true to this ‘old’ saying; for did not my mother have red hair? Yea she did, worse than my father when she wished.
But now I watch, I watch this innocent be burned at the stake because those she called friends or even ‘wise-folk’ believe her to be cursed, and, in the service of the devil. But what know they of the devil? This creature, created by this new religion; mayhap they equate him with Morgoth, the Dark foe of the world; or do they believe him to be something else that is far more sinister. But, what single being could be more dreadful than he, I know not.
I smell the woman’s flesh beginning to burn and, I hear her screams increase tenfold, I would turn away if I had not seen atrocities committed before...I hear a young child begin to cry, his small face screwed up in misery as his father forces him to watch.
He tells him that the woman deserves no tears for she is blasphemous and worships the devil; and it is because of her that his younger sister died, for she cursed her, and made her sick. He tells the boy that he must never turn away from God else this shall be his punishment; for God will be angry that he has decided to follow the false gods rather than him who is the truth, finally the boy turns his head away to burrow his face within his fathers chest, gripping his rosary tight in his still chubby fist.
I would pity you child, pity you for being born to these times. Where people kill people, but when has it ever been any different? In all the many years that I have lived, in all the many places that I have walked, when and where has it been any different? The children of Iluvátar will continue to kill each other for as long as they have differences, or, for as long as one has what another wishes to possess. I should know, for did I not kill for three jewels. Jewels that my father wrought, ere Moon had risen or Sun had shone, ere Men had walked or Quendi waned, ere death came and we were cursed.
I watch them now, the men of the Church; they chant prayers to their God. Bidding him to accept this soul that they are sending to him. Once, I would have openly scorned them, telling them, ‘fools you do turn away from the true God, and the truth and words of the Valar.’ But as the years have passed and the religion has grown in strength, I have learnt to still my quick tongue; for although the men of the Church would do nought but berate me for not trusting in their God, those who followed would do much worse.
Many a time was I beat for not following Gods will, and for not giving up the ‘hateful’, ‘false’ ways of my birth. I remember once, an elder man who believed that this ‘young one’ needed putting in his place, did cuff me hard around the head and so allowed my ears to show. Devil was I called, evil spirit who does the work of Lucifer, the Evil one. I fled quickly away from them, and made certain thereafter that I always kept my mouth closed and my ears well covered. For I have no wish to be burned alive like that poor soul upon the stake.
The screams have silenced, and the only sound that can be heard is the crackling of the flames as they leap in the night; her fëa has left her hroär now and gone, to wherever it is that a mortal’s fëa does go when they meet death. Perhaps they go to Iluvátar himself. I pray to Eru that she finds peace, for never did she falter in her belief in the One.
I watch the fire burning, growing, consuming. The flames dancing in the night, delighting in the life that they have taken. The people have left now, and will not return this night. They will wait until tomorrow, when the fire will have burned itself out. But I know better, this fire will never be quenched and wishes now for more.
I feel the heat on my hands and face; I lower my hood, and step, before the fire. Fire was I born from, the flames burning, not warming. I step towards it, and by fire I am consumed.
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.