Vain Songs, The: 26. Nirnaeth Arnoediad: XXII

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26. Nirnaeth Arnoediad: XXII

I

This now, the tale of that.

I was there, I suffered. I was an elf.

First was the long dark; cold, whispering, grim.
The voices of leaders spoke like it. They were
excellent killers, heroes all. And
I killed orcs, a hero among many.

I began to take a secret pride in that chill, because
we did not feel it. Noldor, now we were
ice beneath our milky skin. Ice, and cold, cold courage.
We waited.

We waited and then, the King whispered
an echo in the hills, giving up night to the dawn, to beauty.
Sun, shine, heat.

It was a sunny day when he knew he was to die.

His dreams were haunted by the dead,
so they said. We knew
that if there was a war,
he would, in valour, take and
ride the weapon of death,

come victory,

or come ruin.
It was ruin.

He knew he would die, and in
the end, that
we would not win.
He was stripped.

Writhing, fire whipped
into his veins, his hair, a
dark, cool river parched, bleached
in horror, armour jagged, twisted back
back back
into his own charred flesh.

Balrog work.

It was a bad way to go, even said that
Death the stranger
never comes in dignity.

They say his eyes were open.

It was the fairest day on which we heard
the last breath in those hills,

of Fingon crying
hope,
hope, day is come.
The hillside looked like diamonds
fallen ten thousands, that day. They were
proud like us, brothers, kin, slayers of orcs.

I was there when Turgon came to war and brought
the last dawn with him.


II

There was ash
where once was bone and flesh,
and milky poison - the last of his gasps.
There his body crackled and dissolved,
like the old, old, parchment
of a vain song.

I swung my body in pain, singing
songs of wrath, wringing blood
into the naked earth as it spat and hissed. I sang
until I shuddered and fell.

Maedhros rose, and he sang not.
He was silent, but his hand held death,
greedy, gasping for things
no heart out of darkness could fathom yet.
I was there when he, betrayed and blind,
calm and white-lipped in his fury,
wrenched the day into his grasp, even as death
grew mountains around him
and filled the low grounds of the world.

There was fury, but not simply fury. No,
there had been quiet yearning in that dawn,
And something else, a kind of love
for the ones who stood facing North, with each other, a love
for all who looked like us, smelled like us,
and talked in our tongues, and lived in our world.

Some held hands and smiled for courage. Two men behind me,
Armour-loud, turned into the other each,
and kissed, lingering sweetly. One was very young.
We tried not to listen by winding our fingers
tighter. They were in love. I like to think

their bodies did not wrench apart
in the wave that took us, over and over, until
we sank, and all that floated was a drunken hill
of our limbs.

They even took our hair; silver, golden, mostly black.
They made them whips and trinkets.

I was there, three days later, when we
began to need the smell of blood.

We had a daze, no food, no sleep, no breeze,

the musk of war ran down the rotten streams,
rolling with dust blacking, wetting, slicking.
And elves forgot what elves once were, now killing
to breathe the scent of blood, like starving children.

I was there when rumour circled the air like buzzards,
settling finally on our heads.
I saw him, wounded, bent at last,
his ear deep to the ruddy soil, to catch a heartbeat
as it ebbed into the earth, a
heart
beat
or a name in the wind, a last smell in the
field, of cinnamon and sunsoaked cotton, wisping away
from that hideous pyre, a sight before the lines
of this world blurred into the next, perhaps only
to see
him walking, only passing by,
even not looking at him, just walking,
onwards,
one last
one last time.

I was there when Maedhros lowered
his face into the pulpy ground,
to see, to smell, to hear
in vain. I heard his last prayer,
and heard the name he called,
but I heard none call him back.

I was there when the High Kings died and went
to hell.

I was there. I was an elf.

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.

Story Information

Author: Ëarmírë

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 1st Age

Genre: Poetry

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 07/14/04

Original Post: 08/02/03

Go to Vain Songs, The overview

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