1. Driven by Fire
A/N: This short piece is a reflection on Finarfin’s thoughts as he watches the ships sail away from the shores of Valinor the blessed, after the kinslaying at Alqualonde.
In Valinor, at the feet of the Elven lord, the grief was too strong to be put into words; but, whose fate was indeed doomed? The one of those who left, or that of those who were left behind?
“But in that hour Finarfin forsook the march, and turned back, being filled with grief, and with bitterness against the House of Fëanor, because of his kinship with Olwë of Alqualondë; and many of his people went with him, retracing their steps in sorrow...But his sons were not with him, for they would not forsake the sons of Fingolfin; and all Fingolfin's folk went forward still, feeling the constraint of their kinship and the will of Fëanor, and fearing to face the doom of the Valar, since not all of them had been guiltless of the Kinslaying at Alqualondë.” (The Silmarillion, p. 47)
As I watch the foam melt in the water, the last remnants of the ships that have gone, I lift my eyes and strain, for I know soon enough even the keen sight that belongs to my people will not aid me in beholding the ones that I love. ‘Have I forsaken my own blood?’ I think, and the thought pierces my soul like a double-sided dagger, for I am afraid to find the answer. ‘Am I indeed, a coward? Should I be held guilty of the blood of my kinsmen? And if I turn back, when I turn back, for now there is no other way, will I have a home to return to?’
The world was different then, when the blessed light from the trees Kementari had wrought shone upon our realm, gladdening the heart. Yet, was that not but a brief moment of bliss, the quiet peace that comes before the storm? For darkness crept into our world. It found a way through the fire, and feeding that fire has sown mysery and woe. Alas, for those of my kindred lost! Alas, for my folly in not preventing it! ‘Son of Indis’ he would call me. How my heart grieved at the sounds. But now my heart is rent for not only has he left, forsaking us, but he has drawn away my only treasure, and now they are also doomed.
Was I wrong in trying to stay? Was I wrong in trying to save my children from this fate? I have seen horror. I have stared death in the eye. Death, that was not to be known among the Firstborn. I have been there, at the last moment, when the fea fails and relinquishes their hold. What an awful sight! Their lives slipping away, like the sand on the shores that is carried by the wind. And now it will never stop to haunt me. That light, that last glow in their eyes, and then a void; the light that has extinguished forever. And whenever the gull cries, and the wind carries the sound of the waves to my ears, will it be there, I wonder?
Even now my own life has slipped away into foam and dust, only shadows of what once was and what I will not regain. Driven by the fire... And now we too are sundered. Driven by kin and by kin’s ties sundered.
Is this the happiness that we seek, the joy of life and mastery that we wish for our offspring? In our rashness we have brought grief to Aman, and have separated the kindreds that should have been one, united and fashioned by the thought of the Only One himself.
I shudder when I contemplate what would have been my fate. And I shudder when I behold the future that awaits me. Will there be peace for me with an empty heart? Will I ever cease to listen to the lingering cries of the dead in my ears?
The wind blows my hair in my face, and it dries one or two falling tears. I cannot weep. I wonder if it takes a coward not to weep. The One that made our hearts yearn for the light, and yearn for the world, binding our fates to it, granted us indeed a strange gift. For he made our minds grieve at loss, and our lives are consumed in sorrow.
As I stand on the shores of Araman, and my mind is filled with thoughts of the ones departed, I wonder if we will ever meet. Will we?
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.