King of Shadows: 1. King of Shadows

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1. King of Shadows

"King of Shadows" they named me in my life, friends and enemies both. "Greycloak, Hidden King, Elu Thingol". Now I dwell in shadows indeed, and I no longer need a name. The fëa knows itself and is known, and that is enough, here in the Houses of the Dead.

She asks, my love, my betrayer, why I did what I did; why I made the demand that doomed us all, daughter, people, realm. She did not know what I felt, in that moment when I looked upon the Man, and upon our daughter, and upon them together. She could not have known, being what she is: ancient world-maker whose heart and thought must be forever beyond my understanding, though not beyond my love.

Among the Undying, only Melkor and his creatures ever knew fear.

But when the Great Jewel was mine, bloodstained and stainless, ah! The memory of the Elves is long and sometimes we forget, and think it perfect. Yet when I looked upon that Light, I knew that my remembrance through all those Ages under Stars and Sun had been only a shadow of Its true glory. Even her face, my love, most beloved, most beautiful, even her light faded, before that Light. How could I have turned again from the living fire to its mere mirror? How could I have returned to shadows, even shadows so fair as the Sun and the Moon and she?

And yet, and yet. We the Dead sit in shadows of thought and memory. We speak seldom, even to those whom we most loved and hated in our lives. We think, we remember.

And I wonder, was it only my weakness that broke us? What Song would have been sung, if I had not asked for a Silmaril? If having It I had given It to those who made their claim bloody-handed? Fëanor's sons wait out their doom in silence, but to Maedhros I spoke, king to king uncrowned, and kingly he answered. They too would have held the Jewel fast, the Light that their father saved, until the black tide from the North drowned us all. Late or soon Morgoth would have had us, whether the Silmaril shone in his crown, or in the deeps of Menegroth or upon Himring's cold height.

And no armies would have come out of the West without the Silmaril, no help for doomed Beleriand. Only for the Silmaril did the Valar let my descendant and her spouse pass the walls of their will. Only for the Silmaril did they remit their doom upon those who went living into the West. Only for the Silmaril did they stir themselves against their fallen brother. Doriath died and our child was lost forever (ah Lúthien! tears unnumbered I have shed for you!) only for the Silmaril. Only so that the Light that was stolen could return to the West. And so I too will ask: by Whose prompting was it, truly, that I desired the Silmaril of Beren? Was Beleriand and all who dwelt there always so little in the eyes of the gods, compared to the Silmaril?

Melian my Queen and beloved, I love you now and always, until the Great End of all loves. But the ways of the gods are not our ways, and their care is for all the world and not only for we small Children dwelling within it. The Song is Marred beyond mending, but yet binds us all, Ainu and Elda alike. And so betrayal is woven into the foundations of the world. I do not hate you, my love, my goddess, and I do not forgive.

. . . . .

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: Anna Wing

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 1st Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/26/06

Original Post: 04/03/06

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WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

King of Shadows

Lady Almaren - 28 Apr 06 - 12:01 PM

Ch. 1: King of Shadows

This story was amazing. I especially loved the last line. Great work!

King of Shadows

Anna Wing - 29 Apr 06 - 10:53 AM

Ch. 1: King of Shadows

Thank you! It's  a companion piece to the fic before it, "Nightfall in the Thousand Caves", which is Melian's view of the whole affair.

King of Shadows

Maeve Riannon - 05 Nov 06 - 2:26 PM

Ch. 1: King of Shadows

Hmmmh... This is extremely revealing (especially for writers who are interested in this pair since remarkably shortly ago). I am very interested in his thoughts about Melian, and how he feels ambiguously about the being whom he never could really understand, in spite of their love. Good writing, and a penetrating sight! ;)

King of Shadows

IVIaedhros - 08 Feb 08 - 11:01 AM

Ch. 1: King of Shadows

A fascinating bit of introspection...when reading about the War of Wrath, you really do have to wonder what the heck took the Valar so long.

King of Shadows

maeglin - 23 Jun 11 - 6:04 PM

Ch. 1: King of Shadows

Hmm.. yes, I think Thingol's on the right track here.  And he's certainly in character! :)

Neat AU, and it begs the question, how would things have gone differently had Thingol rather than Dior been King of Doriath when the Feanorians came?  This story suggests - not at all.  Sad but true.

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