The goblin lies dying now, black blood bubbling slowly from the wound in its throat. I sit shaking, gazing numbly at the knife in my hands as though I had never seen it before in my life, let alone used it, let alone had it made.
It does not matter, of course- there will be no songs sung of us after this day. The Black Enemy shall either kill us or take us all into his vile servitude, and none shall remain to stand against him.
Tears run down my face- why was it given unto me to advise the King? Why could the chalice not have been passed to someone braver, someone stronger, someone wiser?
Now the world will only know Salgant as the craven, as the coward- none shall remember Salgant the Harper, Salgant the teller of tales, Salgant the singer of songs. My name shall pass through history cursed by all who hear it- assuming there are any left to hear it after this day, that is.
I chuckle to myself, half-mad with pain, and the goblin's death-rattle echoes me in ghoulish harmony. Had I but paid a little more attention when the masters taught us sword-play…
Pain lances through me from the wound in my gut even as I chuckle, and I feel my innards pulse and twitch. There is not long for me now, not long at all. Oh, if only they could see Salgant now- they would see that for all his foolishness he died a warrior's death, would they not? They would see that he died a hero defending his home. They would see…
Oh, what is the use?
There are none left to see me- there shall be none left to see me- none shall sing my song when I am gone, save for any who escape this horror, who doubtless shall name me among the villains of the piece as so richly I deserve.
I was not made for sword and slaughter- I was made for song and safety. I only counselled my King as I was able- I only advised him as I knew how. I did not know that the Black Enemy had placed a serpent in our midst- did not know that one of our own was turned against us- I could not have known. If I could have done…
The goblin falls silent and I close my eyes for a second. When I open them again, a moth has landed upon one of my knees, and I stare at it, dumbfounded. In all this misery and mayhem, for such a wonder to occur…
I smile at the moth and it flutters away to places only it knows where. Looking one final time at the knife I used to defend myself against the goblin I smile sadly and haul myself to my feet, grimacing at the pain the action causes me. My entrails throbbing with the pain of every movement, I manage to hobble myself to the window, that my last sight might be my beloved Gondolin.
My harp is within easy reach, as ever, and I pick it up despite the shriek my torture bowels give as I let them fall.
Something roars in the distance, huge and hateful, and I turn my head towards it.
I cannot see the beast, but I can guess what it is.
My blood-streaked fingers pluck the harp-strings despite themselves, and I close my eyes a final time as I start to sing.
Gondolin deserves a eulogy, I think.
It is only right that I give it.