The Forsaken

by Evermind

Slowly she approaches the dark figure, her slender feet stirring the white sand. The wind blows chill across the western sea, chasing the sullen water into waves of green glass. The wind whips her golden hair wildly, stinging at her eyes, but she does not turn from it's wrath. Her lips part slightly, and she tastes the salt tang upon the air. Black clouds roil menacingly about the darkened shore, and beneath the raging of the wind she catches strands of his song.

He sits with his back to her, slender legs curled beneath him upon the rocky promontory. His dark hair is tossed by the wind of Manwe, and the ragged cloak he wears is stained with brine. From him, the song comes. The lilting notes wash over her, interwoven with the call of the great sea. The melody is simple, almost childish, and yet is achingly sad. He seems to weave the silver notes upon the wind, and his slender wooden pipe whispers to her of half-forgotten memories. As elven tears the notes shimmer, and then softly fade, flowing over and through like ripples upon the surface of the great sea. The melody swirls about her, takes her in it's embrace and holds her enthralled. It whispers regretfully of the shadow, of far off days before the darkening of the world. The silver notes rise in bittersweet crescendo, swelling in a plaintive and heart-wrenching tapestry. Wheeling high above, a gull cries, and the sound of it cuts into her heart. The last notes tremble upon the air a moment, poingant, terrible and beautiful, and then are swallowed up by the wind.

"Who are you?" She whispers, but he makes no sign that he has heard. He sits as if carven in stone, and the crying of the gulls echoes about the deserted shore. She steps upon the rock behind him, and feels the cold wind laced with white spray.

"Who are you?" She whispers again, and her voice echoes about the deserted shore.

"I am the forsaken."

His voice is rough, but deep and resonant. He does not look at her as he speaks, but his head is turned towards the west, whence only the wind now sails.

"Now I am lost, yet when I was worth anything, I was named the singer. Once, long ago I had the gift of words. I who could weave a song of mist and shadow, who could summon the finches from the golden trees. Once I could take words and snare them, spinning them into wonder and delight. No more. There is a stain upon me now, and no songs have I to drive it away. I, who saw the blood flow in Doriath, who saw Nargathrond broken, and Gondolin fall. I who slew my kin in Aqualonde, and mourned them by the hill of slain. I knew the exile, and the betrayer, and I am of them. I was a minstrel once, but that title I have forfeitted forever; for to be a minstrel, one needs first to have a soul."

He falls silent, and there is only the soft scrunch of waves upon the pebbled sand. Slowly he turns to face her, and in his hand he clasps his elven pipe. He turns it in his hand, and as he does so, she sees his palm is scarred a livid red, as if seared across by fire.

"There is blood upon thy hand!" she whispers.

"Verily." He replies, and his voice is calm, yet full of pain. "My own blood, and blood of my kin, and the blood of children and of babes. Never shall that blood be washed clean, not though the high ones themselves should hallow me."

She lifts her eyes to his face for the first time, and she knows him now, for they are akin. His face is fine wrought and noble, but gaunt and twisted by grief and loss. He gazes back at her from sea grey eyes so like to her own, but his are blank and empty.

"Now I understand." She whispers. "Truly art thou called the forsaken, for I know thee now."

He turns his face towards her, and she sees within him the black void where no soul can come. A small bitter smile twists his features.

"My little cousin. Thou art grown high now, yet I remember when you were simply Artanis, wisest and most fair of all the house of Finwe." He pauses suddenly, and beneath his dead eyes she sees the flicker of despair consuming him.

One last gleam of dying sunlight escapes the pall of cloud, and within it, his hand seems to burn with flame. Beyond the clouds of Middle Earth, bright Earendil rises, as Vingilot sails from Valinor with the last Silmarill upon it's prow.

"See where the star of evening rises" She murmurs, and the light of that fairest of jewels dances in her shinning eyes.

"I would that that star had ne'er been wrought." He whispers, averting his gaze from the redeming light. He glances towards her, and there is something bitter and despairing in his dead gaze.

"Can I never be forgiven?" He whispers.

Silently she rises to her feet, and for a moment looks down upon the last of the oath bourne.

"I do not know." She tells him. "Thou sayest that thou art The Forsaken, but truly all the Noldor have that name of thee. We all are exiles, and no ship can e'er return for those whom Mandos himself hath doomed. I do not know, but I do not look for mercy at the end of thy road. "

He bows his head as if full answered, and reaching out, with her slender fingers she brushes his scarred hand.

"Not though the Valar themsleves should hallow thee."

Silently now, she turns and walks away, and as she does so, he lifts the slender pipe once more to his lips. She does not turn back, but she hears his song still, now unrestrained it wells from his very soul, and yet it has no words. Only once Galadriel pauses as she walks away, and sees him still sitting upon the rocky promontory benath the moon. Only once she pauses and looks for the last time upon the mightiest of singers, her cousin Maglor the son of Feanor who is now forsaken, without even a song.