Broken by Keiliss

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Story Notes:

Written for the SWG's B2MeM 2012.
Tree and Flower Awards, 2012: Honourable Mention, Favourite Silmarillion Story.



It seemed the stories that had reached him on the road were true, the sea had done alarming things the night of the great storm that had sent man and beast scrambling for cover from the howling wind and a sky riven by lightning. Seaweed, rocks and broken timber littered the land far above the shoreline, the sand itself was hard and wet where before it had run soft. The little shale beach he sought was no more, instead a churned-up mess of stones littered a new shoreline, barely containing the waves that still spat venom at the land. 

Maglor paced this new shore with a wary eye on the sea that tossed white capped and angry under black clouds that threatened yet more rain. There was talk of giant waves racing so far inland that communities beyond reach or sound of the sea had felt their lash, something he was no longer inclined to dismiss as exaggeration. After a while he found a suitable rock and sat on it, contemplating the western horizon beyond which lay his former home. His harp was on his back as always and he left it there. He’d heard the stories of Fëanor’s second born bewailing his loss in song as he walked the shores of Middle-earth, so on principle he never sang a note on a beach. Still, the devastation, the threatening sky, the sea’s continued fury, all wrote their own music. 

Something had happened out beyond the breakers, something vast, unknowable. His dreams on the night of the storm had been filled with a sense of spreading doom and a fury so intense he had been driven to take the chance of returning to Lindon to see what he could learn. So far, all that came to him were rumours and guesses. Whatever was afoot, this was nothing natural, this had the feel about it of the hands of the Lords of the West themselves. 

“Never go home, never go home, never go home.” The voice was whispery and high, mocking laughter running behind the rush of words on tiny feet. Maglor put his head to the side and watched the water closely. Sometimes, not always, he could see her, and it had become natural for him to pitch his hearing to Uinen’s voice whenever he found himself near her domain. All those years ago when he had hefted the Curse into the waves and consigned it to her keeping rather than give Ulmo the satisfaction, the last thing he had expected was to gain her almost-liking, but there it was.

“Never go back there again, no, I suppose not. Greetings, Daughter of Waters. What makes the sea so unhappy?” he asked politely. 

“The sea is Bro-o-o-oken,” she told him, the words rushing in at him on the advancing tide. 

Maglor frowned, leaning forward from his rock. “How do you break the Sea, Lady? How do you fracture water?”

“The sea no longer flows unhindered from this shore to the other. Now it --- fa-a-a-lls. The world goes round and the sea goes round with it, son of the Flame. Only one path remains to the shore you knew, only one path to take the Quendi home. Elenna-nórë is gone, the Gift reclaimed. Our lord says only the tallest peak remains, alone in the middle of the Great Sea. And what lies beyond no longer touches here.”

He tried to understand what she was telling him, but as always she spoke in circles and this time she was being even more obscure than usual. “Númenor, gone? How could that happen?” he finally asked, settling on something concrete he could grasp. “And why? Who could do such a thing?”

Wavelets danced up the new shore almost reaching his feet, and then she was there, her pale hair streaming in the shallow water, her nakedness unmoving in its eeriness. And then, her voice drifting in and out with the ebb and flow of the waves, almost drowned by the shrilling of the gulls, she told him who. 

And why.



Chapter End Notes:

Beta: Red Lasbelin

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