"Well, there is my tale, or my confession, if you will. I believe there is little more to be said—you know the rest."

Maeglin fell silent at last. His listener nodded absently and gazed downwards at what should have been the ground. After a moment he looked back up, disappointment evident on his face.

"Nothing happened. We're still here."

They were. Maeglin and his companion were—somewhere. It was certainly nowhere on Arda, nor was it any place in Valinor that either of them was familiar with. In fact, it bore a strong resemblance to an impenetrable black cloud. No walls, floor or ceiling were visible, only an endless, somehow soft-seeming blackness stretching in all directions. There was nothing to eat or drink, but as both of them were already dead, that hardly mattered.  

"Blast..." Maeglin muttered, "I thought we surely had it this time..."

"Apparently not. Mandos wants something else from us before he lets us out."

"Bloody Mandos."

"I hope you haven't just lengthened our stay here even more, Maeglin!"

"I should hope one of the Powers wouldn't be so petty as that."

"It's hard to know anything about the Powers for sure... after all, they put is in here together. For what purpose?"

Maeglin shook his head and sighed. "We were foolish in life. More than foolish... gravely mistaken, almost mad at times. Being in each other's company should teach us something. Theoretically. At least, that is how I understood it, how I thought... but now I have admitted my madness and my mistakes, and nothing has changed. Had I not been such a fool... but there is no use lamenting over it now. We will have to pay the price until someone deems it paid."

His companion looked thoughtful. "Perhaps—and perhaps not."

"What do you mean?"

"You have confessed your darkest secrets. But I have not—yet. Perhaps they want us to understand not only ourselves, but each other."

Maeglin's eyes brightened as if he still possessed the sharp gaze for which he had been so famous. "You may be right."

"It certainly can't hurt to try."

"Very well," Maeglin said, making himself as comfortable as is possible in a giant black nothingness and nodding to his companion, "I suppose it's your turn, then. I'm listening, Fëanor!"