They stood together on the northwest wall of their ruined citadel...for all was in ruins now. The land shuddered with the ruin of Thangorodrim...but the great black walls of Himring were rooted in rock and stone and deeper yet, with all the arts of the Noldor out of Aman. They would stand...perhaps.

Nothing was left of their people– not even the Pereldar, last and most reluctant. This Doom they had been determined to face alone – and to die in the attempt.

The last was unsaid by any, but was known by all, and the glances at the oathbound brethren near the end were filled with pity. But all had left – to face their own judgement – or to flee over the mountains to the realm of Celebrimbor, who would be last.

Except they were not dead – but victorious...though a bitter victory at the last. Maglor Fëanorion shivered as he remembered the sound of his blade slicing the Vanyar guard's fëa from his hroa...he hated what he had had to do, gaining his birthright through deceit and murder. For that was what it was...not guised in the heat of battle or the fires of war, but brutal and long premeditated, with no warning or mercy. Though truly, each time it had been murder again – for all the fair speech and pleading, demands and entreaties...

But he would rather not think of that here, on the walls of Himring, watching the sun set red as blood in the West over ruined Beleriand.

The ground shook again, heaving with the labor of the uprooting of Thangorodrim. A red sea flowed over the Anfauglith as it crumbled in upon itself. The camp of the Valar was spared for the time, but the waters would engulf it in time, too.

"Milord?" he ventured. And then, when that got no reply, "Brother?"

Maedhros did not abandon his vigil, but spoke softly. "Two remain, then. One for the each of us, then, as we decided afore." He sighed heavily. "Perhaps it will end here..."

Maglor unwrapped his cloak from around the crystal casket, opening it with a touch. Light shone out – he shielded his eyes automatically, it was so bright ....and he dropped the casket. The jewels, unseated, clinked to a stop on the ground with a sound like ringing bells – cursing his own clumsiness, Maglor bent to pick them up.

A hand held him back, as Maedhros folded himself down to the ground. Eying them critically, he finally reached out for one, squinting himself. Maglor shook his head to clear it – they shouldn't be this bright. It made him feel transparent, flimsy, like a breeze could topple him over.

Maedhros picked up the jewel. His expression froze, but he betrayed nothing else. But his brother knew him well. "Is something wrong?"

"Nothing." the elder said quietly. "Go on."

Maglor reached out again to close his palm around the remaining jewel – and screamed. Drawing his hand back, he stared at the faint shimmering discoloration on his palm. Almost he reached for it again, but thought better of it. "But..." he murmured, too shocked to finish his thought.

"It's not how it was supposed to be. Yes." Maedhros' eyes grew distant as he continued "I think the end comes soon for us."

The sun sank below the horizon. The stars began to come out, but they were outshone. On the ground, the second Silmaril cast the scene in stark relief. The first shone through Maedhros' tightly clenched fist.

The ground heaved again. Maedhros turned to where his kneeling brother was carefully returning the Silmaril with his cloak back into its casket. "It comes now. I release you. Go."

Not understanding, Maglor snapped the casket shut, bundling his cloak about it once more. He stood, brushing himself off. The earth moved again, and the walls shifted with it. A great crack climbed swiftly up the sheer black walls of the citadel as the tortured foundations could take no more. It cut between the brothers. Not understanding, Maglor stared at his brother. "What...what do you mean?

The gap widened, and Maglor looked down...but not into blackness. At the bottom was fire, molten stone and death. He looked away. "We must leave."

Maedhros looked out over the near-drowned plain. His voice remained measured "I said – go."

His brother's voice took on a hysterical tone. "Russandol...please."

"Go!" Both parts of the fractured wall were listing slightly, as Aule's fire reclaimed what Noldor craft had wrought. The heat was scalding now, and Maglor took one step back – and then another.

Maedhros opened his fist. The light from the fire and the jewel played strangely over his face, and Maglor could see his remaining hand was almost a scalded ruin. His expression was still detached – introspective, as the wall crumbled beneath him.

Maglor closed his eyes. When he opened them, his brother was gone.