Please read: This story can stand on its own, however, it is part of a series. Three stories precede this fic: Peredhel, Faces in the Crowd and No Rest for the Wicked. These stories contain background on canon and OC characters that will appear in this tale. Two other short stories – Looking Back and 35 Years of the Sun – are companion pieces. They examine events that occur at the same time as the events of this fic but are outside the focus of the narrative. I may add additional companion pieces if necessary. If you've read my novel, Peredhel, be aware that this story is not simply a continuation of that novel. It will, however, tie up loose ends from Peredhel. Knowledge of The Silmarillion is helpful when reading this, but not necessary. I'm trying hard to make it newbie friendly.
Story Image Credit: (c) Jenny Dolfen, goldseven dot de
Echoes of Shattered Glass
Chapter 1 – Maglor, son of Fëanor
I would have slaughtered thousands for one kind word from my father – such was my weakness.
I wish I could believe my father was blind to this flaw in me. I wish I could know that he praised me for no other reason then that I made him proud. I wish I could trust that he would not have manipulated my faults to serve his own ends.
I wish in vain, for you see, my father knew me.
He knew an ounce of tenderness would bind me to his will. He knew a smile would see me follow and obey. He knew with his final breath that I would see his Oath fulfilled.
My father knew me, you see, but I knew my father as well.
So which of us, in the end, is to blame?
Third Age 3021
Maglor stood upon the sand, watching the White Ships disappear into the west. They were tiny specks in the distance, but he knew their lines and character would grow clearer as he came closer to Mithlond – that is – if he could find the will to take another step. The call of the sea had been powerful enough to carry Maglor this far, but no further. He stood on the shoreline, his feet anchored to the sand. He watched one ship after another depart, and despite the longing he felt for home, he could not summon the will to follow them.
Maglor knew there was still time for him to alter his course, time to forget the ships and the call of the sea and return the wilds of Middle-earth. It had seemed so simple when he first began – the journey north, one step at a time through lands no elf had ever seen. One step at a time, as the sea called him home. Now, standing mere miles from the city, a great wave of fear washed over him. He could not go back. He did not have the strength to face his people again. It would be easier to remain behind – to die alone.
A soft breeze blew from the west as Maglor turned his back on the sea. "Kana," a voice called to him on the wind.
Maglor froze mid-stride. He had not taken two steps away from the water when he heard the word spoken. He knew that voice, and even if time could have wiped away the memory, only one elf had ever called him by that name.
Maglor trembled, despite the warmth of the midday sun. He should have known it would not be so easy to turn aside.
'Would the Valar break their own law to see me punished? Have they truly sent my father to me, or have I finally lost my mind?' Maglor took a deep breath. He closed his eyes then opened them, willing himself to reply.
"I thought the spirits of the dead were forbidden to commune with the living," he whispered to the wind.
"They are," the wind replied.
It was his father, Maglor was certain now. The breeze bore the same condescending tone as Fëanor. "Then why have you come?" Maglor growled at the wind. He was not certain he wished to know the answer.
"I never did care for the Valar's rules."
Maglor's face hardened slightly at his father's mocking tone.
The spirit could sense his answer was not to his son's liking, for he added. "Namo permitted me this one communion, as his messenger."
"And what is his message?" Maglor asked.
"You must follow them."
Maglor's eyes returned to the ship fading into the horizon. "Must I?" his voice rose in challenge.
"It is the will of the Valar. Do you not hear their call?" the spirit pressed.
"I hear it. I have heard it for many ages."
"And yet you remain." The spirit's voice grew softer; sadness seemed to linger on the air. "Would you dwell on this shore, alone, forever?" Fëanor asked.
"I would," Maglor answered – his heart defiant.
Why? Maglor could barely contain his anger at the question, and for a moment, he wished a flesh and blood ellon stood before him, upon whom he could vent his rage. "You dare to ask me why, when it was you who saw us banished from Valinor."
"You did not have to follow me. You could have stayed in Aman," Fëanor replied.
A burst of joyless laughter issued from the depths of Maglor's soul. "You think any of your sons would have turned their back on you?" he answered. "You were our world."
"I thought you might remain with your mother."
"And you made certain I did not."
"So I did," Fëanor conceded.
"You were always manipulating me," Maglor continued angrily. "You always thought me weak."
There was a moment's pause before the spirit answered; its voice firmer, yet gentler than before. "You are wrong, Kana. You are the strongest of my sons. You always were."
"Have you come to mock me as well?" Maglor spat at the wind.
"You followed me," Fëanor continued without acknowledging his son's words. "When I passed from this world, you followed Maedhros – and all the time, you knew we were wrong."
"And you call that strength?"
"You saw our paths would lead to our destruction, and still you remained by our side. Such powerful will can not be called weakness."
Maglor had no answer. Perhaps his father would not call it weakness, but Maglor could not call it strength.
"It is time, Kana, time to lay the guilt aside, time to return to the place of your birth - and find peace," the spirit said.
"What peace can a son of Fëanor find in the West?" Maglor asked, the question directed more to himself than his father's ghost.
"The peace that is found on the other side of forgiveness," Fëanor replied. "I know your secret heart, my son. It is not for fear of punishment that you remain on this shore."
"I do not deserve forgiveness," Maglor said.
"But you wish for it," Fëanor replied. "The Valar will forgive you."
"And those felled by my sword?" He did not think they would so easily forgive.
"Namo heals all wounds," Fëanor answered. "Were it not for the strength with which your fëa clung to this world, you would have discovered this truth long ago."
Maglor was skeptical. He did not think he would forgive his own murderer, had he fallen to another's sword. And even if it was possible, and the souls of the dead were truly healed, it was not the dead, alone, that worried him.
"The dead were not the only ones who suffered by my hands. What of the others, those who never saw the healing light of Mandos?"
The spirit seemed to sigh, or perhaps it was only the shifting of the wind. "I can not promise you an easy path, Kana, but I know you are strong enough to walk it."
Maglor resisted the urge to argue. It would do no good to spit venom at his father now. Fëanor was dead. The Silmarils were gone. There was no need to argue anymore.
Perhaps Fëanor feared he had not reached Maglor with his words, for the wind grew anxious and wild. "Do you yet harbor love for me, my son, even in the smallest measure? Will you obey my command one last time?"
The elf-spirit who asked this question was not the ellon who once convinced thousands to flee Valinor and take up arms against Morgoth. He was not the greatest Noldo the Eldar had ever known. He was merely a father, asking his son if the bond between them was broken forever, and it was clear the spirit feared the answer.
Never in life or death had Maglor imagined he would see his father laid bare. Of course he loved Fëanor, he always had. That was his greatest weakness. Was the fact that he followed his father to Middle-earth, into darkness and down into the Void not proof enough of his love? What more terrible a fate could possibly befall him if he obeyed Fëanor now?
Maglor sighed in defeat. He never could refuse his father. He answered the spirit's question with a silent nod.
"Then sail, my son," the spirit commanded. "You are strong enough to face them."
A/N: Read the final chapter of Peredhel, Faces in the Crowd and No Rest for the Wicked if you want to find out what happened when Maglor sailed and what punishment he received from the Valar.
Kana(finwe): Maglor's father-name
Maedhros: Maglor's older brother
Namo: Vala of judgment; keeper of souls; rules over the Halls of Mandos; he is often called Mandos
Silmarils: three jewels made by Feanor; their existence precipitated the events of The Silmarillion