Author's Note: I don't know at all where this came from, or why. It just showed up, I decided to go with it. As I didn't know what to do with it, here it is. Posting. Don't hate me because I can't control my plot bunnies.

One of the Silmarils, at last, came home. Dior understood his danger, chose not to take the risk, and sent it back with an emissary, carried in secret back to where the brothers waited to take back what was theirs.

It didn't go as they planned. Six pairs of hands. Six pairs of hands marred by burn scars, six pairs of eyes staring, shivering, understanding. The armies broke as their leaders vanished. The Silmaril vanished as well.

The youngest walked into the wild and vanished. There was no body, no blood, but it was known what had happened and why. Five pairs of hands.

The second youngest died fighting the creatures of the enemy, his body left desecrated without burial. He took no weapon and died laughing, head thrown back in an expression of wild joy. Four pairs of hands.

The third youngest built a funeral pyre and laid himself on it. His body burned to ash, nothing left, just as his father before him, and he made not a sound, not a movement, though it was said the agony should have been beyond bearing. Three pairs of hands.

The third eldest dismissed those around him, lay down in an empty room and crossed his hands on his chest. He closed his eyes to sleep and never rose again. Two pairs of hands.

The eldest fell like a star, plunging graceful, long-limbed and beautiful into the sea that welcomed him home with less than a splash. He took the Silmaril home with him, cradled in burning hands, a testament to pain. One pair of hands.

The second eldest stayed alive. He broke the instruments that gave him joy and forswore his voice. He took nowhere as home.

One pair of hands. One pair of burning, scarring hands. One reminder.


Darkness fell.