Title: The Seeing
Time: First Age, Silmarillion
Characters: Elwing, Erestor
"When falls on man the anger of the gods, first from his mind they banish understanding."
"Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"You see them as well."
"See what?" Erestor tried to ignore the chill he felt as the young girl sat on the rock next to him, curling her legs up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them. She rested her chin on her knees and stared silently at the sea.
The most fey elf he had ever met, blood mingled with that of men and maiar, baptised by tragedy and loss before even reaching adulthood, Elwing was not a comfortable companion. She saw more than most, dark eyes haunted with secrets and sorrow, often staring at someone until they walked away.
Hardly in the mood for a cryptic conversation, Erestor shifted to pull his hair back, remembered and shoved it behind his ears instead.
It drew her attention. "You did that for someone." Her gaze was on the ragged ends of his hair, the uneven lengths that exposed neck on one side and ear on the other. Erestor had not been entirely sane at that point. "The Teler...Falathrim, do that. It's a sign of mourning."
"Yes." He did not want to explain. Did not want to be heaped in with the scores of Cirdan's men and women, the silver-haired gentle elves who sang the saddest laments Erestor had ever heard, laments that called dolphins to the shore to comfort them. Even the gulls stopped their cries for the songs.
The sea had not forgotten the pleas of those in Alqualonde, the pleas of those who had stayed behind, and it loved them.
It was not so kind to the Noldor who had shed innocent blood, and burned the singer's ships. Bodies of those desperate enough to brave the waves for a sight of Aman were still washing up on the shores.
But there were bodies behind them as well. In the forests of Doriath. In the mountains of Gondolin. Bloodied trails of refugees still streaming in from kingdoms Erestor had never even heard of, speaking languages he had only read in the books of his father's library.
Gone. All of it. Gone.
"They are real, you know." Black hair fell in her face, tangled and wet, she had probably been in the sea already, and she shivered once. "Real, just not yet."
Erestor stared as she started rocking, her voice falling in a sing-song tone.
"Real, real, they sail to war. Far, far, from distant shore. See the sails, see the glow, in the depths, far below. See the stars, watch them fall, look for sails, and hear our wails."
It chilled him, that voice. It was not a child's voice, not the sweet, if soft, voice she spoke with normally. Maiar. Her great-grandmother had been...was ...a Maiar. Did the blood, the blood never meant to mingle with that of elves, cause this madness?
Elwing looked at him, gaze travelling over the hacked hair, the pale face, too thin, the eyes, not as black as her own, but dark. "You can see them, if you look." She pointed, arm so thin Erestor could see the bone. "There. See?"
No. He did not see. Erestor saw waves, white-tipped, crashing to the shore as if reaching for the elves sitting on the rocks; reaching to drag them down to the sea for the sins of their ancestors.
His father. His mother. Elwing was Sindar. She had no wrongs to address with the sea. Erestor was the one with Exile blood. Blood that carried the Doom, the taint of rebellion.
Voices raised in a new song, the wind wailing to add to the lament. Erestor listened and slowly looked up, looked to the sea.
The voices were coming from the sea.
He turned his head, meeting that dark, haunted gaze. "You hear them. They are coming, Erestor."
She rose, little more than bones and dark eyes, black hair and a dirty, ragged dress that fluttered in the wind. A smile tipped her lips. "Soon."
Erestor watched her leap down the rock, land lightly and wander farther up the coast. No one would bother her. Most of the elves not of Dior's former kingdom were scared of her.
Who was coming? There were only waves. Waves and more waves, and clouds as far as he could see. Somewhere to the west he was told the Blessed Realm hid from those who so desperately wanted to see their homeland. Was that what Elwing saw?
He rose and shook the sand from his cloak before leaping down and raising a hand in acknowledgment, but took one last look back.
Something was coming.