Author's note: Thanks to Scarlett for translating and Dawn Felagund for beta reading. *hugs*

Of course, Middle-earth belongs to Tolkien.

-x-x-x-

He was gazing at the ocean, as he often did, with longing in his eyes. Small waves splashed the beach as the mild breeze freshened the summer evening. It wasn't hot; here, along the southwest English shore, the ocean winds always cooled the warm summer days. The sun has just gone down, diving under the distant line where the heaven kissed the sky. In the rosy western sky, a few white clouds were coloured in gold, vaguely reminding him of the long-forgotten rays of Laurelin's light.

People went along on their own ways, as always. They didn't pay him any attention; in their eyes, he was only a tramp – one more homeless man, poorly dressed, one who needs be pitied, one who would sleep on the beach under the night sky. If someone had come near him, maybe they would've noticed how deep and ancient the eyes were on this strange, only seemingly young face; they'd be surprised to notice a hidden spark, much alike small stars in them. But no one came near, let alone stopped to look into his eyes.

He was looking westward, as he often did, with longing in his eyes. As far as one could see was the blue expanse of sea and sky. But his heart knewthat there, far away, so far that it was hard to imagine, beyond this world, was something more. Once, many ages ago, in the west there was his home. How much time had gone by? He sighed, remembering. He wasn't certain. He had stopped counting centuries a long time ago. He didn't even care what age of the world it was anymore.

He closed his eyes, trying to evoke images of the past. They had started fading a long time ago. It was harder and harder to call back the memories of the green fields of his old homeland, the interweaving of silver and gold light in the sky, even the faces of his own family. He would never see them again... not on this world. Realising that was even harder to bear now that even their faces and their voices were escaping him, becoming elusive and melting into indeterminacy. Every night, before going to sleep, he would try to sail back into his past, remember his childhood, remember the good things at least; but he failed to manage that more and more. Memories were his only nourishment, the only thing that kept him alive. His home was forever lost for him. He couldn't go back; the last ship had sailed into the West before this world had gained its present form. Even if he could go back, he wasn't allowed to; he had committed too much evil for his return to be allowed.

In growing fear, he wondered what he would be left with if he lost his memories as well. They were the only thing he had left, all that remained between him and madness. He hadn't felt anything for a long time now. Not grief, not pain, not even love for music – something that used to be the moving force of his life. The void was the only thing left. He would give anything to feel anything at all, even sorrow. Was this actually his death? Was he inside an illusion only thinking he was alive? Sometimes it seemed to him that his body was only a shell feeding, moving and sleeping, devoid of feelings or humanity. A gentle smile of a mother towards a child couldn't touch him; music couldn't excite him; stars couldn't impress him. He was empty. This was a fate worse than death.

He opened his eyes and met the gaze of a seven- or eight-year-old boy. The kid was watching him, carefully tilting his head. "Hello, little one," he heard his own voice, hoarse and husky from not being used in a long time. The boy became frightened and ran away to his parents, who had been walking a little further away. His voice... it sounded so strange, unfamiliar and rough. And what it used to be like! Even the Valar had stopped their work to hear him when he would pick up his harp to play and sing. Watching the child's back as he was running away, he felt even emptier. It had been so long since he had last spoken to anybody... and he had no more tears for his loneliness. He had spent them a long time ago when he was mourning his lost brothers, his father... and all the innocents he had killed. Would he turn into shadow even before the end of the world? Would his emptiness take him? But somehow, he doubted it. Death would be mercy, departure for Mandos' courts a relief; he dared not hope for it. No, he would have to stay here, live on, day by day, confronted with his loneliness. That was his punishment. Well-deserved. For all the evil he'd done.

He looked at the sparkling jewel in the sky, as he often did, with longing in his eyes. The last thing from his world that had survived to this age. The last memory of everything he used to have, which was now lost. The only surviving memory of his father. He thought of his family. He wouldn't see them until the end of Arda, not until the world collapsed and changed completely and Ilúvatar's children were united within a new song. Wondering how many more lonely, empty days and centuries he would have to live until then, wondering how to survive and not to go mad, Maglor son of Fëanor rose and walked into the night.