I. Nerdanel has not known sanity for a long, long time.

some nights I wish my hands could build a castle

some nights I wish they'd just fall off

(Some Nights, bastardized, by Fun.)

-x-

There's a trail of statues decorating the path to my house.

Some are beautiful and some are grotesque, but they are all mine. They reflect what I feel inside on any given day, and I use them to gauge exactly how much I feel like fading out of existence. It's hard to tell, sometimes.

Most of the beautiful ones – the elleths and ellons with graceful hands and slender limbs, the vases with lifelike blooms and the fountains frozen forever – they are my memories. They are the ages long past during which I truly lived, before my life was ripped from me and my family was Doomed.

I live alone.

No one comes to visit me regularly, and on the blue moon that Arafinwe comes by he simply watches as I go about my work. The wrought-mithril tea set my husband made me many anniversaries ago sits in the cupboard with the tea it is supposed to bear, coated in many yeni of dust. I think I last got it out when Ingwion came to visit, after the War of Wrath.

This was once a summer home for a great family, filled on and off with laughter and merriment. They delighted in the lives they lead and gathered here every year to share in their joy. They crafted, built, played, and relaxed.

They were my husband and sons, and they are all dead.

I am working on a particularly complicated design today. It is filled with gnashing teeth and burning flames and claws full of rent flesh and will look like what my dreams are filled with, the fates of my sons. The hound I carved yesterday – or was it yesteryear? - was for my husband, the indomitable flame, and was tortured to its brink, crispy and flayed. I think I did very well on it.

Namo comes to visit every year, on what I think must be the day of the Oath. He asks if I want to know the fates of those that used to share this home with me, and I wonder why he asks. I don't need him to tell me that they were ended in fire and ash and blood. I don't need the omniscient being that spoke their Doom to inform me that it came true.

My father does not visit.

I used to show him my creations, but he did not understand my inspiration nor my reasons and left. He lives near Aule now, my mother close at hand, crafting and crafting and trying to ignore what I already know – his precious grandchildren are all gone, never to return and beg Anatar Mahtan for trinkets again. Never to bend down a bit – a lot, in Russandol's case – and hug Amille, or to trip over my little Ambarussa-

There's a trail of statues decorating the path to my house.

-x-