*Disclaimer: All characters, settings, and situations herein are property of J.R.R. Tolkien.*

[Author's Note: This is slightly AU, as it states specifically in both The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales that Tuor and Voronwë did not know who Túrin was. But hey-- the historians couldn't have known everything. Also: chapter titles refer to the speaker, not the subject.]

||| Candle Casts Shadow |||

| Part I: Túrin |

I see him. He cannot be hid by mere leaf or trunk of nature -- and even if he could, he does not seek to conceal himself, standing tall and still as one of the stone-marges set about the lake I approach. For a moment I looked on the fair gleam in his face and held hope that life still glimmered off the pools of water which once brought me healing. But even the Ivrin has perished in this sordid war, decayed to a marshland corpse.

The only light in this land is contained in this man.

His hair is pale, yet I would not name it so-- the word used for that which is sickly and without vigour. Nay, say it is the colour of flax, of corn, of fully ripened crop nourished by the sun and shelling its force, its gift: the power to hold life. Not to give it -- that is a power fearsome in any being -- but only to sustain, to restore. Say his eyes are of sky-hue -- a sky lit not by sunshine but by lightning, a sky whose expanse is limited only by my vision for it extends far and deep and wide. A sky that holds the wild flight and fancy of bird wings even as it holds rain, slate-grey, falling only to ground and not to return. Say his face is of ivory, of stone, of leather-hide and of crystal -- for it is all of these and none, recasting to suit his glance and his will.

Say he is fair, if you must. I say he is more.

He is Life. He is beyond a symbol; he is the image, the embodiment. He is doom-escaped, a thrall released, a lost-soul who was found by or himself found what he sought -- I think the latter more likely. To my eyes there are no chains chafing his wrists, no collar binding his throat -- yet to his eyes he will always bear them. Bitterness holds him not in bondage -- nay, it is joy secret and relished, that though he was bound he walks free, that though deemed dead by all others he lives yet.

Yet he does not walk free, not at all -- his will is bound to Another, to one grander and greater. What freedom finds he in this? What release did he imagine when he passed from thrall to vassal? Will he ever know true flight?

Does the flame of Life take him as host or slave?

Or is it he who takes, as a drowning man may twine his hands in a net of ropes, binding himself in it as both master and thrall. Of one mind he saves or relinquishes his own life by this choice -- of another mind his fate is laid down to be ordered by another force, by this same choice.

Perhaps it does not matter. Whether through iron fetters or unclouded glass, a light shines in him, and that is what matters. A light kindles his heart, brightens his eyes, illuminates his footsteps, perhaps even shows clear the doom to be had by him, fair or foul.

This Light I have seen before.

I am glad to see it again.

So though we may never speak in the lifetimes of this world, my heart knows you.

Farewell, cousin.

| Part II: Tuor |

If he had not cried aloud, I do not believe I would have seen him. He takes no conscious caution or stealth walking through the trees, or he should not have so betrayed his presence with his voice -- yet by nature or habit his step is noiseless, the taut measure of his movements projecting an agile grace.

It is a name he cries, hither and thither as one confused or lost, seeking to be found by companions. His calls are long with grief and question. Yet in him there is no manifest but the Hunter, and I know he would be quarry to no one. A drawn sword is held in his hand -- dangerously I deem he carries it: without glance or heed, for such it is with the wandering Wildmen that a palm without weapon is like to a head without a mind. It is part of him -- yet he is servant to it.

A strange and fell sword it seems, forged of dense black iron though its edges glint with a cold brightness. Black also is the man's raiment, cloaking a lengthy frame some would call willowy -- I would say wiry, rather, for though lithe he is tense and hard, and there is no gentle sway or waver in his proud stance. His face has the fairness of North-men though his hair lays sable to his shoulders. His eyes are dark -- but the darkness looks unnatural: an illness, a madness, a fear-cloak forced upon them.

Perhaps it is only the cast of his lowered brow that shadows his gaze. But what then can hold blame for the darkness in his very being? What, indeed, but Doom?

For Doom he is and Death he brings, and all things of light and virtue are drawn into him. If drawn too close they will be ensnared in his essence, swallowed by a fate too hungry to discern and too ruthless to long be mastered. He is no willing agent, but a freeman enslaved -- escaping always physical bonds of death and torture only to more tightly shackle himself to the doom of heart and mind.

For the hand that holds the chain which tethers him to Death is no spectre or force-- but indeed with and by his own hand he is made thrall.

He does not see it-- out of fear, or pride, or perhaps by mercy granted, he does not see that while his Fate was not created by his behest it is he who shapes it at each circumstance. He is Cursed, he believes, and mayhap it is so-- for grounding himself on that belief he brings it to be, and so his fortune is steered.

Love is taken from him, was taken from the earliest days to the last, yet he will seek it ever-- only to venture further into his own abyss.

By chosen doom he is mastered-- but in the choosing masters it.

It is a Doom I recognize.

So though we may never speak in the lifetimes of this world, my heart knows you.

Farewell, cousin.


"Thus only for a moment and never again, did the paths of those kinsmen, Túrin and Tuor, draw together." -- Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin."