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Finarfin's Lament

by Eonwë-(Valar)
May 24, 2001

Finarfin stood upon the shore, looking eastward into the wind, catching the very faint scent of flowers in the mortal lands. The light of Isil shone through the Calacirya behind him, as Anar barely lit the edges of the sky in front of him. The edge of the sky had a slight tinge of red, as if the eastward lands were on fire. This fire took him back in his mind, through many years, through what seemed an eternity gone, to a day that he had not forgotten though it was almost legend now in the eastern lands. As he stared eastward he began to talk to himself.

“So quickly it had happened. We three brothers were divided. You, oh Feanor, and our brother Fingolfin, went to make war upon the Dark Lord. Yet I remained behind. But it did not start out that way. We would have gone together. We could have gone together, three brothers to avenge the death of their father. How did things go so awry that day?

I look back on that day, many, many years ago. Our father lay dead, slain by that treacherous foe Morgoth. It was he who truly set us at odds. It is true that we had our differences long before Morgoth was unchained. Still, I say that in some degree there was love between the three of us, if only because we were brothers. Never would we have thought to draw blade against one another had not Morgoth given us such a thought! And yet there we were, only hours earlier our father had been slain. You had called the Noldor to Tuna, and by the power of your voice convinced many of them to leave Aman and follow the Black Foe into Middle Earth; too many you had convinced. Even I would have been swayed had I not already a mind to go and seek revenge for my, for our, father’s death. Yet I was not in such a fiery state as you, and though I wished revenge I also sought that we took council and thought on our plans and deeds ere they were done. But you prevailed, my brother, and our people wished to leave before they had prepared.

We gathered our things in haste. You wished to lead us out of Aman ill-prepared, no council and no knowledge of what lay before us, and for this I was loathe to go. Yet I would leave neither my people nor my brother Fingolfin to the utter rashness of your haste and fiery will, and so I marched with him and those who went. Even against my judgment I marched, though I felt already the peril upon us. Already were our people divided among us, some with you and many more with Fingolfin and myself. But my people packed more heavily, not willing to give up everything they had had in Aman.

Even the messenger of the Valar warned us not to march, and the Noldor did not listen. An evil hour he called it, yet the true evil had not yet come. Exiled into Middle-earth you were, and still we marched. I should’ve stopped then, but somehow I knew that if I did not march that day I would get no other chance of revenge. And so I marched, and so we marched, on to Alqualonde to ask for aid and for ships. Yet these they would not give us, and so you took it upon yourself to take their ships. Even as I think of it now I shudder and I rue that day we set upon the march! How, Feanor, could you kill kinsman and friends? How could you wrestle from them those ships, as Morgoth took your Silmarilli but days before? Even then I knew we would not succeed, yet I tried to lie to myself, saying to myself we were still fighting for a righteous cause.

It was not until we heard the Doom of the Noldor that I could no longer tell myself these lies. “Valinor shall be shut against you…to an evil end shall all things turn that begin well...treason of kin unto kin, and fear of treason…slain ye shall be..” After hearing these things I could no longer deny to myself or to any other that this once holy crusade was doomed. We had slain kin, we had stolen from them, and we had not heeded the warnings that others saw so easily. We had become little better than our Black Foe by fulfilling all he had wished to accomplish. I could not lead my people into such horror and evil. I turned around and lead those who would follow me back to Tuna.

Now, my brother Feanor, I stand here on the shores of Aman looking northward, and eastward. Though a new age has come, I need no Palantir, no lore-master, no tale of ages past to show me the shores of Losgar so long ago. For from this place I could see these things, though too far for sight these places were. I see you, Feanor, as you burn the ships Elven blood had bought, abandoning our brother to the harsh ices of the Helcaraxe, and I see Fingolfin’s face when he realizes what has happened, the first evidence of treachery awakening in those who marched on. I stand here, my brother, as king of our people, and yet I have no solace from this title. My pain is eased only by knowing that Morgoth has paid for his crimes, both to our family and to all of Arda. And yet, at times I still wonder how it could have turned out had things not gone so awry, had it remained as it should have, three brothers on a righteous quest.”

For several more minutes he stood there as the sun rose and the tide changed. When Anar had risen, fully visible in the early morning sky, Finarfin turned from the shore and walked away.