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Tainted Light
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The book has been here for longer than I care to remember. Many times I have sat by it, many times I have stroked its cover, and my fingers have taken hold of it, determined to unveil its pages. But I have never done it.

Celeborn thinks that I hesitate out of fear of discovering things that I still ignore; but I know well the dark tale that in this book is told, for I have had a part in its making. It began in a day of light unspoiled, and now that a shadow has fallen on Middle-earth, and all the hopes we have cherished have withered, now this book is the only thing that remains telling me of a past long lost.

What I fear is not knowledge unexpected and unsought for; Silmë Alcániel that filled these pages was close to me, and her thoughts were mine. No, it is no secret that these pages hold, but rather a remembrance that in the years cannot fade, and yet that is fragile, a flower forgotten between the folds of a letter, a frail creation that one fears to mar with too brisk a touch. Now that I am the last of the princes of the Noldor in Middle-earth, now that the shadows lengthen and the darkness increases, my eyes made weak by this absence of light shirk the memory of the brightness that was.

But am I not she whom they called Nerwen, Man-Maiden, daughter and niece of kings? Was I not born in the light of the Trees before Valinor was darkened? Late is the hour, and my heart is heavy, but firm. Too long I have waited to read these words, too long I have told myself there was no need. The flame of my youth has grown and changed, and many other fires I have seen quenched. The legacy of our past is mine.

The parchment smells of parsley when I finally unfasten the bronze clasp that held the book closed, and the volume is light in my hand, the pages thinner than I expected. I recognize her calligraphy, her nervous letters that run across the sheet, long rows like soldiers that flee from battle. My cousin, my friend.

I saw her write, I asked her what she was committing to the frail keeping of a journal. She smiled. She knew well what I would have said if she had told me the truth. Of the two of us, she was the one who hoped to the last for better days than those we had known. The one who believed that light such as we had known in Aman the Blessed we could build anew in these lands that are now forsaken, and spoiled.

As I read she is here with me, and gently, once more, she smiles.


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