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2
In Defiance

2. Losgar: Defiance
Macalaurë, a former friend


~~~

In Defiance


His path was lit for a time by the flickering of the flames from the burning ships behind him. Carefully he searched the ground for the signs that his friend had indeed gone this way, for although Olwíon had not sought to hide his trail, still little enough could be seen easily under the light of the stars.

But at last he saw a figure that was indeed moving blindly northward, the glimmer of its being barely discernible in the dark. He breathed a sigh of relief, and increased his speed, calling out as he drew closer, “Olwíon! Olwíon!”

Olwíon paused in his steady trudge, and Macalaurë saw that he stood rigidly, his hands balled into fists. Again he increased his pace until he at last caught up with his friend. He put his hand upon Olwíon’s shoulder and forced him to turn about. He saw that Olwíon’s face, even as seen under the starlight, was markedly pale and stiff, and the tracks of tears shone dimly.

“And where do you go, gwador nín?” Macalaurë demanded.

Olwíon pointed the direction he’d been heading. “Back,” he said, his voice strangely rough. “They will have to come that way, will they not? For they will follow, and you know it as do I.”

“And you think to brave the cold and ice of the way, alone?”

Olwíon shook his head in dismissal of the question, asking instead, “Why did he not send the ships back, Macalaurë? Why did your father insist they be burned?” He raised his chin as he looked up toward the now familiar stars. “He has done much to us in his defiance, but I will no longer follow as I did.

“He has made of me a rebel against the Valar, who ever treated us well and with love and care. He put a sword in my hand, and in Alqualondë I found myself slaying my own kind. And it was not only men and mariners I slew, but mere boys, and even a maiden who’d come to the ships merely to bring her brother a meal sent by their ammë! He made of me a thief and a murderer, and even a sailor myself. And he told us that the ships would be sent back to bring the others.

“They stayed behind, my father and my brother, at my insistence. They stayed behind that those who brought them here would be better experienced to ferry them after us in more safety than in the case of ourselves.” He took a long, painfully ragged breath before hissing, “And he betrayed them!” He gestured toward the now dim glow southward. “He has burned the ships, and my family will have to come this way. And, think you, what are the chances they will survive the journey?”

He straightened, shaking his head and squeezing his eyes shut. “Nay, I shall no longer follow Fëanáro. My path is now plain—my family comes that way, and I shall go to meet them. I defy your atar and his madness at the last. Never shall my hands be cleansed of the stain of my betrayal of the Valar and of the lives I’ve stolen, for I have wakened from the spell he cast over us all.”

Macalaurë swallowed heavily, trying to clear his throat of the tightness he experienced. At last he managed, “But you have are not prepared for the cold and the way. You do not even carry a bow with which to bring down birds or game with which to feed yourself, and your cloak is nowhere warm enough!”

But Olwíon continued to shake his head, although he now opened his eyes again, and Macalaurë could see they were dark with grief. “And is it any better for them? I would rather die upon the way than to continue as we have, following a madman.” His voice gentled somewhat. “Nay, gwador, I shall no longer be shackled to your atar’s will. And if I die—well, then I shall die and so come to Lord Námo’s halls the sooner, and perhaps find myself freed of my guilt at the last. I will gladly face the feär of those I slew and offer myself up to their judgment.”

With that he shook off Macalaurë’s hand and turned resolutely away, and the son of Fëanáro made no further attempt to stay him, but watched him disappear into the darkness.

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