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Till my last breath  by Ellynn

Author's note: Thanks to Scarlett for translating, Dawn Felagund for beta reading and Darth Fingon for suggesting a Telerin name.

Of course, Middle-earth belongs to Tolkien.

- - -

We're walking north. HelcaraxŽ is still far away. We have a long, endless march ahead of us. Full with peril. But I do not think about the future, I do not think ahead.

I think of her. I see her eyes before I fall asleep. Her face invades my dreams. I can hear her voice in the whisper of the wind. And I wonder Ė will I forget her someday? Or will every day be filled with memory?

When I close my eyes I can see her quite clearly, as if she were standing in front of me. Young as a flower that has just began to blossom. Her silver, wavy hair reaching her waist. Her face soft, lovely, as if an artist sculpted it. Her eyes the colour of the night sky, so deeply blue they would turn purple in the light of fire.

I dreamt of her last night. And the night before. And the night before that. Every time I remember her, itís as if a knife is ripping my heart apart and some invisible hand is suffocating me, it wonít let me breathe. I lower my eyes to the ground, not wanting anyone to see my tears. I donít want them to think Iím weak. But as days go by, I wonder if it matters what anyone thinks anymore.

I wish I could turn back time. I would give anything to be able to erase the past and see her smile. But now Iím on my way to Middle-earth and Iím never coming back. Damned, as everyone travelling with me. Tainted with crime and blood.

EllŠriel. How many times have I whispered her name since weíve departed? Quietly, so quietly that it melted with the night shadows in which I hide. I imagine her standing in the wind while her hair flutters like a silver waterfall; walking on the beach barefoot, her feet sinking into the damp sand while the sea washes over them; looking up towards the sky and greeting seagulls with a smile.

Weíre stopping; itís time for a rest. But I donít want to go to sleep, Iím afraid of sleep. Iím afraid Iíll see her in my sleep again. Tomorrow will be another day, but it wonít bring anything new and the night wonít take away the past; the memories will still be here. And as I watch the stars, distant and cold, I think about the morning. My dreams are most intense just before morning. But some nights Ė not often Ė there are no dreams. I wish I could remain forever waking from one of those nights: in those few short moments in which my mind is still empty, in which I havenít remembered the past yet.

The past?

I am a murderer. I close my eyes and the images from that terrible, bloody night come on their own, unwanted, they wonít go away. AlqualondŽ. Screaming. Fighting. Sound of steel. Death. I rush to the harbour with a sword in my hand. In a fraction of a second I see movement in an unlit back alley. A few dark shadows race towards me. In a flash I turn and raise my sword to defend myself and lower it on the first figure that dives out of the darkness towards me. But...

But as my sword stabs my assailant, I realize in horror that itís not the enemy attacking me, but three girls running away from the fighting towards the security of their homes. Petrified, I watch the crimson stain getting wider and soaking her white dress. I extend my hand as if I could turn back time with that movement and stop the blood that is taking the life out of her. The girl stumbles and another catches her as she falls, crying her name out. I cannot move, my arm starts to shake and the blade drops on stony ground with a sharp clatter. A mute cry of agony tears through my body. NO!!!

In that moment, I wished one of her own, one of the Teleri, would come and hack me where I stand. But friends who had been running with me towards the docks came back for me and, wasting no time to ask why I stopped, dragged me away with them. The last thing I saw, as I looked behind, was the light in her blue eyes, fading.

I wish Iíd never heard FŽanorís poisonous words that had blinded me; that they hadnít bewitched me and turned me into a murderer; that they hadnít defiled my hands; and, most of all, that I could turn back time. But I canít. I must move on, knowing that every day in front of me is just a part of a well deserved punishment; death would be a relief, a salvation I do not deserve. I have to live with what I've done, every minute, every hour, each and every day. I donít know what awaits me or how long Iím going to live. But I do know Iíll remember her as long as thereís enough strength in me to draw my last breath.



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