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Falls the Shadow

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“Perhaps,” Beren tells himself looking down from the dais onto the assembled elves before him, “Perhaps, it is better this way, for if the people of Nargothrond refuse to go he will be endangering no one but himself.”

Of course, he has hardly a chance by himself; even with the assembled might of Nargothrond it is a fool’s hope. Now with the opposition of the Sons of Fëanor even that is gone. He doesn’t blame the king, he has done what he could, treated him with honor and curtsey which despite the old tales was more then he expected. He should have known that Luthien, a keen judge of character, would not send him astray.

It is time to depart, thank the king for his efforts and hope that he has not wrought too great an upheaval by his presence in Nôm’s kingdom. He looks up to where the king is standing, his eyes bright and his face and form like carven stone as he watches his people turn away from him. Beren is chastened looking at the pain in Felagund’s face, for so he must have looked wounded in the fens when Beren’s father had rescued him from certain death or capture.

And then with a single fluid gesture the king has thrown down his silver crown and Beren sees only determined resignation and acceptance on that expressive face. As though he has Seen exactly what path he must walk and still does so whole-heartedly.

Beren’s world is still unravelling and re-weaving itself, the frayed faith of years alone and Thingol’s treatment mending and becoming whole; as the king lays aside the Nauglamír, and stands bareheaded and alone before his faithless people, renouncing everything for his oath. He barely sees Edrahil and the rest stepping forward to join their king.

Perhaps his treatment before Thingol had jaded him more than he knew, or perhaps the son of Finarfin is unique among his people, still he had not anticipated such a sacrifice on his behalf. That a king of the elves should lay down his crown and realm, risking his immortal life for a mortal, that had not entered into Beren’s most far-flown imaginings.

Still, he is kin to Luthien so perhaps it was not so astonishing…but Thingol is also closest kin to her and thus the conclusion does not follow. He looks down into his hands, the emerald eyes on the twin serpents he bears glinting as though they are alive, granted understanding that they hold an immortal life between them, a king’s ransom some might say.

Beren moves forward to stand with the ten and they leave the hall turning neither right nor left until the king’s hall lies far behind them and the oppressive of weight of conflicting oaths has lightened.