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The Refusers

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Maglor remembered how they had once imagined Avari. Blinded by the Light, it had been so easy to believe that, having refused the Journey, they had sunk into a featureless darkness. In reality, he had since learned, they had a complex oral tradition covering every aspect of their intricate society: laws and customs, legends and ritual, and everything useful to know.

They were well aware where Maglor was, but to them the lonely wanderer was not only outcast, but taboo. He suspected any contact with him, even if it were only to fire an arrow at him to chase him off, would have required long purification, so they avoided being seen by him altogether, as much as possible. Once or twice, they had acted to save his life, early on when he was at his most helpless and hardly able to fend for himself, perhaps out of pity, perhaps simply because they did not wish him to die on their territory, fearing him dead more than they did alive, and maybe not without reason.

They still left signs for him on the beach, arrangements of pebbles, shells and seaweed, which he had learned to interpret and heed: Do not go this way or Danger here. He, in turn, had become better at spotting the tribespeople, no matter how skilled they were at blending in with their natural background, and voluntarily gave them a wide berth rather than upsetting them by blundering into one of their camps or disrupting a fishing expedition.

Crouching in the dark, after one such near-encounter, wrapped in rags, without fire or food, and with only a small rock to shelter him inadequately from the cold sea wind, he wondered for a moment whether he would have still known how to speak to them, even if it had been allowed and he had been willing to try, and realized it was not they who were the Avari.

It was he who was the true Avar.