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The Selfish King

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Odd, is it not? Fear has left me.

In this hour, I am not afraid.

When we do battle with Sauron, Elendil and I, I will not be afraid.

That is the only way I can control my fate: how I die.

How calm that sounds! I should be trembling when I say it, but I am not. I should have trembled when Elrond, his voice eerie and ghost-like, foretold my death. Indeed, I should have trembled at my own birth, born as I was to a Noldorin father under the Doom, doomed myself to fail at all I try to accomplish.

I do not tremble.

Some would say it is courage. But courage—this is not courage. I would have been courageous if I had refused to believe the vision, if I had lived on for the sake of my people. I did not.

So this is not courage.

It is simply will. The will, I think, to survive. And if I cannot survive, the desire to choose how I die.

And that is what I told Elrond: that I have two choices. To die for my people, or to die for myself.

He does not know that I chose myself.

For this is my choice. Myself above others. A glorious death in battle against Sauron, instead of a last stand in defense of our people, or a sacrifice for their freedom.

That is hardly selfish, many would say, but that is in their world. This is my world, Elrond's world, atar's world. The world of the Noldor, where all things begun well turn to evil. In this world, it is selfish to choose how you die.

But I have chosen, and may Námo judge me for it. I do not care right now.

All I care is that I have chosen to go to my death, chosen a glorious death over my people.

And I am glad for it.

Let any who find out say that it is a twisted thing. I do not care.

Because, for once, I have a choice.

And I have chosen to die without fear, to die in battle against a foe mightier than me by far. I have chosen to die in single combat against Sauron in defense of the Alliance of Elendil and Gil-galad

When put like that, my choice does not sound so selfish. And maybe it is not. I do not know.

Elrond enters the pavilion without knocking, pushing the flap open with his uninjured hand. "It is time, Your Majesty."

I nod silently, and Elrond hands Aiglos to me. "Nai Vardo eleni siluva lyenna, Aran Meletyalda."

"Naintë inyë siluvalyë, Elerondo," I murmur. Then, on impulse, I hug him. "Take care, old friend. I shall be very disappointed if you join me in the Halls of Mandos before your time."

"And you, Ereinion, too. Prophecies are fallible, you know that. More often than not, they are self-fulfilling," Elrond says sternly. So sternly, in fact, that he looks like a father scolding his errant offspring.

I smile sadly. "Not this one, Elrond. This was foretold by the Doom of Mandos, and that prophecy, if none else, will come true."

"The Doom was lifted," Elrond says. His eyes catch my own, but, for the first time in centuries, I look away. "No, Elrond. It was not. Only the Ban was lifted. The Doom was not. This way, at least I do not die for nothing. At least your brother's people will gain something from this."

Before he can reply, I walk out of the tent, into the dust of Mordor.