IF YOU ARE LISTENING TO THIS PRE-RECORDED MESSAGE…
THERE ARE THOSE WHO I WOULD HAVE UNDERSTAND…
THAT I TRULY DO NOT REGRET MY CHOICES.
The air is red, and screams are all around – not all of them real, he thinks.
He feels he is moving slower than he should be, limbs weak, head light – there is a wound the Man managed to cut him with upon his neck but he does not feel it. The Man's face is a blur; it doesn't matter, it's like a dream, and every few moments he cannot help but look back to his cousin as she watches, frozen, horrified, the child's face turned in towards her stomach and held there firmly so that he cannot see; just to make sure she's still watching.
Is her horror to see her cousin and her husband fight, he wonders, or is it just for her husband's safety? Certainly it is the latter, he thinks then, because she has misliked him so and for so long that she probably has no qualms with reconciling her beloved aunt's son and Prince of the city with the traitor who'd told her Melkor had promised him her hand in marriage as he'd dangled her son of the edge of a precipice.
Oh yes, she'd well believe it.
They all will, probably, if they can believe he has enough softness in him to feel desire for anything, for he knows what they all think about him. He hears their whispers. He sees that person's eyes reflected back at him in theirs. He doubts they'll ask a single question of it if anyone lives to tell this tale, and what with that escape tunnel he supposes that if the Man wins this battle then these three just might get out alive.
He knows he should have told his new colleagues about that tunnel. It's not even like it could bridge him back to them unburnt or otherwise. But what does it matter, anyway?
What does any of it matter?
Somewhere close by a building falls. It shakes the ground beneath them hard enough to send the poorly balanced Man to one knee – and Maeglin might have taken advantage but she screams his name, and the Man needs only that split-second of Maeglin's distraction to re-balance. But then there's a pause.
He's looking back at Maeglin now with rage and disbelief – he does not yet believe and that is both laughable and pathetic. It's difficult to see behind the smoke, yet Maeglin can feel the emotion those hiding eyes are shining with.
But he's always been the hardest person Maeglin's ever tried to read. He doesn't understand why. Because he is not an Elf, he supposes.
And it's funny, because Maeglin had always thought that Elves who gave in to Morgoth became orcs.
So maybe he isn't an Elf now either.
"Is this what you wanted?!" the Man shouts at him, desperately. Why it matters so much to him to know, Maeglin couldn't say. "Is this how you want to be remembered!?"
Yes it is.
It is, but he doesn't say so. He says, "Shut up," in a hiss that may indeed have come from an orc, and then he keeps fighting.
Far away and growing further, the people keep screaming. The balrogs roar, the stone crumbles, the steel screeches against steel and the shadow seeps further and further into the valley. It's dark enough that it could almost be home.
The effort from the Man in front of him is palpable, hanging in the air with every overwrought hack at him, and Maeglin idly wonders why a pathetic child is holding out for so long, but then, he doesn't feel like he's putting in any effort at all. He doesn't feel like he has any effort to use anymore, like the darkness is calling him to sleep, and he can't fight it.
Why should he bother fighting it after all?
And there, just there, he raises his arm to block too slow, his grip too slack, and Anguirel flies over the edge of the cliff, hilt slick with blood from the long gash that's opened up across Maeglin's palm.
He almost feels something when he sees that sword disappear forever. Not enough to stop his hand from grabbing at the Man's wrist when he tries to go for a finishing blow – he uses the bloodied palm to slap the fool across the face, but the superior strength of his grip cannot induce his opponent to drop his own weapon, so he cannot let go, and the Man is well within reach of his one free arm.
When he takes it, Maeglin tries to free himself but once before he decides not to even bother. It's fine like this, and he's not foolish enough to believe he would have made it out of this alive anyway.
"Is this what you wanted?" the Man asks, one more time. His grip is strong, too strong for one of his race, like he's sucked all of Maeglin's strength into himself and radiates it back out with a brightness, and it's then, only then, that Maeglin realises where, exactly, he is standing.
Clear as day, and therefore not really clear at all, Maeglin remembers the moment they threw his father off this cliff. And this isn't what he wanted at all, no – this is the opposite of that, though even in his nightmares it had never been some worthless Man holding him over his Doom.
Should have spent less time making swords and more time practicing with them, he supposes.
But what answer should he give the Man's stupid question, as if he even deserves an answer? This isn't his home after all. Not that it had been to most of the exiles who'd set up here either, and not that it is to Maeglin, but honestly. Who does this upstart think he is?
Well, Maeglin supposes he thinks himself Ulmo's chosen one, which is very nearly funny, because if he is then he isn't doing a very good job of it.
Is this what he wants?
"Shut up," he spits again.
He tilts his head back and looks at the darkness of a starless sky thick with red-tinged smoke. Like the bonfire smoke creeping over the leaves of a pitch-dark forest, trying to find its way to the surface.
"Just shut up."
The Man leans closer, speaks right into his ear.
"It didn't have to end this way, Lómion! None of this had to happen!"
Maeglin looks off to the side and sees her still there, eyes wider than he'd ever seen beneath that frown, hair glinting pale gold against the firelit night. Her gaze was on her husband until he looked her way, and then their eyes meet, and her face twists into a grimace like she's watching the death of someone she despises. Which, he supposes…
Well, anyway, he turns back to the Man and tells him plainly, "I'm not Lómion, you fool."
He looks at her again, then back.
"I never was."
There's a moment where he sees in the Man's eyes the impulse to simply drop him, disabled, and leave him there alive to contemplate his fate, and he can't have that, so he jerks his head up and smashes it against the Man's nose.
She screams, and he jerks back, throwing Maeglin away from himself, which would have been an excellent exit strategy for Maeglin if he hadn't been so close to the edge of the cliff. As it is he's able to take one step back, heel grazing the corner of the rock, before his centre of gravity takes him over, and down.
After that, he doesn't really have much time to contemplate his fate.
Although, he'd felt so hardly present by the end a part of him still wonders why he isn't just floating away before he hits the ground.
There his body breaks, but his father's curse does not come to pass, for Maeglin's old dreams failed long ago, and this is not the end either.
He hears the voice with more than just his ears. He hears it throughout his entire body – soul rather, for the body can do nothing now but burn.
No Elf, or thing that once was an Elf, could fail to recognise the call, he thinks. He doesn't quite know how to feel about Lord Namo's choice of appellation though, since he doesn't feel like Lómion anymore.
He doesn't know if he ever really did. He doesn't know if he feels like much of anything.
Lómion, follow my voice. It is time to hear my judgement.
If Maeglin had had a body to sigh with, he'd sigh. It's difficult not to let this lack of strength, this apathy, pull him along towards the voice of the Vala, but he knows he mustn't go. Mustn't follow that voice.
Lómion, come to me now.
It's a gentle voice. He almost really wants to go.
But what would be the point?
He is Moriquendi, after all.
He does not belong in the light.
The voice is fading away. But another voice, achingly familiar, is suddenly sharp and clear beside him.
"Well, well, well. Are you sure it's all right for a Golodhrim Prince to be hanging around in the land of lesser elves after he's already dead?"
Oh, how Maeglin would sigh if he'd still had use of his body. He should have guessed that one would still be hanging around the land of 'lesser elves' as well.
Maeglin doesn't feel the weight of flesh and bone holding him together again for over thirty thousand years.
He has watched and waited ever since that long fall.
Watched closely. Waited long.
The Ages pass and kings and tyrants rise and fall. Men come to take control of the world as all others disappear, and what they make of it Maeglin is sometimes still astonished by.
He's watching the 435th annual World Amateur Robotics Championships when Melkor escapes and pulls the Moon into the Void behind him.
He finds himself a little annoyed that there had still been three rounds to go when that tsunami had destroyed the stadium and most of the contestants.
Things happen very fast after that.
The merciful Valar reveal Aman as a replacement Moon that stabilises the gravitational field of the world of Men and saves them from utter annihilation, though the initial death toll is still massive.
Melkor had counted on this though, and – having learned to open portals between Eä and the Void – materialises one inside of Valinor, inside the Halls of Mandos, which simultaneously destroys the Halls and brings Sauron back as well.
The gist of this is that Namo has very little time to react, and without thought restores bodies to the few Elves who had still been in the Halls, and those that still walked the shores of Middle Earth, to protect them from the chance of Sauron using Necromancy.
This includes Maeglin, though he imagines not by Namo's choice.
After that, the Men have a decision to make.
For Ulmo appears to them and tells them to join their brother Elves, and the Dwarves who have also been released from stone, and avenge the great destruction caused by the Moon's loss.
And Melkor appears to them and tells them to destroy the Elves, or he will do the same thing to the Sun as well.
(he'll do this anyway, of course – as soon as he figures out how, since Arien is heavily protected now)
It would have seemed to an Elf to be no choice at all, but Men have long since forgotten any reality of Elves and magic – such things are fairy stories that don't even barely resemble the songs of old – and they are panicked and terrified, and many fear Melkor more than they hate him.
And many of them choose Melkor.
And even those that don't, are not the type of Men the Elves remember.
Melkor promptly seizes the forgotten lair of Khazad-Dum as his seat of power, with Sauron taking the former dwarrow kingdoms in the Blue Mountains, and everything west of what were once known as the Misty Mountains falls under their sway – along with two other blocks in the south and far south-east for various reasons of tedious modern politics.
(That's not too surprising. Those western lands look very different to what they had before Imladris had faded away and the race of Hobbits had vanished as mysteriously as they'd arrived, and war and faction fighting has been rife there as long as the current history of Men remembers.)
Those Men that would follow Melkor; their leaders rather, he demands to convene outside his kingdom to pay him tribute in exchange for great power, and many flock there. It is reported in the media that the Elves are 'frantic' when they ask the Men to use some of their new 'craft' to stop their fellows from attending this meeting, perhaps even attack it directly, but the days when Men gave commands such as those in a heartbeat and not after days of negotiation, when international treaties several volumes long didn't need to be consulted and debates that went nowhere weren't the norm have been long dead, and the Men simply don't understand the situation.
That, Maeglin thinks privately, is not their fault. They had never asked the Elves to leave, and the one nation that does declare itself allies to the Elves from the outset is, unsurprisingly, next-door neighbour to Thranduil's enduring realm – with whom he understands there is still some, limited contact.
Maeglin has his own choices to make and mental preparations to realise though. Plans that must be executed on a very short timescale and with great difficulty, and it's a good thing he's had such a long time to think it over, and that Men have made such advancements in so many areas.
Areas such as spectrometers that can analyse the planet's crust in minute detail for traces of desired ores…
… or other substances.
Areas such as amateur robotics. And there is one choice Maeglin has made Ages since.
He joins the queue offering their allegiances to Melkor as soon as possible.
No, that's not true.
He stalks to the front of it, flanked by six of his new followers, and only waits long enough for the two Men currently holding Melkor's attention to finish presenting their cases before he brings forth his own.
This occurs when one of the Men, a middle-aged warlord from that region on the southern continent in about as much chaos as western Middle Earth, has his brains blown out by his rival, a much younger, much less stable militia-leader – now, Maeglin supposes, also warlord – by the name of Kasuelar.
"Allow me to make a counter-proposal, King Boss-man," Kasuelar declares loudly, over the gasps of the onlookers, "that General Gurungti cannot effectively command any force under your control without that brain of his."
"I mean, he couldn't really have done it before, with such a brain as that, but you know, people understand each other better with visual aids."
Melkor is clearly impressed. Sauron, menacingly-plated arms folded neatly beside their master, is just as clearly of the opposite opinion, and Maeglin doesn't need to see the glowing eyes beneath his coal-dark helm to perceive it. He shares the opinion, in fact, but assumes Melkor will kill the young upstart as soon as his obvious propensity for ridiculous hijinks loses a battle for the first time.
"Indeed, Kasuelar of Bellin Balurin," says Melkor, jaws mangling the pronunciation of a place named in a language that had never had need to speak the name of Morgoth. "Whereas you will prove amusing, if nothing else."
Maeglin seizes his chance.
"When the human first begins to bore you, you shall not lack for occupation if I have anything to say of it, Lord Melkor."
The terrible eyes find him before he's finished speaking and he must dig his nails into his palms not to tremble before the even more terrible recognition that enters them.
Physical pain, for now, is still unfamiliar enough to him to accomplish this, but he has no doubt that will change soon enough, and sooner than he'd probably have expected.
"Lómion!" Melkor greets him, waving away the orcs who had noticed with dismay an Elf unapologetically in their midst and had been heading swiftly to his apprehension. "Our dear friend. That's a new body you have, if I'm not mistaken."
If it hadn't been, there was no way he could have been there.
"A mistake on Namo's part to have provided me with one, which he'll soon learn," Maeglin states matter-of-factly.
He strides out before the throne that sits atop the valley Imladris once blessed, no doubt pointed out to Melkor by Sauron, whose arms unfold slightly in surprise, before he decides to affect a casual response to Maeglin's sudden appearance.
Meanwhile Melkor's attention shifts for a fraction of a second to the six followers who flank Maeglin's entrance. Armoured warriors they would seem to be, at first, but Melkor would have known within that same fraction that there were no fëa within their casings – only wires and metal, and hidden commands written in ones and zeroes. Codes that Maeglin has been perfecting in his mind for centuries, among other devices he cannot wait to bring forth into the world.
But Melkor, of course, has none of the references needed to realise that he gazes upon the world's first combat-ready robots. Soon, he'll be distracted by a different matter.
"No doubt," he says, with as much amusement as before.
It's so out of keeping with Maeglin's imagination of how this encounter would go that the next thing he hears is –
"The fuck? Who's this fucking gay-boy?"
– that for a moment he's stunned into silence.
It's the Man Kasuelar who asks the question, a disapproving appraisal on his face as he looks Maeglin up and down. Kasuelar is one of the darkest-skinned Men that walk the earth, his hair as black as Maeglin's own, though it falls in matted clumps called 'dreadlocks', and his eyes are a few shades lighter brown. A row of steel studs up one side of his face projects intimidation onto other Men, and the desire to find the most powerful magnet he can in Maeglin.
"Lómion Maeglin," says Melkor. "A treasured ally of ours from days gone by, and one much ill-used by the evil Elves who carry out the tyranny of the Valar."
So he's using that line again.
"If you would still use me better, Master," Maeglin says, "accept my allegiance here – and this gift, as a token of my gratitude for freeing me from their control."
He doesn't believe what he's saying, of course. Even delusional Lord Melkor probably knows that. And it's not to say he has no choice in this either…
But it's not like he can go back to them.
Well, anyway, he snaps his fingers and according to pre-arranged commands the robot behind him on his right passes to him a box that had been secreted beneath its wings.
The box is made of galvorn, which lets no light escape it.
When he opens it, a light is seen in the world that has not been looked upon since Maedhros Fëanorion took it with him into the bowels of the earth, in fire and pain.
Maeglin hadn't seen that part.
But he'd guessed enough about the Silmaril's composition to be able to find it with a stolen spectral-analyser.
The awe of all who occupy the room is palpable; men gape wide-eyed, orcs shudder and draw back, the four balrogs present raise themselves up and flex their wings and Melkor – oh, what a terrible sight he makes, so gleeful and so full of hatred at the same time.
Then Kasuelar promptly ruins the moment by leaning over Maeglin's shoulder obnoxiously and remarking, "Hey – a shiny!"
He stands above Lómion, a being of unimaginable power, so angry, and Lómion so small before him.
But through this so inescapable nightmare he has, in his mercy, offered a single escape.
And Lómion is so, so scared.
"And so I ask you, Lómion – " he speaks, and the world around them seems to tremble. "Will you do this thing?"
Lómion's wet hair feels so heavy his head is being pulled right down to the ground. He clenches his fists so hard he wouldn't be surprised to find bloody indents in his palms, and bitterly he sobs out –
"Yes. Yes, I'll do it."
The great airborne warship of Melkor, gifted to him by the largest of the nations of Men who had offered him allegiance, traverses the skies with a Silmaril set upon it, within a protected cache. Melkor bestows upon the monstrous craft the name 'Ultimate Annihilation'.
The 'King of the World' never has been a fan of subtlety.
The cache is not foolproof protection, Maeglin can see that easily – it practically begs for some daredevil to pull off Luthien's stunt and claim it for themselves – but he doesn't care, the Silmarils are less than nothing to him, with their loud and grating light.
Melkor had been practically giddy to get even one of them back though, so Maeglin finds himself immediately within the upper echelons of his command – tasked with all combat counter-strategy against the 'faithless' world of Men, for who better to know their ways than one who has been stuck dwelling among the base creatures for the past thirty thousand years?
This does not make him any friends among the Men who have chosen Melkor as their Lord, but since he has no great love for Men, Maeglin cares not.
And so, the great war between the Valar and their errant Brother commences once again.
In the early days of the new War, Maeglin spends most of his time in his own ship, working on his robot troops. Nothing like them has ever been realised in the world before, though robots have been responsible for a myriad of other tasks for generations, and drone warfare is certainly past its infancy. Yet Men have been wary so far of going that last step and seeing the creations of comic books and films brought to reality.
Maeglin is not.
Maeglin's robots are soon known by the Men, and then by Maeglin because why not? – as 'Beetles': mostly black, their armour being of a galvorn-titanium alloy, and humanoid in shape but for the 'wings', in reality a jet pack that tucks beneath a beetle-like shell when not in use – looks something like a cape, unless it is extended out to catch the wind. They later receive a decorative antenna to show his allies he cares not what they call his creations, and are probably the only things in his new life that bring him close to happiness.
In that respect things haven't changed much from his days in Gondolin, except the armour he forges now needs organs and muscles as well as skin.
The first clockwork automaton is created in the Fifth Age, somehow, while great hordes of militaristic Emperors claim vaster and vaster territories across the world. It may not seem like much later on, but Maeglin is astonished at how the metal person bends at the waist as if in prayer in exact intervals every time it is wound.
"It won't last," Eöl tells him – annoying him with his presence even now, even as no one else in the room can see or hear them.
Maeglin normally tries not to acknowledge the wretch if he can help it, but this time is compelled without thinking to ask – "You think even creatures as useless as Men can deny the implications such a device creates!?"
Eöl smirks at him in a way that still makes him feel like his heart is shrinking, long without a heart or any other muscle though he's been.
"No. But Emperor Haruthri's forces have been circling around for days and will attack within another three. They'll chop this 'Automaton' to bits along with the Man who made it, and who knows how long it will be before someone comes along with the mind to build something like it?"
He's right, of course – after Minas Tirith was razed, southern Rohan had only been a matter of time.
And it's two thousand, four hundred and twenty-three years before the next one, which isn't even as good as the first. That Fifth Age had been a real shitshow.
Cloning orcs who had been in suspension in the depths of the earth for tens of thousands of years multiplies their numbers much faster even than they had bred themselves in Ages past – especially when gene-manipulation speeds their growth up.
This takes less time than it takes the Valar to find a quick way of moving their own forces between Valinor and Arda.
And the orcs also take to modern weapons of war, to a degree. The vast majority are unable to handle weaponry that takes skill, like fighter jets, but if the only necessary actions are 'point and shoot' and the range of fire is wide enough that 'point' is really only half necessary, they manage quite well.
Maeglin spends little to no time among them though, which suits him well.
"So, if you're an Elf that joined the Boss-man willingly, how come you stayed pretty, unlike all those fuckers?"
He spends more time than he'd like co-ordinating battle plans with Kasuelar, the trigger-happy psychopath called 'The Black General' by the public.
Melkor has grown far more fond of this Man than Maeglin would have liked.
"Because I wasn't stupid enough to defy him over meaningless principles long enough that he made me look like one of them," he replies.
They're in council and Sauron is giving a long, boring recap of the Elven heroes of the first Three Ages so their human allies know who to watch out for now that the Elves have begun sending troops to Middle Earth. Maeglin has no need to listen to it, but the Man Melkor has sat next to him for his own amusement (they've been riling each other up ever since Maeglin interrupted Kasuelar's grandstanding with an even grander standing of his own) apparently doesn't care about what Sauron is saying.
"So he was like, 'join me, or I'll fuck you up', and you were like, 'okay'?"
"In a nutshell."
There was, of course, that one other thing they'd discussed, but Maeglin prefers not to think about that if he can help it. It embarrasses him.
"Huh. And you were the only Elf ever that this actually worked on?"
"That's fucked up, Princess."
Maeglin isn't sure whether Kasuelar knows he actually is royalty or whether 'Princess' is just a comment on his bearing and effeminate-by-human-standards looks. Assuming the Man has listened to any of Sauron's lecture, he must know at least by now of Maeglin's lineage.
Then again, Sauron certainly doesn't simply assume when he asks –
"Something I can help clarify, General Kasuelar?"
Kasuelar affects an exaggerated expression of fear at have been caught talking in class and replies, "Oh, sorry, man. Was this all going to be on the test?"
"The test of whether you manage to bring in alive any of the individuals Lord Melkor wants brought in alive instead of just blowing them up?" Sauron replies sarcastically. "Yes."
No one else notices it, of course – no one else could but Melkor, and him too self-obsessed to see by Maeglin's reckoning – but Sauron has changed since they first met. There's a fear in him that wasn't there thirty thousand years before, and Maeglin can hear it beneath the irreverence in his tone. Can see it in the twitch in his hand. In that one ring-finger.
The power of the Void is fearsome indeed.
"Fuck, man," says Kasuelar. "All these fuckers look the same – either like Princess here or like fucking elf-warrior Opalia or something, like that fucker."
He nods his head towards the prisoner kneeling next to the head of the table, wrists bound tight enough to break skin behind his back while lank, silver-blonde hair waves with each of his wheezing breaths, blown into the eyeless iron mask that holds his face.
Maeglin sighs. He doesn't remember them bringing out the POW version of one of those blonde Opalia dolls, but perhaps Kasuelar would know better than he.
"Could it perhaps just be, General, that you haven't actually seen any Elves other than myself and that waste of space over there?"
The prisoner shakes differently, indicating a chuckle.
"Come now, Lómion, 'waste of space' is a little harsh," Sauron tells him. "Lord Melkor was very much hoping to have this individual for our cause."
And there's something else Maeglin has been trying not to think of.
"He may hope as he wishes, but I still advise against it. This creature is little better than an animal."
Sauron smirks, seeing an opening that manages to banish that lingering fear Maeglin has been sensing, if only for a few seconds.
"But Lómion, if your father is little better than an animal, what does that make you?"
Kasuelar gasps next to him, but it's insincere; followed by a whispered 'dun, dun, dun!'. He likely cares as much about Maeglin's relationship with this prisoner as Maeglin does.
As Maeglin tells himself he does.
"My own person," he says shortly. "With no qualms about putting down a mad dog."
With Mandos destroyed the fate of the souls of Elves slain in battle is currently unknown, but if Melkor should order Eöl's death, Maeglin will comply, for he knows Melkor well enough to know how much amusement he'd have from making him the one to carry out the order.
Then, before anyone else present can remark, the prisoner himself lifts his head up and chuckles weakly, almost choking on the sound he makes.
"But what if someone jumps in front of the bullet, my prince?"
Without hesitation Maeglin leaps out of his chair and is upon the prisoner, delivering a roundhouse kick to the masked head that knocks it right against the floor with a pained hiss.
He isn't even feeling so much the lingering pain from that thing that happened literal Ages of the world ago, but the knowledge of what Eöl refers to is like a command like one of his robots might have received through their programming – there's an automated response inside him that he doesn't even think about, and the dull ache comes from something very different than that ancient memory.
"Shall we see," he spits, "how much longer it takes you to hit the ground when thrown from one of this ships airlocks than it did when you were thrown from the cliff-face beyond Gondolin?!"
Maeglin gives him another kick for good measure, to the stomach this time.
The prisoner still chuckles as he wheezes his way up onto his elbow.
"Would that be more or less time than it took you, ion nin?"
Before he can get more than half a laugh out from his own joke, Maeglin brings his boot up to the prisoner's neck and stamps it down to the steel floor, grinding until he hears the choking sound rattle and then continuing to grind because he knows Lord Melkor will enjoy this irony when watching the recording later. It's probably the only part of the recording he'll bother watching.
It makes him want to shiver, the feel of Eöl's throat, vulnerable against his boot, remembering all the times… all the times…
But Melkor has expressed his interest in obtaining the services of the inferior, older model, and so Maeglin calculates the last moment he can choke the other Elf before Sauron will have to intervene and then steps away from him in disgust before he does.
"I need to run more tests on the reaction times of the automated troops," he announces, in a voice that sounds like he's the one who's been screaming for hours.
He walks out without another word and no one stops him. They can do what they like with Eöl as far as Maeglin is concerned; he was the one stupid enough not to go to one of the power blocs for protection and then let himself get captured. But the last thing he hears from the room is that annoying Man, remarking,
"I guess we call him Princess Daddy-Issues from now on?"
Which makes him wonder if he won't be able to find a way to throw him out of an airlock too.
Social media makes keeping secrets all but impossible these days, which is why Maeglin feels no sympathy for Eöl being discovered, since he's been around long enough to know that as well as any Man.
He had felt a little flutter of pride though, when his father had looked the Beetles holding his arms back up and down and said, "Impressive," and said it sincerely too.
Maeglin had been sure to say thank you before ordering the robots to kneecap the bastard and take him back to Annihilation.