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A Lament for Bridges

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Islands are made when solid land gets washed away, only leaving some behind. Volcanos also create islands, but we, the individuals, are not created without attachment to others. Only the very first of us, perhaps. That is why one is only an island when one is alone. That is how I am, the wanderer by the sea, the one who sings sorrowful laments and is doomed here.

I am an island, because my land has been washed away from around me. All my friends are gone, everybody I ever knew are dead or they stayed across the sea, in our homeland. But I am alone now. We used to be two, and before that we were many more, but now it’s only me, a lonesome island, wandering, alone.

Once upon a time I had land around me, but it was washed away by water (by the blood our hands were covered in). Then, I had a countless amount of bridges that held me. Now they are all broken – or gone.

I wish I had stayed with my Mother, not followed my Father in his madness. Not willingly separated myself from solid land. We burnt the ships on his command. (Our older brother refused.) He burnt so many of our bridges that day – night? (He burnt our youngest brother too.) People, some were ours – many others – followed us on a different road. They were furious with Father.

Then he died, felled by the enemy. My older brother was taken. I was second oldest and unexpected leader. Our people were sundered. A hundred thousand bridges were damaged, torn. We attacked kin, old friends. The only thing that saved us then was our older brother, who had been saved while we fought. Saved by our valiant cousin, who would not let their bridge be broken so easily.

Our big brother, he was always more alike Mother. We others were like Father, too alike. He gave the role of High-King to somebody else, to our uncle. We did not have the time to be kings, if we were to have our revenge on the enemy. We repaired thousands of bridges between our people and his.

When uncle was killed by the enemy, and another couple of thousand bridges severed from us with the fallen ones, our valiant cousin was made High-King. Our older brother planned another attack with him. Later we went against the enemy again. We were betrayed by some of our allies, and arrived too late. I feared for yet another bridge when he, our High-King, died. (My brother’s fate was sealed.)

We attacked someone else – another kingdom – for they possessed a Silmaril – we needed all of them to avenge Father. Three of our brothers (and some hundred others) we lost that time. We lost another brother the next time we attacked. (Then we were two, my brother and I.) The seabird took our Silmaril.

We became four, my big brother and I, for we saved two small ones. They became dependent on us (we killed their parents), but we were almost as dependent on them. (The bridges we had with them were as strong as if they had been our children.)

Then we finally got our victory over the enemy, and in our hands the last two Silmarils we had went to war for. We destroyed our very last bridges to have them. It was to no avail. We were not worthy, my brother and I. So he chose to follow the other in death, after years of agony (he burnt like our youngest brother). Thus the last of the bridges were cut, thus I was alone.

I still wander there, along the shore, singing sorrowful laments. Of how our people fell, of how we ruined all by ourselves. Of how I – how we all – should have made better decisions. Our fosterlings are all grown up. One of them is dead, of that I am certain, but the other still live, well connected to land, as is his fate. Oh, may his fate be better than my own!

(We meet again, him and me. He says he has missed me, that he is angry that we also left him, like his parents, and his brother, and his wife, and his daughter. I never leave him again.)