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Back to Middle-earth Month 2010 Stories by Dawn Felagund

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Author's Chapter Notes:

Did Nerdanel ever regret her marriage to FŽanor? Fandom is full of Nerdanels without regrets, but I wanted to consider how she would feel if she'd glimpsed her life as it would have been, had she never met FŽanor. A triple drabble.

Challenge: Your character has a chance to change a single event in his or her past, but doing such will forever alter the future. What will your character choose? What would they change, if anything? And how do you think his or her future would change?

If I could swipe my hand across the past and erase a single deed as chalk from a slate, then slap the dust from my hands and let it be borne into inconsequence upon the wind--would I?

He was drinking at a stream when I found him. He'd escaped the miner's camp over some small rebellion and was summoning his courage for punishment (or, more likely, further rebellion) when I found him kneeling at the water. Like a startled deer, he fled at the sight of me, and a branch snatched at him, drew a bead of blood from his throat and left his mithril pendant shimmering in the stream. I might have pocketed the pendant, melted it into some bauble for myself that would charm the eyes of a boy away from my unremarkable face and make him my lover. I might have resisted going to the camp and looking for the boy with the wounded throat who would ruin me.

But for that choice, I would be in a high-ceilinged hall with my children loud about me. I would be rising to be honored by the Valar for my work. My husband's eyes would be shining with pride as he rose to adulate me.

These two fates course ever in my mind, parallel to one another as rivers diverged by a misplaced rock (or dropped pendant). I consider my choice, and if I might have done differently, had I known.

Because of that choice, I sit upon a stone balcony, silent. I stare westward. My husband and sons are there, in Mandos, a nerve center from which somnolent vigilance ever jets to fill my being, weighting my hands fruitless to my lap, waiting and watching for a head to crown over the horizon like a dark sun.

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