The Stranger

And those that endure in Middle-earth and come not to Mandos shall grow weary of the world as with a great burden, and shall wane, and become as shadows of regret before the younger race that cometh after.

Námo, Lord of Mandos, Prophecy of the North, The Silmarillion

On the shores of Ennorath he stands,

Tall and proud and free.

With a fiery scar burned in his hand,

His eyes forever scan the sea.

-Excerpt from a poem entitled The Tale of Maglor

The Stranger

By Nieriel Raina

The boy scampered barefoot down the beach, heedless of any danger. His pants were rolled up to his knees, his shirt sleeves flapped in the wind. He held a bucket with a shovel in one hand as he puttered down the beach.

On dunes above, a couple spread a blanket and unpacked a picnic basket. The woman stood, shading her eyes with her hand. "Jack!" she called to her son, taking a few steps down the dune. "Jack, don't go too far. We're to be eating soon."

The boy glanced over his shoulder, frowning. "But mum, I'm not hungry! Can't I play first?"

She glanced at her husband, who nodded with a small smile. "Very well, but come back when I call you." She swept her gaze up and down the deserted beach once more, biting her lip. "Did you hear me, Jack?"

"Yes, mum!" The boy called back. He resumed his examination of the shoreline, searching for small sea creatures and shells. Every now and again, he'd stop and scoop something up with his little shovel and dump it in the pail. His steps took him a ways down the beach as it curved, taking him from sight of his parents. He left small footprints in the wet sand where the surf had not washed them away.

A shiny object caught his eye as the waves pulled back, and he trotted out to investigate. The retreating wave lapped at his ankles as he reached down to pick up what he'd seen. It was just a piece of sea glass, but he dropped it in his bucket. The returning wave surprised him as it rushed in, soaking him up to his thighs.

"Be careful," a strange voice said from nearby. "The tide's coming in. You don't want to be washed out to sea."

Jack looked up as a shadow fell over him. Standing in the surf beside him was the most interesting person he'd ever seen!

The stranger was very tall, taller than his father even! His dark hair was long, so long it hung well past his shoulders. He wore a billowy white shirt, half open to the wind exposing part of his bare chest. It was belted at his waist, and his britches were also rolled to his knees. His hands were on his hips as he looked out over the waves with such longing, it made Jack want to cry.

"Are you sad?" he asked the stranger. Curiosity was something his mother often told him he had way too much of.

The stranger nodded.


"Because I am alone," the stranger answered.

Jack didn't know what to say about that. He didn't understand why being alone would make someone so sad. Jack liked being alone if it meant his mother wasn't telling him what to do. "What's your name?"

The stranger's lips turned up in a sad smile, but he didn't turn to look at Jack. "Mac Alowry." He lifted one hand to push a strand of hair from his eyes, and Jack saw his palm was deeply scarred.

"How'd you get that?" Jack pointed to the scar, blinking up at the stranger with curious eyes. Scars were like badges of honor to Jack! Surely Mac had done something courageous to earn such a mark.

Dark eyes shifted from the waves and fell upon Jack. He gulped. Those eyes were dark, yet full of light and something that made the boy squirm. He had thought the stranger was younger than his father, but Mac's eyes were old - older than Grandfather's eyes.

"I touched something I should not have touched, and it left its mark on me." His gaze returned to the west over the sea.

"Did it hurt?" Jack couldn't help but ask. He was too young to know that asking such questions might be considered rude.

The stranger nodded again. Mac didn’t seem to like to talk much. "It still hurts," he admitted.

Jack felt bad about that. While scars were fun to show off, injuries that still ached were no fun at all. "I'm sorry," he said quietly. Again the stranger nodded without saying more.

Another wave came in, much higher this time and Jack ran back to the dry sand. The stranger remained standing in the surf as the waves drifted further and further in. "Aren't you going to come out?" Jack asked, worried about the stranger, though the waves didn't move Mac a bit.

Mac shook his head, never taking his eyes from the horizon.

"Why are you alone?"

"I am the last, but soon I will return home."

The words both confused and made Jack feel better. Mac must have family somewhere. Everybody had family. And soon Mac would be going home.

"Jack! Jack, where are you? It's time to come back and eat." His mother's voice rang over the sound of the waves.

"Coming, mum!" he called. He cast another look at Mac still standing in the waves. Had the water come in that far? Or had the stranger walked further into the surf?

"Jack! Right now!"

"Yes, mum!" He started to run towards the voice calling him, but paused to look back once more. Mac turned to look at him again with those dark, bright eyes. "I hope you find your family soon. Enjoy your trip home!"

Mac nodded once more, turning back to the western horizon.

Jack jogged back to where his parents sat and fell into his food with gusto. He wanted to get back to Mac. He'd never met anyone like the stranger before. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, earning a glare from his mother, he hastily asked if he could return to the beach. His mother nodded, but told him not to go too far.

Jack jumped up, forgetting his pail in his hurry to return to the stranger. But when he rounded the bend in the beach, he could see no sign of the stranger.

Mac was gone.

: - :

Macalaurë opened his eyes to find himself lying on the floor of a strange room. He was no longer wet, and could no longer feel the crush of the water in which he'd drowned. He blinked and stood to his feet, turning to find he was not alone.

The Other sat on a carven throne, grey eyes intent upon Macalaurë. This was no stranger to the elf, and oddly he felt no dread. He noticed nothing but those amaranthine eyes, so much older than his own.

Finally, the Vala spoke. "It took you long enough."

Macalaurë nodded. "I am ready now."

A slight smile tugged at the corners of Lord Námo's lips though no amusement shone in his eyes.


A/N – We don't really know Maglor's fate so I've taken some license. Jack's identity I'll leave to your imagination.

The excerpt from The Tale of Maglor is mine.

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