This author has written a Modern-day person goes to Middle-earth with a black woman protagonist, which is far higher in quality than most such stories, and is also not a Tenth Walker, but she really unfurls her talent in her First Age and far more adult-oriented stories.
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Aulë paused, looking deeply into the dark fire. Eyes black as night, so black they reflected the bright light of the soul. Black fire. And then he closed the distance between them, his lips crashing into the waiting heat. Ah, the fire! He hungered for more, his spirit responding to the fire underneath his hands. He burned now too, it was intoxicating, unbearable, and he hungered for more. His tongue tasted the heat of the other’s. He tasted the metal of the forge first, and then the taste of Fëanor under it, overriding all. And in that moment the spirit of fire was his, and it consumed him.
But then it was over. Fëanor had pulled his lips back, taken what the Valar offered of himself, sampled him, and mastered. And Aulë knew. He would never tame the fire before him, never would he be it's master. And he who would master had been mastered. In that moment he would give Fëanor anything, all of him, for but one more taste of that raging fire.
Fëanor laughed then. It was a laugh Aulë knew well, and he shivered at the sound, his own fire dampened in it.
Fëanor pulled himself for the embrace as easily as a flame escaped the hand that would cease it. And Aulë was left with less then nothing in its absence.
“Nay! And now thou hast revealed thyself before me, Aulë. Long thou hast watched me, but no more! I see thou now full well. Ye would keep the full knowledge of our craft from me, and bind me to thy will? Thou would posses fire! But all thee shall get is burnt flesh for thy efforts, for none shall tame me, I am no one's lap dog! For all thy effort to keep me with thee, now ye hast lost, and never will ye see me in this cage again!”
And with that Fëanor spun on his heel, and strode up out of the forge, and to the light, without a backwards glance.
Aulë was left alone. More empty now for the absence of that which he had known so fully yet so briefly. But he could not bring himself to regret what he had done. Time uncounted he had spent beside the gentle light that was Yavanna and but a moment of time, too brief to even count, with the spirit of fire. Yet he knew he had lived and burned more brightly in that one moment of time, but a drop in the great lake of ages, then he had, or ever would again.
I shuddered to think what those closed eyes really concealed. What kind of a soul, a blackened one? What kind of hate drives one to such madness in battle? What dark secrets? But some darkness could not be hidden even in the blackness of night, for I as every other Noldor knew of the Oath and the kinslaying at Alqualondë. I would not wish such a one for my Lalauro. She deserved so much more than a damaged broken soul, lord of a disposed house and people, tied forever to a hopeless Oath.
I made to join them again; it was growing late, and I did not think Lalauro needed to spend any more time with this son of Fëanor, when they stopped suddenly and Caranthir reached down to pluck a single white wild flower growing along the path. I hesitated in my approach and watched as he threaded it through her hair ever so gentle as if with his touch she would crumble to ash.
He whispered words to her I could not catch, but they lit her face aglow. I felt like an intruder as I watched the unconcealed emotion in her eyes.
She lifted her face to his and her eyes fluttered shut, waiting for a kiss it would seem. She was so beautiful; I had never seen her spirit shining so brightly, as if it could be touched. Pure and so full of love I thought it would burst free of the cage her body made for it, and reach out to envelope the undeserving elf before her.
She waited but he made no move to kiss her. My eyes moved back to his and I saw there finally the emotions so long held in secret. Longing. A longing and regret so deep and hopeless I felt my own soul cry out to heal the great rift of anguish reflected in those eyes. What a bitter blessing his sheltered soul lent to us watchers. I did not wish to ever glimpse his again, it was beyond bearing, and I was thankful Lalauro’s eyes did not have to see the dark desperate hopeless longing his eyes held as they looked upon her.
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