1. In Daylight
Heart-weary and resolute, my dwindled kindred marched under unexpected silver into unexpected gold, resting at last by the Grey Lake. Its north shore was ceded to us while to the south cousins, friends, murderers camp, grief, amaze, remorse wafting across the water like smokes from Angband.
We meet and I see loss not only within the Abandoned House. Where is my uncle, fierce mad author of betrayal? My cousin, dearest companion in joys in Valinor now lost? Fëanor's sons are defiant, uncertain, mourning father, chafing at brother's captivity.
Their caution sickens me. What fear they of Morgoth greater than this?
His brothers, my cousins, we are well acquainted. Though proud, they have not their father's fire to face me now, unabashed. The twins, knowing my heart, cannot meet my eyes. They tell me that their middle brothers keep themselves apart. When I am silent they swiftly follow their own furtive glances.
Rough fingertips on my arm turn me to meet Maglor's steady gaze. Ever his elder brother's shadow, his eyes plead for what he guesses I intend. They say, I would do it, but… I pity him for his constraints then laugh, unamused, at how closely they match my own.
Maedhros never was an easy companion. Though he did not enthrall himself for my especial pain he could scarcely have caused me greater. But if my heart did not cry out for him my reason would: to know his tale of Losgar's ships, to hear him say what befell on betrayal's farthest shore.
But that too is my heart, to hear him say and not another.
My brother, bereft, would never listen, would pitilessly meet abandonment with like. Pride not love persuaded Turgon into exile. Should I return, equally bereft or no, his anguished angry eyes will I fear most.
Memory of Song
When I watched my father beat on Angband's gates I did not guess those graceless peaks beset with hell-beasts could be graced by anything so precious as my fiery-haired, fiery-hearted cousin. The vision of Maedhros overwhelmed by Morgoth's creatures near crushed my heart at Mithrim. Seeking again those blasted heights, trackless, impassible, I hope - but bear both sword and harp with equal purpose.
In this place I thought to sing of courage and defiance, the subjection of Morgoth by the Valar for our sake. Instead I sing a children's counting rhyme, remembering our games beneath the trees in Eldamar.
I hear you afar. First notes uncertain, your voice never raised in plea or scream now swells my heart with clear song. Together we sing away the Dark One's creatures. I struggle closer, gaze raking over lifeless rock, craving sight of you.
Ai! Neither Alqualondë's hot blood nor Helcaraxë's cold treachery hardened me for this, seeing you sway cruelly by iron-bound wrist from brutal rock, or against my agony of distance and dread.
My way blocked, I watch your hopes die with mine.
"As you love me, kill me!"
O Manwë, strengthen my arm and free my sight of tears.
Half-remembered power stays my bow hand, then in eagle form bears me to your cliff prison. You seize my scrabbling fingers, drag them down, entwined.
"Even my father could not break this hell-bond." Agony and longing are in you but not hope. "Never freedom but your beloved touch has filled my thought since I first heard you sing in this cursed waste. Again I beg you, release me to Mandos!"
Your despair enrages me. "This touch you will not love!" I hew your wrist, then catch you in my arms. My sword clatters down the rock face, hateful to me.
I clasp your wasted body to my breast, resting in the great eagle's power that bears us back to Mithrim. But relief flickers, terror and regret staining my spirit like your bright blood seeping across my tunic.
Your brothers come running. Our return astounds them, the fashion of it even more. Maglor's gaze burns me as he asserts his place, receiving your still form with careful horror. I slide shakily to earth and turn to salute our savior.
A brief moment, but turning again I am too late. Caranthir and proud Curufin, harshest brothers, bear you swiftly from my sight.
Towards the Other Shore
I had not expected welcome in the southern camp, nor am I assured it amongst my own house. I skirt the Grey Lake to find my father awaiting me at the eastern ford, alone. His steady gaze takes in my blood-stiffened tunic and unhindered stride before seeking my face.
"It is his blood, then, but he lives." A strong hand catches my shoulder. "It is good, though not all will think so." Turgon rises in our minds, hard-eyed and desolate above the white abyss.
Cursed. Exiled. Blood and burning ships and ice.
My joy is in Maedhros' hand on Thangorodrim.
I need no summons when scouts bring Maglor, unexpected herald, to my father's tent. Yet I flinch in his embrace, uncertain.
Breath in my ear. "He stood aside, you know."
Startled, I scarcely hear his formal words. "Eldest of the Noldor, Maedhros, eldest of our House desires that you receive him."
My breath stops. Turgon looks thunderous, his heart forever trapped in ice.
Our father, unsurprised, sees hearts more clearly. "He is welcome here as our kin."
- - -
Maglor beckons me along the path. "He will beg forgiveness. Tell your father."
"For the oath?"
He flinches now. "No, not for that."
In Despite of Brothers
You checked your sullen brothers with a glance, Maglor and the twins standing tense on either side. Begging forgiveness, acknowledging my father, replacing our possessions: too much for them, never enough for some.
Even now, alone, my joyous smile draws but a wry response. "Caranthir calls you mutilator, thief, says better I died whole and we kept our goods and pride. Do not be happy where he can see."
"I am so selfish?" I will not be restrained.
"Oh, yes," you tease, " and even more so as my Fingon than as Fingolfin's son." You smile, beautiful as the Trees.
Night in Hithlum
Branches outline black against the moon.
"Think you often of that hour?"
"Every distant campfire is to me a burning ship."
Gusts darken the lake's glittering surface.
"Why did your father burn the white ships?"
"That our course would be irrevocable."
"And that we would see it and turn back?"
"That I would see it, and know no hope."
Deep shadows lengthen over silvered grass.
"Because you stood aside."
"Maglor told you, then. Yes."
The moon dips below western mountains.
"My father did not forget."
"I will not forget."
Starlight, once our grandfather's joy, will be our sadness no longer.
"The Valar must hate us."
My heart clenches. "Manwë's eagle saved you!"
A touch, blunted forearm grazing my ribs. "I live maimed, head of my House but nothing more. Say rather, you were saved from kinslaying."
Thangorodrim's grim rock face fills my mind. Fear and rage overwhelm my words, entwining with your frustration before both disperse.
You sigh against my shoulder. "I yielded kingship to Fingolfin eagerly, but that makes it no less true, nor my brothers more pleased."
"Nonetheless, they expect that you will lead them." A word hangs between us.
Eyes closed, you whisper, "The Valar hate us."
If you have not read The Silmarillion lately: When Fëanor led the Noldor out of Aman they seized ships from the Teleri by force (the Kinslaying), but even so there were not enough ships to carry everyone across the Western Sea to Middle-Earth. Fëanor, the Elf who had made, and lost, the Silmarils and who was the most eager to leave Aman, had control of these ships and took his own people across. But when his son Maedhros asked about going back for the other Houses of the Elves, Fëanor became "fey" and burned the ships instead. Those of other Houses who did not turn back to Aman crossed to Middle-Earth over the Grinding Ice, and many were lost.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.