8. Chapter Seven: Freedom.
Disclaimer: The characters are Tolkien´s.
Heavy warning: Sex scene, incest.
Chapter Seven: Freedom.
Aredhel and Maeglin had begun their ride very early. It was dawn still when they crossed the fences of Nan Elmoth; the dawn, as Maeglin could not help thinking, of a new and better life for both of them.
How difficult it was for him, to restrain from showing his delight. How hard. As a bird was heard not far away, welcoming the light and the morning in high-pitched melodious tones, he began to sing the song together with it, and even the thought that they were not safe could not calm his euphoric intoxication. At each morbid turning back of his head, he saw the dark shadows where he had been born and trapped for all his life become smaller and less fearsome, while a wide new world bathed in a rosy gleam of warmth awaited him, stretched at the reach of his hand.
Free. He was free. Nan Elmoth had only been a bad dream, but it was over now.
Next to him, Aredhel Ar-Feiniel rode proud and radiant in her white dress. Because she was escaping at last, and because the sunrays were caressing her back, her eyes beamed in joy, and her cheeks were flushed in so becoming a way that Maeglin could swear she had never looked so beautiful even to his adoring eyes. Each time that their gazes met, she would laugh at the tears in his face, no doubt believing that he cried due to his oversensitive sight instead of just because he was happier than he had ever hoped to be. He would laugh back then, delighted to see her mirth, and soon both were laughing together, pointlessly, meaningfully, like children in their play, feeling the wind on their faces and freedom in the sweet air that surrounded them, and Nan Elmoth disappeared in the distance at last.
Never again, Maeglin swore to himself. Sooner dead than to see that cursed forest once again.
"Do you think this world a place worth living in, Maeglin my son?" Aredhel asked, wiping her own happy tears with her right hand and staring at Maeglin. "What, is it something the matter?"
"You...you have called me Maeglin, Mother." he answered, shocked. "Why?"
"Oh, that!" Her crystalline laughter, so scarcely heard in Nan Elmoth, rang in her son´s ears." It´s the only name that remains to you, for you are Child of Twilight no longer. Do you dislike hearing it from me?"
Maeglin considered this, and many different things flashed through his mind within a few seconds. Lómion.
During his childhood, it had been his only name, and a secret word of love between his mother and him. Afterwards, that other, "Maeglin", had been a way for his father to claim him as his own, to remind everyone not just of the fact that that they were "both" sharp glanced, but also that he was his son and only for himself to name, forbidding him to have a mother name like the rest of the Noldor.
Yes, he thought, but what need was there for secrets at present? He was no Lómion anymore, as Aredhel had said. Maeglin would be his name, ever, to his father´s despair.
No more twilight.
The playful rays that heralded Vása´s presence were becoming brighter and stronger by seconds. Maeglin had to shade his eyes with one hand, and clutch the reins tightly with the other.
"Oh, no! Call me whatever you want, for every word seems charming on your lips." he answered. Aredhel smiled.
"I did not know my son was such a flatterer! Well, Maeglin then, but let us hurry."
Struggling to maintain his balance, and wiping his tears repeatedly to see his path, Maeglin nodded, and followed her through the land of bliss and light.
For the sake of prudence, they did not stop until it was night. Both of them were aware of how dangerous Eöl could be, and they did not want to leave him the least chance to find them before their arrival to the Hidden City. And still, as the first stars appeared on the sky, Maeglin considered that the torture of riding a horse all day without practice had been already enough for him, and ignoring Aredhel´s persistent teasing, he requested for some hours of grace to lay down and rest.
"Well, at least it seems you are improving. This time I did not have to help you dismount!" she laughed, making him sigh. He had learned to ride fairly well on his childhood journeys to Nogrod, even if he could not compete with her!
But it was useless to remind her of that, especially when she felt like joking.
"Why don´t you amaze me with your great hunting skills, and bring us something to eat?" he said instead, removing the saddle from Aredhel´s horse. She looked extremely pleased at the suggestion, and began to look for her sword.
"Bad luck that there aren´t any lions here. I would like so much to bring you one!"
"No, Mother, no big things." Maeglin shook his head as he removed the other saddle." We would have to leave the corpses behind, and that would mark our trail and attract dangerous animals. Besides, you don´t have any arrows!"
"I do not need them." the White Lady of the Noldor boasted." I have hunted every kind of animals in the Blessed Realm, together with the sons of Fëanor and Oromë the Vala, and a sword is all I need if I can ride a horse."
"But, Mother, the saddle..."
"Nonsense! It´s just an useless implement."
Maeglin watched her climb on Faerroch´s back with a single graceful jump, and his eyes widened with pride and admiration. This was his mother, he thought as he followed their course until they disappeared behind the trees, the Aredhel he remembered jumping from a high branch to land on top of her running horse. The brave and fearless lady who showed him the light for the first time in his life had come back with their freedom, and he felt more than ever the urge to take her in his arms.
Her light was his now, and for no one else.
Half an hour later, Aredhel returned with the deer she had killed -the Valar help her, she simply was not able to catch anything smaller!-, and saw her son sitting in front of the fire he had built, staring fixedly at the dancing flames with Anguirel in his hands. Behind him...
She stopped and froze when she realised what was behind him. Two pairs of evil eyes gleamed in the darkness, as if waiting, preparing...
Maeglin hadn´t noticed their presence, she guessed as a persistent ache began to settle on her stomach. They could be very silent when they wanted to, to catch their prey at unawares once they had it within their reach. And then...
Damn! Because of her hunting abilities, she could predict everything, but what could she do? Her hands clutched tightly the hilt of her sword, but she knew that the first sound or move from her part or Faerroch´s would mean immediate attack, and she was too far away to reach them in time.
Maeglin, my son, Aredhel tried somehow to make him hear, without being able to utter a word. React, for the Valar´s sake! They are behind you!
Nothing. He was absorbed by his reverie, or worse, he was asleep. Most probably asleep, for his black eyes did not mirror anything but the feverish light of the flames, while the monsters kept on skilfully, silently nearing him. Aredhel shuddered in terror as the first of them prepared to jump.
All of a sudden, a painful roar of horrible agony escaped the distorted jaw of the fell beast, and the Noldorin princess saw the point of Anguirel emerging from its grey and hairy back. At that same moment, as if they were but one single being, she and Faerroch rushed to meet the second warg, momentarily frozen at the unexpected peril in what they had believed to be an easy prey. The creature of Morgoth recovered quickly enough to wait as she jumped down the horse and leap to her throat.
Aredhel cried in pain. She was quicker than her foe, and she had had time to elude the attack, but the right paw tore the tender flesh of her left shoulder as she jumped aside. Her ears heard the sound of another beast fighting against Maeglin, and she hoped dearly that it was the last one.
"Come again, foul creature, if you dare!" she shouted, grasping her sword to prepare her next and definitive move. It was going to feel good, to kill it. Of course there had never been a time when she had failed to enjoy a hunt or a battle, but this one, this abominable monster, had dared to make her fear for a while, and it would pay.
"Why, you don´t come? Coward that you are, just like your ignoble master!"
The beast, perhaps annoyed by her taunting, or more probably seeing a chance in Aredhel´s apparent distraction, jumped again with its claws extended. It was the last attack it was ever going to attempt. Failing to cross the distance that separed it from its supposed victim, it fell impaled on her blade, and its roars echoed those of the remaining warg, defeated by Maeglin.
"Mother!" he cried, rushing towards the place where Aredhel gloated at the last efforts of the agonising monster to reach her with its open fangs, her arms extended to keep it just at an inch from achieving its goal.
"I am fine." she answered, and she used her foot to drop the corpse to the ground." But you! You frightened me. I thought they were going to kill you in your sleep!"
"Sleep?" Maeglin laughed, pulling an irritated Aredhel into his embrace. "I was watching their reflection on my blade. Do you really think me capable of being killed asleep?"
"Perhaps I am just a fretful mother." she grinned back, in spite of herself.
"A wounded fretful mother." he corrected her. "Have you at least noticed what you have in you shoulder?"
"The mark of a paw and a lot of blood, I suppose. But the accursed creature is dead, and I am not, and that is all that matters to me!"
"I could not believe it when you appeared, riding your horse in the middle of the fight." Maeglin confessed, motioning her to lie on the ground. Aredhel protested a little, saying that she was perfectly able to tend her own wounds, but when he insisted she gave in and allowed him to take care of her.
"Maybe I do not know you, but you do not know me either, if you thought I would leave you alone." she muttered. Her smile was tense, and her eyes watered several times as her son began to clean the wound with herbs and the water they had brought. But she did not cry at any moment, and Maeglin admired her presence of mind.
"You were very brave, too." Aredhel hissed, as if she had heard his thoughts. Maybe she had. "And nobody could deny you presence of mind, either. I am so proud of you!"
"What?" Maeglin´s heart stirred at her words, and he leaned closer to her. "Didn´t you say once that...?"
"Yes, but now that we are outside that horrible place, I see my blood flowing through your veins." she confessed while she raised her hand to caress his cheek. "We are equals in mind and in body, my son, and the people of Gondolin are going to see it at the very moment they will set eyes on you. Oh, Maeglin, if you knew how long I have been waiting for this moment!"
"I...I think I know." he stammered, caressing her in turn for no apparent reason. Her beauty, as always, was stunning, but what undid him was the way she looked at him, like she saw him as a grown-up man for the first time.
Like she wanted him to come closer to her.
Like she wanted it for the first time.
"Maeglin, my son, I thought I was going to lose you..."
Waiting no longer, he kissed her. Shyly at first, then passionately, as he found that she responded and all his fears of her rejection were trampled forever under their entwined bodies. Aredhel moaned, feeling his hardness on her leg, and her hands began to tear his clothes off in desperate haste, clearly expecting him to follow her example.
Valar, and how eager he was to do so. How arousing, the sight of her soft skin, her pale breasts, her entire naked body burning with the need of him as it had always been in his dreams, when he was alone in his bedroom and the shouts rang through the door. If only he had known that it was so easy!
"You love me, don´t you, Mother?" Maeglin spoke between two breathtaking kisses. " I mean, you are not pretending you do, as when..."
"Ssssh." Aredhel silenced him, putting her fingers on her lips. "Why would I need to do any such thing?"
It was true, she had no need to feign affection anymore. They were no longer in his father´s grip, and, if she hadn´t wanted to, she would not be under him now, consenting to be loved.
"Forget him. Forget him at last, think that we are not going to see him again." he whispered in her ears, rolling their bodies to their right side, just in the middle of the corpses of the dead wargs. She nodded, and pulled out her arms to encircle his neck.
"Then help me to."
He had never realised how appropriate it all was, every single detail. For all his life, he had been waiting to return to the place where he had been at the very beginning of everything, burning with the desire of seeing again the sacred narrow space that had hosted his body once before. And, while it was the first time they made love, he had already been one with this very body he was embracing, when the food she ate had been his food, and at each movement he had made she had stirred, too.
He had been born from her, no one else could have possibly taken part in their bond. Not even Eöl.
He felt the warmth of her round breasts pressed against him, belatedly realising they were the same he had caressed before, with his tiny mouth without teeth.
And he had never thought of how appropriate it all was.
Next morning, Maeglin awoke to find Aredhel leaning against a tree, her eyes hazy and lost in the distance. Slowly, he crawled to her side to kiss her cheek, and she flinched a little at his touch.
"What are you thinking about, Mother?"
She seemed to realise the concern in his tone, and smiled tiredly, fixing her eyes on his.
"He has noticed already, my son. Tomorrow, or this same night, he may return to Nan Elmoth, and begin searching for us."
"Noticed what?" he asked, in disbelief. "He is staying for a couple of weeks in Nogrod!"
Aredhel shook her head.
"Believe me, he has noticed. We should be leaving this place already."
"Mother!" Maeglin insisted. " How do you know it? Do you have a bond with him?"
"No!" she cried. "Never."
"Then..." he began to think hard. " did you do something to him? Perhaps... a spell? Or it was he who...?
But Aredhel did not answer.
(To be continued)
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.