"Brother!" a smooth voice called, "Makalaurë, it is us!"
"Open the door!" another echoed.
He recognized the voices instantly, though it had been more than two centuries since he last heard the tones—Celegorm and Curufin. "One moment," he called back, startled, almost stunned, at this sudden appearance; his brothers had not sent word they were coming. Reaching the door, he opened it hastily, eager to greet his brothers; what he saw left him speechless.
Celegorm stood alert, fury seeming to roar from his eyes and consume anything that fell under it; his hair, pulled back in tight braids, made face fiery and pointedly acute. Maglor had forgotten how fair Celegorm actually was. How much like their mother he looked.
Curufin, on the other hand, seemed completely relaxed, nonchalantly playing with his dagger. A twisted smile had thrown itself across his visage, giving him all the appearance of a serpent ready to strike. Unwillingly connecting gazes with his brother, a shiver flew down Maglor's spine—he could not lay a finger on it, but something in Curufin's eyes screamed of murder and death.
The two entered, and Maglor noticed uneasily that Celegorm's eyes darted about the armoury, taking in every sword, every axe, every dagger. The harper had spent many hours in the armoury marveling over the seemingly perfect balance of broadswords, daggers, and knives, occasionally handling them and practicing formations with the air. He could never understand why, for if anything, the weapons only reminded him of the slaughter, the Oath that rent his very soul in its insatiability. Yet he spent most of his days here, as if an unseen force drew him to its lap.
"Why are you here? How are you here?" Maglor queried as soon as the door shut behind them. "Why did you not send me word?"
"Pardon us, Canafinwë, if we intrude," Curufin called from the corner he had meandered to, scrutinizing a sword with humour. "We thought you'd be happy to see us. We are brothers, after all..." If looks could kill, Curufin would have exploded under Celegorm's gaze. "Or do you no longer hold affection towards kin?"
Maglor shifted uneasily under his brother's leer. "No, no, that is not it at all, I merely wondered what—"
"You merely wondered why we have run here like chidden hounds hiding from their master!" Celegorm burst. "Why two elven-kings of the House of Fëanor appear as hunted beasts!"
Celegorm's sudden explosion almost knocked Maglor from his feet. "Turco, please—"
"It's to no avail, Makalaurë," Curufin cut in, ignoring the other. "I tried all the way here, and it's no use. What with Huan's fantastic display of loyalty and the Nightingale's heroic rescue—"
"Brothers, I do not understand this!" Maglor burst, "What happened?"
Curufin's reply was lazy, lax. "We had a little bout with Beren and his wench, near Brethil. Turco's valiant hound was of absolutely no use, either."
"The damned beast betrayed me!" the hunter cried, eyes flashing. "It would have been better had he never been whelped, for if I see him again, so help me—"
"You'll what?" Curufin laughed, "Bop him on the nose for almost killing you?"
Maglor was, by this time, thoroughly confused, eyes darting from one brother to the other in complete bafflement. He could not remember the last time the pair had argued; and about death, to boot.
"As though that mongrel of a colt did any less to you," Celegorm snapped. "The witch had to conjure her demons to save you from death's claws!"
Pain flickered through Curufin's eyes. "Indeed—her demons saved me, for my own brother would not!"
It finally exploded—indignation burst from Celegorm's lips, and in an instant he had floored his younger brother, beating him senseless, fingers grasping the throat beneath him. "How dare you say such things to me!" he bellowed in rage. "How dare you make such claims after what you've done!"
Then Maglor was at the two, prying the pair apart—they had not fought like this since the old days in Valinor!
Celegorm let out a small yelp, and Curufin's eyes ignited to demonic mirth, almost hope as the hunter collapsed to his knees: a dagger was buried deep in his shoulder. Blood poured from the wound, saturating the already crimson cloth of his tunic.
"Turco, Atarinkë, please, stop!" Maglor cried desperately, eyes darting from Curufin to Celegorm as he leapt to his wounded brother's side. He had always known they would render blood for blood, but he never thought it would be from their own hands.
Celegorm's hand pressed painedly to the wound as he was raised to unsteady feet. "It is nothing," he growled, "merely a scratch." Maglor shook his head in disbelief, gently peeling away Celegorm's shirt to diagnose the wound. Indeed, it was not mortally deep, but the amount of blood lost would have Celegorm in bed for at least a day, not to mention the scar it would procure.
"You should know better, brother," Curufin's casual voice sang. "I did not intend to miss. Next time I shall better my aim."
Maglor turned to gape at his younger brother: such a warning was one exchanged between enemies, not kin! "There will not be a next time," Maglor finally stated firmly, then turned to catch Celegorm as he sank to his knees. "Curyo, there will not be a next time!"
The hunter murmured something inaudible, and though Curufin's careless smile broadened, something about his eyes, indefinable, seemed sad. "This was next time."
Maglor merely shook his head, walking Celegorm towards the door, set on assisting him to the healers. Celegorm let out another defiant growl, and Curufin's leer of indifference broadened.
"You know, brother, I think the colt was right—we are beasts!" It could not have amused Curufin more.
Maglor assisted Celegorm out the door; once alone, Curufin's playful façade crumbled, and the true nature of his soul was revealed. Bursting into a fit of rage, he bellowed, "A curse upon it!" The clang of dagger on stone echoed through the room.
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.