Do You Love Me, Brother?: 4. Mad

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4. Mad

In ages hence and accents sweet—the lay ran through his head, sung by the sweetest of voices—the deeds of the Noldor shall be renowned, the toils of the Fire-Spirit none the least… Such had been the words spoken, caught in a web of crystalline memory. It was her voice, and yet different, as if another twined with hers. Valour they won, and honor, and fame, and blood darkened the earth like a shade.

—No, not that, he begged. Please, do not sing of the blood.—Creeping through the shadows, his soul melded as one with the darkness. He knew every path, every tree. He'd been here before.

Mórnië utúlië, the Demons arose

The dagger rested lightly in his hand, prepared for what he knew must happen.

Mórnië alántië, and hearts aflame froze

Treading through the trees of the massive courtyard, he let the ice take him, the cold indifference he so often called upon in war. The blade became the only reality, the only thing that mattered. The blade, and the honeyed voice.

An oath they swore in the madness of shade

An oath, the Oath, the ravenous beast devouring their very flesh in its voracity, driving them to unspeakable horror. It was what would fuel them, he knew, to the ultimate deed, the damning sin no mercy could redress: blood they would spill. Innocent blood. Elven blood.

Mórnië utúlië—my tale has only begun
Mórnië alántië—our days grow short

Indeed, he grimaced. Shorter than you know.

The trees broke, the safety of their foliage dully noted in the absence. Across the clearing the figure sat on a stone, a natural bench fitted just for its purpose. Dully noted was the rise and fall of muscled back and shoulders, interrupted by the gently rhythm of voice and harp.

My tears count the stars
Their warmth frozen for ages,
Yet I cannot say they are not justly deserved.

Closer, closer the footfalls crept, silent as a leaf landing on water. Rise, fall, inhale, exhale, life coursing through the harper's veins. Not for long.

Such is our fate, and the doom of the Fallen.

Such is the fate. Such is the fate.

It will not be yours.

Regret I have none, but sorrows unnumbered.

Closer. Closer.

Perhaps one day the Light will find us.
Perhaps one day, we shall conquer.

Muscles taught, ready to pounce, the solid hand positioned the dagger. The song faded, its final notes drifting through empty oblivion.

"You're slower than usual, Atarinkë."

He remained mute in surprise.

"Aye, it is you…and your blade." The target turned, revealing a serene visage, fairest in this world, save one. Eyes betrayed the sorrow welling in the soul's heart. "Why?"

He stepped closer, wielding his blade with obvious intent as the initial shock wore thin. "You must die."

"If you kill the only one who truly knows you, what does it leave?"


Panic shot through the calculating gaze. "For the Gods' sake, Curufin, you cannot just run around killing people!"

Keep calm, he reminded himself. He is the prey.

But he is also my brother. "I am not ‘running around killing people’," he managed, surpassing the sudden wave of pain. "I am only killing you. I…I do not think I could kill the others…only you."

"That wench did this, didn't she." His cold certainty pervaded the senses. "She did this to you."

You mustn't falter, you mustn't fail. "It is my curse and your salvation, Turco. You should thank her."

"Thank her! For driving my brother mad?"

No response. He stepped closer.

"What will you do, when I am gone? Will you speak of the pain with Nelyo? Makalaurë will not listen, merely blame it on himself as always. Or Carnastir, perhaps? Your son, who deserted us in the hour of our need? The very dead we are damned for? You will not last. You will go mad under the pain."

"I will last as long as I need to," he determined. Remember what you came to do.

"For what, Atarinkë? For eternal damnation on my account?"

Yes. "You are trying to halt my hand."

"I fear death, you know this. We have never kept secrets."

Focus. You will do this. "Some fears must be met." The pain in the prey's eyes, he was terrified of death. What would come of it? What lay beyond the grave? He attacked others to unleash his pain, but could he save his soul? "Do you fear the Valar's wrath?"

Silence—there was no answer. The target moved softly, placing his harp on the grass.

It was an opening. Quickly, quietly the dagger darts, flicking to the side, he will do it can do it force power put power behind it—the blade is met by his brother's, appearing out of nowhere.

"Apparently you don't."

He must do this, can feel the tears welling in his eyes. Why must he be broken so? "I will take my chances!"

"Rúnyo, please!"

"NO!" He pushes, pulls, anything to win. The fray tumbles to the ground, Celegorm on top of Curufin, then vice versa. Blades spin, bodies thud back and forth—he must win, must save his brother, this is his only chance, if he does not succeed now he never will. Something burns his arm, something is wet, and he must win. By the Gods, if he could only win. Suddenly he is on his back, thrown from his brother. Something snapped, and he cannot move his arm. Fire blazes through his body, his arm, he cannot hold his dagger. His arm is broken.

His brother walked away, turning from the brother he once loved, still loved. But the mad cannot dwell among the sane.

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.

Story Information

Author: pitya

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 1st Age

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 10/05/08

Original Post: 12/09/05

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