3. Chapter 3
Less than a week later the ships of Gil-galad arrived.
Maglor was awakened from Elwing's bed by his brother's shouts from the door. Maedhros burst into the room, a sword in his left hand. "The High King," he shouted, breathless, "is coming. Ships fill the bay." Maglor was up and in armor in an instant. "Get the soldiers," he said. "I will secure the boys."
Elrond was bent over Elros' crib, whispering something in Quenya. He looked up when Maglor came in, suddenly afraid. Maglor walked right by him to the window. He closed the metal shutters, locked them, and fastened securely the window-glass. Then he turned to Elrond. He wanted to explain, to give him some reassurance, but he found that he could think of nothing to say. So he left, and locked the bedroom door behind him.
Maglor's well-trained soldiers rode behind him in formation to the waterside. Maedhros was already there with his own soldiers, a grim expression on his face. At least fifty ships were coming, all armed and filled with Elven soldiers. They had an hour, at most, before the ships would arrive.
"We will have to burn the harbor," Maedhros said. Maglor nodded, and ordered a torch to be brought. Sirion was a new city, built mostly of wood, with dense houses for Elven merchants by the water. The fire spread quickly among them. Most of the residents escaped their burning homes, but not all. A woman leapt from the top of a burning house, her hair on fire. Her son followed soon after, calling for his mother.
As Maglor watched the flames escort the boy to Mandos he thought of other flames, and other children: at Alqualonde, at Doriath. He imagined Elrond's face on the boy as he fell to his death. This is the path that I chose the day I spoke my vow. And, for the third time in his life, Maglor watched a city burn by his hand.
"We have bought ourselves a night," he said to Maedhros.
Maedhros was silent, his face twisted in fury. Then he barked orders at his men, giving instructions for the evacuation of Sirion. Maglor yelled his own orders, and ran off to Elwing's house.
By the time he returned it was dark, and the boys were asleep. He went to their room to fetch them, but was distracted by the broken window.
The glass was shattered, in pieces on the floor. Maglor picked up a shard and found that it was covered with blood. Even the bars of the metal shutters were bloody, as if someone had torn his hands trying to open them by force. Someone
Maglor knelt by Elrond's bed and moved the sheet that was covering him. The boy's hands were cut in great gashes, as were his legs. His hair was matted with blood, and blood mixed with tears on his pillow. Maglor tensed, and looked down in surprise to see his fingers had closed on the glass he held. Soon his own hand was bleeding, and his blood mixed with Elrond's on the floor.
He shook his hands free and fetched a damp cloth to clean Elrond's wounds before the long journey. He ran a damp finger along the cut on the boy's forehead. Not deep, only a scratch really. It should heal without problems. Elrond's breathing shifted, but he did not wake. There was a great deal of blood. Maglor found another gash, this time on the boy's chest. He had obviously used his entire body in a hopeless attempt to break through the window. This, too, Maglor cleaned as well as he could. Then he found his fingers returning to the boy's face. Such an unusual face, unique in all of Arda, long like an Elf's, yet rounded, with the softness of a man-child. To Maglor it was indescribably beautiful. He touched the boy's hair, dark and heavy beneath his hand. It had been so long, so many years, since Maglor had felt the touch of another Elf. He placed his fingers, gently, on the boy's chest.
At that moment Elrond's eyes opened. All his earlier defiance was gone, leaving only fear in his moonlike eyes.
"Let me go to Gil-galad," he whispered.
"I can not," Maglor answered. Do not ask me, sweet child
"You said you would care for us," Elrond said, begging.
Maglor thought of all the reasons Maedhros would give. While they had the boys as hostages they were safe from the vengance of Elwing's people, who would not risk the lives of the last heirs of Doriath. And, if Elwing herself were to return, perhaps she could be prevailed on by her people to exchange the Silmaril for her sons. And then he thought of the other reason: that he simply could not live without these boys. They gave a meaning to his life beyond destruction, beyond the madness that was continuing to possess him. Or they brought their own kind of madness. Either way, he could not let them go.
"I will care for you. Always. I will give my life for you if need be. But I will not be parted from you. I could not bear it."
The child did not struggle as Maglor took him into his arms. The blood loss had weakened him, or perhaps he had given up. He lifted up Elros as well, and brought the boys downstairs to the wagons that waited to take them to their new home.
Thank you to all my kind reviewers. You are keeping me writing, and I am very grateful. Please keep the reviews coming. Not all the chapters will be this dark, I promise.
Bows to Soledad for helping me get inside Maglor's head, and to greenleaf-legolas for reading a draft just in time.
For those who asked about Elrond and Elros being twins - it is not stated anywhere in the canon that they are, or even in Unfinished Tales. So I do not consider it binding on fanfic writers, and have gone with my understanding of Elrond's personality.
If you are committed to the idea that they are twins, but want to enjoy the story anyway, here is a thought. Elves mature much slower than humans, reaching maturity at age 50. I have imagined that as half-Elves Elrond and Elros grow in fits and starts, sometimes at the human rate, sometimes at the much slower Elvish rate, sometimes slower than either. They will also reach maturity at age 50. Elrond is six years old at the beginning of the story, and has obviously matured at the human rate all that time. If you like, you can imagine that they actually were twins, and that Elros has been growing unusually slowly.
I should also remind my readers, in case it isn't perfectly clear from the story, that any and all moral judgements made by the characters in this story or any other of mine are theirs and not mine.
A final deep bow to the Great Professor Tolkien, who created these wonderful and disturbing characters. I couldn't have made them up.
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.