14. Chapter 9, Part 2 - Maedhros' End
The smell of spices and cooking chicken filled the nostrils of the dinner guests as they entered the kitchen that evening. The three males stood just inside the door smiling as they looked at the transformed kitchen. Before Mrs. Whitehall left for the day, she had decorated the large kitchen table with the new linens and dishes. She put small candles on the table and arranged some curled ribbons around the Lazy Susan centerpiece. Ailsa was busy mixing the first batch of Margaritas in a blender as the men admired the results of Mrs. Whitehall's work. Looking over her shoulder, she smiled. "Please come in. Dinner will be ready in a few minutes. But first, let's have some of this." She poured the pale green slush into four salt-rimmed glasses.
She handed each of them a glass and took one for herself. Maedhros and Maglor looked suspiciously at the frozen concoction in their glasses, but willingly breathed in the inviting smell of limes from the mixture. Ewan caught Ailsa's eye and smiled. Ailsa raised her glass, "Let me make the first toast of tonight's celebration." The others raised their glasses. "To Maglor, son of Feanor, once lost…now happily back with his family. Welcome to Egla Tir, Maglor" She smiled and took a drink from her glass.
"Here, here." Ewan replied and then did the same. Maedhros nodded, and drank. Maglor seemed embarrassed at the attention he received but slowly brought his glass to his lips and took a sip. Ewan seemed surprised as he tasted his drink. Cool and refreshing, but there was a definite underlying kick to it. The others had similar reactions. Both Maedhros and Maglor's eyes widened as they drank. Ewan cleared his throat and looked at Ailsa. "Papa Errington," he asked. Ailsa began to laugh. "Who else?" She smiled mischievously.
"This is very refreshing." Maedhros offered, "I do not think I have had anything quite like it before." He smiled and took another drink. Maglor seemed a little confused as he inspected the rim of his glass. "What is the significance of the salted rim?" Ailsa licked some salt from her glass and smiled. "It cuts the Tequila a little."
"Tequila is a potent liquor made from a Mexican cactus plant." Ewan quickly explained. He shot Ailsa a wary look. "Maybe you should be less generous with it in the next batch, Ailsa." He took another drink.
Ailsa put her glass down and directed the men to the table. As the guest of honor, she had Maglor sit at the head and placed her father and Maedhros on either side. Her guests refused to sit until she joined them at the other end; a gesture she found rather sweet. She quickly took the warmed tortillas out of the oven and placed them on a flat basket she had lined with a large cloth towel. She then emptied the sizzling Fajita mixture into a chaffing dish and placed it into its stand on the table, making sure the sterno was lit to keep it warm. There were small bowls of sour cream, homemade salsa, black beans, onions, chopped jalapenos and guacamole positioned on the Lazy Susan. The waiting guests looked at the finished dinner with hungry anticipation. Everything was ready, and as she refilled their glasses, Ailsa found she enjoyed their eagerness.
There was a short instruction on how to assemble a proper Fajita. Ailsa sat back and watched her pupils' progress with great amusement. Maglor folded his tortilla with great determination. Ailsa had made it seem so easy, but he had a problem keeping the chicken mixture from falling out the other end. Maedhros' attempt was better, but it still ended with the same result. Ailsa tried not to laugh, but it was hard. Their Elvish dignity seemed to have forsaken them at that precise moment. All the maneuvering was forgotten once they took their first bite. Their eyes reflected complete approval of the wonderful tastes they were experiencing. Such flavor, all the various spices, and even the slight crunch of the vegetables was a symphony of tastes to appreciate and enjoy. With their mouths full, the brothers nodded their approval. Ewan only winked his satisfaction as he took another bite. Ailsa was satisfied.
Once everyone had been eating for a while, the stories began. Simply things…stories of past feasts and parties. Maedhros and Maglor began telling tales from their childhood; silly little things that made them all laugh. Ewan told more "Ailsa" stories…and she blushed accordingly. When Ailsa got up to clear the table, they refused to let her do it alone. She smiled knowing Mrs. Whitehall would find a clean kitchen when she arrived the next morning.
Another blender full of Margarita's was made, as were the promised instructions to Maedhros on how to do it. They sat at the table enjoying just being with each other. After Ewan told a particularly funny story of his college days, while the others were laughing, Ailsa looked at her father, then the brothers. She felt her heart swell with the happiness and affection she felt for them. Yes, even for Maglor. He was a sweet loving brother to Maedhros, and she saw the regard he had for her father. She also knew that it would take time, but he would come to call Egla Tir home.
Maglor raised his hand just then, quieting the laughter and turned to Ailsa as he raised his glass. "I think it is time that we toast our very capable hostess." They all stood. "To Ailsa…for her efforts in making this wonderful feast." Maedhros and Ewan raised their glasses, "To Ailsa!" They all took a deep drink.
Ailsa blushed. Ewan sat down and patted her hand. "You've done a wonderful job, sweetie." This deepened the color on her cheeks. She looked at Maedhros who smiled back. "You should be proud of the results from all your hard work." Now, she was completely embarrassed. "Thank you all for your wonderful words of praise. I wanted to welcome Maglor to Egla Tir and to let him know his family is here for him." Ailsa rose and lifted her glass. "To the House of Feanor."
The others immediately rose and raised their glasses. "To the House of Feanor," they said in unison. Maglor and Maedhros eyes shone as they spoke. Maglor then began to sing. His beautiful voice filled the kitchen with its splendor. The Elvish words he sang only added to the magic of his voice. Maedhros, recognizing the tune, joined him. For the first time, Ailsa was able to hear their two voices clearly without distance or interference to hinder her full appreciation. Their voices, though different in timber, sang in one glorious harmony. The words themselves were woven into a fabric of sounds that were felt rather than heard. Feelings of happiness and thoughts of joy echoed in her mind. Exquisite beyond imagining their song not only caressed her ears, but touched every part of her soul. She found her breathing becoming rapid and she had to sit down before her knees gave way. Ewan sat down as well with a look of wonder written all over his face as he listened. The brothers stood facing each other as a soft glow seemed to surround them as they sang.
Much too soon the song ended and there was silence in the kitchen. Ailsa wanted to clap her approval, but found she couldn't move. The singers raised their glasses once more and made a silent toast. A moment later, they remembered the others. "Forgive us, Ewan…Ailsa." Maedhros apologized. "Maglor and I were singing a song of ancient days in Aman."
Maglor wore a soft smile as he watched Ailsa and her father. If their faces were any indication, the song had touched them deeply. Ewan was the first to find his voice. "That was the most incredible thing I've ever heard." Ailsa swallowed breaking the spell she was under. "That was amazing," was all she could get out. The brothers smiled and sat down, pleased that the others liked their song.
"Can all Elves sing like that?" Ewan's face was filled with boyish wonder as he asked his question.
"Music is a large part of our being." Maglor explained.
"Well, we'll have to record as many of your songs as you can remember." Ailsa announced.
"They'll be a welcome addition to the histories." Ewan added quickly and then regretted saying it. He looked at the brothers imploringly hoping Ailsa hadn't noticed.
Maedhros cleared his throat. "We will talk about that later. Let us have some more of your marvelous Margaritas and maybe a song or two more." His eyes began sparkling with impish delight. Turning his attention directly at Ailsa, he pointed his finger. "And you tithen min, you will learn all the words." Ailsa laughed as she got up and walked over to the blender.
A couple of batches of Margaritas and a few Elvish songs later, Ewan and Maglor were finishing the clean-up in the kitchen. Maedhros walked Ailsa to the grand stairway. They stopped and he laid his hand on her shoulder. "It has been a wonderful night, Ailsa. Thank you again for making it so," he said a wisp of a smile on his lips. Ailsa sighed and smiled back warmly. "I just made the dinner; we all made it a wonderful night."
Maedhros gently squeezed her shoulder hesitant to let her go. Ailsa brought her hand up and touched his forearm. "Goodnight Maedhros." She turned and began to climb the stairs to her room. Maedhros watched her as she disappeared through the doorway bringing an end to the warm happiness he had felt all evening. For a short time, he was able to forget what was going to happen. Now, he suddenly felt cold as he stood in the empty hall. He started to walk back to the kitchen as dread of the coming morning began to fill his heart.
- O -
Surprisingly, Ailsa woke up the next morning without a headache despite the previous night's consumption of Margaritas. Too excited to sleep, she had snuggled under her covers listening to the wind and the night noises for a while. The evening had gone really well. The future looked bright for the House of Feanor now they were all together, and that promise lingered in the back of her mind as she finally drifting into a peaceful slumber. She still had the same feeling of light heartedness when she woke in the early dawn. No troubling dreams had plagued her sleep during the night, and she was looking forward to the new day.
She decided a fresh pot of coffee sounded just right so she quickly showered and dressed. Mrs. Whitehall and the staff wouldn't arrive for a while, so the house was quiet except for the echo of her footsteps on the stairs as she made her way down to the hall. The door to the library was ajar and she decided someone must have risen even earlier than she had and was down in the Archives. She stopped short as she opened the door. Maedhros stood facing her silhouetted in front of the windows, the early morning light barely lighting the sky outside. Even in this dim light, Ailsa could see as he was still wearing the clothes from the previous night. He couldn't have been up all night? She wondered.
Although he stood very still, his arms at his sides, his eyes eagerly searched her face. She couldn't help feeling he had been waiting for her. "Good morning, Maedhros." She tried to sound cheery.
"Good morning, Ailsa." He replied, his voice low and controlled. The cheerfulness drained from her as she heard the flat tone of his words. Something was wrong. "Haven't you been to bed yet," she asked.
"I could not rest, so I came here to think." He turned his eyes away from her intense gaze. The concern he saw in her face made him feel a coward and his resolve began to splinter. How could he tell her? He had tried to find the right words all night, but still he could not find any that he knew would not stick in his throat the moment he tried to say them to her.
"Maedhros…what's wrong?" Ailsa asked as she tried to control her growing apprehension. Maedhros' shoulders sagged, his eyes returned to her face. "I must talk to you." He couldn't keep the sadness from filling his voice as he spoke. "Come…sit with me." He sat on the window seat and indicated with his hand she should sit next to him.
She was almost afraid to sit down. What could he possibly have to say to her that filled his eyes with such misery and now her heart with such dread? He took her hand, entwining their fingers. She watched as he placed their hands on his chest. They rose and fell with each breath he took. She could feel his heart beating against the back of her hand, slow and steady, but his eyes were dark and filled with foreboding. "Maedhros, what is it? You're beginning to scare me."
Ailsa's words implored him to tell her what he found so hard to say. Maedhros searched deep within himself for the courage to go on. He let out a ragged sigh and held her hand tighter. "Tithen min, this is very hard for me to say…to you."
Ailsa's eyes widened as she watched his lips form the words that sent waves of disbelief through her. She could only stare, unable to comprehend the words he was saying. Words she didn't want to hear. No! Her mind protested. No! No! No! She began to shake her head back and forth as if the mere act could dislodge the words from her ears. She heard her own voice echo in her head as it shouted. He's leaving! Maedhros and Maglor are leaving!
She felt her chest tighten, it became painful to breathe. She had to get as far away from this conversation as possible. As she began to stand, hot tears filled her eyes as she heard herself repeating "No." Maedhros still held her hand fast as he tried to make her understand. "Ailsa, we have to try. This is what we have longed for, what we have all hoped for so long."
"It's too soon. Why do you have to leave now?" She heard herself say the words, had she said them? She pulled her hand from his and raised her arm in front of her as she tried to protect herself from what Maedhros was saying. Her mouth began to move, but was unable to say the "No!" that now stuck in her throat.
Maedhros' face was a mask of anguish. As he heard the pain in Ailsa's voice, he prayed for the strength to make her understand. "We can not wait any longer…we have to go. You have convinced us that forgiveness can be ours. If we do not try, we will never know if we are truly welcome in the Blessed Realm."
Ailsa cleared her throat, hoping it would help her speak. "B…but why now? We've had such a short time with you," she tried to reason with him. "Try in a month…or a year even. Dad and I still don't know everything we need to run Egla Tir. And the histories are far from being complete." She desperately searched for the right words, the right phrase, anything to make him change his mind. She tried hard, but it was impossible. "Please," she begged finally. Maedhros stared back at her unable to answer as her simple plea tore through him. Ailsa turned away unable to look him in the face any longer. Maedhros quickly took her hand again and stood as if by shear will, he could make her understand. Ailsa watched him take her hand, but it did little to help her disbelief. How can this be happening? She kept asking herself. She paused and remembered the night before. Just last night… Suddenly she straightened and pulled her hand away hard; suspicion began replacing the tears in her eyes.
"Did you know you were leaving last night?" She asked coldly.
Maedhros saw the growing anger and hurt in her eyes, but knew he could not lie to her. "Yes, we did."
Ailsa felt each word as it struck her. "You mean to tell me…you sat there last night while my father and I made fools of ourselves." She slowly backed away as she spoke. "All the time knowing that it was our last…" She couldn't finish the sentence.
"Maglor and I told Ewan yesterday afternoon. He understands we have to do this." Ailsa's eyes opened wider as she realized she had been the only fool at the table last night. "Well, that's just fine then!" She shot back at him, and ran out of the library into the hall and up the staircase. She heard her father's voice call her name as she reached for the doorknob of her room. She froze for a moment then whirled around. Ewan stood at the top of the stairs on his side of the gallery, deep concern covering his face. "Ailsa, I…" He began.
"Don't you dare 'Ailsa' me. How could you know and not say a word to me?" Ailsa shot the accusation at him as she tried to blink back the angry tears spilling over onto her cheeks. She quickly turned and entered her bedroom slamming the door behind her. She didn't want an answer.
Ewan winced at the sound of the slamming door and its echo in the hall. He stared down at his hand as it gripped the railing unable to think of what to do to help his daughter. They had made a big mistake not letting her know sooner. He realized that now. He began his decent wondering how he could possibly fix this mess. Just then Maedhros slowly came up the main stairs. His body rigid, a stiff reflection of the pained look on his face. He didn't acknowledge Ewan's presence as he passed him, but continued up the side stairs and into his own room closing the door quietly behind him. Ewan sighed as he stood there, his legs suddenly feeling too heavy to move. He sat down on the step. This was not going to be an easy day for any of them.
- O -
No one saw Ailsa for the rest of the morning. Ewan had gone to her room only to find it empty. As he stood there, he tried to think where she could have gone. He had to find her…she had to say her good-byes to the brothers. He knew his daughter. If she missed their departure because she was stubbornly nursing her hurt feelings somewhere, she'd regret it all her life. She had to let Maedhros go…and she had to understand why.
Maedhros stayed in his room, and Ewan didn't know where to even begin to look for Ailsa. It was Maglor who came to him in the library and offered to look for her. "She could be anywhere," Ewan told him.
"I will find her." He said confidently and left Ewan staring after him.
- O -
Ailsa walked for hours not caring where her steps lead her. Her bedroom had begun to feel like a prison after she had cried out most her feelings of anger and betrayal…and yes, grief. Rinsing her face in cold water helped, but she knew she couldn't stay in her room all day. Besides it wouldn't be long before someone would try to talk to her, and she didn't want to talk anymore. Let them talk to each other, they're good at that.
She finally stopped and looked around as the cold wind whipped around her body. She looked down and recognized the open-air theatre where she had first found out Maedhros' secret. The theatre was empty so she slowly went down to the far circular point where he had sat while the sun set. A sharp pain seized her as she remembered how their bonding had changed everything. He had let her see into his soul and experience a life beyond her own. He had touched her world and it was different because of him. Now, she had to face her world, but without Maedhros in it. How could she ever go back to life the way it was? She lowered her head and let out a low groan. So many conflicting feelings, all trying to make themselves heard.
Memories of their discussions about the Shimmer and the Silmarilli rose in her mind. Wasn't this what they had hoped would happen? What Maedhros deserved…to finally be able to go home? She gently kicked the wall with her foot, "I wish I'd never thrown that damn Silmaril at him," she whispered. She closed her eyes and shook her head. No, I'm not going to cry again. Her anger only rose as she tried to forbid any more tears. How could he decide to leave without telling me sooner? Gripping the top of the stone wall, she began to watch the rolling waves make their way to shore. Why are they leaving today?
Maglor recognized Ailsa's small figure as he topped the cliff overlooking the theatre. He could feel her ragged frustration as he watched the poor girl clutch at the stone wall before her. His first impulse was to rush down to her, but he waited. He would give her a moment. He wanted to make sure she would accept his help.
Ailsa breathed in the cold sea air, and hoped it would some how fill the sudden emptiness she was feeling. She lowered her head, and leaned on the wall trying to steady herself. She missed Maedhros already and she didn't know how to stop the pain of it.
Maglor came down the stone steps and stopped a few feet behind Ailsa. He had to brace himself as he felt the waves of sadness radiating from her. She is so young. They feel everything so deeply, he told himself. Tenderness softened his face as he recognized so much of his brother in this young one. Memories of Maedhros' passionate nature filled his mind. Of all his brothers, Maedhros was the one whose emotions were the most intense. He understood now the deep affection that had developed so quickly between Maedhros and this girl. They were as two sides of the same coin in many ways. He had seen snatches of this during the short time he had been at Egla Tir. Now he also felt regret that there wouldn't be any more time to get to know her better. Right now, however, he needed to help her understand.
"Ailsa…" He said. Her head shot up; Ailsa recognized Maglor's voice, but refused to turn. "What the hell do you want?" She shot back at him over her shoulder.
"I have come to help you." He stated plainly.
Ailsa couldn't believe it. Maglor actually thought she wanted his help. She turned around quickly, glaring at him. "I think you've done quite enough." She spat the words at him. "Maedhros wouldn't be going if it weren't for you." Her eyes narrowed as she spoke. She needed to blame someone…anyone.
Maglor calmly looked at her; he made no move to leave. Her mouth twisted into a sarcastic sneer. "Why don't you just go to hell?" Ailsa turned and tried to focus on the sea again hoping he'd get the hint and leave. Instead he moved closer.
"Maedhros and I are in hell." Maglor replied. His voice echoed in Ailsa's ears as the meaning of his words came thundering home. She was drowning in a pool of conflicting emotions. Remembering all the regrets she felt from Maedhros, the guilt that overshadowed his life, the despair that weighed so heavily on his soul...and now finally, there was a sliver of hope. She knew Maglor was right. Damn him, he was right!
Childish anger gave way to a deep sadness trying to fight its way to the surface. How could she still feel so empty with all these feelings whirling around inside her? She just wanted it to stop. Her shoulders slowly fell as the rest of her body waited. She was startled as she felt Maglor strong hands take hold of her upper arms and guide her to one of stone seats. He positioned himself next to her, one arm wrapped around her shoulders for support. He said nothing, just waited and watched her. For what seemed like a long time, Ailsa stared vacantly at the ground below her feet unable to raise her eyes.
Taking his other hand, he placed it under Ailsa's chin and lifted it until their gaze met. His mouth softened into an unconscious smile as he saw how easily the regret shone in her eyes. "I am sorry that you are so distressed, Ailsa. Please do not feel anger towards Maedhros. It was at my suggestion that he did not tell you until this morning. I thought last night's feast would be a memory we could hold in our hearts always. And I was right." Ailsa felt hot tears welling up in her eyes again; she pressed her lips together as she struggled to keep some kind of control. "Maedhros and I would never purposely cause you pain. But we must go home," he continued. "It is time."
That was all Ailsa could take. Her face fell as tears cascaded down her cheeks. Maglor moved his arm around her shoulders bringing her closer. Her own arms came up and clung desperately to Maglor's slender middle as she buried her face into his chest. Even Maglor's Elvish ears could barely make out the muffled "I'm sorry" she sobbed into the material of his suit jacket. He knew she was sorry. She hadn't understood, letting her needs obscure the simple truth of the miracle that was going to come to pass. He gently drew her closer as she continued to cry. His heart also broke for her, because now…she did understand.
After a while, her sobs ceased, but still she held on to him. He had become her anchor, as she tried to build her resolve. Maglor wouldn't let go, not while she still needed his comfort. Eventually, Ailsa let out a deep sigh and gently pulled away. He held her hand in his as they sat side by side in the early afternoon sun. Ailsa didn't know how long they sat there. The feel of Maglor's hand in hers seemed to give her the strength she badly needed. His silent comfort helped to make her come to terms with what had to happen.
As if reading her thoughts, Maglor stood up and gently helped Ailsa to her feet. She still held on to his hand as they climbed the stones stairs to the cliff top. He continued this kindness as they walked wordlessly back to the manor house. Not until they stood in front of the opened doorway of her bedroom did he release her hand. Ailsa had relied on his strength during the walk home, and now as she stood facing his concerned eyes, she knew that she would have to stand on her own once more.
His grey eyes widen slightly as she reached up and hugged him. "Thank you," she whispered. Turning, she went into her room and closed the door quietly behind her. Maglor nodded absently as he started down the stairs.
- O -
Ewan and Maglor stood in the hallway waiting for Maedhros. Ewan prayed Ailsa would make an attempt to come down and say good-bye to the brothers before they left. Her last memory of Maedhros must not be the scene in the library. He worried that she could still be nursing her anger and feelings of betrayal. Maglor hadn't been any help when he returned. All Maglor would say was he'd found her and she was up in her room, never indicating her state of mind.
Maedhros had stayed in his room most of the day, not even coming down for luncheon. Mrs. Whitehall felt something was up. No one had come to lunch, and her face was a mixture of curiosity and concern when Ewan told her no one would be there for dinner. She didn't ask any questions, but she could feel something wasn't right.
Maglor worked with Ewan in the Archives until, as if sensing it, he abruptly stood and informed Ewan, "It is time." Ewan looked frantically around his desk to make sure he hadn't forgotten anything. He quickly rummaged through the piles of notes he had made. Finally, Maglor reached out and touched his arm. "Ewan, it is time." He said solemnly. Ewan felt stupid, as if answering one more of his questions would delay what was going to happen. It was time for him to face his own dread of the coming sunset. Dropping his pen in the middle of the papers, he got up and followed Maglor up the stairs to the library.
Maglor went up to Maedhros and was back a few minutes later. That was half an hour ago. The only words that passed between them were Maglor's announcement, "Maedhros will be ready soon." So they stood in the hallway waiting, Maglor standing with his arms at his sides wearing his Elvish composure like a cloak. As usual, Ewan watched the tops of shoes, but he couldn't help glancing up every now and then at Ailsa's bedroom door. Hoping against hope it would open. The only door that opened, however, was Maedhros'. He stopped at the top of the stairway and gave Ailsa's door a quick glance. He straightened his shoulders and proceeded down the stairs. As he stepped in front of the great window, he turned and looked at it one more time. He read the Elvish words carved so beautifully at the bottom, "May It Be as The Valar Wishes." He prayed that it was true.
Just then, Ailsa's door opened and she came out dressed in her jacket and scarf. Maedhros turned and his face broke into a smile as he saw her standing at the top of the stairs. Her eyes were a little red, and her mouth was trying hard to smile through pressed lips, but he was overjoyed to see her.
Ailsa almost lost her resolve when she saw him. He stood rod straight, his hair was unbound and he was wearing the same Midnight blue suit he'd worn when she first met him in Berkeley. She swallowed and tried to steel herself as she walked down to him. Maedhros felt great sadness as he watched her. His hand reached up and touched the side of her face. "Tithen min…" he said. Ailsa shook her head. "If you start talking to me like that, I won't be able to do this," she pleaded. Maedhros' eyes shone as he offered her his arm. They joined Maglor and Ewan. Her father gave her a quick smile; he understood what it took for her to do this. Maglor bowed slightly to her, his hand on his chest. Ailsa quickly acknowledged him as she walked with Maedhros. Silently the little band left the hall and made their way outside to the garden.
Ailsa tried hard not to look at Maedhros as they walked through the woods. She bit her lip as she fought the urge to run away with him in tow. Silly thoughts of tying him to a tree until she could make him change his mind kept popping up. Finally, she had to come to terms with the inevitable; she just held his arm a little tighter. Too soon the sound of the sea was heard through the trees. Has this walk always been so short, she wondered. Before she was ready, they stood on the cliff top. All four gazed down at the beach below. Maglor's boat was safely moored high on the sand near the path. The tide was out and the sun had begun to slowly glide down to the edge of the sea. The wind was coming off the shore so the sky was clear, except for some sparse clouds forming just above the horizon.
Maedhros took Ailsa's hand and guided her down to the beach with Maglor and Ewan close behind. Ailsa looked back and saw her father make his way down the sandy path. His face was set in a kind of stony acceptance. Maglor's eyes smiled back at her, lending her some needed reassurance. Her nerves though threadbare still held fast. They reached the bottom of the path and Maedhros still held her hand as they walked onto the beach. With the tide out, the waves waited for them many yards from shore. Ailsa eyes were drawn to the horizon framed by the two giant arches of red rock standing in the deeper swells. Standing as a gateway to the brilliant golden disc moving closer to the waiting length of misty clouds that lay just above the sea.
As they stood next to Maglor's boat, Maedhros reluctantly let go of her hand. Maglor nimbly climbed into the boat and took a quick inventory to make sure everything was still in order. It was then that Ailsa realized the brothers didn't have any luggage. "Aren't you taking anything with you," she asked. Maedhros stood silently his back to her, but Maglor answered for them both. "We will have everything we need once we get to Aman" He tried to hide the joy in his words, but his heart had begun to sing with anticipation. "Oh." Was all Ailsa could reply.
Maglor jumped out of the boat and stood before Ailsa. He reached out and held her at arms length. His eyes filled with pride as he watched her trying so hard to be brave. "Ailsa, you have been a wonderful surprise," he smiled. "I take with me your easy acceptance of a stranger and your constant devotion to our cause. "No vaidech galen a malthen." He brought his forehead down and gently touched hers. Ailsa smiled weakly at him. "Navaer Maglor. Thank you for everything." Maglor nodded knowingly.
Maglor then turned to Ewan who extended his hand. Maglor quickly took it in his. "It has been a pleasure knowing you, Maglor." Ewan's voice was a little shaky. "Galu."
Maglor smiled as he shook Ewan's hand, "I too am pleased that I was able to know you, Ewan. I pray to the Valar to watch over your journey through this world. Navaer Ewan."
Maedhros stood facing the sea. Ailsa move closer to him. "Maedhros?" She barely whispered. Her voice suddenly sounded so small to him. If she only knew how hard he was trying to summon the courage to face her for the last time. She was trying so hard to be strong; her sadness was too deep not to be felt by him. Maglor caught his eye and silently implored him to turn around. As he turned, the words of farewell stuck in his throat nearly choking him as he looked at her. All he wanted was for her to realize how important she was to him. Of all the generations of his children, she had been the one who had touched his heart the deepest. Now, he had to say good-bye to her. "Tithen min…" He began. Ailsa's pressed her lips together even tighter knowing she wouldn't be able to hold on much longer. He took her hand in his and placed it above his heart. "How can I say what knowing you has meant to me." Tears slid down his face.
Ailsa drew in a quick breath. "I don't want you to go!" She sobbed and threw her arms around his neck. Maedhros' arms quickly came up and held her. "I know," he whispered close to her ear. "I love you so much my bright shining girl." He stepped back and taking her hand, turned it palm up. He then slipped his hand into his pocket and brought out something and placed it in the middle of her hand. Ailsa blinked back tears as she tried to focus on Maedhros' hairclip. "I made this for Elizabeth long ago. I think she would want you to have it now." His voice shook as he closed her fingers around the gold and silver trees.
Ailsa looked up at Maedhros. "I will always treasure it."
"As I will always treasure you." He smiled and brushed the backs of his fingers along her tear-streaked cheek. "Navaer tithen min." Ailsa began to cry again and he held her in his arms one last time.
The wind changed direction, and the sound of the waves drew closer as the tide started to come in. Ewan came up to Maedhros and cleared his throat. It was time for the brothers to leave. Reluctantly, he and Ailsa parted. Ewan put his arm around the sobbing Ailsa, and his eyes gazed at the magnificent Elf standing before them. Maedhros looked at father and daughter and deftly wiped the tears from his face. "I do not know what to say to you Ewan." He voice was heavy with emotion. Ewan swallowed, "Then my dear Maedhros, you needn't say anything." Maedhros touched the side of Ewan's face. "I know I leave Egla Tir in good hands. Navaer Ewan." He turned to join Maglor at the boat.
Ailsa watched as they dragged the boat to the water. She wondered if they should lend a hand, but the brothers' combined Elvish strength was all that was needed. Once in the water they gracefully jumped into the boat and began to row out to sea. "Let's go to the cliff and watch. We'll have a better view up there." Ewan said. Ailsa broke away from her father and raced up the pathway. Once standing near the edge, she frantically searched the water for the small boat. The sun had settled into the misty cloudbank nestled on the horizon. Shafts of golden light shown through the clouds and onto the water below. The sky above was now a palette of various shades of pale pinks and golds. It was a soft welcoming sky. The golden reflection of the setting sun on the water made it difficult to make anything out.
Suddenly…there! There it was, but she saw no movement of oars. They had raised the sail, and the brothers sat near the bow. Ailsa couldn't believe it; no one was steering the boat. The vessel seemed to be drifting, but in a straight path directly toward the horizon. It grew smaller and smaller as it headed for the edge of her world.
Maedhros and Maglor watched, their hearts filling with unbelievable joy. The mist was opening; they could see in the distance the white shores of Aman. They still could not believe it. The boat was being sailed by unseen but sure hands taking them safely through the mists. Maedhros then pulled out of his pocket the only thing he had taken with him from Egla Tir. The little wooden bird still looked as if she was ready to take flight; time hadn't destroyed the soft carved feathers of her wings or the tilt of her head. His fingers closed gently around his tithen aiwe. Soon they would be home. Maedhros turned and looked back for a moment knowing Ailsa and Ewan would be watching from the cliff. Farewell my precious ones.
Ewan had joined her on the cliff and they stood close together. Ailsa took hold of her father's arm hoping to steady herself. She stared with a mixture of hope and dread as the boat made its way toward the opening mists. It continued to sail true, but just before the boat disappeared completely, Ailsa felt Maedhros turn and knew he saw them standing on the cliff and knew he was thinking of them. The next moment, the boat was gone.
"They made it!" Ewan announced happily as he dabbed his eyes with his handkerchief. Ailsa turned her tear stained face to him, she didn't know what to say. Ewan looked at her and sighed. "We had to let him go, sweetie." He tried to comfort them both with the thought.
"I know," she said lowering her eyes. "What do we do now, Dad?" Ailsa lower lip began to tremble.
Ewan put his arm around Ailsa's shoulders and she looked at him. "I guess we do the only thing we can do." He swallowed hard. "Miss him." Ailsa buried her head in her father's shoulder. Solemnly, father and daughter with their arms wrapped around each other, tearfully made their way into the woods of Egla Tir…and home.
Author Note: Well, here we are. My first fanfic is now completed. My heart-felt appreciation goes out to all the travelers who came with me on this journey. I hope you have enjoyed the trip. A big thank you to my friends, old and new, for your tender encouragements and patience.
With the greatest reluctance I now return Maedhros and Maglor back to the professor. They belong to him, and were only loaned to me for a little while. To the brothers I can only say, "Guren ninnatha sui i lu tol cen a adchen."
No vaidech galen a malthen./May your ways be green and golden.
Navaer tithen min/Farewell little one
Tithen min/Little one
Guren ninnatha sui i lu tol cen a adchen./My heart shall weep until it sees you again.
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.