3. Grim and Gleeful
They sat in stunned silence as Caranthir devoured an entire leg of deer all by himself within moments of beginning his dinner, and as soon as he finished, he began to eye another large chunk of meat. Unable to take his silent hunger, Amrod spoke up, "If you want another piece, dear brother, you are welcome to it." At once, Caranthir seized the piece and, like always, did not bother to thank Amrod, "You are welcome." Amrod replied wearily.
"Has the company of Laiquendi you have been travelling with not been feeding you?" enquired Amras.
"Yes and no," came the response between rather full mouthfuls.
"How so?" wondered the twins.
Resolving to avoid mention of that woman at all costs, Caranthir snapped, "They have not been feeding me meat."
"Ah," both said in one voice. "We just thought that you might be missing a certain flame-haired maiden."
Caranthir froze and slowly lifted his murderous gaze towards them. The Ambarussa grinned identical impish grins. "We made a rhyme about you brother," they said, oblivious to the tensing of Caranthir's body. "Would you like to hear it?" they asked sweetly.
"NO!" shouted Caranthir, frightening some nearby birds, "Do the two of you have nothing better to do but listen to idle gossip and compose silly rhymes?" he demanded, "Am I the only one who remembers the oath?"
As soon as he said it, he regretted, for the faces of the Ambarussa fell. "Why did you have to go and mention that?" wondered Amras. "We have not forgotten, we can never forget." he snapped, "It's just…" he trailed off.
Caranthir said nothing, waiting for his brothers to explain. "Men are very short lived," commented Amrod after awhile.
"What of it?" wondered Caranthir.
"Their short lives breed some interesting behaviour," Amrod explained.
Caranthir arched his eyebrows. "And what interesting behaviours of men have the two of you picked up?"
"The one in which they live life while they can, for tomorrow may never come, and the past is long dead," said the twins. "What has happened has happened; we can't change that. What will happen will happen, but right now…" They grinned and Caranthir flinched. "We are going to tickle you till your stomach aches," the next minute, he had two grown but very immature elves tackling him to the ground.
They three brothers rolled around on the ground for some time, until the ache of their stomachs from laughing too much could not be ignored any longer. "Get off me!" bellowed Caranthir when he managed to get his body under control, but the Ambarussa were not listening.
In fact, Amrod promptly put his head on Caranthir's right shoulder and Amras on his left, and they interlocked their arms over his body, ensuring that he could not escape. "We have missed you brother," they said amidst a yawn, as they snuggled in closer.
"What are you, still infants?" demanded Caranthir, since the last time they had slept together like this was when Amras and Amrod were not even old enough to walk.
"For tonight, yes," came the sleepy response from his grubby younger siblings.
Caranthir sighed heavily, "Good night little brothers," he whispered. The twins mumbled something and snuggled in closer, needing to feel their fiery brother between them. It felt as if it had been forever since they had last met one of their elder brothers, though they knew it was not so. Yet their minds could not reason with their hearts, and in their hearts, they wished all their brothers were always with them, like they had been in Valinor when the two trees still shone. Their eyes strayed towards the west, where the sun had just gone down, in the distance they could see the low campfires of their men and hear the soft cautious sound of music, they were so glad they had decided to spend the night apart with their dear brother, that was the last thought that crossed their mind before they slipped into the realm of elven sleep.
"No, no, NO!" screamed Caranthir in the middle of the night, waking both his brothers still resting at his side.
"Wake up brother, please wake up," cried Amras as he gently shook him. "You are having a bad dream."
"I am awake," barked Caranthir as he batted Amras's hand away. "So you can stop annoying me."
"You are so ungrateful," chided Amras.
"What were you dreaming of?" enquired Amrod keeping his tone deliberately light. "Father's death, Grandfather's murder, our recent defeat?"
Caranthir mumbled something.
"I could not make that out."
"I said I was dreaming of apples," cried Caranthir. "Now stop your insipid questioning."
His brothers shot him blank stares, then slowly, trying very hard not to laugh, Amras said, "Don't worry brother, there are no apples here, just us, your loving brothers."
"Indeed," replied Amrod, fighting hard not to laugh. "And we will be most pleased to hold you and keep you safe from…" Losing their battle with laughter, the Ambarussa began to howl as they added in unison, "Apples."
"Be glad you are my brothers," said Caranthir as he watched them roll around on the ground in mirth. "For otherwise, you would have had to learn to eat without your teeth." he declared, his eyes ablaze with righteous fury.
The Ambarussa, however, paid him little heed. There were many, many advantages in being the youngest of all the sons of Fëanor, not the least of which was total immunity from their elder brothers' righteous fury.
"You know Ambarussa," began Amrod, "I think our apple-coloured hair might be to blame for our brother's nightmare."
"I think you might be right Ambarussa," agreed Amras, deliberately flicking his head so that Caranthir's could not avoid looking at his red hair. "Or maybe, dear Ambarussa, he misses the nightly kisses of our sister-to-be."
Caranthir opened his mouth to release a mighty bellow, but Amrod's rich laughter interrupted him. "I think you are right, Ambarussa. After all everybody knows how our feisty sister-to-be loves to toy with our dear brother, giving him small tastes of her sweet charms, everyday drawing him into her loving embrace. Ah, if only the maidens in Valinor knew such skill of taming a shrew, we might have had another nephew or niece by now."
"LISTEN YOU TWO!" shouted Caranthir. "Ninglorrîn is but a Laiquendi, she is nothing compared to me. Had she been a maiden of Valinor, a maiden of light, even if she was not a Noldo, the question of an alliance might have arisen. As it is, I cannot, I will not allow my heart to lead me to wed a woman whom my mind rejects."
For one long moment neither of the twins spoke. Finally, in unison, they declared calmly but with great conviction, "You are Arda's biggest fool."
"What does it matter that she has never seen the light of the two trees?" wondered Amras, "None of us will ever see it again, save when we recover the Silmarils, and then, then she will see it with us. As for Valinor," a shadow fell over their ordinarily joyous faces. "Do you not remember the words of Námo Mandos, brother?" Amras asked, "We will never set foot on Aman again, and the light in our eyes have dimmed." He reminded his brother, "Why should we not seek for what little happiness we can find in marred Endor after the custom of men?"
"You said that your heart desires her." Amrod reminded him, "We speak of love. In love, what more is there than the desire of the heart? Listen to us and take a page from the book of our philosophy. Take what joy you can, while you can. The oath will call us soon enough. Besides," he added with a wide grin, "we want lots and lots of nieces and nephews to play with."
"Indeed," joined Amras, "and if you do not do as we bid, we will ensure that you eat nothing but apples till the end of days."
"Humph," said Caranthir as he crossed his arms. "Believe me brothers, no child of mine will ever go anywhere near the two of you."
Silence. "That's it," they declared. "Prepare to be punished."
Caranthir yelped and for the second time that night, he found himself rolling around on the ground with his brothers.
Ambarussa: The name their mother gave both Amrod and Amras in Valinor. I guess she really didn't see a difference between them.
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.