6. Fine Line
He rode heedless of direction, heedless of time, heedless of fatigue, heedless of hunger, heedless of all save a burning desire to get away. If one had asked him what he was fleeing from, he could not have answered, but there was something he was fleeing. Yet he had to stop, if only because Narolaman, refused to carry him further.
So Caranthir got off his back and allowed him to graze and rest. It was then that he saw the deer gazing unafraid, conveniently within spearing range. Slowly Caranthir went back to his horse and drew out his spear from where it was stowed in his saddle. Silently he took aim, his prey completely unaware of his intentions. Then he froze.
'She wouldn't like this,' he found himself thinking, 'She would want the deer to live.' He tried to think of the roasted flesh of the deer on his plate, tried to think of how it would taste after his long fast, but all he could think of was, 'she wouldn't like it.' He clenched his teeth and cursed himself, "What do I care what she thinks?" he demanded, but the spear did not leave his hands.
"Grrrr….AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" he screamed as he smashed the spear into pieces. The deer started at the sudden noise and turned towards Caranthir, surprise evident in its eyes. Obviously, it was not used to seeing elves behave as he was. He took a threatening step towards it and bellowed, "Go away! I am no Laiquendi! I eat flesh. I kill, I maim, I destroy as much as I make. GO AWAY."
The deer bounded away and Caranthir collapsed down on the ground and gazed up at the darkening sky. His mind was blank and that was the way he liked it. The heavens roared, as dark threatening clouds began to gather. The night would be a violent one. Caranthir did not mind, or, rather, he did not care.
He had been watching their approach for some time now. He noted with great displeasure the absence of his wayward middle brother. The fact that all of Caranthir's followers were with the twins did not escape his notice either.
As soon as they were near enough, they exclaimed joyfully, "Maglor!"
Maglor regarded the Ambarussa with unreadable eyes that did not blink. The two redheaded twins began to fidget. It was only a short time before one of them cracked. It was Amras who lost his nerve first, "Caranthir is in love with Ninglorrîn and asked her to marry him; she refused and now Caranthir has become more fey than usual," he blurted out.
Amrod shook his head at his brother's lack of nerve; they hadn't even got off their horses yet! Amrod promptly dismounted and approached Maglor, "We do not know why she refused him. We know she loves him," he explained to Maglor. "We had hoped that you would be able to sing some sense into him, but he was most reluctant to meet you. He rode off just as we were setting out. I do not think even he knew where he was going."
Silence, Maglor turned to the nearest elf and said in a calm, quiet, but commanding voice, "Get my horse."
Footsteps, loud and heavy, roused him from his blank compliance. It was raining hard now and Caranthir was totally immersed in mud. For a moment he wanted to just lie like this and let the orcs pass him by. For orcs they were, and Caranthir knew that because of the rain and the mud that covered him, they would not be able to see or smell him, Then he remembered Narolaman. Swift movements got him to his feet and beside his horse. Gently he led the horse into the thick canopy of bushes nearby, "Stay here my, friend," he whispered into Narolaman's ears.
He could hide as well, but the moment of lethargy had passed, now he just wanted to taste the rush of combat, and as the orc band drew near, all he could feel was bloodlust.
More than once, Maglor wished that Celegorm were here to aide him since his wilderness skills paled in comparison to most of his brothers. The rain wasn't helping either, but what he lacked in wilderness skills, he made up with an innate ability to sense his brothers. In was only a matter of time before he found Caranthir.
Caranthir stood among the dismembered bodies of his kills, covered in blood, mud, and soaked through. Some the blood was his own, but most of it was the black blood of the foul children of Morgoth. He raised his hand to wipe some of the blood away but stopped. The rain had ceased and the stars were burning bright, as their light hit the shining blade of his sword, he could see his reflection. His skin black from the mud and blood, his fair features obscured by the cuts and bruises, his eyes filled still with bloodlust, in the light of the stars he looked like an orc. He looked like and ORC. He had to get the blood off of him. HE HAD TO GET THE BLOOD OFF OF HIM.
Caranthir fell on his knees next to the nearest puddle, scooping up the water in a vain effort to clean himself. The muddy, blood soaked water only made things worse. Panic seized his heart, but than the faint sound of running water reached his ears. There was a river near by; there was a river near by.
The stone had no jagged edges, but its surface was very rough. It was perfect for the purpose he intended. Naked he stood waist deep in the water, vigorously he used the stone to scrape his skin clean, heeding not the broken skin or burning cuts. Busy with his task he did not hear the other approach, but soon enough he felt bright eyes burning into his back. Slowly he turned to come face to face with his brother's pained gaze. He turned away almost immediately, once gain starting to scrub his skin raw.
"Caranthir," called Maglor softly; yet there was a silent, powerful command weaved into the word that Caranthir found unable to disobey. Maglor was not called the Mighty for nothing.
Reluctantly he waded to the edge of the river and stood in front of his brother, stubbornly refusing to meet his eyes. "Don't be so stubborn," whispered Maglor as he pulled his rigid brother into a comforting embrace. "Don't be so stubborn," he repeated. After a moment Caranthir sighed and melted into his brother's arms; once in awhile even he, Morofinwë Carnistir Caranthir, needed the comfort of a warm hug.
[i] Narolaman – This is quenya. Naro –fire, laman – animal, so Narolaman is fiery animal (well fire animal literally).
[ii] Morofinwë is Caranthir's father-name in quenya and Carnistir is Caranthir's mother-name in quenya. Caranthir is the sindar form of Carnistir.
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.