The Second Path: 2. Chapter 2

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2. Chapter 2

Maglor waited outside Fingon’s tent impatient to see his brother after their long, grieving separation. He did not know how his cousin had managed to rescue his brother, but he was glad. When Fingon finally left the tent, his head bowed and his eyes dark, Maglor stood aside. He did not normally speak with any of his cousins. Whatever dealings he had, it was only with his uncle, Nolofinwe. Taking a deep breath, he entered the tent.

Maedhros was resting on a large bed, his right hand swathed in bandages and his body, mutilated and torn beyond recognition. The red tresses that everyone had admired so much had become a mockery of their former glory. Only those grey eyes still held recognition and life.

“Russandol?” Maglor moved to sit beside his brother, “You are back truly?”

Maedhros smiled nervously whispering, “Something that was once me is now here, Macalaurë, though I do not know which part of me has returned.”

Maglor gently ran his hand over his brother’s marred face saying, “Whichever part it is, I am glad. I thank Findekano for his valiant rescue.”

Maedhros’s eyes darkened as he whispered, “I know. Take me to our camp, brother. I cannot stay here in his tent.”

“You are wounded and cannot be moved!” Maglor hissed angrily.

“Please, Macalaurë, I beg you”, Maedhros whispered hoarsely, “I, I cannot abide here broken and maimed. Take me with you, I will try not to be a burden to you or my other brothers.”

“You could never be a burden to anyone, far less to me!” Maglor said gently, “If you wish to leave, then so be it. I wished not to move you while you were so hurt. We will leave as soon as I have spoken with Nolofinwe.”

Maglor found his uncle outside his tent, standing with his daughter, Aredhel. The fair lady bowed and left quietly, leaving the uncle and nephew alone.

“How is he?” Fingolfin asked, “I could not bear to visit with him while he was thus broken.” It was well known that the second son of Finwe loved Maedhros more than he did his own children.

“He wishes to leave for our own encampment”, Maglor said softly, “I do not wish to move him while he is in this condition. But he insists. I suspect he and Fingon had a disagreement.”

“It would not be the first time”, Fingolfin sighed, “I do wonder what made my son change his adoration of Maitimo for pure hatred, yet he rescued him. It must have a different motive than their friendship”, his eyes took on a far away look, then he said abruptly, “Take your brother home. I will visit with you when he is better. Where are your younger siblings?”

“Hunting”, Maglor said baldly, “They have done nothing else in these new lands. With you leave, I will take my brother across the lake Mithrim. Fingon, I shall inform through my aides. He and I do not get well together.”

“Then so be it”, Fingolfin nodded in agreement.

Maglor helped his brother into a caravan and the procession of riders moved around the lake slowly. They were halted once by Finrod Felagund, who had been returning from one of his patrols and wished to speak with Maedhros. But Maglor refused to allow his cousin to see his elder brother in such a broken state. They reached the camp of Feanor and Maglor directed his aides to move his brother into the tent prepared for him.

As the sun set, he joined his brother and sat by his bedside quietly, plucking random tunes on his harp.

“Why do you think Fingon rescued me?” Maedhros asked quietly.

“I believe friendships cannot be easily set aside”, Maglor lied easily not wanting his brother to worry.

“He could have spared my hand, you know”, Maedhros said softly, his voice shuddering with lingering pain, “But he said, even as I dangled there, that I was unworthy to be whole again. He told me of the great Ice. In vain I reasoned with him that I had never agreed with our father. Finally, seeing him unmoved, I begged him to end my life”, Maglor shook his head aggrieved, but Maedhros continued pleadingly, “Listen to me, Macalaurë, I have no one else to turn to. He just laughed and cut off my limb”, Maedhros’s eyes closed as he tried to prevent the bitter tears, “He told me I was useless. Am I, Macalaurë?” he asked fearfully, “I will try to learn to do things with my left hand, as well as I can. Do you hate me? For being maimed and mutilated?”

“You are handsome, Russandol”, Maglor ran his fingers over his brother’s pale face, “You can never be anything but handsome. He lied.”

“Why would he lie?” Maedhros asked quietly, “Bring me a mirror, I have not yet seen myself.”

“Look into my eyes, Russandol. They are truer than a mirror. Do I flinch on seeing you?” Maglor asked gently.

“No”, Maedhros whispered, “You have never lied to me.”

“And why would I begin now?” Maglor smiled and gently began to sing softly until he was sure that Maedhros had fallen into repose. Then he asked the aides to take away all the mirrors and the shining utensils in the surround.

Maedhros healed slowly, though he let only Maglor attend to him. Caranthir and the other siblings would occasionally visit them though Maedhros did not find in himself the courage to see his other brothers.

One day as Maglor was gently lowering his brother into a warm bath, Maedhros asked, “Are you not tired of doing this?”

“As I told you once”, Maglor said gently, “You are never a burden to me, as I can never be one to you. Of all my brothers, I love you the most.”

“Do you think I can be looked upon by others without flinching?” Maedhros questioned uncertainly as his brother washed his hair.

Maglor pressed a soft kiss on his brother’s forehead whispering, “I swear on my soul, Russandol, nobody is going to flinch.” He frowned as Maedhros drew his legs to his chest modestly.

“Russandol”, he said sternly, “Unless you wish to be sedated and then washed by the healers, I would advise you to relax!”

Maedhros obeyed hesitantly saying, “I am ugly, Macalaurë. I don’t want you to endure this sight, now that you have washed my hair, I think I can manage the rest of the bath well enough on my own.”

“There is nothing that I have not seen before! You will remain quiet and let me attend to you unless you want me to call in the healers. Choose”, Maglor said severely.

Encouraged and assisted by his brother, Maedhros re-learnt to ride and duel. He swiftly mastered eating, bathing and dressing himself with his sole hand. By the time, his brothers and Finrod visited, Maedhros had recovered in body and spirit well enough to stand with Maglor at the courtyard and greet them.

“Cousin Maitimo”, Finrod said quietly as they walked together after dinner, talking desultorily, “I wish to speak of something sensitive to you.”

“What is it, Findarato?” Maedhros asked pensively, “If the news is very bad, then I must beg you to not tell me. Macalaurë would be a better choice.”

“It is our cousin Findekano. He has been my brother Orodeth’s lover for decades. Now, he is planning to marry”, Finrod sighed, “Nolofinwe has tried to dissuade him for Orodeth is heart-broken, yet in vain.”

“I am sorry”, Maedhros said sincerely, “I wish I could talk to Findekano regarding this, yet there is a distance betwixt us now. I fear that he will not heed my words.”

“I did not mean to enlist your aid for Orodeth’s cause”, Finrod said softly, “I want to warn you. Findekano has changed, look not in him for your best friend. Keep away from his company as much as you can. And never promise him anything.”

“I”, Maedhros said hesitantly, “I saw that he had changed. Yet on the rocks of Thangorodrim , he bade me promise him one wish. And I agreed.”

Finrod sought out Maglor before he left.

“Cousin, Maitimo has recovered well, and I thank you for that, without you, I don’t think he would have coped”, Finrod spoke seriously as they watched Maedhros walk in the courtyard aimlessly, his long robes trailing behind him.

“Yes, Findarato”, Maglor sighed, “But he still dresses like a penitent and will not ride past his own borders. He is afraid of what others would think of him. He does not miss a single chance to rebuke himself, his lack of courage, his marred body and his maimed arm.”

“I think he has become more serene, wise and handsome”, Finrod said softly, “Nolofinwe was of the same opinion. Maybe you should grant him a mirror.”

“The eyes see only what they wish to see, Findarato, I will grant him one when I am sure that his self-loathing has lessened”, Maglor said firmly, “It is heartbreaking to see him wait for reassurance from me for each and every thing.”

“He told me that you give him hope to live”, Finrod said quietly.

“Cousin, I would give my life if it brought him peace and healing”, Maglor said softly as they watched Maedhros pull at his long sleeves to hide his maimed arm as a couple of guards entered the courtyard.

Maedhros shivered slightly as he entered Fingon’s tent to answer his cousin’s summons. It had been nearly a decade since the Thangorodrim. Now he had come with Maglor and his brothers to discuss the matters of kingship with his uncle and cousins. They had been feasting when Fingon had asked him to join him in his tent.

“Is it cold?” Fingon asked as he threw a log onto the fire.

“No”, Maedhros replied as he looked about his cousin’s tent, Finrod’s warnings in his mind.

“You made me a promise on the rocks a decade ago”, Fingon did not turn from the fire.

“And I shall keep it, cousin”, Maedhros said solemnly.

“Good”, Fingon said, turning to face his cousin completely, “I demand your obedience to my wishes for half of a single night, for a mere four hours. Is that asking too much?”

“My obedience?” Maedhros stammered, “Cousin, why would you want this?”

“I asked for a fulfilment of your promise”, Fingon said, his eyes narrowed.

“All right, Findekano”, Maedhros shrugged, “As you wish it. I agree to your wish. Four hours, starting now.”

Fingolfin helped his staggering nephew to his feet, trying to gain a hold on the slippery, blood-stained body. He led him into his room and dressed his wounds quietly, singing softly until the stormy grey eyes had closed in exhausted healing sleep. Posting trusted sentries of his own guard outside his bedchamber, Fingolfin set out to find Maglor.

“Macalaurë”, he hailed as he saw his second eldest nephew speaking with Turgon and Artanis, “A moment, if you please.”

“What is it?” Maglor asked concernedly, “You do not seem at peace, Nolofinwe.”

“Your brother has been hurt”, Fingolfin sighed, “By my eldest.”

For the second time in his life, Maglor found himself staring at the broken, mutilated body of his beloved elder brother.

“It was my fault”, Maedhros said unsteadily, “I allowed him to.”

“Do you like being tortured so much?” Maglor asked incredulously, “That you would willingly submit yourself thus? If so, why didn’t you just tell me? I could have arranged something with the healers!”

Maedhros turned crimson with shame as he whispered, “No, Macalaurë, I find no pleasure in it. I, I had made a promise to him on the rocks of Thangorodrim and tonight he claimed his right. I had not even thought that he would do this to me.”

“I am sorry”, Maglor said penitently, “I should not have spoken thus to you”, his face hardened, “You should have seen this coming, Russandol, he has always despised the fact that you turned him down all those years ago in Formenos!”

“I wish to leave this place”, Maedhros said sadly, “Every moment is a nightmare.”

“Wait for tomorrow. Hand over your kingship to Nolofinwe. We shall move to Himring”, Maglor soothed his brother.

“Hand over just like that?”, Maedhros raised himself from the bed, “Our brothers and our followers would kill me! And Father’s soul will torment us till the end of the worlds.”

“You hand over the Kingship, not the leadership of our house”, Maglor said firmly, “Our brothers and followers are bound to follow you. As for Father, he should have thought of this when he first burnt those ships!”

“Yet Kingship is not a bauble”, Maedhros said sadly, “I lie if I say that I do not wish to be King.”

“I know, yet what is yours by right will come to you in its own time, Russandol”, Maglor comforted his brother, “We should not cling to it. Meanwhile, is it not better to give it to Nolofinwe? He is wise and able.”

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: JDE

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 1st Age

Genre: Romance

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 02/10/09

Original Post: 10/28/08

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