1. At Losgar
The sword at his side did not impair his speed, and he ran in seeming madness along the beach. A seeker, a creator, and appreciator of beauty, unconsciously he bade farewell to the swan ships that bore them there, his gaze lingering upon the graceful bow and figurehead. Moments passed in hesitation against the unknown; guilt had a heavy hand. He gave his final respects to those great warriors of the sea that traversed to Hither Shores against the waves of Uinen's tears.
It seemed to him that Maedhros spoke of idle and worthless things that he had neither the patience, nor the heart to hear at this hour: "'Now what ships and rowers will you spare to return …"
Feanor laughed, and cried for the burning. To others he seemed fey, that he dared to defy all the powers above him, believing his will, his genius, his fire, would secure his people's comfort. For Jewels and revenge he would risk life and sunder his kin from their people forever. The very thought filled him with a wild glee…for once, they would heed.
When his eldest son persisted in what he perceived a childish foolery, at last he cried out: 'None and none! What I have left behind I count now no loss; needless baggage on the road it has proved. Let those that cursed my name, curse me still, and whine their way back to the cages of the Valar! Let the ships burn!'
Absently, he took a torch and threw it at the foremost ship-- the one that he had sailed in-- watching with strange satisfaction as the fire tumbled through a porthole. The weather was arid, with unsettling winds; Feanor knew the cabins were drier still. Curufin, constantly by his side, did the same without question. A small voice inside Feanor asked: "Why"-- only to die as the orange glows came alive.
He watched smoke form and dissipate above the disintegrating ships, exuding a terrible red. In grotesque disorder the wood blackened, crackled and was torn apart by the force of the adulating flames. One by one, the fairest ships to ever sail followed suit and sank as charred wood.
Now he rallied his sons. Among the throng of Elves, eyes listless and mouths agape, his sons came one by one, grim faced and weary. Fear was in their eyes, and not one spoke.
He felt words poured out of his mouth, praising the valor of his host, and reiterating the reasons for their being here, though consciously, he no longer knew why. Of Morgoth, his father, and the Silmarils he spoke, and the greater destiny of the Noldor-- of cages he spoke, and the cruelty of the Valar, until, finally, he noticed the commotion at his side.
A face seemed missing-- no, one face belonging to two people, the two that reminded him of his wife the most. Two were missing: Ambarussa …
Celegorm was also gone.
Amidst the murmuring of his people, he turned to Maedhros. "Where are your brothers? Where are Telui and Pitya?"
"Pitya has disappeared, and Telui is trying to find him." But even while Maedhros spoke, Feanaro saw two approaching figures.
Amrod's voice was haunted. "Ambarussa fell asleep inside the cabins. I did not wake him when I awoke, believing that ..."
But Feanor heard no more, for he knew, then, what had passed, and his nerves froze.
"No.." He gasped, consciousness returning, and said louder, "That one I burned first." He said it, though he did not believe it. Why did he say it? The words scalded his tongue, half a declaration to the heavens, and half to the part of himself that still refused to believe. Oh, accursed Fire! Do something, surely there is time!
A strange whisper came to his ears. "Gone…" it said.
He tried to run, to retrieve his son but suddenly found several pairs of strong arms around him.
"Get off me!" he shouted, almost breaking free until he felt something wet against the side of his face.
Maedhros was crying. He embraced his father the moment he saw his hand clench. Feanor would have thrown himself into the still burning fire, or into the sea, and never surfaced.
To think that he had killed his own son…Feanor recognized for the first time the touch of darkness. He had been betrayed, tricked! Thrice eternal enemy, Morgoth! His heart burned, and an acid feeling built up, anger and sorrow convergent. He turned.
Feanor extended his arms to the remaining Ambarussa. His son flinched, then retreated. With a sudden wrenching cry, Amrod's eyes went dark.
Caranthir was the fastest and caught the tottering figure.
Amrod lay on the ground as if dead and did not stir when his brothers tried to rouse him. He was breathing, and his heart still beat, albeit terrifyingly slow. Maedhros knelt beside him with an aghast look, too shocked to do anything except to stroke the red hair. What that would accomplish, perhaps only he knew.
It was a comfort come too late, Celegorm thought bitterly.
"Pitya, Pitya," Maglor's delicate voice became more urgent with each call while Curufin untied a bottle of smelling salts that seemed to have lost its effectiveness.
Celegorm shifted his gaze to his father, his face fearful and angry. He felt as though he would kill the man if Amrod died also, and instinctively his hand went to his hilt. It was not as if he had never killed before. Yet the blade would not draw-- maybe it was because his fingers were too numb.
Feanor turned his gaze from his sons to the sea, the remains of the ships still upon the waves, mocking him. Reality of the moment retreated, and he was left, once again, with memories.
He had ordered it. It was his arm that swung, and his hand that released the torch. Then there was the familiar dance of light and heat flaring.
Feanor stood still, so still and so pale that his sons feared that their father turned into a statue. Yet, none spoke to him, taken up with their own grief, and secretly, each thought in part that the Spirit of Fire, despite being their father, should feel for once, what they felt at Aqualonde.
The blame, who would bear the blame? Feanor thought disconnectedly, I should have listened; I should have looked; yet, I did not. Your mother named you true, Umbarto, and great is my sorrow that I did not realize before. So young, both of you, scarcely a yen.
Would he die of grief now? Perchance the doom of his mother would now be on the son. A dull pain rising from the very depths of his spirit drummed constantly against his head. It kept coming, in waves of stinging bitterness: so familiar and so terrible. He felt terribly exposed, all his defenses, all his crafts, all his words swept away until he lay bare for torment. The feeling of utter helplessness raged within him.
The spirit of fire-- adored, admired, envied-- was not the proud new king of the Noldor, but the young elf huddled in front of a beautiful sleeping form. She slept, her silver hair framing a face not unlike his own.
"I will be back, Feanaro," she had said, addressing him with his new name.
"When?" Even at a year old, he saw beyond reassurances.
"When I have rested." Then she was gone, gliding gracefully past on her husband's arm, down the crystal steps and away from Tirion, from him.
She lied; she did not return. His father never told him why, but in a corner of his mind, he knew it was his fault. The sad voice when she talked to him, and the sudden flash of anger he would sometimes detect. They say she was Serinde, but all he remembered were her words, sorrowful and swift. She would smile brilliantly at his father, their guests, but her smile was so different when she was alone with him, so tired.
He was alone in that huge city filled with people, he had his father, but his father had his new wife also, and his new mother had her new sons. Courtiers and servants roamed the halls- newly decorated with added Vanyarin design so to honor their new queen. They ignored him, and he could not be ignored. Pleasant esoteric bantering and night serenades drove him to the edge of madness. Run, he told himself, run into the wild so you will not see what others have. And he did, but still, he would remember.
He grew up too fast, though an adult in form only. He was a child they no longer regarded as worthy of a child's sympathies.
Never mine…theirs…theirs to laugh…theirs to love…
He would have what he could; then they would rob him of what he had. So easily condemned, they were consumed by fire, his fire-- the fire he never asked for, he remembered bitterly, hating at times that intense core that kept him alive. So many times he had stayed immersed in the running stream, newly brooked from the snow-capped mountains, hoping that it would cool, that his mother would come back because he would no longer burn her. Childish fantasies, for always, he would return to the forge, at ease with the familiar warmth around him.
The flames leapt, and he had fancied that he had learnt all their subtleties.
He closed his eyes, shutting out everything, imagining naught of that night had happened. He was on the shores of Aman again, teaching his young sons to swim with his wife by his side.
The auburn haired twins took tottering steps and almost fell until arms took them, one each, and lifted them for the soft sight of mingling lights. He was so proud when they were born, identical in looks. Nerdanel was happy too, they had her family's hair and she was reassured of her strength and his. She still loved him then.
Furtively, he sought for it. The bond they shared for many long years, through seven sons. The search became frantic, for he could find nothing. Is it the sea? Or had she asked Mandos to sever it? The thought shook him to full attention.
Somehow, something seemed very wrong, and then he knew. The sea breathe was mixed with something, the scent of the burnt wood, unbecomingly sensual to the nose.
But the spirit of fire did not cower so easily. Despite everything, old griefs and the new, his oath remained. Some part of him seemed to believe that if the oath were fulfilled, everything would be back as it had been. He no longer know what he wanted anymore; perhaps the fair memory that had been stolen, or perhaps, the lives that disappeared. The lights were a beacon, for it was all he had left.
Yes, he knew now who to blame and what he must do, and with that, his heart seemed to be lighter, for once again, he had a purpose.
"We go," he said curtly, turning towards his sons. "There is nothing we can do now." A wry smile decorated his face.
His sons looked at him in surprise. "Atar ..." Maedhros mouthed, almost a question.
"I said we leave, Nelyafinwe!" he snapped. He did not mean to, yet he did, for he could not stop it. The flame was still beyond his control.
"No." A single voice, quiet and determined, defied him.
Feanor glanced around, and for a while, the best eyes in Arda could not find who had spoken.
Amrod stepped out from the shadows, his face a deadly reminder: "I will not follow you."
He spoke steadily, slow and deliberate, each word a meticulous memory of time and people irretrievable. Feanor felt as if newly whetted blades tore into an open wound.
"You will follow me," he said, exasperated, yet his voice strangely harsh. "My son," he amended.
"Do not call me son!" Amrod suddenly cried, all gravity gone. "You are not our father! We shall not call you father any longer! Through guilt and grief, you drove us here, and you would continue this maddening spiral. Do you take pleasure in the suffering of others? We swore the oath. Is nothing ever enough for you, that until you see everyone dead beneath your glare you will not be satisfied? We would not follow so cruel a father, we…"There he paused, noticing for the first time the unfamiliar absence of another voice to continue, and his own words. Us-- but we were no more.
The painful darkness blinded him again, and he collapsed, falling forward.
Celegorm rushed to his brother's side, searching in hope for a pulse. His favorite brothers- Ambarussa who preferred the forest to the forge, the thrill of the hunt to the crafts of metal or of glass- they were his companions, he took care of them and taught them as Orome taught him when he was young.
Once, long ago, Amrod was wounded at the side by a stag during a hunt, and it was Amras who fell mysteriously and grievously ill. He had tended them alone, in a desolate forest upon Tuna for three days before help came. When they returned, Nerdanel and Feanor were at once glad and wroth. He was forbidden to lead his young brothers so far from the city until they were of age. The horror was upon him once again, of losing two of his brothers, under his care, for his mother was no longer there.
So it had always been: his other brothers caught up in their own affairs, his parents in theirs- languishing and laughing in a sporadic manner Celegorm found frightening even as a child- but not he, he always remembered Ambarussa.
They came when he was nearly full-grown, The single fea of the twins were so precious, so intertwined, that he feared for the worst.
Crouching beside Amrod, he became gradually aware that someone, or something moved closer.
Gently, Feanor lifted his now youngest son up into his arms, like so many years ago. Except, many things were conspicuously different now.
He gritted his teeth, suddenly uncomfortable with so many eyes upon him, for they were bright Noldor eyes with the lights of the Two Trees shining behind them. Inwardly, Feanor cursed his mind, as images and sequences flashed before him until he felt as if he would fall and weep.
"Continue the march."
Then he marched, in front, and he rode, dark russet head lying on his shoulder. He suffered no one else's aid and remained forcefully dry-eyed so that his eyes ached. It was not until within the safety of his own tent, watching Amrod hovering between life and death that he allowed the tears to flow. Clasping Amrod's feverish hands, he let the drops tumble down his cheek. The burning liquid blurred his vision, and he saw many faces instead of one: faces framed with silver, dark, or auburn hair.
"I am so sorry … I am sorry, forgive me …" he murmured to the still form of his son, his voice almost childlike. "I love you ... please come back ... I do not want to lose another … I cannot lose another … Come back, my love … I am sorry … I cannot lose you … I will not lose you … please come back … I love you … I am sorry …"
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.