3. Doriath: Aftermath
Erestor has encountered not one, but four sets of twins while serving the Noldor: The sons of Fëanor, Dior, Eärendil, and Elrond.
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Can it be, that the Greek grammarians invented their dual number for the particular benefit of twins? – Mellville
The news of the battle trickled in slowly. Huddled around campfires in the snow, drinking wine pillaged from Menegroth's kitchens, each Elf shared what he knew until a complete story could be pieced together. Their voices were kept low, and the mood in the camp was black, for though the destruction of Menegroth had been complete, the campaign had not been a success.
Foremost in the conversation was discussion of the dead sons of Fëanor. Celegorm the Fair, Caranthir the Dark and Curufin the Crafty had all fallen and now half of the host was leaderless. The three remaining brothers had buried the bodies under the eaves of the forest in shallow unmarked graves in hopes that they would not be despoiled by enemies on two legs or four.
A group led by Caranthir had been splintered off from the larger host and all had been slaughtered, wildly outnumbered. Curufin had been pierced by many arrows in the wide courtyard where Erestor had seen him last. And Celegorm had remained a hunter until the end, loudly proclaiming that he wanted Lúthien's son for himself.
When they met in single combat, Dior had proved the better swordsman, but Celegorm in his final moments had delivered a wild stroke that had ended the king's life. He was the first of the royal family to die, and Celegorm's servants, mad with grief and rage, had sought out the rest. It was they who had despoiled Dior's body and placed him on the throne so that Nimloth might meet her husband once more before she died.
Erestor did not need to be told of the Queen's death, for he had seen it. Had his ears not still been ringing from the battle he might have heard her captors question her about the Silmaril. She had claimed it wasn't there, that she did not have it, that she did not knew where it was. They had slain her for her lies, but a more thorough search of the Caves had not produced the jewel.
Their daughter alone seemed to have escaped the slaughter for she was nowhere to be found.
And the boys. As Erestor had suspected, they had not been at the leaguer as hostages when he had returned. Nor had they been brought forth any time after. Seeking information about the children, Maedhros had come upon one of Celegorm's captains snickering and boasting loudly that he had made sure the Sindar would have no future kings. Upon hearing this Maedhros had flown into a terrible rage, black fire burning in his eyes. He had drawn his sword in the middle of their camp and would surely have slain the captain had Maglor not intervened. The pleas for peace seemed to calm Maedhros' ill temper and he sheathed his sword. But once his weapon was put away he had advanced, quick as a snake, roughly shoving his brother aside and striking the captain full in the face with the vambrace that covered his ruined right arm. The captain had lain on the ground, stricken dumb and with mouth full of blood as Maedhros strode away.
Maedhros had ridden like a red gale from their camp after that, without a word, and had not returned for several days. When he returned he denounced the soldiers responsible for their cruelty, stripped them of their swords and sent them away to whatever fate they might find.
In these actions Erestor thought he could see a ray of goodness still left in the heart of Maedhros. And so it was only with slight trepidation that he pledged his sword to him, and followed the eldest son of Fëanor to Sirion.
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