4. Sirion: Elrond and Elros
Clearly I am not the Professor. I don't own any of this. Especially the one line that's basically lifted from the Doom of Mandos. Many many thanks to everyone who has read this so far and enjoyed it!
Erestor has encountered not one, but four sets of twins while serving the Noldor: The sons of Fëanor, Dior, Eärendil, and Elrond.
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.
It had been in Sirion that Erestor had seen that ray of goodness extinguished.
Of all the bloodshed Erestor had witnessed since deciding to follow the House of Fëanor, Sirion was the worst. The residents of Sirion were the refugees of the fallen realms of Gondolin and Doriath--women, children and those unable to fight. Erestor refused to kill any who were unarmed, but there had been others who hadn't maintained even those low standards.
The other Kinslayings had been shrouded in darkness. After the Trees had been destroyed, Alqualondë had been bathed in night. The bodies of the fallen had sunk into the harbor, sucked under the waters by the weight of armor. In the gloom of Menegroth, the blood had disappeared against grey stone and the dead had been entombed in caves. But the Noldor had attacked Sirion under the light of sun. The white marble of the city had been splattered in crimson, and the bodies of the dead could not be so easily put out of mind. The fires at Losgar had been massive and terrifying, but that had been just a handful of ships and this was and this was an entire city set alight. Even the wind off of the Bay of Balar could do little to sweeten the air.
The remaining sons of Fëanor had been searching for Elwing since her escape from Doriath. Maedhros and Maglor had offered her terms of peace, protection even, for the people of Sirion if she would simply return the Silmaril. But she had refused and in doing so had doomed her people. Maedhros had come to her on the cliffs overlooking the sea, the Silmaril shining bright as a star upon her breast. He had sent his men away then and cast his sword aside so as not to appear that he was trying to take it by force of arms. But still she refused, and had flung herself into the sea. The will of the Valar had been shown then, that no matter how close the House of Fëanor came the treasures that they had sworn to pursue would be snatched away.
It was then that Erestor realized how hopeless their quest was. The words of Mandos he had chosen to ignore until then, believing that the ill fortune of the Noldor in retrieving the jewels had been nothing more than poor luck. But now it seemed as though a veil had been lifted from his eyes, and amidst the burning remains of Sirion, he could see clearly once again.
Despite this nagging doubt, Erestor had joined the crowd that populated the main square of Sirion. The survivors of the attack had been gathered there, huddled weeping masses of elves once again displaced from their homes by treachery. They were nearest to the high platform where Maedhros and Maglor stood, ringed in by the soldiers that had destroyed their city.
Maglor was shouting to them, cursing them to death and darkness for their folly in not persuading Elwing to return what rightfully belonged to him and his brothers. Erestor might have laughed then had his heart not felt so heavy. For Maglor no longer had brothers; only a single brother remained. The body of Amrod lay at the edge of the platform, wrapped in his cloak, dark blood dampening the cloth. Maedhros still lived, but he stood motionless upon the platform, staring but unseeing. His once bright eyes held no light.
Since leaving Valinor, Erestor had witnessed much evil. He had driven his sword through his own kin. He had stood aside while others did the same. His hand had helped light the fires of Losgar and Sirion. He had known what the servants of Celegorm intended to do with the sons of Dior and he had done and said nothing. But these events had worn at his conscious, and they weighed heavily upon him. What he saw next made his soul ache the most.
Someone had ushered out two small children between Maglor and Maedhros. They were tiny things, clothes torn and dirtied by soot and blood. Their hands were bound and a harsh rope connected their small necks. One wept piteously, and the other stared out into the crowd, his soft features marred by hatred for those that had ensnared him.
"I will let these two live, as a reminder to you of your indiscretions! The Sons of Fëanor will take the children of Eärendil and Elwing as hostages to ensure your peace. Should you raise arms against our House, I will not hesitate to slay them."
No, thought Erestor, they would not hesitate to murder children. The light of goodness he had seen in Maedhros must be utterly gone if he would allow this to occur. Despite all the dreadful things Erestor had seen, this clawed at him and his patience shattered away. No oaths, no promises he had made in the peace of Valinor had prepared him for all that he had done and seen done. Had he fully regarded the words of Mandos, or fully known the path that they would walk in coming to Middle Earth, he would never have left.
A wave of nausea passed over him and the world seemed to spin and tilt beneath his feet. He had served Curufin a lifetime ago and only desperation and lack of leadership had made him follow Maedhros. The destruction they had wrought could surely not be the only way. Even if the Silmarils were owed to the House of Fëanor, at what cost must they be bought? In three Kinslayings they had not achieved their goal. How much more bloodshed was necessary before the end was reached?
A sudden giddy lightness overtook Erestor then. He had sworn his sword, that much was true, but he had not sworn to this carnage. He could leave and walk away from this endless battle that had become his life. An oathbreaker was no worse than a kinslayer. If they should find him and slay him it would be a better end than he deserved.
He swirled around, pushing against the other soldiers, away from the platform where Maglor and Maedhros still stood. Freedom lay only a few yards ahead. Finally free of the swarming throng of bodies he stood staring at the gates of Sirion for a moment. At last, the wind off of the Bay of Balar seemed to clear his senses and wash the stench of smoke and death out of his nostrils.
He breathed deeply, the smell of salt and liberty filling his lungs, and left the city.
My computer is having a field day with the red lines. I think anyone who has written Tolkien fanfics can relate…..