The Axes of the Dwarves
Fictober prompt: “Now? Now you listen to me?”
Characters: Celebrimbor, Narvi, mentions of others
Content Rating: PG-13 for vaguely-described violence and allusions to previous death
Other Tags/Notes: Dagor Dagorath, female Narvi, battle scene, descriptions of violence
Author’s Note: It’s the Last Battle, Celebrimbor’s been re-embodied, Morgoth’s forces are attacking, and the world is literally breaking around them. This may be a little disjointed or the ending rough, but I don’t want to work on it any longer. I’m ready for bed and/or a different prompt. Also, I didn’t get into it in the text but you are encouraged to imagine beards on the lady-Dwarves.
The dragon roared and the sound shattered the sky. The dome of heaven was laced with white cracks, a damaged window to the stars. The sky fell on the frontlines like twinkling ash. The dragon shook his wings and blew friends and foes away with the whirlwinds.
Celebrimbor remembered the War of Wrath, and the last black dragon that large. He was fairly certain this was Ancalagon himself, but he’d been stationed far back in that battle and never saw the beast except from afar. His smith’s skills were needed elsewhere, to repair the Army’s armor, and to pry them out of it when they were brought back wounded.
(It was wise, so wise, to keep the last blood of Fëanor far from Earendil and the Silmaril. He had never said the words but who knew what power the Oath really held? Certainly not the ones who swore it, nor the ones who heard it sworn.)
But Anacalagon was dead, killed by Earendil in that long ago battle. Celebrimbor blocked an orc’s swordstroke by instinct alone, his mind reeling. ‘Ancalagon is not the only one here who should be dead,’ he thought. ‘Gil and I were the last children of Finwë, and yet-”
To his right, Finrod rode with his fair face set and stern, Edrahil at his side. Their swords were nearly black with blood. Far ahead, in the vanguard as always, Fingon’s banners snapped in the dragon-wind. His warcry rang out until the echoes were lost, buried by the creaking of the Gate of Mandos as it opened behind Celebrimbor, and the deep voices of the mountains rang out:
“Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!“
To Celebrimbor, beset by orcs bearing black arrows that made his body scream in remembered pain, the Khuzdul was more beautiful than any Elvish song.
He heard the dwarves approach, their raucous cries and heavy boots drawing nearer. Some of the orcs quailed at the assembled might, eyes bulging. Celebrimbor cut one down before it turned and fled. ‘I cannot give them mercy,’ he thought, even as his heart and stomach twisted. He was a craftsman, a maker, a-
The word was in accented Sindarin, the voice in a rich contralto. An orc to his left crumpled to the ground. There, axe in hand, was a dwarf in full armor, her hair braided and beaded but already coming undone. Except for the armor, she looked just like she always had.
“Narvi,” Celebrimbor breathed in relief. “You-”
“Behind!” she snapped at him. He whirled, his sword connecting with another orc. He shifted his weight and arced his blade up to slide into a chink in the orc’s armor.
“You are going to ruin that sword like that,” Narvi scolded.
He welcomed the rebuke. She always did say he needed more mothering.
(His mother always said he needed more mothering, too. Sometimes she cried; she let him follow his father to Endor, after all, while she turned back with Arafinwë. It didn’t matter to her that it was thousands and thousands of years ago and before he died. She still wept for the child he had been. And for the man, reborn and supposedly healed, her tears hurt as much as the memory of black arrows.)
Now, on the day of the Last Battle, with the sky shattering above them, Celebrimbor fell in with the dwarvish host like he belonged there. His higher vantage warned them of approaching hazards. Their bravery bolstered his spirits, which had been flagging dangerously before the Gates had opened. He wasn’t Fingon, after all, to charge undaunted into claw-range of a dragon.
The dwarves carved their way through the orc-horde, trolls, and small drakes alike.
“You’re not a complete disaster,” Narvi told him as he sang a brief Song to heal Durin and his guards’ burns after the drakes. One of the other formerly-dead Kings bellowed instructions to regroup ahead of them.
“If I listened to you more, maybe I wouldn’t have been one at all,” he said. Narvi gave him a wry smile and Durin snickered at him (now there was a dwarf who knew far too much for his own good!).
“You were right, you know. About Annatar.” Celebrimbor rose back to his feet and brushed the dirt and sky-dust from his knees. He couldn’t look Narvi in the face, not for this. But the words were unstoppered and he let them flow. “He was just as false as you thought, and Eregion suffered for my folly.”
Durin’s laughter dissipated like smoke and he was suddenly very interested in adjusting his gauntlets.
“Now’s not the time,” Narvi told Celebrimbor. “I’ll yell at you for being a damn fool later. Just know that if we meet him here, at the end of everything, I will rip his guts out through his nose and wear them for jewels. We’ll see who the real Ringmaker is then.” There was a murmur of agreement from the nearby dwarves, who were conspicuously eavesdropping.
Celebrimbor wasn’t sure he appreciated the audience. ‘Well, it’s my fault for bringing it up in the middle of the Last Battle,’ he thought. ‘At least my father’s not here, too.’
In the distance, the Door of Night was torn off its hinges and the Enemy stepped through it. And with Time itself ended by his arrival, the Gates of Mandos opened one last time, and through it issued the Host of the Damned- the Kinslayers, the rebels, and the Sons of Fëanor.
Celebrimbor heard their bellowed cries- ranging from “Moringotto, thou putrid murderer!” to “Varda’s tits, that’s a big dragon!”- and heaved a sigh not unlike a beleaguered adolescent.
Narvi hefted her axe and muttered, “Damn elves.” And Celebrimbor merely nodded.
Patches the Calico Plush
So in response to lovely feedback of my headcanon involving Celebrimbor and a patchwork plush cat. Found here. I decided to write a little ficlet of the scenes mentioned. Enjoy the cuteness!
After what felt like an age, he'd done it. Feanor had finally crafted a suitable gift for his grandson Tyelperinquar. It was but a simple, snow white cat plush he spent weeks researching and learning how to make. Finally it was complete and to his satisfaction. The toy had to be perfect, like all his other creations, but able to withstand all that a toddler could throw at it.
He modeled it after the family cat he had as a child, one he named after his mother due to its silvery white fur. He'd let little Tyelpe decide on this ones name later.
Curufin held his tiny newborn son in his arms, sitting by the window. Tyelpe's soft black curls on his head shining in the warm sunlight. It was clear he'd take after his father and grandfather with raven black hair. He snuggled closer to his father's chest as Curufin gently stroked his hair, already fairly thick for a newborn.
A knock at the door captured his attention, his wife answering and letting their guest in. Curufin smiled as his father made his way over to him, hiding something behind his back.
"What brings you to visit us Atar?" Curufin asked.
"I have a present for little Tyelpe. I would have presented it on the day of his birth, but it took longer than expected to make. It was not something I was accustomed to."
"Is that so? Branching out to new creations are we?"
"Just for this little one. Nerdanel and few others helped."
Before Curufin could ask was he needed his mother's help with, Feanor presented the gift. The plush cat was soft, well stitched, and as big as the newborn himself.
"May I?" Feanor asked, gesturing to hold his grandson.
"Of course." Curufin delicately placed his son in his father's arms who brought the toy close to Tyelpe.
The newborn instinctively grabbed at what was placed near his tiny hands. Feeling that it was soft and smelled of grandfather, Tyelpe snuggled into the soft, plush fabric.
Curufin smiled, "I believe he likes it."
Feanor returned the smile, "Good, I made it just for him." Gently his kissed his grandson's head as he yawned, clearly ready for a nap.
* * *
"ATAR!" screamed a distressed toddler. Tyelpe ran down the hall looking for his father. Finally he found him with his mother, about to prepare dinner.
Curufin hearing his son's distress turned, expecting to see him hurt with another scrapped knee or elbow. Instead he saw Tyelpe, eyes full of tears, sniffling and holding up his plush cat.
"M-m-my cat got hurt!" he whimpered, "REALLY BAD this time!"
Curufin looked as he saw on the plush cat's head a big opening, cotton leaking out of it. It was bigger than the usual tears that were a simple fix. This time it looked as if it needed a patch.
Curufin bent down, comforting his distraught son.
"Shhh shhh, it's ok my son. We'll make sure they're all better."
Tyelpe sniffed and whimpered, hoping his favorite toy would be ok.
"Uncle Moryo can fix that up right away." He turned to his wife. "I'll be back shortly, I'm gonna take our son's cat to my br-er, the healer's to get patched up." Afterwards he left for his brother Caranthir's house.
That night Curufin came back and entered his son's bedroom, his mother trying to tuck him in for bed. Tyelpe however refused to go to bed, not until he had his cat.
"Tyelpe," Curufin called. "I have someone for you."
Tyelpe looked up, eyes hopeful.
Curufin then presented his plush cat, now mended and with a little blue silk bow around the neck as a collar.
His son gasped and reached out for his toy, happy the cat was ok. Curufin handed it to him, but something was different about it besides the bow.
Tyelpe looked quizzically at the black patch where the tear had been, then back to his father.
"Moryo said he didn't have any more of the white fabric that was used, but we agreed he could use a different color to make it more special." he told Tyelpe.
Tyelpe looked back down to his cat, then hugged it tightly to his little chest.
"It's ok!" He said, "I'll call her....Patches now!"
Both his parents smiled and lightly chuckled.
"Alright little one," his mother said, "you and Patches better get some sleep."
"Ok!" he replied as he nestled into his warm bed, cuddling Patches. "I love you! Good night!"
"We love you too. Goodnight Tyelpe." His father replied, both parents giving their son a goodnight kiss on the head before leaving.
* * *
Several decades had passed, young Celebrimbor's childhood was ending. It seemed innocence had been lost after all the death and destruction of recent events. The Kinslaying, leaving his home for a foreign land, the death of his grandfather, and now seeing his uncle bedridden and bandaged.
It pained him to see Maedhros in such a state. He always knew his uncle to be strong, fierce, and protective. Now he saw a weakened, scarred, and nearly crippled elf before him. Celebrimbor hated seeing him that way. It was wrong. He hated how distant his uncle felt, how he struggled to move when he needed to get out of bed, how he often screamed himself awake at night, or how he glared at the stump where his right hand had been. This was not the uncle he knew and loved, and it broke his heart. They had already lost his grandfather and great grandfather, he didn't want to lose his uncle too.
Celebrimbor sat in his room, even though he was old enough to attend any meetings his father and uncles held, he never cared much for them. Not now. Not when they were all the same topic. How to retrieve the Silmarils, to defeat Morgoth, where they should go. He didn't want to think of any more hardships and destruction. So he sat alone in his room, holding Patches.
Despite long since outgrowing the need for such toys, the cat always brought him a sense of comfort and relief. Now, he seemed to need such comfort more than ever. Over the course his childhood, Patches naturally attained more wear and tear, more patches. What was once a pristine, snow white cat, now became a calico. Celebrimbor liked it even better that way. Despite the damage it went though, it was still well loved.
It was then an idea struck him. A childish, maybe foolish idea, but he didn't care. He wanted to do something for his recovering uncle, but didn't know what he could do, until now. Celebrimbor set out to search for some scissors, thread, and a needle so he could go forth with his task.
Maedhros stood in front of the window to his room, tired of laying in bed. He hadn't bothered to eat the food left for him, he had no appetite and had gotten so used to feeling of hunger whilst in captivity, he payed little attention to it. A soft knock caught his attention, he sighed and turned, expecting one of his brothers or Fingon to be at the door, acting like a mother hen to him.
"Come in." He said. However when he saw who walked in the door, he was a bit surprised. "Tyelpe?"
"Hi Uncle. Uhm, I wanted to give you something." Celebrimbor replied, a bit sheepish.
"What is it?" Maedhros asked, gesturing to bed as he sat down.
Celebrimbor walked over and sat next to his uncle. He then held out Patches, now with a missing right paw.
Maedhros looked at the plush, confused.
"I don't understand."
"I want you...to have Patches." Celebrimbor answered. "I know you get nightmares at night. I can hear your screams."
Maedhros looked away, guilt in his eyes at the thought he was disturbing his young nephew.
"I don't know if it might help, probably not. But when I was little and had bad dreams, I always hugged Patches close, and I felt better. I didn't have nightmares after that." Celebrimbor continued. "I also see how you glare at yourself in the mirror, how you hate that you lost your hand, your dominant hand too. But that doesn't mean you're broken!" Celebrimbor held up the cat for emphasis.
"Patches went through a lot of stuff too, a lot of tears. But she was never broken, and I loved her just the same. Now, she's missing a paw, just like you're missing a hand. But it doesn't mean she's broken. Also...this is all we have left of Grandfather. He made it. I think you should have something he made since we don't have anything else."
Maedhros gave a soft smile, the first in weeks, to his nephew before taking the plush cat. His nephew was still young, still had some childish innocence left in him, even that simple wisdom children could sometimes have. He saw Celebrimbor was only trying to help
"You're right." he replied. "It's also a little bit of home. Thank you Tyelpe."
Celebrimbor smiled, happy this small, seemingly insignificant gesture gave some joy to his Uncle.
* * *
It was nearing the end of the First Age, two more Kinslayings had occurred, this time leaving only two of the original seven sons of Feanor alive. Maedhros and Maglor now trying to move on in their lives, attempted to forsake the Oath, even if only for a short time.
With them, a pair of twins, victims of the last Kinslaying were with them. Elrond and Elros they were named. At first they had it in their minds to use them as ransom to retrieve the Silmarils, but this thought quickly vanished from their minds. In an attempt to find some hope of redemption, or even try to take responsibility for their actions, Maglor suggested they raise the twins.
Maedhros remembered the Second Kinslaying, how followers of his brother Celegorm cruelly left a pair of twins, the uncles of the two currently in their care, to die. He did not want to repeat his failure at trying to save them. He agreed with Maglor to raise them, if only to help ease some guilt and give a small amount of light in the darkness that had become their lives.
A storm had awoken the twins one night, and they cried out in fear. Maedhros and Maglor immediately ran for their room, the former grabbing a dagger, prepared for a fight.
When they found the twins were safe in bed, merely frightened by the violent storm, they relaxed. Maedhros sheathing the dagger at his belt while Maglor sat next to the pair, humming soft soothing melodies, and assuring them they were alright. Maedhros sat on the other side, going through the motions of comforting children. He was used to this as he came from a very large family, was the oldest of seven, and even helped raise Celebrimbor. At the thought of his nephew, an idea struck him
"Wait here little ones, I have something that may help you sleep tonight. She always helped me when I was too scared to sleep." he assured them.
Maedhros walked out of the room, towards his own. Maglor smiled, knowing what his brother was going to bring them.
Moments later Maedhros returned, carrying something in his arm. Elrond and Elros looked up, the latter clutching his blanket to his chin.
"I want you to meet Patches." Maedhros said, offering the old patchwork calico plush Celebrimbor had given him so long ago.
Elros lowered his blanket, and with his brother reached out for the cat. "Patches?" they repeated.
"Yes," replied Maedhros. "She's a very special friend and member of our family. She likes to help young elflings go to sleep when they're scared."
Little Elrond held up the cat, marveling at the colorful patches. "She's missing a paw! Just like you." he exclaimed.
Maedhros nodded, "That's right, and just like me, she'll help keep you little ones safe."
The twins smiled and hugged the plush in between themselves and snuggling under the blankets. Maglor began to softly hum a gentle lullaby, one he sang often for his brothers and cousins growing up. Moments later the twins drifted off the sleep. Once again, the patchwork calico had been passed down to those who needed it.
* * *
A new age had dawned, the Fourth Age, the Age of Men, and the elves of Middle Earth made the great voyage to the Undying Lands. Many were eager to reunite with lost loved ones from ancient battles passed. By now many slain elves of the First, Second, and early Third ages had been re-embodied, leaving the Halls of Mandos to find their friends and family.
Elrond had been joyful to see his beloved wife again. She still bared the scars of her attack by orcs, both in body and heart, but Elrond no longer feared for her life. Celebrian too was joyful to see her husband again, although she felt bittersweet at the fact her only daughter chose to stay and live a mortal life. Nonetheless the two were happy to find each other.
After a few weeks of getting used to land of Valinor, a realm Elrond had only read stories and history about, he set out to find a specific elf, one he'd hoped had been reborn.
He made his way to a large forge, near the home of Nerdanel. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the elf working there. Celebrimbor had been released from the Halls.
"It is wonderful to see you again Cousin." Elrond spoke, gaining the other's attention.
Celebrimbor looked up. "Elrond? I can't believe it! The last I saw of you you were helping build an elven city."
"Imladris, yes. It served its purpose well throughout the Third Age. I only wish you could have seen it. However I do have something for you."
"Oh? What would that be?" Celebrimbor asked.
"An ancient family heirloom of sorts. It is only fitting it be returned."
Celebrimbor's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. The only family heirloom he could think of were the Silmarils, but that was impossible. His confusion faded when he saw Elrond bring out an old, but very familiar plush cat. Patches.
"Patches?" Elrond answered. "Yes, yes it is. This little cat was given to me by your Uncle Maedhros. In turn I passed it down to all three of my children. It has soothed many a restless night for my family. As I have no grandchildren that I will be able to visit, I see it only fitting to return this to the original owner."
Elrond handed the plush to Celebrimbor, who gingerly took it in his hands. He was amazed to see it had survived all these ages. It was very well loved, even sporting a few new patches as well.
A tear came to his eye. "Thank you." he said. "This means a lot to me."
A small piece of Celebrimbor's childhood and innocence survived. Something crafted by his grandfather out of pure love and devotion survived, untainted. A piece of his family was returned to him. Perhaps if he had children himself he'd pass it on to them. Truly Patches had become a family heirloom. The one that truly mattered, for it was full of love and beautiful, even sad, memories of days gone by. The journey of Patches the calico plush, had come full circle at last.
Nightmare for @minstrelmaglor Im so sorry i guess we like pain a little too much X’D
Don’t sleep. Don’t sleep. Don’t.
Makalaure had fought against rest with his entire being until he had became so weak he trembled, feeling as if his very bones sagged. Maedhros had carried him to bed, and now there he lay still fighting giving in despite how his body ached for sleep. His eyes became bleary, lined with dark circles and his body still, unable to go without any longer, slipping into the darkness he dreaded so.
Nothingness, not a sound apart from the beating of his heart pounding in his ears. His eyes widened at the scene, fearing what he he may see if he moved forward. It was Tirion, his home, empty, not even a dog wandered in the streets. Doors stood open on every building as if it were simply abandoned in an instant. Slowly, he stepped backward to escape, once, twice, once more quicker than the last. Something wasnt right. His back bumped into something with a thud, someone, and he spun around with a fright.
All at once darkness ascended and his eyes squinted from the harshness of the lit torches, pupils both widening and shrinking in confusion trying to block out the light. But wait..voices. His father’s, his brother’s, and... his own! His mouth was moving, and his arm was raised, firelight shining red on the sword he held up.
No. No.. No....
Kano’s eyes stared wide eyed to the crowd before him, eyes adjusting to see those he knew.. his family... His mother’s expression of horror lit by the flames. Ammë! Ammë!! The call wouldnt leave his lips no matter how hard he tried, and behind her he could see Finrod being held back by Turgon, a like expression upon his lovers features. Findo!! They were afraid, they all were. No, No! I dont want it! Not a sound left his lips, and he tried once more to refuse the oath, his shriek filling the air. I DONT WANT IT!! He willed his arm to toss the sword away, closing his eyes tightly as all went eerily silent.
The sound of the sword hitting the ground was expected... but it never came to his ears. Breathes exhaled shakily from him, and for a moment that was all he could hear until another sound joined him. Choking...a desperate gulping on something wet.. as if choking on water. Makalaure’s eyes barely opened, gazing down to see two pair of feet. His own, and someone standing in front of him. Then.. he suddenly realized.. he had never released the sword, somehow it was still in his hand. His entire body froze, eyes trailing up the stream of red on the elf’s clothes to where the sword was plunged into them. His eyes met theirs, a Teleri elf he knew, blood staining their lips as the light left their eyes. They fell then, back from the sword that remained clutched in the minstrels hand in shock. The feel of blade grating against bone traveled to his hand before he could recoil, and he at last cast the sword away, letting out a blood curdling cry of horror.
He rushed backward, stumbling on other bodies, scrambling away frantically wiping his hands on his tunic in vain as it too was soaked with red. The more he struggled, the more he felt the warm puddles of liquid that stained the earth among the dead. Seeping into the knees of his trousers, his hands sinking into the pools in desperate attempts to catch himself. Screams intermixed with his own filled his ears so harshly he could have sworn they bled.
In a cold sweat he jumped awake from his bed, gasping for breath as if he’d been drowning. Makalaure sobbed loudly and peered through flooded eyes to the ceiling of his room. The dream could have been worse..that was true.. but that hardly said much considering..He trembled helplessly without any will to move less it be onto side, until his obscured sight took notice of a familiar figure standing in the doorway.
“Another nightmare?” he was asked, and had he been in his right mind he would have payed more attention to the voice itself.. but as it was, he gave no reply, simply letting it slip past him, too consumed by grief.
The redhead didnt budge, looming in the doorway with his arms crossed, “ What was it this time?” and was still given no answer, “ Alqualondë?”
It was then that Kanafinwë noticed a change, and began thinking of what exactly he heard that was different. It was his brothers voice, but not as it usually was when he came to comfort him let alone the context he would use. This was..cold..flat...blank. Hugging his arms close to his chest to hold himself together, as if he would shake clean apart if he did not, his eyes turned to his brother’s direction. “ M-Maitimo..” he pleaded to him, pitifully wishing for his elder brother’s embrace and feared his mind was playing tricks on him.
However, his plea was ignored, the shadow of Maedhros ever looming, “ It’s your fault.”
Amid his tears, those words were like a punch to the gut without warning, and he struggled to believe what he just heard. “ W-What..”
“ The nightmares. Everything.” there was a pause as if observing reaction, ” You could have refused. Tried to talk Atya out of it, but you said nothing. You cast the flames onto the ships.” the last words seemed to echo harshly through Makalaure’s ears and he covered his head.
“I d-didnt kn-..” the weight of his guilt made his body feel so heavy against his bed, as if he was being crushed, his chest aching with heartbreak and grief. Had his brother turned against him too? If he had, had he himself drove him there? It didnt matter, he knew it was true, every bit, and he choked on sobs.
“ You forsook our brother just as you forsook me!” The voice finally became raised, harsh and cutting to the ears, “ Our cousin had to cross the ice, thirty years it took him, and when he arrived did he wait? Did Fingon the Valiant hesitate to come for me? In that thirty years what did you do? WHAT. DID. YOU. DO.” it no longer sounded like Maitimo, it was like thunder clapping, as if one of the Valar themselves were angry.
“S-Stop!!” Maglor cried out feeling the pain of guilt in his very bones, and before he had known he worked himself to the edge of the bed, he fell backwards and hit the floor with a thud.
Warm stone was beneath his palms, unlike the usual cold expected when first touching the floor out of bed. In fact, it was not his floor at all. The shock of it stifled his sobs as panic instilled and he clamored to his knees to find everything gone. Warmth of firelight shown from the archway just ahead illuminating only a small portion of the empty chamber he was in. Maitimo? Everything was gone..Where was he?
In the silence, a rumbling rose from the hall. Primal like a beast, and not just one, but many. Snapping at each other and claws against stone as if fighting over their fair shares. What horrid place was this. Minimal lighting could not hide the whites of his eyes as he gazed ahead fearing the noises in which he heard. It was not the creatures he feared, but their purpose. Yet deep inside of himself something compelled him to look.. Perhaps it was a familiar smell in the air that caused his heart to yearn to prove himself wrong. Not knowing which he feared most, to look or to ignore.
Slowly he edged forward on his hands and knees unable to catch his breath that left him in short pants. The minstrels hand shakily grasped at the arches frame, no strength left in him to hold onto it firmly as he leaned outward, eyes unblinking in anticipation praying to Eru that he was wrong.
Wolves, greedy and hungry wolves tearing away at something, and it did not take the sight of it for his heart to know. Kanafinwe’s entire being froze, his eyes widening in terror so greatly hot tears ran to his chin effortlessly. With the movement of one of the beasts to the side, he saw it. The golden hair meshed with the light of Laurelin...and the beautiful face he had placed many a kiss upon... now lifeless. Those once shining green eyes now clouded and staring in his direction but not seeing.
Silent pain ran through Makalaure unlike any other, his eyebrows furrowing in grief, still not a breath yet uttered. The sound of the skilled hands of his beloved broken between teeth shattering his very soul.
In that moment he did not have to wonder how his father perished the way he had for now he himself felt as if he would explode... And apart of him wanted to.
He did not remember how he had woken, all he knew were screams, screams that woke everyone as Maedhros cradled him. Any whispers of comfort went unheard well into dawn, and the emptiness within him grew ever deeper, wishing he had went up in flames.