“Then Maedhros alone stood aside, but Fëanor caused fire to be set to the white ships of the Teleri.”
I’m experiencing Silmarillion feels again somebody help
Hello 👋 and good day. Congratulations on your 100 followers 🎉🥳.
May I request a Maglor x reader fic? Something a bit angsty where reader is contemplating on leaving him because they don't see a future with him focusing on the oath? Maglor is in a state of understanding the reader, but he also doesn't want to let then go. You can choose how it ends if you choose to write it. - either reader stays or Maglor let's them leave.
Thanks you in advance 🥰😁🙏 - @doodle-pops
featuring maglor x reader
fandom tolkien- the silmarillion
a/n thank you so much hun! good day! I hope you like this
“I have sworn to the oath. . .”
You didn’t know what to say when Maglor— you beloved ellon said this.
For a moment you felt yourself swaying and he quickly wrapped you safely in his arms.
He whispered soft nothings— sweet, beautiful and enchanting words.
Maglor always used the right words and his words grounded you.
But right then, you didn’t want to face him and when you retired to your chambers Maglor didn’t stop you— nor did he follow.
He was being respectful— something you always admired about him.
Maglor let went beyond words and soft kisses if you were uncomfortable.
The ellon also maintained a small sufficient space between himself and you if needed.
But right now the longer you spend alone the faster your thoughts spiralled like a sandstorm.
Maglor swore himself to the oath— the oath of Feanor — his father.
A part of you understood— but the other part you wanted to hate Maglor for this.
But even then you knew— it was impossible for you to hate that musical ellon.
You felt hurt and betrayed.
He chose the oath over every thing you had dreamed of together— the future—getting married— the little adventures alongside each other.
Maglor had promised you would move to somewhere it vast fields— where you would lie on the ground together as he played his harp or sang softly to only you.
A world where just the two of you would be concerned.
Was that future now reachable?
Didn’t you not deserve a future where your beloved would choose you over anything or anyone?
But did Maglor suddenly change himself— change from caring and romantic ellon you loved just for three little gems?
Didn’t you not mean more to him?
How could he swear under the name of Ilúvatar that himself, his father and brother would not rest until the three Silmarils were in their hands again— and cast aside your dreams.
You deserved better than that.
There was no future for you here— not anymore.
You had to leave— before your heart caught up with your thoughts.
Just as you stood up the door to your chambers opened after a light knock.
Your eyes locked with his deep blue eyes— that hint of grey in them too.
“Melda. . .”
He said and pulled at the strings of your heart— beating it to the way he wanted.
When Maglor crossed the distance between you and softly held your hand a shaky breath left you.
You should have been he would come looking for you sooner or later— because even though there was a distance he would sneak himself beside you and wrap his arm around your waist.
“Will you not speak with me?”
He asked when he brought your hand to his lips and pressed a kiss on.
You sighed and shut your eyes.
“I can’t do this. . . you— you chose those 3 gems over me? Over us? Do I really mean that little to you?”
He froze with his lips still lingering on the soft skin of your hand.
You forcefully pulled your hand away from his hold.
The look of ache that flashed over his beautiful eyes broke your heart.
“Can’t you see, Maglor? There’s no future for us anymore! You put your father’s silmarils in between us— you cut us off!”
You started to cry— tears streaming down your face like a waterfall as you spoke to the ellon you loved and treasured.
“I can’t— there’s no future for us so what am I to do? I deserve better than this!”
When you said those words Maglor had snapped his eyes shut and looked away— he felt his heart crack under the weight of it all.
So this is how his mother felt— like something invisible was slicing through his chest and stabbing his heart over and over again.
Oh, how he desperately wanted to yell no and pull you into an embrace.
You were his light— his safe haven— his joy— you were the harmony to his every song.
You sobbed and tried to meet eyes with him.
“Will you not fight for me?”
“I cannot force you to stay with me, Y/N. . . but— but if I ask you to stay, will you?”
You rested your forehead against his.
“I really want to Maglor. . . but how can I blindly stay with you when there’s no future for us?”
With those words, you left a final kiss on his lips and slipped away— drowning him in loneliness forever.
tara's taglist: @middleearthsweetheart
silm taglist: @doodle-pops
@i-did-not-mean-to fuck safe me! — her favorite silm character is maglor and I wrote angst! Keep Shalini away— she will murder me lmfaooo
Thank you so much for the prompt!! You asked for fluff and I delivered hurt/comfort, but at least I think this one is rather good! And it does take the swing for the positive at the end.
Prompt, Fluff 24: “What do you remember?” Elrond
So like, Elros went through the entire life cycle before Elrond was even 501 y/o. That's a baby elf right there! Like, that's so fucked up and sad, oh my god.
Elrond could smell the silt and salt in the air, and hear the gulls and waves sand together. It was not the most melodious sound, but it put him at greater ease than he had felt in a long time. The peacefulness he was feeling in his breast was helped along by where he lay.
On a grand, sunlit balcony, Elrond reclined on a long couch, his head nestled in his brother’s lap. Elros was running a hand through his long hair, humming an old song that Elrond was pretty sure only three people alive knew.
At least… he hoped it was three. Because if it was not- if something had happened, if he had never survived the the end of the war the sinking in the first place, if a different choice was made than was reported- it would soon be only one person that knew Elrond and Elros’ childhood lullaby.
His brother was dying.
This bothered Elrond far more than it seemed to concern Elros. Their talk of such horrible things was why they were settled like this, Elrond having wept like a child and Elros calm and gentle and grown. Almost parental, and Elrond hated that. That his brother had raised four children, but Elrond was still considered a youth, that his own brother babied him.
Had it not been Elrond who comforted Elros when they were torn from Sirion? When the land turned against them and Maglor and Maedhros went to stave off the dark things, leaving them alone? That first night in Gil-Galad’s camp? When news of the silmarils and their holders’ fates came? When they made their choices?
But here Elrond was, bereft of courage, bereft of comfort when he wasn’t even the one dying. He was ashamed, but he let Elros stroke his hair and sing for him, all the same. When would he lose this?
When could he get it back?
Elrond would break Arda Marred tomorrow, if it meant he could be with his brother a little longer. He knew war, he knew turmoil, he could brave Dagor Dagorath. What Elrond did not know how to do was be alone.
He cracked his eyes open, and Elros still did not look to hold the anguish Elrond was feeling. Ah, the be the one leaving rather than the one left behind.
What does that feel like, Elrond wondered bitterly.
Elros was smiling, looking towards the watery horizon, towards Valinor and the warm sun. His face was tanned from it, greater-lined from a Mannish life of over-exposure to Arien’s light. The wrinkles were around his mouth and eyes though, formed from too much smiling, too much laughter.
The sight made more tears rise to Elrond’s eyes. Fast and hard, Elros’ life had been, but his brother didn’t seem to regret a second of it. Elrond could not begrudge him that, though he wished to. It would be easier if he was just angry, instead of angry and scared and glad and proud and sad and confused all at once.
How did it feel to be utterly at peace with one’s life? Elrond didn’t know.
His brother wiped away his tears with rough fingers, callused from ship-tending and city-building and sword-wielding. Then he picked up a stray lock of Elrond’s hair, and began to braid like when they were children. It was a Sindarin type of braid, one of the few things about either of them that could be called ‘Sindarin’.
Their mother had taught them long ago, though Elrond could not recall being taught.
“What do you remember?” he rasped at Elros.
His brother quirked an eyebrow, and for a moment he feared Elros would ask for clarification. But Elros knew. They still knew each other that well, at least.
“I remember it being a lot like this. Sunlight, what could get through the smog of Morgoth, at least. It was always clearer near the sea.”
It had been. When Beleriand was dying, everyone who could flocked to the edges of the world. The Feanorians,as well, had tried to stay along the coast for greater chance of food and clear air. They were often chased off by Falmari boats, though; not welcome anywhere after Sirion.
Maglor had tried to assure Elrond that it was not their little peredhel princes they drove away, but it had felt like it.
“I remember the smell of the ocean. It clung to them, didn’t it? Father because he was always on his boats, and Mother naturally. Something ainur about her, I think. Hareth used to say that I smell like whatever is calling to me at the moment. Warm drinks with cinnamon in them, usually.”
Elrond laughed despite himself, though it came out watery. He couldn’t verify that, his brother smelled like his brother, plus whatever else might be clinging to him. He smelled like the only consistent home Elrond had ever had, and it did not change. Not as far as Elrond was concerned.
“I certainly never noticed, but that would explain why I’m always hungry around you. You I swear you smelled like mussels our entire childhood.”
Elrond had just tacked that up to the lingering effects of dealing with food scarcity. Frankly, he still thought that was the case. He couldn’t remember what his mother smelled like, after all.
“Mussels,” Elros scoffed. “No, no, I think the dead-fish smell was just from washing in dirty rivers. You know, I look back now, and I think they might have been lying to us about those blockages in the river being natural. I think they might have been orc bodies.”
They had been. Elrond and Elros had had that conversation once before, after the war, while they were still in Gil-galad’s care. They’d been drinking Mannish draughts and trying to list all the lies Maedhros and Maglor had told them. Everything, some of Gil-galad’s people insisted, had been a lie.
Elrond and Elros hadn’t really counted that many.
Like he did back then, Elrond said, “That would explain why Maedhros got so upset about us almost drinking the water. He cuffed me for it.”
Unlike back then, though, Elros drew in a quiet breath.
He didn’t say anything more, but Elrond knew. His brother’s memory was fading, becoming patchy and hazy and selective, in some ways. Elrond had noticed that Elros remembered the good things better than the bad. Probably for the best, but it did make Elrond- and his memory that had only become sharper and better with time and Elvendom- feel lonely.
“He could get angry,” Elros muttered, “I know he could but I can’t remember when… why. I-”
This time it was Elrond who reached for his brother’s face. He cupped Elros’s wrinkly cheek and made him look down.
“Mostly he got angry at Maglor,” Elrond said slowly. “Or some of his commanders. He only grew angry with us when we did something dangerous, or intruded.”
Even then, even when Elrond and Elros went pawing through their dead brothers’ things, Maedhros had just walked away. He’d looked angry enough to kill- looked like he did at Sirion, Elrond’s mind always reminded him- but he’d walked away.
The occasional cuff or yank or painful grip had been reserved for danger, even though Elrond now understood that didn’t make it okay. It was a strange dissonance, what he felt then versus what he knew now. And he couldn’t even ask Maedhros to explain himself.
It probably made it easier. Maedhros was a memory now. Maglor haunted Elrond.
“Do you think about them often?” Elrond asked, drawing his brother from wherever he was lost in thought.
Elros hummed and said, “Which ones?”
Elros sat back and Elrond’s hand fell away. His brother grabbed it, though, held his young hand in his old, waving their fingers back and forth absentmindedly. Hand-in-hand, hand-in-hand, their whole lives. If you believe Cirdan, they were born holding hands.
“Yes,” Elros finally said, “Yes. The letters I have exchanged with Mother and Father, they are not enough. They could never be enough. And they say they understand my choice, but they are grieved, and I am grieved that they are grieved. And you. I am sorry to grieve you.”
“We made our choices together,” Elrond insisted, as if he had not just been sobbing in Elros’s lap about how painful and frightening this all was. How much he wished this didn’t have to happen.
“That we did,” Elros soothed him gently, as if Elrond were one of his children. It made him bristle and but quieted his beating heart at the same time. “But there is still grief. You need not grieve alone, you know. They are still waiting for you.”
So Elrond was told every time Elros received a letter. Elrond had yet to send one. I have more time, he’d always cheekily tell him, putting off that meeting- written or otherwise- off indefinitely.
“I will not sail,” Elrond mumbled petulantly.
“Peace, you do not have to. It’s just an option. Hm, they are waiting on you, but you are still waiting on Maglor. You’ll be waiting a long time.”
“Shut the fuck up,” Elrond said, looking up with a sharp glare. Elros just laughed.
“It’s fine, it’s not a judgment. I am waiting on him too. I’ve said goodbye to everyone else, after all.”
Elrond’s breath stuttered. He did not like that, he hated Elros speaking about his coming… coming death so calmly. He did not want to think about that long, lest he start weeping again.
He sat up.
“I’ll go fetch him,” Elrond insisted, still gripping his brother’s hand tight and leaning in close so that he would understand how serious he was. Elros grinned broadly.
“If I was a younger Man, I’d join you. Perhaps I still will. These old joints aren’t worth much, but I can still stroll a beach. Maybe Maglor will take pity on me and make himself known.”
“I’ll wring his neck if he doesn’t,” Elrond said, and he didn’t know what he was doing. Elros was old, and dying, and did not need to go on a journey to hunt down the singing wraith that allegedly haunted the western shores, from the very top to the bottom. But by Eru, Elrond was selfish and he couldn’t give up the chance for just a little more time.
Just a little more time with the family he had left.
“What do you say then,” King Elros decreed, grinning like the mischievous little brother Elrond knew so well. “Fancy one last adventure?”
I’m curious whether you have thoughts on Nerdanel and her decision to leave Fëanor. Any of it—when she reached the breaking point, where she went and what she did, how people thought about it. I’m especially curious whether effectively divorcing a spouse over irreconciliable differences is something that happened… at all in Aman (it seems not, given the kerfuffle with Finwë remarrying).
I've actually had a few - one idea I've become fond of over time is that Nerdanel actually remarries over time, as Feanor is never really intended to leave Mandos before the end (and if he does, it's indicated he'll be the last of the last). Personally, I think it fits the kind of character who would have the fire to match Feanor but the head and/or heart to disagree with him. I think she'd be stubborn enough to divorce him and bold enough to seek happiness after. With whom, well, who knows.
But! that's not really to the point haha.
I think Nerdanel probably found her breaking point around the time that it became apparent that Feanor valued the work of his hands more than his children (and her) - it's written that Nerdanel pleaded with him to leave the Ambarussar with her in Valinor, and that Feanor was the one to deliver the ultimatum, but it's also written (in her Tolkien Gateway page which I went to review) that she spent time with Indis beforehand, which is emblematic of something. I think Nerdanel was quite probably one of the forces working in the background (that Tolkien doesn't like to talk about) keeping things stable in the years before things truly started to go to shit - she's known as the Wise and as one of the few able to truly convince Feanor of anything, especially that which goes against his mood or opinion. Given it took him so relatively long to spiral, I'd imagine she was a big part of what was holding him up. I think towards the end, when his banishment happened, she first must have realized that he didn't value family as much as she had hoped (when he drew steel on Nolofinwe), and that was confirmed when he essentially demanded the lives of their youngest in his crusade to reclaim the Silmarils.
I would imagine that Nerdanel is ultimately someone who has a good sense of what is worth it, and what isn't. She *knows* Feanor, probably better than anyone, and knows how his mind works. She would be the first to realize that family ceased to be the highest priority for him, and when even their children dropped below Silmarils, and honor, and even eternity. She strikes me as the kind of person who can *let go* - not quite a cycle-breaker, but rather someone who refuses to be a part of and enable a cycle of violence. Even when it means letting her kids who, she understands that this isn't somethings she's willing to ruin everything - including herself - for. It's self care, but it's also tragic, because it also means that she would have recognized when *she* dropped in priorities below Feanor in the eyes of her children. She had to let them go die and suffer and for all the knew at the time fight a losing battle against a Vala, and suffer in the Void for it.
Frankly, I think after that sort of decision, Valarin marriage law wouldn't mean anything to her. What does a marriage bond mean to a mother who let her children go off to kill themselves over a few rocks at the behest of their father, her husband? What would they have told her? No?
I think, following this headcanon, that she would have probably either dropped into her art for a long while or else tried her best to work with her brother-in-law-no-longer Arafinwe to fix what was broken in Aman. Perhaps she might have risen in stature as a high counselor to him - she's known as the Wise, after all. There might be tension - she was Feanor's wife, how could she not avert what he had done? Kinslayer by association! Did she mean to pretend she had no hand in what was done in Alqualonde and Losgar? Indeed, I think Nerdanel's very presence in Aman was probably a sore point for many in the long years to follow, and yet, still she had let her children go. How many other parents had done so, to whatever end? How many other Noldor who remained behind think as she - possessed by cruel sanity and hateful prudence?
I would imagine that she found sympathy with Arafinwe and Earwen both on this matter - parents abandoned by their children, for whatever reason, sundered and only seldom hearing snippets of what lay beyond the Sundering Seas.
It was Thorondor who plucked Maedhros from the cliff of Thangorodrim, perhaps Manwe delivered her the news of her eldest and his long torment. Perhaps that would have been enough to drive her into a depression - perhaps she took a long time to carve Maedhros from stone - first from memory, then imagining him now; the missing hand, the scars, the haunted eyes, the grim expression. She hasn't seen his face in so long but she can *feel* the pain etched into his body - he shouldn't have gone. I can only imagine what she might have felt at Feanor's death - "You idiot... What a waste..." Or Amras' death (if he died in Losgar at Feanor's hands). Unthinkable rage.
I think her life would have been complicated past that point. Hearing snippets of her sons. Their foul deeds. Anger and rage and pain creeping into despair, transmuting with time into depression and loneliness. She would later hear of Maglor and Maedhros' last deeds on the record and feel pain, and then nothing. Maybe relief, maybe a vaguest sense of something unfinished, for she knows not where Maglor is. Can only look at the horizon and wonder if she will ever see the sails that herald his arrival.
I *hope* she would eventually find happiness - there is opportunity in eternity. Maybe her sons - having escaped the potential fate of the Void - would eventually emerge from Mandos scourged and reticent, and there would be tears and opened wounds and eventually reconciliation.
I think she would keep them waiting for a long time, if that happened.
Maybe, as I thought earlier, she might even find love anew and remarry. Maybe have a daughter at last, a little sister that the sons could cherish as something new, something untainted, and rediscover love and what family should be worth. If Feanor ever emerged, maybe they might even become friends again - that bond they once shared was sundered irrevocably, but they remembered a time when things were better, and that little spark might be worth capturing.
I have thoughts about Nerdanel.
heeey! so back when @eirianerisdar posted chapter 12 of their fic the ransom of the house of fëanor - that’s the one where they finally let the brothers hellspawn and their idiot dad out of the void, but they have to throw elrond in, all very sad - i thought up my own somewhat fluffier vastly dumber au for the end of that chapter. in honour of the fic being finished, i’ve decided to write up the various scattershot ideas i’ve had for it, with the caveat that i’ll be working off my own slightly different background headcanons
the divergence point is roughly when elrond announces that he’s totally going into the void now, for realsies, the local ainur are nodding solemnly, and the fëanorians are running preliminary can-we-take-them calculations. except for maedhros, who’s very sad to hear that they must sacrifice his nephew to the eternal dark for their freedom, ‘tis truly a shame, they will honour his memory and GET THE BOAT, BOYS
or, the original elf mad scientist, his murderous blood-hungry spawn, a guy who’s extremely grouchy about not getting to do his dramatic self-sacrifice, and their somewhat-less-reluctant-than-he-should-be getaway driver go on the lam
how they got away from the valar:
námo: already knew this was going to happen, but it’s not like anyone ever listens to him, is it? in the moment, was a little more concerned with how morgoth had started belly-crawling towards the doors of night
manwë: never wanted to throw elrond into the void in the first place, and has been silently hoping elrond would call his bluff for the past week. the children are all safe and inside like they should be, and isn’t that what really matters?
eönwë: no it isn’t boss the fëanorians are a completely unpredictable wildcard we cannot afford to let them run around unsupervised!!! would probably have at least delayed the family hellspawn until backup could arrive, except
olórin: realised what maedhros was planning almost immediately and had to consciously force down a shit-eating grin. as soon as the brothers started moving, divetackled eönwë
[from a note attached to a harpoon lodged outside the highest window on the white tower of the isle of seabirds]
elwing - it went better than i expected, honestly. the sons of fëanor took about as much offense to elrond’s plan as everyone else has, except when words didn’t work they resorted to action. they dragged him onto vingilot and i followed them, and then we cast off together. we’ve set sail for as far away from the doors of night as we can get. i’m coming with them, of course, i’m not letting these lunatics crash my baby
i’m not entirely certain when we’ll be back? the fëanorians seem worried the valar might come after us, which wouldn’t surprise me, really. i’m taking us out towards middle-earth, we’ll see where we go after that. they’re all screaming at each other and running across the deck, i’m not convinced they have much of a plan. elrond is yelling too, he’s arguing with either caranthir or curufin, can’t tell which. the one i suspect is maglor has wrapped himself around his neck and refuses to let go. our son is alive and healthy and not in the eternal darkness, and for that, at least, i am grateful
the redhead who’s co-opted the harpoons says we’re coming up on your tower. no one’s done anything to threaten me or elrond, or even looked at the silmaril. there’s something nice about sailing with a crew again, no matter who it is. i love you, and i’ll be back as soon as i can - eärendil
[from a note attached to a harpoon found among the ruins of a house in the tirion stonecarvers’ district]
you were right, nerdanel. you were right about everything, and i was wrong. i’m sorry. the boys and i are going on another adventure right now, but we’ll come back to you someday, i promise
[from the same note, in much neater handwriting]
tell tyelpë i love him, and also that the coordinates are [rest torn off]
the first sign of this mess that reaches arda is the morning and evening star disappearing from the sky. gondorian astronomers, haradren scholars, avarin priests all stare flummoxed as the star of high hope simply fails to appear before the sun. no matter how unsuperstitous they are everyone agrees this is a really bad omen, and all across the globe the high halls of power tremble in fear over the new horror this must portend
the first sign of this mess that reaches the shire (except for that one took who’s really into astrology) is when eight-year-old elanor gardner rushes into bag end the next day, all ‘dad! dad! there are elves in the woods!’
sam is pretty chuffed to hear this. the fair folk don’t pass through the shire half as often as they used to, and it’s been some years since he heard their song. if they’re in the neighbourhood, why, it’d only be polite to say hello, wish them luck on their journey, hand them a letter. he packs up a nice tuck-box full of goodies to share, and then sam and elanor (and frodo, who’s going through a following-his-big-sister-around-and-copying-everything-she-does phase) set out to meet the elves
first they hear the shouting. then they see the smoke
at the end of the path his daughter leads him down, sam finds the wreckage of what looks like a crashed boat strewn across the forest, still faintly smouldering. at least a dozen elves are rushing between and up the trees, yelling at each other in the angriest quenya he’s ever heard. in the middle of the impact crater stands a blonde elf carrying a stone that shines like the phial of galadriel, wailing something sam knows just enough sindarin to recognise as ‘MY SHIIIIIIIIIP’
as sam’s gaze pans over the unfolding catastrophe, his eyes land on one of the last elves he’d expected to see, master elrond. elrond is rubbing his temple, groaning like someone who knows he’s the most responsible person around and really wishes he wasn’t. a vaguely familiar sketchy-as-fuck elf is clinging onto his shoulders, in a not-dissimilar way to how frodo-lad is currently riding on sam. elrond catches sam’s gaze
‘greetings, master samwise,’ says the wisest elf-lord of the west, ignoring the scuffle that’s breaking out behind him. ‘i must apologise for my relations’
(fëanor and elanor become fast friends, teaching each other their languages and exploring the shire together. absolutely no one else is okay with this)
fëanor, dragging an incredibly-put-upon elrond around the citadel of minas tirith: grandbabies!
fëanor, marvelling over the embroidery arwen is showing him: great-grandbabies!
fëanor, carrying a tiny giggling eldarion all the way up the tower of gondor: great-great-grandbabies!
fëanor, staring fixedly at an increasingly apprehensive aragorn: great-great-great...
celegorm, on dad-watching duty: actually if you lay the maths out it’s very likely every human in middle-earth is descended... from... elros... fuck
fëanor: has gone completely still
fëanor: massive grin spreading across his face, eyes sparkling like the two trees brought back to life
First Ruins of the Noldor
Fandom: The Silmarillion
Characters: Anaire, Nerdanel, Earwen, Indis, Findis, Fingolfin, Finarfin
Summary: The sundering of the Noldor was bound to leave scars.
AO3 | Pillowfort | My writing page
When Fëanáro passed the gates at a near-gallop, with no sign of Nerdanel, it was no grand surprise. All of Tirion, or nearabout, had heard their screaming at each other through the night, with Nerdanel lapsing into tears, and when she saw that would have no effect, raging at Fëanáro with a fury to rival his own as she begged him to let Telufinwë and Pityafinwë stay behind in Aman. Close in Fëanáro’s wake now followed his seven sons, their hair and armor gleaming, with Nelyafinwë at the head, and the rest of his house that would follow him across the sea in pursuit of his stolen gems.
On that day the air was still and quiet in Valinor, and Anairë gazed up at in some wonder as she moved her horse at a slow clop towards the city gates, marveling that the Valar did not whip up the winds in displeasure, did not cast down rain and lightening and hail on the Noldor, to make them regret their oaths and their blasphemies. The very air of Tirion was heavy that day, making the warmth almost suffocating, and Anairë cast about for Eärwen, to ask if she felt the same energy.
The abodes, workspaces, and gathering places of Tirion were empty as the city gathered to watch the departure, most prominently those who had quarreled with Fëanáro the night before. There was much whispering behind hands and veils, and here and there, the pleading and bickering of families and friends divided over whether to follow Fëanáro on his quest or stay behind.
Seeing no sign of her sister-in-law and confidant, Anairë pulled her horse from the procession and rode back. To exit Aman at the side of her friend would give her more strength. But she saw no sign of Eärwen’s white mane, which stood out much among the generally dark-haired Noldor, and so instead she pulled up alongside Arafinwë.
“Where is Eärwen?” she asked. “I should like to ride with her.” From Arafinwë’s other side, Aikanáro gave Anairë a little wave, and she returned her nephew’s gesture. Arafinwë shook his head, rattling the beaded combs in his hair, a tightness in his jaw.
“Eärwen will not go,” he said. “So she said last night, and I have seen her not this morning. I believe she has gone to the sea shore.”
“Eärwen stays behind?” Anairë asked, her eyes widening. At once, she knew she ought to have counseled with Eärwen earlier—the night previous—but she had been too caught up in conversation with Nolofinwë and their children to consider it. The answer was yes, and furthermore it was plain Arafinwë did not desire to speak with her—nor, indeed, with anyone—so Anairë rode back up to where her house was, but as they passed out of the gates of Tirion, her horse slowed to a halt.
A breeze stirred her thin periwinkle cowl and she cast an eye across the familiar stretch of hills and trees that greeted her every exit of the main gates, and had done for years beyond her counting. The leaves rippled in the wind; the birds sailed overhead, singing in ignorance of all that had transpired the last day and night; and in the distance, the mountain peaks shone like beacons. All of Aman seemed calm and still, and untroubled by the turmoil of the Firstborn.
“Anairë?” Nolofinwë stood before her, and the children had halted; he had come back to round her up. “We must hurry; I fear Fëanáro will brook no delays in this quest.”
“You must hurry,” she said. Nolofinwë’s eyes swept over her, fixing on her face as though to divine her thoughts. “You must hurry to Fëanáro’s side, for you are right, and I am certain he will perceive a delay as an insult. But I will not go to these summons. Our place is here.”
“I thought we had agreed last night,” Nolofinwë said more quietly, moving his horse closer to hers.
“So I thought as well,” she said. “But this is not right.” She shook her head. “I cannot go with you. There is no place for us in Middle-earth.”
“We will make a place,” Nolofinwë said. “We will avenge the wrongs done to us by Morgoth and the Valar.” Still, he fed her Fëanáro’s reasons for departing, though she knew well enough after their hours of debate the night previous that Nolofinwë’s reasons were not Fëanáro’s reasons.
“Such love you have for Fëanáro, to follow him into the unknown,” Anairë said. “Your heart is beautiful, and I would almost envy your loyalty to him. I hope he knows what a treasure he has in you.” She knew the answer to that already, if Nolofinwë did not (and so it seemed, that he knew not, or chose not to know). “But I cannot go with you.” As she studied the features of her husband’s face, familiar almost into a blur, a feeling more than a sight, she tried to reemphasize each of them, to have a clear picture in her mind, for in her heart, she began to understand this was an end. “There is a shadow on this venture; I mislike it greatly,” she said lowly, deciding she could not release him without some last effort to hold onto him. “Don’t go, Nolofinwë. Let Fëanáro and his sons retrieve the jewels, if they would.”
“I must,” he answered. “Many of the people will not go if we stay behind.” So let them stay, Anairë thought. It was true many had called for Nolofinwë to come and lead them alongside Fëanáro, but Anairë did not see that that obliged him in any way. “And…” Nolofinwë glanced back towards Fëanáro’s host. “I would not leave the rest to Fëanáro’s judgement alone. He is…impassioned now, and inclined to be rash.” Was there ever a time Fëanáro was not inclined to be rash?
Have you forgotten what earned him his exile?
The house of Arafinwë carried on past them, parting to swerve around their children as water around a stone.
“I will not beg, but I tell you again: I see a darkness in this future,” Anairë urged. “I would rather you stayed. But I see your desire is to protect our people as you can, and so I will not waste more time entreating you.” Fëanáro won the prize for bull-headedness in the family, but Anairë knew Nolofinwë could be near as bad, and burned with a fire of his own.
“What of the children?” Nolofinwë asked, glancing back at the four of them. Anairë wished then that they were children, whom she could gather about her and forbade from leaving; whom she could frighten with tales of lands unknown; who would hearken to their mother’s call for no reason beyond the heart behind the voice.
“They are grown,” she said softly. “If it is their desire to follow you, it is not in my power to stop them.” Irissë in particular, seemed relieved, as though she had expected her mother to demand that her only daughter stay behind.
“Arakáno!” Fëanáro’s bellow reached back to them. “The oceans will ice over before you arrive at the shore!”
“I’m coming!” Nolofinwë called back, before returning his attention to Anairë. “I will plead with you once more: come with us,” he said in a low, urgent tone, looking at her from beneath his dark lashes, giving her that beseeching look he saved for her alone. “I cannot say how long we may tarry there, or how much time it will take us to recover the Silmarils.”
“My heart goes with you,” she said. “But I cannot.” Nudging her mount forward, so they stood near enough for her knee to touch Nolofinwë’s, she pulled from her ear one of the golden earrings she wore, a lovely cascade of teardrops that rattled most pleasantly whenever she turned her head. She took Nolofinwë’s hand, turned it palm-up, and set the earring in the center. “In case you should be tempted to forget me,” she teased, drawing a little smile over her sorrow. It would not do to part in grief.
At once, Nolofinwë removed one of his own earrings, and replaced it with the one Anairë had given him.
“For you, as well,” he said softly, reaching out to hang his own earring where Anairë had removed hers. She wished he had not been wearing his riding gloves, that she might feel the warmth of his skin against hers. “Now, we match.” A breathy laugh left Anairë’s lips: they were words that had passed between them on many occasions, and the moment Nolofinwë spoke them, she was showered in those shimmering memories, that slipped too quickly between her fingers.
“Now we match,” she agreed, and smiled at him in his mis-matched earrings. She leaned up in her stirrups, and pressed her forehead to Nolofinwë’s. “Ride swift and strong, my love, and I will think all days of your victory and your return.” Nolofinwë clasped her hand and closed his eyes.
“We will stay no longer than we must,” he promised. “And whenever I see the first sun break over the horizon, I shall think of you.”
“Keep them safe,” she said.
“I will. They are strong in body and spirit, and blessed more with your wit than mine,” he replied. Anairë thought of Irissë and disagreed, but there was no time to rehash that discussion.
“Fëanáro is going to leave you behind,” she said. Nolofinwë, looking over his wife, understood then that she would never pull away, that it was on him to cleave them apart, or else he knew she was right: Fëanáro would leave without him and his house. Patience was not a virtue of which Fëanáro was in possession.
He drew back from Anairë and the children rode to join them, to press Anairë’s hands and bid their mother tender, but firm goodbyes. In them blazed the fire of youth and steel untested; they saw before them a righteous path and trusted in their father and their uncles to lead them to a noble and just victory. Irissë was most eager of all; her hands barely squeezed Anairë’s hand before she was off again after the rest of the host, soon to be followed by the others. One and all, Anairë watched her family ride down along that familiar old road, until she could see nothing but plumes of dust cresting the hills. For one wild heartbeat, driven only by her pain, Anairë almost bolted after them, but some invisible tie held her back.
Indis had appeared beside her, but Anairë could not have said when.
“We will not see them again,” Anairë said aloud. She looked down to meet Indis’ gaze.
“You think Fëanáro will lose?” Indis asked.
“I think it does not matter much if he does or does not,” Anairë said. “But we will not see them again.”
The house was empty when Anairë returned, and she found herself restive and unable to make peace with any single activity. Instead, she moved from room to room, as if there were something to be gained in looking out every window they had. She shut and opened again the doors of her children’s quarters. She wondered if they had determined yet how they planned to get to Middle-earth.
When she came downstairs to find Indis in the parlor, she felt no surprise.
“Your house is empty too,” she guessed, and there was a low, new ache in her chest. In such a short span of time, Indis had been robbed of her husband, three of her four children, and all of her grandchildren, as well as Fëanáro, if he could be counted as any loss of hers. She finished her way down the stairs and crossed to clasp Indis’ hand between both of hers.
“I never thought we would be sundered this way again,” Indis said. “I thought we had seen the worst of it before, when we journeyed out of Middle-earth. Have you seen Eärwen?”
“Not since yesterday,” said Anairë. “I had thought to go look for her, but…perhaps she will come to us when she wishes to be found.” Indis’ hand clenched between Anairë’s, and she pulled away.
“Finwë would not have let them do such a thing,” she said, turning from Anairë.
“I am not sure Finwë could have stopped them,” Anairë replied. “Fëanáro’s spirit burns too bright for that.”
“Fëanáro, Fëanáro! Fëanáro thinks of no one but himself!” Indis cried. “He took my husband into exile, and now he has taken both of my sons and one of my daughters, and all of my grandchildren! And he would cast them against the rocks in this quest, which the Valar themselves have spoken against! He would dash them all against Morgoth’s blade to regain what he has lost!”
“They all went of their own will,” Anairë said quietly. “Fëanáro cast no spell on them.”
“You heard him talk,” Indis said. “There were moments I was certain he would have all the Noldor marching together.” She turned back to Anairë, her full lower lip downturned. “I marvel you feel not this anger, Anairë. Has he not taken your husband and your children as well?”
“Fëanáro did not steal my husband,” Anairë sighed. Her shoulders drooped, and she moved past Indis to sink onto a sofa and look out that window which observed the road before the house. “Nolofinwë left of his own volition. I do not agree with him, and I wish he had not gone, or that he had counseled our children to stay, but they all left by their own choice.”
She could just catch the movement of Indis pacing from the corner of her eye, and she thought she should suggest they go and make something to eat, but it seemed to demand more energy than she possessed. Keeping her eyes on the road, Anairë lifted a hand to finger the earring Nolofinwë had placed in her ear that morning, rubbing her thumb over the smooth edges.
“Where is Eärwen?” Indis demanded again, coming nearer to join Anairë in looking out the window. She exhaled sharply and moved away. “Anairë, come with me. Findis is at the house, and we should like your company. It was for that that I came here. In times of such tragedy, it is best not to be alone.”
“That was kind of you,” Anairë murmured.
“Will you not come?”
“I…” Anairë wanted to refuse. Indis had her daughter still for company, and Anairë could not imagine what the three of them together, all lamenting the same ill, would accomplish that she could not manage brooding on her own, but it seemed unkind, in that moment, to reject the invitation. “I will come,” she said, and with great effort, peeled herself off the couch to follow Indis through the garden that made her and Nolofinwë’s house feel more like an extension of Finwë and Indis’ home than its own discrete structure.
Findis was in the kitchen, but when she came out to greet Anairë, her eyes were red and swollen, and she began crying again almost immediately upon laying eyes on her sister-in-law. Anairë got nothing coherent out of her, but put a hand on the back of her head while Findis wept into her shoulder.
“You stayed,” Anairë said.
“Of course I stayed!” Findis cried tearfully, lifting her head. “What is there for us in Middle-earth? What hope does Fëanáro have of defeating Morgoth? He slew our own high king right out from beneath us! He laid waste to Yavanna’s trees! I told Fëanáro this was a fool’s errand! I cannot fathom that Irimë, Nolofinwë, and Arafinwë went with him! It is not as if he has some great love for us.”
Findis’ words brought something else to mind that Anairë had not considered before. She turned to Indis.
“You are the high queen,” she said. “Do you now rule Tirion?”
“I suppose I do,” she said, twisting her hands. “But there are…many other positions that need filling…things will need to be reorganized…we will need to convene…” She slowly sank into a chair and cradled her head in her hands. “I had not thought much of this before…there is so much to do…” Truthfully, it was not as much as Indis seemed to fear—with Finwë refusing to rule since Fëanáro’s exile, day-to-day operation of Tirion had fallen to the council that had formerly advised the high king. Anairë imagined they would simply promote Indis to the position of ruler, and then busy themselves filling council positions left by departed Elves.
The smell of something burning came from the kitchen, Findis rushed back, and Anairë heard whispered curses. She drifted to the front windows; the streets outside were darkening quickly.
“Where is Nerdanel?” she asked, feeling almost violative in the breaking of the silence.
“I shouldn’t know,” Indis replied in an oddly strained voice. Perhaps Anairë should have asked more, but she let herself fall back into silence and contemplation, until it seemed proper to go to the kitchen and help Findis bring out the food.
Nerdanel returned to the house—which could not wholly incorrectly have been referred to as a palace, being suited to the high king and queen and their family, though it was almost never referred to as such—before Findis and Anairë had finished setting the table, hauling an enormous chunk of what looked like granite.
“Nerdanel?” Anairë turned observe her sister-in-law’s passage, but Nerdanel went right by the dining hall without a word, huffing through the front of the house to the living quarters in the back, presumably off to her and Fëanáro’s wing of the house, where lay her work studio.
Several minutes later, she returned, dressed in loose, coarse clothing for her work.
“Dinner?” she asked.
“I made something,” Findis said, fluttering a hand over the table. Nerdanel nodded, and dropped into a seat beside Anairë. They served themselves, but there was little talk, until Indis spoke, in a tone not entirely conversational.
“You were at the quarry?”
Nerdanel lifted her eyes to the queen’s, and for a heartbeat the two Elves just stared.
“Yes,” she said at last.
“You have new plans?” Indis asked.
“I have thoughts,” Nerdanel replied. The staring went on, and then Indis lowered her gaze and went back to eating. Beneath the dull clink of cutlery, Anairë caught the sound of Findis sniffling. The room lapsed into dream for Anairë, and she ceased to be aware of any conversation that went on, poking listlessly at her squash on occasion, and thinking of how Fëanáro and Nolofinwë planned to cross the ocean to Middle-earth.
This ponderous state ended with Nerdanel’s wine goblet hitting the wall. Jolted back to the realm of reality, Anairë stared at Nerdanel with the others, and for a moment she thought Nerdanel’s plate would follow her wine goblet.
“Excuse me,” Nerdanel said at last, already half-risen from her chair. “I have to go.” And she did, leaving her plate behind, with all the capers picked out of the salad, crowded into a neat pile on the plate’s rim.
“That is your mess to clean up!” Findis shouted after her when the shocked silence had run its course. Distantly, a door closed, and Anairë once more detached herself from the scene, little aware of the end of the meal, or her goodbyes to Findis and Indis, or her walk back to her and Nolofinwë’s house (but it was just hers now, wasn’t it?). She fell into bed, and the dream state overtook her entirely.
When she woke, Eärwen was sitting in her room, cross-legged in one of the chairs by her vanity, the starlight illuminating her fair hair and lighting up the teak brown of her almond-shaped eyes.
“They aren’t coming home, are they?” she asked, resting her gaze on Anairë.
“No.” Twisted in the sheets to see Eärwen, half-raised up on one arm, Anairë saw the outline of her bed, and that it was not the vast ocean it had seemed in the darkness of night. It was still quite large, though, and she sank back down, suddenly feeling as if she had not slept at all. It had been pleasant, to lose herself in true-sleep for a while, but the temptation to do it again was too strong.
“I brought fruit,” Eärwen said. “And scallops.”
Anairë’s quilts were made of lead, but she managed to throw them off and drag herself out of bed. She pulled off her sleeping cap and tossed it on the bed, digging her hands into her tight curls and raking her nails over her scalp.
“Have you wept for them?” Eärwen asked in a near-whisper, drawing her knees close to her chest. Anairë paused by the window.
“Neither have I. It feels…unreal. As if it is someone else’s song; as if I am descrying some future which I must strive to avoid.” Eärwen spoke always in a dreamy, far-off voice, like she was half in another world, only briefly stepping into theirs. Seeing her paired with sober Arafinwë had always made Anairë smile a bit.
“I do not know why the grief hits me not as it did Findis,” Anairë said. “I just…” She trailed off, unsure how to describe herself, and then shook her head. “Indis was looking for you last night. Have you seen none of us since Fëanáro’s speech?”
“Oh. For what?”
“I think she does not wish to be alone, and thinks we feel the same. It was well-intentioned. I told her you would come when you wished.”
“Thank you.” Eärwen unfurled from the seat, and put a hand on Anairë’s shoulder. The two Elves shared a look, and Eärwen left without another word, leaving Anairë to dress.
When Anairë broke her fast in silence with Eärwen, it was unusual, but not unpleasant, and when they were done, it was time to speak to Indis of convening the council.
“I thought Nerdanel was going to challenge Indis for the queenship,” Eärwen said. The sea breeze billowed her airy robes out around her and swept the hair back from her face.
“I am not certain that Nerdanel even wants it,” Anairë said.
“You think she simply wishes to take it from Indis?”
“I think…” Anairë turned to look out at the puffy white clouds scudding lazily across the sky. “Perhaps it is wrong to speculate. I think Nerdanel is frustrated.” Which meant that feeling soon extended to the rest of the meeting; Nerdanel and Fëanáro were not renowned for keeping their frustrations to themselves.
“I was surprised she stayed, and went not with Fëanáro,” Eärwen said. “Usually, they’re so…” She looked at Anairë. “But then, so are you and Nolofinwë.” Anairë turned her face more towards the sea. “Do you feel, at all,” Eärwen went on when Anairë said nothing, “that they chose Fëanáro over us?”
“I would like to think it more complicated than that,” Anairë murmured just above the wsh-wsh of the waves against the sand, half a step from her feet. She passed her tongue over her lips and tasted the salt of the air.
“I should have thought that Nolofinwë would stay. Particularly after Taniquetil…He would have the rightful claim to the throne, with Fëanáro and all his children gone.”
“Let us not speak of it, please.” Anairë did not want to talk about how Nolofinwë had ridden off at the heels of a brother (half-brother, Fëanáro would say) who seemed to care very little whether he lived or died, and had allowed all four of their children to be talked into going, and left her and Eärwen and Indis behind to sort through the rubble and try to put things back together.
Silence between them was far from unusual; both Elves well-understood the other’s desire for quiet, but it fell so frequently between them in the last few days Anairë worried they were losing the ability to speak at all. Maybe they would become a pair of Nerdanel’s marble statutes and be no more than a memorial to an earlier time.
The sand was cool beneath her feet, and the rushing of the waves blocked out most sounds from the city, and Anairë could almost pretend that there was nothing unusual about the day; that it was just her and Eärwen out for a walk, as they often did, for Eärwen loved to be beside the sea.
“Perhaps I should have gone with them,” Eärwen murmured. “At least to Alqualondë. I could have pleaded Fëanáro’s case for ships to my father. I told this to Arafinwë before: there is no other way across to Middle-earth but by sea, and you Noldor know very little of ship-building. Of course, to build enough ships for all of them will take time, and brother Fëanáro is not one for patience…”
“I am certain of one thing, sister, and that is that Fëanáro needs no assistance to plead any case of his,” Anairë said. “I am certain they are at sea this very minute, or else devouring all advice they can get from your people on the swiftest way to build a fleet.” Eärwen let out a quiet huff.
“Yes, I suppose that is true. Do you remember,” Eärwen asked, turning to Anairë with a smile, “the time he caught Maitimo and Findekáno imitating him and Nolofinwë for the little ones?”
Anairë did remember—she remembered how cross Fëanáro had been, and how Nerdanel had scolded the children—telling them that they were wrong, and Fëanáro sounded more like this when he quarreled with Nolofinwë. She and Nelyafinwë had gone back and forth like that (“Like this, ammë?” “Not quite, more like this.”) until all present were in stitches, and even Fëanáro struggled not to show amusement. She remembered how Findekáno had howled with laughter and how Findaráto had clapped his hands and cried again, again! Anairë had promised Findekáno not to tell his father, if he would show her his impression once more.
“I do,” she said, the memory welling up in her chest like a slow burst of warmth. It was quickly fading into the pain of absence, but she clung to the comfort of it as long as she could. “They weren’t too far off. I think Maitimo had a fair amount of practice.”
Eärwen hooked her hands together behind her back and smiled at the stretch of sand before them.
“Ingoldo was always so thrilled to be included in their games, even when they got into trouble,” she said, a distant look creeping into her eyes, although the smile remained.
“He’s a good boy,” Anairë murmured.
“I hope so,” Eärwen replied.
It was only when Eärwen asked if Anairë had been to visit Nerdanel that she considered she might want to check in on her sister-in-law. Indis’ emergency council meeting had been her only contact with Nerdanel since the dismal dinner at Indis’ house the night after Fëanáro’s departure, and they had not spoken directly, nor of anything that did not involve politics and the practical function of the city.
She approached Nerdanel and Fëanáro’s wing from the street, rather than passing through the main halls. There was no answer to her knock on the door, or her call to the window. It was unlocked, though, so Anairë let herself in; it was commonplace among the family to come and go as they pleased, and boundaries between them were few.
“Nerdanel?” There was a concussive crash from the back of the house, and Anairë gathered her dress to run before the sound was followed with voluminous cursing. Slowing then her step, Anairë moved in the direction of Nerdanel’s workshop, which she guessed was the source of the noise. More crashing, and the sound of things shattering. Anairë paused outside the door. It was a bad time, and she should go. A whirlwind series of cracking stone, and then Nerdanel’s wordless yelling, a scream of impotent fury wrenched from her throat that made a shiver go down Anairë’s back.
Should she—? No. No, it was best to go.
There was nothing she could say.
Anairë went back later, but the house was empty, or Nerdanel was ignoring her calls. With slow, uncertain steps she approached the studio door, mostly closed, but still slightly ajar.
“Nerdanel?” She kept her voice soft, as though trying to soothe and coax a wounded animal. “It’s Anairë. Are you there?”
“Nerdanel?” Anairë touched her fingers to the smooth wood of the door. “I’m coming in.” That proved to be more of a challenge than she had anticipated; the door was hung up on something, so Anairë only managed to force it open far enough that she could squeeze in, and then gape.
The level of destruction Nerdanel had wrought on her studio was truly impressive. On a first glance, Anairë couldn’t see that there was a single whole piece left. Some of the shattered chunks of rock and marble on the floor she could see were statutes she recognized.
It took several moments of processing the carnage before Anairë registered that Nerdanel was not in the room. She shuffled forward, seeing that debris had blocked the door from opening fully, and surveyed Nerdanel’s work. She stopped in the center of the room, and bent to pick up a piece of a face, which she recognized as one of Nerdanel’s sculptures of Fëanáro—one of the ones she preferred to keep in her studio rather than display elsewhere.
Anairë’s voice was dead in her throat, so that even if it had felt proper to call out again for Nerdanel, she could not have done it.
See her grief, a voice whispered in Anairë’s ear. But not yours. No pottery lies smashed in your studio; no redness stains your eyes. No neighbors listen to your screams.
The bit of marble fell from Anairë’s hand, chinking against another ruined sculpture before it hit the ground. She needed to sit down, but not there, it couldn’t be there—she couldn’t breathe in there. Anairë fled the house, not caring if Nerdanel heard, but even seclusion in her own home brought no comfort, and she sat in her and Nolofinwë’s room, hunched over with her elbows on her knees, clutching at her temples, breathing as if she had run a mile.
“I should have gone with you,” she whispered, but it wasn’t true, and she didn’t believe it. What was worse—to stay, or to go? “You should have stayed!” she said, louder, lifting her head, as if Nolofinwë might be there in the doorway for her to scold for his impetuousness. “You should have stayed with me!”
When the trumpet sounded, Anairë thought it was a dream, that she had drifted into sleep without realizing it. But when it came again, she stiffened. It was not a dream, and she slept not—that was the sound of someone unexpected approaching the city.
She made as quick work of saddling her horse as she could, but when she made it to the road, she saw Nerdanel had not bothered even with that: she raced down the main road at a gallop, bareback, wind streaming through her fiery curls.
“Nerdanel!” Anairë kicked her horse up to speed and tore after her sister-in-law. “Did you hear that trumpet?”
“Yes!” Nerdanel cried.
They blew past the city gates side-by-side, passing Findis in the street with no time to explain, and Anairë slowed at the sight of a host returning along the road.
“They’ve come back,” she whispered. Anairë had been so certain they would not. Nerdanel didn’t check her speed and rushed by Anairë, kicking up dust as her horse bolted down the road. Anairë nudged her own mount back to a run, and caught up with them just after Nerdanel.
“Arafinwë,” she greeted her brother-in-law breathlessly. “You have returned.” Arafinwë did not speak, but the silence put an ill feeling in Anairë’s gut, and she lifted her eyes to the rest of them, looking for the familiar crowns of her four babies, whom she could not pick out among the rest.
“I am sorry,” Arafinwë said. Anairë’s brow furrowed.
“They’re not here,” Nerdanel said, and clenched her jaw so tightly Anairë could see the muscles bulging.
“Fëanáro and Nolofinwë. They are not here. They have continued on to Middle-earth. The children, too. All of them.”
“But then…why have you returned?” Anairë asked Arafinwë. His hands trembled on the reins.
“You must give me a moment,” he whispered. “I will…I will tell you. You must know. But…first, we must rest.” He looked back at the rest of his house, whereupon Anairë realized something else.
“Your children,” she said. Arafinwë shook his head, and when he moved to carry on into the city, neither Anairë nor Nerdanel stopped him. Anairë looked at Nerdanel, but Nerdanel was watching Arafinwë, and so they followed him back into the city.
Eärwen, Findis, and Indis had gathered with many others inside the city gate, such that the road was blocked and Arafinwë had to come to a halt.
“Where is Arakáno?” Indis asked. “Where is Irimë?”
“They are not with us,” Arafinwë replied. Indis made a soft cry of dismay, but as the people had cleared a path, Arafinwë merely proceeded into the city towards his home, and after a few moments, Eärwen followed.
In other circumstances, Anairë would not have intruded on such a moment, but given the significance of the stake they all held in the actions of Fëanáro and those who followed him, she thought it justified. These considerations proved unnecessary, as Nerdanel had no compunction about such an invasion, and Indis not enough to refuse to follow in Nerdanel’s footsteps.
They were gathered in Eärwen’s parlor, with Arafinwë sat heavily on a cushioned bench, and the rest in a half-circle around him, and he knew he could not much longer put off the telling of Alqualondë.
“So the rest of them have continued on to Middle-earth?” said Indis. “But why have you returned? Why are Irimë and Arakáno not with you? And the children?”
Arafinwë rubbed at his eyes and would look at none of them, staring studiously at the low table before him. The tremor returned intermittently to his hands, and Anairë wished not to be around him; if she could have left the room, she would have quitted that house, but desire for knowledge of her children, of Nolofinwë, kept her there.
Eärwen reached out to her husband, and placed a comforting hand on his back, but he flinched from her touch, and shifted away. Eärwen withdrew her hand.
“Did you make it to Alqualondë?” she asked softly. Slowly, jerkily, Arafinwë nodded.
“And you asked my father for help, as I advised?”
“We did.” Arafinwë’s voice sounded as if someone had been working it over with sandpaper of a particularly coarse grain. “Fëanáro…Fëanáro asked for him to lend us the white ships.” Eärwen’s brow raised up.
“What did he say?”
“He would not give them,” Arafinwë said.
“And then what?” Nerdanel asked. “Arafinwë, you must tell us.” She leaned forward, gripping her knees, and Anairë saw a fresh bandage on the back of her hand.
“Fëanáro asked King Olwë for the ships,” Arafinwë said, taking a deep breath, nodding to himself. “And King Olwë refused them. Fëanáro accused him of being a false friend to the Noldor. He said the Teleri owed us for the tutelage we had provided them in many crafts. King Olwë returned that a good friend does not encourage a friend down a doomed path. He would not be swayed, not even by Fëanáro.”
“So what will they do?” Findis cried. “They cannot mean to cross the Helcaraxë!” Arafinwë shook his head heavily from side to side and worried his lower lip with his teeth.
“King Olwë refused Fëanáro the ships,” he whispered. “So Fëanáro took them by force.” Anairë’s eyes flicked to Nerdanel, who seemed become one of her sculptures. Eärwen had blanched and had a look that a single touch would shatter her to pieces.
“What does that mean?” she asked.
“We…killed them,” Arafinwë answered.
It took Anairë several moments to register the silence in the room, the coldness in her feet, the lightness in her head. She would have wondered that she misheard, or misunderstood, but for Findis’ hands clasped over her mouth, Indis’ bug-eyed stare, and Nerdanel looking on the verge of fainting. Had her own face gone so wan?
“No,” said Nerdanel.
“We killed the Teleri,” Arafinwë said, and Eärwen cried out as if he had struck her, and slipped off the seat, tears blooming in her eyes.
“How many?” Anairë asked in a hoarse whisper. “Do any yet live?”
“Many,” Arafinwë said. “But many do not. To the best of my knowledge, the…the king and his family all live.”
“You lie!” Nerdanel was on her feet. “Fëanáro would not have done such a thing. Or if he did, it was with some other whispering in his ear!” Arafinwë looked up, the first he had looked directly at any of them. “Melkor works still in Aman, because the Valar have not stopped him!”
“You think I would lie about such a thing?”
“It must be terrible, to be so near to the throne, and yet so far!” Nerdanel sneered. “Strange that you come back now, with the best claim to it, now that Fëanáro and Nolofinwë and all their children are gone! And with such terrible stories about the rest of them!”
“Nerdanel!” Findis exclaimed.
“Enough of that,” Anairë said quietly. Nerdanel swung her gaze around the group of them, and swept out of the room, and Anairë heard the front door open and shut. After a moment, to Anairë’s surprise, Eärwen rose and followed her.
“Ingoldo,” Indis said urgently. “Arakáno cannot have agreed with this. Why has he not come back also?”
“He would not abandon Fëanáro and the rest, and he feared—” Arafinwë cut himself off.
“Feared the wrath of the Valar,” Arafinwë said reluctantly. “Mandos has—” And again, he silenced himself.
“Mandos has what?” Indis asked. Arafinwë shifted in his seat, looking at the floor, and hunched his shoulders. “Mandos has what, Ingoldo?”
“…proclaimed a doom on the Noldor,” he muttered. Another blow he struck against the assembled Elves and winced in sympathy with their terror. “On all those who partook in the Kinslaying. They may not return to Valinor.”
“But…you’re here,” Findis said.
“We—my house and I—have been blessed with Manwë’s forgiveness,” Arafinwë said, and a small shudder went through him, as though he were not past this relief. “It is only by this which we were able to pass into Valinor once again.”
“What do we do now?” Findis asked, looking among the remaining Elves.
“Ask me not,” Arafinwë said, covering his face with his hands. “I can do nothing but repent of the last several days.”
Arafinwë was a kinslayer.
Nolofinwë was a kinslayer. Nolofinwë had taken his blade, with all its strength and skill, and wielded it against their friends and allies (against their family). At Fëanáro’s command, Nolofinwë had killed Elves who journeyed with them across the sea to Aman.
Findekáno was a kinslayer.
Turukáno was a kinslayer.
Irissë was a kinslayer.
Arakáno was a kinslayer.
Anairë’s nieces and nephews, whom she had held in her arms and taught to walk and given pottery lessons were kinslayers, and they had all chosen to follow Fëanáro further into his madness, rather than return to Valinor.
“I do not know,” she said at last into the silence. “I do not know.”
Turning from the scene in the parlor, she felt presently that she had to be out of that airless house, and quitted into the street. Her feet carried her uncertainly one way, then another, and then she settled on Nerdanel’s wing of the house. She still had not spoken properly with her sister-in-law since this disaster began.
There was a commotion in the stable when she approached, so Anairë eschewed the front door and went around to the side, where Eärwen and Nerdanel were both saddling up horses.
“Are you going somewhere?” she asked, almost afraid of the answer.
“To Alqualondë,” Nerdanel said grimly.
“I must see to my family,” Eärwen murmured, half to herself as she tightened the saddle around the horse.
“Nerdanel—” Anairë began.
“I must speak with Olwë,” Nerdanel interrupted. “Would you take such a serious charge as Arafinwë has laid on his word alone?”
“I trust our brother,” Anairë said.
“He is no brother of mine,” Nerdanel asserted. “I will not trust what I cannot verify on my own.”
“Neither of you is thinking!” Anairë said as Nerdanel led her horse out of the stable. “What will the Teleri think when they see you riding up like fire and fury? They will think Fëanáro has sent you to finish the job!” Nerdanel turned with such violence Anairë thought for a moment she would strike her, but Nerdanel mastered her temper, and breathed deeply.
“I will be careful,” she said. “Thank you for your thoughts.” Anairë glanced back at Eärwen, now leading her own mount onto the road.
“Let me come with you,” she said. “Please.” She had no great desire to see Alqualondë, and be observed by the eyes of the Teleri, but Nerdanel had woken in her some secret hope that it was all a terrible or mad tale of Arafinwë, that none of it was real. For him to concoct such a thing was ludicrous, and yet, was it not just as preposterous to believe that her husband and her children had drawn weapons on fellow Elves?
“Be quick,” Nerdanel said. Impatient as Nerdanel was, she allowed Anairë to insist they let Indis know where they were going. Indis misliked the idea greatly, but there was no dissuading her three daughters-in-law.
“Be careful,” she said, looking at Anairë, who nodded. “Come home.”
As predicted, the Teleri were not pleased to have more Noldor showing up in their territory, least of all the wives of the three who had perpetrated such senseless violence against them. It was only Eärwen’s relation to the royal family that got them past the guard (and spared them being chased out at spear-point), and only then so they could confirm Arafinwë’s wretched story. Not that they needed to speak with Olwë to guess at its truth—the wreckage was all around the harbor, and the Teleri’s prized treasures—their white ships—were gone. Scorched building fronts, corpses bobbing in the water, the wreckage of half-sunk ships poking out of the surf…Anairë’s stomach turned looking at the trail the Noldor had left behind, and thinking of the fear and betrayal of the Teleri.
Nolofinwë, she thought as her horse clopped slowly over shattered paving stones, past rows of white sheets pulled over bodies not yet buried, past Elves wound in bloody bandages. What have you done?
Eärwen’s immediate family did live, although she had lost several cousins, and the dead were still being counted and identified.
“What happened after they took the ships?” Anairë asked.
“They passed over the sea, although several of the ships were sunk before they quit the harbor, and we can say not how many were able to get aboard for the crossing,” said Elmo, brother and advisor to King Olwë. “By the report of our most recent scouts, it seems a great many of them continued on northwards.”
“To what end?”
“I shouldn’t guess, or care,” Elmo replied. “I concern myself not with Elves like those, except if they should come back to make another slaughter of our people.” Anairë averted her eyes from the burn of his gaze.
“The Helcaraxë,” Nerdanel said dully. “If there were not ships enough to ferry all of them, those who went north must mean to cross the Helcaraxë into Middle-earth.” She was looking north, and the sea breeze stirred her curls, making them dance like the tongues of fire for which Fëanáro was named.
But they will die, Anairë thought.
“Fëanáro will be across the sea by now,” Nerdanel said. “I would imagine Nolofinwë is with him.”
“Then who was left to the Helcaraxë?”
“Perhaps some who volunteered,” Nerdanel said. Anairë wanted to ask who would volunteer for such a thing, but sense had left the Noldor days ago. Elves as desperate as those who had just slew their kinsmen for the sake of a distance vengeance and been exiled from their home would think little of a deadly journey across the grinding ice. Why did they go? Because they felt they had no choice, she thought.
When Eärwen emerged from conversation with her family, they were promptly escorted out of Teleri territory, and did not protest. Nor did they speak for their journey back to Tirion; once, Anairë heard Eärwen weeping, and passed her a handkerchief in silence. What could she say to an Elf whose kinsman her own husband and children had cut down worse than animals? For an animal they would have treated with more respect, and made more effort to kill kindly.
She could picture them at battle: Nolofinwë leading the charge of his house, because he always wanted to be where the action was thickest; fierce Irissë spinning left and right with her bow, her dark braid whipping about with her movement; Arakáno at her back, making sure none drew near enough to touch his sister with a blade; Findekáno beside his cousin Nelyafinwë, perhaps with Findaráto nearby; Turukáno, ever cautious, watching to make sure his siblings did not become surrounded. Only it was not beasts they slew, but Elves that Eärwen had grown up with; it was their neighbors; it was their friends.
The city gates seemed to spring up out of nowhere, and with numb hands Anairë led her horse to the stable and began to dress it down. It took her several minutes to realize Nerdanel had followed her there, and sat still astride her horse, staring at some thing only she could see.
For a moment Anairë stared, and then Nerdanel caught her gaze, and they looked at each other dumbly, their hands still and useless. Then Anairë went and offered Nerdanel a hand down from her horse, but when she had dismounted, Nerdanel did not let go.
“I should have killed him myself,” Nerdanel said. “How much blood would then have been spared?”
“You could not have known.”
“I should have known,” Nerdanel disagreed, squeezing Anairë’s hand until the delicate bones pressed sharply into Nerdanel’s fingers. “I know Fëanáro better than anyone. Or I…I thought I did. Maybe I…maybe I was wrong.”
“No,” Anairë said. “You did. But he has not been himself since Finwë’s death.”
“You are too kind to him,” Nerdanel said, jaw tight, mouth downturned, bitterness coating her tongue. “It was the Simarils that drove him. Fëanáro was always proud, but those jewels…”
“You did what you could,” Anairë said. “You cannot control him, Nerdanel.”
“No, but I could have stopped him.”
“And would the Valar have been any less in wrath for that?”
“It would have saved more lives than were lost. Let the punishment be mine alone. Now half our kin are banished and will live forever in exile in Middle-earth, where we cannot go. Our children…” Nerdanel was crushing Anairë’s hand again, but Anairë resisted pulling her hand free. Slowly, Nerdanel stepped closer, and then rested her forehead against Anairë’s shoulder. They said nothing else.
“Come and eat,” Anairë said at last, when Nerdanel’s horse had begun to nudge her for food, because she could think of nothing else, and did not wish to think of her babies on the ice, or off in Middle-earth at the command of Fëanáro. At least, she thought, at least they are not without their father. At least he is there to stand between them and Fëanáro.
Indis did not speak to Nerdanel when they arrived, nor did Eärwen either. Arafinwë spoke to no one, and Findis tried to speak with everyone, except for Nerdanel. Nerdanel sat still and silent, and touched not her food, nor spoke to anyone, and seemed to a casual eye to have gone to sleep, staring blankly at the table. There was an empty chair beside Arafinwë, across from Anairë, and if anyone spoke to her, she did not hear, for all her attention was drawn there.
“Mother,” someone said, and Anairë turned to see which of her children addressed her—it sounded like Irissë—but it was only Findis asking something of Indis. There was an empty chair across from Anairë, and a buzzing sound in her ear. She shook her head, and looked down at her plate, but her stomach twisted into knots at the prospect of putting a single bite in her mouth.
Once she had sliced up summer melons while Findekáno and Turukáno waited impatiently around her feet, pulling at her robes, until she gave them slices of melon to sticky their fingers and faces with its sweet juice. Once Anairë had sat around the table on the veranda with Nolofinwë and Arafinwë and Eärwen and they had laughed and passed around plates of cheese and bread and fresh honey, and the light of the Trees felt it would shine forever.
Arafinwë was laying a new dish down on the table as he took his seat again beside the empty chair, and someone was calling Anairë’s name, and she would recognize Nolofinwë’s voice at the ends of the earth; she leaped to her feet, and they all stared, but Anairë saw only the empty chair, and the empty hall, and heard only the silence of the front door.
“Anairë?” Indis said again.
Anairë gripped the table’s edge, and there was an empty chair beside her, and one opposite Indis at the head of the table, and one beside Arafinwë, plus the other dining table next to them that no one looked at, where the voices of their children had once chimed in merriment and argument and camaraderie; where they had once pleaded sips of wine from the adults; where they had once flung food as quietly as possible, as though their parents might not notice; where they had once banged their silverware on the table in anticipation of desserts.
There was silence upstairs; no harps or hammers or chisels; the halls were still, and in the closet near the door Indis kept the cloaks her boys had outgrown, which Anairë and Nerdanel and Eärwen’s babies had outgrown as well, but which no one could quite bear to dismantle or turn to rags for cleaning.
Anairë was in the water, and was looking up at the waves and the stars with the water washing over her eyes, but drowning would have been better than this; at least, for a few moments, she would feel alive before her lungs burned out and Ulmo embraced her in his cold arms, and bore her up to Mandos’ hall. Who would she see there now, she wondered?
“Anairë?” Nerdanel’s quiet voice. It was the first word she had spoken since they entered the house.
“Please, excuse me.” Anairë’s chair grated against the floor as she moved away from the table, and as she passed the empty rows of chairs at the next table a great foot was on her chest and she could not draw breath, and she wished Nerdanel would start yelling again, and accuse Arafinwë of trying to steal the throne and Indis of using the tragedy to her benefit and Findis of being useless.
As she strode to the front hall, she heard Arakáno laughing as Turukáno chased him and the ghosts of her children breezed by her; she passed through them to let herself out of this mausoleum into the night air, where she found breathing little easier.
The phantoms that assailed her in Indis’ home did not seem present in Anairë’s, but she could not say the dead silence was better, falling on her shoulders like the weight of the sky. Up the stairs she went, into her and Nolofinwë’s room, and sat at the chair by the balcony, and strained her ears, thinking she could pick up on another the clack of Findekáno sparring with Nolofinwë in the yard; of Turukáno challenging Irissë to best him in archery, which she would surely do; of Arakáno asking Kanafinwë for a song about the Valar and the making of the world. Those voices which had called out to her in Indis’ home must surely go where she went!
But there were none, only the chirping of insects beyond the open window, the spread balcony doors, and the occasional shout or slammed door from elsewhere in Tirion. Her home was a void, from which nothing was given.
Bowing her head over her knees, Anairë squeezed her eyes shut, and knew that she would have gladly forsaken all she had, and all of Valinor, just to feel the touch of Nolofinwë’s hand on her shoulder for a moment, to hear one last cry of “Ammë!”
But there was nothing.
She sat in the rubble of a life she had thought would endure forever, now queen of crumbling stone and mossy archways and glassless windows. She had saved herself nothing by staying behind, only ensured her death would be slow and unremarkable; the drawn-out death rattle of one whose spirit is slowly worn away.
She was the first ruin of the Noldor, and there would be no songs about her, and there would be no respite, only the hope that the eternal decay of time might numb her to the pain and sorrow which had now staked out territory in her heart. Never before had she considered it a curse to be of the Firstborn of Illuvatar, but she understood then, why Manwë referred to death as Man’s great gift.
The silence and darkness of the house pressed in around her, and the arrow-straight path of the future ran before her.
Anairë covered her face with her hands and wept.
I don't know if you're still doing the ask prompts, but I saw you'd already filled the one I'd put for Mae Squared before so I thought I'd pick a different one so you didn't have to do the same one twice. I was thinking maybe 15? But only if you're still doing them/want to! Thanks for all the lovley writing you give to the fandom!
Yes I am! My first attempt at Maedhros/Sauron AKA Mae Squared, and the prompt ‘Out of your element’ from this prompt list. Rated Teen or so for, ya know, Angband.
There were so many different layers of misery in Angband.
There was the misery of torture of course, of having the flesh torn from his back with spiked whips until he passed out from blood loss, only to have the whips brought out again when he was half healed. There was the horrible pain of glowing metal set to his flesh until he thought his bones must be singed, all the while his tormenters asked for answers he did not know and had never known. There was the misery of constant humiliation, sometimes as a method of torment, but also the just the daily degradation as he was denied clothes and the filth on his body built up, until he felt lower than a worm.
He also learned that misery could be delivered just as well through neglect. At first, he thought he could bear hunger, but as the years passed and he saw his body waste before his eyes, the gnawing pain in his gut became harder and harder to bear. The pain of thirst moved faster; he soon learned that even if he had been allowed a cup of bitter, oily water, in just a few hours Maitimo’s throat would be burning. He would wait for days with his awful thirst in whatever position he had been chained in, the ache in his joints and the cramps in his muscles growing into agony.
Misery sank into his bones, until it seemed to encompass his past, his present, and his future. When they came to unchain him from the horrible crouch he had been kept in for several days, Maitimo felt a brief moment of relief despite the more logical part of his mind that told him he was being released only for further pain. The four orcs sent to escort him had to drag him; his legs refused to move after being locked in place for so long.
When the walls changed from the rough texture of the caves he was usually moved between to smooth dark stone, Maitimo felt his dread grow. The only time he was taken this far above ground was when he was taken to Morgoth, and that was the worst misery by far in Angband. The Vala’s piercing eyes and terrible burning spirit seemed able to torment his mind as much as whips tormented his body.
He wasn’t brought to the throne room. Instead, they stopped in front of a pair of iron bound double doors.
“We have a guest for Lord Mairon,” one of the orcs said.
The guard at the door peered at him suspiciously. “My lord did not tell me he was expecting any visitors.”
“Order from the Mighty One,” the orc replied.
“He’s not going to like this,” the guard warned, but rapped on the door with his spear anyway.
“What?” The flat question came from inside the room.
“Lord Melkor has sent you a visitor.”
There was a sound that seemed penetrate Maitimo’s very being; whatever was on the other side of that door wasn’t pleased. “Make it quick.”
Maitimo didn’t know what he expected as he was dragged through the door, but whatever it was, it wasn’t this. The floor was carpeted, the plush surface unbelievably soft against feet that had only felt stone for years. The room was diffused with light, the soft glow of candles magnified by crystals and colored glass. The large room seemed to be divided into different purposes — Maitimo could have sworn he saw goldsmithing tools at a workbench and another corner with glass containers filled with multi-colored liquids — before he was thrown to the ground.
“Kneel,” snarled the orc, as if it was possible for Maitimo to do anything else. He bowed to Mairon. “The Mighty One says you must interrogate him.”
“Oh really? I must interrogate him? As if I have nothing better to do with my time than question a useless prisoner? I suppose requisitions, excavations, and the logistics of arming our entire host is not enough?” Mairon’s low musical voice was at odds with the sharp sarcasm of his tone. Maitimo watched his guards shuffle awkwardly from his spot on the ground.
“Get out. And if you breathe a word of what I said, I will slowly boil you from the inside out.” The orcs beat a hasty retreat, and then they were alone. Maitimo didn’t look up; whatever horrors were in store for him would happen whatever he did.
“Well, have a seat, I’ll get to you in a moment.” That at least grabbed Maitimo’s attention. He peered up from his spot on the floor. Mairon wasn’t looking at him at all; his entire focus was on whatever he was writing. Maitimo almost gasped out loud; Mairon was stunning. Red hair, a deeper shade than any he had seen tumbled around his shoulders. The golden flame of his eyes was mesmerizing. Maitimo swallowed; he already felt horribly out of place and filthy in the rich, pristine chambers. Now he felt like a twisted creature compared to the being before him.
But he had been asked to take a seat. Earlier, he would have fought even the smallest order in Angband, but now he knew there was no point in resisting this reasonable request. Better to save his energy for the actual questioning. Maitimo crawled to the chair, and pulled himself onto it. He winced as he sat down. His back and buttocks were still only partially healed from the last time he had been whipped, but the flinch was more so at the thought of his filthy skin touching the elegant upholstery.
Mairon didn’t look up through the whole laborious process. He appeared to be filling in some sort of grid, carefully writing figures and occasionally tallying up the columns. Finally he looked up.
“So you are the High King of the Noldor?” He sounded bored.
“I was. I am not king of much here.” Maitimo met Mairon’s eyes, trying not to be the cringing thing he could feel himself becoming.
“Hm, so I am to interrogate you. Are they still asking you about silima?”
“Among other things,” Maitimo said cautiously.
“I already know the size of your army, how they are armed, what they have gained, what they still lack, where you are camped, the messages that have been exchanged with the local Sindar, and who now calls himself the High King. I’m sure I know more than you at this point about the Noldor on these shores.” Mairon sighed heavily. “But I shall question you nonetheless. How did Fëanáro create the Silmarils?”
“I don’t know,” Maitimo said, reflexive terror closing around his throat and making his voice shake.
“Why did Fëanáro burn the ships?”
“To prevent anyone from fleeing, and from his half-brother from joining us.” He had agonized over letting that information slip, but it had spilled out some time ago. In the end he wasn’t sure how much it mattered. Morgoth already knew of the strife between Fëanáro and Nolofinwë; he had helped sow it. At least Maitimo had not spoken of the kinslaying.
“Anything else you wish to share?” Mairon absently flicked a contraption on his desk, setting off a tinkling cascade of chimes.
“Well, that was a very productive conversation, a good use of time for us both.”
Maitimo felt a huff of air leave him, something like a laugh. “This is the best use of my time since I arrived.”
A corner of Mairon’s mouth rose. “I suppose it is.” He drummed his fingers against the desk. “Nelyafinwë, do you like games?”
“Yes,” said Maitimo hesitantly.
“The only thing that’s enjoyed by folk here is base gambling. A good wager can be entertaining, but only for a moment.” Mairon carefully set the ledger to the side. “The numbers are as good as they are going to get until Langon sends his update.” Mairon stood and returned with two goblets. He handed one to Maitimo. Maitimo sniffed it suspiciously.
After a cautious sip, Maitimo began to drink greedily, the cool, clean water soothing his parched throat and tasting sweeter than any nectar.
“If you throw up, I am expelling you immediately.”
Maitimo reluctantly lowered the goblet, and saw a board with many glittering pieces had appeared on the desk.
“So, you are the silver pieces, I am the gold,” Mairon began. Maitimo tried to focus on the rules, his mind still reeling from the unexpected, if temporary, relief from torment and his surprisingly charming host.
Fate Vs. Choice in Tolkien
One of the more interest concepts in Tolkien’s writings approach the issue of a fate/destiny vs. agency/choice, and what prevails in a modern mythology. Often in older classical mythologies there are foretold and unavoidable outcomes. i.e. Ragnarök will occur no matter what.
Tolkien definitely incorporates this line of thinking into his storytelling, especially in the Silmarillion’s First Age, where because of the presence of Morgoth and the other Valar/Maiar and Elves in Middle-earth there is a more “mythological” feel to the story. Case in point:
Now Fingolfin, King of the North, and High King of the Noldor, seeing that his people were become numerous and strong, and that the Men allied to them were many and valiant, pondered once more an assault upon Angband; for he knew that they lived in danger while the circle of the siege was incomplete, and Morgoth was free to labour in his deep mines, devising what evils none could foretell ere he should reveal them. This counsel was wise according to the measure of his knowledge; for the Noldor did not yet comprehend the fullness of the power of Morgoth, nor understand that their unaided war upon him was without final hope, whether they hasted or delayed.
- Chapter 18 - “Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin,” The Silmarillion
In other words, the War of the Jewels ends how it was always going to end, most of the Noldor die with their kingdoms in ruin and nothing can alter that. Perhaps due to the circumstances of unwisely opposing a literal god with no other direct divine support, perhaps due to the Curse of Mandos uttered against them before they reached Middle-earth:
Ye have spilled the blood of your kindred unrighteously and have stained the land of Aman. For blood ye shall render blood, and beyond Aman ye shall dwell in Death's shadow. For though Eru appointed to you to die not in Eä, and no sickness may assail you, yet slain ye may be, and slain ye shall be: by weapon and by torment and by grief; and your houseless spirits shall come then to Mandos. There long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little pity though all whom ye have slain should entreat for you.
- Chapter 9, “Of the Flight of the Noldor,” The Silmarillion
A counter to these points though is that they are the result of choices. Opposing Morgoth unaided was always a bad idea unlikely to produce a final victory or a reclamation of the Silmarils, and yet the Noldor chose to do so. Killing (and kinslaying) the Teleri was going to provoke a strong reaction against the Noldor by the Valar, and yet the Noldor chose to do so. So then, are the mythic fated consequences of the Elves in the First Age the result of the Elves being fated to lose, or unwittingly choosing to lose?
I would argue that Tolkien considers circumstance more important than a simple fate vs. choice dynamic. The impact you have depends on the circumstance you are born into and the circumstance you choose to make for yourself.
When Frodo bemoans his circumstances in FotR and the hot water he finds himself in after learning he’s inherited a horcrux evil Ring of Power, Gandalf famously advises him that “All you have to decide is what do to with the time that is given to you.”
And Frodo does decide. Ultimately, his most consequential decision is to the spare the life of Gollum out of pity. That decision inevitably leads to Gollum’s treachery of Frodo, but also Frodo’s (and everyone’s) own salvation. It allows Gollum to live long enough to steal the Ring back, which just happens to be inside Mt. Doom (or more properly translated, Mt. Fate).
'Precious, precious, precious!' Gollum cried. 'My Precious! O my Precious!' And with that, even as his eyes were lifted up to gloat on his prize, he stepped too far, toppled, wavered for a moment on the brink, and then with a shriek he fell.
Tolkien called this moment a “eucatastrophe,” the sudden turning of loss and defeat into triumph and victory. And it is presented as a moment that does not happen randomly but not automatically either.
Gandalf hints in Fellowship that there is indeed an influence on the world guiding things where they need to be:
Behind [Bilbo finding the Ring] there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought.'
Something (we might read Ilúvatar i.e. ”[Men] too in their time shall find that all that they do redounds at the end only to the glory of my work,” or the Valar) is influencing events in the world to end up as thus, but that’s not enough to achieve the right outcome. That still requires action to take advantage of the right circumstances.
In my view, Gandalf essentially lays out Tolkien’s vision of how fate and choice come into the lives of his characters. Frodo’s circumstance sets him up to make choices that will lead to the Ring being destroyed and the world being saved. But, those choices aren’t made for him, and they don’t come without consequences. Frodo is physically and spiritually marred for the rest of his time in Middle-earth even though he arguably made the best of his circumstances. And for Tolkien, that was and is an acceptable price.
I’ve tried to show all the bitterness of Maedhros’es internal conflict during the raid in Middle Earth.
!!Disclaimer: I have a huge speech below about Maedhros and Feanor with my own opinion and headcanons about it, so if you are not ready for this, just skip :D
Let’s talk about them. Their relationships are very complicated and hide a long story. Maedhros got a difficult place in his family, because he is the eldest son and the first heir. By the time of Maedhros birth, Feanor was already had some issues with his own dad (Finwe), so he translated some of them on Maedhros. It was very important for Feanor, he had a boy! Having a heir made him more independent and well-established. He kinda told Finwe «Look I have my own family, now I'm gonna do what I think is right, I won’t be like you!» Also he named his son after Finwe and actually didn’t solve his conflict with father. For Elves Feanor was very young then, Even in their trip he showed his vernal ardent temper. He became father very early. Elvish life is so long, so Maedhros grew up and still didn't have other brothers, so he and Feanor become more like friends, nor like father and son. They had a lot of time for hunting and horse riding together, for some noble stuff and fancy elvish parties, for doing some business together and fooling around.
Then Maglor was born and then the other kids. It became more complicated to share the same time with everyone and look after kids. But first two sons had a lot of time with Feanor and now they were very good at help. According to their will they had to follow their father, how they were standing for him, the family was united and strong. We shouldn't forget that Feanor lost his mind and had PTSD after Finwe’s death. He was different before Melkor came to him.
Before that, he act differently, he was the favorite of many Vallar, he couldn’t attack his brother with a weapon, because there weren’t any weapons in Valinor, and he didn’t have paranoia about Silmarills. There was a time there weren’t any gems themselves and he didn’t lost some part of his soul inside them.
Ok, back to suffering. The Elder brothers had more time with their father,but still Maedhros knew him close than others. If any of 7 sons could advise and object to their father, it would be Maitimo. He knew him good. Just imagine how weird it was to him watching Feanor’s paranoia growth. And still he supported him everywhere. To simplify the whole story, imagine that you’ve known someone for 30 years and they are wonderful despite their downsides and fails. You know when they can act like moron and what can make them mad, but you adore them, you feel their love and tender connection, support and careness. And then someone comes to visit them, tells them something in private and you watch them literally change in a month.They become strange, then lose their mind, while sometimes they look absolutely normal and everything is fine. But you can’t throw out these years you have with them and absolutely don’t know what to do.
I think Maedhros finally understood that his father is sick in the head when he started burning the ships.Just imagine, Just imagine, he turns, look at Maedhros and says he knows that others can't go across the sea, he leaves them and Fingon too. And then he starts laughing like a psycho. BOOM and the first ship explodes with fire. And with Amrod. Commonly relied on his father in everything, Maedhros is horrified by everything that happens, he doesn't know how to stop it, and events develop frighteningly quick. The fever of revenge reaches its peak and Feanor burns out, consumed by his own anger. This is a dreadful loss. Maedhros loses his friend and father, the fate of everyone in this campaign falls on him, he is the head of their house and the king, and they also managed to take an oath, not knowing its price. Then Maedhros did not have time to ponder everything and think it over, but he will have a rather long life, full of troubles. And every new tragedy in his life will be connected with these damn gems.
Feanor didn't know where all this would lead, but it was him who doomed all his children to death himself, and this is his fault. He abandoned them. Yes, he died. Yes, he was out of his mind, but he wasn't there when he was needed. When Maitimo was in captivity, when he fought , when his brothers died. He wasn't with them in their moments of madness and in their moments of contrition. It’s hard to take and it’s hard to forgive. Maedhros' love for his father is incredibly strong, he also still respects him. But his pain is also strong. Even if Feanor freed his spirit by visiting Mandos and knew everything happened there with the children, he still wasn't there and he couldn't prevent it. This is guilt that will be as heavy and pervasive as the anger that he once burned by. How would they look to each other? They wouldn't have any words to express what they feel. Maedhros also feels guilty about death of his brothers, losing the crown and the greatness of the Feanor's house. Who knows what nightmares he has at night, what's he thinks about when he is alone. He's changed. He had to cope with many things alone.
They’re both different now. Any of Maedhros’es brothers. Any of Maedhros’es brothers would find it easier to meet him again. It’s impossible to say how it will end for them, WHAT must happen to bring them closer again. But still. I want to believe.
Still something left to save
Maedhros had sent the letter two days ago. Two days of agonizing waiting while the whole camp held its breath.
Maglor still acted like the Valar might have mercy, and return the Silmarils in exchange for repentance. Maedhros knew better though, and was reviewing his weapons and armor. The Valar would refuse the plea, as they had wished to refuse Feanor’s claim when he had not yet harmed any - if indeed they bothered to answer at all.
So a single rider approaching under a flag of truce was not completely surprising. Maglor claimed it was a hopeful sign, that the hosts of the Valar might truly wish to negotiate. Maedhros was of the opinion that the Valar had no faith in the house of Feanor at all, and believed them so low as to murder anyone not conspicuously nonthreatening.
The messenger was ushered past the sentries to the tent Maedhros and Maglor used as an improvised command room. He was wearing a helmet that blocked his face. The voice that called out in greeting was oddly familiar, as was the glint of his eyes, but Maedhros couldn’t place it.
“What news do you bring from the Hosts of the West?,” Maedhros asked.
“Morgoth has fallen. Lords Tulkas and Orome have bound him in chains and shall throw him into the darkness beyond the world, from where there is no return.”
“And what of the letter we sent to Lord Eonwe?”
“The Silmarils shall return to Valinor where they were created. You may go as well if you wish, and plead your right to them in the Ring of Doom.”
Then Maglor desired indeed to submit, for his heart was sorrowful, and he said: ‘The oath says not that we may not bide our time, and it may be that in Valinor all shall be forgiven and forgot, and we shall come into our own in peace.’
But Maedhros answered that if they returned to Aman but the favour of the Valar were withheld from them, then their oath would still remain, but its fulfilment be beyond all hope; and he said: 'Who can tell to what dreadful doom we shall come, if we disobey the Powers in their own land, or purpose ever to bring war again into their holy realm?'
Yet Maglor still held back, saying: 'If Manwë and Varda themselves deny the fulfilment of an oath to which we named them in witness, is it not made void?'
And Maedhros answered: 'But how shall our voices reach to Ilúvatar beyond the Circles of the World? And by Ilúvatar we swore in our madness, and called the Everlasting Darkness upon us, if we kept not our word. Who shall release us?
''If none can release us,' said Maglor, 'then indeed the Everlasting Darkness shall be our lot, whether we keep our oath or break it; but less evil shall we do in the breaking.'
The messenger burst out, “Do you care so little for the life of your kin? You are arguing where and who to kill if your demands are not met; can you not simply seek peace?”
Maedhros rounded on him. “What right do you have to speak such to us? What can you possibly know of our oath, and the cost of defying it?”
“I know as much as you told me, in Himring when you knew the foolishness of marching north unprepared but still felt the call. Perhaps you’ve forgotten though, in the years since.” The messenger took off his helmet.
Maedhros was stuck speechless.
Maglor was not. “Fingon? You’ve been reborn? I thought we were supposed to abide long years in Mandos and yearn for our bodies.”
“It’s been a century, isn’t that long enough?”
“I suppose so. Is my father back yet?”
“No. The dead cannot leave until we are repentant, and that will be a long time for him.”
“Is your father back?”
“Yes, and ruling Tirion while Uncle Finarfin fights here. Before you ask, Grandpa is still in Mandos, as are all your brothers. I didn’t get a complete list; I was only in Valinor for long enough to arrange passage on the next ship leaving.”
“Why?" Maedhros whispered hoarsely. “Why would you give up on a chance for peace after centuries of war and death?”
“I could hardly sit by and do nothing when Morgoth was still running rampant! Besides, I wanted to see you in person.”
“Yes. After the tales I heard from Doriath and Sirion, I wanted to see if there was anything left to save of the man I fell in love with.”
Maglor said, “I’ll give you two privacy. I will return in an hour, and in the meantime will inform the army that we are in council over our next course of action.”
“There’s no need for that. After your brother’s speech earlier, I really don’t have much left to say to him.”
“No?” Maedhros asked. “As steadfast as you are renowned to be, you can exchange your love for hate in an instant?”
“I don’t know if I hate you. But I can’t love you, not when you’re drenched in blood and only wading deeper.”
“You accuse me of forgetting what we talked about in Himring, its you who are ignoring it. Or did you never listen in the first place? Each day, each hour, each breath is an effort, each moment that the Oath is unfulfilled worse than the last. A century ago I was carrying a stone; now it is a boulder.”
“So why do you not set the boulder aside? Why not surrender to the Valar, or found a new kingdom in the East, or ask me to ride off with you and live far away from all oaths and kings and fathers?”
“If I cast the Oath aside it would not be gone, merely underfoot waiting to reach up and pull my down with it rather than crushing me.”
“Would that not be better?”
“Until it reached up and choked me, and I moved once again according to its string. The Oath will be there waiting for me wherever I go for the rest of my life, unless I can fulfill it.”
“Then let it wait. Better to have peace for a few decades, in which time you may understand how to evade your Doom.”
“If you refuse to accept that certain things cannot be changed, I don’t have any answers that will satisfy you.”
“And if you refuse to see any path forward but over the bodies of innocents, I may as well be shouting at the wind.”
“I begged you once to kill me and you refused. If you cannot stomach having released me onto the world, that is your problem, but I will not be crushed by your guilt as well as my own.”
“I rescued you because I loved you. What you have done is horrific, but it was not fated from that moment. I take no part in your guilt, but as a friend would aid you towards repentance.”
“There is no penance that could make up for what I have done, and even if there were I would refuse to take it. It is better to live scorned but free than to bow and scrape in desperate hope a jailer will be amused enough to grant a moment of relief.”
“The Valar are not Morgoth, and have no interest in cruelty.”
“And if you’re wrong? Or if they are merciful, but someone decides I’m not being appropriately punished, what then? Once I surrender, I’m sure I won’t be allowed so much as a belt knife for eating. There will be escape from the inside, whether you call it captivity or repentance. Will you come to my heroic rescue once again, or will you let vengeance and justice be played out upon me?”
Fingon looked at him steadily. “If you are imprisoned I will some to your aid, if only to offer the arrow you begged for last time. I don’t think an eagle will help you escape the Valra’s own sentence though.”
“So if I surrender I am trapped between captivity or death, until at last I weary of holding back the Oath and am struck down for my arrogance at believing a son has a right to his father’s work. Whereas if I pursue the Silmarils now, I may be struck down or I may escape, but in either case I have at least chosen the hour and the manner of my fate. You’re making a very persuasive argument.”
“If all you care about is your own skin, and no thought at all for the lives ended beneath your sword if you attack, then perhaps what you have said is accurate. But I had thought that you were kinder than that once; perhaps I am mistaken and you care no more for elven lives than an orc would.”
Maedhros recoiled as if struck.
Maglor jumped into the conversation before his brother could find the words that would skewer Fingon’s weak point as thoroughly as his own had been. “You both speak as if there are only two options. We don’t have to choose between surrender and attack.”
“Oh?” Maedhros said,”What other way is there? Fingon made it very clear that fighting is for orcs and crawling back to the Valar is for good little elves.”
“I never said-”
Maglor interrupted Fingon before the two of them could get into it again. “There are men and dwarves in this world as well as orcs and elves, whatever we might have thought when we left Valinor.”
“Dwarves and men there may be, but little help it does us. We don’t get to change our nature like your precious peredhel princes, nor would I want to.”
“We don’t have to. I’m merely saying, we don’‘t have to choose between attack and surrender. We can retreat, regroup for another angle.”
“I am right here, as a messenger of the Valar, and can’t honestly report that you two are going in peace if you merely are waiting until you re strong enough to storm Taniquetil.”
Maedhros drummed his fingers on his sword hilt. “We don’t have to let you go. You say being prisoner of a kind master is a good fate, now would be your time to prove it.”
“Must the two of you be so literal? We retreat physically, but regroup spiritually for another metaphorical angle of attack.”
“You’re speaking in poetry when we need tactics.”
“Fine.” Maglor began ticking points of on his fingers. “We retreat physically by moving our forces away from the land that’s collapsing beneath our feet. Everyone is going east, but if we angle north-east, perhaps across the Grey Mountains, we should be able to establish a fortress without being bothered. We regroup spiritually by announcing to our soldiers that we’re not going to attack civilians again. We can spend a decade or two building our new home, farming and crafting and hunting rather than waging war. And our metaphorical angle of attack is diplomacy. You and I always were the best at it of our brothers; if anyone has a chance of convincing the Valar to return the Silmarils it’s us.”
“How exactly are we making diplomatic overtures with the Valar from another continent?”
“Letters should be able to get through. The Valar are creating an island for the Men that’s close to Valinor but still in Middle Earth. Elves from Valinor can visit the island, and the Men can travel here.”
“We tried letters before, three times now, and it didn’t work.”
“It didn’t work on Sindarin child-monarchs, the Valar are wiser and can understand more lines of argument.”
“They refused our last request and Fingon is right her telling us so.”
“Eonwe refused, because he considers it beyond his authority. The Valar themselves have said neither yay or nay.”
“You think they’ll decree us worthy of the Silmarils, when they condemned us for ever trying to leave their precious paradise?”
“I think if we’re on another continent they won’t sentence us to execution, an the rest of the details can be worked out without an audience.”
“I’m not here to spy on you,” Fingon said.
“No, you’re here to see if you’re still impulsive enough to kiss my brother if he looks at you sweetly.”
“That’s not it either!”
“I don’t care what you two get up to at this point, but Maedhros and I really do need to come up with a detailed plan, and we can’t tell you anything as long as half the continent is willing to shoot us on sight. So leave the tent so I can bring out the ledgers.”
“You still haven’t answered the message from Lord Eonwe calling for your surrender.”
“And we won’t have an answer that satisfies both your sensibilities and Maedhros’s paranoia for several hours. Go tend to your horse or something.”
Maedhros said, “If we discuss this for hours, he’ll won’t have time to return by nightfall, and we don’t have any spare tents.”
“I’m sure the two of you have shared a bed often enough, you can do so for one night.”
“I can sleep under the stars well enough,” Fingon said coldly.
“Like I said, I don’t care what you two do, as long as you leave now and let me speak with my brother in private.”
Once Fingon was well away, Maedhros breathed deeply and practically collapsed onto a stool. He looked up at Maglor, “Do you really have a plan that could work?”
“I do. It was a mistake to ask for the Silmarils in the first letter to Eonwe, it shows our hand and makes us look greedy. The first letter to the Valar will be an acknowledgement that their prophecies of death in the outer lands were right, it will sound like respecting their wisdom...”
Very long character analysis/headcanons on the kidnap fam + Maglor & Maedhros’ dealings with trauma ahead ^_^
Maglor is more fair tempered and less quick to react than Maedhros, so I feel like the way his trauma would effect him is never talked about... he’s always just “the sane one” but he went through the same stuff as Maedhros (minus some torture and loss of a lover) but he has the same terrible experiences as him and we should talk more about that.
When they adopted (kidnapped) the twins they had just lost their own twin brothers, the last two besides themselves. They were now the only ones left in Fëanor’s line besides Celebrimbor and were completely alone in the world, without allies or hope.
Yes, Maglor didn’t inherit his father’s temperament, but he still murdered, he still fought, he still swore the oath.
I imagine Maglor’s issues are more unpredictable, and that he probably has very intense ups and downs. Most of the time he’s just Maglor. Somewhat serious and practical, but also good with the kids and a bit overprotective and fussy. After all, he was an older brother, too. It wasn’t only Maedhros who looked after and was responsible for the sons of Fëanor.
But sometimes he would break. He would get that look in his eyes and wander off. If you followed you’d hear him rambling, talking to someone not there, or crying, or both.
Sometimes while holding one of the kids in his lap he would go into a trance, playing with their hair for hours, refusing to let them go and not acknowledging a word said to him.
Sometimes they look for Maglor and find him in a trance, eyes fixed on nothing, plucking sharp chords on his harp. They leave his dinner beside him and tell him to eat before it’s cold.
Maedhros is different. Maedhros has days where he is jumpy, and any touch makes him flinch hard, hand on the hilt of his sword, eyes blazing and furious and terrified. Maedhros never appears scared in any situation, not battle nor weather nor sickness... except of an unexpected touch, or a raised hand. He always apologizes profusely, it’s a knee jerk reaction for him.
Sometimes, when he sleeps, which he doesn’t do as often as he should, he murmurs nonsense, twitching and breathing fast, pale as a ghost. Whenever he wakes from a nightmare he is especially jumpy, and often irritable for the day. He does not mean to lash out, and he always says he is sorry, but the words are just noise. He is not himself those days.
Sometimes, Maedhros and Maglor fight. It’s never loud, no yelling or getting physical, but sharp angry words at night when they think the kids are asleep. They try not to make it obvious when they aren’t speaking, but Elrond and Elros learn to read them easily.
But sometimes, Maedhros and Maglor speak so warmly and fondly of people and places in a language long dead, the kids can almost see who they were before. Under scars and lines of weariness and horror unimagined, there were once two young and joyful elven princes, who’s worries were simple of raising brothers, impressing fathers and strengthening alliances with friends rather than enemies.
Despite it all, the kids love them dearly. It’s not always like this, and they’re usually somewhat of a functional kidnap family. They learn to adapt, and become expert empaths after learning all the signs of when someone is having a bad day, or when to be cautious of raising their hand or their voice.
It does not change how they feel towards Maedhros and Maglor in the slightest. To Elros and Elrond, it is just a part of living with them they do not love them despite it, they love them for it. Because it is Maedhros who holds them on cold nights and tells them of valinor, and Maglor who teaches them the stars.
They are a family, in some ways, at least.
This is a spin off thought from all that, but I imagine Maedhros at first tries to keep a distance between himself and the kids. He doesn’t want these two innocents to be associated with kinslaying fëanorians. To Maedhros, the best option is to make sure the kids continue to hate and fear him, to maintain the hostage and captor role. That way, when they get returned to someone who can actually raise them, nobody will blame them for being around two notoriously hated and despicable exiles.
This, of course, does not work. Maedhros grows to love the kids immensely, and though he won’t say it aloud, they are the reason he is alive besides the oath. They are the reason why he keeps fighting to lift the curse of his kin. If he can just free himself and Maglor, and protect these kids... because in them, he sees his dead brothers, who he couldn’t save. Who he couldn’t free. Who he couldn’t protect no matter what he did. How many hundreds, thousands of years of war did he fight and sacrifice and amend and break just to keep his family alive, and to no avail? How many times did he play the good guy and destroy his reputation to save his brothers? And every time it was ruined. Every time it ended worse than it began. No amount of time would release him from their oath. It would have to he fulfilled. ￼
And for a while, they ignored it. He and Maglor turned a blind eye to their binds while raising the kids. They knew the consequences of ignoring it would be severe, but at this point why even try to be the good guys anymore? All that had done was spit in their faces.
After a long while, when the silmarils were recovered and stored away, Maedhros convinced Maglor to go with him and steal them back. To give the kids to someone who would protect them and didn’t have a ticking bomb attached to them, ready to go off at any time.
Maedhros knew now that if they could bear through it a little longer- do this the hard way but get it over with, reclaim the silmarils and lift the curse- they would finally be free. It would be over.
But it wasn’t.
When they stole them, bore them away, and held them at last in their hands it burned their flesh unbearably. They had been deemed evil and unworthy by the Valar. What greater betrayal than to be told by the gods they would be broken to the death unless their oath fulfilled, and then told once fulfilled that in doing so they were no longer saveable?
Everything, every word spoken, battle fought, blade bloodied, brother lost, war waged and step taken, was in vain. Every single action Maedhros had every taken, in hopes of saving his family. In hopes of maybe saving himself, was for nothing.
The Myth of Amras
A very late birthday present for @houndsofvalinor-art . It took me 2 months but here it is. Hope it lives up to ‘Amras in Beleriand’ that you asked for, even though it’s not quite that.
This is essentially a character study of Amras. Follows the version where Amrod died at Losgar.
Read on AO3 if you like! Otherwise its below the cut.
They all said it. In distant conversations behind his back, in hushed talks nearby, and even in quick pleasantries exchanged with him. "Amras hasn't been the same since Amrod," they said. And every time this happened, Amras wanted to ask, "Since Amrod what?"
Since Amrod had been born? Thus changing Amras' whole existence from the Sixth Fëanorion to 'one of the twins'? Or since Amrod had fallen from his mare while hunting and broken his leg? Which had then led to a serious talk about Amras being the older of the two, albeit by a few minutes, and what being an older brother really meant? Or was it since Amrod had cut off his hair in a fit of rebellion? An act that had made Amras realise for the first time that he had a separate existence from Amrod because people no longer mistook one for the other?
"Which was it!?" Amras wanted to shout, wanted them to elaborate. But he never asked and they never answered. Because it was obvious, wasn't it? The words they left unsaid - in a futile bid to spare his feelings. "Amras hasn't been the same since Amrod died," they meant and Amras wasn't sure if he should tell them that it hadn't been his death that had affected him so. Not really.
The truth was that Amras had changed considerably after his twin's death. But it was less him dying and more the startling fact that he had died at all. It had been an offhand remark by Caranthir that had lifted the veil of ignorance Amras had been wearing to protect himself from the harsh reality they found themselves bound to.
"I cannot even recall what I said when I last saw him," Caranthir had commented, taking another swig of the wine in his hand. "Yet that is the memory I have to live by until we meet him again. Which might as well be when Arda is remade."
That had sparked a heated debate about the impossibility of their Oath and what 'eternal darkness' awaited them. But Amras hadn't listened. He couldn't have. Because while the world might yet be ages away from being broken, Amras' world as he knew it had already been shattered. The fractures had been there long before Amrod had died. Before he had fallen through the widening cracks and left Amras with the ruins of his life.
Was not death a vague possibility for elves? Was not re-embodiment a certainty they lived by? Were these two undeniable facts not the pillars his reality had been built upon? Yet here he was. With death the certainty and re-embodiment the vague possibility in his life now. The two fundamental truths of his reality, reversed on the whims of a Vala. Perhaps his father had been right about them. Perhaps Mandos' wrath was irrational at best and vindictive at worst.
Or perhaps his father himself had been the cause of that wrath.
The worst part was that Amras didn't know when the first blow to his reality had landed. Was it the Doom? Was it the Oath? Or the death of Finwë? The theft of the Silmarils? When had Amras started walking down a path that was crumbling underneath with every step he took? Until there was no path but a pit he was constantly falling into, unable to find his feet again. Which step was it that had inevitably led to his world falling down around him?
Maybe it wasn't him. Maybe he had been born into a broken world. Maybe the world had been ruptured by the acts of others long before him. Maybe it was always supposed to be this way.
Mayhap Amras was meant to endure pain not of his own making all along.
Some said the forest was mourning. It wailed as the wind blew, howled as the night settled in, and keened as the skies opened up. A constant lament of its unseen pain. "Venture not forth lest you be driven mad by its grief," they'd warn the children. Yet they themselves would leave food and other offerings just inside the treeline, as consolation, "Heal well, Spirit of the Forest."
But generations after generations went by and Taur-im-Duinath still wept in solitude.
When the time came for the Fëanorions to establish strongholds of their own, Amras - as the youngest - was naturally put in a well-protected region. But he didn't mind, not really. Out of all the brothers, Amras was the most akin in temperament to Nerdanel. Fëanor was like the fire in his name - prone to going where the wind took him. But Nerdanel was like the clay she created with - attached to the ground, unmoving. And Amras had taken after her, finding joy in being rooted to a place yet stretching towards the limitless sky. So being assigned to Amon Ereb and its surrounding area, far away from the gates of Angband, it was no hardship to him. The other Ambarussa might have objected had he been alive, but he wasn't and so, Amras didn't dwell on it.
It was strange being alone and leading your own people, however small the count might be. All his life, Amras had been a follower. Of the High King, of his father, of his older brothers, of his own whims. Yet here he was, given the freedom to lead himself for once and Amras had never felt more shackled. Liberty and responsibility couldn't go hand in hand for him.
But Amras had underestimated the appeal of moving out of the tall shadows of his brothers. For now he could grow, far as the sky and deep as the earth. He could plant himself in the ground and a forest of his people would grow around him. It was a sense of belonging that had remained alien to him before. Amras had never been more content.
Yet the contentment wasn't without its excitement. For there came visitors of all shapes and sizes in the South-East of Beleriand - young, old, elf, man, dwarf. And that was how Amras had heard the tale of the Laiquendi King. It spoke of the bravery Denethor had shown when death towered over him and it spoke of how afterwards, Amon Ereb was lonely no more. "Slain was Denethor the elf in the dark," the tale said. "And green was the blood on his bark."
"That was also the day that the Taur-im-Duinath came alive" - was the conclusion of the grand story. Though seven decades of the Sun had passed since then, it was still a mystery to some and a warning to others. But for Amras, it was simply an escape. The enigma that was the Laiquendi King and his connection to the Silent Forest that was silent no more, piqued Amras' curiosity to no end. It occupied his mind wholly, eclipsing all else - enough to push the constant looming presence of the Oath to the far back. And Amras clung to that lifeline obsessively.
Thus he ventured into the far south, meeting the Avari who dwelt there. The welcome was lukewarm but Amras was a hunter by skill, and this was a chase he wasn't giving up on. So he persevered. Relentless in his pursuit of a friendship the Avari were too wary to give. Yet somewhere down the years, on one of his frequent visits to their lands by the forest, a quiet fondness grew. Amras knew not when it happened but he went from being a barely tolerated Eldar to a grudging ally and with the transition came a wealth of knowledge. The secrets the Avari had guarded close were now carefully taught to Amras, and chief among them was their knowledge of the trees.
"Our love for the earth of Arda was greater than the allure of the light of Valinor," one had explained. Amras didn't hesitate in believing it, because truly, the bond the Avari had with the earth and all the things that grow from it could not be explained. Neither could it be replicated. But Amras tried, visit after visit he learned the music all earth-bound things shared. And the more he learned, the more he pestered the Avari for a trek into the Taur-im-Duinath. Yet the answer remained the same, "When you're ready you will be one with the forest." Though surprisingly, Amras never argued that he was ready, because to understand the language the trees and the earth spoke, he'd have to silence the Oath.
And even the oldest Avari didn't know how to do that and Amras was but a foolish soul bound to his words.
Some believed the forest was haunted. Frozen in time by its past, reliving its better days on a loop. It used to be vibrant and youthful once, sheltering and nurturing life beneath its warm canopy. But now the life under it was as trapped as the forest itself, unable to be free - even in death. "Wander not inside lest it ensnare you for eternity," they'd warn the children. Yet every spring they'd ring bells by the treeline, chanting, "Wake up, spirit of the forest, flowers are waiting to bloom."
Inside Taur-im-Duinath, spring waited again and again, but winter never left.
Despite all of Amras' efforts to hide away from his reality, the world has coddled no one and he was no exception. This time too, the reminder was with fire. Flames upon flames from the enemy drove Caranthir to Amras' doorstep in Amon Ereb. And in-between battling the orcs and managing supplies to keep their forces running, Amras forgot to be upset with the abruptness of his circumstances. Neither was he angry or heartbroken. He just was.
But it seemed that what he was, was different. For when the fighting finally ceased, taking far too many lives yet leaving far too much life behind, Caranthir had commented, "You've changed, little brother."
Amras had smiled, shaking his head, "You saw me just last year, Moryo."
That should've ended there, the exchange not particularly noteworthy but it lingered in Amras' mind. He thought of how Caranthir had quietly replied "not like this" and stared at Amras for a beat too long. It drove Amras insane, trying to decipher that look in Caranthir's eyes and the meaning implicit in his words. What could Caranthir have had seen in the weeks they spent together killing orcs?
The answer didn't come to him, not for the long months they were picking up the pieces of their people in the aftermath of the Dagor Bragollach. No, it wasn't until Amras made a quick trip to the Avari to warn them of the broken siege that he realised what change Caranthir had been referring to. Or rather, what change Caranthir had seen but which had already been reversed. Because gone was Amras' ability to hear the faint whispers he could pick from the forest before. With the rise of the enemy from his slumber, it seemed the Oath had risen in his mind too. It had overtaken his subconscious, silencing all else, and Amras had been none the wiser.
"You're deaf to the music again, child," one of the elders had said, tsking.
Amras had wanted to remind her that had it been a choice, he wouldn't have ever let it go. But he hadn't needed to because she understood, just like she understood the earth and the trees. They'd always treated him more like one of their saplings than a full-grown elf, what with their ease in reading him and teaching him to grow. Perhaps that was why, when they parted once again, she patted his head gently, saying, "One day you shall choose without making a choice and they will listen." Needless to say, Amras walked away with more questions than he had come with.
That would be the last time he'd see the Avari. The war with Morgoth driving them away from Beleriand while it reeled him in - the same force pushing them in different directions. Amras didn't even have the sense to lament it, for the Oath was the one steering his mind and he was helpless under its iron-hand. He might have resisted once but surrounded by his brothers - all of whom shared the same bounds - it was nigh impossible to free himself. There was no uplifting to be found within his family, only mutual drowning. So Amras succumbed.
Many things they lost in quick succession - three brothers, two battles, and a Silmaril. While Nirnaeth might have been more damaging, it was the kinslaying at Doriath that broke them. Amras didn't care. Not really. He had become numb to everything except the agony the Oath made him go through. Pain has a way of making one's mind muddled, it was true enough for Maedhros. But pain lent a distinct clarity to Amras.
He could now see clearly that he hadn't been as constrained by his reality as he had thought. Amras had made choices and those choices had consequences, whether he liked them or not. The blame he had solely placed on others was his to share too. The Oath he had sworn himself, following his father and brothers lest he be left behind. His kin he had slain himself with his sword because bloodlust was a rush he hadn't known before. Amrod he had abandoned himself on that ship in a naive attempt to assert his independence from the one that shared his face but not his fate.
The world he resented so much for betraying his fantasies, was nothing but a projection of his mind. Maybe it had been he himself who had carved a reality of his own and then claimed it as ruined when it didn't live up to his expectations. Maybe Amras wasn't as innocent as he had deluded himself into believing.
No wonder he had failed in learning the forest's language. There was no love in Amras to spare beyond his own self.
It was with these thoughts churning inside his mind that Amras chased the Silmaril to the Havens of Sirion beside his two remaining brothers. And what he found there was yet more evidence of his own faults. Carnage he had left in his wake and carnage he found awaiting him. Blood after blood he spilt, frenzied by the pull of the Silmaril so close. Until a hue of verdant stood out in the sea of vermillion around him. A sapling of a flowering ash, bravely withstanding the assault of a scimitar in the clutches of a limping Noldorin soldier. There were twin voices crying out above, hidden among the thin but numerous branches of the sapling. Amras didn't think, just ran his sword through the already injured soldier. It was a dishonourable attack, done from the back and on one of his own.
But to Amras, the act of cutting down a tree for personal vendetta was even more heinous. And just as the soldier was punished with death for his crime, Amras was too. For an arrow pierced through the leather of his armour, from an unseen Sindarin archer, wedging itself straight into Amras' heart. It gave enough time for the elflings stuck in the tree to scamper away but Amras didn't regret it. He merely slumped down against the bark of the young tree, caressing it in gentle staccato motions, "Live a long life, my friend."
And death, when it came, was to the sound of sweet nothings whispered in his ears - the words of a language forgotten yet starkly familiar. Amras had never been happier.
But death was seldom an end for elvenkind. Amras expected it to be - an end that is - and it would've been, were it not for Yavanna.
"I don't understand," Amras had murmured, his voice near silent in awe of the Ainu before him. Yavanna, who said he could be one of her shepherds like Denethor had become after his death. Because she believed Amras had an innate love for her trees, which he had demonstrated in his final moments. But Amras couldn't comprehend how he and the Laiquendi King - who had been famous for his undying love for all things green - could be on the same footing. Amras was a sinner. Someone trapped in his own wrongs. He deserved no second chances. Yet here he was being offered one.
"You heard their music, did you not?" Yavanna had asked, ageless and timeless in the place between life and death. And admittedly, Amras had heard the ash tree singing to him, but it must have only been the imagination of his dying mind. A deluded consolation. She was wrong. He hadn't chosen the forest over the Oath, he couldn't. Saving the tree was but an apology for all he couldn't be. Nothing more. Right?
"Be that as it may, you have a choice before you now. Choose wisely, son of Fëanor," Yavanna had commanded, a hint of tenderness on her stern face.
And Amras thought it over, for countless moments. Had his love for the forest really overpowered the binds of the Oath? Was an act of kindness all it took to outweigh the wrongs he had committed? Amras didn't know what to believe. But he had once let his instincts make his decisions for him and perhaps they had failed him before. Yet they had also brought him here so he trusted them again. He could be reborn as the spirit inhabiting the sapling he had saved or he could rest in the Halls for eternity. The choice was his.
Some thought the forest was at rest. Buried in the flooding after the War, it lay in eternal sleep, as a concession to its pain and an apology for its past. Never to wake again. Yet some said that it had been reborn in the east, taking on a new shape and form to start over in a bid to overwrite the life it had lived before. But essentially the same. For some, Taur-im-Duinath was no more, but to others, Fangorn was its new name. "Be at peace, Spirit of the Forest," they all wished, whether in death or new life.
And Taur-im-Duinath complied.
Oh boi, and I though I have many WIPs 😅
What about nerdy finweans and silmaril science? And 501st sleepover? Sounds mysterious :D
501st sleepover is very very fluffy, because i love these boys and their feral vod’ika. it’s technically a part of waiting for my sun to shine but i haven’t quite figured out where to put it yet so it’s in a separate doc
“It’s strange,” Rex murmured from behind her, “Not having to be afraid for them.”
Ahsoka hummed in agreement and tucked her head beneath his, letting him rest his chin between her montrals. She had spent so much of the war trying to protect as many of her men as she could, and each loss had cut like a knife wound to her heart. But here they were at the end, happy and smiling.
“They’re safe now,” Rex whispered. “And no one can ever force them to fight and die ever again.”
“They’re safe,” she agreed. It wasn’t entirely true. The Nightbrothers were still out there, and she knew it was only a matter of time before they showed up to cause trouble again. But the Jedi would deal with that when it came. For now, Ahsoka let herself stay curled up in her best friend’s arms, soaking in the Light that permeated the Temple. “We’re safe.”
nerdy finweans and silmaril science came from when i was trying to connect the rings of power to entropy, and got thinking about the silmarils and the oath and what reclaiming them would actually mean for feanor.
“It’s impossible,” Tyelperinquar said, grinding his teeth. “His fëa is locked in the jewels, it was never meant to come out. The only way to release it would be—”
“—to break them, which would—”
“—destroy him, exactly.” He looked at his cousin who sat across from him. Her hair was pulled high on her head in a tail, and she was glaring at the papers in front of her as if trying to set them on fire with her mind. “Aside from the fact that we don’t even know how to break them.”
“So,” Ária looked back up at him. “The reason he would be destroyed is because his fëa would then be formless, while part of it is still in Mandos. It would not actually destroy the fëa itself.”
“Well, not entirely.” Tyelperinquar shifted. “But splitting the fëa is what destroys it; locking part of it inside an object saves the fragment, but if the object is destroyed, so is the fëa inside.”
“But if the object is channeling the fëa instead of trapping it… then it could move through. Like in the Three Rings.”
He thought about it, ignoring the disgust that shot through him at the mention of the Rings. “I suppose so. But we don’t really know how the Silmarils work, so we might not be able to figure out how to do that. The only person that could use them effectively would be—”
“—Fëanáro. Ugh!” Ária groaned. “Do you think your atar would know how to use them?”
i have no idea where i’m actually going with this but i put the science bitches together (curufin will join once he gets re-embodied)
The Leithian Reread - Canto IX (Lúthien Defeats Sauron)
The first thing to remember for this canto is that Finrod and Beren have been imprisoned in Tol-in-Gaurhoth for a long time. For a long while I had the impression of them being there for maybe a couple weeks, and a wolf eating one of the companions every day or so. But it’s been much longer than that:
First, they were already captive when Lúthien asked Melian about what was happening to Beren. Then there’s any days before she told Daeron about her plan to go rescue Beren, and then all the time she was imprisoned in Hirilorn, including spinning and weaving her hair into the cloak. Then any time travelling until when she met Celegorm and Curufin, then the (deliverately slow) journey to Nargothrond, and then her imprisonment in Nargothrond. Moreover, Lúthien goes in Melian to ask about Beren at the start of autumn (“the summer turns...”), and at the start of the canto after this one, after she’s rescued Beren, it’s winter already. So Beren and Finrod were most likely captive in Tol-in-Gaurhoth for the better part of three months. That is a long, and very impressive, amount of time to hold out against Sauron.
So when Beren is thinking of giving in to save Finrod, and Finrod makes the mistake (in dissuading Beren from this course of action via the obvious point that there’s no way either of them are getting out alive) of saying his and Beren’s names aloud and being overheard by Sauron, it is probable that neuther of them are in a particularly lucid or rational frame of mind. They’re very close to the breaking point by now. (This is something else I only caught onto when it was pointed out by The Leithian Script.) Fortunately - and it can be attributed to nothing other than fortune, or Providence - Finrod does not state their goal outright when he states their names, or the Quest would likely have been doomed:
Nay more, I think
yet deeper of torment we should drink,
knew he that son of Barahir
and Felagund were captive here,
and even worse if he should know
the dreadful errand we did go.
Sauron shows surprisingly little interest in the fact that he’s captured Beren (‘Twere little loss if he were dead, the outlaw mortal) given that he’s the one Beren was fighting in Dorthonion/Taur-nu-Fuin and given that Beren has a price on his head the same level as the High King of the Noldor. But Beren’s guerilla career ended at least a year ago, and maybe the bounty has lapsed; or maybe he’s distracted by the greater prize. When Sauron speaks of inducing Nargothrond to ransom Felagund, he is probably thinking of similarly draconian terms to the ones he will offer to Gandalf at the Black Gate two Ages later.
And here we get the battle between Finrod and the werewolf (which is not, as memetically, him ‘biting a werewolf to death’, but throttling it; though the Silmarillion says “slew it with his hands and teeth”, so there’s some flexibility):
Lo! sudden there was rending sound
of chains that parted and unwound,
of meshes broken. Forth there leaped
upon the wolvish thing that crept
in shadow faithful Felagund,
careless of fang or venomed wound.
There in the dark they wrestled slow,
remorsely, snarling, to and fro,
teeth in flesh, gripe on throat,
fingers locked in shaggy coat.
And what kills Finrod isn’t only the wolf itself, but also the sheer power it takes to break the chains; it’s beyond his normal physical ability (even prior to being imprisoned and tortured for three months):
Here all my power I have spent
to break my bonds, and dreadful rent
of poisoned teeth is in my breast.
And I’m going to quote this next bit, even though I’ve quoted a fair bit already, because the transition from dark to light imagery, and the way the word choice, not just the meaning of the words but their sound communicates that, is exceptional:
Silences profounder than the tomb
of long-forgotten kings, neath years
and sands uncounted laid on biers
and buried everlasting-deep,
slow and unbroken round him creep.
The silences were sudden shivered
to silver fragments. Faint there quivered
a voice in sound that walls of rock,
enchanted hill, and bar and lock,
and powers of darkness pierced with light.
Note all the deep o and u sounds in the fist half - profound, tomb, long-forgotten, buried, slow, unbroken - and contrast with shivered to silver fragments. This is more than description, this is the sounds of the Lay outright creating the phenomenon that they describe. Remember Tolkien’s intense interest in how words sound even irrespective of meaning (‘cellar door is the most beautiful word in the English language’) - here he’s masterfully chosen words where both the meaning and the phonetics are in accord to create the dramatic transition from dark and silence to light and music. And The silences were sudden shivered to silver fragments is such a marvellous line in and of itself.
And Lúthien’s song spiritually transports Beren - a night of stars, nightingales, piping, and Lúthien dancing - a memory of the night they met. And this gives him back the strength to sing and to defy: old songs of battle in the North, of breathless deeds, of marching forth to dare uncounted odds and break great powers and towers, and strong walls shake; and over all the silver fire that once men named the Burning Briar, the Seven Stars that Varda set about the north, were burning yet, a light in darkness, hope in woe, the emblem vast of Morgoth’s foe.
This is the moment that Sam is thinking of in the Tower of Cirirth Ungol, when he sings and Frodo answers. They’d just been talking about Beren and the Great Jewel, on the steps of Cirith Ungol, and even the imagery is similar: nature, the stars, birdsong (though Sam goes for the homier finches rather than nightengales). And defiance even in a seemingly hopeless situation.
Sauron, like many others in thus story, underestimates Lúthien and is more amused and pleased than intimidated. When he finally realizes that Huan is killimg all his werewolves, he decides to manipulate prophecy and make himself into the most powerful wolf that has ever existed. Possible even more powerful than a pre-Silmaril Carcharoth, since the text says as wolf more great than e’er was seen from Angband’s gate to the burning south. Lúthien, nearly fainting from the wolf’s poisonous breath, uses her cloak and a whispered spell to throw it off balance, and Huan defeats it in a fight and keeps his grip on its throat even as Sauron shapeshifts.
And here’s the interesting bit. Sauron is almost about to abandon his physical form (nigh the foul spirit...shuddering strayed from its dark house) when Lúthien gets up and threatens him with precisely what he was already going to do. And she makes the threat of Morgoth’s reaction intimidating enough that he changes his mind, hands over they keys, and gives her the spell to destroy the fortress. Which, one would think, would be something Morgoth would be even less pleased with. This raises the question, for me, of whether Sauron ever went back to Angband (especially given that his failure to provide his master with prompt intel led to a humiliating defeat and the loss of a Silmaril) or whether he just spent the rest of the war hiding out in Taur-nu-Fuin. If so, it certainly adds some context to why he’d consider surrendering to Eonwë after the War of Wrath - even the times when Angband’s power was at its height wouldn’t have been very good ones for Sauron.
Lúthien casts down Tol-in-Gaurhoth and frees its captives, and then seeks Beren, who is so absorbed in mourning Finrod that he apparently doesn’t look up even when an entire fortress collapses around him. At this point, he would still recall Lúthien’s song and his own as something that happened in a dream, not reality. He finally looks up and sees her, and they are reunited in the pits of Tol-in-Gaurhoth.
If you want some fanfiction of this canto, Philosopher at Large, author of the Leithian Script, has also written some prose pieces. Betrayals, Renunciations covers the final days of Beren and Finrod in Tol-in-Gaurhoth, from the beginning of this chapter; Shadow and Silver covers the confrontation between Lúthien and Sauron, the destruction of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, the reunion, and the aftermath.
My pain, your thrill, chapter 2
Warnings: Abuse, torture, cbt, watersports.
Please note: This was created on a tumblr prompt given by @outofangband on my main blog.
Prompt: Morgoth/Sauron, Omorashi
"Where do you think you're going, Lieutenant?"
Mairon cursed inwardly but he knew better than to turn his back on his Lord when he was regarded with that certain icy hiss in Melkor's voice, especially in front of a whole group of orc and Balrog commanders. Oh, so one of those days it was.
"I have a pressing matter in my office to tend to, milord. It will be but a minute." He tried, though he knew how small chances were of convincing his master once Melkor had got it in his head that this was another good moment to remind Mairon of his place.
Of the annoying fact that years after what had probably the biggest failure in Mairon’s career, he still deserved retaliation at every chance, even and especially in the presence of others. Nothing better to keep possibly rebellious minions in check than demonstrating every now and then that not even the highest people in Melkor's ranks were safe from his power. And that very decision being made in this fortress had to be sanctioned from the highest place – not least because last time Melkor had given Mairon free reign, they'd lost their most valuable prisoner.
Melkor could hold grudges for an incredibly long time.
"If there's any dealings more pressing than debating strategies to increase our hold on these lands, Lieutenant, maybe you would be better advised servicing the enemy."
The temperature in the room seemed to drop with every of Melkor's venomous words until Mairon was shivering under the flimsy fabric of the ruby robe matching his hair that he'd chosen for this gathering in the weak hope of appealing to his master's occasional appreciation for beauty in his bedroom.
Another failure, obviously.
While the orcs, too, shivered and ducked their heads at the aggression suddenly roaring through the hall, more than one of the greyish, scarred faces showed a scornful grin.
A weak flame of delight flickered in the red sockets that were Gothmog's eyes from the other side of the room. From the way, the tip of the Balrog's whip wrapped around a leg of the table, Mairon could tell, the bastard was fondling the handle of his preferred weapon, probably daydreaming about Melkor becoming angry enough with Mairon to order him to serve his most hated rival tonight once more.
Mairon had no interest in a repeat performance of that kind and bowed his head in apology, quickly taking his place behind Melkor's chair again, his face blank as he forced himself to listen to every detail for the upcoming attack wave that he'd long memorized anyway. This was not about his uninterrupted presence in a wholly expendable meeting, of course. It was another test of will, of physical endurance.
If he didn't have to be so careful about his lover invading his mind to monitor his thoughts, Mairon would probably allow himself to silently admit that he was getting a little tired of these games. Even coming up with the most attractive and mighty new shapes when the last one got too ruined became tedious at some point, especially when your master had no second look to spare for it.
It wasn't just that Melkor refused to forgive him. He refused to touch him.
Well, that was if Mairon didn't count choking on his lover's cock every once in a while. It felt like at least two Ages since Marin had last been fucked; and since his lover forbade him from finding at least his own pleasure alone, the growing yearning was mixing with more frustration by the day.
Even more so since Melkor had found out that it was a lot more fun, torturing Mairon when he also prohibited him from using any of the powers his folk was gifted with, merely reducing his physical and mental resilience to the embarrassing fragility of an elf.
Mairon wasn't only mildly irritated and impatient any longer. He was miserable.
What had Eru been thinking, bringing something so flawed and insufficient to life? When it wasn't some deep cut in this far-too thin skin from his master's whip that Mairon had to sing together every other week, he ended up mending bones or pushing some organ back where it belonged. It was time consuming, it was most uncomfortable and most of all it was humiliating.
Yet, apparently, his lover was of the opinion, none of that had been humiliating enough yet.
Mairon should have been suspicious already when Melkor had insisted on sharing a couple of cups of wine too many before this meeting. And he still handed him a new one without even looking at him every now and then, though Melkor himself was doing the talking and Mairon certainly had no need for any more wetting of his throat. Debauchery usually was not for either of them.
It was only now, hours in, that Mairon started to feel, he needed a bathroom break rather sooner than later. And how very inconvenient it was when you were not allowed to just cleanse your body out with a few hummed tones from your lips.
It went from inconvenient to distracting after the next cup because Melkor still made no move to end this stupid discussion about arms deployment anytime soon. By now, Mairon's robe was starting to stretch uncomfortably around his midsection, and the muscles in his lower body cramped from the growing need to relieve himself.
Only now, it started to dawn on him why his Lord hard insisted on him attending this gathering from this very particular spot, with no empty chair in sight.
Distraction turned into annoyance and growing anxiety when the first few pairs of eyes turned his way repeatedly because it became more and more impossibly to stop shifting his weight and trying not to press his legs together too conspicuously. Inside his head he was cursing in all languages he knew the choice for this nothing of a piece of clothing, the white and gold color of which would give away immediately if he failed to control even such a primitive, basic function of this useless body for just a second.
Mairon thought, he was doing a pretty good job, still hardly moving a muscle, but whenever he caught just a glimpse of his master's twisted mind in the shredded, cloudy bond between their souls, he could feel the lazy acid bubbling there that was Melkor's sadistic arousal, and he knew, his little, inaudible gasps and the heat of his temperature rising, radiating from his body more by the second, did not go unnoticed.
More than one of Mairon’s own subjects was openly leering at this point, some whispering and chuckling darkly as pale eyes watched the small beads of sweat from strain building on Mairon's forehead.
Gothmog was shamelessly staring at his midsection and licking his lips with his forked tongue, clearly indulging in the perverted fantasies of all the things he would be allowed to do tonight if Mairon managed to anger his Lord enough with his mortal weakness.
It was mostly the stubbornness not to give in to these wordless taunts that helped Mairon, somehow, to hold on to the last of muscle control by sheer willpower alone until the room finally started to empty.
"Am I excused, my Lord?" he got out between gritted teeth, his hands hard fists by his sides just from the effort of not grabbing his bloated midsection, or his aching cock through his clothes, to make sure he would make it the few feet down the hall, to the next free chambers, to finally empty his bladder.
"Not until I decide you learned how not to fail me," Melkor said flatly, still not turning around but busy gathering the last of parchments from the notes one of the orcs had taken during the conversation.
"But if that's what you mean: Since you are obviously not even able to control a weak shape like this for half a day, you may go. Try not to make a mess on the floor."
Another day, Mairon might have returned the provocation, might have stayed just in spite, to prove to his master that he was very much capable of everything his Lord asked him to do.
Only he was not, not when he was deliberately slowed and restricted in his powers. Mairon was ready to prove himself to his Lord anytime, but not if it was only for Melkor's amusement. If he wanted to be a thrall, he could as well have stayed in Valinor.
"Milord." With a rather cool nod, he finally walked past his master, his steps as stiff as his posture.
Not for long though, because just before he could get out of reach, a harsh slap from a huge hand suddenly landed on his behind, hard enough to bruise. Thanks to all his muscles contracting from the unexpected impact, a sinister pain stabbed his midsection. With a small scream, Mairon toppled over and reached between his legs in growing desperation to prevent the worst, but it was too late. His hand came back wet, and another hot, treacherous stream trickled down the insides of his thighs, darkening the front of his robe, leaving a sharp-smelling trace on his skin and dripping from his knee-high leather boots on the uneven, rocky ground.
"Look at that. Here I was just thinking about complimenting your excellent fashion choices, my pet, and you had to ruin it again." The same unforgiving hand grabbed his hair and pulled him back upright before he could regather his composure.
The ominous lights of the Silmarils shining on his master's pale forehead stung in Mairon's eyes when Melkor pulled him close and licked the salt of sweat and tears of humiliation off his cheeks, off his lips, then biting the sensitive skin hard enough to bruise.
The other hand found the bulge under Mairon's now-ruined robe and pushed against it until Mairon cried out, fighting the hold on his braid in vain, shuddering both in disgust and relief when another small trickle of shame escaped his straining cock, the wet patch at his front growing.
He had long learned better than to beg, but his eyes were apparently a clear enough mirror of the torture of the last few hours, because Melkor's sharp-toothed grin only grew; he let go of him unexpectedly and pushed him away to get up, a clear bulge of arousal showing under his own tight pants.
"It looks like we'll have to start teaching you discipline from the very start again, my pet. I will see you in my quarters tonight. I trust you will keep yourself properly hydrated until then."
With that, his master left him to his shame.
Mortified and wrathful as he had been, it turned out, it didn't take Mairon long to wish himself be back in that moldy conference hall full of people amused by his comparatively meager suffering.
"Is this not what you wanted, my favorite pet?," Melkor chuckled when another pained groan came from Mairon's lips at the merciless metal pull of metal rings around his cock and balls, endangering his skin that was already stretched beyond its limits, raw and chafed, more by the minute.
Even if he could have, Mairon would not have granted his lover the satisfaction of an answer. But he tried to turn his head away from the thick metal phallus stretching his mouth open anyway, in vain, when another gush of ice cold water came through the hole in the middle of the toy, flowing fast and harshly right towards the back of his throat. Which left him no choice but to swallow again though his belly was already bloated painfully from too much fluid once more, hanging low from where his master had strung him up by his wrists and ankles, swinging and gurgling lazily with every thrust of his master's enormous cock into Mairon's lube-dripping hole. Swinging, just like the huge bucket that his master had tied to his swollen genitals with heavy chains, positioned in such a way that every unwanted new stream of waste from Mairon's bound cock filled it up further.
It was really only a matter of time until this easily breakable flesh would no longer be able to resist that gruesome tug, and Mairon had a vague idea, his master had no plans of patching the deadly, tasteless kind of wounds up that unpleasant moment would leave. Apparently, another body had run its course.
What bothered Mairon most about spending all his energy once more on another disposable shape, was that his lover was right, of course … This was exactly what he had wanted. Finally being the center of his lover's attention again, being speared open by that magnificent cock, used and abused only for his master's pleasure … He thought he might even have been able to come just from this, in spite of the pain in his groin, if his lover had not once more made sure he couldn’t.
No, the noises from his lips were not of protest.
They were offense.
After all these punishments Mairon had endured today – in all of these last years, really –, the least he deserved was finally being allowed to come properly again.
But his wishes, as was life in Melkor's fortress, were rarely of any concern for his lover, so he had to be satisfied with the telltale twitch of his lover's crooked cock inside of him when Melkor reached under him to feel the grotesque swellings of Mairon's overfilled stomach and bladder and press his sharp-nailed fingertips deeply into the cramping organs until Mairon screamed around his gag and relieved himself unwillingly into the bucket once more.
If it was only the pleasure of his suffering that could close the wound of hurt pride and tactical disadvantage that Mairon's mistakes a few years back had torn, he would happily sacrifice another dozen bodies.
Something tore between his legs that was not supposed to come off when the relentless pull of the chain ripped harder on his flesh, and Mairon was pretty sure, that was no longer just waste in that bucket, but that was also when his lover came deep inside of him, finally, the comforting, too-hot pulse of rotten seed warming his shaking body from the inside. Mairon's trapped balls gave another helpless pulse of their last ruined orgasm before they came off with a wet gush.
As he gave him to the darkness of agony washing over his mind, Mairon decided, his next shape definitely needed a bigger bladder.
You asked for my thoughts on Curufinrod, so here they are! Basically, either you take the route of tragedy or the route of they absolutely deserve each other and I quite like both of these options (there are others but these are the two I prefer the most). So the tragedy option is Curufin and Finrod knew and were in some sort of relationship with each other in Valinor and then Curufin following his father puts a strain on their relationship and the kinslaying and the boat burning pretty much completely destroys it. It doesn't ever fully get back on track but in Nargothrond, they look like they might be abe to work things out and then the oath perks it's head up when Beren arrives and then it's gone again.
But I also quite like the variation where Finrod is not as kind and benevolent as the histories try to tell you. Sure, he's good to his people and protects them but it's in a bit more of a conniving way than just purely goodness. His relationship with Curufin is interesting here - so they start out in Valinor in the same way except that when Fëanor gets banished, their relationship is kind of better (at least personally - politically they may still have split up) because Finrod has assigned Curufin and Celebrimbor (and potentially also Celegorm) as his to protect and so he wants to keep them safe and knowing what's happening to them is important. The kinslaying and the boat burning definitely still strains their relationship a lot but Finrod still sees them as his in a way and Curufin isn't complaining. So they have a weird relationship up until the Silmaril incident which is just very much planned between Curufin and Finrod (this fic in particular is what inspired this headcanon).
So yeah. I'm also into this ship a lot for the aesthetic so...anyway, these are my vague ramblings on one of my OTPs.
Ooo! The tragedy route- yeah I can definitely see that. I love exploring the differences between the dynamics of Aman and Beleriand, how everything breaks and fits back together wrong, and what the casualties (sometimes literally) are. And of course, it wouldn't be the Silm without getting your hopes raised for a happy ending before ruthlessly crushing them again.
The other option... I do like Finrod being more cunning than we're told. I'd expect it to be a "oldest 3rd gen Finwean" thing given the Situation in Valinor. It's definitely not a soft ship, that's for sure. This take seems to make him more manipulative, which is cool and an interesting dynamic to explore. ("yeah, you're manipulating me to keep me safe, that's hot") The idea of the silmaril incident being planned is. I have lot's of thoughts and don't know how to put them. It makes for a really interesting character study and would be really interesting to explore (that fic does it really well- totally recommend it) but I don't think it fits in my version of canon. (best thing about the Tolkien fandom- we all have different canons and all of them are right)
I actually find the line "they deserve each other" really interesting. especially putting it in the context of the tragedy route. Finrod canonically loses his Epic Rap Battle because Sauron brought up Alqualonde and his role in it: even if he didn't kill anyone, he was still willing to use the kinslaying for his own benefit, and he was in denial about that. That would make a great fic- Curufin confronting him about that in Mandos. I feel like Finrod is a master of denial even more than some of the Feanorions, convincing everyone, especially himself, that he's utterly innocent. He's a good person, there's no blood on his hands- but that doesn't really matter when he endorses the blood on others'. Like after a certain point at least the Feanorions knew they were monsters, they just kept going because otherwise they would be monsters and oathbreakers and traitors to their father and wasting the lives they had already ended. Wow I want to explore those contrasts now.
I don't think I'll ever fall in love with this ship, but this definitely convinced me of why I could!
Kiliel, a prince for a prince
canon divergence, kili-centric, half-elven!kili
When in Mirkwood, the Company stumble upon a party of elves that have been overwhelmed by spiders. Weak but not down for the count, the Company comes to their rescue. Fili saves Legolas and in the ensuing talks, which are heated, Tauriel points out that Fili saved Legolas and recompense should, at least, be given to him. A debt owed, etc.
The elves take them to the palace to meet their king, however, as intruders at the very least. They are treated cordially, until they reach Thranduil, who is scathing as per usual. Bilbo saves the day and puts on a hoity toity act about being a Took who wants to be the furthest-travelled hobbit in an age, who funded the dwarves' trip east to the Iron Hills, so long as he got to come with them. Thranduil doesn't believe Bilbo and is calling him a liar to his face, when Fili interrupts to remind the elvenking that they saved his son's life. Thranduil asks what recompense, etc., so Fili asks that Legolas comes with them on their sojourn to pay back his debt.
Thranduil is spitting mad, but Legolas is very agreeable, seeing no danger in it if they're only going to the Iron Hills; the dwarrow hide their expressions at that, when he defends them to his father. Thranduil tries to cripple their company by asking for a prince in return to fulfill Legolas' duties, expecting Thorin to be the only one available.
Kili thinks on his feet. It can't be Fili because of the debt and the only one young enough apart from Bofur and Bombur is Ori, none of which are believable. He steps forth and proclaims himself the crown prince, answering Thorin's snarl with a spiel about better relations with elvenkind. He calls Fili his cousin, asking him to take care of his uncle for him and says goodbye to everyone in turn, asking them to say hello to Dain and cousin Thorin II for him.
Reluctantly, Thorin mumbling a 'I hope you know what you're doing', the Company leaves him behind, Legolas joining them. Thranduil tries to get them to stay, but Bilbo claims they're behind schedule already, as they planned their jaunt to coincide with the Durin's Day feast. When he tries assigning more elves, Thorin says no, for one elf is too many already and Legolas will be lucky to be allowed in a dwarf mountain at all in these foul times for dwarf and elf.
Kili is left behind. Thranduil tests him for a few days and Kili is surprised he absorbed any lessons at all, Thranduil grudgingly admitting that he's the real deal. Kili also has the nerve to ask why he never helped the dwarrow when they were refugees. Thranduil claims to have helped the Men fleeing Dale and reminds Kili that the dwarves were not the only ones to lose their homes, and also that the dwarves refused their kindnesses. It gives Kili something to chew on, but he comes to the conclusion that you can't excuse racism, especially when you brought an army but never used it. The fall of Erebor lasted weeks, on the inside, yet the elves turned away.
Tauriel is his assigned guard and they get on immediately, well enough that Thranduil makes a remark at dinner a week in about Kili stealing his guard captain. "Only if she wants to be stolen!" And that night, they kiss for the first time. They spend a day ruminating over things, Kili worrying about the Company, before reuniting. They tour the palace, some of the forest when Kili replaces Legolas on patrol and even does some auditing, just so Thranduil can shove the missing White Gems in his face. Kili surprises him by saying that was wrong and he's sorry he lost that memory of his wife to his great grandfather. Funnily enough, it's Thranduil he shows his mother's runestone, saying stuff like being the farthest from her he's ever been. Fili had been to Gondor and even Rohan, but not he; this seems like a slip-up, but Thranduil believes the cousin story and says that he should not envy those with responsibility beyond him, as one day he may have his own that are further-reaching. Aka that time where Thranduil started liking the poor dwarf prince.
Kili gets used to doing various chores - basically, all the paperwork that Legolas never does - and celebrates Mereth Nuin Giliath with Tauriel, walking in starlight with them. The elves are surprised he can do it at all and Kili gently asks if they had shown any dwarf how. He still finds stars to be cold, but agrees they are beautiful, as underground is where he's happiest. Someone asks him to appraise a necklace, unknowingly stumbling on his Craft as a silversmith. He recognises it as his grandmother's work and is very caught out when the elf gifts it to him; cultural miscommunication time!
Unfortunately it comes as a bad time when he refuses and Thranduil sneers, etc. about not accepting the gift out of pride and it takes Kili blurting out in horror "You'd make me marry them?" for things to start slotting into place. Kili gives an impromptu lesson in platonic gift-giving, which is literally him shoving a bead into Tauriel's hand and saying 'this is yours now'. Tauriel asks what it is and he clears his throat and says if she wears it at the end of a braid, she means she is looking to court. Another dwarf can give her their bead for her to wear if she is considering their suit. Tauriel thanks him and rushes off. Kili is given the silver necklace with a humorous 'this is yours, now, nawagel (star dwarf)'.
Two days later, sparring with Tauriel, who gifts him a bow shaped for his size and strength. He tries to rehash the platonic gift-giving, but she specifically gifts it to him and asks him to help braid her hair, as she's already been given that talk early, when Kili started dressing up for Thranduil's court. He shakily braids in her courting bead and asks if he could add his own. She gives him permission and we have flyaway-hair!Kili back. They're lovey-dovey and then, we get a cut-scene.
Fili leading Legolas to Erebor, after finally revealing the truth to him. He says that Legolas can call it kidnapping in the histories and Legolas is stony, replying that they're going to fail and that he should have believed Bard when the bowman said they were heading to Erebor. On the good side, their lie got them zero debts and Tilda and Bain secretly insists Dwalin take the black arrow, because he's amazing, according to Tilda and Obviously they'll need it to kill the dragon. Legolas comments coldly about the arrow and promises that if he kills the dragon for them, not just Fili will owe him. Fili promises that if he kills Smaug, then he can have anything he likes. Brotp!
Kili is awoken by Smaug's death roar inside the mountain and Thranduil orders him to court, then to prison. Tauriel is betrayed and for a while, she leaves him to rot, but then returns with the keys and the elf who gave Kili the silver necklace - who apparently is Tauriel's mother. Woops. She apologises for accidentally proposing to him and then helps Kili sneak out, Tauriel remaining behind so as to not collect suspicion. She takes her braids out and puts the beads around her neck instead.
Tauriel's mother, Aelin, who never married, ergo 'daughter of the forest', helps him sneak down the river in an elven boat, paddling all the way to the old Laketown ruins. They head to the mountain under cover of night and discover Legolas leaving. Aelin offers to accompany him home, but Kili doesn't like that; once Legolas is told why, he agrees and promises to send Tauriel after them, under the impression that she is as good a friend to Kili as Fili is to him.
Kili reunites with the Company and learns of Smaug's defeat by combined dwarf, elf and hobbit hand. Thorin has already called for Dain's army to defend the Mountain, but Smaug died in the treasury. Kili is interrogated badly, then put to work stripping Smaug's body. Thorin only had eyes for the corpse, dragon sickness taking hold of him. Kili is not so tempted and he tells his struggles to Aelin, who has been assisting; Thorin approves of her mindlessly for 'freeing Kili'.
Bilbo tries to speak to Aelin privately about the Arkenstone, but Kili is there. Bilbo hesitates, then shows them, both Aelin and Kili recognising the brightness as living starlight. Aelin says that Kili was right after all, that the Arkenstone is light from the Silmarils trapped in crystal glass, buried deep. Even an elf would be tempted, she says - the White Gems of Lasgalen are shatterings of a similar stone. She is honest with them both, saying it should be hidden away or broken, like the White Gems, as Morgoth's forces would be glad for having such power. Kili recalls Thranduil saying he'd seen the Arkenstone and wonders if he knew then, about the White Gems.
Kili makes an executive decision to destroy it using the great forges of Erebor, asking help from Fili, who agrees after the longest, dreadful moment. They smash it and collect the shards, bringing it to Thorin...who says those are the White Gems, proving Aelin's tale. He won't listen when they say Smaug might have just smashed the Arkenstone or when they say They did it. The Company believes them, except Gloin, Dwalin and Dori, who believe Thorin's excuses.
They don't know what to do. Aelin asks Thorin if she may speak with him candidly about what signs he must pay attention to, if he does not wish to be further ensnared by the dragon sickness, which Thorin actually listens to. With no threats ahead bar the expected foul creatures and his obsessions with Smaug's dead body, he isn't so possessive over the gold itself. Kili trusts Aelin to do well by him and Balin agrees, after he tells the un-snared about his time in Mirkwood. He shows off his necklace to Fili, who says it looks good on him.
The dragon sickness in Thorin wears off gradually, without the Arkenstone making a mess of things, though he still looks for it. Kili nearly interrupts Thorin talking to Bilbo about Kili and Fili smashing it, listening to Thorin accept Bilbo saying that they spoke true, for he was there. However, he can't stay quiet when Thorin gifts Bilbo the mithril shirt, popping out from nowhere to exclaim that hobbits and elves don't know how courting works.
Kili: Captain of the Bagginshield Ship
Proper laugh with Fili about Aelin's proposal, then some teasing about Tauriel from both of them, Fili warning him that Legolas has his eye on her. Kili is smug though, mentioning the courting beads she wears, thank-you very much. Fili reminds Kili to write to their ma so she can prepare.
Queue Kili sending a letter via raven, only to get distracted by the scouting party of orcs. He tracks them without telling anyone and is caught on the way out, taking a morgul arrow to his arm. He escapes though and Thorin finishes snapping out of it at the sight of him injured and telling of an orc army on the march to their location. Oin sees to the arrow, but Aelin recognises the foul magic and curses the orcs, not waiting for permission to haul him onto her shoulder. She shouts her destination to the Company and orders them to shore up the mountain - she'll keep her son-by-law out of Thranduil's dungeons.
Kili tries to shrug it off, but by the time they get to Long Lake, he's feeling awful. A Lakeman sees them and gives them a ride to Laketown, Kili having to explain the orcs to Alfrid. Alfrid manages to be competent for two seconds and gets Aelin and Kili the fastest transport he can manage to the elven roads, leaving behind Alfrid to inform Bard and the Master what's to come in a cut-scene. Bard worries for his children and the town, blaming Thorin for going after Erebor only for the Master to correct him: the orc army needed time to build. They were always coming. Because of the King Under the Mountain, they don't have a dragon in their arsenal. They truce and the Master orders Bard to lead the evacuees to Dale, with Alfrid presiding over the evacuation from Laketown itself. The Master gets to work sending letters out to all four corners of the world, expecting Thorin 'to thank him' for his administrative duties.
Kili is taken to the healers. He can barely breathe. Luckily no pierced lung, but the poison is strong. Blurry montage, then Kili waking to find Thranduil by his bedside. He's sad it's not Tauriel, but the elvenking informs him that he ordered her to rest, before what will presumably be a great battle against the orcs. Kili agrees, then sees Thranduil playing with a white gem that had been in his pocket. Kili tells him them are not of Lasgalen, but of Erebor. The Arkenstone has been smashed, like the Gems of Lasgalen before them. Thranduil nods and blasély orders him to make a crown of starlight for Tauriel, if he expects her to become queen one day. Kili agrees, then sheepishly corrects him about Fili being crown prince, not him. Thranduil smirks. He knows already because Legolas told him. He hopes for Erebor's future, if it's second heir is so talented a prince. Kili flushes and realises its the first time he's been told he's a good prince and not just /a/ prince.
Elf swap. Tauriel has her braid in again, with beads and is there when the healer informs him that he should not be using his shoulder. The fight to come must be sword only, if he is to fight, no bows. Kili agrees, a bit hurt at not being able to shoot, but he's not an idiot - he's been trained in all sorts of weaponry. Nervous, he asks Tauriel in private how she feels about a war wedding, which is a new idea to her. Kili says it's basically elopement, with the understanding that all the celebration and frivolity comes after, if there is an after. Tauriel asks to think about it and a few hours later, she returns to his side and sneaks him away, but only after giving him the whole elf marriage talk.
Kili thinks that is very deep, then let's her steal him to their favourite balcony, high in the palace. They do the do and marry, only for Legolas to walk in on them. It's very funny and Kili snorts, saying that Fili will never let him live it down. Questioning look, then the brotp-explanation. Kili says she looks different, her 'light' different. Tauriel says much the same, a little confused to be honest. They shrug it off, then head back to the healer, who purses his lips and hopes aloud that Kili has not further injured his shoulder. Kili's levity fails a bit, because the healer is giving him a Look. Aelin visits very briefly to wish them luck and hopes they both survive the upcoming battle, to live as husband and wife.
Next day is the march from Mirkwood to Laketown, then onto the plains of Dale, setting up camp in the ruins, protecting the Men. Kili, Tauriel, Legolas and their squad get permission from Thranduil to join the Company, meeting with Dain in the middle. They return to Erebor, Kili getting kitted up in dwarven armour and patched up again by Oin. The Company get some practice in with Tauriel's squad, so they stick together as much as possible until the inevitable split.
Some last Kiliel goodness, some Bagginshield drama about 'not eloping like some lustlorn tweens!' and Fili being assured, despite his amusement at all the couply drama, it'll be his turn to wed and produce an heir once this is over. Then, oh goodness! A wild Gandalf! The wizard is annoyed, then proud of them for discovering Sauron's plot - delivering not only the full details of the orc army, but Thrain himself along with his dwarven ring of power. Thrain barely knows who Thorin is and everyone sympathises with the mad old dwarf, Kili especially. Thrain calls him Thorin, saying he's growing up practically elvish. Kili says 'in more ways than one' then has a Eureka moment, giving Thrain his silver necklace, saying 'amad' made it, 'you have it'. Thrain stares at it, then comes to a bit, saying Kili is not Thorin. Kili claims to be Dis' son. Thrain gives him the necklace back, huffing and telling him to do his braids properly before he goes to war - all of them! The Company, a bit lax in that department, goes to have a braiding party. Thrain points out for Tauriel to join them. 'If you want to be a dam, you will be a proper one', so Kili does Tauriel's hair so it can't be grabbed so easily, lots of braids in a tight bun; he does the same to his own and convinces Fili to do something for Legolas. He nearly protests, until Fili recalls a famous Glorfindel being dragged by his hair to his fucking death.
Aka, that time dwarves shamed a squad of elves into tying back their hair under their helmets.
The battle. No Ravenhill, just some close shaves and an arm lost for Thorin, to match Azog. Gloin, Bofur, Oin and Dwalin take some heavy hits, enough that Dwalin passes away, as does Oin. Bofur crushes some ribs and has his nose lopped off. Gloin has occasional seizures from a brain injury. Bilbo is knocked out, then pulled off the battlefield by Thrain, who can see Bilbo due to the dwarf ring of power. They have a conversation in a cut-scene about the burdens they bear.
Kili, Fili, Tauriel and Legolas vs. Bolg. They come out superior and Kili doesn't get grabbed by his hair because it's tidy (no Glorfindel parallel here), except Tauriel does get nearly fatally stabbed. Now it's Kili's turn to be a beacon of light, keeping her alive by tuning into 'starlight' (the light of the Eldar) while Legolas fetches the nearest healer, who turns out to be Gandalf. No-one understands why Kili was able to do it, but Gandalf has his suspicions. Fili, too, but he's busy defending them from orcs in the middle of the field, taking charge of Tauriel's squad.
With Bolg and Azog dead, they think the battle over, only for the reinforcements to arrive...for both sides. Then it really starts to finish, the dwarrow retreating to Erebor and the elves to Dale. Kili goes with Tauriel, while Fili helps the walking wounded.
Tauriel is put into a healing sleep and Kili is once again faced with Thranduil. He comments on their marriage and is the first to question if Kili really is all dwarf. Kili is offended, but Thranduil tells of dwarf/elf matches before never producing an elven bond of matrimony. He asks who Kili and Fili's father is and Kili repeats an earlier statement of never having one. Dwarrowdams can do as they will with children. He asks Thranduil not to ask him more of it. Thranduil refuses. Kili asks as a friend. Thranduil consents, then reminds Kili of the crown's of starlight. The power of the Silmarils will forever be embedded in the shards, so perhaps the second heir should always inherit them, to keep their kingdom safe. Kili agrees and returns to watching over Tauriel.
Epilogue. Bilbo sending a letter home via raven and finding Kili's discarded letter. It had opened in the bad weather and he brings it to Fili, who decides to write his own letter to Dis. "Kili won't know what hit him..."
part 2 (i did this is parts on google keep, sue me):
PT.2 Kili being Thorin's diplomatic envoy to other kingdoms, re-establishing trade throughout Middle Earth. Tauriel does not come with him, still in a healing sleep for a long time after. Kili goes to Gondor and Rohan, like Fili before him, circling around to the Shire, the Grey Havens and then Ered Luin.
Begin in Rohan, Kili feasting amongst the Rohirrim for the second time that year. Exposition about Erebor filling up with people and Kili being afforded the position as envoy. He thinks of Tauriel, his comatose wife and her mother, Aelin, who sent him off with a balm for his back she forced the healers to make for him. His shoulder is still acting up some, so he's practicing with a spear and shield combo instead. He isn't ashamed of asking one of the servants for help, amongst Men.
Kili thinks of his visit to Gondor, greeted by a Steward that was eager for gold, but not so eager to supply the initial force of dwarves with food, with promise of gold in the autumn. The Great Accounting will take decades, but no official business will be charted with Erebor until the new year.
After one last tidbit with the Rohirrim, he leaves, heading west past Isengard, secretly glad not to be summoned by the White Wizard as he travels to Lond Daer, aiming to take a boat around the edge of Arda to the Grey Havens, where he'd first stop by the Blue Mountains to add more Ereborian dwarrow to his retinue, before journeying onwards to the Shire. Only, when he gets to the Grey Havens, he picks up a new travelling companion by the name of Cirdan, the Shipwright.
Cirdan joins Kili as he saw he would, telling him his father yet lives on Middle Earth. He says little more, Kili and the dwarrow venturing into the Shire in search of the Old Took, only to be waylaid by the Sackville-Baggins' at market, who have stolen his smial. Kili is angry at that, knowing Bilbo wanted it passed on to his Took relatives and discovers that legal matters have let the Baggins take the smial, if not the contents, as it was made by Bungo Baggins.
Kili, dizzy at the difference in cultures, dives head-first into Shire Law and finds the Old Took not to make sure Bilbo's wishes are being held up, but to use him as a character reference for when Kili takes the Sackville-Baggins' to court. A big party is formed when Kili makes his accusation at market, when most of Hobbiton is there to see him. He's dressed in his market best, as Bilbo's uncles helped him and his hair is tied back 'respectably', as are those in his party of dwarrow, despite grumbles. The Old Took and the Mayor call for Otho and his representative to arrive at the Party Tree that evening and when they try to sue for time, Kili says they've had nearly a year and a half to make their case.
They argue that if Bilbo wasn't dead, then he abandoned property as well as his tenants. Kili can't deny that, but points out that he sent his wishes by letter less than seven months afterwards. They point out that the time is supposed to be six and Kili brings up his two trump cards: Bilbo's contract (which he doesn't have the paperwork for) and an old Shire Law about verbal recruitment of the Hobbitry-in-arms, of which Bilbo applies to. They dispute Bilbo being in it and also, it still existing, so Kili has the law read out. He makes a point about the Hobbitry-in-arms being defined as any hobbit which bears arms; Bilbo accepted an elvish sword and still keeps it to this day, so he bore arms since at the very least, six weeks after his original departure.
So, the contract is useless, but Bilbo being classified as Hobbitry-in-arms is up to Old Took. That distinction is left up to him as Thain of the Shire and he agrees with Kili that Bilbo bore arms, therefore, etc., also he's probably the most qualified of the Hobbitry-in-arms to bear a blade.
The Sackville-Baggins lawyer agrees that Bilbo didn't abandon his property or tenants and left instructions in a timely-enough manner for one who was conscripted and on the other side of Arda at the time of the legalities, instead picking at Kili himself. He says that his argument is well-made, for a dwarf, but declares that he is in no position to represent Bilbo. He has no papers with Bilbo's signature, etc., so they must take him at his word. Kili asks the Old Took why his reference doesn't work, here and the Old Took says it only works once - to get him into this legal battle at all, as a non-native Shireling. He'll have to figure this loophole out himself.
The Mayor calls for an hour-long supper break, a party breaking out while Kili tries to figure out a way he represents Bilbo. His princely status means shit here and the only way he can think of is Bilbo and Thorin's relationship, tenuous as it seems to him; dwarrow can't represent those not yet part of the family. It sparks a thought and he asks Bilbo's uncle is he can represent Bilbo as his nephew by law. Some splutters of "NEPHEW BY LAW???" and the party becomes a gossip hub, people mentioning Bilbo's confirmed bachelor status. Kili denies it, saying his uncle Thorin was making moon-eyes at him for months and that he doesn't think Bilbo would fight for just anyone.
The accusation is brought back together informally, mugs of ale still in hand and Otho already drunk, the Sackville-Baggins lawyer questioning, yet again, the validity of his claim. Kili gets angry at that, getting a bit mixed up and asking if he thinks Bilbo is so heartless that he cannot find love and accidentally wins, because to attack ones character in the Shire is tantamount to murder and the Sackville-Baggins' lawyer takes back his statement, uncomfortable at his accidental insult. Lobelia is spitting mad and Kili remembers the silver spoon debacle, reminding her that it's stealing if she kept any. The Mayor interrupts before Lobelia can reply and states that the case goes to Kili of Clan Baggins and that the Sackville-Baggins' have three days to vacate Bag-End.
The party goes on and Kili gets assurances from the Took's that they'll give the smial to one of Bilbo's favourite cousins, not to worry, etc. His retinue remind him they have to be off in the morning, so some wily Took's go get the boxes Bilbo ordered packed, for Kili to transport home to Erebor in the morning. Some want to come along, but Kili can't support the amount of hobbits that wish to come; he promise to have another contingent visit some time in the following years, to collect those who wish to join Bilbo in the east.
They leave the Shire with much fanfare, fauntlings on their tails now they're back in full dwarven dress and hair. Cirdan has done his beard in an interesting way that some of Kili's retinue are trying to decipher, knowing it's some sort of ancient styling.
They pass through Rivendell on the way back, hoping to be rid of Cirdan, considering their next stop is Mirkwood, some animosity remaining. Also, they want to speak Khuzdul, damn it! Except, upon arriving at Rivendell, Cirdan approaches Kili and tells him that if he wishes to find his sire, he must accompany Cirdan alone to Lothlorien, as they don't accept dwarven visitors.
Kili is conflicted, but then he receives a letter from Aelin with Tauriel's shaky hand at the bottom, telling him of her awakening. She has difficulty moving on her own without support, so she shall not be leaving Mirkwood for Erebor any time soon and she wishes him well with his travels, hoping he stops in Rivendell in time to receive her letter; she'd heard from Fili through Legolas that they had got his correspondence from the Shire. Kili hesitates, wanting to reunite with his wife, but knowing that while Tauriel will wait, his father may not. He writes back to her, then orders his contingent to go ahead of him, promising he will be safe with one of the /oldest elves in Middle Earth/.
Sceptical, but true to him, the dwarrow leave. Kili spends an extra two weeks in Rivendell, bored enough to voluntarily practice his written Sindarin by reading books in the library. He spars with Elrond's sons, otherwise, suffering from a seized shoulder now that the healing has fully taken over; Elrond gives him advice over prolonged usage, then gives him advice about being Kili Peredhil as he is Elrond Peredhil. He tells Kili the story of he and his brother, then sends him off with Cirdan, leaving him with the horrid idea that is outliving Fili.
Cirdan force-teaches him more Sindarin and not Quenya, at least understanding that his closest allies are Silvan. They enter Lothlorien with Cirdan being a bitch to the guards, then only for Cirdan to abandon Kili to a blonde elf who sits silently by a stream. Kili mucks around for a bit, having learnt to let elves do what they want and be patient, but he's bored. He makes them flower crowns in his boredom and the blonde elf lady says he is the son of an elven prince. Kili gapes a little at the sudden speech, then gets himself together and asks her who his princely father is.
She smiles and says mysteriously that an elf resides here, in the Golden Wood. He should go to the northern border of the forest and seek out Galathil, father of the Doriath Queen, Nimloth. Kili has studied more elven history this year. He knows what Doriath used to be, so he's appropriately scandalised and asks if his parents wed. She tells him that dwarf and elf cannot come together the way he and his wife did. So, no. Kili accepts that and asks her name, for which she gives 'Nerwen'. Kili doesn't realise there's more to that and adjusts her flower crown for her, not afraid of physical touch, bringing their foreheads together gently in familial greeting.
Galadriel, of course, is very not used to this sort of thing. People are too afraid of her. She very much enjoys his closeness and kisses his cheek in turn, sending him north, telling him to ask for help in her name if he needs guiding to Galathil. Kili shrugs it off, saying he'll find his father himself.
cut-scene, Cirdan and Galadriel. "Naughty girl," Cirdan chides her for her deception, saying, "He does not realise the weight of his bloodline." To which Galadriel replies, sad, "I am not his blood." - "And neither is Galathil. I knew as soon as I saw him." - "As did I, my friend. As did I. He has a painful road ahead of him." - "That much is certain, yes."
Kili finds Galathil and says that Nerwen sent him, asking if he's his sire. Galathil says he was once wed to the mother of Nimloth, his Elia and that she left him for the Undying Lands. The only child he might have in this day and age wouldn't be dwarven, in any case. Kili is confused and asks Galathil why Nerwen would send them to each other and Galathil calls her the Lady of Lorien, correcting his misconceptions. Kili refuses to believe him, "That was not the Witch of the Woods! She is not scary in the least!" and is very stubborn about not believing it...out loud, at least.
Galathil asks Kili of his life, then requests to join Kili in his venture, curious as to what Galadriel has seen of them both. They travel North, coming along a pack of orcs. Kili defends Galathil, who is a bit stupefied at the attack; "I leave the fighting to my brother, usually...and the ruling..." - "What about the thinking?" - "That, too." They investigate the orc tracks, tracing them to a hidden boat in the Gladden River that is easterling in design, if orc in make, almost a raft. Across the river, Galathil sees someone watching them and tells Kili, the two of them agreeing to make their way as normal to Mirkwood; the stranger would come or go if they pleased.
The stranger doesn't make another appearance afterwards. They take the elven road and look out for a patrol, Galathil remembering the way to a secret crossroad that Kili can barely recall, the magic shrouding his memory. They are found by Legolas, who gladly leads them back to the palace, warning them of an intruder looking for he and Tauriel both. Legolas has no idea who Galathil is.
Only, when they arrive, everyone is on guard and Legolas takes them straight to Tauriel, who is watching from the sidelines as Thranduil inspects a magic taking ahold of her mother. She explains that Aelin took her place, in meeting the intruder and was summarily enchanted to bring her to him. Galathil mumbles about his brother's wife not having that sort of magic, which is when Tauriel sees him, Kili awkwardly introducing both Tauriel and Legolas officially to Galathil, brother to Celeborn and father to the Doriath Queen.
Kili and Tauriel reunite properly, telling each other their hardships, Tauriel wishing she could have come on his travels. Kili says she can come next time or whenever she's ready; he saw the way she walked today. Bolg's sword nearly split her torso in half. Tauriel flinches at the idea of combat, shying away from what once was her passion. Kili can see her melancholy, even feel it through the warmth of their bond. Kili drags her away from the healing halls to the chambers that Thranduil permanently affords him and comforts Tauriel some more. They even get to do the do and then have a hot bath together, Tauriel helping Kili with his shoulder, which has grown inflamed.
"We are both marked from battle," she says, before he asks about the Company, if she's heard any more. Tauriel tells him that Gloin is still having seizures relating to his head-injury and that Bofur has found a shape of false nose he likes, which makes his face seem slimmer. Kili says, "So some good amongst the bad, then..." and then he asks her, guiltily questioning if she thinks they will have children of their own. Tauriel doesn't know. Her injury was severe - the chances are low and it would be difficult, pain-wise, this early in the years. Kili says he would like some dwelves, in the future, if it's at all possible.
The next day, they visit Aelin and Kili gets to say hello to his mother-in-law, musing that he's seen her more often than his own blood this past year. She scolds him for being cheeky, then sobers, reminding him that dwarves are like stone: unlike elves, they aren't so susceptible to enchantments and other magics, unless they already hold such a weakness. He mentions the gold sickness in his blood and Aelin reminds him that he never fell to it - not for a second. She should know, as she was there. Both Kili and Aelin don't want Tauriel going down with them to see the prisoner, so Galathil volunteers.
Which is a good thing, because Galathil recognises him as the stranger, until the intruder says that was his brother, most likely. He inspects Kili and calls him worthy enough. Turns out that Elurin Diorion is a dick. He reveals that he charmed his mother, much like Aelin and Kili realises that means Elurin assaulted Dis, for his mother would not allow such a thing in her right mind, a fact that has been confusing him for nearly a year, now.
Galathil drags Kili away and when Thranduil asks what is his grievance, Galathil is stony when he says "The prince of Doriath, Elurin son of Dior and Nimloth, has admitted to the crime of rape and alteration of the mind through use of magicks unknown. As his eldest direct relative, I call for another to execute him in my place and deny him a place in Valinor." Expectedly, Thranduil is a bit disgusted by Elurin's actions and agrees to preside over the taking of his head; he has removed the geas around Aelin and knows how to combat it, but cannot work his skills and behead him at the same time. Legolas volunteers before Kili can, Tauriel explaining to Kili that kin cannot kill kin, or they will be denied passage across the sea.
Kili is walking away when he realises that Galathil is his great grandfather, but the elf is busy walking away with Thranduil. The execution is set at twilight, so Elurin might see the stars once more before his death - only, when he is killed, Elured flies from the shadows and says directly to Kili that he has failed what little expectations he had of his nephew. Kili doesn't really think too much in the next moment, cutting off his family braid and pinning it to the ground. It is a dwarven gesture, representative of cutting ties and challenging his uncle's honour.
Unfortunately for him, Elured knows dwarven customs and takes the dagger. Kili blanches as Elured smiles. "A duel to the death, for my honour and my brother," the elf says. "The challenged sets the terms, I've heard." - "You heard right...but I set the time. All weapons allowed. We meet three moons from now." - "Here. Where my brother and your father died, today."
Everyone calls Kili the stupidest dwarf alive and tell him the dangers of kinslaying. Kili counters with the very concept the fight is taking place for: he has renounced all claim to Elured. The fight was his choice. If Elured wins, then Kili is dead and Elured has all rights to the titles Kili threw away, which aren't many, considering you don't get any real rights other than the title of 'uncle' when in Kili's position. Galathil asks if that includes him and Kili scoffs, "Of course not! I threw out my uncle, not my granddad!"
Aelin advises him to make haste to and from Erebor and Kili finally makes the trek home, Tauriel coming with him, as well as Galathil, who refuses to let his newly-discovered relative run off without him. Aelin comes with them for Tauriel, specifically, for reasons neither elleth will talk about; Galathil recommends that Kili only ask if he's ready to know about how severe her injuries were. Kili says he knows - but Galathil reminds him that he very much doubts he knows the full extent. Some things stay between mother and daughter, until she's ready to share. Etc.
Back to Erebor!!! Yay!!! Fili is terribly excited, until his bro decides to Very Loudly remind Kili that he challenged someone to the death in a public space. Fili asks Legolas what in Mahal's name did he do and Kili interrupts, saying he's got to speak to their mother. Now. He feels awful.
They go to Dis and Kili just bursts out crying when he sees her. They don't discuss it. Galathil takes her aside later, peeling her from Kili's side, saying "You don't want to talk about this with your son." Kili ends up explaining to Fili, crying and sniffling and just being the worst upset dwarf in Erebor, saying their amad didn't ask for him, that she was made to have him. Fili doesn't accept it, until Kili says that Galathil already had him executed for rape and coercion; the elf he disowned in Mirkwood accepted his dagger, etc.
Cut-scene. Thorin, Dis and Galathil in quiet, Dis clutching her brother's shoulder. The storm rises and Dis says to Thorin that she wants to claim Mother's Rite on Kili; he balks and Galathil asks what it is. Dis explains that it's a fight to the death against the father of her child, in this case, the late Elurin. But brother's can stand in their place, should stand in their place. It's more binding than Kili's challenge, as it has to take place whenever, wherever and however the dam chooses and it has to be done, by the father or by his closest relative. The only problem is that she has to say it to his face, before Kili's challenge against Elured begins. Thorin fears for her life, for Kili is at least a warrior and then Dis says her chosen weapon will be volunteers. Elured will have to be his own champion. Galathil says "I shall endeavour not to be present, then, or he may compel me by the oath of kinship."
Time skip, Kili braiding his own home-made silver wiring into Tauriel's hair, glittering with shards of the White Gems of Lasgalen. He promises her she will have a crown of stars, when this is over. They travel to Mirkwood with a huge retinue of dwarrow, including Dis, who hasn't told Kili her plan. On their way, Bard joins them, having been issued an invitation by Thranduil to witness history in the making - his exact words. Kili fills him in and is sickly glad to see Bard become More Murderous Than Ever. He wishes he had Bard for an adad instead, which makes the Murder Stare become an embarrassed smile, him asking how old Kili is. Kili replies with a happy 79. Bard replies that he's only 35.
The Whole White Council are present when they arrive, as are four daughters of Men: two daughters of Turgon, Steward of Gondor, sisters to Ecthelion II and the two daughters of Fengel, King of Rohan. The daughters of Turgon dreamt of their meeting in advance and journeyed north in secret, stealing away Fengel's daughters, who are quite glad for the respite, all four joining the Gathering of Races. Gilraen, mother to Aragorn, is also in Elrond's retinue, though few recognise her for who she truly is.
Elured is already there. ASAP, Dis approaches him and demands Mother's Rite, which puts Elured in a mood. Dis tells him that her weapon of choice is volunteer, etc. and Elured readies himself as Elurin's representative. The battle goes to start, impromptu, when the Blue Wizards arrive. Dun-dun-duh!!!
The Blue Wizards arrive to fuck things up and demand a ceasefire. Dis is blunt as fuck with them and claims Elurin raped her body and her mind, but the Blue Wizards are assholes who know and dismiss her, as well as Elured's obsession with creating an heir in blue. Kili has already ruined their plans to retake the eastern lands, before they can help Sauron's forces.
Saruman is incensed and demands to know their doings in the ages past. The Blue Wizards claim they took in the twin sons of Dior, etc., raising them as their apprentices. It is the folly of elven and edain blood together that brought such disastrous temperaments to the twins. Elured is silent throughout the exchange, seemingly well-aware of his flaws and only flinches when one specifically says that it seems where one twin goes, so does the other - even in death. They clearly doubt his ability to come out of the fights unscathed.
Kili steps forth and asks them what they want. They reply 'peace' and are hostile to Gandalf and Saruman for allowing the One Ring to live on. Cirdan warns them that the path they are on now, because of the Blue Wizards', meddling is not the same one as before. It was assured, before the twins returned to Arda.
The Council and the Wizards seem fit to argue their heads off, but Bilbo pipes up, asking what the plan would be if they even got their hands on the One Ring. It corrupts the holder and it would never be safe in the clutches of the Maiar. Galadriel adds that neither would it be safe from elves, then asks what magic he holds that his mind would be closed from her. Bilbo fidgets, says 'nothing', then Thrain pops out of nowhere and elbows him. A lot of people are spooked at the sight of him, unaware he lived.
"If I'm right and I do think I am," he says, "There are five Rings of Power in this room."
Gandalf gets it first, his heart breaking. He asks Bilbo for the truth about his trinket, the one he got in the goblin caves and Bilbo admits to having accidentally stolen a ring that wanted to be picked up. It's how he sneaks around to get extra pies from the kitchen. Predictably, the higher beings are gobsmacked - extra pies??? Gandalf laughs and calls it the will of hobbits, thanking the Valar that everyone amongst them today in the Greatwood is to be trusted.
(Saruman...has a rethink. He's already thrown his lot in with Sauron, unfortunately, but this new information is worth keeping quiet about for either side's sake.)
The daughters of Men ask wtf they're on about, scandalised/horrified at the thought of the One Ring being so close.
The Blue Wizards are appropriately appalled at the sight of Bilbo, however, no idea what he is. When Gandalf introduces to them the concept of hobbits, they hold a guessing game with each other, trying to figure out which of the Valar created them or if hobbits are a bastardised dwarf-elf-man. Elurin says it's obviously Yavanna, but they cut him off, saying Yavanna created the Onodrim (Ents). Bilbo, slightly incensed, asks them not to be so rude, discussing the creator of hobbits aloud; it's not done, apparently. One asks where hobbits began, then and Bilbo says that's none of their business, either and even if they went looking, no-one would be able to answer their question, hobbit or not. Gandalf agrees, sadly. He has no clue where they popped up from. One of the Rohirrim has a realisation and starts speaking their local dialect at him, which Bilbo splutters a bit at, replying. The other daughter tells the Gathering that Rohan remembers the Hobylta, even if no-one else does.
Thranduil interrupts, not sorry to cut their discussion short, asking Bilbo if he is being corrupted by the One Ring. Bilbo doesn't even take it out of his pocket, clutching it tightly, saying 'mine. it's Mine. i'll keep it safe.' and he peers at it, safe inside his pocket, perfectly hypnotised until Gandalf knocks him out of it. Bilbo doesn't even realise what's happened and it disturbs Kili, who is reminded of Thorin. He says 'dragon sickness' under his breath and the Blue Wizards hum low, with power.
"We can stick a geas on you, Hobbit of the Shire. It will not last forever, only enough to get you to the fires of Mordor."
Aka, time for the most random quest of all time, making up the party that represents three corners of Arda:
Bilbo, Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas and one daughter of Rohan and Gondor each.
Kili volunteers to go until Thranduil stops him, saying this quest must be discrete and he is anything but that. All those watching get the Glare of Doom, Mirkwood reacting to Thranduil's power as he threatens anyone who dares betray the location and holder of the One Ring or his companions. It's only ruined a little bit by one of the Blues, who says cattily that if he could do that to the whole Greatwood, there would be less of Ungoliant's spawn. Thranduil hisses like a cat, but Gandalf agrees and draws attention to himself, fiddling with a ring.
"Five Rings of Power," he says, almost to himself, removing Narya from his hand. "One to a Hobbit, who bears the greatest burden of all. The last of seven to a King of Stone thought dead. One to the Witch of the Golden Wood and one to the Prince of Imladris." He holds out his Ring to Thranduil, warning him, "This is Narya, once held by Gil-galad, High King of the Noldor and Cirdan the Shipwright. And for many years, it was entrusted to me."
"For good reason," says Cirdan, face unreadable.
"Thank-you, Cirdan." Gandalf places it in Thranduil's outstretched hand, which shakes in a way Kili has never seen before. "Narya is the Ring of Fire. Burn the webs and cull the spiders. A forest can thrive after wildfire, if controlled. This is your burden, now, Thranduil Oropherion, King of the Woodland Realm in the Third Age."
Around them, the Mirkwood blooms even brighter than it did in high summer. Kili realises it's been two years since he first stepped foot in Thranduil's kingdom, etc., Thranduil smiling widely. He even laughs, then says to Bilbo, "We shall have the greatest send-off known to Middle Earth, Ringbearer! On Durin's Day, you shall leave for your quest to destroy the One Ring with your Fellowship and you shall all part from us in gladness!"
When the party is at its heights, the Fellowship of the Ring leave and tell no-one...leaving it down to Dis and Kili to fill in Thorin as to why not only his fiance, but also Gimli hasn't returned. Dis makes the executive decision to tell Thorin, not wanting to be anywhere near Elurin; Kili doesn't either, but Tauriel has travelled too much lately and he wants her to be settled as long as she can before they decide where they want to live. Dis says he's lucky he gave his report to Balin about Rohan and Gondor before this nightmare.
With a week-long party in full swing, funnily enough, coinciding with Mereth Nuin Giliath and with preparations to completely empty Mirkwood of spiders afterwards, Tauriel finds the atmosphere to be grating as she can't do anything. She snaps at Kili, sending him away briefly. However, in his wanderings, he stumbles upon a drunk Elurin, who is the mopey kind of drunk. He misses his twin like a missing limb, etc. and Kili takes him to a comfy cell to chill in, locking the door behind him, because while he might pity him and be slightly relatable, Elurin is still in the bad books of Erebor.
Kili returns to Tauriel, who is crying on their balcony with her starlight braids gleaming under the moonlight. Perfectly beautiful and perfectly distraught. He asks what she wants and she goes on about moving like normal, bearing weapons again in a way that doesn't hurt every muscle in her body, not being tired all the time anymore, feeling the whole of her leg and being able to help cull the spiders. Everything. She says she's told her mother already and her healer, but even telling another person doesn't make her feel better. Kili is delicate, saying stuff about his shoulder, how he can't straighten his arm or pull back without his shoulder going into spasm; how he misses the full use of his favoured weapon and being able to lean back against a wall without preparing to flinch from the odd angle. He can't compare their circumstances, nor the depth, but he can empathise.
Cheering up a little, he asks if he can give her a full-body massage. Tauriel knows it might hurt and says as such, but Kili points out that a good massage should loosen her up enough for a reprieve. When she doesn't cheer, he instead asks if she wants a steaming bath. That makes her pause and at her word, he personally gets a bath ready for her, though it's cool by the time he finishes lugging up the water. No plumbing in Mirkwood. Luckily for him, Thranduil is having a wander and he drags the elf into their rooms, asking him to use that fire-ring on the bathwater.
"It is a Ring of POWER, not a toy!"
"Tauriel's in pain, just heat up the bath!"
Thranduil is a little (see: A Lot) drunk on wine, happiness and power, so when he sees Tauriel standing in her undershift, not having expected visitors, he looks to Kili and asks, suspicious, if the bath was an excuse to sleep with him. Cue some wide eyes and a morose Thranduil who complains about courtiers of other realms wanting to bang him. Kili bleakly orders him to either make himself useful at something other than sex or leave. Thranduil then spends the evening entertaining Tauriel while she bathes, sharing wine and sitting by the bathtub on a cushion, refusing to sit straight on the floor or look at Tauriel in a lecherous manner. Kili gets so used to his blethering that he just gets in the bath, too, as planned.
They basically have a night in, with Thranduil as comic-relief and any teasing doesn't bother him, like 'I can't wait to tell Fili - he'll time it just right, so when he tells Legolas it'll be the funniest thing to ever happen!' and Thranduil laughs along, adding a lewd suggestion, like his son isn't off to throw the Ring into Mount Doom. Tauriel finally manages to relax, which is a bonus - not just in general, but around Thranduil, too.
It's a nice beginning to the Ring arc, no-one, not even Saruman, making any noise about the One Ring being found. Saruman tells Sauron that the Gathering was a series of coincidences, but did ultimately end with the reveal of the Blue Wizards' return from the east, with the lost princes of Doriath. The only thing that he reveals truthfully is the giving of Narya to Thranduil, as he figures nothing can explain the events that are to follow in the Great Wood.
Before the parties end, a smaller Gathering of Races makes a few political decisions, such as agreements to shore up the individual realms. Cirdan, insanely, suggests that they make two separate attacks on Sauron, to draw his forces out of Mordor, seeing as the Battle of Five Armies took out a good chunk of the main orc strongholds throughout Arda. One is obvious to the Gathering: Rohan and Gondor being an overly-aggressive force, united under one banner against Mordor, but politically impossible with the temperament of King Fengel. They dither, before someone asks Cirdan the second part of his plan...to which his answer is "Retake Moria".
Dis asks if he's actually insane. He replies with a variation of 'no, I can just see the future' and the less long-lived Races shut up for a bit. That doesn't mean the others aren't sceptical too and they debate it for a minute, Cirdan mentioning an elven army, which is when Kili's mouth catches up with his brain and he says No. Very loudly. He's asked why, but Galadriel catches onto his line of thinking, literally, saying for him that it is not the place of elves to retake a dwarven kingdom.
At this point, Gilraen speaks up. She says it's a good idea to ally Rohan and Gondor, the last true kingdoms of Men - no offence to Bard, who doesn't mind in the slightest, despite being named King - and when the Enemy goes to face their combined forces, the Rangers would converge on those reinforcements drawn south from the northern territories. Thranduil asks who is she to speak of Rangers and Gilraen reveals herself to be the wife of Chieftain Arathorn, mother to his heir - who is currently still running around Imladris, an innocent child, with the status of Heir to Isildur and rightful King of Gondor. It is a poor time for most kingdoms of Men, whose heirs have little power of their own, despite their ambitions.
Elrond agrees with Gilraen and offers to provide her escort to the nearest Ranger encampment when they leave, so as to spread word amongst her forces that they must prepare for war. The Gathering like this plan very much, except Kili interrupts to ask who will protect the Shire if the Rangers have gone south; he knows too well what sort of fighters hobbits are. Cirdan reluctantly becomes the saving grace, promising a full-time force of elves from the Grey Havens to protect the borders of the Shire. Elrond adds to those forces, pointedly saying that the hobbits fed many outside the Shire, his own people included.
'The meeting goes on and on and on, but Kili has sat through worse. He thinks that, despite the gravity of this Great Gathering, the Accusation under the Party Tree was more stressful than this.'
Kili and Dis bonding, before she orders him home to Erebor with Tauriel, to update Thorin. He may have been the envoy, but it should be Fili, now; things are too important for it not to be. Kili argues against it, until Dis points out, calling him soft, that not roaming Middle Earth means more time with his permanently disabled wife. Chagrined, Kili nods in understanding, then readies himself to leave with the majority of their party - Dis staying in his place in Thranduil's court.
The issue of Elured is brought up briefly before he leaves, but the Blue Wizards are adamant that he has his own part to play and, for now, they three will remain in residence at Thranduil's palace. Kili worries for Dis, etc., then leaves for Erebor.
Predictably, there's some chaos after that, Thorin putting out the call to the dwarf-lords as he once did three years ago, summoning them to the Lonely Mountain. Basically, it's preparation for war and Kili is put in charge of maintaining actual kingdom things, aka the Guilds, which Fili wishes him luck with before he joins Thorin as king, readying for regency in the very likely event that Thorin goes to lead the Ereborian forces.
Some physical therapy angst, Kili sparring and having to beg off because his shoulder is just really, really shitty. He comes home to find Tauriel having a bad day, too, so they're miserable together. Day in, day out - Tauriel eventually starts commuting to the Library, which actually puts her closer to Kili's meeting rooms, so he visits her on his off-hours as she is tutored in Khuzdul, offering herself as a guest lecturer to those learning Sindarin and not Quenya, as she repeatedly attempts to inform those who try.
Reports from the outside world break the monotony. Aelin pays them visits and Galathil would too, but he's been put on Elured duty, keeping him away from people, so he doesn't step a foot past Dale usually.
Tauriel pushes herself too hard and is relegated to her bed, unable to walk, so Kili has three different wheelchairs fashioned to her proportions - one for general use that goes Fast, one meant for sitting in the library to support her back, etc. that has room underneath for belongings, and a sturdier one for going outside that can also be pushed. The frames are beautiful and Tauriel hates them as much as she enjoys the freedom they allow; her legs and lower body may be busted, but her arms are brilliant, barring stuff that needs a lot of lower back muscle.
Kili has trouble with the Guilds, mostly due to his own inexperience and also, how the Forgers Guild is by Royal Order putting their all into building up the defences using the Mining force as labourers; the tension is getting to everyone, especially as not everyone knows why things are so bad. Kili is in the thick of the confusion, realising and telling Thorin as such, that they have to tell the people the One Ring has been found. A new Age is about to dawn - either an Age free of Sauron, or the Age of Orcs.
Thorin agrees, then doesn't do it, for once being the diplomatic one and saying they need to have another Gathering of at least one dwarf, man and elf before he does anything. Kili says he should get Thranduil and Bard to agree with him, then, which doesn't do shit.
Tauriel hears all his complaints, being devil's advocate, etc., then asks him to have smexy times with her for the first time since their marriage. Kili is so surprised that he trips and falls on his face, breaking his nose. Tauriel laughs at him, teasing that he'd rather injure himself than sleep with her - and for a moment, they just flirt and tease, Kili calling her more beautiful than all the elves in Arda and Aman. Kili resets his nose when it stops bleeding, letting Tauriel do a little magic to heal it up before he suggests using the giant bathroom. Tauriel agrees and they finally do it again, content for once.
The last dregs of the Ereborian dwarrow finally arrive, now that the second call has gone out, set for a month post-Durin's Day, meaning for them to winter there; but with them, comes assassins from the Iron Hills, out to get Thorin's heirs - they've already killed Dain's son, Thorin II, to the distress of many.
Oh and Fili has to get married. Splendid. Kili goes out to the pub with him and some of the Company to commiserate with him, though the tables are turned when Fili asks about getting nephews off of Kili, who admits to not having been with his wife so many times, due to her injuries from tBoFA. Gloin has a seizure that gets Kili volunteering with Fili to take him up to see the healers, trying not to be so upset when Gloin in a daze asks for Oin, who died.
Once in the Halls of Healing, a dam mistakes Kili for his brother, not helped by Gloin once again being odd in his daze, throwing around Thorin's name at Kili and not Fili due to his hair colour. Kili then keeps running into the dam, who wants to seduce him into marriage, asking about his craft. She asks him if he is wed, meaning craftwed, but Kili is ignorant to her designs and starts talking about the designs he's making for Tauriel's silver crown. The dam doesn't mind her being an elf, saying it's not like she'll ever be queen, which Kili says is true. The sad bit is that Kili genuinely thinks she's trying to be his friend, continually miscommunicating things, like talking about Tauriel having redheads and blondes, mentioning his brother. Kili tells her about their blonde father and their equally blonde grandmother, Rhuna.
Fili, meanwhile, starts dragging Kili to even more meetings, cutting into his time with Tauriel as Thorin lays more responsibility on Fili's head. Tauriel understands and says they will have time later, to which Kili answers with more smexy moments and cuddles, to make up for the discrepancy.
The meetings are not just politics, but also after moments, when dwarrow hound Fili to meet their daughters and nieces, etc., blunt about him needing a wife. Kili takes a day trip to Dale just to get out of the thick of it, stumbling on the solution as he discovers that Sigrid is also being hounded by suitors. Kili suggest a debutante ball, with Sigrid as the guest of honour, set in Erebor. Bard agrees and so do Fili and Thorin, giving Kili the responsibility of setting the party up. Kili sends out invites to the kingdoms of men, with Bard's signature attached and advises the Called dwarrow to bring their eligible dams, as the party will take place during the Yule of Men. The timing is off, but Sigrid doesn't mind in the slightest, as it means less male suitors vying for her hand...letting some dwarrow have a peek at her budding beauty. The smaller pool can only mean good things.
Kili invites his dam friend to visit, the dam being a little shocked at his audacity until he leads her to his quarters with Tauriel. She asks him explicitly if she wants him to be friends with her - and Kili replies, really soft and vulnerable, none-the-wiser to her plans, that she's become his closest friend in the Mountain outside his family and the Company. Why wouldn't he wish that she and his wife would become friends, too? Tauriel can hear through the cracked-open door as the dam stops him, saying she's made a mistake and he should know that: she thought he was Fili, the Crown Prince, this whole time. She brings the blame on herself, feeling guilty and also with a fragile sort of hope that she can actually get to know Fili, too, though just being friends with Kili is good enough. Kili's been good to her and very complimentary of her work as a healer in a Mountain of dwarrow.
Tauriel overhearing their conversation and reflecting on the behaviour of Kili's friend, spending more time in the Library and narrowly avoiding assassination herself, saved by her own allies among the shelves. They wheel her away super-fast, but Tauriel sees a tripwire up ahead; unfortunately, at the speed she's going, her wheels get trapped and if she wasn't buckled in, she'd go flying. Dwarrow pop out of the shelves, from above and beside, her companions defending her with their fists and precious books, while she unbuckles and grabs some knives that Fili secreted onto the underside of her chair, hauling herself up. What dwarrow see her are surprised she can stand, which she takes advantage of, scared she will not be enough to help fight them off, ashamed; she legs it, only managing to get to the main desks, alerting the guards. Dwarrow come to her rescue when she collapses to her knees, in pain and crying. One of her students bundles her up in a cloak to get her out of there; she hates dislikes being carried, very VERY much so, wishing she had her wheelchair back.
Tauriel is attacked again by various dwarrow assassins throughout the mountain on their way to the royal quarters, the student panicking when Tauriel's directions to safe rooms are disrupted by more assassins. Eventually, they ask if she trusts them and the dwarrow takes her back the way they came, hiding her in a storage room. They hesitate, Tauriel telling them to leave her here and come back; they admit to having no idea where they are and Tauriel still tells him to go. She still has Fili's knives. They help her hide in a chest, before Tauriel gives them a bead from her hair, to prove that they speak truth when they fetch someone.
Meanwhile, Fili and Kili are in the process of finishing off their own assassins, wondering why everyone gets them mixed up all the time, because they were clearly going for Fili when they said they were going to cleanse the kingdom of half-breeds and their sympathisers. The whole mountain goes on alert well before they reach their own guards, though and they both realise that Tauriel is in danger, too.
Regroup with their people and Nori, who pops out of the shadows with one eye and a very wheezy chest, saying a foreign spymaster has just attempted to take over Erebor. They'll need to get a hold of one of their people. Kili and Fili both keep their mouths shut, figuring that no-one is safe unless they know for sure, which is proven when a guard brings in a dwarrow claiming to know where the elf princess has been hidden. Except, when confronted with Kili, they say that Tauriel sent them with a message in her elf language, mangling 'trust the dwarf, my love'...in Quenya. Kili smiles, then stabs the dwarf in the stomach, leaving the dagger in as he pushes them into a crowd of Nori's people. "Start with this one - the rest of you, find my wife!"
cut-scene of Bilbo and the Fellowship in the Brown Lands, coming up on the Sea of Rhun, discussing their plan. Bilbo notices that the trees here, tall and brittle and dry, look like the Party Tree - and he wonders if this is where hobbits unshook themselves like melons and cabbages from vines.
Tauriel gets to have a think about her life in the chest, feeling the heart of herself. she sinks into her own light and walks in starlight, talking to an elf she recognises, but has never met: her father, who is a normal Woodland elf, until he tells Tauriel that he is the third generation descendant of Írimë, aunt of Galadriel Finarfiniel, peer to Elladan, Elrohir and Arwen by blood, though older than they by many hundred years. It is tradition that they never marry, one she has unwittingly broken by binding herself to Kili, though he does not begrudge her so, for with the breaking, it has allowed him leave to cross into her dreams and wish her well.
(Has Galadriel ever met Tauriel? I think she would recognise the bloodline of her grandfather, if she saw her. Witch of the Golden Woods, amirite?)
He gives the essecarmë Aranelloron ("Princess of the Mountain", Q, fn), to match her mother's amilessë, that is a reminder of where she came from, while his is who she was going to be. Her father doesn't give his name, so Tauriel calls him Írimion in her head when they part, the student who hid her opening the chest, Tauriel nearly outright murdering him before Kili stops her arm, the touch calling to her soul like he always does.
"Kili," she breathes, crumpling into the chest, before he says, "No, no, time to get up, now," and lifts her out of the box onto the floor, so they're level. He summons one of the guards, who brought one of her chairs and Tauriel is very glad to have her mobility back; she does ask Kili to push her for once, though, giving Fili the daggers he gave her to protect them.
The Durin's all get together for a meeting about the spymaster and Thorin makes noise about sending Tauriel and Kili to Thranduil, but Tauriel refuses, admitting her limits. She can't leave so soon and in winter, too! Thorin sees reason, but says if there is another attack like this, then they shall have to miss the debutante ball for Sigrid and Fili, which Fili had rather hoped to be cancelled.
annnnnnnnd that’s where i stopped writing. might have more to add in the future - but no, i have no idea what the blue wizards are up to. that was just Convenient for plot reasons i never actually created.
I’d love to know what you’re writing about Dior!
I’d love to know that too :D For now, I just have three words and a lot of jumbled thoughts and feelings. Those three words are: King over Ruins. Maybe it’s the title? Maybe it’ll be a poem? Who knows? Not me.
I keep thinking about how enormous the burden of his legacy must have felt for Dior. His grandfather is Thingol, who despite his flaws was still a formidable character. His grandmother is Melian, a super powerful Maia. His parents are Luthien and Beren, basically celebrities, who managed to do the impossible (twice in Luthien’s case). I’m not focusing on Beren’s side of the family because Dior is mostly associated with Doriath and his maternal side, but Barahir and the rest are heroes who died fighting the greatest evil ever known. It’s terrifying to know that and feel that you have to live up to it.
Dior grew up sort of secluded and then had the kingship of Doriath thrust upon him. How did that make him feel? He must have suspected that Doriath’s days are numbered. Thingol is dead. Melian is gone.
(Side note: I think one of the most questionable things Melian ever did was abandoning Doriath. She knew that the defense of Doriath heavily depended on her and she just left it up for grabs. I was thinking about it and I have formed a half-baked headcanon. I think Melian protected and cared for Doriath not for the kingdom itself or for the people who lived there but for Thingol. She loved Thingol and Thingol loved Doriath, so she did it for him. I think being a Maia, she felt detached and remote from the matters of the Children. We see her giving wise advise that is often ignored to the detriment of everyone and to my endless frustration, but she rarely does something, she rarely acts. She didn’t have a personal connection to anyone or anything. Her only personal connection was to Thingol and maybe to Luthien. So with Thingol dead, nothing was keeping her there anymore.)
Sorry, I went off on a tangent there. So Thingol is dead, Melian is gone, Luthien and Beren are dead, Mablung and Beleg, the greatest warriors of Doriath, are also dead. Doriath is just a shadow of what it was. And here comes Dior, young and inexperienced, shadowed by these larger-than-life figures, and he’s supposed to be the king of Doriath, a kingdom that is now mostly defenseless against Morgoth and the Feanorians. How did he feel? Did he feel inadequate? Did he feel he knew what he was doing? Did he think of the Silmaril as a protection of sorts now that the Girdle was gone? Did he think that giving it up would mean betraying his parents and his kingdom? I don’t know, I just feel so bad for him.
I mean we don’t even know what happened to him after he died. Did he share the fate of Men or Elves? Elwing and Earendil seem to be the first half-elves who were offered a choice, so what about Dior? Luthien was mortal when he was born and Beren is Man. Dior grew up and had children at a Man’s speed. So if he is counted among Men, it means he won’t have a chance to see his wife and daughter again until the world ends. And maybe his sons too, we have no idea what happened to those poor kids or where they would go if they died.
Whoa, I had no idea I have so many feelings about the Doriathrim. I don’t know if I’ll ever write something about Dior or other Doriath characters because I love the Finweans and it’s easier to write about them, but it felt good to type this out, so thank you for that <3
If someone else wants to send me an ask, the list is here.
Dying for the cause or killing it
To turn your back on your family is as good as death.
Amrod was the first. He wanted to return to Valinor, speak to the followers of Nolofinwe, even seek pardon for Alqualonde rather than risk repeating it. He had been asking questions cautiously around the camp, trying to find out who would help without revealing his plan, when Feanor burned the ships and rendered it moot.
Amrod was angry enough to tell his father what he had been planning, so that Feanor would fully understand what he had just destroyed.
But Feanor was enraged. “I thought you were loyal, and instead you were plotting to undermine me, to abandon our cause and bring the usurper here.”
“More soldiers will help your cause, though I myself no longer believe revenge worth the price. If the only permitted steps are those that you plan, and the only permitted goals those from your thoughts, than it is you, not Manwe, who seeks to be master of thralls.”
“If you see duty to your family as no more than thralldom, you need not take it; but family does not exist without duty. If hate so terribly being my son and subject, you may leave behind both.”
“Then I shall,” Amrod said, and walked off.
Amrod abandoned his Oath. He did not seek out his father, or his brothers, or any in the Feanorian host through all the years of the Watchful Peace. They in turn followed Feanor’s word, and Amrod was dead to the house of Feanor.
The Feanorian army gathered outside Doriath. There was a Silmaril hidden in that kingdom, and the young king would not yield it. The Sons of Feanor met to plan their attack.
“I'm not doing it,” Caranthir said.
“The Oath compels us to retrieve the Silmaril,” Celegorm said. “We all agreed so, even Maglor.”
“We tried negotiating, and it didn’t work,” Maedhros pointed out. “Why else would you come all this way?”
“I thought Dior would see reason when there was an army on his doorstep. But he has not, and I attack Doriath.”
“We have little choice, with the Oath.”
“I know full well what Feanor’s Oath demands of his family.”
Maglor put the pieces together. “Feanor’s Oath and Feanor’s family, but not yours?”
“Unless what counts as heresy has changed in the last five centuries, no. Not mine.”
“You are certain of this?” Maedhros asked.
“I am. If Feanor’s sons must destroy a peaceful realm for the sake of a gem, I will have no part in it.”
“And if your loyalty depends on never having to do things you don’t wish to, the loyalty is false.”
“Loyalty must be deserved. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye, Caranthir son of no one.”
Celegorm’s armor was splattered with blood and guts; there was even a pink tinge at the end of his hair. But his look of disgust was due not to his own state, but directed at two elves restrained before him. They had been in his command for centuries, and one had even hunted with him beside Orome in Aman.
Celegorm bent down as if to look them in the eye, and slit both of their throats in one easy motion.
“I quit,” he said conversationally as he stood up.
“Excuse me?” Maglor asked.
“I said I quit. Like Caranthir and Amrod.”
“Attacking Doriath was your idea in the first place! You can’t be regretting it now.”
“I don’t regret attacking Dior and his army. But I have been so obsessed with the Silmaril that my people thought I hated the whole line, even the innocent.”
“I would hardly call Nimloth-”
“Those two -” Celegorm gestured to the bodies of his soldiers “- killed two boys and thought I would pleased. Not boys like the dead boy-king, too young to understand the impact of his choices but old enough to command armies. Children, barely six years old, killed to get revenge on their dead idiot father.”
Maedhros had arrived, and listened impassively to Celegorm’s speech. “I never knew you to care so much about other people’s opinion of you.”
“I’m not g=begging them to reconsider their wrong opinion of me, I’m stopping before it becomes the right one. I have done what it takes to pursue the Oath, unstoppable and uncaring as a forest fire. That was necessary, but going back and burning the few trees left standing merely so the destruction would be complete is not.”
“The actions done in your name are only your fault to the extent you permit them. You have made it quite clear you disapprove.”
“Oh, and I suppose our actions here will never be laid at Father’s feet. He started us down the path, and saw after Alqualonde where it led, never turning aside. I am.”
“Do you think you’re special for having cruel soldiers? Do you think no one ever thought the Warlord of Himring would appreciate knowing enemies were tortured in payment for my torture? Men have brought me the mutilated bodies of their traitorous neighbors expecting I would like the trophy. Being thought monstrous is the price of command.”
“I don’t want command. I can make my own path, with no elves or men to obey me or oppose me.”
“If you wish to be a nameless wilderness creature rather than an elven prince, I will not stop you.”
“You’re right, you won’t.” He turned and walked off into the woods.
Curufin chose that moment to speak. “He has the right idea.”
“You too?” Maedhros asked. “How can you reject this after everything?”
“We’re doing nothing but repeating history with ourselves as the villains.”
“How is that a change from yesterday?”
“The king has been killed in his home by those who would take the Silmarils, his greatest treasure, and the city lies in ruins around him. Do you not see echoes of Formenos?”
“No. We have no Ungoliant, and more importantly no Silmaril.”
“But Father was justified - we were justified - in pursuing Morgoth, seeking retribution for his crimes against us.”
“Of course! If you doubt that, you should have turned back when Olwe refused us, not Dior.”
“I don’t doubt it! But if we are righteous for hating Finwe’s murderer, than so are the surviving Iathrim righteous for hating us.”
“What does it matter? They will hate us if it is just or not.”
“It matters for who we are! Are we nothing but brigands, stealing what cannot be defended because we wish for it? Is that not the very thing we set out to oppose?”
“We set out to reclaim the Silmarils and kill Morgoth. If Father had a noble reason underneath those, I never heard him say.”
“It is obvious! I will not be a prisoner of the letter of his Oath and therefore betray his spirit. Celebrimbor was right to say we were going astray.”
“Celebrimbor renounced you, not just Feanor. You won’t get him back.”
“I know, but maybe he can achieve the greatness I haven’t, with no Oath dragging him down.”
“And you? What would be left of Curufinwe Atarinke when you take away everything that came from Curufinwe Feanaro his father?”
“I suppose I will find out.”
Maedhros, Maglor, and Amras stared at each other in silence. Than Maedhros shook his head, and said, “Keep searching for the Silmaril. Celegorm’s people can search the woods for hiding places, if they’ll listen to me. You two search the east and west wings of the palace, and I’ll check the main square.”
His two remaining brothers nodded.
The three of them stood on the cliffs at Sirion and watched the bird that had been Elwing fly away.
“Well now what,” Maglor said.
“What do you suppose Valinor being fenced against us really means?” Maedhros asked. “Would we be physically stopped, or would it simply go terribly if we did reach there? And barred by something we can fight, or more like a cliff?”
“I assume we would never reach land; we barely made it across the Sea last time.”
Maedhros sighed. “And none of us learned to sail. I will have to think of some other way.”
““Some other way for what?” Amras asked.
“To retrieve the Silmaril from Valinor, of course.”
“Do you think she’s headed somewhere other than to Valinor, or to her husband who was seeking the same?”
“No, we’ve sacked anywhere else she might feel safe.”
“So we need to find a way across the sea.”
“And then fight all fourteen of the Valar?”
“What, are you becoming pious all of a sudden?”
“Not pious, just realistic! We are not strong enough to do open battle against Morgoth on his own, what makes you think we can win against the rest of them?”
“We’ll have the element of surprise, for one.”
“And that will be enough to kill the gods?”
“I’m not saying we need to kill Manwe - I’m not sure that’s even possible. But we could distract them, and reclaim what is ours by right.”
“You’ve proven that you’re not able to out-think a Vala, either at the Nirnaeth or at your royal parley.”
“Morgoth is the Vala of lies and darkness, I should have expected him to be cunning. But it is said that Manwe cannot comprehend evil; he will not understand betrayal until it is too late.”
“You are a fool. If we attempt combat with the Valar, we will lose.”
Maglor said, “Aren’t you getting ahead of yourselves? We can’t be sure we need to fight the Valar at all. Maybe Elwing will reach Earendil, and the two of them will return to Sirion.”
“Even if they did, what would that help? Elwing is clearly favored, and likely Manwe will intervene again if we try to kill her - unless you think elves just tun into birds on their own?”
“Well, no. But I don’t think it’s as hopeless as all that, Uncle wounded a Vala on his own, and there are three of us.”
“We’ve lost, whether or not you can see it.”
Maedhros said, “Our Oath doesn’t let us give up. We win, or we fall into darkness and death.”
“Or we give up the Oath.”
“No. We can still win.”
“We can’t. Even if we could, we shouldn’t.”
“I won’t abandon everything we worked towards just because it became difficult!”
“And I won’t kill in pursuit of a goal I know is impossible. Yes, we have done evil, but we knew why, and knew it would end if we obtained the Silmarils. Now they are all beyond our reach, and we could burn the world and not be one step close to victory. It is madness to keep going.”
“Madness or no, it is our path.”
“It may be the path for the Sons of Feanor, but not for me. Amrod had the right of it, even if it took me longer to see. I would say until we meet again, but I doubt we shall.”
"They burn us," Maedhros said hollowly.
Maglor gave a bitter laugh. "You can't have doubted that we were marred and evil by now."
"I didn't really. I just thought it would be - different. Less empty."
"Seriously? You honestly thought it would feel good to succeed, like we'd accomplished something! That is the most naive thing I can imagine. We've only had a foolish excuse to keep going since the Nirnaeth, getting more and more frail ever since Caranthir left. Now there's no purpose at all, how did you expect to feel?"
Maglor laughed so hard he couldn't stand. "Lord Maedhros of Himring, Orcsbane thought we could experience peace. There's no peace for us, only battle or surrender. You chose battle, and here we are."
"Then I choose to end it, if there is to be no peace."
"We can still surrender."
"No one would accept it."
"We can’t surrender to someone, but we could surrender our Oath."
“And where would we go? To those who’ve we attacked, or those who followed us past the point of reason?”
“There are five elves who would not shoot us on sight, if we can find where they went. Or at least four, Amras may still be angry.”
“They hate everything we stand for.”
“So do I. Can you think of anything we’ve fought for in the last century that you still believe is worth it?”
Maedhros shook his head.
“So that’s something we all have in common then.”
“They hate me. I told them all to go.”
“You did and they might, but they’ll forgive you for being such a complete idiot.”
“How can you be sure?”
“I’ve forgiven you for being an idiot and just an hour ago we destroyed our only chance of ever going home, because you commanded it. The rest of the will come around.”
“I’m sorry about that.”
Maglor shrugged. “What else is family for? Now, shall we find the rest of ours?”
Feanor’s Most Popular Line: We’re Going To Male the Noldor Great Again.
sigh... Back in 2015, during the primaries, when I was watching and waiting for the point where the way-too-crowded Republican field would winnow down and winnow out Trump, because of course they would, why aren’t they (*cries*) and keeping an eye on the Democratic field hoping it’d be Warren or Sanders or anyone but Clinton because I knew how much she was hated -both of my parents are retired military hardcore republicans and while I’m not one anymore I was raised in that/Rush was playing on the radio for every long roadtrip and one learns how to start tuning that crap out out of necessity, I cannot underscore how much my mother hated interacting with the Clinton administration when she worked at the USN academy and the amount of eyerolling I had to suppress as my own views shifted from center-right to center-left and no I’m not going to talk personal political beliefs at the moment because they haven’t finished settling for one (except oh please, Hegar beat Cornyn too, I beg y’all).
So, Repub primaries back when the other Rs would trash-talk Trump, and Jindal of LA calls Trump out on his paranoia and egomania and all, I forget the exact quote, but I do remember texting @yavieriel in Skype laughing because the wording of the statement was almost exactly how I described Fëanor.
His controlling paranoia, his overwhelming ego. That his speech at Tirion even back in 2004 scared the heebie-jeebies out of me because I saw the parallels to how fascist strongmen worked - the minority fringe group that had been exiled for an illegal act of violence returning during a moment of crisis to stoke the already volatile feelings of panic, using rhetoric and speeches (and torches in a dark night) to whip up the crowd into a ‘wine-drunk’ mob. Seizes control of the mob by weaponized grievance and giving them scapegoats - not only blaming the legitimate government as weak and ineffectual but then a scapegoat and actual xenophobia by creating fear of the Other, in this case the mortals men that will replace them. Holy fuck if that isn’t the perfect fascist play of ‘here’s this “Other” that is inferior to us and yet will insidiously replace us and our land and oust us’. Sorry, I’m still puking years later. Fëanor who hinges his authority on his status as the first-born of the king instead of the majority of the Noldor wanting him (he’s not winning popular votes) and this ubermench persona (and like other “strongmen” his actual leadership decisions only are a series of moves that cripple his end goals, betray allies, sow more discord, more acts of horrific violence, he mistrusts even his innermost circle, and then he dies overwhelmed and swiftly and rather pathetically compared to his rival. His political pitch is a ‘return to a “purer” past’ be it in language or in general. Go back to Cuiviénen is no different than the other fascist-like rhetoric of idealized false past. It is exactly as you said, “Make the Noldor Great Again”. He looks down upon the Teleri as a inferior culture. He hoards resources and makes his regain the Silmarils pitch statement about hoarding that light that is supposed to be freely shared the exclusive property of just the Noldor and that the Noldor alone will be greater than anyone, even the Ainur (and that Noldor means pure Noldor and Noldor loyal to him). I really don’t see how people can look at the actual character in the Silmarillion, read his quotes, and not come away with the strong sense that if not outright, this is Fëanor’s vibe. I saw it the very first time that I read the book, and it has only been re-enforced every time I ere-read not just it but read counterarguments from his sympathetic fans- the ones that forced me to reexamine him and thus come away with an even stronger negative view.
Heck, Fëanor’s stockpiling of illegal dangerous lethal weapons, his mistrust of the government and moving away from the city even before exile, plus that his invention of the Silmarils was motivated out of a vague uneasy worry that something might happen to the Treelight and thus preserve it -plus the controlling nature is personal and familial relations enough so that his wife leaves him and is upset that she can’t take at least some of the children with her to escape that toxic controlling environment- Fëanor is TEXTBOOK right-wing doomsday prepper, and the Valar were trying to avoid Waco or Ruby Ridge.