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Story [The Silmarillion] "This Taste of Shadow", Ficlets and Drabbles, updated 7/02!

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Mira_Jade , Jan 31, 2013.

  1. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Enriching the world again with those marvelous descriptions of characters
    Funny and caring and sweet and thoughtfull
     
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  2. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: These ladies are just fantastic, there is nothing really more to say. [face_love]

    earlybird-obi-wan: Thank-you! :)


    And yikes, it's been almost a month without an update. What can I say, a certain roulette distracted me ;), and all of my ideas for the NSWFF prompts have been long . . . long like this one, which is a Glorfindel appreciation post done for the prompt Some assembly required - because, let's face it, Glorfindel has holding the House of Turgon together down to an art. ;) [face_love]

    First, some redundant name translations:

    Laurefindil: Glorfindel
    Turukáno: Turgon
    Itarillë: Idril
    Irissë: Aredhel
    Findekáno: Fingon
    Nolofinwë: Fingolfin

    And I think that's it! As always, I thank you guys so much for reading, and I hope that you enjoy! :)


    [:D]





    "I will not take from you, and you will not owe”


    CCXXVIII

    He found Elenwë in their usual spot by the river, laying down on her back in the thick green grass and staring up at the leafy canopy created by the thicket of white birch trees overhead. Only, now there was naught of Laurelin's light to shine down on them; casting dancing shapes of green and gold this way and that as the light flickered before their eyes. Instead, there was only the faint glow provided by the blue flame of Elenwë's lantern; fighting a losing battle against the darkness, no matter that it was nearly noon.

    Even so, Laurefindil was undeterred as he laid on his back next to her. He pillowed his arms underneath his head, and smiled as if he could still feel the rays of Treelight upon his face. “Ah yes,” he sighed in contentment to say, “the light is, as ever, quite bright here.”

    “And your imagination is, as always, far superior to mine,” Elenwë returned dryly.

    “Not my imagination,” he did not quite agree, tapping the side of his temple, “but my memory. And there the Light shall ever reside.” But even the forced levity to his tone faded with his last words, and he exhaled a deep breath, staring at the oppressive weight of blue and black above them, seemingly close enough to touch, and nearly smothering with its endless cast. Soon tiring of that, his eyes then fixed on the withering canopy of birch trees; their normally verdant leaves curling and turning grey without the light to sustain them.

    And, at last, Laurefindil gently asked, “Why are you not with your family, readying to depart?”

    “Turvo does not know whether or not he wishes to follow Nolofinwë's host,” after a long moment Elenwë muttered. He had to concentrate to hear her whisper before the shadows took her words entirely. “Oh, he wishes to not to at all - but his father has no choice but to follow Fëanáro, for leaving the leadership of our people solely in his hands is a tragedy waiting to happen . . . Yet, he is torn; he does not know what to decide, and I must confess that I too am at an impasse. I do not know what my heart wants, yet I am certain that my counsel will be the thing that sways his mind down one path or the other . . . that knowledge is a weight on my shoulders, and it burdens me,” her voice faltered, and she let out a breath in discontentment.

    He glanced over, seeing the way she bit her lip and stared unseeingly at the wilting trees. The lantern light on the dark, honey shade of her hair was an odd colour, he decided, unnatural and surreal to the eyes. He frowned, feeling as if he knew what course she would come to choose, and yet slow to form his words to offer counsel – for either path before her. He had been born of a mixed match while the Noldor and the Vanyar dwelt side by side in Tirion, yet he had no siblings to speak of. Thus, the children of his Vanya mother's brother had long been dear to him – and Elenwë more so than all of Hellendur's brood combined . . . thus, he could not quite leave her to grapple with her own mind, either.

    “Such indecisiveness is not Elenwë as I have long known her,” he finally said into the dark. His gentle teasing seemed tired without the light.

    “The Elenwë you knew is a mother now,” she returned, “and I'd like to choose a safe path upon which that child may grow, and thrive.”

    “And you wish your daughter to grow here, truly?” Laurefindil returned, prompting her to reflect honestly.

    For Aman was wondrous in its glory, truly, and yet, waiting for them, just out of reach . . . He was not so sure if he could live so blithely and pretend at utopia when just an ocean away the Shadow grew and corrupted everything with its touch. And, the smallest part of him could admit that Fëanáro's impassioned speech had touched something within his heart, as well. He could admit that he yearned for the land of his people's birth, and for that yearning . . .

    “What do you see when you look beyond the Sea?” Elenwë finally asked, her voice small as the dark tried to take it from her.

    “I see light, beautiful in its imperfection,” Laurefindil answered honestly. It was the only truth he was certain of. “I am confident that we will find the daylight returned to us there.”

    Elenwë sighed, as if she could not quite believe him. “When I close my eyes,” she said in a whispered voice, “I see only the black of some deep abyss; I feel never-ending coldness, and I fear that I . . .” she let loose a deep breath, and frowned. “But such thoughts are silly; I shall see the light again, in one form or another, and my daughter will grow in that light, no matter where it shines.” A long moment passed, and she turned her head to look at him, her face considering in the dark. “And you? What path do you see before you?”

    He smiled a familiar smile, and did not have to think to make his vow, “I will follow where you go; and serve your kin as I may for as long as the Valar give me to serve. But, you know this already.”

    “Yet, sometimes, such words are a comfort to hear again. It is a comfort knowing that, even if I . . .” Elenwë sighed as she turned her head back to the trees again. “But it is easy to foresee dark gleamings of the future when there is naught of the Light to brighten them. I try not to think of such outcomes, and yet . . .” But she swallowed her words, no doubt tired of such dark speeches for the future. When he looked, her brow was creased with consideration, but he then thought it to be the weight of resignation she bore.

    He found her hand in the dark, and squeezed it once, comfortingly; she wrapped her fingers around his own like one drowning, and he let himself be an anchor for her so that she could be a strength to those who had need of her in return. Then, he turned his eyes to stare above, already imagining the light shining down over their faces once more, then certain of what course she would choose, and positive of the only path that left for him to follow.



    .

    .

    Tensions were understandably high with both Fingolfin's host and the camp of the Fëanorians settled so close around the opposite shores of Lake Mithrim.

    Mostly, the two camps did not cross but for Fëanor's sons coming to visit with their recovering brother in turns, who was being seen to by the Sindarin healers Fingolfin had been able to recruit for the task – they being more skilled in seeing to such a grievous wreckage of the physical form than the Elves of Aman, who had known even less of the Shadow than they had first imagined. Glorfindel did not have much to do with the seven, especially seeing as how Turgon had no interest in Maedhros and his recovery, and he most certainly had no want to mingle with the rest of his uncle's kin. The brittle anger burning in his eyes and the coiled tension leashed in his stride were those Glorfindel could think to understand, with Elenwë still so recently . . .

    . . . but no. He could not think about that, not now; not yet. Instead, he could only try to provide what comfort he could to those Elenwë loved best, and if that meant protecting Turgon from his own simmering hurt and rage, then that's what he would do.

    Which meant that it was an inevitability, rather than a possibility, for the strained tension between the two houses to manifest itself outright as blows.

    It started, oddly enough, with the innocence of children.

    Though Celebrimbor had accompanied Curufin his father to their camp to see Maedhros, he had been told in no uncertain terms to keep himself silent and out of the way. To that end, the youth had found the blacksmiths of Fingolfin's group and occupied himself in the temporary forges that had sprung up for the production of steel and mail – which was looking to be a sorely needed thing in this land, more so than they first thought, or would have imagined to expect.

    Idril, who had also had a knack for exploring to keep her mind occupied with pleasant things, had been delighted to stumble across an elf her own age – especially one who was an estranged kinsman, at that. Celebrimbor was much as Glorfindel remembered – lanky and still awkward in his bones, with the inherent need to please built into the very fiber of his being, or so it seemed. And, more importantly, he was as innocent as Idril in the events that had sundered their families, and so, when she asked him how to wield the sword that he was folding on the anvil, and Celebrimbor agreed . . .

    Glorfindel had been walking with Turgon through the long rows of tents and semi-permanent structures that were still in various stages of being built on Fingolfin's business – for, with Aredhel being often gone beyond their camp for avoiding the Fëanorians in their midst, and Fingon much taken with Maedhros' recovery, their combined duties fell to their brother and father to fulfill. Turgon was mostly silent to the workload heaped upon his shoulders, never mind that Laurefindil nonetheless knew of the strain it placed upon him, knowing that it was not healthy to throw one's self so completely into mind numbing pursuits without first properly dealing with one's grief. . . And yet, he had no time for such further reflections when they turned to see Idril and Curufin's son sparing with the new steel, the light of the midday sun bright over the glitter of the lake and the glint of the sword's edge. Only when Turgon sharply hissed his daughter's name did Celebrimbor slip – turning almost guiltily and forgetting about the sword in his hand for a moment long enough to . . .

    It was just a scratch, nothing more, over the skin high on Idril's arm, but it looked much worse as the blood blotted and spread to stain the pale fabric of her sleeve. Glorfindel did not have to know Turgon as well as he did to know that his friend saw red in reply.

    “Atar, I am okay,” wisely knowing her father better than most, Idril stepped in front of Celebrimbor and held up her hands in a placating gesture. “It was just a scratch, and it was not Telpe's fault.” Her voice was pitched soothingly, and she looked so much like Elenwë then that Glorfindel had to swallow against the lump in his throat as he too stepped forward to calm Turgon from his anger, not wanting him to take out his rage for Celebrimbor's family where it was not deserved - for Turgon had not yet stopped advancing on the boy, even though he did not yet speak . . . perhaps because he could not yet speak in his anger.

    But Idril was kept from saying anything more to calm her father when Celebrimbor's own kin arrived – producing an aggravated sigh from Glorfindel to see so. Celegorm's pale head of hair was more white than gold in the bright, cool sunlight overhead, and his slanted expression was as a knife-cut on his face. But his side, Curufin walked with a wolf's alertness upon seeing the situation, and he had no qualms about cutting in – casting a narrowed look at his son before looking to Turgon. “Kindly step away from my son, Nurtafinwë.”

    Turgon flinched, taken from the dangerous expression that had crossed from his face in favor of incredulity – that a Kinslayer would warn him away from violence, when Glorfindel knew he would not have been capable of it, no matter his initial rage.

    “She is bleeding,” Turgon said stiffly. “It is your son's doing,” he all but spat the words.

    Celebrimbor looked alarmed at that, the ivory tones of his complexion turning even more pale. He stepped forward, and started to say aloud, “Atar, I did not mean -”

    Curufin only had to hold up a hand to silence his son; Celebrimbor flinched and ceased his speech, suitably rebuked. Curufin raised a dark brow, and after a moment's mental communication, he said to Turgon, “Yet the sparring was your girl's idea. She should have known the risks involved.”

    And Celegorm only snorted at that revealed piece of information. He gave a sharp, harsh bark of laughter to say, “I did not first think any such sort of backbone to exist amongst Fingolfin's house. Are you sure this girl is of Turvo's blood?”

    Turgon's expression darkened, and Celegorm only laughed again to see so – clearly amused by the reaction he was able to garner with so little prodding involved. Alarmed by the fierce sort of way he could feel Turgon's fëa fluctuate, lashing at the air around them, Glorfindel wished that the other elf would do them all a favor and stay silent.

    But it was not to be. “Where is your little Vanya, Turvo?” Celegorm continued to croon. “I forget – did she leave you in Aman, or was it her the Ice took? It is rather difficult to keep everything straight in a family as large as ours, I'm sure you can understand. The last I remembered, it was she, and not you, who fought your battles - ”

    Yet, Glorfindel was taken from the glee of remembering how Elenwë had broken the hunter's nose with the butt of her hand the day of Fëanor's speech, when Celegorm's words had turned from harshly addressing Irissë to her brother who moved to defend her – by Turgon stepping forth in a déjà-vu of that same moment to level a fierce blow at Celegorm's face, and was rewarded by the crunching noise of the cartilage in his nose breaking once more.

    Yet he did not stop there. Turgon dodged Celegorm's first attempt at retaliation, and tackled the other elf so that they both fell to the ground, their scuffling turning more savage and seriously intending to inflict harm with each passing moment. At first, Glorfindel blinked in surprise – taken aback - for he had never seen Turgon so moved to rage by anything before. Normally, Turgon was like the stone of a sea shore, constantly weathering the ocean's fury and might, and yet, now . . .

    Glorfindel then had a more pressing fear: Turgon was taller than Celegorm, but Celegorm was heavier and built like an ox. He had dined well and exercised regularly the last few years, where Turgon had just so recently survived the Helcaraxë and started to regain both muscle mass and strength. For now, his rage and pent up grief would serve him well, but when his momentum waned . . .

    With that in mind, Glorfindel moved to cut in and break the two apart. Yet he was startled by Curufin not moving to help him, but instead swinging a fist in his direction. Glorfindel growled and dodged the blow, finding his own rage and pent up frustration lit, thinking fiercely: if that's how this is to be -

    - time passed, he knew not how much. He only knew that when he blinked the battle-haze back from his eyes Celebrimbor was tugging on his father's arm to draw him away from the fray, and Idril was standing very, very still off to the side of the scuffle. A familiar voice – richly warm and lined with a word of power – rang out and commanded the combatants to stop. Reflexively, Glorfindel found himself obeying, even when he first did not mean to do so. He looked, and saw where Fingon and Maglor had been called for the disturbance their brothers had created – with Fingon having succeeded in shoving Turgon back, while Maglor had to hold an arm bodily around Celegorm in order to restrain him. Celegorm's hair was mused and his nose was broken – again – while a fierce, blinding light burned from the grey-green of his eyes. Even so, he smiled a fey smile, and his teeth gleamed white through the blood filling his mouth.

    “What were you thinking?” Fingon turned on his brother to thunder when he was satisfied enough by their truce. Yet, that was exactly the wrong thing to say, Glorfindel thought as Turgon savagely pushed his brother from him, stumbling at the first to regain his balance.

    “Look at yourself,” but Fingon was not done, stepping back towards his brother even though every bone in Turgon's tightly held body screamed at him not to do so. “You! A Prince of Finwë's blood scuffling in the dirt where all can see?! Others will follow the example we set, and yet you are content to lead the way in reviling our Uncle's kin, rather than seeking to repair the damage done between our peoples – for the betterment of all. Do you have no shame, brother?” He waved a hand to encompass their audience – who, with a glare from Maglor, slowly began to break up, and turn away.

    Turgon gave a disbelieving snort at Fingon's words, before wiping at his nose, which was dripping blood. “Of course, you would first address me so, and not our Kinslaying half-cousins. Your niece is bleeding, your good-sister is dead, but yes, you are quite right: defend them, and leave your true kin behind once more.”

    “Turvo, this is not about Elenwë – it cannot be if our family, our entire family, is ever to move forward as one again,” Fingon then gentled his voice to say. He sounded weary, and the dark circles underneath his eyes were more pronounced than when he had first returned from Thangorodrim with a broken Maedhros in hand. Even so, Glorfindel noticed the return of the golden strands to his braids; he was sure Fingon noticed as well.

    “Like the Void, this is not about Elenwë!” Turgon fiercely swore to respond. Normally as calm and gentle as the spring rains, his eyes were then bright as with storm-light, and he gestured angrily as he spoke, as if his body still craved a tangible battle to fight. “He stood there and he . . . he laughed for her death; for her murder. He laughed, and you . . .” his voice broke on a sound of grief, and he made a slashing gesture with his hand. He gave an incredulous snort, and had to wipe anew at his bleeding nose for doing so. “You may leave, Findekáno, I give you my word that I will not brawl in the street with Kinslayers from this day forth. Go back to him, and leave your family to manage on their own once more – on that note, if any has not been acting fit to their birth and duty it is you, brother. For who has been picking up behind you as you play nursemaid to one who left us to die on that icy tundra? Do you realize the burden on Atar's shoulders? Have you seen Irissë's torment as of late? Do you even care that my wife is dead because they could not keep themselves from malice and violence when peace and calm reasoning were needed more so than any other time? No, of course not - you see only his pain, and that is all that moves you. You sicken me; I cannot stand to look at you right now.”

    Fingon's face had paled, and for a long moment everyone was silent in reply to Turgon's impassioned speech – all but for Celegorm, who cackled in delighted amusement before Maglor hissed at him, demanding that he return to the Fëanorian side of the lake until a time when Fingolfin would be gracious enough to accept his apology and invite him back. Celegorm was slow to leave, however, going only when Curufin first turned to depart in a bored manner, calling for Celebrimbor to follow him. The boy looked as if he wanted to say something – anything – to fix the tempers that had been unwittingly sparked on his account, but he instead bowed his head, and dutifully followed his father away.

    Waiting for their audience to disperse, Fingon then took a step towards Turgon, and tried to reach out a hand to him – moving slowly, as if confronting a wounded animal in the wild. But Turgon stepped out of his reach, and showed his teeth. His every limb was tightly coiled, and he held himself with a rigid anger that needed the barest of provocations to erupt forth again.

    Yet, whatever more that was to be said between the brothers – for good or for ill - Glorfindel decided that Idril did not need to hear. The girl was still standing, tense and pale and all but rooted in her spot, with her soft grey eyes wide and unblinking as she stared at her father. She held a hand over her bleeding arm, but did not look to recognize the sting of the wound beyond that.

    Seeing so, Glorfindel sighed, and walked over to the young woman, feeling his heart twist for her. “Come, child, we should get your arm taken care of.”

    He glanced at Turgon as they left, who did not seem to notice their departure, and leveled a stiff look at Fingon, who watched them leave with a weary gaze before turning back to his brother.

    Idril was silent as they returned to the temporary compound Fingolfin's family shared. Glorfindel did not force her to speak as he gathered what he needed to clean her arm for her, and then set to tending the small wound in silence, waiting for her words to form all the while.

    Finally, Idril winced when he dabbed at the wound with an antiseptic, and said, “I know that I am not my Aunt Irissë, but I did not think it to be as difficult as this to wield a weapon.”

    Glorfindel looked up to her for her words, then curious. “Why did you not just ask your father for instruction? Or your aunt, or even myself?”

    Idril bit her lip, and looked down to find her words. “Atar . . . he does not care for the art of steel, even now that we have arrived in Endórë. As for Aunt Irissë . . . she has not fared well at all with the Fëanorians coming to and fro. And you . . . you have already done so much for my family and me. I did not wish to inconvenience you more . . . and yet . . . so much has happened, and so much will happen. If I was able to defend myself, to take care of myself, then you . . . my father . . . my aunt . . .”

    She swallowed, and looked down again. Glorfindel reached over to turn her chin up, smiling warmly to say, “You are no burden, Itarillë, not to myself, and most certainly not to your father. You are a blessing, and so very dearly cherished by all who know you – how can you view yourself as a yoke, when you are instead a refreshment to your family, especially in these days?”

    Yet, she bit her lip pensively, and her bright eyes darkened as they filled with the shadow of some great hurt. “Sometimes . . . sometimes, I think that it would have been better if she was not able to save me,” Idril whispered, her voice very small as she spoke. Glorfindel had to strain to hear her words, and he stiffened when he understood them. “If Amil lived, then my father would . . .”

    “ - would be equally distraught now,” Glorfindel interrupted fiercely to say. Idril looked dubious, but Glorfindel shook his head to any argument she would make – unwilling to let her go on with that thought still in mind. “He grieves, but his grief would be no different had it been you the Ice took. There is no pain equal to that of losing a mate, other than, perhaps, the pain of losing a child. If . . . if by some cruelty your father had to choose . . .” he swallowed, and found his own grief then bubbling forth. Yet he did his best to swallow it away, wanting instead to touch the wounded spirit before him with as much golden light as he could - assuring the child that what had happened on the Ice was not her fault, and neither was her living where her mother did not something to unduly mourn. Elenwë would not have had it any other way, Glorfindel tried to tell the girl without words. There was nothing a mother wished more than to have her children free from all ills – no matter the cost paid by themselves - and she was at peace with her sacrifice. Truly, there was no other choice she could have made.

    “And you?” Idril asked after a moment, her voice heavy as she fought away her wish to cry, having had quite enough of tears already. “I am not my mother, and yet . . .”

    “You are equally dear to my heart,” Glorfindel did not hesitate to assure her, “and not solely because of the connection you bear to your mother.” This he smiled to say, moving his hand from her chin to fondly touch her cheek – glad when he was rewarded with the smallest of smiles for his efforts. She took in a deep breath, and let it out slowly. When she blinked, her eyes were clear.

    Glorfindel nodded with satisfaction to feel the healing glow of her spirit, knowing it would be a long road to true recovery before her, but grateful that this latest twist in that path had been subdued and laid to rest, at least. “Now,” he said on a bright tone, “let's get this arm wrapped up properly, and then I will see about getting a real sword commissioned for you upon the morrow. What say you to that?”

    Idril's smile was still hesitant in reply, but it was nonetheless there – like the first touch of the sun's light after the dark. Glorfindel reached forward, and wiped away what remained of her tears, then confident that no more would fall, at least for that day.




    .

    .

    There was, Glorfindel decided, nothing quite like the sting of an Orc arrow to make him grit his teeth and wish that he had never crossed the Ice to begin with - or, he amended, wish that he had never agreed to follow his King's sister, at least, who was even now watching Ecthelion flush the poison from his shoulder-wound with no fair amount of grumbling underneath his breath. While Glorfindel could incline his head and follow where he was needed – for which he felt that Aredhel most certainly did – his friend was not as gracious with his understanding as he, and the dark haired elf muttered and cast slurs underneath his breath that Glorfindel was nearly certain he intended for their Lady to hear.

    Yet, he was morbidly pleased to see, the snap of the arrow as it was removed from his skin was one of the few things that actually had Aredhel focusing on the here and now – so narrowed had her zealous determination been through the shadowed ways of Nan Dungortheb thus far. He looked at her return to awareness with hope, wanting to see more of the woman he had long ago known surface to overpower the more recent, fey cast of her eyes.

    Even so, it was not until they had a meager fire built that night – looking all the while into the mists for the near certainly of emerging shadows from within, no matter that Ecthelion and Egalmoth scouted the perimeter of their camp – that she spoke of his injury.

    “You took an arrow for me,” Aredhel muttered, her voice little more than a whisper as the faint firelight threw dancing shades of light over the pale – much too pale, even Glorfindel could see – shade of her skin.

    “You sound surprised, my lady,” Glorfindel replied.

    She did not speak for a moment. She merely ran an absent hand over the curve of her bow, her thoughts clearly far away as she gazed at the yellow tongues of fire, struggling to burn against the night. “I am sorry that I have gotten you into this mess,” she did not incline her proud head to say so, but there was regret in her tone, nonetheless. “If I could, I would have forced my brother to let me go alone, and saved you this.”

    “You know why Turgon could not have done so,” Glorfindel replied, and though his words were at first gentle, he could not help the stiffness that entered his voice to follow, “He does not quite understand your need to seek out the Fëanorian, at that. Few of us do.”

    “Even I do not,” Aredhel at last admitted. “Tyelko is mercurial and capricious, and he drives me to rage and vexation more often than not. Yet, for all these years our hurts have gone unresolved between us . . . this has gone on long enough, and it is my hope that he feels the same way as I. I . . . I only know that it's as a burning within me, a need to be anywhere but trapped behind Gondolin's stale walls. Even more so than making things right with him, I feel that I need . . .”

    But she swallowed, and could not find her words again to speak. Her eyes were then shaded, and he could feel the miserable glow to her spirit alongside her fervor and her determination. She had been suffocating in Gondolin, breathing without air for much too long, this Glorfindel knew with an internal sigh. Yet, looking to find one's happiness restored through another being . . . there was a danger in that, he thought, and though better would it have been had she first found contentment within herself, Glorfindel was quite unsure how she could have gone about that while safe and secluded behind Gondolin's walls.

    Aredhel stared down at the waning tongues of fire, and he thought to see an affinity with the stubborn heat, struggling to take flame, reflected in her gaze.

    “This is something you must do,” Glorfindel rolled his shoulders to surmise her words. “I think that I can respect that, even if I do not quite understand.”

    For a moment there was a flickering of warmth in Aredhel's eyes – returning her, for a moment, to the woman full of spring he had known in Aman, now so long ago. That next morning, he was not quite surprised to awaken from his shallow slumber to see that she was long gone – determined not to put any more of them in further danger for following the queer wishes of her heart. And yet, even while they fruitlessly searched the mists for her, Glorfindel knew, as with a whisper, that they would never find her again.



    .

    .

    When the arrow was snapped free of his leg, Glorfindel sat back and thought through the brief, bright surge of pain: I have been here before.

    Only, it was not Aredhel looking down on him with worry and regret struggling to find their way through the apathy her longing had placed on her heart. The grey eyes staring at him were a bit too dark in colour to be of Turgon's kin, he thought next - nearer to chips of obsidian than Aredhel's gaze of storm-cloud grey; while the black of his hair was an equally dark grey, matte in colour, rather than the glossy blue-black shade of a raven's wing the House of Finwë so proudly bore. The boy was clearly his father's son, even though he held himself up to lofty heights and claimed the way of his mother's people in all things.

    And, Glorfindel recalled wryly, his getting himself into trouble – trouble which it took much pain and effort for others to get him out of – was enough like his mother for him to see Aredhel more than reflected within her son's uncanny gaze.

    Only, rather than being thankful for Glorfindel's timely intervention - or standing suitably shamed for there first being the need for any such intervention - Maeglin only frowned as if he did not understood what had just transpired. He blinked his large, dark eyes as he leaned down to pick up the discarded shaft of the arrow, running a hesitant hand over the fletching before saying, uncertainly. “ . . . you did this for me?”

    For a moment, there was so much of the child that Maeglin truly was shine through from underneath the proud and haughty way he tried to carry himself. Glorfindel started to see it, suddenly sad, though he could not quite tell himself why he was.

    “It is my duty to protect the House of Turgon,” he said, trying not to wince as Ecthelion swatted at his good leg and told him to hold still with his customary gruffness. “And that includes you, my prince.”

    “Your duty,” Maeglin echoed in a whisper. “Yes . . . of course.”

    Glorfindel watched as Maeglin picked at the arrow's fletching in an absent manner, pulling out one ruined feather at a time. He frowned as he understood the way his meaning was taken. “You misunderstand me - I would have done so for you, regardless of your blood,” he looked to the young elf, suddenly wanting to say anything that would help the closed off, pale look that stared at him from a face shaped so much like Aredhel's that it hurt to see. “And yet, my lord Turgon's family is especially dear to me, and you are of that family, are you not?”

    Maeglin looked up from the arrow then, and after a long, considering moment, he cast the remnants of the feathers aside. He inclined his head condescendingly, regally, even – but in a manner that was not Turgon, a ghost of thought whispered across Glorfindel's mind with the familiar force of warning. This premonition was one he hated to feel, wanting his senses to be wrong, so very wrong, this time more so than any other.

    “Indeed, I am,” Maeglin replied at last. “And, as always, the House of Turgon thanks you for your loyal service,” he continued in a clipped, haughty tone. “You have my gratitude, Captain.”

    Maeglin said nothing more than that. He simply gave one last disinterested glance, and turned on his heel to leave them be, his black robes swishing silently behind him, and then he was gone.

    Glorfindel watched him go, and Ecthelion glanced up only once to follow his gaze. “Just like his mother,” his friend muttered moodily before tying off the last of the bandage, his task nearly complete.

    And Glorfindel frowned, his thoughts troubled and far away as he echoed, “Yes, his mother,” in a voice that, nonetheless, did not quite agree.



    .

    .

    There were, almost disgustingly, sounds of quiet chatter coming from behind the long rows of shelves in the nearly deserted library.

    Shaking his head, Glorfindel thumbed through a rather dryly written tome detailing the merits of scaled and lamellar armor versus ringed and plated mail, giving only half an ear to the goings on at the table beyond him. If he stood just so, he could see through the three rows of nearly full shelves, and thus fulfill the unofficial role of 'chaperone' he found himself in, while still giving the other two elves their space – space which was not being utilized at all, at least in Glorfindel's rather frank opinion of the matter.

    He sighed, and shut the dull book with a satisfying thud before returning it to its place on the shelf. Gil-galad kept a well stocked library, it was true, but Glorfindel had never cultivated the heart of a lore-master, not even in the slightest, and he truly did prefer more active pursuits . . . which this most decidedly was not. He next picked up a slightly more interesting book about the forms of laminar armor favored by smiths from Gondolin in the First Age, before sighing to see the historical inaccuracies occurring already on the first page alone, and closed that book as well.

    He was, he thought with a black sort of amusement, growing to be much too old for his own good. Scanning the titles, and looking for something a bit more sillier than the dry academia surrounding him, he frowned to consider the events that had he and his lord in Lindon in the first place. The past year had seen the sobering reemergence of the Nine Rings Celebrimbor had created with Sauron – or so they suspected these new creatures of the Shadow to be. Three of the Nine they were nearly certain belonged to the high nobility of Númenor, where Tar-Ancalimon was apparently continuing in his father's hostile ways towards the Valar and Eru himself, and holding his crown as a yoke over the burdened shoulders of his people for his doing so. Disturbingly, the Eagles of Manwë had left their roosts in the great island kingdom that last season prior, and Gil-galad's council was now called together to see if they could perhaps send envoys to Númenor to speak reason into the King's heart – and more subtly seek out the Captain of the Nine, as he was suspected and rumored to be.

    For that end, Elrond had attended Gil-galad's summons – journeying to Lindon from Imladris for the first time since the Siege of Eregion and the founding of the Hidden Valley, now well over three-hundred years ago. While Gil-galad had hopes that Elrond himself would be amongst those envoys sent to Númenor, Glorfindel knew that his lord was hesitant to do so, for which he could begin to understand in the small way he could. The entire meeting with the court thus far had placed a weary shadow on Elrond's heart, and the only good thing their trip to Lindon had brought about was Elrond's being reunited with Celebrían – whom he had been communicating with by letters for the last three-hundred years since she left Imladris for Lindon with her parents.

    And, Glorfindel thought with a smile and a strong surge of fondness, he had to hand it to the young woman – she was trying her absolute hardest to get a confession out of Elrond before they were parted again. The girl had a stubborn tenacity about her that was no small part of Galadriel and Celeborn combined, and though Elrond had not spoken aloud that which was as clear as day to everyone else when she first left Imladris, Celebrían was not at all daunted in her determination to see this time as different.

    Glorfindel angled himself so that he could glimpse the couple again – Celebrían with her silver head bent over a scroll, the warm light through the high windows casting shades of gold in her hair as she absently worried the tip of the feather quill over her bottom lip. She hummed underneath her breath as she looked over the passage they were debating, while the clamor of the gulls and the song of the waves meeting the seashore played just beyond. Elrond was staring at her, Glorfindel was pleased to see, his expression softer and more at ease than Glorfindel had seen him in centuries.

    “No, I believe you've interpreted the passage wrong,” Celebrían sounded reasonably confident to say. Glorfindel had to hide his snort of amusement – able as he was to count on one hand the people who would be certain enough to counter the lore-master in such a way. “Here,” she scooted her chair closer, thus allowing Elrond to see the precise wording she referred to – or so it would seem. “The verb is given in the present tense. See the inflection on the vowel? It changes the meaning of the verse entirely.”

    The poem – of a royal dwarrowdam who had to chose between suitors to give her kingdom an heir, but would not make a choice while the suitor she favored most was away at war; and her trials and willy maneuvers to buy herself and her love more time – was one Glorfindel had heard quite enough about for the last hour. There were very few amongst the Firstborn in Middle-earth who were honored with the rare privilege of knowing Khuzdul – especially its ancient variations - and what little Elrond already knew from Maedhros Fëanorian had been compounded by Celebrían's knowledge, whose time spent both living in, and often passing to and from Moria, won her a close friendship with Nothri Stonehand and a rare glimpse into that largely unknown world.

    Yet, that did not change the fact of the matter: that it was dull, dull listening to one who knew not a word of the language himself. Glorfindel sighed, and cast a glance around the bookshelf once more, hoping for a title to jump out at him from the drudging parade of dully coloured spines.

    - only to hear a wry, amused voice say at his back: “You are doing quite well at giving them their space.” There was only a slight disapproval in Erestor's voice, one that Glorfindel snorted to hear.

    “They are discussing Dwarven grammar,” Glorfindel shook his head to say, whispering so as not to be overheard. “I have never successfully courted a woman myself, and yet, something tells me that the exact parameters of Aulëan verbs is not the way to a woman's heart – nor is it the way to strike up any sort of mood a chaperone would be required for.”

    Erestor shook his head, but Glorfindel could clearly see the wry sort of amusement that he tried to hide – the steward, at times, reminding him so much of Ecthelion and his dour demeanor that he . . .

    But he swallowed, and forced a brighter smile to his face in direct opposition to the weight of his old memories. “Look for yourself if you don't believe me,” he stepped back so that Erestor could peer through the shelves. “And that after all of my hard work. Do you know how difficult it is to be truly alone with someone in the capitol? I haven't had to run interference this badly since Idril and Tuor courted, and at least they were grateful for the time I won them – they did not waste it on translating Khuzdul.”

    He crossed his arms, and leaned against the shelf in a way that had Erestor raising a disapproving brow at him – one that did not move Glorfindel in the slightest.

    He too peered as Erestor peered, and they both heard: “The original translation is wrong in its conclusion,” Celebrían was then explaining. She did not look down at the scroll, but rather, stared intently at Elrond, as if fixing every word she said all the more so by meeting his eyes. “She is not giving up; she is still waiting, no matter the future, no matter how long it takes her to see her love returned to her. Do you not see?”

    “The original verse may very well say so,” at last, Elrond allowed her. “Perhaps, the translator was merely trying to present an alternate outcome – that while not what she most wants, the time she has to wait truly is long. If she were to look elsewhere, there could be no fault assigned to her for doing so.”

    “Have you ever met a Dwarf with their eye set on a goal?” Celebrían returned dryly. This her eyes fairly glittered to say. “Such tenacity on her part is not too farfetched a thing, in my experience.”

    “And you?” Elrond asked, his voice then quiet with a low intensity. “Do you consider her determination to be farfetched?”

    “No,” Celebrían replied without hesitation. “I would call it admirable. If her affection waned underneath the strain of time – no matter the years and their passing - then she was not worthy of him in the first place.” They were sitting very close to each other now, with hardly a whisper between them in pretense of looking over the same passage on the scroll. “Only,” she continued softly, “if I were her, I would perhaps caution him not to tarry in his duty for too long, but that is simply the flaw of impatience on her part . . . on my part.”

    Her words were little more than a whisper by the end of her speaking, and Glorfindel watched as her gaze flickered down, and she held her breath. A heartbeat passed, and she seemed to wage some quiet war within herself. Even so, for all of her strong words, when she closed the space between them to seek a kiss, she did so as a question. Elrond was still for a very long moment in reply, perhaps questioning the wisdom of doing so, before giving into the affection, and returning it. Gently, he cupped her face in his hands, and deepened the kiss, for which she only seemed to smile in relief to feel, and Glorfindel then turned from them, a matching smile growing on his own face – one he could not quite hide away.

    “Well,” Glorfindel could not help but remark. “Perhaps there is something to Aulëan verbs after all. I shall have to remember that for the future.”

    Erestor merely shook his head at his words, and after the passing of a long moment, he looked ready to move forward and interrupt the couple - but Glorfindel shook his head, and tugged him back.

    “Who knows how long it will take us to overthrow the shadow cast by Mordor?” he frowned to say. “She speaks lightly of waiting, but my heart tells me that the sun will rise and fall many times before Sauron's defeat – even by our reckoning of time and its passing. Let them have this moment, and leave them be.”

    Glorfindel glanced back through the shelves, pleased to see the two still quite lost in each other, and felt a sort of triumph fill him for the sight. His grin only widened as he looped an arm over Erestor's shoulders, and said, “Besides, that is a much more sensible use of the peace and quiet of the library, in my opinion. And, in the meantime, there was this fascinating tome about laminar armor in Gondolin that I now find my duty and solemn obligation to set straight. Perhaps you could aid me in this endeavor.”



    .

    .

    In many ways, Aman was much as he remembered from his youth, and even more recently from his brief time spent there after his death and rebirth – before the wishes of his lord, and the wishes of his own heart sent him back to the lands of Middle-earth again.

    Though the sunlight was not the light of the Trees, it still seemed to shine brighter in the Undying Lands. The mountains were taller, the foliage greener, the water clearer, and there was something about the very air one breathed – all together, it was an atmosphere that Glorfindel hoped would do his young charges well as they settled themselves into the peace and grace of Valinor as so many before them had.

    . . . for Elladan did not handle passing the Veil of the West well at all, and he was now pale and wan, no matter the peace and healing of the land they arrived in – with that which was so clearly man-hearted in him weakening underneath the immortal pulse of the land. By his side, Elrohir seemed to be taking in much of his twin's discomfort upon himself, perhaps regretting that his brother made his choice for immortality based in large part upon his own wishes for the fate of the Elves. Glorfindel watched the pair, already able to see how there would be a battle to wage for Elladan, and Elrohir by extension, to settle into true contentment and happiness – one last battle to fight after several lifetimes worth of such battles. And yet, it was a battle he was determined to wage, looking forward as Glorfindel did to the peace and the rest promised at its end.

    Though normally there was nothing he enjoyed better than riling Galadriel's husband – really, the Sinda just made it so easy to do so – there had been an unspoken sort of truce between them during those last few months spent in the fading glory of Lothlórien as they waited for Arwen to force her spirit to depart from this world to find her husband in the next. Though Celeborn professed that he would be content amongst the trees of Middle-earth for all time, Glorfindel could see how the toll Arwen and Aragorn's passing took on his remaining grandchildren affected him, as well, and with the strained bond between him and Galadriel, with the Sea between them for so many years, even he accepted the light that Glorfindel had to share. For the first, Glorfindel had thought to know true weariness in those final days sailing to Aman, ever buoying the spirits around him as he was with the light of his own fëa. Though he was content for his several millennia spent serving the family he loved so very dearly, his strength was admittedly tapped as the golden coast of Valinor came into view, and he looked forward to the healing he knew that the ways of the West would have to offer for himself, as well as for his companions.

    Yet, he found his strength returned to him with those he met on the quays of Alqualondë – unsure of whom to look to first for all of the dearly beloved faces he now had to greet him.

    The twins were immediately embraced by their parents – and Elladan gave way to outright tears to see Celebrían restored to health and happiness once more, his overwhelming guilt and self-loathing for his perceived failure on that long ago day in the mountains then starting to scab over and truly heal as he was held close and cradled as if he was still a child. Glorfindel watched the newly reunited family, his heart heavy for the missing place amongst them as he shouldered the pack he carried – full to the brim with the letters and journals Arwen had kept throughout her life, along with those her husband and children and grandchildren had written to their elven kin. Besides that, he had sketches and portraits and family anecdotes to share aplenty – and that was a day of laughter and tears that Glorfindel was already looking forward to, ready as he was to honor his promise through to the very end.

    Yet, until then, he turned from the happy family – smiling to glance at Celeborn and Galadriel's more subdued reunion, delighting to see that Celeborn did not know whether to look between his wife or his daughter – to approach the few figures gathered further back on the quay. Immediately he saw all those absent - no doubt waiting for a later time in an endeavor not to bombard those newly arrived - and already planned out how he could get Erestor and Ecthelion side by side without the world ending – or, more accurately, his world. But, until then, he walked to where Turgon and Elenwë were standing side by side further back on the docks. Without thinking, he picked up his pace, feeling his heart quite alight in his chest as he looked on them for the first time since his rebirth, now so many centuries ago.

    Reflexively he went to bow to Turgon, able to honestly say that he had held onto his oath of fealty, and the more personal oath he'd swore to protect his family – all of his family – to the best of his ability, for as long as he was able to do so. Yet he was kept from his bow when Turgon wryly protested, “There are too many heads who once knew crowns in Valinor as it is. We no longer observe such things – and you have never had to bow before me, at that, my friend.”

    Turgon embraced him outright, such a gratitude and affection in his embrace that Glorfindel closed his eyes to feel. He felt tears in his eyes for seeing dear Elenwë once more - for the short amount of time he knew as a one of the Twice-born before his return to Middle-earth was not nearly enough – and he did not think before sweeping her into an embrace and spinning her about in a way he had not done since they both were children, or so it seemed.

    She laughed as he did so, and the sound of her joy was a balm all of its own. His spirit seemed to drink hers in almost greedily, and he had so much to say then bubble from his mouth, and not nearly the time enough in which to speak it all at once.

    When he sat her down, Elenwë was gazing past him – no doubt curious for the family she had heard so much about, but had yet to meet – before shaking her head. “There will be time for that soon enough,” Turgon assured his wife. “For now, let them be.”

    She nodded, and fell into place to walk on Glorfindel's left while Turgon walked at his right. The sun was low in the sky above their heads, painting the white sands and gently murmuring surf in shades of gold and red, beautifully so, and he felt his legs itching after so many days spent at sea.

    Perhaps understanding, the couple walked with him as they gave the reunited family on the docks a moment in which to collect themselves.

    “Do you ever regret the time you spent bound to our family?” Elenwë at last asked. When he looked, the setting sunlight was reflected in the green-brown of her eyes, and he stared.

    “I found a light,” he shrugged to say, remembering their conversation during the Darkening, now so many years ago, “and I made it my own. There could be no regret found in that.”

    “Even so, I do not think that you quite understand, dear one. You were that light, for so very many over the years,” Elenwë smiled softly to say, resting her head against his shoulder as they walked. “I can only thank you for all you have done. There is no way in words or deeds to ever express how much -”

    “ - you cannot pay a debt when there is no debt to owe,” Glorfindel shook his head to say. “You must know by now how dearly I love you – and all of yours. I have no regret for the cast of my days, and I would do it all over if I were asked to.”

    He looked first from Elenwë, to Turgon, and could not quite decide where to settle his gaze, and for how long. He sighed, and felt his spirit fill, more content then than he could have first conceived of being upon returning to Aman.

    “Well,” Elenwë at last shook her head in that determined way of hers, “I would first advise that you look to you for the foreseeable future to come. You see, the centuries here in Aman without you gave me quite the time to keep my eyes open, and I believe I have found just the match -”

    “ - careful, my friend,” Turgon needlessly counseled, “for she has had many years in which to contemplate this.”

    “ - Elenwë,” Glorfindel interrupted gravely, even as Turgon spoke, “the last time you tried to play matchmaker – over four Ages of the world ago now – was an incident that I prefer not to think on, not in this life, nor in the last.”

    “That,” Elenwë waved her hand imperiously to say, “was an oversight on my part. But this time -”

    “ - Elenwë,” Glorfindel sighed fondly, “I have not yet been back for an hour total, and you are already trying to throw me away again.”

    “Never that,” she assured him to say. “I only . . . I only want to see you find as much happiness as you have brought to others over the years.”

    “And right now I know no happiness equal to being returned to you,” Glorfindel smiled to assure her. “I have had quite the family to call my own over the years – you need not worry for that.”

    For it was true: he had watched Idril grow, and become a wife and mother herself, and he had known no greater honor than in giving his life so that she and hers could continue to live in what peace and happiness they could. Then, upon returning to Middle-earth, he had watched Idril's grandson grow from a youth still grieving over the death of his brother to a great leader and healer of many ills. He had held Elrond and Celebrían's children at each of their births and loved them all as if they were his own, as much as he had done so with Arwen's children and her children's children . . . Every generation he had known of Turgon's house had been as a blessing to his days, and he felt his heart quite full with those loves, so much so that he did not, at times, know how he could carry such a great love within himself without bursting from it.

    And now . . .

    He looked to see Turgon staring at the sea, perhaps thinking of the generations that Glorfindel had guarded and protected in his place, before smiling a soft smile, “Before we give Elenwë time to set you up with one, or all, of these woman, perhaps you'd settle with resting from the journey, and beginning your stories over supper? These next days will be quite full, I foresee, and you will need your strength.”

    “I look forward to them,” Glorfindel replied in all honestly. “Let them come.”

    Elenwë held tighter onto his arm for his saying so, and Turgon's smile was soft in the waning light as they walked forward. This time, Glorfindel did not glance once over the sea, but kept his eyes firmly fixed on the path ahead.



    ~MJ @};-
     
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  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Mira_Jade - I loved the first scene with the contrast between the absence of Treelight (that is so gorgeous a descriptor!) and the new kind of light, no surprise that it is less effulgent. [face_thinking] The conversation is exquisite in its warmth and thoughtfulness.

    Wow, the next scenes with conflict & grief all mixed! :( Idril's sense of guilt - poor thing! A man should never have to decide which loss is to be preferred: a spouse or a child. :eek: :_|

    The Elrond/Celebrian scene just made me squee and :D all over the place like a fool!

    But the last one - oh sheer, sheer, unspeakable blisses! I love the sense of reconnecting and reuniting and joy! Unmitigated joy between those who never have to part again! [face_dancing] [face_dancing]

    The words thank you just are inadequate.

    <3 <3 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  4. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    One of my favorites with Glorfindel in it. I love that Elf
     
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  5. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart - I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed that grab bag of emotions! I had so much fun writing it because Glorfindel is Glorfindel, and he deserves all of the love. [face_love]

    earlybird-obi-wan - Glorfindel really is the best, there is nothing more to say than that! I'm glad that you enjoyed. :D



    For this update, I tackled the NSWFF prompt Chocolate, which at first was a head-scratcher for me. In the end, fun times in the kitchen turned into the next part of Maglor and Nyarissë's tale, which, unfortunately, isn't as happy as the last due to the days ticking down like a time bomb for the House of Finwë - BUT, I am stretching out their happy days as much as I can for them, so there's still fluff here ;). So, to that end, here we are with Feanor's exile to Formenos, just a few years before the Darkening and First Kinslaying . . .

    As always, I have a handy dandy list of names . . .

    Makalaurë/Kanafinwë/Káno: Maglor
    Maitimo/Nelyo: Maedhros
    Carnistir/Carnë: Caranthir
    Telperinquar: Celebrimbor
    Telufinwë: Amrod
    Pityafinwë: Amras
    Curufinwë/Curvo: Curufin
    Tyelkormo: Celegorm
    Findekáno: Fingon
    Turukáno: Turgon
    Nolofinwë: Fingolfin
    Arpenia: Telerin for 'lord'

    Enjoy! [:D]







    these were your loves, your victims”

    CCXXIX. Chocolate

    Formenos was, as ever, cold and dark compared to the rich, golden splendor of Aman as a whole.

    Yet, the north of Valinor was home to the kin of his maternal grandmother, and Makalaurë had always held an affinity in his heart for the rugged, wild forestlands; with their towering evergreens and silver rivers and laughing cascades, glittering under the half-light that existed this far from the Trees. The stars were brighter here, the very air itself sharper, and summers spent in his family's northern home were always a cherished, honored place amongst his memories.

    However, his kinder memories now had a stain attached to them as he helped his wife down from her horse, watching as Nyarissë cast a careful eye over the towering edge of the forest, throwing dark shadows upon the seemingly never-ending twilight around them. More so did her eyes linger on the carefully kept gardens and sprawling manor house that stood apart from the small Noldorin town further to the west in the forest, but he did not have to be bound to her soul to see the brief moment of disappointment in her eyes, nor did he need to be holding her hand to know the way her fingertips flexed, as if fighting to keep from trembling.

    “It is . . . beautiful, in it's own way,” she finally commented. He watched where she struggled to keep her expression positive, but her smile was a fixed thing on her face, with brittle edges and a forced center.

    “It is not Alqualondë,” he said slowly, softly, thinking of their home - where the air was heavy with warmth and the breeze ever smelled of sea-salt. “But the lighting is similar.”

    “In a way,” Nyarissë agreed, albeit slowly. “I . . . I cannot feel the sea here, even as I could in Tirion,” she at last whispered. “But I shall become used to that,” she concluded firmly. Her mouth made a thin line, and her brow furrowed with her statement.

    She squeezed his fingers, and he kept hold of her hand as they turned to face the house. Even so, neither of them moved to approach. He swallowed, feeling his pulse speed in his chest as he briefly toyed with the impulse he had to put her back on her horse and urge her to return to her folk on the coast again. Her family would be happy to receive her, he knew – happier than when she left with him, with their normally welcoming eyes hard and their spirits closed off so that he did not have to feel their silent disapproval - and the twelve years, though long, would pass as a blink of the eyes in the face of the centuries they had before them. It was his choice to share in his father's temporary exile; that choice, however, did not have to be one she shared.

    “No,” Nyarissë's voice was as the stroke of a sword, cutting through his thoughts. He focused, and found the deep-water shade of her eyes locked upon his own, shining as two chips of hard blue stone. “Do not think to bid me to leave again.”

    He frowned, even so, and was kept from uttering just that by the equally firm cast of her spirit, pressing in against him – informing him that any attempt on his part to make her see reason would only gouge a wound in their bond, one that he was ill to inflict. She did not agree with his father's actions, this he more than knew, but he also knew that she was as worried as he for the fraying strands that now bound the House of Finwë together. For so long there had been tensions between his father and his half-siblings – with Nolofinwë in particular - but over the last few decades, ever since Melkor's release from Námo's keeping, those threads had frayed until fit to snap, and such a bitter resentment and toxic paranoia had lately developed - now festering as an open wound where once it was merely a bruise, tender, but ever attempting to heal.

    None had been truly surprised when Fëanáro moved on his half-brother in violence beneath the Mindon, and yet, surprising to all had been the Valar themselves stepping in to judge the matter over his grandfather's jurisdiction. For the Ainur to step in with what was, at its deepest root, a family matter, and enforce their own penalty, their own judgment . . . Finwë, who had been trying to coax peace between his sons since the moment of Nolofinwë's birth, had been incensed that the Valar – who had called the Firstborn to the West as friends, not as overlords – had dared insert themselves and thus deepen the rift through their actions. To show his displeasure, he had decided to accompany his eldest son north to Formenos to see his exile from Tirion alongside him. Makalaurë, and each of his brothers had followed in kind, unable to do anything else when their father called.

    Even so, Makalaurë uncomfortably tried to imagine Maitimo drawing a sword on him in anger . . . and his father supporting his brother, even unto exile – no matter the reasons to the otherwise Finwë undoubtedly gave to Nolofinwë. Makalaurë had never disliked his half-uncle - he respected him, certainly, and there was a fondness in his heart for Nolofinwë that could be love if he had known the opportunity to develop such a thing; and he cared for - even loved - his half-cousins. At that moment, he did not envy Nolofinwë his heavy crown and cold throne in Tirion, taken by de facto with his father far in the north with his half-brother, leaving him to oversee the court of the Noldor – some of whom even agreed with Fëanáro's right to anger, and coldly disapproved of a son that was not Míriel's holding the scepter of Finwë in his place.

    Makalaurë sighed, and once again looked to the edge of the forest. Twelve years, he thought then. Twelve years were not so long at all. They could persevere through this, and upon returning home to Alqualondë, things could be set to rights once more.

    He exhaled, even as Nyarissë echoed, “Twelve years; they shall be no more than a blinking.” As ever, her mind was unerringly in tune with his own.

    She squeezed his hand once more, and he returned the gesture, warmly smiling as he reflected that there was still a light to be found in the cool dusk of Formenos: he carried it by his side in the form of his wife.

    With his thoughts then more at ease, and his heart beating out a determined tempo in his chest, they settled their horses and then turned towards the house, which, surprisingly, smelled sweetly of chocolate when they entered.

    Curiously, Makalaurë tilted his head as he inhaled, taking in the scent of rich baked goods as they filled the house in a direct opposition to the chill on the air outside. He undid the ties to his cloak, glancing towards the kitchens as he did so, but he was kept from further investigation by two long shadows breaking off from the dark corridor to the left of the wide and airy foyer.

    No matter the circumstances surrounding their meeting, he could not help but smile to see his youngest two siblings. Though he had made a point to involve himself in the Ambarussa's growth and development since that first time he had brought Nyarissë home to meet his family, the fact remained that there was still a distance between Tirion and Alqualondë, and he did not see them as much as he would have liked. The twins had already reached their adult heights and full breadth of frame - standing taller than Curufinwë, and just shorter than himself - with matching lithe forms that nonetheless held a deceptive, willowy strength. Different than both Nerdanel's fiery waves and the rich scarlet tresses that Maitimo shared with their mother, their straight red hair was so dark that it may as well have been black, and Finwë's grey in their eyes was nothing more than a faint glimmer of pearlescent pigment, adding to the already ethereal quality of their dual stares - stares which now locked on him with joy and welcome in their depths. Their smiles were identical as one of the twins reached out to embrace him, and the second welcomed Nyarissë, each moving in perfect tandem with the other.

    They grew to be so old, so quickly, he thought with a wave of nostalgia as he embraced his brother – Pityafinwë, he recognized, glancing to where he wore two braids behind his right ear, where Telufinwë wore only one. The Ambarussa were just days into their fiftieth year, he then realized, frowning to recall that there had been no celebration for that important milestone - for their fiftieth begetting day had instead seen their father and grandfather standing before the circle of the Valar for their judgment, and such lighter, happier things were all but forgotten.

    Makalaurë's frown deepened, then wondering if they could have a celebration of sorts here, now, and yet . . . with the cool shadows of Formenos, and Nerdanel refusing to leave Tirion behind for her own disgust and dismay at her husband's actions . . . Any sort of celebration they could arrange would not have been all that it should have been, and that thought saddened him.

    Even so, he forced a smile to his face as he embraced Telufinwë next, concentrating on the flare of affection that he felt for the youngest of his siblings, then refusing to linger on anything else.

    “Something,” he remarked as the twins stepped away, one mirroring the other stride for stride, motion for motion, “smells exceptionally good.”

    “Carnistir has been baking again,” Pityafinwë remarked wryly in answer.

    “He claims that such is for Telperinquar's instruction -” Telufinwë picked up his twin's speech.

    “ - but it soothes his own nerves, we think,” Pityafinwë finished.

    “Better the cook-ware take the brunt of his temper than we,” Telufinwë shrugged to say.

    “And it is distraction enough for us all when Atar does show himself from his workrooms,” Pityafinwë's eyes took on an edge that his voice did not reflect, his tone ever remaining level and without infliction. Yet, Makalaurë reflected, he had never heard them speak with anything else – not in joy, and not in anger.

    He sighed, however, at the cold feeling he could nonetheless feel from the one spirit they shared. He, at least, had kinder memories of his father than they, and his earliest years with his parents at the zenith of their relationship would ever be cherished ones that he drew out and considered whenever his recollections turned unduly dark. With a frown, a part of him wondered why the Ambarussa had even bothered coming north in the first place. He had been surprised to hear that they had left Nerdanel behind for the father who had viewed his youngest sons through eyes that denied their very existence, as if by refusing to look, he would not see the fine lines chipping into the foundation of his family. Makalaurë could not understand how, or why, they could follow the father who had never followed them -

    - no doubt, their reasons are much the same as your own, beloved, a voice whispered into his mind. He glanced, and though Nyarissë did not turn from giving his brothers her polite attention, her hand tightened about his own. He felt the faintest glimmer of anger, protective in its shape, flare from her spirit before she carefully tucked it away again – and he then understood that her reasons for coming north were more than she would have first professed them to be. Such was not to wholly stand faithfully by his side - but to hold herself as a shield, rather than an anchor alone.

    In reply, he tightened his grip about her fingers, and exhaled, making what he could of her peace his own.

    After their pleasantries were concluded, they followed the Ambarussa towards the kitchens, where the warm smell of hot sugar and melted chocolate blurred together with the buttery smells of flaky crusts in a mouthwatering array. His stomach rumbled, then reminding him of how he had been too distracted to eat on their journey north - especially remembering, as he did, his younger brother's truly blessed culinary gifts. By the time they turned the corner to see Carnistir wearing his customary apron, with his cheeks red against the heat filling the kitchen from the active burning of the oven, Makalaurë's smile was true as he cast a glance about, already wondering what he could steal from the veritable sea of small tarts and pastries and cakes cooling on the furthest counter. It looked as if Carnistir had dealt with his own restless energy by going through the pantries of Formenos in an attempt to seemingly feed twelve times what their numbers would be.

    Well, Makalaurë allowed, Tyelkormo would eat twice his weight in the desserts, and he himself would try to match his brother in that endeavor, so perhaps Carnistir's efforts were not too overdone.

    At Carnistir's side, his matching apron doing but little to place a matching confidence in his hands, their only nephew was bent over before the oven, peeking inside to test the doneness of a batch of scones – which Makalaurë could tell, even from the distance, that Telperinquar had burnt.

    “You can manage a forge-furnace, and keep molten ores at temperature to mold; and yet a simple scone is proving to be your undoing?” Carnistir tugged on one of Telperinquar's braids, causing the youth to jump, as if surprised by the gesture. With doing so, he narrowly missed burning his hand on the hot brick siding of the oven - outside of the aforementioned forge, he had yet to develop Fëanáro's famed grace for the lanky clumsiness of his youth.

    “I am doing better, I thought,” even so, Telperinquar protested, his eyes narrowing in a fierce sort of determination that was all a marked gesture of Fëanárian pride. His voice broke with his saying so - another downside of his years, Makalaurë thought with sympathy.

    “If you mean that your scones are an improvement over what you dared to call muffins, then yes, you are doing better,” sharply, Carnistir agreed. But his bite, no matter how harsh, held no true heat underneath, and Telperinquar smiled a hesitant smile in reply to the prickly compliment.

    After Telperinquar took out the overdone scones, Carnistir reached over to ruffle his hair in an overly vigorous gesture. The youth looking quite put out as he reached up to fix his braids, his scowl, for a moment, so much like Curufinwë's – like Fëanáro's – that Makalaurë blinked, and stared, taken aback by the resemblence.

    “I do not know how Curvo does it,” Carnistir sighed, exaggerated befuddlement lining his voice, “but I will have you at least marginally competent before we return to Tirion, mark my words on this.”

    “Do not be too distraught, child,” Makalaurë then saw fit to call into the kitchen. “The last time Carnë attempted to teach another, it was your father, and he just narrowly avoided shoving Curvo in the oven after declaring him hopeless.”

    He watched, and Telperinquar's instinctively moving to defend his father was instead interrupted by his recognizing just who had spoken.

    “Uncle Laurë!” Telperinquar looked up from the burnt scones, and smiled brightly in greeting. He ran around the island in the center of the kitchen to embrace him in welcome, only to stop in his tracks and stare at the woman by his side. He blinked, and tilted his head when he realized that he had not come alone.

    “And . . . Aunt Nyarissë.” Telperinquar swallowed, his eyes filling with a dull sort of hurt before he clearly blinked it away. “You . . . you are here.”

    It was on the tip of Makalaurë's tongue to ask the child where else she would be, but he was stopped from doing so by Carnistir's fierce glare, unseen from behind Telperinquar. A moment later: Lelyanis did not come, Carnistir spoke briefly into his mind, and Makalaurë sighed, not terribly surprised to hear that his brother's wife had not accompanied him north.

    Now almost some forty years ago, Curufinwë's marriage had taken them all by surprise. One moment he had been doing his all to ignore the curious, youthful advances of the sister of one of their father's apprentices, only for, days later, to calmly announce over breakfast that they had avowed themselves before Eru and were wed without ceremony – much as their own parents had, to the scandal and surprise of most of Tirion, both then and now.

    Makalaurë frowned at the memory, recalling how the careful planning and eager anticipation he knew for his own wedding – done the right way, through the proper channels – had turned into little more than an opportunity for his father and uncle to bicker and puff up their chests again, with Fëanáro taking every possible moment to compare the ceremony to the wedding of Nolofinwë's son, Turukáno, to Elenwë, which had occurred only weeks earlier. The day had turned even more sour when Melkor himself had turned up as a guest with the other Ainur, and for his silver-tongued words, his father's temper had only deteriorated all the more so. Fëanáro had been more pleased as he congratulated Curufinwë for his selfishness, with more joy to his expression than he had shown the entire day dedicated to his own marriage. The proof, once more, of just where he stood in his father's regard had hurt, even though he had willed it not to. Even now, merely the memory was a sharp sort of sting.

    Yet, only a year of marriage had revealed where his brother and good-sister were not as well matched as they first believed themselves to be, with their two stubborn and proud personalities clashing more than balancing, and Telperinquar had been a further surprise not long into their union.

    Carnistir now came over to tug on one of his nephew's braids and said, “Stir the chocolate sauce before the sugar crystallizes, Telpe. If it clumps, be assured that I will inform Grandfather that such is through fault of yours.”

    Just that easily, Telperinquar forgot his grief; his eyes widened, and he scurried off to do as he was told. Carnistir watched him before stepping forward to give him a quick embrace, caring not that he was getting the flour from his apron onto his robes. Makalaurë returned the affection, equally regardless about the mess, and Carnistir then repeated doing so with Nyarissë. But his motions were stiff, as if his thoughts were still far beyond them.

    “Tyelko's been in quite the mood since we arrived,” Carnistir rolled his eyes to inform them, letting out a deep exhale of air. “Grandfather finally had Curvo take him out into the wild for as long as it would take for him to reach some semblance of peace – for this house knows too many tempers under its roof as it is, and I was not far from putting a butter knife through the eye of the first one who scowled at the child again.”

    His gaze found Telperinquar, and his mouth hooked at the corners, not needing to speak for Makalaurë to further understand his thoughts. He looked to his side, and saw that Nyarissë's eyes had also hardened, she no doubt feeling for the youth, much the same as he.

    But Carnistir shook his head, and then said: “But you came,” as if surprised that they were there. “Not that I am not glad for two level heads to be added to this group – for Nelyo spends all of his efforts on Atar, and you can imagine just how bad it has been if I am the one playing peacekeeper between our siblings.” Carnistir gave a harsh smile, brittle around the edges, and Makalaurë stared for a moment, wondering when his rather sharp humor had turned just so acidic.

    “Of course I came,” Makalaurë tried to summon a smile – a true smile – in order to say, “Where else would I be?”

    “I . . . I do not know,” Carnistir answered honestly. “And yet . . . I had hoped . . .” He sighed, and ran a hand through his heavy black hair. He looked as if he was considering just how to put his thoughts into words, before taking in a deep breath, his eyes narrowing when he realized what he had inhaled. “Telpe,” he turned to say harshly, “the sauce is sticking, I can tell that much from here!”

    He rushed across the kitchen, hissing when Telperinquar bit his lip and asked, “Is it supposed to bubble like that?” Quickly, Carnistir moved the pot off of the heat, muttering under his breath all the while.

    For a moment, Makalaurë watched, amused, before his attention turned to the tidy rows of iced cakes, waiting unattended and welcoming right before him. He blinked, wondering if he could steal one – or twelve – without Carnistir's incredible sixth sense picking up on the theft.

    He was just reaching for one of the treats when Carnistir huffed out loud, turning to glance at Nyarissë and ask, “Nya, will you take that second batch out of the oven for me? Your eye I trust, at least.”

    Nyarissë could not refuse, understanding the honor bestowed upon her, and she raised a brow to glance at him as she passed by him to cross over to the oven. Carnistir watched her before turning back to him and narrowed his gaze pointedly. Upon seeing so, Makalaurë innocently held up his hands. “And you,” Carnistir warned, “leave those alone until they cool. And step back, while you're at it – I think that the sauce senses that you are in the kitchen, and is responding in kind.”

    Makalaurë dutifully stepped back two steps – and then three when Carnistir gestured for him to do so.

    He waited for his brother to turn away again, and when he was certain that his attention was taken, he took one step forward, and another -

    - only to be interrupted by a familiar presence reaching out to brush his spirit in welcome. Instinctively, he let his fëa open to the familiar warmth of his brother's soul, and turned, smiling to see his older sibling standing behind him – tightly embracing him without waiting for him to fully turn. Makalaurë smiled into the affection, finding a peaceful contentment fill him for his brother's presence - much as he had ever known, ever since his earliest memories. In some ways, Maitimo was more beloved to his heart than even his parents, and he sighed, happy to see his brother - even if he wished the circumstances could have been different.

    “The Ambarussa came to tell Atar that you arrived, and I could not stay away,” Maitimo smiled to say. Makalaurë held onto his own smile, even as his joy faltered to see just how pale his brother was, with his normally immaculate braids mused from a distracted hand during their plaiting, and deep circles hanging beneath the normally brilliant silver-grey of his eyes. Yet, not only was that from lack of sleep, Makalaurë understood, seeing the molting of purple and brown flesh underneath his right eye, with healed scrapes at the top of his nose, showing where . . .

    “You look like you tripped through the Void just recently,” Makalaurë raised a dark brow to remark, a question coloring his words.

    Maitimo shrugged, his mouth making a thin line at his observation. He did not immediately speak to reveal where he had received the wound – which was such an oddity for his brother that Makalaurë at first stared, unsure if his prodding any further would be welcome. Such hesitation was an unfamiliar sensation, and he swallowed against the unpleasant aftertaste it left.

    Nonetheless: “Though that looks a trite more physical,” Makalaurë tried to jape, gesturing at the wound. His words came out the slightest bit strained.

    At last, Maitimo winced and let out a breath in defeat. “I . . . I started it, I must confess,” he finally said, reaching up to gingerly probe the still healing flesh around his eye. “When we prepared to leave Tirion . . . after Manwë pronounced his judgment . . . I told Findekáno that I too was going to Formenos, and he . . . he said . . .” but Maitimo frowned, and ground his teeth against his words before swallowing them away entirely. “Anyway, I did not even realize that I had struck him until he was holding his jaw, and before I could apologize, Finno returned me this.” He pointed at his face with a rueful expression.

    “He was trying to claim the wound for his father – for Nolofinwë was the one threatened, and yet Finwë decided to follow our father north. He does not understand how I can stand by our father's side, after everything . . . and I could not explain to him why I could not do anything differently,” Maitimo continued, his jaw then hardening. “In a strange way, our father's fears were proven true, for Nolofinwë does sit Finwë's throne in Tirion now, and every word Melkor whispered has since come to be. Which . . .” Maitimo sighed and ran a hand through his hair, musing his disheveled braids even further.

    “Which leaves me to my own fears . . . does it not seem odd to you? All of this? Ever since . . .” Makalaurë swallowed, his lowered voice then not seemingly like enough to give voice to the fear he had long held in his heart. For the fragile peace within their family to unravel so easily, and both Fëanáro and Nolofinwë to give into doubts and uncertainties that they had successfully – somewhat, anyway - fought against for centuries . . . all coinciding perfectly with his release and whispers . . .

    “Yes,” Maitimo agreed without hesitation, “and it is my hope that we can convince Atar of that while we are here . . . for I cannot believe him to be permanently beyond our reach. I cannot. I tried to explain that to Findekáno, but he could only repeat how my accompanying him north looked to be condoning his behavior, and agreeing with it, even. He could not understand, and I tired of trying to explain myself to him.”

    Maitimo frowned, and the silver in his eyes darkened for a shade of steel. The expression was, for a moment, foreign to him, causing Makalaurë to stare, caring for the look but little.

    But then Maitimo blinked, and when he smiled, all was familiar and good upon his face once more. “Yet, you . . . why are you here? You know what the north does to Nya, and after . . .” Maitimo sighed, unable to pick one reason from the several he had to refuse his father his loyalty after so long being denied the same in kind.

    “I could not not come,” was all he could reply, his voice thin and drawn from his mouth. “I could not be the only son of Fëanáro who stood aside.” Just the idea of doing so had been a crippling thing to him - the part of his spirit that was still as a child longing for his father's approval then greater than the all of his being. Such a fervor had surprised him, and for that longing, for that need, he someday feared . . .

    But no. He inhaled, and let his breath out slow.

    “Amil stepped aside of his path,” Maitimo pointed out. His voice did not tremble for his saying so, even as his eyes took on that same shade of glinting steel. “Lelyanis, as well.”

    “Lelyanis has too much of her pride, leaving her son here,” Makalaurë huffed out a breath, frustrated with the stubborn heart of his good-sister. “Mistake or not, she did wed our brother, and if she wishes to forsake her vows, then so be it, but to leave her child here, in this atmosphere . . . Telperinquar already has a soft heart, and he is easily hurt when he thinks to have disappointed those he esteems; if I know this, then so should she. I cannot understand how . . .”

    His jaw hardened, feeling an anger, poignant and deep, touch the underside of his heart. He looked away from his brother, searching out where Nyarissë had moved from the scones to stand at Telperinquar's shoulder, her hand resting lightly on his back as she tried to better explain the principles that Carnistir was quickly firing out. There was a soft light in her eyes, and peace was clearly seen on her every feature . . . though perhaps only Makalaurë would know that such a look was shaped from her own unfulfilled longing, even more so than any sort of familial love.

    “Perhaps it is good for him that she is here,” Maitimo finally said. “It is refreshing to hear voices speak with goodness in this house. These last days . . .” but he sighed, and did not say what Makalaurë could already more than infer for himself.

    “His presence is good for her, as well,” Makalaurë had to take a long moment to find his words, first unable as he was to voice the deepest of his thoughts. “We . . . we were speaking of children – all the more seriously as of late, and now . . .” he found that he could not further form his words around the burning in his throat. When he looked, his brother's expression was lined with a deep sadness when he understood what he tried to say.

    “She has ever known such a joy for teaching the young ones, and long has she wished . . . but I . . . I asked that we wait - for decades, now. I wanted to wait for the eddies in my family to sooth . . . to calm, and yet, now . . . I have waited too long, I fear.” He clenched his fingers, and made fists of his hands, feeling a burning sort of pain deep in his chest, as if drawn by knife-point, so much so that he was surprised that he did not bleed from a physical wound of flesh.

    “You speak as if this is the end,” Maitimo tried to protest his fears. There was a forced levity to his voice, a pale brightness to his eyes, and in reply he . . .

    . . . it was on the tip of his tongue to ask was it not? But he did not have time to speak before a sharp, burning scent assaulted his nose. He blinked, feeling his eyes water for the telling fumes of smoke on the air, and he turned in time to hear Carnistir shout, “Telpe, the towel!”

    Makalaurë whipped around, his reflexes faster than normal for his already being so on edge, and Maitimo did the same. Easily, they peered through the smoke to see where the towel Telperinquar had used to handle the hot pan in the oven had been left on one of the burners. The towel had rather impressively caught flame - a flame that now spread to the great book of recipes just next to the stove on the counter.

    “Aiya!” Nyarissë exclaimed as she got the burning towel over to the sink, and moved to douse the flames under the water spout, even as Carnistir moved to blot out the burning book with a wet rag, cursing under his breath all the while. But they were not quick enough. Overhead, the emergency measures for such kitchen mishaps – which Makalaurë did not care to admit were installed on account of one of his more . . . flamboyant incidents as a youth – came on, and let loose a steady mist of water from the ceiling in order to put out the flames below.

    The smoke cleared, and the orange tongues of fire were doused, but everyone and everything in the kitchen was then soaked. Makalaurë looked from the ruined pastries on the counter, to the puddles on the floor, to Carnistir glaring through the now wet strands of his hair, falling in a heavy curtain before his eyes, at Telperinquar, whose cheeks were flushed a bright red in mortification. An equally soaked Nyarissë moved forward to put a hand on the youth's shoulder, but was kept from saying anything by a rumbling voice from the opposite entrance to the kitchen.

    “What happened?” The inquiry was innocent enough, but the furious lashing of Fëanáro's fëa was as the ground moving over a turbulent flow of molten earth beneath. Makalaurë suddenly felt too warm in his place, the great flame of his father's spirit then more oppressive than even the oven's dry heat, and he stood up straighter in a centuries old reaction to his sire's anger. Much as Maitimo had been disheveled and out of sorts in his appearance, his father was the opposite, with not a hair of his raven-black mane out of place, and his robes of rich red brocade falling without a wrinkle about the great strength of his body, which was now coiled with the dangerous grace of some stalking jungle cat. The unforgivably beautiful sculpt of his features was all the more striking in his anger, and a tellingly virile light seemingly dancing from his skin to halo about his body in an unconscious show of fey might for all of them to see.

    His expression was deceivingly genial, and not a soul in the room was fooled by it. Unconsciously, Makalaurë took in a deep breath, and held it.

    “There was an accident involving a towel and a still running burner,” Nyarissë was the one to find her voice in order to answer. She did not mention Telperinquar, and stood just slightly in front of the boy, as if to shield him from the turbulent presence lashing at all of their senses.

    Fëanáro raised a dark brow, and glanced to Carnistir – Carnistir, who looked, concerned, at Telperinquar, and did not look away quickly enough to keep their father from inferring all the rest.

    “This is not the time, or place, for such foolery,” Fëanáro growled with a deceptive calm, his voice as low as the thundering bellows of some great forge. “If we are all to be confined underneath this roof, I will not have myself further subjected to your ineptitudes. What's more so, if you wish to claim to my blood, I expect you to conduct yourself with the grace and becoming that your very name implies, do you understand me?”

    Telperinquar, whose face had gone ashen from the moment his grandfather locked eyes with him, held himself very, very still in reply. His small hands made fists at his side, even as he nodded, his large eyes gleaming as he furiously kept his tears from falling. “Yes, sir,” the child found his voice. “Of course, sir.” And yet, as he bowed his head to say so, Makalaurë then heard a low sort of growl – not from his sire, he understood with astonishment, but from:

    “Forgive me my need to speak, arpenia, but the burning towel was an accident, and the child does not deserve to be berated so.”

    Makalaurë blinked, startled to hear Nyarissë's voice say so. He stared, shocked – just as every other soul in the room was shocked – when the willowy Teler further put herself in front of the boy, and held herself poised and determined with her utterance. Her chin was held up proudly, and her eyes were filled with the ocean rolling in anger. Makalaurë could feel the turbulent cast of her spirit – not a match for his father's in potency, but still a force to be reckoned with, nonetheless. He sucked in a sharp breath.

    “Excuse me?” Fëanáro's voice was deep with a deceptive calm.

    “I meant as I said,” Nyarissë tilted her nose up to say, refusing to be cowed. “Tempers are high right now - for everyone in this house; but that is not excuse enough to take your anger out on the child.”

    “Nya,” at last, Makalaurë found the will to use his voice. He took a step forward, determined to cut in, only to be rewarded with two furious gazes being turned on him – both his father's and his wife's.

    “No, Kanafinwë,” Fëanáro's interrupted as a lash striking, “let your Linda speak, for she clearly has much to say.”

    “And you have much that you need to hear!” Nyarissë snapped to say, her teeth showing for Fëanáro's casual challenge. A Singer's power trembled in her voice in an unconscious show of strength, and more than one of his brothers had to blink at the force of it.“You are quick to claim such a wound from your half-brother - from your father, even - and yet you do not look about you to see that you inflict an equal such wound on those who love you the most, and stand ever faithful by your side.”

    The kitchen was awfully, terribly silent following her declaration. Carnistir stared, Telperinquar gaped, and Maitimo held himself as if in readiness for battle, his eyes a shade of steel as he stared at his father without blinking, as if waiting for the exact moment in which he would be needed to intervene.

    For Nyarissë was not yet finished: “Everyone in your family hessitates to speak frankly to you, for they are terrified of your disapproval. For, more so than anything else, they fear failing you - which is why your sons have accompanied you in your exile, rather than keeping to their own homes and letting you serve out your rightful penance for your misdeeds. Yet you do not see their sacrifice, their love, instead you see only what they lack when held up before the mirror of your skills and your glory. But I am not afraid; I will not cower to say that while you are unparalleled in the works of your hands, your heart has much it can learn from those who stand faithful at your side - if only you would humble yourself to take in that lesson.”

    Makalaurë closed his eyes, knowing what she was trying to say – and even agreeing with her, in his own way - but also knowing that . . .

    He did not have to wait but for half a heartbeat for Fëanáro to step forward menacingly with his reply. “How dare you?” his eyes swam with a white-hot fire as he thundered. For a moment, Makalaurë found it hard to breathe underneath the oppressive weight of his sire's temper. “You speak when you know nothing. My sons are everything to me, and for you to infer -”

    “ - then tell them!” Nyarissë was not impressed by his saying so. “If such is true, then I am glad. Yet, as I see it, you bear more love in your heart for the works of your hands than the seven who stand faithful before you now, and long has such sickened me to witness.”

    The silence that followed her declaration was terrible and pointed, for each there knew better than to even reference the Silmarils, lest they draw their father's suspicion and growing paranoia for those who schemed to take the jewels from him. It was a dangerous topic, a loaded topic, and he -

    - he did not think before stepping forward, even as his father stepped forward, standing firm in front of his wife and baring his teeth in a gesture that was fey and primal – an instinct from across the Sea, one that the grace of Valinor had not been able to completely weed out and tidily cultivate from the souls of his people. He did not speak; he could not even bring himself to reason with words, overpowering as his need to protect his mate then was - even from the being who was the founding spark of his own soul.

    But his doing so bore fruit in an unexpected way. Fëanáro blinked, broken from the haze of his anger by his surprise that his son would feel the need to move so in front of him. He frowned, as if disturbed by the realization, and he took one step back, and then another. Even so, a dark look remained in his eyes; yet, before he could open his mouth to speak, a voice cut into the terse atmosphere like a whip-crack.

    “Curvo.”

    It was odd – so odd – to hear the name they most often called their younger brother by turned on their father. But, Makalaurë thought, clearing his mind from his own fey haze, there was only one being in Arda who would address his father so, and he turned to see -

    “Have you come to scold me, Atar?” Fëanáro did not even turn to look on Finwë's arrival, still staring at Nyarissë as he was. “I am afraid that you lost that right long ago.”

    Makalaurë turned, and yet, the familiar joy he expected for seeing his grandfather then was a slow, hesitant thing in his heart. Finwë looked weary was his first, surprised thought upon seeing him fully. Far from the powerful, Unbegotten Lord and wise leader of many - ever like a mountain, standing before a storm in terms of intangible beauty and strength, Finwë now looked as if he bore the weight of his every year upon his shoulders. The grey of his eyes was pale, and the line of his mouth was sad.

    “I am here, am I not, my son?” his voice was low and soothing, pitched more to appeal to a frightened animal, wounded in the wild, than his firstborn son, fully grown in both body and reason.

    “You do so only because to do otherwise would make it seem as if you are bowing your head before the Valar,” Fëanáro all but ground his teeth to say. He turned towards his father, but did not look him in the eye, even still. Perhaps, Makalaurë thought, it was because he could not. “You do not . . .” his words were stiff to say, as if he had to ground out every syllable so as to keep them from breaking. “You do not truly . . .”

    But Fëanáro gathered himself, and his look was cold as he once against cast himself in stone. This time, he stared his father in the eye. “Even now, you would rather be with them. I have been a burden, an inconvenient reminder ever since the day she died; but I am old enough to bear the truth now, you need no longer pretend for my sake.”

    “How such a gross misbelief still plagues you, after all of these years, I know not,” Finwë sighed to say. He did not flinch at the words, having heard them many times before, and yet, he then looked to be even wearier before Makalaurë's eyes. “And yet, if your believing such stems from my failings as a father, then I know more grief than you will ever know.”

    Slowly, carefully, Finwë reached over to put a hand on his son's shoulder, and Fëanáro stiffened under the touch. He let out a breath, a deep breath, and for a moment his face twisted, as if he was in pain. His father seemed smaller then, Makalaurë thought, younger, and he watched as Fëanáro sighed and submitted to the touch for only a moment before shrugging out from underneath Finwë's hand.

    When he looked back out over the ruin of the kitchen, there was neither anger nor humor upon his face. Fëanáro's eyes were blank, and his mouth was pressed into a neutral line.

    “See that this mess is tended to,” was all he said further on the matter, and he then turned to stalk back to his workroom. The heavy weight on the air left as soon as he did, and Makalaurë took in a surreptitious breath, then able to fill his lungs fully once more. He sighed, feeling his own spirit stretch out now that the unforgiving cast of his father's soul was gone - able as they all were able to truly breathe then.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nyarissë was the first one to speak. “Come, Telperinquar,” she gently pushed the still shell-shocked youth. “Let's get you cleaned up.”

    “But, the mess,” he protested, “it is through fault of mine -”

    “ - and there are more than enough hands here to see to it,” she said, shaking her head when she noticed that the boy's sleeve was burned through his attempts to put out the small fire. “They do not mind.”

    She simply glanced at the rest of them, and Carnistir merely sighed before heading to the small closet on the side of the kitchen to fetch a bucket and rags, resigned to his fate.

    “Go on Telpe,” Carnistir rumbled, even so. “I'm sure I'll think of a way for you to make this up to me.”

    In reply, the barest edge of a smile touched the corner of Nyarissë's mouth before she led her nephew away. Makalaurë watched them depart before turning to where his grandfather still stood. Finwë's eyes had followed his son's retreat, even when he could see him no more, and now he sighed, the great line of his shoulders slumping before he gathered himself and stood tall before them once more. When he turned to look down at the soggy racks of now cooled desserts, he gave a half-smile, and his voice was once more the familiar, warm baritone they had long known when he said, “Your offerings look wonderful, Carnë.”

    “They looked wonderful, I think you mean,” Carnistir snorted ruefully, reaching into the sink to put the ruined remains of the towel into the waste bin.

    By his side, Maitimo seemed to barely even noticed the exchange. “Should I . . . does he need . . .” he started hesitantly, addressing Finwë, even as he stared after where his father had disappeared.

    “No,” Finwë shook his head. “You need not subject yourself to his temper this time. I shall, for, in a way, this is my doing, and I would yet see this harm set to rights, if it is in my power.”

    Finwë then smiled one last time at Carnistir, before coming over to place a hand on Makalaurë's shoulder, and he felt the heaviness of his touch before it faded away. He did the same with Maitimo, and then he was gone.

    “You may as well grab a bucket,” Carnistir finally rumbled after their grandfather left. “I am not cleaning this by myself.”

    “No, of course not,” Makalaurë shook his head to clear his thoughts, and Maitimo was broken from his own haze by Carnistir throwing the mop to him - forcing him to catch it if he wanted to avoid the pole bumping his head.

    They finished cleaning the kitchen in silence, and Makalaurë then went to clean himself up and change from his traveling clothes. He felt marginally better after doing so, no matter the somber sort of mood that still clung to him - fitting with the flushing of the half-light from beyond the house, turning the sky purple as the scarlet-tinged light of the evening flooded through the tall windows to illuminate the halls within.

    After seeking out his wife through their bond, Makalaurë found her, and walked into one of the sitting rooms that held a wonderful view of the strange play of the evening light over the wild ways of the gardens just beyond the house. For a moment, he felt a pang, frowning to recall how this had been his mother's favorite room when they visited during the summer months. Various of her sculptures filled the space, and it still smelled sweetly of the hardy forest roses she used to harvest to brighten the shadows.

    If he looked, he could remember himself playing his lyre for his family for the first time in that room. He could still remember the pride in Fëanáro's eyes when, only days later, he was gifted with a harp of his father's own making - the construction of the instrument attacked with the same attention to detail and pursuit of perfection that his father saw to all of his crafts with. If he tried, he could still remember his father's hand upon his shoulder, even if his memory of Fëanáro's smile was becoming a hesitant and hazy thing over the years.

    Tyelkormo had been born in Formenos, he remembered next – and most likely even begotten, though Makalaurë did not think overly long on that – and he was nearly certain that that was where his younger brother's affinity with the dark and wild things of Aman stemmed from. Even now he could remember his brother racing through the halls, covered in mud as Carnistir inevitably cried out for some foul play he had just suffered from his sibling's hands a moment before. Makalaurë should know – as he was tasked with cleaning up his brothers more than he then thought was fair. Well, not Carnistir, at least – for their father had been the only one who could get him through an entire bath without biting. Not even Nerdanel had been afforded that honor.

    He snorted at the memory, even though the fond recollections brought with them a sharp jab of pain - unable as he was to imagine his father with patience and fondness enough to brush mud and snarls from anyone's hair now. Such had been one of his reasons for hesitating for a child of his own, wanting that child to have the same memories that he held dear in his youngest days. And yet, now . . .

    Makalaurë blinked as he looked about the room, lost in his memories and wondering if the house would ever be a haven for his family – his entire family – in happiness again. He liked to think that, maybe, someday . . .

    But the mere idea felt as a wish, a fanciable thing, as intangible and out of reach as the stars themselves, and he could not help but know . . . There was a shadow on Formenos, and never again would it be occupied in peace. If it did, it would be in some far off, distant age of the world – one that he could not see for the great weight of time placed upon such a vision.

    Makalaurë let out a breath, and walked through the ghost of his childhood self to sit down next to his wife and nephew on one of the long, low-slung couches. Telperinquar was sleeping, no doubt lulled by the song that Nyarissë still held on the back of her tongue, humming softly into the dark. While the youth was clean and dry, she still wore her traveling robes, and her hair had dried in loose curls for her failing to tend to it in favor of seeing to the boy. She looked, Makalaurë thought, quite beautiful, even so.

    Telperinquar looked even younger then, he thought next – for in sleep he was unable to hold himself up tall and pretend to be wise beyond his years. Makalaurë frowned, recalling his own happy childhood, his heart then heavy to know that his brother-son had but few such memories to call his own.

    “He pretends to be so old, but his spirit is even younger than his body, and he is weary,” Nyarissë whispered on the wings of his thoughts. She ran a gentle hand through the youth's raven locks, and Telperinquar sighed in his sleep, content. Makalaurë felt his heart clench as he wondered if his unconscious mind thought that his own mother was near, and he frowned for his thoughts – forcing them to brighten as he took in the peace and ease she knew in that moment, knowing for a certainty then . . .

    “You would have made an excellent mother,” he whispered. He knew that his eyes shone in the half-light, but he could not keep the surge of emotion he felt from his voice or expression if he tried.

    When Nyarissë looked at him, her voice was wry, no matter that her eyes were equally shining. “Will I not still?” she could not help but tease. “Twelve years is not so long a time to wait, and, perhaps, when we return to Alqualondë . . .”

    He felt his heart struggle to lighten, and when he smiled, the gesture was only a small part forced. “Yes . . . perhaps,” he echoed. “When we return home.”

    The smile she gave in reply to his words was beautiful. He stared at her, finding his heart quite taken all over again. Without thinking, he found himself leaning towards her, but stilled in his motion when he heard the sound of movement at the doorway. He looked up to see Carnistir coming towards them, still wearing his soiled apron, while his hair made truly interesting shapes from where the heavy mass had been left to dry in tangles.

    But he held a platter in his hands, and his very look was triumphant as he flopped down on the couch next to them.

    “I made lemon cakes,” he proclaimed while still keeping his voice low so as to not wake Telperinquar. “I remembered that you do not care much for chocolate, Nya, and thought of you.”

    At that, she could not help herself – she laughed a bright, happy laugh, such as that lonely room in Formenos had not heard in far too long. Makalaurë found his heart turn for the sound, and even Carnistir smiled a true smile to hear her joy. He placed a hand on his nephew's shoulder, and felt as Telperinquar's sleep deepened with a true peace.

    “You are a dear, Carnë,” Nyarissë leaned over Makalaurë to kiss her good-brother's cheek, her smile only widening to see his expressive face blush a dark red in reply. “Never let anyone convince you otherwise.”

    She returned to her place, and he felt her spirit flush against his own.

    “We will be okay, Káno,” Nyarissë assured him, confidence in her voice as she leaned over to press her mouth to his in a short, sweet kiss. Finding peace fill his heart, he sighed against her smile, her promise, before kissing her back and trying to make her faith his own.



    ~MJ @};-
     
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  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Nyarissa is eloquent and forthright, a peacemaker in the truest dearest most indispensable sense! =D= Her warmth and kindness would lighten up the darkest bleakest place. :) :)
     
  7. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Love how you weave this chocolate tale bringing some hapiness to the house
     
  8. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Nyarissë has quite grown on me as an OC, that's for certain! As always, I'm thrilled to know that you are enjoying these tales. [face_love][:D]

    earlybird-obi-wan: It certainly was a house that needed some happiness, that's for sure. I thank you for reading! :)



    Since I couldn't participate in the Olympics as a mod, I nonetheless wanted to challenge myself and see how many drabbles I could write for this week, and this is my first batch to offer. Let me tell you, it was odd to constrain myself to only a hundred words after some of the beasts this thread has seen. :p But, I think that it's going to be an excellent way to purge some floating ideas and re-spark the muse after being gone for a few weeks. [face_thinking]

    For the first ten, we have a very early look at Finwë's family during the Years of the Trees.

    Enjoy. :)






    something without a name”


    Single

    The room was all empty space and absence; now much too large for one person to inhabit alone. His footsteps echoed; his breath was lost to the air between ceiling and window and floor. The too-large bed swallowed him without her, and where he once had to endure a mere wanting in his heart – in their hearts – he was now hollowed out and empty, left alone as one -

    - the sound of a baby crying filled the empty room, reminding Finwë that he was not solely one; not quite. Sighing, he rose, once more determined to be father enough for two.



    Double

    Fëanáro knew that families were thus: Father. Mother. Child. He had his father, and he was the child, but, unlike other children, he had no mother.

    Fëanáro knew, as with a whisper, that his soul was too big and too bright, ever hot against the underside of his flesh. He burned, and with that heat . . .

    “Your mother . . .” Finwë once tried to explain, but Fëanáro already knew.

    “ . . . is here,” he touched his chest, knowing that, somehow, he had taken too much of his mother's light, and never could she shine again. And so they remained: Father, Mother, Child, in their own way.



    Triple

    Sometimes, Indis remembered a land of endless twilight; she remembered laying in the grass between Míriel and Finwë and picking out patterns in the night sky. “That one looks like a deer, methinks,” Míriel pointed, and Indis peered to find -

    - but she blinked, and the stars were then underlit by Telperion's silver blush. She and Finwë were gazing at the heavens alone. In Aman the stars were not quite as bright.

    “I too remember,” even so, Finwë whispered, and she laced her fingers through his own, sharing both his grief and his love as the firmament danced above their heads.



    Quadruple

    The first time he kissed her was an accident born by grief and loneliness.

    The second time, she tasted of Vanyarin wine, and he faltered when he realized how quickly he too was intoxicated.

    The third time, the Treelight in her hair made her look like Míriel, and his shame was then greater than his want, pushing him away.

    The fourth time, Indis refused to let him go. “I am not Míriel,” she nonetheless warned, her pupils wide and her mouth bruised. Her fingertips pressed into the skin of his neck.

    “I know,” Finwë finally whispered, and kissed her again.



    Many

    Her brother was the first to ask: “Are the whispers true? Do you dishonor the Noldor queen's memory by coveting what is not yours?”

    “He was always mine, just as she too was!” something within her broke. “They are irrevocably wound in my heart, and now . . . Finwë seeks permission to wed me, but how can the Valar validate what the One placed in my heart? How . . . ”

    Ingwë frowned, troubled, but not surprised. “Yet, it is for your heart I fear. You choose a hard road, one not many will understand.”

    “I care not,” Indis vowed. “Finwë does; that's all that matters.”



    Regard

    The first thing Indis noticed was how - for all that Fëanáro was Finwë's son in look - familiar the fire burning within him was. An ache filled her, and she instinctively wanted to reach for him: the child who was so much Míriel and so much Finwë that she could not help but love him as well.

    But the boy only stared with eyes that were too young to be so cruel, and his teeth flashed when he proclaimed: “You will never be my mother.” Fëanáro may have been fire, but he regarded her with cool disdain from that day on.



    Respect

    In his own way, Finwë respected the Valar; they called his people West, and gave them shelter from the Shadow; but they too were children of Eru. They may have been superior in wisdom and power, but he prayed only to Eru; to the Father alone he gave his worship and devotion.

    Even so, he bowed his head as the first pangs of birth took Indis, pleading for Námo - or any that would listen - to keep her safe where Míriel had been consumed. Losing one piece of his heart had crippled him; twice he was certain would destroy him completely.



    Dislike

    With Findis' birth, Fëanáro had known an abstract curiosity for his (half) sister in flesh, if not in heart. Yet, with Nolofinwë . . .

    He was surprised when Indis whispered that Nolofinwë resembled him as a babe, and was further startled when Finwë agreed. He stared from Father to Mother to Child; a warm light surrounding them, rather than consuming. A vicious sort of pain (yearning) bloomed within him, insisting that that moment (family) should have been his. But it was not.

    Fëanáro felt a seed of dislike (envy) pierce his heart, and left it there to thrive with roots grown deep.



    Tolerate

    There were times when Nolofinwë basked in the heat of his (half) brother's soul, recognizing that flame as one he too bore. Yet, that fire now blazed as their father tried to sooth Fëanáro's temper, no matter that Nolofinwë had been wronged. He watched, his tolerance waning as his own flame rose, and then:

    “He should not blame me for having a mother while he does not,” Nolofinwë finally gave voice to that flame, instantly satisfied (guilty) for the rage (pain) that bloomed in Fëanáro's eyes.

    Later, he was the one scolded and sent to bed, and he did not know exactly why he wept.



    Adore

    Sometimes, in quiet moments, Indis wondered if her marriage was a mistake. Her family brought her joy, but her contentment came with a price, and it was paid, first and foremost, by her children.

    “Amil, why are you so sad?” her youngest child had a way of peering beyond flesh, into souls, no matter his tender years. “You should not be, for we are happy.”

    “I worry for all of my children,” Indis whispered, knowing that he would understand.

    “ . . . but he is happy too,” after a heartbeat, Arafinwë stated with confidence. “His heart adores us; he just doesn't know it yet.”



    ~MJ @};-
     
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  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb! Superb! A wealth and depth of emotions and longings conveyed in a lovely handful of words. @};-
     
  10. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Thanks! :D

    Now, I have more drabbles featuring Finwion shenanigans during the Years of the Trees. :)

    But first, as a reminder:

    Nolofinwë: Fingolfin
    Arafinwë: Finarfin
    Artanis: Galadriel
    Maitimo/Nelyafinwë: Maedhros
    Makalaurë: Maglor
    Tyelkormo: Celegorm
    Carnistir: Caranthir
    Curufinwë: Curufin
    Irissë: Aredhel
    Turukáno: Turgon
    Findekáno: Fingon


    :)





    with those who favour fire”

    White

    Her daughter returned home with green marring the white of her dress in liberal streaks of verdant moss and pungent river-muck. There were brambles and leaves caught in her long black braids, and her face was smeared with mud; most disturbingly, her knuckles were scraped with what looked suspiciously like blood.

    Anairë collected herself. Carefully, she asked, “Irissë, what did you do today?”

    In answer, the girl gave a slow, hesitant smile. After a moment's debate, the look fixed firmly upon her face, brightening her dove-grey eyes. “I made a friend,” Irissë whispered, and tightened her small fingers into fists.



    Black

    When her son returned home – with green staining his tunic and his right pant-leg torn to reveal a scraped knee beneath - Nerdanel was not terribly surprised. However, the bruised flesh around his eye – molted with shades of purple and green, and already darkening to black – made her mother's heart quicken.

    “Tyelko?” she forced her voice to calm. “What happened?”

    Tyelkormo would not reply, and it was left to Carnistir to laugh and answer: “He made a friend today.”

    Nerdanel blinked, but Tyelkormo did not deny Carnistir's claim. Instead, he curled his hands into fists, and barely, just barely, his bloodied lips smiled.



    Grey

    As it often was when Fëanáro bothered to attend Finwë's Court, Nolofinwë's temper was dark for how easily his hard work for the crown was disrupted by his half-brother - with the courtiers ever being eager to favor their true queen's son in all things. That evening, he sought out Arafinwë's house, hoping to recover his serenity there.

    He was holding his only niece – staring at the babe's uncannily bright grey-blue eyes - when Arafinwë wryly noted, “Has it ever occured to you that you clash so severely because you are so alike?”

    Nolofinwë merely held Artanis tighter, pretending that he did not hear.



    Blue

    She found her secondborn sitting on the beach, not terribly surprised that he had sought out peace and quiet away from Olwë's palace, and the bustle of Finwë's family gathered therein.

    Nerdanel lowered herself to the sand, and stared out at the waves. Their blue crests glittered underneath Laurelin's waning light, and shades of pearl and gold danced in the sea-foam. The ocean-spray smelled of salt, cleansing and fresh.

    “What are you doing, my son?” softly, she asked.

    Makalaurë smiled, seemingly older than his years when he answered, “I am trying to write a song that sounds like the Sea.”



    Red

    In his dreams, Maitimo watched a strange, scarlet light sink towards the horizon. His hair was tangled in the wind, and his skin wept blood from too many wounds to count. Disturbingly, he felt for his hand, unable to feel his fingers as he rose, as if flying -

    - but he awakened, drawn from his sleep by his brother's concern. “Nelyo? I heard you cry out.” He followed Makalaurë's voice, struggled to blink away the red.

    “'twas nothing,” he found his voice. “A nightmare.”

    Maitimo closed his eyes, and clenched the fingers of his right hand together as if to keep them there.



    Unbreakable

    He was surprised to find his nephew waiting in his workshop.

    “Nelyafinwë is not here,” Fëanáro stated imperiously as he passed the youth. Findekáno blinked at him with large eyes – his father's eyes (his own eyes) - and visibly gathered his courage.

    “The clasp is broken,” Findekáno held out a necklace, one he recognized as his own work. “I thought your wares to be unbreakable, and yet . . .”

    He started at the cheek in the boy's voice, for a moment traitorously amused. “It wasn't designed with carelessness in mind,” he rebuked.

    But Findekáno only smiled, and settled in to watch him mend the piece.



    Delicate

    The recreated glass was a true work of art; delicate in colour and beautiful in form. The original piece, a wedding present from King Ingwë, had been irrevocably lost to the children roughhousing indoors – though Turukáno had later admitted that Tyelkormo had pushed the vase on purpose.

    Nerdanel, Anairë thought, knew the truth also, for she stood with her face shaped in apology, and her green eyes were weary.

    “My son shamed me,” she said simply. “And I would mend what he ruined.”

    Gently, Anairë smiled. “It is more beautiful than it was before,” she assured, and meant her words true.



    Soft

    Few were the times her calm deserted her, for it was proper to present herself with a poise and grace befitting one of the Noldor's elite. Her people claimed to have risen above their fey emotions, and had left their more faerie cousins behind across the Sea; but none of that mattered when she saw Fëanáro sneer at her husband, his white-hot eyes ever burning.

    Anairë frowned, moved from her soft serenity, before Nolofinwë's hand touched her wrist. It was enough, then, for her husband to know of the edge she carried inside of her. It was for no other to see.



    Hard

    When Fëanáro named his fifth son, no one was more surprised than Maitimo.

    . . . Curufinwë . . . Curufinwë . . . Curufinwë . . .

    Numb, he moved through the rest of the naming ceremony in a daze. For his father to give his own name - a name that should have been bestowed upon his eldest – to another . . .

    Maitimo swallowed, hating that his eyes burned.

    “Curufinwë is an heir's name; and Atar now has a firstborn to his genius - even Aulë said so,” he spoke in a hard voice when Makalaurë found him. “I am not slighted, truly.”

    But Makalaurë knew his lie, and placed a heavy hand on his shoulder.



    Essay

    One of the palace guards was in love with Irissë.

    Tyelkormo had proof of it dangling from his fingertips. He used his greater height to hold the parchment from her reach, skimming the poem - “Melkor's bowels, he's as long-winded as Káno, this is more an essay than a love-letter” - and chortling about the lips as red as roses and skin as white as snow.

    “Does he know you're really a foul tempered shrew?” Tyelkormo lamented when she stepped on his foot and elbowed his stomach to reach the letter, refusing to look at her mouth and admit that -

    - but no. No.



    Detention

    “You've clearly never worked a day in your life; put some heart into it, Turvo.”

    Turukáno blinked, seething – he never had cause to scrub the forge-floors as punishment, and thus, had little practice in the matter.

    He realized he said that last part aloud when Carnistir's rag splattered between his shoulder-blades; drawing Irissë's glare and Tyelkormo's chortle. But his reply was interrupted by Maitimo and Findekáno too kneeling down next to the bucket.

    “You weren't the one to start the food-fight,” Findekáno explained sheepishly. “Thus, we couldn't leave you alone.”

    Turukáno threw his own rag, inordinately pleased when it struck Findekáno's face.



    Test

    Though he would deny it, Curufinwë was nervous.

    His palms sweated and his hands shook, turning his braids crooked. He started over, knowing that if he failed so simple a design, the Vala would struggle to see his skill in anything greater.

    . . . for Aulë's word to come meant everything to him. Holding the rank of Master-smith this young in life was a feat only his father had achieved, and he was his father's son in all things – from name to look to skill - and he would fail that resemblance not. For, if he did . . . what then was left of him?



    Grade

    Maitimo could ever feel his father's anxiety in the presence of his grandfather. There was always that moment of unease – his certainty of being judged, and his not knowing if he was found wanting (such was the reason he always strove for more, needing to prove himself worthy of the excess of spirit he bore) – before he melted into the affection Finwë gave him as if he were one drowning.

    Though familial love was unconditional, there were moments when he too wondered if his grandfather loved him as much as he did Nolofinwë's sons - before blinking and pushing those thoughts away.



    Homework

    He lingered long after his father left, for he was the slowest of his brothers to learn to art of the sword, and he was determined to prove himself more than the disappointment and frustration in Fëanáro's eyes - as he ever was.

    Finally, Makalaurë sighed, ill at ease with the steel in his hand.

    “You are more graceful than the rest of us,” Maitimo pointed out. “Why does this trouble you so?”

    “Learning to wield a blade is to have the intention to use it,” Makalaurë finally whispered, a strange knowing gripping his heart. “That thought troubles me, and slows my hand.”



    Tough

    There were times when Nerdanel stayed awake in the night, lost in her husband's mind.

    - ever looking for a reason to put me aside -

    - better an heir would he make; he knows, he covets -

    - what does Nelyafinwë see in the boy, at any rate -

    - loves that family more than -

    - Melkor said . . . -

    - she didn't want me . . . couldn't live for me . . . I burned, burned, burned, and will again -

    Finally, feeling as if she were drowning, Nerdanel nudged him, unable to bear any more. A moment later, Fëanáro blinked against the night, his hand clasping hers as the flames banked once more.



    ~MJ @};-
     
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  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Exquisite use of the prompts - full of variegated moods and affections =D= Strivings and fulfillments. Friendships and strained ties. [face_thinking] @};-
     
  12. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Thank-you so much! [face_love]

    And I thank-you Admiral Volshe for leaving the likes! It is always wonderful to know that these are enjoyed. [:D]



    Alrighty, this one is a big drabble dump, but I apparently have lots of feelings where the Rivendell elves are concerned, and I let my muse write for as many as it felt like. So, here we are with thirty-one of them. :p I have a few more sets to post following this, and then it's back to the NSWFF prompts. :)

    [:D]






    whose home is timelessness”

    Time

    The years (centuries, millennia) fell away with that first dawn.

    The rising sun spilled over her skin, painting delicate colours in the silver canvas of her hair and illuminating patterns that he had touched and kissed and loved the night before. (Where, for the first, he did not dream of Mordor's blood and ashes.)

    Distantly, Elrond knew that he should wake her for breakfast and her first morning as Lady, and yet . . .

    (Too much time had already been taken from them, and though Celebrían did awaken – blue eyes brilliant and aflame – they did not rejoin the rest of the valley until supper.)



    Companion

    Throughout the long years of his life, Glorfindel had lived in many places: from Valmar upon the Holy Mountain to Gondolin and it's pale, shimmering reflection of Tirion upon Túna. Yet, in its own way, Imladris surpassed them all with the magic in the constant song of the cascades and the natural glory of the land.

    Glorfindel exhaled with the dawn, and looked West, reaching out to giving his daily greeting to Elenwë and his King. Here, there was healing and light, and he could imagine no better place to shadow the family his heart would serve until the world's end.



    Suspicious

    He'd spent the last two days organizing a crate of ancient Númenorean scrolls, just recently arrived from Lond Daer.

    Naturally, Erestor was suspicious when Glorfindel volunteered his assistance. But, when he accused him outright of mischief, the other elf pretended to be wounded by his words, and nothing nefarious happened to found Erestor's suspicions.

    (But that innocence was a feint, for he later found that Glorfindel had used his distraction to reorganize his personal collection with simpering romance novels and children's tales. Annoyed, Erestor weeded out the imposter books, resolved to put something foul smelling in Glorfindel's hair-potions as soon as he could.)



    Few

    Once, she'd known Valandil as a boy with wide, solemn eyes; the only one of Isildur's sons not old enough for warring in Mordor beyond. She'd delighted in telling him stories, drawn from her own worries by endeavoring to see him smile.

    But now Valandil was a father – and a grandfather – reminding Celebrían of mankind's ephemeral days as a blow.

    “If you ask kindly,” Valandil told Arantar, “The Lady here knows more stories than even I.”

    “And I would delight in their telling, child.” She knelt before the boy, and smiled as she stood still against the eddy of time once more.



    Plea

    Long before her marriage, Celebrían knew that her husband worked much too hard. Which was why, after noticing that Elrond frowned overlong at the same letter, she slid her arms around his shoulders and softly kissed his neck. She felt his focus shift, and smiled against his skin.

    There is much that requires my attention, Elrond sighed against her mind, but did not move to push her away.

    Including your wife, she was unyielding. Would you have me beg, mel-hervenn? He hesitated, but she felt her victory when she nipped at the point of his ear, and the letters were then happily forgotten.



    Mother

    There was a moment's surreality following the birth of her grandsons; knowing that the daughter she had long ago borne was now a mother herself.

    When Galadriel first came to Endórë, she'd held an eye solely for land and power; now, her gaze was happiest when beholding those dearest to her. She'd come to find a strength in such bonds, such loves, and now . . .

    Celebrían was exhausted, but glowing, and when Galadriel kissed her brow, her own eyes burned. “There is no greater path than this, my daughter,” she whispered. “I wish you nothing but joy at its every turn.”



    Sister

    At first, Elladan was quite unsure what to do with a sister – a girl who would sew and sing and play with dolls all day long. Though he hadn't been disappointed, per se, he had, for a moment, wished . . .

    But when he held Arwen for the first, Elladan found his heart quite taken. “We will teach you how to string your bow and ride your pony and find tracks in the wood,” he vowed. By his side, Elrohir crowded in so that he too could greet the babe. “There will be none who can stand against you; not with we here to protect you.”



    Brother

    Sometimes, Arwen wished that she didn't have brothers: who were loud and boisterous and tugged at her braids and liked to steal her dolls and hold them beyond her reach.

    And then, sometimes - as when they stood before the elf who'd sneered a comment for her human heritage (in Lothlórien, the blood of the Elves was old and their contact with the outside world few) and blithely pointed out the Elven-kings she could claim kinship to, she loved them dearly; so much so that she held both of their hands as they walked, quite content in the shadow they shared.



    Same

    She found her daughter dancing in the gardens; spinning to an imagined melody, a book forgotten on the bench, and the waning daylight throwing shadows from her feet.

    Celebrían paused to fondly watch her. When Arwen noticed, she grinned to proclaim: “I am Lúthien Tinúviel, Nana! And I am waiting for the nightingales to sing.”

    Feeling struck by a blow, though she knew not why, Celebrían slowly sat down on the bench, and took the forgotten book in hand – her fingertips seemingly scalded for its touch. All the while, Arwen continued to dance, and the twilight gleamed from her eyes.



    Distinguishing

    There were days when wearing Vilya was an insurmountable burden. Donning the Ring had been yet another service to his King, a vow he took before he had a family to care for and protect. Celebrían had refused him his duty alone in life - even though she too had little liking for the Ring - and now, for that duty . . .

    There were days when Elrond finally understood the burden that had been on Elwing's shoulders as the warden of the Silmaril . . . then, there were days when he held his family close, and felt that he would never understand her at all.



    Father

    Though Elrond first feared for his ability to be a father – for he'd never known his own sire, and though others had raised him in love, it was not quite the same – Celebrían found such fears unfounded as she watched him interact with their children, a deep affection binding them all.

    For a moment, she hesitated, recalling the wounds her mother bore from Alqualondë . . . her father from Doriath . . . the scars left from Sirion. Even so, she bowed her head and thanked the One for those who had loved her husband . . . and prayed that they had since found peace of their own.



    Blood

    There were traces of Lúthien to be found in Arwen more so than any other of her blood.

    Looking at his granddaughter, Celeborn remembered springtime in Menegroth; he remembered his kinswoman's thoughtful wisdom; her grace and affection and resilience; along with a thousand other things now lost to memory and time. But then Arwen would tilt her head in a gesture that was all her mother, or frown in a way that was Galadriel – all before laughing in a way that was solely herself – and Celeborn would consider her resemblance to the Fairest-born no more . . . at least, for a little while.



    Trouble

    Their sister's unfortunate allotment of beauty meant only one thing: trouble for her brothers, who were determined to see that unworthy suitors were kept far, far away.

    Which meant that the founding of Fornost was a challenge – with the mortal men and their staring eyes and their blithe misunderstanding of elven ways . . . Arwen, who'd known only elven-homes until then, was wide-eyed and oblivious to their pains, but if she knew . . .

    “Someday, Arwen will choose, and there will be naught we can do but support her,” Elrohir pointed out.

    “Yet, until then,” Elladan muttered, glaring at another awe-struck courtier, "we carry on."



    Space

    The last of the summer storms rumbled overhead. The murmur of the rain was soft and insistent, prompting her to put her book aside in favor of the storm-song. Drowsy with contentment, she leaned against Elrond, feeling as he slowly ran an absent hand up and down her back, he equally as lulled as she.

    For while she loved her family and her people, it was these moments she cherished the most – when they were far away from all, with the rain sounding in time with her husband's heartbeat, prompting her to close her eyes and think of nothing more.



    Anomaly

    There was a whisper of unease upon the wind; a ripple touched the water in warning.

    Frowning, Lindir looked up from where he had set his harp to play – with no melody in mind but to match the murmur of the cascades and the autumn as it crowned the land in gold. His fingers halted on the strings as he looked to the north, feeling a chill that had nothing to do with the change of the seasons.

    Sorrow pierced his heart, instinctively knowing that something terrible had been awakened, once again allowing the Shadow to fall upon the land.



    Save

    Perhaps naively, Celebrían had desperately hoped that the wars they'd long fought would ensure that her sons knew naught of the same.

    They looked so young to her eyes, even with their armor gleaming and their steel held in hand. But they were her sons, and she could feel their apprehension alongside their determination to see Angmar vanquished, just and noble as their cause was.

    “Come home to me,” she kissed Elladan's cheek, before turning to Elrohir. “And keep your father well where I cannot.” For I do not know what I would do without you, went unspoken, but felt nonetheless.



    Hate

    Amongst the camps of the Dúnedain, Elrohir could not help but notice his twin's fascination for, and easy disposition with, their mortal comrades.

    Elrohir frowned . . . not hating the choice that Elladan would prefer to make, so much as he hated knowing that he would follow him - even beyond the veils of mortal death, if needed.

    He looked up when he realized that their father too watched Elladan - Elrond's thoughts no doubt closely aligned with his own as he once again prepared to . . .

    But Elrohir sharply inhaled, telling himself that their choice was still to come, and its outcome was uncertain.



    Child

    She found Fíriel in the gardens, delicately trying to calm her nerves and rebelling stomach. At first Celebrían paused, knowing that the Princess from Gondor had her own ladies for such confidences . . . but the girl looked so young, dressed up as a bride, and too far from home to be given to a man she barely knew.

    Celebrían touched the woman's miserable spirit with her own light, feeling the great courage and mettle she bore - then knowing with a moment's foresight that Arvedui was blessed with his match, even as she went to sooth his wife-to-be for the road ahead.



    Shake

    Arahael Aranarth's son was a gentle child who grew into a solemn youth, poised on the precipice of greatness. All in the valley had come to love the mortal her parents fostered, and though Arwen first told herself that she would linger from afar, she too knew affection for him.

    Even so, as Arahael prepared to leave Imladris for leading his people in the wild, she could not shake the moment's foresight she knew looking at him, standing strong and proud in a reflection of Númenor's glory, knowing -

    - but then she blinked, and the moment was gone, as intangible as mist.



    More

    Aravir was a happy child, much as his father and grandfather before him. Arahael watched his grandson from the balcony, affection in his aged face as he said to Elrond, “Only yesterday it seems that child was me . . . but I am old now, while you have seemingly aged not a day more.”

    Arahael sighed, but his eyes were clear when he said: “While I know the burdens you must bear for this path, it brings me peace to know that my children's children will have a haven here; with wisdom to guide their steps when their forefathers live no more.”



    Blank

    “If you continue to frown so, you will not be able to move your face from that expression,” distantly, Elrond heard his wife tease him. However, he could not quite quell his feelings of unease - no matter that the path to Lothlórien was a familiar one, and Celebrían would be well protected on the road.

    He could not bring himself to reply, instead holding her for longer than was his norm before biding her farewell. All the while, he glimpsed a grey sort of mist for the future ahead . . . a blank sort of nothingness . . . and his heart was troubled for it.



    Length

    She felt it grapple within the length of her spirit: a terrible, tugging sensation that she had not felt since the First Age, when she had many such loved ones to mourn.

    Galadriel leaned against the doorway, feeling the mountains tremble in her bones as her pain was reflected by her family, intensifying the feeling a hundred fold.

    Immediately, she felt her husband at her elbow, keeping her upright. “The road has taken her,” she whispered, her voice little more than an exhale as she turned in on herself to help her daughter though her pains the best she could.



    Swift

    There was a ship with grey sails, moving swiftly towards the horizon.

    Maglor looked on with old, tired eyes, feeling his spirit twist as it had not in many ages of the world. Above the ship, Eärendil's star was brighter than he'd long seen it to be, throwing the heavens in turmoil as he burned against the scarlet sky, lighting the way for the ship below. Troubled, he listened to the murmur of the water, and he knew . . .

    Feeling his heart mourn for his fosterling's pain, Maglor raised his ruined hands to his harp, and joined the sea in its lament.



    Width

    There was something missing from the valley, and Elladan did not yet know how to cope with it - ever expecting to see his mother's face in the mornings, and hear her laughter in the evenings. He was not yet used to his father standing as one, rather than half of two, and for that absence, Elladan felt . . .

    The first time Arwen was named as Lady of Imladris to the visitors from Mithlond, Elladan could not stay with the gathering. Instead, he found a deserted corner of the gardens and wept, self-loathing and blame filling in the gaps his mother had left behind.



    Gap

    Nearly fifty years following Celebrían's sailing, Aravorn brought his son to Imladris.

    Elrond felt a bittersweet rise in his heart, remembering the fondness Celebrían had once known for him. Aravorn had only been three and ten when Celebrían fell, and his grief had been as real as that of her natural-born children.

    “I know the Lady is gone,” Aravorn started, his voice thick - perhaps remembering that, once, he had to be taught not to call her mother. “But, my son . . .”

    “ - is welcome here,” Elrond finished for him, stealing himself as he opened his home and his heart once more.



    Near

    Though Gilraen knew from the beginning that her time with her husband was borrowed, its end still came much too soon. She moved in a daze, nothing – from the beauty of the valley to the needs of her toddling son – able to touch her heart for many days following.

    Until, finally, she looked down at Aragorn – Estel, now – and saw so much of Arathorn that it was first as a pain. But she gathered herself, knowing then that her husband would always be near - reflected in her son - and it was left to her to carry on his legacy as best she could.



    Lots

    There were dwarves everywhere: raiding the pantries, breaking into the cellars, and bathing in the fountains. There was no end in sight, and Erestor was slowly losing his wits.

    “Oh, when's the last time we had this much fun in the valley?” Glorfindel waved a hand. “You love the opportunity to play the host, admit it.”

    “To gracious, civilized guests, yes I do,” Erestor all but growled. Punctuating his words, he heard a groaning sound from the walls, and knew . . .

    “Ah, that is my cue to have the plumbing checked,” Glorfindel winced to say. Wisely, he did not broach the subject again.



    Far

    The last thing Thorin expected to find in the libraries of Rivendell was a book from Moria, penned by King Nothri Stonehand, the Khuzdul so old that Thorin only understood certain words. To his shame, he knew more of the Sindarin translations, then wondering why a Dwarf would bother -

    “My wife had a talent for endearing herself to others,” Elrond explained, the shadow of an old hurt coloring his eyes. “Nothri was dear to her heart, and lives still in her memories.”

    Thorin merely stared at the ancient book, feeling further far away from home than he had in quite some time.



    Less

    Her son grew with Elendil's mark upon his heart and Elros' nobility within his spirit. More than being all that she had left of her husband, Aragorn was hope reborn for her people, and for the path she knew he would walk . . .

    Every time he rode out from the valley with Elrond's sons she felt her heart rise in her chest, fearing for the unkind ways of fate. Standing by the Elf-lord's side, Gilraen watched them depart, and finally asked, “Does it ever fade, the uncertainty . . . the worry?”

    Elrond gave a slow, sad smile, and shook his head to answer, “Never.”



    Distance

    As the years passed, Elrond remembered them all. He remembered Elros and his family; keeping close to his every descendant until Númenor fell to the Shadow. He remembered Elendil and his sons, just as he remembered Aranarth placing Arahael in his arms, leading to Aranuir . . . Aravir . . . Aragorn the first . . . Araglas . . . Arahad . . . Aragost . . . Aravorn . . . Arahad again . . . Arassuil . . . Arathorn . . . Argonui . . . Arador . . . and Arathorn again . . . along with their siblings and wives and daughters. Elrond loved them all, and honored his brother with his memory.

    And now he would give what he loved best to Aragorn, and hold their memories close throughout time, just the same.



    Heal

    There was, Bilbo was quite certain, nothing more healing than the timeless ways of Imladris; where the cascades sang and the valley hummed with peace and life and magic. He had enjoyed his years spent in the Last Homely House, but he could now feel his bones weigh down his body, even as he labored underneath a weariness he could not seem to shake. He was old now; his time was ebbing.

    So, he looked to the West, and imagined one last adventure, one last quest . . . and maybe, just maybe, one last chance at rest and healing before his life was through.



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Admiral Volshe likes this.
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Beautiful! Fantabulous character sketches. Snapshots of ordinary and touching moments! Celebrian and Elrond are so incredibly sweet. :)
     
  14. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Love these drabbles. Short and giving the essense of the characters involved
     
  15. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: I have such a soft spot in my heart for this entire group of Elves, so I'm glad that you enjoyed that set as much as I did. [face_love]

    earlybird-obi-wan: Thank-you so much! That really is the beauty of writing drabbles. [face_love]


    I have this set, and then one more to follow - those that are left I will probably get to sometime in the future when my muse is tickled, but for now I have quite a few NSWFF prompts awaiting me, it seems. :p

    These drabbles take place entirely in Gondolin, for which I have a few notes:

    Aredhel and Maeglin: I never really touched on their story in this collection besides referencing in passing, mainly because their story has a few holes that I find it hard to reconcile with the Laws and Customs of the Eldar (mainly the part about an Elf being unable to suffer rape, and children being a conscious decision of their parents), and Aredhel's fiercely independent character, in particular. But, in short: Aredhel, while Celegorm was avoiding her at Himlad, rode out too far one day and ventured into Nan Elmoth (the same forest where Thingol and Melian spent centuries in enchantment). The Sindarin Elf-lord Eöl saw her, and used enchantments to bind her to him - though she was not 'wholly unwilling', the text says. They were wed in the elven way, and Maeglin soon followed. When Aredhel finally gathered the courage to escape and take her son back to Gondolin, Eöl followed them. Rather than swear allegiance to Turgon, Eöl attempted to kill his son in order to ensure that Maeglin too would not bend the knee to one of the Noldor. Aredhel stepped in front of the poison dart, and died herself. In grief, Turgon had Eöl executed, and while Eöl fell to his death, he cursed his same end on Maeglin - who would indeed follow his fate some years later. Maeglin is a character I've always pitied, rather than reviled outright, and I've explored quite a bit of his character below.

    Rog: I fell in love with his character after just a few sentences in the HoME. He was one of the Lords of Gondolin, and physically the strongest of the Elves - but what I find most curious about him is his name. It is Sindarin for 'demon', as in the second part of Balrog. Fan-theory has him an escapee from Angband, and him keeping his name given there as a testament to what he endured, and I immediately jumped on that bandwagon. During the Fall of Gondolin, he rallied his shell-shocked men against Morgoth's forces, and took out three Balrogs with him - which amazed the enemy, for never had a Balrog fallen before that day - though we know that many such famous Balrog-slayers were made during the Fall. ;) (Which makes Durin's Bane seem almost a walk in the park in comparison. [face_whistling])

    Penlod: Another Lord of Gondolin, who kept up the charge after Rog's death, and fell soon after. :(

    Salgant: Another Lord of Gondolin, who fawned over Maeglin to curry favor. He knew about the Fall of Gondolin beforehand, and supported Maeglin's claim to the throne. Thus, he refused to lead his men to aid Glorfindel's during the battle when Turgon ordered him - he was rewarded for his treachery by spending the rest of his days as Melkor's jester. Which I find only too fitting. [face_plain]

    Voronwë: Born of an Exile father, and a mother who was of Círdan's folk; he was a sailor. After the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, Turgon and Círdan together sent three ships to the West to seek out the aid of the Valar. All of the ships sank, and Voronwë alone survived from his mission - where he stumbled upon Tuor in the Fell Winter, and helped him find Gondolin. So, he did find the Valar's aid, but in a different way. [face_mischief]

    And then we have our familiar cast from Gondolin. I hope that you enjoy! :)







    where time comes in waves”

    Breathe

    More than merely the bidding of a Vala; Ondolindë was the culmination of his own longing, his own desires for a haven in the middle of a land burdened by Shadow, protected and safe against the darkness lurking beyond.

    The first time he stepped onto the summit of the King's tower, hearing the music of the fountains laugh like bells below, while the wind sweetly whistled down from the mountains, Turgon looked to the west and whispered, “You would have loved it here.”

    Seemingly in reply, the breeze gently rustled his hair, and he knew that his words were heard.



    Calm

    In those first years, Idril cultivated the gardens, planting hardy roses and bell-flowers much as her mother once had. She found peace working the soil, and her contentment, she was surprised to find, was shared by another.

    “I did not want the vine to be choked,” Rog murmured when she found him tending the weeds. She laid a gentle hand on his shoulder, feeling the white current of his spirit calm with a ripple.

    Once, I thought to never see a growing thing again, his mind whispered, and she knew . . .

    “I understand,” she replied, and knelt down to join him.



    Restless

    The stale stillness of the mountains was beginning to stifle her, choking her of her spirit and vim.

    “Valinor itself could hold me not,” Aredhel challenged her brother. “Would you truly keep me here against my will?” Even so, she did not look to the west, but to the east; not for their brother, but for . . .

    Turgon felt his fingers close into fists. “And would you truly risk the good of all to assuage your wanderlust?” For one of them, even after . . . But his words touched her not, and the next morning she rode beyond where he could see.



    Head

    “Penlod laid a bet,” Glorfindel solemnly explained as Ecthelion slapped a cold compress against his eye - or, where his eye supposedly was amongst the ruined tissue and swollen blood vessels.

    “For which is stronger: your thick skull, or Rog's fists?” Ecthelion huffed.

    “Almost exactly,” Glorfindel tried to say brightly, but the effect was ruined by his wincing. “I'll admit to being curious, seeing as how our dear Sinda is built more like a troll than an elf -”

    “ - well, that answers that now, doesn't it?” Ecthelion commented wryly.

    “That answers that,” Glorfindel agreed, and pressed the ice more securely to his face.



    Pain

    Often would Idril turn in on herself, and search for her aunt.

    Once, she found a forest, ancient and primeval. The wood was dark, the trees holding a memory of the land under starlight alone; the ground was saturated with possession, and the old boughs echoed with a far off song, one first sang in joy and gladness, but now . . .

    That song was twisted - trapping, choking - and no matter how she fought, she could not get out, she -

    - but Idril opened her eyes, and was Idril again . . . and she could not find the source of Aredhel's pain, no matter how she looked.



    Irate

    To think that they'd once laughed when Finrod told of the Maia-queen and her stolen King . . . but Thingol had been happily enchanted, and Melian could not truly steal what was freely given, unlike . . .

    Aredhel had fought against the bonds of Nan Elmoth, and Turgon could feel the bruised and battered state of her fëa, even now tugging her back towards him.

    Life only returned to her listless expression when he looked at her son, and thought . . .

    “He is my son,” Aredhel bared her teeth to say.

    “And, his father?” Turgon's whisper was low.

    Aredhel flinched. “He is my son, that's all that matters.”



    Claw

    Every step away from the forest had felt as a dagger underneath her skin. Nan Elmoth had been steeped in a Maia's longing and want, and while Aredhel had finally fought against the tugging on her soul, Eöl had not . . . he could not, for he had been a part of the forest for longer than she.

    Which was why she turned cold when Eöl found them, fearing . . .

    She desperately clawed against every lingering enchantment to thwart her mate's will, for Maeglin was her son, and she would fight to protect him until she had not a breath left to do so.



    Numb

    The walls above the Caragdûr were bright under the noon sun; turning his skin pink and burning his eyes. He had stood there as two of Turgon's lords forced his father over the edge, and now, though he no longer felt his sire's presence choking his spirit, he could still hear . . .

    Ill-begotten son of mine, here too shall you end . . .

    Maeglin shivered, though the day was warm, feeling suddenly empty in his own skin, with first his mother, and now his father . . .

    Finally, he frowned at the void, and solemnly vowed: “I will be nothing like you," before turning away.



    Heart

    Idril found Maeglin's rooms black against the sun – much as Nan Elmoth had been, she gleaned from his mind. He stared listlessly ahead, only flinching when she opened the curtains, letting in the light.

    He stared at her, his heart in his eyes, and she felt as the strange sort of possession and greed woven about his spirit turned in baffled wonderment.

    “The light shall not burn you,” she tried to jest.

    “I fear it already has,” Maeglin stared at her as if seeing the sun for the first, and Idril felt as if a vine seemingly wrapped about them both, and pulled.



    Underground

    The Lord of Turgon's forges - a large elf, almost to the point of unnatural, working with more strength than finesse - was almost as surprising to Maeglin as the light illuminating the workroom – which was all clean white lines and glass windows and gleaming steel, and so, so different from the dwarf-ways he'd learned from Eöl in the darkness of the forest, that -

    - but Rog smiled for his surprise. “I could only work under the light after forging steel in Angband. The change was soothing, I found.”

    Maeglin looked about, and hesitantly smiled in return. “I . . . I think that I can understand.”



    Soar

    At first, Turgon did not recognize his father's corpse when it was brought to him.

    Thorondor bowed his great head, and the Eagle's thoughts touched his heart: The Enemy went to desecrate his body; such a gross act would not be borne.

    Turgon had felt his father's death, but it did not seem real until he was left with the remnants of Morgoth's fine work. Briefly, he touched Fingon's spirit, letting him know that their father's hröa, at least, would know a proper resting place where the mountains seemingly touched the stars, and, together, they took what peace from that they could.



    Fart

    There were times when Turgon felt as if he headed a troupe of mummers, rather than a council of lords.

    They were all sitting very, very still. Not a one would dare meet his eyes as, slowly, Glorfindel rose, and picked up the now deflated contraption which had let loose the rather . . . flatulent noise.

    “Well played,” he finally congratulated. “Now, pray that I don't find out who did this, for my retribution shall be swift . . . and silent.”

    At that, Ecthelion chortled outright, and Turgon sighed: he was almost certain that his brother did not have to persevere through such nonsense in his court.



    Tail

    Sometimes, she felt as if her cousin was a clawed beast that she held by the tail. At times, he was nothing but boyish, awkward smiles and wonderment for the wide world he so newly discovered. Other times, as when she talked overly much with their new mortal guests, his eyes followed her, and she felt his gaze as fingertips tracing her spine.

    “He is a quiet sort of fellow,” Húrin said diplomatically, noticing her glance over her shoulder.

    Huor said nothing, but he walked arm and arm with her as if standing as a shield. All the while, Maeglin watched, and remembered.



    Hidden

    “There are some who would say that you take your steel with too much seriousness.”

    “If anyone truly knew me well, they would not accuse me of seriousness overly long.” Glorfindel saluted to say, but he did not move from sharpening the sword in his hand.

    Penlod frowned, watching the sunlight sparkle off the blade. “Yet, is such truly needed here, hidden as we are?”

    “I think,” Glorfindel muttered, “that the security of concealment is nothing but an illusion; and as with the best of illusions, that secret is someday learned. I would be ready for that day – would not you?”



    Abject

    The world was larger than Maeglin had ever imagined, as was the evil it held within. But they were there to vanquish the Shadow, and so he held his ground against Angband's might; no matter that for every vanquished foe, a hundred more seemingly appeared; no matter that Fingon fell to Balrog-fire, and he was close enough to feel the flame of his soul departing; no matter that Huor gave a bloody smile as he died, whispering of starlight and fate; no matter, no matter, no matter . . .

    When the day was done, Maeglin bowed his head, and shook too badly to yet give into tears.



    Fur

    There was no mercy – nor warmth – to be found in the Fell Winter, and Voronwë huddled together with the mortal beneath their shared fur while the storm passed.

    “I remember my father speaking of the Helcaraxë,” he whispered through numb lips. “He was half-Telerin, a shipbuilder of Alqualondë; the Valar did not protect his people in Aman, so how was it to be any different in Endórë? he'd thought, and made the crossing. Perhaps I was foolish to hope in them, and the Sea is unkind to such foolishness, and yet . . .”

    He felt Tuor shiver, and thought that maybe, just maybe, he'd found the Valar's aid, even so.



    Cough

    While Tuor, cloaked in Ulmo's grace and weathered by his journey, cut an impressive first impression, Glorfindel thought that the mortal man cleaned up rather well – with his yellow-gold hair smoothed into a queue and his beard neatly trimmed, and his great form already recovering from his lack of sustenance on the road. He looked much as his father had.

    Yet . . . Idril had never stared at Huor so. When Glorfindel commented on such in an offhanded manner, she coughed and sputtered into her wine – drawing Tuor's eye in return . . . and he was not as quick as the princess to look away.



    Hiccup

    Tuor cut into the dance the princess was sharing with her cousin before he realized he was doing so – ignoring the other man's dark grey eyes and the way his fingertips pressed into Idril's skin before he let her go – his heart thundering all the while.

    “You looked as if you were not enjoying yourself,” Tuor whispered into her ear, and he imagined that he felt her shiver.

    “And you assumed I would with you?” Idril returned, arching a brow. “You'd presume me so easily conquered?”

    He paused, considering his error – when he saw her eyes glitter, and he let himself smile.



    Survival

    When he saw his daughter struggle with her heart, Turgon's first instinct was to do his utmost to shield her from what would, inevitability, end in heartache. But he knew his daughter . . . after loving with such intensity, she would not love so again, and truly . . . he would not trade his few years spent with his own wife for any other course, so how could he ask the same of her?

    “If he would live forever, what would your answer be?” Turgon's voice was gentle. In reply, he watched as understanding . . . and acceptance . . . leapt into Idril's eyes, making them brilliant to behold.



    Blink

    Idril and Tuor's wedding feast was such as Gondolin had never celebrated before, and all rejoiced. Only one did not seem to be enjoying the revelry, and Salgant sat down as elegantly as he could next to the glowering prince, seeing an opportunity to make himself useful to the King's house.

    “It is always difficult, giving up our woman-folk to others, is it not?” he thought to empathize, but something in Maeglin's eyes only darkened – as the parts of the wood the sun could not reach – before clearing again, the moment passing so quickly that Salgant thought to imagine it entirely.



    Lashes

    The first time she noticed the marks marring Tuor's skin, Idril had stared, not with longing, but with disquiet and regret for the pains he had endured throughout his life. Lorgan had not been a kind master, this she knew all too well from her new place within her husband's mind - for Tuor never voiced such memories aloud - but now . . .

    She enjoyed the hiss Tuor gave – not in pain, but in pleasure – when she ran her mouth over the one long scar bisecting his torso, determined as she was to rewrite every black memory with something beautiful instead.



    Tooth

    Tuor angrily tossed his circlet to the side, satisfaction filling him as it clattered. Idril followed behind him, her face creased in worry.

    “The years of isolation have not benefited your father's mind,” Tuor finally exclaimed aloud. “After the Nírnaeth . . . and now Doriath . . . few are the sanctuaries outside Gondolin, but I have a Vala's word that this city will fall. He protects no one this way, and with your cousin fighting tooth and nail against my every word . . .”

    Idril put a gentle hand on his arm, and felt the future shape as she said: “Then, we will have to form our own path.”



    Stumble

    He had stumbled down a wrong path in the mines – determined as he was to cast aside thoughts of her, always her – and was now lost to the North, with only one path, besides death, to end his suffering in sight.

    And the Lieutenant of Angband knew his craft too well to surrender his victims to Námo, Maeglin despaired, wishing . . .

    “I can't. She . . .” I love her, and love cannot, will not . . .

    You are your father's son; you'll naught find it difficult in time, Maeglin clearly heard the Lieutenant sneer before the pain tightened around him like vines, and he knew no more.



    Reach

    There were times when he was bewildered, wondering how he bore not a scratch, not a mark to speak of his time in Angband's clutches. Sometimes, he wondered if he'd imagined it all, before the knowledge that, for what he shamefully desired the most, the cost to be paid demanded . . .

    He watched Rog hammer away at the anvil, distracted from his thoughts when the scars etched onto the smith's back danced with his motions. For a moment, Maeglin swallowed, wanting to reach out and explain, to confess -

    - then he swallowed, and buried his regrets beneath the forest-shadow lurking deep within his soul.



    Sneeze

    That first sneeze, perhaps, should have been a warning; but Idril was still learning the ways of Men, and so, when the illness progressed to the point where Tuor was taken abed, she stood by him, determined to see him well again.

    If ever she was disquieted by the mortality such moments displayed . . . foreshadowing what, someday, would be all that was left of his strength and vigor . . .

    But Tuor caught her thought, and kissed the back of her hand - still concerned for her amidst his own pains - and Idril buried her misgivings, knowing that with such a bond, nothing else mattered.



    Feather

    Oftentimes, he liked to sit on the balcony of his grandfather's tower, where the winds were sweet and the Eagles were known to fly. Distantly, Eärendil imagined he could smell the Sea, though he knew it to be many leagues away.

    Once, Turgon sat next to him, and asked, “What are you looking for, child?”

    He smiled a secret smile, and shared: “I have this dream, of starlight on the water, and a bird who is looking for me. I have to be there for her, for her wings are new and will tire easily; and so, I am waiting.”



    Broken

    Maeglin managed to avoid the half-elven child more often than not - which did not explain the boy's queer way of seeking him out, always with an excuse, such as:

    “It is broken, and I cannot fix it,” Eärendil held out a toy soldier whose leg had seen better days. “But you can fix anything, can you not?”

    Maeglin looked down at his bright blue eyes – Tuor's eyes – but for a moment, he only saw . . .

    Idril.

    He flinched, knowing that, soon, the boy's fallen soldier would not be the only one in Gondolin, and turned away from the child without a word.



    Rise

    Gondolin had been found. He'd never seen such a concentration of demonic entities before - not even at the Nírnaeth, when Morgoth's fleet of Dragons and Balrogs had been utilized the whole battle-field wide. And now . . .

    For a moment, Penlod was shocked in his place, unable to rise up and meet the enemy at their gates. Until . . .

    “Angband made me,” Rog muttered, calmly stepping forth. “It is time they see the fruits of their labors returned.”

    He then raised his war-hammer, and let loose a battle-cry. After finding his own voice, Penlod echoed his cry, and followed him to meet Morgoth's challenge.



    Eventuality

    The day went not as all as Maeglin expected . . . with first Turgon falling . . . the fair streets and gentle fountains next lost to fire and blood . . . and Idril with fear in her eyes as all that was good within him submitted to fey rage when Tuor dared to interfere, trying to keep him from what was his, always his -

    It was as a memory when he fell from the walls of the Caragdûr, for a moment weightless as he traced the same path Eöl had taken to his death, just as was foretold, and he knew: I am my father's son.



    Fall

    With Idril stunned from her father's death and her cousin's betrayal, leadership of Gondolin's survivors fell to Tuor, whilst to its remaining lords . . . Glorfindel drew in a deep breath, knowing . . .

    . . . but not yet.

    His shield arm was now useless, and Ecthelion's face was white from blood-loss as he trailed a hand through the fountain that supported his weight. “Valour enough do I have left to cover your retreat,” he vowed, even so, picking up Orcrist for the last time.

    “Look for me in Mandos, my friend,” Glorfindel placed a heavy hand on his shoulder. “For I shall join you soon.”



    Jovial

    The journey down from the mountains was long and fraught with tragedy. Though the faces around him were weary with grief and loss, Voronwë felt gladness rise within him as they saw the barest lines of a settlement being built next to the Sea.

    He could not hold in his joy as he started to sing. Those nearest to him picked up his song, while at the head of their host, Tuor stood next to his wife and son, his golden head gleaming in the light - showing them to safety and the hope of life anew, just as was promised.



    ~MJ @};-
     
  16. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Again a series of revealing essential pieces
     
  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Gorgeous! Every word you write is like liquid rainbows. [face_love] [face_love] =D= =D= Poignant and pivotal scenes.
     
  18. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    earlybird-obi-wan: Thank-you. :)

    Nyota's Heart: Thank-you so much for saying so. [face_love][:D]

    Alrighty, here is one more collection of drabbles - though it's quite the word-count still with 40 of them! - and then it's back to more standard fare . . . for now. [face_thinking]

    For this set, the muse decided to play in Sirion, where all should be familiar faces. [face_love] Enjoy! :)







    to fall from depth to depth of air”


    Asylum

    Their progress was slow, but steady as their people worked with the Falathrim to build a home on the seashore; ill as the surviving Doriathrim were to the thought of the Isle of Balar and a home enclosed by the Sea – and one Noldor governed, at that. Much did they prefer the birch-woods of Arvernien, and there would their newfound haven be.

    But Galadriel looked up, a pang piercing her heart with sorrow as she felt the Shadow move in the north, knowing that, soon, they would not be the only ones seeking out Sirion for asylum and life lived anew.



    Insanity

    At first, Annael wondered if he was having a moment of fey delusion when he heard his voice in the crowd. For it had to be madness – insanity - for him to look, hoping to find . . .

    For there, leading the survivors from Gondolin, was a mortal man, mature in his years compared to the youth he had raised and lost, perhaps, but still his ward, the son of his heart, and -

    Tears burned in Annael's eyes, but his tears were shared by Tuor when he embraced his child, thanking the Valar for blessings in the most unexpected of places once more.



    Deities

    He could not breathe when first he saw her. Eärendil stared, certain that he'd stumbled upon a celestial creature – one of the Ainur, perhaps - as he gaped at the silent, pale girl standing in Lady Galadriel's shadow. He tugged on his mother's sleeve, and whispered, “Is she Lúthien?” in a voice that trembled.

    At first, Idril blinked, before understanding set in. “She is Lúthien's granddaughter,” his mother's smile was sad in reply. “And she is, no doubt, very much in need of a friend.”

    Slowly, Eärendil nodded his head, his look of awe then traded for one of solemn determination.



    Roots

    Winter came with a sigh of frost and snow. As the sun set on the solstice, Celeborn walked through the birch-wood, touching his hand to the trees that grieved for the loss their roots knew in far off places. He bowed his head, remembering Doriath as each survivor flickered through the forest as silent specters, paying their respects.

    Distantly, one voice rose in lament, its ghostly whisper turning stronger with each soul who picked up the song. But Celeborn could not find his voice as he glanced to Elwing, his heart heavy for the numb expression she turned on the trees.



    Homestead

    They built their home where the windows were open to the sea-air, and the ocean's blue expanse lingered behind every doorway. Though Idril held the Sea in awe, her awe paled next to the love her husband and son knew for Ulmo's ways – a love that, she knew, was stiffed in Gondolin before.

    Even so, every time Eärendil played on Ecthelion's willow-flute . . . or Egalmoth repeated a joke Glorfindel had once favored . . . every time she wished to share a part of her day with her father . . . Idril closed her eyes, and turned her head to the West, hoping that someday . . .

    . . . but not yet.



    Left

    All Elwing wanted was to be left alone - away from the waves' irritating murmur and the sand that got everywhere. She often hid in the birch-wood, missing Doriath's ancient beech trees and nightingale-song . . . and her mother . . . her father . . .

    Her brothers would have loved the Sea, her mind traitorously whispered. Undoubtedly, they would have gotten along with the stubborn boy who showed not an ounce of common courtesy when he found her hiding spot in the woods again -

    “I will not leave you like this,” Eärendil insisted, and Elwing glowered with every bit of Thingol's blood in her veins – but to no effect.



    Center

    At times, Galadriel was overwhelmed by the wounds still lashing her ward's spirit. Yet, when she found Elwing, lost within the Silmaril's glittering facets and her fëa wheeling in a fey haze, Galadriel did not think before embracing the shaking child.

    “I hate it,” Elwing wept, at last voicing her grief aloud. “I hate it so, so much . . . Why were we . . . why was I not equal in worth to a stone . . . a stupid rock . . ."

    Galadriel held her tighter in answer, giving of her own light and, hopefully, standing as a center in the girl's storm until time healed what she yet could not.



    Own

    Elwing at last cried herself to sleep tucked between them; with her head buried against Celeborn's chest, and her fingertips pressed into Galadriel's arm, unwilling to let either of them go.

    Galadriel could feel where her husband's arm had gone numb, but he continued to run a soothing hand through the girl's hair, his spirit gently sheltering Elwing's own. He looked content in that moment, she thought, at ease with a child to nurture, even if she was not -

    “Someday,” Celeborn whispered on the wings of her thoughts.

    A daughter, Galadriel caught the barest of glimpses, and held onto Elwing all the more so.



    Healer

    There were times when she was quietly amazed by the woman Idril grew into, far from the child of Aman and the gangly girl-woman who survived the horrors of the Ice.

    “I will never be as you,” Idril flushed as she peered over the rim of the Mirror, reverting to her childhood-self with wide-eyed awe and wondrous smiles to hear all that Galadriel had to repeat from Melian's mouth.

    “I would not be so certain,” Galadriel tilted her head, feeling the blue, blue spirit Turgon's daughter bore. The soul of a healer, Elenwë had once said, and Galadriel quietly agreed.



    Kindle

    In Sirion, he found his love for the ocean kindled and nurtured. The first time he sailed a ship without his father and Voronwë to guide him, Eärendil looked breathlessly from his place at the helm, taking in the singing gulls and the way the blue horizon married the sea and sky.

    He turned to find his mother – for Idril always stood in the center of the deck, well away from the water's might – only to find her staring at him, a strange look in her eye that always accompanied her visions before she smiled, and praised how much he had learned.



    Spark

    It took years of gentle coaxing before Elwing felt secure enough in their friendship to speak of Doriath's fall.

    Her voice trembled, but he held her hands, grounding her against the pain of her memories. When she at last took out the Silmaril, something possessive - frighteningly so - twisted within her for sharing the hallowed gem, and yet . . .

    “You're far more beautiful than any stone,” Eärendil only glanced before pushing the Silmaril away, and for once, Elwing could ignore the gem's presence when his hands squeezed her own. A spark seemingly passed between them, and she blushed, able to focus on little else.



    Right

    As she grew older, many responsibilities passed to her – for such was her duty as Queen of the Sindar. Even still, Elwing felt ungainly and awkward the first time she wore Dior's crown and headed her council of lords – for she truly was a child who dared to lead so many immortal beings, and there were those – such as Oropher - waiting for her to stumble, and claim Thingol's power for themselves.

    Sometimes, Elwing felt unequal to her task, before sternly telling herself that the throne was hers by right: she would not fail the names that came before her.



    Boss

    Her first time standing as Queen while visiting the Isle of Balar, she looked over the maps Gil-galad had spread out over the council-room's table, disturbed to see how much ground Morgoth had gained in Beleriand. Her disquiet was matched by all those gathered – for there were so very few places his might did not touch.

    “Our numbers are few,” the High-king clearly hesitated, “yet, they may be bolstered by an alliance with Fëanor's sons, if we were to trade . . .”

    For the first, Elwing's mouth turning in fey anger was matched by Oropher, and they were in perfect agreement with how to lead their people.



    Deranged

    The first time Celeborn questioned the possibility of feelings existing between her and Eärendil, Elwing looked at the man she viewed as her father as if he were deranged.

    “He is like a brother to me,” she protested, her cheeks coloring, even in the half-light of the birch-wood.

    Softly, Celeborn chuckled. “Then perhaps you can explain why the boy approached me for permission to court you? He stuttered through his proposal, but he was brave enough to make it to his speech's end – which I commend him for.”

    Elwing looked down, feeling a strange – and unexpected – warmth bloom underneath her skin.



    Principle

    “That you would allow this match is shocking.”

    “I would think,” Celeborn raised a brow, not truly surprised by Oropher's outburst, “that our House has already well learned the woes of trying to keep sworn lovers apart.”

    “But he is Noldor," Oropher scathed.

    “ - Prince Eärendil is also half-mortal; a heritage Elwing shares,” Celeborn calmly returned. “Unfortunately, she favors none of Thingol's lords.” Your son included, he did not say – well knowing Thranduil's thoughts on the matter.

    “Yet, one of them -”

    “ - not all Noldor are Kinslayers,” Celeborn finally interrupted coldly. “Well would it be for all if you made that distinction in your heart.”



    Sane

    “His choice does not surprise me,” Voronwë shrugged. “They are both children of loss, and long have they been friends.”

    “Yet, the girl . . . you have to admit,” Egalmoth phrased his reservations delicately. “These Sindar are true faerie-folk, and she more so than most -”

    “ - I wouldn't say that where Lord Celeborn can hear.”

    “As you are part Falathri, your opinion is invalid,” Egalmoth teased. “And yet . . .”

    “She is nothing like Maeglin,” Voronwë said softly. “She is -”

    “ - sane,” Egalmoth finished bluntly. “By the barest definition, I suppose, for -”

    “ - my son loves her,” Tuor finally interrupted, wanting to hear no more. “And that is all that matters.”



    Entity

    Though many claimed that she resembled her grandmother; Elwing only saw a body that was delicate and thin, with sharp wrists and too-high cheekbones. Her eyes were large, reflecting the light more so than any color of their own, while her skin was pale near to the point of translucently. She felt as if she could claim beauty only when she wore the Silmaril, sharing her light with its striking reflection of the Trees.

    Yet, dressed as a bride and glowing with joy, she felt that, on that day alone, she existed as more than an entity for the Silmaril to possess.



    Demon

    Though she knew him from Gil-galad's council, she caught his eye at her wedding feast and started to see him - his silver-grey eyes and sharply sculpted features reminding her of winter and steel and blood -

    - but Celebrimbor Curufinwion was not his father, no matter how he resembled him. The Fëanorian merely stared at the gem she wore, and clasped her hand in a desperate grip. “Cast it into the Sea for the good of all, I beg you, your grace.”

    Elwing shrugged him away, and found a deserted corner in which to weep, hating that such a joyous day was marked by their shadow.



    Warden

    All the more often, she found it difficult to keep the Silmaril locked away.

    She tossed and turned at night, ill at ease without the gem worn about her throat, wanting for its light to rest against her skin, against her heart -

    “Your council meets upon the morn,” Eärendil murmured drowsily. “You need to sleep.”

    Elwing closed her eyes as his spirit rose to cradle her own. She fisted her hands as she turned into him, concentrating on the smell of sea-salt and the feel of his seemingly ever sun-warmed skin . . . and found his pull yet stronger than the Silmaril's might.



    Anchor

    There were times when her husband was slow to remember her name, to remember their son's name, even. She watched as awareness blinked into Tuor's eyes - now with the familiar tightness in his gaze to follow. After such moments, he ever held onto her as if she were his anchor, and Idril let him, feeling a same desperate need deep within her own heart.

    “Tell me of the West again, beloved?” he murmured, closing his eyes to the drum of her heartbeat and the cadence of the waves.

    And Idril spoke in hesitant whispers, letting the Sea take her tales as a promise.



    Tide

    Grey sails chased the horizon, and Eärendil stared from the craggy shore for longer than his eyes could see, waiting for the moment when he could feel his parents no more.

    Elwing stood by his side, loathing the vulnerable openness she often felt by the Sea, but ignoring it for her husband's sake - for she understood what it was like to be left behind, and though it was not death parting them, mortality's shadow stood between them, and there was a pain in such sunderings.

    He did not speak; and she leaned her head against his shoulder as they lingered with the tide.



    Gods

    Morgoth was restless in the North, and refugees continued to pour into Sirion.

    “How long can we continue to fight?” Voronwë passionately addressed their council. “Time is it for they who unleashed this foe to chain him again - or do they truly revile their Father's creation so?”

    “Yet, you, more so than most, know the Valar's wrath for seeking them when they wish not to be found,” Egalmoth returned. “It's foolishness!”

    Eärendil merely met Galadriel's eyes in silence as he traced his hand over the sketch of a great ship, feeling a cord seemingly tied about his soul . . . and tugging.



    Parent

    “She is beautiful, is she not?” Eärendil fawned as a father over a newborn babe.

    The Vingilot was beautiful, yet Elwing frowned at the ship that would carry her husband away, feeling her stomach sickly turn – a now familiar warning sign, with her stress for Eärendil's impending departure at its high-point.

    Why is his leaving affecting me so? she wondered as she excused herself - only making it to the docks before retching her breakfast into the sea. She gathered her composure, determined to be strong until he was gone, unwilling as she was to let her grief interfere with what hope their people had left.



    Master

    It was not stress – nor Oropher giving in and poisoning her – that affected her so, but rather the blood of Men interfering with their ability to choose the gift of a child.

    Not now, was all that Elwing could think after Galadriel informed her of her impending motherhood - to two, only able to weep for what should have been happiness and joy. She seemingly held her children as stones, hating every aspect of pregnancy as she was denied mastery of her body – suffering through nausea and pains and bedridden days aplenty without him there, constant and comforting, by her side.



    Salt

    She often found it difficult to touch the fledgling spirits she carried - just as Eärendil too was a hazy presence in her soul, leaving her feeling more lost and alone than ever. He'd never favored his elven heritage, which made it difficult for her to reach out to him when her labor overtook her, lost as she was to the ancient struggle for life, and wanting desperately for his hand to hold.

    Even so, Elwing asked for the windows to be opened, and at the familiar smell of sea-salt on the air, she dug in for the courage to bring her children into the world.



    Down

    Eärendil returned to Sirion a year later, heart-sore and weary for his quest.

    But the voices that welcomed him were shadowed with words unspoken, and he made his way to his wife's rooms with a strange sense of apprehension. At first, he blinked against the blinding light of the Silmaril Elwing wore, before looking down and realizing . . .

    A hazy sort of awareness awakened within his soul, even as his sons – his sons - blinked up at him without recognition. Understanding brought both grief and wonder, and Eärendil knelt on legs that would suddenly not support him to hold his children for the first.



    Up

    Some days were good days. On those days she could put both the Silmaril and her crown aside and be mother enough for the lack of a father. She could play with Elros in the sea-surf, and watch as Círdan explained ship-mechanics to him; just as she could listen as Elrond repeated Pengolodh's tales, or stand still as he watched Galadriel and her fey-crafts for hours on end. She could hold her sons' hands while Celeborn walked them through the birch-wood and introduced them to the souls of the trees. On those days she could laugh and love and live.

    And yet . . .



    Consume

    Some days, their mother was not their mother.

    They were playing pirates with Annael, and it was up to Elros to find a trinket to stand as their treasure. It was just a pretty stone, he'd thought - he did not understand why Elwing suddenly appeared, her eyes wild and her spirit's light lashing out, nearly stinging his skin. He was stunned to be pushed to the floor and the Silmaril snatched from his hands.

    “You do not take this; you do not ever touch this!” the creature who consumed his mother snarled, hunched protectively over the jewel, and slowly, Elros backed away.



    Harbor

    The Vingilot was put to harbor but rarely, and his sons grew in leaps and bounds before his eyes.

    But the sea beckoned, and Eärendil was honor-bound to answer. His heart was heavy as he returned to his cabin, tilting his head to hear a vague muttering from underneath the bed - one of his sons, quieting the other.

    Stole-aways, he thought with a fond sigh, before kneeling down to expose their hiding place. Soon his task would be complete, and he could be a proper father, he tried to assure himself, and yet . . .

    Once the Straight Road was found . . . could it be walked back again?



    Magic

    In his days, Círdan's eyes had seen many things, and the halls of his memory were long and wide. Yet, Elros already held a cherished place therein as the old shipwright took the child sailing in the bay. He instinctively grasped the rules of ship-craft, and his heart was all sea-brine and ocean-foam, much as his father's – his grandfather's – had been.

    “I think that this is what magic is,” Elros sighed as he learned to fold the sails at the day's end. “Someday,” he said confidently, “Adar will have to take me with him, when he sees how much I've learned.”



    Witch

    Oftentimes, Galadriel had a visitor when she worked her arts.

    While Elwing had inherited Thingol's forest-soul, she had been dismayed when few of her grandmother's powers of enchantments passed to her. Now, watching her son, Galadriel was not reminded of Lúthien, but of Melian with the boy's quiet perceptiveness and uncanny insights into the Song.

    Yet, sometimes, such a gift was a double-edged sword, as when Elrond drew up the figure of a black cloud in the North, time and time again.

    “I have seen it too,” Galadriel whispered, and dipped her hand into the water to start anew.



    Sapling

    Sometimes, Elrond had queer, strange dreams. Elros knew this, and so, he calmly nudged his shoulder to awaken him. He did not bother fetching their mother; instead he crawled into bed beside his twin, and took his hand.

    “Your dreams are growing stronger,” Elros whispered. “What did you see this time?”

    Elrond's blink was more a wince, and he struggled to find his voice. “Fire . . . on the shore and in her hands and atop his head . . . and the Sea will put it out.” His last words were muttered, “The Sea will take everything . . . always.”

    Elros exhaled, and held his brother's hand tighter.



    Undertow

    The letter was familiar with its precision and elegance, just as its demands were.

    Galadriel exhaled as she read Maedhros' ultimatum, her eyes calmly flickering to Elwing, who clutched a hand about the Nauglamír as she paced. “The arrogance,” she scathed aloud, “that after so much blood . . .”

    “Finwë's blood was spilled first on the gem,” Galadriel spoke hollowly, feeling as Fëanor's Oath moved as an undertow none could swim against . . . for there was no clear path before them, and each possible decision would bear fruit for ill. “That is all they will be able to see until their vow is fulfilled.”



    Flame

    He did not know how the fire started, only that the Fëanorians came as a storm, and now flames licked at the white walls as elven steel crossed elven steel, while around him . . .

    Egalmoth did not survive Gondolin to see his people slaughtered over a gem, no matter how holy. When Oropher argued that they fight, and Elwing agreed - sending out for Gil-galad's aid, which would come too late - he had known what next would come. Yet, now . . .

    He stood before the entrance of Elwing's tower, determined that none would threaten his Lady – or Turgon's heirs - while he was alive to prevent it.



    Branches

    He had been denied holding a sword in defense of his kin when Doriath fell, instead hurrying Elwing to safety and reeling from the fact that Nimloth and her sons fled not beside him.

    Now, Celeborn remembered the icy branches of the beech-trees, he could hear the snow crack underfoot as he struck and spun and parried, and yet -

    - any sort of satisfaction he'd first thought to gain was lacking as the melee clashed around him. He looked down at the two identical faces he'd felled – one through a great struggle and the other merely giving up, and thought -



    Holy

    The Silmaril blazed as she held it over the waves crashing against the cliff-face, far below. A fey satisfaction filled her to see the horror and desperation Maedhros and Maglor felt - hoping that they then knew but a fraction of the pains they'd infliced upon others.

    Elwing burned with the Silmaril's holy light; it shone through her bones and set her eyes aflame. She could not feel the pulse of her own spirit, only the Silmaril's heartbeat, and she finally understood . . .

    . . . Dior holding the gem tight, fire in his eyes, and -

    - she turned, and surrendered her soul to the Sea.



    Circle

    She left us!

    The wail from Elros' spirit lanced through Elrond's psyche. He blinked, already overwhelmed from feeling the struggles of the warring and the dying, along with the white-hot burn of their mother's soul, and he could not help Elros through his pains when they needed to be silent – for the two Fëanorians were still there, the elf with fire atop his head, and -

    - she left us, she left us, she left us, consumed Elros, and Elrond could not keep him from stumbling forth in time to see a great white bird rise from the water, a star at her throat.



    Ash

    Ash fell like snow as Galadriel made her way through the ruined quays. She felt bile rise in her throat, torn between pain and a deep, resentful anger, remembering long ago days in Aman, and all that was left of those familial bonds now.

    With Elwing gone and no sign of the children, Galadriel's heart hammered as she followed her now wispy connection to her husband. She found Celeborn in the rubble next to the Ambarussa, his body broken, but stubbornly refusing Mandos' call. Inhaling a shaky breath, she knelt, steeling herself to be a strength for those who survived, once again.



    Vineyard

    "Sometimes, there is only one answer to our immortal days."

    A skin of wine was placed down before him - not just a glass. Such, Celeborn thought, was needed after their unsuccessful parley - which his friend knew.

    "They are of Thingol's line," Thranduil said grimly. "Forests grow back stronger after fire; they will not break in the Fëanorians' care."

    "Yet, will the Sindar ever bow their heads to Thingol's heirs after such a childhood?" Celeborn took a long swallow of wine. "It is not solely their kin they have lost, but their birthright."

    "It is then fortunate," Thranduil sighed, "that the children are not merely Sindar."



    Ancient

    He felt old in his bones, ancient and worn down with many days. Though Balar welcomed Sirion's survivors, Celeborn felt as a tree with no roots – dispossessed as so many were, with Morgoth's conquest of the land seemingly complete. With years having passed without sign or word from Eärendil (years in which the twins grew, far from their true kin – that thought was still enough to cripple him) their plight seemed ill indeed.

    Yet, one night, a star rose where no star was before. He stared, and Galadriel inhaled a deep breath before whispering, “Perhaps, this once, our prayers have been heard.”



    ~MJ @};-
     
  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Bittersweet on Elwing's and Earendil's experiences. @};- Galadriel and Celeborn are like havens of strength and resilience. [face_love] I like the recurring themes here of inexorable tugs and hard paths.
     
  20. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    I like this tale of Elwing and Earendil and their sons
     
  21. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Eärendil and Elwing are two characters my heart just goes out to for how unfair their story is - which was pretty opposite to my first reaction reading the Silmarillion, which was: you left your kids where, for what?? . . . but then I stopped and thought about it, and started writing. I needed to, especially after the rather unfair reputation they tend to hold in the fandom - which is crazy in the face of all the Kinslayer love my fellow Silm writers have! (Which I hold too, but still! Hypocrisy reigns all too often. :() These tales are all shades of grey, and that should be respected. But Celeborn and Galadriel! It always amazes me, just how much they've been through - and supported others through, in their turn - over the centuries. It was fun to look at a more unexamined part of their timeline. [face_love]

    earlybird-obi-wan: This part of the tale really was one of Tolkien's master-strokes, that's for sure! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed. :)


    Now, it's time for me to chip away at the NSWFF prompts - this time with Shall we dance. This is the next up in my Caranthir/Haleth arch of ficlets, so prior reading is almost a must to understand what's going on. To that end, I finally went and sorted all of these stories into an index on the first page - which did not destroy my eyes . . . at all. [face_hypnotized]:oops:

    I hope you enjoy! [:D]








    we have drank each other thirsty

    CCXXX

    Their third spring together, Caranthir was not able to return to Estolad as quickly as he would have liked.

    To his consternation, Maglor and Maedhros lingered beyond the winter season, and called a great many of their allies to gather together at Lake Helevorn following the spring thaw. The location of Mount Renir was central enough to receive the Elves of the River-lands who would answer their call, as well as those few Finrod was able to coax from the Sindar of Nargothrond (even if his suggestion of meeting in peace, with the good of all in mind, fell unhearing on Thingol's ears), all the while being accessible enough to a good part of the Leaguer in the North. Only Fingon and his folk had a long way to travel in the name of King Fingolfin, and yet, Fingon was often making the long journey between his and Maedhros' places on the siege-line, and his care for the distance he had to travel was not one any of them worried for.

    Caring not for the insult that would be taken for their decision, Celegorm and Curufin refused to move from Himlad for disdain of the Sindar who would be in attendance – and, beyond the Grey-folk, they had little care for the few great Men of Dorthonion and Dor-Lómin who would be travelling with Finrod and Fingon, no doubt. While the recent news of Aredhel's murder, and the solved mystery of her long disappearance, had been as a blow to them all – even Caranthir had held the letter from Fingolfin in his hand, and felt the hot prick of tears behind his eyes when he remembered the fierce white light of her soul with fondness and regret for such a waste - Maedhros was in a rare rage over the obstinacy of his brothers for their placing the blame for one of Thingol's lords on the race as a whole. Celebrimbor looked truly awkward and miserable for having to relay the words of his father and uncle when he came to stand in their stead, and his disposition did not all improve in the face of Maedhros' anger.

    Seeing so, Caranthir dutifully swallowed away his own wish to be gone – for, what was one less son of Fëanor when there was a surplus to see to such a gathering? Truly, his missing would only appease their Sindarin visitors more -

    “ - or slight them, with having the lord of this keep absent when they finally find it within themselves to swallow old hatreds and visit with hands extended in friendship,” Maglor was the one to sternly point out. “Your mortal will keep for a few weeks more, Carnë. She well knows the burden of leadership, and is fully aware of the responsibilities you owe your people; you will not turn your duty aside now.”

    Even so, Maglor's eyes softened when he bowed his head in acceptance, and his brother's hand on his shoulder was as supportive as the brush of his spirit across his own – understanding and sympathizing in a way that few others truly could. And yet . . .

    . . . the fact remained that he was so aware of time now; time, and their lack thereof. He felt every passing hour . . . every moving day . . . every swiftly flowing year, as if they were sands in an hourglass, and someday . . .

    If Caranthir was more reticent than usual with his guests, no one thought the better of it – for such was a reputation he'd more than earned over the centuries, and he did not bother to remedy others' perception of him now. Even so, he allowed Fingon to turn his bow in greeting aside in favor of embracing him outright – ever astonished as he was that Endórë and their family's trials therein had yet to vanquish the cheer and warmth from his cousin's spirit. When Fingon drew back, Caranthir gave his sympathies for Aredhel with true regret and mourning in his voice. Fingon's second of clouded eyes was the only grief he showed before he hid his expression in another embrace, and then the moment passed.

    This time, Caranthir did not need Maglor's prodding to incline his head to Finrod. He civilly welcomed Angrod when the fierce, golden lord glowered at him; and even exchanged a few words with Aegnor when he moved to talk in pleasantries all the more so to cover up his brother's rudeness. All the while, Finrod watched him in silence - for while Caranthir cared not for Eldalótë's affections any more, nor resented the man she chose over him when he instead knew such a relief for her decision – such was something he could certainly not say aloud to her husband and his kin. As a result, there was curiosity in Finrod's eyes for his manners - no matter how strained they were – and even though he ducked his own eyes away before Finrod could look, and see, he did not think that he did so fast enough.

    With more curiosity did he receive the Bëorians from Dorthonion, amongst them being Chieftain Boromir and his children – his young son Bregor and his very young daughter Andreth - with true interest and a host's hospitable graciousness. This too did Finrod watch, and observe, but never spoke a word of outright. From Dor-Lómin he had the pleasure of meeting Hathol Magor's son, grandson of Marach, along with his very young son Hador, who watched all around him with a solemn intensity to his cool blue eyes. The children were a bright spot amongst the gathering for most of the Elves therein, and Caranthir felt an unexpected pang of missing for Haldan, wondering how much the boy had grown in the winter he had been away.

    It was not until the third day of their gathering that he felt a strange sort of brightness flush across his spirit. Such was as he usually felt when he crested the hills of Estolad, drinking in the feeling of his bond with Haleth turning open and full once more, and, finally, he understood . . .

    When he made his way to the main gate to find Haleth herself arguing with his guards about her identity - fiercely berating the elvish memories that forgot her time dwelling there just four years ago, he teetered between astonishment for her presence, amusement for her ire, and a hungry relief for her being so near, content as he was to drink her in and look his fill for that stolen moment. As it ever did, the season they had spent apart had weighed upon him, and even without knowing the hows or whys of her being there, his spirit seemed to lighten in her presence. His body felt loose and his heart buoyant; he could not keep his smile from his face, no matter who was there in the rather bustling courtyard to look upon him and take notice of.

    But their bond worked two ways, and only a moment passed before Haleth paused in her speech and tilted her head to the side, and for her doing so . . .

    Caranthir finally stepped out from the shadows thrown by the arches and columns circling the courtyard, and assured his bewildered guards that she was indeed who she said she was - and was most welcome in his halls, at that. Haleth gave a deep sigh – exhaling crossly, it would first seem, but he alone knew that the motion was more as the banking of a fire. She was weary – exhausted, even – as a warrior at a battle's end, finally understanding that they could partake of rest and sanctuary. He immediately reached out to buoy her spirit with his – feeling a matching peace settle in his bones as his fëa reached out to eagerly drink her in, and yet -

    “There were rumors of more of our people crossing the mountains near Thargelion, from Hildórien beyond. We thought to welcome them,” Haleth gave her reasons for showing up at his door – as if needing to explain her presence further. Even so, he saw the way that she glanced around as she spoke, and knew that her words were not entirely for him. Her cheeks were flushed with a high red colour as she continued, “If there was anyone from the East, it was only scouts, or a stray traveler or two; my men and I found no one, and rather than immediately continuing back on to Estolad, I thought to take up your previous offer of hospitality to any of me or mine who should ever need it.”

    Though she spoke as one leader addressing another, he was close enough to see where the fingers of her left hand tapped against the pommel of her sword, while her right hand fiddled absently with the braided leather of her skirt. Softly, she gave out a huff of breath – and he felt the whisper of annoyance from her mind, cross as she was for knowing that she had given into the urge – the need – to stop and see him where and when she could.

    “You need not explain yourself to me,” Caranthir assured her, not bothering to speak to her as an equal only in name and power. He merely kept his voice low so that no one else would overhear. “I am all too happy to see you, and am sorry that you found yourself so neglected in the first place. If I could, this is a duty that I would have gladly put aside for another time.”

    Though his words were whispered, they were still in the middle of the crowded courtyard, in full view of anyone who would care to look. They drew a few odd stares and whispers from passerby – especially from the Noldor who were not Fëanorian sworn, and already familiar with his bond with the Haladin. For seeing so, Haleth subtly took her wedding band from her first finger of her right hand, to move it to her left hand in the human custom, clearly self-conscious of the looks and the meanings behind them. Caranthir was not so quick to hide her away, however – any one of his people needed only look him in the eyes to know of his wedded state, and though it was tactfully not mentioned in polite society for his not announcing his match publicly, the whispers were still there, regardless. They were, he thought, some of the kinder whispers spoken about his family, and they had never particularly bothered him. For Haleth, however . . .

    “I did not realize that you were playing the host this day,” Haleth finally said, recognizing the different banners flying in the yard, along with the various crests and colors worn by those coming to and fro.

    “It would have to be a matter such as this to keep me from Estolad,” Caranthir felt his mouth press into a thin line to say, still annoyed by the delay as he was. But it was hard to hold onto his frustration when she was there, standing real before him; for that moment, all was right in the world.

    He watched her cheeks flush, causing the freckles dusting her skin to jump out in stark contrast. “My mind knew so,” she looked down to mutter quietly. “Logically I understood that you were merely delayed, and yet . . .”

    Her hand tightened over the pommel of her sword, and he felt the wave of uncertainty that had plagued her when he did not immediately return with the dawn of the spring – wondering if he had tired of her, or lost interest for the clear mortality that touched her body all the more so with each passing year. In reply, he exhaled, hurt for her hurt, as well as stung by her moment's lack of faith, before telling himself that such was not due to her view of him, but rather, the eyes through which she viewed herself.

    Caranthir frowned, his spirits slightly dimmer than when he first saw her, and yet, he was determined to assuage her fears however and how often as was needed. His spirit's bond with her would allow nothing less, and so, without words, he let her see the joy and completion he had felt when he first understood that she was there. He let her see the way he had not been able to look anywhere else, still mesmerized as he was by the fire of her spirit. What she viewed as her fleeing youth was inconsequential to his eyes when he only saw a strong body, hard and soft in all the right places, and a face more fair to him than even Varda's unearthly countenance of celestial beauty - for such was uniquely her, and if their setting was more private . . .

    Perhaps too much, he enjoyed the way her blush deepened, even though his sharing such thoughts was as a double-edged blade when he could feel her regard in return, drinking him in as one thirsty, and he had to fight to keep his voice level as he said – louder, so that any listening could clearly hear, “I am glad that you took up the offer of my hospitality, my lady. Morgoth is a threat that haunts your people's steps, as well as our own. You are more than welcome here, for as long as these talks carry on, and I hope to see you dine with us this evening. The Haladin are a welcome addition to our council.”

    Haleth drew in a breath, composing herself, and yet, any reply she had to make was interrupted by Caranthir feeling a brush of awareness against his fëa. He was being summoned.

    Sighing, he waved a hand, and had Haleth and her men attended to and given the opportunity to rest from their travels, though he repeated his invitation to have them to feast in the Great Hall that evening. He had thought to steal away from his duties to see Haleth before that, but his hands were quite tied as a host, and he found not a moment to spare – hardly to tend to himself, even. He breathed in and out with his frustration throughout the day lest he take out his ire where it was not deserved - from the suddenly inept men manning the kitchens, to Maglor, who pulled him aside from saving the pastries to ask if the rumors were true, and she was there. His elder brother's sad taste for gossip, however, was ignored in favor of the burning cream sauce, and Caranthir avoided Maglor well enough after that.

    Much to his annoyance, he did not see Haleth again until that evening's meal, and he found it difficult to keep his gaze on those he was seated next to, as proper civility demanded. The laws of etiquette had him seated next to the high-princes of the Noldor, and he had to sneak glances over the rim of his goblet of wine to look much further down the table to where Haleth was seated next to Chieftain Boromir's family. She was not meeting any of the curious elven gazes turned her way, but rather, kept most of her attention on little Andreth, who looked like a doll all dressed up to feast with her large brown eyes wide and awe-struck as she looked around her. Caranthir felt a pain twist at his side - shared from her spirit, knowing that in a deep, secret place within Haleth's mind, if she was ever a mother, she wanted -

    - but that was the possibility of another life, not this one, and Caranthir frowned into his wine, inordinately annoyed when Fingon laughed outright at one of his own jokes. Fingon always had an easy, cheerful demeanor – and his gaiety turned all the more so whenever Maedhros was too severe for his own good . . . as he was now, Caranthir understood, looking up to see that his brother's eyes were not on Fingon, but rather . . . Maedhros looked back and forth between he and Haleth, and Caranthir could not tell what his thoughts were. He'd always held an awe and respect for his eldest sibling, whom he saw almost as another parent, rather than a confident and boon-companion, and that distance had only grown since Thangorodrim. Maedhros had changed since Aman, changed into something fierce and fey, as if his spirit was lashed to his body by only the barest of strands, and all too often their father's fire was a living thing in his gaze as he dedicated himself to his self-appointed task of seeing Morgoth rid from the land . . . and not merely for sake of their Oath. Now . . .

    But Maedhros blinked, and turned from carefully observing Haleth in favor of counseling Fingon away from the wine – and, for a moment, everything was then as it once was, all of those centuries ago.

    After the courses were concluded, a minstrel struck up a chord, and many left the long table behind for dancing. Caranthir, grateful for the social divisions of the seating breaking up, stood with the intention of seeking out Haleth, but he was distracted by the Laiquendi lords from the River-lands, and he could not politely turn them aside – especially when the whole point of their gathering together was to convince every sword possible to pledge to their fight. With a sigh, he existed as a prince of the Noldor and gracious host for much of the evening, only able to follow Haleth with his eyes, whenever he could.

    Out of comfort, she stayed near to the men-folk gathered, he noticed. She laughed and drank with Boromir, and her eyes turned alight as she debated the ways of horsemanship and steel with Hathol. She seemed to be enjoying herself, he thought, and it was not until Finrod made his way over to the Men that he felt any sort of unease about her spirit. Finrod, who - beyond collecting Men as others would amass specimens of exotic insects or rare pelts, Caranthir had more than once thought unkindly - wanted to subtly inquire, and through his inquiring deduce . . .

    Curious, nosy, thrice-cursed Orc-son, Caranthir silently bristled. He, however, was unable to politely extract himself from his own conversation in order to rescue her – especially when his doing so would only confirm Finrod's suspicious, the Void take him for that – and he was more than grateful when he saw Maglor move to politely intercept, saying that he had noticed Haleth most of the evening, and had long been gathering the courage to ask for a dance. His brother's smooth manners and gentle words ever had him stitching over many an awkward situation with no harm done or offense taken, and Caranthir watched as Haleth put her hand within his brother's own with a new sort of trepidation rising within her. That, Caranthir could feel as a sudden wave washing over his own spirit.

    But Maglor's curiosity was touched with warmth and fond regard, and Haleth only needed one dance to relax in his presence. By the second dance, she was more worried about mastering the steps of the elvish reel – which was not at all designed with mortal feet in mind – than she was for impressing his brother. By the end of their third set together, Caranthir was relieved when he felt Haleth relax enough to speak with unthinking sarcasm when Maglor applauded her progress – to which he felt his brother's flare of humor and unexpected delight in reply. The sight warmed him, and after that dance, Haleth caught his eye, and tucked away a small, quiet smile before turning to where Andreth and Hador had sought her out, requesting stories about the Siege of Thargelion with awe shaping their bright, childish voices.

    Caranthir felt a pang of memory pierce her spirit for her fallen father and brother, but she covered it well to indulge the children – who carefully sat down with plates of pastry and mugs holding their allotment of hot, spiced wine for the night, and began her tale. Before long, she had gathered more than just the children as her eager listeners, and Caranthir ignored Angrod's snorting outright when she came to describe the less than savory moments in his first dealing with her. His own ire for the other man's amusement, however, was soothed by Haleth's warmth and fondness for the memory - for, had he not challenged her so, and drawn her own steel in return . . .

    He smiled, and was quite lost to the conversation of his own companions for some time.

    The evening went on, and slowly, his guests filed away and turned in for the night – all but for he, who was tied first by one task and then another. By the time he returned to his rooms, there was little time left until the dawn, and he scowled as he put his circlet and heavy robes aside for the night. His frustration only increased when he realized that his bed was not empty – Haleth had clearly tried waiting for him, only to give in to the call of sleep, and Caranthir ran a hand through his hair, hating that he had not been there for her.

    But what sleep he was allowed that night was made peaceful with her by his side, and he slept better than he had since leaving Estolad, all those months ago.

    By the time he rose – later than was his wont, which was not surprising with the lack of sleep he'd been forcing his body to work through as of late – Haleth was already gone, and he frowned at her empty half of the bed, feeling a missing for a place he'd long been used to having empty, just that quickly.

    Caranthir did not break his fast with the rest of his guests – he had time for tea, and was just reaching for bread and butter when there was a knock at the door, summoning him, and his day began in earnest.

    It was not until after the noon hour when he was able to wrestle away a moment for himself. As soon as he did, he followed his bond with Haleth, concerned when he was able to feel frustration pouring off of her in nearly tangible waves, causing a surge of agitation to fill him in response. He found her in one of the dining halls – one more commonly used when his people were absent of guests, with a grand arched ceiling and a sweeping view of the mountains beyond them. Even though the room was more informal than the Great Hall, it was still larger and more ornate than the mead hall where the Haladin gathered to conduct their affairs of state and attend weddings and their seasonal festivals, and the empty room now seemed to swallow her as she hummed and put herself through the same steps over and over again . . . for which it took him a moment to recognize the dance from the night before. What was a thoughtless thing to him – a simple set of steps, taught to most Elves during childhood – was a formidable task for Haleth, for her mortal limbs did not move as seamlessly as an elven stride, and the pattern looked comparably ungainly and choppy on her. Such, he thought, was the source of her frustration.

    “What is this?” he announced his presence by asking aloud.

    Haleth spared him a glance before looking down, her face fixed into a fierce glower. He could feel her temper shimmer about her like a curtain, and knew – even though such was not directed at him – that he'd best step with caution. He took a moment to glean the source of her ire from the forefront of her mind – he did not have to dig deep, at all - seeing where she had hated how out of place she had felt the night before. She was now determined to fit in in even the smallest of ways, for which she now attempted to learn -

    “I hate it when you do that,” Haleth finally said, pressing a hand to her temples.

    “Yet, it does speed up what would have been a long and uncomfortable conversation, otherwise – which would have ended with one or both of us in worse humors than when we began,” Caranthir pointed out.

    Haleth sighed, and shot him a look – a not entirely kind one - but he could see where her amusement betrayed her in the crinkling of her gaze.

    Wordlessly, Caranthir stepped forth and took her right hand in his own. He looked for her to protest, but when she did not, he led her through the first spin, only pausing to remark, “The dance may flow better if you cease treating each step as if you are marching into battle.”

    “But am I not?” Haleth returned, and her braid spun out behind her as her momentum carried her back to him. Even if she felt awkward and graceless – and the height difference between them was certainly not an optimal match for such things – he enjoyed the way she fit against him, and her body moved well with his own. Though she did not have the fey grace of most of the elven-women he knew, she did have a beauty in motion that was all her own, and he appreciated that now – even if she only looked at herself and saw where she was wanting. "Every step I take here is a battle, it seems, and I am not sure whether or not I am advancing or retreating."

    “Has any caused your reason for complaint?” Caranthir's voice was a low rumble of sound, and she looked up at him, frowning as she considered her reply.

    “No,” she answered once, and then, “no,” she said again in a more convincing tone. “It is not anything your kin have done – it is only in my mind that I am so ill at ease. It is . . . it is strange for me; your folk are either merry and gay, like children – and as endlessly curious as children, at that. I had to duck twice in the halls to avoid Lord Finrod, though I know he means well. It is only my mood that does not appreciate such questions . . . as if me and mine are an oddity to be studied and examined. And yet . . . if it is not bright cheer and laughter, it is . . . “ she shook her head and rubbed at her eyes, as if fighting away a pain from her temples.

    “What happened to make your brother like that?” her eyes suddenly sharpened to say, and he was taken aback by the force of her question.

    “Maglor?” Caranthir asked, knowing what she tried to say, and yet ill to speak of it himself. “Tyelko likes to say that he was dropped at birth, and though I love him, at times I do believe -”

    “ - you know that is not what I meant,” Haleth chided. She looked down, and their not-quite-a-dance slowed as she considered a memory, allowing him to glance into her mind to see:

    Maedhros, his eyes more silver than grey as he stopped her in the hall. Though she told herself not to, she could not help but stare at the upraised marks left over what she could see of his skin, wondering how he could stand before her after such a clearly told tale of wrath and ruin. When her eyes fell down to the leather brace he wore over the stub of his right hand, her gaze shot back up to his eyes, but that was no better – for there was something within them; something as a storm or an ocean tide, and though she understood the meaning of fey from her place within his own mind, this was different, this was . . .

    “He stopped to thank me for your happiness,” Haleth revealed. “And yet . . .”

    “He . . ." Caranthir swallowed and had to start again, "perhaps, Artanis is now the only one of our family more fey than my brother. Sometimes, he can forget to pull back when speaking to one of mortal days.”

    His words caused her expression to color, and at feeling the heaviness of her spirit, he knew that he had pressed on what had been a wound to her thoughts, the same as pushing a finger into a bruise. He sighed, and their dance slowed so that they were both merely standing, and staring at each other.

    “He wasn't always that way. I . . . I told you about Thangorodrim,” Caranthir said softly, not caring to speak about those days, even in passing – with the forceful inferno of their father's guiding light suddenly gone, and Maedhros lost while they could do nothing to save him . . . though Fingon soon proved that reasoning to be so terribly wrong. Fingon so easily rescuing their brother when they had stood by and did nothing was still such a shame that Caranthir could not bring himself to speak about – not even to Maglor, though he shared that thought with Haleth now. “He has not been the same since then,” was all he could finish by saying, unsure what words there were to give such a tale a voice.

    “I have stepped into the middle of a bard's tale,” finally, Haleth exhaled after a long moment, reaching up to run a hand through the disheveled strands of her braid. “I walk through myth and legend, to be apart of your tales for but a blinking . . .”

    His reaction to her words was as a physical pain; he grimaced, and frowned for the truth of her words, even so.

    “Mankind exists for merely moments in the face of your days,” Haleth continued to say, her voice muttered and far away. Even so, he still held her one hand in his own, and he felt the way her fingers flexed, holding onto him tightly. “Perhaps the One knew what he was doing when he created us far and apart; perhaps it was meant to stay that way, for, here - "

    “ - here, you will always have a place,” Caranthir's voice was fierce as he swore.

    “Do I?” Haleth asked, raising a brow and peering into his eyes. “Do you ever feel as if I do not belong in your life? I fit poorly within your world, and though I love the place you have carved into mine, it is a forced fit, even so . . . Even the simplest of your reels is not made for mortal feet to dance; our bodies simply aren't equipped for it. And if not that, then - ”

    “ - I hate to disagree with you, but until you have seen Finrod dance -”

    “ - Carnistir,” Haleth sighed, annoyed by his returning her concerns with humor, “are you listening to me?”

    “I am,” he confirmed, his jaw fixing into a stern line with his words, “and I shall indulge such foolishness only with foolishness in return. I feel as if I have said this many times, and I will repeat it as many times as needed: you are my joy in this life, for how ever long I may call that joy my own.”

    “You have to say that, you have no other choice – not now,” even so, Haleth sounded only weary as she forced herself to quip.

    “Now who is speaking foolishness?” Caranthir returned. When she looked down, he reached over to tilt up her chin and meet her eyes. His thumb gently ran over the curve of her cheekbone, and he hated that there was the wet shine of tears within her eyes.

    “I am sorry,” Haleth mumbled. “I am feeling particularly maudlin today, and I fear that I have tried to drag you down with me. I should not do so - especially not here, when I know that you have many things weighing upon your mind. The years we have to us are short, and I do not want you to ever look back, and remember . . .”

    Though normally thoughts of their time together ending were those he simply did not think about – for he yet could not – there were other times when that was all he could focus on. He understood the heaviness of her thoughts, and though normally they were reasonably successful with keeping their spirits above water, there were days that were deep and black, and now . . .

    He leaned forward to wrap his arms around her, pulling her tight against his body as he ran a comforting hand up and down her back. The top of her head only came up to the hollow of his throat, and she turned her cheek so that it pressed against his heart. Instead of standing tall on her own, she returned the embrace; she clung to him until her fingertips were white from where they pressed into his skin, and her heartbeat hammered as a child afraid of the night. She often said that their parting would be hardest on him, for he would have to live on without her, with only memories to sustain him, and yet . . . I do not want to pass through a veil that has not of you upon the other side, he heard her spirit sigh before she could shield the thought from him. He felt a rise of fey feeling within him, knowing that if he could, he would challenge the Powers for this too, the right to cling to her, to keep this as his own . . .

    What was the One thinking? he thought then, but not as she had either. To place this great longing, this great love within me, and then allow us but a blinking with that bond? I do not understand; I cannot accept -

    But the moment was ruined by a soft voice speaking from the door, first clearing his throat, as if he had been lingering for some time, and only just announced his presence – regretfully so, Caranthir knew when he felt Maglor's spirit brush his own.

    “Carnë,” his brother apologized, “Our council is about to meet.”

    Caranthir stepped back from Haleth so that there was a breath of space between their bodies, shielding her as she reached up to wipe at her eyes – knowing that she wouldn't want anyone else to see her moment of self-perceived weakness. The physical proof of her grief did not help the already fey cast of his spirit in the slightest, however, and Haleth knew so. She summoned a shaky smile – for his sake, rather than her own, and said, “Go on, you have duties to attend to. I will be waiting for you.”

    He caught the flickering to her words, and he could not help but ask, “Here?” in a voice that was smaller than he first would have liked it to be.

    The corners of her mouth were sad when she shook her head. “Not here,” she whispered. “My men are anxious to return to Estolad, and I . . .” I cannot stay here, he caught the thought from her mind, here where all is immortal and fair, and I am constantly reminded . . .

    “I will come when I may,” Caranthir promised after finding his voice, understanding her reasoning, even though he liked it not.

    “I know,” Haleth inclined her head, and those words, at least, were firm in their certainty.

    Uncaring of their audience, he leaned down and kissed her, cupping her face in his hands and pouring what he could of his love and fierce regard for her into the gesture. She rose on the tips of her toes to return the kiss, and her fingertips dug into the tops of his shoulders to give him better balance. But the moment was done all too quickly, and he stepped back to see her already fixing a carefully bland expression upon her face, so that none could see that she felt anything otherwise.

    After a long, silent moment, he turned, and slowly, he left with his brother.

    Maglor did not speak until they were well down corridor, and the dining hall left behind. "Are you well, brother?” his voice was low and warm, and Caranthir heard a Singer's note of shared-warmth and healing in the shape of his syllables. He let it seep into his spirit, trying to make that borrowed strength his own.

    “No,” Caranthir exhaled honestly, wordlessly thanking his brother for his support and empathy. “But I will be.”

    Though he meant to keep his eyes fixed ahead, he turned back once. Haleth was not watching him leave, but rather, her gaze was turned down, clearly lost in thought. For a moment, he stared at her small shadow, nearly swallowed by the maw of the empty room, and blinked, as if trying to memorize her there.




    ~MJ @};-
     
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, wow. Wow. You touch on the felt and unspoken and the highs and lows of such a unique and precious merging of Kinds/Destinies. Each feeling is so realistic! Haleth was nothing if not welcomed by those who mattered at any rate but each moment there was a reminder, a thorn among the petals. [face_thinking] I can totally imagine that they'd feel every passing second, hour, day! And wish to hold on...absolutely. You also get the sense that they are assuring each other that despite everything they would never regret their choice or be able to make another.

    :) [face_sigh]

    Your stuff, even the title of this is - amazing!

    ^:)^
     
  23. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
  24. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Oh, these two just break my heart in the best of ways. I am glad that the emotions came across so vividly - they wouldn't trade their bond for the world, and any relationship is about dealing with the highs and the lows. That was just one of the . . . lows, and hopefully she'll be able to look back and see how warmly she was welcomed by those who mattered. [face_love] As always, I thank you for reading, and your insights! [:D]

    earlybird-obi-wan: [:D]

    I am still chipping away at the NSWFF prompts, this time with the once upon a time prompt, featuring a certain shield-maiden we all know and love. [face_mischief]


    First, a couple of notes:

    Dwimordene: Rohan's name for Lothlórien.

    Eorl: The founder of Rohan, who subdued the first horse of the Mearas (Shadowfax's ancestors), and came to Gondor's aid at the Battle of the Celebrant fields.

    Shield-maidens: Were a revered part of the northern society that Tolkien took his inspiration for Rohan from. So I named a few (allegedly) real-life shield-maidens that I believe should be properly recognized. (1) Lagertha: who helped her husband Ragnar Lothbrok rise to power as King of the Danes, and even after their divorce, came to his aid during a civil war in Denmark with 120 ships and saved his life on the battlefield. When her new husband quarreled over her decision to do so, and moved to strike her, she killed him with a spearhead, and ruled from that moment forth alone. You can see where the TV show Vikings took inspiration from that. ;) (2) Freydís: was the sister of Leif Erikson, and while in Vinland was famous for picking up a sword and rallying her brother's men during an ambush by the natives, doing so while pregnant and not dressed for battle, at that. (3) Hervor: was a brave, sea-faring Viking of great renown. She had mastery of the cursed sword Tyrfing, and her legend was one her daughter and granddaughter continued after her. Interestingly enough, the tales we have of Hervor are most easily known by Christopher Tolkien's translation of The Saga of King Heidrik the Wise, as his father took inspiration for Rohan, Mirkwood, a certain mithril-coat, haunted barrows, and even a dwarf named Durin from that tale. ;) So I have to imagine that Hervor was inspiration for Éowyn, as well. [face_love]


    That said, we can now go on with the story. :)







    “tale as old as time”

    CCXXXI

    When Éowyn Éomund’s daughter was a child of seven summers, she learned of death for the first. On the first day of autumn, her father fell in battle, defending the East-mark against a scourge of Orcs, and at the first touch of winter's cold upon the air . . .

    She was not supposed to hear; but the healers had no reason to hide their whispers when they did not know her to be near, and she stood silent and still behind the tapestry, her ears strained and her heart hammering so fiercely that she was certain that it would escape the confines of her chest.

    “Lady Théodwyn does not wish to recover,” one of the women said helplessly to the next, “and so she shall not. I have done all I can; the rest is in the princess' hands.”

    “If she truly wishes to join him, she shall soon have her wish,” the second woman sighed to reply. “Those poor children; fatherless, and now to be without their mother in the span of a single season? It is a cruel blow, even by the measure of these days.”

    Éowyn did not breathe so as not to disturb the drapes, and she did not think that she could if she tried as she turned those words over in her mind, pondering them as their weight settled in deep about her soul. She moved her mouth, but no sound out came; her fingers were small when she curled them together, but they still made a fist.

    She did not return to her mother's rooms for some hours, and it was nearly evening when she at last sat down at her mother's bedside – her posture straight as she had been taught, and her chin held so that it was parallel with the floor. She reached over to fix the collar of her mother's dress, knowing that she would have hated it being askew, before arranging her hair more neatly about her pillow. Her small fingertips rested against Théodwyn's brow for a moment, hating that her skin was clammy to the touch, both hot and cold at once. But her mother did not blink; she did not open her eyes, lost as she was to the world she saw in her fevered dreams.

    And Éowyn swallowed around her suddenly thick throat, feeling as if she held a stone on the back of her tongue. Even so, she forced her voice to remain steady as she opened her book of tales and started to read them aloud – giving the stories a voice until her throat was dry and her tongue felt thick in her mouth, wanting, needing to give her mother something, anything to latch on to and use as a line to help her return to the realm of the living. She could not fill in the role of husband, she thought almost desperately, but she was her daughter, and to be alone in this world without either her father's strong laughter, his fierce courage and great love . . . or her mother's gentle smiles, her soft counsel and dry wit . . .

    “ . . . and in the gardens of Lórien, Míriel the Queen of the Noldor laid down to sleep, and neither the Vala Irmo nor Estë his wife could persuade her to open her eyes again; not for the grief of Finwë her husband or for the needs of Fëanor, the infant son she had given her all to bear - ”

    “ - she cannot hear you, you know. It is useless to read to her – especially such tales of fae fancy as those.”

    Éowyn blinked, finding her eyes heavy from the strain she had placed upon them as she looked up at the arrival of her brother. Éomer's mouth was a hard line as he stared down at their mother, and she scooted aside to make room for him on the cushion she sat on. For a moment, she thought that he would refuse; he was only four years her elder, but their father's last command of watch over them while I am gone had resonated with her brother, and he had taken to his duty with a fierce and solemn determination. Éowyn did not yet know how to tell him that she wanted her brother, even more than her father returned to her, and was yet relieved when Éomer took the seat she offered him.

    “Yet, if there is a chance that she may hear . . .” Éowyn faltered, and could not quite find her voice.

    “She hears only father, and she follows him,” Éomer said, and though he forced his voice to be hard, she could see where his words pained him. He held his mouth together in a thin line, and he blinked furiously against the sheen to his gaze, which she found to be silly – for the greatest of griefs required tears to heal, and she would not feel shame to cry before him. She reached over and squeezed his hand, and her brother's expression turned open and raw before it closed off again – he willed himself to be strong for her, she knew, and she felt a twist upon her heart for her understanding.

    And so, she sat there and made herself a solemn vow. It was weak of her mother, she could not help but think; selfish, even, to exist for the dead, rather than the living. It was weak, and she then decided that she would never be so – she would be no woman waiting upon a man, living her life for a man, and then dying . . . but, rather . . .

    Éowyn closed the book, and put it aside, then knowing with all certainty that she would make her own path in life . . . and write her own story.



    .

    .

    When she was a girl of two and ten, she outraced Éothain on his new bay courser with nothing more than her brave and valiant little pony.

    Éowyn held her head up high, and laughed to proclaim herself as Eorl, praising her spotted pony as if he were Felaróf, father of the Mearas all the while. The pony tossed his white and brown mane as if he were a great war horse, prancing with his hooves held high – only to nicker in alarm when Éothain reached down from his much taller mount to easily push her from the saddle in her distraction.

    She blinked from the unexpected shock of striking the dirt, stunned to have found herself so suddenly reoriented upon the ground, before indignation filled her and she found her feet to answer the laughter of the older boys with a fierce glower of her own.

    “Spineless and craven I name you, Éothain Ethelstan's son!” she tilted her head up proudly to accuse. “I would have you face me fair if you found your loss to be so distasteful.”

    Yet, to her dismay, her placing a hand on the hilt of her wooden training sword only won a renewed round of laughter from the boys, and Éowyn found her cheeks flush red as Éothain looked to his friends - holding up a hand as if he drew strength from their derision, and then dismounted. He did not draw his own weapon, but rather, came to stand a breath away from her – emphasizing his greater height as his shadow fell down to swallow her.

    Yet, Éowyn merely lifted her chin, and stared him in the eye.

    “Be careful, my friend,” Éomer, however, did not approve of her treatment – and he only let her hold her own until he judged it to be long enough. “I do believe that she may take you, and I would not trust in fate if she held naked steel in her hand – if your footwork would prove to be anything as your horsemanship, that is.”

    The rest of the boys, however, were slow to laugh in reply to her brother's words. They looked uneasily, one to the next, and were only saved from choosing a side by the arrival of Prince Théodred. Immediately, many of the boys bowed their heads in respect, and even Éowyn dipped low in a curtsey – no matter that she viewed her cousin as an older brother, just as she did Éomer, with Théoden his father being the father of her heart, rather than just her uncle. Being twelve summers the senior of Éomer, he was the idol of many a young man's aspirations in the Riddermark, and Théodred, she thought, was well aware of the high esteem the youth held him in – if the twinkling in his eyes as he looked at her, and only her, was anything to tell by.

    He looked her up and down, and Théodred only smiled to see her face smeared with dirt and her hair impossibly tangled, wearing a man's breeches and tunic to better allow her to sit astride her horse. He ignored the other boys, and only paused to place a hand on Éomer's shoulder in greeting before standing right before her. “Cousin,” he greeted with warmth and affection in his voice, “I saw your ride from where we practiced with our own mounts, and I had to stop and give my respects. You and your pony made a valiant pair, and thus honored the names of our forefathers.”

    “I felt as if I was Eorl riding,” she leaned forward to say – whispering softly, only for him to hear, her voice a bit breathless as she remembered the feeling of the wind whipping back her hair and the rightness she had felt as her pony's hooves thundered upon the ground in swift determination.

    “Eorl?” Théodred repeated. “He would be a worthy match, methinks, and yet . . . I was reminded by someone else, though I could not quite put my finger on it at the first, for I saw a reflection of Lagertha the Spearhead in your ride . . . or perhaps it was Lady Freydís the Fearless, or Hervor the Curse-breaker I saw? All are worthy shield-maidens, greatly remembered by the history of our people . . . yet I believe that it is an even greater woman of legend who cast her shadow upon your soul. Haleth the Hunter I name you, and would bid that all here remember that.”

    “And who is she, to be so remembered so?” Éothain scoffed to hear. His temper was only worsened by the prince's arrival and clear favor, though Éowyn noticed that the rest of the boys were torn between a matching such scorn . . . and careful, hesitant curiosity.

    “She is one of the Three who made up the founding houses of Númenor the Great; and her blood is still to be found in the line of Gondor's Kings,” Théodred revealed in a mild tone of voice, not seeing fit to even glance Éothain's way. Instead, he stared unwaveringly into her eyes, the stormy blue of his gaze holding her own with their intensity. “Through her, Eru saw fit to bless a woman more so than he did most men who led at that time – seeing worth in her soul, no matter the gender of her body. Remember that, and the next time Éowyn coaxes more loyalty from her mount from you, Éothain Ethelstan's son, see only honor in the defeat.”



    .

    .

    As a maid of four and ten, she was dared to walk into the witch-wood of Dwimordene, and bring out one of the golden flowers of elanor that were said to grow within.

    The young men of Edoras were going on their first ride beyond the lands of the Riddermark to prove their mettle and the courage of their hearts, and Éowyn had been determined to ride at her brother's side – and with Théodred too fighting for her, Théoden had relented, though not all of the men who rode out quite approved of her presence.

    Éothain remained one of those naysayers, even those years later, and so, when he bid that she face the ancient forest of bewitched trees they were camped outside of – with firm instructions not to go within, out of respect for the Lady of the Golden Wood, who was said to be a sorceress of unfathomable power . . .

    She would not court the idea of backing down, however, so Éowyn gathered her courage and slipped within the shadows of the forest. Therein, she walked for she knew not how long, feeling as if the ageless trees looked down on her with sleepy, curious eyes. The forest was an odd thing to her, and she felt tight within her skin for being so far away from the endless fields of grass and dramatic hills of her heart's home. She had never before imagined that a forest could grow to be so massive, and within that forest . . .

    There was magic here, she could well imagine; it sang in the water, and whispered in the leaves, and when she at last came upon a clearing in the trees, she felt all of her uncertainty and her weariness for wandering fade away when she realized that the wood had a caretaker – a woman, who seemingly wore the sun netted in the golden curtain of her hair, and blinked at her with eyes made of starlight. Éowyn held her breath, knowing that she had found one of the fae-folk, and wondered if she had found the Lady of the Golden Wood herself.

    Instinctively, she fell to one knee and bowed her head low in respect, for while she held the blood of kings within her veins, this woman before her, this being . . . what was a daughter of Eorl to a woman of eternity? Within her gaze, Éowyn felt as if she could see the vast eddies of time itself wheel and glide, and she blinked at the weight of the woman's centuries as they came to bear upon her own mortal soul. Unexpectedly, Éowyn felt her eyes burn, and her heart seemed nearly weightless in her chest, as if it was being held out and examined in this woman's careful hands . . . yet, strangely enough, she trusted her to do so. She felt no fear; only wonder.

    “For what do you journey into these woods, child?” when the woman spoke, her voice was deep and smooth – as if the cord that bound the moon to the tides was then given a sound, and Éowyn held her breath in answer.

    “I came for a bloom of the flower elanor, to prove my honor and my bravery to those who would doubt me beyond these eaves,” she started, keeping her head inclined towards the forest floor. “Yet, I have found more than that now, and would simply take my leave with your blessing, if you would allow me.”

    The Elf stood from where she had been tending the flowers, and rather than speak immediately in reply, she tilted her head as if considering. She took a step towards her, and then two, and Éowyn noticed that her feet were bare. She made no sound over the forest-floor, and the light of her eyes glittered in time with the whisper of the high branches swaying in the breeze.

    “Great are the days stretched before you, Éowyn, daughter of Éomund,” the Lady finally spoke, her voice rich with a lilting power that Éowyn could not quite understand. “If but a bloom of Lórien will grant to you the courage those days shall need, then I shall give it gladly.”

    But Éowyn only shook her head, and could not agree. “I have trespassed, selfishly so; and I have nothing to give in return for a bloom of this wood.”

    There was no magic in the land beyond, she knew, and she did not wish for even a bit of this realm to wither and die. Her heart was heavy within her chest for merely the thought.

    “Yet, your payment shall be a hundredfold the bloom's worth when the appointed day comes, and glad shall more than my own heart be to witness it,” the Elf did not quite agree – speaking as Éowyn could not understand . . . not yet. “And long shall it be before these leaves wither and give way to winter. Return to your kin, young one, and go with my blessing.”

    When the Lady gracefully bent to kiss her brow, Éowyn seemingly felt peace and contentment settle over her, and a golden blossom was pressed into the palm of her hand before she had a moment to object to the gift. She looked down at the flower, amazed by the rich intensity of its colour and the silky softness of its petals. When she blinked, however, the Elf-woman was gone, and the clearing was empty.

    Éowyn's heart was racing, and she clutched her hand over her prize as she raced through the trees to find her folk again.

    It was after nightfall when she reached the boundary of the wood, and she flushed when she realized that she had been searched for. There was a moment's profound relief on both Théodred and Éomer's faces, even though it was quickly covered in favor of exasperation for her daring to enter the Golden Wood in the first place.

    It was some time before Éomer was able to take her aside, and urgently ask, “Did you encounter the witch? Did she harm you in any way?”

    “Did you get the bloom of elanor?” Éothain was more interested to inquire, his eyes gleaming in the light from the campfire.

    “No,” she simply answered them each before stalking over to her sleeping roll for the night. But her hand was still cupped over her prize, and when she drew the flower out where none could see, it was still a bright, burning shade of gold underneath the moonlight.



    .

    .

    As a maid of nine and ten, her world was confined to the halls of Medusheld as shadows seemingly crept through the walls of brick and mortar and sank into the mind of Rohan's king.

    Her uncle was not as he once was; with a dull, ghostly glaze blurring his once brilliant eyes of blue, and his greying yellow hair dulling and loosing its luster as the days went on. He moved slowly now, with none of the vigor and vim she had long associated him with, and his flesh was pallid and clammy – even underneath the warming rays of the noon sun. She walked with him arm and arm, not in familiarity and closeness, but rather, because she was not sure if he could keep himself upright without her support. Her arm was all that kept him from falling, and his grip about her trembled.

    When they came to the east pasture, containing that season's crop of yearlings, she spread out her blanket upon the grass, and bid her uncle sit. She was running out of ideas to bolster his health, but the warm sunlight above and the sound of the whinnying colts as they played with each other could do nothing but good for Théoden's soul, and, perhaps, return a bit of himself to him – or so she could only hope.

    But he only picked disinterestedly at the cheese and the first berries of autumn she had packed for them, and his eyes only focused when the cries from the prancing yearlings turned particularly loud as they raced on by. Even so, when the inquisitive youngsters trotted over to the fence line, looking for treats, Éowyn alone indulged them, and Théoden merely watched; looking, she could not help but think, without truly seeing.

    When the horses took off running once more, Éowyn was silent for a long while as she sat with her uncle. She took out her next attempt to rouse Théoden from his apathy – the book of fae tales he had once given to her in those terrible days following her father's death. Yet, she could not immediately bring herself to read the stories aloud. Instead, she stared at the horizon, once again letting her eyes search for the tell-tale sign of waving banners and sunlight glinting off of steel; hating that she was once again left alone in Edoras while her cousin and brother rode out with the fighting men. They left to defend Rohan with acts of valor and deeds of renown, while she, in her turn was left to battle -

    “My lady, long has your uncle's council been in search of him,” a low voice, as smooth as spider silk and just as deadly to those unwary, spoke over her shoulder. “Had we but known you that you had taken him hostage, we would have been spared many pains.”

    Éowyn felt a shiver creep over her skin, although the day was warm, and fought the urge she had to find her feet and stand on equal ground with him – not wanting to give away any sign of her discomfort. She had thought that the bright light of the day and the peaceful beauty of the land meant that he would not follow, but she was wrong. She looked up to find Gríma Gálmód's son staring down at her through too-large eyes; with the bright sunlight only emphasizing the unnatural paleness of his skin and the dull, slick quality of his hair.

    She stiffened, and set her shoulders to say, “As you have grown so fond of speaking through my uncle's mouth, I am surprised that you would bother with the pretense of having him sit where only your voice would be heard.”

    “My lady wounds me with her lack of belief,” Gríma put a hand to his heart to say. She held her jaw tightly, and told herself not to pick at her dress – fidgeting would only alert him to the fact that his stare unnerved her, and she did not care for the way his eyes traced the line of her collar and the dip of her waist . . . and lingered. “Your regard is as a knife to the heart.”

    “I care not,” she responded imperiously, and looked back down at her book again. “A pity, it is, that a snake may survive many such wounds before death. Or,” she let her eyes flicker up and over him, not bothering to conceal her disdain, “a worm.”

    But Gríma only made a disapproving noise in the back of his throat. “Théoden King cannot find his voice as of late, but yours would be most welcomed before the counsel, for your words are sharper than any sword. It would be a . . . blessing for any man to have a woman such as you by his side. I am surprised that your uncle has not blossomed underneath your tender ministrations, for they would be but bliss for another . . . and yet, his health only wanes all the more so with each passing day.”

    Sharply, she looked up to stare at him, disturbed to see but nothing in the dark pits of his eyes. She exhaled, and felt her next breath catch in her throat, wondering . . . but although a part of her knew who was to blame for Théoden's fading health, in her heart of hearts, how was such a thing possible? Such black arts had been far from their lands for so long, and now, for her uncle to fall as Gríma rose in power . . .

    She had no proof, she thought next, her thoughts spinning wildly, and yet, she knew . . . and if Gríma did hold her uncle's recovery . . . or his further descent . . . so completely in his hands . . .

    Carefully, Gríma watched her thoughts flash across the surface of her eyes, and a sort of satisfaction bloomed within his own expression. As a whisper, she then felt as Gríma touched her shoulder, and gently, as a whisper, his fingertips brushed against the long fall of her hair. She felt bile rise in her throat, then wondering – fearing – what sort of price he would demand of her if so allowed in the days to come, and hating that fear as it rose up to rob her of her breath.

    But she jerked away from the counselor when there was the sound of an approaching stride – just as Gríma too took a step away, as decorum demanded. She was thankful beyond words when she turned to see her brother – with the dust of the road still marring his leathers and armor, and his brow furrowed into a concerned line. She met his eyes, and held her chin up as best she could.

    “My men have just newly returned from the East-mark, and I would not bother my uncle with such sundries as our reports when there is no need,” Éomer said to Gríma, with steel lining his voice. “Go, Éothain awaits you.”

    Power though the counselor may have gained, it was that which only stood when her cousin and brother were away, Éowyn thought . . . or, at least, so it did for now.

    Even so, she exhaled a sigh of relief when Gríma bowed his head and whispered, “my lord,” in a voice that nonetheless revealed a ghost of his disdain, and then he was gone.

    When Éomer turned to her, she forced her mouth into a thin line, and blinked away the tears building from frustration she could feel within her gaze. There were questions in his eyes, but she could not answer them - not yet.

    “Later, we will speak,” Éomer said gently, understanding, and when he touched her shoulder she leaned into the affection, turning to rest her cheek against his arm for but a moment – finding her strength to be refreshed by the promise in his voice.

    When he turned to tend to his men, she squared her shoulders, and wiped fiercely at her eyes with the heel of her hand, refusing to give in to her darker thoughts – or her tears, any longer. Determinedly, she returned her attention to the book in her lap, and forced her eyes to focus on the page as she reached over to clasp her uncle's hand in her own – though he gave but no sign that he recognized her touch, or had been aware of any of the conversation that had occurred around him, she thought with a pang.

    And she started to read aloud, forcing her voice not to tremble all the while, “ . . . and Idril Celebrindal felt the eyes of Maeglin Eöl's son upon her, and looked not in return, knowing as she did, that in such a perverted desire, only heartache, and tragedy could be reaped . . .”



    .

    .

    As a woman of four and twenty, she saw her first of true battle . . . of love . . . of heartbreak . . . and found them all to be much the same.

    Though her arm was healing with every passing day, and only a faint weariness lingered about her body from the fell dread of the Black Breath, the healers still refused to let her go any further than the gardens. She chafed underneath their watch, even as she placed herself where she could see the black outline of Mordor beyond, and daily imagined the great deeds of renown that were occurring there, even as she sat still and once again lost herself in the dull monotony of waiting. It was not right, she could not help but think, that so many brave and noble men were warring and dying for their shield-brothers, for their people, for Middle-earth as a whole, even, while she . . .

    She clasped her shawl more securely about her shoulders, and bit her lower lip so as to avoid the tears that were waiting to fall. Her mind was not content since felling the Witch-king . . . since her uncle's death . . . since Aragorn's rejection; she felt stifled, chaffing in her very skin, as if the ache on her soul was a wound that constantly itched, and she could do but naught to relieve it.

    The healers whispered that such was a result of the Black Breath, and a lingering ailment of her encounter with the Witch-king, but Éowyn knew better, and she feared . . .

    Sighing, she sat back in the chair the healers had set up in the gardens for her, and turned through the book of tales that they had been kind enough to fetch for her. Any other time, she would have been thrilled by such an offering – for the halls of Minas Tirith were overfilling with lore from the Elder Days, and she normally would have wanted nothing more than to lose herself in the countless pages awaiting her. But there was a time for the pen, and a time for the sword, and now . . .

    She flipped absently through the pages, feeling her heart twist when she came to a familiar tale. She paused over the beautiful words, reaching out to trace Lúthien's fervent pleas before Death itself, and a new ache filled her heart, thinking of Aragorn and his Elf-maid . . . his Lúthien, holding his heart while she waited patiently for his hand, leaving Éowyn alone in her regard and wanting . . .

    “Ah, this tale is a much favored one of mine.”

    Éowyn looked up to see a slight shadow marring her view of the dark land beyond, but without her will, her mouth turned up in a smile, no matter how small – and the expression seemed to light a spark of satisfaction in the eyes of Faramir Denethor's son. She sat up straighter for seeing so, and as he sat down in the chair next to her own – which she had not been waiting for him to come out and fill, as he often had in their last sennight together as prisoners of the Houses of Healing – she discreetly reached up to dry her eyes with a determined hand, not wanting him to see proof of her grief.

    “You believe in such fae tales?” she asked when he was settled, raising a thin brow in question.

    “I believe in history,” Faramir countered, “just as I believe in the lessons one can learn from those who've come before us.”

    He had moved his chair close to her own, and he leaned over to peer at the open pages of the book she held in her lap. This close, Éowyn noticed that he smelled of pine wood and something brighter than that, something that she could only think to describe as sunlight and sky. When he bent his head to better see the book, she noticed the strands of umber in the seemingly black shade of his hair, and she stared at the slant of his brow and the line of his nose as if he were a riddle; a fascinating thing. His hand on the open pages of the book was very close to her own, she realized, and the knowledge sat oddly within her, filling her with a warmth she could not quite explain.

    “And, what's more than that,” he tilted his head to confide, his soft grey eyes twinkling, “all my interest in lore aside, I must confess myself to be somewhat of a romantic; this tale has always moved me . . . to fight for one's love so, against all odds . . . Boromir often liked to tease me for it, and yet . . .” but his bright gaze then dimmed, and she saw a shadow of the same restlessness she felt in his expression . . . the same discontentment . . . the same yearning.

    And something within her heart twisted, though the ache did not wound her as she moved her hand from the pages of the book to cover his own. A cool breeze swept down from the mountains, and she watched it tease at his hair as she gathered her courage to ask, “Would you care to read the tale aloud, my lord? I would not tell the healers, but I do tax myself too easily as of late, and my vision is already weary from my reading for too long. Yet . . .”

    “It would be my honor, my lady,” Faramir did not make her explain further, and she ducked her head to hide the flush that had unexpectedly bloomed over the curve of her cheeks. For a moment, she felt his stare, before he too looked down. He took a moment to gather himself, and then turned to the beginning of Lúthien's tale. His voice was strong and warm as the tale unwound, and for a moment she found that could forget that there were those living and dying beyond them. The soft, insistent voice that had too long held sway inside of her was then silent, and she did not keep her eyes open and fixed on the shadow of Mordor beyond.

    Instead, Éowyn closed her eyes, and found a moment's peace within herself as Faramir read to her old tales of heroic deeds and unfaltering devotion.



    ~MJ @};-
     
  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Grima is a slimy slitherly creature! :eek: Love Eowyn's forthrightness. :) Totally in character. Love her with Faramir - the tale they go over is a perfect one\ [face_dancing] You can feel her already starting to let go of girlish fancies and reach toward a maybe-perhaps of real love. :D [face_love]

    SQUEE!