Summary: On the eve of Thranduil's departure from Imladris, Elrond seeks to make peace with the crimes of Mirkwood's past.
Categories: FPS, FPS > Elrond/Gil-galad, FPS > Elrond/Isildur, FPS > Elrond/Legolas, FPS > Gil-galad/Elrond, FPS > Isildur/Elrond, FPS > Legolas/Elrond Characters: Elrond, Gil-galad, Isildur, Legolas
Series: The Folly of Starlight
Chapters: 7 Completed: Yes
Word count: 12052 Read: 18502
Published: August 23, 2009 Updated: August 23, 2009
Events occurring during "The Dance of Eternity" (after Legolas' injury and before Glorfindel's wedding).
Thanks to Emma for the beta job. Several lines of dialog taken from "The Quenta Silmarillion" (The Lost Road)
Comments are always cherished.The Folly of Starlight series
1. Prologue by AC
2. Chapter 1 by AC
3. Chapter 2 by AC
4. Chapter 3 by AC
5. Chapter 4 by AC
6. Chapter 5 by AC
7. Chapter 6 by AC
Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. Not only have I found that when I talk to a little flower or to a little peanut they will give up their secrets, but I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also - if you love them enough.
-- George Washington Carver
[Laire 34, the year 2717 of the Third Age, the dwelling of Elrond Peredhil in the valley sanctuary of Imladris, known in the Common Tongue as Rivendell]
With the delicate, feathery flicker of a solitary candle the singular interruption to the perfection of darkness, Elrond brooded in uneasy silence. He had not long before assumed this slightly sprawled position in a stiff wooden chair at the far end of the antechamber of the Hall of Healing, where his beloved slept beyond the doorway. The comforting cloak of night's shadow had finally fallen not more than a scant hour before. After the usual tending to the prince's wounds and the welcome poultice of words of tenderness, he kissed those sweet lips one final time, then held the other elf until the golden prince succumbed to the welcoming arms of Lorien's dreams.
Yet even though Legolas now rested in serenity and security, Elrond shared none of his lover's ease. Something was most definitely weighing on the younger elf's mind, something certainly related to an earlier visit his chief counselor had paid to his beloved.
"He merely spoke of the past, and the future." Although Legolas claimed his distraction was simply a natural reflection of Glorfindel's remembrances, Elrond's concern was not so easily assuaged. What tales of ages past could dim the light in those fiery eyes? A possibility too terrible to consider fleetly flickered through his reluctant brain. Elrond shook his head sharply, and with the motion tried to dislodge this mightily uncomfortable thought from his mind. It could not possibly be 'that' particular memory. Glorfindel would never take it upon himself to tell Legolas about so private and precious an event. No, Elrond knew his lover would entrust him with the true reason for his uncommon reticence, whatever its cause, but in his own time.
The thought that Legolas would keep secrets from him felt unnatural, unsettling. Yet how could he hold his lover to a higher standard than he held himself? For Elrond had his own secrets from previous ages which he knew he could not hide for long. Thranduil's stalking the halls of his home for the first time since the Last Alliance made the presence of those secrets much harder to ignore. I pray Mirkwood's lord takes the secrets of his past with him when he leaves in the morn.
Secrets bred as swiftly as rabbits, yet yielded offspring far less fetching. Elrond bore their scars, as had most of his line. He could not bear to think of his precious Greenleaf suffering any further, especially not by his hand, no matter how well-intentioned his motivations. What was the true kindness -- to reveal the doubly hopeless nature of their relationship, to know the true fate of the High King's spirit, or to believe that it was Celebrian alone who prevented the binding of their spirits as closely as their hearts and bodies had become as one.
But once he loosened his tongue, what was to halt the waterfall of truth from cascading without bound? Which secrets would be revealed, and which would remain hidden in the tangled web of his memories? Could he reveal the reluctant choices of his past, and at the very same time keep hidden the sins of his lover's forefathers? But what good could come of burdening his beloved with the knowledge of past sorrows best left buried along with his grandsire's ashes?
With a forlorn sigh, Elrond wearily wiped a hand across his forehead, his mind replaying events of ages past he had not found the need to revisit in quite some time.
[Arvernien, Havens of Sirion. The year 538 of the First Age of Middle-earth]
"Hold still, Elros!"
Elwing's elder son squirmed in indignation under his mother's doting, exasperated ministrations. "Mother, I am not a babe. I can button my own tunic without your aid!"
An amused chuckle erupted at Elwing's other side. "Then why must Mother fix what your clearly expert fingers have overlooked?"
Elros scowled at the hauntingly similar, taunting face. "'Tis only a missed button, Elrond. Not worth the fuss."
"Allow me to be the judge of that, my son." Elwing smoothed out her son's tunic and undershirt, leaning back on her heels as she studied his beautifully sculpted features.
Eldar fineness and Adan strength mingled and complimented each other in both her sons' mirrored faces. "There - now you look a prince of Arvernien."
A derisive snort was loudly produced by the younger twin. "Perhaps he should go to Balar and challenge the High King for the throne of Endore."
"Perhaps I will, when I come of age," Elros shot back without blinking. "Our blood is as noble as his."
"So it is," Elwing agreed soothingly, readjusting the skirt of her simple moss-hued gown as she rose to her feet. "But why would you challenge Erenion Gil-galad's rule? Is he not a faithful ally to our family?"
"As faithful as any of the Kinslayers," Elros suspiciously murmured.
Elrond bickered back a short-tempered response, leaning menacingly into his brother's private space. "If he is to be counted among their number, then so should we, since we, too, are from the line of the Exiles. Perhaps you should spend more time listening to the Old Ones and less reenacting the capture of Morgoth with the manlings."
"That is enough," Elwing sternly ordered, separating her sons with outstretched hands before the argument turned heated. "The High King does not need you to defend his honor, Elrond, nor should you disparage it, Elros. He and Lord Cirdan are both kin and ally, and we owe them much."
"Then why does the King not visit us, if he is so concerned with our well-being?" Elros pouted.
"In good time," Elwing calmly explained, smiling at her elder son's admission of his true concerns. "He is needed in Balar, where most of our people reside. I have not seen him myself since my marriage to your father, although he sends messages often. Perhaps I will ask Lord Cirdan if he will take you both back with him for a visit the next time he graces our shores."
Excitement earnestly flashed in Elros' deep eyes. "The sea? We will cross the sea?"
"'Tis only a bay which separates us from the fair isle," Elrond corrected with rolled eyes.
"'Tis the same water which fills the greatest sea of all," Elwing negotiated masterfully.
"And you will cross the waters on Lord Cirdan's favorite ship."
"They say 'tis as grand as the one on which Father now travels," Elros chattered.
Elrond opened his mouth as if to protest, but catching the warning in his mother's eyes, simply nodded a smiled agreement. "Of course." His smile brightened further as he accepted his mother's silent expression of thanks. He reached out and gently brushed his fingers against the great jewel his mother ever wore upon her breast, wondering in awe as the warming tingle of its unique silvery-gold light pulsed through him.
"Take care, Aphadon, or it will burn your hand," Elros teasingly warned.
"It only burns the impure and evil, Celegur," his brother shot back without humor. "If you find yourself in trouble again with Hador's mother over broken pottery, you may wish it had struck you dead when you used to grab at it in the cradle."
Elwing shook her head, a sweet smile of amusement gracing her pale features. How alike her sons were to her husband's line, yet each in their own unique way. Elros had inherited the restlessness of Tuor's blood, craving adventure and the rough and tumble company of the Adan children of the realm. Elrond was the more introspective and thoughtful, content to remain close to home as Idril's line was wont to do. The light in his eyes as he prodded the Old Ones for tales of Doriath and Gondolin reflected a respect for blood and bonds his brother had not seemed to master. It was not to say that her younger son was not without his passions, but his were less close to the surface, and undoubtedly ran much deeper still. Although Elros was technically first in line to reign over this realm of refugees and exiles when her husband passed beyond life, she guiltily felt her younger child better suited in temperament for statesmanship. "Why must you two constantly wage a war of words against each other...."
The interrupting sounds of screams in the distance curdled the Lady's blood. Elwing jerked turned toward the door, instinctively gathering her sons to her sides.
Grim-faced Galdor rushed past the curtained entrance, his lieutenants close on his heels, their expressions tense and swords drawn. "My Lady, the sons of Feanor have crossed the river with weapons raised. You know what it is they seek."
A pale hand instinctively rose to the jewel-studded golden heirloom worn around her graceful neck. She felt the power of the silvery-gold light of the Two Trees pulse through her as her fingers brushed against the Silmaril, and found her strength renewed and increased. "What they have always sought, yet shall never find."
Galdor momentarily sheathed his sword, seeing the mirrored expression of terror in the twins' eyes. "It grieves me to say that some of our troops, both kin from Doriath and Gondolin, have already turned to the invaders' side, for what reason I cannot fathom."
"There can be no sane reason when Eldar turn upon their own," Elwing murmured sadly. She wrapped her arms more tightly around her twin sons' shoulders, feeling them both clutch at her robes in understandable fear. They had been raised on tales of the sons of Feanor and their heinous crimes against the Valar and their own kind. That her sons should have to face these monsters in the flesh boiled her blood. "Galdor, I must place upon you the most important and perilous task of all -- you must take a boat to Balar and beg Lord Cirdan and our King for immediate aid. I only pray you return in time."
"Lady, I will send another in my stead. My place is by your side. I swore an oath to your husband, whom I have known since he was a babe, that I would allow no harm to come to you in his absence."
"Galdor, I much appreciate your loyalty, but unless our allies make a swift advance in our defense, all will be for naught."
The ancient elf lord bowed reverently. "As you wish, my Lady. I shall not fail you."
Elwing smiled, watching as the warrior turned on his heels and sped from the room with the swiftness of Thorondor, ever aware of the pain Galdor must feel at obvious parallels to the fall of Gondolin. She drew in a steeling breath and addressed her next comments to the brothers Mithelas and Elthalion of the House of the Golden Flower, his lieutenants, also survivors of the Walled City's fall. "To you two faithful elves of Glorfindel's House I entrust a treasure more precious still than the stone I bear -- my sons. Take them to the waterfall at the edge of the forest and hide them there until the danger is past. My heart tells me to send them to Balar with Galdor, but my head warns me that the harbor will be too perilous to risk their safety."
Mithelas, the elder and taller of the two noble brothers, bowed respectfully, his hand tightly clutching the hilt of his sword. "No harm shall come to the heirs of Gondolin's King, not so long as breath still fills our breasts."
"The House of the Glorfindel the Fallen remains ever faithful to the line of Tuor Elf-Friend, as our late Lord would have wished," Elthalion offered, "and to the memory of Luthien Tinuviel and Beren the Brave."
Elwing smiled faintly and nodded. "The loyalty and bravery of your House have no equal. The sons of Feanor robbed me of my brothers -- I will not have them harm my sons. Once I know my sons are safe, I can care for my people, as my husband, and my father, would expect. The blood of my family has already been shed in the name of Feanor's oath. I would rather my blood be lost than the hope of my people, and their legacy. They will not touch the Great Jewel - not while there is still life in my flesh. Wait outside while I bid farewell to my sons."
The White Lady of the Vale waited until the guards were discretely outside the doorway, then gently pushed her sons away. Turning them to face her, she slowly sank to her knees. With tender strokes she caressed each child's hair with one of her hands, her gaze passing between their identical faces, memorizing every precious detail in case the worst should come to pass. In sorrow and hope she pressed a tender, lingering kiss to each child's forehead, her eldest first, then his twin. "So brave you both are, your father would burst with pride."
"Let me go with Galdor, Mother, and speak to Lord Cirdan on our behalf, in the name of my father," Elros beseeched. "I do not fear the Feanorions."
"And I shall stay by your side," Elrond chimed in emphatically. "Father would wish for me to protect our people."
It pained Elwing to hear her sons speak so definitively of the father they had never known. They had been born during his last and longest voyage in search of his own parents and the lost land of Valinor, in the vain hope of beseeching the Valar to intervene for the sake of both their Kinds, the Eldar and the Adan. "Your father would wish for his heirs to be safe," she gently explained, "and that means you must leave me, for a time. Mithelas and Elthalion will protect you, and that brings great comfort to my mind. Do as they say, and when your father returns I shall tell him all about your bravery." With a final kiss of her sons' cheeks, she bid them to leave.
As she rose to her feet, watching their last, hesitant, over-shoulder glances, her heart fell into her stomach, fearing it would be the last time she would look upon their fair faces. But she could not consider that sorrowful possibility now. She was Beren's heir, and the wife of Earendil, Lord of Arvernien. For the good of her people, she would lead them without fear, just as her father before her, and her grandfather in his time. As would her husband, if he were here by her side. Clutching the Great Jewel once more, she shrugged her shoulders into stately stature and strode out from her sons' bedroom, trusting in the Valar to give her the strength to meet her fate with dignity and wisdom.
The fiery, copper tones of Anar's departure from the sky blended seamlessly with terrible anguished flames which licked at the remainder of Sirion's structures. The fertile soil ran crimson with tastes of both Eldar and Adan blood spilt by the dreaded hand of the furious Feanorians and their allies. Beyond the visible evidence of the kin-slaying carnage, a trio of hastily moving elves impatiently hacked their way through the undergrowth toward a hidden glade. Duilach, captain of the guard, led his commanders with the proud, bold steps of a victor. The day had been long, and the battle harder than expected, and in the end the Sons of Feanor had been reduced from four to merely a pair.
Most sorrowfully still, the Silmaril was now eternally beyond their grasp. I pray this small token of success may bring some joy to my lords' hearts, the captain earnestly thought. "'Tis only a few moments more," he encouraged, clearing a path with his sword's swift snicks at the ensnaring vegetation. Finally they arrived at the promised clearing, the verdant mossy banks of a small stream punctuated with a tumbling waterfall beyond. The captain stood aside, allowing his lords to pass by as he pointed to his boasted of bounty.
"As I have promised - these unruly colts are the heirs of Beren, to do with as you wish, my lords," Duilach proudly presented.
The two remaining sons of Feanor strode into the glen, standing shoulder to shoulder as they silently studied the tableau before them. The aforementioned twins grunted and called out breathless curses upon their captor, a single, well-built guard who held each of the boys out at arm's length by the scruff of his tunic. The brothers swung precariously at a height above the ground that barely allowed them to brush the soil with tiptoed feet. The more vociferous of the pair froze, staring wide-eyed at the eight-pointed star embroidered in silver on the lords' tunics, then more directly at the ugly, calloused scar of a stump which peeked from the right sleeve of the taller lord's blood-stained shirt. A terrified glimmer of repulsed recognition flashed in the defiant child's eyes before he spat first at the guard holding him, and then in the direction of the new arrivals. "Nossgwarth! Nossdagnir! I would rather die than surrender to the Kin-slayers, especially Maedhros Erchamion himself!"
The ruddy haired elf lord scowled without humor. "Take care whom you disparage with the epithet 'one-handed', scion of Beren."
"Do not take their insults to heart, Russandol," his brother urged. "Although they may wish to seem as adults, there are still but babes, and know nothing of the wider world beyond these woods." He turned his attention to the smug-faced soldier who had led them here from the field of battle. "Their mother has thrown herself into the waves, their father vanished at sea, and the Silmaril is lost forever," Maglor sadly said, his voice a lyrical lament unto itself as he offered the twins a pitied look. "These orphans are of no use to us."
"Mother is not dead," Elros sternly protested. "Lord Ulmo will protect her, as he does our father, and his father before him. You will face their united wrath when Father returns to these shores!"
Maedhros strolled closer to the defiant, fiery-eyed elfling... manling, a wry smile upon his face. He had never understood the Peredhil, who seemed truly neither of their kinds. The children had the delicate details of the Eldar, even down to the fine points of their ears, yet at the very same time the bulk of Adanic children their age. What does Eru make of you, Peredhil, who are neither Firstborn nor Second? "Perhaps your parents are not dead, Child, but your home no longer exists, and you and your brother are truly as orphans."
The eldest son of Feanor watched for a moment as the boys more strenuously struggled against the rough grasp of the sadistically jubilant guard. "Release the children," Maedhros stiffly ordered, his voice void of discernable emotion.
The guard did as he was commanded with a rough shove and a crestfallen expression, obviously disappointed at the loss of his new-found toys. The boys tumbled to their feet, carried by the momentum of their previously vigorous struggle. With what dignity they could muster, the twins rose to their feet, hands brushing their torn and dirt-stained clothes. Desperate surreptitious glances were exchanged as both obviously sized up the possibility of escape and came to the same, silently sorrowful conclusion - they were prisoners as surely as if they were confined in the iron band of Morgoth's mighty crown.
"What would you have me do with them?" Duilach inquired coldly of his lords, disappointed in the lack of enthusiastic recognition of his captured treasure.
Maedhros spun stiffly on his heels to face the captain. "Do? Why must we do anything?"
"Ah, you would leave them here to die on their own," the guard incorrectly surmised.
"They will cause us the least trouble that way."
"In the name of Eru, I will not have the blood of more infants on my hands!" the fiery, russet-haired Maedhros roared. He glanced at his brother, who had protectively put himself between the boys and Duilach as a shield. Clearly the burden of innocent blood shed in the past still haunted Maglor's thoughts as heavily as it did his own. "Did we learn nothing in the defeat of Dior? We will give to them the same choice we offer the others of this land - to freely join our people without retribution. We came seeking only the return of what is rightfully ours - the Silmaril. It is not our wish to cause the death of any save those who would directly stand between us and our property."
"'Tis 'our' property," the fiery twin bitterly spat. "Beren, our father's grandsire, paid for it with his very life."
"As have all of the sons of Feanor save my brother and myself," Maedhros protested.
"'Tis two remaining Feanorians too many," came the insolent retort.
Sager thoughts obviously tamed the tongue of the more silent twin. "You will not kill all our people?" he inquired incredulously, hope rising in his voice and his keen eyes. Maglor turned and faced the child, his expression a mirror of pain as deep as Morgoth's dungeons. "What manner of monsters has your mother painted us to be, Young One?"
"The kind who would curse Lady Elbereth and kill maidens and children over a necklace!"
Maedhros ignored the fierce-tempered twin's emotional outburst, instead turning his attention to the obviously more even-tempered of the two. This one is more calculating still, he surmised, warily studying the intense scrutiny with which he was being observed. "What is your name, Quiet One?"
"Elrond," the boy calmly replied.
"I am Elros," the other twin swiftly added without hesitation, "the elder of Earendil's heirs."
"I see your mother understood your temperaments well when she bestowed those names,"
Maglor humorously noted. "This one has the solid stillness of rock, while the other has the hasty and reckless disposition of the sea."
"My mother was proud of our new home by Lord Ulmo's mighty waves," Elros protested with much sincere insult. "That is why she gifted her firstborn with their name."
"And her second born was named as such in honor of the great starry Menelthrond of her birthplace," Maedhros correctly surmised. "I have seen it with mine own eyes."
"When last you spilled the blood of my family," Elros spat.
"If your mother, and her father before her, had willingly returned what was not theirs to hold, there would have been no trouble, and certainly no blood lost - neither of your people nor ours," Maglor tried in vain to explain. "You are not the only ones to have suffered an egregious loss this day, Gwanunig. My twin brothers lie dead upon the very shores from which your mother flung herself into Ulmo's furious waves."
"You would have us grieve them, after all you have done to our family?" Elros laughed haughtily, his pain an unignorable refrain.
"We all have reason to grieve, Little Ones," Maglor soothed, reaching out a hand to lay upon Elrond's shoulder. Not surprisingly the boy shrank away, closer to the safety of his brother's familiar side. The fingers closed in on emptiness, then were retracted in guilty silence. "One pair of twins left life this day. I am in no rush to see another join in their fate."
Maedhros knew they could hardly explain their actions to frightened children who had just lost the only parent they had ever known, especially when the Noldor knew well that much of what he and his brothers had done in the name of the accursed oath was utterly indefensible. "Night draws near, and you are not dressed for the chill of evening," he gently explained. He pulled the cloak from his shoulders and tried to wrap it around one of the twins, but the child shrugged out of it and allowed it to fall to the ground as if it burned him like fire. "If you prefer to have your teeth chatter, I will not stop you," he laughed heartily.
Elros stared defiantly at Maedhros for a moment, then glanced at his brother, who had reluctantly accepted a cloak from Maglor. With a loud harrumph, he likewise accepted the warm outer garment Maedhros offered, shaking it out with exaggerated disdain before allowing it to touch his flesh.
Laughing at the final, defiant gesture, Maedhros felt his humor return for the first time that day. "Come, Makalaure, let us take our new charges back to the warmth of the fire and the comfort of a well-earned meal."
Elrond reluctantly allowed the shorter of the Feanorians to gently grasp his shoulder and direct him out of the glade, back toward whatever burned-out husk remained of the only home he had ever known. As they silently marched through the thick undergrowth, the glint of Ithil's clear sheen off steel caught his eye. Jerking his head in the direction of that hopeful sign, the breath was whisked from his breast in silent jubilation. There, beyond the path, safely hidden among the tall, leaf-burdened trees, a familiar face watched the troop with keen elvish eyes. It was Oropher, one of the Doriathians, his blade drawn and tightly grasped by his side. Elrond knew well that this particular exile from his maternal grandsire's home felt surprisingly little loyalty to the House of Earendil, for reasons he could never discern, save one muttered comment overhead that Oropher felt the Peredhil were little better than the Naugol and the Noldor. Yet all that pettiness would surely be cast aside now.
A flame of brilliant hope flickered in Elrond's eyes, then was cruelly extinguished just as swiftly. The twin locked eyes with his false savior, only to have his pleading gaze answered with a silent, sick smirk of satisfaction before the traitor turned away with purpose and stole away into the increasing anonymity of night.
"What is it, brother?" Elros whispered curiously to his noticeably crestfallen twin.
"We are lost," Elrond whispered forlornly. "Utterly lost."
[After the passage of four years, the forsaken wilds of Beleriand]
Another day ended in the anonymous wildness much as it had begun - weary and wary and without joy. The Fearnorians and their small band of faithful followers and distant relations kept a few days journey ahead of Morgoth's ever increasing reach by being mobile, tarrying in no place long enough to draw suspicion or attention. They regularly harassed orcs and other foul creatures as they could, reducing their fetid horde a single member at a time some days. It was futile, it was folly, yet it was all they could do save surrender or flee south to the island of Balar. But the sons of Feanor would not think to submit to Gil-galad's rule, although he certainly was counted as kin.
In public appreciation of Fingon's heroic rescue, Maedhros had long ago pronounced the line of Fingolfin as the true rulers of the Noldor in Middle-earth, and himself had given up all claim to the throne. This secretly acknowledged the bonds of love which none but they knew existed, and openly respected Fingon's burning wish to heal the rifts between the heirs of Finwe. In doing, so he had willingly accepted in the name of the sons of Feanor the title Mandos the grim had sentenced as their doom - the Dispossessed.
Finarfin and his heirs were another issue altogether. The youngest son of Finwe had forsaken the Exile and returned to Valinor on bended knee, begging the forgiveness of the Valar for his transgressions against their divine will. Maedhros was not quick to forget the disloyalty of kin, no matter the reasoning. If he had ever believed the line of Fingolfin would pass to Mandos' care before the end of this age without leaving a single male heir, he would have reconsidered his sweeping renouncement of royal rights.
However the matter was no longer his to decide, and at the fall of Gondolin and its ruler the title of High King had passed to the line of Finwe's youngest son.
Despite this uncertain environment, the sons of Earendil grew with the speed of eagles' flight, as normally did the Adan children of their age. With increased height also came greater strength, and a more obvious distance in disposition. Elros had never accepted their fate as wards of the Feanorians, considering himself as much a prisoner this day as he had that very first. Elrond had come to a place of peace in his mind and his heart, knowing well that his parents would have wished above all else for their sons to be safe and together. Maglor himself considered them both his fosterlings, and treated the boys as sons, at least to the degree Elros grudgingly permitted.
For now far more than temperament separated the heirs of Arvernien. Their appearance, once indistinguishable, was now unmistakably unlike, beginning with the unceasing hardness in Elros' eyes. The elder twin had cut his hair shorter than any Firstborn would ever dare, barely above his shoulders, in the style of the Adan of Arvernien. Elrond wore his hair at full length, the front adorned with sweeping, loosely looped braids in the distinctive personal style Maglor himself preferred. Maglor often explained that there was poetry in all things, even an act so seemingly simple as the braiding of one's hair. Elrond regularly aided Maglor in tending to the many wounded, learning much of the ancient art of healing at the Noldor's side. Elrond grew to see no difference between Maglor and the Eldar elders whose company he had so raptly savored in Arvernien before its fall. Elros saw nothing but blood spilt and the loss of his family and his home. Whereas the younger twin clearly held the future within his keen grasp, the elder mired in his obsession with the past.
It was in this unquenchable spirit of hope for the future that Elrond sat at the edge of the cliffside where the band camped this night, staring out at the western sky, toward the Blessed Lands his father had sought. Each night he silently did the very same, no matter where they pitched their oft-mended tents, hoping for a sign that his father's famed voyage in search of the Lady's aid in the fight against Morgoth's evil had not been in vain. He had told no one of his childish obsession, but he suspected Maglor, who seemed to know him better than he understood himself, was quietly aware.
A blustery breeze blew across the naked rock face, sending a shiver rippling through the boy's body. He brought his knees closer to his chest and wrapped his dirt-stained cloak more tightly around his lanky frame, yet the chill of the air and the desperation of his soul prevented any chance of comfort. As Anar's rays faded into the sapphire hues of twilight, Elrond sighed forlornly, his eyes reluctantly relinquishing their vigilant study of the heavens. With closed eyelids, his head rolled forward toward his chest, the hopelessness of his day-to-day life - nay, existence - crushing him despite his innate optimism. Ignoring the soft rustle of footprints clearly audible behind him, Elrond silently prayed whoever had unwittingly invaded his vigil would not break the silence, as he was not in the mood for the frivolity of conversation, no matter how well intentioned.
A voice strikingly similar to his own gasped in obvious awe, then uttered in wonder, "What strange star is that?"
Elrond instantly opened his eyes, a gasp of his own flying from his lips as he caught the reason for his brother's amazement. A brilliant beacon was visible, low in the western sky, its light steadier than any star and several times as bright. "'Tis no star the Lady has ever made," he offered in a hushed tone, rising to his feet.
The Feanorians rushed to where the twins stood, their eyes also trained skyward in wonder at the celestial sign. "Surely that is a Silmaril that shineth in the sky," Maedhros spoke slowly, his voice nearly trembling in its joy.
Maglor studied the singular star in silence for a moment, then nodded in agreement. "If it verily be that Silmaril that we saw cast into the sea that riseth again under the power of the Gods, then let us be glad; for its glory is seen now by many, and is yet secure from all evil."
"The Silmaril? Then Mother survived, just as I have always known," Elros triumphantly trumpeted.
"'Tis Father's ship which bears the jewel," Elrond added quietly, his eyes wide with wonder and hope. "Mother said it would appear on the horizon as a brilliant shining beacon of white in the light of Ithil."
"Then the Valar themselves must have given it the power to sail the heavens," Elros replied smugly in his prideful awe. "We are the sons of the brightest of the Lady's stars."
A hand grasped Elrond's shoulder from behind, and the younger twin turned his head to catch Maglor's smiling expression, and said, "So my father has found the Blessed Land, and the favor of the Valar, just as he promised Mother."
Maglor's smile brightened further than the boy had ever seen. "So it would seem."
"Then we are not forsaken by the Lady and her kind! The army of Valinor will surely come and aid us in our war against the darkness!"
Maedhros stood rock still, his eyes trained at the steady celestial beacon. "I pray it may be so," he muttered through his grimly-set jaw.
The Feanorians and their charges watched in wonder for moments and moments, then a solitary voice rose in delicate, mournful song.
Our gems are gone, our jewels ravished;
and the Three, my Three, thrice-enchanted
globes of crystal by gleam undying
illumined, lit by living splendour
and all hues' essence, their eager flame -
Morgoth has them in his monstrous hold,
My Silmarils. I swear here oaths,
unbreakable bonds to bind me ever,
by Timbrenting and the timeless halls
of Bredhil the Blessed that abides thereon -
may she hear and heed - to hunt endlessly
unwearying unwavering through world and sea,
through leaguered lands, lonely mountains,
over fens and forest and the fearful snows,
till I find those fair ones, where the fate is hid
of the folk of Elfland and their fortune locked,
where alone now lies the light divine.
Elrond listened in sorrow and wonder to this most melancholy of songs. Of all those he had heard Maglor sing over the past few years, none was as haunting, nor as plaintive.
"What manner of melody do you sing?" he whispered reverently.
"'Tis part of my remembrances of all we Exiles have suffered - the 'Noldolante,' the Fall of the Noldor."
"'Tis a sad song, the saddest my ears have yet heard," Elrond offered. He stared at his father's brilliant ship hovering in the twilight sky, its magnificence growing even greater as the darkness spread over the landscape. "Perhaps there will be some happiness in the end, now that my father has risen up against the darkness with the Valar's aid."
Maglor peered west and tightly squeezed Elrond's shoulder. "I pray it will be so, Lanthirant. For your sake, not for mine."
In silence, a mere step behind, the forgotten twin observed the obvious affection pass between his brother and his kidnapper with a scowl of disapproval tinged with jealousy.
Hands which had too often known the stain of shed blood, and too seldom given the consecration of caresses, now wrung together in the agony of uneasy memory. Elrond sighed more loudly than he intended, instinctively turning from the window to glance back where his beloved rested in the safety of well-deserved dreams. A relieved smile briefly broke the spell of solemnity on the ancient lord's face as he noted the slow rise of Legolas' chest had not been changed by his unintentional interruption of the silence. Cautious to keep his footsteps light and his breathing even more so, Elrond crossed the stone floor of the bed chamber, claiming a chair conveniently left at the prince's side. As the ethereal reflection of Ithil's silvery glow danced across the sleeping figure's delicate features, Elrond sat in rapt appreciation of the wondrous miracle slumbering unaware before his eyes. Despite his discretion, he could not help but reach out a single finger and tenderly brush an errant, golden wisp of hair from the prince's cheek. He was rewarded with an unconscious smile and unintelligible murmur before Legolas slipped back into the fullest depths of dreams.
Such a rich tapestry of emotions - the brilliant hues of joyous adoration intermingled with the darkest tones of regret and sorrow - wove around and through his heart. So many moments of potential joy had been wasted due to the ties of family and equally intractable, the self-imposed bonds of memory.
Of all the regrets he had accumulated in the endless passage of the ages, none cut him so keenly, even to this day, as his failure to see the chasm which had grown in their youth between his brother and himself. All the signs had been there, as obvious as the star which their father had become, yet he had somehow missed their desperate message. No, he could not claim ignorance, but, rather, self-imposed blindness, hoping beyond reason that Elros would come around in his own time, in his own way.
That turnaround had never come.
In their thirteenth year, the brothers and all of Middle-earth had rejoiced in wonder at the keen call of Fionwe's trumpet, heralding the arrival of Valinor's vast army upon their battle-wearied shores. Jubilant rumors that Fionwe was calling all the faithful to his side, to accompany the mightiest army Arda had ever known in a final assault upon the Dark One and his hellish hordes flew across the land carried with the speed of eagles.
The Fearnorians had quietly discussed joining the assembling host in lengthy private conversations, yet caution and deep-seated pride ruled in the end, as they long had. They would remain apart, as they had learned to live, until such a time as their aid would help assure victory, if any dared hope for such a possibility. Unbeknownst to their guardians, Earendil's sons had listened to the covert conversations in the feign of sleep, then argued amongst themselves in the light of the next day as to the wisdom or folly of the strategy. In the end, the battle of words had further deteriorated into the uselessness of physical force, the twins each raising bright reddish welts of color into the delicate alabaster of the other's face before Maglor separated them and their whirlwind punches. Neither had admitted the true reason for the first and only physical skirmish between them, choosing to bear their punishment of a lost meal and several nights' guard duty in glaring, grumbled silence.
It was at the end of the last night's sentry duty that Elros made his foolhardy escape, slipping off into the night with no more than a bedroll and a sword. It was dawn before any knew of the boy's folly, and Maedhros and Maglor spent the entirety of that day, and most of the next, personally scouring the woods and wilds for any sign of their errant charge. Few signs turned up, none suggesting foul deeds, yet at the same time none giving a clue as to the boy's final fate. In the end they had returned with heavy hearts and empty hands, and from that day forward, Elrond heard Maglor sing naught but the most sorrowful of songs.
Thus it was that as the twilight deepened on the second day of his brother's disappearance, Elrond lay burrowed in the somehow incomplete sanctuary of the tent they had for so long shared, inconsolable and exhausted....
[Year of the Sun 545 of the First Age, the wilds of Beleriand before the changing of the world]
Elrond buried his face in his slim pillow of a folded cloak, shamefully crying in the overwhelming burden of his grief. He knew he was far too old to behave as an infant, yet he felt as if a very part of himself had been lost in the wilderness, and rightfully or not, blamed himself for his twin's desire to flee. If he is dead, his blood is on my hands, now and until the end of my days. He vainly tried to choke back his sobs, lest anyone hear his childish lack of control. Suddenly he felt a hand gently laid upon his head, tenderly stroking his hair as his mother had often done when a summer storm frightened him from his dreams. "Mother?" he called out spontaneously to the darkness of his lonely tent, part of him hoping beyond reason that she had somehow come back to him. Instead, a dazzling, dizzying luminescence split the night, a hand instinctively rising to shield his eyes from the blinding, diamond-hued brilliance which filled his surroundings.
"Some call me the Mother of All," a voice of ethereal timbre lyrically laughed.
As his eyes adjusted to the astounding radiance before him, the boy clearly made out the form of a women of unworldly loveliness, dressed in a gown of shimmering starlight.
"Lady Elbereth?" Elrond whispered in his awe, instantly lowering his gaze in trembling reverence. He felt a finger gently raise his chin to meet the indescribable, overwhelming beauty of her face. So many emotions he saw reflected there - hope, joy, compassion, sorrow, love. He felt the tears well up inside him once more, but this time tears of unashamed jubilation at the perfection that was the Starkindler. "My Lady, I must ask of you, does my brother still live?" he urgently inquired, any hint of shyness falling by the wayside in his desperation.
Varda smiled sweetly, kneeling beside the child and stroked his cheek with all the tenderness of a mother. "He does, fair child. Do not trouble yourself with his fate, as it is beyond your hands to control. Just know that he is in the company of distant kin, and there he will remain as safe as any can in these days."
His face erupting in a grin as brilliant as the Lady's aura, Elrond breathlessly babbled, "When will I see him again, my Lady? I will see him again, won't I?"
"You may indeed meet again, on the field of battle, when Fionwe's forces storm the Black Gates."
"I will be a warrior in the Great Battle?" Elrond excitedly asked. "But how? I am only a boy!"
The Lady of the Stars grasped the boy's shoulders, patiently explaining such adult matters in a way the child could grasp. "The army of Melkor cannot be defeated in a day, or even a year. You will grow to the full measure of your strength before that fateful day dawns."
"I would gladly give my life to rid the world of his foul stain," Elrond earnestly offered, his voice sounding strangely older than his tender years.
"Your life is worth more than mere battle fodder, son of Earendil. You have shown yourself to be more temperate than your twin, and I ask that you heed the prudence of that part of your nature. The future will unveil itself to you in due time - for now, it is the present which should occupy your thoughts. Learn all you can from the Feanorians, both knowledge you should emulate, and that which you should not. You have inherited the best of both bloodlines, Half-elven, but you must learn to trust your own intuition and your own strengths. Know that the wisdom of your heart will never fall short, even when logic fails." The Queen of the Valar gently caressed the boy's dark hair, studying his awestruck features with a piquant expression of sorrow not completely bereft of hope.
"Choices will come to you such as you cannot now hope to understand. Always remember to follow your heart, now and until the end of days, and you shall never fail."
With a motherly touch, she gently urged the exhausted child back to lie against the covers, smoothing out the bedroll around him. "Take your rest, son of Earendil, and conserve your strength. You will need it in the ages to come. I cannot see all that Eru has ordained for you, but I know that no matter the burdens you shall face - and they will be many - you will never be made to bear more than you can endure. You shall face loss greater than most can stand, yet you will in turn be rewarded with love beyond what you can imagine. That is my promise to you, regardless of whatever else The One has woven into the tapestry of your fate." A smile flashed like lightning across her face, her voice taking on the gentle sternness Elrond had often heard from his own mother. "Now sleep."
With a contented sigh, the boy obeyed the Lady's wishes, snuggling against the rough cloth of the well-worn bedroll. For the briefest of moments it somehow felt as smooth and soft as the fine linens of his mother's long-missed home. "What of Oropher?" he murmured without meaning to, a long-buried desire for revenge unexpectedly surfacing in the intimacy of the moment. "He would have allowed my brother and me to perish, though we be distant kin."
Varda smiled sadly, gracefully rising to her feet. "Oropher has his own destiny to fulfill, one which is set into motion even as we speak. Pain will be his constant companion, and loss his only friend."
"I do not wish such a fate on anyone, even such as him," Elrond murmured lazily, as sleep increased its hold upon him.
"His fate is not yours to decide, nor is your fate his. Perhaps one day his line and yours will find peace, but that is beyond my eyes to see." Elbereth smiled as the boy finally succumbed to the awaiting arms of Este's gift of sweet, well-earned dreams. "Always look to the stars, son of Earendil," she whispered, bending down to reach his ear. "In them you will find the peace you deserve and desire." With that knowing benediction, she placed a whisper-soft kiss upon the boy's forehead and dissolved in a shimmering haze into the starlit night.
Elrond awoke with the coming of the dawn, feeling the hint of tears still resting against his cheek. As he raised a hand to brush them away, he glanced around his tent, somehow hoping to see the Lady still there by his side. You are a fool, he chided himself.
She was never here. 'Twas only a dream, sent to comfort a mewling babe and convince him to become the man he needed to be in this time of warfare and danger. Reluctantly convinced his audience with Elbereth was merely the fancy of sleep, he despondently rolled onto his side in search of his tunic. Instead, his fingers first found a feather, white as the Lady's garment. It was a single swan's plume, the symbol of his father, and his father's father before him. A smile rose to his face as he carefully tucked it under his shirt, close to his skin, the symbol precious beyond price. Whether or not the Lady had actually visited him made no matter - she had given him a sign that his prayers were answered. In return, he would honor his ancestry as a man, not a boy, and from this day forward would serve the King he had never met and his kin of all bloods with the fortitude and fealty of his forefathers before him, even unto his final breath, if that be the Lady's wish.
"My father is the brightest star, and I am his heir," he whispered to the stillness of the dawn-chilled air. "He brings hope to the world - I shall see that it flourishes." Rising to his feet, he quickly dressed for the hardship of the day, wrapping his cloak around his shoulders and strapping his short sword to his belt. He paused, then with a grim face he grasped the hilt and slid the carefully crafted steel from its sheath. He had heard the elders speak of warriors granting to themselves, or their comrades, names of honor and respect in recognition of valiant deeds. I have not the deeds to deserve such a thing, yet I feel I am reborn this day by the Lady's blessing. He lost himself in deep thought for a moment, then purposefully drew the blade slowly across the palm of one hand.
Wincing in pain, he managed a satisfied smile as the blade did its appointed task.
"Now I have drawn blood in the name of the Light. Let it be only the first of much I spill in the battles to come, ere Morgoth is cast out of Middle-earth. For today I am truly become my father's heir, and I take the name Gil-estelion in his honor." With a smile of satisfaction, he wiped the blood from his sword onto his cloak, consecrating it, then wrapped a scrap of cloth around his still bleeding hand to staunch the crimson flow. He would remain in the faithful company of his adopted family and fight by their side in the final conflict which was to come. For he knew that the sons of Feanor would stand before the black gates of Thangorodrim at the end of this age, along with all the Faithful of the Eldar and Adan - his brother included - when the hosts of Valinor celebrated victory at last....
[Imladris, the Third Age]
Elrond stared blankly at his palm, where the scar had long ago faded from view. If only all scars could be so easily erased by the passage of time, he sagely mused in silence. He had never told a soul of his self-appointed epesse, save one, one to whom he had kept no secrets. Why do I not grace my precious Greenleaf with such trust?
"Why indeed," he guiltily muttered to himself. Why had he not explained to Legolas that he, too, had once beheld the Lady's magnificence? Of that he could not say, save that sometimes logic failed him miserably where Legolas was concerned. There had only been one other who could reduce him to mindlessness, that same one who had taken to his death the secret of his chosen appellation. His only defense, feeble as it was, would be that part of him still believed the vision of the Lady he had enjoyed as a child was merely that - a vision, a dream. How could he possibly profane the Golden Prince's all-too-real visit to Mandos' Halls, fleeting as it was, by unworthy comparison?
Did not his beloved of this age deserve some explanation, in way of comforting corroboration of Elbereth's grace and loveliness? Did he not deserve the truth - the entire truth - in all things, especially those which concerned him, even in some peripheral way? If so, would that not mean divulging the sins of the past, not only sins of omission on
Elrond's part in terms of events long kept secret, but the sins of commission which the royal family of Mirkwood - the former Greenwood the Great - had inflicted upon the Lord of Imladris, and upon themselves?
[The camp of the Last Alliance, the stony plain of Dagorlad, the year 3434 of the Second Age]
Elrond meandered mindlessly through the camp of the Last Alliance, his heart aching even more than his body. Dirt and blood-covered Men and Eldar alike reverently carried out the grim task of honoring their fallen comrades with a final rest, countless bodies buried in the murky moisture of the marshes. Disproportionately many of the lost were sylvan elves of the forest realm of Lorien. Brave Amdir and half his loyal band, vastly under-armed and out numbered, cut off from the main throng of Gil-galad's alliance, had fallen to the foul hand of Sauron's orcs and Easterlings. In the end the beasts and faithless men had been pushed back, scurrying like rats into the relative safety offered behind the ominous Black Gates of Mordor. It was to be counted as a victory, but one which carried with it no joy.
Staring down at his own battle-bruised hands as he aimlessly picked his way through the crowded tents and battle-weary combatants, Elrond grimaced at the stain of blood crusting his fingers. He knew it to be the intermingled life essence of Edain, Eldar, yrch, and traitorous men alike, surprisingly similar in color, yet poles apart in purity and loyalty. He glanced up at the gray-mantled sky, the hue suited to his mood, and noted there would be no healing blessing from the Lady's stars this cruel night.
He found himself without intention among the soldiers of Greenwood the Great, the troops of Oropher, distant kin to whom he felt no connection save that of the bitter betrayal of his childhood. A few strides from Oropher's battle-tattered tent he heard the cacophony of raised voices, one he recognized as belonging to the tent's owner, the other to his King, his beloved, his husband. He understood well the fiery tone of Gil-galad's voice even before he could discern the exact enunciation of the words spoken. Once more, Oropher would hold the High King's counsel suspect, a continual pattern which threatened to undermine the tenuous foundation of this all-important alliance.
With a final shouted epithet disparaging Oropher's parentage, Gil-galad emerged from the tent, roughly pushing out past the still fluttering door flap, the fire of ire unmistakable in his eyes. "The fool would have us attack Sauron directly before we have even buried the last of our dead!" the incredulous King explained to Elrond, striding past his beloved, then turning back and gruffly pacing past him once more in the other direction, his hands wildly gesticulating to the uncaring air. "I know not what else to say to him," he lamented, finally stopping in front of Elrond's patiently still form. Exhaling, he shook his head sadly, his eyes beseeching his herald and heart for the wisdom to rectify this hopeless situation.
Elrond understood well what Gil-galad meant to ask, and offered his assistance even before the plea passed the Noldor's lips. "Do you believe he will listen to the words of another - one who is not a threat to his authority with his own troops?"
"Perhaps," Gil-galad urged in palpable relief. "Speak some sense to that supposed ruler of Greenwood if you dare, for I would have better luck convincing the waves of the great sea not to roll."
The herald nodded understandingly. "I will do my best, yet I do not believe he will find my words any fairer or sager than yours."
"Then perhaps you should speak with your fist and forgo vain words. His pride will bring naught but death to his own people ere the end of our battles." Gil-galad paused for a moment, lingering in silent appreciation of the face he so missed waking up beside in the morning. He raised a blood-stained, gloved hand and tenderly brushed it against his herald's cheek, the motion fleeting and hurried lest any bear witness to what both felt best to keep private. "Le gweston meleth-nin. Si a an-uir, Gil-estelion."
A sorrowed smile flashed across Elrond's face, the son of Earendil nodding with swallowed emotion. "Le gweston meleth-nin. Si a an-uir, Finnelach." He held the other's intense gaze for a moment, as long as he dared, before tumbling into the insanity of emotions held in check for far too long.
The High King removed one of his gloves, pressed a kiss into the palm of his bare hand, then pressed it against the emblem of his house proudly worn upon his spouse's chest.
"My remembrances of the hour I gifted this upon you keep me warm on these intolerably cold and lonesome nights apart."
"As mine do as well," Elrond whispered in a husky, tremulous voice. "The fire of my heart plays well upon the field of battle, as I see each individual soldier of the enemy as an impediment keeping you from my arms."
The High King of the Noldor and his herald, husbands in the eyes of Elbereth and all the court of Valinor, suffered in the torment of their relative proximity yet all the same vastness of the practical gulf which separated them while the war waged on. Expressing with their eyes what their lips most urgently wished to do, they finally, reluctantly, broke their anguished gaze, and Gil-galad strode off, his heart even more lead-filled than it had been before.
Catching his breath, Elrond shrugged his armor into proper position, and with shoulders firm and head held high pulled aside the flap of Oropher's tent and boldly strode inside.
"Who dares to interrupt my privacy?" Oropher gruffly blustered, turning to face the intruder who stared just inside his private domain.
"One who would prevent you from falling into ruin," Elrond offered earnestly.
Oropher sneered derisively, his eyes flashing anger and amusement at the very same time. "I would not listen to the 'master', what makes you believe I would hold the words of the 'servant' any less worthless?"
"I hope I could convince you as distant kin to put the well-being of your people before your own pride."
A cackled laugh of disbelief and insult filled the stale air. "You dare to call yourself 'kin' to me? Do not insult me." Oropher sharply shook his head and turned away, as if Elrond was not even worthy of his attention. He continued cleaning his sword, as he had been doing before he was so rudely interrupted. "It is bad enough that you would bind yourself to a kinslayer, to their very king, but you do not even have the honor to hold yourself to those ill-begotten vows. Instead you are a human's bitch. You have no honor." He found himself spun around to face Elrond, and then backhanded with such force than he fell backward, his sword falling to the ground beside him as he roughly hit the stony surface. He glanced upward at his assailant, a hand raised to his abused cheek in wordless astonishment.
Elrond glowered menacingly above him, his eyes flashing with flames more deadly that Orodruin itself. "You are a fine one to speak about honor, Oropher of Greenwood, you who would abandon two babes to the very same kinslayers you disparage with such ease." Seeing the knowing widening of Oropher's eyes, Elrond smiled in smug satisfaction. "Yes, I remember well the day you abandoned my brother and me in our hour of need, as if it were a mere week in the past instead of an entire age."
"You should have died - both of you," Oropher bitterly hissed. "Your tainted line should have come to an end. I rejoiced the day your brother chose to be of the Lesser Born, as his blood will never taint that of the Eldar. Since you have chosen to bind yourself to the King of the Noldor, your stain will not be passed on despite your masquerade as one of our kind."
"Yet my brother's line 'does' go ever on in the Faithful. One leads us at Gil-galad's side," Elrond proudly explained.
"And so you lie not only with one of the Edain, but one of your own kin as well! You are worse than the sons of Feanor."
"I would rather be compared with the sons of Feanor than the sons of Greenwood, if you be their representative," Elrond spat without hesitation.
Thranduil, prince of Greenwood, rushed into the tent breathlessly, obviously brought by the unmistakable sound of argument. He saw his father on the ground and Elrond's flushed expression, and easily surmised what had transpired. "What manner of insult have you inflicted upon our house?" he demanded, glaring at Elrond in disgust.
"Your father brings his own insult upon the House of Greenwood," Elrond gruffly noted, watching as Oropher stiffly pushed up to his feet. "Ask your father for the true reason for my lack of respect toward him, if you dare."
"My son is no coward," Oropher blustered.
"Perhaps not, but do you have the strength to admit to your own cowardice of the past?"
Elrond shook his head sadly, finding no joy in the moment. "Gil-galad was right - you are past the reach of logic. I pray to Elbereth that your son might convince you to stay your rash hand - for the good of your people. I wash my hands of your line and its damnable pride. What befalls you now is not my responsibility, nor my King's." With that he pushed past a wordless Thranduil and into the blessedly fresh air.
With the coming of the dawn, Oropher led an unwise charge upon the Black Gate, before Gil-galad had even dressed in his armor for the day. It had ended as badly as Elrond had presaged, with Oropher and the majority of his troops fallen in battle before the sun had reached its highest point in the sky. It was only due to the brilliant strategy and bravery of Gil-galad and his herald that Thranduil and a scant third of the force of Greenwood were rescued and brought back to the safety of camp, Gil-galad himself bearing the body of the fallen king of Greenwood in a sign of undeserved respect.
That night, Elrond was inconsolable in his despondency, feeling somehow responsible for the fate of Oropher and his force. Cirdan sat beside him at the fire, first in knowing silence, then providing a sage voice of security and sanity. "There was nothing you could do to prevent Oropher from throwing away his life," the white-haired shipwright argued.
"He was cursed from before the start of this age."
"Cursed?" Elrond quizzically asked. "In what manner?"
Cirdan smiled sadly, adjusting himself more comfortably against the ground in preparation for a lengthy tale. "It began with the landing of Fionwe's forces in Middle-earth, after the voyage of your parents to the Blessed Lands to beg for aid against Melkor and his dark forces...."
[Imladris, the Third Age]
Elrond absently stroked his lover's hand, insatiably needing the simple, innocent contact while his mind replayed the endless sorrows of the close of the Second Age. He had received no succor in learning of the curse of Greenwood's royal line from Cirdan's fireside exposition then, nor did he wish to dwell upon it further now that he found his very heart bound to that ill-fated House. Keeping his fingers firmly in contact with those slender, still digits, he raised his free hand and brushed the back tenderly against one of the blond prince's artistically sculpted cheekbones. "Would that my love could protect you from the errors of your forbearers," he earnestly whispered. He did not hear the approach of soft elven footsteps, so rapt was he in his moonlight study of the prince's loveliness.
"Yet it cannot, I fear," a subtle, solemn voice offered from the doorway.
Elrond stiffly turned to meet the familiar source of that pronouncement, a wary expression guarding his face. "If your words of late be believed, you would fear that I would bring to him more ruin than any curse your family has held."
Thranduil crossed the cool, stone floor, standing at the side of his son's bed even as Elrond rose to meet him face to face. "My family has suffered much, some things no doubt of its own doing. But that is the past, and he and Brethilas are all that remain of my future. I would do anything to spare both my sons the pain I have endured."
Elrond smiled slightly, the knowingness of a father's love binding them in a way it had failed to before. "Perhaps this unfortunate incident will mark the end of their sorrows. Both proved their bravery and their loyalty, to their family and to each other."
The King of Mirkwood exhaled loudly. "I can but hope. My youngest seems to believe he has already found the Lady's grace as well as the true happiness of his heart."
"The former is indeed true - the latter, I can but hope."
Thranduil became noticeably uncomfortable, gently clearing his throat before he spoke.
"I came here hoping to find you, Lord Elrond," he formally spoke. "There is something I wish to clear from my conscience before I leave in the morning."
An eyebrow arched skyward in dubious curiosity. "Indeed?" Elrond glanced back at his slumbering lover and gestured toward the doorway. "Perhaps we should retire to the outer room, lest we unwittingly disturb his dreams."
Thranduil nodded and turned sharply on his heel, striding out to the sitting room with Elrond in interested pursuit. The Lord of Imladris claimed his favorite chair, and watched as the blond elf nervously paced the floor for a few silent moments before beginning his uneasy confession.
"My father and much of his forces fell before the Black Gates because he did not heed the High King's wishes to rest and regroup after the sorrowful loss of Amdir and his faithful. My sword was by his side on that fateful day, yet my heart was not."
Elrond instantly perked up at that totally unexpected admission. "In what manner?"
"I had tried to dissuade him from his hasty attack on the Dark Lord and his lair. I knew he desired to press on in pride and sorrow and revenge, and to spite Gil-galad, whom he felt was an oppressor of our kind."
"He felt the High King was a kinslayer, and a murderer of 'your kind'," Elrond corrected bitterly.
Thranduil nodded and became strangely silent, then began a further diffident divulgence.
"At Dagorlad, when I interrupted the argument between you and my father, you hinted that he had guilty secrets of his own which you thought he had not the courage to admit."
Thranduil raised his eyes to meet Elrond's with the greatest reluctance, an expression of guilt-ridden pain upon his face. "You were mistaken."
"I was mistaken that he had secrets, or that he would willingly admit to them?"
"The latter." Thranduil cleared his throat again, the anguished expression on his face mirrored in the equally disconcerted tone of his voice. "He had often before spoken to me of his escape from the sacking of Arvernien, yet he had never told me of his final sighting of you and your brother." An awkward, shamefaced pause filled the space between them.
"Of his failure to rescue you from the sons of Feanor."
A loud exhaled breath whistled through the night, Elrond raising a hand to his forehead to wipe away the dueling pains of weariness and memory. "He did not 'fail' to rescue us, Thranduil, he made a conscious decision to abandon us to what he thought would be our deaths."
Thranduil brusquely waved him off. "This is most difficult for me to admit, Elrond. I beg of you to not make the pain greater by your words of condemnation, although my family richly deserves them."
Elrond purposefully softened his tone, understanding well the battle which Thranduil must have waged within himself to come to his moment of honest reflection and admission. "Not all of your family, Thranduil, merely he who directly wished harm to befall my brother and me."
"I cannot commend his actions, though I have long strived to understand them," Thranduil painfully pronounced. "I also find it beyond belief that there is love between my family and yours after all that has transpired in this age and those past."
Elrond smiled wistfully, his heart, and his mind, instantly drawn back to the innocent figure slumbering in the room behind them. "How could I hold any bitterness in my heart, after your son has filled it with the purest love I have ever known?"
"'Tis a miracle then. Perhaps you are right, and the curse has been lifted by the Lady's grace." Thranduil paused in contemplation, an anxious expression breaking out upon his face. "You have not told him of my father's dishonorable act?"
"No. I feel nothing would be gained in dredging up old history," Elrond offered, part of him understanding the undeniable deeper meaning of these words.
Thranduil's shoulders buoyed upward in the relief of a palpable weight he had obviously long borne. "So, you will not tell him now?"
"I do not wish to cause him further pain, not now, nor in the future."
Thranduil slowly nodded with pursed lips. "Then I see we have one important aspiration in common, you and I, Earendilion." He watched as Elrond rose from the chair and met him at the center of the room with an open hand.
"We were allies in the last age, though prevented from truly fulfilling that honorable mission due to the blindness of older times. Let us put that behind us now and for the future."
Thranduil hesitated, then reached out a hand of his own and grasped Elrond's arm in a mutual warrior's salute. "The past has brought us both nothing but sorrow. I pray the future brings our children the joy they richly deserve."
"Your son has brought more joy to my home than I thought possible," Elrond said with a smile.
An expression of perceptive pain was painted on the blond king's face as he slowly released Elrond's arm. "He knows, of course, that you are not free to bind to him, yet I fear he is misled as to the true reason why," Thranduil urged.
Elrond bristled uncomfortably, understanding well of what his lover's sire surreptitiously spoke. "We have not spoken of it as such, but he knows the state of my family, as well as the wishes of my heart."
"Your wishes are not enough."
"I know," Elrond sadly whispered.
"So he does not know how you have already cursed one you profess to love to Mandos' care in the name of that family?"
Obvious unease took rein of Elrond's emotions and demeanor, despite his attempt not to allow it to show. "He will be told, when the time is right."
"Take care, Elrond. We both know well that such secrets can be revealed at a time not of our choosing." Thranduil paused, positing a possibility which he had not pondered before. "What will you do if Celebrian accepts the fate of Miriel in the High King's stead? What choice would 'you' make if the High King were to return and claim what is rightly his?"
Elrond turned away, walking several steps back toward the chamber where the prince guilelessly slept in his blissful ignorance, but saying nothing.
"You need not answer 'my' question," Thranduil pressed, "but you cannot avoid answering 'his' when he at last asks the very same. For we both know he will, ere long."
Wringing his hands together, Elrond glanced down at the floor, his stomach knotted and his heart laden with the burden he dreaded bearing. "I know," he whispered, nearly inaudibly above the soft hush of the night.
"Perhaps now you better understand why my heart cannot embrace my son's affection for you. I see naught but pain and disappointment if he remains with you."
"I would sooner go to the Timeless Halls myself than cause him anguish," Elrond offered sorrowfully, his eyes rising to catch the beauteous perfection of the slumbering prince. Thranduil nodded behind him with pursed lips. "That might be a choice you should consider - if you truly loved him enough, enough to let him go, for his own good." With that, the ruler of the great forest turned on his heel and silently left for the deceptive peace of the evening beyond, leaving Elrond to ponder in tortured silence the choices of his past, and of his future.
1) The oath of Feanor and his sons plays such an important role in this story that it should be quoted in full:
Then Feanor swore a terrible oath, Straightway his seven sons
leaped to his side and each took the self same oath; and red
as blood shone their drawn swords in the glare of the torches.
'Be he foe or friend, be he foul or clean,
brood of Morgoth or bright Vala,
Elda or Maia or Aftercomer,
Man yet unborn upon Middle-earth,
neither law, nor love, nor league of swords,
dread nor danger, not Doom itself,
Shall defend him from Feanor, and Feanor's kin,
who so hideth or hoardeth, or in hand taketh,
finding keepeth or afar casteth
a Silmaril. This swear we all:
death we will deal him ere Day's ending,
Woe unto World's end! Our word hear thou,
Eru All Father! To the everlasting
Darkness doom us if out deed faileth
On the holy mountain hear in witness
And our vow remember, Manwe and Varda!'
(Morgoth's Ring: 112)
2) Feanor had seven sons. According to the most widely accepted canon, all seven followed him to Middle-earth in search of the Silmarils. The version of the Flight of the Noldor which has one of the twin sons killed before leaving the Blessed Lands is not used in this story, since it clearly contradicts the majority of canon. For the most complete explanation of the sons' various names (Sindarin, Quenyan, and "mother names") as well as physical characteristics, see "The Shibboleth of Feanor" (The Peoples of Middle-earth).
Three of the sons, Celegorm, Curufin, and Caranthir, died in the second kinslaying (the assault on Doriath). The twins, Amrod and Amras (earlier called Damrod and Diriel) died in the third kinslaying (the assault on Sirion). They were redheads, as was Maedhros. The two sons which concern us most in this tale are the eldest, Maedhros (earlier form Maidros) and Maglor. Maedhros was known as "the tall," and Maglor was a musician and singer of note. Maedhros was once captured by Morgoth and hung by his right wrist upon the heights of Thangorodrim. He was eventually rescued by his old friend Fingon (with the help of Thorondor, King of the Eagles). However, Fingon could not cut through the steel which bound Maedhros, and the son of Feanor therefore lost his right hand above the wrist. This did not become a noticeable handicap:
"There Maidros in time was healed; for the fire of life was hot within him, and his strength was of the ancient world, such as those possessed who were nurture in Valinor. His body recovered from its torment and became hale but the shadow of his pain was in his heart; and he lived to wield his sword with this left had more deadly than his right had been." (The Lost Road: 277)
It is further said that he "did deeds of surprising valour, and the orcs could not endure the light of his face; for since his torment upon Thangorodrim his spirit and burned like a white fire within, and he was as one that returneth from the dead keen and terrible; and they fled before him." (The Lost Road: 310)
According to "The Shibboleth of Feanor" (The Peoples of Middle-earth: 355), "all the sons save Curufin preferred their mother-names and were ever afterwards remembered by them." These names are given in the same source (pp 352-3), along with brief descriptions of the sons based on the etymology of these names:
Maedhros = Maitimo "'well-shaped one': he was of beautiful bodily form. But he, and the youngest, inherited the rare red-brown hair of Nerdanel's kin.... So Maitimo had as an epesse given by his brothers and other kin Russandol 'copper-top'."
Maglor = Makalaure "of uncertain meaning. Usually interpreted (and said to have been a 'prophetic' mother-name) as 'forging gold.' If so, probably a poetic reference to his skill in harping, the sound of which was golden...."
Amrod and Amras were said to call each other by the name "Ambarussa" ('top-russet').
3) Some time after the death of Beren and Luthien it became known that Dior, their son, possessed the Nauglamir, the dwarf-wrought, golden necklace which held a Silmaril and many Valinorian gems. The seven sons of Feanor demanded it back, but when Dior did not answer, "Celegorm stirred up his brothers to prepare an assault upon Doriath. They came at unawares in the middle of the winter, and fought with Dior in the Thousand Caves; and so befell the second slaying of Elf by Elf. There fell Celegorm by Dior's hand, and there fell Curufin, and dark Caranthir; but Dior was slain also, and Nimloth his wife.... (The Silmarillion: 292)
Elwing, Dior's daughter, and some of the refugees from Doriath survived the attack and escaped to the mouth of Sirion with the Silmaril. Elwing's older brothers, originally twins called Elboron and Elbereth, evolved into brothers three years apart in age (yet still Elwing's elder) named Eldun and Elrun, and finally Elured and Elurin. The fate of the brothers is unclear in canon, but points to an untimely death:
"The young sons of Dior, Elboron and Elbereth, were taken captive by the evil men of Maidros' following, and they were left to starve in the woods; but Maidros lamented the cruel deed; and sought unavailingly for them." (The Lost Road: 156)
"The young sons of Dior, Elboron and Elbereth, were slain by the evil men of Maidros' host, and Maidros bewailed the foul deed." (The Shaping of Middle-earth: 368)
"Elured and Elurin, before they came to manhood, were both slain by the sons of Feanor.... (The Peoples of Middle-earth: 369)
"The cruel servants of Celegorm seized his young sons and left them to starve in the forest.... of the fate of Elured and Elurin no tale tells." (The Silmarillion: 292)
As they say, pick your poison . In any case, it is clear Maidros himself meant no harm to the children, and regretted the act. It also explains perhaps why Maidros and/or Maglor were later so eager to foster Elrond and Elros.
4) According to "The Silmarillion" (305), "Now when the first tidings came to Maedhros that Elwing yet lived, and dwelt in possession of the Silmaril by the mouths of Sirion, he repenting of the deeds of Doriath withheld his hand. But in time the knowledge of their oath unfulfilled returned to torment him and his brothers, and gathering from their wandering hunting-paths they sent messages to the Havens of friendship and yet a stern demand.... And so there came to pass the last and cruelest of the slayings of Elf by Elf; and that was the third of the great wrongs achieved by the accursed oath."
The blame for the attack on Sirion is laid straight at the feet of the twins, Damrod and Diriel (Amrod and Amras) in both "The Shaping of Middle-earth" and "The Lost Road" (157): "Damrod and Diriel resolved to win the Silmaril, if Earendil would not give it up willingly." The same source continues to say that "Damrod and Diriel ravaged Sirion, and were slain. Maidros and Maglor were there, but they were sick at heart." Elwing threw herself into the sea with the Silmaril and was rescued by Ulmo, who turned her into a sea bird so she could fly in search of Earendil. Elrond and Elros were taken to fostering, by Maidros in the original versions, Maglor in the final one.
5) It is not clear whether Elrond and Elros ever knew their father in person. "The Silmarillion (304) states that Elwing bore him "Elrond and Elros, who are called the Half-elven. Yet Earendil could not rest, and his voyages about the shores of the Hither Lands eased not his quiet." In this version the twins were clearly born before Earendil's last voyage. However, "The Peoples of Middle-earth" (376) states that "both his sons were born in his absence."
"The Later Annals of Beleriand" has the exact same statement.
Supporting this is "The Last Road" (157) which says "But the unquiet had come also upon Earendel, and he set sail in his ship Wingelot, Flower of the Foam, and he voyaged the far seas seeking Tuor, and seeking Valinor. But he found neither; yet the marvels that he did were many and renowned. Elrond the Half-elfin, son of Earendel, was born while Earendel was far at sea." Version 'C' of "The Tale of Years" has several dates crossed out and changed more than once for the important events in Earendil's life, and one permutation of those dates would suggest the twins were two years old when their father left. Other permutations of the dates would have the twins born the same year as his voyages began, or two years afterwards (we are of course to assume he stopped home for a visit during those two years). On the basis of the evidence presented it is impossible to say for certain whether or not Earendel ever saw his sons and vice versa, unless one takes "The Silmarillion" version as definitive. However, given the admitted "licenses" Christopher Tolkien took in editing that work, I am loathe to accept it on face value when it appears in opposition to the more obviously canonical works. Therefore in this story I take the point of view that Earendel did not see his sons in person, nor did they him -except perhaps at the last battle against Morgoth. See "Kilmessi" for a discussion of that possibility.
6) The age of the twins at the time of their kidnapping is not well established in canon. Various chronologies can be interpreted as saying the twins were anywhere from two to eight. However, a convincing case can be made for their being six years of age. "The War of the Jewels" (349) notes that the Line of Elros ("Unfinished Tales": 218) states that "Elros was born fifty eight years before the Second Age began; this agrees with the changed date here (532) and the end of the First Age in 590." Therefore in this story I take the twins to have been six at the time of their kidnapping. Also, as best as I can tell there is no canon as to which of the twins was technically born first.
7) The genesis of the twins' names is not singularly established in canon, although several theories exist:
a) In a letter to Rhona Beare from 1958, Tolkien wrote that "Elrond and Elros, children of Earendil (sea-lover) and Elwing (elf-foam) were so called because they were carried off by the sons of Feanor, in the last act of the feud between the high-elven houses of the Noldorin princes concerning the Silmarils.... The infants were not slain, but left like 'babes in the woods,' in a cave with a fall of water over the entrance. There they were found, Elrond in the cave, and Elros dabbling in the waters." (Letters of JRRT: 282) Christopher Tolkien notes this interpretation is earlier than that found in "The Silmarillion", where Elrond is "Star-dome," Elros is "Star-foam," and Elwing is "Star-spray."
b) "The Shibboleth of Feanor" (Peoples of Middle-earth: 349) states that the names "Elros and Elrond, the last descendents of Finwe born on the Elder Days, were formed to recall the name of their mother Elwing.
c) A theory proposed in "The Problem of Ros" (The Peoples of Middle-earth) claims that in naming her sons, Elwing followed the tradition of the names of her elder brothers, where one was named in the Eldar tongue and the other in the Beorian (human), befitting their half-blood status. However, Tolkien later admitted that this was not consistent to other naming schemes he had done using the root "ros." However, there are two points of this discussion which still ring true: firstly, that Elwing solely named her sons (given that her husband was at sea), and the source of Elrond's name which follows below.
d) "The Problem of Ros" (371) states that "Elrond was a word for the firmament, the starry dome as it appeared like a roof to Arda; and it was given by Elwing in memory of the great Hall of the Throne of Elwe in the midst of the stronghold of Menegroth that was called the Menelthrond, because by the arts and aid of Melian its high arched roof had been adorned with silver and gems set in the order and figures of the stars in the great Dome of Valinor in Aman, whence Melian came."
"The War of the Jewels" (414) agrees, stating that the root 'rondo' meant "'a vaulted or circled roof, as seen from below (and usually not visible from outside)', or 'a (large) hall or chamber so roofed.' It was still often applied pictorially to the heavens after the Elves had obtained much greater knowledge of 'Star-lore.' Cf. the name Elrond 'star-dome' (Elros meant 'star-glitter')."
I have attempted to blend together all four theories in this story, by having Elwing name her sons after her previous home (the Menelthrond of her grandparents) and the glittering foam of the seaside land of her second home (Sirion).
8) Galdor was "that valiant Gnome [Noldor] who led the men of the Tree in many a charge and yet won out of Gondolin and even the onslaught of Melko upon the dwellers at Sirion's mouth and went back to the ruins with Earendil." (Ibid.) An elvish character of the same name shows up in LOTR as a messenger from Cirdan sent to the Council of Elrond. A note by Christopher Tolkien to "Essays on Glorfindel" (The Peoples of Middle-earth: 387-8) argues that like Glorfindel, the character in the First Age is the same as that named in the Third. However, taking this viewpoint with Galdor is rather simple, because of the fact that he clearly survives the fall of Gondolin in canon. To explain his dwelling at the Havens, Christopher points out that "in the 'Name-list to the Fall of Gondolin' it is said that he went to Sirion's mouth. Galdor of Gondolin was the lord of the house of the Tree, and it is said that he 'was held the most valiant of all the Gondothlim save Turgon alone'." (Ibid.)
9) Just how human were Elrond and Elros? The half-elven were described rather ambiguously, except for having the best traits of both kinds (the beauty and grace of the Eldar and the strength of Man). A close inspection of several facts leads us to draw several conclusions about not only the twin Peredhil, but their parents:
a) According to "Of the Laws and Customs Among the Eldar" (Morgoth's Ring: 209-10), "The Eldar grew in bodily form slower than Men, but in mind more swiftly. They learned to speak before they were one year old; and in the same time they learned to walk and to dance, for their wills came soon to the mastery of their bodies. Nonetheless there was less difference between the two Kindreds, Elves and Men, in early youth; and a man who watched elf-children at play might well have believed that they were the children of Men, of some fair and happy people.... The same watcher might indeed have wondered at the small limbs and stature of these children, judging their age by their skill in words and grace in motion. For at the end of the third year mortal children began to outstrip Elves, hastening on to a full stature while the Elves lingered in the first spring of childhood. Children of Men might reach their full height while Eldar of the same age were still in body like to mortals of no more of seven years. Not until the fiftieth year did the Eldar attain the stature and shape in which their lives would afterwards endure, and for some a hundred years would pass before they were full-grown."
b) "The Line of Elros" (Unfinished Tales: 235) speaks to the eventual difference between the twins in their choice of fates: "In this account, only Elros was granted a peculiar longevity, and it is said here that he and his brother Elrond were not differently endowed in the physical potential of life, but that since Elros elected to remain among the kindred of Men he retained the chief characteristic of Men as opposed to the Quendi: the 'seeking else-whither,' as the Eldar called it, the 'weariness' or desire to depart from the world. It is further expounded that the increase in the Numenorean span was brought about by assimilation of their mode of life to that of the Eldar: though they were expressly worried that they had not become Eldar, but remained mortal Men, and had been granted only an extension of the period of their vigour of mind and body. Thus (as the Eldar) they grew at much the same rate as other Men, but when they achieved 'full-growth' they then aged, or 'wore-out', very much more slowly."
c) If we take the aforementioned reference that Elros was fifty eight at the end of the First Age, as well as a reference in LOTR which implies that at least Elrond fought in the final battle against Morgoth at the end of the First Age (See "Kilmessi" for more information), the twins must have been not only adults but hale and strong warriors at that age. d) The various chronologies of the First Age seem to demand that both Earendil and Elwing were no older than thirty at the time of the birth of their sons (more likely in their mid-20's). They were both clearly adults at that time.
Surveying these different facts leads us to the conclusion that the Peredhil "grew up" faster than pure-blooded Eldar, yet once they became adult seemed to age more slowly than their Adanic cousins. The wording that Elros "remained among the kindred of Men" seems to suggest that the Half-elven were more physically human than elvish to begin with. I have therefore written the twins as physically appearing like human six year olds, but with the enhanced beauty and grace of their Eldar blood, as well as a greater eloquence than human children of that age. However, they are still children, and certainly prone to the pettiness and immaturity of their age.
10) Some Sindarin terms defined:
Nossgwarth! Nossdagnir! - Kin betrayer! Kin slayer!
Gwanunig - one of a pair of twins
A pair of twins as a collective unit is called gwanun or gwenyn
Celegur = hasty heart
Aphadon = follower
Erchamion = one-handed
Lanthirant = waterfall's gift
Le gweston meleth-nin. Si a an-uir: "To thee I pledge my heart. Now and for eternity." (this appears as part of the wedding vows in "We Are Finding Who We Are" [http://www.ithilas.com/fos/wafwwa.html]
11) There are numerous different timelines for the First Age existent in Tolkien's writings. Most of these are various versions of "The Later Annals of Beleriand" (The Lost Road) and "The Tale of Years" (The War of the Jewels). One seemingly consist commonality is a four year gap between the Last Kin-slaying and the arrival of Earendil and Elwing in Valinor. The arrival of Valinor's army in Middle-earth (and the start of the War of Wrath) was anywhere between three to fourteen years after that, depending on the particular version of the timeline. It appears that the shorter timeframe is more consistent with the widely accepted dates of 532 as the birth of Elrond and Elros and 587 as the end of the War of Wrath. Given that narrow window, and the urgency with which Earendil pleaded the case of the two kindreds, it seems likely that Earendil rose for the first time as the "Evening Star" in the same year as his arrival - i.e. 542.
According to "The Quenta Silmarillion" (The Lost Road: 361-2): "Now when first Vingelot was set to sail on the seas of heaven, it rose unlooked for, glittering and bright; and the folk of earth beheld it from afar and wondered, and they took it for a sign of hope. And when this new star arose in the West, Maidros said unto Maglor: 'Surely that is a Silmaril that shineth in the sky? And Maglor said: 'If it be verily that Silmaril that we saw cast into the sea that riseth again under the power of the Gods, then let us be glad; for its glory is seen now by many, and is yet secure from all evil.' Then the Elves looked up, and despaired no longer; but Morgoth was filled with doubt."
The various timelines of the late First Age contain some strangely contradictory comments concerning the Sons of Feanor. Version A of "The Tale of Years" (The War of the Jewels: 345) claims that in the year 540 "The last free Elves and remnants of the Fathers of Men are driven out of Beleriand and take refuge in the Isle of Balar."
"The Later Annals of Beleriand" version AB2 (The Lost Road: 157) states that in that same year "Maidros and Maglor, sons of Feanor, dwelt in hiding in the south of Eastern Beleriand, about Amon Ereb, the Lonely Hill, that stands solitary amid the wide plain.
But Morgoth sent against them, and they fled to the Isle of Balar. Now Morgoth's triumph was complete, and all that land was in his hold, and none were left, Elves or Men, save such as were in his thralls." However, Christopher Tolkien notes in a commentary to the same annals (op.cit.:167-8) "It is not told in AB1 that Maidros and Maglor and their people fled in the end from Amon Ereb to the Isle of Balar. In Q [Quenta] nothing is told of the actual habitation of Maidros and Maglor during the final years." Given the animosity between the sons of Feanor and the survivors of Doriath (some of whom had survived two kin-slayings), it does not seem likely that the sons of Feanor would have sought to spend years in tight quarters with their former foes on Balar. The Feanoreans were typically loners at heart, and would have fared fairly well surviving in the wilds with just each other and a small band of trusted followers (and their adopted sons, the Peredhil).
12) Maglor's song is part of "The Flight of the Noldoli from Valinor" (The Lays of Beleriand: 159). The connection is made in "Morgoth's Ring" (125) and "The Shaping of Middle-earth" (204) between this abandoned and unfinished work and the Noldolante, "the Fall of the Noldor, that Maglor made ere he was lost." (Silmarillion: 98). Christopher Tolkien notes in a footnote to "The Quenta" (The Shaping of Middle-earth: 204) that he has never found a trace of any poem named Noldolante, and he presumes the connection made is a correct one. This famous tragic poem will become important in "Kilmessi."
13) I take as canon Tolkien's last known parentage notation for Gil-galad - as son of Orodreth, son of Angrod, son of Finarfin. See "The Shibboleth of Feanor" (The Peoples of Middle-earth: 350-1) for details.
14) The circumstances of Oropher's death are recounted in "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn" [Unfinished Tales] Amdir, King of Lorien, and much of his host was killed in the Battle of Dagorlad, "being cut off from the main host and driven into the Dead Marshes. Oropher was slain in the first assault upon Mordor, rushing forward at the head of his most doughty warriors before Gil-galad had given the signal for the advance. Thranduil, his son, survived, but when the war ended and Sauron was slain (as it seemed) he led home barely a third of the army that had marched to war." (271) Despite the chronology stated in the film, there was a lapse of seven years between Dagorlad and the final victory over Sauron's forces (and Gil-galad and Elendil's deaths).
15) Speculation on the obscure (yet canonical) name "Finnelach" for Gil-galad will be the basis of the upcoming story "Kilmessi."
16) The battlefield relationship of Elrond, Gil-galad, Elendil, and Isildur is discussed in "Where the Shadows Are."
"Misunderstood" discusses the night before the Last Alliance left Imladris and the giving of the seal to Elrond as a wedding present.
The Sindarin Dictionary Project http://www.geocities.com/almacq.geo/sindar/
Robert Foster (1978) The Complete Guide to Middle Earth (NY: Ballantine Books)
J.R.R. Tolkien (1994) The War of the Jewels (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co)
J.R.R. Tolkien (1980) Unfinished Tales (NY: Ballantine Books)
J.R.R. Tolkien (1994) The War of the Jewels (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co)
J.R.R. Tolkien (1987) The Lost Road and Other Writings (NY: Ballantine Books)
J.R.R. Tolkien (1986) The Shaping of Middle-earth (NY: Ballantine Books)
J.R.R. Tolkien (1977) The Silmarillion (NY: Ballantine Books)
J.R.R. Tolkien (1993) Morgoth's Ring (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co)
J.R.R.T Tolkien (1985) The Lays of Beleriand (NY: Ballantine Books)
J.R.R.T Tolkien (1996) The Peoples of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co)
Humphrey Carter (ed.) (1981) The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co)
Karen Wynn Fonstad (1981) The Atlas of Middle-earth, rev. ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co)
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