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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

"Salt," for callirhoe

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

"Salt," for callirhoe

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I wrote this story for Vana's (callirhoe) birthday, which was actually back in July. But since Vana didn't have computer access until recently, I intentionally withheld posting it because it didn't make much sense to post a birthday gift when the birthday girl can't read it!

Vana requested a story about Caranthir and the sea. This story is exactly that. In it, I assume my Felak!verse notion that Caranthir was the most "psychically" gifted of all of the Feanorians and that his osanwe guided much of his behavior. "Salt" spans his entire life--from the age of three years old until the day of his death--and considers how one misunderstood Elf and his relationship with his mother, the sea, and his own strange emotions might have led to the eventual overthrow of Morgoth.

Sounds strange? Well...yes. This story is a bit experimental, so please do not hesitate to let me know if something does not work for you. I started this story in mid-June and just finished it at the beginning of August. The basic concept and the first few pages came easily, like they'd already been written and just needed to be put onto paper. Then it faltered, and I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted to connect the many dots I'd drawn into a coherent story. July through August was mostly spent thinking about this story and how I wished it to end. In the past few days, I finally came to enough of a decision that the ending wrote itself, much as the beginning had.

But anyone who has lived with a story barely over ten pages for the better part of two months can probably relate the exhausted inability to comprehend anything about said story any longer. So I appreciate any honest assessments that readers are willing to give.

Vana, I hope that you enjoyed your birthday and send my fondest wishes, virtual hugs, and one strange story! :)


Salt


I—Aman
When I was small, my mother made a tiny phial of blown glass, and when I cried, she would use the phial to scoop up my tears. She had four of them around her neck on leather cords, four phials of different hues—red, blue, gold, and mine: dark violet—sealed with tiny stoppers. The red one was nearly full in those days; the blue about halfway. The gold phial was mostly empty, as was the dark-violet. But that was to change.

“Now,” she said, pushing the little chunk of cork back into the top of my phial and letting it slip away, between her breasts, “you shall never be sad without me knowing it. And I shall come to you wherever you are and sweep your tears away.” The tips of her fingers were callused and rough upon my cheeks, but when they left my skin, the tears and the deep-sad ache behind my eyes were gone, as though with magic.

“And when the phial is filled,” she added, “then you are a child no more but a man, and the tears you cry shall erode mountains and change the course of rivers with their power, maybe even fill the sea.”

Later, there were five phials, then seven. By then, my phial was nearly filled, perhaps requiring one last tear, but I was stubborn in those days and not wont to cry, and the other three phials came to the same level of mine (even Pityo’s, after he drank his once it was half-full while our mother napped…or maybe it was Telvo’s that he drank) and then were filled, and they would ring softly against each other whenever our mother moved, crying in their tiny bell-like voices from the secret darkness beneath her clothes, as though her skin itself made music. I always imagined that I could hear mine: Lacking a tear, it rang lower and stranger than the others.

Or I imagined that I could hear it sloshing, sobbing, begging me to fill it with one more tear.

Stubborn—like my father, I liked to believe—I refused.

My brothers became men, their phials were filled and their tears no more. If they did cry, their tears had the power to move mountains and shape rivers, but they had no reason to cry, and so the horizons of Valinor remained steady and unchanged. Instead, they discovered bliss and joy. One by one, they married. One by one, they fathered children—my brother-sons and -daughters—the noise of their laughter drowning the ringing of the phials around my mother’s neck. One by one, they earned the renown and acclaim that was their due, as princes. It was my due as well, but I remained unwed and childless, my phial unfilled.

For I was Carnistir the Stoic, Carnistir the Harsh, Carnistir the Dark, and Carnistir the Sullen. People found it hard to look upon my face; my eyes, they said, were like rock. Once, as a child and angered with our father’s ideas of impossibility—for Fëanáro maintained until the moment of his death that nothing undone was impossible—Maitimo had taken a rock into his fist and squeezed it until his knuckles went white like bone. “See! Water cannot be wrung from rocks! There is impossibility in the world!”

It was known by the world that rocks did not laugh, did not bleed, and—perhaps most importantly—did not cry. Doubtlessly, if they even noticed or cared, my brothers did not think it strange that my phial was the only one to go unfilled. My eyes were the color of grit and just as dry and just as comforting to contemplate. I heard Tyelkormo remark once to Curufinwë—on the eve of Curufinwë’s wedding—when our younger brother lamented that he should know love and union of spirit before I did, that no one would ever contemplate love with me, for it would be like dooming oneself to sleep forevermore in a bed full of gravel.

Or: when Macalaurë’s wife had an accident on her horse and their unborn first child was lost to blood, I followed the sound of voices to his chambers, where all of my brothers had gathered to console him, but I was met at the door by Maitimo, his arm spanning the frame as though to bar me. “You are welcome, of course,” in his hasty, polite voice, “but I don’t think that you would understand.” And so I turned away and my brother’s tears fell without me, and if they moved mountains…well, I didn’t bother to look.

When I laughed, I was called ruthless; when I bled, stoic, for I never flinched, slurped the blood from the wound, bound it in cloth, and went on with what I’d been doing. When I cried, I was called nothing, for I did not cry.

In the depth of night when Telperion’s light shimmers like dew upon the night and is wan enough to see the stars, sadness wrenched me, but I did not cry a single tear. While my mother slept in the arms of my father—the phials around her neck tangling, perhaps dropping to lie upon his arms that always held her in their shared dreams—and while my brothers lay beside their wives and dreamt only of joy, I willed myself to weep for my strangeness if not my loneliness, but my eyes may have indeed been made of rock, for water came not of them, and I became a man, begrudging that final tear to my mother’s phial.

I wondered if she stirred in her sleep. I shall come to you, wherever you are, and sweep your tears away. But I had no tears. What reason to come to me then?
~oOo~

When I was young and my phial still mostly empty, my parents took me for the first time to the sea. I’d never seen the sea but in pictures, for it was walled off from us by mountains too high to see over the tops of. In paintings, it was a long stretch of blue that dominated the picture, no matter the figures standing in front of it and what they might be doing. Even in the Hall of History—the big round room in Grandfather’s palace that was lined by paintings of the most extraordinary events to punctuate the long lives of our people—where the Noldor stepped onto the unmoored island that would carry them oversea to Valinor, even as Grandfather’s feet spanned one world and the next, his arm raised and his face graven so that anyone looking at the painting knew the importance of the words that had come from his mouth, that were confined on other pieces of paper now and bound into books, it was not Grandfather or Oromë or the fur-wrapped Noldor that filled the picture, it was the sea.

It had been the sea that had barred them from a life at the feet of the gods and it was the sea that kept us from our history and those people left behind us. It was an obstacle and protector both, and it was too large to fill any painting.

I first saw the sea at the age of three years, at the festival in Alqualondë. Through the Calcirya we drove—Macalaurë was arguing with our father, I remember, and Tyelkormo was drumming his feet impatiently on the bench and being ignored by Nelyo, whose attention he wanted and was being given to a book of lore—and we crested a hill, and there it was. The light spilled only through the narrow passage in the mountains behind us, but yet it winked on the crest of every wave, as though the sea had taken that meager allotment of light, spread it thin, and made it last. One day, I thought, I will prop myself on my elbows and look into the water, wondering if it had been prudent enough to make the light last over the decades of darkness. A shiver touched me then, and I found my mother’s arms around my shoulders and my head pressing her breast, muffling the sounds of Macalaurë arguing and Tyelkormo drumming his feet and Nelyo humming to himself and riffling through pages in his book. Alqualondë was there too, a white city cast orange by the glow of the lamps the outlined its meandering streets, and though it glowed proudly against the cobalt sea behind it—like in Grandfather’s paintings—the city was overwhelmed by the sea.

Almost, I could imagine the sea rising, swelling in the same unremarkable manner as a chest filling with breath, and overtaking the city, chuckling as it filled the streets and snuffed out the lamps.

I held out my arms to either side of me, stretched until my bones popped and hurt, and yet I could not embrace the sea. And when the phial is filled, then you are a child no more but a man, and the tears you cry shall maybe even fill the sea.

At the age of three years, with the sea enormous in my sight, I grew disillusioned then of my mother’s phial. Perhaps that is why I would later begrudge it my tears.

We were given a house on a precipice for the duration of the festival, a house that might have been carved from the rock itself, and a long stone stairway led down to the beach and the sea. We were given leave to play there in the days before the festival, and my skin could barely contain me in my excitement as my mother dressed me in old clothes suitable, she said, “for bathing,” though I knew that this sort of bathing had nothing to do with the ordeal that transpired each evening before being put to bed, where the insides of my ears and the spaces between my toes were exploited by my parents, in search of dirt that I did not believe existed. From the window, I could see the sea as she dressed me: the waves lapping the shore, playful and yet quixotic, becoming wicked in an instant, water grown calm and clear rising as suddenly as a fist from the water, driving back even my tall, strong brother Nelyo, who fell on his backside in the sand and joined Macalaurë and our father in laughter as the water ran back to the sea, tickling the sand with its foam fingers.

So like me, I believed: enamored of joy but becoming perilous without warning, sensing a hurt or a slight before it is delivered in the same way that a deer will scent a predator moving upwind and dash to safety before the branches fracture with a loud report cracking the silence and she is fallen, throat torn. Only no one understands that; no one understands that the tiny fist that tore a tooth, bloodied, from Tyelkormo’s mouth once was in reply to something he’d meant to say. No, they expected the hurt to be delivered before I was permitted a reaction. I wondered why the sea rose and slapped against my father; I wondered what slight he would have to one day make against it that had earned him such vitriol.

On the beach, the sand glinted in the meager light, and I ran for the sea and let it wrap my legs in its grip. My two eldest brothers had found broad planks of wood and were flopped upon them on their bellies, letting the waves carry them back to the shore, borne high above the sand and dropped, left to tumble in tangle of limbs, left upon the beach like bits of laughing detritus. My mother was close behind me; I could hear the ringing of the phials under her dress. They were four notes then, for we were four ages—none of us yet men—still with many tears left to cry.

I could feel her fright for me, only three years old and standing at the edge of the sea surging with such anger that even my strong whip of a father was left to stumble back to the beach in defeat. But a strange thing happened then, and the sea subsided and grew calm. My brothers on their planks merely bobbed in disappointment, and the water swirled around my knees, the foam it had churned making shapes on the top of it that looked a lot like Tengawar. If I was older, perhaps I could read them; perhaps I could learn what fates were spelled upon the surface of the sea.

I crouched and—before my mother could lift a hand to stop me—cupped my hands and lifted the water to my lips to drink, as I had seen my older brothers do when they reached streams in the forest. The sea lifted and cupped my bottom, as strong and sure as my father’s hand, and it whispered to me to taste of it, to taste of history and fate alike.

My tongue poked out and lapped at the water, and my cupped hands jerked apart then, and the water tumbled with a joyful splash back to the sea. It tasted of salt, of tears, of pain and grief and regret. In it, I tasted the fates of thousands to come before me, some as small as me or as great as the Valar. I heard their pleas for help that had gone unheard, swallowed by the hungry sea.

I was weeping then too, and the sea grew capricious and surged, lifting me and casting me upon my back, for perhaps it wanted to lick my tears too, but it had not considered my mother, standing so close behind me that I was caught and lifted back to dry land and safety. Was that a ringing sound, coming from beneath her clothes? It was hard to tell in the chaos of shouting voices, sand being kicked in plumes beneath running feet heading for me, Nelyo and Atar circling in the shallows where I’d been kneeling and searching for the urchin or jellyfish that must have caused me such grievous hurt. They did not hear the laughter of the sea, did not feel the way that it dashed against their legs as though trying to ensnare them.

In the warmth of my mother’s embrace, there was the soft popping sound of a cork loosed from its tight fit inside the neck of a glass bottle, and the phial kissed cold against my cheeks and thirstily swept away my tears. The ocean muttered behind us, for not a single tear had dropped into the sea.
~oOo~

I discovered that I was strange not long after that. Where normal Elves grew in a manner much like a line being drawn between two points, someone with a cruel sense of humor had bumped the hand drawing my line and sent it skidding across the paper in the wrong direction. Physically, I grew as expected, according to the notches that my father made on one of the beams in the barn on each of our begetting days: smaller than Maitimo had been but taller than Macalaurë and holding pace with Tyelkormo. But where other Elves grew into love—love of learning, love of Arda, love of each other—I did not. Even my parents: my love for them diminished when I caught them looking upon me and thinking that I was strange. Wondering where they had failed with me. No amount of torment could ever have coaxed such thoughts into words, I believed, but they thought about it, and their thoughts reached me and pressed against my mind like an insistent hand upon the door, relentlessly seeking entrance, until I wearied and let them in.

I began to begrudge my mother my tears and cried alone instead. This was itself thought to be strange. Then I stopped crying altogether.

It’s like he feels nothing: not pain nor joy.

Fighting the insistent hand, the pressure, until I wearied and my mother’s thoughts came to me.

He is strange.
~oOo~

My brothers believed me to be afraid of the sea. As we grew older, we rode on journeys of our own, and they often culminated at the sea, for the sea was believed to be a place of rest and rejuvenation, where tired bodies could stretch upon the sand and be washed by the tireless waves. Whooping and kicking their legs high, my brothers would plunge one after the other into the water, bodies striving against the waves, looking back at me to laugh at my fear of the sea.

I paced upon the sand and would not go near.

“Look Carnistir,” said Tyelkormo once, “it has lain down for you. It is inviting you in.”

Indeed, the sea grew calm in my presence, the waves flattened and curled like beckoning fingers. Foam rested atop the water, swirled into shapes like Tengwar. I could read it by then, but I never looked. I did not want to know what it said.

Come to me. We are alike, you and I.

In the cold waters of the northern lakes, I did my swimming, cutting the water with a body grown strong as expected. There, I once agreed to race my brother Tyelkormo, for he had grown taller than me, broad in the shoulders and of golden beauty hard to look upon, and proud. His voice rose, tangled with those of our brothers. Poor Carnistir, scared of the sea but swimming for hours in the lake. They laughed at me, but they knew me to be strange by then and did not think much of it. But Tyelkormo wanted a challenge, perhaps sensing defiance in my refusal to answer his taunts. Blue eyes on my grit-colored ones, he asked, and I agreed.

We dove from the cliff and cut the silver surface of the lake like knives, matching each other stroke for stroke, heading for the gravelly beach where my parents were sitting with the newborn twins. I could hear him breathing beside me. I could feel his exhaustion and knew that I would prevail; it throbbed with his pulse, growing heavier with each pull of his arms. My parents were growing closer, Atar having lifted his eyes to watch us. I felt Tyelkormo’s realization that I would best him; already, I was pulling ahead. His exhaustion roared like blood in my ears; his desperation not to lose—to fail to his little brother in front of our brothers and our father—stabbed in me like a knife and twisted.

I clutched my leg as though with a cramp, for I did not want to win so badly. Tyelkormo swam on without me.

I let the dark depths of the lake, frigid below me, take hold of my feet, and I sank beneath the water. Nelyo had tried to reason with me once about my fear of the sea. All of the water was the same, he said, gone up into the clouds and distributed by rain. But this water was not like the sea; even if the logic that drove Nelyo’s thoughts considered it the same, this water was indifferent to joy and grief alike; it would smother me in its depths and never raise a wave to answer the grief of those mourning me on the shore. I let myself sink until the pressure squeezed upon my legs and my lungs burned for air; I let myself sink until Tyelkormo descended upon me in a roar of bubbles to catch me under the arms and hoist me to the surface, to return to the shore not only as the winner of our race but also a hero.

I clenched my toes and did a convincing amount of writhing so that the others would believe that I’d been taken by a cramp rather than chancing to drown for the glory of my brother, whose heart was beating so fast that I could see his chest trembling with it, who felt the pang of tragedy averted: but what tragedy? My death or losing the race?

My mother went to massage the cramp from my leg.

Carnistir the Cold, the Heartless, the Dark, they called me, if they only in thought—later in speech—and believed me without feeling for any but myself.

My skin was icy, my mother’s fingers warm upon it, kneading the calf where no knot was to be found.

As Tyelkormo gasped out his heroic tale, her fingers worked my leg from the ankle to the back of my knee. Tyelkormo was clapped on the back and lauded for his deed; I imagined his smile stretching so wide that his face lit up like Laurelin. Up and down my leg, my mother’s fingers worked, finding nothing but, at last, making a pantomime of it working a deep and painful knot, her face twisted into a grimace suitable for one dispatching of that which had almost killed her son. Her eyes met mine, and I waited for the pressure of her thought pressing into my awareness—He is strange, beyond comprehension—but it never came, and she silently massaged my leg and did not interrupt the tale that Tyelkormo was so gloriously retelling.

II—Beleriand
When Grandfather was murdered, the sea was denied a taste of his blood and our grief; that was spilled onto the land of Aman, where such things such as the treachery of Morgoth had been deemed impossible by all save my father. He’d shouted as loudly as he could about it, but no one listened. They’d exiled him. They’d exiled him because he’d raised his protest at a portent rather than an actual provocation. I’d felt it too. As he sat in Formenos, his hands lying useless in his lap, grown bitter to hide his fear, I believe that he understood me then, as he never had before.

Or maybe not—for he turned his efforts to building locks and cages for that which he held dear, as though metal could withhold fate. Not the case: as in my grandfather’s paintings of the sea, it loomed larger than even the most important actions by the most powerful of us.

On the long ride back to Tirion, my brothers wept and the earth drank their tears. Did life wither beneath the salt of their tears or did strange new forms arise, hungry for grief, beholding Aman for the first time, as we had so long ago?

The sea had not yet marked this night or our grief but it would: As I stood at my father’s back, holding a torch so that he could speak with King Olwë of the Teleri about the lending of his ships, I knew that it would soon drink its fill of us.
~oOo~

We were borne upon the sea to the Outer Lands, white ships caught between the black sky and the black sea that rose in anger and grief, casting some of the ships onto their sides and spilling the Noldor upon them into the water, screaming, floundering, dying. We watched from the deck of the ship our father had commandeered—Olwë’s own ship, his son slain on the foredeck, his body still living, gasping, gurgling upon blood, kicked unceremoniously into the sea—as the other ships capsized. We waited for our turn. Behind me, Tyelkormo would not stop shivering, and I felt his terrified thoughts, lacking in logic, like small, sharp projectiles launch into my own mind. But the sea bore us in safety to the opposite shore, the way before us as smooth as glass.

It leaped up to lap at my fingers, clutching the railing: Taste of me! My mouth pinched shut against it, to the taste of grief, some of which was now my doing.

We had knelt by the sea and tried to wash the blood from our hands, but the water was red with it by then, and it splashed our faces, and we tasted salt and blood upon our lips.

Taste of me!

When I’d turned my sword in the gut of the first mariner I’d slain, I felt his pain as sharply as though it had been mine. I screamed with it. History would remember the madness of the dark son of Fëanáro that night; they did not know. I felt fear smother me; I felt the pain of spirit tearing from body; I watched his memories come one by one before his eyes, my eyes: his first silvery fish caught from the docks at Alqualondë, his marriage, his daughter held in his arms for the first time, her wedding, her first silvery fish caught on the docks at Alqualondë—

And then he was gone.

I felt the spirit tear from the body and I screamed, head thrown back and mouth open, twisted, contorted. The strength of my screams tore my throat like claws. Then the spirit departed, and it was over.

Mad. Strange. Dark. That night, I was all of those things.

And also: murderer.

At last, I understood why the sea had always risen in wrath against my father and my brothers. The Teleri whom it had always coddled bobbed on the surface, facedown, anguished faces looking down into the water, perhaps staring into the eyes of the sea itself. Hair tangled like kelp, darkened by blood, and pale hands floated upon the water, open and empty, hands that had never known what it was to hold a steel blade but had nonetheless died by one. But as I watched, the sea splashed over their hands, and the floating bodies tipped one by one, drawn into the deeps. And I knew then that they would be cast upon the shore, upon the beaches of Eldamar, washed of blood and faces fallen into peace, framed by pearls upon silken white sands.

For that, the sea had exacted retribution for the deed undone by my brothers and father. Yet not me. For me, it laid down flat and smooth as a ribbon leading our ship into the Outer Lands. My brothers stared at me, as if they knew.

Guilty, I locked myself in my cabin below-deck and sat upon the bunk. Why? Why have I been spared? I deserve perhaps even more than the others to be cast into the sea and drowned.

The ship rocked gently and above-deck I heard shouting as another of our ships floundered. I heard Nelyo and Tyelkormo scrambling for rope to rescue those cast into the sea, but our father stayed them. “No hope,” he said, but his terror was thick and sour that one of them should bring aboard the curse of Ossë that was beleaguering the other ships while ours sailed in a flat calm. And so they drowned: another kinslaying, unmarked by historians.

Why was I spared? By my fortuitousness, others still should perish.

We are alike, you and I, Carnistir. Like you, I am a murderer, and like you, death is not something that can be left in the past, a memory. It becomes me, and when you wash in my waters, you wash in the blood of every one that I have slain.

We are alike, you and I. Misunderstood. Feared.

Dark.

~oOo~

It was a dream. I awoke with a start when I felt the ship’s belly scrape upon sand. The coarse cotton bedclothes had wrapped themselves around me; they smelled of unfamiliar flesh, of someone who now lay stretched upon the beach, eyes closed to darkness, framed by pearls.

In my mouth was a deep, puckering thirst, a thirst that reminded me of hot popcorn eaten around the campfire by the handful, of Fëanáro shaking the grate over the tossing flames, of Nelyo lavishing it with handfuls of salt, of the twins calling, “More! More! No, more, Nelyo!”

And so my first thought upon landing in Beleriand was not of death and grief and guilt; it was not of courage and freedom, as my father would have liked; it was a memory of a time of joy that had passed unnoticed by us all. I touched my lips and found them dry, tasting of salt.
~oOo~

We moved inland, first to Mithrim, then farther than that, carrying our belongings upon our backs, sleeping in the wild like animals. When Nelyo divided the realms among us, he didn’t ask: He gave to me the land farthest from the sea. “With a lake. A cold lake,” he said, smiling grimly. The servants of Morgoth had not touched his face but for a thread-thin scar across his cheek that he said came on the day that he’d been captured; after that, to mar his face came with the penalty of death. Still, he was no longer beautiful. The light in his eyes: I had seen light glinting like that once, on the day we’d the hill to Alqualondë for the first time, light that was but a reflection of what the sea—what my brother, marred beneath his clothes in ways too hideous to contemplate—would never again celebrate.

“Do you remember that day?” Nelyo asked suddenly. “The day you almost drowned?” Our other brothers had filed from the room, arguing over petty things. Nelyo’s one remaining hand pressed against the map, right above my realm. Thargelion. I tasted the name on my tongue. The lake of which he’d spoken rested in the fork between his thumb and finger. “Or rather, pretended to drown?”

I had trouble meeting his eyes. The light in them—silver light upon water—was painful to look upon. “When did you know?” I asked. “Did Amil tell you?”

“Nay, I have always known, Carnistir. Just as I know that you are not really afraid of the sea. You are like a boy smitten with a girl and not wishing to show it, so you never say her name and hope that no one will notice, when really, she is the only destiny that you have.” He rolled his map then with a left hand grown strong and dexterous and departed the room before I could reply.

I swam in Helevorn even when it was cold, in the middle of the bitter winter, cutting the water with my body like a knife, as I had done so long ago with Tyelkormo at my side. I thought of all of them, of my family. With my body numbed by the water, my mind stretched towards each of them in turn and held commune with their secret dreams, my thoughts pressing theirs like sharing an embrace. I learned that none of them cried anymore. I was no longer the only one among us who was cold and strange.

As my limbs grew heavy with cold and weariness, I stretched my thoughts into the West, but the sea snatched them first and, laughing, denied me the one with whom I desired to speak the most. Come to me. And you shall speak with her.

And I would awaken with a start, floating facedown in the water, the cold beginning to take me, with strength enough to swim to the shore, stretch my cloak over my naked skin, and sleep.

I thought often of my mother. I thought of her alone in our father’s big house, only I did not know what she would do there without a husband and seven sons to occupy her; there would be no bread to bake, no clothes to wash; I could not imagine that, without us, she even possessed the inspiration for her sculptures. Silly and self-important, I know, but I believed it.

In the big empty house, her skin rang like bells, crying from beneath her clothes: seven bells, one ringing lower and stranger than the others, each a flinch of pain radiating across the sea—a pinch felt in a nerve distant upon a fingertip—racing like fire back to its home: her. But she could not come to us to soothe our sadness, as she’d once promised. The sea lay between us.

Word came to my brother Maedhros that one of the Silmarils had been recovered and lay with Dior in Doriath. I stretched my thoughts to each of my brothers that night, as we lay beneath the same roof for the first time in years; I felt each of them reluctant, most of all, Celegorm and Curufin, who would speak the loudest in order to convince us that they were not cowards. I felt their fear of death bitter as poison upon my tongue, and Curufin’s dread of leaving his son—estranged from Curufin but still secretly adored—alone in this treacherous land. I sampled the dreams of the twins, mingled in the middle like the blood they’d once shared, that did not concern themselves with oaths and Silmarils and the dirge-like darkness of Maglor’s sleep. Maedhros dreamt of Thangorodrim, always of Thangorodrim. And revenge.

Beyond them, I stretched to my mother, wondering if she knew the treachery her sons pondered against their own kin. But the sea lay between us and kept her from me.

I imagined the seven phials, one ringing lower than the others. Stranger.

He is strange.

It would never be filled, I realized, and so all of this grief and endless pain I felt: It would not move mountains or shape rivers. It would accomplish nothing.
~oOo~

A moon before we left for Doriath, I woke from a dream of my mother; she pressed her breast with a trembling hand to quiet the phials that rang almost constantly now, loud as bells. Still, they cried out and would not be silenced by anyone less than Eru, much less someone of flesh and earthbound as she.

I no longer visited my brothers in their dreams. I dared not even consider my own.

Before the sun rose, I had saddled my horse and slipped a note beneath Maglor’s door: Maglor because he was the only one who had found sleep that night, however restless, and I hoped that he would not awaken before I’d had my chance to escape.

I rode to the sea.

It took many days, but I was tireless and my horse was loyal and eager beneath me, and when the first strong breeze wrapped my face, I scented salt and almost turned back but for the memory of my mother, with the phials pressed beneath her hand. I tried to send my thoughts to her, but always, I was blocked by the sea.

I came to the beach unseen and turned my horse free. He would come to my whistle when I was ready and had earned his reprieve. The sand gripped my feet, awkward in their boots, and threatened to cast me upon my face, but then, the sand had been shaped by the sea and so was itself treacherous. Winter was coming, and the sky was the color of slate and the sea beneath it just a bit darker, the horizon darkest of all: the west, where we could not go. The waves were rough, and I waited for them to settle, as they had always done in my presence before, but they surged harder as I drew closer, and I saw that they would at last exact their retribution.

I stripped off my clothes and boots and the wind slapped my skin and colored it red and sore. The sand at the water’s edge was so cold that my feet ached at its touch, but I plunged onward, heedless, into the foaming anger of the sea, my body striving against the waves that sought to push me back even as I felt a current deep below the surface wrap my legs with lover’s arms and drag me into the embrace of the sea.

I had enough time to take a final, gasping breath before I was dragged beneath the water.
~oOo~

Grandfather Finwë had been a favorite in our house because whenever he came to visit, he brought a big picture book of stories from the Time before Elves, as he called it, pronounced with such reverence that even my rambunctious brothers and I were awed into silence. But what had existed in the Time before Elves? we asked, and with the self-centered fears of small children, Where had we been? Grandfather Finwë would laugh and draw the littlest of us—the one permitted to sit in his lap while the others formed a half-circle around him on the floor—closer to his chest, making the others lean in as well, as though with a shared breath, taken in anticipation of his answer: Why you were in the thoughts of Eru! A wonderful place of all colors and music more beautiful than any we shall ever hear on Arda. This book is but those of Eru’s designs that have come into being; many more of these books exist, unwritten, in His thoughts.

Because it was the Time before Elves, we understood that it was stories about the Valar, about the creation of Arda. When I was very small—small enough to be the one held in Grandfather’s lap—there was a particular story that Macalaurë would always request. “Tell of ‘The Betrayal of Ossë!’ “ he would cry. Macalaurë always liked a dark edge to his stories and a happy ending, and “The Betrayal of Ossë” had both.

In the days when Arda was being made, Grandfather told us, the Dark One swayed Ossë to his allegiance, promising him dominion over the seas that he loved. Ossë was loved as a dearest friend by Ulmo, the Lord of the Waters, and Ulmo grieved in those days, thinking his friend lost. Ulmo has no spouse to comfort him, and indeed, Ossë had been all that was dear to him, and Ulmo drew to the shore and wept until the sea rose with his tears and tasted grief for the first time.

The ending we knew: The Ossë had been convinced to come back to Ulmo, and he’d been pardoned as one must always pardon a dear friend, and has since served Ulmo in the waters, remaining loyal but nonetheless—at times—perilous. The ending was happy, and when we were away from Grandfather and being honest, a bit boring.

But the sea ever after tasted of tears. Of salt.

And, I would learn only short years later, when it laid its treacherous hands upon me for the first time, that it had also developed a tasted for grief.
~oOo~

It pulled me under, and as the dreams and memories of others are mine to idly peruse like fingers turning the pages of a book, so the memories of the sea become mine, all of the pain and death and partings to which it has borne witness over the ages. I tasted the salt of tears cried into its water and, beneath that, something filthy and metallic: blood.

I could see the waves raging overhead, but the sea wrapped me and cradled me as gently as one might an infant, and I opened my heart and spirit and shared in its grief.

The breath in my lungs was growing scarce, but the cold water had numbed my limbs, and the current jerked me deeper, and I wondered if the sea meant to take me too, to add my blood to that already spilled by thousands before me. I waited for the certain despair at this realization and thought, at last, that I might weep. Pity that the sea divided me from my mother, and the dark violet phial around her neck would remain bereft a single tear.

My eyes were open, but darkness took me, creeping from the edges, and I let forth the last of the air in my lungs to bubble to the surface and be lost.

With the last of my energy, I stretched my thoughts towards Aman, towards her.
~oOo~

She was not living in my father’s house at all. This she had given to my cousin Findarato, the first of us to return from the dead, and his new bride. And soon, their first child as well. The house hungered for joy and laughter and we had once given it in great measures. Since we’d left, the house had starved with only our mother for company; now both would be happy once more.

My mother lived in Alqualondë. She was rebuilding the damage done by her people, her husband, us. I saw her helping the Telerin queen choose a statue for the nursery. She was also with child. Life flourished in Aman, despite all that we had done.

The statues were all my mother’s, all done since we had left. But how?

Life flourished in Aman.

At night, my mother walked the beach beneath the palace, the beach strewn with pearls that had once cradled the heads of the departed mariners, washed gently ashore by the delicate hands of the sea, their wounds washed and bloodless, their faces tranquil. The mariners were gone now but the pearls remained and caught the light of the new moon.

She touched the phials and thought of us, gazing at the sea, striving for a single flicker of contact between us. But the Curse of Mandos—she believed—had locked us away from her. But this night was different; this night, she clutched the phials and stretched her thoughts over the sea, and I answered.

Mother! Mother, I will be home soon!

One of the cords had broken in her hand, and my phial lay across her palm while she stood frozen for a long time, staring at the sea that had finally answered her this night, the tears on her face not of grief but tasting of salt nonetheless, dripping into the eager waves that lapped her feet. Trembling fingers were working the cork free of the phial that had not been opened in years. The water surged as high as her knees, reaching for her hand and the phial that she held in it. She did not have to bend far to give the phial its final tear, taken from the sea.
~oOo~

And when the phial is filled, then the tears you cry shall erode mountains and change the course of rivers with their power, maybe even fill the sea.

With a ragged, choking gasp, I drew a lungful of air and found my vision restored, my feet rooted solidly to the sand and in water to my waist, water as placid as that of the lake that I loved. Foam left from the sea’s earlier rage floated on the surface, forming Tengwar shapes that I no longer needed to read. I knew what they said. I knew all of the sea’s secrets.

A playful wave rose suddenly and slapped by belly. The water trickling back to the sea sounded like laughter.

As I drank hungrily of the air, I realized that my face was damp. Numb fingers rose and touched my cheeks, then slipped into my mouth, curious and no longer afraid.

They tasted of salt.

III. Doriath
We attacked as we said that we would, coming upon them at unawares in the dead of winter, our swords as cold and bright as the icicles draping the tree branches. The sea was nowhere near to record the pain and grief nor taste the blood and tears shed that day, but I knew that it knew, and it would remember.

I noticed that Curufin was missing when the fighting entered its third day and it became clear that we were winning—winning but yet to recover that for which we had come: the Silmaril. I had last seen him pursuing two of Dior’s soldiers into a copse of trees but he had never emerged. I followed his footprints in the snow and into the trees, leaving behind my brothers arguing over the places it still might be. Menegroth ran deep, many of its secrets still undelved. But I thought of Curufin—the only of us missing—his coldly rational voice absent from the discussion.

In the trees, my brother’s bootprints were jumbled with the smaller prints of Dior’s soldiers. The snow was pink with blood, and a dark trail led deeper into the forest. There were no bootprints: Whoever had made the trail had been crawling upon hands and knees.

Heart pounding, I followed it, wishing the blood to belong to someone else’s brother, not mine. We had survived so much—so many battles, so much treachery, even the Nirnaeth Arnoediad—and none of us had fallen. Let it not be the death of a kinslayer for which my brother would be remembered.

But the body in the clearing, curled on its side, flesh turned as white as the snow melting in the spill of blood beneath it: It was Curufin.

I fell to my knees beside him and turned him onto his back. I was calling his name—screaming it—but no sound came from my lips; I was reaching for his mind as I had done so many times before, taking solace in his happiness where I had none, but I found it deserted, his last threads of thought being torn by the bitter wind cutting between the trees.

Curufinwë!

A tiny smile touched his lips. He knew me. I kissed the smile and tried to massage warmth back into the cold, stiff hands. A finger twitched, and it gave me hope. The pulse at his throat was weak and irregular, and I laughed bitterly at my predicament, for with each beat of his heart, more of his blood spilled into the snow. To wish for his heart to beat strong and healthy as it had for the whole of his life, I would hasten his death.

His gray eyes opened a sliver and met mine. Our father’s eyes.

Just hold me, Carnistir, and don’t let me die alone.

The blood leaving his wounds was no longer pushing forth but seeping slowly, carrying him to his fate, but my hand on his throat still found a pulse and the barest warmth of life.

I held him fast to life, my mind bound to his, and I didn’t even hear the crunch of her footsteps in the snow behind me until she gasped, the involuntary cry of a little girl startled and suppressing a scream.

I would not turn my eyes from my brother but I knew who she was: Dior’s daughter, a tiny thing with dark hair and huge gray eyes. Beautiful. Beautiful as her grandmother’s song, as her grandmother. By the woolen cloak on her shoulders and the boots on her feet, I knew that she was escaping. Her mittened hands clasped something tightly, not wanting me to see, as she dashed past and disappeared into the woods. But she had no reason to fear. Beneath my fingers, my brother’s pulse faltered, then throbbed again, and he held on to life and me with him. So long as the blood beat in my brother’s veins, I would stay at his side, whether she carried a Silmaril or not.

My brother would not die alone.

Dusk fell. Curufin’s heart gave a final feeble squeeze. The tears that had dropped onto his cheeks—fallen unnoticed from my eyes—had frozen there. He was gone.

The little girl’s tracks in the snow: already erased by the wind. She—and the Silmaril—were gone too.

I curled beside my brother with my head on his chest. I waited. Behind me in the distance, the sea waited too, grown calm with anticipation, for it was only a matter of time now before the world changed and it found a new home.
  • Whee! With all these Caranthir stories, it might as well be *my* birthday!!! :D

    I'll come back to read tomorrow (since it's getting "late"), but I wanted to be the first to comment! (I know, my life is very sad.)
    • I think that a decent half of my flist prefers Caranthir. Actually, I'm in the midst of writing another Caranthir story right now for Kasiopea, who asked for a story about how Caranthir and Taryinde eventually got engaged. And also a story for Jenni's birthday where Feanor is dead and in a really weird mood, which really has nothing to do with Caranthir, but the story's so strange that it deserves mention. I think that my writing might actually be getting stranger, which is hard to do.

      And yay, first comment! :^D
      • I think that a decent half of my flist prefers Caranthir.

        Yeah, it's kind of weird! I thought I was speshul the only one in the world! (We're taking over the world!)
  • Dawn, that was incredibly good. There were so many things in the story I liked I'm only going to touch on the one that wowed me the most.

    We are alike, you and I. Misunderstood. Feared. Dark.

    ...the ocean! You've given it a personality far beyond that of the valar that made it. I had never thought of it as being anything more than water under the control of their forces, but here it's like a living entity given birth from Ulmo's tears and fed on the blood of Osse's perilous nature.

    I curled beside my brother with my head on his chest. I waited. Behind me in the distance, the sea waited too, grown calm with anticipation, for it was only a matter of time now before the world changed and it found a new home.

    I cried at the end of this....and I never thought the death of any of the three C's in Doriath would bring me to that. I'm glad that Carnistir held his brother till the end, that his love for his brother was greater than the oath and silmaril.

    And it really creeps me out that the last line of the story is about Carnistir knowing the sea is eagerly waiting the end of Beleriand. My mind starts ticking forward at this point imaging it gleefully foaming over the lands and falllen kingdoms, buried bones of elves and men rising to the surface....

    You are seriously going to give me nightmares.
    • *blushblush* Thank you! :) As I was writing it, I kept thinking, "WTF is this?" but finally decided to stick it in my LJ to see if 1) anyone liked it or 2) anyone who hated it could tell me how to fix it! :^P

      ...the ocean! You've given it a personality far beyond that of the valar that made it.

      I have always loved the ocean more than nearly anything else; I am drawn to it (hence the fact that I'm getting ready to go back to school to get my second bachelor's in biology with hopes of going into ocean conservation!) and also inspired by it in a way that defies explanation. If I sit beside the sea, all of my writer's block goes away. Stories on which I haven't been able to work in months come back to me. And thinking on the ocean in the past few months, as I prepare to hopefully live the rest of my life with it, I've realized that it is a symbol for different--and often opposing--things. It keeps people apart; it keeps me from my sister and sister-in-law who live in England, for example, in a way more profound than if they simply lived across the country. But then it also connects people, as in the thousands of years before air travel when it was used to bring supplies and trade (and diseases and war) around the world. It is a livelihood for many--as I know well, being a Marylander where a large portion of our economy hinges on blue crabs, oysters, and rockfish--and a death for many as well, as the Christmas tsunami and Hurricane Katrina have proven in just the last two years. So with all of these opposing ideas, it begged for a story, and when Vana asked for Caranthir and the sea, it rather wrote itself from there! :) I love to find a mythological basis for why the world works as it does, and the story of Osse's near-treachery has always been one of my favorites, so the myth evolved from there.

      I cried at the end of this....and I never thought the death of any of the three C's in Doriath would bring me to that.

      Awww.... *proffers tissues* I wasn't sure about the ending--if it was strong enough--as it seems a fine line to walk between being powerful and overly sentimental. But if it is making people cry and not gag, I can live with that. ;)

      You are seriously going to give me nightmares.

      And you are giving me plotbunnies with the bones rising to the surface! :^D Well, horror is probably my favorite genre to write, so I suppose that it's natural that it surfaces even when I do not intend it to, no pun intended. :)

      And your icon! *loves*
  • Wow... I'm speechless, except to say that there are maybe two authors (if even that many) out there who have ever made me like Caranthir, and you're undeniably one of them. :)
    • I'm speechless too! Thank you so much for such kind words; the reception this story has received so far exceeds what I'd hoped. Here, I'd worried I'd get a lot of "Dawn?! WTF??" :^D

      I love writing Caranthir, and with so many Caranthir fanatics on my flist (at least half my flist, I think, requests him for gift stories), I get lots of practice. ;) I don't like shallow portrayals of any of the Feanorians; Caranthir's mood and personality being so inexplicably dark deserves explanation beyond merely "He was a bad guy; he was evil," I think. But that could just be the psychologist coming out. ;)
  • Dawn, there is nothing in the way of concrit that I can offer here, because I can truly see nothing wrong with this. Caranthir is becoming one of my favorite characters to write about. I think that is because, whether it's canon or not, he is thought to be strange, and that opens up so many interesting possibilities. It is difficult to make him sympathetic, and yet you have done so. The beginning of the story grabs the reader with an interesting concept--that of the phials--and it ends with a heart-wrenching bang--when the son thought to be the strangest and lacking in emotion is the one to find his wounded brother and remain to offer him solace and finally shed his tears.

    Here are some of my favorite passages and why:

    For I was Carnistir the Stoic, Carnistir the Harsh, Carnistir the Dark, and Carnistir the Sullen. People found it hard to look upon my face; my eyes, they said, were like rock. Once, as a child and angered with our father’s ideas of impossibility—for Fëanáro maintained until the moment of his death that nothing undone was impossible—Maitimo had taken a rock into his fist and squeezed it until his knuckles went white like bone. “See! Water cannot be wrung from rocks! There is impossibility in the world!”

    I love this picture of Carnistir so early in the story. And the reference to rock--in Carnistir's eyes and Maitimo's squeezing of the rock, as if to show how hard and tough Carnistir is.

    In the warmth of my mother’s embrace, there was the soft popping sound of a cork loosed from its tight fit inside the neck of a glass bottle, and the phial kissed cold against my cheeks and thirstily swept away my tears. The ocean muttered behind us, for not a single tear had dropped into the sea.

    I thought this was excellent. His mother finally got some of his tears but the sea was denied.

    Why was I spared? By my fortuitousness, others still should perish.

    We are alike, you and I, Carnistir. Like you, I am a murderer, and like you, death is not something that can be left in the past, a memory. It becomes me, and when you wash in my waters, you wash in the blood of every one that I have slain.

    We are alike, you and I. Misunderstood. Feared.

    Dark.


    That part just gave me shivers. Misunderstood. Feared. I love this connection between the sea and Carnistir.

    My comment was too long. I'll post the rest in a separate comment.




    • Caranthir is becoming one of my favorite characters to write about. I think that is because, whether it's canon or not, he is thought to be strange, and that opens up so many interesting possibilities.

      Exactly! I could not agree more! I was telling Niki in the comment above yours that I love to write Caranthir because he seems to defy explanation; he was born in Aman beneath the light of the Trees and yet he has earned the epithet "Dark" and is called "the harshest of the brothers." That is the proverbial fruit of temptation to me: to take a hated, misunderstood character and peel away the layers to understand why he is that way. And my flist has been wonderful for this because whenever I want to write a story for someone, the request is usually for a story about Caranthir! My current W-i-P, aside from your birthday monster story, is another Caranthir story for Kasiopea, who wanted to hear about how he and Taryinde came to get engaged. Here, I'd thought that Caranthir had no fans, but it seems that he has the most of the Feanorions! (Though he tied Maedhros, iirc, in my poll a few months ago.)

      His mother finally got some of his tears but the sea was denied.

      Then, later, he gives the sea his tears and his mother takes them from the sea and sets in motion the taking of the Silmaril by Elwing who will later give it to Earendil, who will then use it to (finally) move the Valar to action.... ;)

      I do so many of these typos myself, but I never seem to notice mine!

      I never notice mine either! I believe that I live so long with a story in my head that I know what it says and don't give it the attention that I give to, say, a beta story, where the story is new for me and so I must actually read each individual word. ;) Thanks for noticing, though; I will edit it on LJ and on the original copies.

      And that wishful thinking would be for a wee bit more of a warm relationship between Carnistir and his mother. *snip* There is the one where she is massaging his leg but in his perception she just seems to be doing it as a rote exercise because she is his mother and it is expected of her

      Hmmm. I'm a bit torn on this because one of the things that I wanted to do with the story is to show how Carnistir remains out of reach of everyone--even Nerdanel, who makes an active attempt to know every tear that her sons cry--until the very ending, when understanding his relationship to the sea finally helps him to understand that it is acceptable to feel sadness and grieve, to live his own life rather than simply existing vicariously through his brothers. But I want the scene where Nerdanel rubs his leg to show the depth of her love for Caranthir, so I don't want a rote feeling at all! :) What I am trying to do with that scene is to show that Nerdanel does not gather Carnistir in her arms because she knows 1) that he will not like it and 2) knows that he does not wish attention drawn to his "stunt"; he wants it to be believed that he really was drowning and would have died but for Tyelko's actions. When Nerdanel rubs his leg and does not find the knotted muscle that supposedly caused him to founder, she knows the truth. She knows the truth but she carries on rubbing his leg in an effort to make it appear as though he'd truly been crippled, knowing that to do otherwise would take Tyelko's heroism from him (and a measure of his pride as well, which is so important to him) and negate the sacrifice that Carni has made. I had also hoped that this would show that Carni loves his brothers equally or more than they love each other, but his way of showing it is subtle and easily missed. But he was willing to risk his life to restore Tyelko's pride to him; Nerdanel realizes this.

      Whew. That was very rambly. I apologize. :^P Any thoughts on that and how I might make it work better? (Don't worry if you're crossing your eyes, having read that; I tend to revise over many months, so hopefully the solution will come once the story is less fresh.)

    • Vana is one lucky girl.

      Your story and Kasiopea's are on my agenda as we speak! And yours is even weirder than this one and will be multi-chapter--maybe novella-length, depending on how long I can put up with dead!Feanor--so I hope that is a good thing. :^P

      Btw, I based the idea of this story on "Paper," and I am tossing around the idea of doing a story like this for each of the sons and maybe other characters as well that explore their personalities and motivations through their relationships with ordinary objects. But since it took almost a year just to get two stories like this finished, this is a looooong WiP!

      Thanks for your long review, all your kind words, and the suggestion on which I will be thinking much over the next few weeks. *big hugs*
  • Mother! Mother, I will be home soon!

    One of the cords had broken in her hand, and my phial lay across her palm while she stood frozen for a long time, staring at the sea that had finally answered her this night, the tears on her face not of grief but tasting of salt nonetheless, dripping into the eager waves that lapped her feet. Trembling fingers were working the cork free of the phial that had not been opened in years. The water surged as high as her knees, reaching for her hand and the phial that she held in it. She did not have to bend far to give the phial its final tear, taken from the sea.


    Gahhh! So heart-wrenching. That they thought of each other at this time. This is a beautiful moment.

    A playful wave rose suddenly and slapped by belly.

    The only glitch I noticed was here: "by belly" should be "my belly".

    I do so many of these typos myself, but I never seem to notice mine!

    My brother would not die alone.

    Dusk fell. Curufin’s heart gave a final feeble squeeze. The tears that had dropped onto his cheeks—fallen unnoticed from my eyes—had frozen there. He was gone.

    The little girl’s tracks in the snow: already erased by the wind. She—and the Silmaril—were gone too.

    I curled beside my brother with my head on his chest. I waited. Behind me in the distance, the sea waited too, grown calm with anticipation, for it was only a matter of time now before the world changed and it found a new home.


    This is so sad and beautiful. A very strong ending.

    After the reread, I can only offer one little thing--but it is just an opinion and a bit of wishful thinking--for there is nothing wrong with the story at all the way it is. And that wishful thinking would be for a wee bit more of a warm relationship between Carnistir and his mother. You have touched on it, but the incredibly moving scene that I highlighted when she leans forward to the sea to fill Carni's phial would be all the more poignant, I think, if there had been a scene earlier on where they could have been close. There is the one where she is massaging his leg but in his perception she just seems to be doing it as a rote exercise because she is his mother and it is expected of her, rather than enveloping him in her arms, telling him that she loves him, or some such other tender mother-son scene. However, that's just my wish, and is probably not at all necessary to do.

    I thought this story was incredibly and intensely moving, Dawn. A great job. Vana is one lucky girl.

  • Oh, Dawn. This story makes me feel so many things -- not least, gratitude to you, and the thought of how lucky I am to have you as a friend.

    It's an amazing story. I was crying as I read it, and still reading through my tears because it is so beautifully, tragically compelling. And even knowing how the story must end, the final section gave me this twisting feeling in my gut, like the story was wringing all this emotion, sorrow and pure hopelessness, out of me. It was cathartic, actually. :-)

    I love the repetition of themes and objects: salt, rock, blood, the sea, Nerdanel's phials. It gives the story a kind of rocking motion, like waves on the ocean. To my regret, I couldn't pick out bits I like the best, because everything is so deeply woven together that any quoting of it would be incomplete and not so meaningful.

    In short, Dawn, I absolutely love this story. I'm memming it, saving it, printing it out to read and re-read over and over again. Wonderful, perfect, beautiful. It's the best gift you could have given me, and I will surely cherish it for years to come. Thank you so much.
    • Yay! *bounces* *hugs Vana* You have me grinning ear-to-ear with this comment. I am so pleased that you liked it. The story tested my patience for a while and wasn't even finished when you returned home; I was tempted to rush through and make a perfunctory ending but decided to wait and be a little more belated and let the story to tell me how it wanted to end. One night, it came to me, and I was so glad that I waited. :)

      And even knowing how the story must end, the final section gave me this twisting feeling in my gut, like the story was wringing all this emotion, sorrow and pure hopelessness, out of me. It was cathartic, actually. :-)

      Well, I'm glad you've managed to smile after all that! :^D You're the second person I've made cry with this story. Bad 'gund. ;) It's kind of ironic, in a way, that it is a story about a character who struggles with his feeling of disconnect and strangeness for his lack of emotion, and yet, it brings out the most emotion of any of the stories that I've written in a long while. But I kind of wanted this; the story was actually inspired in part by the concrit of a friend that I tend to show too much emotion in my stories. So I never once wanted--until the ending, when his brother is dying and it seems justifiable--for Caranthir to consciously cry as an adult. (Does he cry when he's in the ocean? Even I don't know!) But rather than having a lot of hand-wringing and weeping, I really wanted to bring out the emotion through subtlety and mood. So far, so good, I think. ;)

      I love the repetition of themes and objects: salt, rock, blood, the sea, Nerdanel's phials. It gives the story a kind of rocking motion, like waves on the ocean.

      Oh, your poetic side is showing! :) I hadn't even thought of that, but what a neat idea! It was purely accidental, I assure you. ;) I did want to draw connections between all of these things. I have another story called "Paper" about Curufin and his relationship with paper--and what can be learned about his character as a result--on which the structure of this story was also based. It's kind of fun to start with a character and an ordinary object and--through exploring the significance of that object--hopefully reveal stuff about the character. I'm thinking of doing a whole series of stories like this one and "Paper," one for each son and maybe some other worthy characters as well. :)

      It's the best gift you could have given me, and I will surely cherish it for years to come. Thank you so much.

      You are so welcome. :) You know, I always feel a little selfish, giving stories for gifts. I absolutely love writing them, and through the ideas that friends have given me when I ask, "What kind of story do you want for your birthday?" I have done some of my best work because these are routes that I never would have pursued if not prodded in that direction! But I had a wonderful time with this story--even when it was being stubborn for about a month there and refused to let me finish it--and owe you my gratitude as well for giving me the idea and inspiration. *big hugs*
  • Wow. This is so very sad and beautiful. I don't care all that much for Carnistir (except in that vague "OME, son of Fëanor, must fangirl" way), but this story made me love him very, very much.

    *just curses iTunes which chose to play Barber's Adagio for Strings during the last paragraph, although I'd probably have cried anyway*
    • It's quite ironic: The story about a character who believes himself incapable of normal emotion might be my saddest story ever!

      Carnistir escaped me until I started writing him. Since then, he's become one of my favorite PoVs to write from, even if he's not even in the Top Five of favorite characters. And it helps that half of my flist are hopeless Carni fangurls! :^D

      Thanks so much for reading this and letting me know. It's been one of *those* weeks, and I do believe that the positive support toward my stories has gotten me through it! :)
  • Ooooh... such a wonderful story. *still crying*

    I won't say anything else now. I guess you know that incoherence is a good sign when I am talking about stories. ;)
    • Lol! Well, I see incoherence as stemming from two sources: "OMG, that was so good I don't know what to say" or "OMG, that was so bad that I don't know where to begin." :^P

      Thank you for reading and for being...erm...incoherent. In the good way. ;)

      *pets Carnistir*
  • *can't say anything, so won't even try*

    I was nearly crying. I feel kind of like Carnistir in this story in that somewhat odd, ironic sort of way. (Even if it feels really lame to say that).

    You really make Carnistir a sympathetic character (ok, yeah, I like him anyway but...) and it makes this story hard to read because it makes you see his brothers as cruel, or at least unkind, which isn't something I, at least, like to do. Does that even make any sense??

    However, I must know. What is this "Boo-be-do-be-do-be-doo" song you & Bobby made up? :P (The er, "title" of your song makes me feel less depressed, so thanks Bobby for singing it!)
    • *can't say anything, so won't even try*

      Finrod has pointed out that after saying this, you proceed to leave a longer-than-usual review. He wonders if my blondness is rubbing off on you.

      *smacks Finrod*

      Oops. I think he liked that....

      *locks Finrod on balcony*

      You really make Carnistir a sympathetic character (ok, yeah, I like him anyway but...) and it makes this story hard to read because it makes you see his brothers as cruel, or at least unkind, which isn't something I, at least, like to do. Does that even make any sense??

      It does. :) I don't like to take the easy road of making the Feanorians cruel characters either; it seems such a cheap tactic in too many fanfics. "Oh! Convenient villain! *insert Feanor/Maeglin/Celegorm here*" But I think this cruelty stems from a different source; it's nothing intentional, like, "That Caranthir is a real loser. Let's see if we can get his self-esteem as low as possible!" so much as a lack of understanding. I see Carnistir and his brothers--in Felak!verse anyway--as trying to connect and missing each other. Like trapeze artists trying to grab hold and continually swinging past, out of reach. (How's that for a daft metaphor? :^D) Like when Mae bars Carni from going to Macalaure; I don't think he means to be cruel so much as to prevent Carni from feeling that he has to do something unnatural for him or to keep Macalaure from having to put up with Carni. He would doubtlessly think that he'd done the kind thing in that.

      But that's the beauty of PoV. :) This story would be so different, told from the PoV of Celegorm or Nerdanel or Maedhros...or anyone. (Elwing? :^D)

      However, I must know. What is this "Boo-be-do-be-do-be-doo" song you & Bobby made up?

      Lol! You would notice, wouldn't you? :^D When we were college-aged, there was this weird techno-rock song called "Battleflag." I don't remember the name of the band that performed it. Anyway, there was this one part where it goes into this synth-type music that sounds like "Boo-be-do-be-do-be-doo" repeated over and over. So Bobby and I used to sing along to the song this way. Gradually, we stopped requiring background music.

      We're weird. ;)
      • Finrod has pointed out that after saying this, you proceed to leave a longer-than-usual review. He wonders if my blondness is rubbing off on you.

        I lied. And I think my drop in IQ has to do with talking to you, not to Dawn.

        Oops. I think he liked that....

        Probably. Now he'll really be...*struggles for word*...terrible.

        But I think this cruelty stems from a different source; it's nothing intentional, like, "That Caranthir is a real loser. Let's see if we can get his self-esteem as low as possible!" so much as a lack of understanding.

        Definitely (though I bet there was a fair amount of needling along the line of "You're such a loser!" between all of them! Yay for brotherly love). That's why it sucks more than just plain "I'm evil! Mwahaha!" because the doer doesn't think of his actions as cruel.

        How's that for a daft metaphor? :^D

        Do you really want me to answer that? :P

        You would notice, wouldn't you? :^D

        I aim to please! (*Really hopes Finrod is not around*) I'll have to look up this song. It sounds almost as cool as the "lalalala" song, though at least in your song, the lyrics (not that there were any) weren't made up by a professional.

        We're weird. ;)

        It's ok, I can type out a song to my band friends and we all know exactly which song I'm singing/humming. :)

        OMG, speaking of band, I thought of another director-ism that I need to tell you sometime.
        • Okay, hold on to your seat 'cause...I might be online this weekend.

          :^O :^O :^O

          Because of the whole British airline bombing scheme, poor Bobby is off working odd hours, so we are taking a weekend to hang around the apartment, and once I get caught up on the four dozen comments that I still have to answer, I might pop online for a bit.

          :^O :^O :^O
          • O_O *falls off couch, hits head on coffee table, and dies*

            Well, I'm pretty much always around, so feel free to poke me if you're on!
            • O_O *falls off couch, hits head on coffee table, and dies*

              Oh, I hope not! I hope that I have not killed Tarion!

              (Finrod thinks it would be a good idea for him to try mouth-to-mouth....)

              Well, I'm pretty much always around, so feel free to poke me if you're on!

              I will! A whole weekend where my most pressing engagement is going to the pharmacy, the library, and out to dinner! Whee!
              • Finrod thinks it would be a good idea for him to try mouth-to-mouth....

                Okay.

                I thought Fingon was the one with the medical fetish?

                I will! A whole weekend where my most pressing engagement is going to the pharmacy, the library, and out to dinner! Whee!

                Woohoo! Mine is buying a printer - but even that can technically wait until next week. (Tarion? Procrastinate? Never!)
  • I will be good for once and leave at least a tiny comment.

    Very good story, wonderfully emotional without being overthe top. Made me cry :)

    Now I will go and wake up and try to find my own muses again :P

    *hugs*

    Uli
    • Thanks so much! :) *hugs back* I seem to have written quite the tear-jerker. *is proud in an evol sort of way* ;)

      (Btw, I really enjoyed the story you posted on Silmfics. It made me all smiley and happy. I've wanted to tell you, but life has been busy and I haven't been online too much!)
      • I always get proud too when I manage to make people cry *lol* so I understand :P

        and thanks, I am glad you enjoyed it :) I decided they needed smiley and happy for once.. and don't worry I know all about life preventing onlineness :P it happens..

        *hugs* now go back to writing so i get more to read :P
  • Ow Dawn.. halfway reading this I suddenly wished for my tears to be caught in such a beautiful vial. I actually had to walk away for a moment while I cried. Not many stories can achieve that. I was kinda emotional when I finished a story this evening, but the last time I actually cried while writing was during my story Oaths Foresworn and I never actually thought something could touch me this deeply as this one. And yeah. It happened. So for the first time I waited until I reviewed, so here I am.

    There is a lot I want to say, but the way you portrayed the sea is just as it is, deadly calm, dangerous, a bringer of joy and relief, but also so easy to entrust your sorrow and grief with. I just loved this part:

    My tongue poked out and lapped at the water, and my cupped hands jerked apart then, and the water tumbled with a joyful splash back to the sea. It tasted of salt, of tears, of pain and grief and regret. In it, I tasted the fates of thousands to come before me, some as small as me or as great as the Valar. I heard their pleas for help that had gone unheard, swallowed by the hungry sea.

    With this I immediately had to think of your Caranthir in Felak verse: more sensitive to aura's and sensing of emotions. And beautifully written too.

    Behind me, Tyelkormo would not stop shivering, and I felt his terrified thoughts, lacking in logic, like small, sharp projectiles launch into my own mind. But the sea bore us in safety to the opposite shore, the way before us as smooth as glass.

    Well you know me by now, I always have a fuzzy feeling when Tyelko is mentioned, but when I read this I wondered what this hunter, used to hunting wildlife, knowing the rules of nature and witnessing how his own kin puts it to practise as well: survival of the fittest. Well that is at least my visual when I read it.

    edit: my comment is too long, LJ wants me to break it up.
    • I actually had to walk away for a moment while I cried. Not many stories can achieve that. I was kinda emotional when I finished a story this evening, but the last time I actually cried while writing was during my story Oaths Foresworn and I never actually thought something could touch me this deeply as this one. And yeah. It happened.

      I'm really very amazed at how people have reacted to this story. This is the most nervous I've been about a story in a long while because it took so long in evolving and I was wondering if my point would be lost in all that was going on. So this has been such an unexpected gift, to have so many lovely reviews. :)

      I've only ever cried once at my own story and it's not something that's yet published. In "He Came Home" (the Earwen/Finarfin/Darkening of Valinor story), there is one part that always makes me cry. I feel a bit foolish about it. I wonder if anyone will be able to pick it out, once I finish that story and do publish the whole thing! :^P

      There is a lot I want to say, but the way you portrayed the sea is just as it is, deadly calm, dangerous, a bringer of joy and relief, but also so easy to entrust your sorrow and grief with.

      I wonder if some of the reaction readers are having to this story is due to the author's emotions toward the sea rubbing off a bit! I have always treasured the ocean above almost anything else, and it speaks to me, much as it does to Carni, though not in such a dark way. Mostly, it inspires, but I find myself thinking of its incredible destructive power too. But I put my hands in the ocean and think of family and friends a sea away, wondering, Maybe their touching the water too...? :)
      • This is the most nervous I've been about a story in a long while because it took so long in evolving and I was wondering if my point would be lost in all that was going on.

        I have the same with a short story that is now in beta. I've been writing this thing when I could (for instance when I had the perfect scene in my mind: I had my little guy to see to), so I am still unsure if it will work or not. Unfortunately once I could go back to the file... the momentum was gone or I was disturbed by someone else. So yeah I can imagine why Maglor would bar his room ;)

        I feel a bit foolish about it.

        Why? Because you care for your characters, as if you are there around your characters when they go through the most heartwrenching moment? They become a part of you and I think it is very hard to distance yourself from them.

        I wonder if anyone will be able to pick it out, once I finish that story and do publish the whole thing! :^P

        Who knows :) I can most often sense where an author is struggling, but emotions are different from person to person.

        I wonder if some of the reaction readers are having to this story is due to the author's emotions toward the sea rubbing off a bit!

        Well for me it is the whole build up you do here, the bond between mother and son. This is so incredibly strong, the love a child has for you is unconditionally. Maybe later in life and when they grow up, they change and become distant. Just as Carnastir becomes distant that even his mother perceives him as strange, I think that was my first pang and I wondered: Carni, don't do this to yourself and then that sentence, the eagerness, the promise and hope: Mother! Mother, I will be home soon!

        Of all her sons, Carnistir answers and it just makes me cry again that we all know this will never happen. But I can see Nerdanel standing, wishing, praying hoping that her children at war for this desperate cause will return home. *sniffle* And of course his steadfastness, not willing to let his brother die alone..

        I have always treasured the ocean above almost anything else, and it speaks to me, much as it does to Carni, though not in such a dark way.

        Yes and no. I think I have that more with the forest, especially on horseback. I still have fond memories from years ago that every morning at dawn to ride in the forest and stumble upon wildlife, the serenity of the trees. And of course letting your horse race over open plains for the workout and becoming one with it. :) But the sea I need to see at least once a year because it gives me tranquiiity. It gives and takes, it seems endless and yet not, but it comes and goes.

        But I put my hands in the ocean and think of family and friends a sea away, wondering, Maybe their touching the water too...? :)

        That is just beautiful :)
        • Unfortunately once I could go back to the file... the momentum was gone or I was disturbed by someone else.

          Argh. I hate when that happens. It happens now that I have a good half-dozen stories all competing to be written, which does not include those that I have not begun in some sense, like my next fanfic novel. There are not enough hours in the day.

          Why? Because you care for your characters, as if you are there around your characters when they go through the most heartwrenching moment?

          Mostly because I like to pretend that I'm a stoic who is above crying at stories and movies and such. *blushes* Really, it's just the opposite. I cry at sad and happy stories and movies; there are certain RL things that always make me cry too. Our Department at work just had a correctional officer murdered a few weeks ago, in the jail behind my office. I did not know the guy at all; I don't even work in Corrections, but I still cried for a complete stranger. So I am no stoic. Shh...don't tell! ;)

          But I can see Nerdanel standing, wishing, praying hoping that her children at war for this desperate cause will return home. *sniffle*

          Oh, now you've got me wubbling too, thinking of this ridiculous war that the US is involved in and the children, spouses, siblings, parents, and friends over there who won't come home....

          Stoic, indeed. ;)

          Yes and no. I think I have that more with the forest, especially on horseback.

          I also love the forest. I love the outdoors in any sense: mountains, meadows, rivers, whatever. But I guess Ulmo likes me more than Yavanna does because the inspiration comes from the sea. :)
          • Argh. I hate when that happens.

            Ah yeah, but then, such a wee one doesn't know better, so once you feel that warm face pressed in your neck because it wants to be consiled you simply forget. But the story is posted and wowie :)

            It happens now that I have a good half-dozen stories all competing to be written, which does not include those that I have not begun in some sense, like my next fanfic novel. There are not enough hours in the day.

            I know how that feels. I quit counting the pending stories, right now I am concentrating on three wips: Requiem, Star Wanderer and Written in the starlight. :) 48 hours in a day, how does that sound?

            Really, it's just the opposite. I cry at sad and happy stories and movies; there are certain RL things that always make me cry too.

            Tissues are our best friend. I am 'horrible' with this, it is not that I cry easily, but when something touches my heart... oh boy. I sometimes even make hubby cry when something is happening in one of our fav shows.. and you know men sometimes..
            just don't tell anyone further ;)

            Oh, now you've got me wubbling too, thinking of this ridiculous war that the US is involved in and the children, spouses, siblings, parents, and friends over there who won't come home....

            I think Nerdanel is the person in Tolkien's world that signifies this the most. She lost all her sons to war. All of them and yeah her husband too. That is harsh. Even if they split up before Feanor left, I bet that she still loved him. It is her that ends up emptyhanded and what I find so powerful in this story is that she is helping to rebuild the city that was the victim of the first kinslaying. This is so powerful. Well I can't see Nerdanel sitting around idly though.

            Anyhow: the love you feel for a child is unconditionally. It is such a lengthening of you that well. *sniffle*

            I also love the forest. I love the outdoors in any sense: mountains, meadows, rivers, whatever. But I guess Ulmo likes me more than Yavanna does because the inspiration comes from the sea. :)

            Well that makes the two of us utter outdoor people :) Only Orome really must like me if he manages to prey away my attention from Ulmo. :)



            • I think Nerdanel is the person in Tolkien's world that signifies this the most. She lost all her sons to war. All of them and yeah her husband too. That is harsh. Even if they split up before Feanor left, I bet that she still loved him.

              I think that she loved him too. I have always envisioned their break-up as occuring not for a lack of love but an inability to live together, given how far their beliefs had diverged. Of course, this is a lot of conjecture and a bit of Felak!verse. :)

              Anaire and Earwen also lost all of their children, but I can't help but think that it must have been worse for Nerdanel. After all, her whole family basically became enemies of the state--or at least the Valar--overnight. That is why in my verse she is one of the first Noldor to reach out to the Teleri. Not only does she understand more keenly than perhaps any other their grief, but she also continues to love her husband and sons to where she is willing to make recompense on their behalf. Again, though: Felak!verse. ;)

              I hope to include a bit of this in the never-ending Earwen story that keeps getting pushed aside for other projects. :^/ 48 hours might begin to cover it! ;)
              • I think that she loved him too. I have always envisioned their break-up as occuring not for a lack of love but an inability to live together, given how far their beliefs had diverged. Of course, this is a lot of conjecture and a bit of Felak!verse. :)

                Ah yeah. You know, I am reading the biography of Tolkien and did you know that Mabel left her husband Arthur with her kids, because Artyhur couldn't part with his work obsession? It killed him in the end. Who knows how this influenced his view on Nerdanel and Feanor.

                Anaire and Earwen also lost all of their children, but I can't help but think that it must have been worse for Nerdanel.

                Earwen did not lose all of her children. Galadriel survived and gave her a granddaughter too.

                After all, her whole family basically became enemies of the state--or at least the Valar--overnight. That is why in my verse she is one of the first Noldor to reach out to the Teleri. Not only does she understand more keenly than perhaps any other their grief, but she also continues to love her husband and sons to where she is willing to make recompense on their behalf. Again, though: Felak!verse. ;)

                Nah me likes that, the Noldor helped the Teleri building their city. I sometimes find it so sad that those two kindreds, once so close (I recently re-read a big chunk of the Silm), did not wanted to be separated and that the Noldo were so glad to be reunited with them... that it end so sorrowful...

                48 hours might begin to cover it! <.i>

                Might yeah. But the Wee!one loves spending time with mommy too.
                • Earwen did not lose all of her children. Galadriel survived and gave her a granddaughter too.

                  Sorry, I should have been more specific. She lost all of her children to exile. Really, Nerdanel didn't lose all of children to death either, definitively, if you take my argument that Maglor is a street musician on the Ocean City Boardwalk. ;)

                  Depending on how long it took Finrod to be re-embodied to "walk beneath the trees in Eldamar with his father," she may have gotten back Finrod before Galadriel! :)

                  I recently re-read a big chunk of the Silm)

                  Me too. :) I re-read the whole thing over the course of six months, a chapter per week. It is amazing what I missed the first dozen times that I read it! I was especially intrigued by the Akallabeth, though I am too scared to do anything more than drabbles in that time period as I know so little about anything outside of First Age Elves that I know I'll be in for a skewering by canatics. ;)

                  But the closeness between the Noldor and the Teleri...it makes the kinslaying so much worse, I think. I try to capture this idea in my stories, though I don't know how well I do at it. :)
  • part two (glares at LJ)

    When I’d turned my sword in the gut of the first mariner I’d slain, I felt his pain as sharply as though it had been mine. I screamed with it. History would remember the madness of the dark son of Fëanáro that night; they did not know.

    Poor Carnistir and yet very impressive, somehow he manages to hide his emotions between extreme masks: those of utter rage or a stoic mask.

    We are alike, you and I, Carnistir. Like you, I am a murderer, and like you, death is not something that can be left in the past, a memory. It becomes me, and when you wash in my waters, you wash in the blood of every one that I have slain.

    We are alike, you and I. Misunderstood. Feared.

    Dark.


    The voice of Osse gave me the shivers here and also, if it wasn't for the Tolkien fandom, a perfect portrayal of the sea's soul.

    In the big empty house, her skin rang like bells, crying from beneath her clothes: seven bells, one ringing lower and stranger than the others, each a flinch of pain radiating across the sea—a pinch felt in a nerve distant upon a fingertip—racing like fire back to its home: her. But she could not come to us to soothe our sadness, as she’d once promised. The sea lay between us.

    You know, actually, it feels to me a recurring theme. Caranthir and his love for his mother. It just feels like all brothers managed to break free from her, except for him, wanting to remain her child, not wanting to be grown up and not seeking solace in her embrace. The moment though when Nerdanel does hear his voice and she scoops up his tears from the sea, that is the moment where their bond - to me - is sundered. Too bad though that if Caranthir's tears & grieve could move mountains... that this didn't happen earlier. Although... the sea in the end swallowed most of the destroyed Beleriand, so in the end he did move his mountains and seas.

    This bit is just so so so, well I know we often discussed how we both thought the same about those magnificent seven:

    I stretched my thoughts to each of my brothers that night, as we lay beneath the same roof for the first time in years; I felt each of them reluctant, most of all, Celegorm and Curufin, who would speak the loudest in order to convince us that they were not cowards.

    Yes, I do agree here with this assessment. I think within the brotherly bonds, the strife amongst them... yes. Which leaves me wondering though... oh no let's wait until I am done.

    I felt their fear of death bitter as poison upon my tongue, and Curufin’s dread of leaving his son—estranged from Curufin but still secretly adored—alone in this treacherous land.

    *sniffle*

    I sampled the dreams of the twins, mingled in the middle like the blood they’d once shared, that did not concern themselves with oaths and Silmarils and the dirge-like darkness of Maglor’s sleep.

    This made me go: wow!

    Maedhros dreamt of Thangorodrim, always of Thangorodrim. And revenge.

    This left me wondering who of the seven was really striving to get hold of the jewels? Or did, like in macho family dynamics, they provoked each other, even after Feanor's passing to be the one who found it the most important. Would that be the impelling force that became their doom? I'd say yes, I always felt it that way, but in this paragraph I am just wondering who truly was concerned about it the most.

    But this night was different; this night, she clutched the phials and stretched her thoughts over the sea, and I answered.

    Mother! Mother, I will be home soon!


    Yeah, this caused my first tears to fall. Even now I am getting all misty eyed. The power of this moment, the ultimate love between mother and son.

    Just hold me, Carnistir, and don’t let me die alone.

    The blood leaving his wounds was no longer pushing forth but seeping slowly, carrying him to his fate, but my hand on his throat still found a pulse and the barest warmth of life.


    I need tissues again. Simply powerful, thoughtprovoking and an incredible poignant story. Thanks for sharing
    • Day 2, Part 2.... (Sorry for the split in time between replies but I finished the first one just as we were ready to dash out the door for our concert last night!)

      Poor Carnistir and yet very impressive, somehow he manages to hide his emotions between extreme masks: those of utter rage or a stoic mask.

      You mentioned survival in the last comment, and I think that this is an issue of survival for him. Otherwise, he would be revealing things best left unsaid. But it must be difficult indeed!

      The voice of Osse gave me the shivers here and also, if it wasn't for the Tolkien fandom, a perfect portrayal of the sea's soul.

      Thank you! :) I'm trying to master the sea in my writing, both in fanfic and original fic. My current original story-in-progress is about sea Elves of a different sort!

      It just feels like all brothers managed to break free from her, except for him, wanting to remain her child, not wanting to be grown up and not seeking solace in her embrace. The moment though when Nerdanel does hear his voice and she scoops up his tears from the sea, that is the moment where their bond - to me - is sundered.

      I hadn't thought of this! But it's true; she does, in a way, free him to finally take actions that will make a difference in the world. By finally allowing himself to feel grief--after his experience with the sea--Elwing escapes, the Silmaril goes to Earendil, and mountains and rivers are moved, and the sea does find a new home.

      This left me wondering who of the seven was really striving to get hold of the jewels? Or did, like in macho family dynamics, they provoked each other, even after Feanor's passing to be the one who found it the most important.

      This is how I see it. Social psychology shows that people in groups behave strangely based on what they think that the group wants them to do or believe. So even if one is having doubts, he is certain that the others are absolute in their desire to fulfill the oath, so he is not going to be the brave one to speak out.

      Except Maglor, at the end. *pets Maglor* Wimp, indeed.... ;)

      I need tissues again. Simply powerful, thoughtprovoking and an incredible poignant story. Thanks for sharing

      And thank you, as always, for the wonderful review, which made me grin like a fool and think in new ways about my own stories. {{{{Rhapsy}}}}
      • Day 2, Part 2.... (Sorry for the split in time between replies but I finished the first one just as we were ready to dash out the door for our concert last night!)

        That's okay :)

        I hadn't thought of this! But it's true; she does, in a way, free him to finally take actions that will make a difference in the world. By finally allowing himself to feel grief--after his experience with the sea--Elwing escapes, the Silmaril goes to Earendil, and mountains and rivers are moved, and the sea does find a new home.

        Hmmm are you suggesting that even later on, when Carnistir is already in Mandos, a part of his Feä is with the sea, having a big influence on what will happen later on??? To bad that this very same sea still sunders Maglor from Aman.

        This is how I see it. Social psychology shows that people in groups behave strangely based on what they think that the group wants them to do or believe. So even if one is having doubts, he is certain that the others are absolute in their desire to fulfill the oath, so he is not going to be the brave one to speak out.

        Well I grew up with brothers and nephews, so yes I've seen this happening. For example when Tyelko and Carnistir swim, and Carnistir feigns cramp to let Tyelko win, I wonder what would have happened if he bested him. I think it would be good once a while that Tyelko looses *feels how her chair gets tugged... just a sec Tyelko* Pesky muses.

        Except Maglor, at the end. *pets Maglor* Wimp, indeed.... ;)

        Well, given his bond with Maedhros, their final lines about the issues. "Everlasting darkness is indeed our lot.." I gladly take care of this 'wimp' any day :c)

        And thank you, as always, for the wonderful review, which made me grin like a fool and think in new ways about my own stories.

        You are welcome and now I am going to treat myself to a new chapter of AMC! Yay! \o/

        • Hmmm are you suggesting that even later on, when Carnistir is already in Mandos, a part of his Feä is with the sea, having a big influence on what will happen later on???

          No, not really. When he went to the sea, he allowed himself to at last feel the grief and sadness that he had been avoiding. This, in turn, let him show this to Curufin, to stay at his side, which allowed Elwing to escape with the Silmaril. Of course, Elwing's actions later on will allow Earendil to (finally) motivate the Valar to action, which will reshape Beleriand. So I'd say that the sea changed Carnistir in such a way that it could accomplish its later purposes, if that makes sense. :) (It's late for me, and I don't trust myself to coherence!)

          For example when Tyelko and Carnistir swim, and Carnistir feigns cramp to let Tyelko win, I wonder what would have happened if he bested him.

          On the surface, I don't think much would have happened. Tyelko would have probably been a bit of a sore loser and nothing more would be said about it. But Tyelko, of course, would dwell on it and believe his worth to be tied to his defeat, and Carnistir--being gifted in such things--would sense this and be uncomfortable as well as a result.

          And you are a brave one for saying that Tyelko needs to lose every now and again! :^D Come to think of it, though, I haven't seen my Tyelko muse since I wrote the story for your birthday. Hmm....
          • So I'd say that the sea changed Carnistir in such a way that it could accomplish its later purposes, if that makes sense. :)

            Yes it does, yet I cannot help to wonder what the sea has taken from Carnistir. It does not only give... but also takes.

            On the surface, I don't think much would have happened. Tyelko would have probably been a bit of a sore loser and nothing more would be said about it. But Tyelko, of course, would dwell on it and believe his worth to be tied to his defeat, and Carnistir--being gifted in such things--would sense this and be uncomfortable as well as a result.

            Didn't we discuss this before ;) with Findecano? That if Tyelko was defeated that you could place bets on it that Tyelko would work only harder to become better and better? Or is that my verse? :) But yes of course he would be grumpy, but then again he would use it to become better, faster, improved... sometimes going through a defeat makes you stronger in the end.

            And you are a brave one for saying that Tyelko needs to lose every now and again! :^D

            Yeps and I will say it in his face too... only to pay for that dearly later on.

            Come to think of it, though, I haven't seen my Tyelko muse since I wrote the story for your birthday. Hmm....

            Yeps, he's been plagueing me for a while now. He has loads of ideas things to write and Maglor sometimes shoves him aside harshly because sharing can be fun, but not always. ;)

            Yeah if you think one Feanorian muse is tasking... try two!

    • Oh and before I forget, I miss this a lot now that AMC is no longer posted. {{{{hugs}}}} Dawn,
      • Awww...thank you! :) I need that this week too; real life has been a bit too...alive. ;)

        {{{{{big hugs back}}}}}
    • Yes it does, yet I cannot help to wonder what the sea has taken from Carnistir. It does not only give... but also takes.

      I think that it took his grief and pain, which he had managed to hide from it, to add it to its story, to make the story of Carnistir part of its own history.

      Didn't we discuss this before ;) with Findecano? That if Tyelko was defeated that you could place bets on it that Tyelko would work only harder to become better and better? Or is that my verse? :)

      Yes we did! At the end of AMC, when Tyelko and Findekano play together at Beasts and they draw, which is a defeat for Tyelko, who has always been bigger, stronger, and more competent. And if it was your verse...well, I hope you don't mind that I've adopted it to mine as well! ;)

      Yeah if you think one Feanorian muse is tasking... try two!

      Tell me about it! I also have my Midhavens muses, who want to resume work on their novel. And Feanor and Nerdanel want to start their novel. And Earwen wants her time in the sun....

      Too many muses, too little time. ;)
  • My brother would not die alone.

    *sigh* *sob*

    Dawn, I think our ideas just dovetailed; my Feanorians also had a chance to get the Silmaril from Elwing, but didn't do it because of a dying brother (although in my case it was Maglor and Celegorm.)

    And I'm just reminded that I ought to put more angst and darkness into my story. I mean, I just can't have my characters going through everything like nothing. But I can't angst, damnit, and so my characters always seem superficial.

    *headdesk*
    • Hey, great minds think alike. ;)

      Well, for me, I need a reason why Elwing--a little girl--managed to escape with the greatest treasure on Arda. So it seemed logical!

      As for angst, I don't think that all stories need to include angst or that you sound superficial if you don't. I beta-read for Jenni (digdigil), and she also claims to not be able to write angst too, but her stories are beautiful and sad in a different way, one that relays events, paints a picture, and the reader reacts from there without necessarily getting clues from the tone, mood, or language, "Hey! I'm supposed to be sad!" Actually, I think that takes much more skill than writing angst, so you might be on to something. :)
  • Carnistir's Fate

    First let me say I loved this story. All the great elements I expect from one of your endevours (hope that doesn't sound to brown nosing:)). I have a couple question for you regarding some of the things in this story and ones I read on SWG that aren't posted here. Is it your assertion that Carnistir does not die in Doriath, I only ask because he is still alive at the end of this one, but then again there's still a lot of battle to do or he could freeze to death, am I on track? The other question has to do with your Luthien story, the one where Finrod meets here and realizes shes not so perfect, anyway you have Gil-galad there being the son of Fingon. Is it your belief that is the case, I know the sources disagree on this because of the massive overhaul that JRRT was undertaking and contemplating for his unfinish life long endevour. If that is the case I don't fault you, I have changed my mind several times concerning it. My belief now is that Gil-galad was in fact the son of Orodreth who was actually the Son of Angrod who was killed in the Battle of the Sudden Flame and was fostered by his Uncle Finrod, and Orodreth's son was legally adpoted by Fingon in order to provide a clear line of succession, it was de facto and precedently based in my opinion that Turgon succeed to the throne. But Nolodorin succession law is a subject in and of itself that is too complex to get into here. Anyhow just thought I would try and get your opinions on the subject. Thanks
    • Re: Carnistir's Fate

      Is it your assertion that Carnistir does not die in Doriath, I only ask because he is still alive at the end of this one, but then again there's still a lot of battle to do or he could freeze to death, am I on track?

      I do think that he died in Doriath, just after this point with Curufinwe. :) I seem to remember that he is ambushed and has his throat slit in my Felakverse, but I'm not entirely sure. (What does that say when I start forgetting the "canon" of my own series of stories?? o.O)

      Is it your belief that is the case, I know the sources disagree on this because of the massive overhaul that JRRT was undertaking and contemplating for his unfinish life long endevour.

      In my stories, Fingon is G-g's father just because, when I invented my original master plotline (which I've actually only begun to write *facepalm* being stuck in Aman, it seems), I wasn't too versed in canon outside of the Silm proper, and I wasn't aware of how compelling the arguments for Orodreth as G-g's father were. And Fingon as G-g's father is too important a part of my story arc at large to change it now that I've learned more and have different opinions on the canon.

      In terms of canonicity, I think that Orodreth as G-g's father is more correct. However, I can--and do--enjoy stories advancing either idea.

      I want to thank you for reading my stories and for leaving such thoughtful comments! I really appreciate it, and it's been fun to think about these stories again, years after writing them. Thank you. :)
      • Re: Carnistir's Fate

        No worries, I too for the longest time was under the impression that Fingon was in fact the father of Gil-galad, Tolkien its not until one of the very late HoME's do you see him rethink that. One thing about JRRT is he liked a certain degree of continuity, so one see's the progression of the Kingship of the Noldor go first from the House of Feanor, then to the House of Fingolfin, then finally in to the House of Finarfin actually skipping a generation, but also reflecting the situation in Aman where Finarfin was ruling the remenant there. Love your pic, even though I am going into the Army, for no one fears war more than the Soldier (MacArthur). But is not war itself not an Art? Or is it a Science? I would contend it is both and therefore why it is so terrible, for it combines all of mans' beautiful creativity with his cold hard logicall progress, bringing forth an activity as old as man himself yet possibly of all his endeavors the most reprehensible.
        • Re: Carnistir's Fate

          In that sense then, yes, I can see how it is an art. In that sense as well, a perfect murder or genocide or political dictatorship is also an art, if we are defining "art" as ingenuity and competence in a particular task of presumed difficulty rather than the ends of the task itself. I prefer to think of it as the latter, however, which is why art and war (or murder or genocide or dictatorship) will always be at odds in my mind. Art, to me, is creation, not destruction. When I create art, however small, that work possesses the power to change minds, inspire others' creativity, and bring joy to life, even if just my own. It is my hope that open-minded, inspired, and happy people are less likely to lash out at their fellow humans (or animals :) in anger.

          I have on a small notecard over my desk four words because I like to read those four words every day: Peace begins with me. I think that there is something to the fact that so many people, when faced with even a tiny slight, have the kneejerk reaction of, "I'm going to kick his ass for that." I think it is human nature; part of our evolution. If I am competing for the same resources as another person and that person is willing to use violence and I am not, who is going to win? We are hard-wired, I think, to turn to violence as a first, rather than a last, solution because our ancestors were necessarily the ones that won using violence. It is the aim of my life to overcome that, at least personally, to teach myself to use means other than that reflexive drive to do harm.

          And part of that is art, for the reasons that I said above. In stories, paintings, and song, I hope to see and show the world through eyes very different from my own--and that of my audience. I hope that empathy and understanding and plain ol' dumb joy will maybe stop someone--or stop me--from "kicking his ass" when someone spits on her, maybe in the end make us question when our first solution to a larger problem is too often "war."

          Yes, I was born in the wrong decade. :) I would have made a good peacenik in the '60s!
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