"The Small and Secret Things"--16 through 20
Still more daily drabbles/ficlets/whateverthehelltheyare ...
It is said that Amandil set sail in a small ship at night, and steered first eastward, and then went about and passed into the west. And he took with him three servants, dear to his heart, and never again were they heard of by word or sign in this world, nor is there any tale or guess of their fate.
The fate of Amandil …
We must be nearing Aman. We must.
The seas have grown tortuous in a way that defies what I know of water. No longer are there tides but paths carved upon the water, and try as we might to escape, the ship twists and cants upon them, and cold mist writhes into our throats.
What is this place?
There is a shadow on the horizon. Land? It stretches, fills our sights, and we press to the rails and stare. Nay, it is the sky. The black sky, indistinguishable from the sea.
But--panic touches my heart--where are the stars?
Fëanor and Finwë argue about the Valar. I've intended something of a chaotic feel to this piece; Finwë is only reluctantly coming to the realization that something is afoot. This will culminate, of course, with Fëanor's exile from Tirion and the Valar taking Finwë's right to make the decision concerning the fate of his son and subject.
I have progressed to the point where I no longer hear his words, just the sound of them. They are like keen knife edges, slicing illogic and hope in a single resounding tack against the brutal bone of what he calls "common sense." It is common sense, Father, he says, if you would just listen.
I have been listening, Fëanáro, for the whole of your life, don't you know?
But behind your rhetoric lies a haze of memory that you would not recall. Not recall, Fëanáro, because you were not born yet. I had no intentions toward fatherhood at all, actually. That always silences him, to consider my life without him, without a center. Wobbling off course, perhaps, he imagines, for even as I followed Oromë over soil and sea, I know that he--my precious Fëanáro--would have stayed, savage in his beauty, with light in his eyes that need not come from the Trees, and there would maybe have been more Avari than Eldar.
But I followed, and he was not there to behold Light for the first time. You have not lived forever, Fëanáro, I remind him, and for all your genius, the memories of those times will always elude you. And no, your books do not do it justice, even the words of Rúmil. No, you were born into Light; you do not understand what it was to come from darkness into Light and to think that those who gave such a gift, freely and willingly, would never intend to harm us.
But they do, they do. The passion in his voice is torn by another emotion. Grief, perhaps? Grief at my blindness, they way that staring unblinking into a light makes the rest of the world disappear, and soon, one can see nothing at all.
Maedhros on the plasticity of memory following Angband. Please note: This double drabble contains violence, not quite enough to warrant an adult rating but enough that I ask readers to tread with care.
None Need Know
None need know the truth about my time in Angband. My brothers tell brave stories to our people and our uncle's people of my courage. How I took out one of Morgoth's lieutenants with my hands bound, using just my teeth. About my numerous attempts at escape storied in the scars--memories of punishment--that cross my body.
My back was carved with whipmarks like the grids my brothers used to use for playing games. Jump this piece over that piece … CAPTURED! "Morgoth whipped him and wouldn't stop till he screamed," I hear Maglor say. "But he didn't scream … so he didn't stop."
None need know. Right?
I begin to believe it myself. My knees never knocked, my voice never shook. My hands were firm and my gaze unwavering as I fearlessly met the eyes of the Dark Lord. I never wet myself. Vomited. My eyes stayed dry and my heart stayed strong and steady. I never begged for my life. For death.
I don't have nightmares.
Waking with a scream I never uttered in Angband at the back of my throat, my first thought: I don't have nightmares.
And if I did? None need know.
Fëanor replies to Finwë from Monday's double drabble Blindness about his growing mistrust of the Valar.
There is something to be said, Father, for distance and perspective, the way you sometimes have to stand away from an object to see its flaws. You fault me for not having awakened beside Cuiviénen. But neither have you lived forever. Neither have the Valar. Even Manwë. Even Melkor. So back and back we go through time, till we reach Eru … and maybe something preceded Eru too. And we are all unwise, before the end.
I see by your eyes that you fear what I have just said. "Shaken the earth beneath your feet," we say, "to the very foundations."
And that is why we require perspective. If I cannot live forever and bear the wisdom of all the ages of existence, then let me retain wisdom enough to back away and trust my heart and senses to know when I am being made a fool. And strength enough to fight that, no matter how great the enemy I face.
Enemy? Yes, I say it, and you know of whom I speak. For they have betrayed the Elves before; they have denied protection to those far less dangerous than me, and their folly shall be both of our undoings.
Maedhros on the day that Celegorm and Curufin arrive in Himring after being banished from Nargothrond. A double drabble.
The Calm Before
It is as good a day as we have in Himring. No news comes from the front. The weather is as fair as can be expected; I spit and it does not freeze before hitting the earth. Even the forsaken winds have subsided a bit so the streets remain clear of snow and I don't have to listen to the bellyaching of the gardeners appointed to that task.
The sky is a pale, flawless blue-gray, without a single cloud.
I am sitting in my study, enjoying it. Just one day,> I'd asked. And I've received.
There is a cup of herbal tea sitting on the corner of my desk. For once, I have time to let it properly cool and do not have to drink it down so fast that I scald my mouth. Or chance that it will sit until as cold as the numbing floorboards beneath my feet while I discuss battle plans and provisions and how we will survive another winter.
I lift the teacup and sip. Delicious.
And then comes the knock. The page bows low, hiding unease in his eyes. "My Lord Maedhros, I announce the arrival of Lords Celegorm and Curufin. Most unexpected--"