Regrettable Decisions - Chapter 4

A/N: Well, looks like I finally got around to finishing this chapter. To reward you for waiting, this chapter is extra long! Yes, I know 28 years is a long time, but I think I remember adding them up to see how long Maedhros was on the cliff. It came out somewhere between 25 and 30. If I'm wrong, (which I probably am) I'm really sorry. So anyway, enjoy!

Chapter 4

*28 years later*

After Maedhros' capture, Maglor fortified the Noldorin camp against future attacks, but did little more, choosing instead to let his followers regain their strength. There were small skirmishes with orcs, but little else troubled the Noldor.

They soon met their kin that had never left. These elves were the Sindar. At first, communication was hard between the two groups, but gradually the Noldor were able to understand and speak with them. They learned of the power of their king, Elu Thingol, and of many things concerning the world since they left.

And so the years passed in relative peace, but not happiness, for the remaining sons of Fëanor. Maedhros was never far from their minds, and though they all shared a measure of guilt, Maglor felt the most responsible. His decision not to rescue his brother left him dispirited and quiet, with few things making him smile. Every so often, Celegorm would propose going after Maedhros, but every time he was refused, growing more angrier with Maglor each time so that before too long, the now two oldest brothers of the House became estranged from one another.

But then, something happened that lifted even Maglor's gloomy heart, at least for a while.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"We should consider moving elsewhere, toron," Caranthir said as he looked over reports of the supplies they had left.

Maglor rubbed his eyes. "I know. We cannot hope to live out a few more seasons with what we have."

Suddenly, cries came from outside the tent. Instantly fearing that orcs had attacked, the two brothers dashed outside. Their fears were replaced with confusion and wonder, however. The Elves were not fighting Morgoth's creatures, as the brothers had thought, but were looking up at the sky.

Maglor followed their gaze to see a large silver sphere sailing the sky. Its brilliance far out shone the stars surrounding it, making Maglor gasp.

"What is this?" Caranthir asked in an awe-filled voice.

Shaking his head, Maglor answered, "I do not know. But it is beautiful, and surely meant as a sign of some sort." He looked at his younger brother, and Caranthir was surprised to see a smile on his face. "And I now have more hope than I have had in a long while."

Caranthir gave his own small smile; happy to see Maglor contented for once, and turned his eyes back to the new light.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"Maglor!"

The Elf's head shot up at the sound of his name being called. Seeing the twins sprinting toward him, Maglor set his harp aside and stood up.

"This had best be important," he growled when Amrod and Amras stopped in front of him. "I was in the middle of composing a song."

In happier times, the youngest sons of Fëanor would have used this moment to tease their older brother mercilessly about loving his music too much, but alas, these were not happier times; and ever since Maedhros' capture, the only time Maglor seemed truly happy was when he was composing music.

"I think you will find this important enough," the younger twin said dryly.

"Aye," Amrod agreed. "We have heard rumor of a large host of Elves coming from the North. By all accounts, it sounds as if Fingolfin has followed us across the Helcaraxë."

Maglor stared at his brothers with a confused expression. "They followed?"

"Aye," Amrod confirmed.

Maglor was instantly worried. How would he face those he betrayed at Losgar? They would despise he and his brothers for what they had done.

"Find our brothers and do not let them be the first to speak to Fingolfin, especially Celegorm," Maglor finally said.

Amrod and Amras dashed off, knowing why their three hot-tempered brothers must not be the ones to greet Fingolfin. Their contempt for their cousins and uncle was well known, and it would not bode well for all of the Noldor if they were divided even further because of harsh words.

Picking up his harp, Maglor strode after them, less quickly, but not less purposely, as he debated on how to talk with Fingolfin. His anger would be great and he would hold Maglor and his brothers responsible for their father's actions. Maglor would have to be careful not to anger him further.

Shaking his head, Maglor said softly, "I wish you were here Maedhros. I am no good at ruling. I am a minstrel, not a king."

He shook his head again. It was his fault his brother was not here. He should never have let Maedhros out of his sight once the battle had begun. Looking back, it almost seemed natural that their enemies would go after Maedhros, seeing as how he was the King. And then, when he had been captured, Maglor had retreated like a coward instead of fighting to rescue him!

"I am a fool," he whispered.

He looked up at the silver disc in the sky that the Noldor had recently named Rána, noticing absentmindedly that it was fading slightly, and wondered if Maedhros could see it, if he was even alive to see it. Maglor's musings on his brother's fate would have gone on, had he not noticed a pale display of light in the eastern sky.

Confused, he ran up onto a nearby hill and looked eastward. The light began to grow, the clouds turning golden and pink in color. Maglor stayed where he was, somehow knowing that he was about to witness something great.

The sky continued to change colors and lighten, before a golden orb rose above the horizon. It was larger and brighter than Rána, and it seemed to glow with Laurëlin's light, making Maglor suck in a breath at the display. Around him, he could hear elven voices crying out in wonder and amazement as the lands were bathed in light, making the lake they were dwelling by sparkle like stars in the sky.

Seeming to be accompanying the splendid light display was a fanfare of trumpets. They came from the north, echoing boldly in the hills, unafraid of any demon of Morgoth.

Startled, Maglor gazed northward as far as his elven eyes could see. Finally, he could make out the sharp tips of spears glinting in the light, and soon after, blue and silver banners were waving softly in the breeze.

"Fingolfin," Maglor breathed, before racing down the hill toward the encampment. Fingolfin had arrived sooner than expected.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

A tall, noble-looking elf stepped up to Maglor. Behind the Elf stood a large group of haggard people. In their eyes shone anger and hurt, as they didn't even try to hide their dislike for Maglor and his followers. At their gaze, Maglor suddenly felt more confident with his brothers at his side, which were, thankfully, only Amrod and Amras. The other three were out scouting at the moment.

Fingolfin was the first to speak, his voice hard. "Where is your father, he who betrayed his own kin to the freezing cold of Helcaraxë?"

"Fëanor is dead. I am the King now," Maglor answered, all the power of an elvenlord evident in his voice.

The group of elves immediately began to talk amongst themselves at his words, and something flickered in Fingolfin's eyes. Was it a hint of sadness? Surely not, Maglor thought. How could he feel any grief over the death of one who betrayed him?

It was gone as quick as it had come though, and Maglor soon had more important things to worry about, such as the angry lord in front of him.

"Then it is you, and your brothers, that I hold responsible," Fingolfin stated as his eyes traveled over Amrod and Amras, apparently looking for the rest of the brothers.

Maglor did not have to ask about the meaning of his words, but he felt slightly angry that Fingolfin hadn't even asked what circumstances had made him king.

"We are deeply sorry, lord," Maglor said tightly, trying not to become angry as Maedhros wasn't even mentioned. This was not a good time for his father's fire to appear in him. "And if not for our shame at what we have done, many of us would have greeted you with much more happiness. And, as you can see, we also have lost family and friends."

Fingolfin's eyes blazed, and angry words came from his followers, before he said strongly, "Do not compare your losses to ours, son of Fëanor! We have suffered for many years in the Helcaraxë, and have lost our people not by sword and arrow, but by cold and hunger, and if not for your father, many of us would still be here!"

Maglor drew in a slow breath. He was right, and here was yet more of his kinfolk's deaths to shadow his heart. He could not even begin to imagine what Fingolfin's people must had gone through, and it was certainly much worse that anything they had yet to endure.

"Lord, we are truly sorry and ashamed of our actions, but I know that there are no words that can be said to assuage your grief."

Fingolfin looked at the repentant Elf. "You are right, and though I would wish to know what has happened to Fëanor and your brothers, I do not wish to speak of it now, for my heart is hot." He then turned back to his people, calling, "We will dwell here, on the northern shore of the lake!"

The people murmured and cast dark looks at the betrayers, but obeyed their lord. Glancing one last time at Maglor, Fingolfin left and began ordering the set up of his camp.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"You let them settle with us!"

Celegorm's loud, angry voice could be heard on the other side of the wooden door. He and Maglor were seated in the latter's study and Celegorm had just been informed of Fingolfin. Maglor had brought him here as soon as he arrived back from scouting, which was evident by his clothes and overall appearance.

Looking steadily into his brother's eyes, Maglor answered, "Of course. It was the least we could do after leaving them to either the judgment of the Valar or Helcaraxë."

"Least we could do?! Have you forgotten, toron, or do you realize that they had been talking against the whole House of Fëanor? We had to leave them, or risk dissension among us. Believe me, we are far better off without them."

Praying his younger brothers were having better luck with Caranthir and Curufin, Maglor said in the same stern voice, "It would be much better to have them with us, pitya toron. Do you realize that we are fighting a war and will need every sword to have victory? Fingolfin's followers have always been greater than ours, to have their numbers added would be a great asset."

"You believe this is a war?" Celegorm gave a short laugh. "Look at us. We have been sitting in this cold land for years without a worry. I am starting to believe Morgoth isn't as powerful as he has been made out to be. He is the rabbit hiding in his hole, and we are the fox, waiting for him to come out. This is no war, Maglor. And there will never be one."

"He is only biding his time," Maglor replied. "A trapped beast may sometimes attack with unknown ferocity. You, as a hunter, should know that. This is war, and there will be many battles to come. Morgoth is only waiting, as are we."

Celegorm narrowed his eyes. "Then perhaps we shouldn't. Perhaps we should attack now, when he doesn't expect it. We have waited ever since you became King. First with Maedhros, who is beyond doubt dead by now--," Maglor flinched at his words, but Celegorm continued coldly, "--and now with Morgoth! I am beginning to wonder if you are fit to be King at all. In my mind, it is your fault Maedhros is gone!"

No words could have struck Maglor as hard as those. Yes, he had begun to question his decisions, but to hear that his own brother blamed him for Maedhros' loss hurt him more than almost anything!

"I do not know why you say such things," Maglor said after releasing a shaky breath, "Surely you know that I care for Maedhros at least as much as you." He then stepped forward and his gaze hardened considerably. "But I am the King, Celegorm, and time will tell in my decisions are right, or wrong. Fingolfin and his people will dwell here, and if I hear of any disturbances, I will seek you out. You and no one else will harass Fingolfin's people."

Maglor glared at the Elf as Celegorm glowered right back at him, opening his mouth to speak.

"Áva quetë!" Maglor commanded before a word could come out. "I will not listen to any objections! You can consider what I have told you as an order from your King. Ma hanyalyen?" When Celegorm didn't answer, Maglor said much more loudly, "Ma hanyalyen?!"

Celegorm scowled and said darkly, "Hanyan." Then without another word, he turned and stormed from the study.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Quenya:
Toron brother
Pitya toron small brother (I couldn't find the word for `little')
Áva quetë! Do not speak!
Ma hanyalyen Do you understand?
Hanyan I understand.


I hope everyone liked it!

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