Regrettable Decisions - Chapter 5
A/N: All translations will come at the end of the chapter.
Maglor plucked at the strings of his harp thoughtfully, the tune that had been in his mind eluding him yet again. Furrowing his brow, he played through the music once more, and smiled when it sounded right. He continued on, stopping every now and then to change a note or rhythm.
The twins came up and sat on a nearby rock, smiling when they realized Maglor had yet to notice either of them. When he finally did, he arched an elegant eyebrow, silently asking what they wanted.
Amras laughed, saying, "We are not always the bearers of news, Toron! We happened to hear you as we were walking past and decided to listen."
"And we thought you might enjoy some company," Amrod added. He looked at his older brother, smiling almost sadly. "You always seen so lonely now. You shouldn't shun the company of others because you are afraid of what they think of your decisions."
"I suppose that is the real reason you came?" Maglor questioned. "To give advice?" At their nods, he looked at the ground and said half to himself, "You two are always looking after me now. It should be your older brother looking after you." He raised his head and finished, "But thank you."
He wondered if they knew just how thankful he was for them! No matter what he did or what choice he made, they always stood beside him...as had Maedhros. He had needed their support more than ever lately, and they had given it.
"Perhaps we should leave these thoughts," Amrod said, somehow realizing what Maglor's thoughts were at the moment. "The song you were playing, is it the same one you were working on a few days ago?"
"Aye, and it does not seem to want to come together." Maglor shook his head. "I've been working on it all morning."
"You'll figure it out, you always do," Amras assured. "Why not play for us? It has been a long while since we last heard you."
Maglor chuckled and ran his fingers over the harp. "Of course, young ones."
"We are not young!" The twins exclaimed together.
Laughing again, Maglor countered, "Perhaps not. But I am older than you, so you are young in my eyes."
The two snorted and mumbled something under their breath about brothers who make too big a deal about being older.
Shaking his head, Maglor said playfully, "You two had best stop your complaints, or you will hear nothing."
They narrowed their eyes, but their lips curled in a small smile, showing him they didn't take his threat seriously. A moment later he began playing a melody, his fingers moving skillfully across the strings. Then his voice joined, soft, yet at the same time strong and powerful. It was only a simple song about the stars, known by many, but as Maglor's voice flowed through the air, Elves stopped what they were doing and listened.
The song ended and the twins smiled. Yes, it had been too long since they had last heard him sing. As children, the two had constantly begged Maglor for a song, more so than the rest of their brothers. To hear him play a song from their childhood helped to remind them of those happy, carefree days.
"Thank you, Toron," Amrod said for both of them.
Maglor nodded and rose from the rock he was seated on, stretching and closing his eyes, feeling the warmth of Vása* on his face. He was stopped in the middle of a yawn by the sound of raised voices, one of which was distinctly Celegorm's.
Notching an arrow, Celegorm drew the string back, sighted along the shaft, and released. He was rewarded with a `thunk' as the arrowhead embedded itself in the target. After sweeping a dark strand of hair out of his face, he shot another arrow with the same results. Realizing his efforts to relieve tension weren't working he scowled and went to retrieve his arrows.
How he hated living with his cousins and Fingolfin! They angered him to no end with how they blamed Fëanor for their troubles. It was no wonder his father had left them on the shores of Aman! And Maglor! Why had he let them? His older brother was not meant to be a king, in fact, Celegorm was certain he would make a much better one.
He pulled his arrows out of the target in an almost angry fashion and turned to walk back. At the end of the archery range, where he had been just a few minutes ago, stood another elf readying his bow.
Celegorm frowned. He was in no mood to talk to someone; he would just have to tell the newcomer that his lord wished to be alone. No elf would have the audacity to deny a son of Fëanor.
The newcomer had noticed him and raised his head to reveal a face Celegorm knew well, Fingolfin's son, Turgon. Both of their faces instantly turned angry when they recognized the other. Turgon, however, managed to mask his expression and give a curt nod, which Celegorm ignored.
"What are you doing here?" Celegorm asked coldly.
Turgon stiffened. "Though it is none of your concern, I am certain you can see what I am doing by looking at what I am carrying." He gestured toward his bow.
Celegorm's eyes narrowed, the temper he was known for beginning to show itself. "I mean what are you doing here on the other side of the Sea? You are not wanted here, and if it were in my power I would send you far away from this place."
Choosing to ignore his last words, Turgon said, in a voice that was calm, but heated with his own anger, "You know very well why we are here, Celegorm. All of the Noldor lost their King to the Enemy. We are here to avenge him." He gave the Elf a pointed glare. "None of Finwë's House are cowards."
"I have yet to see proof of that," Celegorm growled.
"Proof? Your proof is that we are here, after crossing the Helcaraxë and losing many of our loved ones!" There was something other than anger in Turgon's voice, but Celegorm cared not to decipher it.
A triumphant and almost evil smile crossed Celegorm's face as he said, "Loved ones such as your dear wife, who I heard you lost in the ice?" He watched Turgon's reaction in satisfaction, maliciously asking, "Where were you? Standing and looking on? Too afraid to lose your own life if you attempted to save her?" He got no farther as, with a yell, Turgon sprang toward him.
The two Elves landed on the hard ground, struggling with each other fiercely. Their eyes glinted dangerously, and inside Celegorm felt no grief over what he had caused to happen. Turgon, however, felt slightly ashamed that he had allowed his anger to overpower him, but the white-hot rage that burned inside him had taken over. How dare that misbegotten son of Fëanor say he did not try to save Elenwë, his dear beloved wife! He wanted nothing more than to throttle the life out of him!
It was on to this scene that Maglor, Amrod, and Amras ran across. Other elves had also begun to appear, among them Turgon's older brother Fingon.
"Celegorm!" Maglor shouted with more fury in his voice than the twins had ever heard. All who heard were, at that moment, distinctly aware of the fact that he was Fëanor's son, despite his quieter nature. He rushed over to separate the two and was soon joined by Fingon.
Once he was pulled away and firmly held back by his brother, Turgon stood still though his eyes flashed. Celegorm, however, had no intention of giving up so easily. His blood was hot and would not allow him to let things be. He managed to fight free of Maglor's grip on his upper arm and lunged at Turgon. He was stopped when Amrod and Amras, who had seen his sudden movement, each grabbed an arm. Now held by three of his brothers, Celegorm finally gave in and stopped struggling.
"What is the meaning of this?" Maglor asked, his voice low and holding so much anger that those who heard it were frightened and amazed at the same time. Never had anyone seen this side of him. His gaze was directed at Celegorm, whom he was certain had started the incident, but then swept to the onlookers. "You may all leave now, as this holds no importance to you."
The crowd began to disperse, but some stayed where they were and refused to follow Maglor's orders. They looked expectantly at Fingon, who acknowledged that they were Fingolfin's followers and did not wish to listen to a son of Fëanor.
"You may leave," he said. When the last elf left, Fingon turned back to the problem at hand. Maglor was questioning Celegorm in the same low voice. He appeared to either be unsatisfied or angry at the answers he received, perhaps both.
Fingon turned toward his own brother and released his arm. "What has gotten into you, Toron?" Fingon questioned. "Fighting is not like you, even if it is with Celegorm."
Turgon glared darkly at Celegorm and ground out between clenched teeth, "That...cursed, demon son of Fëanor must learn to watch his words, or it will lead to his death." He faced his brother. "I do apologize for causing a disturbance, but I am not sorry for fighting with him!"
Fingon furrowed his brow, worried. It was not often that Turgon lost his temper, and it was even less often for him to physically fight with someone, in fact, Fingon couldn't think of one incident. Whatever had been said must have angered his brother greatly.
Carefully, Fingon asked, "What did he tell you?"
Turgon suddenly went from an angry elven lord to what looked like a sad, scared little elfling. He bent his head, looking at the ground, and whispered, "He accused me of not trying to save Elenwë."
The soft words were so quiet that Fingon had to strain to hear them, but when he did, his hardened gaze immediately moved toward Celegorm. Fingon knew how hard Elenwë's loss had been on his little brother. Turgon blamed himself for not being able to rescue her, and Celegorm's words only made it worse.
Fingon placed a comforting hand on the sad Elf's shoulder. "You mustn't listen to him, pitya toron. Her death was no fault of your own, you did all you could."
"Thank you, I do appreciate your words, but I fear this is a demon I must fight on my own." Turgon cast one last angry glance at Celegorm, who was still being questioned by Maglor, and left.
Fingon looked toward Celegorm. He had at first thought of giving the Elf his own lecture, but by the look on his face, Maglor was already giving it. Instead, Fingon waited in the shadow of a tree with his arms crossed. There had been a matter that he had wanted to speak with Maglor about, and he was willing to wait. Though he wasn't trying to, he couldn't help but hear their conversation.
"And just what were you thinking when you said that to him? Did you want a fight? Do you realize how hard it is to maintain peace without your anger at our cousins?" Maglor hissed.
"There is no need for me to explain myself to you," Celegorm returned. "You are not Atar, you are my brother. I will not tell you the reasons for my actions."
"No, I am not Atar. But I am your King, and I ordered you not to harass them. Do you not realize how important peace between us is?"
"Contrary to what seems to be your belief, I do know how important it is, but I will not keep it with Fingolfin! I do not want anything to do with those who talked against Atar," the Elf stated firmly.
Maglor narrowed his eyes, but knew he wouldn't get Celegorm to tell him anymore and that his words were having no effect. "You do not wish to say anything to me, fine, I will let it go." Celegorm began walking away. "But Celegorm-," Maglor's slightly louder voice caused him to turn around, "-if you fight anymore there will be consequences."
Celegorm stalked off, saying nothing. Amrod and Amras, who did not think it was wise to leave their older brother to himself at the moment, closely followed him.
Maglor sighed and noticed Fingon standing nearby. "Nanyë nyérinqua," he said quietly.
Fingon stepped from the shadow of the tree closer to Maglor. He knew Maglor was apologizing for Celegorm's behavior, but also for the burning of the ships. "Than why did you do it?" Fingon asked. "If you hadn't, there would be many here that would still be friends."
For a moment, Maglor wondered at the sudden bitterness and grief in his voice, but then he realized the cause. Fingon and Maedhros had been great friends, and from Fingon's point of view, it appeared he had betrayed him. What he didn't know was that Maedhros hadn't helped to burn the ships.
"Fingon," Maglor said, wanting his brother's friend to know the truth, "Maedhros did not burn the ships, in fact, he opposed it." Fingon looked at Maglor, interested and hope slowly growing in his heart. Maglor noticed, and continued, "When we first landed, he wanted to know if you would be next, but when he discovered that the ships were to be burned, he stood aside. I promise you, Maedhros never forgot your friendship." Maglor drew in a deep breath, and said in a softer voice, "I tell you this because my brother would not wish for you to think he betrayed you. The very thought that you may believe that plagued his thoughts."
His words lifted a great weight off of Fingon's mind. His friend hadn't wanted to leave him on Aman's shore!
"Thank you, Maglor," he murmured. "You do not know how much I needed to hear that. But-," his tone suddenly changed, "-what happened to him? I have heard rumors, some of which are too despairing to believe. In truth, I did not wish to know what really happened, at first."
"Maedhros-," Maglor's eyes were troubled, "Maedhros was taken by Morgoth, soon after our father was slain." Fingon sucked in a breath. It appeared his worst fears had been realized!
Maglor continued, "We were feigning to treat with Morgoth, but he came with the larger force. Those vile fire-demons of his drove us away from Maedhros and captured him. Soon after, Morgoth promised to set him free, but he is a deceiver, as we now know, and we did not listen, nor even try to rescue Maedhros." He spoke quieter now. "That was the last we heard of him, and that was close to thirty years ago...we believe he is dead."
Fingon's eyed widened. His dear friend was gone? It could not be true. Of course, ever since he had arrived he had expected the worst, but even when he thought he had been betrayed, he had not wanted to even contemplate the idea. It was just too painful to think about.
Unexpectedly, a lump formed in his throat, but he ruthlessly pushed his emotions down. "Who made the decision to not rescue him?"
Maglor sighed. "I did."
Fingon was visibly startled, and momentarily angry, but he soon understood his reasons. Maglor could not risk his people's lives, it was that simple. It had just come as a surprise to him that Maglor hadn't attempted to save his brother when it was well known that the two cared for each other very much.
"So that accounts for the tension between you and Celegorm," Fingon murmured thoughtfully. He had already noticed the way the two acted toward each other and had wondered about it, now he knew.
"Aye," was the simple reply.
Fingon looked at the other elf silently for a moment, and then said, "Once again, I thank you for telling me of what happened." He sighed. "I believe I must now relate the sad news of your brother's fate to my family now."
Fingon walked away, a plan suddenly forming in his mind. He would not leave Maedhros in captivity. Somehow, he knew that his friend wasn't dead, and he would not let even the slightest chance slip by after the tidings he has just heard. And, perhaps if he was lucky, finding him would pull Finwë's broken House back together. Perhaps.
A few hours later, Maglor was standing before his brothers, his gaze resting mainly on Celegorm.
"I have called you here because of a decision I have made," he began. He looked at each of his brothers before continuing, "Because of the incident Celegorm was in earlier today, I have decided we are moving to the southern end of the lake. It does not appear that our people will be able to get along with Fingolfin's, so we must separate."
Celegorm made an angry noise. "Than why are we leaving, and not them?"
"Celegorm is right," Curufin said. "Why must we leave?"
Maglor looked at the two brothers. "Because I have told Fingolfin he may dwell here, and I will not go back on my word."
The two were silent. It was pointless to argue with their brother when his mind was made up, and Celegorm was already tired of fighting with him earlier.
"No one has any more objections or concerns?" Maglor asked. When none spoke up, he said, "Good. We leave next morning. I am counting on you to tell our people."
Just moments after his brothers had left, an Elf sprinted toward him, one that he vaguely recognized as belonging to Fingolfin's group, and asked him, "Do you know of the whereabouts of Lord Fingon? It has been said that you were the last to see him, and he cannot be found."
Maglor chose to ignore that the Elf had not addressed him as `my lord.' In truth, he didn't really care, so he just answered the questioned. "I am afraid I have not. The last I saw him was earlier today, after the...incident."
The Elf looked disappointed. "Then did he say anything to you that may tell us where he is?"
Maglor shook his head, thinking back to what they had said to each other. "No. He left saying he wished to tell his family of-" he abruptly cut off, suddenly knowing what Fingon had done. He looked toward Thangorodrim and whispered, "Fingon, you fool, you should not have done that. Now the House of Finwë will lose yet another prince." And once more, I am responsible. If I had just not told you what had happened.
The other Elf was confused. "I apologize for not understanding, but what did Lord Fingon do?"
Maglor turned toward him, sorrow evident in his eyes, and said, "He has left to try to rescue Maedhros from the Enemy."
* Vása, a name for the sun
Pitya toron (little brother)
Nanyë nyérinqua (I am sorry)
Hope everyone liked it!