A.N./Disclaimer/Thanks: See Part One
The wind refused to stir for several days.
There were gusts, of course, tantalizing breezes that would make one sure, for a moment, that we would be on our way again, and then would disappear. I was rather used to it, of course, but this was more irritating than the normal state of being becalmed.
The Noldor and Vanyar were positively restless. They were not accustomed to travel by sea and its inconveniences. We Teleri have learned to take it in stride, and had set sail expecting delays.
Perhaps the Valar had counsel to exchange or strategies to make before we reached the Outer Realms, I do not know. But the stillness was beginning to irk me.
As I said, the Elves not brought up as Mariners were restless. Maybe it was rubbing off on me, but as I sat slowly working on my carving my nerves grew increasingly more taut. I wanted to be going somewhere, not remaining in place in the center if the sea.
And certainly not with Sinyetaime.
I continued to glimpse him from a distance, neither of us making any move to approach the other again. I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, I should not have lost my temper and rejected his apology so vehemently. Even after all these years I could read him fairly easily; just from the brief sights I had of him it was obvious he was trying to keep up a cheerful facade. And then I shoved those thoughts away, angry with myself. Simply saying the words “I am sorry” was hardly enough to make up for the Kinslaying.
For being a part of it.
He had been one of Findekano’s* followers, who came to the Havens after Feanor had began the Kinslaying. Perhaps he hadn’t known the cause of battle, but that was still no excuse. He had known me, my family, and yet he had fought.
I continued to work on the carving, cutting away small pieces of wood, and then as I grew closer to the actual figure gradually switched to delicate shavings. It was work that demanded concentration, now, and I was happy for that. I could put aside my feelings and memories, until there was just the carving and myself.
Elion sat with me for a while, but when he came to the realization that I would not be emerging from my task for some time yet he sighed and departed. I loved my brother, but I was glad, really.
It was on the third day without wind that I realized that Sinyetaime was standing behind me, again. He probably had been for some time. He had, I was forced to admit, far more patience than I.
“What is it?” I asked shortly.
He sat down next to me, and I fixed my gaze on my carving. The seagull was well over half done. Taime didn’t say anything for several minutes. Then – “Try holding your knife differently.”
I glanced – or rather glared – at him briefly. “Why?”
“It will be easier. See.” Before I could react he’d adjusted my grip on the knife handle. “I showed you before, you know.”
“That was a long time ago,” I snapped. “Do you expect me to remember?”
“I wouldn’t have been suprised,” he answered. I didn’t answer, and began to etch the details of a wingfeather into the wood. The hold did make things easier, but I was not about to admit it.
I realized afterward that I had actually argued with Taime. We had argued a great deal when we were young, amiably, about things that were completely inconsequential. And now we were doing it again, though perhaps not in such a friendly manner.
I’d told Amme that I didn’t want to forgive them.
Maybe I was starting to forgive him, now. But I didn’t want to. The Noldor had ruined my home, killed my people. She’d said that maybe none of us would ever forget, but all the same… I’d hated them for their betrayal, implacably, for five centuries.
A few exchanges of words could not destroy an anger that enduring.
Or at least I hoped not.
The winds came, eventually, and they came with force. The fleet was driven forward, hard and fast – perhaps making up for the days of calm. It was hard to keep up, with the speed we were taking. There was, finally, almost too much to do.
Most of the Vanyar had taken fairly well to the Sea, and were able to help the six of us Teleri as we struggled with the ships. We were badly undermanned, and needed it, though not many were quick to admit it. We are the Teleri, the Foam-singers, and the Sea is our domain. And we rarely want the aid of any others when we are in our home.
I smiled wryly and these thoughts as I battled to pull in a sail against the strong wind. I am not the only quick-tempered one among my kin.
Once again, there was only time for work and sleep. I was able to push Taime to the back of my mind, and forget where the fleet was going. I just concentrated on getting the Lomevaiwa there, along with Elion and the others.
Several days slipped by; at this rate it could not be long before we reached the Outer Lands. I thought of telling the friendly – irritatingly so – Noldo who had accosted my in the galley, but I did not see him, and so never bothered.
On the fifth day after the wind returned there was a storm.
The gale came quickly; the winds blew harder, suddenly, as the clouds overhead darkened. I’d felt it, and had been expecting something of a storm all day. But I swore when I saw the size of the thunderclouds.
“Elion!” I called out. My brother was at the other end of the deck, and the winds were picking up.
“I’m going to get the others,” he shouted. “We’ll need all the hands we can get. It looks bad.”
I nodded, and turned back to pulling in a sail. We had to get them down before the storm struck.
We almost managed. The wind hit, hard, before the clouds reached us, and then the waves started to get higher. Several of the Vanyar, and a few of the Noldor were abovedeck as well, hauling in the heavy sheets of sail. Rain began to come down in torrents. I noticed, absently, that Taime was working at another sail, but I didn’t care. All that mattered now was to ride out the storm.
The rest of the fleet was in a bad way as well. There was not much communication between the ships normally, and though now it was impossible I could see that much. The waves were high, and some of the smaller vessels, ours included, were in growing danger of being swamped. But at least, even with the strong winds, we were far enough away not to worry about collisions, on top of everything else.
Bracing myself against the wind – which was now almost strong enough to blow me off my feet- I managed to tie down my end of the last sail. Elquendu, the Elf commanding the ship, yelled above the storm. “Everyone except the Mariners get below deck!” A wave hit the side of the ship, and I only stayed standing because of my grip on a rope. “Now!”
Somehow, the others heard him. Crouching against the wind, holding onto whatever was near, they fought their way to the hatch. But one of them didn’t make it.
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