Author’s Notes are marked with “*” in the text and given at the end.
Disclaimer: I am only borrowing and making no money off it.
Concluding part. I hope you’ll all enjoy it! Sorry for it being so lons!
(Part 1 is here)
The summer passed and the winter. Spring came with its fresh cast to the air and the woods until it had been a year since Tuilind and Maedhros had first met. All that while they had enjoyed each other’s company upon the hills, both waiting for their appointed meetings. Maedhros’ people whispered that their Lord was spending all his time away from Himring, and quite a few said – with a maiden. All the talk died when he was close, but flourished as he moved away, all the more because he had not spoken of what he was doing.
Tuilind had livened up as well after meeting the fiery Noldo, and her previous grief for being alone had been replaced by more smiles and laughter. Though she had not seen more than five people (and even those briefly) besides Maedhros all that time, she never did feel alone.
One day near mid-summer, Tuilind was dancing in the valley in which her home lay. Two seasons ago, Maedhros had happened to come upon her while she had been whirling and flitting along with the very first snowflakes. From the smile that had brightened up his stern face, Tulind had understood that he must have enjoyed watching her dance. Without any conscious intent to please him, she had suddenly found herself dancing more and more often, and this day of bright summer was no exception. Holding up her long skirts and twirling with sleeves flying, she moved from one sun-dappled patch to another, revelling in the brush of air against her skin. Tuilind was completing a turn when she found herself face to face with Maedhros. He started to bow his head in greeting but stopped midway, seeing the look on Tuilind’s face. Her eyes laughed as she grabbed his hand, and her smile only deepened when he started to shake his head as she drew him into the dance. Not to let her have her way in everything, Maedhros slid his hand under hers and raised it. Tuilind frowned, looking at him uncertainly. He started a dance that was common in court feasts. It was strange without other couples, as a lot of that kind of dance involved fitting your movement to the others’ and interplaying the steps of two, three, or more couples. To Tuilind, it felt somewhat too stately: all that stepping in a straight line intersperced with intricate movements of the feet, while their arms were held parallel to the ground with her hand lying lightly on the back of his. When they had finished the pattern, Maedhros would alter the direction and lead her again through the same steps. They moved to invisible music and when to both it somehow changed tune, Tuilind tempted Maedhros to the same steps he had watched her doing – mainly there was no pre-thought and she just acted on instinct. To Maedhros it looked more natural, at least for her to dance like that. It was harder to partner her in this, but he managed, to his understanding, quite well.
All through the hours till the dusk they danced. They were in the middle of one that Maedhros had told Tuilind was first devised in Tirion during the celebration of welcoming the newly wedded Finarfin and Eärwen – his right maimed arm was on Tuilind’s waist and his left and her right were clasped while her other hand rested on Maedhros’ shoulder – when, from the corner of her eye, Tuilind noticed movement behind Maedhros. She stopped moving and tensed, seeing a young warrior looking at her. Maedhros whirled around, half expecting an attack by Tuilind’s pose and regretting leaving his sword by a tree ten feet to his left. He relaxed as he recognised one of his captains.
“My Lord Maedhros!” He bowed as he approached. Maedhros’ right arm was still about Tuilind’s waist, so she stayed where she was, though feeling almost intrudsive.
“What is amiss that you had to come looking for me?” Maedhros’ tone was threatening.
“Lord, word reached us of an Orc army trying to sneak by the feet of Ered Lindon to Helevorn.”
Maedhros gestured with his left and in a more friendly cast to the voice said to the Elf, “Wait for me, I will come!”
The man walked away to allow the two privacy, and Maedhros took Tuilind’s hand. “I have to beg leave of you, dear Lady! I regret this hasty departure!” He kissed her hand and looked long into her eyes before hurrying to catch the captain. Tuilind stood gazing after him in farewell and before he was lost to view, he turned around and lifted his hand to her in good-bye. Tuilind sighed.
What followed for Tuilind were days filled with anxiety and fear. Now she cursed her loneliness and lack of a way to get tidings. The captain had said to Maedhros that the Orcs were an army, not a band as was usual; this time the raid was more serious and Tuilind’s heart hurt with fear for Maedhros. Twice she thought to go to his castle upon Himring to find out if there had come word of him and whether he was still well, but not knowing what reception she would get, she staid in her home fretting.
Every sudden sound made her jump as she haunted the hills, hoping to hear Maedhros coming out of the trees. When half a week had passed, another of the sounds made Tuilind’s head whip up, but unlike the hundred other times, Maedhros was hurrying to her now. Tuilind just stood and took the sight in, unable to believe her eyes. He looked well and unhurt, but when he got closer, she could see there was a strange light in his eyes.
“You are unhurt, my lord?” came to her head as the first thing to say.
He nodded. “We scored a great victory. Morgoth lost a considerable number of his Orcs upon Lothlann two days ago.” Maedhros found himself smiling inwardly at the relief shining on Tuilind’s fair face. “A feast is to be held tomorrow, to honour the warriors who fought so well. Lady Tuilind, would you honour us with your presence?”
Tuilind was stunned. She would not have wanted to, but it was Maedhros asking and without a thought other than to please him, she agreed to go. His eyes lit up even more than before. He started to apologise to her for having to rush away now that he had her answer, as he had dropped things that needed to be done before the next day to come to invite her (and let her know that he was well – Tuilind read from his words). But before he indeed went, he took from somewhere a bracelet of a silver flower covered with topazes with a black jewel that had the look of a diamond in the middle. He held it reverently as he offered it to Tuilind.
“My Lady Tuilind, a gift to you!”
Tuilind accepted it, marvelling at the craftsmanship. “I…it is beautiful. I thank you with all my heart!” She curtsied and away he sped with cloak flying behind him.
Tuilind did begin to regret her promise to go to the feast as soon as Maedhros was lost to her view. It had been easy to say yes; it had been the first thing that had come to her mind, but she did have her doubts of whether she really should. However she had given her word, so in the end she did go with fluttering heart. When she was under the foot of the hill where Daeril’s grave was, she heard neighing and looked into the deepening shadows. Out of those came a great midnight-black horse, clearly trained for war. There could only be one person who would send her a steed to ease her way to the feast, and Tuilind smiled. It seemed from the proud bearing of the horse that it must belong to Maedhros himself, but Tulind started to doubt for a second the wisdom in sending her a horse that big and war-bred. But to her surprise, when she carefully approached the horse who had stopped a little way from her, it did not show its temper with her. Calmly Tuilind walked up to it and patted its neck. Though it was a trouble to get on the beautiful creature, with the help of a tree-stump which she knew to be on their way, she managed to climb to its back.
Tuilind did not urge the horse to more than a quick walk, so she arrived at the doors after the feast had already started. She was about to turn around and return to her home, but something inside her told her to continue. She got off the back of the black steed, self-consciously smoothed her blue and green skirt, and arranged the sleeves to fall better before walking up to the gate. The guards called a stable-hand, letting him lead away the steed. They allowed Tuilind to pass with a glance at her face and attire, but in the doorway to the big hall where the dancing was in full swing, she felt her arm taken into an iron grip.
“And who are you? You are not of our people and I have never seen you before! What is your business here?” was demanded of her in a threat-filled tone. Tuilind looked at the face of her captor and guessed it must be one of Maedhros’ brothers, Caranthir perhaps.
Calmly she tried to explain and to escape the hand that was already starting to hurt her arm. “I was invited to the feast. I am sorry I am late!” She tried to pull her arm free and the motion made the sleeve move, baring her wrist where the bracelet Maedhros had gifted her caught the eyes of his brother. Caranthir looked at it for a second with startled, disbelieving eyes. Then he let go of her arm, looking at her as though she were a new and queer creature, and strode off, shaking his head and muttering. Tuilind thought she caught “Russandol wrought it himself”, “gave her that”, “mother loved it” and “one of the few things brought out of Tirion”. Suddenly she understood how precious the gift really was. She stepped to the top steps and looked inside the room filled with dancing people. The exquisite outfits of everyone made her feel very out of place, nor had she seen anything that compared to the sight before her. Out of the colourful display she located Maedhros by looking for a flash of hair the hue of daybreak* and the copper circlet* he always wore. She found him, resplendent in black and silver, dancing with a white-gowned fair lady. The steps of the dance brought the couple to the steps, and, as if by magic, Maedhros just then happened to look up and see Tuilind against the backdrop of the pale stairs and the blood-red curtains of the great window. He had stopped dancing as soon as he caught sight of her, and the lady had found another partner. Maedhros called Tuilind’s name and gestured for her to walk down the stairs. For a second, she looked as though she might decline and run off, but she fought the feeling down and descended to Maedhros’ side.
“I thought you would not come when you were not present at the feast!”
Tuilind talked quietly, looking from one of the dancers to another, not meeting his eyes. “Maybe I should not have. I should go. I am not used to such high company, but am a simple maiden of woods and streams, not courtly functions.”
Maedhros took her hand. “Lady, you are not simple–quite the opposite! It does not matter what you can see with your eyes; what lies under the surface of all the people here makes them what they are, and you are their equal inside. Put away those humble thoughts! Would you give me this dance?”
She still looked wild-eyed, but not so much as before. The touch of Maedhros’ hand on hers had calmed her, and she started thinking now that he should know what he was talking of. If he was willing to see her at the castle, then who was she to say no? Giving a nod, she acquiesced, and Maedhros led her into the dance.
By the time the feast ended, Tuilind had become quite comfortable. The looks the couple received did put her out a little, as did the sight of ladies whispering among themselves and to their dance-partners, all their gazes turned to her. But mainly she managed to ignore that, immersed in the swirls of the dance. Many wished to partner her when new tunes were started by the musicians but the look on Maedhros’ face put off most of them before they came to asking. Only Maglor had been successful. “Brother, you can’t deny everyone but yourself the pleasure of dancing with this lovely lady!” he had admonished Maedhros with a grin. Tuilind felt Maglor’s eyes upon her while they danced and on the bracelet as well. When the tune was finished and Maglor led her back to his elder brother, his praise about her did not want to end and only did after Maedhros retorted, “If I did not know better, I should think you were trying to charm Lady Tuilind!”
“Of course I am! I shall make a song of her!” Maglor announced as he walked away, casting one last look at Tuilind.
“My brother’s poetic interests always get the better of him!” Maedhros said with an affectionate smile.
When the celebration did end at last and Tuilind asked if she could be excused to return to her home, Maedhros would have none of it. He insisted on accompanying her with a look in his eyes Tuilind could not interpret. She argued that it was too far for him to walk there and back again, but he would not take no for an answer and took his cloak along with hers and lead her to the gates.
Tuilind’s brush with the High Elves had affected her differently than she had thought. Even though before that night she had known closely only one High Elf, and Maedhros was far from it with her, she had for some reason thought they would be haughty and see her as someone not of their worth. But though she had felt their eyes upon her, those had not been condemning her for pushing her way to somewhere she had no right to be but ones of curiosity and interest. However, far more prominently than that she recalled with pleasure the dances of the evening and her partner in most of them. It had been lucky that Maedhros had taught her the court dances, or otherwise she would have had to learn those or fail to on the spot. More than that, however, her mind lingered on the way he had looked down at her and smiled.
Maedhros’ thoughts were an echo of Tuilind’s but he was more aware of his feelings. He caught a slight smile on her lips and marvelled again at how beautiful she was. She was so different from the other maidens he had met all his life with her serenity and feeling of being one with the trees and waters around her, and he wondered how he had been lucky enough to meet her.
His heart was starting to pound louder the closer they got to the place they had met. His time during the watches of the march against the Orcs had not been wholly filled with thoughts on the battle-plans. The silvery hair and sea-coloured eyes of the maiden walking beside him had intruded upon those plans more often than not, and not being in close proximity of her had allowed him to have a clearer view. He had understood what his heart was telling him. After the defeat of the Orc force, most of his thoughts had been filled with the present night and place they were getting to. The feast had aided in that and had affirmed what he had come to see. But what would she say? Most of the time she was so cool and did not show her feelings, so it was nearly impossible to read her. Outwardly she seemed really to enjoy his company. Hadn’t she staid in the hills though she had meant to travel on from there a year ago? Now she was still there but were the reasons what he thought they were?
Maedhros rolled all this over and over again in his head until the hill with the grave and the young tree planted upon it loomed over the couple. He assisted her in climbing (it seemed a quiet agreement that they would, though she had not said anything) and at the top, under the sparkling stars, they came to standstill. Tuilind seemed to have forgotten for a moment that there was someone else with her, quite the opposite of her thoughts just some minutes ago and all the while of the long journey. So she did not notice Maedhros looking at her intently with fire blazing in his eyes as she raised her head to murmur a verse of song to the stars. Before Tuilind knew what was happening, he had drawn her into a passionate embrace and was kissing her. Then he released her and took a step back, looking into her startled eyes.
“Tuilind, my heart does not let me leave it unsaid for longer. Swallow, thou wert so different from anyone I knew when I first met thee and so beautiful. My heart is thine. I love thee!”
For a moment Tuilind just stood as if struck by lightning. Before her eyes flashed a vision of Maedhros, wasted away as if something had eaten at him for years, face wan and twisted almost unrecognisably. He set grimly off to what seemed like a wall of fire, and Tuilind saw herself looking after him and weeping. When he was consumed by flames and hidden from view, Tuilind folded slowly to the ground, and then her body was turning to dust that was blown away by a sudden gust of spark-filled air from the fiery wall. Horrified by what she had seen, Tuilind collapsed to her knees, trembling and face deathly white.
“No! My Doom is set!” she said and started crying.
“I…Dearest, I should have not acted so rashly. Please forgive me; I should not have kissed thee!”
She did not answer.
Maedhros started to doubt and with heavy heart uttered the next words. “Tuilind, I will understand if thou dost not return my feelings. I will grieve forever but I will not have thee forced into anything.”
Tuilind turned to him and with the sea-eyes locked on his face chanted:
“Be he foe or friend, be he foul or clean, brood of Morgoth or bright Vala, Elda or Maia or Aftercomer, Man yet unborn upon Middle-earth, neither law, nor love, nor league of swords, dread or danger, not Doom itself, shall defend him from Fëanor, and Fëanor’s kin, whoso hideth or hoardeth, or in hand taketh, finding keepeth or afar casteth a Silmaril.”
“No! Not this! Not from thee! Still it comes between us!” His fist pounded empty air and tears came to his eyes.
“Death we will deal him ere Day’s ending.”
“Damned be all this! Tell me then! Thou dost not want me because of who I am, what I have done!” Anger flaring, Maedhros’ only remaining hand flew to grip something and found the pommel of his sword.
“To the everlasting Darkness doom us if our deed faileth.” Tuilind’s eyes had followed his every angry step.
“Thou wilt not love me because of the Oath! Why did I think thou of all Teleri and Sindar wouldst understand me and not see the Oath and the Kinslaying when thou lookest upon me?”
He had started down the hill with cloak flaring behind him when he heard Tuilind call out, desperation ringing in her voice.
“I do love thee!”
He stopped in his tracks and turned.
“But just that is what is amiss.” Tuilind tried to stay her tears but with no success. “Thy words made me see what lay in my heart too, and I see that thou art and wilt be the only man I’ll ever love. But it cannot be, what thou wishest and I. My heart went cold when thou saidst those three words, cold with fear. I saw…. I love thee too much to witness the works of the Oath. It has not ended the evil it has wrought, no matter what thou or I would desire. Not what it has made thee do do I fear; it is what it might make thee do. I could not bear to see the devastation it would bring on thee. If I stay with thee, if I see thy face and feel thy arms around me, the love I hold for thee will only grow and that would undo me. Only grief will follow, and lament will shadow the paths on which I see us together. I said truly that I am like the maiden in the song – my spirit will not endure losing thee, not like that.” Her voice broke. Maedhros strode to her to try to comfort her, sooth away her fears, and make her see that she was wrong, but she scrambled up like lightning and evaded him.
“If I stay another moment, my resolve will fade, and that will be the doom of thee and me! For the pain of the loss will be less unbearable if I lose thee now, not then. I will love thee until the end of Arda! Tyë melinyë! Russandol, meldanya, namárië!*”
Tuilind’s last look at him was full of love and of grief for him and her. The next moment, she was running and seemed to have become one with the shadows. Maedhros sped after her, calling her name over and over but she did not answer, though right after she had disappeared, he thought he heard a sob from somewhere close to him. He wanted to tell her that it would not end the way she for some reason believed it would; he would not let it. If they were together, he would be able to fight the Oath, suddenly he was certain of that. Even more, he knew that without her, every breath he drew would be filled with sorrow and longing. She had praised his spirit for being filled with fire, but that would be slowly lessened every day he had to spend without her, and what would it do to hers if her fëa were as weak as she claimed? Why would she condemn herself and him to certain heartache by fleeing a fate that might not come to be?
Maedhros put that to anguished words as he searched for her in the darkness, trying to sense her presence, but she was as if swallowed by the earth. He cursed that he had let her home for the year be a secret, for she had to have gone there. If he could only see her again and hold her long enough for him to make her see that they would not come to grief, that she was hurting them both more by fleeing. But he could not, and she would trickle from his hands like spring-water, never to be seen perhaps. This spurred him to more frantic calls as he willed her to come out of the shadows and listen to him, but all to no avail. His voice was hoarse by the time morning came, his clothes were strewn with leaves and bits of branches and pine needles and torn in two places when he had forced his way through a dense wall of bushes, hand scratched and bleeding, feet aching from the pursuit and hopeless search, and heart aching in torment. He had not found her.
Tuilind would never know how she had managed to flee that night. She knew Maedhros had pursued her, and in her shocked state, she had been about to turn around when a plea for aid to Elbereth and Yavanna had formed in her head. Though she had still kept struggling with the need to answer Maedhros’ calls, it seemed the prayer had not gone unanswered, for who other than Elbereth could have closed her ears to the frantic pleas of Maedhros, and the sudden mist that had surrounded her must have been a gift of Yavanna. Tuilind had closed her mind to everything but the need to get away from the hills. From her home she had grabbed a few necessaries and started her journey at once. Her mind had whispered to her that she would only be safe on the other side of the Ered Lindon, but that would have meant going east – straight to Maedhros. (Oh, what a tempting thought it had been but she had pushed it away.) Intending then to go around the hills to the south and then strike east, Tuilind had started her journey, numb to everything around her. She had dreaded someone’s seeing her who knew her or of her, but aside from a few travelling Sindar she met no one. One of the Elves spoke a bit to her, mentioning Melian, and when he left, Tuilind had started to think – why not go to Menegroth instead? As she had understood by then, though the pain of being closer to Maedhros but not being able to see him would be greater, she could not bear to be without any tidings of him. Menegroth would be safe for her, for no Noldo of Fëanor’s allegiance was allowed to enter. Thus Tuilind came to live in Menegroth.
Maedhros never did stop looking for her. He had happened to hear from one of his captains of a Grey Elf who was asking permission to pass through his lands, and on a sudden impulse he had gone to speak with the Elf himself. The Sinda had revealed among his talk that he had met a young maiden of silvery hair (he was concerned for her safety, travelling alone and all) who had intended to leave Beleriand for the lands on the other side of Ered Luin. From that day on, Maedhros’ inquiries and a few men he could spare to aid in his search were directed to the east, but no word ever came back to him of Tuilind. She did indeed seem as if having disappeared from Endorë but he knew it was not so. In his heart he knew she was alive; he could feel it, but nothing more. He had even tried sending messages to every lord of the Elves to deliver him tidings should they know anything of Tuilind, but again, nothing.
So it went for hundreds of years. The people of Doriath had come to love their kinswoman from the north, but they also perceived that she was burdened with great sorrow. She kept to herself and seemed only to lose some of her grief when she was in the company of children, though it was not always so. Once she had been asked by the young ones to sing and afterwards they said that in her voice were mixed the mists and streams and forests of Mithrim, like in no one else’s they had heard. They begged her to sing more and one such time she had again obliged their request.
Leaves of green float by on the water
of the brook that sings and dances
among the glistening rocks and shallows
to wind its way, never ceasing, on and on.
To follow it would be my wish.
I’d find the larger stream it feeds
and then the river that draws its water
from streams like this one my brook enters.
Then to the Sea I’d float like the leaves
and sing a song of gulls and spindrift.
A ship there waits me, and I board her
to see the land of bliss and light
and those who’ve gone before me.
I’d sing and dance for years uncounted
but I know that I would still start
to miss these lands so that it would be
impossible for me to stay
in that land that is ever blissful.
For I have shed my tears into this earth
and bled in these lands and faced grief.
The one who holds my heart is still here,
though love has only brought me pain.
I would return and row up that same river
to the stream and on to my little brook.
My home is here and my doom is waiting.
All through the song the children had seen her eyes blurring more and more with tears as she fingered the bracelet of silver with the marvellous black diamond which they had admired many times. They had once heard her say with one of her grieving looks filled with love and yearning that it had been a gift from someone she loved more than her life. When the song ended, she had bent her gaze to the bracelet and while her tears fell onto it, the children quietly left her alone.
Tuilind’s hopes of fleeing from the sadness of which she had told Maedhros all those years ago would never be fulfilled. She had known that the pain of losing him would be unbearable and it was. She had dwelled on that one night and her words all those years. The vision she had seen had unhinged her terribly and at that moment she had taken it to be a true mirror of what would be (while in truth she had not even interpreted it right, still did not and would only understand beyond the Sea)*. Knowing that if she had staid, she would have fallen so deeply in love with him that it would have destroyed her to see the Oath destroy him, she had fled, changing one pain to the other, a pain that might not have come to be. She had hurt Maedhros, she knew, hurt him deeply; and she cried in the darkness of her room when his calls, which she had blocked out all those years ago, came to her now. She had believed that the Oath would make living unbearable for her if she had to witness it undo Maedhros. But she had not escaped the heartache; it was only different now, born of bereavement and the torment of might-have-beens. Tuilind had come to see that her fear of getting hurt had made her act wrongly, but she knew of no way to undo it. If she had staid with Maedhros, they would have been together and happy for a hundred years, five hundred or more. No matter what would have come later, they would still have had that time of joy instead of the centuries of pain from being separated. Could she just go back? Would he accept her, after all she had done to him? Again, fear was her undoing, for being terrified of seeing hate in Maedhros’ eyes at her betrayal of him (for she knew now, that was exactly what she had done), she could not make herself take the journey.
When she had seen the Silmaril after Beren had delivered it to Thingol, she had understood somewhat the reasons why Fëanor had acted the way he had and drawn his sons with him as well. Seeing the Jewel had made her heart sing, for in her mind it bound her more tightly to Maedhros: in the Jewel she had seen the light under which he had been born and for what he had come to Middle-earth. But then the feeling had died as the initial wonder and desire to see the Silmaril always and perhaps one day touch it or wear, was replaced by the understanding that whatever the its beauty, so much evil had been done in its name. The Silmaril was not stained by it in truth, but to her, it was; and from then on only reminded her of her tragedy. The word of the defeat of the Fëanoreans in the North had driven her to despair and she had walked around the Thousand Caves as in a dream, dreading and yearning for word of whether Maedhros was well or not. Tidings were unclear and inconsistent. It was generally agreed that that all the sons had survived the battle and that they were wandering in East Beleriand: some spoke of Ossiriand, some of Amon Ereb. And it was whispered that the defeat had lit a wildfire in them that would burn them to cinders if their oath remained unfulfilled for much longer.Tuilind, among many others, feared that worse was yet to come from the hunger of the brothers.
It came as the Second Kinslaying. All was in confusion and panic. How could this happen? Once more the Fëanoreans would kill their kin. Tuilind’s heart had gone cold the moment she heard the Sons’ demand to Dior for the return of the Jewel, and she felt like it had been doused with icy water at the first sounds of battle. She could not think, could not tell herself that it was the command of the man she loved that told the Noldor to slay her people, and that she loved him still. The Oath! Cursed be Fëanor for ever uttering the first words! It had hurt so many.
Tuilind knew what she had to do. She helped to get Elwing ready for the escape (after hearing of her brothers’ being captured) and staid behind to guard the door that opened to the ways that would eventually lead out of Menegroth. She would not run from Maedhros, not this time or ever again, for so she had promised herself a hundred times over the years of separation. With a dagger in her hand, she settled in front of the door through which Elwing and her guardians fled, heart racing and ears strained.
Running feet. Clang of sword against mail. Then one of the doors leading into the room was thrown open. As a single warrior bounded across the threshold, Tuilind’s heart burst in a chiming of crystal shards. She wavered and Maedhros’ face went white as the bark of birches.
“Oh, Elbereth!” she wailed.
“I searched for thee all these years, asked tidings but found nothing. And now I find thee here, on this day! Why does it have to be here and now?”
He saw that Tuilind’s left hand was shaking as she held it outstretched as if to ward him off or reach out to touch him. The door! What was she hiding? Why did she not say anything?
“Meleth nín*, no one will hurt thee. Please come away from the door! I know that is where the Silmaril must have been taken. Please let me pass, and I’ll have my best warriors take thee out of here and keep thee safe until I come!”
Tuilind’s eyes were huge with all the feelings storming inside her. She could not believe that fate had dealt her this punishment. Part of her just needed to fling herself at him and let him sooth away all her hurt, but another told her that he was partly the cause of that evil and that she should hate him for what he was doing. The last won for the moment, so when Maedhros approached her to draw her away from the door, she slashed at him with her dagger. He jumped back and eyed her warily. Then, making soothing gestures, he walked a step closer to her again.
“She won’t be hurt, the little princess. Elwing will not be mistreated if she gives the Silmaril to us!”
“What? Like her brothers? I heard how they were taken. Dost thou know what was done to them: that they were taken to the woods to die?” Those were her first words to him, and Maedhros cursed softly. He guessed whose work that had been. How could he convince her that he meant no harm? He would have laughed bitterly. How can you indeed make someone believe you mean no harm when you have led an attack on her people and have repeated the mistake that you had made years ago on that mad flight from Valinor?
“Was one kinslaying not enough for thee?” she sobbed, echoing his thoughts. “Slay me too, for that is the only way thou wilt get through this door and fulfil thy oath, the words of which I have seen in thy mind. Put that sword to my flesh, for how didst thou swear in the name of the Allfather – not even love can defend the one who denies thee the Silmarils, and thou wilt slay him, or her, before the day’s ending. Do it now thyself or bring everlasting darkness upon thee!” Her eyes threw sparks. “Everything for the oath, for the love for thy father, his works. Bad done in the name of love can be evil, is evil and more so because the one doing it says it is for love, tainting what love means!”
“Shh! Tuilind, darling, please! I will not hurt thee, I shall never lift my sword to strike thee. Listen to me, I beg of thee!” Maedhros tried to talk to her and calm her, but it seemed he was not going to succeed. She kept waving her dagger at him, and in her grief, guilt for not hating him as she should, and conflicting allegiances, her slashes were wild, almost close to hurting her own self, so he kept his distance.
He was speaking to her, pleading her to lay down the blade, when the third door to the room was pushed open and Celegorm and Curufin emerged to witness their eldest brother standing in front of some maiden with a knife in her hand.
“Elwing went this way!” Celegorm told Maedhros curtly and strode to the door Tuilind was guarding. “Get out of the way!” he hissed but she did not move. He raised his sword to strike her down but Maedhros’ left hand moved quicker than a snake to draw his sword and to thrust it between Tuilind and his brother.
“Can you not see who it is?” he roared with eyes burning. “Leave her alone or you will have to answer to me!”
Maedhros’ sword was still in his hand as he put his right arm around her waist to draw her to him and away from both the door and his scowling and grim brothers, but Tuilind pushed him away. Thus he was standing in front of her with his sword held almost level with the ground when the door he had entered from burst open and his youngest brother Amras ran into him. The momentum threw him forward off balance. What happened then would haunt him until the end of his days. He had sworn that he was not going to hurt her, ever. Was there no oath, no promise he would ever be able to keep? The Valinor forged blade pierced Tuilind’s dress and flesh as easily as it would air or water. The tip came out of her lower back and the only sound that he heard in the deathly silence in his head was her soft sigh as she crumpled to the floor.
Taken aback, all his brothers retreated hastily from the door and Tuilind as Maedhros threw the sword he drew from her to the floor in horror and disgust. He knelt to cradle her in his arms, crying and caressing her face. When Tuilind’s eyes focussed on his, they were already dimmed.
“My love and life, my Doom, my death!” she said haltingly. “Neither law, nor love shall defend… I had hoped that it would not come to this. Prayed for that…but no, I should have known. Forgive me; I should have stayed with thee! No one can escape his doom and I have made it worse for us both. I love thee!…Nor love!” And then she was gone, spirit leaving the body.
Maedhros covered her face with kisses and his cries were wordless. As he lamented her and what they might have had, all his feelings got dimmer. There was nothing now he cared for, something his own, only the need that was consuming him and his brothers to fulfil their oath.
Don’t say And you’ll be here in my arms
Into the world of night
Through shadows falling
Out of memory and time
We have come now to the end
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again
And you’ll be here in my arms
* hair the hue of daybreak – a pun on the Old English name for Maedhros-Maidros from The Shaping of Middle-earth – Doegred Winsterhand [O.E. doegred “daybreak, dawn”; winsterhand “left-handed”]
* copper circlet – “He [Nerdanel’s father, here Aulendil (Aulendur), in the Sil Mahtan] usually wore a band of copper about his head. His hair was not as dark or black as was that of most of the Ñoldor, but brown, and had glints of coppery-red in it. Of Nerdanel’s seven children the oldest, and the twins (a very rare thing among the Eldar) had hair of this kind. The eldest also wore a copper circlet.” Peoples of Middle-earth, Shibboleth
* Tyë melinyë! Russandol, meldanya, namárië! – “I love you! Russandol, my love, farewell!” (Q.). The use of Quenya, forbidden by Thingol for use for the Sindar, is deliberate to show Tuilind’s acceptance and forgiveness as a Sinda to a Noldo of Fëanor’s kin for the deeds of the Kinslaying.
* while in truth she had not even interpreted it right, still did not and would only understand beyond the Sea – This is an idea and a theory that arose during proof-writing and though I tried it, I was not able to put it anywhere in the story. But I still wish to give the reasoning for those who read the notes. Tuilind saw a vision that she thought was what was to be, actually it was a more of a cautionary thing. Marriage involves union of both bodies and fëar. Fëanor and his sons swore the Oath, that involved “To the everlasting Darkness doom us if our deed faileth.” Therefore the reasoning goes that though marriage was most about the will of the fëa, nevertheless or even because of it, the fëa in union with the one that does to Everlasting Darkness does not fare well. Tuilind’s vision cautioned her against wedding Maedhros, but he (at least as he is in our story and comes off in my mind from Tolkien’s works) would have been responsible enough not to ask that, fearing what would befall his wife should he fail to fulfil the Oath. His desire was to hear whether she loved him and perhaps betrothal, but no more. So Tuilind fled because of something that would never have come to be.
* Meleth nín – My love (Sind.)
*Used at the end is part of the song “Into the West” which is by Fran Walsh, Howard Shore and Annie Lennox