Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tales from Valinor: Maedhros the Tall Part Second

Word must have reached Finwë that he should counsel Ada to allow sight of the Silmarils. He asked Ada to speak to him in his chambers, and Ada went immediately. I followed him. I wish that I hadn't now. It took only minutes to reach Finwë’s chamber. Ada was wearing his sword. He usually wears it wherever he goes since he has become so protective. Or possessive.

I had just ducked out of sight and was circling back home, seeing that Ada was in a cooler mood when I heard the shouts. I turned on my heel, and had a feeling like an iron rod had fallen on my stomach. I gasped as I took in the sight.

My uncle Fingolfin stood against the wall of Finwë’s hall. He stood tall. His expression was surprising calm in relation to his circumstances. Before him stood my father, sword unsheathed, pressed against his neck.

“So it is, even as I guessed,” he said. “My half-brother would be before me with my father, in this as in all other matters. Get thee gone and take thy due place! See, half-brother, this blade is sharper than thy tongue. Try but once more to usurp my place and the love of my father and maybe it will rid the Noldor of one who seeks to be the master of thralls.”* My father seethed, teeth clenched. I stood stock still. Elves had gathered around. Some let out cries of surprise and dismay, others watched with stayed breaths.

Fingolfin did not look angry. He did not do anything. He looked for a long time into my father’s wrathful eyes. I couldn't understand why he didn't fight back. Fingolfin was strong and he knew it. It would have been a fair fight at least. But he just stood there. He shoulders once tensed in surprise, sagged suddenly. Then I recognized the unmistakable glance of sadness in his eyes. He looked at my father sadly. Sadly! Of all the emotions I experience around my father, sadness is not among them. Fingolfin quietly turned away and walked down the path.

My father lowered his sword. He quickly sheathed it and that was when I ran back home.

~

I haven't seen Fingon in days. I have been avoiding him. I feel the unbearable stain of my father’s actions ceaselessly. In fact I haven't even neared the city since that day.

As it turns out, I won't be going back to the city for a long time. My father stormed back today with unquenchable rage. He spoke quickly with my mother. She nodded and ordered us boys to pack. Ada went into his private room for a long time.

We packed the few things we needed and turned our back on our home. Ada won't speak to us, so I have had to do the guessing myself. Ada’s action outside of Finwë’s halls have not gone unnoticed. We are being banished from returning and are to live at Formenos. Finwë is coming with us out of the love he still has for Ada.

It baffles me how he could still love Ada after what he has done. Threatening his own brother on the steps of their father’s house...it is inexcusable.

Ada does not see how gracious Finwë is being. Finwë is forsaking his kingship to be with his son and yet all Ada can think of is Fingolfin being the King over the Noldor in his absence. I hear him I muttering about it...smoldering.

I have not looked my father in the eye for a long time. Our communication consists of terse nods or the deliberate avoidance of one another. I remember times when us boys were the pride and joy of Ada’s existence. Each day he would watch us play sword fight if only for a few minutes and would offer us a suggestion. We would try it out and he would suddenly jump in and tackle us to the ground, laughing. “You need more practice!” He would say. We would squeal and laugh like the little boys we were, and when we were done we would lay on the grass out of breath. “My sons,” he would say, “Are the treasure of my life.”

~

I am leaving Valinor.

I have not written here the trials of my life for some time. Ada and Fingolfin have been reconciled, though Ada still holds him at a cold distance. The Trees are gone. Valinor is dark--there is nothing for me here. Curse Melkor for stealing the light of the world! He spilt the blood of my grandfather--the first blood in this land.

He has taken the Silmarils.
It is well. My father was asked to give them to the Valar and he should have. I will never forget what he said to them.
“The Silmarils are the treasure of my life.”

My heart broke. I don’t mean that it has been sundered. I mean that...everything my father has said to me has built up and built up and...with those words the frail dam I had built trying to convince myself I still loved my father...those words broke it. And all of the pain flowed anew, like a wound had been reopened.

Now that Morgoth has taken them, Ada has finally lost all sense. He is mad. Rabid, like a dog.
I do not think my father would act this way if one of his sons were stolen, and not his jewels.

He is foolhardy. He has convinced himself that he can overthrow Morgoth. It is laughable how his vision has been distorted. Except for the fact that now our people are in grave peril.

Ada has always had a way with words. He has the undeniable power to make you feel as golden as Laurelin, or as deflated and empty as the trees post-Morgoth. I always thought that he must want to make people feel empty because that was what he was feeling inside. Well today he was feeling impassioned, and that’s how he made others feel.

He spoke of the duty of the Noldor to avenge the Silmarils and bring Morgoth down. His words kindled a fire within me, though I tried to quench it. I remembered my grandfather. His kind eyes, always forgiving even towards my father. I remembered when Morgoth's came to my home and murdered him. His last cries for us to run…

I stood and raised my sword.
Qualmë cotumoin Eldaliéva!^”

~

Fingon. I see his face in the fire which blazes before me.
There is only dark behind me.

I stand on the dark shores of Middle-earth. It is cold. In front of me fire shines on the waters of the Sundering Sea. Fingon is on the other side. He vowed to follow his father here into Middle-earth. But we took the ships. We left them there. And now...now Fëanor burns them. “Send them back across for Fingolfin’s sake!” I said to him. He did not listen.

These ships. Curse them. The foam-riders fall into the sea, cruel arrows of the Noldor piercing their fair skin.

The darkening of Valinor surrounds me. The Trees are gone, the Teleri have been slain, Fingolfin has been betrayed. I simply cannot bear it. Regret gnaws at me.

~
Fëanor is dead.

He died this morning. Not without cause. Though I am sure there will be song enough to remember Fëanor’s fiery folly. So I will not recount it here.

My grief is inexplicable. I should not feel anything, and grief the last thing. And yet, I can’t help but feel loss. Days I have spent dreaming of what life would be like without the constant need to be affirmed by him. And now that that need is gone...I am not sure how to carry on.

Bitterly do I rue the day I held my sword up. For already it has reaped nothing but pain and loss.

There is but one enemy. Not the Valar, not even Fëanor. Morgoth. The Black Enemy. Curse his name. He spilled the life blood of the trees, he killed my grandfather, he drove my father to madness. I will have my revenge on him. I am the high king of the Noldor, and I will carry this oath through to its bitter end.

~

The happiness of friendship! I do not deserve the sacrifice and fellowship of Fingon.

Morgoth tried to kill me. I will not speak of it for my arm still aches, and the sight of my lone hand grieves me. I will only here recount the valor of Fingon my eternal friend and say nothing of the pain I have endured.

I still remember his song. Of Valinor and our friendship. I have not spoken to him since my Fëanor threatened Fingolfin, and it brought joy to my heart and light to my eyes to hear his fair voice. I sang back in excruciating strains, each breath tasting like acid. I looked down at him.

He was far below, but I could make out his figure. His bow was slung across his back, a quiver full of arrows. He had ridden to Thangorodrim to find me, and find me he did, though there was no hope of rescue. I begged him to shoot me. He would not listen. Finally, I saw his trembling hands and expression of grief and despair harden and still. He pulled an arrow and nocked it.

A cry in the distance made him stop, eyes full of desperation. An eagle. Wings forty fathoms long, golden almost as the Tree of Laurelin, eyes piercing the dark cloud of Morgoth’s fortress. His cry echoed off of the wall.

Feeling my end approaching, I deeded to have my last breaths be used in protest against end vile place, and in memory of Valinor far away. I cried out once, and I remember no more.

~

*From "So it is even as I guessed" to "seeks to be the master of thralls" is all a direct quotation from The Silmarillion...one of my favorite quotes and I just couldn't leave it out!
^English translation: Death to the foes of the elves!

~

This chapter covers Feanor threatening his half-brother Fingolfin upon the steps of Finwe's halls--one of the most firey of Feanor's moments--to the burning of the ships at Losgar, and all the way to Maedhros' chaining to Thangorodrim.  At this point in the story the focus is shifted away a bit from Maedhros (because Feanor is dead) which leaves a bit more room for the imagination and so I am pretty excited for next week!

While we are on the topic of The Silmarillion and excitement, I am really thrilled to be starting a round of annotation on The Silmarillion today.  The themes and signposts I am annotating for are:

Feel free to join me with my annotations--it should be fun and enlightening.  
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2 comments:

  1. Ah! A Silmarillion fanfic! Man, I've really got to come back and read this as soon as I have more time. Right now I'm hurrying to finish blogging so that I can go paint my brother's bedroom. :)

    I have brought you a tag! http://writinginrivendell.blogspot.com/2015/11/sisterhood-of-world-bloggers-award.html

    If you choose to do it, then all you have to do is answer ten questions, come up with ten more, then tag ten people to answer your questions. If you don't have ten people you can tag, just do as many as you can. Remember to link back to me when you're done so that I can come and read your answers! :D

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, my first tag! Sounds delightful--I will get right on that...thanks!
      I've alwash felt there was a deficiency of Sil fanfiction, so I'm doing my best to fill that gap. Have fun painting!

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