Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Oath Chapter II

More fanfiction time!  You guys are all my beta readers, so feel free to leave any comments or critiques you have--they are very helpful to me!

In this chapter I tried to get a little more action in.  It's a bit of a shorter installment this time.  I tried to maintain The Silmarillion style (which I have a decidedly difficult time with) and so I tried to incorporate different elvish names and allusions to other elvish works.  Let me know if you think I was too heavy-handed with those references--maybe I had too much fun translating the elvish, haha.  (Also, notice how I'm using the gifs from Feanor's speech to kind of guide the plot?  I don't know why but I am so proud of that :)

Anywho, here's chapter two of The Oath.

In those days, the unquiet was not only within the heart of those tormented by the Oath sworn in early days, but the Siege of Angband was not wholly impregnable; for by secret ways, the Dark Lord Morgoth was able to send forces out of Thangorodrim to assault the elves of Beleriand.  Thus did the lord Maedhros find himself in dire need.

The Noldor were strong in that time before their power faded and the bliss and light of Valinor shone still in their faces; in especial in the face of Maedhros the Tall, eldest son of Feanor.  He had already braved the torment upon the walls of Thangorodrim and his spirit returned from the Hells of Iron as one from the dead.  He now ordered his hosts and prepared to defend the village nigh to Maglor's Gap against the approaching assault out of Thangorodrim.  The village was not strong but trusted the Sons of Feanor to protect them.

The hosts came suddenly from the north west, but not without warning.  For scouts of Maedhros in the north had espied them long before and warned their lord of their approach.  Therefore Maedhros had long to prepare his forces.  He arrayed them upon a hillside that overlooked a deep valley the forces of the orcs must cross.  There he had keen sight over all the surrounding land.

As the first leagues approached, they were met by the valiant arrows of the Noldor.  Below in the valley hosts of orcs were slain beneath the radiant sun.  Their black blood stained the young shoots of grass so that ever after that place was called Agarwaen Tumbale, the Blood-stained Valley.  The orcs were vanquished quickly and at that time the Uroloki had not yet ventured beneath the rays of the Sun, for her radiance repelled their darkness and they cowered beneath the fortress of Angband.

As the Noldor looked out upon the innumerable bodies of their slain enemies, another league this one more fierce came upon them from behind.  As the elven forces had been battling their foes in the valley, another host larger than anyone at that time had foreseen issuing from Thangorodrim went around the hill and now they attacked the Noldor from behind.

The Noldor fought valiantly but alas some did fall and the Sons of Feanor do not forget it.  At the last, the orcs resorted to outright treachery as is their wont.  A small force circled back to the village of Fingolfin's descendants and burned it to the ground.  The sorrow of that small people greatly out measures their size in numbers, and some marvel the fire was not extinguished by their tears alone.  Thereafter the people of that village remember the land as Quaina Laide, the Wailing Meadow.  In afterdays it was said as the wind passed through Maglor's Gap in the mountains it wailed with sorrow as it passed over the village.  Thus did these descendants of Fingolfin find themselves The Disposessed.

Maedhros saw the fire from a distance and the sight struck him as a shaft for graven upon him was the memory of the burning of the Ships at Losgar where his people had betrayed Fingolfin's host.  Once more the Sons of Feanor had failed to protect Fingolfin's people and their village burned.  Thus it was that Maedhros set his dread helm upon his head and rode forth without counsel.

He found the village deserted save for a few bodies of slain and dying elves.  The orcs, espying from afar his approach had fled into the night.  They had hard rumors of the dread wrath of Maedhros, son of Feanor.  Now was his wrath kindled as the very flames in front of him.  His cry then has been remembered through all the afterdays as a lament for all the hardships of the Eldalie for he cried out in wrath at Morgoth, in desperation for the Valar, in pain for the loss of this place and of these people he had sworn to protect.

This oath he had not kept.

He hardened his jaw and rode swiftly through the village fearing neither fire nor pain, heedless of the perils as one that is fey.  And as he rode it is said he called out, searching for any sign of lingering life.  He found neither elf nor orc still alive within that wretched place.  One body it is said he found: a young elfling, merely a maiden not yet come to age enough to escape unaided.  This body he took upon his own horse and quenched the fire lingering upon her dress with his own tears of rage and grief as he rode out of the village.

As is told in the short lay, Ripa tuulo'Naur, the Flight from Fire, as Maedhros rode out from the village he looked up upon the stars which beamed back at him and he cursed them for their unforgiving glance.

He buried the elf maiden and raised a mound over her body, Haudh en'Wen, The Maiden Barrow.

That night Maedhros and his men searched the surrounding wood unceasingly for any village people.  Some they recovered who had fled into the wood.  They took them then and set up camp for them.  In the morning they took count of the people found.  Families reported missing wives or sons or fathers or daughters.  Among the missing counted was Adanel's mother.  It is said that she had fled into the forest, but she was never seen again and Adanel never found what happened to her.

Grievous as the burning was for the village, little heed was given to it by the rest of the elves for it was just one small village.  The Seige of Angband was successful in afteryears save only a few isolated incidents, none as grave as the burning.  The remaining elves of the village for the most part were convinced to come back north with Maedhros and his men and seek refuge there.  Some, however, begrudged Maedhros his failure to protect them despite his valor and his repentance, and went south to the land of Doriath.  It is said that they could not enter the Girdled land save for the kin of Finarfin and most stayed in Nan Elmoth.

Maedhros' heart burned at the thought of the destruction of this village and ever more he turned with wrath to Morgoth.  He proposed that the Eldar attack the Dark Lord at the earliest opportunity, but the leagues were weak and they did not have enough forces to openly battle Morgoth.  Over the long years of Siege, Maedhros grew to become obsessed with the dungeons of Angband.  It is said among those that knew him that he spent more time in thought there than in his land.

One who perceived this most clearly was Adanel.  She grieved her mother's loss severely, but trusted to hope that she may have made it to Doriath safely.  She devoted her time to aiding the families that had lost in the burning for she had spent much time with Nienna the Vala in Valinor and learned of the griefs of the world.  She saw the grief and the anger written upon Maedhros' face and it worried her greatly.

"My lord Maedhros," she said, "Why do you linger in the past?  We live in days of peace now--will you not look about and see your people are safe?"

"Safe?  How safe do you perceive us to be?"  He responded oft in anger in those days, "How safe were your people?  How safe was your mother when--"  He stopped suddenly and turned away.  "None of us will be safe while Morgoth endures."  Adanel swallowed.  "My mother lives either within the girdle of Doriath now or with the Valar in Valinor and of all of us she is the safest."

Adanel tried often to ease Maedhros' pain for she cared for him and he was more and more wrathful and isolated as the years went by.  It is said that more and more Maedhros' thought turned to the vanquishing of Morgoth and the reclamation of the Silmarils.  If he could but take them back, he felt sure it would prove the the other princes of the Eldalie the time was ripe to attack the Dark Lord.  Furthermore, he felt the pull of the need to fulfill the Oath as he had been unable to fulfill his oath to the people of the village as a weight dragging him down.

Adanel tried to counsel him.  Maedhros tried to push her out of his mind for fear she would interfere with his need to fulfill the Oath.  More and more he trusted to himself--fearing that others may try and restrain his plans and fearing treason from among his own people.   The memory of the burning never left Maedhros' mind and added further weight to his Oath.