Friday, February 5, 2016

The Oath

Okay.  Yes, I have attempted to write fiction again.  Eeep.  I really tried to maintain the Silmarillion style of writing here, although I will admit it ended up slacking a bit toward the end.  One of the big problems is that the style of the Silmarillion is hard to write in using detail, since it is written kind of like a summary of the events. But I tried my best here to really paint a picture in the readers' minds while still being consistent with the style.

My main goal was to develop a bit of character for one of the most intriguing sons of Feanor, Maedhros.  I wanted to play around with his (from what I can gather) good side in opposition to the Oath he has to carry out (albeit reluctantly).  So I thought to myself: what would really cause Maedhros strife resulting from the urge to do something good or fulfill the Oath?  Maybe if he had someone he really cared about that he had to leave in order to carry out the Oath?  That was the original concept.  This chapter is mostly just the meeting and first thoughts and encounters between Maedhros and the person he cares for.  I didn't want to jump all the way into his decision between her and the Oath because, well, they just met.  If you guys like the storyline, I can keep going, but this is just an experiment, so let me know what you think of it or if you have suggestions.

I have to be honest, I was a bit nervous to post more fanfiction because the stuff I've put on here in the past (with the exception of probably Thorin's Funeral) is not my best.  But I worked really hard on this one, so let me know your thoughts--especially if you think the romance is too sappy.  I was worried about that.  If I do write another chapter, I'm hoping to include more action.

Ooh (sorry, one more thing!) if you haven't filled out the poll from a couple days ago, please, please take the time to jot down some answers!  It won't take more than two minutes, I promise and it is really helpful for me!  I've already received some great suggestions I'm hoping to implement soon.  Without further ado, here is the untitled chapter of Maedhros fanfiction I put together this week.

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In that time when the hosts of the Noldor were in Beleriand and the realms of Gondolin and Nargothrond yet stood, in that time when the realms of the elves in Middle-earth was at it's zenith of bliss and glory, Maedhros the Tall, son of Feanor, took his brother and his people into the north to keep vigil over Angband.  There he abode for a time during the siege of Angband and it was a stronghold.

Yet within the bounds of the March of Maedhros, not all was strong and well.  For Maedhros had sworn the selfsame vow as his father aforetime and though the oath plagued him now and haunted him in his inner thought, he could not retread upon it or cast it away lest he call the Everlasting Darkness upon himself.  So Maedhros kept the oath silently, prolonging it if he could, but ever it nagged at his mind as a bur to traveler.

It was in this time that Maedhros took his host and, in order to keep them strong and ready to defend the people against Angband's forces, made them to run exercises about the lands.  Now the host traveled far to the south of the March of Maedhros, and as they came upon Maglor's Gap and the settlements there that were taken up by the few descendants of Fingolfin that dwelt there, Maedhros called them to stop that they might take respite in the village.

The people of that village accepted Maedhros gladly, for he it was alone of the sons of Feanor who had stood aside at the Burning of the Ships and had passed the high kingship to Fingolfin.  Gladly they took him in, though warily, for they knew of his oath and though they held him not at fault any longer, still they could perceive that he intended--as he must--to carry it out.

The lord of that village, Galdor*, went forth and he himself took Maedhros' great red helm upon himself and bore it to the village hall.  He took then the horses of the host and stabled them richly with much care.  Maedhros and his warriors were taken to the hall for rest and a feast was held for all in the village at the arrival of their land's lord.

There it was, as Maedhros sat among the people of the hall who laughed gaily and bowed low before him, that he first espied Adanel+, the daughter of Argon^, son of Fingolfin.  She stood quietly bearing a cup of ale for any who would wish for some.  Quickly she turned her eyes upon him and matched his gaze with piercing gray eyes and a questioning brow.  Maedhros opened his mouth as one who has been dealt his death pang.  Swiftly he turned away and brought his cup to his lips, blinking and turning back to his men who were laughing and drinking noisily.

"The day has come upon which as Morgoth cowers in his halls his enemies sing songs and feast!"  One of his captains called over the din.  Maedhros smiled weakly.  He took a deep breath and, leaning over the table to be heard above the clamor, said heartily, "Long has this day been in the waiting and sweeter in the taking after all that time!"  He said in his hearty voice.  Loud and long were the cheers as the men downed their mugs of ale.

Maedhros sat back in his chair.  It seemed suddenly to him that the room had gone still, though men still in fact drank and spoke merrily.  He nodded at his captains when they spoke to him, but little did he understand of their words.  Though many things were said to him, he did not hear all and it seemed to him that the whole room had been filled with thick air which absorbed all sound.  All there was in the room was the pounding of his head and the tightening of his hand about his sword.  He sensed a presence in the room--a threat to himself.  He felt a breath on his neck, an evil presence trying to take him at unawares.  Red were his knuckles around the hilt of his sword as he suddenly spun around and set it upon the breast of his assailant.

Now the air thinned and even the slightest crack in the wood of the tables or drip of a drink from a mug could be heard.  All in the room had silently turned as Maedhros as he faced his foe.  He perceived their glances sharply upon his back as if they were boring holes into his very being.

The glint of Maedhros' sword blinded him for a moment and it seemed to him that he stumbled.  In reality, he stood firmly, sword unwavering.  Before him stood a maiden, a cup in her hand, her eyes wide and her face red.  It seemed to Maedhros the moment lasted for an eternity, though in truth it couldn't have been more than a tithe of a minute before he had lowered and sheathed his mighty sword.  His face had turned a red color to match the brilliance of his fiery hair as he set his jaw and surveyed his men, all looking at him with jaws hanging open.

He blinked, lowered his eyelids from their raised position and bent to the ground to retrieve the cup the maiden had dropped.  His large hands, usually so deft, fumbled with the cup for a moment.  He dared not to look into the maiden's eyes but saw her flush out of the corner of his eye.  He sighed for a moment, still looking down.  Finally he looked up, faced the maiden and tucked his upset hair behind his ear.

"My lady, deepest apologies, I'm sure!  I meant not to upset your cup nor to embarrass you here today, in especial after all the acts you have done here for my men and I.  Please accept my most humble apologies..." he said, placing hand on his chest in regret.  He had thought of more words to say, but as he looked into her eyes, words failed him.  There they were watery with surprise and embarrassment and gray.  But her jaw was set in a strong act of maintaining her dignity.  He suddenly could not hold her accusing glance and looked away.

"My lord," she said, ducking her head to meet his gaze, her eyes now soft and deep.  She placed a hand on his arm, "No apology is necessary from you, my lord.  My hall and my people are honored in your presence," she curtsied low, to Maedhros' embarrassment.  Here he had threatened her at sword-point and she curtsied and lauded him?

"And yet I have done you great wrong, lady," he said, voice a bit raspier than it had been before, "And injury perhaps," he said, glancing at her neck where a red blossom where she had been pricked had developed.  He ran his hand quickly across it and it came away with a drop of blood.  "Allow me to escort you to your infirmary?"  He held out his arm, at first intent upon proving his penitence to the others in the hall.  But he noticed that they had now turned back seeing that little harm had been done and Maedhros realized he wanted to prove his penitence most of all to her, she that he had most offended.

"That will not be necessary, my lord," she said, a small laugh bubbling through her words, "For I am the infirmary!  I am the healer of this village and I'm sure I can manage to tend to my 'wounds'.  Thank you, my lord," she began to curtsy again, but Maedhros caught her arms and held them steady, "Please my lady, no more curtsying," he said, a small twinkle in his eyes.

She nodded smiling and reached her hand to her neck to check the wound.  "Let me fetch you a bandage, come my lady," Maedhros said, suddenly alert and realizing his duty to help her.  He took her arm and knew she would be unwilling to protest against the lord of her land more than she already had that day.  He led her out of the hall and into the night air by the arm.  He took a deep breath, suddenly aware of his painful embarrassment inside the hall.  He sighed and continued walking.

"Apologies, my lord, but..." the maiden began to say beside him.  He looked down on her, expecting her to protest against being cared for, but she merely said, and rather shyly, "Yonder is but the pasture.  Perhaps we might have more luck in finding a bandage in a home?"  She said, smiling reservedly.

Maedhros instantly colored.  Here he was, the leader of these people and he knew nothing of medicine or healing!  He nodded quickly and turned, looking forward and refusing to meet her smiling eyes.  "Yes, of course.  I merely wanted to check on the horses," he feigned, trying desperately to maintain his pride.  "Of course, my lord, I suspected nothing less," the maiden said, though her voice betrayed her and it was perfectly clear she knew exactly how confused he was.

Maedhros blinked and they continued into town.  "My home," the maiden said as they approached a small dwelling, "My mother will be angry with me for creating a scene in the hall," she said briskly.

"Then I must make amends with her so she will understand the fault was all mine," Maedhros said, once again feeling the guilt of what he had done.  Why had he done it anyway?  There was clearly nothing sinister about this maiden!  Perhaps his senses were failing him.  There was nothing threatening about her, nothing.

"Mother, dearest, I am home!"  The maiden called, opening the door to a dark home.  The light of candle was seen coming from an inner room.

"Adanel, why is it that you come home early?  Has the feast ended already?"  A voice responded from inside.

Adanel.  So that was her name, Maedhros thought, trying it out on his lips.

"Nay, Mother.  I've received...a minor injury but nothing to worry about.  I just came home for a bandage.  And I've brought a guest to assist me with my injury."

The voice did not respond this time but rather a woman emerged, tall and fair haired like her daughter.  Her needlework was still in her hand and the moment she laid eyes upon the guest she snapped it behind her back.

"My lord!"  She curtsied, eyes wide.  They slowly flickered over to her daughter mid-curtsy with a questioning look.  Why didn't you tell me it was the Lord Maedhros?  Why is the Lord Maedhros here?  What can I do for the Lord Maedhros?

"There is no need for that, my good lady," Maedhros said, extending a hand.  "For if there is any fault that your daughter is so wounded it is mine, for I acted without thought and this is my doing."

The woman took in her daughter altogether for the first time.  "Forgive me, but I see nothing wrong with my daughter unless she seems a bit flustered by your presence, my lord--" at this the Adanel flushed deeply and her eyes grew wide-- "Might I see what wound you refer to?"  Maedhros nodded, a smile involuntarily spreading across his usually regimented face.  "Right here, my lady," he said, brushing a hand against the maiden's neck once more.

Adanel sighed.  "My mother, mightn't I go and tend to the 'wound'?"  Her mother quickly looked at the slit of a cut and turned away.  "Of course.  Thank you, my lord Maedhros for caring for my daughter," she held her hand aloft.  Maedhros took it and kissed her knuckles.  "Of course; it was the least I could do, my lady."  The woman went back into the inner room and Maedhros and Adanel continued to another room where a basin of water was set.

"Pay no heed to my mother's remark, she...she is...well don't speak ill of your parents," Adanel said, still red.

"Yes, my lady.  Your mother seems kind."  Maedhros said, smiling again, this time he allowed himself a grin.  The corners of Adanel's mouth turned up.  "She is.  She has been...a bit different since Father passed--"  "Your father?"  Maedhros said, the grin dropping from his face.  "Ah, yes.  Argon**, my father, died when the Noldor first came to Beleriand in battle.  In the same battle as Feanor, your father, I believe."  A shadow crept over Maedhros at the mention of his father and he clenched his teeth, but he said: "I remember Argon.  He hewed his way far into the host of the orcs--he was very valiant.  I am sorry," he said quietly, swallowing.  Adanel looked into the distance out of the window for a moment.

Suddenly she blinked and turned.  "It's rather dark in here, is it not?"  She left the room to fetch a lantern.  Maedhros looked down at his hand, willing himself to keep his composure.  Adanel came back with a bandage.  She sat down on a bench and held out the bandage to Maedhros.  "Here, my lord.  Since you were so concerned about my wound, you bind it," she said, trying to change the subject.

Maedhros nodded and took the bandage in his hand.  It was shaking slightly and he realized he had no idea how to bind a wound.  He had seen hundreds of wounds and their bindings and had plenty of his own from battle, but he was at a loss--he lacked the finer delicacies which so often were required of a healer.

"Yes, my lady, surely," he said, fumbling with his words for a moment.  He placed part of the bandage in his teeth and tore it off the roll.  Looking down at Adanel's questioning eyes, he reassessed the situation.  His hands were dirty from riding all day and he hadn't bothered to wash them before going to the hall.  He felt the knot of embarrassment weaving itself within himself again.  He set down the bandage carefully and dipped his hands into the basin and scrubbed.  After what seemed like an eternal silence, he took the bandage again and gently advanced toward her neck.  He pressed it against the cut but reconsidered.  He pulled it away again and was met with Adanel's raised eyebrows.

"Allow me, my lord," she said finally, sighing.  She smiled up at him which Maedhros found reassuring.  He gladly handed over the bandage.  Maedhros watched as she deftly cleaned and dressed the cut.  "It's not so big, my lord.  It is probably not even necessary to dress it," she whispered, seeing his distraught expression.  "Now I'm sure your men are missing you back in the hall," she said, accepting his hand up.  He nodded absentmindedly.

"Thank you, my lord," she said.   Maedhros hardened his brow back into it's usually stern and unfeeling position.  He straightened his jaw and righted his posture as he took her arm with no more feeling than doing his duty.  She looked up at him, surprised at his sudden change in demeanor.

"My lord..." she said quietly.  Maedhros looked down upon her sternly with little feeling.  She looked away.  "Well?  What, lady?"  He said, trying to wrest any emotion from his voice.  "I--I just wanted to tell you...I'm going to stay back.  You go on without me, if it pleases you."  Her voice fell and she spoke quietly, her face concealed by a curtain of flaxen hair.

Maedhros took a sharp breath.  "As it pleases you," he said, concealing his disappointment without difficulty.  He dropped her arm and without so much as looking back at her continued back to the hall.  Adanel stopped walking and watched him leave.


*No relation to Galdor the Tall, the lord of men and father of Hurin and Tuor, grandfather of Turin and Tuor, if you were wondering.  In fact, I just borrowed this name for the sake of linguistic consistency.
+Again, no relation, completely made up character I borrowed the name for.
^No, not the element Argon.  A real character not mentioned in The Silmarillion, only included in The Book of Lost Tales.  There is no record of him having any family, so the fact this is his daughter was made up by me.

6 comments:

  1. I thought the writing was pretty good! I'd say maybe the dialogue was the weakest but overall I was really impressed! :)

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    1. Okay, thank you! Do you happen to have any dialogue tips for me?

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    2. Ha ha! No! It wasn't that the dialogue was bad necessarily but more that it didn't quite fit into the Tolkien flow of things. I'm terrible at dialogue though so I'm really not any help there. I prefer to be a critic. ;)

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    3. Oh, alrighty. That's still helpful--going to reread some Tolkien dialogue now to brush up :)

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  2. I think the writing was pretty close! Great job! Sorry I wasn't able to do your collaboration but I haven't been reading lately :\ But the Sil is the first on my tbr list :)

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    1. Thank you! You can still do the collaboration--I only got one response so far...
      I hope you like the Sil! Let me know if you have questions :)

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