Oh gods, this chapter! I love it! But man, what a punch in the gut at the beginning! That nightmare/alternative universe for Van was horrific. I absolutely loved seeing him and Vanya interacting! Van is right that he should have let her have the chance to grow strong, even if that meant she had to live a life similar to his, but I completely understand why he wasn’t able to either –both the explanation of not having an examples of strong women at that time, but also him being who he is, he just wanted to save her from the pain and was willing to sacrifice anything –even become her murderer- to see her safe (as he thought she would be in death). Also, it was so interesting the way they don’t have the same relationship with Sauron. And that makes so much sense too. Sauron wasn’t a large presence in their life by the time Vanya died; he wasn’t their direct tormenter nor did he fuck with her mind the way he did Van’s, holding out the possibility of partnership/ the illusion of love if only Van followed him, as Sauron did in the Second Age. I find Van and Sauron’s relationship one of the most interesting in the story, as well as one of the most heartbreaking. I guess I just keep holding my breath hoping that this time, this time, Sauron will do or say something to show he really does love Van and somehow he’d been playing some long game to keep Van safe all this time. I feel a bit like I am in an abusive relationship, and keep staying for the chance of love long after the violence started. That’s a credit to your writing, since their relationship was so abusive, and yet, a part of Van does love Sauron…of maybe doesn’t love…but is still seeking something from him, maybe exactly what I keep hoping for: that underneath everything, Sauron cares, even just a little, about him. Or maybe Van is smarter than that, and knows Sauron doesn’t care, but…I don’t know, still cares about Sauron anyway, even knowing Sauron never did and never will love him back?
This is what I am talking about! Their relationship is so complex, and even after all this time I still don’t have it figured out, and it still keeps me at the edge of my seat!
Bainalph: Thranduil get away from him! Seriously, I want to grab Bainalph and run! I just have these strong feelings of protectiveness towards Bainalph, and I am so done with Thranduil and his emotional abuse! If he gets within touching distance of Bainalph one more time I swear I will bitch-slap him. Lol. But, seriously, I love the strong emotions you have me feeling over these two, even the very strong, negative ones for Thranduil.
Absolutely fantastic chapter! Loved it!
Aww, thank you so much, Beth :)
Yes, the Van/Sauron relationship is one even I don’t understand really. I cab’t help thinking that somewhere inside Van is a boy who wanted is father to love him, even if it meant being used for sex. As for Sauron...he’s almost incomprehensible, but no doubt we’ll see further along the line!
Yes, dear Bainalph. well, he won’t have to be used by Thranduil any longer, I do know that, although what he’ll choose is another matter.
sniff:sniff: the Andreth section is beautiful. Glad she got her happily ever after!
Whoa, not surprised Indis is the same mold as Galadriel. So sad for Fingolfin to realize he can't respect both of his parents. Will Finwe ever make peace with his twin?
The first elves who got twisted into orcs by Melkor - glad you thought of them - and hoping they could be brought back. Because what was done to them was heartbreaking. And make sense Vanimore has to absorb corruptions to restore these elves back...the process is horrifying and bad for him, but I think it will be worth it to save these elves...
aww, thank you, Kasura :) So glad you like it.
I think Galadriel and Indis are both ambitious yes, but they did very little except sit around; that’s just not the way to be — they have to *do* something.
Vanimór´ë would not forget those first Elves; it’s going to be hell for him, though, and rather dangerous.
Thank you so much :)
Yesssss, my Sunday night mood has just gone from grumpy to great! I loved this chapter so much. What amazing character development - and, in Aegnor and Andreth's case, resolution! Hurrah!
I thought, this is too sad, I must do something about this!
Oh, me too, I've been thinking about this so much lately! Can't wait to see where you've taken this :D and I adore that picture, it's one of my favourite images of Finrod.
Long she lived, the great love of her girlhood tucked into her heart as her body aged and her hair grew white wings that slowly, stealthy as a night-thief, stole the shining darkness of her youth
What a gorgeous, perfect image...and I cried when she saw them both there, and at this:
She turned to Finrod, who took her hand. ‘Welcome, beloved lady,’ he said and he, too kissed her. ‘I rejoice to see thee again.’
And he said, to Vanimórë: I thank thee.
Thank you for giving them a happy ending! :D
(I know it's not over yet, but whatever happens, it's already happier than canon...)
Fingon's perspective on his father and Fëanor's relationship is really interesting; I love how clear sighted he is. This is interesting, too:
There were enough parents who let their children be raised by servants because they were too busy.
Especially in light of Aegnor's determination not to be with Andreth, in case he wasn't able to be around for any possible children. Clearly some parents didn't think that was so important...and actually, come to think of it, there were Elves that had children in wartime, weren't there? Dior and Nimloth, Elwing and Eärendil...unless that doesn't count because at least one of the couple in both cases was Half-Elven? Although Maeglin was born in wartime too...hmmm! Perhaps Aegnor and Finrod are just far too honourable XD
‘Do not tell me that she is going to try to influence Vanimórë?’ Fingon laughed in disbelief
Er...yeah, I don't see that going well!
Tauriel putting in an appearance made me smile - and I loved Maglor and Van at the end there, especially Maglor calling him an idiot. I can't get enough of their unique relationship; I feel like Maglor will dare to say things to Van that nobody else will.
Oh, no, I’m sorry you’re grumpy :(
I always felt Andreth and Aegnor was much, much sadder than any of the other Mortal/Elf or Elf/Maia stories. And that picture just made me cry. (Yes, it’S a gorgeous Finrod picture! It’s just how I imagine him) I have no idea about the marriage in wartime thing, but Finrod does tell Andreth that, so I had to go with it. But I think also Aegnor would be afraid to lose her to a Mortal death, that he couldn’t see how to cope with it, it was not something, (I assume) he had seen.I believe he was in the Dagor Aglareb and other sorties but death in battle is not the same as watching someone age and die, and probably that was a huge reason, even if he admitted it to no-one but her. And then he died before she did, and she had to live on. ;__;
I’m sure they’ll be fine; they have a long time, and she was a very wise woman. Van probably thought she would make a wonderful goddess :) I hope you do write something about these two, I would love to read it!! That picture just caught at my heart. I’ve seen some beautiful young Andreth and Aegnor images by Ekukanova, but there is something much more poignant in this one. And she is still lovely, despite her age.
I don’t think Van minds people trying to influence him, but he would probably tell Indis to broaden her horizons a bit, as she’s a goddess, not to cling to the old ways so much! Of course, some of the Valinor Elves feel a power vacuum in the sense that their ‘gods’ are gone, and that’s a scary thing.
Haha, I do love writing Van and Maglor; it’s so not a normal relationship (or even a relationship in the normal sense) and never could be, but it makes me think that Maglor is technically older than Van (whatever Van has become) and sometimes does feel this ‘younger’ man is a complete idiot and needs to be told XD. And Van does not mind this (he is, after all, used to being ordered around, or was, for thousands of years).
Thank you very much, Narya, and I am glad I could make your evening a bit less grumpy :)
So much to unpack, this chapter was full of such fabulous interactions, and the psychology major in me is just thrilled with all the subtle nuances in the conversations! First I will say that you write complex personalities so well, its honestly so much fun for me to try and figure them out.
I love that Celebrimbor is opening up to Fëanor now, I think he really needs that family connection especially with all the uncertainty and mixed emotions of what to do with Mairon. As usual, I love getting a look inside his head, being born out of the earth and not quite like the gods or the elves, with emotional output that is never clearly defined just makes him that much more fascinating. His own perspective of his actions makes quite a lot of sense here, though I never agree with anything he did, it is easier to see his angle now. Coldagnir almost accusing him of having some “feeling” of some kind towards Celebrimbor is interesting, because it’s almost as if he doesn't truly know what he feels towards Celebrimbor. And how a being like Mairon understands feelings must be another thing entirely. I am sorry for going on and on about him, you’ve simply created such an amazing case study in his character, I find myself trying to pick apart his mind far too often.
I love seeing Van and Elgalad conversing, I hope they find a new dynamic fitting to who they truly are. I am still not even sure who that is for Elgalad though, and I don’t think Vanimorë is either. I feel like Vanimorë is almost trying to pull away again, I just wish he could see that he does not need to choose this emotional exile. Even though he can, he won’t just reach out to those who would welcome him, I worry for him when he does that :(
I sense some drama with Eru coming up here, he has been off in the shadows and now he decides to show up? What are you planning Eru?
Thank you again for all the work and time you put in, each chapter is a treat!
Thank you, Poppy Marie :)
Mairon is interesting precisely because his emotions are not human; it is almost as if he understands them but cannot feel them, except in his own way. I think Vanimórë said he had total empathy without feeling it at all, which is dangerous.
As for Vanimórë — he’s hovering on the brink, I think. As long as he can ‘do’ something (But not too much) he can pretend things are not too bad. :/
And Eru, yes, Eru has his own agenda, here!
So very pleased you are still enjoying and commenting; thank you so much!
" I was sick of Galadriel. I never liked her and her attitude that all should treat her like a queen when she did nothing but hide away until the wars were well over. She could have acquitted herself well in battle, but she never wanted to, because do not tell me that anyone would have tried to stop her.’" This sums up my feeling about Galadriel alright...I can never understand how wonderful she is,how awe-inspiring, when she did nothing, accomplished nothing, comparing to her other relatives. And then just took over Amroth's kingdom when there's a power vacuum after his death- feels like usurping to me...
So glad to read about Celebrimbor's conflicting feelings for Sauron. And eagerly awaiting more of him and Feanor's open heart conversations about Sauron, and what they plan to do with the maia ;) Ah hope Eru is not steering up the pot too much.
Wait...Dior hasn't seen his sons yet? and he's bitching about Feanorians...this guy needs to get his priorities straight.
Good point about Olwe and Thingol - how Olwe can't change, he just doesn't get it because he never endured fighting hopeless wars. Prob most Teleri elves are like Olwe, they can't change, and they don't know how to change....
Hi Kasura, I hope you’re well.
Yes, I know re: Galadriel, when I came into the online fandom so many people seemed to practically worship her, and I thought: WHY? I never understood it, and she does not interest me. She’s the least of the house of Finarfin and only lived because she hid from war! I doubt I’ll ever write about her again. She’s gone as far as I’m concerned.
Eru definitely has his own agenda for Sauron, but we’ll hear more about that later. But Celebrimbor shall definitely meet him again.
Dior, well, he was infected by sickness from the Silmarils, so now he’s not, and hopefully will meet his sons.
As for the Teleri of Alqualondë — they have done sod-all throughout history, and I cannot write about boring bastards ;) Those who were in Middle-earth were different of course.
Yay, Friday! Now I can go through and leave you a decent comment :D
‘Vanimórë does not want Eru’s palace, and it is a beautiful enough place, but if we are to dwell there we should set our own stamp on it, should we not? Go, and then tell me thine own thoughts. Explore the Timeless Halls, create what thou wouldst wish.’ He had cupped Finarfin’s beautiful face in his hands and kissed his brow. ‘This is freedom, brother. At last.’
I love this. I am so happy that Finarfin and Fëanor are reconciled, and I can't wait to see what role you have in store for Finarfin in the climactic battles.
(I need to go back and do a re-read...has Orodreth been reborn in your 'verse? I know he was a traitor in the earlier Magnificat books.)
Lovely interaction between Fëanor and Celebrimbor, too. I am thinking more and more about Celebrimbor these days, and I really like your version of him. Steely, but vulnerable.
(Another question, sorry...remind me how Galadriel ended up with Nenya in your 'verse? Did Celebrimbor give it to her, even though he doesn't think much of her?)
And Coldagnir and Mairon...this gets better and better :D
‘I certainly learned nothing of it in Utumno or Angband!’ A snap that carried Ages of slavery and horror. ‘Very well then, desire, respect, need, lust, even affection. Do not pretend thou didst not feel all of those for Celebrimbor.’
Celebrimbor had been different, and Melkor had not been breathing down his neck as when Maedhros Fëanorion was a prisoner in Angband. Mairon had been quite sincere in his desire to rule the world with the Elves as his allies, but had reckoned without their stubborn adherence to old wounds. They could not look past his ‘crimes’, would never understand that he had to follow Melkor, who claimed lordship over the whole world, Marion’s world.
This is fascinating and sad. You articulate that mess of emotions between Annatar and Celebrimbor so well, and it's almost tragic that he genuinely did want the Elves as his allies - and that it was his world, and Melkor took it from him.
Middle-earth was exceptionally lucky that all the Elves did not become Other, like Edenel and his Ithiledhil.’ His eyes hooded. ‘They were precisely what Melkor desired, and was he not delighted with them? He did not create them, but he believed he did. And was he not enraged when he could create no more?’
‘Yes,’ Coldagnir said curtly. ‘Then where did they come from? And why so few?’
‘Oh, come. Vanimórë knew of them, and so they came into being with this universe.’ He sent Coldagnir a mocking smile. ‘Well, what does Eru want with me?’
I love this - paradoxes inside paradoxes. I honestly never thought about why Melkor was unable to replicate Edenel and his kin.
(I am still desperately hoping for an Edenel/Coldagnir encounter at some point, I might have to write one...)
‘Mairon,’ Eru said, and his voice filled the chamber like wind. ‘It is time we spoke again, thou and I.’
Ooooh. OOOOH :D I can't wait to see what they have to say to each other...
And I can't get enough of Elgalad and Van like this, teasing and flirting as equals - although it does break my heart that Van (inevitably) no longer truly trusts him.
In the darkest moments, when we scream and scream for help and no-one answers, all we have is ourselves.
Fabulous (and bleak) last line, with the weight of a prophecy about it. Why do I get the feeling I'll be remembering that line before this is all over...?
Thank you, Narya :)
Oh, Orodreth was reborn along with everyone else, but Dana took him away after he turned traitor, which Van was fine with as was everyone else, until it became clear what she was, when Glorfindel went and got him. He definitely was punished, but not killed, so he didn’t need to be reborn.
Poor Celebrimbor; looks as if his revenge is cancelled just for the moment, but I am glad you like him.
Galadriel, I suppose he gave her the Nenya as there was no-one else he could think of, or there may be a story there — I’ll have to think about it, flesh that period out more with a gap filler. He didn’t like her, but didn’t doubt her strength of will to wield it.
I imagine with Edenel, and the Ithiledhil, (if we discount paradoxes) that Melkor was able to create them in some way, allied to their own strength of will, but they were the only ones he could design to his will, the rest were orcs. Which wasn’t what he wanted. But with the paradox they are there because Vanimórë saw them. ;)
And yes, Edenel and Coldagnir should meet — I’d love it if you wrote them :)
I imagine the Mairon and Eru conversation might be worth hearing!
I don’t think Vanimórë trusts anyone, sadly, but it’s even sadder that he does not think there’s any reason he woouldn’t be betrayed. His father betrayed him when he was young, and that has forever marked him, I’m afraid.
Thank you so much and I’m so glad you liked it :) Although yes, that last statement of Van’s might be memorable :(
Fabulous chapter! On the train & using my phone so will comment properly later, but couldn't resist reading on my way home. So many wonderful character interactions here! And such a sense of beautiful inevitability about all of it. Wonderful.
Author's Response: Thank you. I hope you’re feeling better! You’re off on holiday Saturday, aren’t you? Hope it’s wonderful!
Turgon, my god! How could he have said all that filth to Fingolfin? Fingolfin, asking himself where he went wrong, shutting down his mind after he left Turgon, cuts to the quick. That must have been devastating. He’d known Turgon was spying on them and was stuck in the Valar’s black and white world, but to learn your own son hated you so much he’d rejoiced at your death and pissed on your grave? Gods. WHY? Why does Turgon hate Fingolfin this much? Just because of Feanor? Turgon blaming the Feanorions from his wife’s death on the ice is easy to see, and blaming Fingolfin and Fingon as well for loving the Feanorions, but I am still shocked over the amount of hate festering in him (not that I didn’t buy it! Turgon resenting his family enough not to even come during the Battle of Sudden Flame is a good explanation for his absence).
I am wondering, like Fingolfin, why Turgon seems so obsessed over male-male sex. Is he repressing his own sexuality? Or some other non-vanilla sexual desire that he’s in denial over because it didn’t fit with the Valar’s teachings?
Man, tho, Turgon is a piece of work. But you have me really curious to see how he turns out after rebirth! Will he loose his memories of her first life?
I am supper nervous after that conversation between Sauron and Elgalad! Elgalad shouldn’t work with Sauron on anyway, doesn’t he know that?!?! Or maybe Sauron can actually be trusted in this? It just seems too much to believe, considering it’s Sauron. And I am worried about Elgalad agreeing to anything that he would keep from Van. Not after his past betrayal. Van doesn’t seem to hold it against Elgalad, but this is Van we are talking about. And, while Elgalad was convinced he had to die by Eru, he still chose to go along with it even knowing how it would destroy Van to lose him. But maybe Van does forgive him…Van has such a low opinion of himself that being fashioned like a weapon is all he thinks he deserved and as long as it turned out ‘ok’ in the end than Elgalad was right? I really wish we could hear Van’s honest opinion about it, but if he felt betrayed, then he’s probably seriously suppressed those feelings. (Or maybe I am forgetting that you already wrote this scene? I am sorry if I have!)
I think with Turgon, well...it’s in a later chapter, but it was Anairë who moulded him into hating the Fëanorions, because she was a strong Varda-worshipper, and Varda told her that Fingolfin loved Fëanor even though at that time they weren’t lovers. Not entirely her fault, as she was brainwashed. But Turgon was very, very young at the time. And then he grew up hating the fact Fingon was obviously clearly obsessed with Maedhros and Aredhel was a ‘good time girl’ so to speak and not family-oriented, so no doubt he felt isolated, felt that all his family save his mother were being stolen by the Fëanorions.
In fact Lómion saw Turgon desecrate Fingolfin’s grave, as I write later, but no-one would have believed him, of course.
Turgon wasn't actually pro-Valar, he wanted those laws thought, for different reasons, but to implement them himself. As it was, he found he couldn’t. In some cases, anyhow, so just ‘disapproved’.
Turgon wouldn’t lose his memories, Fëanor didn’t when he was reborn as a child, he just to gradually remember them.
I think re: Elgalad ans Sauron, in this case Sauron is sincere, although for his own reasons, of course.
I think you’re right that Van would think, why wouldn’t Elgalad betray him,, but he needed that nadir to reach ‘Outside’, to go beyond himself. That does not mean he liked it, but why would he expect anything different? I don’t think he has really spoken about it, no except to kind of brush it off, but that’s typical! He would say he has more important things to deal with.
Thank you, Encairion :)
“'Was it a good ride?' Fëanor asked.”
Ha! Feanor, you tease! I love that they are not denying themselves completely, even if they can only meet in the dark –damn you Turgon! Seriously, spying on them like this? I can totally understand Fingon when he said it felt like they had come back to the start. Only it will all end differently this time, thank god!
“'Thou didst both make me what I am, and so did many others,' Vanimórë interpolated. 'Elgalad, I no longer care what he did to me.'
Elgalad's shining face, emotion moulding the beautiful bones hard as ice, swung to him.
'Perhaps it is something to do with seeing the birth of the Universe, knowing what everything is, how it is, existence, life, so magnificent, so impossible.' He lifted his wide shoulders. 'After that...my dear,' he touched Elgalad's cheek, the small gesture so redolent of love, of gentleness, Mairon found himself gritting his teeth. 'I am not the same person I was.'
Liar, Mairon thought, dourly admiring. But a convincing one. Elgalad cannot see into you, either. He walked away, smiling, then whipped round in a shimmer of robes. 'Really, my dear. The orcs, the wolves...do you really no longer care?'
'And thou.' Elgalad's voice vibrated with a god's hate eternal hate. 'Raping him as a Fell-wolf.' The same horror he had placed into Elgalad's mind, long ago.
'But he liked that, or he did in the end,' Mairon replied gently. 'Anything was better than nothing, was it not, my son?'
Vanimórë's hand shot out to grasp Elgalad's wrist. 'As thou sayest, father. Anything was better than nothing. And that does not matter either. Sex, what one enjoys, or will accept. It is truly is nothing, less than nothing, social and moral constructs devised by minds who deem what is acceptable and what is not. I have touched the heart of ancient stars, looks into the eye of black holes. Why would such pettiness concern me? Only force is abominable. Yes, and I have used it also, with Maglor, I do not forget it.'”
Oh, gods, Elgalad don’t believe him! I hope he didn’t! Man, Van can be so convincing when he wants to deflected others from seeing too deeply inside him. But I don’t believe for a moment that he is no longer affected by what Sauron did to him. Of course he wishes that it no longer had the power to wound him –don’t we all?—but it is not that easy. It’s like Frodo said: some hurts take a hold of you and refuse to let go.
Van and Sauron have as complicated a relationship as ever. You write it so incredibly! As impossible as it seems to the outsider looking in, I think a part of Van loves his father….or just wants Sauron to love him? And Sauron knows it, the smug bastard!
Exquisite writing, as your work ever is. Each sentence beauty, so much sensuality! It feels like I am at a feast table and your work the banquet!
Thank you so much. Well, eventually it will be different — I hope!
No, I don’t think Van is unaffected at all, but as you say, he deflects people; he cannot bear pity. And somewhere inside him is the boy who wanted his father to love him. :/
This was well worth the wait to see where Fëanor got pulled off to, my mind is jsut spinning with so many "what ifs?" I can see the dangerous potential of trying to "fix" these alternate realities, Van must think about it a lot, and have to use that carefully cultivated self-control to keep from changing things. Just thinking about the infinite possibilities and having the power to alter the course of history for a whole reality would be hugely tempting.
I thought it was interesting how you made it a different reality, and yet, there was something in that Fëanor that recognized Vanimorë. You do such a good job of connecting everything and tying it all back together. I love that even through he didn't know him, the other Fëanor is pulled toward Van, as if it is inevitable wherever they are.
Oh Fëanor and Fingolfin, I understand both of their feelings on the matter; Fingolfin is right, Fëanor would do the same thing for his sons. I know that Fëanor is famous for saying things out of passion, but his comment about how if it were him he wouldn't have to do this was a bit harsh. The implicit statement there, which I am sure Fëanor didn't mean, is that "I'm better than you, I was a better parent" They are both so glorious directing all their passion at each-other, I hope they can find a way to unlock that in the future without being at each-other's throats.
I can't wait to see what you do next, in the meantime, I will ponder all the possibilities of the alternate worlds. Thank you for writing!
Author's Response: Thank you Poppy Marie :) Yes awfully tempting to want to change realities, isn't it? And Fëanor has changed one, we'll see how tat goes ;) Vanimórë exists in every reality, I said that back in book III, I think, and so does Fëanor, so yes, they would know each other, even if Fëanor would not know *how* he knew him.
I a sure Feanor didn't mean to imply he was a better parents, I think he cannot imagine his sons not loving him, but he does know that there must be a reality where they did not. Thank you for commenting, and have a lovely week :)
Hmm. If Maedhros did, for some reason get captured....Vanimórë isn’t born yet....even...Sauron?
I love either of those scenarios :D I could so imagine Sauron in a double agent role, playing both sides...
And yes of course I will let you know when it's on AO3 x
Author's Response: Thank you, Narya :) Well, at least I have many ideas for when I finish this series :)
Are you posting it here, after?
I will do, probably on Sunday night or early next week, after reveals on AO3 :) it's not long but has given me an idea for more stories with those characters. (In the last year or so I've become nearly incapable of writing standalones...)
Oh yes, a friend for Coldagnir in Angband...I wonder who that could be...?!
Author's Response: Let me know when it’s up on AO3 please?
Hmm. If Maedhros did, for some reason get captured....Vanimórë isn’t born yet....even...Sauron?
Actuyally I did dream once that I got up and found all my fic was gone. It was awful!
Oh my god, I'd have woken up sobbing o_O
And I hope you have a relaxing weekend. Almost time for SiS, too!
Thanks, you too. I am excited for reveals although I am worried about my fic...my recipient requested M, and I never know if I've I've gone too near the edge and written NC-17...
I am somewhat in love with the idea of Coldagnir as a spy in Angband :D
Author's Response: I did sob, it seemed such a waste of all those years!
M - NC17 is always such a close thing. But I am sure they will love it. Are you posting it here, after?
Hmm Coldagnir would need a friend in Angband...
Also, I just saw this in your response to ziggy:
Ah, well, Eru dreams, maybe this whole story is a dream and it’l be gone from the internet tomorrow ;)
Don't you dare!!!! ;)
Author's Response: Lol., Actuyally I did dream once that I got up and found all my fic was gone. It was awful!
Phew, working day over, I can give this the love and attention it deserves :) I couldn't resist reading last night though, I'm sorry I didn't leave a decent comment but I was just shattered.
He wrestled with that kin-mind, with that Fëanor, as one would with a beloved brother who has fallen into hysteria and self-inflicted violence. Firm, but gentle, gentle
Oh god, the description of Fëanor in his own mind is wonderful, and I love that you tease out the differences between the two Fëanors.
His breath plumed in the bitter air, sour with more than the dust-and-metal scent of snow; the steam and smokes of Angband’s subterranean workings fed upward through the hollow pinnacles of Thangorodrim and even the wind could not disperse the taint. Fëanáro smelt sewage and liquid metal, poison and acid.
Ugh, this is brilliantly, grimly immersive. And I love the beautiful details of the weaponry and armour, this is fabulous:
Not so now. This was a clean, high rage that set the sword humming, set Fëanáro’s veins alight. As he looked at the Balrog, he knew he was smiling, that his eyes were blazing and, in the back of his mind he thanked Eru that when he and his artisans had conceived body-armour they had vowed not to compromise the wearer’s freedom of movement. Fëanáro had conceived and fashioned Ithilnaur, superbly strong yet with enough flexibility that a blow would contract its countless tiny scales. He had taken Eönwë’s armour as a model for the rest: thin flexible strips banded diagonally atop the mail.
And then this, oh my heart:
I wonder if meeting Fëanáro in this world will change him, set him on his course to redemption sooner?
The man broke the kiss, drew back, smiling. ‘Enough. Dost thou always greet strangers thus?’ Teasingly.
*Snorts* oh, Van.
And just like that you have opened up yet another world for my imagination to play in :D ohh, an AU where he isn't killed, without the kinslayings...but goodness, what else might they get up to, what else might go wrong...what would Fingolfin say if he got to confront his brother...how would Maedhros be different if he was never chained to Thangorodrim...heck, might there even be a chance for Turgon in this setup? So many what ifs!!!!
‘This reality is not the only one that needs thee.’
‘Or thee,’ Vanimórë replied, ‘or Fingolfin, or Galadriel or Maedhros or — it could be any-one, Fëanor, anyone who can change or shape a world.’
So interesting to see Galadriel in there, given what she is in this particular universe - but I suppose, as they keep saying, things may well be different elsewhere.
And I knew Fëanor would not be happy with Fingolfin :( and just when Finarfin has come back into the fold, too. Gutting.
I am so enjoying where you have taken this, Spiced, it's phenomenal. Love love love it.
Author's Response: Thank you so muhc, Narya :) I am setting up for more AU’s, because yes, anything can happen. This is just one possibility; he could go back to anywhere, any-when.
As for Coldagnir, yes, perhaps this will hasten his redemption, Vanimórë said he would still be hidden from Melkor, so a spy in Angband’s ranks, maybe...? I do love what-if’s...?
You are so very kind, thank you again :) And I hope you have a relaxing weekend. Almost time for SiS, too!
Reading in bed on my phone. I will come back and review properly tomorrow when I'm not super tired and can say sensible things, but I just wanted to let you know I loved this - and oh, I want to see more of that AU you tease us with at the start!!
Author's Response: Hope you enjoy, Narya :)
Oh my, Lómion's reunion with Eol is not something that I knew I needed, but I really did! It felt like such a healing moment for him, and something that he never really allowed himslef to think about, but it was so good to see him have a least some resolution to that part of his past.
I loved all of the content with Fëanor and Van, when the two of them are interacting, its always such a fantastic, tension filled dynamic. It makes so much sense that what beauty Melkor had came from Vanimorë in the first place, and even though Van seems disturbed by this, Fëanor does not. I think that its good for them to spend time together, almost healing for Vanimorë in a way. Clearly, Fëanor has no problem accepting him for who he is, and I think Van needs that. Even with all the power in the universe, he has never felt like he was accepted anywhere, and now things have changed so drastically, but I still think he needs to confront that.
I so wanted a continuation of their scene together, but I'm very intrigued to see what kind of realtiy Fëanor got sucked into!
Thank you for writing!!
Author's Response: Aww, thank you, Poppy Marie. I always felt that Lómion must have an unresolved issue, whether he thinks himself Noldo or not, he is not, wholly.
Lol, yes, Fëanor is totally unfazed, and you’re right it is good for Van to be around someone who is not afraid, not overawed, not hateful, and sees him as he is. And is fine with it. I am not sure Van ever will accept himself, or feel he’s accepted, but we’ll see.
Thank you, we’ll see where Fëanor has got to next chapter :)
Feanor Nooooo!!! He needs to come back...his mom still needs him to help her recover. And I almost forgot about Moriel. Will she ever wake up and get to know her father? It's sad that Feanor never knew his daughter.
I admit I don't really care for Eol, but I like how he's not an one dimensional evil being. Him reconnecting with Maeglin is so beautiful...
Author's Response: Vanimórë said to Fëanor that he would never forget who he was in these ‘other’ realities, so yes, he can come back. This will just show him what he can do. Thank you, Kasura, for commenting :)
It is very beautiful that Maeglin feels the pain of the spear as the unfelt grief- and Eol hugs him. I really wanted that to happen. Thank you- it felt deeply cathartic at a very priamry level for some reason I can't articulate. Fills a longing I suppose that we all have to have our parents back and all they represent perhaps?
Elgalad’s unfathomable eyes searched his face. ‘Eru dreams,’ he said.
Vanimórë stopped. ‘What does he dream?’
‘This, perhaps. Thou.’
A gauntlet of iron fear gripped Vanimórë’s throat. He thought of his own ‘awakenings’ in Angband, in Barad-dûr, broken, mad, dying slowly. What if they were not dreams? What if this was? What if my father is right?
ooh- that brought me up short- as it did Vanimore. Where is THIS going?? Eru not gone, dreaming dreams- universes infinite. Not good. QUestions the whole idea of reality but then, that is what this whole fic has been doing.
I LOVE you for restoring Aragorn:)Does that mean Gimli and the Hobbits too? I really want a Fellowship reunion please. Pllleeeaaassseeee. I won't be the only one.
Ok- the last scene is really challenging me I have to admit. So Morgoth has a bit of Vanimore in him? AndVan pushes Feanor through the portal- so does he fall into another world? That is unfortunate -what will happen now???! Is Feanor gone? Can he just slip back or is he lost?
Author's Response: I have always been deeply sorry that Maeglin/Lómion was parted from his father in such a way, and felt he couldn’t ever show how muhc it grieved him.
Ah, well, Eru dreams, maybe this whole story is a dream and it’l be gone from the internet tomorrow ;)
Eventually, I’m sure Gimli and the Hobbits will come, but I just can’t write them, I have no interest I’m afraid, although I will probably mention it when it happens.
During Van’s fight with Eru at the beginning, Melkor was formed, and yes, a little bit of Van went into Melkor, his rage and hate, probably, or a bit of it.
Van told Fëanor he could basically change these other realities if he wanted too, and so he’ll change *something*, yes, but he can always return, or Van might fish him out lol, (this first time) and show him how to come back. (It just gives me more story-threads, really) ;) Thank you, Ziggy :)
Lómion could feel his father, a finger upon his heart.
Oof. I *felt* that!
Beleg had offered to come with him, having known Eöl long ago, but Lómion refused.
‘It is something I must do alone.’ And Beleg nodded, understanding as he ever did.
Oh, I adore your Beleg. He is so kind, so centred - he just *gets* people and understands where they're hurting. And of course he's an utterly magnificent being anyway ;)
I do enjoy seeing Van and Elgalad interacting as equals - and Van's disdain for Eru made me chuckle. And still the fear and vulnerability:
A gauntlet of iron fear gripped Vanimórë’s throat. He thought of his own ‘awakenings’ in Angband, in Barad-dûr, broken, mad, dying slowly. What if they were not dreams? What if this was? What if my father is right?
Fëanor, there are endless possibilities, endless realities; I cannot, and will not, lock them into one. That is stagnation, entropy.
Ahh, like we were talking about when we were discussing Summerland. Poor Fëanor, though - and Miriel's fate is heartbreaking.
In the garden was what looked at first like an immense sheet of black glass. Then one saw the ripples that moved outward from the centre, the sparks of electricity that flashed and flickered across it. Its edges frayed into nothingness. It smelt of salt and and ice and metal. Around it stretched quiet green lawns and, far above, soared the impossible heights of Eru’s palace.
‘The Portal,’ Vanimórë said. ‘Every world, every possible reality. But let us concentrate on Arda.’
OOOOOOOHHHHH!!! Oh, my mind has just gone wild with the possibilities...
Fascinating exchange between Van and Fëanor - gorgeous, shifting dynamics between them, and this:
The part of Melkor that was beautiful and charismatic, that was clever, came from thee.’
That makes so much sense!!!! How long have you been planning that one? :D
*picks self up off floor*
Oh, hells, my heart stopped at the end, though. I was enjoying their play-fighting, settling down for them to resolve their distances as those two best know how ;) but then:
Vanimórë, shaken, laughed his astonishment, flinging Fëanor back with an unfair burst of power. Fëanor, startled, was still returning the laughter when Vanimórë’s stopped utterly, caught in a chokehold of shock. His power had thrown Fëanor directly at the Portal, which Fëanor must have realised as great wings exploded like diamond flames to brake him—
— a heartbeat too late.
Just...gawping at the screen o_O you are the queen of cliffhangers, but that's mean even for you! Fëanor!!! Van will never forgive himself if he can't sort this one out.
I can't wait to see how this develops - fascinating, beautiful stuff.
Author's Response: Poor Lómion, but I think he did love his father, and had to resolve this long, long separation and awful death.
Beleg is lovely, I think, and I wonder if it comes of the grief of loving a doomed Man? I also think there is something else, something he’s hiding...
I think Van can easily disdain Eru; he;s not much for not getting involved, although that could turn out badly, and he might come to realise that...
The part about Van/Melkor — really when I wrote his battle with Eru, although only that something of Van might have gone into Melkor. Van can be pretty merciless and cruel, but it seems it’s balanced by compassion which, with his upbringing, seems strange. Although Vanya had a lot to do with that too, as he had someone to love. But Sauron must have been thinking about that while up on Taniquetil, and came to the conclusion sooner than anyone.
Yes, the Portal, well, I had to add some more story possibilities for when this one ends ;) And they are infinite, lol.
Don’t worry too much about Fëanor. He wants to change the realities he would hatre, well, he may get to, although this would be hopefully quite a brief interlude, just to show him it can be done.
Thank you so much :) I’m so glad you liked it.
I'm sorry I'm so late! Ridiculous few days at work, have only just had chance to sit down and read - and I completely confused myself because somehow I missed the last chapter, so I had to go back and work out how we'd got to the starting point here.
I hope Vanya can help Galadriel - especially now that Finarfin is back in the fold ;) I just adored this moment:
Fëanor caught him then, into an embrace so strong, so forgiving that Finarfin felt as if the sun encircled him, pouring through skin and bone, healing and intoxicating. It was followed by a kiss that (he knew) claimed him, because Fëanor claimed, if he wanted enough, and now, now, Finarfin knew fully, finally, what that meant and why Fingolfin had never been able to look aside, why he had hammered his betrayal in Araman into pure, steely resolve and lead his host across the Helcaraxë. Following his half-brother. Knew why the seven sons had sworn the Oath with him, knew why, when Fëanor’s fire touched the heart, it bound forever.
Beyond beautiful - I sobbed. How long have you been wanting to write that?! :')
Interesting dynamic between Fingolfin and Anairë - not quite antagonistic, but so fraught with past misery. I wonder if she will come around eventually, and let him be with his brothers?
The ending, with Fëanor going for Miriel, was achingly sad - so bleak, and I could feel the cold and taste the dust.
Epic, lush, beautiful, emotional, complex, layered - everything I love about your fics in one gorgeous chapter.
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Narya — yes, this chapter would be confusing without the prior one!
I am not sure when Fëanor decided to ‘claim’ Finarfin, but back in Magnificat III, somewhere, but this was one of those ‘comes out of nowhere’ bits, as I didn’t know ‘how’ it would happen.
I am sure Vanya will talk to Galadriel, and she’s fine, as not much could harm her. And she has time, after all.
I am not sure about Finglofin and Anairë — he’s fundementally decent, so wants to give her her son back, but she’s not sure what she wants, apart from that, and how could she after thousands of years of imprisonment and brainwashing. And he’s not offering himself, just a time to help bring up Turgon. Fëanor will hit the roof of course. Schisms coming up!
Yes, poor Miriel, just an awful, pointless and cruel fate, I had these visions of her just left abandoned in endless, cold, dusty halls, hardly remembering why she was there.
What an awesome chapter. Sauron's entry doesn't disappoint :) It's worth waiting for. His life is so tangled with Feanorions & Finwians. It's so wicked to flash the rings before Celebrimbor & that air kiss...omg so Sauron.
Feanor again is magnificent! :)
I am heartbroken about Miriel. Namo is extremely cruel to punish a woman suffering from mental illness to break her further. Hope Feanor can cure her & bring her mental faculty back fully...
PS I do like how Galadriel is forced to vanish from Valinor :D...I never really care for her despite all the praises and raves she got in the books.
Author's Response: Sauron has style whatever one may think of him ;)
Poor Miriel, I could never understand why she was set to do what she did after her death it seems impossibly cruel, but at least she is out now, and her healing can begin.
As for Galadriel, from when I first read LOTR back in the 80’s and then the SIlm, I just could not understand the reverence accorded to her. She didn’t do much, and all of it defensive, but when I came into the online fandom she was treated paractically like a Virgin Mary character, and it made me roll my eyes. I wish, rather than her, Tolkien would have written one of Finarfin’s sons as surviving, not because they are men, but because they were far more magnificent, and actually did battle against Morgoth and Sauron, rather than hide away in Doriath, leave Ost-in-Edhil in a dudgeon and end up lurking in Lothlórien. It’s not exactly glorious, is it? Thank you so much for your comments :)
Your ability to write in a way that paints vivid imagery has always been amazing, but this story in particular has really been full of such fantastical, breathtaking moments. When Fëanor reunited with the Silmarlis, it was such a long awaited moment, and you executed it beautifully! I got chills!
I would have loved to see what would have gone down between Celebrimbor and Mairon had they not been interrupted, but clearly Mairon will not be going anywhere, so I'm looking forward to what comes next for him.
Miriel's fate was so terrible, I do hope that Fëanor will be abel to help her. I thought that their reunion might be coming up soon, but I didn't expect this.
I am also trying to think if there is anyway this situation with Fingolfin and Anairë will end well, I could almost feel the tension and anxiety from Fingolfin at the thought of having to step back into a role where he feel trapped once again. Also, if I had to hazard a guess, I don't think their plan will go over terribly well with Fëanor.
So excited to see what comes next, thank you for putting so much time and work into this story!
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Poppy are, I am so glad you liked it.
In fact there was so much going on in this chapter, that I didn’t feel I could compress Mairon and Celebrimbor into it, and maybe Celebrimbor wants to prolong the ‘revenge’ he has in mind ;) And poor Miriel, yes, it was time for her to be rescued, although her healing will be slow, I think. Yes, this isn’t a good situation for Fingolfin, but Fëanor would do the same, and regardless he is going to hit the roof!
Thought I should review here as well since I have read it again:)
In a fury of light and fire they passed through the doors. Vanimórë looked around, saw Olórin and his father facing one another, Mairon changed into the form of a giant Fell-wolf, his preferred shape for battle. Striding between them, he caught the great scruff in one hand, the neck of Olórin’s robe in the other. ‘And the both of thee, get in there.’
Wonderful image! Made me laugh as well.
Another spectacular, epic chapter that defies the genre and takes it completely elsewhere. Fab writing. Densely packed images, each one a delight.
The last scene is beautiful:
There was no time here, so he could not tell how long it was until he found her, discarded like a bundle of old rags left in a corner, curled in upon herself. All he could see was the gleam of silvery hair that fell and spread like spiderwebs about her.
Going down on one knee, he reached out a hand, touched her. A frail, thread of sound reached his ears. She was humming. With a wince, he recognised the Noldolantë.
‘Miriel,’ he said gently and, with difficulty, ‘Mother?’
Her head rose, so very slowly, as if she had forgotten how to move. Her face was wasted, drawn taught over the immutable, beautiful bones. Her eyes were black as night as if they had stared into too many horrors and absorbed them all. Her wrist, when he caught it, was thin as a starved child’s.
‘Colour of garnets, their blood,
Gorged by the earth like wine,
All life leaving, and leaving us beseeching,
‘Miriel, he repeated.
Very moving. Sublime images.
Author's Response: Aww, thank you for posting this here as well as AO3 :) I am so glad you liked it.
Sorry I have been an invisible avid reader of your amazing series, should commented sooner instead of sitting on the sideline...but I just want to shout out that this chapter is Awesome.
I love how Feanor and all became gods and overthrown the oppressors - so waiting for this. And Finarfin gets his fire back. It's perfect Manwe and his cohorts now stuck in seeing elves living the life they want (orgies) :) a good justice.
And looking forward to Sauron's confrontation with Feanorians. He has been messing with their lives...and now it's time for his reckoning
Author's Response: Aww, thank you very much, Kasura, it is so nice to know you’ve been reading and enjoying. I loved writing this, as it’s been many yers in the making, and finally, the Elves are where they should be.
But Sauron, yes, he has a lot to answer for!