Such achingly beautiful descriptions in this - I can feel and taste the scenes you describe:
The snow melted until it lay under the trees in tattered borders of lace, and the sun kissed his uncovered head. The smell of growing things was sharp and wild and green.
Immersive and gorgeous.
I loved Élernil sneaking up behind Amathon and Arassel - I've got fond of those two very quickly, and it breaks my heart to think of what is coming for them :(
Your descriptions of Melkor had me shuddering - I could feel him, like he was watching over my shoulder.
Claire’s brows drew down hard. ‘And where is Eru during all of this?’
XD trust her to ask the difficult question... (although it made me sad when he spoke of the Dagorath, knowing that eventually he'll have to leave Claire and this world's Maglor behind).
Those final segments were utterly harrowing to read - and the fact that he can't remember Finwë's face - and ugh, remembering in Magnificat how Finwë turned away from him when he returned! :'( :'( :'(
Three gems that might have set the world alight. A white-haired man that he thought was himself, (but it could not be) tearing a dripping heart from some hideous, fanged creature. Eight swords raised, tips touching in a vow that shook Time itself. A beautiful man playing a harp made of fire and grief. A hand scarred like a facets of a jewel. A woman’s face, skin blanched white over slender bones, a hand held out to him. She was backlit by fire...
A hand in the darkness. Hold on to me.
He reached toward it.
Oh, I love that! The images of the Fëanorions, and Maglor especially, are just gorgeous - and the glimpse of Claire at the end too. I choked up when he woke thinking he could feel a hand holding his, and then there was no-one there.
What a brilliant, if emotionally draining, read. Knowing this was waiting has got me through the afternoon!
Author's Response: It is all too sad, and it was harrowing to write, although in a way Claire was there, to hold onto him, and then he tried to hold on to Amathon and Arassel. And it’s only the beginning. This is going to be such a draining retelling for both Edenel and Claire
Re-reading this and savouring all the gorgeous character moments and your beautiful descriptions.
I love the deepening bond between Edenel and Claire - and the Ithiledhil drawing on their battle markings for the first time is so powerful, as is Culina being rendered mute by her experiences, and Élernil's refusal to carry his name. And the hunt, and the wolves... *shivers* just expertly done.
Aww, thank you :) I have just written his capture :( Pretty dark from hereon in
"Lol, this quilt is going to be enormous!" - tell me about it XD although I've made it more manageable by carving out the first part, i.e. Venice -> St. Andrews, into one story, and picking up with another story after the ones set in the Manse.
Something from the future...brrr. *shivers* I can't help thinking of the Quartets again...
"Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable."
It will all come together wonderfully :)
Yes. That quote. It is so very apt. I was thinking about it too. And the drift — as if Melkor is somehow smudging ‘time’ and who knows? Perhaps he or Sauron also has visions of Edenel and the Ithiledhil and ther minds are crossing into his. (We know Melkor was definitely interested in the Quendi, but at this point there’s been no contact)
"And yes, Míriel’s words did bring the vision down, but she saw it in him, that fire, and it was not her fault but the future coming down." - oh, I didn't mean that there was anything dark in her intent, more that the word choice was so uncanny.
"Aelios — i can’t wait till you write their arrival in St. Andrew’s!" - lol, I'll keep stitching my patchwork quilt ;)
Oh, no , I didn’t think you meant that at all, but yes, her words were a catalyst— probably something from the future.
Lol, this quilt is going to be enormous! I still can’t wait :)
Ahh, what a perfect treat for a Saturday night - and so much I love here, I don't know where to start. (And now I see why you were asking about some of the things we talked about! :D )
Gorgeous, gorgeous images - "The falling year mourned the passing of the light and stripped the trees bare with her tears" - wonderful - and that segue between his memories of Finwë and the present, with Claire, that somehow feels soft and yet brutal.
What might have been,’ - ooh, Eliot again! Perfect!
I think...I wanted something to happen to me, to...take me out of the equation. I felt I was in their way, that I would be put aside anyhow, and Finwë was the other half of my heart. I did not know how to let him go, but I knew I had to. Save for when two people begot children together, no-one had permanent lovers. What we had, Finwë and I, must have seemed an oddity. It could not last. I think everyone knew that but me.’ His voice came harder, the ring of metal on stone. ‘And so, like a coward, I ran away, struck North, toward the very Darkness I had been warned of. Oh, I explained it to myself as reconnoitring, exploring, yes. But I wanted, I think, to disappear. And I did.
I cried :'( good grief, that's shattering to read. (And yet it's in all four of them, isn't it - that tendency towards self-recrimination, self-blame.)
The soft bat of snow struck the newly glazed windows. The banked fire glowed comfortingly, and Élernil smelled herbs, dried lavender. He tried to sleep but the lonely sound of the wind haunted his dreams, slid like smoke into his rest. Half-asleep, desirous, Finwë turned into him, kissing, drew Élernil’s hand down to his engorged length, indicating his own need. For a time, Élernil lost himself in the fierce communion of sex, the brightness of love, but after, when Finwë slept again, he rose, quietly washed and dressed, and went out into the white-shot darkness.
The sensory (and sensual) re-immersion into the ancient world is beautifully done, and it's fascinating to see how their community has developed - the paved roads, glass in the windows, guild halls. Oh, and this, I squee'd, because you know I ship them (in a weird and complicated way):
There was movement, and then Míriel stepped from behind one of the looms. Beside her was Indis. Their hair was tousled, lips rosy bright.
And your description of the "spirits" of Fëanor and Fingolfin and Finarfin...like Van in Night of Masks, my heart was bursting with pride, and also breaking, because they could have been his!
Míriel whispered: ‘Give us thy fire, Élernil.’
And then, the axe that cleaved down, the insurmountable darkness filled with a horror that ate his bones to the marrow, sucked him hollow. A spike of pain ripped through him, burst through his stomach, rose to explode in his skull. He was alone; there was fire, not the terrible, beautiful radiance he had seen reflected in Míriel’s eyes, but redblack. And Finwë was not there, not there...
The hairs on my arms were on end when Míriel whispered that; it was like something Melkor or Sauron would say, and of course tilted him into that terrible vision.
...since Aelios arrived at his cottage in St. Andrews, a flaming meteor bleeding ichor, singeing the grass, Claire and Maglor wrapped in vast, burning wings.
:D :D :D
The whole section at the end, with Edenel asking Claire to draw on the battle markings, was breathtaking - so intimate, and yet so weighted with meaning, and what's to come. This made me snort:
‘A Sharpie?’ she exclaimed, and pressed a hand to her mouth to cover laughter. ‘I think not. We can do better than that.’
Fantastic. I don't know how you do it, that gorgeous, delicate balance between the domestic and the epic, the horror and tragedy and gentle warmth. I adore this.
Aww thank you, I am so glad you looked it, and yes, the Míriel and Indis is a nod to you :) I had not really thought about it, but don’t see why they shouldn’t have been intimate in Cuiviénen.And yes, you’re right, all four of them seem to have this tendency to blame (5 if you count Vanimórë!) but then I think Edenel knows that, and hence his talking to ClaireI honestly wish Fëanor and Fingolfin and Finarfin had been Edenel’s. Like he said, what might have been. But the ladies’ visions were not flawed, just Melkor came between them.And yes, Míriel’s words did bring the vision down, but she saw it in him, that fire, and it was not her fault but the future coming down.Aelios — i can’t wait till you write their arrival in St. Andrew’s!I’m glad Claire agreed to draw the battle markings; it’s deep with meaning among the warriors, and especially the Ithiledhil because of what they’ve been through. No-one outside has ever drawn them before. That will come next!Thank you so much, Narya :)
‘Thou must go, leave here, gather thy people and take them south, far from here. This is no dream. But it may be the future.’
:) Thank you so much, Oshun :) Glad you enjoyed it.
I love how you have framed this with Claire just being her usual lovely, warm, accepting self and just listening.
AndI love how , now that you have finished Magnificat, we can see Vanimore the creator (I think anyway) in all of this. Loved this:
‘My first sight was the stars. I thought I saw a man walking through them, part of them, as they were part of him, his hair like a cloud across the cosmos. A god walking to a confrontation, or into war...’
He would not, then have explained it thus, but later, when words flowered in his mind, he thought of it as a hand bringing him to life, touching him out of a long sleep — or rather a mind, a mind of such power his own could not encompass it. Yet it was familiar too, so that he felt himself pursuing it, questioning. But ever it eluded him; he retained only impressions of an adamantine will, of impossible light, raging passion, of love, all forced, in one blinding moment, into him.
And there is a lovely deft touch to the writing and tone of this, a naivety in the voice
There had to be a way to explain, articulate what he saw, he felt.
At first, their spoken language was as simple and beautiful as the call of water-birds; slowly it gained complexity and depth as they fashioned words, names for all they saw, everything they felt and imagined.
‘There is fire in thine eyes,’ Finwë told him. ‘It is like the light in the stars.’
When knowledge unfolds, like a seed, like a rosebud, one does not question it if one has known nothing else: this nutmeat is good to eat, this flesh, fish, fruit can ferment and be made into a drink, honey into mead, berries into wine, this hide and that fur can be used to decorate the body. This rock holds ore, minerals, that hard stone can be chipped to create a weapon, this wood bent to make a bow...
They called it the Maker’s Touch. All were agreed that somewhere beyond the world, the bright-burning stars, was another intelligence, and they were its offspring. Had they not felt it, that vast Overmind? Some, like Élernil, viewed they had seen it as they awoke, the Power that brought the stars, and themselves into being, striding across the face of the universe.
Beautiful wiriting, Spiced. The description of the hunt and then Ingwe is just fabulous. Rich and sensual. Then the spirit of the water/river, the dialogue is perfect and so crafted, the endingchilling. Brilliant.
Yes, Vanimórë as the creator is in this :) And I thought framing this as Edenel relating it to Claire (the first time he has really put this into a narration to anyone) would work.
They were so innocent, I think Edenel finds it hard to look back and know this was them — was him. It was a simpler life, and lovely and wondrous and he had no idea what was to come.
Thank you, Ziggy :)
Yes, that makes sense - the 'trappings' of leadership feel like far more Valarin than Elvish. (Although I think Fëanor does a great line in showy statesmanship, but, well, he's Fëanor! And thinking about it, Van is pretty good at it when he is ruling his imperium, although I don't think he exactly enjoys it.)
Of course Edenel would never tell it to anyone he didn't feel that affinity with :( but I am glad he trusts her enough. You write them together so beautifully.
I have been re-reading this today as I absolutely love that you can feel the whole weight of your mythology behind it, even at this very early stage in the timeline - "fire beyond the stars" - wonderful.
Hah! Yes, Fëanor is definitely a flamboyant showman! And Sauron once told Van everything he learned about ruling, he learned from him, Sauron, which is true. Although I think Van was rather more ‘human’ probably because he determined to be. But the pomp and ceremony of the Valinor Elves does seem something that was copied (or imposed on them) from the Valar.
No, Edenel wouldn’t. I think, even now, it’s just not something the Ithiledhil speak of in depth, although because people now know, he also wouldn’t think it necessary, maybe. But I also think he does need to talk of it, not just little bits, but the whole thing.
I am so glad you think that, the mythology of the verse shows through :)
Yes- as you say, she is certainly capable of it, but it will be painful for them both. I love the dynamic between them though, and the seamless (if horrifying, with those terrible images of torture) shift between the present and the ancient.
He does seem to lead so effortlessly - and yet not at all in a "regal" way. Born to be a king :(
I’m so glad you like how they’re interacting here — his telling her wouldn’t have been possible for him if their dynamic was less than it is.
I don’t think there was any idea any notion, of ‘regality’ in their early days, people just did what they were good at and he and Finwë were very good at many things, no servants, although people I think who ‘followed’ them, (the Ithiledhil never had servants either). All that kind of thing came down from the Valar, I think, strict hierarchies, etc.
"I don’t know if this is going to go the whole way without one of them stopping, I think not, honestly." - I can certainly see them needing to take a breather :(
I am so sad that Edenel never got the chance to be a father; he would have been wonderful. But he does suit that role of carer for and protector of others as well - and perhaps, had he had his own children, that might not have been a role he'd have been able to fulfil so well, as his love and attention would have been more narrowly focussed.
I think they’ll have to, I’ll have to show it. I’m thinking of this a bit, as Claire having to listen to evidence in court which is truly awful, but with the added dimension that she can ‘see’ what’s happening, as if someone showed a truly shattering piece of film evidence. She can do it, but it won’t be easy, not for her, not for Edenel.
I think you’re right, and Edenel instinctively knew that if he had children he wouldn’t be able to look after his whole tribe. He was born to be a king who looked after his people (which Finwë also thought he was doing when he took them to Valinor).
Ohhhh, I am SO THRILLED to see this posted (sorry for the caps - too much excitement).
I read it through once and then came back to go through again and comment; I just wanted to lose myself in it the first time, because, my days, it is just wonderful. Harrowing, too, even at this early stage; I welled up more than once, even before we got to Cuiviénen. Edenel's shame at the change, and not wanting to go back to his people, or even see the Noldor when they returned, is heartbreaking.
‘Well,’ she said. ‘Yes, that’s it, really, Eventually, the people I knew before this, my family, those I love will be...gone, and I will move away from being Claire James, because I’ll have to. She will have to disappear somewhere, a faked death, probably. I think it would have to be that.’ The words were level, almost distant. ‘I couldn’t put my family through the agony of just vanishing and them hoping year upon year that I will one day walk through the door. And then, after, those I know will be those from that fictional world, that story.’ Her breath broke a little. She pressed a hand to her mouth. - and now my heart is breaking for Claire too. (I had been thinking about that and wondering how she will explain not ageing, and come to the same conclusion - she will have to fake her death.)
‘Very well,’ he whispered. ‘But, Claire, you must tell me to stop if it becomes unbearable.’
‘And you too,’ she said
Just...the trust, and the vulnerability from both of them...*sobs*
The fire of their awakening is fascinating, and the glimpse of the man in the stars, perfect. There are some endlessly beautiful phrases in this - gorgeous, vivid imagery and wonderful images - "Born to starlight, born to burn" - fantastic. And the love between them, and the innocence, and the desire without any of the guilt or social repercussions that develop later, is wonderful to see but also so, so hard, knowing what comes :(
I loved re-reading their conversation about children, in the context of the rest of the story. The subtle differences between them are intriguing - both in appearance, and in their personalities. (How interesting that Élernil's eyes are grey like Maglor's, and Finwë's are dark!) Ooh, and this:
Élernil’s second was Ingwë of the white hair and gentian eyes
Vanyar with violet eyes! YES, I love it :D
Élernil’s primary instinct, beyond all others, was to protect and serve his people — including his brother. He had, in those earlier times, no recognition of danger, no inkling it existed, none of them did; all he knew was that he wanted them to have all they needed, to watch over them, to see them prosper in serenity, to grow in strength and beauty — which desire only increased when the children began to arrive. - I'm thrilled to see Élernil’s role as a leader and nurturer explored. It's a role he seems to fall into naturally later, as he is caring and protective with Vanimórë at times in Magnificat, and you can see it in him in Summerland too, so it's interesting to see that this was part of him from the very first.
Indis was a bold beauty with a walk that drew the eye like a winter fire. - Ohhhh. May I borrow this, please?
This is utterly beautiful, Spiced - the innocence and their early delight in each other, but shot through with the imagery of fire and violence, and the shadow of everything to come. I can't wait for more; I absolutely love it
OOh, so glad you liked it! :D
Ah, you were thinking about Claire as time goes on, too! I couldn’t think of another way, really. And of course she wouldn’t want her family to just think she had vanished. It’s so heartbreaking, you’re right :(
I think both she and Edenel are very vulnerable here, very open. I don’t know if this is going to go the whole way without one of them stopping, I think not, honestly. ;__;
Ah, glad you like Ingwë like that :) And something of Élernil seems to have passed on — his eyes :)
Yes, I think, as Élernil said, he thought of himself as a father to all the tribe, so he kind of put off having a female lover in case he couldn’t look after everyone. But I think he did want to be a father. And yes, I think this carries on through his life, as you say, this role of protector and nurturer. Probably why the Ithiledhil did make him their chieftain.
And it’s sad, this, really, as you said, they’re so innocent, so free, and have no idea of darkness or violence, really.
Yes, of course you can use that about Indis :)
So thrilled you like this. Thank you. :D