‘I’m sorry you never knew your child, in either universe.’ Her arms went around him, held him. He felt the strong, rapid beating of her heart.
‘I know why Culina would have concealed it in my own universe,’ he said. ‘Our lives simply were not made for the rearing of children.’ But he could not conceal his own loss.
Oh, this is gorgeous. Edenel is so factual about it, but you can feel the emotion underneath it. And Claire and Maglor...it's almost like they knew already, on some level. It all makes so much sense.
Over his shoulder, Coldagnir’s eyes scorched. Alone. But then, he was the god of a lone star, and burned in solitary splendour.
I will get thee a drink, he said and left in a lilt of shimmering hair.
‘To blood,’ Maglor said.
Claire’s eyes sparkled with tears, but she smiled through them as she raised her glass. ‘To family,’ she said.
Oh. I am an absolute mess.
The mountains still held their cloaks of snow but the low cloud ghosted over them like cerements, reminding him of the Ered Engrim and the war clouds that had come down on them. The loch skittered under the gale that moaned in the huge yew, buffeted the thick walls of the Manse. The snow was slush on the road, dark tarmac showing in long strips.
That's stunning, I can feel and see and taste it.
‘Spiritually as one might say, thou art their father in every universe. Fëanor’s father, the Flame Imperishable...No-one, not even Eru knows whence it sprang. The possibility of it perhaps existed before any universe, in the nothingness of before. But nevertheless, even formless, without body, it knew thee. Fire calls to fire, always. And so he reached out to thee and thou to him.’
Oh, YES :D
‘Wilt thou ask me...Maglor in thine own universe, to go with thee.’ Maglor flashed a smile across to Claire.
‘Of course I would,’ Edenel replied, himself smiling. ‘And once I have explained to him, I will.’ Do not think I do not see what is between thee. For Maglor alone, who lowered long eyelids.
You tell him, Edenel XD
...And the sea parted. With a deep, resounding roar it drew back each side of a wide path, revealing water-smoothed stone draped with seaweed, fish flapping in sudden shock, eels darting. Each side of this path towered walls of water rising higher and higher until they cast a gloom of darkness topped by stark white foam.
OH. Oh, wow. I don't have words to explain how much I love this, the Biblical imagery it evokes...I gasped at this, I have goosebumps. And Edenel crying out to his twin not to leave him... *sobs* wonderful writing, so powerful. It hit me right in the gut.
And oh my, the end - you nailed it. It had a gorgeous, dream-like, fevered quality, and the imagery was wonderful. (Eliot again! I squee'd!) And how interesting that Edenel could feel Sauron in Claire...
Maglor, loving him, wishing he were more than a lost uncle.
EDENEL. You are so much more than that to him.
This was absolutely wonderful, what a treat. Thank you so much for writing it.
Aww, thank you so much. I’m so glad you liked it, the different parts of it. The Parting of the Red Sea was deliberate, since I didn’t know how else it could be done, and it seemed to work.
I sort of wonder if part of Edenel precipitated this part because Maglor’s feeling for Claire, which he seemed to need a push to reveal, but anyhow, a great deal was revealed — (shut up Sören, I mean of the soul) I think.
This update was really amazing! :) The path to Valinor takes on such a different meaning when you add the idea of the Ithiledhil secretly watching them. I love Edenel’s character so much
Aww, thank you, Astorey :) I’m so glad you like Edenel.
I have to comment here too. This is just wonderful - harrowing, but uplifting, after everything, that Edenel truly has family.
I’m so glad you liked it :)
Yay, what a treat for a Saturday night!
The dark had long come down, enfolding the Manse in its chill embrace; the night was luminous with stars. A serene white moon sailed west.
Gorgeous description, that setting of the scene, and a peaceful contrast to the cold horror of Utumno.
He knew Morgoth and Sauron even in the Void could see what passed on Arda. How clearly I do not know, but Coldagnir explained it to me after as if they were close enough to touch, separated by the thinnest of barriers. In this word, the equivalent of looking at us through a one-way mirror. They could see us; we could not see them.’
Oof, that made me shudder.
Maglor and Coldagnir told me of Venice, how you loved the old, tucked away parts of it, the beauty and history, just soaking it in, drifting down the small canals, sitting in the shade and watching the sun on the lagoon. You were made to see beautiful places, to appreciate them. I am sure you were excellent at your job; you have a fine mind, but I think you were made for something richer...’
That's just gorgeous, and I love that he sees that about her. (I've been showing bits of Summer's Song to my sister, and she says it reads like a travelogue with tension, which...I guess I'll go with?!)
Dark curly hair, a short beard, dark eyes. A beautiful face.’
Claire’s eyes widened.
‘And he had an accent...I apologise, everyone here has an accent to me, but not Scottish or any I have heard in this country.’
Claire sat back down. ‘Yes. I thought it was —Scandinavian perhaps?’
‘About 6 feet tall?’ he asked. ‘Slim? With a lovely smile?’
They looked at one another.
‘Who is he then?’ Claire wondered.
Oh, my heart jumped! And then this, I had to laugh:
‘I think I should speak to him,’ she agreed. ‘But here...Maglor and I aren’t...we’re close, but not in that way.’
He forced himself to hide a smile, said carefully: ‘I think that is entirely up to you.’
Claire stared then gasped and laughed, buried her nose in the glass.
Yes, Claire, you're walking a tightrope, and maybe now you've spotted it...!
‘It was a crucible,’ she said and he saw the concern in her eyes as they opened out to him again. She leaned toward him. ‘Edenel?’
‘I don’t know,’ he said truthfully, helplessly, as his veins thrummed with power and a kind of undirected fear, a feeling of something building, building, like a storm beyond Time. From the past? The future? ‘A crucible?’
Her eyes went distant again, one hand groped in the air as if to find the shape for words.
‘A crucible of gods,’ she said.
‘Interesting. Because I have seen the Creator, Eru, and he looks nothing like the god thou didst see.’
‘One has to assume, my Lord, that the creator can appear however he pleases.’
‘Perhaps,’ Mairon murmured. ‘Or perhaps this god among the stars was not Eru at all.’ His eyes hooded in thought. ‘A warrior, thou didst say?’
‘He walked as a warrior does, my Lord.’
Ooh. I don't know how he could/would, but this reads like Mairon somehow *knows* that this is his son!
Turning back, Mairon took Élernil’s chin in one elegant hand. ‘Thou wert quite...delicious, Starflame.’ He pressed one long, deep kiss on Élernil’s lips, then drew back, smiling. ‘Go.’
The hairs on my arms lifted. I *felt* that kiss!!
Wonderful chapter. I love that Edenel and Claire can laugh together, even knowing what they're going into; I love that they're still holding onto each other. And I am so excited and terrified for what comes next, as I presume the Ithiledhil are about to defy Melkor...?
Author's Response: I think a travelogue with tension actually sounds really lovely. I do love reading travelogues anyhow.
Coldagnir said something similar about the ‘watchers’ from the Void in Magnificat III when they were going to Angmar. I mean, he knew it prior to that, but he said it to them then, to probably try and nudge them toward being discreet. Possibly van knew anyhow; he keeps things very close, sometimes.
Yes, Claire, you're walking a tightrope, and maybe now you've spotted it...!
Well, Edenel certainly has ;) I don’t think he’s presume to advise, if she asked him about but he felt he did have to say something. And his way of explaining about how relationships could be and were in his life, was a way of putting it out there, and kind of nudging her into realising what is going on. Possibly in this *and* other universes.
I wonder, all the time, how much Sauron did know about Van. He never seems surprised about anything. I’m not sure he did know, but it’s quite possible, that like Claire and Edenel and Sören and others, he has visions/dreams, except they’re echoing back from the future, from Vanimöré
I put in the Crucible of Gods, because it’s what Van called it, and in a sense, it is — it has incredible possibilities.
And yes, I think Élernil felt that kiss! too. (I realised that his given name was deleted from Faerie when it was moved to a different server, but it’s on AO3 and it means Star Prince, which is pretty apt).
And yes, once the Ithiledhil are out, they are not coming back. They witness (from a distance) the Valar descend on Utumno, but they will battle themselves not to be recalled by Melkor. They’re not bound but it will still be a battle, and holding onto Claire will be extremely important then, as much as it has been all along.
LOve Vanya's cameo in this!
This spring has been sacred time out of mind. Even now, it seems people do not forget the old gods of the high places, the secret waters. This is very...porous land, Claire. It lets the past through, almost bleeds it. And absorbs the present. You feel it, do you not?’
Love the idea of the land being porous-
ooh- and I am in love with Coldagnir anyway but this:
Where the mountains drew apart and the loch bent toward the sea firth, the sun was setting behind one long strip of cloud. Maglor put his arm around Claire as she stamped her feet against the deepening chill.
‘I shall not be long,’ Coldagnir said, turning to look at them. ‘In time for dinner.’ He flashed a smile.
There was a moment of absolute hush and then the lower limb of the sun appeared below the cloud bank. Edenel had an odd sensation that it recognised Coldagnir, that its immense internal furnaces turned themselves up in salutation. A brilliant gold light stabbed down the glen.
Coldagnir became pure flame. Enormous triple wings exploded, scattering particles of fire, and then, like a bullet shot from a high powered rifle, and with a crack of displaced air, he sped along the line of the fireglow. A firebird aimed straight at the heart of the sun. The waters of the lock parted in his wake, churning white foam, boiling steam.
For a long moment, they stood there. Edenel almost expected to see the sun detonate, wondered if there would be an explosion registered on instruments that monitored flares and sunspots. Could almost see the moment Coldagnir struck its surface. He felt, in the deep of winter, heat on his face.
He looked around, but nothing stirred, no-one came from their houses, looking for the source of that sound. ‘Well,’ he said. ‘I’ll finish the dinner.’
Gorgeous and understated reaction:)
Aww, thank you, Ziggy, I’m glad you enjoyed this. I certainly enjoyed writing Coldagnir having to dump his radiation :)
And there’s not much to say after that :D
Oh Sauron- sneaky sneaky Sauron- always wanting to be the secret master! What a good chap.Right?
He is extremely sneaky, in fairness he has to be, existing under Melkor’s crushing power, but yes! Thank you, Ziggy :)
Ah, this was an enlightenment, Coldagnir is a sun God and so it is just natural that he is radioactive, the sun does get its energy from nuclear fusion after all, if it wasnt for the van allen belts the earth would have been scorched by its power. A very cool and beliveable detail, and it does also tell why he had to be diminished to be able to exist in Utumno, if he had been as he is now the dark lords would have seen through his disguise before he became entrapped within their power. The compariso of Utumno to a black hole is very neat, i think that is exactly what it was. A black hole sucking in everything good and righteous in people and turning them inside out so to speak, leaving only the darkness within them. It is almost what one can compare Melkor with, something gathering darkness around itself, feeding from it and giving off a dark miasma in return, like a darkness spewing quasar of some sort. A great chapter! Keep them coming.
Yes, exactly :) Coldagnir had to be diminished to go into Utumno, but now he is ‘himself’ he does have to contain the power otherwise well, no-one could live in his presence at all, he’d be a walking meltdown!
And yes, Melkor and Utumno as a black hole, Coldagnir definitely felt that!
Thank you so much, Nuredhel so glad you’re enjoying
Yay! A homecoming treat! :D
‘For those. For remembrance. For acceptance.’ He was so far from what Maglor truly wanted: his father, his brothers, uncle, cousins. Edenel knew that, and would have accepted death in a heartbeat if it could give them back.
Oh, Edenel, that isn't true :'( and that last line gives me a horrible sense of foreboding...
Edenel laid a hand on Maglor’s heart. ‘We have shared our blood. And I am with thee, until the dead walk among us again.’
Maglor lifted one hand to show the terrible geometrical burn that had melted the skin. Edenel laid his fingers on it. ‘This wakes me at whiles,’ Maglor said. ‘The pain of it.’
That's spooky - I have written something very similar in Summer's Song XD and the passage where Edenel tells him to call the Silmaril is utterly perfect, because he does try in Summer's Song, but it doesn't work, and he can't quite work out why. I think Edenel has hit on it - even now there is too much resentment. He has to fully accept it as part of his heritage before it will come back to him and serve him.
Loved the training scene, and Maglor and Edenel's easy skill with the blades - so in tune with each other! And the walk in the snow is the perfect contrast. I adore the descriptions:
The loch was the colour of hammered sapphire. Their feet sank into crisp snow as they walked past the village houses whose fires sent up calm spirals of grey smoke. The store and pub were both open, and they paused in the latter for coffee in front of a roaring fire.
*sighs* that just is a Scottish winter. I'm there.
(By the way, I assume that's Vanya in the pub!?)
‘Oh yes,’ she murmured. ‘Even before...I felt it. St. Andrews...there were places there — all of it really, it’s an old town — I used to think it was my imagination, fancy, but...’ She stripped off a glove, felt in her coat pocket and drew out a pound coin, which she dropped into the spring.
‘Not completely,’ he said, ‘in fact not at all, there was always something in thee, Maglor thinks —‘
His breath was driven out of him by the shock of icy cold as a snowball hit him accurately on the back of the neck. It began to melt, sliding down between hair and coat, and he turned, gasping.
‘Cold?’ Coldagnir asked sweetly.
Oh my goodness, I absolutely howled. I was so absorbed in the quiet depth of Claire and Edenel's conversation, and intrigued by what he was about to say (what did Maglor tell him?!), and then the snowball out of nowhere, and Coldagnir so innocent and nonchalant about it...what a wonderful moment.
I got a lump in my throat at the comment about him having forgotten how to play, and the sheer joy they all take in it, and that easy physical contact with Maglor and Claire.
Coldagnir’s mouth quirked. ‘Probably enough to render Scotland and the north of England uninhabitable for fifty thousand years.
*snorts* oh dear...that would be very bad XD
Coldagnir became pure flame. Enormous triple wings exploded, scattering particles of fire, and then, like a bullet shot from a high powered rifle, and with a crack of displaced air, he sped along the line of the fireglow. A firebird aimed straight at the heart of the sun. The waters of the lock parted in his wake, churning white foam, boiling steam.
Oh, just beautiful.
Claire's quip about harnessing his energy made me cackle - and the entrance out of the flames, brilliant. I love the tableau of them all at the end, too, just gathered around the sofa. What a fantastic, warm (despite the weather!) and poignant chapter; I adored it.
Welcome back to Blighty! I hope the flight was okay and you an have a nice few days rest.
[[That's spooky - I have written something very similar in Summer's Song XD and the passage where Edenel tells him to call the Silmaril is utterly perfect, because he does try in Summer's Song, but it doesn't work, and he can't quite work out why. I think Edenel has hit on it - even now there is too much resentment. He has to fully accept it as part of his heritage before it will come back to him and serve him.]]
I think you hit the nail on the head there; there’s still so many churning emotions in Maglor about the Silmarils, his fa,I’ll, his actions, his whole life — even perhaps resentment at being the only one left. He has to fully embrace who he is and everything that entails before calling the Silmaril.
[[Oh my goodness, I absolutely howled. I was so absorbed in the quiet depth of Claire and Edenel's conversation, and intrigued by what he was about to say (what did Maglor tell him?!), and then the snowball out of nowhere, and Coldagnir so innocent and nonchalant about it...what a wonderful moment.]]
I think Edenel was about to talk of Maglor’s sense that Claire ‘reads the stones’ — or that he suspects she can, and did even before Summerland, which was abruptly truncated.
Glad you liked the snowball fight, it was a brief bit of laughter they needed, before Coldagnir explained that he had to go and rid himself of an awful lot of radiation. (And yes that was Vanya in the pub) I’m glad you liked the descriptions.
[[Claire's quip about harnessing his energy made me cackle - and the entrance out of the flames, brilliant. I love the tableau of them all at the end, too, just gathered around the sofa. What a fantastic, warm (despite the weather!) and poignant chapter; I adored it.]]
Aww, thank you, I’m so glad you liked the chapter. :)
Ohhh, wow. I read it through once and then was going to go back and comment on different parts of it in order, but then the ending *sobs* that came completely out of left field for me, an emotional gut punch, and I welled up. Amazing moment, for their relationship and for the fic as a whole.
The opening scene in Utumno was incredible - taut and brutal. The imagery and the flow of it was just stunning - rubble vomited from the mountain - wonderfully vivid.
Seeing the changed Quendi fight as one was so powerful...and oh, Mairon. You slippery, self-interested bastard, you.
The contrast between that and the domesticity of the Manse is gorgeously handled, the relief almost palpable when Edenel wakes. I love how he dances around the big questions and sidesteps what she doesn't (consciously) know yet - it's like he knows she will get there, and doesn't need to be told everything.
Beautiful. This has made my evening.
I’m so glad you liked the ending. it came out of nowhere for me, too, at the last minute. But it did feel right. Edenel wanted to give her one of the knives, and so—
Yes, the Ithiledhil-to-be have become what Melkor wanted them too, but Sauron knows that they’re not slaves now, knows something has happened, if not how. He won’t say anything to Melkor, he’ll just watch, and already he’ll be thinking about how he could improve on this, and bind this kind of person to him - which he does, with Vanimórë.
Edenel was so relieved to wake up in the Manse!
Yes, it’s not really the place or time to do big reveals, and this is, as you say, a different reality (but very close) and so Edenel will not say everything at the moment.
She closed her eyes, the sound forcing itself up from the deeps of her tormented flesh and she screamed.
The blood came faster; her face knotted in striving, sinews standing out on her neck like rope as she pushed. A groan of impossible effort rose again into a wail of agony that sawed through Élernil’s heart. She seemed engaged in a war with her own body, he thought, as his breath stopped in his throat and his mind held hers. Sweat streamed down her face, collected in the hollow of her throat, painting pale stripes through the accumulated filth. Her eyes were wide open and still fixed upon his. Her legs parted. She pushed. And pushed, bearing down as a deep continuous moan ribboned from her throat onto the stinking air.
Oh, my dear.
And white fire bloomed like a starburst about her. It spread, crackling through her hair, burning away the dirt, flowing down her body, melting the shackles at her wrist in snapping sparks.
A slippery rush of blood, some deformed shape that slapped down on the floor of the cage, the sound vile, indescribable. And Culina burned white in the fire, staring at Élernil until her head sagged down upon her chest and she folded to her knees. The expression on her face was one of triumph.
I had tears in my eyes as I read this- more poignant and triumphant than anything. Brilliant.
I think it was triumphant for Culina more than anything, despite the pain and horror, she succeeded. (Unfortunately, Sauron witnessed it and made absolutely sure that when Vanimöré’s mother was with child she didn’t have the chance to try and self-abort. He realised that if he wanted something like the Ithiledhil he would have to use sorcery and his own blood to do it
I love that repeated symbol of someone holding onto him- Claire.
This is a very hard chapter to read- brutality in all its cold extremity, nightmare stuff- horrendously realistic.
And Mairon is brilliantly curious, a scientist almost- after all , some of the experiments done on animals are torture. The moment he changes is fantastically shocking.
Yes, in a sense, he does have someon holding on to him, this time.
It was a really hard chapter to write, but since I had intimated of horrors in Magnificat III when Van met Edenel, and saw through Coldagnir’s memories, I felt I could fudge it. Sauron is a scientist yes, in a way, the Quendi are though of as non-human. Apparently there is a tribe in Papua New Guinea who are a terror to all other tribes, and headhunters. They refer to themselves as the humans, the only ones, and all others are lesser. Non human. This is how Melkor thinks of the Quendi so anything can be done to them, yes, as we do it to animals, and the results are interesting but the suffering is not even noted.
So many luscious images in this- even the scent of Miriel still on Finwe's skin is beautifully written. But that Fell Wolf has to be Sauron- too calculating, too controlled to be anything/anyone else.
:) Thank you, and Yes, ta-dah! It has to be Sauron of course!
I absolutely love the elves camp, their settlement- it feels so very real, you have imagined it in enough detail make it really present when I read this. And of course Claire is wonderful.
Thank you, Ziggy :) And yes, Claire is an amazing presence
Oh, goodness. Wow.
This is just phenomenal. The pacing, the imagery, the raw, clean, unflinching horror of it, and it's so beautifully, delicately counterbalanced by the scenes in the Manse, and that promise of affection, of being loved for what he is and not what he was.
The opening sequence, starting with the emergence from the memories through to Claire embracing him in front of the fire, had me in tears. It's just perfect, both of their reactions so authentic - and I did go back through some of the earlier chapters, and I have to ask, is Claire's hair the same colour as Culina's? Because in a way that makes the whole thing even more heartbreaking.
His body shook with the effort it took to hold the tears back.
‘You don’t have to,’ Claire said against his chest. ‘There’s nothing wrong with crying.’
‘I thought I had done enough of it, there.’
‘I don’t think you’ve done enough of it since,’ she responded.
I'm with Claire - I so want him to cry about it, but perhaps he can't. (Loved the nod to Maglor giving him back his knives, though.)
You were absolutely right that curling up to sleep together felt like the natural reaction to what they both lived through, and the fact that it's a note of comfort for him in Utumno makes my heart ache (although maybe it's even worse for him, half-dreaming of that, and then waking to horror).
She leaned in toward him, then and he gathered her close, rocking her, smoothing the white fall of hair. Her arms went tight around him, the grip fierce as a lover’s, her face pressed against his neck, but no tears wet his skin, no sobs shook her flesh, and she did not speak.
He never heard her speak again. And he never saw her weep.
What is happening to us?
So is it something about Élernil/Edenel specifically that is causing the transformations - the fact that he witnessed Vanimórë walking through the stars? Mairon certainly seems to think so. But does the Edenel of the present know that? (Paradoxes within paradoxes...)
Thank you, Narya. and yes, Culina’s hair is pretty much the same colour as Claire’s. Which does make the memories more ‘current’.
No, he can’t cry yet. Later on, maybe...
And I agreee, dreaming about something like that, sleeping peacefully in that cosy room, would make waking to reality all the harder :(
I think it’s what you mentioned, his fire, that Fëanor has later; it’s more prevalent in Élernil than in Finwë, to it maybe (yes another paradox, lol) that Fëanor somehow, as the Flame Imperishable, felt it and answered his need in the only way he could. But it certainly touches the others, although he (Élernil) doesn’t realise that yet. I’m not sure if he would realise that now, from where he is narrating, not yet, but hew might, later on!
Thank you so much, I am so glad you liked it :)
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