(Written by Spiced Wine)
The Moth and the Flame.
~ The sun slowly descended in a sky of enamel-blue. Only over the distant mountains did clouds drift, cream-white, lazy as lovers walking hand in hand. The great waters lay like beaten glass, bees droned in herb and flower. Some slept, for New Ciuviénen was not a silent place under the stars but filled with the sound of harp and music. This was the quietest time of day, between noon and the onset of evening. Then the wind would rise as it always did, bringing coolness to the vast lawns and gardens.
Glorfindel had returned from Tanith, bringing Elgalad. Maglor, with the others had come forward to greet them, enfolding his son close. Tindómion's eyes held the memory of horror as he told his father what had happened, what he had witnessed in the Games and on the isle of darkness. He spoke grimly of feeling his memories drain from him leaving apathetic despair. There was such a remembered grief in his voice that Maglor was chilled.
''I felt I had lost something dear to me, yet did not know what – and then even that feeling was swallowed.'' Tindómion had said. ''Somehow it was worse than any battle, any creature of darkness. Dost thou understand?'' He had stepped back and silver eyes met silver. ''To not remember everything thou hast ever done, everything of thy life, even the griefs? To have nothing?''
A shiver had passed through Maglor. What were they without their woven tapestry of memories? Who would he be if he knew nothing save darkness, if all were sucked from him?
And there was Elgalad, his face translucent with shock and pain, eyes wounded to the bottom of his soul. Vanimórë was gone. He was not dead, was just...gone. He had not returned from the isle.
''Then where is he?'' Maglor had asked, but there was no answer, or if there was one, it was too disturbing to be voiced. He had walked into the darkness, and not emerged from it.
Elgalad was lodged in the palace and was walking now in the gardens. That thick curtain of silver hair was unmistakable. He stood with his back to Maglor, looking across the lake, his body straight as a lance. All his senses seemed bent to waiting, watching, listening. He did not move until Maglor spoke and then his head came around. The silent suffering in his face was something the Fëanorion was only too familiar with. He had seen in Maedhros after the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and there had been nothing he could do, no comfort he could give. There was little enough he could give now, but he was impelled to try, and he said, gently: ''He is not dead, Elgalad. he cannot die, not truly.''
''Then where is h-he?'' Elgalad asked, as if Maglor could answer. His eyes were pale and brilliant, but no tears gleamed in them, it was as if they had been burned from him by fear and longing.
''No-one knows. But Glorfindel would know if he was gone beyond recall. They are the Chosen, they are bound. Glorfindel can sense it.''
''And all of thee h-hate h-him.'' Hot, accusing.
''Some of us have reason to hate,'' Maglor retorted.
The grey eyes darkened. ''I would give m-my life to have from h-him what thou didst have.''
It was Maglor whose cheeks flushed then. Elgalad's were still milk-white.
''Thou art mad,'' he snapped and then caught himself. ''Forgive me, but thy love for him goes beyond anything I can fathom.'' His eyes swept slowly over the lovely face. ''He has never taken thee, Glorfindel says. I find that impossible to believe.''
Elgalad's voice broke a little. ''Not for want of m-me trying, I assure th-thee.'' He pushed his hands into his hair. "He says he loves m-me." But the doubt shone clear through the words and there was a question in the great eyes which was not voiced save in his mind. But how can he love me and not take me?
''I believe that,'' Maglor murmured. ''How could he not? Thou hast a purity that he needs, but — ''
''He is n-not impure. Is one who is raped m-made impure b-by that, then?'' Elgalad's hands clenched, even as Maglor shook his head in refutation. ''And I am not pure. He knows that.''
A faint smile broke the gravity of the Fëanorion's stern face. ''If thou didst have an hundred lovers thou wouldst still be pure as snow-melt, Elgalad." He took the tense arm. "Come. Legolas would like to see thee."
Maglor did not imagine his brothers or father would evince much interest in Elgalad, yet it troubled him because he knew how some of them looked at Legolas. He frowned as he walked with Elgalad to the silver-white villa overlooking the inland sea, and Legolas came to meet them. They could almost have been brothers as they came together and embraced.
He left them to speak, and found his own steps leading him back to the palace, to his his father. Could one who seemed so innocent and so gentle of heart, truly invoke love in a heart as deep and dark as Vanimórë's?
To his surprise, Fëanor laughed at the question.
''Thou dost confuse darkness with evil. Am I dark, then?''
''No, father.'' Maglor's brows drew together. ''But thou art not the son of Sauron.''
''Vanimórë has Noldorin blood, also. And yes, I can see what one with his life, and his temperament would see in Elgalad.'' Fëanor had been examining gems, and now laid two in his palm, both were diamonds; one was ice-clear and the other such a dark blue it was almost black.
''Both of these have their beauties, and both are the same gem. But this one has formed in the earths deeps and been brought forth without color, pure as the tarns in the mountains. And this one,'' Fëanor held up the dark stone. ''Through slow Ages, touched by other elements, this has formed to the shade of the sky after sunset. Both have their brilliance, their secret fire.'' He tilted his head. '' Which is more beautiful, my son?''
''Yes, I see,'' Maglor murmured. ''Both have their beauty. So thou wouldst say that Vanimórë has emerged from his life as a black diamond''
His father nodded, smiling. ''Colored diamonds are formed by the taint of other minerals and rocks in the deep places of the earth, just as the son of Sauron was tainted by his life. Yet I have polished this and cut it and now it blazes with a black, beautiful fire. Set beside this other, the contrast is very pleasing.''
''I hear thee.'' Even as he spoke, Maglor's skin flushed. Fëanor laughed softly, his fingers slipping into the jet hair.
''And what does Sauron's son see in Elgalad? He sees something pure, something innocent, his own innocence which was reft from him, which he thinks he has to protect, but he sees also the white fire within. I have looked at Elgalad Meluion, and I tell thee truly, I admire Vanimórë for his control, for I would not have such.''
''Father,'' Maglor exclaimed, recognizing the arousal in the lucent eyes. ''Vanimórë may not have touched Elgalad, but they are bound, and I believe that bastard get of Sauron's could climb from the Void itself if any-one touched Elgalad...''
''Yes, perhaps he would indeed battle Night for his beloved..." Fëanor's eyes narrowed as if seeing something very far away, and his teeth gleamed in a smile which reminded Maglor shockingly of Vanimórë. It was redolent of seduction.
''And thou?'' Fëanor wondered. ''Are thy dreams still troubled?'' He moved closer and gathered up the waves of ebony hair. It poured sleek as molten metal through his white fingers. ''Still thou dost yearn for the forbidden, just as my dear half-brother. It is quite entertaining to watch the both of thee deny it.'' His lips touched the delicate point of Maglor's ear, delicately traced down to where the pulse thundered under his jaw, then he stepped back, letting the hair fall. His laugh was not without paternal affection as turned back to the great table.
Maglor erupted from the room like a cat rousted by a hunting hound and found himself in his own chambers. He had moved into them only since returning from across the mountains. His father had not ordered it, but had made it clear that he wished his second son to reside in the palace. And Maglor, who wanted to be close to his father while fearing him, had acquiesced. He drank wine and leaned against the wall. His nerves were afire; they throbbed, screamed for release.
Why do I burn so for those I cannot have and should not want?
Few could resist the charismatic flame of Fëanor. He certainly had not, did not think he could now, if it came to it. The thought drove him back out and in the hall below he almost collided with Caranthir.
"What ails thee?" his brother demanded.
''Nothing, I am looking for Istelion,'' Maglor told him. His his brother gave him a thoughtful look.
''I saw him not long ago, he was going to ride out with Legolas and Glorfindel and the Sinda, Elgalad.''
"Well, Elgalad will be safe enough with them," Maglor said before he could stop himself.
''Innocent as an Elf new come to adulthood, he looks, a lamb among wolves, and as tempting. I wager he is no virgin, though."
''No. And yes, he does tempt.''
Caranthir touched his arm. ''Glorfindel bought him. None will touch him if he is unwilling.''
The trouble is, that our father can make one willing, Maglor thought in the privacy of his own mind.
Where art thou, my Lord? Lord Glorfindel says thou art not gone, into...nothing, but where art thou?
Elgalad reached for the branch of a great tree, swung himself up without effort, feeling comfort in the warm bark, the whisper of the leaves in the night-breeze. He came to the woods each day, drawn to them as much as the need to be alone.
I am with thee.
He clung to the hope that Vanimórë lived as tightly, as desperately as he had clung to that hope for hundreds of years in Mirkwood. But then he had only had his own heart to help him, a belief that he would know if his lord was gone. Now he had been told by a god. He believed it, but where was Vanimórë?
Eru, do not let him be suffering...Surely he has been tormented enough?
''Come down, Elgalad.'' The rich, beautiful voice jolted him and he peered down, seeing the brightness of the High King's face in the dimness, his eyes incandescent.
Elgalad's heart thudded as he jumped down, bowing to the mightiest Elf who had ever lived. Since seeing him for the first time, he had found himself mesmerized, perhaps because Fëanor reminded him in many ways of Vanimórë; the unconscious arrogance, the way he walked as if he owned Arda or gave not the snap of his fingers who did.
''Sire?'' he murmured.
Fëanor laid a hand upon the straight back.
''Dost thou find solace among the trees?''
Elgalad replied quietly: "I find little solace any-where n-now."
''Thou canst believe Glorfindel when he says that thy lord lives. How can he die, he was made a god? Glorfindel's physical form was destroyed, but he clothed himself in one anew. Come. Let us talk.''
As they walked from the trees up the wide green lawns before the palace, he continued: ''I have been in the Void, I burned in the Void, mocked by the voices of the cursed. But I would not cease to be. The Void is not for the souls of the Eruhíni.* Vanimórë will return.''
''The Void...'' Elgalad stopped only to be firmly propelled onwards. ''That d-darkness on the isle, Nothing...'' He looked up. He was tall, but Fëanor taller still. The luminous eyes glowed, catching the lamplight that streamed out through the colonnades. Hangings stirred in the wind from the lake as they entered a room of white and gold, with the flame-red touches of the House woven into banners and rugs. Fëanor crossed to a side table and poured a cool, golden wine.
''From all I have heard of Vanimórë, he will not let mere darkness prevent him from returning. Drink.''
Elgalad sipped and followed the gesture to sit. The long couch was piled with cushions of silver and scarlet. Fëanor lounged beside him, leaned on one arm.
''I thank thee.''
Ebon brows rose quizzically. ''For what? And call me Fëanor.''
''Thou doth m-make me feel more h-hopeful...''
''I was not hopeful of leaving the Everlasting Dark, I was certain.'' He reached out, touched the flood of silver hair. ''As Vanimórë is certain, I am sure.''
Elgalad had the most innocent of eyes, Fëanor thought, clear as dew. And the dew began to fall. One tear escaped from under the thick rill of dark lashes, traced a path down the fair skin. Elgalad's expression did not change; he made no sound at all as another fell. Fëanor's fingers moved, the tips delicately blotting the tears, then he drew them to his lips, tasted the salt.
''The blood of thy soul,'' he murmured, and his voice, melting into a rich darkness sent a tremor through Elgalad.
''Father?'' Maglor's voice came from the long window, and the High King turned his head, smiled.
Elgalad looked up and Maglor saw the light catch the streaks of water on his cheeks; he cast a look edged with anger at his father, received a faint shake of the head in response.
''Pour thyself some wine. Join us.''
''Excuse m-me, I will g-go.'' Elgalad began to rise.
''Stay,'' Fëanor commanded and he sank back, his hands linked around the cup. He felt Maglor come to his side and his nerves sparked with intimations of danger, skin burning as if he were too close to an open fire. Maglor rested a hand on his back.
"Peace," he said reassuringly, and kissed Elgalad's cheek. It should have been comforting. It was meant to be. Was it?
Elgalad felt the slippery sensation of black hair against his skin and closed his eyes. Vivid memories scorched through him, and he yearned toward the closeness like a flower toward the warmth of the sun. He moved his head so that his lips met Maglor's, and all his longing flowed into the kiss. His longing, and his desperate desire.
I want, I want...
His response was astonishing to Maglor. It was wine-and-honey, not as innocent as he might have imagined. Elgalad was fiercely hot. Vanimórë's stalwart refusal to make love to him was burning him up.
And was there, perhaps, the thought that this was a way of striking back at the one who had seduced him so thoroughly in the darkness of Mordor? Perhaps, but it flickered out, extinguished by the hot surge of his blood.
In the presence of one such as Fëanor, such an act was oil thrown on a torch. His goblet fell, ringing and rolling, shedding the lees. Elgalad felt hands in his hair, unraveling the thick braids, fingers pluck the ties of his shirt, his breeches. Silken skin pressed against skin, muscle against muscle. There were lips on his. He gasped and arched back as teeth and tongue grazed across his nipples, and thrust upward to be enclosed by a hot mouth. He moaned. "Yes."
''I know what thou needest, Elgalad.''
His closed eyes flew wide as a finger, made slick with some oil or unguent entered him. And then they closed, and the breath caught in his throat as he was entered, hugely comprehensively. His hands clung to Maglor, tangled in heavy hair. He keened. Kisses patterned his face, his throat, his chest, and then Fëanor moved, and Elgalad throbbed into shocking pleasure. It had been too long. He hardened, felt a mouth close over him and writhed between the two points of bliss and pain, lost to everything except the crescendo which mounted within him. He heard himself pleading, begging shamelessly for more, and thought he would faint of the intensity – and then the wave broke, crashed over him like foaming surf. All went dark before his eyes as he fell to the cushions of the couch.
Fëanor's eyes shone like lamps in the dimness as he smiled across at Maglor.
''Vanimórë does not know what he denies himself...but he shall,' he promised, and reached forward, a hand winding in his son's heavy hair.
Like a great storm, need broke through Maglor. He plunged into the kiss, the touches, his body slamming up against his father's. He was pushed down, and then pain...fullness, heaviness stretching him, owning him, the thrill of something so wrong and of such terrible beauty. There was a savagery in it, and he was as lost as Elgalad had been, as hungry, as aching, as wanton...
He shuddered, lying upon his stomach, cloaked in his hair, as Fëanor rose, smiling, and went to get wine. His eyes feasted on the two upon the bed, one so fair, the other so dark, and there was something wild, richly satisfied in his smile as he drank and then put down the tray beside the couch and stalked like a great black maned cat to the colonnade.
He shook back his hair, his teeth flashing white in the night and his unearthly gaze tracked left towards Fingolfin's mansion.
Elgalad murmured softly. He had drifted half out of the world, into dreams. Now he felt the retuning ache within him and reached out, seeing tumbled black hair. Maglor, his eyes hazed with shock and ecstasy reached out, drew him close and Elgalad buried his head against his shoulder.
We seduced thee. Maglor played with the silver hair. Thou didst need this but it was we who acted, father by bringing thee here, I by feeling the need to ease thy pain. Excuses, both. And my father wanted – what he always did.
''No heart-rendings,'' Fëanor said from the balcony. ''Vanimórë would tell thee that there is no guilt in consensual pleasure.'' He laughed softly. ''And thou wert pleasured, Elgalad, wert thou not? I most certainly was.''
Elgalad's breath caught. Maglor looked up at his father, shining white, terrifyingly powerful and felt the return of agonizing arousal.
''And thou?'' Fëanor questioned.
Maglor closed his eyes.
''Thou dost concern thyself too much with morality. I need...what I need, my beautiful son. And so dost thou.'' His fingers brushed over the bare shoulder. ''I burned alone in the Void too long to deny myself.''
Maglor did not see him leave, but he felt it, the passing from the room of pure energy, and he locked Elgalad more firmly in his embrace.
And in a place out of Time and close as the thickness of a shadow, another felt this union of sheer animal desire. He had, after all, bound Elgalad to him so tightly that the Elf was almost part of his own soul.
And fury burned Vanimórë into dark light in the blackness, lighting his way back to Middle-earth.
As Fëanor had guessed it would. ~