Come once again and save us
FŽanor knew why they’d done it, knew it was the right choice. But holding the two dead Silmarils in his palms, even knowing their sacrificed light was the only reason Maglor had been able to pull his soul out of Mandos without the Valar’s assistance or knowledge, still felt like a part of his heart had been killed.
FŽanor laid the rocks –for that was all they were now his spirit had been unmade from them—back in their casket. He turned his head to Maglor, watching, tense, beside him. He pushed the casket away and crossed the distance that felt like miles –Ages—between them, and gathered his second born in his arms. He ran his fingers through the richness of Maglor’s hair, still finer then a dove’s wing, silken as his voice.
He kissed Maglor’s brow as tremors shook Maglor’s body, and he held on to FŽanor’s elbows. “We have work to do, my son.”
Maglor pulled back with a smile dazzling as a sunrise. FŽanor knew he’d only been given the bare bones of what his sons had suffered after his death. But he would hear it all, every drop of the agony forced down their throats. But first they had to unlock his sons’ souls and his people’s from the torture chamber that was the Halls of Death. His soul shuddered with memory, but he clamped steel-fists about it and forced the memories to stillness. The Valar would not rule him, not even through his own memories.
“We have few allies. I told you what they’ve done to the re-born Exiles. And there are few among the Noldor who never met death who hold any love for us, Father.” Maglor’s face hardened, eyes flashing vengeance against the Valar who’d dared chain Elven-souls and dampen their glory under a blanket of enforced tranquility. Forced obedience.
FŽanor smiled like a blade. “There are also few among those Noldor who do not have at least one they love trapped in the Valar’s thralldom. We shall have allies, my son. I shall make sure of it.”
Maglor slanted him a look, but if bloomed into a shared smile. FŽanor’s finger came up to brush the dimple in Malgor’s cheek. His sons had proved themselves better men, stronger men, then he. The pride, the love, was so heady he thought it would tear from his chest like an eagle.
Had he not foretold the Noldor would go further then OromŽ, endure longer then Tulkas? His pursuit of his father’s murderer was nothing, nothing, to the tireless road he would travel to free his sons’ souls. He would march over the hate and bitterness festering in Elven-hearts against him and drag them all after him (following him); he would run down Valar standing in his way, conquer any mountain though it be as seemingly insurmountable as Taniquetil. Not even death would stop him this time, and certainly no Valar-forged chains wrapping tight about the re-born Noldor. His fire would eat right though their paltry leashes of control.
“Where is he?” FŽanor smoothed a hand over Maglor’s shoulder. “Where is Fingolfin?”
“Ešrendil took Fingolfin and Fingon to the new settlement Elrond and Galadriel are building in the north. There were protests, Ešrendil’s discontent with the Valar has been common knowledge ever since he attacked ManwŽ after what the Valar did to Elros; I told you?”
“Not the whole tale of your foster-sons, no. Did Ešrendil do any damage?” FŽanor wanted to see a few scars on ManwŽ’s face when they met again.
“Nothing lasting unfortunately. It was excused at the time for ‘grief-madness.’ But the Valar are slow to forget –a crime against themselves—and Ešrendil wouldn’t have been granted rights to Fingolfin and Fingon if EŲnwŽ hadn’t persuaded the Valar.”
“See? Not so ally-less.” FŽanor teased. Maglor wasn’t a youth caught up in his first love so he smothered his flush. “And your son?”
Maglor’s face lit bright as sunlight glinting off glassy waters, as it ever did when he spoke of his son. FŽanor remember the child he’d met with hair purer then gold coins, pure as Laurelin’s light, but he’d not met him as his second grandson yet. He’d seen none but EŲnwŽ who’d helped Maglor free him from Mandos. His re-birth would be relieved soon. But first he had a brother to visit.
“Glorfindel is there as well. All of the recently sailed Elves are.”
“Then it looks like we are due a visit north, doesn’t it?”
Maglor looked back at him, and FŽanor’s breath stuttered in his lungs. Maglor’s eyes were mischievous, as astounding a silver as they’d been in his youth before Darkness touched them. If the stars could speak, Maglor’s voice would have surpassed theirs for radiance: “It does appear that way, Father.”
They walked out of the cage the Valar had tried to hold Maglor within, the enchantments folding open before FŽanor’s feet. North they rode, passed Tirion standing crystallized in beauty, and as confided as a flower trapped in stone. They kept their hoods drawn close about their faces as they passed the gates of the new settlement. Soon FŽanor would reveal himself and call all the Noldor to his will as he once had, but not yet.
FŽanor found him in Ešrendil’s water garden. Fingolfin was seated on a marble bench, a spread of parchment laying on his lap desk. He held a quill in his hand, and the parchment was dark with ink scratches, but at the moment the quill hung idle.
Fingolfin’s face was troubled, looking out at the waterfalls as if searching for the secret of the world. No artificial tranquility could be found here. Maglor had told him the strongest of will were fighting the Valar’s chains, fighting it with all the fierceness of spirit the Valar wished to control but never would.
As FŽanor drew closer he could make out the sketch Fingolfin’s harsh strokes had punched into the parchment. It was a fortress, battlements soaring up up up into a sky crowned with the sun and flanked with the white heads of encircling mountains. The suppression of memories was one of the ways the Valar tried to exert their control over the re-housed spirits, but it seemed they had failed rather badly at stealing these from Fingolfin.
Fingolfin turned at his approach. There was star-light in his eyes, struggling, struggling against the Valar’s enchantments trying to dim it, steal it, wrestle its majesty to their wills. Fingolfin’s soul was warring against Powers, but it had not been subjugated. Never.
There was a moment when their eyes met, just the space of one drumbeat, when Fingolfin looked at him and did not know him. FŽanor wanted to plunge his hand into the Valar’s chests and make cavities. He wanted them to know what it felt like to have their hearts ripped out and bleed, bleed, bleed like he’d been bleeding since he’d taken his first gasping breath in this new life and learned the magnitude of the suffering his family and people had endured, both because of his actions and Morgoth’s evil, but also the Valar’s own personal vengeance against the Exiles.
And then Fingolfin blinked, and it was like a film was peeling off his eyes and they leapt with brilliance enough to challenge the Silmarils. They were alive, alive and looking right at him. “FŽanor?”
Fingolfin stood, the lap desk clattering on the stones. FŽanor was before him in three swift strides. And then he hesitated, because he’d not touched Fingolfin since that day. The one that had sent him running like the terrified child he was to Mahtan’s forges; the one when he’d thought he’d found something in his child-brother’s eyes –himself.
Fingolfin did not reach for him either. He stood there, staring at him, and then he began to gather himself, wrap dignity and untouchability around him like a cloak of strength and magnificence. He was shutting FŽanor out again, raising an arrogant, kingly brow as if to ask if FŽanor wanted anything, confident as you please. Yes, FŽanor wanted something. And finally, after years of denial and so many games, he took it.
His lips fell like a star on Fingolfin’s and launched them into orbit. His lips caught Fingolfin’s like he wanted to warp them around every inch of him (he would). Their chests crashed against each other, Fingolfin’s fingers shaking and starving in his hair, pulling and pushing and don’t you dare stop. FŽanor put his hand on Fingolfin’s neck, on his pulse, to hold his head right where he wanted it, and heard the pound pound pound of Fingolfin’s heart opening and closing in sync with his own.
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