Eöl holds the small bundle in his hands and swallows thickly. His son his sleeping soundly, exhausted from being born. Thankfully he will never have to remember the sight that is going to haunt Eöl for the rest of his life. He's sitting at the edge of the bed, his love stretched on it behind him. As long as he focuses on the mircale that is his son he can ignore the blood on his hands. It runs down his forarms down to his elbows, stains his clothing, his face. Even his hair, given how often he tried to keep the silver strands out of his sight while he worked desperately on bringing his son into the world.
"You're the only thing I've left," Eöl whispers. "Forgive me, my son. I could't save your mother."
He takes a deep breath against the rising desperation. His chest tightens and Eöl walks out of the room without looking back. Closing the door is the right thing to do and he might never open it again. Nan Elmoth will be Irisse Nolofinwiel's grave. Eöl leans against the heavy wood for a moment to collect himself. He doubts he'll ever find the strength to put his wife to proper rest because nothing Nan Elmoth can offer will be good enough for her.
"I should've let her go while there was still time," Eöl says to his newborn son. There is no on else to talk to. He has been living alone for some time.
Not even single servant is left. All fled the dark forest over time. In the end Eöl barely noticed the lack of company anymore. Every task he had to do himself kept him busy, kept him from thinking too much. Until Ardhel, the White Lady of the Noldor blasted into his life. With her bright smiles and her endless energy she pushed him, teased him when he refused to partake into her silliness.
Yet she refused to let go. Appealled to his pride, challened him again and again. More than once he lost when they spared together. His wife has always been stronger than him, Eöl realized quickly. Brighter. He basked in her light.
Never he could've thought that childbirth could bring her down. Not when everything worked so well, moved so smoothly that even Aredhel herself refused the thought of venturing outside of the forest to give birth among her kin. Or under the supervision of a healer. Someone with more knowledge about the matter than Eöl. Anyone at all.
Ages ago he assisted the women in his tribe while they journeyed West. But centuries passed since then.
Eöl lets out a sob. On his left they prepared a room for their child, Ardhel proofing that she's indeed a Noldo and very skilled with wood carving. They made plans, togther. Dreamed of the future.
Now it's all gone.
His beloved wife died in a pool of blood because Eöl didn't know where the blood came from. In the end she didn't even respond to his calls anymore. Fearing for his child's life he bascially cut his son out of his mother's cold womb.
Lost, Eöl wanders outside. He needs to get out of the house. It feel like a grave and when he takes a moment to look back in Eöl settles the deep rooted convinction that he's never going to return. For the shake of his son of his son.
With a sigh and a spell on his lips Eöl seals the doors. Trees groan as they move, roots rise from the ground and hide what has been his sanctuary in the last thousand years.
Now it will be a resting place for his wife.
"Farewell, my love," Eöl says and sheds a single tear. "I hope your tales are true and you'll be reborn in the holy land beyond the sea."
Then he takes his horse and leaves Nan Elmoth, Lómion safely strapped to his chest.
Despite his spontanous descision Eöl is prepared for the long, hard journey. At least he thinks so. Stepping out of the familiar shadows of the trees into the starlight isn't easy and the sun even more unfamiliar. But Lómion stirs and reminds him that Nan Elmoth is no place for a child. Unsafe and now full of death. His grief would quickly turn into anger, resentment even.
Eöl knows the only wise act it to bring his son to his kin. Aredhel spoke often of the loss they suffered over the years and the Noldo will know what to do with a newborn. Unlike him who rarely came in contact with one, even on the great journey before his tribe split apart and went seperate ways.
Yet the first difficulties arise just a few steps behind the border of his realm. Where to turn?
Left lies Doriath, his own kin. But he doesn't wish to face Thingol. He hates him and his kingdom more than he resents the Noldor settling in Beleriand. Besides it questionable how well his son would be received among the Sindar. Already Lómion sprouds black hair and possesses a darker shade of skin. Even if he never breathes the name of the mother everyone can guess that his child a of mixed blood.
Shaking his head Eöl decides against turning to the source of help he knows best.
But the thought of asking the Sons of Fëanor leaves him uncomfortable as well. Having Curufin as competition so close to his doors never sat well with him but what bothers Eöl more is meeting Celegorm. Aredhel spoke often of him, confessed the young and wild love their shared before the feelings turned into a strong friendship.
Can leave Lómion with him? A potenial rival?
Eöl doesn't know how he would react if he had to raise his beloved's child, sired by another man.
Beside that the Sons of Fëanor are not his wife's closest kin. Close to heart maybe but the infamous rift between the Houses of Fëanor and Fingolfin even reached his ears.
Eöl refuses to risk it and manages to cross Himlad nearly unseen.
The screams she let out during the birth of his wife haunt his mind.
The question what to feed his son solves itself. Perhaps Nan Elmoth senses that Eöl will never return for two days after he steps out into the sun a single she-wolf turns up. Eöl has seen her before and knows her not to be in leage with Sauron's packs. She trails after him, clearly intend on following and when Lómion cries the first time because he's hungry the she-wolf offers her own milk.
Eöl accepts the gift and doesn't question where it comes from.
This way they make their way West for that's the only direction Eöl has in terms of finding his wife's kin. He doubts that he will ever find the hidden city, can effort to search for it with autumm approaching quickly. Not with the life of his son depending on it.
Eöl does his best to nurse Lómions spirit - the name Eöl decided on shortly after his decision to offer his child a better life. If his son is to be raised among the Noldor he should at least have a connection to his parents. Lómion - twighlight - shall forever be a symbol for the union between Ardhel and him, short and beautiful as it was it fits his son perfectly.
Hunger gnaws at Eöl. Though he can't tell if it Lómion's or his own. Perhaps it's just the desperation, the grief finally making itself known. Eöl holds on. He can't break down down. The first settlement of the Noldor is still weeks away. So he sings to his son. Tells him of the Great Journey, the beauty of Beleriand they countered. Sings him the tales of the stars, speaks of Tauron the great hunter.
For Eöl suspects he'll not have long to teach his son those things himself. Right now his son keeps him alive. Keeps him upright. But who knows how long. Already Eöl can feel the strain, the drag and pull in his soul.
If it weren't for Lómion, he'd have followed Aredhel. Slowly faded into nothingness, because living in Nan Elmoth without his wife is meaningless.
Eöl rides westward across Beleriand and feels lost but the screams she let out during the birth of his wife haunt his mind.