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The Price of Vengeance I by Encairion

Story notes:

I have re-written Maeglin’s story. There are a LOT of changes, and a number of things that will pop up in later stories in the series, so I recommend that those interested give Maeglin’s story a re-read :) Also, Finrod’s encounter with Gildor’s mother and the Wolf Clan has been re-written. Those changes can be found in chapters 45 and 46. I hope you enjoy!

Chapter notes:

Disclaimer: As always the world of Middle-earth belongs to Tolkien.

Warnings: Please heed the warnings listed for this story, they are quite serious.  Some of the major/heavy warnings include: rape, suicide, scenes of violence, graphic character death, abortion, child abuse, sexual scenes involving an underage character, and soldiers/captives suffering from PTSD.

I hope you enjoy reading this story, as that is my motivation for posting, and if there is anything you like I always love reviews :D

Character Pic Maglor:

Artist: LeafOfSteel


Finwë and Fëanor Family Trees:

The Price of Vengeance

Chapter 1

1490 Year of the Trees, Taniquetil, Mountain of Manwë, Valinor

Irimë chanted his name as his release shook him. Maglor’s teeth clenched like a link of chain, strangling back the first syllable of her name lest it fall from his lips like a curse.

He rolled off her, heaving like he’d just won one of Lord Tulkas’ foot races. His eyes closed, and she admired the aristocratic bones of his face and the bow of his lips. He looked so young lying there, Laurelin’s light casting golden shadows over his skin, reforging his face into a jewel set within a fall of black, black hair fanning the pillows.

She refused to see any wrongness in what they shared. It was love, and how could love ever be a sin? It went deeper than Valinorian laws, deeper than the blood they shared, deeper than the constraints of a moral code they’d been socialized to accept. She was the daughter of Finwë Ñoldóran and Indis the Fair; she refused to be judged and convicted because of love.

One day she would follow Maglor Fëanorion to his bed, publicly living under his roof and taking him for husband. It was only a matter of time before she’d made him love her as much as she loved him. It would be a terrible scandal, one even she would not bring it down on them lightly. They had position to think of, family, her son. But she would pay any price to be with him. She wanted to spend an Age with him, not a few snatched, guilt-ridden moments.

Maglor opened his eyes and studied her. A frown grew between his brows. She cupped his jaw, feeling the heat of his skin and the curve of his bones in her palm. “Hush now.” She spoke as she would to her son.

Maglor swept his thumb along the arch of her cheekbone, and she could feel its calluses from hours plucking harp strings. Her Golden Bard, how she loved him.

“When will you come again?” she asked.

He must be off, back to Tirion. Laurelin’s light waned, the Mingling fast approaching. The journey down the mountain would not wait. She doubted he’d make it back to the palace before night fell, but as long as he’d left the villa before her husband returned their affair would remain a secret a while longer.

“When I can.” He slipped off the bed and began searching the floor for his discarded clothes.

That wasn’t good enough. If she didn’t press now, while she had him here and could bind him with a promise to return to her, he might not come back. His family, who he loved (always) more, would keep him from her. Not consciously, Maglor hid his tracks as carefully as Irimë, but the Fëanorions were so wrapped up in each other that in the past Maglor had followed his father and brothers into the wilds of Valinor without even remembering to send word of his leaving for months.

“It grows so lonely here without you. Come back to bed, lie with me a moment.” She raised her hand to him, beckoning.

“You know I cannot linger.” He laced up his leggings, his back to her, the stiff line of his shoulders telling her guilt already wormed its way between them.

He had been taught loyalty at his father’s knee. But the weight stiffening his spine was not the shame of having slept with another man’s wife. It was the perceived betrayal of his father who could not abide the sight of her, and had treated her mother with scorn from the first.

Irimë could not let him leave like this. Her voice took on a vulnerable note, “You will not come back.” Folding desperation into it, hands fisting the sheets as he looked back at her, “Every time it is I begging for scraps of your love! Cannot you see how you are hurting me? One day you will leave me for another, less complicated woman. You are a prince of the Noldor. Countless women must throw themselves at you in Tirion while I am forgotten here on this mountain!”

“You know that is not true.” He came to her as she’d planned, touching her cheek softly.

“How can I know that when you are never here?” Her lip trembled. She hated lowering herself to these displays, but it became harder and harder to draw him back. The doubts stirred too often in his eyes when he looked upon her.

His mouth thinned. “I cannot slip away so easily. My brothers have long suspected I have a secret lover, only your identity remains unknown, and I cannot risk it.”

“I would risk it, for you.” She took his hand. He began to withdraw, a misstep on her part. She mustn’t pit his love for her against that which he bore his family. Resentment churned in her belly against them. “I know why you cannot though, and I forgive you for not being strong enough to face your father’s displeasure for me.”

She chased the retreating hands, capturing them as his eyes flicked away. She brought his hands up to her lips and kissed his palms, “I love you.”

He sighed. There was too much weight, too much weariness in that breath. She kissed his skin more desperately. “You know I only want to see you happy, don’t you? I will speak no more of your father. I know how you dislike it.”

“Forget it.” He drew his hands away. “And I will not speak of my father either, for you understand not the first thing about him, or us.”

Her eyes narrowed, hot words on her tongue, but she swallowed them back. There was no quicker way to drive Maglor from her bed than to speak ill of his family. She understood Fëanor a good deal better than Maglor, who could not see his father with clear eyes. Oh yes, she understood that selfish, spoiled creature.

“Let us not speak of it any longer, my love.” She smiled at him, a smile she knew was full of beauty. “Tell me when you shall return to me, for my skin longs for yours when you are away.”

“And my fingers speak to me of your skin’s touch in the quiet of the night,” Maglor’s voice curled in her toes.

“Do not leave me with nothing to fill the lonely nights.” She wrapped her arms around his waist where he’d withdrawn to the bed’s edge, and bent her head to kiss his chest, mouth running up to his shoulders. “Say you will return within the month.”

Maglor’s fingers combed through her hair. “It may be more.”

“No, return to me, my love!” She kissed his neck.

“Enough, Irimë, I cannot.”

She pushed away, mouth pinching. “You won’t. Do you think I am proud of how you have reduced me to begging? Do you think I wear these insecurities your absences have grown in me with pride? Once I could hold my head up with—”

“Do not pretend you don’t still. Your pride is as unbroken as ever.” Bitterness clung to the words.

Careful now. “Yes, I still have my pride; you would not love me as you do if I did not. But…” She bit her lip, gaze sliding off his. “These doubts…you have no idea how they plague me. And how I hate them.”

“I have told you I love you. I do not know what else you want from me.” He had softened to her again.

She knew him so well, knew just what act to play to turn him to putty in her hands, and just which ones to tread lightly about lest his voice cool. But the game had grown tricky of late. He’d matured into a man of full stature and come into his own. He’d learned what it felt like to have every eye in the room riveted on him, his beauty, his unparalleled talent, enthralled to the sound of his voice. He was no longer an inexperienced youth fresh from years in the wilds, eager to explore another’s body, with an open heart oh-so-easily plucked.

Before she could seal the game, the bedchamber door flung open. A fey spirit of summer-blue eyes, a grin like a pickle, knobby knees, and a wealth of golden hair more precious than all the gemstones in her peal-inlaid jewelry box, dashed in.

She snatched up the sheets, pressing them to her breast as her son skidded to a stop, wide eyes darting between Irimë’s sheet-covered form and Maglor’s naked chest. Her son’s fingers fluttered like nervous bird wings around a crudely carved toy boat. The sloppily stitched sail revealed its creator’s identity.

She swallowed thickly, cursing necessity and secrecy that had forced her to send the servants away lest they tell their lord, her husband, of Maglor’s presence in the villa. She’d sent Glorfindel to play by the stream, but it seemed he’d grown tired of sending his handcrafted boat sailing down the rocky mountain brook. Usually such play would entertain him for hours, but luck was against her this day. Without a minder to prevent him from bursting into his mother’s rooms like a whirlwind, her son had stumbled upon a scene he was far too young to witness but not young enough to misunderstand.

Glorfindel’s mouth was a soft O as his huge eyes trailed slowly over Maglor’s bare chest. Irimë’s stomach knotted as her son’s innocence revealed more than the normal curiously of a child observing a full-grown adult. He was too young to comprehend the desires that would turn his head and send heat coiling lower than his belly in a few years, but its first stirrings were already upon him: whispered conversations with other young boys as they speculated upon girls and that grow-up thing called sex, and the first tentative explorations under the bedcovers with only Telperion’s silver light for witness.

Maglor shifted under the child’s too-bold stare. “Glorfindel!” Irimë’s voice came harsh with fear, and snapped the child’s eyes back to her.

She wondered if this was some punishment of the gods for her immorality. But why must they punish her son with perverted leanings for the parents’ sin? For Glorfindel had been conceived in sin, the child of an incestuous relationship between aunt and nephew. Maglor didn’t know, Glorfindel didn’t know, and her husband hadn’t even a sliver of suspicion, but she knew. She saw the kindling of deviant desires in her son’s eyes as he looked upon, not only a male, but his unknown father, as punishment for her and Maglor’s flaunting of the laws.

If this was a punishment, than the Valar had underestimated Irimë, daughter of Finwë, if they thought she’d accept it submissively. She’d see this unnaturalness stamped out of her son if it broke her. She wouldn’t let her sins ruin her son’s life.

She’d gouge these perverse desires out of her son while he was yet young and malleable, so that when he reached maturity he’d be safely cloistered in the delights of female wiles. It was for the best. Glorfindel would only face a life of disgrace if any discovered abnormal leanings in him.

“Glorfindel darling,” she called her son forward.

“Mother,” a blush rode his cheeks, and he cast his gaze down as he approached her scantly covered body. He was too young to have witnessed his mother in bed with a man who was not his supposed father, but Irimë was almost thankful now that he’d discovered them. It was better to know of her son’s desires now, while he was still fixable.

His fingers curled shyly about his toy boat as he darted quick glances back at Maglor from beneath thick lashes. This would not do. Irimë placed her hand on Glorfindel’s storm of hair, calling her son’s attention back to her. “I am sure you are confused, even frightened—”

“I’m not frightened!” Glorfindel declared with all the fiery passion of young boys desperate to prove they weren’t ‘babies’ anymore.

She smiled down at him indulgently, “Of course not. I am very proud of you for being so brave.” He beamed at the praise, head tilting ever-so-slightly into the fingers combing through the golden coils of his hair. “In fact, I have a special mission for my Golden Knight if he is up to the task.”

He nodded, an earnest expression on his face. They’d played this game before, but never had it held such importance as it did in this moment.

“It is a secret that you must seal in your heart as if the Kingdom’s fate rested solely upon it. It must never pass your lips, do you understand?”

“Yes, Mother,” Glorfindel said, all seriousness.

“Good. Promise me, my Golden Knight, that you will never speak to anyone about Maglor being here today, or that you have seen us together. Especially not to your father. He won’t understand.”

Glorfindel gave her a shrewd look that jarred with the plumpness of cheeks still caring baby fat, and eyes usually so guileless. Irimë suppressed the urge to squirm under her son’s gaze. If there was any doubt before it was now torn away: Glorfindel knew what it meant for two adults to be unclothed in the same room, or knew as much as any child could. But he said, after a moment of tension in which Irimë feared he’d refuse her and break the rules of their childish game, “I promise, Mother. I won’t tell anyone Cousin Maglor was here, not even Father.”

Irimë winced at the reminder of Maglor’s familial relationship. As Maglor stepped around the bed to ruffled Glorfindel’s wild tuffs of gold, Irimë wondered if he’d ever suspected Glorfindel was his son. Glorfindel’s Vanyarin-fair hair and blue eyes could only do so much to disguise the familiar bone structure of his face. Irimë feared as Glorfindel matured his resemblance to his true father would become more apparent.

She wished she could have told Maglor that the child he was even now smiling at as he complimented the boy’s proudly displayed toy boat was his son. But she knew Maglor. He’d want a relationship with Glorfindel. He wouldn’t be able to hide his attachment, and he’d become jealous of another man’s place as father in his son’s life and end up doing something rash and foolishly noble (like claim Glorfindel publicly).

She wished he would. She wished he’d scoop them both up and carry them back to Tirion. But just as she knew Maglor would fight to be part of his son’s life, she also knew it would not end there. As much as Maglor loved her, even more so did he love his father and brothers, and if they forced him to choose between them and his lover, he would always, always, choose them.

So she kept the secret of Glorfindel’s sire buried in her heart, and watched Maglor enchant his son with the ease of an elder sibling of seven brothers.

She had Maglor escort a chattering Glorfindel from the room, her son skipping ahead and singing praise of his pony that he’d set his heart on Maglor meeting. After Irimë slipped on a gown and pulled her thick hair back, she followed the two most important men in her life down to the stables. She fisted her long skirts to keep the hem from tailing in the mud and horse droppings as she picked her way through the stables and out to the paddock beyond.

She found her son seated high on the back of Maglor’s storm-grey stallion, with her lover holding him from behind, those elegant fingers controlling the proud beast with a few deft pulls and the melody of his voice. The stallion ran along the encircling fence of the paddock like a beaver biting at its paw for freedom when caught in the hunter’s trap. The Elder did not break-in horses, so their mounts always had a touch of the wild in their blood. Lord Oromë’s creatures would consent to carry an Elf for a time, and on occasion form a life-long bond with their riders if there was great loved between them.

Glorfindel beamed as the wind danced through his hair, playing with it like sunlight. His cheeks were pink with wind’s kiss, and his eyes two pieces of the summer sky. Irimë had never seen him so happy with his false father Calaher, her husband. It made her yearn all the more to reveal the special bond her son shared with Maglor. But the knowledge threatened too much.

Glorfindel’s abandon pony stamped its foot in jealously where it stood neglected and envious beside the paddock’s fence. The pony’s white mane had been braided with little tinkering bells, and its tail threaded with colorful ribbons. Looking at her son’s flamboyantly decorated pony, Irimë wondered if she should have picked up on Glorfindel’s abnormalities before. Well, it was not too late to straighten out her son’s soft, bent edges and lead him back to the proper path.

As Maglor pulled the stallion into a walk and steered them back towards the gate and Irimë’s waiting figure, she caught his eye. With one look he stole her breath. Heat twisted in her belly and rose in her throat. Maglor’s mouth twitched in a half-smile that she felt in the pit of her stomach. Did he know what he did to her? With just one look she’d gone dry-mouthed with lust.

Maglor slid as lithe as a cat from the horse’s back, and reached up to haul Glorfindel down, his hands cupped under the boy’s armpits. As Maglor ruffled Glorfindel’s hair and flashed him a shared, secret smile between boys, Irimë feared the red infusing her son’s cheeks was not solely from exertion.

Maglor came to her. His eyes slid over the line of his shoulder to Glorfindel who watched them, his head cocked like a curious, wondering bird. Irimë would not let Maglor leave her without a kiss. She slipped her arms around his neck. Wishing she never had to let him go, she sealed her mouth to his.

He kissed her back with hunger. As he pulled away he whispered into their mingled breath, “I love you.”

She closed her eyes as if she could savor this moment, those words, and brand them into her heart forever. “Promise me, promise me you will return.”

“I promise.” Only then did she release him, his word given.

When the light of Laurelin waned –always too quickly on the days Maglor visited—she watched his back as he rode away. Glorfindel stood at her side, a forlorn look on his face as he watched his unknown father depart, thinking only that he was losing a rare friend after only finding him.

Irimë looked about their secluded villa nestled on the knees of Taniquetil with distaste. The Vanyar were a pious, remote people, secluded by their zealous devotion to the Valar. They peeked out of curtained windows as she walked their city streets –forever an outsider—as if they could judge her upon her devotion to the Valar just by the way she walked or the hour she shopped. Their ladies gossiped behind closed doors, trays of delicacies before them and the light wines the Vanyarin were famous for in their goblets. They picked over who’d been seen doing what, and who was neglecting their worship at Manwë and Varda’s feet, all the while secure in their own virtuousness and pharisaical thoughts.

Irimë’s Noldo blood set her apart, and her husband’s people judged her more harshly than the full-blooded Vanya. She did not go up the Mountain to worship the Valar, for which she earned scandalous looks and no playmates for her son, for who would sent their children to play with the child of an apostate?

Her husband, on the other hand, was an honored lord of the Vanyar, and a devoted follower of the Valar. It had been an arranged marriage. Finwë had wanted to foster closer ties with the Vanyar, seeing how Indis was still so poorly accepted as the Noldor’s Queen. Finarfin had already made an alliance with the Teleri by marring Eärwen. Not that the Noldor needed closer ties with the Teleri, for had their two kindred’s not sworn everlasting friendship?

Irimë had not objected to the marriage. She did not love her husband, but it was an advantageous political match, something she’d know all her life she’d one-day make. Maglor had been no more than a runny-noised child at the time, far from the man who’d one day steal her heart and make her bitterly regret the marriage vows that bound her to her husband without hope of honorable separation.

As the pine trees swallowed up her lover, Irimë stuffed down the regrets that rubbed like sandpaper against her throat, and steered her son inside to await her husband’s return from Manwë and Varda’s palace which he visited faithfully every day. She sat Glorfindel down and began the long labor of purging his unnatural desires. It would be a hard and painful road, but one she was determined to endure –for her son’s sake.
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