A/N: This is my take on what is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting relationships in Tolkien; the one between the Peredhil brothers and Maglor. It's pretty light-hearted to begin with but seeing as this is 'Oath of Fëanor' stuff, things will get darker. There will be bits of humour later on (I just can't help myself) but there will be nastiness. In fact, the rating will probably go up.
I'm warning you now, there will be canon deviations in this fic, so if you're a rabid canon junkie, please, be advised, I'm giving you fair warning. I have my justifications for doing so, if anyone really wants to read them, let me know and I'll post them at the end of the fic; they're quite spoiler-ridden and far too lengthy to post within the story itself.
Huge thanks to the Deir-ty girls for all the encouragement and to Nemis and Arabella Thorne for looking over this before I unleashed it on the public. Nemis; I'm especially grateful to you for pointing out that no, Elrond is not Armenian. That could have been embarrassing. J Arabella; thank you for the doggy-biscuit and for reminding me that I do have homework to do. It's coming along I swear. :p
This is my first attempt at a serious fic, so constructive criticism is welcome. Enjoy.
Chapter 1: His brother's keeper.
The enquiry was met with only dark, empty rooms. He peered into the gloom to look for any signs of life. He found none; the house was completely still and had been for some time.
Off looking for Ada2 again are you Ammë? To answer his own question, the little half-elf padded across to the morning- room window with silent bare feet and pulled back the heavy tapestry that kept out the night's chill. With eyes as grey as the morning that greeted him, he discerned a figure on the beach that confirmed his suspicions as to the whereabouts of his mother.
"He's not coming back," he intoned ruefully, as much to himself as to the lonely form of his mother, Elwing, gazing out to sea. He turned from the dreary scene before him and drew back the coverings from the other windows to let the burgeoning morning into the house.
Elrond son of Eärendil had been through this routine countless times before; He'd open the windows, then wake his brother Elros, heat the water for washing, wake Elros again, prepare breakfast, forcibly drag Elros from his bed, eat breakfast, wash and make Elros wash despite his protests. After that, Elwing would usually break off her shoreline vigil and they would adjourn to the study where their mother would teach the boys languages, history and math.
Twenty minutes later, there was still no sign of Elwing. Elrond sat in the study, fidgeting with his quill, half-reading a book on Quenya, trying to shut out his brother's noisy attempts to slay the Balrog in the corner with his trusty wooden sword. Every five minutes or so, he would look up to the door, hoping for his mother to walk in at that instant. Eventually, he sighed and hopped down from his stool. Before he got to the door Elros forgot his imaginary fell-foe and clumped over to his brother.
"Where're you going?"
"I'm going to get Ammë," Elrond replied.
"She'll be here in a minute." With that, Elros took enthusiastic swipes at an advancing horde of orcs.
Elrond rolled his eyes; Elros would try anything to delay his lessons. "I'm going to get Ammë," he re-asserted. He paused by the door as he watched Elros take on a particularly nasty orc. "Elros, perhaps you shouldn't play with that in here."
The battle paused again. "What?"
Elrond took the sword off him before his brother could go on the defensive. "You'll break something."
Immediately the warrior gave way to the petulant child. "I will not! Give that back!" His protests fell on deaf ears.
"You'll get it back after the lesson. Why don't you start on your calligraphy?" Elrond sent silent thanks to Eru3 that he had managed to get the sword off his brother. He was a handful at the best of times but armed he was positively lethal.
"Elros stamped his foot. "No!"
"I'll tell Ammë."
"And I'll tell Ammë you were being mean!"
"Fine." Once again Elrond cast his eyes skyward. "I'll be back soon. Go on, you can start without us." Elros stared back from beneath a furrowed brow, his bottom lip contorted into an expression of misery. Elrond said nothing to this display; he merely raised his eyebrows in expectancy. Elros knew then that there was no point in arguing- his brother had given him 'the look'. Elros spun theatrically on the ball of his foot, arms swinging and sighing with the injustice of it all. He made a show of opening his book and unrolling a piece of parchment while Elrond watched him. Elrond, satisfied that Elros was being obedient, at least for now, left to find Elwing. As soon as the door had snapped shut, Elros slapped his quill down on the desk and scowled. His brother had no sense of fun. He thought he was so big but why should he always be telling him what to do? He wasn't that much older.
It was so unfair.
The house had been their home in Arvenien4 for as long as Elrond could remember.
He had always been told stories of his noble ancestors, though to look at their home you would not think that the family had such illustrious forbears. The house was,
comfortable but relatively plain and simple. His parents had chosen that humble
abode on Elwing's insistence; it afforded a good view of the harbour and was only a short walk from the beach. In short, it was as close to the sea as possible, so Elwing would always be as close to her husband as possible when his mariner's wanderlust took hold.
Elrond made his way along the path that curved round from their house and down to the beach. He half skipped, half walked the path, swinging Elros' toy sword beside him in a rare concession to childishness.
"Elrond!" Elrond stopped in his tracks and spun around to face whoever had called him. He saw his mother's serving girl hurrying down the path towards him. She looked angry. Elrond closed the distance between them and bowed stiffly.
"Mae govannen Nárwen."5
"I'll mae govannen you, young Peredhil!" she snapped. Damn, thought Elrond, it didn't work. He had observed that for his brother, politeness usually did the trick with his mother but it was clear to him now that when Nárwen was annoyed about something there was no escape.
"What in the name of Manwë6 do you think you're doing out here on your own? And why aren't you at your lessons?" She felt strange saying this to Elrond. This rant was usually Elros' dubious privilege.
"Ammë isn't home; she's down by the shore. She's late for our lessons so I came to find her."
The light of comprehension dawned on Nárwen's face. Now it all made sense.
"You shouldn't go wandering though, it's not safe. Anything could happen."
Elrond looked nonplussed, "nothing ever happens here."
Her expression hardened a little. "Elrond, your parents are very important people, which makes you important too. And little important people shouldn't go charging around on their own. Understand?"
He nodded solemnly, "All right, I'll be more careful."
"I just want you to be safe; I'm not saying this to scare you-"
"-I'm not scared. I understand, I do."
Looking into his earnest little face, her frown melted into a maternal smile. "All right then." She motioned towards the toy sword, "Been playing soldier have you?"
"Oh." The smile faltered a little.
"Elros was playing with it in the study; I was worried he might break something. He shuffled and smiled sheepishly, "I was trying to be safe."
Nárwen nodded to him and Elrond did not notice that her expression was now tinged with melancholy. "Very commendable young Peredhil.7 Go on back to the house, I'll fetch your mother." She shook her head as she watched him round the path back to the house, now clutching the sword seriously by his side. The boy deserves a childhood. Am I the only one that sees it?
Nárwen approached Elwing cautiously, not quite sure how to interrupt her. She cleared her throat while keeping a respectful distance. "My lady?"
"What is it?" Elwing continued scanning the horizon, her shoulders hunched, arms wrapped around herself.
"I just ran into your firstborn."
"He's been waiting for you at the house."-
Elwing dropped her arms to her sides, "I'm late." She turned around and started immediately towards the house. "The boy's lessons, I lost track of time…" She carried on admonishing herself and apologizing to no one in particular until Nárwen interrupted.
"How long have you been down here my lady?"
She shrugged her shoulders and hitched her skirts to begin the climb up the path, "A few hours maybe."
"A few hours?" Nárwen tripped over a clump of grass that she had not noticed in her astonishment. She jogged to catch up with her superior before composing herself and continuing, "My lady, begging your pardon but do you think it's wise to leave them alone for so long?"
Elwing hardly paid the question any mind, "I'm sure they're fine."
Nárwen wouldn't let it go, "If you need me in the mornings, or I could stay in the house"-
Elwing spun round, "We've discussed this before and I'll say it again, that won't be necessary. Elrond's a responsible boy, he watches over Elros better than anyone could."
Better than his parents? Nárwen thought things she would never say.
Elwing entered the unusually quiet study to find Elrond perched on his stool, clutching his left arm, his eyes rimmed red. Elros was standing in the corner eyeing his brother warily. He had reclaimed his sword.
Elwing folded her arms, "What's happened?" She asked forcefully. Elrond leapt off his stool and ran to his mother, burying his face in the folds of her gown.
"He hit me," said a muffled voice.
She squatted down to his level, "Oh, let me see." She rolled up his sleeve gently to see that the area just above the wrist was already starting to yellow. He would have an impressive bruise by tomorrow. She tilted his head up to look at her and wiped away his tears. "Do you want Ammë to kiss it better, hm?" Elrond's lips curled upwards slightly at the edges; he tried to preserve his expression of suffering but he couldn't help reacting favourably to the attention his mother was giving him.
Suddenly, Elwing snapped her fingers at a point behind her and her voice lost all trace of tenderness. "Where do you think you're going? Put the sword in the corner and sit at the desk. Now!" Elros sighed in defeat. His escape attempt foiled, he surrendered himself to his fate. His mother would probably make him do extra calligraphy- again. He silently cursed his noisy feet. He could never, try as he might, make his footfalls as effortlessly silent as his brother's.
"Elrond," Elwing's voice was soft once more again, "why don't you go downstairs to the kitchen? Ask Nárwen for some salve alright?" Elrond nodded glumly and turned away. Just before closing the door he saw Elros looking entreatingly up at his mother, guilt written all over his face.
"Little monster!" Nárwen slapped the lid back on the tub on ointment with such force it made Elrond jump. "No self-control that child." She rolled his sleeve back down after giving his arm one last rub. "How does that feel?"
Elrond poked the muscle gingerly, "Cold."
"Well that means the salve is working silly." She put the tub in the cupboard out of the boy's reach. "You know Elrond; you shouldn't antagonize your brother." Elrond was not sure exactly what 'antagonize' meant but he guessed that Nárwen was implying that what happened was his fault. He was shocked at the injustice of such an idea.
"I was just trying to help." His bottom lip trembled. Nárwen moved to forestall the threatened deluge by sitting and hoisting the wronged boy into her lap.
"I know, I know," She rocked him gently, "but it's not your job to try and keep your brother out of trouble."
"Who else will?"
They sat in silence for a while until Elrond piped up, "how does it work?"
"How does what work?"
"Well," she pondered the question for a moment, "It's a painkiller. It cools the injury, makes it numb."
"Yes, but how?"
"It's," pause, "got," another pause, "special herbs in it."
"Which herbs? How do they work?"
Elros had his faults but she had to concede, in a lot of ways, he was the easier to deal with.
1. Ammë = 'Mum/Mom'
2. Ada= 'Dad.'
3. Eru = 'The One', another name for Illuvatar, the creator.
4. Arvenien = Land West of the Mouths of Sirion
5. Mae Govannen = 'Well met.'
6. Manwë = Chief Valar, Lord of Arda.
7. Peredhil = Half-elf.
Elrond = Either 'Star Dome' or 'Elf of the Cave,' depending who you talk to.
Elros = 'Star Foam'
Elwing = 'Star Spray'
Eärendil = 'Sea lover'
Nárwen = 'Fiery maiden'