Summary: *canonical gap-filler* Tolkien left a huge gap after Fëanor died. What happened to Maedhros in Angband after he was captured? What became of the Noldor and Maglor as their newly appointed ruler and of them abandoning Maedhros? Behold the missing tale.
Disclaimer: I own nothing of Tolkien's world. I wish I did, but it all belongs to the Tolkien Estate. I make no profit from these ventures of delving into the Master's legendarium, but I do own the uploaded "book cover" for this particular story (well, 95% of it. I cropped a basic outline of a hand from Google Images, but everything else was me).
A/N: Updates will be on Thursdays (please go to my profile for an update on this matter, as of July 2016). Normally I include A/N at the beginning or end of each chapter, primarily to thank any reviewers of the previous chapter, but for the sake of the continuity of this story, there will be no A/N on my part anywhere in the story unless absolutely necessary. Any and all reviews will still be replied to, of course, and any reviews given are much appreciated. Thank you in advance for reading. And now until the end, I bid farewell!
Warning: There is no content of any sexual nature to warrant a Rated M, but the story will most definitely progress to a hard T in multiple chapters, but I will not forewarn it in advance due to not wanting to spoil the chapters demanding it. For any who have difficulty handling graphical descriptions or a graphic narrative, you have been warned.
Name Index: at this early point in time, it's irrational to attest that the Quenya form of Noldorin names were already provided their Sindarin rendition. At the time of Maedhros' captivity, the Sindar had yet to socially interact with the Exilic Noldor to the point of Sindarin adaptation, and the Noldor still have yet to learn Sindarin. Below are the provided Quenya renditions of their Sindarin names.
Fëanáro = Fëanor
Maitimo/Nelyo = Maedhros (Nelyo being the abbreviation of his father-name, Nelyafinwë)
Makalaurë = Maglor
Tyelkormo = Celegorm
Curufinwë = Curufín
Moringotto = Morgoth
**any abbreviations of father-names serve as the hypocoristic form of address, from The Shibboleth of Fëanor PM.352
Fírië i Noldóran
Maitimo's eyes widened as he stared at the soft dust, the numbness coursing through him causing his mouth to slack open and his hands to still completely. The fine powdery substance fell like snow through his fingers where he had been grasping Fëanáro's body just moments before. He distantly heard his brothers' exclamations of shock around him, nothing but a garble of words to his ears and he could make out nothing of what they or anyone else shouted. Not that he tried. He may as well have been frozen, and only when his lungs burned with the need for air did he will himself to breathe again.
Ash. His hands took on a perceptible tremble, and not a minor one. They shook, becoming caked as the ash continued to matt in the blood coating his fingers. The trembling spread to the rest of his body, but Maitimo could not rip his eyes away from where his father's dying form, now dead, had just lain, where now rested an elongated mound of ash that gradually blew into the air from bursts of harsh wind. His father…what was this? His father's body –
The frantic shout of his name was like a strike to the face and his eyes flew up, finding himself faced with Makalaurë who stood above him on the other side of Fëanáro's corpse – no. Not corpse. Whatever had become of the slain body, because there was now no body in sight. Just ash. All ash, and why ash? What had just happened?
Maitimo realized his eyes had fallen to again stare at the mound he was kneeling in and he returned them up to Makalaurë's distraught face. His brother was close to hyperventilating, his dark hair askew and whipping savagely around his neck in the violent wind. But his eyes…their bright grey were smothered in a despair beyond the power of words, and the utter perplexity breaking through the dismay in his expression mirrored Maitimo's own at what they had just witnessed. The shock gradually receding from his mind, Maitimo finally made sense of Makalaurë's shouts and realized that his brother must have been attempting to garner his attention for some time now.
Maitimo inhaled a gulp of air, his hands tightening into fists, but there was nothing but ash for him to grip. He looked around him, at his brothers, at the scores of Elves of the massive host of Noldor that had encircled them to offer some small mote of protection after Fëanáro's final command to halt. But now even they were immobilized, swords and spears drawn and held at the ready, but many of their gazes had turned inward at the transformation of their king's body. A deafening silence fell over the scorched steppe, for even his brothers' and any others' cries and murmurings had died down to nothing.
His brothers. Maitimo turned his attention to the six of them, feeling as though he were underwater: any sounds were a muted distortion and his mind felt abnormally slow. Their faces swam, their expressions contorted with varying emotions so profound that they could not suppress them, but all sharing that dismay that only seemed to grow more real the more the reality set in of what had just happened.
The beseeching whisper forced his attention to the fore again and he looked up. "Makalaurë –"
Makalaurë nodded quickly, appearing to barely hold himself together. "Lord brother, we have to leave. We have to leave now. They are coming!"
Maitimo nodded, forcing himself to his feet and paying no heed to how his frame shook. He could feel the countless eyes focused on him as he lifted his head. "Vëantur!" he called, and he was relieved to hear his voice remain steady, even as his heart seemed to palpitate out of control. The Commander was nearby, stepping in from the ranks congregated around the mound of ash, the brilliant armor they donned coldly reflecting the scarce stars that managed to break through the overhead clouds and brewing gales. Tall and lean and with hair askew of dark hue, Vëantur gave a halfhearted bow to Maitimo. Maitimo could see the weariness in his frame for all that his eyes remained hard and bright, though sprinkled with horror and shock all too real. His armor, exquisitely crafted of fine steel, was splattered with blood, particularly over the breastplate. His sword was drawn, the thrust lowered, and the blade matted with black blood.
"Highness," Vëantur answered.
"Take the vanguard," Maitimo said, his voice sounding abnormally loud among the silence. "We make for the Grey Fields, with all the haste we can muster. The Enemy horde comes and by their foul speech on the winds they are not far." He looked west at the mountains, at the upward path to pass over them that lay not a league away, barely visible in the dreary dark. "Mayhap we will lose their chase within Ehtelë Sirion, but send runners of the swiftest foot on ahead to warn the encampment. We may have to migrate from the Lake if we fail to lose them in the mountains."
Vëantur bowed again, and in spite of the cold face he bore Maitimo could see the relief in his eyes at being given an order to follow, given anything to do. "Hanyan, aranya," he heeded, and Maitimo inwardly started at the title, the wave of surprise that overcame him nearly paralyzing him where he stood at the very real revelation of what the death of Fëanáro meant for him as his firstborn. The Commander donned his helm and turned to the Minyahossë, the First Company, and began relaying orders. The spell that had fallen over them was broken as warriors began to stir.
"Prince Tyelkormo!" Maitimo went on, turning to his fair brother. Though Tyelkormo did not look so fair now, appearing as frozen as Maitimo felt. At his name he turned his daunted gaze to Maitimo, who forced himself not to react to the sight of his little brother in such pain. He could not. "Go among the Pilindossë and Ehtyari and send a score of archer units to the rearguard," he said, naming the two companies of the army comprised of the best archers and spearmen. "They are not to engage the Enemy. No one is," he emphasized, turning a hardened gaze on the surrounding Elves. "But should our foes of any ilk reach us while crossing the mountains, the units need to keep them at bay. We cannot afford to have them follow us unto the Lake."
A silence followed the command, a cross between disbelieving and confused. Tyelkormo raised an eyebrow, the faint traces of incredulity breaking through his bleak expression. "We will not fight them?"
Maitimo frowned, suppressing a flare of frustration. "So long as those demons of fire are among them we cannot!" The words came out harsher than intended, but it worked in silencing any protest, from Tyelkormo or anyone else. "We know not their make nor from whence they come, and I will not go to discover what other banes Moringotto would unleash on us if provoked. We lost the upper hand and must now adapt, and to endeavor to do so this day will cost us more lives than we have already lost." Maitimo knew as well as every Noldo listening that he just spoke the greatest understatement he could have voiced. They had lost far more than just a few lives and Maitimo could read the uncertainty in every gaze, the doubt of being able to recover from this fatal blow dealt to the Host. But he could not stop to reflect, to think. If he did, he genuinely feared drowning in it. "We march!" he bellowed across the field. "Gather up your arms and move to formation. I would fain reach the mountain pass ere the Enemy has us in their sight!"
The sharp command incited them into action and they moved swiftly with purpose, if stiffly, while orders were delivered to the warriors by captains and commanders. And his brothers, but he could not look at them. Not now. While the clatter of weapons and shields and swift feet pounded around him, Maitimo looked down at his feet where rested the bright armor of his father and the ashes it lay in. Ashes that continued to gradually blow away in the surges of wind. He could faintly hear Tyelkormo issuing instructions to those under his command in his powerful baritone, the Quenya falling rapidly from his tongue. Further orders issued from his other brothers, from the commanders of the five Companies, but the shouted words all blurred together to coalesce into a barrage of chaos in his head and Maitimo had to shut them out. Just only for a moment.
Makalaurë had not moved from where he still stood opposite him, but Maitimo did not dare look at him either.
He crouched, unknowing as to whether to avoid touching the ash or to gather all of it up. His chest tightened and he clenched his jaw, shoving away the thoughts the ash impelled. His father's sword was sheathed, half buried in the dust, and Maitimo took up the blade. Ash fell from the scabbard as he lifted it and some remained in the crevices of the intricate carvings in the hilt's hardened leather, but he did not blow it away. This ash…it was no ash to be blown off an object as common dust.
"Makalaurë." He spoke the name so softly that it almost went unheard even to his own ears, but his brother kneeled immediately. Maitimo lifted his head, looking into his eyes but somehow managing to avoid them all the same. "Take up his armor," he quietly bid, his voice slightly quivering. Even he could hear it. "Have the twins take up his helm and shield, and take no protestation from them. We need to move and quickly."
Makalaurë furrowed his brow at the mention of protestations, but understanding dawned in his eyes as silence met his unspoken question. He stared at Maitimo, his fair face contorted and eyes darkened with too many raw emotions. Strands of his dark hair continued to slip from his braids to be tossed carelessly in the wind, across his scratched face. But for all the understanding in his stare, he still looked at Maitimo in disbelief, his gaze pleading.
"Nelyo," he breathed, but Maitimo shook his head, feeling his heart twist. He knew what vicious indecision was waging war inside Makalaurë.
There would be no burial, and Maitimo felt suffocated by the weight of what it all meant. But in this matter he really was powerless.
There was nothing to bury.
"I know," he whispered bitterly. His face hardened. "Rise up, Makalaurë, and be swift. I would not dishonor our sire with failure to act now."
Makalaurë gave a stiff nod and began to gather the pieces of armor together, calling for the twins to help him with short words. Maitimo stood and moved away as they came, turning his focus onto the activity around him. And he looked east, narrowed eyes spying out the horrid sight of those three peaking towers that pierced up into the dark gales riding low over them. On the air he could smell the Orcish stench and could hear their rancorous march across the plains. He failed to see any distant glimpses of fire that would signify whether those fiery demons creatures with them, but there was no reason why they would not. They were marching west, as swiftly as Orcs might go. Simple as that.
They needed to fly across the mountains now.
Quickly enough they were moving, hastened on by the knowledge that the horde of the Enemy moving up on them came with creatures of a terror beyond Elven gen. Maitimo was tempted to send out scouts to figure out how many the horde numbered, to determine what beasts exactly they might be made to face in the mountains if the rocky range failed to deter the fiends. But they could not spare the time, not for the scouts to make their careful flight across the land and not for them to adapt to whatever information the scouts might bring back. The sooner they reached the Ehtelë Sirion Pass the greater the chance was they would cross to the other side unmolested, and so would not be forced to move their encampment along with the nissi and children who waited there for their neri to return. The remaining league passed under their feet far faster than the first time and Maitimo began issuing new orders to coordinate entering the mouth of the mountain pass. Anything to avoid a bottleneck.
The din of noise was clamorous, but Maitimo only just caught the call from where he marched behind the vanguard. He turned, impatiently brushing away loose hair that whipped in his face, and he spotted Tyelkormo hurrying through the ranks, gracefully weaving in and out of the regiments of the Tatyahossë and Nelyahossë, the second and third Companies. Maitimo raised a hand in acknowledgment and waited, gesturing those Elves nearest to him to keep moving. Tyelkormo slowed down as he approached, looking flustered but still breathing steadily. But there was an anxious light in his eyes that made Maitimo stiffen, his mind already formulating strategies in face of the worst scenario he might hear.
"My lord brother," he said in a slightly upraised voice. Even then, the storm and clamor of Elves still nearly drowned him out. A mighty bow and quiver were secured at his back, arrow fletchings peeking over his shoulder, and he gestured behind him, leading Maitimo's eyes over the multitude of warriors that streamed over the rock-strewn terrain that sloped downward from where they stood. "We need your insight on what the Enemy does. Both with Curufinwë and now Makalaurë I have discussed it and both bid me to seek you out."
Maitimo frowned, looking back out at the plains stretching to the horizon, but the dark obscured them too much. "And what does the Enemy do?"
Tyelkormo opened his mouth but hesitated, looking from Maitimo to the plain and back again. He shook his head with a sigh. "I cannot guess, Nelyo. Alcarion and Coromindo were the unit furthest along the rearguard. They reported being unable to spy Moringotto's horde, and nor could I, but they directed my attention in the distance where only three Orcs march. I could see no others and they looked to be carrying a banner, though it is a banner uncouth and foul as one could ever be. They must have run at high speed to gain ground on us. But they are careful to stay beyond the reach of the archers' arrows, yet press on to follow us nonetheless."
Maitimo's frown deepened. "Only three?"
Tyelkormo nodded, shifting his stance as he was inadvertently jostled by a passing Elf. "Yes. I can see no others, but I know you can sense their foulness in the earth not far off, just made obscure by the cover of darkness. I would send scouts to discern their whereabouts in truth, but I fear this may be some ruse and so I would have your counsel first."
Maitimo looked again out to the scorched plains that disappeared into the dark, only the silhouette of those three towering mountains marking their end. "What says Makalaurë? Did he look himself?"
Tyelkormo shook his head, a nigh indiscernible cringe passing over his expression. "All I tell you I told to him, and he said to seek you out."
Maitimo lifted an eyebrow at the wince. "And?"
Tyelkormo's face was unreadable. "He believes they mean to surrender."
Maitimo stared at him, eyes suddenly sharpening upon his brother as a whole manner of incredulity shone out from them.
They meant to what?
Amrod and Amras: I consider both of the twins alive during the First Age, rejecting Tolkien's last minute postulation that Amrod died in the burning of the ships as presented in "The Shibboleth of Fëanor" due to C. Tolkien's hesitance and confusion on the matter of it ever occurring, and primarily because they were both alive in the published version of the Silmarillion. Likewise, they will therefore share the same mother-name.
Fírië i Noldóran: Death of the King [of the Noldor]
Ehtelë Sirion: Quenya for Eithel Sirion
Hanyan, aranya: "I understand, my king."
Nissi (s. nís)/Neri (s. nér): Quenya equivalent of Sindarin ellith (s. elleth)/ellyn (s. ellon)