Alone in his tent, Gil-Galad still marveled at the spear he had been given, running his fingers on its shaft. Aeglos he had called it, for its point shone in a pale light and he thought it was sharp enough to defend a whole kingdom. The war was over, yet he was glad he had come in possession of such a great weapon and even happier to have been taught how to use it properly. And he was quite gifted at it, they had said.
The Vanyar had long been a folk that had dwelled solely in tales, for Gil-Galad, and even then, aside from his mother and his cousin Idril, none had been able to provide him much information about the Fair Elves. But ever since they had landed in Beleriand, at the beginning of the War of Wrath, he had spent much time with them, fighting along their side, and it had been an unexpected opportunity for him to finally meet some of his mother's kin. And it was them, who were famous for their spears, who had gifted him with Aeglos, as a token of their encounter - for they had failed to convince Gil-Galad to go to Aman with them.
He had also met Finarfin, his grand-uncle, who lead the host of the Noldor, those who had not come to Beleriand, and It had been him who had almost persuaded Gil-Galad to sail West and seek the Undying Lands. Finarfin's words had filled his heart with dreams of a wonderful land, where his parents had been born and where most of his remaining family dwelled - he then understood this longing he had seen in his mother's eyes. But there were lord Círdan and many others, who had survived the War of the Wrath, and they would not leave Middle-Earth yet. There was also lady Galadriel, who had refused the safe return to Valinor straight away, and Gil-Galad had thought it had not been false pride from her part. And, at last, he, the High King, was offered the possibility of ruling on a whole new realm, was it not his duty to stay by his people?
His spear was not the only noteworthy present he had been offered, since the war was over. He had a new crown too, though he had not put it on thus far, and it was still resting in its case which he kept in the precious chest he had inherited from his parents. Gil-Galad had certainly not foreseen Celembribor, with whom he was second cousin, would turn out to be such a pleasant companion, for, like many others, he had become distrustful of the descendants of Fëanor since the kinslayings. However the two of them had instantly gotten along well, so well that the smith had already forged Gil-Galad forged a crown and it was a splendid piece work.
He meant to take it out of the chest, to admire it, but as he glanced one last time at his spear a small sound, a mere flutter, drew his attention. Gil-Galad turned around, thinking a squire had entered the tent to bring him some food - instead he found himself confronting an unannounced guest.
- You... he breathed.
Gil-Galad, startled, dared not speak anymore. He could not help but take a few steps back, unsure of how he should behave. On one hand, he was facing a murderer - worst, a kinslayer -, on the other hand, his father's dearest friend was paying him a visit.
- However unworthy I can be of showing up in front of you, Gil-Galad, I beg of you to grant me some of your time, said Maedhros, in a low and pleading voice.
He could say no more and he stood still, awaiting. Yet Gil-Galad still felt undecided as he stared intently at Maedhros. He was shocked to find him so unlike the tall redhead Elf he had greatly admired as a young child - had he not once thought he was the handsomest of the Eldar? Maedhros had become but a shadow of his former self, the one his mother had called 'The well-shaped', and his face was gaunt and his eyes darker than ever.
- What has brought you here? asked Gil-Galad, softly.
He was not afraid of the Fëanorian, despite his grim appearance, but he hardly could be delighted either.
- I wished to see you... to see his son...
- You sought a mere look at me, then? exclaimed Gil-Galad, suspicious.
- Truth is... I miss him, most cruelly, admitted Maedhros, running his hand across his face and his copper hair.
- Did you not fear I might not be so well disposed toward you? Lord Cirdan and I have reached the havens of Sirion too late, however had we been there during the attack, you and I would have fought on opposite sides.
Gil-Galad's tone had been harsher than what he had meant, yet he still recalled too well the countless dead bodies of Elves that had fallen in an insane bloodshed. They had fled the armies of Morgoth only to be slain by those of their own folk and Gil-Galad had been utterly ashamed and appalled that a friend of his father - not just any friend, his cousin and best friend - had lead such a deadly strike on innocents.
- You may loathe me... for all that I have done, you would not be wrong to do so.
Maedhros let out a small sigh, bending down his head.
- Have you not wondered what he would think of you, were he still alive? said Gil-Galad, his fists clenched, as he felt anger filled his heart. Would he not now despise the one he loved like a brother? Tell me, which one would have prevailed, in the end, your Oath or his friendship?
- I cannot answer you, Gil-Galad, I cannot! cried Maedhros, his voice growing hoarse. Yet I loved him, you do know it, and his death has been a woe I shall not—
- A woe that has turned you into a kinslayer?
- I was a kinslayer even before I set a foot in Beleriand, had you not heard? said Maedhros, bitterly.
- I also heard my father risked his life to rescue you when you had been chained up on the Thangorodrim, for he alone had not given up on you!
- Gil-Galad, I—
- You betrayed him!
And Gil-Galad, furious, threw himself on Maedhros, grabbing him by the collar.
- He should not have saved a murderer! he yelled, his face barely an inch from the Fëanorian's. He should have let you hanging there!
Yet as much as he was angered, it never actually crossed his mind to harm his father's favorite cousin.
- Your are his spitting image, Artanáro, whispered Maedhros who had not even tried to defend himself. You took after your mother in some aspects, but right now it does seem Fingon himself has gotten wroth...
Gil-Galad's eyes widened and his grasp on Maedhros lessened.
- Is it true then that he and I are alike? he said, and it was no more to the kinslayer he spoke, but to his father's kinsman.
- Have you ever doubted it?
- You would know I scarcely spent any time with either of my parents.
Maedhros nodded, closing his eyes for a few seconds.
- Whether you chose to believe me or not, I was greatly saddened upon the news of your mother's death, for she too was a friend of mine.
- And she too would have been horrified by your behavior, said Gil-Galad, although there was no trace of animosity left in his voice.
He let go of Maedhros and the two of them stood close, still their gaze did not meet.
- I cannot tarry here any longer, Artanáro.
The tent's light curtains blew in the wind, as Maedhros put his hood back on, and Gil-Galad caught a glimpse of a dark silhouette - no doubt that Maglor was waiting for his brother, outside.
- So you did come only to have a look at me?
He sounded almost disappointed
- Indeed. I also wished to recommend Elros and Elrond to you.
- The sons of Eärendil and Elwing?
- Your kinsmen, too.
- Why would you—
- It is farewell now, Artanáro, cut in Maedhros and, after a short hesitation, he raised his hand to stroke Gil-Galad's cheek, swiftly.
- I hate you not, Russandol.
The words left Gil-Galad's mouth just as Maedhros was exiting the tent. Soon he and Maglor vanished into the night.
Once more, Gil-Galad was left alone to his thoughts. For a while he pondered over the fate of the sons of Fëanor - his heart was heavy, for he truly pitied them - and, as ever, his mind wandered back to the days both his parents were alive. He was long past wanting in vain for them to be back by his side, yet he still regarded this few years during which they had been a family as his happiest days and wondered often if he would know such bliss again.
He felt hopeful, though. Had not Darkness been defeated once and for all?
The Vanyar's favorite weapon was the spear and as it happened Gil-Galad was quite famous himself for using a spear, Aeglos (Icicle).
I don't know how realistic it is for Maedhros to show up like that before stealing a Silmaril, but these two had to meet once more. That's how I had figured it would end :) Also, I think I managed to name dropped most of the major Elves of the Second Age (sorry Celeborn, I forgot you).
Well, this is over.
It ended up being longer than I had planned (and so less consistent than what I had wish for!), but I really enjoyed this little adventure, even though most of the cast died.
I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to read the story through, and those who favorited/followed it, and those who reviewed or sent me a pm. It does sound very generic, but I genuinely appreciate it :)
I wasn't expecting to gain much interest and thought I was awfully slow at times, so I was surprised some of you kept coming back haha
(it's quite a thrill to click on the 'complete' button, but I think I won't resist editing a bit the story, I hate typos...)