A/N: I revised this!! Just added a few words and sentences here and there, but it makes it better, in my opinion!
This was inspired by Elfique's "Identical" and Miriel Amarian's wonderful writing. I dedicate this story to her, for putting up with my rambling about Tolkien, and for understanding my obsession. For those who have not read her, you MUST!
Everything belongs to Tolkien, though Maglor will be mine. He just doesn't know it yet.
Against the Waves
Maglor turned his eyes away from the graceful bodies of the dancers of Doriath. They moved so beautifully, so rhythmically to the music, yet he found no delight in it. There was a time where he reveled in these gatherings and basked in the attention that he received at them. He had anticipated them most eagerly and rejoiced every time his mother or Maedhros had told him of one.
Yet those days were long gone, only a distant, fading memory, of hope, of bliss, of the Light, before the Oath, before the bleeding Swans.
He quickly shook his head, not wanting those memories, demons buried deep, but not deep enough, to ruin this night also, adding to the long list. He looked instead, to those who shared his terrible doom, his brothers, who abided with him, who swore that same damning Oath with him. He wished he could penetrate their thoughts, to know exactly what was haunting them at that moment, as Maedhros seemed to, with his brief, sweeping gaze.
His eyes moved to two identical faces, and he could almost smile at the matching expressions upon them. It was one of the few times he ever saw light behind the eyes of any of the Seven, and it was almost always in those of the light-hearted twins. Their eyes moved with the bodies of the dancers, or at least, two particular dancers. He shook his head; he wished he could be them, always seeing the best in any situation, even when Celegorm twisted it with his words. How could anyone see good in the life they led?
Left of the vigorous pair, with his own darting, suspicious eyes—the eyes of a kinslayer, was Curufin, the hunted hunter, the hint of a scowl so like that of Fëanor's that Maglor marveled at their likeness, though he had seen it so many times, and would have named them twins. Indeed, Curufin even had the maniacal glow in his eyes that their father did, especially when he was locked away in his craft. Next to him, scowls firmly set in place, were Celegorm the Fair and Caranthir the Dark. Indeed, he would be fair, Maglor thought, if he would only wipe that scowl off his face and mind his appearance. Caranthir certainly lived up to his name, a dark face to match a dark mood. They were not seeing the beauty of Doriath, Maglor knew; they saw only the theft of their beloved treasure.
Finally, his gaze strayed to the head of the table, the brother he loved above the rest, Maedhros, his head cocked so that he saw all, from his brother's varying expressions, to Dior's midsummer feast, while his eyes were seemingly fixated on the dancers. He noticed Maglor gazing at him, and offered a small smile from the corner of his mouth.
A maid approached Celegorm, no doubt attracted to his fair looks, asking for a dance, but suffered harsh disappointment as she was turned down brusquely. She had turned her crestfallen, yet fair face, to Amrod, who had eagerly taken her hand. As Amras looked on jealously, he twirled her, light hair sparkling, around the dance floor. She was pretty, Maglor decided, but not someone who attracted him.
Wherever their Oath led them, there were always maidens who glanced at Maglor, taking in his fine features, the longing appearing in their eyes, but never once did any of them get him to look back, save now. One maiden, her dark hair setting her apart from the fair-haired dancers, had caught his eye, and offered him a small, yet warm smile. In spite of himself, Maglor found himself smiling back, and for the rest of the night, caught himself gazing after her longingly.
The minstrels plucked away merrily, filling the air with melody. Though his tender hands had not graced a harp in years, only swords, Maglor knew his skill far surpassed that of those that played now. The Sindar prided themselves on their skill at song and note, but fools they were, for they knew not of the Noldorin Prince.
The dance ended, and after escorting the maid to her seat, Amrod returned, gloating, receiving poisonous looks from Amras. Voices rose, clamoring, "A song! A song!" A maiden was pushed onto the dais, her friends surrounding her, begging her to sing. Maglor sat up; it was the same maiden had smiled at him, warmed his heart in a way no other had ever before, not even in Aman.
"Please sing us a song!" they begged.
Holding her viol, she smiled; evidently pleased with the praise she was receiving, but trying not to show it, and announced coyly, "I know naught what to sing."
"Anything!" was the eager reply.
"If it be your will," it sounded almost customary.
The voice that filled the room was heavenly, accompanied by the divine sounds of her viol. Maglor was carried away by her melodious song, and his hands ached to feel his own lyre. Her voice was clear, melodious, and stirred emotions that he had forgotten. He caught her eye once more, and she smiled, and he could hear it in her voice. He had killed so many, his own kin, for he had hated them, or at least told himself he did. He was supposed to hate these people he dined with, for they had stolen their treasure, but now, listening to this fair maid, watching her delicate hands coax her viol skillfully, letting her harmonious tune wash over him, lulling him into serenity, the beauty of her words, he did not hate these people in whose hall he sat in, that had stolen what his life revolved around. And who could hate such a maiden, or any that loved her heavenly song?
She let the last notes of her viol fade away into the night, and after allowing a few moments for her listeners to awaken from her spell, and applaud her, she called out, "How now, my Lord Noldor?" Seven pairs of eyes greeted her dark ones, but her clear gaze was directed to only one—Maglor. Not trusting his own voice, he answered, a bit hesitantly, "Yes?"
"I have heard tell that Your Grace has a most talented voice and hands for the lyre. Pray, sing us a song." He could not resist that smile.
On any other occasion, he would have thanked her for the praise, but firmly denied her request, as he had done to so many over the years. Yet her song had stirred something in him, a feeling he had never known, and memories, memories that did not haunt him, but brought joy. Memories of the Light, of Aman, and his fingers itched for the smooth wood and strings of his lyre. And who, he thought, could say no to so kind and talented a maiden?
Thus, Maglor, second son of Fëanor, took up his lyre once more, and let the most beautiful music, second only to Daeron lost, echo through the Halls of Menegroth. And he sang; he sang of a distant time of the past, of the uttermost West in its springtide, when the Light was unmarred by the evil of Morgoth and the Trees shone yet. He drifted into the making of the Silmarils, glorious jewels that no other could ever surpass, and how his father delighted in nothing else. The sorrow flowed out of him as he told of the rape of those treasures, and the first Quendi death—Finwë. Then his voice quivered, and faltered at the Oath, the terrible Oath they swore in haste. He could not bear to tell the tale any further, for any mention of Alqualonde broke his heart.
His brothers listened to the telling of their lives in sorrow, as waves of nostalgia swept over them all, and the ghosts of the past arose to haunt them once more. Maedhros however, had some semblance of a smile, for it was good to see his brother happy, though his eyes could never dance again, not after he saw the swans burning, and to hear that sweet voice, however haunted, resonate.
A scowl already firmly set in place deepened, and Celegorm darkened. He did not approve of his brother's telling of their tale, but he held his head high, though there was nothing but shame in these acts. Moreover, his brother was too friendly with the minstrel girl. He had not missed the smiles they had exchanged throughout the evening, and had seen the way his brother gazed after her. Never before had his brother assented to perform, no matter how hard anyone pleaded. She had merely smiled, and he had fallen to her immediately. Even while singing, his eyes were directed toward the dark-haired maid, whose eyes had never left him. "He's forgotten their crime against us," thought Celegorm, "He's forgotten why we're here. Fool. I shall have to remind him."
Grabbing his elbow when he returned, thoroughly pleased with himself, Celegorm hissed, "Forget not why we are here, brother."
Maglor sighed wearily, closing his eyes, as the great weight that had been lifted temporarily returned, "The Oath is our life. How can I forget?"
"You will do well to act it, then."
"And you will do well to remember who you are talking to, brother," Maglor met Celegorm's fiery gaze squarely.
Before he could reply, Maedhros, noticing the confrontation, hurried over, "What goes here?"
Celegorm shot Maglor a lecherous look before answering Maedhros, in a hiss, "We are not here to make merry. Forget naught, like this fool here, why we are here, Maedhros."
Maglor darkened, "Your proud head will cost you one day, Celegorm."
Once again, before he could reply, the rest of Feanor's children hurried over.
Caranthir, in his direct manner, snapped, eyes flashing, "When will we approach him?" They did not need to ask who he spoke of; they knew too well.
"Perhaps we should not discuss this here," Maglor proposed, throwing a quick glance over his shoulder. His anger at Celegorm had subsided a bit, though dread once more filled its place.
Celegorm's anger apparently had not, "Why?" he snapped, "So your precious maiden cannot see us?"
Noticing the tension, Amrod said, with his good-hearted cheer, "That lass isn't the best looking; pretty, I suppose, but she does know what good music is. She sings almost better than you Maglor."
Maglor smiled at this, and thought of the girl again, while Amras snapped dryly, "You already received a maid's attentions Amrod. Leave some for the rest of us."
Amrod shrugged, and fingered his collar narcissistically, "It is not in my doing that maidens are attracted to my fair looks."
Curufin scoffed audibly, prompting a dirty look from Amrod, and Amras swelled up, "Notice have you, that we are of identical face?"
They did not hear Amrod's reply, for both Caranthir and Celegorm intervened, snapping, "We are not here to win maidens! We are here for things dearer!"
Amrod feigned horror, "Now Celegorm, what could be dearer than a fair maiden?" Even his grin faltered at the glares that faced him.
As always, Maedhros took charge, "Let us discuss these matters outside, where there are no prying ears."
Demands were sent to the Dior, but the Sindarin Lord chose to ignore them completely, for he, like all those before him, had fallen in love with the cursed jewels. Furious, the Seven gathered in council, weeks after the midsummer feast they had attended in Doriath.
"We must strike!" Celegorm stormed for the tenth time in the past few minutes.
"They are our kin," Maglor said quietly, ghosts of the Teleri rising in his mind.
Celegorm wheeled onto his brother, "You did not seem to mind that at the Swan Haven, brother!" Celegorm spat, knowing how much the slaughter still haunted Maglor.
"And besides," Caranthir added, "Orcs were once our kin, but you do not seem to mind against them."
Maglor opened his mouth to argue, to say that Orcs were twisted by evil, and attacked them, but shut it again, much to Celegorm's triumph, who added, "Those that steal from their own kin, do not deserve much mercy," and these words stirred the hearts of his brothers.
Yet Maedhros argued softly, "Those that slay their own kin deserve nothing."
Amrod shrugged, "We've done it before," yet the guilt was evident on his face.
"A wicked deed done once should not be repeated," Maglor cautioned.
Despite all of their guilt, Maglor's caution, and Maedhros' counsel, the Oath that both drove and destroyed their lives, fanned by Celegorm's fiery words, prevailed. They would attack Menegroth, now without Melian's Girdle, in mid-winter.
It was with great dread that Maglor heaved himself onto his steed for the dooming ride to the Hidden Caves. As they drew closer and closer, he could hear the girl's song in his head, and her warm smile appeared in his mind. She had smiled at him, reached out, while knowing perfectly well who he was: a son of Fëanor, one of the doomed—a kinslayer. He shook his head. She had not looked at him, no, but through him, but instead of being repulsed by what she saw, she liked him. He sighed, trying to push those thoughts out of his mind. Why was he fooling himself? How could such a maid love a man like him? A kinslayer?
Though they took them by surprise, the Sindar put up a magnificent fight. As they charged into the Hidden Caves, Maglor felt his stomach drop, the familiar guilt, as he plunged his sword into an oncoming guard. Why did he do this if he knew it would haunt him?
His hands were warm, stained by the blood gushing out of a neck he slashed open. He did not stop, for he knew no amount of cleansing would ever rid him of the stain. After Alqualonde, he had washed his hands in the Sea, but instead of being cleansed, he found he could no longer look at his hands, for when he did, all he heard was the screaming and the fighting. His hands were not fit to stroke a lyre, he knew, and as he heard another warrior gasp as his sword stole his departing life, he swore that he would never play again.
Hysterical screams filled the air, along with the groans of the dying, as women and children tried to flee. Yet in the midst of their shrieks and cries, one pierced Maglor, though he could not quite place it. Even Maedhros' scream of, "NO!!" did not make him realize, until he saw.
Caranthir, dark hunter Caranthir, lay sprawled on the ground, stomach flailed open. As Maedhros took his dying brother in his arms, Caranthir whispered, "I'm sorry, brother." It was more to all Seven than to any one.
Shock filled Maglor. Though he had seen so much death, inflicting some of his own, he never expected that one of his brothers could die as well. They had been through so much, so many battles, so many fights, though they had all been wounded, that they seemed invincible. How could one of his brothers die? It was unthinkable.
Yet as he heard his brother utter one last sigh, and close his eyes to the world, rage, like he had never known it before overpowered him, and he could understand his father's madness, if only for a moment.
Furious, he began cutting down any that crossed his path: men, women, even children, though he hesitated at them. Ahead, he saw a maiden trying desperately, yet futilely to flee, for Curufin was within a sword's length of her.
His eyes blurred for a moment, stung by tears for his brother, but then it dawned on him. There was something familiar about her, and he knew now why. It was the same minstrel maiden that he had thought about in these weeks since he first saw her; the same one who had smiled at him, warmed his heart like no other had ever before.
"Curufin, NO!" he screamed, as the graceful, lethal sword came down. With a sickening sound, it buried itself in her fair body. He screamed like a madman, and running through all that stood between, forgetting the battle, he caught her falling body.
"No, no," was all he could muster, as he cradled her. Blood was flowing freely from her stomach, where his brother's blade had entered her, and he closed his eyes as he saw it.
The life had not yet left her, but it was clear she could not hold on to its slipping threads for much longer. She opened her clear eyes, and Maglor hated Curufin at that moment, for making them close on this world.
"My Lord Noldor." It was how she had addressed him the feast, the first time he had ever laid eyes upon her. "We meet again," her breath was short and ragged, and he knew it was taxing her to draw them. He did not want to think that this meeting would be their last.
"Maglor," he whispered, threading his fingers through hers. He could feel the calluses on her fingers from long years on the viol, "Call me Maglor." He did not know her, but felt so close; closer than he had ever been to anyone, even his brothers. He pressed her hand to his lips tenderly. They were so pale, her hands, against his bloodied ones; the blood of her people. As he blinked back tears, he heard not the scream of Curufin as he was cut down, nor Celegorm and Dior battling.
She drew in a breath, "Maglor," she said his name so sweetly, and he longed to hear her voice, "I am Lindelë." He almost smiled; her name was song.
"Lindelë," he repeated as her eyes closed, "I'm sorry, Lindelë," but he did not know if she had heard, for Mandos claimed her, taking her away from him. He did not stop the tears from flowing as he pressed her body closer to him. Of all the grievances he had suffered through his life, he felt this one was the cruelest; to be robbed of something he had not known fully; to be deprived of his one chance to be happy.
He felt Maedhros' hand on his shoulder, "Come brother," he murmured, "There will be a time to grieve, for her as well as others," Maglor did not understand what he meant by others, "But now we must fight."
Reluctantly, he set down her still body, and after kissing her cold forehead, wielded his sword into battle once more.
Doriath was ruined that day, her treasures looted, splendor lost, pride forgotten. Three brothers, and many more Noldor and Sindar, including Lindelë, went to Mandos that night. Yet still, they did not gain the Silmarils, and Maglor never knew such a waste of life as this. Amrod and Amras fell not long after, together till the end, leaving Maedhros and Maglor; all that were left of the proud sons of Fëanor. Finally, they regained the Silmarils, but rather than delighting in them, they could not stand the touch. Maedhros took one with him to his death, casting himself into the fiery pits of the earth, where the jewel resides until the breaking of the world.
All of Fëanor's pride was gone, all that caused the havoc of Arda were lost, save one, and that resided with the last of Fëanor's children—Maglor.
Sitting by the sea he finally cast his father's pride into, he at last did what he loved; he sang. He was all alone, after all those years. His brothers, the ones that stood by him, were gone. Though he had feared them at times, for the death and destruction they wreaked together, there was one thing he feared more—loneliness.
His thoughts went to happier times, to Nerdanel, Fingon, Aman, the white shores. It was then he composed Noldolantë, the Fall of the Noldor, beginning with the song he sang in Doriath, though he stroked not his lyre, as he had sworn he would not that night he lost that which he loved. How could a man who thought he had nothing left, lose more?
He then sang a much sweeter, yet cruel tale. The girl, Lindelë, danced before his eyes, her bright eyes as she sang, her cheeks flushed from dancing; the way she smiled at him, it all came to him. He remembered feeling happy, happier than he had known, when she looked at him, her eyes dancing, her smile warm. She had reached out to him, against all convention, overlooking the hatred that stemmed between their two houses. Now, sitting by the drifting waves, all alone, as he had always been, he lamented for a love he had lost, before he had fully gained it, a love that was cut short, that could have been.
"And it is told of Maglor that he could not endure the pain with which the Silmaril tormented him; and he cast it at last into the Sea, and thereafter he wandered ever upon the shores, singing in pain and regret against the waves. For Maglor was mighty among the singers of old... but he came never back among the people of the Elves."
-The Silmarillion, pg 305
A/N: Like it? Hate it? Come on review! I know the 7 probably did NOT gather in Doriath weeks before the attack, but just remember, this is fan fiction, though I try to stay as canon as possible. Review!