This is a back story to Cassia and Siobhan's Mellon Chronicles. I strongly recommend that you read both Tears Like Rain and Betrayal by Cassia and Siobhan, the two stories that most heavily influenced this story. Doriflen is an original character created by them, and I would like to thank them for loaning him to me.
If you have not read these stories, and would like to give this a try first, it should be possible with just a little background information: Suffice it to say that Doriflen is the older brother of Thranduil. He has been hot tempered and volatile from his youth. Despite these flaws in his personality, at the beginnings of this story he is still "…A good and protective older brother" (TLR), to Thranduil, with whom he is close. This is the story of what happened to them, and how these events and their father shaped both of their personalities.
This story is set near the end of the first age just a few years after the ruin of Dorath in Ossiriand, the land of the seven rivers. If you would like to know the reason that I have chosen this setting, see my appendix at the end of the story.
The age of the Characters
For the purposes of this story, Doriflen is at an Elven age that is physically equivalent to a human of 15 years of age, and Thranduil has the physical maturity consistent with a human of about 10 years of age. If you would like to know how this translates into equivalent Elven ages, see my section on this matter at the end of the appendices. (Beware: I am an elf girl!)
Rating: Strong PG 13/T+ for Violence.
Most but not all of it is only alluded to, rather than seen.
Wonderful Beta by Raina Hyper-elf.
Mellon-nín; My friend, Muindor-nín; My brother, Hir-nín; My Lord,
Hannon-le; Thank you, Ion-nín; My son; Saés; Please
Daro; Stop Adar & Ada: Father (formal and informal)
Lasto beth-nín; Listen to me
"…To the end of his days he would never know what had put the first twist in his brother's soul."
Tears Like Rain by Cassia and Siobhan
Death of a Heart
The stars were fading as the eastern horizon blushed gently with the coming dawn. He wondered what it had been like before the coming of the sun and the moon when Arda had rested under the constant starlit twilight. Had the stars been brighter then? Had their ephemeral beauty somehow been dimmed by their more flamboyant and brilliant cousins, or did they still possess the same fire and wonder as when they ruled supreme. Watching them pale in the brightening sky he was struck by a slight feeling of loss… Was it wrong to mourn their passing when the cause was something as beautiful as the rising sun? It was only temporary; they would be back when this wondrous gift of the Valar settled once more below the horizon. So why did he find himself wishing that they could stay?
He rose from his bed in the high talan shaking his head ruefully. It was thoughts like this that caused his father to sigh and regard him with that slightly disapproving look in his eyes. He knew what his father would say if he knew of these musings; 'The stars, sun and the moon were gifts to be enjoyed for the beauty that they brought into the world, but not something over which to become so emotionally stirred up about'.
He tried to control these feelings and others that his father was always warning him about. 'If you open your heart to every feeling the world will tear you apart' the elderly elf would admonish him when he would see that look in his youngest son's eyes. Perhaps he was right, but it was so difficult to always hide what was in his heart. At least with his brother, he did not have to pretend. With that thought Thranduil turned to see if his brother had awakened yet.
They shared this part of the talan, and had since they had come to Ossiriand after first the Naugrim and then the sons of Fëanor had lain waste their home in Doriath just a few years before. Thranduil knew that his older brother would probably have preferred to have had more privacy, but it was comforting to have him so close at night when his feelings of loss and despair about their mother were strongest. He peaked around the intricately woven tapestry that partitioned their sleeping area, observing with delight his brother's slumbering form.
Doriflen was sprawled across his low bed on his stomach one arm pinned underneath him, and the other flung out draping over the edge, his fingers just barely brushing the plush rug below. His face was half buried in the pillow with only one eye barely visible thru his tangle of dark ruddy gold hair. Thranduil watched carefully as he crept silently forward for any focusing of his brother's vacant gaze that would indicate that he was actually awake. It was not easy to surprise Doriflen, and some would say that it was not wise. Thranduil however, did not fear his brother's volatile and hot temper; it never burned him, only others.
With a wicked smile he dipped his fingers into the pitcher on the bedside table and carefully dripped a few drops into his unsuspecting sibling's ear. When Doriflen jerked partially awake at the unpleasant sensation Thranduil roared out his best war cry and pounced on him.
Startled and confused by the sudden assault, Dorilfen cried out in anger and whipped around tumbling both boys off of the bed and tangling them up in the bedding together. He quickly pinned his attacker and found himself glaring fiercely down into the laughing face of his brother. "Thranduil?!" If this had been anyone else things might have turned ugly. Instead he eased his painfully tight grip on his brother's arms. "What were you thinking!" he growled in annoyance finally releasing him completely.
Thranduil just lay there still laughing, his pale golden hair spread out like a halo framing his less than angelic expression. "I was thinking that it was time for you to get up. You promised to take me swimming today and it's getting late!" he claimed, ignoring the fact that the shadows still lay deep in the forest despite the brightening eastern horizon. His mischievous eyes danced with delight despite the slowly diminishing storm that raged in his brother's icy blue eyes.
Doriflen sat back still straddling the younger elf. He never could stay angry with the little brat for long, he thought as his affection for his brother fought through to the surface finally submerging the last flames of his anger; but he could get even! Grabbing the pitcher of water off of his table he kept Thranduil from rolling away as he quickly doused him, soaking his hair and light sleeping tunic. "You wanted to swim Muindor-nín," He chuckled as he watched him sputter and squirm. "so swim!" He snickered and jumped up finally releasing the younger elf who scrambled up shaking water from his hair, and quickly peeling off his tunic.
Thranduil looked up at his brother with a puckish grin and started to twist the wet garment up swinging it in a threatening way; this was not over yet.
Doriflen backed cautiously away, but there really was no where to go; so with a ringing cry, he decided to go for a fast, but soggy victory, charging and tackling his brother despite his makeshift weapon. They rolled across the floor a couple of times knocking over a chair and the small reading table next to it, and scattering the books on top of it before Doriflen once again pinned him. He wrestled the dripping shirt away from him and tossed it out the nearby window. This time the glare that he fixed the younger elf with was un-shadowed by his previous anger and only showed his amusement. "Are you going to behave, or are you going to keep acting like you are part Orc?" he queried. "If it is the latter, you shall be joining your tunic." He threatened without any real malice.
"If I'm part Orc than so are you." Thranduil snickered, still not willing to yield.
Doriflen shook his head. The young rascal never backed down! "Enough now!" He warned, his mood suddenly shifting. "The room is wrecked and your antics have probably woken father." He saw the way his brother instantly sobered at that last thought and released him.
He watched in fascination as the younger elf scrambled to right the tipped over furniture and pick up the scattered books. Thranduil was always so eager to please their father and so concerned about incurring his displeasure. He, on the other hand, didn't care nearly as much what his father thought; he tried to avoid triggering his anger and being punished of course, but his father's approval mattered little to him. He found his father's frequent lectures about self control tedious and annoying. What was wrong with showing people that you were angry? If someone upset him badly, they learned quickly enough to not to make that mistake again.
He climbed up and walked over to his bed picking up the bedding from the floor. He grimaced, it was soaked! He felt his temper flare instantly only to have it abate just as quickly when Thranduil grinned up at him. Since their mother had been killed his brother was the only person left that he cared strongly about anymore. The young elf may be annoying at times, pestering him while following him everywhere and refusing to be left behind, but for some reason it didn't bother him most of the time. His friends didn't like it but they knew better than to cross him where his brother was concerned.
He cocked his head as he heard the sounds of breakfast being prepared below; the days always started early in the house of Oropher. He tossed the bedding into the basket in the corner while turning to his brother. "That's good enough." He grinned. "Race you downstairs for breakfast!" he laughed as they both bolted for the door.
The pale tendrils of dawn had not yet pierced the deep shadows beneath the great trees, nor had they touched the gloom wrapped around the heart of the lone figure beneath them.
He gazed up at the fading stars and found no comfort in their beauty. Somehow they had ceased to touch his heart when the one he had loved so deeply had passed beyond his reach. He had tried to wall away the feelings of loss and grief and most of the time he was successful. He could not change the past. Wallowing in these feelings did no one any good. He shook his head ruefully; he should have the strength to shut these painful emotions away into the past to which they belonged…. but when he looked up into a clear moonless night at the luminous blanket above he was forced to acknowledge the empty spot that had once been filled by his gentle Elenedis when they had walked together in the endless starlight before the coming of the Sun.
He turned with a sigh towards the talan that was now home to him and his two young sons… He missed her. That was the price that one paid for opening their heart and the price was very high.
His brow furrowed in anger as he thought of the senseless death and destruction that had destroyed their home and taken her away from him. Oropher had chosen to bring his children to Ossiriand for refuge after the devastation of the second kinslaying, because he could no longer bring himself to accept the rule of those who would associate with the treacherous Noldor still within their midst.
He had heard all of the arguments; that it was only the sons of Fëanor and their followers that were at fault, but if the others were so innocent then why were they all under the Ban of the Valar and how did word of Dior's possession of a Silmaril come to be known out side of Doriath? His people knew the bloody history of the gem and the terrible oath that pursued it. They understood well the danger inherent in that knowledge. He shook his head in frustration. They should never have trusted any of the Noldor. They had been betrayed and paid the price, but never again.
The green elves knew the value of keeping to themselves and shunning the other races as well as the Noldor. Their simple way of life appealed to him despite his past privileges as a Sindarin lord and his youngest was thriving on it. Doriflen was less pleased with their situation than his brother, but Oropher knew that he would come to appreciate it in time.
His brows knit as he considered his sons. Doriflen; he worried about both his boys but especially him. He was talented, clever, intelligent and charismatic… unfortunately he was also unpredictable. Both boys had a temper but, where Thranduil's would burn hot but dissipate rapidly. Doriflen's seemed to always be burning beneath the surface, bursting forth at the worst times. In many ways it was in this area that he missed his wife the most. She had always been able to curb Doriflen's volatile nature and help still the storms of his soul.
His head snapped up as a sudden sound from above interrupted his musings. The high piercing war cry of his youngest brought a wry quirk to his lips. Another day was beginning. He cocked his head slightly listening to the sounds of the frolicking boys as he walked towards the base of the talan and smiled, they had started early today he thought in amusement.
He had almost reached the first steps when instinct caused him to shy and jump back just avoiding the sodden mass that descended towards him splattering his deep auburn tresses and tunic. He looked at the dripping sleeping tunic that was now hanging from a small branch just inches from where he was standing his eyebrows rising high on his forehead. That was interesting! He chuckled as he entered to the sounds of laughter and breakfast preparations…Should he even ask?
"Out! Both of you, you have been raised better than this!" Ansa stood with one hand on her hip and the other one shaking a large wooden spoon while looking up the stairs leading to the upper sleeping areas. "Do not come down until you are properly dressed!" she called after the retreating laughter. She spun around quickly as she heard Oropher enter from out side, the spoon still raised threateningly only to drop it quickly to her side and bow her head slightly in acknowledgment of the master of the house's entrance hiding a slight blush. "Good morning Hir-nín." She breathlessly intoned.
Oropher quickly took in the sight of the flustered servant and the partially spilled bowl of warm rolls on the table. She had attended his wife since Elenedis had been born and had insisted on staying with the family to see to the boys after his wife's untimely death. Though generally the most patient of beings, even she could occasionally be pushed too far by his rambunctious offspring. "Good? It sounded more like you were chasing off a pack of wolves." He picked up one of the stray rolls fixing her with a slightly bemused look. "What did they do this time?"
Ansa brushed a stray lock of hair out of her eyes and sighed. "Those two young lions that you are raising came racing in here raiding the breakfast table before I had even had a chance to finish laying things out and they were still in their night clothes… Or at least Doriflen was, your youngest had no tunic at all and was dripping wet!" Her lips quirked in a smile as she remembered the sight then she looked pointedly at the roll in Oropher's hand causing him to quickly replace it in the bowl. "'Tis hardly behavior becoming of a young Sindarin lord." She said as she started to lay out the rest of the meal. The merriment in her eyes belied the words even before they were spoken.
His green eyes sparkled with contained mirth. "The tunic is outside… drying" and then sobered and hardened some as he continued. "I shall of course speak with them about proper decorum."
Ansa recognized the change in the elf lord's eyes. She loved this family and she knew that Oropher cared deeply for his boys, but he never seemed to be able to balance strict discipline with any sort of expression of warmth and affection anymore. When Elenedis had been alive he had been a bit more open and of course the boys had been able to turn to their mother. Since her death the boys had had to depend on each other as their father shut himself away behind his cold wall of pain. Placing the last of the dishes on the table she turned to him."'Twas just high spirits really. They are young and forget themselves sometimes that is all." She hesitated, he never took advice about his children well, but she had to try. "It isn't really necessary to say anything…"
"I will determine what is necessary or not where my children are concerned." He firmly stated then softened somewhat as he noted the genuine concern in her eyes. "I understand that they are young, but these are difficult and dangerous times. Lack of discipline can be dangerous and if they show no self restraint at home, how can I expect them to remember it later when it may be critical?" He realized that they were still children, but they no longer had the luxury of time. The Girdle of Melian had been broken and their homes destroyed. His children would have to face many hard and difficult decisions in life and he feared that that time may come sooner than many thought. As amusing as some of their antics might be, they would have to grow up quickly if they were to survive. He could not afford to be weak and give in to his heart where they were concerned. He shook his head sadly and looked at Ansa. "I shall speak with them; it is for their own good." Then gently added, "I will not forget that they are still children."
Ansa gazed sadly at him realizing that it would do no good to argue the point any further. She looked up as she heard soft steps descending from above once again and looked at Oropher questioningly. "Would you like me to leave so you can speak with them now?"
"No Ansa, it can wait until later…It was after all a minor thing." He conceded. "No point letting breakfast get cold." It would be better to talk to them when his mood was not so dark anyway. He turned at the sound of hushed voices.
"…you go first!"
"No little brother, after you… Ansa may still have that big spoon!" Doriflen could be heard laughing as Thranduil suddenly slid into view through the archway as if he had been shoved… which in fact he had.
He froze in the threshold when he spotted his father, the grin on his face faltering slightly with surprise. "Adar…good morning." he finished as cheerfully as he could. He wondered how much his father knew about their morning antics… enough by the look on his face. He glanced over his shoulder at Doriflen as he entered behind him looking for reassurance.
Oropher watched as his oldest nonchalantly strode into the room, his hand lightly resting on his younger brother's slender shoulder as he fixed his father with a look, his eyes cool and reserved. Oropher sighed inwardly, it was a look he knew only to well, it was indicative of the distance that had developed between them since his wife's death.
"Good morning Adar, you are up early today." Doriflen intoned in a neutral voice watching carefully to gage just how much his father knew of their morning activities, and his reaction to them… enough by the look of him.
"Good morning to you both, I'm not the only one up early apparently." Oropher's mouth quirked slightly as he noted his youngest's still damp hair and remembered the sleeping tunic hanging from the branch outside, then his eyes turned more serious. "I think that Ansa may have breakfast prepared… this time."
Thranduil winced inwardly. Ai, he knew, he always knew. "Adar, I'm sor…" but before he could finish, Doriflen threw an arm around his neck pulling his face in against his chest in a playful hug muffling the rest.
"Come Muindor, we must not keep Ansa waiting." Ai, when would he learn! You don't apologize unless you are certain you are caught… and not even then in some cases. Their father may know something, and may be a bit upset, but to go blurting out an apology right now would only give him information he may not have yet and bring on one of his lectures that much sooner. He flashed his father a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes and quickly steered his brother towards the dining area. He loved his brother, even if he was a bit naive at times; good thing that Thranduil had him to watch out for him, he would learn in time.