Title: Single Handedly

Genre: Romance, Angst

Rating: PG-13

Characters: Maedhros/OFC

Time: First Age 346 – Fourth Age

Chapter(s): 12/?

Chapter Summary: "You are my strength and my weakness… you are my jewel, mîr nin." She blushed through his declamation and reddened further at how close he had come to unknowingly revealing her given name with the new endearment.

Author: Codi Lyn (a.k.a. i_luv_obiwan91)

Disclaimer: J.R.R. Tolkien and his family are the sole owners of his works including the Silmarillion and his Lord of the Rings series. I'm just inspired by his works and thought of different ways for different things to end as another option. It's his music; I'm just playing it on a ukulele, not a guitar. ಠ_ಠ

Chapter Twelve – It Opens Your Heart

Mîrluiniel was soon informed that the population in Himring was about to swell a little more, with the addition of long gone sons and brothers who had followed the 'Ambarussa' to east Beleriand some years before.

Maedhros told her of his two youngest siblings, whom their mother had jointly named first, Ambarussa, the twins Amrod and Amras. "They can be difficult to tell apart, for they each have always called the other, Ambarussa." Maedhros explained to her with a smirk she knew to be triggered from fond memories. "Eventually, you will learn their personalities, but until then it is their eyes." He revealed the secret to her and she reveled in his confidence. "Amras' eyes are much lighter in color, though it may not immediately be noticeable, and Amrod's are the deeper grey."

It was a day or two before the skin grew hale upon her feet again, and Kalin delighted that Maedhros took time from each of these days to see her expressly. Even in the days afterward when difficult horses or scouting and messages kept him occupied, he would seek her out and accompany her to the walls or stables to talk until a late hour.

Often would he try to encourage her speaking of her own family and previous home, but she still evaded many such inquiries, though more weakly as their attachment grew stronger. "Do you truly wish to return me to my family, to separate you and I? If I revealed this to you, is that not what would happen, Maedhros?" Kalin replied to him after his latest query of her people and he sighed, reflecting in thought now that circumstances had changed between them.

Now he no longer wished to send her away, no matter that he was keeping her from her homeland by allowing her to remain. "Why have they not searched for you? You have been gone above ten years. Could they have known where you were?"

Sighing, Kalin knew she must give him something, as he had shared with her almost everything she'd ever asked of him. She fingered Rúnyadal's long mane, as they were in the great charger's horse-stall, and gave the prince what information she had. "My family has been used to these wanderings since my coming of age. My fëa seemed never tied securely to my homeland and I would roam where I pleased with my horse and bow for long periods of time. But I had never ventured so far as I had when Celegorm found me." Maedhros regarded her silently as she divulged this new history and encouraged her with his looks when she faltered. "I do not doubt that they have looked for me, for I was never away longer than two years together. But they surely do not know where to search. They would not think me to go this far where I have never been before." She met his eye after her fingers had weaved a pretty braid in the stallion's pitch mane.

"It is clear to me, Kalin, that you do love your family. That is why it puzzles me as to why you are so strong in your desire not to return to them."

"I wish to remain here because I know what awaits me there. This…" She held up her left arm. "This would cause them grief, which is precisely opposite of my feelings about it. There I would be suffocated with 'care' and 'protection' from them, and I would not risk their ire by telling them my life was saved by the removal of this hand. They would seek guerdon and misunderstand my reasons for remaining here so long." Her head shook in agitation. "Where I have freedom and acceptance, here, I would be restricted and out of place there for my 'disability.'"

Maedhros contemplated these reasons and agreed that at least here he had tempered the people to be used to one with a missing arm. But surely she would not wish to sever all ties and forfeit that life in place of a life with him. Sadly, he knew it must turn to an ultimatum in her situation. 'My blood is not loved by the Sindar, and Kalin could never be connected with me while still receiving welcome from her family.' A foreboding thought came to him and it fisted a knot in the pit of his stomach. Eventually she must return. He didn't want to lose her.

His lady's fair hand touched and roused him from where his mind had strayed and she called him back gently. "Maedhros, what is it?" He met her beautiful blue gems and almost forced a smile when a true one quickly supplanted it as he had a revelation. His mother's words rushed through his mind. 'Not all jewels are made by hand, my son. Learn from your father and keep your gems close at hand.' Kalin was his Silmaril; her eyes, which at the beginning he had tried to describe within himself, were beautiful and bright gems. She was his mîr, his jewel.

Kalin watched this change of emotion play clearly through his green eyes and delighted when their focus came to her and they deepened in color. He turned to her completely and took her hand to press against his chest, strengthening their connection. "Maedhros… have you come to some conclusion?" She could only guess in pleasant surprise by his forward actions.

His large hand caressed her temple and cheek reverently, catching a curl of hair to brush away. "When you tell me from where you have come, I will do the right thing and return you there. But as you will not, I would have you dwell here… with me." Her eyes shone happily up to him and he continued. "Kalin, never have I seen more beautiful eyes as crystal blue as yours, nor a heart so pure in any elleth. You are my strength and my weakness… you are my jewel, mîr nin." She blushed through his declamation and reddened further at how close he had come to unknowingly revealing her given name with the new endearment.

Relaxing as he drew nearer to her, she welcomed his mouth upon her and kissed him as deeply as his lips took hers. Sliding her arms up around his neck, Maedhros pulled her closer to him by the waist and tilted his head to further delight in her taste. How had he withdrawn himself from her for so long? At that moment, he didn't know if he could ever live without her again. He released her flushed mouth reluctantly and pressed his face into her fair neck, relishing the feel of her pulse thudding against his closed lips.

Mîrluiniel hugged him to her with a peaceful smile and fingered through his enflamed hair familiarly. She loved this elf. In her heart, she knew this love could never be surpassed. Pulling away at length and kissing him once more, Kalin lingered close when his emerald eyes captured hers. He carefully brushed her sensitive ear with sword-worn fingers and breathed. "Mîr nin…"

"I think he's in love with that maiden!" The two lovers turned quickly around and Maedhros instinctively moved in front of her for protection.

"I think you are right. Look, Ambarussa, they've been embracing!" Two very like elves mounted upon flighty animals jested between themselves before trotting off and away from their brother's wrath. They could not escape the stables, however, before Maedhros took hold of a heavy horse brush and aimed it accurately, smiting the back of one of their necks with a sure 'thud.'

Giggling against the wall of Rúnyadal's stall, Kalin watched her beau return to her with a huff and succeeded in putting a sarcastic smile on his face before he took her in his arms again. "In case you missed them, those were my youngest brothers."

She nodded, grinning beautifully, and received his uninterrupted kiss before she decided they should part. "I'm going to freshen up before dinner. I'll see you there soon, my lord." She teased him with the formality and tugged a strand of his hair before walking away, calling over her shoulder. "Don't go too hard on them, Maedhros. There was little harm in their jest." With a subdued smirk, the warrior watched her go until she turned into the main hall at last and he scratched Rúnya's alert ears, absently bidding the horse good-bye before turning himself in the opposite direction to greet Ambarussa properly.

"Maedhros! Come, the twins have arrived sooner than expected. Where have you been?" Maglor addressed his eldest brother and subtly noticed the youngest siblings cringe as he passed them both and came to stand by the second son.

The tallest of them enjoyed the fearful respect Amrod and Amras granted him in payment for their earlier hazing. Nonchalantly, he replied. "I was previously employed. I saw them ride in."

"Well, go on, clean yourselves of the journey's dust. Dinner will be served in an hour." Maglor pulled on Amrod's braid as they turned away to their customary rooms, then turned to his captain with crossed arms. "'Previously employed?' They caught you with Kalin, did they?" The brunette Fëanorian could not help but laugh and Maedhros only smirked in self-assurance.

"Only just before one of them- Amras, I believe- received a grooming tool in the back in a shocking accident… Their retreat wasn't quite swift enough." The brothers laughed once this information was revealed and went to their respective quarters to prepare for evening.

The sons of Fëanor stood near the long feasting tables set up for Ambarussa's men and their families, talking of mundane things as they waited for all the food to be placed. Maedhros' eye was drawn eventually to movement under a fair white head at one end of the room, his heart trembling pleasantly in anticipation of meeting that crystalline gaze. This gift was soon granted him and, with an artless smile, Kalin approached, gracefully weaving through acquaintances new and old as she politely addressed each on her way.

His keen eyes never left her and he admiringly critiqued her dress; a floor-length satin brown skirt wrapped flatteringly about her waist and kept a loose-fitting blouse of pale green tucked within. The neckline opened along the top of her shoulders, displaying her fair collarbone and neck, neither ornamented with jewelry. He could not make himself sorry for the lack of adornment, however, for in his view her beauty already outshone a thousand diamonds resting under Laurelin's glory.

At last, she came to them and curtsied elegantly before being introduced to the last of her suitor's brothers. Ambarussa bowed to her in turn, looking identical except their riding garb and their telling eyes that Maedhros had earlier hinted toward. The eldest among the kindred took responsibility for necessary introductions, taking her hand with a regard that Mîrluiniel could feel in more ways than one. "Ambarussa, this is Kalin. My lady, these are my youngest brothers: Amrod, and Amras."

Each took her hand and kissed it chastely, their similar eyes glinting with a mischievous gaiety at the core of each. "It is a pleasure to meet you, fair one." Amras greeted with compliments. Light grey, yes, this was Amras.

"Most assuredly, a great pleasure as we had not long away thought to lose all hope for Maedhros' capabilities in 'wooing' as sweet an elleth as yourself." Amrod visibly flinched away from his oldest brother's reprimanding look, but Kalin smiled and blushed appropriately.

Amras rubbed the back of his neck pointedly and elbowed his twin, joking to Kalin, though everyone could hear equally. "My good brother has not as yet received his 'lesson' against teasing the two of you as I have, my dear lady." With a shared laugh, she glanced to Maedhros and delighted further to see him also chuckling with them.

Dinner was called to order shortly and everyone took his or her seats. Maedhros sat at the head of the table they occupied, Mîrluiniel conveniently at his left, Maglor on his right. Ambarussa sat across from each other, Amrod at the elleth's side, and Amrod next to Maglor. Kalin made perfect first impressions upon Fëanor's twins throughout the meal, and was fondly teased and complimented the whole evening.

After everyone had finished eating, yet remained in conversation, Maglor stood and procured a guitar-like instrument to play as he sang a lively tune, encouraging those who were inclined to dance. Amrod, who was so inclined, dared to steal Kalin away from his brother and carried her off for a reel. Amras situated himself a seat closer to Maedhros and shared his view of the stepping couples, smiling more thoughtfully toward his sibling. "What has changed you, my brother? I thought you resolved never to give your love."

With eyes focused expressly upon his jewel's delightful dancing poise, Maedhros answered, though only partially. "She tempers me. When I am ill at ease, she calms me. She is pure, and full of candor… I would give all our father's jewels for her, if I could."

Amras smirked knowingly with a raised auburn brow in feigned surprise, especially at the last statement. "So you would treasure her above even the precious Silmarilli? I know well the difficulty of such a task, Maitimo." The eldest pressed his lips into a firm line at the memory of their departure from Tirion. Their dear mother had begged Fëanor to let one child remain with her, her youngest son, Amras. Later, the twin had divulged to his brother that, had not the ships been burnt at Losgar, he would have taken one and returned to Nerdanel to bring comfort. "Has naneth spoken to you?" The youngest inquired calmly, as if they could contact her at will.

Maedhros turned to his 'little' brother and furrowed his brows. "She's come to you, also?"

Amras nodded somberly, but with a slight smile at the thought of their mother. "Not as frequently as I should like, but when my longing for her will not subside, I sometimes feel her hand in my hair. She has spoken to me only once, and 'twas in a dream."

"She had never visited me before Celegorm brought Kalin, and my heart came to such conflict over her presence. I have felt her touch both waking and in my dreams. She gave me the advice and push I needed to release some of my largest inhibitions for courting Kalin. I am indebted to her forever for that, alone."

Amras put a hand on the fiery one's shoulder and squeezed familiarly. "May Eru bless you both. I shall expect many nieces and nephews from your union." He added the last with an impish grin and suggestive raise of his eyebrows before Maedhros shoved him, returning to the more jovial air that filled the room.

Willingly allowing her partners to find other ellith to dance with, Kalin returned to her seat by Maedhros and took a drink of her mead. She knew better than to ask him to dance, conscious that he would do so when he chose, and that made such occasions all the more special. Her Noldo smiled in adoration of her brightened cheeks, her skin glowing from the activity of dancing. Beneath the table, he sought her hand and laced her delicate fingers between his, Mîrluiniel's stroking gently in a subtle display of her love. "What was Amras saying?"

He looked at her a moment longer and replied evasively. "I confess I was hardly paying him any mind, for my attentions were focused solely upon you. I've resolved that you will never claim a partner to match your grace, let alone surpass you in skill."

With a tempting caress to his inner wrist, she let loose his hand and took up her glass again, parrying. "I believe I've already claimed that partner for a very few dances some time ago… and that elf particularly told me we would return to see the off-spring of your stallion before they are full-grown." Pointedly, she teased him and glanced up to meet his gaze over the rim of her goblet, the contents of which failing miserably to cool the heat that trailed over her from the blaze of his emerald eyes, causing her heart to race.

"My lady has found out part of tomorrow's surprise. I was going to tell you tonight."

Kalin's eyes lit up excitedly and, putting down her mead, revealed her beautiful smile. "Thank you, Maedhros. I thought tomorrow you would be in meetings with your brothers, now that they are come."

He sighed, but did not relinquish the smile that reflected her happiness. "From mid-day to Telperion's noon, I'm certain I shall be. But we shall rise early and have plenty of time to enjoy." He assured her and brought her hand to his lips, turning it and placing a kiss in her palm with his gaze locked upon hers.

She blushed crimson, to his delight. "I look forward to it, my lord."

Granted, Maedhros was more prone to smiles and laughter lately in public, but Mîrluiniel lived in the moments she could enjoy with him alone. He talked more freely of his opinions and desires, laughed easily, and was guarded only by his own chivalry in his actions toward her, not decorum.

He let her ride beside him upon Rúnyadal while he took a young chestnut mare, green and unused to riding trails alongside other horses. Proudly, Maedhros watched his lady sitting comfortably upon the animal, guiding him, but not commanding unnecessarily. Flashing him a grin once the ridge came into view, Kalin urged the stallion to leap forward in a gallop up the hill, encouraging Maedhros to chase such laughter that echoed happily in her wake. Laughing himself, he gave his horse her head and spoke Quenyan hastily to the less experienced animal, heartening her swift hooves to fly.

With her head start and admirable steed, Kalin reached the top first and had time enough to unbridle Rúnya and set him free, running away up into the boulders before her beau rode speedily up and did the same. Her skin tingled as she heard him closing in on her and she squealed when he caught her by the waist to turn her abruptly against him. Seizing her clear eyes, they stood breathless for some moments while the newly risen sun warmed their already flushed cheeks. "Maedhros…" He watched his name leave her lips in a sigh before his mouth descended upon hers and strong arms encircled her firmly.

Something changed within them as they embraced, and they parted panting harder for breath than before, their eyes intensely searching one another's for answers. In the split-second of their lips pressing together, the vision they had both experienced separately was experienced in the same moment, together. "Did, did you feel that? Did you see it?" Kalin ventured to ask first and was met by his reluctant gaze and nod, his arms releasing her as he turned away.

"I did. I have seen and felt it, many times before…"

She approached him. "As have I. Though it has been some time since last I experienced it."

He turned to her, stunned. "What? How long have you seen it?"

"In this form? Since I first came to Himlad after my attack." He passed a hand over his eyes in a troubled manner and she came to put her hand on his arm, meeting his gaze as supportively as she could. "What do you think this means?"

He sighed. "It confirms to me that this vision shall come to pass… and there is nothing I hate more than to admit it." He looked away a moment, and then back to her. "Kalin, tell me exactly what you saw."

She didn't have to recall long before obediently relating to him all she knew: their tearful kiss, his sword, the fire, her calling for him, and the nameless elf pulling her away. Maedhros' eyes fell in resignation. They were the same, his vision and her own. Concerned, but not yet distraught, Mîrluiniel tried to reassure her Noldorin lord. "Maedhros, we still do not know how things will play out. The dream did not show either of us being harmed… and though I would never leave you willingly, it may not be a permanent separation."

"But if you are taken, or go of your own will, to where I believe you will… I might never have you again without dire consequences accompanying my arrival." She watched him curiously as he said this, furrowing her golden-white brows when he waved it off. "Never mind. Do not heed what I say in haste, mîr nin." He swiftly put on a façade of calm and took her hand, seeking to distract her from the foreboding thoughts he had mistakenly exposed.

As he led her down the hill to the grazing herd below, a thought and possible explanation came to Mîrluiniel's mind, but she withheld it. Willing to set it aside for now, the maiden wanted to enjoy this morning with him while he was able yet to think of other things, himself. At last she saw some genuine emotion on Maedhros' face when they came to where the horses munched on their breakfast, and she delighted with him to see young colts prancing and chasing each other around their complacent mothers.

Kalin started to sing gently and approached the beautiful animals to stroke and grow familiar with them, young ones hesitantly coming forward to explore her legs and bare feet with the curiosity of new life. Maedhros watched her peacefully receiving attention from a tall roan mare, the strawberry-colored animal nuzzling and nipping at her hair as a blue roan foal tugged on the elleth's skirt. The Fëanorian was brought out of his daze by his own stallion's head resting on his shoulder from behind, his ears forward toward Kalin and the mare while his eye studied his master closely.

Chuckling, Maedhros reached up and rubbed the creature's attentive ears, alert with the sound of his love's song. "What will I do without her, Rúnya?" The elf spoke quietly, sadly. "Every part of her calms me from my deepest rage. If she is not with me, I fear what I may do." In response, the large horse bowed his head so that when it rose, his master's hand was upon his neck. The action brought only an afflicted smile to his lips, but then piercing green eyes rose to meet a set of fair blue that watched him, and true joy touched his face.

Leaving his mount to do as he would, Maedhros walked to the object of his desire and placed his hand over hers where it lay upon the mare's strong neck. Kalin moved their hands to rest on her right side and pulled him favorably into a kiss filled with love and comfort. In that moment, the Noldo knew nothing could be more beautiful than this creature, and his eyes related as much to her as they parted.

Having reached up to stroke his face, Mîrluiniel spoke what she felt he needed to hear from her now. "With all my heart, I meant what I said to you, Maedhros. I will never willingly leave you."

His kindled brows lowered in consideration as he replied. "I know." Again, the possibility came to her mind as it had moments ago, but she chose not to address it presently and distress him further. Its mention would only stir up pointless strife between them, and that was the last thing she wanted.

Her eyes then turned to the mare standing beside them and Kalin caught Maedhros' reminiscent smile in the corner of her sight. "She seems familiar, somehow." His maiden remarked, deepening his smile.

"She should. Carendiel is Rúnyadal's mother."

A pleased laugh escaped the elleth's mouth and she questioned. "But they look so little alike! Is it true?"

Nodding, Maedhros moved to appraise the majestic horse with expert eyes. "You can see that they carry themselves in much the same way, both of height, and their eyes hold the same intelligence. Rúnya's sire was pure black; my stallion simply inherited his mother's distribution of color. See, she also is darker upon her mane, tail, and legs."

Kalin admired his knowledge and thoughtful appreciation of the horse and moved closer to give him her praise. "You are a talented breeder, my lord. I have never seen such attention given to the benefit of a creature."

He turned and kissed her tenderly. "With one word from your lips, I would bestow all my attention to your benefit without a second thought."

Her smile made his heart stop for a moment and as she reached up to kiss him, she answered. "And because I know how completely you would keep that promise, I will never utter such a word." Maedhros' eyes admired the curls about her face and eased his care-worn expression into a smile. With his hand, he reached behind her and untied the leather thong from her braid, letting loose the naturally white hair to spill about her shoulders. Kalin looked more stunning than he thought any elf was allowed to be. He loved her. That same thought both frightened and thrilled him. How could such a thing be? To love someone so totally with whom you had not grown up, nor even known longer than a quarter century? Such a thing seemed too impossible to occur, and yet there he was, gazing at the one elleth who completed his heart and gave him a desire to live… to love.

But even with this incredible realization made now within him, could he relate it to her with even half the violence of his feelings? Such a declaration required far more than the tranquil complacency that they now partook of. To declaim his love for her as he wished would urge the talk of binding herself to him in marriage, an act that, though beautiful and desirable, aroused a strike of fear to assail his chest in anticipation of uncertain futures. Maedhros was unprepared for the magnitude of danger such a union would bring her and any family to come forth among their love.

In ideal environs, this doubt of whether to proceed would never have arisen in his mind. Maedhros would have professed to her his adoration and love within a fortnight of becoming reacquainted, and likely propose his offer of marriage as soon as permission could be granted from her family. How he longed for an ideal situation. But in his real circumstances, the cost must be counted carefully before feelings could be allowed to express themselves. A cost that mattered little where his expenses were concerned, for he would gladly take his own life if it meant Kalin could be free from every pain, but he would not risk any amount of her health and happiness to be taken. He was not ready yet to put in words his love.

Mîrluiniel's gaze regarded him curiously in his silence and she inquired, drawing his focus back to those lovely eyes. "Maedhros? What are you thinking of?"

This innocent question inspired a yearning in him to communicate, without speech, his deeply rooted love for her. Taking her waist in a stronger grip and pulling her close against him, Maedhros took her mouth passionately with his and expressed his emotion to her in the best way he knew to do. Leaving her breathless when their lips at last disengaged, Maedhros was hardly calm himself and stroked her face as his eyes related the powerful affection he felt. "I was thinking of this." Indicating the precious contact they had just made, he caused her to blush beautifully and he smiled as his mouth pressed to hers once more.

It came to pass as he had explained to her earlier, the meetings with his brothers lasting late into the night and on to the early morning hours before dawn. Matters of discussion turned into arguments that persisted over everything from strength in numbers on their side, security of position, to the distance in time of attacks, both imminent and supposed. The question still remained of whether or not an attack would come to Himring, and if it would be of any magnitude worth preparing for. With a troubled mind and headache because of it, Maedhros finally adjourned the conference and allowed his young brothers to take rest while he remained seated in the council room.

His eyes blankly traced the maps strewn before him on the great table, all depicting different parts and landmarks of his March and lands as far as the Blue Mountains east. The parchments and skins had been gone over countless times with inks and fingers outlining tactics and strategies, maneuvers and probabilities. It was increasingly ominous the further looked upon. Their distance from allies was a concern, but the same separation was what Maedhros had accepted long ago. To keep his Fëanorian blood away from those who did not desire affiliation, and to silently defend the same elves with his precarious position on the borders of north and east. Only now it seemed there was much more at stake if the enemy's attack should occur.

His hand massaged a weary brow briefly before he leaned back his head and shut concern-wrought eyes. Within his mind it seemed an eternity of time before he awoke, greatly disturbed and tense, to see that he couldn't have been asleep longer than an hour. In his disoriented state, he had stood so suddenly as to knock over his chair with some force and came to rights only as it toppled loudly on the floor. Wide-eyed and rigid, Maedhros turned his gaze to the elleth standing at the entry of the room opposite him, recognizing her fair head only after an instant.

Distressed over what he had seen in this vision beyond all the others, he turned away immediately to hide his face and reaction from she who was most dear. But quickly did the maiden approach him and she discerned far more affliction than he could conceal; his trembling limbs and frantically shallow breathing betraying how close to hysterics he truly was from this apparent nightmare. Again, he sought to evade her and grasped the table before him until at last her persistent touch stilled much of his movements, and his frenzied reaction calmed to miserable convulsions.

"Maedhros, shh, calm yourself… I am here, I am right here." Slowly crumbling to his knees, Kalin knelt with him and stroked the sweat-dampened hair from his face, his flesh burning to the touch even as the violence of his shivering continued. Shaking his head, Maedhros did what she had never seen him do… he wept. Silent though he remained, tears poured forth from harrowed emerald eyes to leave their paths down his drawn face. Moved by this poignant display of suffering in her beloved and tormented prince, Mîrluiniel also shed tears to see him in such pain.

No longer consolation ready at her lips, she wordlessly wove his left fingers with her right and waited patiently at his side before, with a squeeze of her comforting hand, he took her and pressed her body to his. His fetal position around hers betrayed the vulnerability of emotion he could not hide away. While yet as soundless as a well-trained elf should be, Kalin still felt the droplets of relentless grief spill onto her head from time to time.

Whatever he had seen had been far more unsettling to him than their joined vision early in the day. With a hand on his chest, she looked up at him through her bright eyes in the torch-doused room, the distress of his expression and reddened eyes concerning her further to worry. He could hold her gaze no longer than a moment before some overwhelming shame or guilt turned his eyes downward.

Moving her hand up to hold his face and support it toward hers once more, Kalin beseeched him. "Please… Maedhros, tell me what happened."

His jaw clenched in uncertainty and he began, his voice weathered from muted cries. "It was a dream. I…" He staggered then from reliving its horrors and his trembling began anew, terror-filled eyes glistening with tears, and he looked at her, distraught. "I cannot tell you. I beg you, ask anything of me, but that." His deep voice weakened with the plea and Kalin stroked his troubled brow soothingly.

"Maedhros, I fear if you do not it will only haunt you still. And without knowledge of your assailment, what can I do to calm your fears? Tell me what it was, or tell me what can soften your anxieties."

With his eyes closed under her touch, the elf steadily eased his breathing and allowed her presence to relieve him of a small part of his burdens. "Sing to me, Kalin." A broken voice requested quietly of her and, with a kiss to each eyelid, his jewel gathered him against her and began to lovingly sing the lullaby her voice had sung after his first vision in Himlad.

With her hand threading through his straight hair like his naneth had done for him as an elfling, Maedhros laid his head upon her shoulder and wrapped his arms about her waist. An occasional tremble was all that remained of his ordeal outwardly, once her constancy finally entreated him to rest once more, and Mîrluiniel could only be left puzzled and deeply concerned by what had transpired.