like a sudden gust of wind
Leaving them, bewildered, to ask how
I recall last time we met you said we'd meet again
The irony is only bitter now
-"Say Uncle" by Vienna Teng
Tyelkormo Turcafinwë sat on the sand, knees drawn up to his chest and watching the water, and – though he would never have used the word even in the relative privacy of his own thoughts – brooded.
He could hear Moryo's hearty laughter somewhere closer to the fires, where the others were, and the answering biting tone of Kurvo saying something sarcastic that drew laughter from the general circle. Another night he would have been there with them, laughing with the rest and quite probably the only one to stay sober by the end of the evening. Tyelko didn't know why, but he'd lost his taste for drink before he'd ever had any. Privately, he suspected it had something to do with his cousin Artanis, who'd made him promise, once, that he wouldn't ever drink. For some reason he'd kept it, as he'd kept every other promise he'd ever made to her.
Promise me you'll never take any oaths.
She'd said that once, hadn't she?
Tyelko shook himself. Over the other voices, suddenly, he heard another he knew. Pityafinwë, raised in anger as he'd seldom heard it. "No. No, I said. Don't be…" Telvo's voice cut him off, softer but no less angry. "Listen to me," he said, and then he lost the rest of the sentence in laughter and noise. So Telvo and Pityo were arguing; they who never argued, who seemed to share a single mind. He felt cold, suddenly, and looked up at the stars, frowning.
Something had gone wrong. He knew it, somehow. It was no more, really, than a vague feeling of unease that had settled in his bones halfway across the sea, but he knew what it was for. He couldn't but think of what he'd left behind.
Maybe they'll turn back. Maybe they would go back to Valinor and she would find someone else to wed and raise her sons. He thought of her in another Elf's arms and his vision went red. No. Never. He would die before seeing that happen.
Or perhaps she would die.
But Ata was always right, and Ata had led them here, and he was not going to question Ata. Not now, especially; not now that that was the only ground he had to stand on. Something bit at him, trying to get his attention, but he shoved it away.
Someone kicked him. "Turko. Brooding again?"
Tyelko didn't look up. "Moryo," he said, flatly, refusing to answer or rise to the bait.
"You are brooding. Come on. The night is warm, the ale is good, Ata's in a fine mood. What's to brood about?"
He shoved himself to his feet, suddenly feeling irritable. "None of your business. You know I don't drink."
"I know you're a bore." Moryo grinned, teeth flashing white in the settling darkness. "Almost as bad as Káno, that way. Even Maitimo's having a drink."
"Just let me think, Moryo," he said, sharply, turning away.
"Think, you?" Moryo snorted, hand falling on Tyelko's shoulder. "Don't hurt yourself."
"Give it up," called Kurvo from the fire, lounging back and smiling also, though he was watching Tyelko as he said it. "Our older brother's feeling too womanish to play tonight. It's your roll, don't think you're getting out of it."
Tyelko's nostrils flared and he tensed, feeling the prick of anger. "Don't you be stupid, Kurvo," he snapped. "Just because I have more interesting things to do than indulge a couple babes. But if it's that important to you, never let it be said I don't care for my little brothers." There was some appreciative laughter, loudest from his brothers. He ignored it and went to the little circle, sitting down next to Kurvo, who leaned over to him.
He didn't turn to look at his little brother, knowing that Kurvo could read him anyway, as he always had done. "What?"
"My older brother, always the ladies' man." Kurvo smiled. "Concerned there won't be beautiful ladies where we're going?"
"Don't be stupid," Tyelko said derisively, though he felt a little twinge in his chest. They won't be Irissë. "You think that's all I think about?"
"I know that's all you think about, Tyelko," Kurvo said, the smile taking the sting out of the tease. And Tyelko knew it was true, too; knew that he was and always had been the stupid one of their pair. Of all of them. "She'll be fine. Quite fine, that one."
Tyelko felt his mouth tighten. Don't talk about her that way. "Mm."
"She'll survive," Kurvo said, cool and rational as ever. "Who knows about her brothers, though?"
"I don't wish them dead," Tyelko said, stiffly. He'd never liked Findekáno, true, and Argon had always irritated him, but they were kin nonetheless.
"No? I assure you they want you dead. Do you think if you asked they'd ever let you near their sweet sister?"
They couldn't stop me, said part of him, stubbornly, not if she wanted me. I would kill them first. Kill all of them. He tensed. "Don't talk nonsense."
"They've never loved our family," Kurvo said, quietly, then drew away as Moryo rolled and won, grinning with the thrill of his victory. "And Findekáno loves you even less."
Tyelko stared at the fire, dazed, and stood. "I'll be back," he said, shortly, and strode away again, head spinning. He knew Kurvo was right. Knew Findekáno hated him and that as the eldest he had influence over his siblings, and as well that Fingolfin and his Ata had never…gotten along. But he would never have thought…what Kurvo was insinuating seemed terrible.
Accidents happen all the time, he thought, dazedly, It could be anything. A missed spear thrust, a fall from a horse, anything… His blood ran cold. They thought to keep him from Irissë; Ireth who he loved.
Never. The rage welled up in him, hot and hungry like fire. If they thought…Irissë would survive, of course. And if her brothers did not…a soft, dark voice murmured quietly: she will need you all the more, need your comfort and your arms.
The darkness of that thought frightened him and he shoved it away, shuddering. His head spun, feeling suddenly dizzy, as though drink had gone swiftly to his head, though he'd had nothing. The anger roared in his belly.
"-fine! Do what you want, I don't care!"
"You stupid- stupid –"
Telvo and Pityo's voices, arguing again, somewhere not far away. He started to pace in that direction, but another voice caught his attention.
"No. Ata, no, I have listened to you thus far without question but this I will not do."
Maitimo's voice, raised in seldom heard anger, defiant and stubborn. Tyelko turned that way.
"You will do as I say!" roared his Ata's voice over his eldest son, eyes blazing with the fanatic fury that Tyelko recognized. "Let it be a beacon, let it say to all that we are not going back." Maitimo's face was rigid with anger, quietly furious. "Let it promise the same to any who oppose us. Fire and blood."
"Fire and blood!" Roared the other voices. "Fire and blood!"
Tyelko felt his chin lift, felt his chest swell, pride soaring. Regret vanished. He let his sword whistle free of its scabbard and roared with the rest. "Fire and blood!" Then it was Kurvo's voice, yelling over the rest – "Burn the ships! Burn the ships!" And the others joined in, and Tyelko found a brand with one hand and flung it against the nearest ship, eyes bright and wild with the fierce joy of destruction and maddened fury.
When, late, he collapsed into bed beside Moryo, exhausted and smelling of smoke, the flames still crackling as the ships were consumed, lighting the night and drowning out the stars, he dreamed of Irissë, dreamed her under the trees in Valinor, laughing at him.
And so it is done, she said, and her voice was Artanis' and her own, and so it is done, and there is no going back. Not for you, not for me. And Mandos' voice, as well, intoning with cold justice their sentence- tears unnumbered ye shall shed; and the Valar will fence Valinor against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your lamentation shall pass over the mountains. On the House of Fëanor the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West unto the uttermost East, and upon all that will follow them it shall be laid also. Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass. The Dispossessed shall they be for ever.
He woke cold, shivering, tears on his face, and could not answer the questions his heart asked. Moryo lay on one side of him and Kurvo on the other, but he had never before felt so entirely alone. He stood and slipped out into the darkness, and found the night bright and full of stars, even as ash drifted down like fragile grey snow, whispering as it settled to the sand.
end of the road he calls everyone home
and the fire will consume us striking through to the bone
at the end of the road you will soon hear him call
as the congregations crumble and the chapels will fall
-"The Big Sleep" by Murder By Death