Age of Healing
From the diary of Findekáno the Valiant: "Maitimo still won't leave the house. It seems that he refuses to let Valinor heal him." Who knew that meeting a much younger elf in a similar situation would help an aged former kinslayer.
Maedhros (called Maitimo)
Fingon (called Findekáno)
Galadriel (called Artanis)
Finarfin (called Arafinwë): Maitimo's and Findekáno's uncle.
Maglor (called Makalaurë)
Most elves are called by their Quenya names as I think Maedhros and Fingon would prefer those to their Sindarin names.
Tawarwaith ("Forest People", a name for the Silvan Elves)
The Encyclopedia of Arda
Thanks goes to my beta Elenaiel, who did a great job in clearing this fic of errors and prompting me to make life easier for readers.
Valinor, Fourth Age, 122
From the diary of Findekáno the Valiant: "Maitimo still won't leave the house. It seems that he refuses to let Valinor heal him."
"Maitimo, it is not good to keep to your house all the time! Our uncle wants to see you, and you need some colour to your cheeks! You look paler than Galadriel! At least on her it's natural!"
The red-haired elf shook his head. "And what should I do outside? Bear the pointed fingers and disgusted faces? No, thank you, Fin. As for our uncle Arafinwë, I'll visit him."
"You have been saying that for months now. When did you last see him? Six weeks ago? Eight?"
Maitimo, to tell the truth, did not know himself. While he was sorry for not abiding by Arafinwë's wish and visiting more frequently, he simply could not bring himself to leave the safe environment of his home. His mother Nerdanel came regularly, as did Findekáno; he also saw Elrond from time to time, and all three of them regularly attempted to change his mind.
But what did he have to gain? He was a kinslayer; he was the elf others had a right to spit on when they saw him; his crimes would never be forgotten as long as an elf still lived. He was the one returned from Mandos who probably least deserved it. But the Valar did not answer his questions. They had sent him on his way, and so he had settled in a modest house far from the city, where people did not usually go unless they wanted specifically to see him.
He watched the sun rise every morning and set every evening. He thought of the two trees which had been destroyed by Morgoth and Ungoliant and he thought of the Silmarilli when he saw the stars at night. He played board games with Findekáno, discussed books with Elrond and cooked with his mother, for he did not have servants.
"Just once, Maitimo, please! Just think about going out there into your garden for longer than it takes to pick basil or parsley or whatever it is you have got growing out there. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the birds, sit by the pond... anything!"
Maitimo sighed. "Sure, Fin."
If anything, Findekáno's sigh was even heavier.
"Any stories worth telling?" The redhead asked. It was not, after all, as if Maitimo was not interested in life outside his own four walls.
"Not really. Arafinwë is haggling out some kind of contract with Artanis. I imagine that has not happened often that a father and his daughter have need of a contract. It certainly did not exist the last time we were alive."
Maitimo merely nodded.
Findekáno spent the night at Maitimo's and rode away in the morning, feeling dejected. Maitimo was left with similar sentiments, but he would not have admitted it. He did not open his door again until late evening. He had been planning for days now to plant some of his leftover onions and twilight seemed like the perfect time to do it.
He took his time digging the holes, using his bare hands as the earth gave way easily and dirt was the least shameful substance that had ever covered his fingers. He was about to cover the third bulb when singing reached his ear, making him look up and around.
The voice had nothing on Makalaurë's, of course, but it reminded Maitimo vividly of Middle-earth and the Tawarwaith who dwelled there. They had lived near them several times, for they were the only people isolated or perhaps ignorant enough to accept kinslayers in their proximity.
His hands had stopped digging without him noticing, as he listened to the mournful voice. When the singer switched to a cheerful song, Maitimo shook his head silently at the forced tone and the song soon faded, the singer apparently realizing the futileness. Still Maitimo did not see the elf, although his ears and his experience told him that the singer was hidden somewhere in the forest adjacent to Maitimo's property.
He continued planting the bulb; only two were left. The singing resumed and the redhead felt certain that by the time the elf tired, he would be long finished and back in the house, and perhaps the Sindar would take whatever path he had taken to the woods, which, Maitimo was sure, did not pass his way.
He would have given the Sindar no more thought if two days later he had not heard him again. Maitimo was feeding and brushing down the horse his uncle Arafinwë had given him. Maitimo had neither needed, nor particularly wanted a horse, but now he had it and he owed it care. It was a stallion, a fine specimen of the line of horses Arafinwë had been breeding for centuries now. In Maitimo's keeping it mostly grazed on a meadow behind the house, with only a goat for company; not the best situation for a gregarious animal, and Maitimo did not ride it often either.
Like the last time, the Sindar sang of loss and grief for mortal friends. His vain attempt at singing happier songs he did not repeat.
His mother Nerdanel came to visit the following day. She arrived around noon, and happily ordered him about his own kitchen.
"Son, you must give up this self-imposed isolation you insist on," she commented as she watched him cut the meat.
"Valinor is not a place of peace for everyone. I have heard an elf, twice now, who mourns. He sings out in the forest and I believe that he must be a Sindar of some kind."
She frowned. "A grey-elf? More of those have arrived lately but... oh, I think you mean Lassë!"
"A grey-elf with a name in Quenya?"
"No, that is just what some of us older elves call him. His name is Legolas. His father is a grey-elf, but Legolas counts himself among the Silvan."
Maitimo raised an eyebrow. It was unusual distinction to make, and not only because the sire's line was usually given precedence.
"He arrived a couple of months ago," his mother continued. "I and Findekáno must have told you about him, he brought the dwarf!"
"I did hear about him, yes."
"There you go. Well, the dwarf died only a little while later and since then, he mourns. It seems that he had several mortal friends in Middle-earth who he misses and his father has not sailed either, if he ever will. Elrond knows both father and son; if you want to know more, you should ask him." She gave him a look. "Or, you can simply ask Legolas himself."
Maitimo shook his head. "Mother, you do not know what we did in Middle-earth."
She snorted. "I think I have heard enough."
"Hearing it does not meant you know it."
"Maitimo... it has been such a long time-"
He interrupted her loudly. "Not long enough!" In a quieter, but no less bitter voice, he added: "It will never be long enough."
Legolas was of Sindarin and Silvan descent and had been a prince in Middle-earth, first in his father's realm mostly called Mirkwood and later of a fiefdom given to him by his mortal friend and King Aragorn – apparently the first king of his country, Gondor, for many centuries. He had indeed been friends with many mortals: he had undertaken a journey with seven other mortals and one Maia to destroy a ring, which Sauron used to control Middle-earth.
The names, naturally, were anything but familiar to him. Too much in Middle-earth had changed after his death, and too many lands did not even exist anymore. Even the elven realms were different to what he had known. The only story he knew well enough was the Ring: a master plan Sauron had worked on with the help of an unknowing Celebrimbor. Maitimo's poor nephew, who had fought so fiercely to leave the curse of Fëanor behind, had ultimately been caught by his own ambitions. Sauron had tempted him well and made the – at the time – best smith of Middle-earth his accomplice; Celebrimbor had been the one to forge nineteen rings, which, ultimately, were commanded by the One Ring Sauron crafted in secret.
Celebrimbor had realized it too late and, after a battle and great torment, had gone to enter Mandos' Halls. Yes, that story, Maitimo knew well, for even if he kept out of all affairs, his own family's history he had insisted on being told. He had regretted Celebrimbor's misfortune.
Legolas may have been one of the lesser members of the Fellowship – a prince among his own people still, but the future of Middle-earth, so Elrond had said, was to be determined by mortal people – but he had been part of the group to fix Celebrimbor's failings. It was a complicated link to the Fëanorian family, one which the Silvan probably did not even acknowledge. But Maitimo did.
He could hear Elrond's worry for the Silvan elf in his voice when he spoke of him. However, he could also hear everything his former foster-son had gone through himself; the loss of his daughter to mortality, the uncertain fate of his sons; Valinor had reunited him with his wife, but it had separated him from his children.
But Elrond was different of Legolas. Perhaps, for whatever reason, the half-elf's connection to Middle-earth was less than Legolas' and it was for this reason that the Silvan grieved while Elrond did not despite losing more than the younger elf. It was a curious thing.
Naturally, Maitimo could not avoid the outside completely, nor the forest. Every now and then, he had to chop wood for the fireplace and the oven. A week after his mother's visit, he grasped his axe, threw a cloak around his shoulders and pulled the hood down over his face.
He found chopping wood a soothing task. He didn't need to focus on anything but the weight of the axe, his tight grip on it and the force he needed to split the wood; in time, his arms would become heavier, his muscles would tire and eventually, he would have to stop.
As he felled a small maple tree, he felt eyes watching him and he had to resist the urge to swing around with his axe acting as a weapon. Instead, he continued his work, all the while silently waiting for the intruder to either leave or speak to him in some form. But his patience ended sooner than he had anticipated, years of an undisturbed but lonely existence having affected him after all.
He stuck his axe into a log and turned around to where he assumed the watcher to be. There was no one he could see. But he knew that he wasn't wrong, so he called:
"Where are you?"
After a moment, a voice answered:
The redhead looked up. An elf sat on a branch several feet over Maitimo's head.
"Who are you and why are you watching me?" Maitimo demanded.
"I'm Legolas. And the sound of your axe reminds me of a friend."
Of course it was the Silvan. There weren't many elves who would climb a tree – certainly not a Vanya or a Noldor. His Quenya was atrocious. So Maitimo switched to Sindarin, aware that his own Sindarin must sound archaic in the Silvan's ears.
"It is polite to announce one's arrival." His tongue felt leaden as he said the words.
"You are right and I apologize for spying on you," Legolas replied in Sindarin, "And for plaguing you with my terrible Quenya. I never actively spoke it before coming here and many of my friends here speak Sindarin."
"I'm sure my Sindarin must sound strange as well."
"It does. It sounds as if you were born in Valinor and yet spent some time in Middle-earth a long time ago. You must be quite old, if I may say so."
It was surprisingly refreshing to speak to an elf who didn't know him – yet. The fear of being recognized and then rejected would likely never leave him.
The Silvan seemed to realize that Maitimo would not be very forthcoming about himself.
"Again, I owe you an apology. I've disturbed you."
"No, I'm done now," Maitimo denied and started gathering the wood.
Legolas seemed disappointed.
"I'll help you," he offered.
Maitimo wanted to decline the offer but, looking at the chopped wood, he had to admit that his basket would not be big enough to hold all of the wood and still be comfortable for one person to carry alone. So he did not protest and worked together with the Silvan in silence.
He cursed the treacherous strand of red that slipped out of his hood. There weren't many elves with that hair colour. But Legolas did not comment. Once they had collected the wood, they walked back to Maitimo's house.
"I have heard you sing in the woods," the elder commented.
Legolas seemed embarrassed. "I hope you don't mind. I assumed that no one lived here. That was my mistake."
"No one but me does live here," Maitimo confirmed. "And I did not mind your signing. My— a friend of mine sang, too."
"He doesn't sing anymore?"
"I have not seen him for millennia. I'm not sure I ever will."
After a pause, Legolas commented: "Some are not comfortable with my sad songs."
"Everyone has a right to mourn," Maitimo said. "Even in Valinor."
They had arrived at Maitimo's front door so he turned to the young elf:
"Thank you for helping me carry the wood."
"It was no trouble."
Legolas seemed to hesitate between leaving and saying something else. When Maitimo reached to close the door, he asked hurriedly: "Your friend, the one who sang; do you mourn for him?"
Maitimo held the door open only long enough to reply:
"There is much I mourn for. He is not the least of my reasons." He closed the door.
"So I hear you've met Legolas," Elrond commented the next time the half-elf visited.
"I have. His Quenya is terrible."
Elrond laughed. "I know. It's not a language his father, King Thranduil, considered to be very important. Legolas only learnt some whenever he was in Rivendell. And there were hardly any elves left in Middle-earth who still spoke Quenya. Galadriel was practically the only one who learnt it as an elfling."
"He seems to be good at climbing trees instead."
"He's a woodelf."
"You could teach him!" Elrond suggested.
"What? Climbing trees? I don't think there's anything I can teach him there," Maitimo replied, feigning ignorance.
Elrond shook his head impatiently. "I meant Quenya. He'll have to use it here. Some of the old ones don't like speaking Sindarin."
"They'll just have to change their minds. More and more woodelves are going to come here, are they not?"
"I'm not sure." The half-elf shrugged. "I'm a bit worried about Celeborn and also Thranduil. They were never particularly keen on sailing West. But the truth is that the time of the elves is over in Middle-earth. But even so, Legolas really should learn Quenya. And who better to teach him?"
Maitimo snorted. "There are plenty of better people to teach him. If you think it so important, do it yourself."
"No, you're much better at it. Even for me it was never more than an overly formal language used during ceremonies and in writing. You learnt it best."
Annoyed, the Fëanorion knocked his piece over. "Why do you insist on making us associate? He's a Silvan!"
"So? He's also young. And you have something in common."
The redhead laughed harshly. "We have nothing in common."
"You both grieve," Elrond insisted.
"He will get over it!"
"Or perhaps he doesn't want to get over it! Just like you!"
Maitimo clenched his jaw tightly in anger, refusing to comment.
But apparently Elrond spoke to Legolas and gave him ideas for the Silvan showed up at his doorstep. And this time, Maitimo did not have a cloak or a hood to hide himself.
"I need someone to teach me Quenya," Legolas said. "Elrond said I should ask you."
Maitimo harrumphed. "Believe me, you do not want someone like me to teach you."
"I know who you are."
"Oh, really?" He sneered.
"You're Maedhros "The Tall" Maitimo Nelyafinwë, son of Fëanor. Your friends call you Russandol. I think it's an incredibly long name for one elf, even someone who has lived for such a long as time as you have. I can't claim to understand your past. And my father would probably draw his sword if he saw you again. But I'm not my father. You've been reborn. You grieve, just like I do-"
"You grieve for a mortal dwarf! You will get over it!" Maitimo interrupted him, furious that the youngling dared compare them.
"I grieve for my friends," Legolas protested, unwilling to back down. "I don't only grieve for one dwarf, I grieve for him as I do for Aragorn, for Frodo, for Sam, for Faramir, for Éowyn, for Éomer, for-"
"You grieve for your own past which you cannot change! You lock yourself into your house and do not show your face when you leave it! In the months that I have been here, I have never once heard your name even mentioned except by Elrond when I asked him!" Stormy eyes locked with Maitimo's and strong wills battled behind a thin facade. "You are afraid, that is all," Legolas concluded.
Maitimo had no answer to that. It was preposterous, brazen, ill-mannered, but the oh-so-damning truth.
"Now will you teach me Quenya or not?"
There was a challenge in the Silvan's gaze, something that said that if Maitimo did not do what the youngling wanted from him, he would do something drastic like sing badly in front of his door for the rest of Maitimo's miserable existence. It reminded him of the look his younger siblings had had as elflings when they felt particularly mulish.
"How old are you again?"
"Old enough. I've faced a balrog."
Maitimo nearly rolled his eyes. "And I have faced six of them at the same time."
"You had your brothers with you, if I remember correctly."
"According to Elrond, you had your friends with you. And you ran."
"Which made us smarter than you."
The older elf chuckled. "Probably." He gave a heavy sigh of resignation. "I hope you are a good student."
From the diary of Findekáno the Valiant: "Maitimo rode out to see Arafinwë yesterday, claiming it was to test Legolas' Quenya. I think the Silvan is a good influence on Maitimo - and his Quenya has definitely improved."