Author's note: Celebrimbor, while of course not being as disturbed as his forefathers, still has some truly exquisite problems of his own, for us famished fanfic writers to feast upon… He seems to have identity crisis problems…  It may not make sense… but on the other hand, it just might.

'Jeux de miroirs'; 'Play of mirrors' in French. Connotation of illusion, and such stuff…

Yet another character, yet another try at yet another style of writing… ::sigh::

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or settings mentioned. However, I do own that pretty little room Celebrimbor lives in…

Jeux de Miroirs

By Le Chat Noir

He raised a slim, delicate hand to touch the smooth, cool metallic surface of the mirror; slowly tracing the line of his forehead, to the ear, the jaw, and the long, graceful neck…

His eyes were dark, unlike the grey ones of most his kin, pure black that designed him infallibly as a member of the first House of the Children of Finwë; just as the kin of Finarfin had eyes the colour of the Sea when the storm brewed above. He had hated those eyes, unnaturally large and surmounted by long, dark lashes, and then elegantly arched brows. He had hated this face, most finely shaped, so pale it looked almost translucent, with high cheekbones, fair among the Fair Race of the Children of Starlight; framed by a silky mass of slightly wavy black hair. The nose was straight, aquiline, noble, some others would say, and the curve of the mouth maybe a little arrogant. Proud, the same others would say. He looked at the eyes again, and the eyes looked back at him, and, deep down there at the very core of their darkness, the mirror seemed to laugh…

Abruptly rising, he angrily smashed the guilty piece of furniture on the ground, and stormed out of the room; and the shattered pieces of glass laid innocently still on the marble paving.

The shy sunlight peered in from the high, tainted window, and its rays randomly tossed the vivid, contrasted haze of colours on the broken mirror, projecting the merry, but eerie shapeless lumps of pigments on the white walls. As the day went on, and Vàsa rolled across the boundless dome, the colours changed, shifted, in a macabre dance on the naked walls, devised solely for the purposed of receiving the light from the stained glass.

The long hours glided by, and each stroke of the loud, brazen bell that hung up in the clock tower seemed to last longer than a fleeting season.

Stillness hung in the air, heavy, oppressing, and in the bare room of white, white ground, white walls, white ceiling, the silence was only accentuated by the faint ticking of a small clock standing on the little bedside table.

For there was a bed, a large bed intended for two that stood on the opposite side of the single window in the room. The sheets were also white, flawless and immaculate, neatly tucked in. The light streamed down on them, too, and, for the moment, in the centre of the bed laid lazily sprawled a brilliant, scarlet spot of red.

Leaning its frame on another wall, stood a thin, wooden door, finely carved out of white wood, and the door handle was made of a tern silver -or was it the paler shade of mithril?-.

There was a desk, on which had previously been placed the mirror, and now there was on it only an inkwell, still half-full, and an elegant quill whose tip was slowly drowning in the black liquid. The drawer was locked, but the key -a little silver key- had stayed planted in the keyhole.

The was a small bookshelf next to it, and a pan of snowy cloth fell in front of it, probably to hide the darker shade of the books' leather binding.

The air in the room was fresh, despite the heat of the outside, but weighed down still with the same heaviness. The shadows of colours crept, silent, silent, on the bare walls…

Suddenly, without so much as a word of forewarning, the door was thrown open, causing unthinkable turmoil among the billion particles of air that had been sleepily hanging in the space between floor and ceiling.

The Elf-Lord came in, greeting the coolness that assailed him with a contented sigh, and sent the silver circlet he wore rolling on the ground with a careless gesture. He wore a white robe, made of light tissue, with a thin, silver belt. Striding across the room towards the bed, his foot seemed to land with more energy on the shards of glass, the crackling sound caused by their crushing merging with the eternal ticking of the clock, shattering the silence like a tangible wall of glass.

Shutting his eyes, the Elf flung himself on the bed, drawing a deep breath, relaxing in the feeling of his body sinking into the soft mattress…

The light, slyly, unnoticed, shifted the wide stain of crimson onto his chest.

Even behind his dropped eyelids, the Elf could fathom the bright shades of colours through the thin layer of skin.

Wearily, he passed a hand on his forehead, sweeping imaginary sweat drops away. It had been a long day of entertaining his guest, the Lord Elrond of Lindon beyond the Blue Mountains, who had arrived only the day before; and he had given the Son of Eärendil the Grand Tour, as it was the first time he had deigned visit the City of Ost-In-Edhil. Elrond, as far as the Elf-Lord was concerned, was a boring and haughty person, and difficult to talk with; and with every sharp glance the younger elf sent him, it was as if he was being put under the Question, and constantly reminded of their different lineage that clearly drew the parting line between them.

But, the Lord *was* the High King's best friend and most trusted counsellor, so, after all, for the shake of peace and dignity…

The feverish pounding against his brow quickened in pulse.

For the sake of his name…

Suddenly seized by a very childish impulse, he jerked his eyes open, and stuck out his tongue at the vividly coloured ceiling.

Already a few seconds afterwards, his eyelids felt heavy again, and the pair of wide, dark eyes fluttered shut.

Actually, his whole body felt heavy, and his brain unexplainably unfocused. Yet he didn't have much time. At most, one hour, before it would be time to prepare for the evening; including feast -during which of course he would have to preside the table-, long and boring -he presumed- political and military discussions, and then, afterwards, the music, and singing, and the dance… went without saying, that, being the host, he would have to lead the pace, and stay up till the last…

Forcing his eyes open, he pointlessly waved both arms in the air in front of him, being positively sure that, since there was no one to see him, he could as well begin to make faces at the inkwell without being thought eccentric.

Not that he did not already have a reputation of eccentricity.

Straightening himself on the bed, and drawing his knees up to his chest, his gaze wandered around the room. He had designed the place himself, a long time ago, when the City was being risen from a desolate land by the thousands hands of elven artisans, the best in Middle-Earth, which he had reunited under his govern -together to create the greatest work of art ever seen after the Fall of Beleriand-, but the High Tower had been devised by him, him solely…

His eyes happened upon the shards of glass still lying on the ground, and he immediately fell on his back again, refusing to see.

The ticking of the clock seemed to sound a wee bit louder than before, and its pace increased.

He had never been able to keep a mirror in his room. Several times, he had tried, but each time his gaze had inadvertently locked with that one of the reflected face on the metallic surface, it was not fifteen minutes before the mirror laid smashed to splinters on the cold stone ground.

Because he knew that when one looked into a mirror, one saw oneself looking back from it. Because when one laughed, the reflection laughed, and when one frowned, the reflection also frowned.

Reflections weren't supposed to smile of their own accord, and certainly not that kind of wry, mocking smile his reflection seemed to have adopted.

Because reflections were supposed to look like you, and not like the someone else who looked like you and smiled in your place when you looked in a mirror.

And because too often, mirrors tended to tell the truth.

And for those who didn't want to know…

It was not that he denied it. It was not that he still could deny it, even to himself, when all those years, all during his youth, *he* had been the mirror, the exact reflection, of someone else, someone he had not known, or barely, someone he had feared and respected and adored; he had been the mirror reflecting something that it did not understand…

And yes, it was all a long time ago, because soon, all too soon, the model had begun to laugh, yet a soft, beautiful laugh, and Celebrimbor had refused to even smile.

Maybe he had been wrong. At the time, he was young, and the world, to his eyes, had been a world of black and white…

His eyes opened a slit, and he stretched a lazy hand in the air, in an attempt to grasp the fugitive rays of coloured light.

And now, the model was still laughing, laughing that youthful, pretty laugh, he knew it, while he himself was lying there in bed, trying to capture the radiance of the Sun with his bare hands…

He was now the one to sit in front of the mirror, and to see his reflection smile, smile in the way he knew he would if he let his control slip, would it be for one mere fraction of second. And sometimes he wondered, if the mirror mirrored in another mirror could only be bound to show the true nature of the first reflection, the original face from which it had all begun… And if that first reflection was but only the reflection of another, and that other of another, the First, the very First? And with wide eyes, he had examined himself in the glass, lips half-parted in awe, because if the play on reflection could last, last to the very eternity, then what was it he saw it the cold, smooth surface, so close, that by extending a hand he could not reach?

Who was that face that smiled in the mirror, smiled at him with such kind eyes, making him want to kill himself…

He snatched one pillow from beside his head and firmly applied it on his face. However, after a minute, he found he needed to resume the vital activity of breathing, and flung the thing aside.

He had never been really ashamed of his lineage. In fact, when he was alone in his room, he often had to repeat it to himself, staring up at the ceiling, barely moving his lips, but continually reminding himself that he was Celebrimbor, Curufinsson, only grandson of Fëanor, last heir of the First royal House, only one left alive in Middle-Earth through whose veins the Eldest blood still ran… When he was young, once, he had stood at the top of the hill overlooking a green gale, and was seized by the sudden urge to yell it, at the top of his lungs; however, he had not even waited for the echo to come back to him, and run away as fast as his legs could carry him.

He did not see why he should have to renounce his name because of the stains it had come to bear through the millenias.

However, the whole world seemed to have quite a different opinion.

Along time ago, -during a period of his life he did not like to think about- he had repudiated his father's deeds, announcing his intention clear and loud, at the very gates of Felagund, that this time, he would not follow. His father had looked at him –for once, at least, he did not laugh- and said nothing, but turned his back onto him and ridden away like a trail of fire. However, when some minutes later, he had heard from afar the sounding of their horns, he had run away, once again, under the eyes of the whole people assembled, he had run away to the frantic beating of his heart and locked himself in his room, and had spent the rest of the day repeating to himself that he was Celebrimbor, Curufinsson…

Celebrimbor, Curufinsson…

Celebrimbor, Curufinsson…

He clenched his teeth, and abruptly started up from his horizontal position, wide awake, and leapt up from the bed. Jerkily, he paced around the room, both arms wrapped around himself as if he was cold, fiercely muttering under his breath.

Celebrimbor, Curufinsson…

He had hated, too, once, but after they had all passed away, he had found himself faced with, not beings, not anything tangible, that he could see, that he could touch, and he found that it was impossible for him to hate an idea. He had hated them for the stains they had brought upon their names, his name, for the pejorative meaning they had stuck with it, and he had hated them, because, because of them, he could not wear it openly anymore…

But he could not hate someone who was dead…

Who did not exist…

He could not hate a spirit…

It was said that the spirit, however much sins it had committed while being housed in flesh, remained pure, unsullied, and that, when the body died away, the spirit that sprang from it was always innocent, as much as when it had first been created…

Of course, the memories stayed, and there were exceptions, of course.

Exceptions.

Celebrimbor, Curufinsson…

The whole world seemed to think that being part of the House of Fëanor was a shame, a crime no one should boast of, that he should spend the better part of his life trying to amend for being born a son to a son of Fëanor… Suit the world! He was not ashamed… he was proud… he knew his name, and he would not forget it…

Celebrimbor, Curufinsson, I am Celebrimbor, Curufinsson…

The flashy ghosts of colours floated on the walls, now all burning a shade redder, because the sun was setting beneath the horizon and even the green now looked more like black than anything else…

He remembered when the dwarves of Khazad-Dûm had asked him to engrave the ithildin signs on their gate; at the time, because he was yet trying to forge as much alliances as possible for the yet new-born kingdom of Eregion, he had been overjoyed, and even more so when the dwarves let him choose the designs himself. It was agreed, that this gate should be the first step towards a great friendship between the Children of Ilùvatàr and those of Aulë, maybe the most lasting one ever formed, sharing their knowledge and skills to enrich both parties; it had been a dream then, one step higher into the esteem of the world, if the dwarves of Moria (1) could be bound in alliance to the elves of the Land of Holly…

He had worked alone, and at night, of course, since the precious ithildin could only be seen when reflecting the moonlight. It took him six nights of fever, six consecutive nights of staying up and letting his hands wander on the hard surface of the door, while the design gradually took more and more precise form in his restless mind.

The sixth dawn, when the Sun pointed her nose over the mountains far, he thought he had been finished, and called the dwarves to see his work. However, as much as the foul-looking little creatures did not speak of anything, he saw their surprise, and when he looked back to the door, it took his brain some seconds to register that there was, indeed, a great blank right in the middle of the great stone door, where something should have been, and yet wasn't…

However, at that moment, he had been so exhausted that he could only drag himself back to his room and fall asleep almost immediately.

When he woke up again, it was well past noon, and the first thing he did was run himself a nice, hot bath, and then, he had taken the first real meal he had had in a week.

Yet, when all this was done and he looked forwards to a peaceful little time to himself for a good read, the blank space on the door came tormenting him. At first, he had merely pushed the thought away, and concentrated on the book. But, after a while, he noticed that it was indeed a thoroughly boring book, and accordingly threw it away to a far corner of the room, and irresistibly, his feet began to move of their own accord, and led him to pace around his room again, his mind racing, stumbling, falling, then taking up the mad course again…

A design was there, of course, but at the beginning he had tried to shake it away.

The design came back, and, then he had not even wanted to get rid of it…

Celebrimbor, Curufinsson…

It was not possible, he had thought, absolutely impossible… because, because… and yet… the world…

Always a forger of bonds, always a kindler of wars, always a keeper of oaths… and yet…

Celebrimbor, Curufinsson, of the House of Fëanor…

Yes, it would be it… lo and behold, the House of Fëanor, at last a builder of peace and a creator of alliances… lo and behold, the House of Fëanor, banned from their people's hearts, cursed by their people's lips, lo and behold…

Remember who you are… remember your name…

The seventh night, hands trembling, head pounding, he had stolen down to the gate once more, and, trying to maintain the chisel as firmly as he could, he had carved the sixteen pointed star in the stone. Then, stepping back, he had contemplated his work, his signature, and had felt the need to laugh, because he imagined the faces the dwarves would make on the next day.

Celebrimbor, Curufinsson…

The colours on the walls began to dim, and the room to darken.

Shaking his head violently, he firmly walked to the window, and threw it open. The outside air, still hot, caught him in the face, and swiftly infiltrated the cooler room. Staring out in the darkness, he tapped his fingers on the windowsill, and, in the end, pulled a chair in front of the window and sat, burying his face in his hands.

In this world, there was no room for forgiveness, because what had to be forgiven was so enormous, and there was no one that was still alive to speak the apologies…

The next morning, he was awakened by the soft rays of blue light gently caressing his skin; to find that he had slipped to the ground during the night, and that only one of his arms was still resting on the chair.

The Lord Elrond, when he saw him again, could only be puzzled when Celebrimbor proposed him a sojourn in Khazad-Dûm, to visit his friends the dwarves of Durin.

~

1- Written on the Gates of Durin 'Lord of Moria', so I assume it already could be called Moria.

Apparently, trouble with vision does seem to run in the blood of Fëanor…