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Tales of Thanksgiving: A Drabble Collection: 7. The Space between Hearts
Oloriel loves the Fëanorians above all else and admits to a recent fascination with Maedhros's captivity in Angband. Though it might seem a bit odd of an addition to a collection of stories to be given as gifts for the holidays, I have written about the captivity of Maedhros from the strange perspective of Caranthir.
In my storyverse, Caranthir is able to sense the spirits and thoughts of others. I use this idea in "The Space between Hearts."
HASA unfortunately won't allow my original fomatting, which replaced the word "secret" in the last sentence with a plain black bar. I will post the properly formatted version in my LiveJournal for those who are interested in seeing the proper effect. The idea of using a black bar to represent a word was originally done (to the best of my knowledge) in a short story by Joyce Carol Oates.
This story is dark and disturbing and contains violent images. Sensitive and squeamish readers should tread with care.
The Space between Hearts
How did you forsake him? Your own king? Your own brother?
These questions were never asked outright. But we Noldor had gotten good at not being heard and yet hearing rumors borne upon the wind. I saw Nolofinwë's people watching us in the days following our reunion, their lips set stern and silent. It was their eyes-their hearts-that asked it: How?
And I heard.
How then? Not easily. Least of all for me, Carnistir the Dark and Silent, whose blackened heart was said to have tipped the decision about Nelyo in favor of forsaking him to Morgoth's cruelty.
The rumors were many and varied, and I heard them all: whispers of thoughts exploding in our wakes as we walked the streets at Nelyo's bidding, greeting people over whom we no longer presided.
It was said that Tyelkormo had lusted for the crown and thought that with Nelyo removed, Macalaurë would be easily overthrown.
Or Macalaurë: he had sat long in agony and indecision, paralyzed by his own cowardice.
Or that I had reminded my brothers of our oath to the Silmarils and that we had made no such oath to Nelyo.
The truth, of course, is much different.
For what outsider knows what happens in the secret darkness between the hearts of kin?
It is said that we do not begin to remember until we are a year of age, yet I remember that Nelyo was the third to hold me after I was born. I remember that in the silver light of his spirit, there was never a need to cry.
I do not remember Amil or Atar. But I remember Nelyo.
His lips were warm against my forehead and a whisper-I love you-the words of which I did not understand. The meaning: I did.
I never measured my love for Nelyo in kisses and kindness, as most do. We rarely spoke but we knew. It was there, in the space between our hearts, where words dissolve and become meaningless.
In the days of his torment, I went to him every night. He was not hard to find, for I had known that silver light since the day of my birth. He was a beacon in the darkness of Angband. I went to him and watched as they burned him, whipped him, and broke his bones. I endured it with him, while the others slept.
He spoke to me sometimes.
The other prisoners thought him delusional: a king from over the sea who was tormented more than most, speaking in strange tongues to the empty air.
"I do not want you to see this. Me. Like this." Legs grown thin and scarred, bound wrist and ankle, body naked, stretched and waiting. My thoughts reached for him, and I stood beside him. I would endure what he endured.
But I would not speak of it. Even to our brothers, though they asked with their eyes. The secret: it lived in the space between us.
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