Difference between a seagull and a phoenix, The: 1. chapter one

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1. chapter one

Please note warning: Although I put this in general as there is, alas, no sex or violence, Maedhros has gotten a rather foul mouth on him over the ages, so if swearing offends avoid.

I realise my presence here may come as a shock to some of you. Just as my appearance now has a tendency to shock you aftercomers, the red braids, the ears, the indescribable, other-worldly eyes. Most people put it down to a genetic mutation and walk away. A throw back, which I suppose I am. I know I do not have to explain my outlandish appearance to you. You know who I am, just not why I still live. You should not believe everything you read.

Were there any witnesses to the demise of the Heir of Fëanor? No. Certainly not my little brother, off doing his Lady Macbeth act on the beach long before my run in with that fiery abyss. Yes I have read the Classics, your classics I might add. Hardly a patch on Elven literature but they do pass the time. And I have had rather a lot of time. More than many would deem I deserved. So no witnesses then, just that evil taskmistress poetic justice, I should die, as a warning, as some sort of moral statement on the evils of desire.

Since when have any of the house of Fëanor given a flying fuck about morality?

That’s a pretty little mortal phrase I picked up. I have absolutely no idea why you chose the ultimate creative act to be your ultimate blasphemy, although it does make me wonder with your attitudes, how there ever got to be so many of you. Still I suppose I’ve done enough swearing to last me a lifetime.

Now first off, that eternal darkness thing never bothered me in the slightest. In fact I considered it somewhat of a blessing. Let other elves shuffle back to Mandos, tail between their legs. Let them sit in Valinor bored out of their tiny little minds for centuries uncounted. When I’m gone I want it to be over, done with. I want nothing at all to shine through and disturb my eternal rest, thank you very much.

You know I half think my father started that business with the Silmarils just for some excitement. You have no idea how dull bliss can be do you? Let me tell you, every day is exactly like the last one, all very pretty, all hopelessly inane. Two hundred years of gold and silver monotony was my lot and I was pretty fed up of it by the end.

So, as much as I’m sorry grandfather had to die, when Morgoth stole the family crystal collection no one was more pleased than me. I was bored and I wanted to make something of myself. So I swore that oath. For knowledge, for the chance to shape my own destiny, I was quite happy to repeat any blasphemy my father thought up.

What knowledge? The knowledge that god has washed his hands of you. After that anything is possible.

There was another reason. When it comes down to it, in any conflict, I am on the side of my friends because they are the people I choose to live amongst in victory or defeat. My friends were my brothers, because whatever else we were, we were always loyal to each other. It may even be a redeeming trait.

Did I love them? Yes I did. Although with some of them it was more an exercise of will than an emotion, sometimes. Why did I bother? You must love somebody and I had no one else.

Somebody is at this point going to bring up Findekáno. Didn’t I love him? No, certainly not in the unconditional way I loved my family. The house of Fëanor was something you had to be in to understand, and I am incapable of giving love to anyone who does not understand me. And as for that Findekáno as a poor Maitimo mercy fuck idea that some of you have got in your heads, forget it.

He might like the idea though. I am after all good looking enough.

Findekáno did not even have the nerve to shoot me, even when I asked him to. My brothers would have. Come to think of it Tyelkormo nearly shot down that damned eagle when he saw it racing towards our camp .He thought it was Manwë out to inflict some fresh iniquity on us. He may well have been right. Thank you so much for your ingenuity and your mercy, dear cousin. My gratitude is matched only by that of the peoples of Doriath and Sirion.

Dear mortals, before you pass too much judgement on me, ask yourselves this, how many of you are kinslayers or the children or grandchildren of kinslayers? You sit back willing to pass judgement on the cursed House of Fëanor, lucky that your kind are not so squeamish about such things. Maybe we are not so different after all. Pointed ears, indefinite longevity, what else really separates us? Do you expect that somehow because I am given those two qualities I should earn them by superior morals? I asked for neither.

I know my suffering fascinates you. Why is that?

I got, I believe ten or so lines in the official history. My father’s idiosyncratic consonants got more, bastards. The unofficial versions, the speculative histories are much more creative. You have very vivid imaginations, some of you. I should, I suppose be flattered at my popularity. In fact ten lines is a waste, one can say it all. Nelyafinwë Maitimo, eldest son of Curufinwë Fëanaro, was hung by his wrist for five years from a sheer precipice on Thangorodrim. If you do come up with a theory on how I survived that, let me know because I do not.

Now, it seems you want the spectacle of prime elven flesh tortured on the rack, but are not prepared to look it’s product, the monster, in the face.

Of course, in Angband I saw enough of the Silmarils to make me quite happy to never see them ever again.

So, why the massacres? If I cared nothing for the Silmarils and was not trembling in fear at the prospect of eternal darkness, why the murders of innocents? Because I had suffered beyond any of my kind before or since and the only way to make sense of that suffering was to carry on with the game plan, to believe in the Oath. The only way I could not loose my mind totally. And I was prepared to slaughter women and children to not give Morgoth the ultimate victory of my mind cracking apart. When I was hurt, I too was craven enough to need something to believe in. So much the worse for you Doriath, so much the worse for you, Sirion.

Of course in fair Sirion, The Gods in their infinite wisdom lifted up Elwing in the form of a seagull and returned her safe to her husband. There was no such grace for the serving girls and foot soldiers, the nursemaids and the craftsmen. They bled on the quayside and they died alone. I should know, I killed enough of them. Beware any deities whose mercies are reserved for those of impeccable pedigree I say.

So much for the seagull, what of the phoenix?

The Silmaril was easy enough. Tinkle tinkle, hiss, six hundred years of family history gone into the fire. Goodbye at last dear father. How incredibly lucky that gaping chasm opened at my feet. All the better to do yourself in with, my boy. I know I should have done. I know it was the only honourable thing to do. I looked into that chasm and saw my destiny, bubbling and boiling, eternal dark is the eternal rest and right then I could have done with a nap.

In the flames, I saw the original fire, the molten rock of which the world was made, the light in the darkness. You have to fall pretty low to see that. I also saw, in the flames myself. I was all I had, and I am ashamed to say at that point, even though I saw the kinslayer, the murderer, the damned, what I saw I loved.

I couldn’t do it. After all that bloodshed, I was rather done with honour. It has no value. Life is everything.

I do not know what lessons they teach in Mandos, for I have never been there. But it did strike me that was one lesson that can only be learnt while in the lands of the living.

Bloodied, battered, crippled, half insane, no deus ex machina was going to save me. The phoenix saves itself, rebuilds itself feather and claw from the ashes, smart creature. I knew what it was I had to do. My final act of defiance. The world needs the unrepentant, the damaged and the wise, now more than ever.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: lipstick

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/06/03

Original Post: 03/18/03

Go to Difference between a seagull and a phoenix, The overview


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