1. In Fire Now We Will Go
The end of this piece is interspersed with lines from a song by (surprise, surprise!) The Frames, called Santa Maria, and, indeed, the story title is also taken from a line in the song.
There had been no losses during the crossing; the followers of Fëanor all arrived safely in the firth of Drengist, although not all rejoiced. The violence in Alqualondë still revolted many of them, as did the stealing of the boats and the furtive escape from the people of Fingolfin. When they put to shore, Maedhros the Tall, in whom the passionate fire of life still burned hot, enquired of his father how many of their people could be spared to return for the people of Fingolfin.
“Whom shall they bear hither first? Fingon the valiant?*” he asked, before his eyes widened in surprise at his father’s response. It seemed that a madness had taken Fëanor and he laughed as he ordered that the ships be burned.
Maedhros refused to play a part in this, but he made no further protests as he stood aside. His father was not one to be lightly opposed and having sworn the same unbreakable oath, Maedhros felt that he was bound to this fate, for good or for ill. He could not condone his father’s actions yet how, in all conscience, could he condemn them? They were all under the Doom of the Noldor and he doubted that the Teleri distinguished kinslayer from kinslayer.
Anguish tore at his heart as he thought of his old friend Fingon, and Turgon, both of whom were brave and fearless, risking even the wrath of the Valar in this desperate exploit. What now would they do? Would they return to Valinor in shame, or would they risk the dangerous crossing of the Helcaraxë?
The words of the nameless herald of Manwë, whom some said had been Mandos himself, rang in his mind. Tears unnumbered ye shall shed.*
He watched, sickened, as Elves, people of his father’s household, his kin, threw flaming torches into the boats. It was with a strange sort of fascination that he observed the first snaking tendrils of smoke rise into the darkness, and a red glow which began to grow stronger. Soon, the fire would take hold of the sails, and the ships would become a floating inferno, visible for miles around. Maedhros shook his head in disgust; he knew what message it would send to the forsaken followers of Fingolfin. They would think, nay; they would know; that the sons of Fëanor had betrayed them.
Suddenly, he became aware of a commotion behind him. His brother, Díriel, was being restrained by a number of strong-armed Elves, and he was struggling and screaming incoherently. Maedhros felt a sudden chill of horror spread through his veins as his brother’s cries became more intelligible; a name emerged.
“Damrod!” cried the youngest son of Fëanor, breaking free of those holding him. He ran past Maedhros, who grabbed his arm.
“What is it, Díriel?” he asked, as his brother pulled away. Without looking behind, Díriel called back, every word strained with grief. “Damrod is on one of the boats!” Maedhros was frozen to the spot; his voice had failed him. What could he say? He had seen his brother’s eyes and the frantic expression in their depths; what words would serve in the face of such raw heartache?
At that moment, Maglor arrived at his side, his face white.
“Ai! Russandol, I did not know! When Father demanded that the boats be set alight we… we did not know that Damrod had returned!”
“No,” Maedhros whispered before stirring into motion, crying out, “Díriel! You cannot go back! You will surely perish!”
“We cannot lose both of them, Maedhros!” cried Maglor. “Come!”
The two eldest sons of Fëanor began to run after their brother, but he had already reached the boat in which his twin slept; he was now a black shape against the red flames.
Let me off of this boat,
I’m sick of this ride
The world is heading ever southward
And I can’t stay in here
Damrod awoke, coughing; his chest was in spasms and smoke filled his field of vision.
And you lie awake,
Away on your side
The feeling comes in waves and burns us,
And I don’t want to die
He thought he could make out a figure moving in the flames; coming towards him.
The slippery hands
To the line of your throat
The fever now consumes us both
In fire now we will go.
They reached for each other; grime and tears staining their identical faces as the flames licked ever higher around them.
And what have we left?
That’s all that we’ve got
There is no ‘X’ to mark our spot
What’s past is done and gone.
On the shore, the five remaining sons of Fëanor stood, with their heads bowed in bitter sorrow. Tears unnumbered ye shall shed.*
*Direct quotes from the Silmarillion
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.