1. The Waters of Awakening
Maglor was so enraptured in his song that he did not hear the footsteps until they were upon him. He looked up from his songs of sorrow and saw Cirdan and Elrond walking along the shores of Middle Earth. Cirdan appeared to be even older than he'd been last time he'd visited Maglor. But Elrond was still the image of full manhood that he'd been in the last days of the First Age. He had the life of the Eldar and was ageless in face and body. Only his eyes, bright but weary, revealed the long years that he'd seen. On his brow, he wore a star and, though it was not as brilliant as the gems of old, it seemed to capture a touch of the light of Earendil's star, and Maglor was reminded of the Silmarils. His music trailed off in the wind, and he watched silently as Cirdan and Elrond drew near. Maglor tried to greet them, but his voice was choked with emotion. He had not seen his foster son for over 6,000 years.
Elrond knelt before Maglor and took his hands. "Father," Elrond mouthed, but the words never found voice for Elrond was also moved by their reunion. They stood, and Maglor looked in wonder at the face of the man who he and Maedhros had saved as a child after trying to kill his mother. The light faded as the sun rested in the West, but Maglor didn't notice the beautiful sunset and swanships. Even in the night, Elrond's face seemed bright, as one who had seen the Blessed Realm. The moon had crossed most of the sky by the time they spoke again.
"Elrond, my son," Maglor said, for he knew not what else to say. Elrond had called him "Father," and that had filled his sorrowful heart with joy that he had not felt in many, many years.
"Father." Elrond embraced Maglor gently and then tightened his hold. "Come with me to the West," he pleaded. "You have repented of your evil deeds."
Maglor drew away. "I will never come back among the people of the Elves. My place is by the shores, and my task is to sing the pain and regret of the Elves to the waves."
"The Age of Elves is over," Elrond said. "The aging of Middle Earth will be more and more difficult to endure."
"That is but more reason for me to sing their songs. I am resolved."
Elrond hung his head. "So let it be."
"The Age of Elves is over, but the Valar are merciful," Cirdan said. "When the time comes, those who love Middle Earth will also depart."
"My answer will not change." Returning to Aman was tempting, but Maglor had learned how to push himself into doing what he did not want to do.
Maglor would stay in Middle Earth until weariness overtook him so that the blood of Feanor would not taint the Blessed Realm. He still remembered with disturbing clarity the words of Mandos: "On the House of Feanor the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West to the utmost East. The Dispossessed shall they be for ever."
For many years after the last ship sailed to the West, Maglor stayed by the Sea and sang his lamentations. As Elrond had predicted, Middle Earth became a burden to live in. He tired such that even the songs flowed more slowly from his heart. More often than not, Maglor found himself thinking of Maedhros and Elros and Elrond and those last days of the First Age.
The people of Sirion were reluctant to join to the people of Maedhros, but they had little choice. Morgoth had won all of Beleriand and the hidden kingdoms had been destroyed. Some of the Elves of Sirion said that Cirdan and Gil?galad would have come to save them, but Maedhros had known for a long time that the Isle of Balar was already too swollen with refugees. Why else would the Remnants of Doriath and Gondolin have stayed at the Mouth of Sirion rather than retreat to the safety of Balar?
"Let those who curse my name curse me still," said Maedhros, echoing their father. And they did. Some tried to escape from the traveling camp of the Feanorians. Often, Maedhros went forth with a company of men to rescue the escapees from the servants of Morgoth. But sometimes, the escapees dodged the Feanorians, and when that happened, Maedhros would find the Elves slain and their mutilated bodies hung on trees or nailed to rocks. He said nothing of this to the people of Sirion and quietly continued to protect them. Eventually, word spread of the bodies, and the prisoners of Sirion tried less and less to escape. Best of all, they stopped endangering the sons of Earendil by trying to "rescue" them from Maedhros, who had adopted them.
After the deaths of Amrod and Amras, Maglor had scarcely found the will to live. Three Kinslayings now hung over his head. His very life was responsible for more deaths. Often, he wished himself and Maedhros dead. Especially Maedhros, for he was the one who drove Maglor to live. Maglor went through the days as if in a daze. He rarely went with Maedhros to save the escaping people of Sirion. What was the point? If they wished to flee to their deaths, then let it be so. Then they stopped trying to run to their deaths, and Maglor laughed with tears of sorrow in his eyes. Too many had died just to learn to trust the Feanorians. They were killers to the bitter end and their very reputation pushed people to their deaths.
Then one day, after the escape attempts had stopped, Maedhros asked Maglor to babysit the sons of Earendil, whom he had named Elros and Elrond, for one had been found in a cave behind a waterfall and the other in the spray of the waterfall. Maglor refused at first. The deaths of Amrod and Amras were still too near. But Maedhros asked again at another time and again. Maglor remembered that same request in the Blessed Realm, when Maedhros had been unable to babysit their younger brothers and reluctantly turned them over to Maglor. Maedhros would not ask unless he had great need. At last, Maglor submitted and agreed next time Maedhros begged him to care fore Elros and Elrond. The children loved his songs, and in time, they came to love him as well. Nothing could wash the blood from Maglor's hands, and the guilt and sorrow never wholly left Maglor, but Elros and Elrond rekindled hope in Maglor, and they came to call him "Father" instead of "Uncle."
Maglor's thoughts were again on Elros and Elrond when Cirdan came to him. At first, Maglor thought the twins visions conjured by his songs. They were tall, dark?haired, bright?eyed, and poised like Noldorin princes. Maglor sang to them as they approached, as he had when Elros and Elrond had been young. They'd been constantly threatened by the troops of Morgoth, but amidst the sorrow and fear, there'd been joy. Maglor sang of the day when he'd taught them to harp and sing, and he'd practiced with them when Maedhros had taught them the sword and bow. At the end of the First Age, the sons of Earendil had fought under the banners of the House of Feanor. Elros had borne Maedhros's standard while Elrond had borne Maglor's. The War of Wrath had brought the Eldar together at last, and though Maglor disliked war, it was the last happy moment in his life, before he and Maedhros tried to take the Silmarils from Eonwe. That last time, Elros and Elrond had not been there, and Maglor was glad of it. All this Maglor sang as the twin Elves approached and came to stand before him. They listened to Maglor's song until it ended with the sailing of the last ship to the West, when Elrond left the lands. Only when the song ended and the very images of Elros and Elrond did not fade with the music did Maglor know that the twin Elves were not visions of his creation. He stood to greet his visitors.
The two bowed before Maglor and spoke in fair voices, "Grandfather."
The word could only evoke one image. Maglor remembered his grandfather Finwe with a crushed skull and bent sword before the doors of Formenos.
"Why do you call me that?" Maglor said. "I do not know either of you."
"But we know you," one of the twins said. "We have seen you in the songs of the First Age of Middle Earth."
"Then you should know better than to associate with a son of Feanor."
"Nay, we know the good and bad deeds of the Feanorians. We are the sons of Elrond Half?elven. I am Elladan. This is Elrohir."
Maglor nodded and looked with great liking at the twin sons of Elrond. "I should have known. You are so like him in appearance that I thought you to be visions of Elros and Elrond, your father and his brother. A star shines above our meeting."
"Indeed it does," Elrohir said. "Cirdan was at first reluctant to lead us to you."
"I have no wish to be seen by my people again. Anyone who associates with the sons of Feanor is cursed." Maglor looked to Cirdan. He was not ageless?seeming like the other Elves, but he was younger?seeming in spite of the beard because of the light in his face. "But why are you here?" Maglor asked Cirdan. "Didn't you depart for the Blessed Realm years ago?"
"King Elessar of the Reunited Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor and has laid down his life, and Queen Arwen Undomiel has joined him in death," Cirdan said. "The Elves who would not be parted from the beloved land of Middle Earth have now experienced the weight of the world after the Age of Elves. I have been sent to escort those who wish to depart to Aman and Eressea, the Blessed Realms."
"Now that our sister has passed on, we've grown weary of the world," Elladan said.
"Our maternal grandfather, Celeborn the Wise, will be leaving, and we will depart with him," Elrohir said.
"We have come to implore you to come with us," Elladan said. "You have been forgiven for your past transgressions, as have all the Noldor and their descendants. Leave now this sorrowful life by the Sundering Seas and join our family."
"I cannot. 'On the House of Feanor the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West to the Utmost East. The Dispossessed shall they be for ever.' So spoke Mandos after the Kinslaying of Alqualonde, now so long ago." Maglor passed a hand over his eyes.
"The Valar are no longer wrathful," Elrohir said. "You were born in Aman. You stay here for guilt, not for excessive love of these lands. This is not your home."
"Come with us to Aman and return home," Elladan said. "We would welcome you as part of our family in spite of your past wrongs. You are our grandfather."
Maglor wavered. Middle Earth held little joy for him. He remembered the beautiful lands of Valinor, the deathless trees, and the clear pools and lakes. If Elrond's family would truly accept him, it seemed ridiculous to turn away from such a generous offer. The songs that he had sung with Elrond in Elrond's youth had often been interrupted by urgent messages from the scouts, but those had been among the happiest of Maglor's days in Middle Earth. Maglor longed to submit, but the Curse of the Noldor hung over him. He looked to Cirdan hopelessly. Cirdan had seen the incarnations of the Curse in the First Age.
"Mandos said that the House of Feanor would be the Dispossessed forever, not that the wrath of the Valar would last forever. If you wish to join Elrond Half?elven's family, you are free to do so without bringing misfortune to them. Elrond would gladly welcome you into his House," Cirdan said.
"From the West to the Utmost East." Maglor looked out across the Sundering Seas but knew that Aman was not there in the west, for it had been removed from the world. "On dark and lonely nights, I have wondered about the words spoken by my father when he instigated the Rebellion. Though I know that most of his words were lies set about by Morgoth, one thing in particular struck my heart: 'In Cuivienen sweet ran the waters under unclouded starts.' The world has changed, and to Cuivienen there is no returning. But before I leave these lands, I wish to see the dried lands where Cuivienen had once been. Then I think I will know that the Valar have forgiven the House of Feanor, from the West to the Utmost East."
Cirdan spoke then of his birthplace, "The Waters of Awakening are no more, but if you wish to see the dried bay where the Elves first awoken and were found by Orome the Hunter, then I will wait for your return before setting sail. Cuivienen was located to the Utmost East indeed, farther east than even Mordor and the Sea or Rhun. Travel as far as Orocarni, the Mountains of the East. Cuivienen was once a fair bay slightly west of those mountains. I will return here to your hermitage with provisions and horses for your long journey. When you return from those ancient lands, you will add to the wisdom of the Eldar regardless of what fate you decide for yourself."
"Thank you for your waiting until the end of my foolish quest," said Maglor. "If at all possible, I would like to see my birthland again."
"Who would not wish to see his homeland, though it had become an abode of dragons?" Elrohir said.
"We will journey with you to the East, Grandfather. And when we return to the West, then you will follow us," Elladan said. Maglor thought it right to protest, but he found that he desired the company of the sons of Elrond.
Seeing that they had almost won Maglor, Elrohir added, "The lands are not wholly free from evil. You may need our aid. Besides, it would be better to ride three together than one alone."
Maglor clasped the arms of Elladan and Elrohir. "I look forward to getting to know my grandsons, the sons of Elrond."
Maglor of the House of Feanor and Elladan and Elrohir of the House of Elrond braved many perils and traveled great distances together. At first, Maglor recalled the First Age and the fulfillment of the Prophecy of the North so that they would understand his fear of returning if the Valar did not wholly forgive him. Slowly though, Maglor remembered the Days of Bliss in Aman and sang to them of his youth and the happy adventures that he'd shared with his six brothers. In return, Elladan and Elrohir taught Maglor about the great deeds in the Second and Third Ages, which he had heard little of during his isolation from his people. They spoke of their family and the love that had grown between Aragorn and Arwen. And they spoke of the sorrow of their parting from Arwen, a parting beyond the circles of the world. They desired now only to be with their family. The past would be remembered and cherished, but the weariness would be lighter in the Blessed Realms.
In time, they came to the base of the Mountains of the East. They searched along the mountain range until their wilderness skills discerned the location of Cuivienen. The land was barren and lifeless, and a choking dust filled the Waters of Awakening. Maglor was reminded of Ard?galen after the Dagor Bragollach. The plain had been scourged by the fires of Morgoth and became Anfauglith, the Gaping Dust. The three Elves spoke no words as they looked out at the birthplace of the Quendi. They camped that night on the edge of the desolate land. When the sun rose, they left what had once been Cuivienen and traveled west. Elladan and Elrohir did not ask if Maglor would accompany them to the Blessed Realms. They did not need to.
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.