The firelight played across their features, Maedhros and Fingon both, bathing the two in a strange semblance of darkness and light. The dim haze of memory obscured all things, Mithwen thought with a short laugh as her fingers played at the heavy silks and ripped seams of a shattered dream, a requiem formed in cloth and not in words, in needle and thread and cool fabric, now startling her clumsy fingers and breaking the illusion before her.
A dream, a memory, a wish that could not last, not even tonight of all nights, as she glanced across the fire again, and saw the last of Fingon's features meld into Maglor's. Even wishes had an end, even memory a price, she knew, and the realization ached, though most of the sting of it had gone, and tears no longer felt an option. Who cried after all, at a Midsummer's Wish gone off? Who believe still in such things? In this world it seemed senseless, pointless...
"A tale for elflings." Maedhros cut the silence quickly, though his words no longer seemed as blades to Mithwen, and the eyes that read hers knew them well as they had come to in this year. "That no one should believe in now, yet, one that I had hoped as well. But it is foolish, yes, that we believe in wishes still."
"It is." Mithwen agreed, needle darting through the blue silk once again. "And what we still think we can save." She added, pulling closer the damaged banner. "And though I am able to patch it some," she added, almost as an afterthought. "It will never be the same, My Lord, I..."
"Wish it could for both of us. And for you, Makalaure." Maedhros broke in, knowing his scribe's thoughts well enough to be his own, as he turned towards his brother, not his cousin. "It is not fair. We three all know it."
Maglor shrugged, and bent to poke the fire, seeming glad for the loose hair spilling into his eyes and obscuring them from sight. "You did not ask it." The Harper softly mumbled, jamming a stick into the flames, waiting until they crackled loudly before facing them again, something Mithwen noticed, that he seemed to do when the conversation ran this way. "It does not matter." he continued, shaking out his hair, then waiting until it settled once more. "We all do what we must. Maitimo, with your swordplay, and Mithwen, with your stitching...Have you touched your quill lately?"
"I wrote your cousin not so long ago." Mithwen answered after a moment. "And the things Lord Maedhros asks of me of course. Of my records? I'll catch the year up later." Too near still, after almost a year to touch them, to remember Fingon as he was then. She owed it to him, at the least, but in the moment...
"He would understand your waiting." Maedhros murmured. "More than I maybe, though we do have time. Indeed." His laugh was bitter, soft, ironic, "That is of course, the one thing we hold abundant. Time, life, death, who knows?"
"No one." Mithwen shrugged, knotting her last stitch of the night and setting aside Fingon's banner. Nearly finished now, she thought with some surprise. "Is that the point of it maybe?"
And if it was, would death find her so surely as it was promised to her Lord? She had been nothing if not loyal in the face of all that she had seen so far, and now that the brothers were scattered, would be nothing but loyal again. If she would follow him to death did it mean that she was bound to? Strange, until a year ago, none of them had seemed to think much of, well there had been Fingolfin certainly, but he had been remote and distant and though she had been sorry for Fingon's sake, Mithwen had never truly known the king.
"The point is to be pointless?" Maedhros quipped, the fingers of his left hand playing at his hair. "It seems like something They’d reduce us to. The Edain call it a gift." he shook his head, the copper strands gleaming like their fire. "Call me bitter, but I don't see it."
"Better live defeated than die in shame?" Mithwen quipped now, and her Lord's smile proved bitter indeed.
"Maybe." Maedhros smirked. "If the choice were given me, then yes. Not much for Feanor's legacy I know, but Feanor's legacy can hang itself. ...Figuratively..."
"Legacy." Maglor snorted. "Is that what they're calling us?”
"Ridiculous isn't it?" Mithwen agreed, glancing between the brothers. "As though you or he, or Ambarussa belonged to anyone. Like saying I belong to him." She nodded towards Maedhros, who hid a grin.
"Always your own self Mith."
"Always." The scribe allowed, reaching for the flask set between them, then pulling a face as she sipped, "Miruovor? It tastes like tears." Well not so much the tears, she found as she sipped again finding the amber liquid whispering something more as she swirled it in her mouth and thought. "No, not tears. But sorrow, lost joys. Some victories, greater defeats..." She shook her head and passed it back to Maglor. "It proves too bitter for me."
"If that were so," said Maedhros, reaching across to briefly cup her chin. "You would not be here still. I've dismissed you more than once you know." He added, "But we see how you respond to orders.”
"Oh quite the same as you?" Valar knew why she'd stayed with him these years, through the peace and then the fighting, putting up with all of, "I did stay out of battle." Mithwen offered, nodding to the banner. "As you ordered
"As I asked you when I found that you were planning...You're a scholar, not a warrior and certainly not both, and your presence would have killed you, or us as you well know and knew it then..."
"This is the nineteenth time you two have had this conversation." Announced Maglor, theatrically rolling his eyes. "Years to the day and all, it's a bit of overkill, do you not think?"
"Maybe." said Maedhros. "If it seemed she got the message."
"I never have, I never will and I'll trip and fall my way to death for you." Mithwen smirked, though she realized it was true, then reached across the pit again. "Well give it over. Never could let well enough alone, now could I?"
From somewhere far beyond them, a High King smiled.
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.