11. Chapter 8, Part 1 - Forgiveness
The brothers clung to each other as unhindered tears of joy trailed down their faces and glimmered in the moonlight. Each of them tried to say all at once everything pouring from their hearts. This was the miracle that was never supposed to happen. Maedhros reached up and gently brought their foreheads together. Maglor held the back of Maedhros' head with his trembling fingers. "Elen sila lumenn omentielvo." Maglor's face was luminous as his tear-smothered voice whispered the ancient Quenya greeting. Maedhros also found it hard to speak. This was his dear beautiful brother of blessed memory. "Emelen linna ceni chen," he finally said, his emotions nearly choking him.
The salty drops continued to splash down Maglor's high cheeks as he hugged his brother tighter. "I watched you fling yourself into that fiery oblivion." He took a deep breath and swallowed. "I thought I had lost you forever." His hands gladly brought Maedhros closer. His eyes rose and he looked at the stars. "I have my brother again," he called out to them.
Maedhros gazed into the West and silently thanked the Valar for their kindness. Suddenly there was a great quiver in his mind. A longing was rising…but this wasn't the longing he had felt so many times in the past. This was a call straight to his soul. He paused without letting go of Maglor; his brows drew together as he tried to concentrate on the sensation. It was no use; as quickly as it had been felt, it was gone. Maedhros swiftly dismissed it as part of the high emotions surrounding them; his heart was soaring too high. He pulled back and held Maglor at arms' length. "I too resigned myself to never knowing what happened to you." His lips widened into a broad smile. "Now…you are here."
"Yes!" Maglor beamed as his hands came up to Maedhros' shoulders and gently shook him. "Maedhros!" Words had become inadequate.
Maedhros began to wipe his cheek with his fingertips. "When I heard the Song of Iluvatar once more, I had no idea it would lead to this." They both began to laugh, unable to believe what their hearts knew to be true. Maglor rubbed his eyes with the back of his hands as he tried to regain his composure. Finding the gesture futile, he placed his hands back on Maedhros shoulders. "How I have missed you." He bit his lower lip as his eyes began to blur again. Maedhros found it impossible to measure the delight Maglor's words made him feel. He could only draw Maglor into his arms again and hug him tightly.
Many minutes passed, and they were reluctant to let go of each other; afraid somehow it was going to turn out to be some cruel dream. Finally, Maedhros heaved a sigh and dabbed his eyes on his sleeve as laughter began to escape his lips once more. "We can not stay here. The tide will be coming in soon and there is much you need to know." He suddenly looked up. Ailsa's small figure stood motionless as she watched them from the high ledge above. Maglor followed his brother's gaze to the figure on the sea cliff. "Who is that, brother?"
"Come, I will introduce you," he said as he squeezed Maglor's arm. Maedhros turned and walked to the path while Maglor silently followed.
As Ailsa watched them climb the path, her mind was a flurry of barely contained curiosity. Who was the stranger who seemed to know Maedhros enough to hug him on sight? When Maedhros first reached the beach, she was frustrated by her inability to hear over the wind and surf what they had called to each other. Their conversation went on for quite a while and they hugged each other many times. She frowned as she strained to see more. Who is this guy?
When Maedhros suddenly looked up, she was startled. More so when the stranger's attention slowly followed. They talked a bit more, and she couldn't decide whether to retreat back into the woods or wait to see what was going to happen. She nearly bolted when they began to climb the path, but thought it would be stupid to leave since they already knew she was there. So she decided she'd stay put even though her heart continued to race as she waited for them to reach her.
Maedhros led the way, and as he got closer, Ailsa could see the look of joy on his tear stained face. Ailsa had never seen his face so relaxed; so happy. She couldn't help wondering what had made him cry. The stranger too had trails of tears on his cheeks. "Maedhros, is something wrong?" She looked from Maedhros to the stranger and back again.
Maedhros smiled at the sound of concern in her question. "No Ailsa, there is nothing wrong on this happiest of nights." The stranger stood quietly as Maedhros spoke. He was dressed in a light colored fisherman's sweater and his snug jeans were tucked into calf-high leather boots. His clothing seemed the only thing normal about him. Maedhros and he were about the same height with the same lean build and long hair. As he turned his face into the dim moonlight, it was hard to ignore the fact that Ailsa found herself focusing on his exquisite face. Like Maedhros, he was extraordinarily handsome, and there was something familiar about his eyes. He looked so much like the Elves in the Shimmer. She couldn't help smiling nervously as she felt his powerful stare.
"Ailsa, I am glad you are here. The miracle we talked about has occurred. I have been given a great sign." Maedhros smiled broadly as he gestured with his arm. "Ailsa, allow me to introduce you to, my brother, Maglor…your uncle. Maglor, this is Ailsa; the lasted member of the House of Feanor" Two surprised faces suddenly looked directly at Maedhros.
- O -
Lying in the blackness of her room waiting as night slowly moved toward morning was agony for Ailsa. She looked at the clock on her nightstand, 3:34 a.m. Not many hours until the sun would finally make its appearance. Unfortunately, experiencing those hours as they slowly ticked away seemed endless. The crumpled covers of the bed hindered her as she tossed and turned trying to get back to sleep. She desperately wanted to get back to sleep, but any chance of that disappeared as she remembered the cliff top and meeting her uncle.
Maedhros' startling introduction had at first so surprised her, Ailsa could do no more than smile tentatively and give Maglor a slight nod. Maglor seemed just as stunned at Maedhros' revelation. His face was like carved marble, but his intense grey eyes were alive and continued exploring her face. Ailsa couldn't help meeting his gaze with the same searching look.
Then Maedhros did something odd. Before either one of them could begin to ask any questions, he began to usher them quickly back to the house. Conversation was discouraged with his assurances that all of their questions would be answered "in the morning."
Was Maedhros crazy? How was she supposed to wait until morning? She couldn't imagine why he wanted to delay. Maybe it was the shock, but she obeyed and dutifully followed Maedhros' lead. After reaching the house, he abruptly bid Ailsa good night before she could even slip in one question. Maglor looked confused and gave her a little bow, but kept his attention on Maedhros as he did. It seemed he also found Maedhros' behavior a little strange. Maedhros took Maglor's arm and directed him toward the library. Frustrated and disappointed, Ailsa could only call a short "Night" after them before heading up the stairs to her bedroom. She thought about going to her father's room, but decided that she'd let him sleep. He'd need all his rest when this new development was revealed to him in the morning.
What little sleep Ailsa did manage to get was fitful and full of strange dreams. Dreams of strange landscapes, of Maedhros and Maglor, and some how, scenes from the Shimmer. Of course he was there…that blond elf…standing, watching, and continuing his vigil as he waited on the high wall of that unnamed city. She began to wake and he disappeared into the swirling mist of her dream world. A voice echoed in her head as her eyes slowly opened. "Aphado nin!" She sat bolt up and for a moment felt as if someone was in the room with her. Who said that? Ailsa looked around almost anticipating finding someone. She was soon disappointed, she was alone.
Something wasn't right; she began to feel an odd tug of sorrow deep inside her. She couldn't remember any memories of anything distressing in her dreams, so where was this sadness coming from? Frowning, she stared into the darkness hoping for the return of some kind of serenity that would allow her to fall back to sleep. Regrettably, it wasn't going to happen. Instead, her mind began churning with the questions she had in her head since meeting Maglor. She felt happy for Maedhros, but her rational side was in full assault mode trying to make sense of this new development and just where Maglor fit in. Ailsa shook her head. The cold hard truth of the matter was where there had been one tormented Elvish soul living out his punishment in this time, now there were two under the same sentence. She punched the pillow in frustration. "Damn!" Too many unanswered questions and far too many possibilities.
- O -
In the Archives, Maglor was asking his questions. "Who is this child of yours? I can sense Elvish blood in her, but you mentioned something about her being the latest member of our family?"
Maedhros raised his hand, "Peace, brother. There is much you must learn. Let me start with this." He walked over to the shelving and pulled. Maglor stood quietly and observed the door swing open revealing a long dark passageway with a flickering light at its end. "That light…?" Maedhros smiled at the quizzical look on Maglor's face.
Maedhros placed his hand on Maglor's shoulder. "It is the beginning of my story." With that, he walked into the passageway. Once again, Maglor followed his brother.
- O -
Maglor slowly moved toward the shimmering mist; his mind reeling. His eyes grew ever wider as he stared in disbelief at it. Incredible! The voices coming from the glowing vapors were speaking Sindarin. By the Valar! It had been too long since he had seen other Elves or heard Elvish spoken like that. Amazement coursed through him.
A band of five unknown Elves walked in the twilight along a woodland stream as they roughly encouraged a small pallid-looking being to keep up with them. The strange nearly naked creature moved mostly on all four of his spindly limbs and was held captive by a rope around his neck. The excess lead was held securely by one of the Elves and it was quite obvious the creature was not happy. Awful cries and moans came from him as he spoke to some unseen companion. Maglor could scarcely hear him, but his steady chatter was about something that was "precious" to him. The group stopped by a tall tree and their prisoner was allowed to climb into the high branches. However, the end of the long rope was still held fast by his Elven keeper. The others stood patiently waiting, trying to ignore the continual grumbling from the tree top.
Suddenly from out of the surrounding thick undergrowth, Orc raiders descended on the party. Maglor, the warrior, instinctively reached for his sword, but stopped and felt foolish as he glanced down at his empty hand. He could do no more than anxiously watch the outnumbered Elves fight the Orcs. As the combat continued, the strange being hiding in the high foliage nimbly climbed down the tree and quickly made his escape along the stream. His long thin fingers frantically clutched at the rocks on the bank as his large fish-like eyes searched wildly for a safer route. Maglor's hand rose, ready to grasp the creature by the neck, but his fingertips hit the invisible barrier protecting the vapor instead. He looked at his hand and then his brother. "What curious magic is this," he asked.
Maedhros cleared his throat. "The Shimmer is not the only thing that I need to show you." He walked over to the chest on the rock shelf and opened it. Maglor watched as a strangely familiar radiance suddenly exploded in front of Maedhros. What caused the light was obscured by Maedhros' body, but then, as suddenly as it appeared, the light was gone. Maedhros turned and faced Maglor. "This is something I never thought I would ever be able to do again," he said and held out his hand to Maglor. He slowly opened his fingers and the great white blaze of the Silmaril bathed Maglor's body as slow recognition registered on his ashen face. He suddenly felt as if the air had been stolen out of his lungs as his eyes settled on the Silmaril resting in Maedhros' palm.
Motionless, Maglor stared at the gem and the perfect skin of Maedhros' hand. "How…," he asked as he slowly stepped toward the pulsating light.
"Recent events have made me see that forgiveness can one day be ours." Maedhros smiled. Before he could stop him, Maglor reached out and snatched the Silmaril from his hand. Spinning away from Maedhros, he held the jewel close to his chest waiting, praying that his brother was right.
"Maglor!" Maedhros' voice was filled with apprehension. He watched as Maglor's shoulders rapidly rose and fell; his concern only increased. Was Maglor in pain? Suddenly, Maglor raised his arm; he held the Silmaril by the undamaged tips of his fingers. As the light bathed them both, he shouted, "We are both forgiven!" His words echoed in the cave room. He turned again, the Silmaril resting safely in his hand and a look of joy on his face. "Praise Eru, we are worthy again, my brother." Laughter poured from his lips.
Maedhros looked at the Silmaril shining in Maglor's perfect hand. A wave of happiness flowed through him. "Ailsa kept telling me there could be forgiveness. I never dared hope."
Maglor took Maedhros' hand in his and brought it to his chest. "Now you must tell me everything."
- O -
As dawn streaked pale fingers of light high across the sky, Ailsa was already awake and dressed. As quietly as possible, she made her way down the staircase in the semi-darkness. The hall was silent except for the little creaks and moans expected from a house as old as Egla Tir. She walked into the kitchen, and without turning on the overhead lights, started to make coffee by just the small light above the sink. She sat at the kitchen table waiting for the pot of the coffeemaker to fill. As she stared off into the dimly lit room, she tried to focus on the main questions she decided needed to be answered most. Had Maglor been living in this world all this time as well? Was he to be the hope Maedhros had been waiting for? How will his arrival affect life at Egla Tir? A nagging little question was added to the others; why didn't Maedhros want Maglor to talk to her last night?
Ailsa shook her head; everything felt mixed up. She was happy the brothers were together, but the sadness she felt from her dreams still sat heavily in the back of her mind. Resting her elbows on the wooden table top, she covered her face with her hands. She let out a heavy sigh and gently shook her head again as she dragged her fingers through her hair in frustration. This was just too much for a mortal to have to deal with, especially without a very large cup of black coffee.
- O -
Below, Maedhros was finishing his tale. "Ewan and Ailsa are the latest in the line of my children. They have been more than just the next to inherit Egla Tir. They have been the reason for so many of the things that have come to pass. Of the truths they have discovered. Perhaps the very reason you are here. They have been instrumental in giving me the chance to hope again. I know now we can live out our punishments here…together." Maglor knew everything at last. Maedhros stood waiting, the Shimmer glowing behind him.
Maglor looked at the Silmaril in his hand and smiled. With his brother's keen eyes on him, he walked over to the rock shelf, placed the Silmaril back into the pouch, and returned it to the chest. He closed the lid and stood quietly for a moment. Finally, he looked at Maedhros and smiled again. "Yes Maedhros, we will be together, but not here." He closed the distance between them and took hold of Maedhros' arms. "Brother, we can go home," he announced.
Maedhros could only blink as he tried to understand what his brother was trying to say. Home? Deep inside his heart, disbelief waged war with the possibility. He could not let Maglor live with a foolish hope. "Forgiven yes, enough so we can hold a Silmaril, but we will never be allowed to return. Not after what we have done." He spoke gravely. "Our deeds condemn us to this punishment…forever."
"Yes and our unworthiness was part of that punishment." Maglor tried to reason with him. "But now we both can hold the Silmaril without it destroying our flesh. If what your children have said is true, The Blessed Realm lays just beyond the horizon. We have finally been given a chance to return to our people. To our own kind." Maglor's face was shining as he spoke. "You have heard the Song of Iluvatar. When the song of your Fea came to me, I knew the time had come for us to return home. Brother, do you not see…can you not feel the call? Our banishment is ended." Maglor stared intently at Maedhros.
"I do not know, Maglor. I want to believe it, but I…just…can not." Maedhros apologized. "I need to talk to Ewan and Ailsa."
The look of disappointment slowly stole across Maglor's face. Why is Maedhros acting so? He heard the slight catch in Maedhros' voice as he spoke Ewan and Ailsa's names. He had to admit his brother was far closer to his mortal family than he led on. He also knew he would have to make Maedhros acknowledge what he refused to understand. With that thought, Maglor's eyes grew dark. "Do what you have to do Maedhros, but do not let your attachments to this world keep you from seeing the truth."
Maedhros opened his mouth to protest, but hesitated. He was unable to say what his brother wanted to hear from him. Maglor was right; he did have attachments to this world. Two very strong attachments. Maedhros walked over to the doorway and stopped. "I wish I could see the truth as you do…" Maedhros' voice trailed off. Maglor could only shake his head as he returned his attention back to the Shimmer.
Walking down the passageway, Maedhros' mind was more confused than ever. Maglor was right, but he was also very wrong. They were worthy once more to hold the Silmaril, but forgiven all the dark sins their duty to the Oath forced them to do? How could that be possible?
Forgiveness! Surely after all this time…the possibility of returning to his people. The very thought of it made his heart shudder. His soul ached with Maglor's words, but he still feared speaking openly about it. This was the reason he had stopped Maglor and Ailsa from asking any questions last night. He realized he had felt it as he greeted Maglor on the beach. The truth hid somewhere within the decision he would have to make. Maedhros just wasn't ready to make that decision.
Entering the library, he could see morning was upon them. He also sensed movement in the house. Ailsa was awake. Ailsa.
- O -
Watching her from the kitchen doorway, Maedhros could see Ailsa wasn't herself this morning. He could feel her battle against the overwhelming emotions consuming her thoughts. Why is she feeling such sorrow? Disquiet filled his heart. Yes, he had attachments to this world.
"When I felt movement in the house, I knew it had to be you." His soft voice echoed within the silence of the kitchen.
Ailsa's head shot up at the sound of Maedhros' voice. She was too tired to actually jump at the suddenness of it, but she was startled all the same. "Jeez Maedhros, you shouldn't sneak up on a person like that." Maedhros smiled as he imagined his normally silent walk as "sneaking up." Ailsa casually rested her cheek on her hand as she looked at him. He stood at the end of the table, his hair unbound, falling down his chest. Although still dressed in his clothes from the previous night, he looked as fresh as if he had gotten a full night's sleep. Without her first cup of coffee, she couldn't help hating him for that.
Maedhros grew concerned as he looked at her and noticed the dark circles under her normally bright eyes. Of course he knew the reason for their appearance. "I see you did not get much sleep last night," he said almost apologetically. The coffeemaker's soft beep filled the kitchen with its announcement it was finished.
"Well, I've had better nights." She said, getting up and walking over to the counter and grabbing the handle of the pot. "You want some of this?" She asked glancing over her shoulder before she poured the fragrant dark liquid into her waiting cup. Maedhros shook his head. When she finished, she walked back to her seat at the head of the table.
Maedhros sat down beside her. "I know," he began, "you must have many questions for Maglor…and me." His brows rose in unison as he spoke in that controlled manner of his, but there was a noticeable undercurrent of excitement in him as well.
Ailsa sipped her coffee and tried very hard to wake up. She was grateful as she felt the welcome warmth of the coffee fill her body. "Many questions don't even cover it," she finally said. "Maglor's sudden appearance is a huge surprise." Maedhros smiled back at her, his hard fought reserve falling easily away. "There will be time for all your questions later this morning. You can not imagine what it means to have my brother back." There was great contentment shining in his eyes as he spoke. Ailsa suddenly felt bad. She had been selfishly worrying what Maglor's appearance would mean to them and not thinking about how happy Maedhros must be to see his brother again. She covered his hand with her own and gently squeezed it. "It's great you two are together again. I know you've missed him." Maedhros turned his hand over and cradled her hand in his. "I have no words in Elvish or English sufficient to express the joy I feel right now," he smiled.
"I'm happy for you both." Ailsa smiled back and then returned to her coffee, taking another drink. "Where is Uncle Maglor?" She asked dryly as she glanced at the doorway.
Maedhros couldn't help being amused. "Last night I told him everything that has happened to me. I showed him the Archives, and of course, I showed him the Shimmer. He was amazed to say the least." Maedhros paused. "He is still down there watching it."
Ailsa's eyes rose over the rim of her large coffee cup. "Well, it's better than cable I guess," she responded sarcastically. She drained the last few drops from the cup and placed it on the table. Maedhros silently rose and took her cup in his hand. Ailsa watched him as he casually walked over to the coffeemaker and proceeded to pour her another serving. It seemed a bit out of character for him to wait on her like this. He must be in a really good mood, she reasoned. She smiled her thanks as he placed it once more in front of her. She took another drink. "We just have to figure out what all this is going to mean." Ailsa said it more to the coffee than to her companion sitting mutely next to her; his attention somewhere other than the kitchen of Egla Tir. Ailsa didn't know if he was purposely ignoring her or if he just didn't hear her.
Maglor's statements continued to echo in his head. Sitting there with Ailsa, Maedhros' only thoughts were of the promise he made to watch over his children. How could he continue to do that if he believed Maglor? How could he leave the two best reasons to stay? To never know what turn their lives would take and more importantly, not being there for them. Once again, anguish followed on the heels of happiness. He couldn't keep the wan smile from appearing on his lips. Suffering within this new dilemma, he knew his punishment was far from over.
"So when do we get to have the big family meeting?" There was a slight edge to Ailsa's voice as she tried once again to get Maedhros' attention. It wasn't just the lack of sleep that made her feel that way. The sadness that she had felt earlier was changing; there was now a shadow of dread lurking in her mind that wouldn't go away. She couldn't bring herself to feel the joy that Maedhros felt, and what concerned her more was she didn't know why.
Maedhros was very aware of Ailsa and the tone of her question. "I thought after breakfast, we could all go to the library and talk." With that, Maedhros got up and left Ailsa to her coffee and private thoughts. He could sense her apprehension. As always, it was difficult for her to hide her feelings from him. He wondered if she was sensing the approach of something that was going to cause her great unhappiness. Maedhros knew that if he chose to believe Maglor, he would have to unwillingly shoulder the responsibility for that unhappiness. But not now…now, they had to welcome back a member of the family.
- O -
The morning grew brighter as Mrs. Whitehall and the housemaids arrived at the manor. They all stood staring at Maglor while Maedhros made the introductions. Maglor had changed clothes and was even more handsome in one of Maedhros' suits of deep olive green. He continued to wear his dark hair loose and even Ailsa found it hard not to stare at him. The two Elves standing together were quite a striking pair. "My brother has been living abroad for many years and this is his first visit back to England," Maedhros told them. The story sounded rather lame to Ailsa and she tried not to roll her eyes as Maedhros told it. She decided to support him with a well placed smile anyway.
There were the obvious surprised looks on the other faces, but Mrs. Whitehall took to Maglor with unconcealed delight. A big smile covered her face as she began to make a great fuss over the new guest. She offered her hand as she spoke rapidly to him. "Did you have a good trip? Do you like your room? You must be hungry, have you had anything to eat? Your brother should have told us that you were coming." She gave Maedhros a scolding look. "I sincerely hope he's given you one of the better rooms."
Maglor was startled at first and a little uncomfortable not knowing how to react to Mrs. Whitehall's attentions. He looked awkwardly to his brother for help. Maedhros just smiled at him and it relaxed Maglor's uneasiness. After that, he fell easily into conversation with the housekeeper, charming her with every word. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Whitehall. Please do not worry; Maedhros has taken good care of me." His eyes sparkled as he spoke. "My brother speaks very highly of you and appreciates the way you and the staff tend Egla Tir." Maglor gave Mrs. Whitehall a slight bow.
Tammy and Colleen smiled shyly as they heard the extremely handsome brother of their employer refer to them as "the staff." "Welcome to Egla Tir," they nervously said in unison. Both girls blushed when he gifted them with a dazzling smile and thanked them.
Maedhros gave Mrs. Whitehall instructions for breakfast as the two walked toward the kitchen. Colleen and Tammy reluctantly followed them, giving Maglor one last glance before finally going through the doorway to the kitchen.
Ailsa chuckled when they were finally alone. "Seems you've made a few conquests. Mrs. Whitehall sure doesn't fuss over us like that." Her eyes moved to the doorway for a moment and then back to Maglor's face. "And I think our housemaids may never recover." As Maglor listened, his attention focused on the young woman who carried the blood of his family in her veins. The beginning of a smile tipped the corners of his mouth as he realized while he sought evidence of her place in the family, she was quietly assessing him for his. Ailsa lowered her gaze suddenly embarrassed at being under his scrutiny again. She felt uneasy until she recognized his curiosity only matched her own.
In the morning light, Ailsa could see the subtle differences between the brothers. Where Maedhros' hair was dark auburn and normally gathered at his neck, Maglor wore his much longer dark brown hair loose about his shoulders and down his back. Ailsa also noticed Maglor rolled his R's slightly when he spoke. She wondered if he retained more of an Elvish accent than Maedhros had. There was a definite brotherly resemblance, but Maglor's face had a more composed beauty to it. His grey eyes were also slightly different; they shone with a light that seemed to come from a powerful source deep within him. There was very little that missed his notice.
"Mrs. Whitehall is a very kind person." Maglor finally answered while still searching Ailsa's eyes, as if trying to see the thoughts behind them. "I imagine she fusses over all of you. The housemaids are just," Maglor's smile reached his eyes, "…very young."
At that moment, Ailsa couldn't help liking Maglor. She didn't know if Elves were able to charm anyone they chose to, or if it was just the singular trait of her particular Elvish relatives. She was aware he was trying very hard to be open with her, but she still couldn't help feeling he was also trying hard to keep himself a bit detached as well. She couldn't help a sigh. Would she ever understand Elves?
Ewan came down the stairs as Maedhros joined Ailsa and Maglor again. He had slept in, not knowing the surprise waiting for him downstairs. He had the same curious look on his face as Ailsa had after meeting Maglor. His curiosity, however, was of a different sort. "How fantastic you two have found each other," Ewan beamed at the brothers. He welcomed Maglor for the second time that morning, but quickly got down to business "I have so many questions to ask you. It'll be wonderful to have another point of view to help us. There's so much work to be done you know." Ewan was very pleased; now he had two Elves to help with the histories. He was most anxious to pick Maglor's brain for information and seemed oblivious to anything else. Maglor quickly smiled as he indulged the scholar.
The family breakfasted together and the conversation was light. Maedhros made sure that everyone knew they would go to the library later and they would find the answers to all their questions there. Maglor was very polite and worked hard to be friendly, but there was still a wall of distance surrounding him. Ailsa couldn't get the crazy feeling out of her head he wanted some kind of protection. He also didn't have the same underlying excitement that Maedhros exhibited. Ailsa figured he'd lived a very different life than Maedhros and it would take time for him to feel at ease with them all. He had a lot to get used to and they would all just have to be patient.
Once in the safety of the library, they began to talk. Ewan with his pad of paper and sharpened pencils sat with Ailsa on one of the leather sofas while Maedhros situated himself in a wingback chair facing the windows. Maglor sat on the window seat in front of his family. Because Maedhros had told him everything while they were down in the cave room, he had few questions. The one or two questions he did had been centered on the Shimmer. Ewan and Ailsa were able to confirm what Maedhros had indicated earlier. The visions were slowing down and the mysterious advent of sound was both welcome and troubling, but it was Ewan's theory that fascinated him the most. He found it easy to believe it was true. "I have always dreamed Aman was lying out there waiting for us. It is more than I could ever have hoped to finally know that it is true." Maglor's eyes darted to Maedhros' face. Maedhros didn't look at him; his eyes were fixed on the wooden floor before him.
Ailsa watched the body language between the brothers. Maedhros was definitely trying to ignore Maglor. Maybe he doesn't want to hear about The Blessed Realm. "Well Maglor, where have you been living?" Ailsa asked. "How did you know to come here?" Ailsa tilted her head slightly as she asked her questions.
"Maedhros said you would be very direct." There was a pleased look in Maglor's eyes as his attention settled on her face. He could see touches of Maedhros in her features. The same touches he had seen in Ewan's face as well. The amusement slowly disappeared, however, as he stood up to address Ailsa's questions. He faced the library windows.
Remembering the brutal events leading up to that day was hard for him and Maglor's thoughts could only dredge up troubled memories. All the disgrace he had felt through the years rose again as he remembered the last time he and Maedhros had been together. The regret and guilt of the kinslayings ran deep, but the shame that added to his torture was his inability to help his brother when he needed him most. He failed Maedhros, and he still suffered the memory of it. Maglor could feel their eyes on his back. Taking a deep breath, he began.
"After Maedhros…" He bowed his head for a moment. "I was mad with grief and I fled that place of fire and death. I cared not what happened to me or where I was going. I wandered still clutching my inheritance in what was left of my hand. I was the last of the Kinslayers and all I wanted to do was to end it...the killing…the pain…the dishonor. I stumbled through unrecognized forests and unknown terrain singing snatches of grief-filled songs to myself until finally, exhausted, I was standing at the edge of the sea. Walking along the shore I tried to find the courage to make my end in the surging water. I had failed everyone in my life. I had nothing left." Maglor turned to face them. A sardonic smile captured his lips. "Manwe, however, was not finished with me, you see. There was to be something more." Deep pain filled his Elvish eyes. It wasn't an easy thing to watch.
Once before, Ewan and Ailsa sat and listened to a tortured soul as he suffered through the telling of the events that brought him to their world. Ailsa waited quietly, trying to support Maglor with her silence as she had Maedhros. Ewan, who had been furiously taking notes, stopped and rested his pencil on the legal pad laying on his lap. Concern was written all over his face as he watched Maglor standing so rigidly with his hands clasped behind him staring at the empty space in front of him. With the same haunted look on his face that he had seen Maedhros wear far too many times.
When Maglor finally began again, his rich voice seemed far away. "I stared at the Silmaril in my useless hand. Its glow grew even brighter taunting me with the knowledge that hope was forever lost to me." Tears welled in his eyes. "With all my remaining strength, I cast the Silmaril as hard as I could out to sea. I prayed that there, under the inky depths of the waves, it would disappear forever. Never to shine for anyone again. This would be my last duty to the Oath." His brows drew together as he took a shaky breath. "But it did not sink beneath those waves. As it flew from my hand, I watched stunned when it simply vanished. A crack had opened in the air and swallowed it." Ewan began to write again.
Maglor paused, his eyes glazed over, seeing what others could not. "The space where it had vanished began to ripple. Suddenly a brilliant light surrounded me. I raised my hands trying to block the glare from my eyes. Panic rose as my body felt a great pull. Somehow I was being consumed by the light. Before I could cry out, everything around me grew black and I was immersed within a strange sensation of thick dark water."
"I thought it was the judgment of Mandos finally coming to take me to the Houses of the Dead. As I floated motionless for some time, I can not say if I was holding my breath or if I had just forgot to breathe. But then I began to fall. My body felt a great impact and…water…I was in cold salty water. The awareness of a great shinning light made me open my eyes. It was daylight and I was in the ocean surf. The great pounding crash of the waves roared all around me. The beach was before me, and I fought the breaking waves as I tried to get to it. My efforts were fortified with my increasing need to be on dry land."
"With what little strength I could summon, I crawled out of the surf and clawed my way across the wet sand. A small wave rushed passed me cleansing the clinging grains of sand from my hands. I stopped and gazed at them in disbelief. I brought the hand that had held the Silmaril up to my face, and slowly inspected it. I could not believe what I saw. All traces of the burning were gone; the flesh was unmarked. My hand was healed. How was this magic achieved, I do not know. I had no time to think on it; I was too close to dry land. Once back on my feet, I looked around. Despite the roaring sea behind me, the thought I was on the same beach quickly disappeared. I was not. In fact, the terrain looked quite different."
"A more frightening awareness took hold of me then." Maglor stopped; he had difficulty talking about what happened next. "I could no longer hear the Feas of my people singing Iluvatar's song. All were silent to me. Slowly, the realization I was alone hammered at my heart."
Maedhros grabbed the arm of his chair as he heard his own words echoing back at him. Maglor had not been spared the cruel silence. He closed his eyes; he knew exactly how his brother felt.
"I was to remain alone. Though I searched for a long time, I knew I was no longer in Middle-earth. In this strange land called Scotland, I found only the descendants of the Second Born. Like Maedhros, I too knew that it was to be my punishment to dwell there…forever." Maglor fell silent for a moment. With effort, he tried to relax the rising tension in his throat. Maedhros opened his eyes and sat forward ready to help his brother if he needed it. Maglor finally found his control and continued.
"I lost count of the years that passed. I tried to live a solitary life, but I found I stumbled easily into friendships with the mortals of this world. For a time, I would enjoy their companionship, but even that small pleasure was to be denied me. You see it became increasingly difficult to watch my friends take their much too short road to sickness, decay, and finally death. Their passing brought deep grief to my heart." Maglor paused again. "I still mourn them."
Ailsa heard the heartache in his words and looked at Maedhros for a moment. This is what Maedhros has had to endure. He's had to watch all the heirs slowly die. Ailsa quickly looked at her father; Ewan was furiously writing on his tablet hanging on Maglor's words. Just as Maedhros is going to have to watch us do the same. She softly bit her lip and lowered her gaze.
Maglor gave a deep sigh. "I was no longer willing to interfere in the lives of men, nor did I wish to feel the grief of their inevitable loss. So I began to wander again, staying away from their world as much as possible. Finally, I made my way to an isolated beach on the Isle of Man." Maglor's mouth twisted into an ironic smile. "I existed there for many years, grateful for the little peace my solitude allowed me." A look of joy quickly covered his face. "Then the blessed day came when the Song of Iluvatar returned to me and I heard Maedhros' Fea once more. My brother was alive and in this world. I immediately set sail in my boat knowing my course lay to the South, but not knowing where my journey would end. Just confident I would find him." There were tears in Maglor eyes again. Maedhros rose from his chair and stood beside his brother, his hand on his shoulder. Maglor's hand slowly rose and covered Maedhros' and they exchanged a tender look. The happy ending to Maglor's tale.
Ailsa watched the gesture of affection between Maedhros and Maglor. Their devotion had seen them through the dark times of the Oath years when they had only themselves to rely on for loyalty and understanding. Sharing the same purpose and now the same end. She could also feel the difference between them. Where Maedhros chose to be part of this world…even starting a family, Maglor kept to himself isolated from a large part of civilization. It helped explain that of the two brothers, Maglor still retained an otherworldly quality about him. Very much like the Elves Ailsa had seen in the Shimmer. The brothers still felt being kept away from all they knew and loved was the judgment meted out against them. They both suffered for their mistakes and now they could give each other solace in their punishment…maybe there were to be no other miracles for them.
Ewan sat watching Maedhros and Maglor, and smiled. It was hard not to be happy for them. He couldn't have imagined a better ending for their individual banishments. Their fascinating stories, however, only stimulated his speculation. Gently tapping his pencil against his lips, his mind began to analyze what he had heard. There was a logical explanation for what Maglor had experienced. He frowned as he began to write down various key words on his yellow pad. He underlined the word "Electromagnetic" and quickly scratched it out. "Power Centers" was next with several question marks written after it. Shaking his head, he crossed this out too; his frustration only increased. There still was no logical answer as to how the brothers actually traveled to this time. Besides, where did Maglor's Silmaril go? A sarcastic smile lifted a corner of Ewan's mouth as he wrote "Miracle?" Would it take a miracle for him to find out?
To be continued Chapter 8, Part 2 - Forgiveness
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.