When I was six years old my home was attacked by others of our kind and my mother, such a constant in both mine and my brother's lives, disappeared from it forever. My father, although I know that he loved us, was a virtual non-entity in our lives, for he began his voyages, seeking the road West when we were but two years old; and so we had grown to know our mother well, rarely were we apart. But, when those others attacked Avernien and fire and ruin came down upon us, our mother placed us in the care of a friend and she left and neither I, nor my brother, ever saw her again. For she flung herself into the Seas so that those who attacked us could not take the Great Jewel that her grandparents had wrested from the Dark Lord's crown. It was then that he came and that earlier settled, peaceful life ended and another began. He looked shocked to see us, two identical brothers, tears streamed down his cheeks and his eyes red rimmed whether from the smoke or the tears I knew not. We did not recognise him then, his face covered in soot, only broken by the streaks of tears coming down his cheeks.
"Leave us alone, Kinslayer! Haven't you done enough?" Our mother's friend screamed at him in terror as she grasped our hands and pulled us behind her.
"Hush Lady I will not hurt you." He passed a hand over his eyes wiping away soot, sweat, blood and tears; his sword hung, sheathed and lifeless by his side. At the sound of his voice, deep and mournful Elros attempted to go to him but was held back.
"No child." She scolded in harsh reprove pulling the child even further back, the fear and fright in her voice enough to prevent any protest. "And should I trust you Kinslayer?" She spat at him. "You murdered my family long ago and now you seek only to kill again!"
"We wish for no more killing!" He implored to her, his voice alive with raw emotion. "Already too much has happened, too much..." He trailed off to stare at his hands, stained with blood, whether from a wound of his own or from those whom he had run through I never did find out; it was simply not asked.
"And how does that atone for this? How should that quell my hatred of you? How does my knowing that you feel that too much blood has been spilt atone for your actions?"
"It does not!" He cried, "but please Lady. Please!" He had begun to choke with despair. "Let it end now! Please! Do not let the bloodshed and hate travel to another generation! Please!"
Finally Elros pulled away and ran to his side, and no amount of shouting for his return persuaded him to do so. And, because he ran, so did I. By the time we reached him, he knelt upon the ground sobbing so violently his shoulders shook and amidst the sobs we heard mutterings of names, of people, whom he had loved and then lost over the years; family, friends, all intermingled. Never before had we seen an adult cry so fiercely. Nay, never before had we seen such a thing and so neither of us knew what to do. It was Elros who spoke first, as ever: "Why are you crying?"
He stopped in what seemed to be surprise at the innocent question from the child; but he spoke no word. All he did was stare at us and so, since my brother was getting annoyed with the lack of response, I joined my voice to his in questioning. Almost it seemed that he would answer but another voice called from a distance. Shouting words, calling in desperation. And then he was there.
This man was taller than the first, much taller, and his hair unlike the others, which was raven dark; his was russet red, fire red, fox red, copper red...blood red. All of that it seemed to me. And when he came the air became electrified and a light different to that of the others' shone from his eyes. Where the first's shone bright but gentle, clear yet soft; his burned like a white fire from within, bright and consuming. We shied from this newcomer who, like the other, was coated in soot, but unlike the other, whose voice and stance betrayed a gentle nature, his did not. No move was made that was not needed, and no word either.
Yet for all we shied and turned back to return to our mother's friend, we found ourselves alone. For at this newcomer's arrival she had fled in abject fear and terror. So alone we were, for the first time in our young lives, we were alone; and could do naught but stand where were, staring like rabbits trapped by a hunter.
"Cano?" The newcomer spoke, his voice still held the same desperate note of before, but the worry that had seeped in had disappeared somewhat. "Bro..."
"They're dead aren't they?" Cano interrupted the newcomer. "That's what you were going to say, is it not brother? That we've lost the i-wenyn, our..." Finally his voice cracked and he resumed his crying once again.
Pain flashed across his brother's face as he knelt beside the other; and we noticed finally, that this newcomer was left-handed, and not through choice, but because his right hand had been severed above the wrist. It was then in dread that I realised who this redheaded, left-handed newcomer was; and who the first must be. His name was Maedhros, eldest son of Fëanor, Kinslayer and so the other must be his younger brother Maglor. The Elves of Avernien had spoken in hushed tones of the brothers' both in awe and terror; much how I felt then. I saw as Elros realised who they were also and we both thought of making a run away from them. Perhaps, perhaps we might even we able to find Ellianë our mother's friend. But it was their speech that kept us rooted to where we stood.
"...and for what reason did they die Russandol? For what reason? To fulfil an oath given to a dying man to ease his passing.... for what reason?" The first, Cano, Maglor...had grown hysterical now.
"You know why we must do this brother. We swore an oath unbreakable in the eyes of Eru Allfather and Manwë and Varda; and such an oath once sworn can never be broken." The second brother, Maedhros, spoke almost tiredly, as though the words spoken had lost something to him, as though resignation was all that he could feel for such an act.
"But that does not, and cannot excuse what we have done Russandol! It cannot!"
"I know brother! You think I do not? I have suffered more from the trials Morgoth has pressed upon us than any other..." The elder of the brothers snapped, his temper flaring.
"I did not mean that." The other whispered, ashamed of the words left unspoken between them. Finally Maedhros stood and offered his hand to aid the other in taking to his feet. It was then that they noticed us properly, yet for all we cowered and shuffled, all we were told was to come, to follow; and seeing nothing but death and destruction about us, all we could do was follow. We were but children at the time. Children who needed and craved all attention that could be given. They say that children are the best judges of character, for they do not just see the outside of the person, but the inside as well; and perhaps there is some truth in that. For although life with Maglor and on occasion Maedhros was not easy, it was enlightening; and I learned things from the brothers' that I would never have learned from any other.
And as the years passed us by, he was my father, and although both Elros and I knew that in truth he was not; and that our birthfather was abroad upon the sea. He became as close to us as our father may have done, if he had not been the messenger of the Peoples of Beleriand to Valinor.
Yet, for all that Maglor did for us, I never thought that I would miss him. But now, now I look for him to come, to talk, to offer a joke or simple company.
Sometimes he would grow silent and become sad, lost in old memories of days, and family, long gone. He would tell us of them sometimes, Elros and I, and we would listen enthralled, to the stories that he would spin, of how his youngest brothers put mud in his third brother's brown paint or, the time when his second brother came home carrying a hound pup; and he would laugh then, as would we, but later...I saw him once, though I know that it happened many times. He sat enfolded in his elder brothers' arms weeping bitter tears for those they had lost, while his elder brother simply stroked his hair as tears of his own fell to splash upon the raven head.
I never told Elros of this, it would have upset him I think. He adored listening to the old tales that our foster father told; and indeed, I think he did enjoy telling us them, no matter the heartache they provoked. For it gave him a chance to remember happier times, before everything.
For almost five years we lived upon Amon Ereb together, hiding in relative peace; for although the Northern marches had fallen many a year before, still the south was held and, Morgoth knew better than to send many Orc bands there, especially if he wished them to return. Maedhros had just returned from a skirmish with one of these bands when he took Maglor outside into the chill evening and, with Maglor my brother and I came also. And Maedhros pointed to the heavens and we looked all with wonder at a new bright star:
"Surely that is a Silmaril that shines now in the West?" He called to Maglor his brother, leaving us two children to wonder, and our foster father replied saying:
"If it be truly the Silmaril which we saw cast into the sea that rises again by the power of the Valar, then let us be glad; for its glory is seen now by many, and is yet secure from all evil."
I remember hearing the elder of the brothers' cry with joy and despair at his brother's pronouncement, while he too let tears flow openly down his cheeks as he knelt upon the grass and called us children to him; pointing to the star, beckoning us to look and be not afraid, though in truth we knew that no portent of evil was this but one of wonder and joy. Indeed it was the first sign of the end. For our father, Eärendil, had come to Valinor with our mother and now the Valar and the hosts of the West were come and with them, with them came the end of all things I knew.
Morgoth was overthrown and Thangorodrim broken and it was deemed that evil was ended forever. And the two Silmarils, which remained to Morgoth, were taken from his crown, and they shone unsullied beneath the sky; and Eonwë took them, and guarded them. And so the oath that Maedhros ad his brother Maglor, my foster-father, had sworn was awoken again; and though bitter was the quarrel between them, still both left to take possession of those jewels which their father had made of old and Morgoth had stolen.
The oath was fulfilled then, but Maedhros found that the pain with which the jewel burnt him was unbearable and he cast himself and the jewel into a fiery chasm and so perished. As for Maglor, he too found the jewel burnt too hot and cast it at last into the sea. What happened to him then none can say for certain. Some say that he cast himself into the waves also; but many others, and I believe rather that he still lives by the shore, singing unto the final end, until the Dagor Dagorath.
But now, I wish him here, how I wish him here. For here I hold my own sons, two boys, twins, as Elros and I were and so too shall they face the same choice as my brother and I did face at the end of all things. To be numbered amongst the Eldar, and endure until the end; or to be numbered amongst the Edain, to live but a few years until finally passing beyond the circles of the world, into a fate known only to Eru Iluvatar.
How I wish he could see them, my twins, my sons. Children, that because of him and his pity for two abandoned children those many years ago, were able to be born.
But even if he cannot see them I shall tell them of him. Tell them of the Kinslayer who fostered two orphans and became like unto a father to them. I shall tell them this so that if ever they should see an old Noldo by the shores of the land they will know him as their grandfather and be not afraid of him, but welcome him.
I shall tell them this in remembrance of those long gone, of those who passed away long before this age when all was yet young in the world.
I shall speak to them of remembrance.
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.