16. The Cave
"My king, he must die!" Maeglin exclaimed angrily.
"All in good time," Melkor said, watching Feanor from a window. The High King prowled the shore, watching for any sign that an attack was coming.
"Let me slay him, king!"
"No," Melkor snarled. The dark elf was starting to get on his nerves. I wish I could trade him for Feanor, he thought. Ah…now that's an idea! "There are rocks by the river," the Dark Vala said. "Stone him to death."
Maeglin looked suspicious at first, but then bowed, a malicious smile on his face. "As you wish, sire."
This should do the job, Melkor thought, watching as Maeglin and Feanor exchanged insults before exchanging rocks. Maeglin has the better aim, Melkor thought. He may also have better range. If everything works out, Feanor will have nowhere left to go but the cave.
Another rock hit him, this time in the chest. Gasping, Feanor stumbled back.
"If ever you should see your precious Silmarils again," Maeglin shouted, "may you be burned to death by them!"
"Your father darkens the name of all elves, and your mother was a whore!" Feanor taunted.
Snarling in fury, Maeglin threw another rock.
Dammit, Feanor thought. The land around here has no good protection, save for the cave.
"Run, coward!" Maeglin snarled.
The feeling of ice crept back into Feanor's bones as Morgoth himself appeared, scowling at Maeglin.
"Idiot!" he snarled. "I can see plainly that if I want something done I must do it myself!"
What's he talking about? Feanor wondered.
Stretching out his hand, bolts of black lightning struck the ground around Feanor.
"Run, little elf!" the Dark Vala called. "Run for your life!"
One bolt grazed his leg, and Feanor gasped in pain. I can't survive this, he thought. The cave. I have to go to the cave.
Strange. As he ran into the cave, the lightning bolts ceased. Feanor was sure that Morgoth would still try to kill him. Perhaps the cave offered some magical protection?
As he stood in the darkness of the cave, Feanor thought about his options. He could not return to the world outside. That much was obvious. But Mandos had warned him about venturing into the cave.
It was no shallow cave he had run into, but a great tunnel. How far it extended, Feanor had no idea, and he had no desire to find out.
Morgoth will not just let me live out eternity here, Feanor thought. He will continue to attack me until I am dead. Whatever lives in this cave, it cannot be as bad as the Dark One.
Steeling himself, Feanor continued down the dark tunnel, jumping at the slightest noise. Water dripped from the ceiling and lichen and moss grew on the walls. Otherwise it was utterly quiet and no animals could be seen. In fact, there was nothing but moss, water, and rocks. And the darkness, Feanor added. It seemed nearly palpable, this all-consuming darkness.
And then, suddenly, he reached the end of the cave. There was no warning. One moment was walking through the darkness, and the next he had hit his head on the back of the cave.
Cursing, Feanor stumbled back, rubbing his sore forehead.
Lying Vala, Feanor thought bitterly. What a fool Mandos is! There's nothing here. Nothing at all, unless the moss likes the taste of elf-flesh.
Sitting down with his back to the cave wall, Feanor examined his surrondings. The cave extended perhaps a quarter of a league, and was perhaps ten or twelve feet in diameter. There could be nothing lurking in the shadows. He had thoroghly explored the cave simply by walking the length of it.
"Damn the Valar," Feanor growled, shivering in the cold.
There was a slight noise a few feet away and Feanor jumped to his feet. Was something here after all?
Approaching cautiously, Feanor frowned in puzzlement when he saw saw a beautiful young woman lying among the rocks.
She was a gorgeous elf-maid with long black hair, creamy skin, and eyes that must have been wonderful to behold if they were open. She moved a little from side to side.
"Are you all right?" Feanor asked, kneeling down beside her. Perhaps there was something in this cave. The woman had clearly been attacked. There were small cuts, perhaps from the rocks, all over her body. Her dress was badly torn and her shoes were gone.
"Who are you?" she asked, opening her eyes. They were a brilliant dark blue, as deep and bright as the midnight sky.
"A friend, I suppose," Feanor said, gently lifting her from the rocks. "What happened to you?"
She looked away, obviously distressed. "I am so cold," she whispered.
Setting her down on smoother rock, Feanor removed his shirt and wrapped it around her shoulders.
The cave air was quite cold, but Feanor didn't notice it. He had not lain with a woman since Nerdanel all those years ago. Over an Age, he thought bitterly. And here was this beautiful, exquisite elven beauty.
No, he reminded himself. She is injured, distraught. She would not want you.
The elf looked up at him with eyes fairly glowing. "I am still cold," she said. "And I have been so lonely all these years." She shrugged off Feanor's shirt, looking at the High King with lust in her eyes.
Well, well, well, Feanor thought. The lady asks for me, how can I refuse?
"What a strong elf you are," the woman whispered seductively, caressing Feanor's chest as he lay her down on a pile of their clothes.
"You are not weak yourself," Feanor commented, noticing the strong grip with which she clung to his arms.
"You are so kind," the woman whispered as Feanor kissed her. "So strong, so warm, so alive."
Everything happened very fast. When Feanor looked down at the woman, he found he was actually looking up at her. She was smirking, her eyes darker than the cave glinting. Her skin was a striking light gray. Her hair was the same as her eyes though; dark as pitch.
"Who are you?" Feanor gasped. This was no elf!
"You are strong and charismatic," the woman said, "but you are not wise. If you were, you would have heeded Mandos. You would never have come here."
"Who are you?" Feanor demanded again. "What are you? A fiend of Morgoth's?"
"I do not belong to him!" the woman snarled, standing up. She towered over Feanor. The darkness of the cave coelesced to form a midnight gown around her. Her eyes flashed with anger and the power of the ancients.
"Maia," Feanor gasped in horror.
"Greater than all the Maia," the woman said. "Greater than all the Valar as well!"
Feanor tried to stand up, but he found he was stuck to the ground. Glancing at his arms, he saw sticky white strands holding him in place.
"I am Ungoliant," the woman said.
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.