Fire On The Water

Joined: July 1st, 2014, 5:45 am

July 12th, 2014, 2:06 am #1

((I'm a bit sketchy about dates. Let me know if anything needs to be changed. Thank Allie for the title))

Maedhros felt sick. It was hard to keep their reasons for doing all of this at the fore of his mind, and it was even harder to convince himself that what he was doing was right. The army that he led with his brothers had sacked Sirion, and Maedhros found it difficult to remember why. Because there was supposed to be a Silmaril there. Because he had sworn an Oath to retrieve them, from anyone, at any cost. Because his Atar had made him promise that he would hold to his Oath after Feanor's death, and finish what they had started. He couldn't refuse him, not when he was dying. Not at any time at all. He would keep that promise even if it meant the destruction of everything in Middle Earth, including himself.

Yet there was that little niggly voice that told him that it was wrong.

The clanking of his armour echoed eerily through what was left of the great city, mail rustling under scaled armour, right arm bent at the elbow as if to tuck it into a robe that wasn't there, the stump wrapped in a specially made sheathe of leather, tied firmly to his arm. It helped to keep the vambrace on, since there was nothing at the end of his arm to prevent it from sliding off his arm. It always ached after a battle, a reminder of how his hand used to ache after gripping a sword for long periods of time, the tips of his fingers raw from drawing arrow after arrow. Now his left hand was the one that ached from gripping a sword, and his right arm ached with the memory of holding it in his right.

He didn't even see the bodies any more. The smells of blood, shit and death went unnoticed. He already felt sick, if he had allowed himself to truly see what they had done to that city and the people within it, he would have emptied his stomach on the ground in front of him, retching until there was nothing left. He had learned early that allowing battles and their aftermath to affect him wasn't a good idea. Instead, his green eyes were dull, blank, he looked but didn't see, allowed himself to acknowledge that they had done something awful, but not allowing himself to feel too much, lest madness take hold of him. If he allowed himself to feel too much, he would turn into a screaming wreck, incapable of anything at all, let alone continuing the hunt for the other Silmarils.

He couldn't help but think that if Elwing had just given them the jewel she kept, this wouldn't have happened. If she had just given it to them when they asked, they would have taken their armies and left, going in search of the others and leaving Sirion in peace. Instead, he had driven forward, compelled by his Oath and grief for the death of his brothers to attack and taking part in yet another Kinslaying, and Elwing had thrown herself into the sea, taking the Silmaril with her. Such a waste. It put that one out of their reach, and their efforts were in vain. He would have found it hard to justify even if they had gotten the gem back, but with its loss, there really was no meaning to their attack. They had destroyed this city, and most of its inhabitants, and they had nothing to show for it. Not for the first or last time, Maedhros regretting having taken the Oath, and for promising to keep it after the death of Feanor.

Thinking of him made his heart hurt. He was running blind, and there were people following him regardless. He spoke words, lit fires in the hearts of his followers, and they came, malleable and yielding, and he wished that Feanor was there to tell him what to do. He made a great show of being a leader, but he didn't feel like one. He glanced at Maglor, at his messy hair and the bloodstains on his hands and face. Not much of it was his own. Much like himself, Maglor was a proficient fighter, and the blood they bathed in was rarely their own. "What are we looking for? What we came here for is. . . gone." He couldn't even bring himself to say the word. Nor could he say aloud that it had been flung into the sea. He wished he could have reasoned with Elwing.

Survivors. Elwing had two young sons." Maedhros ground to a halt, tripping over something as he stopped. His legs took several awkward steps in the effort to keep himself upright, and he made to grab his brother with his right hand, the stump slapping Maglor's pauldron and sliding off, his brother catching his elbow as he fell. He righted himself quickly, jerking his maimed arm away convulsively and swinging himself around to look at Maglor, a strange light in his eyes. "Please tell me you're not planning what I think you are." He demanded, leaning down slightly to peer into his younger brother's face. Maybe Maglor was in shock after the battle, or something. He looked for signs of madness, just in case. There were two possibilities for what Maglor meant for those two children. One of them was unthinkable, and he didn't think Maglor capable of it. The other was the worst idea since taking an Oath to reclaim the Silmarils.

Maglor pushed past him, looking around. "We've orphaned those children. Earendil wasn't here before the attack, let alone now. The least we can do is-" Maedhros stopped him again, sheathing his sword and bringing his remaining hand down on Maglor's shoulder firmly, making him stop walking. "No. That's a bad idea and you know it." He leaned down again, staring hard at his brother. Like anyone else, he believed that Maglor could be reasoned with, even if he was a stubborn bastard at times. "Those children won't go with us, not with the ones who might as well have murdered their own mother. Who would have, if killing her would have returned the Silmaril to us." Maglor looked like he was gearing up to argue, and Maedhros cut him off again.

"Those children, if they're alive and hiding here somewhere, deserve better than the two of us as guardians. We're still oathbound, remember?" He had to know. He had to. Maglor couldn't honestly think that they could raise two children who probably hated them, while searching for the other Silmarils? He had to know that they couldn't have it both ways. Maedhros wouldn't involve those children in their shit if he could help it. Those that followed them did so willingly, they were old enough to understand and to swear fealty, but to take those children was to involve them whether they wanted it or not.

He scowled at the look in Maglor's eyes. The one that said there was no arguing with him. He wanted to adopt Elwing's children, and chances were that that was what they'd end up doing, regardless of whether Maedhros thought it was a good idea or not. "Maybe we could find a good family for them, rather than adopt them ourselves?" He hazarded hopefully as they started walking again, looking at his brother for signs of relent. This idea went ignored, and he followed where his brother led, falling to sullen silence. Were he willing to show violence against his brother, he would have given him a clip round the ear. But he was never one for showing violence to his brothers. They were about the only people he didn't show violence to these days.

They moved seemingly without purpose, finding very few live people. There were plenty who were heavily wounded, and Maedhros added more blood to his sword for several, making their death swift and ending their pain. The pain that he had inflicted upon them in the first place. Maglor sung softly to himself, something he was working on in recent times, and Maedhros took a strange kind of comfort from the sound of the rich voice next to him. Maglor would only stop singing when he was dead, and though Maedhros knew he was very much alive, it was good to hear him sing after a hard battle. It meant the brother he was closest to still lived, body and Fea.

They were on the verge of leaving the city altogether, heading for the caves beyond when they heard footsteps. Swords were drawn in the blink of an eye, Maedhros silently cursing himself for having automatically reached with his right hand first, even after all this time. His grip on the hilt of his sword whitened the knuckles of his left hand, and he looked around him for the source of the sound. "Who goes there? Show yourself!" He barked, his voice bouncing off the buildings around him, most of which he had thought deserted. Their army, such as it was after the battle, had retreated to camp outside the city. The brothers had, at some point after the fighting was over, silently agreed that none of their soldiers would sleep in the city they had destroyed, nor would they take anything. Except for the young princes, if Maglor had his way.

Joined: March 15th, 2014, 12:45 am

July 12th, 2014, 6:35 am #2

The call to arms had gone out a scant few hours too late. Their vanguard had not fared well in the assault, and in the mass confusion the Havens' infantry had been culled by the men of the Fëanorians like sheep in a pen, body by body until the blood all but flowed down the high streets and off the quays, where it washed out into the rolling currents of the indifferent sea. From his place in the garret of their munitions tower, he could see carrion birds, and the opportunistic native gulls, already beginning to wheel over the city in high, narrowing circles, following the invitation of the ocean wind that bore the scent of elvish decay further inland. Only a few of his regiment had survived the rout; Erestor had woken to an eerily silent courtyard, the notch in his helmet making the task of pulling it off his head leagues more difficult than it had been to put it on. A clump of hair matted to the lining by now long-dried blood came out with it, but as he hoisted up his shield for support and swallowed back the lingering vertigo from the blow sustained in the fight, then the nausea that swelled at the sight of bodies, armed and unarmed, soldiers and courtiers, or anywhere between the two, that peppered the tiles all around.

For a few minutes it seemed he was the only thing that moved at all in the yard, the faraway surge and crash of the waves on the shore moving in time with each breath he took. Still half in a daze, he dropped his shield to one side and hefted his sword up from where it had fallen beside the outstretched hand of what was ostensibly one of Maedhros' men—perhaps the one who had brought Erestor down—missing half his jaw and staring with glassy-eyed focus at nothing. Then he began the long march into his former home, the latest in a long line but perhaps the one that had given him the fullest sense of meaning, reluctant to see but desperate to find.

There were, as it turned out, a few survivors: maids, mostly, huddled in utility closets or pantries together, who peered out as he passed but didn't offer any information. In truth, he didn't remember what he was looking for, but his legs carried him on with a dogged kind of purpose, and he knew enough to dread the impending moment that he would remember what his subconscious had tried to hide from him as he mounted the wide, velvet-lined stairs that he had once watched Elros avail the banister of in sliding down to the floor. The twins—yes, the twins. And Elwing, and Ferileth—

Where had the boys been? Where had they said they were going to after the morning's lessons?

Moving with a bit more adroitness, he continued down the hall and into the family rooms, trying every door and finding nothing but upturned furniture and more members of the scullery staff secreted in cabinets or under beds or tables. Of the lady Elwing, no one could say for certain: she had taken the Nauglamir, said one retainer of a lord Erestor knew to be lying dead in the same near-pile he had woken up in, wounded at the shoulder but thankfully coherent enough to pass on what information he knew. In the wake of this new lead, he was quicker to cross the hall and into Elwing's chambers, but the lead almost immediately dead-ended there: the room was cold—Elwing had opened the window and the curtains had been tied off—and the furniture was surprisingly untouched, as if she had left it to go on a walk. But the strongbox he recognized as the one that had formerly held her grandmother's Silmaril was upended on the floor before her vanity, its green silk insides gaping emptily at the floor.

None of her maids were anywhere to be found, either; he wondered if she had sent them in search of the twins, but he dared not hope yet. Refusing to be compromised by his growing feelings of desolation just yet, he vacated the keep entirely, inquiring after any survivors he passed as to the twins, but if any of them had been reluctant to speculate on Elwing, they were even less able to do so for her sons. Her sons, perhaps put to the same swords that had killed her infant brothers in Doriath. If she had not surrendered the Silmaril—which he knew to be a near-certainty, as the attack had obviously been carried out in full—he was forced to feel some sympathy for her situation, knowing that she had every reason to be suspicious of the promise of a son of Fëanor.

Most of their horses had been taken. By Maglor and Maedhros and the Ambarussa's men, or members of their own court looking to flee for safer ground, he didn't know, but he found Nimel still nosing around the unsupervised feed bales, pricking her ears up and trotting towards him on sight. Despite the seemingly monumental weight dragging his limbs down, he mounted her back and began towards the only place he could think of that would have provided a lucrative hiding spot for two small, frightened children: the shore.

Joined: March 3rd, 2014, 8:21 am

July 13th, 2014, 6:09 am #3

Elrond wasn’t sure what was going on, only that he didn’t like it. Things had seemed normal enough when Ferileth had ushered him and Elros down to the shore to play, though once they got there things went a little strange. First of all, they didn’t go to their usual coral bed in the shallows where all the bright fish and colorful anemones lived, but rather along the shoreline toward the cliffs. Elros had straightened up as they carried on briskly, walking with a sudden determination which had cued Elrond in to the fact that something was decidedly off and that this wasn’t simply a surprise outing to where the shells laid at their best.

Their nurse’s unusual silence began to become unnerving as they went further and further down the shoreline, to where soft golden sand gave way to stones that clacked with the rolling of the waves, causing a unique sound that could only be heard at certain times near high-tide. This area was dangerous, as the shore sloped steeply and the rocks were too loose for proper footing. Under the water it could be deadly if the tide pulled you in too far, as the drop off was sudden once the rocky shore fell away.

They were safe for now, with the stones sun baked and dry, but Elrond knew these waters from his years of watching them and was aware that if they didn’t turn back soon, they would be too far out to do so by the time the tide came in. Ferileth had never led them into danger before, so Elrond trusted her as he rushed along, the only sign of his nerves the fact that his hand reached out to clasp with his twin’s as they kept stride together.

Before long, Elrond realized they were moving upward, along a narrow trail that he imagined must have been put there by his people at some point, for he could see no reason for animals to come to this dangerous area - or so he thought, until they reached the mouth of the cave and Ferileth drew them inside. It was not terribly cavernous and the back was wholly sealed off, making a great alcove from the elements and from view along the shoreline or above; it was a perfect hiding spot for the twins, and for once they both listened without a single distraction as she knelt in front of them and stressed that they could not play games. They could not disobey and go playing outside of the cave. This was very important, and she didn’t need to explain the dangers with the tide rising before their eyes.

Elrond did not understand her urgency, but he did swear to behave for her sake. The hug astounded him, her arms wrapping around both of them and crushing them to her. Be good, she whispered, I will be back before you notice I am gone. The promise came with a kiss to each of their foreheads before she rushed out, leaving Elrond staring after her in blatant confusion before turning to Elros. His brother’s expression was pensive, a corner of his lip pulling inward in a way that Elrond knew meant he was thinking.

Did you see the guards? Elros asked suddenly, causing Elrond to blink at him before frowning somewhat. “No…” Which was considerably unusual, seeing as they tended to line the whole of the castle’s halls. Something bad is happening. Elros spoke with a surety that unnerved Elrond, though whether it was because of his taciturn and stoic delivery, or due to the undeniable weight in his heart that promised the prediction to be true he wasn’t entirely certain.

“They’ll take care of it,” Elrond stated quietly, willing his voice to be unconcerned. “It’s probably just a drill or something.” Elros gave him a look, and Elrond winced. He could no more deceive him than he could himself. A drill might have been believable, had it not been for their nurse’s behavior. “So what do we do? Should we go up there?” Elrond often seemed a rash elfling, but in truth he did think matters through with some measure of weight - especially when his brother was about.

And do what? If something is happening that’s called the guard away, then we’ll just get underfoot. Distracting the guards is only fun if nobody dies. Elros muttered grimly, taking a seat near the back of the cavern. Joining him, Elrond sat so they were pressed side by side. His twin huffed but flopped an arm over his shoulder all the same, and they sat there silently for a time before Elrond could bear it no longer. “Well if we’re going to wait, we may as well put ourselves to something.”

Withdrawing parchment from his robe, along with a writing kit he had gotten on their last begetting day, Elrond set about drawing the squares they would need for the letters game they had recently learned. Far from the battle and the wreckage, the high tide drowning screams and the clash of metal on metal, the boys focused on their game, chattering to one another in hushed voices, somehow sensing that loud noises were not, at the moment, in their best interests and more blissfully unaware then they ever could imagine.

As they began to run out of parchment and low on light due to the angle of the sun, Elros leaned back and chuckled. Both of their moods had been bolstered by the game and mild mannered competition, and it was easier with the passage of time to lose the knot of worry inside and simply consider this day a grand and unusual adventure. Why did you bring parchment out on a beach trip anyway? Planning to tell Erestor you lost your assignment? He asked, eyes alight with amusement.

"No," Elrond retorted tartly, though he had considered that briefly while he'd been packing the kit, "I was planning to draw some of the fish in the coral, actually." Elros' eyebrow asked all the questions necessary, and Elrond shrugged a bit. "It's something I wanted to do for awhile, and since Earendil's supposed to be back soon it seemed the best time, cause he'd be able to tell me what they are."

Why so interested in knowing? Elros wanted to know, stretching out on his belly on the cave floor and stealing another square from Elrond. "Cause Erestor doesn't." Came the simple reply, as Elrond tracked down a free square at the edge of the page, nigh impossible to besiege. Elros made a disbelieving noise in the back of his throat. Erestor doesn't know something? Have the Valar been informed of this? It seems a mighty oversight, His twin's voice was rich with laughter, but Elrond smacked him upside the head anyway. "He doesn't know everything!" Elros laughed Try telling him that!

Having forgotten their oath on quiet, the boys giggled among themselves a moment before Elros made a sharp cry and stole a corner spot, and they both went still. In guilty unison they glanced to the cave mouth, as if certain their breach on low voices would get them caught out by their nurse - or worse, the object of their mirth - but it was empty.

Reminded of the nature of their 'adventure' the boys grew grim again, the passage of time now feeling a bit more alarming, though neither one addressed it. Elrond opted to carry on their earlier conversation to avoid the heavy sense of doom settling in on his chest. "I just thought, since he teaches us things all the time, it might be nice to show him something new."

Mm. I guess. It was non-committal and nearly monosyllabic, so Elrond let the conversation drop. In time, parchment ran out and the two boys began making games using a stick and circles in the dirt of the cave floor, but this faded quickly. By the time Maedhros began edging unknowingly closer to the path that would lead him down to the cave the boys were hiding in, Elrond and Elros had piled up on one another like puppies - with Elrond sprawled belly over Elros' back and Elros flattened like a pancake on the cave floor. They were playing a verbal alphabetical game so that they could remember their questions better when Erestor quizzed them tomorrow, a mixture of boredom and nervousness the only thing keeping them from a full, pensive silence.

Joined: July 1st, 2014, 5:45 am

July 14th, 2014, 11:12 pm #4

The maid that dashed from between the buildings drew up short when she saw them, her eyes wide and her mouth hanging open. Maedhros already knew they weren't going to get anything from her. She knew them, and there was blind terror in her eyes. Maglor tried chasing her, promising they wouldn't hurt her, but gave up after only a few steps, cursing. It was no good, no one here was going to help them, even if they did find anyone else alive and healthy. He supposed he couldn't blame them. He, Maglor and the Ambarussa had destroyed their home, murdered their friends and families, and he couldn't guarantee that the killing had been limited to just soldiers. While he himself didn't attack anyone without a weapon, there were others less scrupulous among the many that followed him and his brothers.

Thinking of the Ambarussa produced a strange, hollow feeling in his chest. His brothers were dropping like flies, and now only he and Maglor were left, two lonely Feanorians in a world where they were hated almost as much as Morgoth himself. It made his heart sore to think that no one would mourn for the sons of Feanor apart from himself and Maglor, though he couldn't let himself succumb to grief. Not yet, at least. They, according to Maglor, still had a purpose there, there were yet more things to do before they could retreat back to the home they had made themselves and mourn for their slain brothers.

The wind blowing in from the sea was cold, it pushed Maedhros' hair back off his face and made his eyes water, and he glanced at his brother curiously. "Do you even know where you're going?" He asked dubiously, looking down at his feet as they sank into the soft sand, wondering if there'd be any point looking for footprints. Sand took prints easily but they also faded away easily, they were indistinct depending on how dry the sand was and tracks were easily covered. They couldn't track the children just from looking at the sand. At least, Maedhros hoped they couldn't.

Maglor ignored his question, instead looking around him, out to sea and back along the beach again before picking a direction, his cloak flapping in the breeze. Maedhros decided that the hope that he would give up searching for the twins was in vain, and wondered if it'd be a good idea to hit his brother on the back of the head with the pommel of his sword, before slinging him over one shoulder and simply carrying him out of the city. They'd be well on their way home by the time Maglor woke, with a nasty headache. He'd probably never forgive him, but Maedhros could live with that if it meant they didn't adopt a pair of kids who would probably try to kill them later in life for having destroyed their home.

Despite everything that had happened, it was nice, walking along the shoreline. The sky was clear, the sun shone overhead and the cold wind brought the smell of the sea inland. He could almost forget what he had done barely a stone's throw away. He could almost forget that he was splattered with the blood of others, that another two of his brothers were dead, that he and Maglor were the only Feanorians left, and that their Oath was still unfulfilled. He could almost forget it all. Almost. He breathed the clean air deeply, thankful to be away from the stench within the city, listening to the sounds of the waves breaking on the shore, gulls wheeling over head, his boots crunching in the sand and his brother humming softly.

He looked up as he heard hoofbeats, just as the sand started to reveal rock, dry and warm from being exposed to the sun with the low tide. He caught Maglor's elbow with his left hand, effectively stopping him in his tracks, and turned around to face the hoofbeats, squinting in the sunlight as it obscured his vision. There was a horse headed their way. He had no idea if it bore one of their own soldiers or not. He couldn't tell from that distance. He left his sword in its sheathe, deciding that now wasn't the time for bared steel.

Joined: March 15th, 2014, 12:45 am

July 27th, 2014, 9:30 am #5

The perfectly uniform stretch of shoreline made it difficult to tell how long he rode. There were few seamarks in this area, even fewer geologic oddities to draw the eye away from the monotony, but it seemed there was no choice available to him but to keep going, his gaze switching between the path in front of them and the barren stretch of coarse white sand to the side of them, where he had noted a worryingly fresh line of footprints too heavy and too large to belong to two small children. Of those, he saw nothing, and when the sea wind began to chap the backs of his hands, he considered giving the errand up and returning to scour the palace again, his vision still prone to blurring at the corners if he turned or lifted his head too quickly, if not for the sudden burst of movement coming directly at them seemingly out of nowhere.

It was Ferileth, he realized belatedly, though she sped on as if she hadn't seen him, and his mouth went dry with apprehension. Full of sudden doubt, he wheeled Nimel around to watch her go, baffled into inaction beyond the desire to make the most of his solitude to go after her. There was blood on the hem of her gown, ripped at the hem where she had hiked up the skirts beneath her girdle to facilitate running, but she sprinted down the shore and completely out of sight seemingly within moments, a vague slash of gray with her hair fanned out like a black sail behind her and the soles of her bare feet bright with sand. When he could see no more of her beyond a vague suggestion of movement, he looked back towards the way she had come, urging Nimel towards the line of footprints and leaning off her back to scrutinize them more clearly.

Whether he was comforted or not by the obvious feature that hers didn't match the ones that were leading towards the general area from which she had come, fresh enough to still be mostly untouched by the breeze, he didn't know. How could anyone be comforted by anything after everything that had just happened? Furthermore, though it cost him whatever dregs of his morale remained to have to acknowledge it, if Ferileth was here, it meant that she had either stashed Elwing's boys here and was fleeing imminent danger, or something had already happened to them, and she had managed to escape whatever had befallen them—neither situation seemed worth debating. Possessed by the single-mindedness that had driven him to this to begin with once again, he tapped Nimel on, bending low over her neck to encourage her into as fast a gallop as she could manage on such thick, cumbersome terrain, and she obliged him, taking advantage of the tide sucking outward and propelling herself fast enough that the ground was a liquid streak of non-color, Erestor's breath suspended in his chest.

He noticed them too late to have made a more prudent effort to catch them off-guard, but somehow, looking at them, he knew it wouldn't have been to any great advantage of his anyway. Maedhros was large and grave and Erestor felt the threat the two of them posed even though neither of them had made any moves to arm themselves. Knowing he was fully in view, he pulled Nimel to a stop about five meters away from them, warring within himself whether to unsheathe his own sword.

They were obviously the better warriors, he thought, and there were two of them to boot. Reluctantly, he kept his hands at his sides as he dismounted, unsure as to whether it was a good sign that the twins apparently weren't here, either.

"You've done enough today," he said evenly, too full of fear and too tired to be as caustic as he wanted to be. But it was obvious, if only because their men were currently left to their own devices just outside of the city, that more pressing errands had driven them here. "I'm looking for the sons of Elwing. If you have them, I will parley for their safekeeping." As if he had anything to parley with, but he would cross that bridge when he came to it. "If you do not, leave. The Silmaril is gone, there is nothing here that merits your attention, Kinslayers. Take your spoils and go home."

Joined: July 1st, 2014, 5:45 am

August 23rd, 2014, 10:31 pm #6

((Sorry it's so blah, brain is being annoying. I wasn't sure if Mae already knows Erestor or not, so I wrote that he didn't. If this needs to be changed, let me know))

The figure that advanced on horseback was vaguely familiar, but Maedhros couldn't place why. Dark haired, wearing the armour of a soldier of Sirion, he had been on the opposite side of the battlefield when he and his brothers advanced. And now he was riding along the beach, for whatever reason. Was this stranger going to find a certain pair of children squirrelled away somewhere along the shoreline? Maglor seemed to think so, he perked up considerably. Maedhros felt like he should point out that if this stranger was looking for a couple of kids, there was a possibility they were his own rather than the ones they were looking for. There could be any number of terrified kids sent out to hide along the shoreline, waiting for parents, guardians and siblings that may never show up. It wasn't a pleasant thought.

The stranger slowed to a stop as he got closer to the brothers, dismounting a few meters away. Maedhros was surprised he didn't just mow them down with his horse, that was what Maedhros himself would have done if the positions were reversed. If he were one of few survivors of a ravaged city facing two of the ellon responsible. But he wasn't. He was the one destroying cities full of elves, and he was now looking at one of the survivors. He was glad to see that someone had survived the fighting, at least. Not that this one would care that he was glad someone made it out alive. It didn't make it better that a lot of others were dead. It didn't make it better that he and Maglor were the only Feanorians left. It didn't make it better that Elwing's children were now orphans.

He sensed rather than saw Maglor tense up next to him, wary of what was going to happen next. They both knew that if he turned out to be a vigilante aimed at taking them out now that they were tired and not on their guard, he'd find himself disappointed. And possibly dead. Maedhros would fight back if the stranger attacked, though he'd try to incapacitate him rather than kill him. Give him a smack and put him somewhere relatively sheltered, so that he'd wake up dry, at least. He didn't like the idea of killing him after all the trouble of surviving the battle. It seemed strange to think that he would spare someone who was supposed to be his enemy, but he kept telling himself that if Elwing had simply given them the Silmaril, they wouldn't have had to kill anyone at all.

He didn't draw his sword, so neither did the brothers, turning properly to face him as he spoke. He could feel the ghost of his right hand curling into a fist and unclench itself, pain prickling where it used to be. Even when it wasn't there, his right hand moved of its own accord. He wondered if there were bones in Thangorodrim wiggling in time with the ghost at the end of his wrist, whitened chunks of bone curling in on themselves and relaxing again. He pushed the thought away, blaming exhaustion for the random thoughts swirling through his mind when there were more pressing matters to attend to. Like the ellon in front of them, who was talking.

Well, that was convenient. Someone looking for the sons of Elwing. And he came this way looking for them. If that didn't encourage Maglor, nothing would. He glanced at his brother, on the verge of saying something. Maglor got there first, stepping forward, and Maedhros suppressed a groan. He loved his brother, he really did, but if Maglor thought he was going to successfully sell the idea of raising those children to this one, he was an idiot. He almost hit himself in the face with his stump as he tried to rub his face with his missing right hand, and put it back down, holding it to his stomach instead, as if to shove it into the front of a robe he wasn't wearing. It seemed he'd never get completely used to using his left hand as he used to use his right.

He could hear Maglor saying something, but wasn't truly listening. It was something about "the least they could do". The hand that Maedhros put on his shoulder was shaken off, and it was all Maedhros could do to avoid rolling his eyes. Sometimes he was just too stubborn for his own good. He moved to stand next to him, ignoring the ellon as he addressed his brother directly. "Maybe he's right, Kano." He mumbled in an attempt to keep this little discussion between them, feeling like shit for going against him, even in something he knew was a bad idea. If this stranger was willing to look after the children himself, maybe they should let him. It didn't seem right to him to spirit them away when they weren't completely alone in the world.

Maglor, of course, wasn't listening to reason. He would keep talking, trying to convince this stranger that they could take care of them, since they were the reason they were alone in the world. This time Maedhros did roll his eyes, running his left hand through his hair and looking around him. Maybe the stranger could talk sense into him. Maedhros wasn't having any effect.

Joined: March 15th, 2014, 12:45 am

December 4th, 2014, 10:49 pm #7

There was something about the brothers' body language that intimated to Erestor that he had probably just barged in on a fight. Either that would work out very well in his favor if he could manage to find a frayed thread of the conversation to pick at—assuming they had been arguing about what he thought they were arguing about—or it would make an already tense situation even worse, if their collective patience had been worn thin by whatever domestic they seemed to be having. Still, it was nearly insurmountable to work out a nuanced plan of attack around the throbbing in his head and the heady rush of being so close to the two eldest Fëanorions, even if past hearsay would have it that they were the least inclined to cut a man down for being on the wrong side of their treasure hunt; if a peaceful resolution was at all possible, he would need to tread carefully.

Beside him, Nimel flared her nostrils anxiously, and Erestor sympathized. They were both massive in all dimensions, and probably had better armor. If the situation disintegrated into combat, he might only have the barest hint of a chance with Maedhros, who was slightly taller than Maglor, yes, but also lacked the use of his dominant hand—and given the way he seemed to be trying to use it for things he might have before Thangorodrim, there was a decent chance he was still not totally used to it. A single second of confusion could net Erestor a chance at bringing him down, and that made all the difference.

But Maglor…

The most phlegmatic of Fëanor's sons was, if their whispering was anything to go by, definitely in favor of taking Elwing's boys. Any hope he had had that they would concede to the logic of handing over the care of Elwing's sons to him dissolved into nothing, the inside of his mouth going dry with misery. If Maedhros couldn't convince him that taking Elrond and Elros was absolute lunacy, what chance did he have? He could argue for it, but how would two men who had just carved through an entire city for a single gem that was now on its way to the bottom of the sea be able to understand that he had once stood on this shore with the two of them, digging around the tidepools for things to bring back to their nurse? What did it matter that he had spent months watching them clutch at inkhorns or scraps of paper, struggling around the enormity of learning to write?

A sound, a single discordant note in the air, drew his attention away from the brothers quietly talking between themselves to a rather inconspicuous-looking cluster of rock some ways off, which he could guess might well be a cave, if he had been at liberty to move to inspect it. Unable to stop himself, he looked sidelong, following the prints Ferileth had left in the sand—which seemed to come from the direction of that same cave. Whatever the sound had been, it was too unlike the distant screeching of the gulls to be mistaken for that. If either of them had managed to note it, too, there was little chance he'd be able to draw them away and come back for them later, especially if Maglor was already set on taking them away.

Almost grimacing, he wrapped a hand around the hilt of his sword. The least they could do, indeed. The least they could have done was to solve the problem of the oath by pitching themselves into the sea in Elwing's stead, but as that was not going to happen, he swallowed back the anger, and the resignation to losing this particular bargain that made him desperate. "I apologize if I gave the impression that this is negotiable," he said, giving in to the building adrenaline pushing through every creep of his heart and unsheathing his sword with a satisfyingly loud whoosh of air. Short of netting a miracle and somehow managing to incapacitate both of them, his only option here seemed to appeal to Maedhros, as much as he loathed the idea; he canted his head towards the elder of the two, sweeping the point of his weapon towards Maglor. "Tell your brother to stand down. You have no right to either of them."

Eärendil might yet live lingered on his tongue, but he kept that to himself, knowing that Eärendil's right to his children was technical in nature only; his sons regarded him about as remotely as they might the Fëanorions. All the same, he tightened his hold and shifted into a slightly more aggressive stance, ignoring his horse pawing at the sand behind him—a missed opportunity, since he didn't want to turn his back to them in the interest of mounting her back again.